Caminho Português Senda Litoral Route – Shoulds and Shouldn’ts PART THREE

You’ve made it to Pontevedra! And, yes…it does have a city sign like most of the city signs peppering the world today awaiting Instagram fame!

The ubiquitous city sign, spelled out for everyone to see and snap selfies at! Now found the world over…

Should I watch my step when walking the trails between towns?

Only if you care about wildlife in all its forms. Yes, please watch your step! Our little friends are down there…

Should I stop at A Pousada do Peregrino for a snack and a drink?

You’ll come by this little oasis shortly after leaving the town of Pontevedra. Click Link for their website.

We stopped here and you can’t go wrong in doing so. It has a lovely outdoor patio with a pergola trellis. Grapes hang above your head, offering a cool relief from the sun on a hot day. The food was good and there’s always cafe con leche!

The outdoor patio at A Pousada do Peregrino.

You will walk through a lot of vineyards at this point of the day. There are even quite a few places where you’ll need to duck to avoid grapes. Very picturesque day…

Should I stay in Caldas de Reis?

Now, obviously this all depends on your schedule. Caldas de Reis may be a halfway point to a day. In our schedule, it was at the end of our day. We felt it a good place to stop in case we needed any supplies at this point in our journey, as it was a bigger town and they would have more amenities. I would say AIM FOR IT. It was a lovely town.

It actually saved me a little. Once we settled into our home for the night, we went out and found me some sandals. At this point in our journey, my blisters were bad and my toes were bad. My feet were just completely breaking down and I knew if I didn’t find sandals I’d be in trouble. I never once had blisters on the Camino Frances. This Portuguese way was murdering my feet in every way possible. I found a nice man at a shoe shop who dug through boxes and found me the perfect pair of sandals that would save the trip for me. Another trail angel came through for me!

This is a good town for stocking up on whatever you need.

Should I eat at O Encontro Gastrobar in Caldas de Reis?

I REALLY enjoyed the food here. They were one of the first places we found with a pilgrim menu, and they were almost next door to where we were staying. At the end of the day, proximity has a lot to do with where you decide to eat. But also, it was good food! The service was a bit slow, but they could have just been having a bad day. Otherwise, I’d recommend this place. It hit the spot after a long day. My first Caldo Gallego (Galician Soup)!

Should I set out before on my walk in the dark?

I am of two minds on this one. Ultimately, my answer would be YES, sometimes. It is the only true way to get to see the perfection of a sunrise…when you are well and truly in it. To be walking when it happens assures that you will not miss it. And the sunrise in Spain is a thing of beauty. So, if you don’t want to (or won’t) do it for the sake of the bed-race…do it at least once to enjoy being inside the sunrise.

Scenes from a September Spanish Sunrise…

It’s all you really need…

Should I stay in Pensión Glorioso II in A Picaraña?

This might be the only time I suggest the answer as a NO. I wouldn’t even stay in this town, if I were to do the Portuguese again. Not that it’s a terrible town, but there were few options. It was just kind of along the highway. It’s a place you would only stop for gas if you were driving through.

Pensión Glorioso II in A Picaraña

Does it have what you need? Mostly. Were the rooms clean? Yeah. Did the WiFi work in the pension? NO. The food options nearby were very limited and you had to navigate the highway outside the pension. We went from one side to the other, hoping to find other food options. I just wasn’t happy with this night’s location or lodgings. You might find it’s what you need. I was looking for more.

This was our last stay before Santiago de Compostela, and my least favourite.

We walked in darkness on our last morning. As the sun came up, it all began to feel a little like we were walking to OZ.

Another perfect September sunrise…

Should I stop walking now?

No…you’re almost there!

Even though I’m almost there, should I have a break before reaching the Praza do Obradoiro where the cathedral is?

Yes. Don’t lose sight of the fact that you need stamps on your last day! Stop for a cafe con leche on your way into town and grab a stamp!

Should I be prepared to be amazed?!


About to enter the Praza do Obradoiro and the circus of the arrival!

Should we take selfies of the cathedral once we arrive? Yes, after you celebrate, dance, laugh, cry, etc…

WE MADE IT! 10 days from Porto to Santiago de Compostela!

