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Let’s explore Camino de Santiago together

From Lisbon to Santiago de Compostela. Over 750 kilometers in 26 days.

WHY Camino de Santiago for the second time?

camino de santiago photo group

Photo group on Camino de Santiago, in 2022

The first time I did it for the emotional, spiritual, and physical journey. It was a way of exploring myself through the magnificence of Camino.

This time, the second time, I’m doing it for multiple reasons: I want to raise money for a charitable cause, I want the challenge of walking a longer distance, I want to reconnect a bit with myself and learn how to better listen to my body, I want to meet new people and connect with people I don’t know.

Camino tree 2022

Impressive tree found on Camino de Santiago, in 2022

Days: 26
Money raised: €271/€650
Kilometers walked: 751.7
People met: 40

Daily Updates

Photo of the day • Kilometers walked • Challenges • Thoughts

16th of June to 11 of July

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  • Day 1: from Lisbon to Alverca do Ribatejo
  • Day 2: from Alverca do Ribatejo to Azambuja
  • Day 3: from Azambuja to Santarém
  • Day 4: from Santarém to Golegã
  • Day 5: from Golegã to Tomar
  • Day 6: from Tomar to Alvaiázere
  • Day 7: from Alvaiázere to Alvorge
  • Day 8: from Alvorge to Condeixa-a-Nova
  • Day 9: from Condeixa-a-Nova to Coímbra
  • Day 10: from Coímbra to Mealhada
  • Day 11: from Mealhada to Agueda
  • Day 12: from Agueda to Albergaria-a-Nova
  • Day 13: from Albergaria-a-Nova to São João da Madeira
  • Day 14: from São João da Madeira to Porto
  • Day 15: from Porto to Vila do Conde
  • Day 16: from Vila do Conde to Esposende
  • Day 17: from Esposende to Viana do Castelo
  • Day 18: from Viana do Castelo to A Guarda
  • Day 19: from A Guarda to O Serrallo
  • Day 20: from O Serrallo to Baiona
  • Day 21: from Baiona to Vigo
  • Day 22: from Vigo to Redondela
  • Day 23: from Redondela to Pontevedra
  • Day 24: from Pontevedra to Caldas de Reis
  • Day 25: from Caldas de Reis to Padrón
  • Day 26: from Padrón to Santiago de Compostela

14th of May 2023

It’s a bit over 3 in the afternoon, I’m sitting in bed, thinking about Camino de Santiago.

I feel excited about the journey and can’t stop thinking about leaving earlier, but my flight is already booked and the extra time I have will come in handy for raising more funds.

I started thinking pragmatically about doing Camino de Santiago for the second time a few months ago, after I visited Budapest and decided to cancel my travel plans for 2023.

I wanted to visit 10 cities, one each month, and Budapest was the first one. But Budapest didn’t impress me. In fact, it had nothing to do with Budapest, but with my way of looking at my experience. I went to Budapest alone and, while it was a nice experience, I felt alone and told myself that I should stop visiting new cities on my own and find a travel buddy.

That’s how I ended up thinking about Camino de Santiago again. And while it sounds like I’m repeating my past mistakes (because I’ll be hiking alone), I’m not.

For me, Camino de Santiago is a solo experience. It’s a journey where you start alone and empty, and finish with new friends and a backpack full of experiences.

While writing this, I just realized that I promised a friend that we’ll do it together next year, after sharing with him my experience from last year and what I want to do this year.

Pretty soon, I lost track of traveling alone vs traveling with someone else and my thoughts started exploring the beauty of putting on a backpack and walking for hours every day, only with one thing in mind: the destination.

When you start Camino de Santiago, the destination you have in mind is the next city. But the closer you get to Santiago de Compostela, the more that becomes the destination that gets all your attention. It’s not the next city anymore, but the final city. And the closer you get, the more excited you feel about everything. You get excited about setting yourself this journey, starting it, enduring the pain, all the pilgrims you met, the food you ate, the streets you explored, and the locals you said ‘hi’ to. And the closer you get to that final city, the main destination, the more energized you become.

For a short moment, my mind stopped. It froze in time and then it teleported 10 years into the future, while my body got struck by a spontaneous dose of energy that I felt on my spine.

“Doing Camino de Santiago for 10 years in a row doesn’t sound too bad,” I told myself while mesmerizing about the idea.

And the more I think about it, the more I feel like I want to start the journey today, not in one month.

But I have to stay patient …

20th of May 2023

One week forward, is Saturday, and writing about Camino de Santiago catches me again in bed, trying to relax and recover from this week.

It’s a strange feeling to feel physically tired but emotionally excited at the same time.

This week I spoke with some people about my journey and the more information I was sharing, the more excited I was about what I was sharing with those people and about Camino itself.

I wanted to raise some funds for this journey, but then I realized I have the budget and I don’t really need the money. So, taking the fundraising out of the project made sense.

But the more I was thinking about it, the more I was remembering my past experiences with raising money for various causes. And decided to keep it but find a specific cause for my journey.

After a bit of soul-searching and looking at my past projects, I remembered that around 8 years ago I volunteered for World Vision and raised some funds while running a half-marathon.

That’s when I decided to borrow World Vision’s mission and raise €1 for every kilometer I’ll be walking on Camino de Santiago.

It’s been one week since I started raising funds and I already raised €139. That is amazing, considering the final goal is €650.

I’m hoping to keep rising funds and there are a bit over 3 weeks left until the journey starts. My plan is to tell everyone I meet on the road about my mission and I’ll take everything that comes my way.

If someone buys me a beer, I’ll consider it a donation and put the cost of the beer into the money raised. If a hostel makes me a €2 discount, I’ll put the discount into the money raised.

Basically, I won’t keep anything I get on the road but redirect it to those in need.

Can’t wait!

8th of June 2023

It’s 8 in the morning and I woke up 30 minutes ago.

Right after waking up, the first thing I saw was my whiteboard.

Get excited

I wrote that on my whiteboard last night and put it in front of my bed so I could see it in the morning. But now, as I’m writing this, I realize that I’m way beyond excited.

The excitement started last year when I finished my first Camino de Santiago and I was speaking with other pilgrims about doing the journey again.

“I don’t know,” was my answer back then. I was too tired to realize that I fell in love with Camino. I was too tired to understand that once you start walking alone and spending time with yourself, you’ll have access to some kind of luxury that today’s society is missing.

There’s an amazing power in the ability to stay with yourself, away from the people you know and the activities that are building your daily routines. And you get to experience this power tremendously when you walk alone, day after day, for at least one week.

Even though I met a few people on Camino last year (and I’m sure I’ll meet people this year too), I enjoyed the alone time the most.

Don’t get me wrong, the people I met on the road were amazing. For example, last year I meet two young guys (around 20 years old) who started their journey in Faro (the southernmost point in Portugal) in December and we met in March. They were on the road for more than 3 months and had everything they needed in two big backpacks. Even a tent and a small cocking stove.

And even though you get to meet cool people such as these two guys, for me, walking alone is the best part of Camino de Santiago and that’s my fuel of excitement.

There are 7 days left. 7 days from now I’ll be in Lisbon and right the next day I’ll start walking.

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Day 0: 15th of June 2023

I woke up early in the morning (around 4 AM) with the thought in mind to catch a train so I can get to the airport.

Took an Uber to the train station, figured out on which train I should hop onto, and went inside. A few minutes later, the train left and right away the ticket collector asked for my ticket. Showed it on my phone, she scanned it, and told me that I had a ticket for another train. Not so great …

The train that I bought a ticket for was going close to the airport, but not close enough. Around 3 kilometers away from the airport, in the middle of nowhere. I found it funny and bought another ticket, directly from the ticket controller. Don’t worry, it was only 1 euro. Nothing compared to what was about to happen.

20 minutes later, I arrive at the airport only to find out that one part of my flight was delayed.

