They warned us that it can rain anytime in Galicia!

Walking the Camino: Occasionally the Camino path took us onto a beach

While the Camino experience is most uplifting it is not devoid of challenges. The coastal route of the Camino Portugues is now well signposted but at times the path ends abruptly at a sandy beach where signage is absent or has been washed away. On occasion the familiar yellow arrows are difficult to find. It’s important to keep looking – generally they are not that far away! Sometimes however there are choices with signs pointing in two opposite directions. A guidebook with detailed maps of pathway options and the varying terrain can help to avoid walking many unnecessary kilometres on already tired feet.

Walking the Camino: The Cies Islands are a national marine-terrestrial park in the Vigo estuary

Our second week along this lesser travelled route began in the cosmopolitan city of Vigo situated on one of the deepest harbours in Europe. In 1702 this was the site of a famous naval battle led by invading Anglo-Dutch forces against a Spanish treasure fleet returning with silver from the Americas. Many galleons were lost and their sunken bounty still remains in the depths of Vigo Bay. Today This city is better known as the largest fishing port in the world with the estuary especially famous for farming high quality oysters and muscles.

Walking the Camino: The Romans called the Cies Islands the islands of the gods

Walking the Camino: The islands are a breeding ground for gulls

Walking the Camino: The beauty of the flora amazed us

Midway through our tour we enjoy a well-earned break from long distance walking to take a one-hour ferry ride to the Cies Islands. This world renowned national marine-terrestrial park is acclaimed for its crystal clear turquoise waters and white sandy beaches. Although the day is wet and overcast we spend a few hours exploring, finally reaching a highly sited lighthouse almost hidden in the mist. Along the way we enjoy the beauty of the landscape and are amazed by the prolific bird life. Large gulls nest beside our path, some nests home to new born chicks. Other ‘scout’ and ‘bodyguard’ gulls keep a watchful eye on our movements and call out to warn us to keep our distance.

Walking the Camino: A peaceful morning scene near Redondela

Walking the Camino: In Arcade, walking across an ancient bridge built on Roman foundations

Walking the Camino: Some of the people that we met along The Way

Beyond Vigo the coastal Camino joins the traditional Portugues Way and many more people join us on our journey to Santiago. Highlights of the next few days include crossing the medieval Pontesampaio bridge near the seaside town of Arcade; arriving in Pontedevedra where in the late afternoon and evening pedestrianised streets and plazas are filled with families and the sound of children’s laughter; and simply walking through the ever-changing landscape witnessing the daily life of the Galician people.

Walking the Camino: Walking out of Caldas de Rei an historic spa town of the Kings

Almost at our journey’s end we reach the small town of Caldas de Rei, known otherwise as ‘the hot waters of the Kings’. We enjoy a complimentary thermal spa offered by our hotel. One of us indulges further with a hydrotherapy bath followed by a back massage. Next day our delight is somewhat short lived by the prospect of walking in the rain! Although our spirits are not dampened we are pleased to reach a signpost junction informing us that as well as the Camino we are on the ancient Roman road – and now only 40 kms from Santiago.

Walking the Camino: Thankfully now its not that far to go!

Walking the Camino: The lush green countryside of Galicia

Undaunted by the weather the intrepid band who complete the final stretch are enlivened by the camaraderie of new friends from many different countries made along The Way. Those who attend the midday Pilgrim mass are fortunate to witness the theatrical swinging of the giant thurible known as the Botafumeiro that dispenses thick clouds of incense across its 65 metre wide arch across the transept. And finally there’s time to relax and enjoy the lively ambience of this historic city and to reflect on personal discoveries and achievements before heading off on our separate ways.

Special thanks to Christine G., Catherine T. and Philip P. for their photo contributions.

Walking the Camino: Arriving in Santiago in the rain has its own rewards!

Walking the Camino: Taking a risk – sitting under the 1.6 metre high, 80 Kg botafumeiro that swings from a pulley mechanism installed in 1604!

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A Different Way – Our Camino Portugues by the Coast

Walking the Camino: Guiding us on our coastal Way

Week one of our coastal Camino provided varied and colourful vistas of both the hinterland and the sea. We set off in Povoa de Varzim, once an important ship building town during the Age of Discovery. Our path, a boardwalk above sand dunes, was enhanced by wildflowers and the sight of an occasional atmospheric windmill from a bygone era. These sights gradually morphed into more rural landscapes and well cropped market gardens, until we finally reached our destination, the attractive seaside town of Esposende.

