This is day 5 (of 7) of my Camino Portuguese journey (which I did around Easter time back in 2017). This day would essentially be the same length as the previous day’s stage, but this time the state of my feet was even worse. When I woke up they were rather swollen with a relentless ongoing low grade throbbing pain.
The first 5km or so was very slow going as I tried to find a way to walk with the least amount of pain possible. Then, as if by some magic, the severe pain just disappeared. It felt like some kind of profound mental breakthrough, and despite the soles of my feet still pretty much looking like mince meat, I was able to walk almost at my usual pace for the rest of the day experiencing only the slightest of discomfort.
The highlights of this 5th day were the two solid climbs, the surprise of coming across the camino shell monument, and crossing the medieval stone Roman bridge, the Pontesampaio, at the fishing village of Arcade. In addition, the final stretch along the nature trails by the Río Tomeza, on approach to Pontevedra, was the perfect, peaceful end to a day that had started as an outright ordeal of pain management. In retrospect, I think my experiences on this stage collectively ended up being the defining moment of this particular camino journey. I had learned to accept the suffering, and to actually do so with true gratitude. It was simply the karmic price, which I had to pay to receive a glimpse of God’s grace. It was at that very moment, after the initial 5km of almost overwhelming pain, that it miraculously just disappeared, as if in an instant. What an amazing existence we are blessed to experience, one that we can become consciously more aware of, should we just dare to push through the barriers that we’ve created for ourselves.
More about the camino:
The Camino Portuguese de Santiago, or Portuguese Way, is a Christian pilgrimage trail of about 245km that starts at the cathedral in Porto, Portugal and ends at its architectural namesake in Santiago de Compostela in Spain, but it isn’t just for the dogmatically inclined. It’s also traversed by people of all backgrounds and for all kinds of different reasons, though commonly in connection with personal growth However, regardless of the multitude of possible personal life or spiritual perspectives, it’s also simply an absolutely magnificent and interesting, scenic week-long walk!