I was supposed to fly from Bucharest to Milan and then from Milan to Lisbon.

The flight to Milan was delayed long enough so I wasn’t able to catch the flight from Milan to Lisbon.

That’s when I realized two things: I woke up waaay too early and I had to find another flight from Milan to Lisbon.

Found a table where I could sit down, got my MacBook from my backpack, and opened, hoping I’ll find a flight at a decent price. Well, I found a flight, but not at a decent price.

Considering the initial ticket was around 125 euro, this time I paid 255 euro only from Milan to Lisbon. It’s the first time it’s happened to me to have a flight delayed. Thank you, WizzAir. From now on, you’ll be my last option.

Eventually, I got to Lisbon two hours later compared to the initial flight and as soon as I got there, I jumped into an Uber and went to see a friend. I met him at À Margem, a coffee place near the Tagus River, where I ate an amazing salmon salad.

After that, I went to the Lisbon Cathedral to get my Camino Credential and Seashell, and then headed to The Lost Inn Hostel to check in.

This hostel is great!

I had 4 roommates. Three girls from Australia were there for three days and the next day there were leaving for Lagos, in Southern Portugal. And one guy from London who just got to the hostel and was staying there for three more days.

I was too tired to do anything else in the city and also didn’t want to go to bed too late because I wanted to start my journey early in the morning.

Therefore, it was the obvious option to go downstairs, to the reception, and enjoy the Sangria Party. From what I was told, The Lost Inn Hostel organizes a Sangria Party every night and the sangria is on the house.

I was there from 8 PM to 10 PM and met more people from New Zealand. Then I went back to my room and put myself to sleep.

I paid around 35 euro for one night in The Lost Inn Hostel and for sure I’ll stay there again when I’ll visit Lisbon next time.

Day 1

Energy left: Average
Km walked: 33.7
Challenges: Few

from Lisbon to Alverca do Ribatejo

I woke up at 7:00 and tried to get my stuff from the room without waking up everyone else.

Went to the bathroom to change and brush my teeth, then to the reception to check out, and left.

Only after 30 minutes of walking, I realized that I left the Seashell (the one I purchased from the Lisbon Cathedraom) in my room. Sometimes, shit happens and you forget things. Day 1 was that day for me. Luckily (and hopefully), it was the only thing I lost.

As soon as I started walking the streets of Lisbon, I saw two different kinds of people. I saw a lot of runners and bikers. At the same time, I saw drunk people, who spat on the streets, and were listening to loud music. Yes, it was happening at 7:30 AM.

The southern part of Lisbon seems to be a big party. I remember from the day before that at every few hundred meters, there was music and people socializing. And since I saw people still partying early in the morning, Lisbon seems to be a big party.

Going back, when I left the hostel, at 7 AM, the weather was great. But the more time passed, the more difficult it was to endure the sun. I went to LIDL to buy two bags of mixed nuts and a bottle of water, and paid for it a bit over 6 euros. Eventually, I left Lisbon after 10 KM of walking and the sun was up high.

While in Lisbon I was lucky because of all the trees and buildings, but after leaving Lisbon, I walked for more than 20 KM with no shadow. The sun was scorching and my skin was trying to endure the heat of the sun.

I don’t like using sun protection and right now, when I write this, I am in bed and I look at how dark my skin is where the sun touched it, compared to the part of the skin that was protected by my clothes.

After leaving Lisbon, I struggled a bit with managing water. But I checked the map and I saw there was a small village nearby. I walked around 15 kilometers to get to that village after leaving Lisbon and I was sweating like hell. Ordered a salad, some sardines, and a big cold bottle of water. The food was good and considering I only paid 12.5 euros, the food was great. The village is called Granja and the place where I ate at Doces Sabores.

After that, I kept walking and checked the Buen Camino app to see how much I have to walk to get to my location. 

In Alverca do Ribatejo, there are two hostels. Alfa 10 and Silvina Ferreira Guesthouse. I chose the second one and because of that, it was shorter to reach the hostel if I walked on a highway, where the sidewalk was not really a sidewalk. But the drivers were respectful to me and tried to drive as far as possible from me.

In total, I think I walked on the highway for around 45 minutes and then I got to the hostel.

Here, I paid 30 euros for a private room with a bathroom included. Also, I got to wash my clothes for free and the guy from the reception gave me a bottle of water for free.

That’s it for the first day. Tomorrow, I plan on waking up at 5 in the morning and leaving as soon as possible so I can avoid the sun.

Camino 2023 - Day 2

Day 2

Energy left: Low
Km walked: 35.5
Challenges: Few to None

from Alverca do Ribatejo to Azambuja

I woke up today at 6 AM and left the hostel at 6:30 AM. It was light outside, but the sun was not to be seen yet.

To spare you the details (even though I’ll write a few words about today), it was a boring day with a boring road.

Just as I left the hostel, I started walking on a street with no sidewalk and kept on walking for 7.5 kilometers. After that, I got to see the river Tagus again and walked along the river for 5 kilometers. This area was beautiful, and it was mostly for pedestrians, runners, and bikers.

After taking a few photos with my phone, decided to grab my instant camera out of the backpack to take a picture of the river. Right after that, three pilgrims walked by and I asked them if they want a photo.

Only after they realized I have an instant camera and I’m not going to keep the picture, they gladly decided to stay for a photo. Haha.

We talked a bit and I found out they were from Portugal and were walking to Fatima, with the purpose of exploring more routes. It wasn’t their first journey.

I met with them later on the road again. They were saving a stray cat from the side of the road, that seemed exhausted. I felt a bit sad and happy at the same time for the cat.

I said hello and kept walking.

From this point on, I didn’t meet more pilgrims.

Eventually, I got to a small village called Vala do Carregado and tried to buy some food, but from what I understood from the lady inside the restaurant (who was only speaking Portuguese), it was too early to serve food. I bought a bottle of water of 1.5L for 1.2 euro and took a small break on the bench that was nearby.

I kept walking until eventually I reached another small village (it seems it doesn’t have a name – or, at least, Google Maps keeps it hidden) and decided to try eating again.

I went inside Sabores da Vila and ordered some fish and a big cold bottle of water. When the waiter asked me what kind of fish, I told her to surprise me. And she did.

She brought me two gilt-head bream, with some lemon and garlic sauce. It was delicious! Compared to the sardines I had yesterday, this food was amazing! Even better, considering I only paid 10 euros for it.

Then I left and started walking again, for about 9 kilometers, until I reached the Albergue where I checked in one hour ago. It’s called Albergue Abrigo do Peregrino Azambuja and I paid only 10 euros for one night.

I got to the Albergue around 2:40 PM and there were already 4 pilgrims waiting for the Albergue to open. On the door, it said that it’s open only from 3 PM to 7 PM. We waited a bit, then scanned a QR code to call someone from the staff. 10 minutes later, someone came and opened the Albergue.

That’s it for today. Tomorrow I plan on waking up at 4:30 AM and leaving for Santarém with Uli – one of the pilgrims who were waiting outside the Albergue when I got here. I already booked a bed in Santarém for 20 euros. It seems alright.

Camino 2023 - Day 3

Day 3

Energy left: Zero to none
Km walked: 36
Challenges: Few

from Azambuja to Santarém

I woke up today at 4:27 AM, thanks to the alarm on my phone. Except this time it felt louder than ever.

I moved everything from the dorm room to the kitchen, dressed up, washed my teeth, and left with Uli at 5 AM.

It was so dark, I could barely see the Camino signs on the road. And we walked like that for one hour, until the sun started shining little by little.

The road from Azambuja to Santarém was pretty straightforward. You have a couple of left and right turns, you go through some small villages, and other than that you walk through fields filled with tomato and potato crops. Luckily, it was a windy day and started feeling the heat of the sun only after 11 AM. 

Together with Uli, we decided to take some short breaks in every of the small village that we were passing by. A total of three villages and only two of them had something open – after all, it’s Sunday. I only bought a big cold bottle of water of 1.5L (as usual) and pay for it 1.2 euro.