Walking the Camino: Starting out. Along the boardwalk to Esposende

Walking the Camino: A family vegetable plot beside the coastal Camino

The weather was perfect as we hugged the coast and sometimes climbed upwards through tiny hamlets and peaceful woodlands. Magnificent Atlantic Ocean views were never far away. Moving ever onward, each day we navigated many different surfaces through ever changing terrain. Some paths were kinder than others on our feet – each one with its own beauty. A lunch stop at a stone bridge over a river gorge was a welcome treat for tired feet!

Walking the Camino: A great lunch spot in the woodlands outside Chafe

Walking the Camino: Just one of the many paths that we trod along The Way

Walking the Camino: The road less travelled to Santiago

Our Way through northern Portugal took us over Eifel’s iron bridge into Viana do Castelo, well known for its medieval boulevards and ornate palaces. Seeking even more spectacular views, some took the funicular to the highly sited monumental Church of Monte de Santa Luzia that dominates the skyline. Further on in the fishing town of Ancora we came to one of the most magnificent beaches on the Costa Verde. Yet another highlight was the chance to stay in the tiny seaside village of Oia with its stone houses and narrow winding streets. Few people apart from local residents witness the 12th C. Cistercian Monastary lit up at night.

Walking the Camino: The Church of Monte de Santa Luzia in Viana do Castelo

Walking the Camino: One of the best beaches on the Costa Verde, in Ancora

Walking the Camino: The 12th C. Monastary of Oia by night

In this part of the Iberian Peninsula early Summer is a popular time for festivals and village celebrations. To our delight we chanced upon a few! The first an annual religious ceremony where the residents had created colourful flower petal trails through the streets leading to the village Church. Another day the pulsating sound of beating drums and twirling street theatre figures on stilts greeted us as we reached the Portuguese border town of Caminha. Next day, having taken a ferry crossing into Spain, we were entertained in the historic city of Baiona by a lively Celtic band and a troupe of men dancing in front of the 13th C. Church of Santa Maria.

Walking the Camino: Colourful flower petal trails lead to the village church

Walking the Camino: We came across a musical fiesta in the border town of Caminha

Walking the Camino: Yet another festival. This time in Baiona

But like all good things our luck with the weather finally turned! We’d been warned that it can rain at any time in Galicia! And it did! Grey skies brought showers that in turn led to muddy tracks, wet coats and damp feet! Undeterred we pressed on and were rewarded with a rainbow!

Walking the Camino: They do haystacks differently in Galicia

Walking the Camino: Without the rain we would not have walked under a rainbow!

Walking the Camino: Keeping up the tradition. Where a piece of bluestone from St Pat’s was laid

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A time of wonder

Walking the Camino: Where the river Minho that marks the border flows into the Atlantic Ocean

A bridge over the river Minho marks our border crossing into Galicia, Spain. Fortress remains on both sides of the river remind us of the turbulent history of this region. While the landscape is quite similar to Portugal the architecture is remarkably different. Particularly noticeable is the shape and colour of the churches and the absence of the now familiar blue and white tiles.

Walking the Camino: A reminder of former architectural grandeur

Images elicited by the following extract from “The River and the Book” by Alison Croggon reflect well some of our memories.

The old quarter… a tangle of alleyways… always strung with washing. Many… buildings were once grand houses with wide courtyards and graceful windows covered with iron grilles and carved wooden shutters but they have long lost their grandeur: the bright paint has faded and the stucco has fallen off the bricks and the gardens are gone wild with brambles and prickly pear.

A haiku from one group member enhances this image:

Tangled up in vines
A little house is waiting
For a hungry goat

Walking the Camino: Bathing weary feet in hot spa waters of Caldas de Rei

The days fly quickly as our feet take us ever closer to the ancient pilgrim city. Each day brings new surprises. A walking pole dropped by one of us floats under the historic Roman bridge in Pontevedra; the chance, in Caldas de Rei, to bathe our feet like Royalty, in a traditional washing trough filled with hot spa water; a village festival enlivened by a brass band; a far too generous feast prepared by one hotelier is not wasted but shared with regular patrons.

Walking the Camino: Snapping it up in Oia

Walking the Camino: We happened across a festival in the village of Oia

Walking the Camino: A delicious and bountiful meal at a family restaurant lunch

Instead of following the well trodden path from Padron to Santiago we diverge to walk the last three days through lush forests and remote villages on the Camino Finisterre. First stop the famous lighthouse!