Should I go directly to the pilgrim’s office and sign in for my spot in line to get my compostela certificate?

If this matters to you, then absolutely yes! This process is changing ALL the time. I’ve been to this point 3 times now, and it’s been different every time. Last time, we scanned a QR code at the office and were given a number in the line. We came back when we were close to our numbers and then went inside and lined up. Please look into how it is when you’re going, because they streamline the process all the time.

One more SHOULD to go.

Should I do the rooftop tour of the cathedral?

Absolutely yes. If you have fear of height issues, maybe sit this one out…but it’s fabulous!


This concludes the Shoulds and Shouldn’ts of the Caminho Português Senda Litoral Route. Hopefully you find some helpful information in these posts.

If you want to see our 10 day journey in full, here is the link to DAY ONE. At the end of every day, you will find a link to the next day. After those, you will also find a couple of posts on what to do in Porto before and after the Caminho.

I’m also an author. One of my novels, a young adult story, is set on the Camino Frances route of the Camino de Santiago. THE CAMINO CLUB. It follows six teens on their journey from Ponferrada to Santiago de Compostela. The teens walk with court appointed counselors in a juvenile delinquent program that will see them free of their records once they make the journey to Santiago…a clean slate. Think of a more diverse The Breakfast Club, but on the Camino de Santiago over two weeks instead of in a school library on a Saturday. Give it a look! It’s available wherever books are sold. Here’s the Amazon USA link.


Pilgrims Who Start Their Camino in Sarria…

35% of all pilgrims who receive their compostela certificate (this is the certificate that authenticates the fact that you completed the Camino de Santiago pilgrimage route in Spain) in Santiago de Compostela begin their pilgrimage in SARRIA.

My compostela certificate, issued to me in September, 2019, after I walked a portion of the Camino de Santiago from Astorga to Santiago de Compostela.

That’s AWESOME! Good for them! So THRILLED they had this experience!

Michael and I waving our tubed compostela certificates in the air in front of the Cathedral in September, 2019. Victory!

There is a lot of talk in Camino groups around the internet that disparages this 35%. They even give them derogatory names likes Touragrino and suggest that they are destroying the Camino. Peregrino is the Spanish word for Pilgrim, so those who walk the Camino are known as peregrinos (peregrina is the feminine word, but en masse peregrino refers to all…much like actresses are also grouped in to the collective of actors). Calling pilgrims who only walk the last 100km Touragrinos suggests that they are merely tourists out for a stroll, and that they don’t experience the ‘actual’ Camino. Don’t listen to these people!

Michael, Jenifer and I in front of the Cathedral soon after arriving from walking the Senda Litoral Route of the Caminho Portuguese in September, 2022.

What the Camino snobs either ignore or don’t seem to take into consideration is that a LOT of people don’t have the option to take the amount of time off work that it would take to walk the entirety to the Camino Frances (or any of the other routes that take 30 or more days to walk). They have their heads stuck so firmly up their arrogant asses, that they don’t realize that others are not as privileged as they are when it comes to having free time away from their workaday lives.

A pastoral scene somewhere around the 50km mark between Sarria and Santiago de Compostela.

Walking from Sarria to Santiago de Compostela does not make a pilgrim any less of a pilgrim. It doesn’t mean these peregrinos appreciate the Camino less than those who begin in Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port in France. Quite often it means they would much rather walk the entire Camino, but that their circumstances will not allow it. That the ‘true pilgrim’ snobs add insult to their injury is just deplorable.

Michael and I, at the 100km milemarker on the Camino Frances. September, 2019.

The Camino should be a place of no judgement. Sadly, that’s not the case. Those who have the privilege to walk the entire walk often mock those who cannot. So not cool. Each pilgrim makes their own way. Your Camino, your way.

A collection of old walking sticks left behind at the old pilgrim’s office in Santiago de Compostela. May, 2014 from my Camino from Ponferrada to Santiago de Compostela.

