I work as a professional psychologist, and my job is to talk with a lot of people, and also because I live in a big city, all I do is speaking: but I never have time to start a dialogue with myself. During this journey I love talking with my friend and getting to know his life, although we only do it in the evenings, we spend the daytime in silence. This is an experiment with myself, because it is a challenge for me to keep quiet. But this is my place to stay in silence.

I’m from Ukraine, I am currently living in Kiev, but I was born in Ivano-Frankivsk, in the Carpathian Mountains. I feel attached to the mountains since I was a kid: I love climbing, hiking, skiing, tourism, adventures and challenges. This is also one of my jobs: I work as a professional guide in the mountains. This year I climbed Mont Blanc twice and my highest point was in Pamir Mountains in Tajikistan: 7230 m. In the recent years I was travelling around the world, and 1 year ago I met Mihau, with whom we made a trip in the Canary Islands. Once he told me he wants to hike 500 kms, so I started to look for a place on the internet: we were planning to hike in Europe, but during autumn and winter it is very cold everywhere, so my ideas were either Spain or Portugal. My wife, Julia found the website of Rota Vicentina, and I thought this can be it: long-distance trails, warm weather in winter time, and good infrastructure: wide range of hotels and luggage transfers.

This is my first time here in Portugal, but my father worked here 15 years ago, and since then I have been very curious about this country. I didn’t have any expectations about Portugal, I thought it is a simple, not really exciting country, but I was totally wrong: a lot of interesting plants, and beautiful landscapes among others.

We started our hike on the Fishermen’s trail in Santiago do Cacém on 13th November, and during the 3 week journey the weather was warm, but not hot, so we hiked in T-shirts and light pants. Comparing hiking to climbing, the latter demands more physical preparation beforehand and focusing intensely to your associates, and also to the weather and equipments. Hiking is a type of dynamic meditation for me: my mind is totally relaxed, my dreams are slow, it causes a very pleasant feeling. Usually people like to change their lives frequently, and to do different things everyday, but when you hike 500kms, you repeat the same activity every single day, you move forward step by step, in line with this not only the environment varies around you, but changes also happen in you by the march of time. 

Sergii Lakhotskiy

The photos were taken in QUINTA DO CHOCALHINHO.

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