Go! & Express - - FRONT PAGE - BRIAN McLEAN

A 240km pilgrimage from Portugal to Spain proved a never-to-be-for­got­ten jour­ney for Dale Pri­mary teacher Penny Hogge and fel­low Kidd’s Beach teacher Bar­bie Ne­u­per.

Dur­ing the recent school hol­i­days, the two flew to Lis­bon and then trav­elled by train to the Por­tuguese town of Porto.

The next day they set off on their 13-day jour­ney, start­ing at Porto Cathe­dral where they walked along the banks of the Douro River, fol­low­ing the coast un­til Angeiras.

“After hav­ing our pil­grim pass­ports stamped, we left the coast in search of the tra­di­tional in­te­rior route,” ex­plained Hogge.

“A milder 14km walk led us to a beau­ti­ful 12th-cen­tury monastery at Vairao.”

Hogge said: “We cov­ered an aver­age of 19km per day. Yel­low ar­rows and a seashell, sym­bol of the Camino de San­ti­ago [their des­ti­na­tion] painted on walls, roads and poles guided our path.”

Ne­u­per said that all along the way, peo­ple pick up peb­bles and place them on a stone pil­lar with a prayer and soon lit­tle shrines de­velop.

Once they crossed the Minho River from Va­len­cia in Portugal to Tui in Spain, pil­grim traf­fic be­came busier.

Their sec­ond-last day was a gru­elling 28km in hot con­di­tions.

“We did this in or­der to make our last stage shorter which would en­able us to get into San­ti­ago ear­lier and to the Pil­grim Mass at noon,” Ne­u­per said.

“We are both al­ready plan­ning our next Camino!” Hogge said.

Pic­ture: BRIAN McLEAN

RARING TO GO: Dale Pri­mary teacher Penny Hogge pre­pares for her 240km pilgrimage which took her to Portugal and Spain

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