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.

Logrono to Navarette

Day Fifty. 7.9 Miles, 12.7 Kilometers.

Written on June 8, 2012.

Logrono is a city that takes awhile to walk through especially when the panaderias and bars are opening for fresh croissants and coffee. We start to leave and notice a fruit stand. An orange sounds good so we stop there, too. On the way out we notice what is either the preparation for or the aftermath of a festival in Logrono.

Banners surround the Catedral de Santa Maria de la Redonda XIV.

Waymarkers like this all through Logrono and beyond help us find our way.

A Religous tribute between Logrono and Navarette.

It is a short walk today. We take a rest and then go exploring. We soon see Reidun and Peder. Once again we have dinner with them.

Vern has a rip in his pants and looks for a tailor or a seamstress. He found a man who repairs clothing. When Vern asked how much it will cost, he said no charge for a Pilgrim!

Rest Day in Conques

Day 15.

Written on May 4, 2012

Pictured: A view of the Abbey Church of Sainte-Foy and the Village of Conques

Pictured: Tympanum of the Last Judgement scene on the main doorway of the Abbey.

Pictured: Another view of Conques.

Thank you to our Host and Hostess at Camping Beau Rivage, Conques, France

For two nights in Conques we have stayed in a mobile home in a campground. It has been relaxing and serene. The food has been great! Many pilgrims had suggested that we stay in Conques for two nights in order to explore this World Heritage Center. It is a wonderful village, a historical monument that is worth the stay.


History, Beauty, and Climbing in Le Puy

This is the beautiful Romanesque Cathedral of Norte-Dame in Le Puy-en-Velay. This morning Vern and I made our way through the streets, up (I mean UP), the many cobblestone streets to the immense staircase in front of the Cathedral and up the staircase inside the Cathedral. We attended a Pilgrim Mass. The Monsignor spoke in French and English. Anyone choosing to receive a blessing, regardless of religious affiliation was able to do so. It was great to meet other Pilgrims. Some were leaving today, and some were leaving tomorrow like we are.

This a cluster of buildings at the base/entrance to the Saint Michel d’Aiguilhe Chapel perched on top of a volcanic chimney. To the right is a small chapel. The walk to Saint Michel is up 267 steps. Every climb in this town is more than worth the effort! We have spent some time today preparing a package to mail to a pension in Santiago, Spain to pick up in July. We received a lot of help from a postal worker who actually seemed to enjoy helping us 2 days in a row:) The second photo did not transfer….I’m learning as I go.