Rest Day Leon

Day Thirty Nine.

Written on June 7, 2014.

This was not a planned rest day. Yesterday after arriving in Leon: Vern, Angel, and I met up with Jim from Florida. We wanted to spend some time with Jim. He walks faster than us…this was a great opportunity to see him. There was a festival in Leon. Some vendors were passing out food samples. Vern ate some chorizo from a sample plate. A few hours later he was sick. We had reserved a room for one night, not two. When it seemed that we would need two nights the receptionist said they were completely full for the next night. I did not know it but she continued to try to find us a room in “sold out” Leon. In the morning she informed me that she found us a room…just a 5 minute walk. Thank you La Posada Regia for taking good care of us.

Angel and I made sure that Vern had everything he needed. We went out looking for ginger ale. While we walked around we saw more festival activity.

Festival “Knights”.

An herb stand.

A “ride” for kids.


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.


Najera To Santo Domingo de la Calzada

Day Twenty Six. 22.2 K., 13.8 Mi.

Written on May 25, 2014.

Today was another good walking day. I needed a light jacket and some of the time sunglasses. Vern and Angel went ahead to find beds for us. We are staying at Albergue Abadia Cisterciense.

Pilgrims on their way to Santo Domingo de la Calzada.

Today a Pilgrim gave anyone and everyone who walked by an incredible gift: the gift of music and singing.

He was located in a perfect location: right before a hill!

Check out this short video:


Logrono To Najera

Day Twenty Five. 35.1 K., 21.8 Miles (my pedometer).

Written on May 24, 2014.

Leaving the City of Logrono is an adventure in itself. The first scene worthy of a photo is a painting of sellos, (stamps), on the body of a man on an entire side of a building.

Sellos needed to obtain a Compostela in Santiago.

On the way to Najera I saw a Pilgrim walking the opposite way. I asked him if he had already been to Santiago. He spoke Italian and named off several places he had been. I believe that he was telling me that he had started walking from Rome.

A Santiago Pilgrim.

A poster for an upcoming circus.

Angel was waiting for us after our 20+ mile walking day.

When Vern and I arrived in Najera it is safe to say that we were, what can be referred to as, a “hot mess”.

We had walked many kilometers on rocks. Just before Najera I had had enough of the rocks and just started walking faster than I knew I could. I was so anxious to be off the rocks that I had acquired a new pace.

Thanks Angel for taking care of us when we finally got to the Albergue. At one point Angel helped pick me up from the floor when I tried to open the door in my sleeping bag. Angel and her friend, Sonja, arrived in Najera hours before we did.


Villamayor de Monjardin To Torres del Rio

Day Twenty Three. 21.1 K., 13.1 Mi.

Written on May 22, 2014.

We stayed in a very rustic Albergue. When Vern, Angel, and I arrived we were directed to go to the top of the stairs. There were four beds in the room. Later in the day Yumi from New York joined us.

Vern laying in bed in our “penthouse”.

As the other Pilgrims arrived at breakfast and started gathering their backpacks we noticed that today Barbara from Australia was wearing a dress. Her comment was, “Sometimes you just have to walk in a frock”.

Barbara in her frock.

The sky this morning is beautiful. The surrounding area is a mixture of mountains, pasture, ancient ruins, and wildflowers.

A wonderful climate and sky for walking!

More and more Pilgrims were passing us on our way to Torres del Rio today. It was no surprise that the Albergues were filling up. We were told that there was a room for three available. We waited for the Hospitaliero to have a moment to show us the room. When he motioned for us to follow him we couldn't believe that we were walking away from the Albergue. Just down the street was a brand new hotel. We were able to have two rooms for the price of one. The added bonus: a hot tub!

Nancy, Vern, Fernando, Izzy, and Sonja. Angel is relaxing in the tub but “out of sight”.


Barcelos To Ponte De Lima

Day Five. 16.2 K. 10 Mi.

Written on May 4, 2014.

Today when I woke up I knew what I was trying to deny. Walking, for me, is not a good idea. I know that each day I am feeling more and more sick. I decided to take a shuttle to the next large city while everyone else is walking. Kathy decided she wanted to stay with me. Soon Batista was transporting us and our backpacks to Ponte De Lima, the oldest town in Portugal. My energy level was so low that walking was not an option. Therese of Hotel D. Nuno made most of the arrangements. Her gifts of sandwiches, fruit, and water will always be in our hearts.

When we arrived in Ponte De Lima our rooms were not ready. We took the next logical step and headed for the nearest medical facility. It wasn't far, but not easy to make my way up the hill….all the time wondering what they will be able to do for me. The Doctor evaluated my symptoms and immediately put me on a vaporizer mask. The steam helped my throat. Kathy was there every inch of the way. I am so grateful that she was there. At one point she was carrying both of our day packs and keeping track of what to do next. She is an Angel that I didn't have to go far to find. At the end of the treatment the Doctor told me that I have a virus. I noticed that one of the three medications that we had to pick up at the pharmacy were for the flu. By the time we got back to the hotel we were able to get into the room.

This is a sculpture close to the hotel.

The view from our room.

The bridge over Rio Lima.

Beautiful Knight on horse sculpture near the bridge.


