I stepped off the plane and immediately stopped to take my sweater off and feel the warm sun on my skin.
I’m about to walk 625km across Portugal, in August, and there will be a lot more of that hot sun in store for me. There probably will not be too many trees to give me shade, as I walk across the countryside.
So yeah, it might look ridiculous, but I think I am about to purchase a big floppy beach hat.
After dropping my bags at my the HUB Lisbon Patio Hostel (which is absolutely amazing and super cheap), I walked across the city to the Cathedral of the Martyrs to register for the Camino Portuguese. I stood in line in the gift shop for quite some time (it was a very busy Cathedral) and when it came to my turn I asked to buy my camino credential, a book that I will fill with stamps to show hostels and restaurants along the way that I am walking the pilgrim route. There are many hostels that are exclusively for pilgrims on the Camino, and without a credential, you can not stay in them.
I was told to walk through the cathedral to a small office behind the altar. When I arrived into the small room there was just one, tiny, old lady behind a desk. She took my passport and 3 Euros, and registered my name into the book of pilgrims starting from Lisbon.
On the Camino Frances, which starts on the border of France and crosses the north of Spain, over 300 pilgrims register every day, so I asked the lady, “How many pilgrims start from Lisbon each day?”
What does that mean? “What do you mean, ‘no?'”
“No pilgrims start in Lisbon, they all start in Porto.”
So though the Camino Portuguese trail starts in Lisbon, it seems I will be walking the entire first-half, completely on my own. After that, I will probably be joined for the last two weeks of the walk by hundreds of people, after Porto.
After putting the first stamp into my credential, the lady then directed me to the bookstore across the alley from the cathedral, Bertrand Books And Music, where I could buy the walking guide for the Camino Portuguese. This bookstore happened to be the oldest operating bookstore in the world.
Taking it easy tomorrow, the day before I start walking.
I’ll do the Free Lisbon Walking Tour at 10 am.
Then I will climb the hill to walk through and explore the Lisbon castle.
Then I will have a big dinner and come back to the hostel to get an early sleep as I will wake up at 7 am to get walking before it gets too hot.
I wish my Camino Mommies Sveta Babic and Cynthia OBrien were here to set the wake-up schedule. And I wish my other Camino Mommy Jomayra Rivera was here to flip on the light at 6:50 am and walk through the hostel singing “We Wish You a Merry Christmas” until I have my eyes open.
Those where some of the memories that made us such a great Camino Family two years ago as we walked across Spain. Being woken up at 6:50 am would usually make anyone quite grumpy, but hearing Jomayra sing Christmas carols in her thick Puerto Rican accent, in June, meant that everyone got up with a big smile on their face.
I’ll miss my Camino Family every time I wish another pilgrim “Buen Camino.”
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