If you can only take a week (or two) away from your world, you have a couple of Camino options. ONE is to walk the last part of the Camino, where you get to experience walking to the Cathedral and all that that uplifting experience can bring you. ANOTHER is that you can walk the first part of the Camino Frances from Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port, get all your stamps and come back the next year to continue where you left off…doing a portion every year until you get to the end. ANOTHER is that you can walk any ole part of the Camino you wish to explore. The choice is yours, not some loudmouth internet troll’s who is trying to tell you you’re not a pilgrim if you don’t walk the entire pilgrimage route. You don’t need those people in your life.

There are a myriad of reasons that not everyone can do a full Camino, and it’s nobody’s business but theirs. If you’re considering doing a Camino pilgrimage and can’t do the whole thing, please don’t listen to naysayers! DO YOUR CAMINO YOUR WAY. Enjoy every minute of it! Don’t let them steal your joy.

There is NO SHAME in not doing the entire pilgrimage route. The joy is in experiencing what you can of this unique path. Whether you do it for religious reasons, spiritual reasons, or just because you want to go for a walk…all reasons and all distances are valid. ENJOY!


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.


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.



I’m also an author. One of my novels, a young adult story, is set on the Camino Frances route of the Camino de Santiago. THE CAMINO CLUB. It follows six teens on their journey from Ponferrada to Santiago de Compostela. The teens walk with court appointed counselors in a juvenile delinquent program that will see them free of their records once they make the journey to Santiago…a clean slate. Think of a more diverse The Breakfast Club, but on the Camino de Santiago over two weeks instead of in a school library on a Saturday. Give it a look! It’s available wherever books are sold. Here’s the Amazon USA link.




99 Cent Sale for the Amazon Kindle or Kobo of My Novel THE CAMINO CLUB!

I don’t know how long this is going to be available, but AMAZON and Kobo are currently having a 99¢ sale for the Kindle/ebook versions of my young adult novel THE CAMINO CLUB! (PURCHASE LINKS AT THE BOTTOM OF THIS POST!)

Michael and I arriving at the Cathedral in Santiago de Compostela at the end of our own Camino in September 2019! I wrote The Camino Club after my first Camino in May of 2014.

This award winning novel places six teens on the Camino de Santiago pilgrimage route across Spain. Think of a more diverse THE BREAKFAST CLUB but instead of taking place in a school library over the course of a Saturday, it takes place across a country while the delinquent detentioners face the struggles of hiking through mountains and villages and vineyards.

The Camino Club was the Silver Winner of the 33rd annual Independent Book Publishers Association’s Benjamin Franklin Book Award!

Here’s the synopsis of THE CAMINO CLUB:

After getting in trouble with the law, a group of wayward teens are given an ultimatum: serve time in juvenile detention for their crimes or walk the Camino de Santiago pilgrimage across Spain over the summer holidays with a pair of court-appointed counselors. Although they come from diverse backgrounds, the unlikely friends try to make the best of their situation. The pilgrims grow closer on their journey, but they may not make it to their destination—the Cathedral in Santiago. If they do, will they each find what they’re looking for, and will their newfound friendships endure?

The Camino Club is from Duet Book, the LGBTQ YA imprint of Chicago Review Press!

For a limited time, you can pick up the Kindle/ebook versions of this young adult novel on Amazon/Kobo for $0.99 (price varies with country)! I don’t know how long this will last, as this is a sale my publisher, Chicago Review Press, has instigated.

Here are some purchase links:







Check ebook platforms in your country for sale details!



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...


Unprecedented Holy Year on the Camino! Happy St. James Feast Day!

Happy St. James’s Feast Day to all!

For fans of the Camino de Santiago pilgrimage routes in Spain, today marks a special occasion. It is, after all, St. James who is the rock star of the Camino. They don’t call it St. James Way or The Way of St. James for nothing. Pilgrims walk on different routes that all arrive at the same place… the cathedral in Santiago de Compostela… and ultimately to the supposed bones of St. James himself. And they have done so for centuries.

Michael and I shortly after arriving in Santiago de Compostela in September, 2019, from the Camino Frances. The Cathedral in the background.

