ende
ende
menu
ende

You wouldn't be here if you weren't curious.*

Hi! I'm Elena! Welcome to my travel blog Creativelena.com.
For me, it is all about “life-seeing instead of sightseeing”: Join me as I create, eat & live my way around the world. Curious?

*Check out my book, “The Creative Traveler’s Handbook”, for learning more about what we mean by creative travel. Travelling means the world to me, makes me fit for everday life and sometimes, I trust, also calmer on the inside. Read this blog with a smile, share what you love and remember to check back regularly: After all, when was the last time you did something for the first time?

Women Walking The Way: Insights & Inspiration from the Portuguese Camino.

“It’s a kind of magic …” Magic. Magic! Well yes, walking the Camino is full of magic. And partly so, because it is a Women’s Way.

At least 80% (that’s four out of five pilgrims we met on the Way) are women.

From groups of friends, to couples, to female solo travellers and our accommodation hosts along the Way: It’s a women’s world on this Camino, really. Not to forget ourselves, me & my companion spirit, friend & Brazilian blogger Rita Branco, equally choosing to walk this Way together. So here is my ode to all the “Women walking the Way of St. James”.

 

In May 2016, the classic pilgrim on the Portuguese Way of St. James is female, German, aged 50 to 60 years or over.

If I say, at least 80% of pilgrims are female, then at least another 50% of all pilgrims we met on the Camino are from Germany: The top nation among all those who currently walk the Way from Porto to Santiago. Why? The reasons we heard are manifold: “The Portuguese Way is not so crowded (yet). It offers more shade and diversity. Portuguese people are so nice. We were looking for alternatives to the main Camino. We have already done the main Camino. We simply wanted to come and enjoy the difference, walk a shorter section, connect to our love for Portugal.”

The Portuguese Camino from Porto to Santiago totals about 260 kilometres, out of which 100 km have to be made walking (or on horseback!) in order to obtain the official pilgrim’s certificate at the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela. In order to start planning & preparing a Camino adventure yourself, check out my previous post about “10 Top Travel Tips” for the preparation of the Portuguese Way of St. James here.

Read on today if you are looking for encouraging inspiration from us and other women travellers as to why.

"Women walking the Way": Our first real encounter with fellow pilgrims on the Way to Santiago was with these two German ladies on the second day of our pilgrimage.

“Women walking the Way”: Our first real encounter with fellow pilgrims on the Way to Santiago was with these two ladies (far right) from Germany …

 

... leading all the way to a real friendship with this lovely lady, Inge from Germany, who we've walked with for several days in a row.

… leading all the way to a real friendship with this lovely lady, Inge from Germany, who we’ve walked with for several days in a row.

 

Women tend to surprise you, taking care of little details such as bringing you a picnic on the first day of pilgrimage (thank you, Joana Vieira https://www.facebook.com/dajoanasegredo/ !!)

Women tend to surprise you, taking care of little details such as bringing you a picnic on the first day of pilgrimage (thank you, Joana Vieira “DaJoana”! Check out more about her picnic business in and around Porto here) …

 

... and just generally stop to take more time ...

… stop to take more time …

 

... help each other out ...

… help each other out …

 

... readily bring (and carry) whatever it takes in terms of a (women's) pharmacy ...

… readily bring (and carry) whatever it takes in terms of a (women’s) pharmacy …

 

... and have patience taking endless and endless amounts of photographs: Obrigada, Rita querida, for all your patience with me!

… and have lots and lots of patience with each other: Obrigada, Rita querida, for joining and supporting me on this beautiful life adventure here!

 

Men we met mostly talked about kilometres, achievements and doing the Portuguese Camino in three to four days – on (sports) bicycles. Women we met talked about inner journeys, life changes, and soul searches.

It really does sound like a cliché, but we found it very much confirmed: Women on the Way were without exception focusing on life issues, going through trying periods in their lives, and wanting personal achievement / rewards from their pilgrimage journey. It certainly got to (some) of the men we met, too, especially where they were walking with groups of women and / or their partner, less when they were on their own or with a group of other male friends. We met a very inspirational English man, Tony, who was all about reflection and life change having lost three of his friends in a matter of two years. At the same time, it almost never happened that we shared a part of the Camino with other men pilgrims, likely to be for reasons of speed and ambition, too. It’s the old issue of competition vs. care, I guess. Looking for flowers, or to check the time and distance: A bit of both, really, works best on a spiritual path as the Camino provides.

Stopping to laugh with this old lady, who celebrated her 81st birthday (!) that very day, is part of the magic the Camino provides ...

Stopping to laugh with this old lady, who celebrated her 81st birthday (!) that very day, is part of the magic the Camino provides …

 

... as well as taking your time, drawing deep breaths, allowing for the achievement of having mastered the first hill in the heat of the day ...

… as is taking your time, drawing deep breaths, allowing for the sense of achievement to sink in …

 

... stopping for details ...

… as much as appreciating whatever comes along the Way …

 

... to take time for the little things (again), such as sitting in a peaceful garden, hand-writing in your travel journal.

… taking the time for the little things (again), such as sitting in a peaceful garden, hand-writing in your personal travel journal …

 

... the peace of home-cooking in a pilgrim's guest house with fellow pilgrims on the Way ...

