Senda Litoral Route – Caminho Português – September 2022 – Day 10

Day 10! A Picaraña to Santiago de Compostela!!

Of course we set out in the dark. The race was on! Santiago de Compostela or bust!

The first thing to peek up out of the darkness at us was a little…bizarre to say the least.

But we soon had daylight…just in time to see our first milemarker that broke the 10km mark!

It felt like it took us no time at all to get to the city limits.

Again, a glorious day filled with sunshine!

The LAST DAY feels were hitting hard!

Making our way into the city was a little misleading. We kept thinking we were going to turn a corner and be there…only to find one neighbourhood after another…staying forever on the outskirts.

But we were definitely getting there.

Less than 5km to go, and it still felt like we were so far away…

Then we hit this little earworm and I knew exactly what song I’d be humming for the rest of the morning. Thank you, Freddie Mercury!

How about one more gorgeously picturesque bridge to walk over before reaching the cathedral? Don’t mind if we do!

One quick stop as we reach the town proper…to get our first stamp of our day!

One last piece of street art before we finish our last day…

One last moment of confusion…

One last hórreo…

I had the great idea of walking AROUND the cathedral so we could come in at the same place as the Camino Frances and see the pipers in action before taking in the cathedral’s facade.

For the first time, we walked into this little covered part not to the sound of a piper, but to a guitar.

WE MADE IT!

Three very tired but accomplished pilgrims! Senda Litoral Route – Portugues Caminho – 280km in 10 days!

We quickly made our way to the pilgrim’s office to queue up for our compostelas (the certificates of completion)!

Compostelas in hand, we made our way to the very first cafe we came to and rewarded ourselves with a full breakfast each! One of the best breakfasts I have ever eaten!
We were fortunate enough to get to see the Botafumeiro swing during mass that afternoon! It doesn’t always happen, so we were thrilled to witness it!

So ends another Camino! There was more, of course…but the finish line was crossed! The next day we even took the rooftop tour of the cathedral. If you ever do the Camino, make sure to look into taking the rooftop tour! The views are amazing. Just being on the roof of the cathedral is quite spectacular in itself!
Thinking of doing the Camino? Do it! You’ll love it, even if it nearly kills you or your feet. It’s an experience of a lifetime!

You might even go back for more. This was my 3rd Camino. Loved every minute of it, even when I wanted to cry over the absolute PAIN my feet experienced. When it’s all over, the foot pain becomes a distant memory. You remember the moments and the beauty.

Senda Litoral Route – Caminho Português – September 2022- 280km in 10 days! PORTO, PORTUGAL to SANTIAGO DE COMPOSTELA, SPAIN.

 

 

Senda Litoral Route – Caminho Português – September 2022 – Day 9

Day 9! Caldas de Rei to A Picaraña!

Our second last day of walking! Unbelievable. It takes so long and it’s so arduous, and it’s over in the blink of an eye. Such a dichotomy!

We were off in the dark of night once again!

It very quickly brightened up this time, though.

Another picture perfect day on the Camino. Spain was giving us the best possible weather! Not too cold, not too hot.

The sunrise and the scattered clouds and big blue sky were giving us all the feels!
Immediately following the glorious sunrise, we came upon a little cafe and it was time for a Café con leche! Coffee is ALWAYS better in Spain!

Does it get any better than this picture of an early morning Spanish sky?

It was a day for soaking up the beauty that is GALICIA. It has a special place in my heart…

A picture perfect day!

Just 33km to go!!!

We’ve reached the part of the Camino where your pains don’t matter all that much and your perspective is clear and the beauty gets in. The world hushes and allows you to stop thinking about the aches in your toes and heels and knees and hips and thighs. Everything around you opens up to you…

We had reached Pontecesures. And we were about to experience culture shock…loud obtrusive culture shock. With every internal trip into serenity, comes its opposite.

Just one pic as we made our way through crowds and crowds of people at a weekend flea market type event that had the town hopping with what felt like thousands of people…

Way too overwhelming an experience for me. I was lulled by the nature we had just experienced and the crowds felt like sensory overload of the worst kind!

We were so glad to make our way back out of the chaos of that town!
We were soon to arrive in A Picaraña. Though we were happy to arrive at our lodgings, this was not one of the great discoveries we were so lucky to score along the way. I don’t even have a picture of the inside of this place.

d

Pension Glorioso was…adequate. The 70s furniture was…adequate. The WiFi didn’t even work all that well. It was probably our one fail booking of the whole Camino. Can’t really complain.

