The destination

The last of a thousand arrows




The shrine



I’m a celebrity. Now I’m out of here

One of the most bizarre but secretly pleasing things about walking the Caminho da Fe was finding myself the centre of attention in the most unlikely places

Whether it was because my good Brazilian friend Sidney had telephoned the pousada to warn them that a hapless, exhausted English man was on his way. Whether it was an entry I’d put on the Caminho web site chat room

But I suspect the main reason could have been my habit of writing my name in the sand and mud all along the Caminho

I did this not out of a sense of egotism but simply to let other hikers and bikers know they were not alone. That somewhere down the trail there was someone going through the same hell

Two couples on mountain bikes left me bemused when they stopped me and shouted “Bobby!” before embracing me and waiting on the next hilltop to hold hands and pray with me. Or for me

A grizzled farmer limped to his garden gate with the same greeting “Bobby?”. It was more of a question really as if he couldn’t quite believe I’d made it that far

A car went past with windows down and both driver and passenger shouting my name

At two bars they knew who I was and refused any money for food and drink. Which was much appreciated

But this sense of unreality reached its height in Aparecida itself when I was interviewed at some length by the national religious station , Aparecida TV

More of which later.

Oh and if anyone has personal experience of a stress fracture in the lower leg please let me know. Cos I think that’s what I may have