Featured,  Personal,  Photography

Snaps: The Camino Portugues on 35mm film (and a few thoughts on walking 240km with my mom)

I realised with a great shock the other day that I’ve never posted anything about my Camino experience here on Peregrina.

Soon after returning, I wrote a piece for Slow Drive; then, about a year later, shared a few thoughts about it in Juice (Mango’s in-flight magazine); and finally put together a comprehensive guide for Traveller24.

But I never brought it back home to where it truly belongs – on Peregrina! Which makes me a little sad, really, because it was – after all – those two weeks as a pilgrim that sparked the renaming of my blog

So, just to give you a bit of context: I did the Camino Portugues in September 2017, with my mom as my fellow peregrina. We set out from the beautiful city of Porto in Portugal and spent two weeks walking to Santiago de Compostela in Spain.

We overnighted in albergues – special accommodation for pilgrims – and met so many interesting souls along The Way. The thing I found remarkable about each and every person we encountered, was the fact that – without exception – their journey was driven by something deeper than a mere desire to go on a very long hike. Some spoke about it at length, while others kept it hidden in the pauses between words.

This was the same for my mom and me. Each of us carrying a heavy backpack and a private burden on our shoulders. I don’t know if either of us knew what it was we were carrying ourselves, let alone what the other had found herself yoked with. At times, it was tough – we’d argue and make each other cry and sometimes not speak for long stretches of road. Other times, we’d see something funny or encounter someone unusual and it would spark the kind of cosy joy that only those who’ve known you longest – forever, really – would truly understand.

They always say the best test for any relationship is to travel together. And I can tell you it’s true. We put each other through all sorts of deep waters, but somehow emerged renewed – perhaps with fewer sharp edges and more compassion for the other’s deepest wounds. Now, a-year-and-a-half down the line, I can say with some certainty that we truly do understand one another better – when to swoop in and when to back off. When to say “you’re being silly” and when to listen quietly and reserve comment altogether.

I love the fact that I got to walk 240km with my mom and would walk 240 more with her at the drop of a hat. I hope she feels the same.

Now, here are some snaps I took on 35mm film while walking (yes, I carried an old camera around my neck all the damn way). I tried to make a bit of a different selection than what I’ve published elsewhere.

On the coastal stretch between Porto and Vila do Conde.

Coastal village
An antique market behind the Santa Clara albergue in Vila do Conde.
The whole thing is sacred.

The beautiful Sao Bento Station in Porto

One Comment

  • Lisel

    I so agree – I would join you again tomorrow!
    It was incalculable in value; and each of the pictures evokes so much more than mere memories. Some want to make me choke up, others make my heart beat faster and those kittens…. oh my word the memory came flooding back!
    You’re also right about wisdom and insight gained about ourselves and each other. Precious beyond words.

    Thank you for sharing this again on your own blog, because you’re right – it belongs here.

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