Then we kept walking and walking.

We took a few small breaks during the road, just to drink some water and rest our feet. Uli was walking fast and I was pushing myself to keep up with him. I think that’s a good thing because, at my pace, I would have finished at least one hour later.

Before getting to Santarém, there’s a freakin hill (around 2 KM long), that you have to climb. When I saw what I have to deal with, I put my headphones on and listened to some music. I was on fire!

Right after climbing the hill, we went to a restaurant (basically just crossed the street at the end of the hill to get there) and I ordered some water and a falafel bowl. Best falafel bowl I’ve ever eaten! I paid for my order 12.6 euro, which wasn’t that much. The place is called Eva Pecado Natural.

After that, we started walking towards the hostel and got there in 10 minutes. And since the hostel opens at 3 PM and we got here at 1:15 PM, we still have to wait a bit.

Which is why I’m sitting on the sidewalk of the hostel, writing this text. The hostel is called N1 Hostel Apartments & Suites. Oh, and I have just booked my night for the next town for 18 euro.

That’s it for today. Tomorrow I plan on waking up at 3:30 AM and leaving at 4 AM.

Day 4

Energy left: It’s all gone
Km walked: 41
Challenges: More than usual

from Santarém to Golegã

I woke up today at 3:27 AM, without an alarm and with no idea about what was going on.

“I feel too tired. I don’t want to do this anymore.”

It was one of my first thoughts. But soon enough I realized I’m on Camino and I have to leave.

I took all my things out of the dorm room to the hallway, went to the bathroom, brushed my teeth, changed my clothes, and left the hostel.

It was dark outside and it kept being dark until around 6 AM.

When I left the hostel, I was so sleepy that I forgot to check the phone for directions. Luckily, I saw the Camino signs and decided to follow them. 10 minutes later, I checked the phone and realized that the app was showing a slightly different route than the one guided by the Camino signs.

In hindsight, I wish I followed the route from the phone.

Sign by sign, the Camino route led me to a big old iron gate that was closed. I double-checked around the gate and in the parking lots, and there was no hidden path. Therefore, I decided to go back a bit and then around.

I eventually got to a street that was hardly illuminated and dogs were barking like crazy. It was a bit creepy but I managed to keep myself still and kept walking until I got back to the Camino route.

Probably, I walked an extra 1-2 kilometers because of that, but it’s fine.

I was so sleepy that it was difficult for me to spot the Camino signs. After leaving Santarém, I started walking on a street that had only crops to its left and right. A bit later, I checked my watch and realized that I had already walked for 10 kilometers.

I guess that’s the good part of waking up so early. You are so sleepy that you don’t realize anymore how much you’re walking. But that was probably the only good part about today’s walk.

After the first 16 kilometers, I got to a village where nothing was open. I sat on a bench, drank some water, and ate some nuts. Then, after that, for another 15 kilometers, there was no village. Only fields with crops and short distances by the woods.

The worst part about it is that there’s no place to rest – no bench, no bounders, no planks, nothing! You can sit down, in the dirt, if that’s what you want, under the scorching sun. But that’s not ideal. Eventually, some clouds appeared in the sky, and decided to sit down.

Today, the views were a bit better, the weather was with a bit of wind, clouds, and rain, and overall I liked it. Except for the small areas where the farmers watered the crops and it was mud everywhere.

I was checking the phone from time to time just to eventually realize that my app measured the distance wrong. From Santarém to Golegã are not 32 KM, as it said. There’s a city right before Golegã and from Santarém to that city I walked 31-32 kilometers. I was mad.

Then I realized that I have to walk around 8 more kilometers. I took a break and started moving.

In total, today I walked 41 kilometers until I reached the hostel, which is called Inn Golegã and I paid 21 euros (18 for the night and 3 for washing my clothes).

Before going to the hostel, I also went to a restaurant to eat something. It’s called Lusitanus and I don’t know what I ate. Something cheesy with something in it and paid 15.5 euros. I was too tired to care about food but it was good.

That’s it for today. As usual, I already booked a bed for tomorrow night for 24 euro.

Camino 2023 - Day 5

Day 5

Energy left: Better than yesterday
Km walked: 37
Challenges: Almost none

from Golegã to Tomar

If yesterday was probably the worst day so far, today was the best one.

I woke up at 4:40 AM, took my stuff out of the dorm room, went to the bathroom, brushed my teeth, changed my clothes, and left the hostel at 5 AM.

We were only 3 people in the hostel, so nothing happened. I think I went to sleep at 7:30 PM. And I kind of needed that much sleep after a long day of walking.

Going back, I left the hostel at 5 AM and started walking through the fields again. This time, the views were better and it feels like they get better and better every day. After 10 kilometers of walking, Uli caught up with me, we said hello, and then he passed me. 

2 kilometers later, I was happy to see that the road enters the woods and there are hills to climb. In the first five days, everything was flat, with only fields of crops. Today, the views were beautiful.

30 minutes after entering the woods, Uli caught up with me again. He took a break at a coffee shop in the previous town and I didn’t see him. He passed me again only to meet him 10 kilometers before Tomar.

After that, we walked together and it was nice to have some company again on the road.

When we entered Tomar, we went to an Indian restaurant called Curry Indian House and paid 22 euros for a few things: some fish in chickpeas sauce, a mix of vegetables with tofu and rice, and two bottles of water. It was delicious!

After that, I had to go to the pharmacy to buy a cream for sun protection and another one for foot pain. I don’t know how good they are, but they better be because I paid 30.46 euros for them. 

Last, me and Uli went to the hostel we both booked our night. It’s called Hostel 2300 Thomar and it looks really good. I already paid 24 euros for it yesterday.

Day 6

Energy left: I don’t know anymore
Km walked: 39
Challenges: More than usual

from Tomar to Alvaiázere

Today was an odd day.

I woke up at 3:27 AM, did my morning ritual, and left the hostel at 3:50 AM. If you ask me now, that was too early. You’ll understand in a second why.

As I left the hostel, the streets of Tomar were dark, but illuminated with some soft lights. It seemed all right.

After around 15-20 minutes of walking through the city, I got to a path that seemed too dark to be accessed. But after checking the app on the phone and the Camino signs, that was the way.

I kept walking, only to find out that I was on the edge of a precipice and in the forest. Imagine. It was almost 4:30 AM, completely dark, and I was walking through the woods. At one point, I remember being close to a waterfall or a dam. I’m not sure, since it was completely dark. And only after I reach this point, I thought that I should use the flashlight from my phone.

There were noises from the bushes and I was having all these crazy thoughts about wild animals trying to hunt me down. It was all in my head.

I kept walking through the forest for one hour and right after reaching the street outside the forest, the rain started. Got my raincoat from the bag and also started moving. But the rain only lasted for 20 minutes and by the time the rain was over, Uli caught up with me. We said hello and decided that we’ll see each other in the next town for a coffee stop but every coffee shop on the way was closed.

For the next few hours, it rained on and off, I got to walk through some villages and mountains and the views were beautiful.

Eventually, it started raining again and it stopped only after I got to Alvaiázere, so I had to walk for the last three hours in the rain, with a soaking wet pair of shoes.

I met with Uli again, around 8 kilometers before Alvaiázere and we walked together. When we reached the city, we went to O Brás to eat something and I paid 11 euros for a gilt-head bream fish (that I also ate on the second day), fish soup, a salad, and some water.

Then, we went to the Albergaria Pinheiros, where we had our night booked.

That’s it for today. I just hope that by tomorrow my shoes will dry. Also, in these first 6 days, I walked 222.2 KM. Waaay too much! Tomorrow should be the first day with less than 30 kilometers and I plan on waking up between 5 and 6 AM.

Day 7

Energy left: More than enough
Km walked: 28
Challenges: None

from Alvaiázere to Alvorge

Things are getting better.

