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    • Day 21

      Von Porto nach Labruge

      May 7 in Portugal ⋅ ☁️ 14 °C

      Auch Kate war nach Porto gefahren und so verabredeten wir uns f.heute morgen um ca 8 Uhr in Matosinhos, wofür ich mit Metro Linie A blue 19 Stationen fahren musste. Wir trafen uns in einem Kaffee am Hafen, frühstückten gemeinsam und brachen dann auf. Heute war es total easy, schönes Wetter, am Strand entlang und sehr viele Holzstege. Auch sind ab Porto die Markierungen besser, die Leute besser auf Camino eingestellt und freundlicher und es gibt hier wieder Stempel.
      Auch lernten wir 2 Australier George und Gillian kennen, mit denen wir bis zum Fischerdorf vor Labruge zusammen weitergingen. In Labruge bekamen wir ein Bett im Hostel, das sehr nett ist, obwohl schon einige Pilger vor uns anstanden.
      Ein toller Tag geht zu Ende und auch die Planung f. morgen. Wir gehen weiter den Küstenweg.
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    • Day 6

      The Encapsulated Storm

      September 19, 2022 in Portugal ⋅ ⛅ 25 °C

      It's been a little while!

      Since I last posted, I rescheduled my flight, canceled it altogether, and booked it again. I am considering rescheduling it.

      My Camino this far has truly been a test of my patience, emotional and physical strength.

      Long story ahead, and warning: the timeline may be screwy because I barely know what day it is.

      Saturday, the first day I started, I wrenched my knee pretty solidly. I took a break, hoping it was just a small thing. It swelled and hurt.

      After hours of internal reflection, I made the very difficult decision to go home. Changes in flight booking cost me $1700. I booked a hotel close to the airport because my flight left at 8:30 Monday morning.

      As I was packing up everything, I was listening to music and thinking. And I realized I HAD persevered. All that training I did. All the money. Everything. It was all perseverance.

      And there was no way I was going to throw that away. So I swore to myself I would see the Cathedral in Santiago. I was determined. I booked an uber to the local Decathlon (Portugal's answer to REI) and bought walking poles, new sunglasses (mine broke), electrolytes and a few other things. Then I took an uber to the hotel. I'd already booked and paid, so I wasn't going to waste a night of rest.

      I got into my room and did everything that needed to be done; unpack, shower and laundry. Then I hobbled around looking for somewhere to eat. I got 3 km in and my knee swelled again. I went back to the hotel.

      I took some ibuprofen and slathered my knee in arnica. I called the front desk for ice (ice isn't really a thing here!! There's no ice!!!) I set up pillows, elevated my knee and cried. I was heartbroken. So much internal strife. How was this happening?! How?!? I didn't want to go home. I couldn't. I'd done too much to get here. And I'd already canceled my flight. I was an ocean away from everything I knew. I had no return trip planned or booked. And yet... My knee says no, thank you.

      So I talked to several friends. I searched my soul, I meditated, I tried to sleep.

      And I knew I had to go home. So the flight was re-booked and I was scheduled. I wished with every fiber of my being that I would wake up tomorrow and all would be well, but my spirit was shattered and I knew better. This is soft tissue damage, which can take weeks to heal, and I don't have that time. I was leaving Tuesday.


      2:30 AM Monday morning, I finally fell asleep. My heart was heavy for a number of reasons and it was a toss-and-turn, can't-hit-REM sleep, not restful at all.

      Still, my reservations came with breakfast. So I knew I had to be up early. I rested as best I could.


      This morning. Monday. I think. My flight is scheduled for tomorrow...but the swelling in my knee has gone down SIGNIFICANTLY. It still hurts, don't get me wrong. But I was able to make my plate at breakfast and move around with less difficulty than yesterday.

      I have a tiny spark of hope left.

      I finished breakfast and came back to my room to reassess the situation. Trip insurance would cover my flight if I have to come home for medical reasons. This means I will get the $1700 back, which I would then use to book another trip to Portugal in Spring of next year, after I healed. I just had to rest and continue training until then.

      But I've come too far. I want to keep going. Part of this journey is about pushing myself. I don't want to cause any more damage to my knee, but if a couple more day's rest will get me back on track then I will do it.

      There is A LOT that happened between all this, but that's the gist of it.

      Current situation: Flight home is booked for tomorrow at 8:20 AM. My knee feels significatly better this morning, but definitely not 100%.

      So right now, I have three goals: get to a doctor for an actual diagnosis (not just a poke and prod), decide whether or not to push on from there, and look at the details of my trip insurance. I can further test my knee by walking to the doctor, which is about a mile away. A very short walk. If it swells during that, pretty sure I'm going home. If it doesn't, I get a dx and decide once again from there whether to cancel my trip home and keep going.