Walking the Camino: Lighthouse in the mist in Finisterre

A gentle breeze cools the air as people walk past on their way either to or from the lighthouse at the end of the world. … The mist envelopes the sea… with no horizon at this mysterious shrine of the Celts which served as a place of pilgrimage before it was claimed by the Romans, and later the Christians. The hills above the lighthouse are filled with yellow gorse and dotted with large granite boulders encrusted with lichen.

Walking the Camino: From the craggy rocks overlooking the Faro in Finisterre

… Moved to tears I walked along the edge of the world listening to a young man play a haunting tune on the bagpipes. His dog nestled into me as if to comfort me and I thought of the thousands of people who left Galicia for the new world, uncertain and afraid, but full of hope for a better life.

Walking the Camino: Moment of quiet contemplation at the Faro in Finisterre

One Travel Enriched team member walked the full circuit between Santiago and Finisterre. With long distances between daily rest stops the return journey provides new challenges. Few people walk The Way from Muxia to Santiago. Camino signage is not well marked but the rewards are bountiful. Peaceful woodland paths, birdsong, babbling streams and the occasional donkey! The rare chance of solitude and time to wonder. The hospitality and generosity of families who open their homes to pilgrims in need of food and lodging.

Walking the Camino: Setting out on the circuit between Santiago and Finisterre

Walking the Camino: The day the intrepid walked to Muxia

Walking the Camino: The hospitality and friendliness of farming people is ever present

So far the weather has been perfect. Our spirits are not dampened on our last walking day despite the prediction of rain and thunder! We commence in the charming village Ponte Maceira said to be the most beautiful in all Galicia. But the rain holds off as we walk the final 17 kms to our destination. Our smiles on arrival are evident to all. And finally… a poetic summary from one happy traveller.

Walking the Camino: The charming village of Ponte Maceira, Galicia

Walking the Camino: Our smiles say it all as we finally reach Santiago

Our way (with thanks to F. Sinatra)

And now, the end is near
And I know my feet are hurtin
My friends, I’ll say it clear
I’ll state my case, of which I’m certain

We’ve walked a walk that’s full
We’ve traveled each and every highway
But more, much more than this
We did it our way

Wrong turns, I’ve had a few
But then again, too few to mention
I followed those yellow arrows
Then called Diane to avoid detention

Diane and Sol planned each charted course
Each careful step along the byway
And more, much more than this
But still some did it their way

Yes, there were meals, I’m sure you knew
When we bit off more than we could chew
But through it all, when there was wine
We drank it up and felt quite fine
We faced it all and we stood tall
And did Caminho our way

Yes there was pain and aching feet
And giant blisters and too much heat
But through it all when it was tough
We didn’t give in or say enough
We walked it all and had a ball
We did the Camino!

Thanks to Peter L., Sue H. and Christine G. for their photo contributions; to Sue H. and Tess E. for sharing images and words; and to Glenda L. for her fine poetic tribute.

Walking the Camino: A welcome signpost shows The Way to Santiago

Walking the Camino: Feeling like a fish swimming upstream on the Camino Finisterre

Walking the Camino: It’s easy to miss a vital sign on the Camino Finisterre

Walking the Camino: A welcome hand

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Our Way through northern Portugal en route to Santiago 

Walking the Camino: A quiet moment beside the river Douro

Before commencing our Camino we explored the magnificent medieval city of Oporto. One member of our group described the city silhouette as a pop up card with the city emerging like a fairy tale image. We had our pilgrim passports stamped at the Cathedral, took a boat ride on the River Douro and a visited a port wine bodega to sample the latest vintage. Next day equipped with trusty walking poles and scallop shells on our day packs we found our first yellow arrow to guide Our Way out of the small village of Vilarinho.

Walking the Camino: tarting out from the Cathedral in Oporto

So far the weather has been kind. Cool mornings with clear blue skies have made for pleasant walking beside fields and vineyards bursting with Spring growth. Those who choose to continue onward after lunch seek out more shady pathways and avoid the late afternoon sun.

Walking the Camino: Our first lunch stop, the pretty village of Sao Pedro de Rates

The words of one member of our group provide a glimpse of our experiences.