Today I woke up around 5 AM and stayed in bed for a few minutes. Then changed my clothes, used some cream for my right foot’s pain, took my backpack, and left at 6 AM. It was a bit cold and windy, but didn’t need to wear something more than a t-shirt.

I was the first one to leave the Albergue, but after the first 8 kilometers Uli and Alberto walked past me.

Today was a day full of hills and woods, with amazing landscapes and not that many kilometers to walk. The more I walked, the more amazed I was by the beauty around me. Tall trees with distinct tones of green and high hills with an exciting view on top of them.

I kept walking and eventually got to a small village called Anisião, where I found Uli and Alberto, drinking coffee and eating some pastry. I took a 5-minute break there and started walking again, while they prolonged their breaks.

After walking some more through the woods, Uli and Alberto walked past me again, only to catch up with them again at a gas station. I ordered one bottle of water for 1.5 euro and decided to take a longer break (around 15-20 minutes).

Then I and Uli walked together to Alvorge.

As a short note, it seems that the pain in my foot is slowly going away. I don’t know if it’s the cream, the fact that my brain and body got used to walking, or that the walking distances are getting smaller. Or maybe it’s a bit of everything. Moving on.

When we got to the town, we were happy to see there was one restaurant open and we got to eat so many things (basically, an entire menu) for 9 euros. The restaurant is called O Lagareiro.

After that, we started walking again, heading towards the Albergue where I made reservations yesterday, only to find out that it was closed. Then, I checked the Buen Camino app and saw there was a hostel nearby (next to the restaurant from where we left) and went back. It’s the best hostel so far on this journey and it only costs 15 euros. Oh, and has the same name as the restaurant (Albergue O Lagareiro).

I washed my clothes, put them in the sun to dry, and jumped in bed to work a bit on my laptop and also write this text.

Tomorrow is going to be another day with a short distance, probably around 20 kilometers.

Thoughts after the first 7 days on Camino de Santiago

I have walked 240 kilometers and everything is getting better. Shorter distances to walk, less pain, better views. Even the food seems to be tastier.

After the first three days, I thought starting Camino Portuguese from Lisbon was a joke. I was walking only through fields of crops and had nothing interesting to see. But things are getting better.

If you want to do Camino Portuguese from Lisbon, prepare to walk at least 30 kilometers/day in the first 6 days, if you don’t want to spend too much money on accommodation.

Camino 2023 - Day 8

Day 8

Energy left: Some
Km walked: 25
Challenges: Few

from Alvorge to Condeixa-a-Nova

Last night, only two pilgrims slept in the hostel: I and Uli.

We woke up a little before 6 AM and left the hostel together at 6:10 AM. It was a fog so dense that you couldn’t see more than 100 meters in distance.

I took some photos and videos but they all seemed incomplete because of the fog. We kept walking and only at 7:30 the fog started to disperse and the sun to shine.

At 8 AM, we reached Rabaçal, and a few minutes after entering the village, we saw an open coffee shop. I got a chocolate croissant and asked if there was a place around where I could buy a hat. Luckily, I was able to also get a hat from the same place. It’s called Café Bonito (also an Albergue there) and paid 1 euro for the croissant and 6.5 euro for the hat.

After staying around 20 minutes at the coffee place, we started walking again. Checked the map and saw there was another village nearby (Zambujal) and we decided that we’ll also stop there but no place was open.

We kept walking only to find some kind of garden maintained clean by a guy. It had all kinds of things related to Camino. I and Uli took a break there for another 10 minutes, got an apple from a basket, donated 2 euros, and left.

From that moment on and to Condeixa-a-Nova nothing much happened. I saw some amazing landscapes but had some challenges dealing with the heat of the sun.

We eventually reached the city and tried to eat somewhere, but they were serving only burgers and decided that we first go to the hostel to leave our backpacks and then search some more for a place to eat.

After walking for 5 more minutes, we got to the hostel and it was closed. I made a reservation two days ago because the hostel has only 8 beds and decided to call the owner again. He answered and gave us the code to open the gate so we can go inside the hostel. The hostel is called Albergue de Conimbriga but on the Buen Camino app you’ll find it as Conimbriga Hostel. Don’t mistake it for Conimbriga Hotel do Paço, which is a hotel and the cost for one night can get up to 100 euros, compared to the hostel, which costs 15 euros.

We left our backpacks inside and then searched for a place to eat. After spending a few minutes on Google Maps, found a place called Restaurante .Come, where I ordered soup, water, and a tuna salad for only 13 euros. Pretty good food.

On our way back, we went to the supermarket and I got two bottles of water and one small bag of cashew nuts for the next days.

That’s it for today. Tomorrow I plan on starting at 5:30 AM, trying to avoid the heat of the scorching sun.

Day 9

Energy left: Some
Km walked: 20
Challenges: Few

from Condeixa-a-Nova to Coímbra

I woke up today around 5 AM and left the hostel around 5:30 AM. It was right before the sunrise. 

I don’t know why, but I had no energy. Maybe I didn’t sleep well. 

Today I walked a short distance of 20 kilometers and didn’t have too many interesting things to see, as in the first 10 kilometers I was jumping from village to village. 

It took me around 5 hours to get to Coímbra, with a few breaks of 10 minutes included, and I got to the center of the city around 10:30 AM. 

At first, I thought it was the most beautiful city so far. But after walking the streets a bit, I found it really crowded, with too many people. Even the buildings seem to be glued one to another, with no room to breathe. 

After getting to the city, I messaged the hostel and tried to see if I can check in this early. They told me I can only leave the backpack inside but the room will be ready at 3 PM. 

I decided to stay a bit more outside and find a place to eat my lunch.

After searching on Google Maps and realizing there are more than 20 restaurants around, I decided to try one with Indian food. When I got there, no restaurant. Looked again on Google Maps and found another one. When I got there, it was closed. 

Eventually, I ended up at Maria Rio and ordered a lemonade, scrambled eggs with vegetables, and some smoked mushrooms that tasted a lot like sausages, and I couldn’t eat them. And I think it was some meat with those mushrooms, even though I precisely told the waitress I don’t eat meat. Paid for the whole thing 18 euros. 

Left that place and started looking for some shade to rest my legs and waited for around 1 hour so the hostel could open and check in. It’s called Change The World Hostel and I paid 20.8 euros for one night.

That’s it for today. Tomorrow I’m walking up to 30 kilometers and I’m happy that my legs don’t hurt too much anymore.

Camino 2023 - Day 10

Day 10

Energy left: Enough
Km walked: 24
Challenges: None

from Coímbra to Mealhada

Yesterday, I had my accommodation right in the middle of Coímbra and I was hearing everything. 

One guy was singing live music right under my window and I was hearing him loud and clear, even though I was staying on the second floor. 

Around 7 PM I finished working on my laptop and wanted to go to sleep so I can have a fresh start today. But the guy was singing so loud, I couldn’t. 

At 7:55 PM I heard the guy saying ‘this is going to be my last song’ and I was so happy thinking that I could finally go to sleep. 

The music stopped and I fell asleep shortly after 8 PM only to be awakened by some guy yelling who knows what every 10 minutes. It was Saturday and everyone was partying on the streets of Coímbra, which woke me up every 30-45 mins all night long, until 2 in the morning. 

Eventually, I got up at 5 AM, took my stuff from the room to the bathroom, changed my clothes, brushed my teeth, and left the hostel at 5:20 AM. 

Compared to yesterday, the city was so quiet. It took me around 30 minutes of walking to get out of the city and I was feeling motivated and energized to walk.

Today, I walked mostly on asphalt, jumping from one small village to another, and got just around 15 minutes of walking through a small forest. 

After walking 24 kilometers, I got to Mealhada. It was 10:30 AM and I realized it was too early. After walking a bit around the city, found a bench to rest my feet and called the owner to see if I could check in earlier than 4 PM, which was the official check in time. 