      So that's where I'm at right now. I didn't have the strength to write during all of this, so this is a short version and doesn't come CLOSE to the maelstrom of emotions I've whirled through in the past 24 hours.
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    • Day 54

      November Beach Day in Matosinhos

      November 10, 2022 in Portugal ⋅ ☀️ 18 °C

      Beautiful day, about 70F/19C. Not a cloud overhead.

      We took the subway to this seaport city just north of Porto.

      A few people were swimming,many sunbathing on the sand. The surfers were out in-force, including a couple of surf schools running classes on the beach.
      Not a bad beach day!
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    • Day 48

      Haha... wir haben den Regen mitgenommen

      May 29, 2023 in Portugal ⋅ 🌧 19 °C

      nach Coronado. Dort sind wir gestern auf einem Stellplatz gelandet, nachdem der geplante Campingplatz ausgebucht war.
      Aber für eine Nacht war es völlig in Ordnung. Außerdem war der Tag sowieso fast gelaufen. Noch schnell etwas zu Beißen bei dem Imbiss um die Ecke besorgt. Über das Essen gibt's nix zu berichten... besser nicht, schnell vergessen!
      Der Abend klang für Svenchen aus: Netflixen mit Weinchen und Nüssen vom Bett aus.
      Der Abend endete bei Jenny: mit arbeiten. 🤓 So war jeder von uns zufrieden und glücklich.
      Heute besuchten wir nun endlich in Valongo das Sanatorium für Tuberkulosekranke, welches auf dem Gipfel des Mont'Alto in Serra der Santa Justa erbaut wurde.
      Das Sanatorium behandelte zahlreiche Patienten mit Tuberkulose, von denen Hunderte innerhalb seiner Mauern einen schrecklichen Tod erlitten. Nach seiner Schließung wurde das Gebäude geplündert, zerstört und durch Brände beschädigt. Derzeit ist es verlassen und dank seiner dunklen Geschichte ist der unheimliche Ort von Legenden und Gerüchten über Geister und paranormale Aktivitäten umgeben.
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    • Day 2

      Rainy, Windy, Beautiful Porto

      October 17, 2023 in Portugal ⋅ 🌧 68 °F

      We flew into Areoporto Francisco Sá Carneiro and took the train to Trinidade and then to San Bento which is near the Cathedral of St. Michael which was a magnificent old church with carvings, tile work and gilding galore- it was breathtaking! After obtaining our Credencial for the pilgrimage, we were free to marvel more at the intricacies and the achitecture of the church and actually climbed the stairs (many!) up to the tower which afforded a bird’s eye view of the city and the River Douro. We walked across the King Luis I bridge and happened into a port tasting room that was pouring 10 year old bottles and the port was smooth and delicious. We checked into our hotel, The Poet’s Inn and then hiked along the river to where it joins the ocean, shopped and bought some groceries…all this while walking in pouring sheets of rain and high blustery winds! Our Altus ponchos kept us dry and even though the day was dreary and wet we powered through and got to enjoy beautiful Porto.Read more

    • Day 10

      Reisebericht- Sonntag Nr 4

      May 21, 2023 in Portugal ⋅ ⛅ 21 °C

      Pause Nr 2

      Auuuuuuaaaaa meine Füße....... ich doch so armer armer der äääääärmste Klaus auf der gaaaaaaaanzen weiten Welt 😂😂😂

      Bilder sprechen für sich

      Und jetzt schon das Dach der Liebe gefunden? Neeeeeeeeeiiiiiin ‼️‼️

      Aber ich könnte es als Fangnetz verwenden wenn der sch........
      ööööööne Prinz mal kommt 🤔😂🤪🤪🤪🏳️‍🌈
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    • Day 5

      Surrender? Or Perseverance?

      September 18, 2022 in Portugal ⋅ ⛅ 24 °C

      Last night I made the hardest decision I've had to make since I let Gracie go.

      For a year, I've felt the Camino calling. I've trained in all kinds of weather in preparation, from rain to snow to extreme heat. I've burned through three pairs of walking shoes. Spent innumerable hours doing research, and hundreds of dollars on gear. Made an emotional investment that was, honestly, more than I could afford.

      And yesterday, 10 miles into my 300-mile walk, I was taken down by a cobblestone. Wrenched my knee hard enough to make it swell and hurt like a mother fucker (sorry, Mom). I didn't have walking sticks to lean on because when I'd checked where the local sporting goods store was, I found it was the exact opposite direction from where I needed to start. So I started without them, hoping a pilgrim would find theirs too cumbersome and leave them at an albergue (yes, that happens).

      And I didn't have them when I tripped.

