How I Planned Where to Go This Winter

I am working on increasing the time I spend traveling. I have so many places to go and not enough time. In order to narrow down the options, I created some criteria.

Here were my requirements:
  • Off-Season, lower rates, less crowds, more eco-friendly
  • Active. Travel has a lot of sitting on trains, buses, airplanes etc… and then the eating, so the trip needs something active to do.
  • Different and Interesting, of course, so, somewhere I have never been, that’s easy, I haven’t been very many places.
First and Second Thoughts

I started out with Buenos Aires, Argentina, but airfare was expensive. Winter where I am in California, USA is summer for Argentina, so it is prime tourist season there.

Europe is completely off-season in winter so I began to look there to get the cheaper air fare. I have been to Greece and the UK so there are plenty of places to choose from, but active?

I didn’t consciously remember talking to my cousin about the Camino de Santiago, but I do remember that a friend had given me a book about it a long time ago and I promised to do it ‘sometime’. So I began to zero in.

Camino de Santiago de Compostela

I have not been to Spain, Portugal or France so this seemed like a perfect way to see some of these countries. But there are a ton of options within this choice. Pilgrims walked from all different directions to meet at the Santiago de Compostela

So Which Camino?!

To make a long story short, I settled on the Camino Portugues, here are the three convincing factors:

  1. Weather, the Portugal approach is from the south where the weather will not be as cold in the off season. I plan to go in March. I learned that they have closed parts of the Camino Frances (the most popular route) until March 31st which was the deciding factor.
  2. Documentary on Porto, Portugal (A Year in Port) with great images and lots of drinking Port. Porto is a common starting point on the Camino Portugues.
  3. Timing, I was willing to take a month of travel, but not much more and the section from Porto, Portugal to Santiago is about a 2-3 weeks walk.

For this research I used the website Stingy Nomads and will continue to use it. They did this trip and documented it in detail just last year!

<<< This is their map on the left.

I am really looking forward to walking, visiting Porto and spending quality time on cobbles in medieval towns.

I am anxious about wearing a backpack, the weather and cold, and getting sick of cobbles and medieval towns.

I think it will be a Great Trip!!

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