Tap of poles on road
Stone walls and yellow arrows
Perfume of roses

Fresh leaves of grapevine
Making shadows on the road
It’s hot by lunchtime 

Walking the Camino: Only another 200 kms to Santiago

Three days of walking led us to the picture perfect small town of Ponte de Lima with its magnificent arched bridge built on Roman foundations. It’s beauty is further enhanced in the fading evening light.

Walking the Camino: Evening falls on the Ponte de Lima bridge

A glowing pink sky
Reflected in the river
As we cross the bridge

Walking the Camino: The picture perfect town of Ponte de Lima

Rural Portugal seems to straddle all the ages from Roman to Medieval to modern. Sometimes it feels as if we are walking through a fairy story until the smell of cow manure assaults us. We are greeted by unexpected sights such as conical haystacks leaning towards and away from each other as if conversing.

Walking the Camino: Haystacks bend closer in quiet conversation

Further on a woman kneels by the river washing clothes on a slab of smooth rock – a romantic vision that belongs in the past. Other women clear reeds at the water’s edge to make a washing space. They say they have washing machines at home but prefer this outdoor washing ritual. Who can argue with that? The peacefulness and beauty of the scene and undertaking domestic chores collectively are just two reasons why this age-old custom endures.

Walking the Camino: Time for quiet contemplation makes washing clothes more worthwhile

Walking the Camino: Women clear the reeds to wash their clothes

These and so many other images blend like a patchwork quilt into wonderful memories of our journey so far. We look forward in anticipation to the joys and challenges of the coming days.

Walking the Camino: Meeting the locals on the Camino Portugues

With thanks to Sue H for sharing written reflections and Haiku poetry, to Marg K for her descriptive image of Oporto and to Jo T and Silvana C for their photo contributions.

 

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Travel Enriched 2018 Spring Tours will soon begin!

Walking the Camino: Grape Harvest

At last the long wait in the lead up to the Travel Enriched Spring Tours 2018 is nearly over! The coming month will see us following three of the lesser travelled Pilgrim trails to Santiago de Compostela. First up is our 13 day signature tour along the traditional Camino Portugues via charming villages and fertile farm lands filled with budding grapevines and a wide variety of other crops.

Walking the Camino: Beautiful rural vistas abound along the traditional Camino Portugues

Coinciding with this tour a second offering provides a new challenge for the more experienced Camino walker. Beginning and ending in Santiago it follows the full circuit of the Camino Finisterre. Over 10 days this pathway passes through lush green forests and remote and rugged rural landscapes, often covered with colourful wildflowers.

Walking the Camino: A quiet moment at the end of our journey in Finisterre

Walking the Camino: Walking on a forest pathway on the Finisterre Peninsula

Those who join us in late May to mid June on our final Spring tour will follow the coastal route of the Camino Portugues. Commencing in the fascinating medieval city of Oporto this scenic pathway takes us along boardwalks and farming tracks between the mountains and the Atlantic Ocean. In the last few days it merges with the traditional route leading us to our historic Pilgrim destination.

Walking the Camino: Starting out on our Way beside the Portuguese coast

If you’d like to hear something of our adventures along these trails watch this space! Short summaries of the highlights together with a selection of photos will be posted over the next few weeks.

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Research with a difference! 

Walking the Camino – Come to Portugal in Spring to see stork chicks everywhere!

During the past week, in preparation for a bus tour planned for Spring 2019, two members of the Travel Enriched team have been busy exploring southern Portugal. Particularly interesting places visited on the south west coast include the small town of Aljezur with its historic hilltop fortress; Sines with its gigantic oil rigs; and Odemira with its colourful streetscapes.

Walking the Camino – The attractive townhall in Cacais

Walking the Camino – A stork eyed view of the countryside near Silves

Lucky for some! One evening, at a cliff-side cafe high above the white washed village of Odeceixe we dined on tapas, before the sun set over the Atlantic Ocean. We spoke to other travellers who had walked for several days along fishermen’s trails, and through lush valleys and pine and eucalyptus forests. Breath-taking views of wide, white sandy beaches and rugged coastline greeted us in the small villages of Arrifana and Carrapateira; and in Bordeira with its colourful display of wild flowers growing out of the sand dunes.

