“On the way” with André.

André is a knowledgeable person about the Camino de Santiago. With several routes under his belt, he was invited by his friends to be the “guide”. Get to know this story better and take in the advice from someone who has completed this journey 12 times!

Why did you take the road to Santiago?
André: I did the Way to Santiago in April during the Holy Week, this year. I accompanied 2 friends because it was their first walk. As I have already done the roads to Santiago 12 times they wanted me to go with them because they wanted someone who already had the experience. This time was different because I played the “guide” and prepared all the stages.

How many days did it take and which stages did you complete?

André: It took us 7 days. We started in Ponte de Lima all the way to Santiago.

How did you prepare physically for the journey?
André: Before we went to do the Portuguese Way, we did some hiking on trails on various weekends. Of course physical preparation is important, but I value mental preparation much more. Until the third day everything is fine, but after the fourth day the mental part starts to work. We really have to be well prepared mentally to be able to move forward. I didn’t prepare physically for the path because every weekend I trek, although at that time I stopped because of Covid. I just prepared myself psychologically and packed my backpack.

What surprised you the most on the commute?
André: On this path I was surprised by the stories I heard from various pilgrims that I got to meet along the way .

What was the most challenging moment?

The hardest moment was when blisters started to appear on the very 2nd day to one of my friends. He immediately started saying that he was going to give up, but we all made it to Santiago with faith and focus.

What can’t be missing in a pilgrim’s suitcase?
André:Dreams!!! There is a phrase that I love: carry more dreams than things in your backpack.

If you could only give one tip to people who are thinking about walk the path, what would it be?
André: The path is meant to be walked! The motivation that allows you to walk, even if the strength falters; but simply carry along with you what is necessary and fundamental: the smiles, the moments, the hugs, and the beauty of being real and simple.

What was your reaction when you arrived in Santiago?
André: It’s the joy of arriving and preparing for the next road.

What was the best meal along the way?
Andrew: The best meals on the path were all of them. Every day I give thanks for what I have in life, because little or much is mine, and tomorrow no one knows what will be left.

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