Day nine was over! ONE. DAY. LEFT. And a short one at that. We’d be in Santiago de Compostela in the morning!

 

Senda Litoral Route – Caminho Português – September 2022 – Day 8

Day 8! Ponte Sampaio to Caldas de Reis!

Somewhere along our journey, we had begun to set out in the dark. Once you start doing that, there’s no turning back. We were now doing it every day. We were now counting on the little torch apps on our phones to guide our way for the first hour or so of our day.

Looking for signs in the dark…

Thankfully, there was still the odd streetlight guiding our way through the town.

Before the sun was fully up on our 8th day, we were walking through nature in complete and utter darkness. It was time to pray we didn’t go over on our heels or trip over the jutting rocks in our path.

Just as the light began to hit, we came across some statues in the woods…

Sunrise on the Camino is always worth crawling your way through the darkness while awaiting its arrival!

Soon it was daylight and our fears were behind us. Nobody fell off a cliff-edge or twisted an ankle. We would live to see another day.

We noticed that the vineyards were plentiful on this day. Whether they stretched across acres and acres of land, or stayed within a tiny well-groomed yard, grapevines could be seen at every turn. It also seemed that, wherever we looked, people were picking grapes this day.

Early in the day, we came across a tiny little church that was built in 1617!

Again, LOVE the artwork found on the Camino! LOVE!
Again, don’t care…love the artwork. Graffiti or not, it’s all good.

We soon reached Pondevedra…a bit of a bustling town after all the small ones we passed through.

Strangeness always has its place on the Camino…

Inside the church pictured above, I witnessed one of the little things that chips away at the magic of the Camino. A busload of tourists actually lined up to get their credencials stamped. I was apoplectic. I couldn’t believe that, one, the tourists and the tour guide would do such a thing, and, two, that the person inside the church would actually stamp their credencials. I hoped against hope that these bussies didn’t do this all the way to Santiago de Compostela and then march in to the compostela office and get their certificate. Surely, the guide would prevent that from happening!

The city name…displayed as city names around the world are now displayed…in that great big Instagrammable way!

Soon, another bridge…

 

Hi, artwork!

After Pontevedra, we were heading back into nature for a while. It was feeling very much like we were back on the Camino Frances. Galicia was opening up to us with its vibrant mossiness and greenery…

We soon found a place to stop for a little rest. The entire patio of this cafe was covered by a hanging trellis of grapevines…beautiful!

Placing a stone on the milemarker…

Every stop sign had a message of one kind or another. “Don’t STOP believing!”, “Don’t STOP me now!”, “Don’t STOP now!”, etc.

graffiti
Day 8 – no shortage of grapevines today!

Picture perfect grapes everywhere!

Many times, we saw multiple generation families picking grapes today!

Today was the first LONG day that didn’t really feel like a long day. Except when you take into account the shape of our feet, that is. We were soon in Caldas de Rei!

This is the town where I finally broke down and bought some new sandals. I couldn’t wear my shoes another second. I put the cheap new sandals on before I left the shoe store. The gentleman who dug through a box to find the slip on sandals that would fit my gargantuan feet will always be remembered as one of my Camino Angels! Thank you forever!

Again, we scored huge with the apartment we booked on Booking dot com. Just what we needed after another long day! With a restaurant just next door!

The restaurant had one of our first, if not our actual first, pilgrim menu options! Caldo Galega was mine!!! I just love the Galician soup served in this portion of the Camino! LOVE!

Day eight over, it seemed impossible that we were just two short days away from Santiago de Compostela and the cathedral at the end of the yellow brick road. We were almost there! Day nine? A Picarana or bust!

 

Senda Litoral Route – Caminho Português – September 2022 – Day 7

Day 7! Vigo to Ponte Sampaio!

Milestone day! This was the day we crossed the 100km mile marker. We began our day in Vigo at just over 100km from our goal of the cathedral in Santiago de Compostela!

One of the very first mile markers of our day 7!
After walking through the city proper, we arrived at its outskirts where we were to begin an ascent…

When you take a photo to show the depth and steepness of a hill, it almost never turns out. Trust me on this, when we got out of the city it was quite a brutal uphill climb to a ridge above it.

A brutal climb, but well worth it once we were able to take in the views the ridge afforded us.

It was actually quite breathtaking…and once we were up there, it was relatively flat for a while.