      I made my way to the closest town and called a taxi to take me to a hotel. I checked in and hobbled to my room, cursing whoever snuck the extra rocks in my bag.

      I threw my pack on the chair and lowered myself gingerly onto the bed, being very careful with my knee. I lay there for a while, tears streaming into my ears.

      I tried to think but my heart seemed to have fallen into my knee; they throbbed to the same beat. I couldn't bear weight on it anymore, and I was pretty sure that wouldn't change in the next few days, or possibly the next few weeks. I was a crying starfish on an island of hotel bed, literally an ocean away from anything familiar.

      I rallied for a bit, talking to my travel buddy Lu. What am I supposed to be learning from this? Was it a lesson in perseverance or in surrender? It could go either way.

      I talked to people; friends and family both to get some perspective.

      Was it pain? Or was it damage?

      After a lot of time thinking about whether I even had the chutzpah to walk away from this, I made the second hardest phone call I've had to make since losing Gracie.

      I called the airline. I explained the situation and after juggling my flight, the soonest they could get me out was Monday and that would be an extra $1700, plus whatever the fee was to get a rapid covid test at the airport. I would also go through 4 different airports so it wasn't going to be easy travel.

      I tried to think through the disappointment and the haze of fear creeping in. There was no space in my "fancy" hotel for yoga. So I meditated. And I breathed. And breathed. And then I breathed some more.

      I felt the hot flush in my face, the grains of sand that had crept between my eyelids and my eyeballs while I was crying. I felt the fatigue of the day blanketing me. I felt the blood rushing through my veins.

      And I booked the flight.

      I felt pain. Emotional and physical; I preferred the latter. It could at least be iced, taped up and I could medicate to help it.

      But there was no salve for my heart. I sat with my new itinerary, hastily scribbled in the pages of the journal that was supposed to be the record of my thoughts and reflections for the next two weeks. Fat tear drops splattered the page, smearing ink I hoped I wouldn't have to read later. The picture of a broken heart and a broken spirit.

      My Camino, supposed to take at least 16 days, lasted for 10 miles.

      I slept. Dozed, rather, starting about 2 AM after an intense conversation with Jason. I got up at 6:30 and slowly began gathering my things.

      I listened to music while I cleaned up for the day. And while I did, I felt that familiar rush I get when I'm about to do something big. I sat for a second.

      Why was I doing this? Any of it? The training, the flying, the walking, the emotionally taxing thoughts that continued to drain my swiftly dwindling reserve? The definitive step out of familiarity and into the unknown? Why was I walking the Camino?

      Because Gracie led me here. Because the Camino called. Because I couldn't find peace in the monotonous familiarity of every day life.
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    • Day 23

      In port in Porto in Portugal

      April 8, 2023 in Portugal ⋅ ☁️ 15 °C

      8/4 Our short visit to Porto, Portugal’s second-largest city. We docked at Leixoes, a few km from the city itself but it was all built-up anyway, driving through on the bus. We just took the included excursion which was okay though difficult for all excursions because of it being an Easter holiday so lots of visitors as well as major roadworks going on building an underground train network I think so all credit to the bus driver because the streets are narrow, several turned into one-way, and for some reason there was a lot of double-parking in the streets so I think the driver had to hold his breath and hope for the best in some places. The guide was Porto born and bred, very good.

      We took the scenic route into the city along the waterfront, lovely beaches and blue sea. Stopped in a central square so we could have a 20 minute walk around which was good because I wanted some cough mixture and there was a pharmacy right there. We were beside a small green park with a small bar, grass and very old olive trees, apparently the site of the city’s medieval olive grove that has been preserved – with a twist! Underneath is a new, small shopping mall, partly open to the sky where they’ve made a cut in the olive grove. Quite strange, but it was pretty all the same. We walked past the entryway to a public building with a huge stone ball suspended from the roof, pleased it didn’t fall on Pete.

      This mall led to another square and to the famous Lello and Irmao bookshop which was where JK Rowling started writing the Harry Potter books. There was a queuing race outside and dozens lined up to go inside, numbers very strictly policed, I wasn’t tempted, but the photo cribbed from the history talk shows how lovely it looks. The guide talked about whether the books used elements of the bookshop in descriptions, and also said that the students from the nearby university could often be seen wearing capes around the square – did that translate to Hogwarts perhaps?

      We carried on driving but it was hard to see much out the bus windows. And it was a bit hard to hear at times because of certain yappy people on the bus who had loud conversations over top of the commentary. So annoying. The guide gave us the city’s history, pointed out important buildings, and apologised again for the roading situation, but you just take it as it is. We could see a few of the tiled buildings, he pointed out that a lot of the tiling has been added in later years (20th century) when people realised they helped keep out the damp. The cathedral is apparently very ‘imposing’ and beautiful but we didn’t go near it, and the railway station is completely covered inside by tile stories. Didn’t notice many police around other than two officers on horseback in one street. Around the city there are traditional ‘English’ Gentlemen’s clubs still in use. I was interested that the guide kept referring to classes, both in the past and present day; a lot of references to upper, middle, lower classes which struck me as a bit odd. And it made me pleased to think that in NZ we don’t really have that huge divide, maybe to a small extent but this was really obvious.

