Last night, I ate dinner at a Pizza Hut. There wasn’t a lot of choice of restaurants in the urban area where I stopped for the night. Somehow, this isn’t what I expected from Portugal!

My father was a paratrooper. He always said that the scariest jump was not the first, but the second. On the first jump you have no idea what you are getting into. On the second jump, you know exactly what lies ahead of you.

Perhaps the same applies to the Camino. The first day is exhilarating but on the following morning you wake up sore and with blisters on your feet and wonder why you’re doing this. My shoulders were the biggest casualty today. They were very sore from carrying an overstuffed backpack. Time to pitch out some things.

Had I been smarter, I would have skipped the first two, three or four days of this Camino as so far the Camino Portuguese from Lisbon to Porto passes through very industrial areas, and it’s a grind in this heat. I had been walking ten miles or more a day since arriving in Europe, but walking with a heavy backpack for 20 miles a day in the hot sun is very different.

Spain is a country that I understand and adore, but Portugal is completely new to me. The Portuguese do not speak English or Spanish well, and I cannot understand Portuguese. So, this is truly like being in a foreign country for me.

I trust that this journey will unfold in beautiful ways. I’m reading the Gospel of Luke in French in order to keep God at the center of this pilgrimage.

With love and prayers from Portugal,

Marek