I was told that the earliest I could do it was 1 PM and I was happy with that. Therefore, I decided to take the extra time I have to write this text.

The accommodation is called Casa Branca and I paid 25.27 euros for one night. I did a little mistake here. There is an Albergue in the next city (1.2 kilometers away from Mealhada) and a night there is only 12 euros but I only noticed this after booking Casa Branca and there’s no refund on for this place.

That’s it for today. In one hour and 30 minutes I’ll check in and then will probably go and buy some food.

Day 11

Energy left: Some
Km walked: 31
Challenges: Few

from Mealhada to Agueda

Last night I was alone in the whole apartment. It was great, except for the mosquitoes that hunted me like crazy.

Today I woke up at 3 AM and then fell asleep again, only to wake up once more at 4 AM. Stayed a few more minutes in bed then decided to slowly get ready. So I started moving all my stuff from the bedroom to the living room and then changed my clothes, brushed my teeth, took my backpack, and left the apartment.

It was 4:50 in the morning and it was dark outside – so dark, I couldn’t see the Camino signs. Yet again, I started too early even though, after the day from Tomar to Alvaiázere, I told myself I wouldn’t start when it was dark outside. This time it was a bit better, as there was enough light on the streets.

I walked today 31 kilometers and, just like yesterday, I jumped from village to village. I also walked on the highway a bit, with no sidewalk, and took a wrong turn at a point, only to walk a few hundred meters more on the highway.

The closer I get to Porto, the more cities there are and not so many fields or forests. In 3-4 days I’ll be in Porto and, for the next 100 kilometers, I’ll be probably walking mostly on asphalt.

On the road today I met Naoki, from Japan. I was having a break, then he caught up with me and we chatted for a bit and understood that we’re staying in the same Albergue.

As soon as I got to the town, I tried to find a place to eat, and the one I had my eyes on was close to the Camino route. Went there just to find that nobody speaks English.

Went back on the route only to see Naoki a few meters away and we decided to go to the supermarket to buy some food. I got a big slice of watermelon, two bananas, a bowl of sushi, and one bottle of water for 8.24 euros.

When I got to the Albergue, there was Uli and Finn from New Zealand, whom I meet two days ago in Coímbra. The Albergue is called Albergue Peregrinos St Antonio de Agueda. I paid 15 euros for one night and it has an amazing garden and a beautiful view.

That’s it for today. Can’t wait to get to Porto!

Day 12

Energy left: None
Km walked: 24
Challenges: None

from Agueda to Albergaria-a-Nova

After around 8 hours of sleep, I woke up today at 5:30 AM with no energy and left the hostel at 5:50 AM.

The first 10 kilometers felt like a loop. I walked most of it on a highway and whenever there was a village to cross, all the streets looked the same. Also, I think more than 90% of today’s walk was on asphalt and only 20% through the forest. I’m getting closer to Porto (around 60 kilometers left).

On the road today I met with Uli, Finn, and Naoki and saw two more pilgrims. It’s been like this since Lisbon but I’m sure the road will be more populated with pilgrims as soon as I get to Porto.

At one point, today, I made a wrong turn and walked 500 extra meters for no reason. It was like my subconscious knew that I should find an alternative to the Camino path because that was through a bridge. A long and tall bridge. I hate bridges, especially if there’s water under them. This one had it all and it reminded me of the bridge from last year’s Camino, when I crossed the border from Portugal to Spain. Hated that bridge as well!

Anyway, after walking 24 kilometers, I reached Albergaria-a-Nova and checked Google Maps just to realize I had passed the Albergue with a few hundred meters and took the opportunity to keep walking until I got to a shop. This village is quite small and to get from one shop to another you have to walk at least two kilometers. 

I bought some bananas, grapes, and one bottle of water for 7.68 euro and then went back to the Albergue to check in.

The Albergue is called Albergue Albergaria-a-Nova and it has a beautiful garden. I paid 12 euro for a night and the owner showed me their little shop inside the Albergue (with many things you can find at the supermarket). 

After that, I checked in, had a shower, and bought one chocolate from the Albergue for 1 euro.

That’s it for today. Porto is just two nights away and I’m almost halfway through the journey.

Day 13

Energy left: Some
Km walked: 26
Challenges: None

from Albergaria-a-Nova to São João da Madeira

Woke up today at 5:30 AM thinking it was 4 AM and as soon as I realized it was time to wake up, I jumped out of bed. Almost literally.

Took all my things from the room, except for the shoes because we had to keep them outside the Albergue, and went to the bathroom to change.

At 5:50 I was out of the Albergue and felt like I had the energy to walk fast but that energy slowly went away. 

Today was a simple day, without anything interesting to happen. I walked on the asphalt the whole distance of 26 kilometers and took two breaks: one at the 12 KM mark and another one at 21. 

After the first break, the road was full of hills. Long hills with no shade but a sun that felt like wanted to show off its heat.

Basically, that was the whole day today. I met no pilgrims on the road and when I got to the city, I saw one fast food shop with falafel so I decided to eat some since I felt I was running low on energy and needed some carbs.

Before starting Camino two weeks ago, I lost 4 kilograms in one month. In these two last weeks on Camino, I think I lost another 4 kilograms. So I needed some carbs, I said to myself. The place is called Turk’is Kebab and the falafel was decent. I paid 8 euros for the falafel and one small bottle of water.

After that, I had to walk another 500 meters to get to the Albergue, which is called Santa Casa da Misericórdia de São João da Madeira. It’s a center for old and ill people and they also have a room where pilgrims can sleep. I paid only 5 euros for one night here.

That’s it for today. Tomorrow I’ll probably be walking around 20 kilometers.

Camino 2023 - Day 14

Day 14

Energy left: Some
Km walked: 41
Challenges: Some

from São João da Madeira to Porto

I woke up today at 5 AM, even though I wanted to wake up a bit later, maybe at 6 AM. 

Tried to take some of the things out of the backpack while sitting in bed, but the bed made so much noise, I woke up everybody. 

It was 5:20 AM when I left the Albergue and felt like I had a lot of energy for walking so I started walking really fast. So fast, at 9:30 AM, after 21 KM, I was in Grijo (the next city). 

Seeing how early it was, I decided to only take a break, eat some biscuits and one apple, drink some water, and start moving again. Besides the blister from my left foot, everything was going great. 

So I started moving towards Porto, as it was the next city. And I kept walking for another 21 kilometers to eventually reach Porto. 

Not so many things to see today, as I walked almost only on asphalt and a bit through the woods. 

When I got to the city, I took a break by the bridge of Porto, took some photos, and then kept moving. 

Next, I searched on Google Maps for a place to eat and found Kind Kitchen – a vegan place with delicious food. I paid 16 euros for a soup, a big bottle of water, and a middle east bowl. 

After that, looked for a pharmacy to buy some more sun protection cream and paid 11.95 euros for it. 

And finally, went to the Albergue which is called Albergue de Peregrinos Porto and paid 15 euros for one night and 6 more euros to wash and dry my clothes. Until now, there are three more pilgrims in the room with me. 

That’s it for today. Tomorrow I start walking on the coast of Portugal.

Day 15

Energy left: Enough
Km walked: 39
Challenges: Some

from Porto to Vila do Conde

I woke up today at 4 AM after hearing an alarm in the room and I tried to go back to sleep but I couldn’t. So I just stayed in bed until 4:45 AM, changed my clothes pretty quickly, and then left the hostel at 5 AM.

I wanted to go directly to the coast and opened Google Maps to check the fastest route. It was a straight street that seemed short on Maps but I actually walked 7 kilometers from the hostel to the coast and got there around 6:30 AM.

I remember the sun just started shining and I wanted to walk barefoot on the sand but it was too cold. So I walked for 50 meters and then put my shoes back on, only to try again 30 minutes later and find that the temperature of the sand was bearable. But the water was cold as ice.

