My beautiful friend, who has walked the Camino Frances and part of the Portuguese Way (from Porto to Santiago de Compostela) as well as parts of the Camino network in Germany and Switzerland – so definitely a pro! – suggested we have a Camino day together here in this part of Finland – and we did, though not dressed in our Sunday best!
Those of you who’ve been following this blog may recognise this sign!
I noticed it (and even posted a picture here) on an earlier Camino preparatory walk, but hadn’t made the connection between Jaakontie and St James’ Way! Duh!
We didn’t have a map -only downloaded instructions (which occasionally were inaccurate and sometimes didn’t quite pan out) and the route (perhaps for tenuous historical reasons) was at times frankly bizarre … but oh what a pilgrimage.
We started at Turku cathedral next to the archbishop’s palace; our half way stop was the lovely medieval church in Raisio (which I’d never been in before) and we finished at the old church in Naantali.
The highlight for me was probably st Martins Church in Raisio, it was locked but we found a church worker to let us in (and use their facilities) and the church organist just happened to be practising when we were there so we had impromptu music to accompany our short exploration there.
Another highlight was an unexpected stint of the way going alongside this lovely small river. (At this point we thought we’d lost the trail as there was no mention of water .. but we knew we were walking in the right direction and lo and behold we did find another waymarker as we finally met the road!)
What was also lovely was that in each of the churches we found one to stamp my friend’s pilgrim passport. The stamp from the cathedral in Turku was really quite impressive.
We stopped in a cafe near to our final destination … and again could make use of the facilities there. I thought their logo was in keeping with our pilgrimage!
At this point we couldn’t (even with the help of google maps) find the street names’ mentioned but luckily I knew this part of the world well so we picked up a walk by the shore hubby and I love to do with the dogs … and within 30 minutes we found a waymarker on that trail and we had 1 final km until the church!
We took the bus home (3€) after wandering around lovely Nasntali, and when I checked my phone found that our men were waiting for us at home expecting us to buy the food for the barbecue … so we shopped en route and after showering we enjoyed a feast together.
Perhaps this was something close to making a communal meal back at an alberge!?
Jaakontie pilgrim’s way goes on to Rymättylä and we plan to do that another time!
My observation today were
1. it wasn’t that hard to walk that far. But my second toe on each foot (nail side) ached when I went to bed …so I need to figure a way to reduce the pressure on that.
2. I didn’t get very hungry during the way. (I ate a roll, two bananas and a handful of nuts and raisins). I was, however, really hungry by 7pm!
3. I probably should have drunk more. The coffee stop was very much needed and welcome
4. I was really tired but found it hard to fall asleep … and this morning was so tired I didn’t want to get up. I’ll have to overcome that next month :)
5. My friend was a great fellow pilgrim on the journey … and patiently answered all my questions, and we chatted a lot too. On the Camino I hope I could learn to talk a bit less ..
Walked 28km Turku Raisio Naantali
Weather: lovely walking conditions
It started cool with drizzle, Soon dried up and the day ended hot and sunny!
Clothing: walking boots and trousers (later shorts) tshirt and rain jacket (quickly discarded)
Other: carried reasonable load (4-5kg) in my Camino rucksack (no rubbing) and used one walking pole as my knee has been a tad sore this week.