History and religion is why one can wander happily through locals' back yards, traverse one-way streets the wrong way, crowd out the cafes en route and invade people's rural world. Fortunately, pilgrims largely respect this history, the two-way reciprocity with the inhabitants being essential to the existence of this camino. But a reciprocity that will be challenged by the tourism marketing.
With the camino of such critical importance to Santiago, with a quarter of a million pilgrims in the city per year, who is in charge? The government, the councils, the church, God? What's the strategic plan?
If this sounds too familiar, so too are the bushes littered with toilet paper. WCs are few and far between on this camino, especially ones that were open.
Bypassing the two impossible climbs, biking this camino will soon be sorted out, as we did with topo maps, but that will only add to the human load on the trail.
Maybe that's the problem. The Camino Portugues has not been designed to take crowds, bikes and certainly not the eBikes that passed us en route. It's like the New Zealand wilderness which was not designed to handle busloads of tourists and hordes of freedom campers.
PS, the author acknowledges the support he received on the Camino Portuguese from his poorly padded derriere and tender metatarsals.