We kept coming across new vistas that felt like the perfect place to take the day’s selfie…again and again…

There was no end to the beauty below us. A look to the left, throughout this entire Camino, was bound to offer beauty…

Soon after breaking the 100km mark, we were gently being eased back into nature…

The hills of Spain! They’re everywhere!
THIS is what the Camino is all about. Being at one with the nature around you.

Leave it to the Camino to have the most interesting and gorgeous artwork appear out of nowhere along the path. Some call this graffiti or vandalizing, but whatever. I love the art we find along the way. I always appreciate it! I don’t give a rat’s ass what the naysayers say.

Like a fish out of water…

Mid-day we had to climb DOWN into a town. At this point, my toes had had enough! It was one of the most painful descents of our entire Camino. I did find this interesting doll on the porch of one of the houses on our way down, though. Turns out it has its own Instagram and they change the clothes and theme periodically…

https://www.instagram.com/meryitsme_/

I always love the way some locals just get all in when it comes to the Camino. Whether it’s little things like the Meryitsme_ doll, or big elaborate yard decorations. Love!

Once we climbed down into the little town, we found a place to have lunch. The food on the Camino–always simple and fortifying–is ALWAYS just so GOOD! It probably has something to do with the level of exhaustion you’re feeling, with your absolute need to have calories! At any rate, even your run of the mill everyday sandwich tastes like manna from heaven! Especially when paired with a cold beer!

Simple but delectable!

After lunch, we left the little town and found ourselves back in nature. And back to yet another makeshift Camino altar…

Spontaneous ‘altars’ like this one pop up all along the Camino. Little places where pilgrims leave offerings to lost loved ones…

Just prior to reaching our day’s end goal of Ponte Sampaio, we reached a rather iconic Instagram famous landmark. The two shoes!

Follow the YELLOW shoe to Santiago de Compostela…

After crossing a short bridge (a bit of a theme on the Portugues Caminho, as we came to realize), we were in Ponte Sampaio…and just a few hundred feet from our albergue. A few almost impossible hundred feet. The last km is always the worst, I swear!

But we soon discovered we had scored again in the accommodation department. Our lodgings for the night were just shy of perfect! And complete with laundry facilities and a church outside our bathroom window!

The restuarant a couple of doors down was affiliated with the albergue and offered some great fare! We were just happy we wouldn’t have to walk too far to fuel up!

If you’re stopping in Ponte Sampaio, you won’t go wrong staying in El Hostel Albergue O MESÓN de Ponte Sampaio. The link is to their website, but we booked through Booking dot com.

That’s day seven over! 3 days to go…how fast the Caminos go! Day 8? Caldas de Reis or bust!

 

 

 

Senda Litoral Route – Caminho Português – September 2022 – Day 6

Day 6! Baiona to Vigo!

Day 6 began with passing a church. Surprise. There are more churches in Spain than people…

It was one of those Big Sky days, where the clouds and the sun were both endless, fighting each other for power. My favourite kind of day.

A Big Sky kind of day!
Some nice vistas as we walked out of Baiona! So pretty.
There was a bit of nature on today’s walk, but mostly it was city walking. This path was a gorgeous momentary respite…

Quite a few churches this day. We were definitely in Spain…

We were getting farther away from the shoreline, but it was still within our sights…for now.

So many different terrains this day. We even walked beneath a rather major highway…

This actually felt like the easiest day yet. We had found our stride, I think.

We arrived in Vigo in no time! It was a fairly big city in comparison to some of the others we had passed through. It was lovely walking through the streets of Vigo, big Europe energy! And the food was great, too!

Vigo, where, aching feet aside, we may have finally found our groove!

 

Senda Litoral Route – Caminho Português – September 2022 – Day 4

Day 4! Viana do Castelo to Caminha!

Our last day in Portugal. After this day’s walk, we were going to be just a short boat ride away from Spain.

As soon as we began our walk in Viana do Castelo the next morning, I was struck by the beauty of the architecture.

There seemed to be churches around every corner. We even met a Facebook Camino group friend inside one of them. It’s quite a shock when someone comes up to you in a foreign country and calls you by your name. Believe it or not, it happened twice on this Camino. It happened inside the church pictured above, and once again in Santiago de Compostela while we were walking down the street and a Twitter mutual called out a hello. It’s a small world now that social media connects us all.

It was gonna be one of those days. Building after building, it was all so gorgeous.

