Camino de Santiago: a pilgrim’s diary by Raúl Díaz

Camino de Santiago: a pilgrim’s diary by Raúl Díaz

Arriving at Santiago de Compostela, Spain, is a moment full of magic. The burial site of the apostle St James has attracted pilgrims from all over Europe since the 9th century. Twelve centuries later, many pilgrims, believers and non-believers alike, embark on a journey through picturesque villages with cobbled streets and enchanting green landscapes of northern Spain.

From 2 to 7 August, the city will become even more special as it will be hosting the European Youth Pilgrimage (EYP), which is held on the occasion of the Jacobean Holy Year, but had to be postponed last year due the pandemic. Thousands of young Europeans are expected to arrive at the Praza do Obradoiro, in front of the emblematic Portico of Glory of the Santiago de Compostela Cathedral.

FRH invites you to walk the Camino de Santiago from the comfort of your home, following in the footsteps of Raúl Diaz, a 16-year-old Spanish boy who is living the experience first-hand. Together with his father Armando, he will travel more than 100 kilometres along the Portuguese Way, starting in the city of Tui. We wish them a safe journey and lots of success in this once in a lifetime adventure!

Follow Raul’s daily updates below and on our Instagram, Twitter and Facebook accounts.

Arrival at Tui | Getting ready for the Camino de Santiago

“We left this morning from Ortigueira to Tui. When we arrived we made ourselves comfortable in a guesthouse and had some rest after the journey. After a short break we went to explore a bit of Tui and later to have dinner, but with the nerves of knowing that tomorrow we will start the Camino de Santiago!”

DAY 1 | Tui – Porriño (1st stage)

“Today was the first day on the road. We were both very keen to get started, especially me, because this is the first time I am walking the Camino de Santiago. We got up at eight o’clock in the morning to take advantage of the fresh morning weather and to start more comfortably.

The walk was calm and very scenic as we passed through different areas such as rivers, forests, and hidden villages. We stopped at a beautiful “furancho”, as they call the houses in the north of Spain that provide drinks and snacks to pilgrims. It was a bit off-road but it was perfect to hydrate and catch our breath.

During the day we were also able to attend the pilgrim’s mass and sign our credentials at Christ Church in Porriño.  Even so, the best thing of all is to arrive at the “albergue”, the pilgrims’ hostels, and get a good rest for the next stage.”

DAY 2 | Porriño – Arcade (2nd stage)

“Today we had to get up early to take advantage of the coolness of the morning as it was expected to be quite hot throughout the day. This stage was long and tough, with a lot of uphill and downhill slopes, which weakened our legs quite a lot.

It was difficult to get our pilgrim’s passport signed as most of the temples were closed today. We still managed to get four new stamps. When we arrived at the albergue we were delighted to find a swimming pool, which was very much appreciated considering the heat of the day. Overall, the journey has been long and hard, but living such a beautiful experience has been worth all the effort on the road.”

DAY 3 | Arcade – Pontevedra (2nd stage)

“Already the third stage! This stage was short but intense, especially after the climb that we started once we passed the Roman bridge of Louro. Made of large stones, this trail was part of an old Roman road. Quite uncomfortable to walk.

We met a lot of people who wanted to collaborate with us and we took pictures with them. They came from many different places. We have also collaborated with a very interesting association, and they with us.

For the rest, it has been a more natural stage, as we have been walking away from the city, on dirt roads and in the shade, which was truly a gift in the heat.”

DAY 4 | Pontevedra – Caldas de Reis (4th stage)

“I think this fourth stage has been one of my favourites so far, as we split it into two parts to stop at some beautiful waterfalls along the way. I have been very comfortable all the time as there was a cool breeze perfect for walking and I put on my headphones for a while. It was great to walk with some music. We have also met more people today. We were especially struck by a mother with her two 10-year-old children because they were going at quite a fast pace. All in all a very peaceful and pleasant stage.”

DAY 5 | Caldas de Reis – Padrón (5th stage)

“This stage was a bit harder for me as I was still tired from the previous stage, but it was a beautiful and pleasant stage as well. We are on the penultimate day of our trip, and although I am enjoying this nice adventure I already want to get to Santiago.

Every day you meet someone new. In fact a group of girls has created a whatsapp group to meet and take a picture together at the Cathedral in Santiago.

Today we also got the Pedronía (a diploma you get after visiting the historical places of Iria Flavia where the apostle Santiago prayed). It’s a nice experience to do with someone important to you, so I recommend it to everyone!”.

DAY 6 | Padrón – Santiago de Compostela (last stage)

“Last day of a beautiful experience: for the landscapes, for the company, for the new friendships…

It was a long journey but it was worth it to reach the Cathedral of Santiago, which was full of pilgrims, many of them young, quite a few boy scouts, and lots of people.

After arriving we had a rest and prepared to attend the pilgrim’s mass at 19:30. It was completely full of people. A very nice meeting where we have been able to meet with all the pilgrims to celebrate together that we had finished the Camino de Santiago.

In the end, the Camino de Santiago was a very pleasant experience to do more than once.”

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