Home For Eighteen Hours.

Vern and I arrived home on Thursday, July 19th. The plane from San Francisco to Crescent City, California is not a jet….it is a prop plane and the passengers are directed to board from the tarmac. I was raised near the San Francisco Airport and remember when planes were all boarded in this manner. A shuttle is needed to get from one terminal to another. The shuttle travels in between terminals “behind the scenes”.

“Welcome to San Francisco”.

Thanks for getting us to our gate.

Our fourth plane home from Santiago.

There were many delays from Wednesday when we left Madrid to Thursday when we arrived in Crescent City, California. We had an overnight stay near the San Francisco Airport so that we could make a connection for the flight home from San Francisco. Our friends, Bonnie and Leo, arrived in Crescent City to pick us up. By the time we landed they had been in “town” almost five hours.

Me, Bonnie, Leo, and Vern. Thanks for taking us to the airport on April 9th and picking us up on July 19th!!

Our home.

Louie, our “stinky” friend.

Thanks Barbara for taking care of Louie and our home!

While walking the Camino de Santiago we had received an email that the annual Family Reunion would be held on July 21st….six hours northeast of where we live. We were home Thursday night and then started driving to my cousin's home on Friday.
Vern, Luanna (friend), Dee Dee, Me, Gary, Kaitlyn, Tannis, Seth, Bill, Dolores, Sidney, Jade, and Breckin, dogs: Haley and Bella. Not shown: Louie, our dog, is eating.
 
THOUGHTS ABOUT FUTURE POSTS:
 
For me, walking the Camino de Santiago is definitely an experience that will always be with me. The Camino does not end when I arrive home. The increased peace of mind that I experience while walking and the love that I receive and give in Community is always available to me.
I have enjoyed creating postings and adding photos to this journal, (blog). Any future postings related to our walk from Le Puy-en-Velay, France to Muxia, Spain will be in the form of insights and information.
 
PLEASE CONTACT ME:
 
If you have a comment, question, or concern please email me at: tcbandfan@charter.net. Your emails may help me create the next posting.
 
This blog and two Camino inspired projects will allow me to “stay on the Camino” as I return home.
 
Now that we are home I will answer the emails and comments that have already been sent.
 
THANK YOU!
 
For me, you were just as much a part of the Camino community as the people we were meeting along the way. It was wonderful to know that this blog was creating a “window” into the sights and experiences as we were living them. There were times after 8 to 12 hours of walking that you were the reason that I wrote a rough draft. Sometimes the draft had a few sentences or just a few words and a list of the photos that were related, anything to help me create a post at a later time. It would have been easy to let go of this process in the first few weeks. I did not let go of it because I knew that a classroom, a spiritual group, friends, family and Camino enthusiasts were “walking” with us. Thanks for following.
Nancy and Vern
 

Muxia to Home. Day Seven

Written on July 18, 2012.

It’s a travel day. During “travel mode” I find that I turn my will and my life over to the care of the unknown:). Lisa, Vern, and I leave on a shuttle from the hotel. As the driver was helping us unload our backpacks he noticed the scallop shell hanging on my bag. In Spanish he said, “I have walked the Camino de Santiago 3 times”. His smile was so big and bright that I knew that he was happy to share, just for a moment, that he too was a Pilgrim.

Lisa had an earlier flight and was leaving from a different terminal than us. We had time to relax, have a snack, and update the blog.

Our plane to the first stop in the U.S., Miami.

This is the monitor that we watched in Madrid.

Arriving in Miami after clearing Customs and Passport Control.

I love this floor at the Miami airport.

By the time we arrived at the CitiGarden┬áHotel near the San Francisco Airport it was 1:30 a.m. We needed sleep more than we needed food. This is a great hotel near the airport that provides free shuttle service between the hours of 4:14 a.m. to 12:44 a.m. The CitiGarden also has a park’n fly program. The website is: citigardenhotel.com. I feel that this hotel is one of the best kept secrets in the Bay Area.

Muxia to Home. Day Six.

Written on July 17, 2012.

The first place we go today is Plaza Mayor. We love to see what is going on. The perfect place for a fun photo!

Vern, Me, and Lisa looking our best!

Today we are exploring areas of the City that we drove past on the bus tour last weekend.

Open air double decker bus.

The Cathedral is beautiful from the outside and even more impressive from the inside.

One of the main cloisters of the Cathedral in Madrid.

A section of the ceiling.

I'm enjoying the walk from the Cathedral on the side of the street with the most shade. Fortunately for us there was some wonderful music on that side of the street also.

Thank you for the music!