Walking the Camino – Wildflowers futher enhance the coastal view as we head south

Other highlights were reaching the iconic lighthouse at Cabo Sao Vicente on the westernmost tip of Europe; exploring the former Arab settlement of Lagos; and visiting the red brick fortress of Silves, a hillside town steeped in history, with Moorish, Greek and Roman influences. Perhaps the jewel in the crown was the chance to spend a couple of days in Tavira, one of the prettiest towns on the south coast. This former trading port, where one can see the foundations of a seven arch Roman bridge, was under Arab rule between the 8th and 13th centuries. Today a short ferry ride to the 14km sandy beach of Tavira Island is a popular day trip amongst visitors.

Walking the Camino – Tavira, one of the prettiest towns on the south coast of Portugal

Before returning to Lisbon we also visited the former Roman settlement of Evora with its well maintained ruins of the Temple of Diana and remnants of an 8km aqueduct through the centre of town. From there a one hour drive took us to the strategic and stunningly sited walled village of Monsaratz that was successively occupied by different peoples since prehistoric times. We explored the remains of its Moorish castle dating back to the 12th C.

Walking the Camino – A pretty riverside town beside the rio Sado

We will now add these new insights about southern Portugal to the host of information that we have gleaned over the past 7 years of Camino walking in areas north of Lisbon. The itinerary for our 15 day bus tour commencing in late April 2019 should be finalised by July 2018.

Walking the Camino – A pretty streetscape in Tavira

Walking the Camino – A peaceful garden scene

Walking the Camino – Arrows show the Way to the pilgrim destinations of Fatima (blue) and Santiago (yellow)

Walking the Camino – A shady resting place after another day of exploring southen Portugal

Walking the Camino – A welcome lunch stop in Silves

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Walking the Camino: A unique experience for all who travel along The Way

Walking the Camino: Panoramic view, Douro River Oporto

Mid September marked the start of our long awaited European Autumn tour along the Camino Portugues. In Oporto a panoramic photo of the city skyline sparks memories of our initial day spent exploring the city’s fascinating medieval core.

Walking the Camino: Setting out along the Camino Portugues

Walking the Camino: Via rural landscapes we walk onward to Santiago

Next morning we set off under blue skies on our 10 day journey travelling in the footsteps of countless pilgrims past who walked this Way to Santiago de Compostela. Traditional scallop shells on our day-packs and pilgrim passports in our pockets we soon learnt to find and follow the emblematic yellow arrows. Our regular mantra of ‘Bom Caminho’ when in Portugal and ‘Buen Camino’ in Spain was eagerly reciprocated by all who passed us by.

Walking the Camino: Harvest time on the Way to Santiago

Our path in northern Portugal and in the Spanish province of Galicia led us through picturesque rural landscapes and via peaceful villages. Most days we walked beside late summer fields resplendent with colourful foliage and fruit ready for the harvest. As if by magic, just when shade was needed, leafy paths through forests of pine and eucalyptus trees provided welcome relief from the afternoon sun.

Walking the Camino: Walking through vineyards on Our Way to Santiago

Walking the Camino: The central plaza in Pontedevedra

Particular highlights included a chance encounter with hundreds of primary school children from Portugal and Spain who had gathered beside the river in the historic small town of Ponte de Lima. It seems that our visit coincided with a festival to celebrate the passage of the Rio Lima through both countries, this symbolising the friendship that now exists between these once warring nations.

Walking the Camino: Festival of children in Ponte de Lima

Mid way, a day free of long distance walking provided some interesting attractions of another kind. We enjoyed a bus trip to the mouth of the Rio Minho that marks the border between Portugal and Spain then travelled beside the Atlantic Ocean in the southern most part of Galicia. A visit to a highly sited ancient Celtic settlement called Santa Trega provided spectacular views of the township of A Guardia and along the rugged coastline. Further on at the historic waterfront monastery of Oia, a village band wound its way through the narrow cobbled laneways musically rallying local residents to Sunday Mass.

Walking the Camino: Santa Trega – An ancient Celtic site high above the Rio Minho

Walking the Camino: A Guardia at the mouth of the Rio Minho

Walking the Camino: All smiles on our day trip beside the Atlantic ocean

Walking the Camino: Yellow arrows show The Way in Oia

Perhaps an unexpected highlight was the chance to interact with like-minded travellers from other countries, sharing stories and sometimes songs created along The Way. With a spring in our step, we sang our own rendition of ‘Waltzing Matilda’ inviting others to ‘Come walk the Portuguese Camino with me’! As the days passed these and other recollections merged into a rich tapestry that represented our own unique pilgrimage experience.