Negreira to Oliveiroa

Day Eighty. 22.2 Miles, 35.8 Kilometers.

Written July 8, 2012.

We are very careful to follow signs and waymarkers. When we do not see a Pilgrim we ask a local resident if we are on the Camino.

A sign new to the area after Santiago.

There are very few bars or cafes today. We see Peter, Merle, and Shaunna at our first stop. I am ready for juice and a coffee.

We had walked half way. My feet were aching, I was ready for a break. We were in Maronas. I took my boots and socks off and put my feet up on a chair. After several minutes Danillo came over. He put my feet in his lap and proceeded to massage my feet. Danillo does not speak English and I do not speak Italian, but the gift he gave me that day will never be forgotten.

Vern and Danillo, the Masseuse.

After many miles of walking we came to the top of a hill and saw a beautiful, large lake.

Embalse de Ferrenza.

We walked for 12 hours was a perfect day for a foot massage!

Molinaseca to Cacabelos

Day Sixty Nine. 14.3 Miles, 23 Kilometers.

Written on June 27, 2012.

This morning we passed an Albergue where there were many bunkbeds outside. It was warm throughout the night, outside would have been a great place to be. Many Pilgrims are starting is 6:00 a.m. We see Paul and Mary as we are leaving town. They show us a shorter way to walk into Ponferrada. it is important to save time today before the temperature rises.

Castillo de Los Templarios in Ponferrada.
The 12th century castle has been declared a national monument and has recently reopened after extensive renovation.
Mary from Ireland.
Three miles after Ponferrada we were in Columbrianos. There is a chapel that seems to be in the road. Ermita San Blas y San Roque is the site of the original Pilgrim hospices.

Ermita San Blas y San Roque.

We walked through a section of road today where the gardens are gated and have garden supply “Shacks”. They vary in style and age. I am intrigued by these gardens. They are fenced and gated, but the home does not seem to be nearby.

A gardener near Fuentes Nuevas.

When I asked the gardener if it was ok to take his photo, he seemed pleased and told me that he has walked the Camino twice.

At a pilgrim rest area for donation only we saw Scott and his Mom Kim from Windsor, California and Margaret from Switzerland. The rest stop was wonderful: sliced watermelon, cherries, orange juice and a crystal clear creek!

Scott and Mom, Kim.

Margaret and Louie sitting in the creek.

Louie and his friend set up the Pilgrim stand. Louie is also a healer and likes to encourage Pilgrims to sit in the shade and take their backpacks off. He also likes to see people cool their feet.

We arrived in Cacabelos, saw Margaret and had a cold drink with her. We are staying In the same hostal, later we will meet for dinner.

Rabanal Del Camino to Molinaseca

Day Sixty Eight. 18.2 Miles, 29.5 Kilometers

Written on June 26, 2012.

I woke up feeling rested and well enough to walk. I will walk to a village and then determine if I will stay there or walk to the next village. It is a miracle what a lot of rest, love, and nutrition will do to heal a body.

The first village we walk to is Foncebadon. It was the home of the 12th century hermit Gaucelmo who built a church and Pilgrim hospital there. In recent years there has been a lot of renovation of abandoned houses and of the main street.

A rest area with a palloza in Foncebadon.

Vern has a coffee, I have orange juice and then we continue up the mountain. It takes awhile to walk to an elevation of 1,504 meters, (4,934 feet) above sea level to Cruz de Ferro.

The “monument” at Cruz de Ferro.

Cruz de Ferro is a place where Pilgrims seem to take time to honor their journey, or the “journey” of loved ones. Many Pilgrims add a stone from home or other token of love and blessing to the base of the cross or to the great pile that “witnesses” our journey. Vern left a shirt that he had worn while walking the Camino de Santiago in 2009 and now has worn this year to Cruz de Ferro. I left a Disabled American Veterans Life Member Patch in honor of Anthony, my son Jason's father, and in honor of all Veterans from around the world. At the moment of placing the patch I also “felt” a prayer for the healing of all civilians, everywhere, touched by any kind of violence.

The patch and other symbols of healing and love.

The next village: Manjarin, population of 1. Yes, I have read that the official population count of Manjarin is 1: Tomas, the hospitalero. I love this place. There is an outside toilet, solar panels, and an open fire.

The mountain refuge, Manjarin.

While walking around at Manjarin I met a couple on bicycles. They opened their front door and started riding toward Santiago, Spain on the Camino de Santiago from their home in Askes, Holland.

Janny and Janryn from Holland.

We took many breaks today. I walked slowly and felt good enough to continue. We walked through the mountain villages of El Acebo and Riego de Ambros.

Janice from Belgium.
When I saw Janice coming from the direction of Santiago I had to ask her, “Did you come from Santiago”? Right after I asked her I realized that talking while pushing a heavy bicycle up a mountain road is not easy. I quickly asked her if it was ok to take a photo, dropped my sticks, and pushed on the back of her bicycle for a short distance.
We continued down the mountain to the town of Molinaseca. We crossed the river and were looking for a place to stay when Irwin from Germany saw us. He began to let us know about the town and showed us where the market was. Vern wanted to get food supplies for the next day. Irwin waited for us and then led us to the Hostal where he was staying. What a beautiful place, truly a museum of art, artifacts, and a family's history.