After dinner we attended a free concert at the Real Basilica de San Francisco el Grande Madrid. A choir from the Rottenburg Cathedral….Rottenburg, Germany performed. The young women had angelic voices. I thought that the best effect was when they formed a circle under the dome…it sounded beautiful! The organist who accompanies the choir has won many awards for his playing. After listening to him for a few moments I can understand why.

 

Muxia to Home. Day Five.

Written on July 16, 2012.

Another day to sleep in! We really are on vacation. We take our time waking up and go to the first floor for breakfast. The plan today is to not have a plan. Just walking around Madrid is entertaining, day or night. The days have been so warm that many sidewalk cafes have misters, (water sprayers), to cool off their customers. I bought a pair of jeans yesterday, today I have to buy a belt to hold them up. I find one right away. It seems that Vern, Lisa and I are ready to do a little shopping. We go from store to store and from cafe to cafe. We have now moved into a room for three people. It is a large room right above the street.

There is an incredible market not far from Plaza Mayor. It is full of local specialities and one-of-a-kind delicacies. We enjoy looking at all this market has to offer.

M & M Market, Madrid.
Specialty hams at the market.
Cashews, pumpkin seeds, almonds, hazelnuts, etc.
“Eye-catching” windows above a shop.
 
In Madrid a person can walk 10 minutes back to their hotel or take 3 hours to get there. A corner can change several times a day. The same artist or vendor will probably not be in the same location the next time you walk by.

Muxia to Home. Day Four.

Written on July 15, 2012.

 

Vern, Lisa, and I had breakfast at the hotel.Yes I said breakfast…not toast and coffee, but yogurt, eggs, fruit juice, and cereal. There were other foods also available at the buffet. We took our time eating and relaxing. We then left to find a double decker bus to ride in. We paid 20 euros each and were able to ride on the bus all day. If we saw something we wanted to explore or take a closer look at we could leave the bus any time. Headphones were provided and you could choose the language you needed.

We went to our room and rested. I was anxious to wear a different pair of pants so I went across the street and bought a pair of jeans. A different pair of pants after 3 months!

We felt rested, walked a short distance and returned to the bus for another part of the tour.

In the evening we returned to Plaza Mayor. It was now Sunday evening. The scene was completely changed from Saturday evening. Massage chairs and vendors of every type of product lined the streets. There were a few musicians, but not the variety that we saw the evening before. There were many young men running around trying to sell toys that they would launch with a rubber band many feet off the ground.

The fountains and landmarks of Madrid are beautiful and unique. Here are just a few of the landmarks and attractions that we saw: I have only added titles to the structures that I am sure of.

Edificio Metropolis.
Royal Palace.
 
 
 
A Camino marker on a Madrid Hotel!
 
Madrid is an interesting city with attractions and interests for every style and taste!

Muxia to Home. Day Three.

Written on July 14, 2012.

Walking from our room toward the bus stop I feel so much! I feel so grateful to have been able to spend time in Santiago. Also, I know that all of the encouragement that I have received and given is just a small example of what I can experience in my daily life.

We board the bus for the airport…next stop: Madrid. We will take a plane to Madrid where we will meet Lisa from Germany. Lisa, Vern, and I became friends while walking the Camino in 2009…since then Lisa has been to our home in California, and we have been to her home in Germany. We will spend 4 days together in Madrid. Our planes are scheduled to have a time difference of 2 hours. Our plane is delayed and Vern's checked in backpack is misplaced. Lisa's plane is delayed due to a flat tire. The result….we come in just minutes apart!

Lisa and Vern at the Madrid airport.
 

We check into our hotel and take a rest. We walk around Madrid. Madrid comes alive around 10 p.m. Plaza Mayor is a large plaza. All four sides are lined with shops and cafes with outdoor dining. Street performers, mimes, musicians, religious processions, and bands are everywhere in the plaza and downtown area. It is Saturday night. It is a perfect place to celebrate after a long distance walk.

Lisa and Vern with a street “artist” in Madrid.

Vern and Nancy in Madrid.
A street performer.
 
This performer has something in his mouth that makes his voice sound very high and squeeky. Children are attracted to him. Their parents give them I euro coins to put in a basket in front of the “baby”.
People are amazed and puzzled by this illusion.
A giant bubble blower in the middle of the Plaza Mayor.
 
This is my favorite street performer. Everyone was having a lot of fun with him.
The creativity and innovation of these performers is amazing. I enjoy walking through the plazas and streets. I bring plenty of euros so that I can feel comfortable taking photos and interacting with these artists.

Muxia to Home-Day Two.

Written on July 13, 2012.