I kept walking on the sand for one hour and then, for the next few kilometers, I kept taking my shoes off and putting them back on. Also, in the first part of the day, I met a girl from Slovenia and we chatted a bit about Camino – she was doing her first one.

Then, I took some breaks and told her that I want to walk alone. I remembered that last year, on my first Camino, on the first day I did the same route. So I searched a bit where I ate and slept and tried to repeat the experience. That’s how I rediscovered the delicious food from Novo Rumo. Ordered one fish soup, a big bottle of cold water, and one portion of pasta with vegetables, and paid for it 15.2 euros.

While I was eating, I tried to find where I slept last year and after a bit of research, I found the place is called HI Vila do Conde (a youth hostel) and since last year I loved it, I told myself I should sleep there again.

That’s when I realized I’ll have to walk 15 more kilometers (after had already walked 25 kilometers to Novo Rumo).

Oh well, it was only 11:30 AM and the Albergue closest to Novo Rumo was opening at 14:30, so instead of waiting, I decided to keep walking.

The further I was going away from Porto, the windier the weather was. At one point, the wind was so strong, it was taking the sand from the beach and throwing it all over the place. That’s how I got sand in my hair.

Eventually, I reached Vila do Conde and walked straight to the youth hostel only to find out it was full. I was a bit sad but opened the Buen Camino app on my phone and saw there was an Albergue in town.

Called their phone right away and found out there was a bed available so I walked for another 10 minutes to get there and paid 10 euros. The place was called Albergue Santa Clara.

That’s it for today. I already booked my bed for tomorrow through booking. Also, tomorrow I’ll leave the hostel a bit later and walk only 20 kilometers. At least, that’s the plan.

Camino 2023 - Day 16

Day 16

Energy left: Enough
Km walked: 27
Challenges: None

from Vila do Conde to Esposende

I woke up today at 5 AM with no alarm and stayed in bed until 5:30 AM. Took all my stuff out of the room, went to the bathroom to change my clothes, and then left the Albergue at 6:30 AM.

As soon as I left the Albergue, I checked Google Maps to see what’s the fastest route to the coast of Portugal and walked a few kilometers to get there.

Today, compared to yesterday, I saw more people on the beaches I passed by and I finally saw a lot of pilgrims on the road. I think somewhere between 20 and 30 pilgrims and that’s a lot considering from Lisbon to Porto I saw less than 15 pilgrims in total.

In the first part of the day I was so sleepy and tired that I didn’t have the energy to even say ‘buen caminho’ to the pilgrims I met on the road. But eventually the energy came back and spoke with a family from North Carolina.

At a certain point, the route took me from the coast around one small village. I was checking both Google Maps and the Buen Camino app for a place to buy some carbs and found one a few hundred meters away from the road. Went there and got some biscuits and a big bottle of water for 2.5 euros.

After that, I went back on the Camino route and kept walking through fields and woods for a while, just so eventually I could reach a bridge. A long bridge with a lot of water under it. I don’t like bridges at all but this time I wasn’t so scared. Maybe because I had enough space on the sidewalk of the bridge.

Checked the map again just to see I was close to the Albergue but I also needed to eat. So I kept going for an extra 500 meters just to reach a restaurant. It’s called Restaurante Lima and the food was decent. I paid 15.5 euro for one soup, a big bottle of water, and some fries with rice and fish schnitzels.

In the end, I went to the Albergue and I was the first pilgrim there. It’s called Sleep&Go and I paid 15 euros for one night.

That’s it for today.

Thoughts after the first 16 days on Camino de Santiago

Today I’m a few kilometers under the 500-kilometer mark and I don’t know what to say. I don’t feel pain anymore – at least the pain that I feel right now doesn’t even compare to what I used to feel in the first 7 days. I’d say it feels more like tiredness.

Other than that, from now on I’ll probably wake up later and leave around 7 or 8 in the morning. That’s going to be the big difference from Porto to Santiago de Compostela compared to Lisbon from Porto. Oh, and I really love the ocean.

Day 17

Energy left: Some
Km walked: 32
Challenges: Few

from Esposende to Viana do Castelo

Woke up today at 6:30 AM and took all my things to the living room. Then went to the bathroom to change my clothes and brush my teeth. After that, went back to the living room, packed everything inside my backpack, and decided to wait to see if more pilgrims would join me today.

Yesterday was pretty nice, as the Albergue had a pool and we were about 6 pilgrims hanging around the pool until 10 PM.

This morning I was waiting for more pilgrims to join me but they wanted to start at 9 AM or later. It was 7:50 AM when I left the Albergue and I walked close to the coast today but not on the coast.

I saw again many pilgrims on the road (between 20 and 30) and took my first break after the first 7.5 kilometers, next to a church. Ate some nuts, 4 biscuits, drank some water and, after 15 minutes, I started walking again.

Today was a sunny day full of hills, with not enough wind to make it easier to deal with the heat.

The second break was after another 13 kilometers of walking, next to another church. I think I stayed there for 20 minutes. Then I kept walking until I found a restaurant with the pilgrim menu. Paid 11.7 euro for a big bottle of water, a lemonade, some fish and fries. It was decent.

After that, I kept walking. I was so tired and my back started to hurt again. But as soon as I got close to Viana do Castelo and saw the view of the city, I forgot about everything. No more pain, no more heat, nothing! It was all beautiful.

After crossing a bridge that felt way too long and climbing over 600 staircases, I got to the Albergue. It’s pretty nice and I paid 17 euros for one night. The Albergue is called Albergue de Santa Luzia.

That’s it for today. There are many pilgrims here and it seems one of them has their birthday today.

Day 18

Energy left: Almost none
Km walked: 35.5
Challenges: None

from Viana do Castelo to A Guarda

I set my alarm yesterday for today’s morning at 5:30 AM and that’s when I woke up. Took all the things from the room to the bathroom, washed my teeth, changed my clothes, then went to the kitchen for 2 minutes for no reason.

At 5:50 AM I was out of the Albergue and decided to stay outside for 10 minutes to admire the view and take some pictures and started walking at 6 AM.

Today I took only three breaks: the first one was next to a church, the second one was at the top of a hill and I had there an amazing view, and the third one was after 20 kilometers of walking, when I got back to the ocean.

I didn’t see too many pilgrims today and that’s probably because I started walking so early in the morning.

Also, today I got to cross the border from Portugal to Spain but it was a bit different than I expected. I was looking at Google Maps and saw that there’s a boat ride to cross the Minho River right in Caminha but the Camino arrows from the road took me to a different beach. There, I saw a boat with some sort of banner next to it and I asked the guy if he can take me to the other side of the border.

After chatting a bit, I got into the boat, paid the guy 10 euros, and 5 minutes later I was in Spain. The boat ride was pretty quick, as the guy drove pretty fast, even though he said we were going to go slow. But it was fine.

As soon as I got to Spain, I realized that there was a different time zone and I had to hurry a bit to check in. So I went directly to the Albergue, which is called Albergue O Peirao, and paid 17 euros for one night. The Albergue is pretty nice.

After that, I asked the receptionist to recommend me a place to eat that was not so expensive and he said to go to Porto Guardes, so I did and paid 11.7 euros for a gilt-head bream (fish) and a small bottle of water

That’s it for today. Later I’ll be booking my bed for tomorrow but first I need to see in what city I’ll stay.

Day 19

Energy left: Enough
Km walked: 21
Challenges: None

from A Guarda to O Serrallo

Yesterday’s Albergue was really nice and comfortable. Today I woke up at 6:15 AM, left the Albergue at 6:37 AM, and went as close as possible to the ocean. 

It was light outside, even though the sun didn’t shine yet. But the moon was so bright, it looked like the sun in all my photos.

Today was a short day and I walked almost entirely along the coast. At one point, even though the Camino arrows were telling me to turn right, I kept walking on the coast only to find out that the arrows were right. But I wanted to be as close as possible to the ocean. 

