Fátima Memories

Today, Pope Francis was in Fátima to canonize Jacinta and Francisco, two of the children who reported seeing a vision of the Virgin Mary in a field in Portugal. This sighting took place one-hundred years ago, and made Fátima one of the most popular pilgrimage destinations in the world. Learn more about the Fatima pilgrimage in this video.

My pre-Camino tour of Portugal included a night stay in Fátima. Most tours just stop there for a day, but because we stayed in a hotel right next to shrine, I was able to attend the candlelight procession in the evening, as well as the mass at the cathedral the next morning.

Candlelight mass before the procession.

The experience was deeply moving. It was just one day before leaving for my Camino, and during a time of my rekindled faith. After this candlelight ceremony, I pondered the idea of getting a blessing before my journey. Continue reading

Porto Memories: Coastal Stroll

Continued from Ferreira Port Cellars Tour and Tasting.

Matosinhos Beach

One of the tour’s included dinners was about a fifteen-minute drive from the Porto at Matosinhos Beach. I felt like I was back in California when I saw the surfers wearing wet suits.

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Porto Memories: Ferreira Port Cellars Tour and Tasting

Continued from Porto Memories: Stock Exchange Palace and Imperial McDonald’s.

If you like Port wine, don’t miss a visit to the many Port cellars on the south side of the Duoro in Porto. Instead of touring the British-founded Sandeman Port, our tour guide brought us to Ferreira, the only Porto wine house to have remained in Portuguese hands since its foundation. And it was made successful by a woman! Ferreira tops the list in the 10 Wine Tours You Can’t Miss in Porto. Below are photos from our experience.

Founded in 1751, it became particularly prominent under the leadership of Dona Antónia Adelaide Ferreira.

Founded in 1751, the winery became particularly prominent under the leadership of Doña Antónia Adelaide Ferreira.

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Porto Memories: Stock Exchange Palace and Imperial McDonald’s

Continued from Porto Memories: Walking Tour.

Below are the photos of the Stock Exchange Palace, followed by our guilty pleasure: having lunch at the Imperial McDonald’s. Don’t judge, some people say it’s the most beautiful McDonald’s in the world!

Designated a World Heritage Site by UNESCO, Palácio da Bolsa (Stock Exchange Palace) was built in the nineteenth century by the city’s Commercial Association in Neoclassical style. According to the Rick Steves Portugal book, “Today this unassuming building is neither a stock exchange or a palace, but a breathtaking monument to civic and commercial pride, with some of the most lavishly decorated rooms in Portugal.”

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Porto Memories: Walking Tour

Continued from São Bento Railway Station.

I love to take walking tours to get a vibe on a city. Trafalgar usually includes walking tours led by locals, and we have always had a fantastic experience. Below are the photos from our tour through the Ribeira (riverbank) district of Porto, and the Dom Luis I bridge.

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Porto Memories: São Bento Railway Station

Continued from J. K. Rowling Hangouts, Majestic Café and Livrario Lello.

I enjoyed seeing the blue-and-white azulejo tiles on buildings throughout our tour of Portugal, but the São Bento Railway Station in Porto takes the cake! It celebrated its hundredth anniversary in 2016 and is still serving thousands of people a day as a transportation hub in the heart of Porto. Afar magazine claims it to be the most beautiful train station in the world. It is certainly the prettiest that I have been to. Whether or not you need to take a train while in Porto, spend some time to enjoy the beautiful scenes of life in those gleaming tiles. Think of it as an admission-free museum!

Train Station in Porto

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Porto Memories: J. K. Rowling Hangouts, Majestic Café and Livrario Lello

Did you know that the author of the beloved Harry Potter books lived in Porto between 1991 and 1993?  J. K. Rowling taught English there and used to hang out at the Majestic Café, and the 100-year-old bookshop, Livrario Lello.

According to The Portugalist, “During this time she outlined and developed her ideas for the entire seven-book series, and even got started on book one.”

I loved reading all the Harry Potter books and watching the films, so visiting J. K. Rowling’s old haunts was very exciting! Continue reading

Porto Memories: The Cathedral

Continued from Porto Memories: Six Bridges Cruise and Porto at Night.

The Porto Cathedral is the place to get your first stamp if you start your Camino in Porto. You can also buy a pilgrim’s credencial there. I already had a credencial from American Pilgrims on the Camino, but I bought this one in case I ran out of space for stamps. It was the same older style from the pilgrim office in Santiago, and cost €2. See comparison of credencials.

Below are photos of the Porto Cathedral.

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Porto Memories: Six Bridges Cruise and Porto at Night

One of our favorites stops on my pre-Camino tour of Portugal was a two-nights stay in Porto. Many pilgrims start their Camino Portugués from there, and I highly recommend spending a couple of days to explore this incredible city. Here is the first in a series of posts on things to do in Porto.

Porto Cruise

What better way to shake off jet lag than a cruise on the Duoro river?

Porto Cruz

All aboard!

All aboard!

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The Camino Podcast Facebook Page

CaminoPodcastHappy Friday! In January I wrote a post about The Camino Podcast, by Dave Whitson, which had just launched in December 2015. Back then these podcasts were only on SoundCloud and iTunes. There wasn’t a web presence so it was not easy to find or link to an archive of episodes.  I am so happy to see that Dave now has a Facebook page for the Camino Podcast that you follow to see past episodes and be notified when new episodes are available.

Dave does a great job introducing the guests, asking them good questions, and providing his own perspective. I was excited when I heard the voices of some of my friends and guest bloggers.

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