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Walking the Camino in Spain and Portugal

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Sep 14th, 2016, 04:49 AM
  #1
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Walking the Camino in Spain and Portugal

A rambling "trip report" about walking the Camino de Santiago in Spain and finally going visiting Portugal.

Late May I went to Spain to walk the Camino de Santiago. A long standing item on my bucket list. I decided to do the Globus tour Lisbon and Northern Spain after the walk because it was looking like just too much hard work to organize independently.

So instead of a day by day account of my trip I thought I'd the abbreviated version
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Sep 14th, 2016, 04:49 AM
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Here are the positives or What worked....

Flight with Qatar airlines - I got a special launch airfare and got to travel on the new A350. I had 3 seats to myself on my last 13 hour flight home and managed to get some decent sleep.

TOC Hostel Madrid - Great location, very good breakfast. I learnt that one of the positives of staying in a hostel was that many have a washing machine and dryer. Loved staying just off Puerto del sol. I find that if I'm only in a city for a couple of days then staying in the touristy centre is worth it.

The airport shuttle in Madrid and Barcelona. Cheap (approx 5E), clean and fast.

Walking tours in Madrid. I did a free walk of Madrid (there are numerous companies that run free tours where you tip the guide at the end), a tapas bar tour followed by a flamenco performance.

Camino Ways - My experience with Camino Ways was excellent from the point of contact on their web contact us form. I got a phone call shortly after and the assistant was very good at answering questions. Spent more than 30 mins on the phone with me and sent me an itinerary with hotels listed. Complete transparency. The hotels ranged from 4* to 2*. Always spotless. Breakfast and dinner (with wine) was included. I did the Sarria to Santiago de Compostela guided walk. The guide was so lovely. A shout out to the amazing David.

My travel companions and people I met - I think this trip was the best yet because of all the wonderful people I met. The people on the Camino were a true inspiration and I hope I bring some of the positives I learnt along the way into my life.

Getting to see the incense swinging in the Cathedral in Santiago de Compostela - twice! I am a spiritual person but not Christian. Both times I cried.....

Lisbon and Porto are both great fun. Can't wait to go back and spend more time. I only had 2 days in each city but felt that I needed at least 3 more days in Lisbon and another day in Porto.

Sintra was amazing! Just out Lisbon. Easily reached on public transport. I did not have time visit the palaces and grand houses the dot the surrounding woods. But you can see many from the town itself. I would love to spend a night in this town and explore after the hordes of tourists have left.

Fado evening - yes it was a touristy evening but I loved the music and the performances.

San Sebastián - A must for the travelling foodie! The pintxos bars really were as amazing as I had read about. And I loved the shopping in this town! Lots of little lanes and alley way full of tiny boutiques.

My iPhone 6s Plus as a replacement for my camera. The camera quality was great and the battery life is so much better than the previous version.
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Sep 14th, 2016, 04:54 AM
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What did not work

My shoes on the camino - I took my gym shoes Asics Kayanos. They were great because they were light weight and broken in. But I got a lot of blisters after getting soaked in the rain on the first walking day
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Sep 14th, 2016, 05:02 AM
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My knee - While I had been hitting the gym 4 times a week plus 1 personal training session a week and was pretty fit; the joint just couldn't take the long days of walking. Walking downhill was the agony after day 3.
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Sep 14th, 2016, 05:04 AM
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Being vegetarian in Spain. It was really hard to get nice vegetarian food while walking the camino. More often than not I would get a bit of iceberg lettuce with some sliced tomatoes and bread rolls. The bread was not as nice as say France or Italy. And what is the deal with tinned asparagus??! I will never eat another fried egg in my life. Or worse yet friend egg over fried potatoes!
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Sep 14th, 2016, 05:05 AM
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A group bus tour - I don't think being told to look left for this and right for that while sitting on a tour bus is my thing. What was I thinking??!

Coming back home to winter. Oh yes that just didn't work for me at all.......
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Sep 14th, 2016, 07:37 PM
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Enjoying reading this. I had a wonderful trip to Lisbon and Porto last year -- which I'm still finishing the trip report for!

I agree with you completely, we only gave Lisbon 1 full day, which was way too short. Next time I'm giving it at least 3 days.

Looking forward to reading more.
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Sep 14th, 2016, 08:03 PM
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Bostonblondie226 I absolutely love your trip reports! Your Mum sounds super cool I've bookmarked your last report "Around The World In Collars and Pearls: A Mother-Daughter Adventure". My next trip is to Scandinavia in July 2017. I can't wait! So thank you for the tips and advise in advance.
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Sep 15th, 2016, 02:11 AM
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On one hand am envious you got 3 seats on your Qatar flight, ours was packed both ways (in June/ July).
But... missed awful storms in Adelaide and had perfect weather in the Dolomites.

Spain (and maybe Portugal) on my wishlist, sounds an interesting way to explore.
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Sep 15th, 2016, 03:56 AM
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Adelaidean I got just in time for the full wrath of the storms and cold!! The Dolomites sounds awesome. Put Portugal on your list for sure. It is an amazing country and quite different from Spain.
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Sep 15th, 2016, 04:33 AM
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Thanks for your nice words, Ozgirl! (I'm sure Mom would agree too ). We had an amazing trip, though I can't believe I'm still finishing the report 11 months later. Nice to know it's on your reading list, as I think it got a bit lengthy / delayed and lost the rest of my audience!

Where are you planning to go in Scandinavia? It's a great part of the world to visit.

Can't wait to read your further adventures in Spain and Portugal!
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Sep 15th, 2016, 11:40 AM
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Thank you for posting such a nice report. The camino is special.. glad you could do it
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Sep 15th, 2016, 02:11 PM
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@lincasanova - your trip reports were an inspiration for me. I loved reading about your experiences! Thank you so much for sharing. When is the next camino for you?

@bostonblondie so far I'm thinking Copenhagen, Oslo, Bergen, Flam and Stockholm. I want to take the train/ferry from Hamburg to Copenhagen. Initially was thinking of going to Helsinki too but have culled it off my list.
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Sep 16th, 2016, 05:07 PM
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Here are some photos from my trip:

Madrid
http://redsuitcasetravel.blogspot.co...rid-spain.html

Walking the Camino
http://redsuitcasetravel.blogspot.co...iago-walk.html
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Sep 17th, 2016, 05:34 PM
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Nice photos. There is a Spain itineray on my laptop for 'one day' but I think we'll stick to train travel
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Sep 19th, 2016, 01:41 AM
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I don't know when the next camino. or part of it, is. I have not done the beginning part from France, so perhaps I will do that next time.
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