In September 2020, I embarked on the famous Camino de Santiago, a renowned pilgrimage route across the top of Spain known as the Camino Frances. Originally, the plan was to experience this journey alongside my brothers AND a diverse group of fellow travelers who would join us at different stages. Unfortunately, due to travel restrictions, only my brothers and I were able to make it to Europe.
Undeterred by the change in plans, one of my girlfriends suggested a brilliant alternative: why not embark on the Camino Portuguese from Porto to Santiago de Compostela, but THIS time as a girls-only adventure? We were captivated by the idea, aware that our time was limited to just two weeks. Debbie and I were discussing it when Michelle expressed her eagerness to join, and in no time, Julie enthusiastically jumped on the bandwagon. With four of us, we knew we had the perfect number for a cohesive and manageable group.
Given my prior experience on the Camino, I took on the responsibility of planning this unforgettable journey. The prospect of exploring the Camino Portuguese with my closest girlfriends filled me with anticipation. The camaraderie, laughter, and shared memories it promised were already building a sense of excitement within each one of us.
As the designated planner, I eagerly dove into the task, seeking accommodations, mapping out the route, and researching the captivating landmarks and hidden treasures we would encounter along the way. Our adventure was about to take shape, and I couldn’t wait to guide my friends through this transformative pilgrimage. Hahaha….who am I kidding.🤣 I decided to enlist the services of a company called Pilgrim. The name says it all – they specialize in organizing Camino journeys.
Preparing for Our Journey
With Pilgrim, all I had to do was provide them with our chosen starting point, desired walking distances per day, and other preferences. They swiftly crafted an itinerary, which we fine-tuned to suit our needs. Once we were satisfied, we paid a deposit, and Pilgrim took care of all the logistical details. From reserving hotels to arranging transportation in certain areas and even handling our luggage transfers each day, they had it covered.
The convenience they offered came at a cost of 4,080€ for our group of four. When you break it down, that’s approximately 72€ per day, ensuring we would have clean, comfortable rooms with our own bathrooms. To be more precise, each room had two beds, providing ample space for us to rest and rejuvenate after each day’s journey. Plus, having to share the bathroom with just one other person, someone I know well, added an extra layer of comfort. To top it off, the Pilgrim team ensured that our bathroom was cleaned daily, adding an additional touch of freshness to our accommodations.
With Pilgrim taking care of all the logistical details, packing became a breeze this time around. Knowing that our bags would be transferred for us each day, we could focus on bringing just the essentials for our daily walks. The weight lifted from our shoulders, both literally and metaphorically, allowed us to fully immerse ourselves in the transformative experience of the Camino de Santiago.
Allow me to introduce you to the wonderful cast of characters who will be joining me on this remarkable journey along the Camino de Santiago:
First, we have Michelle, one of my oldest friends of 40 years and college roommate from Western State College. Over the years, we have shared countless memories and adventures together, and now have the opportunity to embark on this extraordinary pilgrimage as fellow travelers. Michelle’s presence will undoubtedly bring comfort, laughter, and a deep sense of familiarity to the journey. She is a seasoned backpacker and will be the EMT on the trip since she has years of experience with Wilderness Search and Rescue as well as a volunteer EMT.
Next up is Debbie, someone I’ve known since my days at Texas A&M. Debbie’s adventurous spirit and contagious enthusiasm make her the perfect companion for any journey. We’ve traveled together extensively, creating cherished memories filled with laughter and joy. With Debbie as part of the group, there will surely be no shortage of fun and lighthearted moments during the expedition. Get ready for even more laughter and shared adventures!
Last but certainly not least, we have Julie, the youngest member of our group, hailing all the way from Costa Rica. Even with a 15-year age gap, Julie’s infectious energy, vibrant spirit, and worldly perspective will add an exciting dynamic to this adventure. Her unique perspective and diverse experiences will undoubtedly enrich the conversations and exchanges throughout the journey.
With this diverse and remarkable group of friends this trip will become a true melting pot of shared stories, laughter, and support. Each member of this cast of characters brings their own background, personality, and friendship to the table, ensuring an unforgettable and fulfilling experience for all.
Stay tuned as we delve into the adventures that await with my extraordinary companions on the Camino de Santiago, and how their presence will shape and enhance the journey for everyone involved.