Volunteer Julie’s blog part 7: the Caminho begins

Volunteer Julie’s blog part 7: the Caminho begins

9 September 2022

The Caminho begins (written 27 August 2022)

Since we landed here in Portugal, life has been so full I have only had time to write the briefest notes. Now we have a rest day and I can record my thoughts more clearly.

I begin my pilgrimage with Christine, a friend, who is walking with me for 2 weeks to Fatima and we started that afternoon. A 5km brisk walk from St Antonio’s church in Estoril, where we paused a moment for photos, took us to to our hotel in Cascais with Bernardo, who picked us up from the airport.  He has developed ‘Walkbox’, a walking app of trails all over Portugal. We are using a prototype of the Caminho to Santiago de Compostela been designed specifically for us, leading to and from each accommodation. We dodged holidaymakers on the promenade as we passed restaurants where people were eating delicious smelling seafood and it seemed a rather strange way to begin a pilgrimage. The sky was clear blue and the breeze kept the temperature to a relatively comfortable mid 20s. Bernardo had spoken of our trip and my fundraising for MindSpace to the Cascais tourist board, with whom he collaborates in the development of walks. They had provided our first night’s accommodation. We had intended to stay in a local hostel but the Vila Gale was a lovely large hotel overlooking the marina and lighthouse. We were very happy!

Next morning we set off with full packs and full stomachs having made the most of the breakfast buffet. It was to be a gentle day leading us into the more strenuous days ahead. We expected more of the same along promenades to the wild Guincho beach, a surfers paradise and then inland to our next stay. We were pleasantly surprised to lose the large holiday complexes very quickly and walked along the very quiet road with cliffs to our left and heathland to our right. An American couple, on bikes, stopped us and asked what we were doing as I had the MindSpace poster on the back on my backpack. I felt after all the long hard train go. My journey had begun.


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