Adventure - Art - Culture - Juniors Abroad at George Fox

The Camino - Spain and Portugal

Faculty: David Martinez, Brandon Waybright
Meeting Time: W - 6:30 - 9:00 PM 

This trip begins with a journey on the "Camino de Santiago”—the way of the saint–an ancient pilgrimage route with pathways in Spain, France, and Portugal that lead to what is broadly considered the resting site of the body of Saint James. We will then continue on our journey by visiting coastal cities, magnificent beaches, and historic sites in Portugal and Spain including a stop at what Roman’s perceived as “the end of the world”, a visit to Lagos where we will kayak in, around, and through rock formations, and finish our travel meandering incredible architecture and surroundings of Sevilla.

The Camino
The Camino has been a staple for adventurers, hikers, and seekers for over a thousand years. Its cultural importance grew in the middle ages and completing the walk is considered a significant spiritual and historic milestone. The journey can take anywhere from three days to six weeks. The official Camino passport requires a minimum path of 100km in order to claim that one has completed it. We will complete just over 100km in our journey from Sarria to Santiago.

After flying into Porto, Portugal and spending a few days visiting some sites and getting ready for the trip, we will take a bus to Sarria, where we will begin our trek. From there, we will walk to Santiago stopping in towns and villages such as Portomarín, Palas de Rei, Arzúa, and A Rúa. All in all, it is a transformative journey that, as many “Walkers” agree, marks a before and after in one’s life. ¡Buen camino!

After resting for a few days in Santiago, taking in the sites and visiting Cape Finisterre (translated as “End of the Earth”), we will take a bus to Lisbon, Portugal. In Lisbon we will visit the Jerónimos Monastery, ride the funicular system (cable car) - which offers spectacular views of the city - and taste the celebrated (and delicious) Pasteis de Belem. We will also travel an hour away to the stunning town of Sintra where we will visit striking palaces (indeed, the vibrant colors of these palaces are awe-inspiring), extravagant villas, and the ruins of Moors castles. From Lisbon we will travel south into the famed Algarve (the southern coast of Portugal). On our way to Lagos, we will stop at Cabo san Vicente, which is the “corner” of Europe and boasts tremendous views of the ocean from 75-meter-high cliffs (reminiscent of the Cliffs of Moher in Ireland). In Lagos we will spend three days relaxing by the beach, kayaking through rock formations and into caves, and enjoying the local cuisine (you will try the best seafood you have ever tasted here). From Lagos we will make our way to Sevilla, but we still stop along the way in a little walled town called Niebla. Niebla is famous for its castle and, in particular, well-kept dungeons that feature a “Torture Museum”. 

In Sevilla we will meet the host families with whom we will be staying for five days. Don’t worry if you don’t speak Spanish – part of the experience is full immersion and you will quickly learn to get by with gestures and a few key words. In Sevilla we will visit the

Cathedral, climb the famous Giralda, visit the “Real Alcázar” (now famous for being the site where Game of Thrones is filmed), the Plaza España (a beautiful plaza featured in several movies such as Star Wars (the prequels) and The Dictator), and El Parque María Luisa (Sevilla’s own “Central Park”). We will also see a flamenco show, a bull-fight (optional), and a professional soccer game. Furthermore, we will attend an evangelical worship service and enjoy lunch with the members after the service to provide an opportunity to engage and fellowship with them. From Sevilla we will take a day trip to Malaga to do the “Caminito del Rey”, formerly renown as the “most dangerous path in the world”. It has since been updated and is very safe. It is a walkway along a narrow gorge called “El Chorro” and provides spectacular views. After five days with our host families, we will say goodbye to them and return to Oregon.

This is an adventurous Juniors Abroad trip that will include hiking over 12 MILES a day for FIVE days. Thus, participants must be in good physical condition.  

Tentative Itinerary:

Day 1: Arrive in Porto

Day 2: Tour around Porto: Visit the Igreja de São Francisco, the Serralves, the Ribeira, and the Bolhao Market

Day 3: Preparation for the trip – we will visit a Decathlon (outdoor, sports store) to stock up on supplies. We will also meet with our guide to go over essentials.

Day 4: Bus ride to Sarria (3 hours)

Day 5: Sarria to Portomarín (22km): Today’s walk will be peaceful through shady oak woods and quaint villages on quiet country roads. Upon arrival in Portomarín, we will enjoy this delightful medieval town on the river Mino. Portomarin is famous for a 400 meter Romanesque staircase that leads to the town.

Day 6: Portomarín to Palas de Rei (24km): We will cross the river Minho and climb ever so slightly as we make our way across Gonzar and the Romanesque Church of Santa María. A small detour will allow us to visit 2,000 year old Celtic ruins (Castro de Castromaior) – it has recently been discovered proof of occupation from 4BC. This place also provides splendid views of the Galician countryside.   

Day 7: Palas de Rei to Arzúa (28.5km): Heading slightly downhill, will go through the village of Casanova and the beautiful village of Leboreiro. After that, the camino will take us through forest tracks where will cross several streams until we get to the village of Boente.

Day 8: Arzúa to A Rúa (17km): Today the camino will be mostly shady as we walk through woods, along streams and through sleepy villages.

Day 9: A Rúa to Santiago (21km): We will arrive in SANTIAGO! We will have free time in the afternoon to rest, recover strength.

Day 10: Free day in Santiago: we will have an opportunity to visit churches and museums.

Day 11: Day trip to Finisterre (from Santiago): We will go to Finisterre (the end of the world)

Day 12: Santiago to Lisbon (5 hours): We will take a bus to Lisbon.

Day 13: In Lisbon we will visit the Jerónimos Monastery, ride the funicular system (cable car), and taste the celebrated (and delicious) Pasteis de Belem. In the afternoon, we will travel thirty minutes to nearby Sintra where we will visit the beautiful palaces and Moorish castles.

Day 14: Bus ride from Lisbon to Lagos stopping along the way to visit Cabo san Vincente – the corner of Europe with 75 meter cliffs (reminiscent of the Cliffs of Moher in Ireland). The afternoon will be spent at the beach in Lagos (volleyball, soccer, or just taking in the sun).

Day 15: Lagos – Beach day: Relax by the beach! You will have the opportunity to explore several hidden and secluded beaches or stay near the bigger, more popular options.

Day 16: A kayaking trip through rock formations/caves off the coast of Portugal. In the afternoon/evening, students will have free time, but we will meet for dinner for a ‘sardinada’ (sardines and other typical cuisine).

Day 17: Travel from Lagos to Sevilla (3 hours by bus). On the way, we will stop in Niebla to tour an old walled town and visit a castle famous for its dungeons complete with a “torture museum”. Upon arrival in Sevilla, students will meet their host families. In the afternoon/evening, we will have an orientation of the city of Sevilla – a walking tour down La Avenida de la Constitución and will end the day at a bullfight (this activity is optional).

Day 18:Excursion to Caminito del Rey in Málaga.

Day 19: A visit to Real Alcázar (beautiful royal palace where numerous Game of Thrones scenes were filmed). In the afternoon/evening we will go to a soccer game.

Day 20: We will attend a church service with local sevillanos followed by a community lunch. Free time in the afternoon/evening.

Day 21: We will visit the Cathedral and La Giralda. In the afternoon/evening we will go to a flamenco show followed by tapas in downtown Sevilla. 

Day 22: Sevilla - Portland