Pilgrim Interview: European Peace Walk

Below is an interview with Marie Louise Muscat Azzopardi, a pilgrim who walked the European Peace Walk (EWP) in 2017, and friend of guest blogger James Portelli.

Pilgrim Interview: European Peace Walk

By James Portelli

Meeting Marie Louise

Marie Louise

Have you ever crossed paths with someone who strikes you as a breath of fresh air, a person brimming with positive energy? My wife Tucc and I have known such a person—Marie Louise—for a few years now and we always look forward to meeting her on treks we join. I recently met with Marie Louise to discuss her most recent trek, the European Peace Walk.

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Pilgrim Interviews: Four Men from Malta

I am happy to share another collaboration with James Portelli, the guest blogger who wrote route reports for Camino Inglés/Finisterre among many other insightful posts. For this one, James interviewed four friends from Malta who walked the Camino Francés in September and October 2016.

From left to right: John, Alex, Raymond and Pierre

From left to right: John, Alex, Raymond and Pierre

James and John, one of the peregrinos mentioned in this piece, had participated with other Maltese pilgrims on earlier Caminos raising over € 100,000 to support local charities.

Below is the interview, ‘Ultreya Pellegrini Maltin,’ which translates to ‘Onward Maltese Pilgrims.’ Enjoy!

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Camino Baltica, by James Portelli

Introduction: The Pomeranian Camino

When people talk about the Way of St. James, the more traditional walks in and around Galicia tend to spring to mind. But the fact is that Santiago de Compostela used to be one of the most popular pilgrimage sites and was visited by pilgrims from all Catholic kingdoms, princedoms, and bishopric states of the old world. This meant that travelers were journeying to Santiago de Compostela not only from, say, Le Puy (France), Salzburg (Austria), or Regensburg (Germany) but also from farther afield.


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The Here and Now, by James Portelli

Following on “Life Is a Journey,” “Love Your Neighbor,” and “Loving Myself,” this last piece will revolve around my third resolution, that is, “The Here and Now.”

It is often said that if you want to make the Almighty laugh, you should share with him your plans.

Topoftheworld       VoidofDeath

Monuments in the Dom Platzl [Cathedral Square] in Salzburg pictured from left: top of the world and the void of death

There are many sayings, clichés, and words of wisdom about leaving the past behind, not dwelling too much on the future, and concentrating on the present. If that’s the right approach, the words attributed to Marcus Aurelius (120–180 A.D.), “Do every act of your life as if it were your last” (The Emperor’s Handbook: A New Translation of the Meditations, [New York: Scribner, 2002]), make a lot of sense. We don’t always see it, but it does hit home when, for example, our friends cross off items on their bucket list as they brace themselves for the great beyond.

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Loving Myself, by James Portelli

Following on “Life Is a Journey” and “Love Your Neighbor,” this piece will concentrate on yet another of my resolutions—namely, “Loving Myself.”

Dusk at Dingli Cliffs, Malta, June 2016

Dusk at Dingli Cliffs, Malta, June 2016

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Love Your Neighbor as Yourself, by James Portelli

Following on the first piece in this series, “Life Is a Journey: Siezehheim to Santiago,” in this piece I will be writing about some of my resolutions, starting with “Loving my Neighbor.”

After my first day of meetings at the office in Salzburg, I went back to the guesthouse, changed into my walking gear, and headed out to Maria Plain. The receptionist at the guesthouse expressed some doubt as to whether I would make it to Maria Plain on foot.

Long story short, I set out at around 5:00 p.m., and by 6:30 p.m. I had walked from Siezenheim, through Salzburg, and uphill to the historic church of Maria Plain. Continue reading

La Sagrada Familia, Barcelona

James Portelli is working his way toward Ferrol, Galicia, where he’ll report from the Camino Inglés. He just sent me a guest post about Gaudi’s famous masterpiece-in-progress in Barcelona.  I saw La Sagrada Familia in 1992 and thought it would never be completed. However, during my visits in 2007 and 2010, I was impressed with the progress! It is truly a must-see when in Barcelona.

La Sagrada Familia
By James Portelli


With our Camino rendezvous at Santiago Airport scheduled for the 12th May, my wife and I decided to land in Barcelona, Spain, 5 days before to savor Catalunya. Our ‘to-do list’ included Sagrada Familia and Montserrat and otherwise do what tourists do before we donned the gear of peregrines Ferrol-bound to commence the Camino Inglés.

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