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!

 

Olveiroa to Finisterre

Day Eighty One. 20.3 Miles, 32.7 Kilometers.

Written on July 9, 2012.

The sunrise is later each day. Where we are staying is on the Camino. The tricky part is to find the waymarkers when we leave the village. The closest village to have our first break and a cup of coffee is Hospital. It takes awhile to walk there…we are ready for a break.

At least a week ago, on the way to Triacastela, Vern met three women from South Africa. He walked with them for awhile. I walked my own pace behind them. This morning we took our break with them in Hospital. It was then that I learned that they are walking for a cause: to bring awareness to MSA. Multiple System Atrophy is a neurologically degenerative disease. They are walking in support of their friend, Sonja, and anyone affected by this disease.

Susan, Gerda, Me, and Esther.

Gerda is walking with a MSA card to bring awareness.

Sonja's Blog and more information can be found at: msainsouthafricawithsonja.blogspot.com.

We walked a short way from the village of Hospital and had to make a decision: walk directly to Muxia or walk to Finisterre and pick up our second Compostella. We decided to walk to Finisterre.

A rare waymarker on the Camino.
 
It was a beautiful clear day on the way to Finisterre. We were excited to see our first glimpse today of the Atlantic Ocean. We walked today for 11 hours. As soon as we entered Finisterre we recognized Pilgrims we saw yesterday and Pilgrims we hadn't seen in a few weeks. We walked directly to the Albergue to receive our Compostela.
 
Finisterre uses a Pilgrim's given name, not the Latin equivalent.
 
I have discovered in Finisterre that there are many ways to spell the name of this town.
Peter, Merle, and Vern.
 
The first friends that we saw today was Peter and Merle from Australia. We set a time to have dinner together. They were glad that we were going to take our showers first!
 
Although I experience many different emotions while entering Santiago and Finisterre, they are both very special to me. It is a time of celebration, support, and the honoring of each others journey and of the different ways we arrived here.
 
 

 

Negreira to Oliveiroa

Day Eighty. 22.2 Miles, 35.8 Kilometers.

Written July 8, 2012.

We are very careful to follow signs and waymarkers. When we do not see a Pilgrim we ask a local resident if we are on the Camino.

A sign new to the area after Santiago.

There are very few bars or cafes today. We see Peter, Merle, and Shaunna at our first stop. I am ready for juice and a coffee.

We had walked half way. My feet were aching, I was ready for a break. We were in Maronas. I took my boots and socks off and put my feet up on a chair. After several minutes Danillo came over. He put my feet in his lap and proceeded to massage my feet. Danillo does not speak English and I do not speak Italian, but the gift he gave me that day will never be forgotten.

Vern and Danillo, the Masseuse.

After many miles of walking we came to the top of a hill and saw a beautiful, large lake.

Embalse de Ferrenza.

We walked for 12 hours today..it was a perfect day for a foot massage!

Santiago de Compostela to Negreira

Day Seventy Nine. 15.8 Miles, 25.6 Kilometers.

Written on July 7, 2012.

This morning we left Santiago at our average time: 6:00 to 6:20 a.m. We are noticing that each morning seems to be darker than the morning before. Vern has his headlamp on. We are able to find the yellow arrows and Camino markers that are guiding us out of the City. The Camino between Santiago and Finisterre traditionally has a reputation for being poorly marked. We walked over a foot bridge in the small village of Sarela, proceeded up a mountain, and walked through what seemed to be a Regional Park. We expected the path to be poorly marked, and hadn't seen any markings in a long time. The path was now leading us into a village. It was raining. We saw two men ahead standing at the edge of the park talking under an umbrella. We asked them in Spanish if we were on the Camino. One man asked if we speak English and we said yes. He proceeded to tell us in his kindest manner that we were very far from the Camino. He indicated that it wouldn't be easy to direct us. He and his friend would show us. He said that they walk together every morning.

Aggajan, Vern, Fidio and Fidio's faithful companion.

As we were walking with these men we discovered that Fidio speaks six languages and is retired after many years in the hotel business throughout Europe. Aggajan speaks Russian and is in the process of learning Spanish. Fidio walked ahead with Vern. Aggajan walked and held his umbrella for me during the entire walk.

Aggajan and a Camino waymarker.

After at least one hour of walking Fidio and Aggajan had guided us to the Camino. As we approached the waymarkers of the Camino I thought I was going crazy!! This area was completely familiar to me. We had walked here 2 to 3 hours before this morning! I tried to convey this to Aggajan in Spanish, he smiled. I yelled ahead to Vern…we just went in a complete circle! Fidio was grateful that we were back on the right path. Aggajan and I had a good time practicing our Spanish.

The mileage shown at the top of the page does not account for the miles that we walked when we were lost. I don't have any idea how many miles we actually walked. What I will say is that : yes, getting lost and excerting precious energy was frustrating, but there is always a “bigger picture”. For us the bigger picture was that we were able to spend time walking and talking with these selfless individuals who gave us the gift of peace of mind. Also, we are now clear that the expectation of not expecting clear signage gave us exactly what we expected….poor signage! Thank you Fidio and Aggajan for taking the time to help get us back on the Camino!

Just a few minutes after we were back on the Camino we saw Dan and Ellen from Oregon. We met them several days ago in Azura. Thomas was walking quickly, he slowed down to give us a news update: Perrogrino, the Pilgrim dog that I wrote about here on June 28th was seen by Thomas at the Plaza in Santiago as Thomas was walking in! Pilgrims have been anxious to receive new information about Perrogrino…and now we have it!

Thomas and me.

Hours later after walking up steep inclines, through forest paths, and on the road we entered the village of Ponte Maceira. We stopped to take a break and met, Tony, from Slovenia. Many countries are represented on the Camino de Santiago. I am grateful for the opportunity everyday to learn more about the world we all live in.

Ponte Maceira.

The building pictured in the front is a mill. This area is one of the most beautiful spots on the Camino. Many buildings are well preserved.

Rest Day in Santiago de Compostela

Day Seventy Eight.

Written on July 6, 2012.

Today began with a lot of sleep! We slept until 8:30 a.m. We are looking forward to a cup of coffee and spending time In the Plaza. The Plaza is just a few minutes walk from our room. As soon as we arrived we saw Merle and Peter from Australia just arriving into Santiago. It was wonderful to see them and to share that profound time with them as they entered the City and reflected on what they had accomplished. Merle and Peter started their journey from Le Puy, France on April 19th.

Vern, Me, Merle, and Peter.

We walked with Merle and Peter to the Pilgrim's Office where they will also receive their Compostela. Just across the street we saw Remy and Anna. Marie saw us and we had a great reunion with her. It has been a few weeks since we have seen her.

I feel a strong connection to Pilgrims that I have seen along The Way and a connection to anyone coming into Santiago no matter how many days, weeks, or months they have been walking.

Vern, Remy, Anna, and Marie.

We were very interested in a large market not far from the Cathedral that we had heard about. We were getting hungry so it was time to find the market. As we were walking toward the market we saw Ana and her Mother, Consuelo. We couldn't believe it, we thought they were in Finisterre today. After we chose our raw food at the market we took it to a participating restaurant. For 10% of the purchase price of the food the restaurant will cook it. We had lunch and walked around Santiago with Consuelo and Ana.

Vern had heard a story about statues in a nearby park called Las dos Marias. We went to the park to find them.

Consuelo, Vern, and Ana with Las Dos Marias.

A photo of the actual Dos Marias.

The story we heard is that: The two ladies, both named Marie, were friendly to the University students in Santiago. They always said “hello” and spoke to the students. The students were moved by the women and created the statues of them.

We later had a fun dinner with a group of Pilgrims, including Tom, Kat, Merle, Peter, and two more Californians.

On our way back to our room we saw more familiar faces and good friends.

A group of Pilgrim friends including the California Boys!

Thank you to everyone who makes the arrival and time in Santiago so special!!