Walking the Camino: View from a coastal pilgrim path near Baiona

Walking the Camino: A peaceful pilgrim pathway through northern Portugal

And finally, each one having walked more than 100kms, we reached the World Heritage listed city of Santiago! Here one can’t miss the buzz in the air as people from around the world celebrate the end of their journey. As if to further reward our efforts those who attended the Pilgrim Mass in the Cathedral joined in another special experience. They witnessed the ancient tradition in which a giant botafumeiro swings across the width of the Sanctuary spreading incense on the congregation. In earlier times this helped to clear the air of the smell of unwashed pilgrims. These days it provides a symbolic and often emotive end to a sometimes challenging, but personally rewarding journey.

Walking the Camino: The swinging giant incense burner in Santiago Cathedral

Walking the Camino: A window scene at our riverside hotel in the Portuguese countryside

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New ‘Camino with a Difference!’ itineraries posted: Join us in 2018 on one of the lesser traveled pilgrim trials to Santiago de Compostela

Walking the Camino: The small town of Arcade

In 2018 we are offering three Camino tours along several historic pilgrim trails, each one leading to Santiago de Compostela. All three tours are conducted over 13 days and include accommodation on the night before the journey begins. Luggage transfers are provided along with transport assistance for those who do not want to walk the full daily distance between our (comfortable 2-3 star) hotels and guesthouses.

Our mid May tour follows the Camino Portugues and includes two days walking on the more remote Camino Finisterre. This ‘flagship tour’ passes through picturesque rural landscapes and small villages. You can find the itinerary HERE.

Walking the Camino: Rich fertile farmlands near Muxia

Following the outstanding success of our inaugural tour earlier this year, between late May – mid June 2018 participants have the opportunity to walk along a different branch of the Camino Portugues. This route that follows the Atlantic coast is known as the Camino Monacal.  Mid way through the tour the Camino pathway joins the traditional Portuguese trail as it winds its Way through the Spanish province of Galicia towards Santiago. You can find the itinerary HERE.

Walking the Camino: Starting out on our Way beside the Portuguese coast

September, the start of the European Autumn is a perfect time to come with us along another lesser-traveled pilgrim trail.  The Camino del Norte hugs the northern coast of Spain and boasts magnificent scenery. We walk on well trodden pilgrim pathways beside the Cantabrian Sea with the high snow caped peaks of the Picos de Europa in the distance. Half way through our journey the Camino splits dirverting us to the Original Way know as the Camino Primitivo. An added highlight is the chance to walk into the historic pilgrim city from the more remote western part of Galicia along the Camino Finisterre. You can find the itinerary HERE.

Walking the Camino – Time to ponder life’s wonders along the caostal Camino del Norte

Bookings are now being received for all three tours. Based on strong interest from people who have traveled with us previously and others who have been referred by friends, it would be wise to contact us early to reserve a place. Our Camino tours are restricted to 14 participants. If you would like to learn something about our previous journeys along these and other Camino trails, scroll down. You can read what former tour participants say by selecting the testimonials tab.


If you click ‘FOLLOW” at the bottom right hand corner of this page you will receive regular updates when new posts are added. We are currently commencing our 2017 tour along the Camino Portugues and will be posting an account of the highlights of our journey along with lots of photos. Stay tuned!


 

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Walking the Camino: Upcoming Camino Portugues & what’s ahead for 2018

The time is fast approaching for the start of our September tour along the Camino Portugues.  This 10-day journey through northern Portugal and the Spanish province of Galicia commences in the magnificent medieval city of Oporto and leads to Santiago de Compostela.  Some tour participants will then extend their stay in Santiago and take a day trip to the Finisterre peninsula.

Walking the Camino: A typical scene along the Coastal Camino Portugues

This completes the portfolio of five ‘Camino with a Difference!’ tours that we offered in 2017: one along the Camino del Norte; three on the Camino Portugues (one of which followed the Portuguese coastal trail); and a bus tour from southern Spain that followed the route taken by pilgrims along the Camino Mozarabe and Via de la Plata to the northern coast.

Walking the Camino: Strolling through a colourful village

Walking the Camino: Signs along The Way on the remote Finisterre peninsula

As in previous years we are receiving many requests about our future tours from people recommended to us by previous participants.  As well as this an increasing number of former participants enjoyed our small group tour so much that they are coming with us again, this time on a different Camino trail. A quick glace at our Testimonials page will give you some idea of why people speak so highly of the Travel Enriched Camino experience.