      We saw some of the old city walls, some up high but many along the Douro riverfront with deep and high arches leading into back streets or big courtyards, apparently some would have been entrances to warehouses and named accordingly e.g. ‘coal street’ etc. Across the river you can see the big port (alcohol, not shipping) company warehouses and other buildings, mostly English names.

      There are six big bridges over the river, we could only see one side of the famous bridge built by Gustave Eiffel before he headed to Paris to see about a tower. The metal bridge in the photo, you can see a round tower at the top of the cliff, this was used by the Duke of Wellington as a base – I couldn’t quite work out if it used to be a monastery and was converted to barracks for the Duke, or was built as barracks and is now a monastery. Never mind. About half the group went their own way but the rest of us stuck with the guide walking along the riverbank then back through some small narrow streets to the meeting point, much more interesting to hear about the area’s history and more about Porto than to wander aimlessly in tourist territory surrounded by fridge magnets and handbags and cafes, learning nothing much.

      Back ‘home’ we were greeted by a parade of ship’s crew holding red umbrellas, chorus of ‘welcome back, welcome back’ and loud music, odd but fun all the same. Rushed to the theatre in time to hear most of the talk on the age of discovery and global exploration from early times through to Columbus, Vasco da Gama and so on. We went to a later one supposedly about ‘Fact or Fiction: Falmouth and Literary Cornwall’ which sounded quite wide-ranging (think smugglers and ‘Rebecca’) but it turned out to be just Poldark which was okay but not as expected. I had a much-needed sleep after that.

      We had booked (for free) at Manfredi’s Italian restaurant for dinner, one of the two ‘posh’ restaurants, and we had a delicious meal and wine, great waiter Enzo looked after us, from Peru. The people next door asked about how long he’d been on the ship, conditions etc: this was his second trip, Viking had better accommodation, food, conditions and great pay – he was making as much as, for instance, a doctor, would make in Peru. Has a wife and 7-month-old child back home, very proud to show us their photo.

      Then it was time for the 9.15pm show, songs and stories from Assistant Cruise Director Francesca, who had a magnificent operatic voice but also crossover so very entertaining with a variety of songs and she was well worth listening to.

      Back in our room we found the Easter Bunny had visited – or was still there: a chocolate bunny in a basket and some eggs.
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    • Day 18

      Day 36 Santiago to Porto Portugal

      October 26, 2023 in Portugal ⋅ 🌧 17 °C

      It was not raining when I walked to the bus depot 😁

      I had my morning cafe con leche and am now waiting for the bus to Porto.

      Very comfortable bus ride. Met a mother /daughter from Bavaria. They had just completed the Porto Camino.

      Got off at the bus depot and saw that my hostel was 2 . 5 km away. I started walking....and saw the train/ Metro station. I found an information booth and was able to ride the subway close to my hostel.

      I wanted to check-in but I didn't realize that Porto is an hour behind Espana so had to wait.

      I decided to eat and ordered a delicious fish dish called Pataniscis with tomato rice.

      I went back to the hostel " So Cool Hostel" only to find it was the wrong one😳 The one I was booked at was called " Cool Hostel". But it was easy to hop on the metro for another couple of stops.

      When I got off I was inundated with all of these people. It was a street that was a mall ( no cars) and it was very crowded.
      There was a street vendor selling castanats which are roasted chesnuts. They roast them on briquets. They tasted like potatoes to me🤔

      I found my hostel got settled then did laundry. The owner was doing laundry and filling Ikea bags....where is there an Ikea here?

      Went to bed early as I was very tired.
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    • Day 74

      Zeit für Qualitytime 👨‍👩‍👧✈️🇪🇸🌊

      October 18, 2023 in Portugal ⋅ ☁️ 17 °C

      Es ist soweit: Das Kapitel Solo-Travelling ist beendet. Zumindest vorerst. Jetzt heißt es nämlich erstmal quality time genießen. Und es ist verrückt, während Frida in Porto auf unsere nächsten gemeinsamen Abenteuer wartet, fühlt es sich an nach Hause zu fliegen und das, obwohl ich meine Eltern auf Mallorca und nicht in Deutschland besuchen gehe. Beweist doch wieder einmal, dass Zuhause nicht nur ein Ort sondern auch Personen sind. 🧡Read more

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