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.

 

Caldas De Reis To Padron

Day Ten. 18.1 K., 11.2 Mi.

Written on May 9, 2014

We stayed in the Posada Do├▒a Urraca Albergue. Surprisingly I slept good! Many bunkbeds….no snoring. We woke up early and took off toward Padron. Angel made friends last night with several people. We saw them as we were walking.

Me and Libor from the Czech Republic.

One of the serene spots along the way.

Happy to get this photo of a beautiful lizard.

Kathy on her way to Padron.

A walk along the Rio Sar.

 

Porrino To Pension Jumboli

Day Seven, 19.2 K, 11.9 Mi.

Written on May 6, 2014.

Today we walked from Porrino to Pension Jumboli just north of Redondela, Spain.

The view from Pension Jumboli.

The way marking in Portugal and now in Spain on the Camino Portugues has been exceptional. There are very few opportunities to get lost. The waymarkers are creative and distinct.

Yellow arrow and yellow “clam shell”.

I have mentioned Donal in a previous blog and what a help he was in getting information about where to walk from to receive a Compostela for the Camino Portugues.

Kathy, Nancy, Donal, And Angel.

 

Vilarinho to Pedra Furada

Day Three. 18.5 K, 9.07 Mi.

Written on May 2nd.

Great start with breakfast served by Manny. Thanks for answering our questions about local landmarks and traditions.

Ida and Manny, CJ's Cafe.

Kathy, Kasie, Vern, and Angel on the Ponte de Zameiro over the River Ave.

A dog friend who lives on the other side of the bridge.

After we entered Sao Pedro De Rates we saw a cafe. We all needed a break. The owner came out with small complimentary glasses of Port and a guest book. As we were leaving he pointed toward the Camino…what….that's not the way we were going. He could see that we were confused so he walked out of the back of his cafe with us to make sure we were on the right “way”.

Fernando of Macedo's.
Fernando told us about Antonio's in Pedra Furada, a great place to stay and have dinner. At first I didn't consider the suggestion. It was half the distance that we wanted to walk today. But as we continued on the Camino my throat became more sore and the day hotter. Antonio's sounded like a great option!

 

Home For Eighteen Hours.

Vern and I arrived home on Thursday, July 19th. The plane from San Francisco to Crescent City, California is not a jet….it is a prop plane and the passengers are directed to board from the tarmac. I was raised near the San Francisco Airport and remember when planes were all boarded in this manner. A shuttle is needed to get from one terminal to another. The shuttle travels in between terminals “behind the scenes”.

“Welcome to San Francisco”.

Thanks for getting us to our gate.

Our fourth plane home from Santiago.

There were many delays from Wednesday when we left Madrid to Thursday when we arrived in Crescent City, California. We had an overnight stay near the San Francisco Airport so that we could make a connection for the flight home from San Francisco. Our friends, Bonnie and Leo, arrived in Crescent City to pick us up. By the time we landed they had been in “town” almost five hours.

Me, Bonnie, Leo, and Vern. Thanks for taking us to the airport on April 9th and picking us up on July 19th!!

Our home.

Louie, our “stinky” friend.

Thanks Barbara for taking care of Louie and our home!

While walking the Camino de Santiago we had received an email that the annual Family Reunion would be held on July 21st….six hours northeast of where we live. We were home Thursday night and then started driving to my cousin's home on Friday.
Vern, Luanna (friend), Dee Dee, Me, Gary, Kaitlyn, Tannis, Seth, Bill, Dolores, Sidney, Jade, and Breckin, dogs: Haley and Bella. Not shown: Louie, our dog, is eating.
 
THOUGHTS ABOUT FUTURE POSTS:
 
For me, walking the Camino de Santiago is definitely an experience that will always be with me. The Camino does not end when I arrive home. The increased peace of mind that I experience while walking and the love that I receive and give in Community is always available to me.
I have enjoyed creating postings and adding photos to this journal, (blog). Any future postings related to our walk from Le Puy-en-Velay, France to Muxia, Spain will be in the form of insights and information.
 
PLEASE CONTACT ME:
 
If you have a comment, question, or concern please email me at: tcbandfan@charter.net. Your emails may help me create the next posting.
 
This blog and two Camino inspired projects will allow me to “stay on the Camino” as I return home.
 
Now that we are home I will answer the emails and comments that have already been sent.
 
THANK YOU!
 
For me, you were just as much a part of the Camino community as the people we were meeting along the way. It was wonderful to know that this blog was creating a “window” into the sights and experiences as we were living them. There were times after 8 to 12 hours of walking that you were the reason that I wrote a rough draft. Sometimes the draft had a few sentences or just a few words and a list of the photos that were related, anything to help me create a post at a later time. It would have been easy to let go of this process in the first few weeks. I did not let go of it because I knew that a classroom, a spiritual group, friends, family and Camino enthusiasts were “walking” with us. Thanks for following.
Nancy and Vern
 

Muxia to Home. Day Seven

Written on July 18, 2012.

It’s a travel day. During “travel mode” I find that I turn my will and my life over to the care of the unknown:). Lisa, Vern, and I leave on a shuttle from the hotel. As the driver was helping us unload our backpacks he noticed the scallop shell hanging on my bag. In Spanish he said, “I have walked the Camino de Santiago 3 times”. His smile was so big and bright that I knew that he was happy to share, just for a moment, that he too was a Pilgrim.

Lisa had an earlier flight and was leaving from a different terminal than us. We had time to relax, have a snack, and update the blog.

Our plane to the first stop in the U.S., Miami.

This is the monitor that we watched in Madrid.

Arriving in Miami after clearing Customs and Passport Control.

I love this floor at the Miami airport.

By the time we arrived at the CitiGarden┬áHotel near the San Francisco Airport it was 1:30 a.m. We needed sleep more than we needed food. This is a great hotel near the airport that provides free shuttle service between the hours of 4:14 a.m. to 12:44 a.m. The CitiGarden also has a park’n fly program. The website is: citigardenhotel.com. I feel that this hotel is one of the best kept secrets in the Bay Area.

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.
 
 

 

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!!

San Juan de Ortega to Burgos

Day Fifty Five. 16.5 Miles, 26.6 Kilometers.

Written on June 13, 2012.

A day filled with emotion and excitement. Everywhere I looked there was something of interest to grab my attention. The walk seem to go faster as we walked with friends and spent time with those who would be going home.

Scott, Chris, (brothers), and their friend Luke.

Today we walked through Atapuerca, an UNESCO World Heritage site. Atapuerca has been designated the site of the earliest human remains ever discovered in Europe. As we continued past the cave site, (closed weekdays), we found a panaderia, (bakery) for coffee. Reidun and Peder walked in. This would be our last opportunity to spend time with them. They will return to Norway when they reach the next city, Burgos.

A short way after Atapuerca we passed a rest area and saw Scott, Chris, and Luke. They were packing up from a good sleep outside. The Camino “telegraph” is buzzing about “The California Boys”. Everyone enjoys being around them and loves their spirit.

World Heritage sign at Atapuerca, Spain.

Me at the cross at Punto de Vista.

The first view of Burgos.

Pierre from France.
We have known Pierre since Miramomt-Sensacq, France. We met him on May 24th. He seems to know more words of English than we do French. He is a kind person. We are glad to see him before he leaves the Camino in Burgos tomorrow.