My Portuguese Camino

Jul 24, 2023 | Teacher's Corner

Why keep on exercising and working on strength and stamina? So that we can grow old gracefully and enjoy interesting and exciting holidays of course!

Last year (September 2022) I got to walk part of the Portuguese Camino pilgrimage, about 260km from Porto in Portugal to Santiago in Spain, fulfilling a dream I’d had for 15 years.

My friend, Anita and I experienced a joyful journey covering between 20km and 30km every day for eleven days. We carried everything we needed on our backs and slept in municipal albergues. There was such freedom as we relied on our bodies to get us where we needed to be. Waking up stiff and sore was common but as we started moving our bodies eased up. Our Fitness League motto “Movement is life” is certainly true.

Walking the same paths that pilgrims have trod for hundreds of years is awe-inspiring. We walked past ancient churches, on roads cobbled by Romans, through forests and vineyards and over medieval bridges.

Exercise Makes You Feel Happier, Eat Better, and Live With Purpose
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Arriving at the cathedral in Santiago with scores of pilgrims from around the world was a special and life-affirming moment. I was humbled to see the effort some people had invested in their journeys – those being pushed in wheelchairs by a relay of friends and family, the amputee on crutches, the blind man with his faithful guide and others of all ages and abilities.

I’m so grateful to the early Christians who first brought the Gospel along these paths and the thousands of pilgrims who followed in their wake over hundreds of years. What a privilege to follow in their footsteps and become part of the amazing global fellowship of ‘peregrinos’.

(Andy Frieslaar)