It seems strange to not get up at 5:30 a.m. We start the day off with a cup of coffee at a local bar and take a walk around Santiago. As we get closer to the Plaza in front of the Cathedral I can feel the familiar excitement of coming into Santiago. There are many Pilgrims coming in. I am not sure of the exact count but I would guess that at least two hundred Pilgrims a day walk into Santiago during the summer months. Most gites and albergues operate during the months of April through October. There are a few who operate year round. We were walking through old town window shopping and started talking with a young woman, a teacher. We moved into a shop, the young woman working in the shop joined in with the conversation. We had a great time with these two women. We learned more about the legendary Dos Marias and talked about how important it is to walk the Camino. The importance is not the length of kilometers or the length of time.

An ancient monument near the Cathedral.

After walking around I went to my favorite wifi place: Lavor Chocolates. They recognize me and bring me a decaf con leche. This is the same place where we spent time with Ana and her parents.

Vern had returned to the room two hours before. I finished a new posting for my blog and went to our room. We decided to go out and look for something to eat. There are many streets in Santiago and many cafes/restaurants. We are looking for seafood.

One of many seafood restaurants to choose from in Santiago.

Gato Negro is our favorite cafe in Santiago. It is always busy and not easy to get into. We enjoyed a great meal here with Ana and her family. We gave the owner our names and checked in to get a table. A young woman from Switzerland noticed that we were waiting and invited us to join her….great! She was in Santiago to catch a bus the next morning to go surfing in Spain.

We have peppers with sea salt, octopus, and mussels in sauce. We are grateful to have another meal here!

Muxia to Home-Day One.

Written on July 12, 2012.

There are two buses that run from Muxia to Santiago: 6:45 a.m. or 2:30 p.m. We take the 6:45 a.m. When we board the bus I realize that I have not been on any form of transportation since Etienne dropped us off in Le Puy almost three months ago. We see Miguel waiting for the bus and spend some time visiting with him.

It is a great feeling to walk from the bus station in Santiago to the Plaza in front of the Cathedral. It is wonderful to walk with all of the Pilgrims who are coming in from many different starting points.

Now it is time to find Pension Badalada. I had searched “package storage in Santiago, Spain” before we left California and found Pension Badalada. They will store packages for Pilgrims for a fee. For more information: email: @badalada.es.info. Their website is : Badalada.es. We had some extra clothing that we did not want to carry from our days visiting London, France, and Chauriat, but wanted to have in Madrid after our walk.

Vern left the Pension to walk around Santiago. I stayed in the room. He saw Catarina and Nancy and made plans to meet later for dinner. Nancy's husband, Stephen has arrived in Santiago to meet Nancy and celebrate their wedding anniversary together and Nancy's walk from France to Santiago!

Vern, Catarina, Nancy, and Me.

It is now time to meet Nancy, her husband, and Catarina for dinner. We go to the Plaza and see Catarina and Nancy. Nancy takes us to a bar near the Cathedral with tables outside where her husband and a friend are waiting. Her friend, Carlos, has a dog friend and a wagon. It is time to find a good restaurant with outside seating.

Carlos and his friend.

Carlos is a chef and knows just what to order! We love the food here. We decide to order one more dish. Catarina and I watch Carlos as he shows us how to eat the fish with the tail and head still on.

Good job Catarina!

I am having fun and trying not to eat the bones.

 

It is a great evening filled with good food, funny stories, and heartwarming stories. Each person shares what the last several weeks have meant for them. The Plaza and Cathedral seem to be one of the special places for anyone walking into Santiago. Vern and I visit it many times per day and into the evening.

The Cathedral just before the sun goes down.

Finisterre to Muxia

Day Eighty Three. 19.1 Miles, 30.8 Kilometers.

Total miles walked from Le Puy-en-Velay, France to Muxia, Spain= 1,046.5. Total Kilometers= 1,683.0.

Total days on the Camino= 83. Total days walking = 76. Total Rest Days= 7.

Written on July 11, 2012.

We began walking on the Chemin de St. Jacques in Le Puy-en-Velay, France on April 20, 2012. At St. jean Pied-de-Port, France and into Spain the route is referred to as The Camino de Santiago, The Way, The Way of St. James, etc. The “Path” goes through every kind of terrain imaginable and most weather conditions. We have experienced views from brilliant to mundane to desolate with an unmistakeable beauty. Two days ago we walked along an ocean for the first time in months. It has been an incredible journey. It feels so appropriate to be walking the last several miles in view of an ocean (Atlantic). Walking through eucalyptus groves, by the sea, and through seaside villages, this is the grand finale to a grand walk. We are now seeing a new waymarker indicating a new region.