Soon, we made our way out of the town and back to the solitude of the Camino. In an interesting turn of events, things were beginning to look a little familiar. Even though we had never been in this part of Portugal before.

What we began to notice was that, though we were still in Portugal, the Camino was taking on the look we remembered of the Camino Frances. Small towns, abandoned buildings, narrow alleyways. It felt like Spain…

We even saw our first hórreo (a Galician granary), something we didn’t think we would see until we crossed the border into Spain.
Oddly, artwork like this even reminded me of something I would see not on the Portuguese Way, but on the Frances.

This was so typically the Camino Frances, that we appeared to be in Spain before crossing into Spain. Portugal light, perhaps.

I knew if we looked hard enough, we would find cobble like surfaces! UGH.

Decorated yards like this one were very typical of the Camino Frances. Instagram stops.

So close to Galicia. It was in the air, that mossy always almost wet feeling. The bright greenness of it all. The closer we got to Caminha, Portugal, the nearer we were to leaving the country and slipping seamlessly into Spain.

Every footstep brought us closer. It didn’t matter that we were still a day away from crossing the river into a new country…the vibes were already bringing us there.

We found an absolutely gorgeous place to stop for a cupcake and a break.

Forest walks were not something we did a lot of in the days leading up to this one. We were now away from the beach and into the woods…

The trick about the Senda Litoral route, though, is that even when you think you’re far away from the shore, you eventually come back to it with a few simple turns.

And just like that, back to the ocean…

We were close to the end of our day. Caminha was just around the corner. And so was an amazing apartment we booked through Booking dot com. We had no idea just how nice the place was.

Once we hit Caminha, it was clear we were still firmly inside Portugal. The tell-tale signs that we were close to Spain melted away inside this town, that looked fully and completely like Portugal.
After an amazing feast at a local restaurant, we were ready for a good night’s sleep.

It was time for bed. In the morning, we would make the two minute walk to the boat launch and set out on our first day in SPAIN!

 

Senda Litoral Route – Caminho Português – September 2022 – Day 3

Day 3! Esposende to Viana do Castelo!

Did you catch the hint near the end of the last post?

RAIN DAY!

Two days of glorious sunshine was a great start.

Took a few photos while my phone was zipped safely inside a Ziplock sandwich bag, yes I did!

It was bound to happen. 10 consecutive days in September? They’re not all going to be perfect. A little rain must fall.

Gives it a kinda fun ghostly look, don’t it? Beats a vaseline lens…
It wasn’t all rain, but the ponchos were on more than they were off. Makes for some uncomfortable walking when you need the rain gear to keep you dry, but it’s also too warm to wear it.

This was a really tough day. In fact, let’s say EXTREMELY DIFFICULT. The terrain was ever-changing and even the Camino Ninja app had a couple of places where it faltered. We went through a farmer’s field, we were walking directly on the beach, over dunes, on rocks, on sand. It was trying, to say the least. Especially since we all woke up with blisters and toenail issues. The rain did not help matters. It was the last thing our already damaged toes, heels, ankles and pads needed.

The Camino Ninja did not know what to do with the farmer’s field we found ourselves navigating in the morning, shortly after the rain ceased for a while.

After finding our way through the fields, we landed once again on the beach. Not a boardwalk in sight.

rocks, rocks, rocks…
NOTHING BUT ROCKS.
The little creatures you meet along the way. Little pilgrims! Be careful where you step.
I’m not sure which was more challenging, the rocks or the shifting sands…

Eventually, we found ourselves back on a more friendly terrain.

We decided we would smile through the photos while pretending our throbbing feet weren’t making us miserable. One, two, three…smile!

The variety of this day would probably be exciting, if not for our ailments and the on again off again rain. All along our journey, I contemplated perspective. Our moods, our pains…everything we were experiencing internally altered the way we took in the landscape around us. This was absolutely a beautiful day filled with glorious vistas. I sometimes lost sight of how gorgeous everything was. It was hard not to wallow in the pain coming from my toes and heels. It took an act of will to see beauty at times. But it was definitely a vibrant landscape day. The photos tell me this now. The trudging, at the time, made sour the walk. Perspective, perspective, perspective.

With a little shift in attitude, beauty was definitely all around us.

Not sure if this was a smile or a condemnation of the cobbles under my feet. Looks like I may have been seething, just under the surface…
There was much of this day where we struggled through dunes and dead-ends and bad directions. The Senda Litoral is definitely tricky through this stretch.

