Ferrerios To Gonzar

Day Forty Eight. 18.2 K.,11.3 Mi.

Written on June 16, 2014.

Today we are walking from one small “village” to another small “village”. Why I am putting quotations around the word village is because I am not quite sure if they are villages. They are more like a group of structures. I am enjoying staying in remote, out of the way places. When we decided to walk shorter distances as much as possible we found ourselves walking to the less busy places on the Camino.

A Pilgrim “shrine” on the way to Gonzar.

Portomarin is a town on the way to Gonzar. It is unique and beautiful. Vern is walking into Portomarin to get some Euros and coffee. I am walking ahead to Gonzar.

The bridge on the way into Portomarin.

A view of the church in the center of Portomarin.

Most of the walking paths today were uphill. I was grateful that most of them were also shaded.

A gathering of stacked stones and pine cones.
Many times along the side of the Camino there will be stones stacked on top of each other, way markers made out of stones, pine cones, etc., or even Labyrinths. I love seeing these works of art and love.

 

Ponferrada To Sarria

Day Forty Six. *108.3 K., 67.2 Mi.

Written on June 14, 2014.

*If you are reading this and have walked the Camino Frances you know that it is more than a one day walk from Ponferrada to Sarria. If you have not walked it, common sense would alert you to the fact that we did not walk 67.2 miles in one day. While we were in Astorga we discussed some of the ways that we could shorten our walking days in order to spend more time together. Days off and short walking days due to illness has left us with many miles left to Santiago causing us to walk more miles per day than is good for us at this time.

Today we took a bus from Ponferrada to Lugo, then transferred to Sarria.

We explored Ponferrada while we were waiting to leave.

A mural close to the castle.

Lunch at a Tex-Mex Restaurant in Ponferrada!

Bicycles to the left, walkers to the right!

The Castle in Ponferrada.

View from the Albergue in Sarria.

 

Belorado to San Juan de Ortega

Day Twenty Eight. 26.6 K., 16.5 Mi.

Written on May 27, 2014.

The above distances are what Vern and Angel walked. When I woke up at the Albergue I was not feeling well. At breakfast all I felt like having was tea. Thanks Angel for bringing it to my bed! I started walking with every intention of getting to San Juan de Ortega.

An ancient Hermitage on the way to Villafranca de Oca.

Vern and Angel were already in Villafranca de Oca taking a break with Sonja and Izzy when I arrived. By this time I was not feeling much better. Several people started telling me that Sonja, Izzy, and Monica, among others, were going to take the bus. Angel and Vern suggested that I follow them to the bus stop and go ahead to San Juan de Ortega to take care of myself. As I was walking up the road toward the bus stop I became sick on the side of the road….thanks Sonja, Izzy, and everyone who helped me at that moment!

When the bus arrived Monica was speaking to the driver. Monica lives in Guatemala and speaks fluent Spanish. She told me that the bus does not go to San Juan de Ortega but somewhere in between there and the next Camino village.

I sat back and was very grateful that I would be getting off the bus with Monica….not really sure where that would be. When the bus stopped only Monica and I got off, everyone else was going to Burgos. We were not even in a village, we were left in front of a few structures. Monica listened carefully and heard voices. She walked toward a couple unloading their car. She spoke with them for a few minutes with a lot of pointing and and head nodding. I heard them say that there were no taxis in the area and no way to get to Ages, the closest village to them. San Juan de Ortega was at least 7K from them, Ages only 2K. I just said to myself, “I am safe and I'm with Monica”. The woman motioned for us to follow her. She pointed down a dirt road in the middle of fields. Monica and I walked at least a mile until we reached Ages.

Ages, Spain.

A church on a hill on the way to Ages.
When we reached the Albergue in Ages Monica got in line to check into the Albergue. She decided to stay there. I was still comtemplating how I was going to get to San Juan de Ortega. I had the phone number for the Casa Rural that we had reservations at. Monica was kind enough to speak to the owner when he answered. Within ten minutes I had a ride to San Juan de Ortega. Today I walked 9.4 miles.
An Angel named Monica!
 
 

 

 

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.

 

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!

 

Villalcazar de Sirga to Terradillos de Templarios

Day Sixty. 20.5 Miles, 33.1 Kilometers. Total Miles Walked to Date: 722.8, Total Kilometers: 1,162.1.

Written on June 18, 2012.

