Preface: things to know about ‘the Camino’
There are more than twenty different routes through Europe that all converge and eventually terminate at the Cathedral of St. James in Santiago, Spain. From Portugal, there are, as of this writing, sort of four routes. Many pilgrims begin in Porto, and the routes out of Porto are more populated. Many also begin in Lisbon, more than twice as far at almost 400 miles. The route(s) from Lisbon to Porto are, in order of most popular; the Central Way, the Coastal Way, and the Seaside/Littoral/Beach Way.
The Littoral (‘shallow coastal waters’; the US Navy has a class of Littoral combat ships for coastal work) route from Lisbon to Porto is VERY uncharted. Only in the last year or two are pilgrims taking it as the albergues (a small b&b or even room in a home) spring up or locals add a spare bedroom on the web to book. More Caminho marking signs have appeared and bloggers have documented highways to avoid, helpful landmarks, and more.
These four maps show the many nuances the lesser travelled Caminho Portugese has in store for the pilgrims who choose to begin in Lisbon. On average, the Caminho Portugese (CP) has fewer café for mid-days breaks, fewer albergues, and substantially longer days, typically 25km to 32km, compared to the popular French Way. The benefits are obvious; fewer pilgrims, less ‘stuff’, more walking on or along the beach.
What are we taking? The clothes we will be wearing and one extra set. A few toiletries. A single Jandd 30 liter backpack, previously used by Wendy as her triathlon bag when competing. No poles.
For clothes, Merrell Moab 2 waterproof sneakers and wicking pants and t-shirts, plus a windbreaker, are our rain gear.
We will buy a new pocket knife in Lisbon, and anything else minor, like a SIM card for Europe and an electrical outlet adapter, will be acquired there. A couple can spend six weeks on the trail from a single backpack if you’re not camping and the weather is moderate.
Some camping items coming are a clothes line for drying laundry overnight, headlamps for early morning departures on long-segment days, and probably CamelBak bladders since the café scene is minimal before Porto.
That is about all the prep until we go in the autumn. It is a spiritual journey and thus minimal gear is The Way.