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Portugal to Spain – Iain’s journey along the Camino de Santiago

On the 1st of May Iain set out to complete his third camino. Over the next 12 days he would walk 259km from Matosinhos in Portugal to Santiago de Compostela in northwest Spain to raise money for Kidney Cancer Scotland.

The Camino de Santiago takes its name from the city of Santiago de Compostela where legend has it the martyr St. James is buried. During the Middle Ages, millions of people, both rich and poor, made their way to Santiago de Compostela where a pilgrim mass and certificate of pilgrimage ensured they would spend less time in purgatory. Thus, resulting in people who walk the Camino being nicknamed ‘Peregrinos’. The route was nearly lost to history until the past couple of decades, when a growing body of literature around the Camino sparked a resurgence of interest in it from abroad.

While some people still complete the Camino for religious reasons, concluding their pilgrimage with a mass at the Cathedral de Santiago de Compostela, many people now walk for recreational or personal reasons or to raise money for charity.

Nowadays, many Peregrinos carry a Pilgrim’s Passport which entitles them to stay in albuergues or Pilgrim’s Hostels along the way. These establishments provide a welcome place to put your feet up after a long day’s trek. Some hostels will cook a communal meal for peregrinos, some will have few facilities and walkers will venture to local bars for their meal and sometimes walkers will club together to cook a meal. Many restaurants offer a ‘menu del dia’ which was originally started so workers on a low income could afford a balanced lunch every day and on the Camino this can sometimes be called the ‘menu del peregrino’ so it’s always possible to get a great meal on the way to Santiago de Compostela.

Iain followed the Camino Portugues, the second most popular of the six Camino routes. This route leads Peregrinos through the picturesque landscapes, rich with history and natural beauty of Portugal and Galicia.

Day 1-7
In his first week, Iain walked from Matosinhos to Vigo, averaging 22km every day. It was sunny and warm. Too warm, in fact, as Iain saw planes waterbombing forest fires on day 4. On day 5, he saw Hotel Glasgow and stopped to make sure he was heading the right way (The Scots get everywhere!). The following day he met some walkers from Dublin and finally arrived in Vigo.

Day 8-12
In his second week, Iain averaged 20.8km a day, travelling through rain and shine. On day 8, he met a father and daughter from North Dakota and walked with them from Vigo to Redondela. The rain was certainly falling in Spain on day 9 but Ian remained cheerful and soldiered on to Pontevedra. He met several people on his way from Hungary, Brazil, Canada, America, Ireland and, of course, Spain and Portugal. The route joined up with the Central Camino Portugues travelling away from the coast and becoming busier the closer it gets to Santiago de Compostela.

On day 11, Iain met and walked with Julianne, from Germany and prepared for the final stretch of the Camino. On the final day, he had a great walk to Santiago and finished at the stunning Cathedral. Iain had a fantastic time during his Camino and said that each time his walk has been different from the views to the people he’s met to the energy he felt but this was made more special as he was raising money for Kidney Cancer Scotland.

So far, Iain has raised an amazing £344.76 and he would be ecstatic if he could raise £500 for the charity so check out his Just Giving page here.

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