The Camino Portugues starts in Lisbon, Portugal, and heads north, following the Atlantic coast of Portugal and Spain. It offers 615 kilometers (383 miles) of magnificent countryside—rural land, vineyards, crop fields, forests, and horse farms, but also dramatic storytelling and history in major cities such as Lisbon and Porto. Crossing several rivers before reaching Santiago de Compostela—the destination town of all the Camino routes in Europe, the Camino Portugues presents the Iberian Peninsula at its best.
Throughout the various Camino routes, you see the common Christian symbol of Alpha and Omega, the first and last Greek letters, respectively. While referring to divinity or God, the symbol represents “the beginning and the end”, signifying eternity. However, a surprise awaits those arriving at the Camino’s final destination—the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela. In the Roman facade of the Cathedral, you see a chrismon in which the Alpha and Omega are reversed: Omega and Alpha. Placing the reversed symbol, like nowhere else in the Christian world and in what is considered the most important part of the Camino, is far from a coincidence. It is to say, “the end and the beginning.”
Arriving in Santiago may be the end of this particular path, but it is not the end of your walking in life. There are many paths to take, many roads to discover. Life is not about arriving at a set destination—it is about the journey you take to get there. It is about the lessons you learn along the way, the people you meet, and how you use it all to make your future paths and self better.
It is a reminder that the end or closing of every door, pleasant or unpleasant as it may seem, is also the seed of new possibilities, new doors to open. The unique chrismon in Santiago is there to remind you of the life you choose to lead and create with every footstep you take. But you don’t need to walk hundreds of kilometers to embrace the new doors in your life…
Tomorrow morning, June 22, I will arrive at the Lisbon Cathedral, and start walking the Camino Portugues. Every moment in life can be lived as “an end and a beginning”, and I ask my heart to open to the new possibilities and to fully live every footstep of every journey.
How I live my life in this moment, and in every moment onward…is in my hands.