… the peace of home-cooking in a pilgrim’s guest house with fellow pilgrims on the Way …

 

... or even this time-out at Carmo's Boutique Hotel, in Ponte de Lima: Read more about our fantastic range of accommodation choices along the Portuguese Camino here.

… or even this unusual, #luxurypilgrim time-out at Carmo’s Boutique Hotel, in beautiful Ponte de Lima, Northern Portugal: Read more about our fantastic range of accommodation choices along the Portuguese Camino here.

 

Last but not least, it’s all about Women’s Issues, too. From having your period while walking (and how to handle that!), to pushing yourself to a greater sense of self-confidence: Women walking the Way come out stronger, deeper and more reflected after an inner and outer journey such as this one.

The stories we shared, the reflections we’ve made, the (inner) peace it brought to us: No one I’ve met comes out of a two-weeks pilgrimage such as this one “unscathed”. It all gets to you, really, and oh so good that it does. Our American friends, inviting us over to their homes in Vale or San Diego. The Canada couple who wants to come to my Toronto book presentation later that year. A Belgian girl, the same age as me, opening up about her life and the stories she already had to go through. The incredible kindness of (women) strangers. The understanding of all the ups and downs, the unspoken bonds, the inspiration and the miracles: Perhaps it’s true what they say about us women much more readily attuning to our sixth sense, third eye, common sense, or else.

Let’s just say: Women have really impressed me this time. <3

Here's to a sister couple who's impressed me deeply: At 74 and 71, respectively, they were "walk-flying" the Camino, much faster than I could ever have imagined to walk ...!

Here’s to a sister couple who’s impressed me deeply: At 74 and 71, respectively, they were “walk-flying” the Camino, much faster than I could ever have imagined to walk …!

 

... similar to our group of strong American "girls", all in their late 60s / early 70s and ready to take the world by storm.

… similar to our group of strong American “girls”, all in their late 60s / early 70s and ready to take the world by storm. “We live in the Colorado mountains .. All of us are slim and strong”, they would just shrug!

 

Whereas I, admittedly, had a very hard day on the third day of my Walk, suffering from the heat and having my period at the same time ..!

Whereas I, admittedly, at only half their age, had a very hard day on the third day of the Camino, suffering from both the heat and having my period at the same time ..!

 

But the truth is, you all make it. Look at us, almost a week later, around the 10th day of walking .. How much have we grown in just a matter of days!

But the truth is, you all make it. Look at us, almost a week later, around the 10th day of walking .. How much have we grown in just a matter of days!

 

Thank you, Camino girls ...

Thank you, Camino girls …

 

... for making this journey ...

… for making this journey …

 

... such a rewarding a fulfilling one: I shall never forget it in my whole life, and will certainly be doing more pilgrimages in the days to come. How wonderful !!

… such a rewarding a fulfilling one: I shall never forget it in my whole life, and will certainly be doing more pilgrimages in the days to come. Cheers, my lovely ladies !!

 

Check out all my inspiring & useful travel pictures along the Portuguese Way of St. James here:

 

More pictures about our accommodation along the Way in Portugal & Galicia are available here, including all of our accommodation in hotels, B&Bs, apartments, etc.:

 

My dear companion friend & pilgrim blogger Rita Branco has also published about the Camino on her blog, “O Porto Encanta“, in her truly light-hearted and captivating way: “Do Porto para Santiago de Compostela: Uma experiência incrível.” Check out all articles she has published about the Camino here: “O Caminho Português de Santiago” .

Besides, English expat blogger, writer & translator Julie Dawn Fox has also published the following articles about the Portuguese Way of St. James here.

Disclaimer: We wish to thank our partners & accommodation providers along the Portuguese Way of St. James for their generous support. All opinions are my own.

Spread the love

Written by Elena

Elena writes about creative destinations, shares her personal travel stories and brings inspiring photography & interesting news updates home to you. Her mission is: "Continue to be amazed at this world, one creative travel experience at a time."

Ready for learning even more about creative travel?

Elena has recently published "The Creative Traveler's Handbook". Chock full of inspiratinal stories, travel tips and advice, it offers everything you need for planning and managing your next creative escape, addressing beginners and experienced travelers alike. Here's how to get your hands on it now!
10 Travel Tips for planning your next summer trip to Iceland.
The other Portugal: Singulartrips, Serra da Estrela & sweet moments of seduction in Porto.

4 Comments

  1. Julie Dawn Fox

    I loved this post, Elena. Dori and I also found that we met many more women on the Way and shared some deeply personal stories, as well as lots of laughs and a few beers and wines 🙂

    I was dreading my period coming on the Way – I knew it would happen at some stage – and the heaviest day happened to be the one with the fewest cafés so I can imagine what you went through.

    But we’re women and we cope, just like all the other amazing and inspiring women who walk the Way.

    Reply
    • Elena

      Dear Julie,

      Thank you so much for your encouraging words – and for sharing your own experience about walking the Camino here. I am really glad we are creating this inspiring community of women travellers (and pilgrims), who are deeply moved by undertaking adventures such as this one.

      Here’s to sharing and opening ourselves up to even more experiences like these !! 😀

      Reply
  2. Rita Branco

    Fant´ástico Elena! ainda continuo orgulhosa do nosso Caminho! Bussis!

    Reply

Leave a Reply


Follow me on my travels: