My sisters Betty and Marie are avid walkers and when they heard that my wife and I were interested in visiting the Camino de Santiago de Compostela this year they expressed an interest in joining us. But when they realized that neither my wife nor I planned to walk very much on The Way they changed their plans and signed up for a two-week Road Scholars tour that would allow them to walk 5 to 7 miles a day. So we then finalized our plans by agreeing to follow them and stay relatively close for the last nine days of their tour. Then we would all go to Porto for three days and finally stop off in New York City for four days on the way home.
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The Road Scholars tour began in and around Burgos for three days and then moved westward to Leon for three more days. We decided to start our own tour in Leon and booked our hotel rooms for the same three days that my sisters would be there.
After three days the Road Scholars tour moved on to Ponferrada for two days and then Sarria for one day. We decided to skip Sarria and spent three days in Ponferrada.
The Road Scholars tour ended with three nights in Santiago and we took the bus to Santiago and spent our last three nights there, too.
Pilgrims have been walking across Spain on the Camino for a thousand years. We felt a need to go there ourselves to understand why people from all over the world decide to take a month out of their lives to walk the 500 miles from St Jean Pied de Port on the French side of the Pyrenees to the Cathedral in Santiago. A few years ago we saw the Martin Sheen movie The Way and the Camino got on our bucket list. After our trip to Scotland last year the Camino became number one on the list.
My sisters thought it would be nice to relax for a few days after their tour before heading home and I suggested Porto, a scenic spot where you could relax with a glass or two of port wine by your side! Also, Our brother Jim recently visited Porto and heartily recommended it.
There were a couple of reasons for choosing New York for our final stop before flying home. NYC is one of my sister Betty’s favorite places to visit but my sister Marie had never been there before. Both sisters expressed interest in attending a Broadway show. My wife and I had a two-day stay there ten years ago after a New England / Canada cruise but really all we did was hop on and off a sightseeing bus for the two days. And we have been talking for years about breaking up the long flight home from a European trip with perhaps two flights, one to a spot on the East Coast and then one across the country to home. So we went to New York City for four days.