Part 1 - walking from Porto to Santiago de Compostela.
After walking part of the French Way from Saint Jean Pied de Port to Santiago with Liz some years ago (I only got a little past Pamplona before I ran out of time), I've been wanting to walk more of the "Way of St. James". So we decided to do the last 2 weeks of the Portuguese Camino de Santiago. It starts in Porto and runs mostly inland up through northern Portugal then into Spain. And instead of carrying our packs and staying in the hostels (albergues) we decided to book a pre-planned trip, using Portugal Green Walks. Jose set up all of our hotel rooms and will transport our luggage each day, so we only need to carry day packs.
If you aren't familiar with the Way of St. James, there is a lot of info about it on-line. And the movie "The Way" with Martin Sheen is an interesting introduction to the main route, the French Way.
Anyway, after a couple of days exploring Porto (and visiting a couple of the port tasting cellars), we depart on Wednesday October 3rd on our hike. Here is a link to our itinerary, the only change we made was to add an extra day in Valenca/Tui as a rest day So we'll do the approx 150 miles in 13 days. We plan to arrive in Santiago on Monday October 15th and will spend 2 nights so we get a chance to explore Santiago for a day.
Part 2 - Southern Spain
After exploring Santiago, we fly to Seville on Wed Oct 17th, to meet up with the rest of our group (who will have been touring other parts of Spain including Madrid and Barcelona). Most of us will spend a week in Seville (a few of the hikers need to leave early and head back to work, bummer). We've used VRBO and rented a beautiful townhouse in the old town, to use as our base for exploring.
I'm really looking forward to eating tapas and drinking morning coffee on the roof top terrace.
While in Seville we have booked 2 walking tours to get oriented to the city. Both on Thursday booked through "Not Just a Tourist". The first is a 2 hour panoramic walking tour, then later in the afternoon we have a guided tour of Alcazar and Cathedral.
On Saturday we plan to take the train to Cordoba for the day and do some exploring. Then on Monday we've booked another private day long tour of the White Villages which includes a lunch and wine tasting. The rest of the time in Seville we'll spend exploring the city.
Wednesday October 24th, we catch a train to Cadiz for 2 nights, with a hotel right on the beach. This should be a good break, and I'm interested in spending part of the day walking through the old part of the city.
Friday October 26th we head over to Tarifa, about 1.5 hours from Cadiz. We've booked rooms at very cute hotel across from the port.
Saturday we're going to take the ferry over to Tangiers and have booked a day long private tour with Said Tours. By this point there will just be 8 of us, but exploring Tangiers for a day should be really interesting Though I'm not sure I'm interested in riding a camel...lol.
Then on Sunday we have a private transfer booked with "Not Just a Tourist" to take us from Tarifa to Granada, with a lunch stop in Arcos. It's about a 5 hour drive if we do it without a stop, so the lunch stop in Arcos will be welcome.
We have another VRBO house rented in Granada for 3 nights, which gives us some time to explore the Alhambra and the city. And it has a rooftop terrace, great for morning coffee and evening wine.
Using our trusty Rick Steve's guide to Sevilla, Granada & Southern Spain, we booked a private guided tour of the Alhambra on Monday with Margarita Ortiz de Landazuri. Then on Tuesday we have a 2nd private tour with Margarita to see the rest of old Granada.
Wednesday is October 31st, so our trip will be drawing to a close. We'll be headed to Madrid for 2 nights, and then we all fly home on Friday Nov 2nd. After a full month of touring, I'm not sure how much of Madrid we will see, but I'm sure we will get into the old city for most of the day, to wander around. Currently I'm mostly looking forward to one last good meal, the specialty seems to be suckling pig