At the end of the day, it was another walk across another bridge to get us into the city at the end of our walk. Just like the day before, the bridge signified the ending.

After a super long day, we had made it to Viana do Castelo.

This would be our least favourite accommodation to date. We were lucky with our first two places. HI Viana do Castelo – Pousada de Juventude would suffice. But I wouldn’t write home about it. At the end of the day, it was a dry shelter and we were grateful. We ordered pizza through Uber-Eats, ate, and crashed.

We were three very sore and tired pilgrims, with feet in need of some TLC.

Just shy of 30km. Too many!

 

 

Senda Litoral Route – Caminho Português – September 2022 – Day 1

The first step!

After walking down the hill from our hotel, we found our first arrow and began day one of our rigorous ten day journey!

On Saturday, September 10th, 2022, we three (Myself, Michael, and his sister Jenifer) began our walk on the Senda Litoral Route of the Caminho Português. We would do this 280km route to the cathedral in Santiago de Compostela in 10 days.

Day One was to be our longest day of all! We marked it in our notes as 33.9kms, from the Camino Ninja app, knowing full well the distance is always inaccurate no matter what resource you refer to. NEVER is the KM count correct. And the actually walking distance is ALWAYS longer than the promised count in the apps and books. And, yes, this includes the sainted John Brierley and his constantly updated Camino guides. At least in my experience. Whatever route you plan, keep in mind that you may find yourself walking a KM or two more than you planned on. Our day one was Porto to Vila do Conde.

I call this one our LITTLE DID THEY KNOW selfie. We were fresh and new and unaware of the arduous day ahead of us.

Before setting out, I had heard so many people suggest taking public transportation to the outskirts of Porto. But I couldn’t fathom NOT walking out of the city. We were going to begin in the hub, by the Luís I Bridge, and we were going to see every inch of the river as it made its way to the Atlantic.

Streetcars passed us by as we made our way along the river, excited for it to meet up with the ocean. Sure enough, the streetcars carried backpacked pilgrims choosing to transit out of Porto and begin their walks further along where the river met with the Atlantic.

Let me add here that there is no shame in beginning the journey after taking transit out of the city. I’m glad we walked the stretch, as it was beautiful, but I could definitely see the advantage of starting further along.

The last of the 6 bridges in the Porto 6 Bridges Boat Tour – We passed under it on our walk out of Porto.

There was certainly a lot to see on our way out of Porto. It really is a beautiful walk. Depending on where your first day’s rest stop is, it’s definitely worth the walk. But, if like us, your first day ends in Vila do Conde, it really does add a lot of extra steps to an already long day.

Just before reaching the ocean, we came upon this statue. A patron saint wishing us well on our journey? Bom Caminho, they seemed to whisper, hand on heart, as the sun warmed his angel wings. A blessing? We’ll take it…

In no time, we reached the YouTube famous lighthouse!

It was really something to see how powerful the waves were as they crashed in and hit the rocks beneath the tiny lighthouse as we reached the ocean. There are two side by side lighthouses here. It was well worth taking a break to walk out on the catwalk of the first and bigger lighthouse and view the second (smaller and prettier) lighthouse beside it.

We were soon in Matosinhos, which, if I remember correctly, is sort of still considered Porto. Or, rather, Porto District. I’ve yet to come to terms with the way cities and districts and towns are divided in Europe. At any rate, Matosinhos is listed in Wikipedia as “a city and a municipality located in the northern Porto District of Portugal, bordered in the south by the city of Porto.” Sounds confusing, right?

Since deciding to do the Portugal route, I’ve been excited to see this little building with the cool Camino wrap! It’s a bit Instagram famous…

There were some really great views on our first day. Back home in Toronto, we’re pretty far from any ocean. It was pretty amazing to walk beside one for most of the day. Just to hear the constant breathing of its shoreline as we made our way along it was quite spectacular.

At one point we met up with a mother/daughter pilgrim duo and we exchanged the courtesies of capturing the moment on film for each other!
Our DAY ONE happy faces of our 2nd Camino together (Frances, 2019)! We were, by this point, already feeling the tingling hints of what was to come of our impending foot troubles.