The city’s name itself gives clues to the place of worship it houses. Santiago means St. James. With Compostela, there is debate about its meaning, but the one I prefer is that Compostela is derived from Campo and Stella (or the Latin Campus Stellae–Stars Field) and means FIELD OF STARS. (There is also a theory that it is from the Latin compositum and the Galician local bastardized Latin Composita Tella—or burial ground.) I choose St. James in the Field of Stars as the more illustrious and apropos translation, because FUN!

There he is, St. James, resting beneath the altar in a sepulchre in his little cubbyhole home!

As a non-Christian hiker and wanderluster, I have a different view of pilgrimage than those people. I have visited the sepulchre said to contain the bones of St. J. TWICE now. It’s quite lovely in its little cubbyhole home under the cathedral in Santiago de Compostela. The part that is so hard to believe, even though it’s ultimately fun to do so… After the apostle was executed, his disciples eventually recovered his body and put it in a STONE boat. Then the said STONE boat magically floated its way across the Mediterranean and out to the Atlantic Coast. It eventually came ashore in Iria Flavia (now Padrón), where some of his followers gathered up his body from the STONE boat and took them inland for burial. Eventually, they discovered a place so lovely with the field of night stars shining down upon it, they just had to bury him there and build a monument in his honour.

Every fairy tale has a grain of truth and a brick of salt attached to it. It doesn’t matter what the folklore is, it’s still St. James Day today! And because of the pandemic, the Pope guy in the big house has declared this year 2022 a HOLY YEAR despite the fact it does not qualify to be called one. This papal declaration means that anyone who travels any of the Camino routes this year, making their way into Santiago de Compostela, will find more pageantry than usual.

Credencials or Pilgrim Passports. These ones were issued for the Holy Year (which is 2021 with a special extension to 2022). Michael and I, along with his sister, will be walking the Camino Portugues into Santiago de Compostela this coming September… when we will be able to enter the Cathedral through the Holy Door.

Here’s the breakdown on what a Holy Year is:

The Feast of St. James always falls on 25th July. If July 25th falls on a Sunday, that year is declared a Holy Year. This happens every 6, 5, 6 and 11 years. The last Holy Year BEFORE THE PANDEMIC was in 2010. Then the pandemic hit and there was a HOLY YEAR last year, 2021. Since Holy Years see a considerable increase in the numbers of pilgrims to Santiago, but that increase was stymied by the pandemic, the Pope made a special dispensation and declared 2022 a Holy Year as well. This is the 2nd time in history that a Holy Year has been given the special dispensation to run for two years. The Spanish Civil War (1936-1939) created a fragile political situation that caused the Church to decide to extend the Xacobean Holy Year of 1937 to 1938.

I believe this is the HOLY DOOR, as seen from inside the Cathedral. I have never been to the Cathedral when the door is open, and it’s so easy to get turned around inside the humongous building, but I think this is it. This door is right across from where you go into the area where the sepulchre is, beneath the altar. So it would make sense…

What’s special at the Cathedral, besides extra special celebrations, during Holy Years? It is the one time that the “Holy Door” at the Cathedral opens. The Catholic Church offers a plenary indulgence during this time to pilgrims who cross the threshold of the Holy Door.

There you have it… the reason why 2022 is not exactly a Holy Year on the Camino de Santiago, but, in fact, IS a Holy Year.

Here’s a shot from when Michael and I walked the Camino Frances in September, 2019. My sandals in the foreground and Michael admiring the facade of the Cathedral in the distance.

I realize I use a lot of tongue in cheek when I talk about the religious aspects of the Camino, but I respect the Camino de Santiago for all it represents while walking its paths. I was raised Catholic, but I consider myself rescued from that organization. I do carry with me its ceremony and pomp…I remember all the rhetoric and liturgy. I don’t walk for religious reasons, but respect those who do. I walk to feel my feet touch the earth and to have moments of reflection and for the beauty and camaraderie. There is room on the Camino paths for people from all walks. And there is room to respect all the people walking.

Happy St. James Feast Year! If it was your hope to walk a Holy Year, I do hope you were able to do so. Enjoy your walk to the field of stars!