Today, Manuela, the Italian pilgrim and I walked around Porto together. This was the last day of the Camino for her. She started her journey in Lisbon and walked to Porto through the coastal route walking 30+ kilometers a day. This is her second Camino so she's well acquainted with what it takes to walk long distances. It was a fun walk. Having a conversation in English, Italian and Portuguese all at the same time made it even more interesting. Although she spoke English well, she didn't know a few words here and there so she used the Italian equivalent, while I used the Portuguese equivalent to help carry the conversation. Walking and chatting, we visited many churches and different sites before realizing that we were starting to see some of the same places again and again. So after 17km, we headed towards Palacio de Cristal just a few steps from where we stayed for the night. I am staying there again for two more nights in a private room (pilgrims are only allowed to stay one night per albergue). She's staying in another hotel closer to the airport to catch an early flight back to Milan. We said good-bye and she left by saying Bom Camino here and in life! Tchau! I've been soaking in the hotel since Manuela left this afternoon. Set at the lounge, had coffee, ate some cake, surfed the web... all the while thinking about how sore I am from three days of walking -without- my backpack. Don't want to think what's going to happen when I have to carry the backpack with me from town to town.
Well, the answer is simple. I grew up listening to my dad telling me about having the best time in Portugal and Spain. He loved it. He wanted to go back and walk the Camino de Santiago. He wanted to do this with his good friend, and my godfather, Moreira. My father passed in 2012, the day after he turned 75. He never walked to Santiago. I am walking in his honor. I am walking for my dad. It's not repentance; it's not a religious quest. It just something that reminds me of my father and his stories. He liked to talk, flourishing his speech is ways I am not capable of doing. When he talked he made Portugal and Spain sound magical. He was keen on speaking in family gatherings because he always had something to say. Since he was the elder of the family, everyone stopped and listened. I stopped and listened. I miss listing to his voice. I miss having a conversation with him. So I am going to walk his walk. It was his walk. It is now my walk.