Day One out of Porto and into Vila do Conde was a mix of terrain. There was boardwalk and cobbles and sidewalks and sand. Nothing too rigorous. But too much of anything takes its toll. We gave ourselves a super long day and it was to set the pace for our overly-exuberant 10 day schedule. It wasn’t impossible… because, in the end, we did it. But I wouldn’t suggest doing the Senda Litoral route in any less than 12 days.

Just one of the many terrains found on the first day of the Senda Litoral route. Cobbles would eventually pose a problem as we were able to feel every edge and bump as the blisters began to take hold…

There was definitely no end to the ocean’s beauty on that first day. The boardwalk was gorgeous and offered such incredible views, while giving us such ease of walking. Navigating this path on sand alone would have been a little bit of a nightmare.

Mimi on the beach… (excuse the 80s Jane Siberry reference, but I will always be an 80s music person. And that person in the surf is forever Mimi in my memory, whether it’s their real name or not.

It was a LONG first day. I don’t know if I actually said this enough times. PORTO to VILA DO CONDE is a LONG HAUL day, especially if you choose NOT to take public transport out of the city centre. Here’s the step-counter from hotel to alburgue…

You will notice the difference in KM from the projected to the actual. And this is something that happens every day on the Camino. No matter what Camino you are on.

We saw some pretty things along the way.

Day One ended at HI Vila do Conde – Pousada de Juventude. The link is directly to the accommodation, but we booked everything through booking dot com. If you’re looking for your accommodation in Vila do Conde, you can’t go wrong with this place. It was clean and pretty. And it offered a free breakfast.

HI Vila do Conde – Pousada de Juventude

Breakfast in Vila do Conde.
First day stamps, from our Hotel to our hostel…

END OF DAY 1 – Vila do Conde, Portugal.

Camino Child – An Upcoming Novel Set on the Camino de Santiago!

Every once in a while I get to read an amazing manuscript prior to its release. When this happens, I can’t wait to talk about it, to tell everyone how much they will love it! The wait is always so difficult. Then, finally, one day the manuscript has a release date and I can finally shout about it!

That day has come for CAMINO CHILD, the amazing upcoming novel by BRIEN CROTHERS!

If you’re a fan of the Camino de Santiago pilgrimage route across Spain, and an avid reader of books set on the Camino, you will absolutely adore CAMINO CHILD. Like my own The Camino Club, this is a young adult novel. The main character of CAMINO CHILD is such a fierce, strong female lead. You’ll fall in love with Summer Darling and the grit and tenacity she summons as she attempts to complete the Camino de Santiago and land at the cathedral in the Galician city of Santiago de Compostela.

Here’s a brief synopsis of the novel:

CAMINO CHILD: After they receive pages from an old diary, Summer Darling travels to Spain with her grandmother. When Grandma Pat dies, Summer is left to walk 500 miles on an ancient pilgrimage route and to unravel her family’s mysterious past.

SUMMER DARLING’S life had an unusual start. She was born in an apple orchard. By her teenage years, she was living in a commune on the Olympic Peninsula, where her father grew pot with his friend, Paul, the leader of The Camp. When Paul, a lustful man and controlling leader, began to notice Summer’s beauty, she was whisked off to southern California by her Grandma Pat.

When Grandma Pat receives the first few pages of a travel journal written in 1982 by her older and now deceased sister, Georgia, Pat and Summer follow the diary to Spain and the famed El Camino de Santiago. They wonder who sent those journal pages, and why the mystery. The ancient pilgrimage route stretches out 500 miles ahead of them. More of the journal pages are received then forwarded from home. The mystery unfolds as Summer negotiates a path through tragic loss, shyness, weather, blisters, and boys.

What will Summer discover about her family and herself as she treks across an entire country?

The cover reveal for this novel was yesterday, and I’m glad to share it here today.

Camino Child, the upcoming young adult novel by Brien Crothers!
Brien Crothers, author of Camino Child.

AUTHOR BIO: BRIEN CROTHERS grew up in rural northern California, where he still lives today. His writing journey began with a journal Brien wrote when he climbed Mt. Kilimanjaro and went on photo safaris in the Serengeti. Since then, Brien has written about his travels and published some of the more useful information for others to enjoy. Now, Brien focuses on more travel opportunities, meeting amazing people, listening to their stories, having his own experiences, and blending those into travel adventure stories and novels for young people and the young at heart. Brien’s one true hope is to inspire young people to expand their worldview, gain perspective, and make this world a better place.

CAMINO CHILD Release date: October 4th, on Amazon. Other outlets soon after. As purchase links are made available, I’ll share them here.