In 2018 we will again offer tours along a number of the lesser-traveled Camino routes including the traditional Camino Portugues; the coastal Camino Portugues also known as the Camino Monacal; and the Camino del Norte.  The itinerary for the first of these tours can be accessed via the following link: Tour CPF.  Itineraries for other 2018 tours will be posted in the coming weeks.

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Walking on the Camino: And now for something different! Following the Camino Mozarabe by bus

Walking the Camino: Storks nesting in church spires

After completing two walking tours along the Camino del Norte and the Camino Portugues, our third European Spring tour was by bus commencing in the southern Spanish region of Andalusia. Commencing in Granada we travelled over 1200 kms and visited many fascinating historical sites in cities such as Seville, Córdoba, Salamanca and Oviedo, as well as exploring archaeological ruins along the ancient Roman road called the Rua de la Plata. Smaller cities such as Cadiz, Ronda and Caceres were also on our agenda. The last few days were spent exploring the northern mountainous region called the the Picos de Europa and visiting some of the prettiest towns along the northern coast.

During 15 days we gained a broad appreciation, just a glimpse, of the historical significance of each location and slowly began to piece together something of the past and present day life of this magnificent country. We were struck by the splendour of the changing architecture across so many centuries; the daily feast of spectacular scenery; and the constant warmth of the people.

Walking the Camino: The high peaks of The Picos de Europa


When invited to nominate the tour highlights, this is what some participants said:

In addition to the historical gems such as the Alhambra in Granada, the Alcázar in Seville and the Mezquita in Cordova, we were presented with many surprises such as an informative tour of a “jámon” drying room in Trevelez, a working roman amphitheatre in Mérida, the stately Plaza Major of Cáceres, cider pouring in Oviedo and the rugged Picos de Europa. So much to see and so much to discover. Mary & John A., Melbourne, Vic.

Walking the Camino: The Alhambra from San Nicholas lookout

The delight of serene Islamic architecture and gardens. The surprise of yet another Medieval town. Large expansive open plazas like Plaza Mayor in Salamanca abuzz with people and conversations. Unexpected discoveries like turning a corner and finding a charming Arabic house from the 1200s. Winding weaving narrow laneways shaded from hot sun. Ann R., Melbourne, Vic.

Walking the Camino: Plaza Espana in Seville

Unexpected joys of music, the wonderful men’s choir from Portugal and a local choir performing in the church of San Mathias Granada and being in the Sevilla cathedral at the end of mass to hear the magnificent power of the organ. Marvelling at the skills and craftsmanship of the artisans and builders of ancient times without our so called modern day tools. Deborah G., Vic.

Walking the Camino: Comillas beside the Cantabrian Sea

The variety of historic sites and scenery gave me a good feel of historic and present day life. I loved the areas of Granada and Seville where we stayed, tiny laneways and very atmospheric in such large cities. Caceres was a total surprise, where the layers of Spanish history were so evident in a charming town. Alison H, Sydney, NSW.

Walking the Camino: The strategically sited city of Ronda

Walking the Camino: Cider pouring Spain

I was hugely impressed with our crossing of the mountains, between Salamanca and Oviedo. Breathtakingly beautiful in the brooding weather, and totally unexpected.

Oviedo, the place for cider! Never seen it poured like this before! John & Judy R., Hobart, Tas.

I’ve been mesmerised by how anthropology and history interrelate to help me understand Spanish and European human development. Lesley H., Melbourne, Vic.

My favourite place was the Mezquita. An unusual combination of a very beautiful mosque that contains a Catholic church which may have saved it from destruction. It provides hope that one day people of different faiths can worship together. Ronda D., Sydney, N.S.W.

Every place we visited was beautiful, fascinating and engaging!  Getting to know Seville over 5 nights was excellent – not only being able to see the amazing Alcazar and captivating Cathedral without rushing, but being able to visit quieter back streets and sites and find a range of great restaurants, was a joy. Deborah R, Gisborne, Vic.

 

Walking the Camino: A colourful lane in La Alphujarras

 

Traders and invaders

Dogmas and dictators

2+ millennia in 2 weeks

Passionate people

Proud traditions

Friendly group

Flexible leaders

Sensory overload

But wonderfully rich…

Steve M., Melbourne.

 

 


Walking the Camino: Setting out in Granada

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