We didn’t realize it last night, but on the way to our room we saw the group of young people from Pennsylvania in Villalcazar de Sirga. We had been hearing about this group for many days. The story is that they had arrived in Spain with very limited funds and are making their way to Santiago by earning money performing. They are said to be juggling and playing music. Everyone who has seen them say they are very good. I saw many young people go by on bicycles on our way to Terradillos de Templarios. I realized that these bicyclists do not have any kind of matching outfits or tight pants. They are not colorful and seem to be very tired. I asked one of them as they rode by if they were from Pennsylvania and they said, “yes”. I yelled back, “Please put it on YouTube so we can see your “act”! This is another great example of the communication and information that is given and received on the Camino.

A mural on a church in Carrion De Los Condes.

We are passing through Carrion De Los Condes. We walk in with Julah from Hungary and see Orla from Ireland in front of a cafe. It is time for Vern’s coffee so we sit for a few minutes and then prepare to move on.

Fuente Del Hospitalejo.

A few hours of walking have gone by in the Plains. The weather is overcast and perfect for walking in an area with little shade. We notice that there is a van in the distance ahead and Pilgrims are gathered around it. There are picnic tables and a lot of shade!

Mairead, (standing) with the group from France.

Not far from Hospitalejo we saw Orla and Mairead. They are at the rest area with a group of four from France. Mairead tells the group that she has the lyrics to Ultreia, a Pilgrim song. Before I knew what was going on they started singing…I quickly took the video shown above.

Arthez-de-Bearn to Navarrenx

Day Thirty Eight. 18.7 Miles, 30.1 Kilometers.

Written on May 27, 2012.

We stayed at a Chambre d’hôtes, (bed and breakfast), 2 kilometers from Arthez-de-Bearn. Irene and Edward have created a wonderful atmosphere for Pilgrims. The food is nutritious and the room is restful. They both were up at 6:30 a.m. Our breakfast was ready and we left before 7:30 a.m.

Pictured: A cow peeking at me.

Today I saw a young boy driving a tractor while his father was in the bucket throwing tires on a large piece of plastic. The boy seemed like a great driver.

Pictured: Boy in tractor.

We stopped at the church in La Sauvelade today on our way through. Just as I was ready to leave two young men walked in and started singing a song in French. It was wonderful and I stayed until they sang the last note.

Pictured: A statue of St. James with many notes, prayers, and blessings.

 

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.

 

Senergues to Conques

Day Fourteen. 5.7 Miles. 9 Kilometers. To date: 126.8 Miles, 203 Kilometers.

Written on May 3, 2012

Pictured: Flower pot figures on the way to Conques.

We are grateful for a short day. The Gite, Domaine de Senos, in Senergues was wonderful. We were in a two room “dorm” with our friend, Michel, in his own room and Vern and I in the other. There was a bunkbed in our room but no one else arrived. The food was wonderful. This Gite has everything to renew and refresh a Pilgrim that anyone could ask for. Michel, Francois, Roland, Vern, and I left about the same time and would walk for awhile and then see each other when breaks were needed. The mud was minimal today and the walk was pleasant. I am resting more. It is apparent that we will need to start earlier in the mornings. Breakfast is offered at most Gites…serving time usually is at 7 a.m. It is better for us to start earlier. To walk in the cooler weather and to arrive in a village or town while there is plenty of time to rest, shower, and launder before dinner helps us have more energy for a full day of walking.

Pictured: Stained glass window with three scallop shells at Church of Saint-Marcel.

One of the breaks today was in Saint-Marcel, a small village with a church, table, bench, and friendly dog named Yes.

After Saint-Marcel the Camino went downhill for approximately 2.5 miles. We carefully made our way down steep rocky creekbeds with a web of roots. At one point I slipped on a rock and did not have my stick far enough out to catch myself. The added weight of the bag put me off balance and I fell back onto my backpack. I briefly felt like a turtle that landed on my back. I quickly unfastened my pack so I could start to get up. The rocky path was extremely narrow and I knew that I was in the way. Just about the time that I got myself and my bag to one side a young man came running by at top speed. He seemed to be flying over the rocks. I was going in slow motion and fell. Vern saw me laying in the rocks and came back to help me. A few minutes later we saw Roland and Francois. They noticed that my right elbow was scraped and they applied ointment and a bandaid. Then on to awesome Conques. We are looking forward to exploring this incredible place.