Lavacolla To Santiago de Compostela

Day Fifty Three. 9.5 K., 6 Mi.

Written on June 21, 2014.

Today is special in so many ways. Yes, we have walked into Santiago de Compostela before this day. Vern and I are now walking in with our daughter who has been with us since April 30th when we first started walking from Porto, Portugal. We have witnessed many transformations in ourselves and in others.
We were walking in at a steady pace when a Pilgrim from South Korea stopped us to let us know that he remembered us from 2012. At that time he had walked with his son, now he walked with his wife. This moment was one of the “treasures” of the Camino for us.
Gregorio, Teresa, Vern, and Nancy.
Vern took a moment to have some fun.
Nancy, Angel, and Vern in front of the Cathedral.
Since 2008 I have explored as many forums, blogs, and Camino websites as I could find. The Camino de Santiago Forum, admin, Ivar Rekve has provided a format for Pilgrims and “soon to be Pilgrims” to obtain inspiration and valuable information regarding many subjects that pertain to the Camino. Ivar also offers a Pilgrim storage service in Santiago. On April 29th Vern, Angel, and I mailed two boxes from Porto, Portugal to Ivar. He emailed me to let me know that he received the boxes. There is a charge for this service. The post office, however, will not store for the length of time that we needed. Check out the Forum and storage information: http://www.caminodesantiago.me/community/
Ivar And Nancy.
Today I saw something that I tried to capture the best I could with a photo. I saw the boots right after a heavy rain….but I knew what I must do.
This photo was taken laying on the ground.

Many bicyclists lined up for their Compostelas.

We saw Dane Johansen's film crew on our way into Santiago. They said that he would be playing inside the Cathedral at 4:00 p.m. This is an opportunity to enjoy his music one more time. The “alcove” where he played was filled to capacity. His father had flown in from Anchorage. It was clear that Dane was filled with emotion.

A Pilgrim who translated for Dane many times and Dane.

Bagpipe music defines, for me, the completion of the Camino. Please check out this short video of what welcomes you into Santiago on the Camino Frances: http://youtu.be/5K8S-vN7gxc

Everyday on the Camino, or not, I am looking for opportunities to have fun. This video shows groups of Pilgrims celebrating and having fun in front of the Cathedral: http://youtu.be/-o4JPAhbGg

Please view and share this wonderful video created by Koala Enarmagnac with his original song/music.

http://youtu.be/o0Pg1FQjH5U

Thank you for reading this blog, sharing it with your friends, your comments, and support!!! Looking for interesting photos, taking the photos, and preparing the stories in my mind helped me during those moments when my body was struggling with one more hill or while trying to stay cool in the middle of a hot day. You are, and have been very much a part of our Camino. Buen Camino!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

San Juan de Ortega To Burgos

Day Twenty Nine. 23.3 K., 14.4 Mi. (Approx). Vern and Angel's mileage.

Written on May 28, 2014.

As I was lying in bed in San Juan de Ortega yesterday I was thinking about the couple that directed Monica and I to the best way to Ages. What I was thinking about is: do I take my chances and start walking in an area that does not have taxi or bus service or do I make an arrangement this evening? I had noticed a card on the bulletin board downstairs for backpack transport. I called the number on the card and in my best Spanish asked if he could pick me and my backpack up tomorrow. That was pretty easy. By the time I left the Casa Rural I had been in bed for many hours.

Raul and his partner had picked me up on time and drove me to Burgos. It is easier to stay in a Pension, Hostal, or Hotel when you want to stay in a town or city for two nights or longer. As Raul and I were walking toward the Hotel Norte y Londres I kept hearing someone yell, “Mom, Mom”. I couldn't believe that Vern and Angel had arrived in Burgos before me.

Front view of Cathedral in Burgos.

A “portal” into Burgos by the river.

Burgos is a city full of art, sculptures, any resource you may need, and the Catedral de Santa Maria. It is a great place for exploring, relaxation, and taking care of errands.

 

Fisterra To Santiago de Compostela

Day Seventeen. Bus to Santiago.

Written on May 16, 2014.

This is the day that we take the Pilgrim Bus to Santiago de Compostela. One of the buses today leaves at 8:20 a.m. We are up to get ready by 6:30 a.m. so we can have coffee and juice at a local cafe.

Sunrise view from our window.

It was a three hour bus ride along the coast….beautiful. The cost was 13 euros,10! What a bargain. It would cost more for a tour bus without the beautiful coast views.

We arrived in Santiago and walked to our room from the bus station.

Outdoor caf├ęs near our room.

Our family is not able to visit Santiago without having a meal at the Negro Gato! The peppers, seafood, cheese, and bread are excellent!

Angel with Manolo of the Negro Gato, (Black Cat) Cafe.

One of several things that we wanted to accomplish today is: receive a very rare Compostela at the Covento San Francisco. We have been hearing about this Compostela from several Pilgrims. We are not sure of the complete details. It seems that it is only available for two months in 2014. It is not available after May 29, 2014. The next time it is available is 200 years from now. How accurate those few details are…I am not sure. We started out from our room to find the Convento San Francisco. We walked the entire perimeter of Santiago and began asking for help.

Vern, Kathy, Victor, Nancy, Angel, and Maribelle.

Victor and Maribelle are “Angels”! They observed us asking a woman who did not understand. They quickly let us know that they knew where the Convent was and that they would show us. Thank you Victor and Maribelle!!

Convento San Francisco.

My Compostela de Convento San Francisco.

 

Santiago de Compostela…Rest Day

Day Twelve.

Written on May 11, 2014

Today Kasie has begun her trip back to the U.S. She will have some time in Madrid.

