What. A. Long. Flight. After waiting for my hiking poles to be delivered to the odd size luggage carrousel, I went to the Information Center where I learned I needed to take the Aero Bus 1 to City Center for €3.50. I got off on Praça do Comércio and walked to Cathedral da Sé to get my pilgrim credential as planned. Before I left the airport, I bought a €20 Vodafone SIM at a store which sits right across from the Information center. I also took some cash from the Multibanco ATM machine. I was only allowed to take €200. It was raining as the bus made its way through the 10 stops between the Airport and Praça do Comércio. I quickly got geared up for the rain as my stop was approaching. The walk to the Cathedral was wet and very slippery. My new trail shoes suck on the cobblestones, specially on the white kind... not sure why but the black cobblestones are less slippery. I had to walk on the asphalt on the road to preventing myself from going down the hill on my butt. After the Cathedral, I tried to find Amazing Hostel which is supposed to be on Beco do Arco Escuro. I could not find it. I kept walking under the rain trying to find a place where I could have some coffee and charge my cellphone. Leaving Alfama and heading towards the water in São Miguel, I see a sign for Segafredo coffee. I walk in and meet João and João both working behind the counter. They were nice and the older João gave me lots of tips on the costal route to Santiago and told me stories about the witches in Galícia. He also made a call to a hostal (not a hostel) two doors down from his bar and got me a room. I am staying at Hostal Beira Mar. It's a private room with private bathroom for €30. It's cold in here and very noisy but I am so tired I am sure in 5 minutes nothing will matter.
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.