Porto was/is just as beautiful as my favourite Portuguese peeps boasted. And that was a funny conversation with my parents: “Wait, you went to Portugal?”
Sorry folks, I guess I should keep you a little more informed – especially when changing which country I’m in (I’m back in Spain now, for the record, but about to jet off to India).
I had been at the Santiago bus station the day before, on my return from Finisterre, and so while I was there I went up to the ticket booth to ask about Portugal routes. The ‘information lady’ was ever so helpful, adamantly explaining I needed to buy a ticket ON the bus when I got there tomorrow.
She was wrong.
I rocked up the next day, a half hour early just to be sure, and it was fully booked. By people who had bought tickets previously, of course. Because that’s what you’re supposed to do.
Ahh well, an easy five hour wait and I was on the next bus.
I went and found a cafe to settle into, ordered a coffee and munched on my cucumber whenever the waitress wasn’t looking, which was otherwise hidden in my bag. #pilgrimlife.
At least I had plenty of time to do the little bits and pieces I had been meaning to do: write out another postcard, sticky tape all my cut outs and receipts and ticket stubs into my journal, and have a quick chat back home.
This bus ride was easier than yesterday’s, and I got to watch the sun set over Portugal as we rolled down the highway.
I still find travelling in Europe so bizarre.. it costs more in Australia to watch a Gold Class movie with popcorn than to visit another country. And takes longer to watch too, if we’re talking about Lord of the Rings or Star Wars.
The next three days were spent traipsing around this new city: finding old stone stairwells, following yellow arrows, weaving my way through tour groups, exploring back streets at night and as always, embracing my time.
I found yellow arrows.
They looked verrry similar to the yellow arrows that were my guide for the past month, and my heart leapt at the sight of them. I felt like I was at home!
The whole day was mine. I had seen the boys the night before, and were hanging with them tomorrow, so today was JC and me! So I explored: I followed those arrows.
They wound me down tight streets, up and down more stairs, around churches and gardens.
I felt like I was back on the Camino.
It was so special, following these little flecks of sunshine across a different country with no idea where they were taking me. And to my total surprise, I found myself walking the Camino again.
What a blessing to my heart!
This was literally the Camino – the Camino Portuguese. There are a few different routes to get to Santiago, and I managed to stumble across the one that just so happened to begin in this city ❤️
That night I continued to follow the Way.
Food for thought: Jesus called Himself ‘the Way’, right?
“I am the Truth and the Way and the Life” (John 14:6)
And camino is the Spanish word for way.
So really, it’s no wonder so many people have some sort of spiritual awakening or experience along this journey. They’ve come to walk with Jesus and they don’t even know it 😉
Furthermore, I don’t have to worry about finishing the ‘Camino’ just because I’m not walking the Spanish route. I walk with Jesus every day. I walk the way every day.
I wanted to have late night dessert night. Pretty sure I’m going to lose these pins before I even make it back to Australia, but I’m enjoying my trip. I’ll just go back to bootcamp or something when I’m home.
In new places, I always love to pray as I walk and go wherever I ‘feel’ – left, right, wait, go back down that other street. No plans, just wandering.
So that’s what I did.
This was it.
This was the place I’d been searching for.
And it was even better than I had hoped for! I ordered some ahhmazing waffles + gelato and a coffee, and went out to the back terrace. I was greeted with fairy lights, bonsai trees lining the garden, candles on tables. It was the cafe from Heaven!
My Japanese Camino friend Tomomi came and met me – yep, we hung out in Portugal, so cool! – and it was just the most beautiful night.
* * *
Saturday (I figured out what the day was; it’s been a while since I knew these sorts of things) was spent on the phone to Sarah and then Chloe, and then playing tourists with Miguel and Drogo.
A selfie stick was used. I was embarrassed. Laughs were had. Violinists were listened to. Bridges were crossed. Francesinha was eaten.
It was another brilliant day.
Portugal really turned on the goods.
I loved seeing the boys again (and missed Joana!).
I’ll be back for round two one day, I’m sure.
For now, India.
Wish me luck!