This is one you won’t want to miss. It has all the feels! I was thrilled to read the early version of this manuscript and so glad to see it will soon be hitting shelves! Mark your calendars!

See You in September…

I think we’ve established that I write about my September every year. For some reason, it seems to be my busiest and/or most exciting month. Thinking about this, I just realized how many songs there are about September. Like, A LOT of them! It’s even possible it’s the most sung about month of the year.

See you in September. Do you remember the 21st night of September? You were my September song, tell me where have you gone? Come September, everything wrong gonna be alright.  Oh, I watch myself depending on September when it comes. Ring out the bells again like we did when spring began, wake me up when September ends. It’s going to be September now, for many years to come, every heart adjusting to the strict September drum.

Perhaps, as Leonard Cohen sang, my heart is adjusted to the beat of September’s drum.

At any rate, here’s my annual September post! It’s a busy one this year!

⊗September 13th, I complete another trip around the sun. Hard to believe I will be turning 56 this time. I guess this puts me somewhere into the September of my life. The weather is still beautiful, but you begin to get the hints of the passing of the season. It’s the crispness in the morning, the tang of leaves realizing it is soon time for them to let go, the burning sun lighting up the sky with a special brightness even though its heat is not quite as severe as it once was. There are a million signs that appear in September, warning us that the calendar is slowing drawing its curtains on another year. Even the official end of summer lands in this month. Not to mention, it’s the first BER month.

Like the year on a calendar, we all wind down. I think 56 in human years is a good estimation of the September of one’s life. Right? Things are still good–still great–but you’re getting hints of the impending changes.

Even though it goes against everything that would make sense, September might in fact be my favourite month. SUMMER is my season. Hot, hot, hot…that’s my favourite temperature. And September comes in with the knowing and dreaded whisper, “Summer is dying. The halcyon days will soon be over.” September prepares me, against my wishes (and better judgement), for the coming ugliness of winter. And yet, it’s still the most magical of months.

⊗SEPTEMBER 7th. Let’s rewind a few days! The 7th is the beginning of this year’s magic! That’s the day we board a plane for Portugal. We fly into Lisbon and then take a second flight to Porto, where we will begin a truncated version of the Senda Litoral Route of the Caminho Português (Portuguese Camino, The Portuguese Way, Camino Portugués)! Due to time constraints, we cannot start at the customary beginning point in Lisbon. Here’s our itinerary, which begins on September 10th after a couple of days in Porto:

We will be travelling with John Brierley once again. I think a LOT of pilgrims travel with Brierley’s guides. It almost feels de rigueur at this point.
Porto – Vila Do Conde – 33.9km
Vila Do Conde – Esposende – 26.4km
Esposende – Viana do Castelo – 27.3km
Viana do Castelo – Caminha – 27.1km
Caminha – Baiona – 31.2km
Baiona – Vigo – 26.8km
Vigo – Ponte Samaio – 24.5km
Ponte Sampaio – Caldas de Reis – 33.3km
Caldas de Reis – A Picarana – 28.4km
A Picarana – Santiago de Compostela – 16km
Santiago de Compostela back to Porto by bus.

I’ll wake up in Viana do Castelo on my birthday, and make my way to Caminha. As we walk this leg of the Camino, something else will take place. The release of my 8th novel!

Book of Dreams drops on the 13th of September as we’re walking somewhere along the coast of Portugal having, hopefully, the time of our lives!

The Book.

We don’t come back to Canada until September 25th. The better part of my September this year will unfold in Europe, as we walk the Portuguese coast up into Spain and into the city of Santiago de Compostela. I’ll be arriving at the Cathedral for the 3rd time (previously, I arrived there from the Camino Frances in 2014 & 2019). From there, we will spend some time in Santiago before returning to Porto for a few days. Much is planned, from a Douro Valley Port wine tour, to gastronomical adventures in and around the city.

My September stops quietly back in Toronto, where I will be preparing for my October 1st BOOK OF DREAMS book signing event at the Oshawa Centre Chapters-Indigo bookstore(click this link to learn all about the details of the event)!

If you haven’t yet read the book I wrote after my first experience on the Camino de Santiago, you can read more about THE CAMINO CLUB here(it’s the first book on the Books page of this website).

2 books, 2 years apart!

Now we just have to wait for the calendar to flip over another page!

Come September, everything wrong gonna be alright.  Oh, I watch myself depending on September when it comes...