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!!

Lavacolla to Santiago de Compostela

Day Seventy Seven. 6.8 Miles, 11.0 Kilometers. Total miles walked to date: 969.1. Total Kilometers: 1,558.1.

Written on July 5, 2012.

We have arrived in Santiago de Compostela!! We walked for a short time this morning. We arrived at 9:30 a.m. There were other Pilgrims walking in at the same time. We all seemed to be walking at a fast pace. There was definitely excitement “in the air”.

A sign at the entrance of Santiago.

Many people were going to the same place: The Oficina del Peregrino, (Pilgrim Office). We were at the office for approximately thirty minutes. The volunteer helping me looked up my Latin name and added it to my Compostela.

My Compostela.
We left the Pilgrim Office and saw many people either coming into Santiago or were already here. We wanted to leave our backpacks at our room so we could go to the Cathedral for the Pilgrim Mass by 12:00 noon.
We heard from many people that today the Botafumeriro will be used. It is a giant incense burner, a symbol of an ancient tradition to fumigate Pilgrims.
The swinging Botafumeiro.
The Plaza in front of the Cathedral is full of excitement, contemplation, gathering of friends, and a wonderful view of the Cathedral.
Vern and I in front of the Cathedral in Santiago.
We saw many Pilgrim friends today, some who we have been seeing everyday, and some who we have not seen for two or more weeks. We were at the Mass with Tom, Kat, and Robbie. We saw Barbara and Jordan before Mass and Dieter shortly after.
Barbara and son, Jordan, from Texas.
Vern and Dieter.
Vern and I last saw Dieter as he rode by us on his bicycle many days ago. It was very special for us to see Dieter at the Cathedral. We have known many Pilgrims who walk the Camino de Santiago, but have never known anyone who is a bicyclist. We are grateful for the time that we have spent with Dieter and that the perfect “timing” of the Camino allowed us to see him before he left for the airport today.
A few days ago we met Anna, her parents, Jose Miguel, and Consuelo. We saw them yesterday and made a plan to meet for lunch after Mass. We ate at a very good place in Santiago….Gato Negro.
Vern, Consuelo, Jose Miguel, and Ana.
We had a great lunch and a fun time together. We decided to go back to our rooms and then meet again at 7:30 p.m. We were in the Plaza and saw Jose Miguel. He proceeded to take us on a wonderful tour of the Parador, Hostal dos Reis Catolicos, built in 1492.

One example of the exquisite beauty of the Parador in Santiago.

After some time together in the evening we were walking back toward the Parador and discovered that a band was playing.

A Tuno Band.

We had a wonderful time singing and dancing to the music of this band. What a great way to say hasta luego after an incredible evening!

Tomorrow we will stay in Santiago. On Saturday we will start walking toward Finisterre.


Arzua to Lavacolla

Day Seventy Six. 17.8 Miles, 27.3 Kilometers.

Written on July 4, 2012.

Santiago de Compostela is a two day walk for most people. There are a few, however, who are walking the full 26 miles today. Vern and I have decided to walk to Lavacolla today, the rest of the way tomorrow.

At the first break we saw several people we know. There are mixed emotions about arriving in Santiago but most people seem to be excited.

Louis and Christie ready to go to Santiago!

On the way to Lavacolla I saw something I haven't seen since the last time I was in Colorado…..dark red earth. I had to take this photo of red earth and clear water!

A red earth creek near Lavacolla.

We recognized a pilgrim walking toward us…the same question…are you coming from Santiago? He was excited and anxious to show us his Compostela and three credentials. He had started in Le Puy in May.

Pilgrim with Compostela, returning from Santiago.


Palas de Rei to Arzua

Day Seventy Five. 17.9 Miles, 28.9 Kilometers.

Written on July 3, 2012.

Jose Miguel, Consuelo, and their daughter, Ana.

I walked for awhile with Ana, a young woman who lives in Spain and teaches English in a secondary school. Her parents have walked the Camino de Santiago in years past. She is joining them for a walk this year. At one point today she looked behind us and said I will see you later. All of the students are coming! I stepped up to higher ground and started the movie function on my camera. The students walk until they meet their support vehicle and then take a break. There are approximately 250 students from two schools.

There were several villages to pass through today. I enjoy walking through the villages. There is always something interesting to look at.

A farmer with a bull.

When I asked the farmer if it was ok to take a photo, he turned the bull around so he faced the camera!

Bridge on the way into Melide.

