Uni had finished, still not summer and craving for some adventure and a physical challenge. His mum had done a bit of El Camino de Santiago through his little sister´ school. Jacob checked the web and found all he needed to know about El Camino, he downloaded an app, packed his rucksack and off he went!
Berta had had enough of her au pair job in Paris and before settling back at home with her parents, she needed to let some steam off. Talking to some Spanish friends from Barcelona, she came across Vojo Way and slowly the idea started slipping into her brain, a chance to freshen up her ideas and get a clearer view of where to head next, and maybe meet some interesting people. It was decided, she will do the last 100 Km before going home.
Jacob flew to Porto, it was the cheapest flight he could find, and zealously started his trek, if he was looking for a physical challenge, he found what he was looking for!
Berta finished her Camino from the last hundred Sarriá to Santiago, then she got ready to go home, it was not that far, after all, from Santiago to Ponte de Lima, still part of a pilgrim route from El Camino Portugués. She decided to go by train all the way to Tui and follow on foot from there, she had the feeling that a little more walking will bring some good to her life. On the way she had met several people, some she could become good friends with, given the opportunity, some will be a dead-end in the memory of her trip. Tui-Ponte de Lima was chartered territory for her, she was thinking how striking it would be for someone to see these landscapes for the first time…then she got a request from her phone app, someone was nearby and was asking for some advice on places where to do some light foraging, just for fun…Jacob had studied Biology and Botanic, these were his passions, so he was interested in a deeper knowledge of the area.
Berta felt compelled to share some of the secrets of the land that her father had taught her when they use to do their outings on weekends, besides, brushing up her English was very appealing to her, after all that French.
Once she accepted his request they started messaging backwards and forth: telling each other stories of their own experience of El Camino. But this part of the world was after all the “neck of her woods”; she knew the place well. She was so proud, she would love someone to see all these places she had grown with, with new eyes, so she could check whether they were really that special, or just loved by her for being familiar and a certain developed nostalgia.
They arranged to meet at a pilgrims’ shelter not far, but to avoid confusion they decided to meet in a beauty spot just metres from the shelter. What she did not know is that she will not only make Jacob fall in love with the place…The encounter was magical, they felt like they had known each other from way before. When he saw her, she looked slightly amazonian, well, maybe only because she was at the top of the rock and was looking full of energy; he had been doing some serious walking but was feeling more excited than tired. The actual meeting and establishing face to face communication was easier that they anticipated. Their common love of nature made them talk for ages, sharing technical names of plants (him), revealing indigenous species (her). Lots of flower, shrubs and fungus-talk later, they found themselves in the canteen at the shelter. They exchanged more anecdotes of El Camino and the conversation revealed that they had made a special connection. He felt utterly grateful and hopelessly tied to her by some magical thread. They shared their contact details and kept in touch, not long after they will plan another hike together, then something more urban, a trip to London….they have never been able to untangle themselves from each other´s lives.