Before the Walk

Trip Start Aug 23, 1996
Trip End Ongoing

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Flag of Portugal  , Porto,
Thursday, April 1, 2010

Somebody once told me about the movie Bucket List, and I never went to see it anyway, but in life, most of us have a bucket list, a list of things that we really want to do, and mine goes down and then back up because you always discover something new, and then that goes on the list until eventually you do it.

Now, back in 1995, when we were prepaing to leave Australia for our 3.5 year trip, I was told about the Camino de Santiago. Basically, a Pilgrims route from the border of France and Spain to Santiago Compostela, and upon arrival, you are issued with a scroll and this has been going on forever and ever. Now this has always been in my mind, first with pushbike, and since we walked Hadrian's Wall, to do it the traditional way, and walk the 800 K's. Finding a month was always going to be hard, so when I started looking into it, I found out that during 2009, there was a massive bed bug infestation, so it turned me off of it. Looking further into it, I found that 140000 people arrived in Santiago, but only 125000 walked from the France/Spain starting point. The next most popular was to walk from Portugal, and with only 10000 people arriving last year, it seemed like the place to be.

The next point that slightly bothered us was that 2010 was going to be a holy year so the routes were going to be more ramped up with people. Now the legend states that if you arrive on St James's birthday, which is July 25, 1/3 of your sins are blessed, but if it is on a Sunday, which makes it a holy year, all your sins are taken away. Being the non-religious type, there was no way I was going to arrive on that date, so we decided, we would walk from Porto, a total of 240ish K's in 8 days. We just needed to book flights, and then get ready.

Once the days had all past, we jumped on the plane and flew to Porto. After we grabbed the hotel, we knew there was only one thing to do in Porto, and that was to have a drop of the local tipple, Port. And being in Porto, we wanted to go back to a little family owned business where we had been most welcomed before. Inside we went looking for the son of the owner, a guy called Gustav. I asked the guy behind the bar if he was around, and he said, "one sec". He walked outside, came back in, and then Gustav looked through the window, a big grin appeared and he looked at me and said, "I don't believe it, David Murray is back" !!! Amazingly he remembered me, my whole name even, so we spoke at length about his life and how he now works elsewhere and that we were oh so lucky that him and his friends came in for one. He introduced us to all, and they were all excited that we were doing the Camino.

After the drinks were finished, we went back to our hotel to prepare for the next 8 days. Honestly,  am looking forward to it. I feel my legs and mind are prepared, but only time will tell whether we come through this unscathed.
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