The Pilgrim's Progress

The Pilgrim's Progress

On this page we're hoping to bring you up-to-date news of Revd Canon Stephen Buckley's Pilgrimage from Porto in Portugal to Santiago de Compostela, in Spain - the 'Camino Portugues'. 

There may well be days when this isn't possible - because there is no Wi-Fi link for the internet where Stephen is staying, he has run out of data to connect to the internet on his smartphone, or he is recuperating after a long day's walk!

Instead we will 'fill in the gaps' as best we can, looking at views of the various villages and towns that Stephen is due to pass through in coming days, with a little of their history and significance. 

LATEST POSTING - SUNDAY 13TH OCTOBER 2019

Stephen has reached Vigo and is walking to Redondela today (Sunday). 

Tomorrow 14/10/19 he walks to Pontevedra. 

15/10/19 is a rest day in Pontevedra.

Here are a few recent photos. 

 

LOCATIONS ON THE PORTUGUESE LEG OF THE PILGRIMAGE...

On Monday 7th October 2019 the pilgrims were due to continue 12 miles along the Portuguese coastal path from Viano do Costelo to Vila Praia de Ancora, a beautiful beach resort.

The Âncora River divides the beach, awarded 'Blue Flag' status: the northern part, where there is a small pool, is suitable for children's play; there is a pontoon bridge leading to Lagarteiro Fort and a small fishing port; the southern part of the beach is shaped by a row of dunes, and bordered by long wooden walkways.

Town Square,Vila Praia de Ancora.

Beach area, Vila Praia de Ancora.

Several views of the idyllic Vila Praia de Ancora.

On Tuesday 8th October the pilgrims walk from Praia de Ancora to Caminha, which is located 2 km from the Atlantic, on the southern side of the Minho estuary, where this river is met by the smaller and meandering Coura

Here the Minho reaches its widest point (about 2 km) and marks the border between Portugal and Galiza in Spain. The highly scenic area, with the wide estuary marked by low-tide sandbars, a pastoral and green rural landscape, and pine forests on the slopes of the granite mountains is increasingly popular for second homes and as a summer resort.

Wednesday 9th October is a rest day in Caminha.

Caminha - Rua Direita, main street of the medieval old town.

Old castle keep of Caminha, turned into a public clock tower in the 17th century. Its gate leads to the historical centre.

Parish church of Caminha (early 16th century).

Caminha and the Minho river.

THE ROAD AHEAD

On Thursday 10th October, the pilgrims will use the ferry boat to cross the Minho River from Caminha in Portugal to A Guarda in Spain. The Camino then continues northwards to Viladesuso, a distance of 14 miles.

The ferry from Caminha in Portugal, to A Guarda in Spain. 

Church of San Miguel in Viladesuso. 

The Pilgrim Way runs northwards along the coast, from A Guarda to Viladesuso. 

Hotel Costa Verde in Viladesuso is the pilgrims' destination on Thursday 10th October 2019. 

 

Friday 11th October 2019

On Friday 11th October the pilgrims are due to walk from Viladesuso to Baiona. 

Views of Baiona.

On March 1, 1493, the Pinta, one of the ships from Columbus's voyage to the New World returned to Europe and arrived in Baiona, making the town's port the first to receive news of the discovery of America. A replica of the ship can be visited, and the event is celebrated every year.

In 1585 the inhabitants of Baiona repelled an attempt to take the town by the privateer Francis Drake. Five years later Philip of Spain beat the pirates that were laying the Galician coast to waste, with a fleet of 98 vessels and 17,000 soldiers.

Saturday 12th October 2019

Baiona to Vigo - 16miles

Central Vigo.

In the 16th and 17th centuries, Vigo was attacked several times. In 1585 and 1589, during an unsuccessful attack by the English counter-Armada, Francis Drake raided the city and temporarily occupied it, burning many buildings. Several decades later a Turkish fleet tried to attack the city. As a result, the city's walls were built in 1656 in the reign of Philip IV of Spain. They are still partially preserved.

Sunday 13th October 2019

Vigo to Redondela - 10 miles

The most famous icon of the village is its skyline - dominated by two major railway viaducts built in the nineteenth century. Due to these structures Redondela is known under the nickname "Village of the viaducts."

Monday 14th October 2019

Redondelo to Pontevedra 11 miles

San Jose Square, Pontevedra. 

During the 12th century Pontevedra rose as an important commercial centre; it reached its zenith in the 15th century as a trade and communications hub. Pontevedra was the main Galician urban centre. In fact, Pontevedra has the second largest "old town" in Galicia, only after Santiago de Compostela. The "Igrexa da Virxe Peregrina" (Church of the Pilgrims), with its distinctive scallop-shaped floor plan, is a destination for tourists and pilgrims.

In the 16th century it still was a commercial city, with an increase in fishing. At that time, Pontevedra was the largest Galician port, as it was a secure port open to the sea. One of Christopher Columbus's ships, the Santa Maria, originally named La Gallega ("The Galician"), was built in Pontevedra. It was in centuries later that the sedimentation caused by river Lérez gradually rendered the harbour unsuitable for large-scale navigation. The end of the 16th century marked the beginning of the decline of the city.

