Day 3 Camino : Arcade to Pontevedra

On the third day of our Camino we officially hit the half way mark of our journey. We awoke to a beautiful view of Arcade after a long 26K walk yesterday. After breakfast we headed over to the beautiful church across from our hotel and prayed for a safe journey. We began our Camino with high spirits and heads held high.

 As we continued our journey we encountered many pilgrims who were also undertaking the same journey as us, and although there was language barrier between us all, we were able to be connected to them through the simple phrase 'Bon Camino' (good journey). We encountered our first Australian pilgrims today who were from Melbourne and Brisbane, also here to undertake the journey. It was nice to see people as far from home as us for the same purpose. 

The scenery we saw today was different to anything we had seen before. The amazing green outskirts and farms that we walked through were more rural than the previous walks on this journey and it was amazing to see the countryside. 

As we reached Pontevedra we decided to reflect on our journey so far and reflected on what we have learned about ourselves, what we are grateful for on this journey and what has surprised us. We realised that we have all experienced personal growth and have new outlooks. We were amazed by the architecture in the town, the resilience we maintained on today's walk and the shops that Pontevedra offered. We ended today's journey by exploring the town and doing some shopping. We are excited for what tomorrow's journey will bring as well as the new experiences and memories that will be made.


O Porrino to Arcade

Today was a fairly long day but we started early. We left before  8:00 am in the morning so that we could walk as much of the section as possible before it got too hot. It was a good start and and the scenery was magnificent,  passing through old towns and little houses. We stopped for some tea and coffee at a local cafe  where a couple of us tried out our skills with a couple games of fooseball. We started again after not too long and continued our journey later starting our 20 minutes of silence which gave us all a chance to walk with our thought  and have some peace and quiet whilst reflecting and listening to nature. Spirits were high for most of the time until the last 5/6 kilometres where the students and teachers alike started to get weary. We were close to the town of Arcade but those last few hills looked like mountains. After arriving in the town we spent a while looking for our hotel going back and forth over a bridge and asking a few locals but when we made it to the hotel it was straight to the showers and then a quick rest before finishing the day off with a shared paella,  a good time and our evening reflection.


Buen Camino Peregrinos!

Palm Sunday - Tui to O' Porrino - The Camino begins

Today was the official start of the adventure that we came all this way to complete. To begin this amazing experience we were blessed to have Father Gonzalez serenade us by the statue of Dom Salvado. The Palm Sunday procession was a very moving ceremony and it was an honour to spend the morning with such an amazing town full of dedicated people. The walk alongside the archbishop and bishop was an added bonus and something that can be held close to our hearts. The traditions of the Palm Sunday mass were quite different to what we are used to in Australia but we were still able to understand the prayers and the meaning of the mass. At the conclusion of the mass we began the physical part of our pilgrimage. With a skip in our step we headed on to O' Porrino in high spirits. Throughout the day we enjoyed beautiful scenes and silent time with nature. As we neared the end of our first leg, we pushed through our hardships and struggles to reach our desired destination. As we did during the Spanish Palm Sunday ceremony, we encountered challenges with language barriers when ordering dinner. This opened our eyes to the reality that our pilgrimage is not only the physical challenges that we endure, but also the social and cultural interactions. Overall our first day of hiking truly centred around, God, nature, others and ourselves. 

Tui and Valenca

A Tale of Two Cities

Today we spent the beginning of our day in the beautiful town of Tui located along the border of Spain and Portugal. With a late start to the morning, our first stop was the street named after Bishop Rosendo Salvado, Routa Bispo Salvado. Shortly after, we toured Tui Cathedral as well as the rooftop, overlooking the historical town. The group then moved on to a Camino gift store where we all  purchased the Camino shell, a symbol of pilgrimage originating from the belief that St. James' body was covered in scallop shells. We then took a short break, and sat down at the Oscar Romero cafe and enjoyed a small bite to eat and something to drink. Whilst sitting down, Ms Connor notified us that we would have two hours to explore the small town of Tui on our own! We sat down and read the Camino iBook reflecting on the journey that we would shortly make, and the various reasons why people choose to make these pilgrimages. We then crossed back into Portugal, the two countries separated by a nineteenth century bridge, to visit the Fort in Valenca. Located behind the walls of the Fort, we discovered a small town thriving in the shadows. Full of life, Valenca screamed for our attention and we promptly responded. Despite the excitement of Valenca, there was a constant reminder of the idea of pilgrimage, as we witnessed pilgrims travelling through Valenca. We were prompted with the Camino shells and the yellow arrows on the walls of the historic Fort. The night then finished with a reminder of the Palm Sunday Mass held at the Cathedral tomorrow morning, and the start of our personal pilgrimage as we begin our journey to Santiago de Compostela.

Travelling from Lisbon to Tui

Lisbon has been amazing. The lights, the music and the atmosphere seemed to radiate such joy and inspiration. Everything about Lisbon was luring and brilliant, but crossing over the bridge into Spain it was as if we could draw a physical line between the two countries. Seeing the countryside from the train inspired me to write and journal the moment. In Tui, I feel a sense of calm, and slowness unlike Lisbon. 
In Tui everything's at a slow pace and that aura came to us when we arrived at Salvado's statue. The area seemed still and calm although people surrounded us. Most of the time I was amazed by the fact that such a hidden gem rested right outside the fast life in Lisbon we had been experiencing. 
Due to the day being my 16th birthday, I enjoyed everything that I experienced, from seeing the Camino shells that were made out of lights and were hanged over the streets, to the amazingly beautiful church down the road. Realising the church was thousands of years old was incredible and just being in its presence astonished me. It's structure was designed like a fortress and seemed to be protecting such a sacred place, the church.  Although leaving Lisbon was disheartening, arriving in Tui has sparked in me a sense of curiosity, and eagerness to experience new things.


Lisbon Through the Ages

6  April 2017

Our first offical day on our trip we spent in Lisbon, Portugal. We started our morning with breakfast in our hotel which overlooks a beautiful square. Lisbon is vibrant with all the buildings multi coloured and plastered with amazing mosaics, making each one unique. After our breakfast, we headed to the St Jorge Castle, an heritage castle which gives you a great view of the city of Portugal. Next, we went to the Cathedral, which had beautiful architecture. After, we took a tuktut to the Belem Tower, which looked over the water and then we walked over to the St Jerome Monastery. The monastery had beautiful grounds and the church was grand with amazing stained glass. Our day in Lisbon was great, spending it sight seeing and admiring the historical sites and unique buildings. Today was definitely one to remember.  



Exploring Lisbon


The Adventure begins

 Hasta la vista
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