We slept in and were grateful for the opportunity. We immediately looked for coffee. We found great coffee close by and went there twice today. Also the search for “cronuts” was on. In California a cronut is a cross between a croissant and a donut. In Spain they are called Glorias and are delicious. We found them! As we were walking around Santiago we saw a mannequin in a window.

Window art!

Angel, Kathy, and I went to the Pilgrim Mass.

A small view of a huge cathedral!

A mime outside the cathedral. Give her a coin, she gives a shiny rock.

At the same time that I saw the mime Angel and Kathy were visiting with Daniel and Arna. At that moment we decided to walk to the Gato Negro. The Gato Negro (pronounced nay-gro) is a great restaurant in town that the locals love! We saw Donal along the way. Vern joined us. I was so busy eating that I forgot to take photos. The Gato Negro is a must when in Santiago!

 

Padron To Santiago de Compostela

Day Eleven. 24.9 K., 15.5 Mi.

Written on May 10, 2014.

Before we left the Albergue I looked outside: this is a headlamp morning. It was 6:00 a.m. and dark. I feel good and pretty organized. My mantra as I'm packing my backpack is: light, heavy, light. Packing light on the bottom: sleeping bag, flip flops for shower, sleeping mask, headlamp, etc. next is water bladder with one liter of water, iPad, supplements, etc. toward the top of my bag is lightweight jacket, envelope of important papers, etc. my bag has two compartments that flip over the top. Those compartments have sunscreen, lip balm, buff for my neck/head, pen, etc.

We walked for about two hours. I saw that Vern, Angel, and Kasie had stopped. Angel was asking a cafe owner if the cafe was open. Next thing we knew he was opening the doors and turning on the lights! Yes, the first coffee of the day.

Vern, Eduardo, and Angel.

We saw Daniel walking up the road toward us. Soon Donal was with us…shortly after: Kirsten. Eduardo is a good business man. Soon after he opened the doors his son came downstairs looking very sleepy. They served cake that we did not order and turned on rock'n roll to listen to.

Kathy, Vern, Nancy, Donal, Daniel, Angel, Kasie, and Kirsten.

A few hours after the coffee stop we saw a sign that we didn't understand but followed a well worn path. Later some walkers told us we were going the wrong way.

I named this the b*** s*** sign.

Vern and I love the Dos Marias. The story that we heard is that they were two sisters who loved to walk in the Alameda area of Santiago sharing smiles and hugs with students.

Kasie, Nancy, Kathy, Vern, Angel, and Libor with statues of the Dos Marias.
The path in from Camino Portugues goes right by the Hostal Alameda where we are staying. We stopped to check in and then continue on to the Oficina de Peregrinos to receive our Compostela. I felt strange about going to the office without my backpack. I kept it with me just long enough to receive the Compostela.
My Compostela showing my Latin name.

In front of the Cathedral after receiving my Compostela.

 

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.

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.

 

Puente Villarente to Leon

Day Sixty Three. 8.4 Miles, 13.5 Kilometers.

Written on June 21, 2012.

The Albergue in Puente Villarente offered breakfast at 6:30 am. We had breakfast then left at 7:00 a.m. We are seeing many pilgrims from the Albergue..they are passing us…then we see the bicyclists that we had dinner with. It is good to know a few bicyclists. It is not usual to get to know anyone on bicycles…they can go at least 60 kilometers per day while we usually walk 21 to 24 Kilometers per day.

Vern and I walked into Leon with Adele and Kim. It was a short, fun walk this morning. Adele and Kim went to the Albergue. Vern and I went to the Post Office to pick up the last mailing of supplements. We are staying at a room near the Post Office.

There is a lot to see in Leon. We started looking around right away.

13th Century Gothic Cathedral.

As soon as we walked into Old Town Leon we started seeing many people that we know.

Me, Vern, Shawna, Brigitte, and of course, Louis.

We had a great time exploring Leon. It seemed that any street we walked down was hiding a Plaza just around the corner. Dieter, a bicyclist from Belgium took us to a hidden plaza. We had dinner in a wonderful restaurant. There were very few non-residents in the plaza.

A way marker in Leon.

Three guys in Leon with a great vantage point.

As I was taking a photo of the footprint way marker I turned around to see these guys. Another photo just waiting to be taken!

“Rest” Day in Burgos

Day Fifty Six.

Written on June 14, 2012

Before leaving home in April Vern had started the process of applying for a small pension he is entitled to at age 60. By the time we reached Burgos he had received emails with the documents that needed to be signed and returned by mail. The documents needed to be notarized so we started the adventure of finding a Notario. The first office we went to was not able to help us because the documents were in English. The receptionist was so determined to help us, though, that she asked her colleagues If they knew anyone in Burgos who would be able to notarize English documents. She then took us to the street to show us how to get there. We were able to take care of our business and send the documents at the Correos, (post office). It was now 2:00 p.m. So we decided to stay in Burgos.

Vern with Pilgrim sculptures in Burgos.

Pilgrim sculpture near the Cathedral.

Nancy with more of Burgos’ art work!

Just one view of the Cathedral in Burgos.

We enjoyed our unexpected day in Burgos. The city is alive with art, architecture, tributes to Pilgrims, etc. As we were sipping our coffees we both realized that the owner of the bar was the same person in the poster right above his head.

Bar owner and White Label poster.

The cafe across from our room was so good that we went there two nights in a row. The first night we ate dinner with Orla and Linda from Ireland. The next night when we returned the waitress was so excited to see us that she said in Spanish, English, and sign language, “The specials tonight are wonderful…I will order for you”. The meal and service was excellent. In those two brief encounters the waitress has left a part of her spirit with us.

A “blessing” to Cafe Cantos in Burgos.

Our day in Burgos was rich with time spent with many Pilgrim friends including “The California Boys”, and others who I am sure we will see more of on The Camino.