Tuesday 15th October 2019

Rest Day in Pontevedra 

Wednesday 16th October 2019

Pontevedra to Caldas de Reis - 14 miles​​​​​​​

Thursday 17th October 2019

Caldas de Reis to Padron - 11 miles

Friday 18th October 2019

Padron to Teo - 7 miles

 

LATEST NEWS FROM THE CAMINO!

Thursday 10th October 2019

Stephen talked to Christine last night. He and his friends are in Caminha and preparing to cross on the ferry to A Guarda in Spain today. 

His recent lack of contact has been due to an ageing phone with limited battery charge. 

Sunday 6th October 2019

Basilica of Santa Luzia, Viana do Costelo.

Interior of Igreja da Misericordia, Viana do Costelo. 

Exterior of Igreja da Misericordia, Viana do Costelo. 

Sunday's destination was Viana do Costelo, a walk of 13 miles from Esposende. 

Viana is rich in palaces emblazoned with coats of arms, churches and monasteries, monumental fountains and water features. To explore you can choose a route inspired by Manueline, Renaissance, Baroque, Art Deco or tile architecture. The centre is the Praça da República, the heart of the city. with the 16th century Misericórdia building and fountain, as well as the old Paços do Concelho (Town Hall). Close by is the Romanesque Cathedral or Igreja Matriz (Parish Church).

Saturday 5th October 2019

Having stayed overnight in Apulia, our Pellegrinos' destination today is Esposende, a walk of 8 miles. In the past, Portuguese monarchs Dom Afonso II, Queen Santa Isabel and King Manuel I all crossed the River Cávado by Fao Bridge near Esposende, on their pilgrimages to Santiago. 

Cavado River, Esposende.

 

Fao Bridge, Esposende. 

Esposende Museum.

Matriz Church, Esposende.

Destination - the Sun and Sand Guesthouse in Esposende.

Friday 4th October 2019

The Pellegrinos' destination today was Apulia, a walk of 11 miles from Vilo do Conde. 

Apulia, Portugal. 

A church in Apulia. 

Apúlia is known for its dune beaches and Roman-style folk costumes. It may be related to the region of Apulia in Italy, and a possible migration from there during the Roman Empire. 

Setting off for Apulia, 4th October 2019.

Another shot of the coastal boardwalk the Pellegrinos have been following.  It runs across sand dunes which contain rare and endangered plants.

 

'Toasting our arrival in Apulia. We stayed in the equivalent of a B&B. Lovely couple running it. Long day tomorrow so we’ve arranged to have the rucksacks sent on to Vila Do Conde by one of the many firms who offer this service on the Camino.'

 

Thursday 3rd October 2019

The Pellegrinos' 'Camino Portugues' begins, starting at the historic 'Dom Pedro I ' obelisk on the coast to the north-west of Porto - here are some pictures marking the beginning of their pilgrimage..

Dom Pedro I of Brazil

The obelisk marking the location of Dom Pedro's landing in 1832 is the starting point of Stephen and his friends's Camino. 

Dom Pedro was King of Brazil - then briefly King of Portugal after the invasion.

He was a passionate opponent of slavery in Brazil and fought successfully against the Portuguese colonialist rule, eventually making Brazil an independent state - of which he became emperor/king. 

His life - and the turbulent era in which he lived - can be read about here: 

King Pedro I of Brazil

Day 1 of the Camino - the starting point of their pilgrimage. 

The start of the Camino - Dom Pedro I's obelisk.

This wooden boardwalk runs the whole way from Porte to Vila Do Conde.

This monument marks the spot where a Lancaster crash-landed on the beach in 1943. The whole crew survived, having been rescued by local fishermen.

A house the pilgrims encountered en route to Vila Do Conde.

Wednesday 2nd October 2019

This obelisk is the starting point for the Camino.

We start tomorrow at the obelisk shown on the map next to the figure 3.5 ('Obelisco'). The obelisk marks the spot where Dom Pedro’s army landed in 1832.

Organized from the Azores, Dom Pedro IV's navy squadron, with an army of 7500 men, landed on this beach with the aim of establishing a modern and liberal regime. Choosing this place surprised the 'absolutist' army, since an attack from the North had not been been anticipated. After landing, the "Liberation Army" headed to Porto itself, which they entered peacefully on July 9 1832, and where they resisted opposition forces for a year at the Siege of Porto.

After a civil war, Pedro became king, but only reigned for 2 years.

Wikipedia notes: Pedro I invaded Portugal at the head of an army in July 1832. Faced at first with what seemed a national civil war, he soon became involved in a wider conflict that enveloped the Iberian Peninsula in a struggle between proponents of liberalism and those seeking a return to absolutism. Pedro I died of tuberculosis on 24 September 1834, just a few months after he and the liberals had emerged victorious. He was hailed by both contemporaries and posterity as a key figure who helped spread the liberal ideals that allowed Brazil and Portugal to move from absolutist regimes to representative forms of government.

