The Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela has been listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site and is known for reputedly housing the remains of the Apostle Saint James the Great. You can choose among seven major pilgrimage routes to get there, with the Portuguese route being the second most popular according to https://caminoways.com/ .
While some people start the Portuguese Way in Lisbon, most make the 300 km walk from Porto, as did local author Kenneth Cline and his wife Bina. In his book “Sauntering to Santiago: The Camino de Santiago for Slow Walkers,” Kenneth shows how to make this a comfortable and enjoyable walk no matter what one’s age or level of physical fitness.
Kenneth and his wife moved to Tavira in the Algarve in 2020, following their Camino de Santiago walks in 2018 and 2019. Kenneth is an independent travel author, who has published five books, with two of his books about the Camino pilgrimage. In 2018, the Clines made the 317 km walk from Porto to Santiago in Spanish Galicia, a journey that took them a month to achieve, although many hikers can do it in less time. “We prefer to saunter along”, Kenneth said, alluding to the titles of his two books.
Kenneth explains how this first Camino book “gives the full coastal route from Porto to Santiago de Compostela”. Kenneth went on to explain that “the first Camino book gives an insight into how we made the decision and how to prepare for the journey as well as all the wonderful sights along the way.”
He affirmed that his book is aimed at older people or those with health issues and that he hopes his books will inspire them to tackle this walk, with the key being to plan around your limitations. “You can still do it no matter what age you are. My wife and I were in the sixty-ish age range, walked at our own pace and despite some medical issues when we did these walks, we reached Santiago in great shape,” he said, adding, “It is possible for people who are not particularly young and fit to walk the Camino and enjoy the time of their lives.”
Kenneth told me that the advantage he found of choosing the Portuguese route is that “it is a much flatter route with less hills making it much easier way to do it at an older age.” He added that, “walking is a lot like life, with some twists on the road but both books show you how to keep moving and how to overcome challenges.”
Kenneth’s second book is called “Sauntering the Spiritual Variant of the Camino de Santiago” which is about an abbreviated version of the Portuguese Way the Clines did in 2019 that included an extremely scenic alternate route known as the “Spiritual Variant.”
Kenneth told me, “We enjoyed both versions of the walk, but they are very different so I definitely recommend those interested to do their own research to find out what would suit them best.” However, he did acknowledge that “the first journey was a little more special and felt like a great accomplishment, as we attended the Pilgrims Mass at the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela and celebrated our arrival after months of planning.” The second journey, by contrast, he described as one in which the couple felt “more experienced and more relaxed that time round”.
Previously, Kenneth has published three other travel books related to the Middle East. The most recent, published just last month, is “Mr. Kennis Goes to Yemen: A Story of West Meets East,” which tells of his adventures in the country of North Yemen in the mid-1980s and explores some of the real people behind the stereotypes. The others are, “Tracking the Queen of Sheba,” about accompanying an archaeological expedition in Yemen to dig for the ruins of ancient Sheba, and “Village on the Nile,” which relates to his experiences living in an Egyptian village.
For more information and to order a copy of any of Kenneth Cline’s books, please visit https://www.amazon.com/Kenneth-Cline/e/B01KASD0QM?ref_=dbs_p_ebk_r00_abau_000000.