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.

 

Pontevedra To Caldas De Reis

Day Nine. 23.1 K., 14.4 Mi.

Written on May 8, 2014.

There are very few places to stop for coffee or snacks. Yesterday we made sandwiches so that we would be prepared. We left Pontevedra at 6:15 a.m. It was good to do most of the walking in cooler conditions.

Angel and I stopped for a break. That's when we met Daniel from Australia as we were visiting with Donal from Australia.

Daniel writes songs as he walks.

Angel walking on a shady part of the trail.

A creative way to route a stream!

 

Pension Jumboli To Pontevedra

Day Eight. 19.6 K., 12.2 Mi.

Written on May 7, 2014.

Today was a good walking day. Beautiful paths, trees, flowers, rock walls, and vineyards.

A Pilgrim Shrine on the Way.

Today we saw a Pilgrim walking the other way…..from Santiago. I love to congratulate them for already arriving in Santiago and now going back from where they came.

Tsubouchi from Japan.

I don't really look for toilet stories….they seem to find me. This story is best told with photos:

I entered through the left door.

This is the women's/men's “restroom”.

 

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.

 

Muxia to Home. Day Three.

Written on July 14, 2012.

Walking from our room toward the bus stop I feel so much! I feel so grateful to have been able to spend time in Santiago. Also, I know that all of the encouragement that I have received and given is just a small example of what I can experience in my daily life.

We board the bus for the airport…next stop: Madrid. We will take a plane to Madrid where we will meet Lisa from Germany. Lisa, Vern, and I became friends while walking the Camino in 2009…since then Lisa has been to our home in California, and we have been to her home in Germany. We will spend 4 days together in Madrid. Our planes are scheduled to have a time difference of 2 hours. Our plane is delayed and Vern's checked in backpack is misplaced. Lisa's plane is delayed due to a flat tire. The result….we come in just minutes apart!

Lisa and Vern at the Madrid airport.
 

We check into our hotel and take a rest. We walk around Madrid. Madrid comes alive around 10 p.m. Plaza Mayor is a large plaza. All four sides are lined with shops and cafes with outdoor dining. Street performers, mimes, musicians, religious processions, and bands are everywhere in the plaza and downtown area. It is Saturday night. It is a perfect place to celebrate after a long distance walk.

Lisa and Vern with a street “artist” in Madrid.

Vern and Nancy in Madrid.
A street performer.
 
This performer has something in his mouth that makes his voice sound very high and squeeky. Children are attracted to him. Their parents give them I euro coins to put in a basket in front of the “baby”.
People are amazed and puzzled by this illusion.
A giant bubble blower in the middle of the Plaza Mayor.
 
This is my favorite street performer. Everyone was having a lot of fun with him.
The creativity and innovation of these performers is amazing. I enjoy walking through the plazas and streets. I bring plenty of euros so that I can feel comfortable taking photos and interacting with these artists.

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.

“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.

Navarette to Najera

Day Fifty One. 11.2 Miles, 18 Kilometers.

Written on June 9, 2012.

On the Camino by 6:10 a.m. We seem to be at our best in the morning and walk for several miles before needing a rest. We took a break in Ventosa and met many people who we had not met before. We are meeting more Americans who are on the Camino because they watched the movie, “The Way”. I saw the movie and thought that it is a great way to introduce Americans and others to The Camino de Santiago. The movie is now being distributed in many countries.

We met Brigitte from Switzerland while taking our break. Her and I walked together for awhile. As we were walking I noticed that a Pilgrim was walking toward us. What? Can it be? A Pilgrim walking back from Santiago de Compestela? Yes! I asked him if he was returning from Santiago. He said that he had actually walked from Lisbon, Portugal to Santiago and now he wasn’t sure but may be walking to Holland.

Pilgrim walking back from Santiago de Compestela.

We soon arrived in Najera. We decided to stop and have a coffee while looking at our choices for staying the night. I spotted a cut out where I could put my head through and asked Vern to take a picture.

Nancy having fun.

We found two beds in an Albergue, only one year old, got settled in, and decided to walk through the town. We saw our friend, Pierre, and made a plan to have dinner. We met him at 7:30 p.m. After making the plan to meet Pierre we saw Dominic in town and asked him to join us. Pierre saw his friend, Louis, and asked him along for dinner. We now had a group of five. The owner of the Albergue walked with us to show us a good restaurant. We all had a good meal…just right for each one of us!

Pierre, Dominic, Nancy, Vern, and Louis.

 

Ostabat-Asme to Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port

Day Forty One. 13 Miles, 21 Kilometers.

Written on May 30, 2012.

It is not easy to be quiet when walking on a floor that is hundreds of years old. It seems like the boards are still creaking after your foot has left them. We left at 6:00 a.m. today and tried to be as quiet as we could.

 

Owner of Chambre d’hôtes-Auberge Ametzanea.

A Pilgrim family.

Gregory, Isabelle, Bernard, and Mary.

The four Pilgrims shown have been a lot of fun for us. We have seen them many times. They are always cheerful. They have a quick pace so we see them when they are passing us. We will miss them. They are going home from St. Jean Pied-de-Port.

After hundreds of miles of walking we are now seeing signs for St. Jean Pied-de-Port! We will soon be at the Pilgrim’s “Gateway” to Spain and to what will be referred to as The Camino de Santiago.

We walk into the walled section of town to find Albergue, Gite, L’Esprit du Chemin. As soon as we topped the hill it was a wonderful sight! A line of soon-to-be Pilgrims at the Pilgrim Office to obtain their Pilgrim Passport.

As we entered L’Esprit we saw familiar faces. Vern and I had stayed here in 2009 when we began our Camino for the first time. It is an Albergue that is not only a place to sleep and to be fed, but the intention behind it is to nurture and support Pilgrims. There is a Meditation Room and wonderful terraced garden area to find privacy.

We quickly left our backpacks and walking sticks and headed to the Post Office. We had arranged to have two packages mailed to ourselves at this post office. We picked up “broken in” boots, the Spain book, and more supplements. Vern had more items he wanted to mail home so we organized a package to mail.

We are in the room facing the street. It is a great way to be a part of the excitement of soon to be Pilgrims and the excitement of Pilgrims starting the next phase of their walk into Spain!

 

Grealou to Cajarc

Day 19. 6.7 miles, 10 k.

Written on May 8, 2012.

We had met Jonive yesterday on the Camino and were glad to see him at the Gite In the afternoon. He helped us understand what was being said and told others what we were saying. At one point people were again trying to help me with my pronounciation of basic French words. It was so comical that one of the pilgrims started filming all of the adults making mooing sounds so that I could say Monsieur.

Pictured: A beautiful entry way on the road to Cajarc.

Pictured: A creative No Trespassing sign.

We were later told that there really were snakes in this area. A lady Pilgrim at dinner told us that as she was walking through the area a viper was trying to eat a lizard…the lizard escaped and ran through the lady’s legs with the snake close behind. She was so startled that she fell down, luckily on her backpack, but did break part of her camera.

The walk to Cajarc was the beginning of many miles of walking on rocks of all shapes and sizes. Occasionally there were dirt paths that were easy to walk on.