Vila do Conde

During the 16th century, Vila do Code attained the summit of its commercial and maritime importance due to naval construction, associated with the Portuguese Age of Discovery. Many of the historical buildings, such as the port and customs house, were all integral to the commercial life of the 16th century. The passage of King Manuel I through Vila do Conde, during a pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela, in 1502, helped to develop some of the important architecture in the city. The Matrice ChurchPraça Nova (New Square) and several municipal buildings, along with new arterial roads, were begun under the reign of Manuel I. The Praça Nova, today called Praça Vasco da Gama was opened in 1538, during the reign of King John III of Portugal.

Vasco da Gama Square, Vila do Conde.

Matrice Church, Vila do Conde is a showcase of the late Gothic Portuguese architecture. It is typical of the Portuguese style of architectural ornamentation in the first decades of the 16th century - incorporating maritime elements that were probably introduced by the Portuguese voyagers.

The church portico in the Matrice Church along Rua da Igreja, constructed from the wealth of Portuguese discoveries.

A carrack in the harbour of Vila do Conde: many mariners from the area were involved in the epic voyages during the Age of Discovery.

First Camino destination - Vila do Conde, Portugal.

The start of the Camino Portugues consists of a 9-mile/15km walk to Vila do Conde

As promised, a copy of the itinerary for the Camino.

The Pilgrim Record - which is stamped at every hostel visited on the Camino route. It's issued by the 'Confraternity of St James'.

Relaxing in Porto city centre.

Porto Cathedral - where we got our Camino Passport stamped. It’s necessary to get this stamped at each place you stop, as you have to produce it in Santiago to be given your ‘Credenza’.

Meeting other pilgrims at the Cathedral.

Breakfast in the Hotel Palanca (2/10/19).

 

The pilgrims are seeing Porto's sights today (2/10/19), before beginning their Camino tomorrow (3/10/19). Here are some places worth visiting in the city...

Liberty Square, central Porto. In 1866 a monument was dedicated to King Peter IV in the middle of the square. The monument consists of a statue of Peter IV riding a horse and holding the Constitution that he had fought to protect.

 

Dom Luis I Bridge, Porto spans the River Douro. At its construction, its 172 metres (564 ft) span was the longest of its type in the world.

Clerigos Church, Porto. The Clérigos Church ("Church of the Clergymen") is a baroque church.  Its tall bell tower, the Torre dos Clérigos, can be seen from various points of the city and is one of its most characteristic symbols.

Crystal Palace Gardens, Porto. The gardens have a maze of walkways, tree-lined waterways, sculptured topiary and a huge domed pavilion (all thanks to German landscape architect Emile David), and overlooks the Douro River.

Porto Cathedral is the city’s most important church. Built in the 12th and 13th centuries, it is classified as a national monument.

Sao Bento Railway Station was built in the early 20th century on the site of the former Convento de São Bento de Avé-Maria, from which it took its name. The walls of its entrance hall are plastered with thousands of historical tile panels, painted by Jorge Colaço (1864-1942). 

Porto Wine Cellars. The Sandeman Cellars includes a museum; Taylor’s features the highly rated O Barão de Fladgate restaurant; and Cockburn’s  is where you can enjoy a picnic with some Portuguese delicacies.

Tuesday 1st October 2019

Stephen with Phil and Chris at Manchester Airport Departure Lounge - before boarding Ryanair to Porto. 

Fellow pellegrinos Phil and Chris at Manchester Airport.

Monday 30th September 2019

Revd Canon Stephen Buckley leaves his home in Worcester.

Departure, Worcester, Monday 30th September 2019.

Welcome to our Camino Pilgrimage Diary; that’s me above, Stephen. You’ll meet the other two, Chris and Phil, when we meet up at Manchester Airport on Tuesday afternoon (1/10/19).

From there we fly to Porto, and begin our pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela this coming Thursday (3/10/19), having spent Wednesday exploring the city.

Our pilgrims' destination - the cathedral of Santiago de Compostela, north-west Spain.

Santiago has been a place of pilgrimage for Christians since the 9th century as it claims to be the burial place of the apostle St James. I’m not going to go into the history of that, you can find all you need to know on Google. There are many different routes to Santiago starting from all over Europe.

Porto to Caminha.

Esposito, Portugal.

Caminha, Portugal.

Vigo, Spain.

If you want to follow us on a map, our choice follows the coast of Portugal from Porto, through such places as Vila Do Conde, Esposende etc, until we reach Caminha where we cross by ferry into Spain.

Caminha, Portugal to Redondela, Spain. 

We continue to Vigo and walk inland to Redondela. Our route then takes us through Pontevedra, Caldas de Reis, Padron and Teo, arriving in Santiago on the 19th October; a distance of 170 miles.  We’ll post our complete timetable later. We hope you will enjoy following our journey, and if it’s your practice please remember us in your prayers.

Redondela, Spain.

Pontevedra, Spain.

Caldas de Reis, Spain.

Padron, Spain.

Teo, Spain.

 

Redondela to Pontevedra, Caldas de Reis, Padron and Santiago de Compostela.