“And the road is plenty wide and welcoming,Susan Frybort, “On the Road of Great Wonder,” in Hope is a Traveler, 2015
speaking out to all,
This is the perfect place,
this is the right time,
this is where wish becomes possible.”
I am home from five weeks of walking on roads – up and down the hilly tiled streets of Lisbon and Porto; the wooden boardwalks edging mile-long expanses of northern Portugal’s golden sand beaches; tarmac in urban centres and highways; quiet cobblestone village alleys; Roman roads, at least a thousand years old, rutted from cart wheels; sandy trails through eucalyptus groves. Each one the perfect place, the right time where my wish to walk my camino to Santiago de Compostela became possible.
I know many of you were eager to see and read about the unfolding of my journey. And yet I knew it best to limit my access to social media as I travelled, not wanting the work of posting, nor its distraction from my “sole (only)-sole (foot)-soul” purpose: to walk in joy and with gratitude for the beauty I would be experiencing. With the exception of daily check-ins with my husband on WhatsApp, a few emails to my parents, and three changes to my FACEBOOK cover photo, I kept true to my intention.
And as I gave thought to what and how I’d begin to “unpack” my experience, I decided to take a few weeks here to share photos with brief highlight notes of the stages. I know now, feeling so full of visceral impressions, I’m unable to discern the words of deeper meaning and resonance, the questions that stir, the wisdom to be gleaned. And I’ve decided that when those words and questions and wisdom emerge, I’ll save them for my next collection of poetry.
Beginning in Lisbon
Given I’d be in Portugal, I designed the journey to arrive in Lisbon, spend a few days acclimatizing and touring, then taking the train to Porto to spend a few more days touring before starting the Camino a week later on the beach at La Bruge, north of Porto.
As my companion had spent time in Lisbon a few years ago, I asked her to plan our time there, my only requirement being to taste the famous Belem custard tarts and to have an evening of fado music, Portugal’s answer to the blues (which I’d researched and had the hotel book upon our arrival.) The weather was terrific as we spent a day in Belem,
another in Sintra,
and our final day taking the tram to the castle with its peacocks, walking our way down through the Alfama district, and savoring a quinessential Portuguese dinner of caldo verde, bachalau and vinho verde with sericaia de elvas for dessert, to accompany that night’s fado performance.
A highlight was attending the post Covid premier of the “Lisbon Under Stars.” Originally performed in 2018, this award winning, multimedia immersive, staged within the Carmo Cathedral ruins, told the story of its origins and collapse in the 1755 earthquake.
Next up, Porto with its food tour, Harry Potter bookstore, river cruise, and day at the Serralves gallery and park.
“With each honorable step moving forward,Susan Frybort, “On the Road of Great Wonder,” in Hope is a Traveler, 2015
watching life unfold with marvel,
as beings simply being, they walk
upon this pathway of great wonder.”
Much love and kindest regards, dear friends.