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Europe » Portugal » Northern » Porto May 4th 2015

Here's a post I made on the Camino Forum website. It contains some observations on walking so far: Having now walked Lisbon to Porto, I think it's time for me to pass some judgements on what I've experienced so far.General Observations ... read more

Europe » Portugal May 3rd 2015

Sorry for the raw journal date - the devil's in the details 😩 when I get 'round to it' I'll add photos & break it up into regions Fall 2014 Travel Journal Portugal & Southern Spain & Morocco 10/06/14 Departed from home; caught 1st connection to SLC - then on to CDG. On transatlantic flight I sat next to the isle on the right in the 4 seat middle section - two 'hefty' women sat on the left side leaving a vacant seat next to me. I was hoping no one was ticketed to get wedged in there. No one was - but my hopes of having extra room on the flight were dashed when the 'heftys' sprawled out and took it over - with a 'you don't mind, do you? I have a bad leg' ... read more

Europe » Portugal » Azores May 2nd 2015

After a gray, rainy day at sea yesterday, today's beautiful sunshine was a much-welcomed gift! And although a visit to the Azores was not on our original itinerary, it was a very pleasant surprise. Like the rest of the islands in the Azores, the topography was beautiful - rolling green hillsides with small towns sprinkled here and there. The town of Ponta Delgado has about 45,000 people with about 150,000 on the whole island. It's a lovely town with small streets, cobblestone sidewalks with outdoor cafes and beautiful building architecture. Two beautiful Catholic churches were especially beautiful. We were also treated to a free performance of a kids' drum and bagpipe group. The kids ranged from very young to teenagers, and their expertise was impressive. When the ship left port, I was reminded that sail aways ... read more

Europe » Portugal » Central » Agueda April 30th 2015

Well today we passed the halfway point of the camino and it feels like we at starting to get into the groove: blisters are becoming callouses, those optional things in our packs have either turned out to be vital or have been ditched. We are a well oiled machine in getting up dressed and packed each morning and out on the road. Today we saw the first two Pilgrims heading in the other direction towards Fatima. The second of these was a grizzled gentleman and as he passed me in the middle of an industrial estate, a strange thing happened: a man raced out of a factory and shouted at us both. At first I thought he was upset with grizzly pilgrim, but in fact he wanted us to go with him into the factory- which, ... read more

Europe » Portugal » Central » Tomar April 26th 2015

It's always the case that the camino will re-teach you what you should already know. Sunday's on the Iberian Peninsula are quiet. Very, very quiet. Kel and I left Tomar this morning and walked on quiet roads passing through quiet hamlets. These would have been quiet in the middle of the week, but on Sunday they were positively funereal. We passed the last cafe on the route at 10 and to survive until we arrived at Alvaiazere this afternoon at 3.00 on a bag of crisps, a can of lemon ice tea and some hideous chocolate in bread thing we bought at a service station. Every cafe in town is closed. The only restaurant opening nearby tonight we thought opened at 6.30. It opens at 7.30. We are re-learning patience - and living with hunger. Cheers ... read more

Europe » Portugal » Central » Santarém April 22nd 2015

Three days, about 100 kilometers, Kel and I are both VERY weary. This afternoon, Kel used the pickup service from the hostel here in Santarem, which was a godsend. The day was 34 kilometers and ended with a steep climb. All the way up I kept picturing how her face would look if I had not suggested the pickup (hint: not real good). This was the first hill of the trip, as we have been walking up the Tagus River across farmland (once out of Lisbon). Some quick observations of the country: Pilgrims are rare enough that everyone stops to wish us "Bom Viaje" or "Dias". Far more English speakers than in Spain Food... GOOOD! The cheese you get given as an appetiser - at this stage if I had to choose between Kel and the ... read more

Europe » Portugal » Lisbon & Tagus Valley » Lisbon April 19th 2015

You all know those cliched rom-com moments? The one where the male lead - think Matthew McCona... I can't be bothered thinking of the spelling of his name, is bewailing his impending marriage to the female lead - think Kate Hudson - who at least has a spell-able name - usually with the phrase 'I'll never know the feeling of meeting another girl. The excitement of getting to know them, of learning all about them etc, etc'? You know those moments? Why does the man he is saying this to never say to him - 'Shut up - whenever you travel, whenever you discover a new city, you can have this feeling all over again, and you can have the joy of sharing it with Kate'. Because that's what happened to me this morning in Lisbon. ... read more

Europe » Portugal » Northern » Amarante April 18th 2015

I can´t believe that our build has come to an end. Today was a shortened day, but we made some additional progress. We completed the concrete work, buried the septic line, did more paint and stain touch-ups, and more cleaning. It was all worth it, when we once again saw how grateful Ana was. Ana cooked us another fantastic lunch with four awesome deserts. We gave Ana a small gift for her home and said our goodbyes which was not easy for any of us. In the afternoon Florbela gave us a tour of Amarente and we had our last team meal together. Tomorrow morning we leave for Porto and will say our team goodbyes. This is my last blog for this build. I hope you enjoyed following our adventure through our pictures.... read more
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Europe » Portugal » Northern April 17th 2015

Today, Friday, was our last full build day (tomorrow is just a half day). So it was more the same, but the house is getting that much closer to being finished. We finished all the interior painting, did touch up on the staining, did more cleaning including the windows, grouted the hallway floor, finished the septic, more concrete work, and brought into the home a new fireplace. You can tell Ana and Jose are getting excited to finally move into their home next week, which became more realistic when the electrician showed up a day early to start the final electrical hook-ups. After our build day, we decided we needed to continue to build-up a sweat. So we learned several European and Portuguese dances, it was both challenging and fun. We ended the evening at a ... read more
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Europe » Portugal April 16th 2015

Today was our cultural experience day. We spent the day at Tibaes Monastery where we also had lunch. It was great. Then we went to Bom Jesus do monte outside of Braga and walked down the 381 feet of stairs. Then we went to the castle Guimaraes which was the birthplace of Portugal. In the evening we went to Largo Do Paco restaraunt which was very nice. The only reson we could eat at such a nice restaurant was because the owner truly believes in the Habitat mission and supports it financially and by inviting teams to his restaurant. Ask any of the volunteers about the experience. Tomorrow we are back doing what we came here to do and provide affordable housing for those families in need. One and half days to give Ana and Jose ... read more
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