This part of the route is really interesting, as I have the ocean on my left and some mountains on my right. It feels a bit magical. 

Eventually, I got to O Serrallo (a small village where I booked my bed for today) and I was 30 minutes too early. I checked Google Maps to see where I can eat and it seems there’s only a few restaurants and they are expensive. 

After 30 minutes of waiting, the guy from the hostel’s reception came, I checked in and paid 15 euros for one night. I also asked for recommendations regarding the food and there seem to be no cheap restaurants nearby, but a gas station and a shop that is around 800 meters away from the hostel. So I went to the shop and bought some food for 5.5 euros. 

Oh, and the hostel is called Alojamiento Camino Portugués Hostel and has a great view to the ocean.

Day 20

Energy left: A lot
Km walked: 18
Challenges: None

from O Serrallo to Baiona

Today was an easy and relaxing day.

I woke up at 5 AM with no alarm and tried to stay in bed and sleep more but the more time passed, the more noise was in the hostel. So I got out of bed at 6:15 AM and left the hostel at 6:30 AM.

Took two long breaks today, as I knew I had to walk a shorter distance. The first break was after the first 7 kilometers, as I was right next to the ocean and found some big boulders and decided to climb them and sat there for 30 minutes. A few pilgrims passed by.

After that, I kept walking for about 10 kilometers and it was such a nice walk. I left the ocean to climb a mountain and then reach the other side of the mountain, right at the entrance of the city where I’m sleeping tonight.

Before entering the city (2-3 kilometers away from it), I found another place for a break and decided to stay there for one hour or maybe more. That’s where I met Lee and we had a great conversation.

After that, I started walking towards Baiona and looked for a place to eat something. Eventually, I got to Recuncho Mariñeiro and got a lemonade and a vegetable burger with some fries. Paid for it 14.4 euros. Two nights ago, someone recommended I try the Galician octopus and today saw it on the menu. But I never had an octopus before and I don’t know how my stomach will react. I’ll probably try it in Santiago de Compostela – if I get sick, at least I won’t have to walk anymore.

Then I left the restaurant and started walking towards the hostel and I saw an ice cream place along the way. Went in, asked them about their most popular flavors, and got three different ones: tangerine, hazelnut, and… the last one I don’t remember. I ate the first two and the last one is in the freezer in the hostel. Paid 9 euros for the ice cream. A bit too much, but I really liked it.

Then I checked in and paid 16 euros for one night. The hostel is called Hostel Baionamar and it’s a small one but I like it. That’s it for today.

Day 21

Energy left: Not too much
Km walked: 33
Challenges: None

from Baiona to Vigo

I woke up today at 5 AM with the help of an alarm in the room and tried to go back to sleep but only managed to stay in bed until 5:40 AM, when I took all my things out in the hallway. Then I went to the bathroom to change my clothes and brush my teeth. 

Before leaving, I remembered I had an extra ice cream from yesterday and checked the freezer to see if it was still there. 

It was, even though I told two people they could have it. So I started my day with some lemon-flavored ice cream and left the hostel at 6:15 AM. 

Took only two breaks before getting to Vigo and didn’t meet too many pilgrims on the road – for sure less than 10. Also, today was full of hills but the pathway through the woods was really nice. 

Eventually, after walking for more than 7 hours, I got to the city. Vigo is a pretty big city and looks modern too. And the first thing I did was to look for a place to eat. 

After checking Google Maps, I found a vegetarian restaurant called Curcuma, went there and ordered a Gazpacho soup, a spicy Pad Thai (but it wasn’t spicy at all), a slice of carrot & coconut cake which was delicious, and a small bottle of water! Paid 22.7 euros for everything. A bit too much but the food was great. 

After that, I went to the hostel to check in and realized I’m one hour too early, so I walked around a bit and took some photos. One hour passed and I went back to the hostel. Checked in, had a shower, and washed my clothes. The hostel is called R4Hostel and I paid 23.4 euros for one night and 5 euros for washing my clothes.

That’s it for today. I have 5 days left until Santiago de Compostela and I feel tired of waking up at 5 AM and walking so many kilometers every day. Can’t wait to finish it.

Camino 2023 - Day 22

Day 22

Energy left: Enough
Km walked: 18
Challenges: Some

from Vigo to Redondela

I woke up today at 5 AM when someone in the room started making some noise and tried to go back to sleep but I couldn’t. 

Eventually, I got out of bed at 6 AM, took all my stuff to one of the bathrooms, changed my clothes, washed my teeth and all that jazz, and left the hostel at 6:30 AM.

It was a bit dark but Vigo is a big city and I kept walking through the city until the sun shined. 

At 7 AM I found a shop open and went in to buy a bottle of water and paid 1.1 euros for it. Seeing the shop open this early in the morning was a bit unexpected.

After the first 5 kilometers, I saw a Camino arrow pointing left and my app was saying that I should turn right. I decided to follow the sign only to find myself not on the Camino path anymore, so I walked the next 3 kilometers on some random streets. Eventually, I used Google Maps to get back on track. 

Getting out of Vigo required lots of hills but once the hills were over, I had some great landscapes.

Eventually, I got to Redondela and found a place pretty quickly where I could have something to eat. The place is called Vila Bella and I ordered the daily menu for 9.9 euros and ate some fried fish with Galician peppers and vegetable risotto. The food was good and I also had a dessert included in the menu but I refused it since I was full. 

After that, I realized I’m too early (again) for the check in and decided to wait 30 minutes on a bench near the Albergue. 

The time passed and I went to the Albergue to check in. It’s called Albergue Santiago de Vilavella and I paid 15 euros for one night.

Day 23

Energy left: Some
Km walked: 24
Challenges: None

from Redondela to Pontevedra

I woke up today at 5 AM and tried to stay in bed a bit more but only managed to do it until 5:30 AM. I took all my things to the bathroom, changed my clothes, brushed my teeth, and left the Albergue at 6:10 AM. 

Today’s road was mostly on asphalt and through woods. It also rain a bit but at that point I was in the forest and the trees stopped the rain from touching my skin and clothes. 

Around 7 AM a pilgrim caught up with me and I was surprised to see we met each other a few days before. It was Lee and we had a nice conversation for 10 minutes and some good laughs. Then he kept going. 

After the first 10 kilometers, in the middle of nowhere, I find a guy with a small shop and buy from him a small handmade keychain. I was surprised to hear the guy saying ‘Mulțumesc’ and ‘Drum bun’ as it was the first person to say something in Romanian since Lisbon. 

5 kilometers later I took my first break and a lot of pilgrims passed by. While I was having my break, I saw Uli coming and I was happy to recognize someone from the first days of Camino. 

After that, I started walking again until I got to Pontevedra and realized that the Albergue opens at 1 PM and it was only 11 AM. 

I remembered from last year that in this city there is a LIDL nearby and I went there to buy some food for which I paid 8 euros. 

Then went back to the Albergue only to wait some more but a lady was nice enough to let us inside the garden and me and the other pilgrims that were waiting had somewhere to sit.

Eventually, the Albergue opened and I paid 8 euros for 1 night. The Albergue is called Albergue Virxe Peregrina and has almost 100 beds, which makes it the biggest Albergue I found until now. 

That’s it for today. I have 3 days left until Santiago. 

Day 24

Energy left: A little
Km walked: 24
Challenges: None

from Pontevedra to Caldas de Reis

Last night I couldn’t sleep too much. I think I woke up every two hours and there was also a railroad 10 meters away from the Albergue. When a train was passing by, the building was shaking and I was in the top bed.

Today I left the Albergue at 6:30 AM and walked really slow for the first 7 kilometers, so I decided to take a break, eat some food and drink some water before moving again. 

After that, I felt like running. I walked so fast that I caught up with around 20 pilgrims and kept my pace no matter if I was walking downhill or uphill. And I kept walking like that for 15 kilometers, when I took a short 10-minute break, two kilometers before Caldas de Reis. 