It was a long walk to Arzua. Everyone we see is either on their way to take a nap or talking about how tired they are. On the way to dinner we met a couple from Ashland, Oregon. They have walked through various sections of five Caminos. We realized that we live 2-1/2 hours from each other. I am sure that we will see them in Santiago.


Portomarin to Palas de Rei

Day Seventy Four. 16.7 Miles, 27.0 Kilometers.

Written on July 2, 2012.

We walked out of Portamarin with Louis, Kim, and Scott. After a few miles I started talking with Kathryn from Georgia, U.S. She walked with us all day. Vern was waiting for Kathryn and I. We looked up just in time to see many young people walking over an overpass.

Students on the Camino de Santiago.

Santiago de Compostela is in the Province of Galicia. There are many things that are just unique to Galicia. One thing is a herrero. A herrero is a place where corn was dried in an earlier time. There seems to be a lot of herreros that are being restored.

A herrero near a church.

There are many ways to mark the way to Santiago. Yellow arrows are painted on rocks, walls, and buildings. Scallop shells are used to point the way. They may be brass, shell, or just painted. There are many ways to make a waymarker.

A pinecone waymarker.


Barbadelo to Portamarin

Day Seventy Three. 13.0 Miles, 21.0 Kilometers.

Written on July 1, 2012.

It was a misty morning with low fog. Our first break was with Pam from Colorado. Pam found a bar/cafe that served fruit, yogurt, fresh pastries, and great coffee! She saw us as we began to pass by. She let us know that the cafe was open.

We are now nearing the 100 Kilometer marker on the Camino de Santiago. A Pilgrim is entitled to a Compostela for walking 100 Kilometers. Two stamps a day are needed on a Pilgrim passport once you pass Sarria. Sarria is the closest town on the Camino to the 100 Kilometer point. Many pilgrims arrive in Sarria to begin their walk to Santiago.

The 100 K. marker.

After walking for awhile there was a pilgrim rest. On the sign above the rest all that was requested is, “Please leave this area clean like you found it”. It means a lot to find a sheltered place to sit.

Pilgrim rest.

To arrive in Portamarin you must cross a bridge, climb many stairs, and enter under an arch. It is a wonderful town elevated above a river.

The Arch at Portamarin.

At first it seemed as if there was a party already starting in honor of the World Cup that Spain is in tonight with Italy. After watching for awhile I realized that the procession was coming from the church.

Procession walking on a “carpet” of plants.

As soon as we arrived we did our shopping for the next day and took a nap. We packed our backpacks and wanted to be ready to go. We went downstairs to the restaurant to eat dinner. We found a good spot to watch the game when it started at 8:45 p.m. Soon we saw people that we know: Tom, Kat, Shaunna, Louis, Kim, and Scott. There was a bar and a restaurant area, the bar filled up quickly. We watched the entire futbol (soccer) game…Spain won 4 – 0! It was a fun time. I found myself really getting into it and happy that Spain won. Everyone was excited. It was exciting for most pilgrims from all over the world to help Spain celebrate their victory.

Spain, World Cup Champions.

Triacastela to Barbadelo

Day Seventy Two. 15.1 Miles, 24.3 Kilometers.

Written on June 30, 2012.

This morning there is a decision to make: walk to Samos and then on to Barbadelo or walk toward San Xil. We chose the woodland paths through San Xil, Furela, etc. we took a rest after two miles just before San Xil.

Rest area.

The path today is pleasant and the weather is cool…a little mist…some rain, perfect! Vern is ready for his first cup of coffee and we join many others in Furela at Casa do Franco for coffee and snacks.

Kat and Tom from Australia.

Nancy from Belgium.

Shaunna from Nebraska, U.S.A.

We walk another 5 miles before we reach Sarria, a major medieval center for Pilgrims. Sarria is now a popular starting point for Pilgrims with limited time. A Compostela may be picked up in Santiago. Starting from here will cover the required 100 kilometers to the Cathedral.

A Pilgrim mural in Sarria.

Vern and I are walking with Thomas. Not far from Sarria there is a young man with a table, chair, and a chicken. He is selling raw eggs and hard boiled eggs. We buy 3 cooked eggs and continue on our way.

Wisdom on a rock near Barbadelo.

Thomas, Vern, and I begin looking for Casa de Carmen, a Pension/Albergue. We met for dinner and had a delicious meal. I told Thomas that I was having some problems publishing postings on my blog. After dinner he showed me in just a few moments how to reset the App! Thanks Thomas for the good company and your tech knowledge!