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:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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!!