Dolphin, Camino Arrow Waymarker, and “M” for Muxia.

On the way to Lires, a coastal village, marking the half way point to Muxia we see Albert and Ingrid. We stop at the only building for miles, a bar, situated on a bluff with a great ocean view. It is a requirement to get a sello in Lires on the way to Muxia in order to receive a Compostella in Muxia. After a rest in the bar we proceed to Lires, get a stamp, visit with a couple of Pilgrims and continue toward Muxia.

I was looking forward to the stepping stones in the river that I had heard so much about. When we arrived at the spot a new bridge had been built.

Stepping stones in Rio Castro.

New bridge in Rio Castro.

Not far from Lires we saw a man and woman with a plow hooked up to a donkey. They were both shouting commands in Spanish to the donkey. He seemed to be responding well to what they were saying.

A couple plowing their field near Lires, Spain.

Another three or four miles of walking and I heard Vern talking to someone ahead. When I got there I saw that it was Dan and Ellen. We have been seeing them on a regular basis. They are the first pilgrims we have met that live so close to us. (2-1/2 hours).

Vern, Ellen, Me, and Dan.

I love it when I see a first: I mean a first pilgrim pulling a cart, a first pilgrim smoking a pipe, and today the first young Pilgrim on a bicycle!

A Pilgrim from Italy, his Mom is not shown.

At last we are in Muxia!! We are anxious to get to the tourist office and receive our third Compostela, then we can visit the church, the famous rocks along the coast, and other Pilgrims.

Today marks the end of our walking. Muxia is our geographical destination, but as I now know, for myself, the Camino de Santiago journey is the actual destination. The destination is the deep loving connection with Pilgrims, all humans, and all animals. It is the intention and effort to avoid stepping on ants, beetles, etc. it is the respect of myself and of others to leave “no trace”, etc.

My third Compostella of the Le Puy-en-Velay, France to Muxia, Spain Route.

The view walking into Muxia.

We are excited to see this sign!

Church at the headland Santuario da Virxe da Barca.

Me and Vern just after arriving at Muxia!

A few days ago we met and walked for awhile with Miguel from Colombia. It was wonderful to spend time with him in Muxia. Thanks for the photo of Vern and I on the rock!

I will continue this blog, creating postings throughout our trip home.

Rest Day Finisterre

Day Eighty Two.

Written on July 10, 2012.

There are many places to have a cup of coffee this morning and a light breakfast. We chose a cafe near the water. As soon as we walked in it was a time for celebration and reunion! We saw Catarina and Gloria.

Catarina, Vern, Me, and Gloria.

We wanted to spend some time together so we decided to take a walk out to the lighthouse. There are many Pilgrims walking toward the lighthouse, many we have not seen before. It is a beautiful, clear day in Finisterre. We soon met up with Mairead and stopped at a market for water and a chocolate bar. The 12th Century Romanesque Church, Igrexa de Santa Maria das Areas, (Our Lady of the Sands), is on the way.

A statue of Saint Roch and his dog inside Our Lady of the Sands Church.

As we are walking to the lighthouse Gloria and Catarina walk to a hill not far from the lighthouse. Mairead, Vern, and I continue up to the lighthouse and spend time visiting with other pilgrims. I reflect on what Finisterre, (The “end of the world”), means to me. I had spent time considering this thought while walking and discovered that walking to Finisterre is a symbol for me. The symbol is: I can't believe what I think. What I mean by this is: In Medieval times it was believed that the world was flat. Finisterre has its name, The End Of The Earth, due to this belief. What beliefs do I have that will be discounted next year or next century?

The view from Finisterre.

This is such a meaningful day! We walk to the waymarker that reads 0,00 K.M.

Vern and I at the 0,00 K.M. Waymarker.

A better look at the 0,00 K.M. Waymarker.

We walk for a few minutes back toward Finisterre and a miracle! We see the California boys and Perrogrino. We haven't seen “The Boys” in a few days. We have heard about Perrorgrino but have not seen him since June 28th in Villafranca del Bierzo. He has walked at least 469 Kilometers, almost 300 Miles, (that we know about). We think that the first time he was seen walking was from Terradillos de Los Templarios.

The California Boys and friends with Perrogrino.

Perrogrino.

A very eventful day! I was in our room and Vern brought Sophia to visit, another Pilgrim we have not seen for a few weeks.

Thomas is having a birthday tomorrow and has invited Albert and Ingrid from Holland, Vern and I to help him celebrate while we are all in Finisterre together. We are glad to spend time with them. Thomas found a wonderful restaurant with a great view. Happy Birthday tomorrow Thomas!