When I got to town, it was 11:30 AM and I went to the hostel to see if I could leave my backpack there because it was too early to check in. The guy from the reception was nice, put my backpack somewhere safe, and told me to go back at 1 PM when the check in starts. 

I started walking again, hoping I would find a place where I could eat. Last year, this city was odd because I couldn’t find any restaurants around this hour. Freakin Spanish people and their siesta! But this time I was lucky enough to find a place with some decent food and paid 14 euros for a salad, a lemonade, and some fish. 

After that, I walked a bit more through the city and eventually got back to the hostel to check in. Paid 18 euros for one night, 4 euros to wash my clothes, and the hostel is called Albergue a Queimada Hostel.

Day 25

Energy left: Enough
Km walked: 21
Challenges: None

from Caldas de Reis to Padrón

When I woke up this morning, I felt like last night I had the best sleep since I started walking the Camino, almost one month ago. 

I woke up at 6:20 AM and took all my stuff to the bathroom. Changed my clothes, brushed my teeth, and left the hostel at 6:45 AM. 

It was still dark and lots of pilgrims in the city but as soon as I left the city, I only saw a few pilgrims on the road. 

Today was a good walk and I only took one break after the first 14 kilometers. There’s a small village with a small restaurant called Buen Camino, and I decided to stop there and eat something. For 10.5 euro I got a red lentil soup, a slice of tortilla, and a big bottle of water. The food was pretty good. 

I think I stayed there for 20 minutes. After that, only 7 kilometers left to walk until Padrón. So I started walking and eventually reached the city, with two hours to wait for the check in. 

The hostel is called Murgadán Hostel and I paid 18 euros for one night. I stayed here last year as well and I remember I really liked the place. 

Short day today. Tomorrow is going to be the last day and I’ll have around 30 kilometers to walk.

Day 26

Energy left: Some
Km walked: 28
Challenges: None

from Padrón to Santiago de Compostela

Today was the last day of the journey and instead of talking about the day itself, I’ll talk a bit about the entire experience.

It took me almost 4 weeks to walk over 750 kilometers. I went through all kinds of emotions and met all kinds of people. This Camino didn’t feel like a moment in life, but rather a short life.

I walked long distances only through the sun, with no shade, and no option of stopping. I met people I didn’t like that I had to see more than once. I had to endure physical and emotional pain. But, at the same time, I got to have amazing conversations with great people. I went beyond any kind of physical pain and ended up feeling no pain. I saw things I don’t usually see and got inspired by all the things I saw.

For sure, Camino is an experience worth having that comes with a lot of change.

I would encourage anyone to do one Camino, even a short one (12-14 days) but maybe you don’t see yourself walking this much. If that’s you, that’s ok. But whatever you want to do, whatever are the things that you’re thinking of, try your best to do those things. Do your best to overcome whatever obstacles you think you have (time, money, etc) and go for it.

Waiting for retirement is an illusion. Forget about it. Do the things you want to do and do them now.

If you want to see more photos, check my Instagram account @davidtheoptimist.

I have my plane booked for the 15th of June and that's when I'll arrive in Lisbon. Right the next day, I'll start my journey and begin walking, day after day, after I reach my final destination: Santiago de Compostela. I don't intend to take any breaks.

From Lisbon to Porto, I plan on taking the central route, and from Porto to Santiago de Compostela, I plan on taking the coastal route.

For this journey, I'll be using the Buen Camino app. There are also the Wise Pilgrim guides, which were my first option before discovering the Buen Camino app. The guides are also available online: Lisbon to Porto (1), Porto to Redondela (2), and Redondela to Santiago de Compostela (3). I have both apps on my phone.

Click here to read about my first Camino experience: Camino de Santiago Journal – from Porto to Santiago de Compostela in 11 days

What you see below was calculated with the Buen Camino app before starting the journey. I'll update everything during the journey if any updates are needed.

Day 0: This is Lisbon Hostel (Lisbon) + 33.7 KM
Day 1: Silvina Ferreira Guesthouse (Alverca do Ribatejo) + 35.5 KM
Day 2: Albergue de Peregrinos de Azambuja (Azambuja) + 36 KM
Day 3: N1 Hostel Apartments and Suites (Santarem) + 41 KM
Day 4: Inn Golegã (Golegã) + 37 KM
Day 5: Hostel 2300 Thomar (Tomar) + 39 KM
Day 6: Albergaria Pinheiros (Alvaiazere) + 28 KM
Day 7: O Lagareiro (Alvorge) + 25 KM
Day 8: Conimbriga Hostel (Condeixa-a-Nova) + 20 KM
Day 9: Change The World Hostel (Coimbra) + 24KM
Day 10: Casa Branca (Mealhada) + 31 KM
Day 11: Albergue de Peregrinos Santo Antonio de Agueda (Agueda) + 24 KM
Day 12: Albergiana-a-Nova Pilgrim Hostel (Albergiana-a-Nova) + 26 KM
Day 13: Santa Casa de Misericordia (Sao Joao da Madeira) + 41 KM
Day 14: Albergue de Peregrinos Porto (Porto) + 39 KM
Day 15: Santa Clara Pilgrims Hostel (Vila do Conde) + 27 KM
Day 16: Sleep&Go (Esposende) + 32 KM
Day 17: Albergue de Santa Luzia (Viana do Castelo) + 35.5 KM
Day 18: Albergue O Peirao (A Guarda) + 21 KM
Day 19: Alojamiento Camino Portugués Hostel (O Serrallo) + 18 KM
Day 20: Hostel Baionamar (Baiona) + 33 KM
Day 21: R4Hostel (Vigo) + 18 KM
Day 22: Albergue Santiago de Vilavella (Redondela) + 24 KM
Day 23: Albergue Virxe Peregrina (Pontevedra) + 24 KM
Day 24: Albergue a Queimada Hostel (Caldas de Reis) + 21 KM
Day 25: Murgadán Hostel (Padrón) + 28 KM
Day 26: Albergue La Estrella de Santiago (Sa

Total distance walked: 751.7 KM.

According to my calculations, the required budget will be an average of €40/day. There are hostels where the cost is €15/night and there are hostels/private rooms where the cost is €40/night. To that, add an extra €20/day for food. Considering that the whole journey will take around 30 days, I’ll need around €1200.

Extra fees:

  • €275 for the plane ticket
  • €60 for a pair of Light-Weight Skechers Summits Brisbane (day 5 update: I don't think these shoes are too good for Camino)
  • €55 for the backpack Forclaz Travel500 Organizer 40L
  • €20 for a rain coat from Decathlon
  • €25 for a sleeping bag


Daily budget:

  • Day 1: €48.5
  • Day 2: €21.2
  • Day 3: €31.8
  • Day 4: €36.5
  • Day 5: €76.46
  • Day 6: €26
  • Day 7: €25.5
  • Day 8: €37.5
  • Day 9: €38.8
  • Day 10: €37.42
  • Day 11: €23.24
  • Day 12: €20.68
  • Day 13: €15
  • Day 14: €42.95
  • Day 15: €25.2
  • Day 16: €33
  • Day 17: €28.7
  • Day 18: €38.7
  • Day 19: €20.5
  • Day 20: €39.4
  • Day 21: €51.1
  • Day 22: €26
  • Day 23: €21
  • Day 24: €36
  • Day 25: €28.5
  • Day 26: €35

Total budget: €1315.39

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Something clicked inside me while I was watching this short video. And my mind quickly started thinking about past moments of depression and sadness and saw this video as a solution for that.

Next time I feel bad, I should do something good for someone to make myself feel better” was my AHA-Moment.

But shortly after I realized that, through this simple strategy, I would have to let myself feel bad first, and only then I’d focus on helping someone else. Even more, my gesture of helping someone else wouldn’t be authentic, but selfish.

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