Lavacolla To Santiago de Compostela

Day Fifty Three. 9.5 K., 6 Mi.

Written on June 21, 2014.

Today is special in so many ways. Yes, we have walked into Santiago de Compostela before this day. Vern and I are now walking in with our daughter who has been with us since April 30th when we first started walking from Porto, Portugal. We have witnessed many transformations in ourselves and in others.
We were walking in at a steady pace when a Pilgrim from South Korea stopped us to let us know that he remembered us from 2012. At that time he had walked with his son, now he walked with his wife. This moment was one of the “treasures” of the Camino for us.
Gregorio, Teresa, Vern, and Nancy.
Vern took a moment to have some fun.
Nancy, Angel, and Vern in front of the Cathedral.
Since 2008 I have explored as many forums, blogs, and Camino websites as I could find. The Camino de Santiago Forum, admin, Ivar Rekve has provided a format for Pilgrims and “soon to be Pilgrims” to obtain inspiration and valuable information regarding many subjects that pertain to the Camino. Ivar also offers a Pilgrim storage service in Santiago. On April 29th Vern, Angel, and I mailed two boxes from Porto, Portugal to Ivar. He emailed me to let me know that he received the boxes. There is a charge for this service. The post office, however, will not store for the length of time that we needed. Check out the Forum and storage information:
Ivar And Nancy.
Today I saw something that I tried to capture the best I could with a photo. I saw the boots right after a heavy rain….but I knew what I must do.
This photo was taken laying on the ground.

Many bicyclists lined up for their Compostelas.

We saw Dane Johansen's film crew on our way into Santiago. They said that he would be playing inside the Cathedral at 4:00 p.m. This is an opportunity to enjoy his music one more time. The “alcove” where he played was filled to capacity. His father had flown in from Anchorage. It was clear that Dane was filled with emotion.

A Pilgrim who translated for Dane many times and Dane.

Bagpipe music defines, for me, the completion of the Camino. Please check out this short video of what welcomes you into Santiago on the Camino Frances:

Everyday on the Camino, or not, I am looking for opportunities to have fun. This video shows groups of Pilgrims celebrating and having fun in front of the Cathedral:

Please view and share this wonderful video created by Koala Enarmagnac with his original song/music.

Thank you for reading this blog, sharing it with your friends, your comments, and support!!! Looking for interesting photos, taking the photos, and preparing the stories in my mind helped me during those moments when my body was struggling with one more hill or while trying to stay cool in the middle of a hot day. You are, and have been very much a part of our Camino. Buen Camino!!









Pamplona: Rest Day

Day Nineteen.

Written on May 18, 2014.

We planned on meeting at 8:00 a.m. to find coffee. There was a place close by. After coffee we decided to walk around Pamplona to see what it looked like the morning after a party. There were several street sweepers and just a few people. As we were walking we heard music and turned just in time to see the musicians.

Musicians in front of City Hall.

A flag draped over a statue.

Vern enjoying a day off:)

We wanted to take advantage of the time we have with Dieter. He will be going back to Madrid this evening for a work conference. We explored parts of Pamplona that Vern and I had never seen before.

Vern, Nancy, Angel, Dieter.

Thanks Israel, O'Nelia, and Diego for taking our photo and visiting for awhile!

We walked Dieter to the train station after a fun day of exploring and relaxing. The next time we see Dieter it will be in Paris, Belgium, or Gasquet, California!



Caldas De Reis To Padron

Day Ten. 18.1 K., 11.2 Mi.

Written on May 9, 2014

We stayed in the Posada Doña 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.


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 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.

Condom to Montreal-du-Gers

Day Thirty One. 10.5 Miles, 17 Kilometers.

Written on May 20, 2012.

The last few days we have left the Gites wearing our shorts and windbreakers. This morning we added our ponchos. It was raining as we entered the courtyard to see what to wear. Everyone was pulling out their rain gear.

Pictured: Pilgrims on the way out of Condom.

Pictured: A wall with shells on the way to Montreal-du-Gers.

Today we walked for four hours without a break until we saw a shelter. John from Canada was taking a break under the roof of a lean-to. We joined him and had something to eat. We were determined to get to the Gite as soon as we could.

Soon we saw the name of the village we were looking for: Montreal du Gers. Wow, that was quick. In the rain we didn’t take more than one break so we moved along pretty good. When we arrived at the Gite people started coming in. All of us were soaking wet with huge ponchos that drain a lot of water. The Madame of the Gite quickly removed our ponchos and hung them in a loft drying area. She stuffed newspaper in our boots and showed us our rooms. Vern and I seem to have either a penthouse or a loft…it depends on how you want to interpret it. We have a room with 3 single beds and one double bed and we are the only ones in it.

We have been staying in Gites with the same group of six for the last 3 nights. We met them 5 days ago when they were at a picnic table and we offered them chocolate. They don’t speak English and they don’t understand our French but they understood a gift and have been giving gifts back every time we see them. It is always fun to be around them.

Cajarc to Limogne-en-Quercy

Day Twenty. 11.2 Miles, 18 Kilometers.

Written on May 9, 2012.

This morning we are only a short way from the Chemin. The paths today were very rocky. There were definitely some inclines but very manageable. We met our first couple from Spain today: Luis and Carmen. We saw them several times today. At about halfway to Limogne-en-Quercy there was a “Pause Station”. A former pilgrim was serving coffee for a donation. It was a great place to rest and get water. The books warn to carry the water that we need today so it was good to have a place to refill water if necessary.

Pictured: The Pilgrim “Pause Station”.

One day while walking about two weeks ago I decided to have my hair cut. Ok, I’ve made the decision! The next several towns that had hair stylists were closed for Holiday. One town that had a hair stylist was closed between 12:30 p.m. and 3:00 p.m., it was 1:00 p.m. as we were walking through. Today in Limogne-en-Quercy I found a hair stylist, Alain De Saegher of Siz-O. He told me to come back in an hour. He spoke English, in fact he speaks many languages! When he was done cutting may hair he said that I looked like Marilyn Monroe……. from the back! We had a good laugh about that.

Pictured: Me and Alain de Saegher of Siz-O.

He told me about his Chambre d’Hote, (bed and breakfast), La Pi’ternelle in Salvagnac-Cajarc. I’m sure that it is lovely. If I lived in France I would drive to Alain’s shop in Limogne-en-Quercy!

Today while taking a break and sitting on a rock wall we saw two men walking toward us. One of the men we had just passed not long ago, the other one was Michel! We haven ‘t seen him in many days and was hoping that he was feeling better. It was good to see him and walk with him for awhile.

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.


Estaing to Golinhac

Day Twelve. 10 Miles, 16 Kilometers.

Written on May 1, 2012

Pictured: A shady path leading to Golinhac.

Today it is important for me to say that I now feel stronger and more settled into the terrain and routine of the Chemin in France. My pace is still slower than most but I now feel more in synch with the route and the terrain. Today was an enjoyable walk from Estaing. Beautiful rolling hills. We are now seeing more and more people that we recognize from the Gites, cafes or just walking on the Chemin. There seems to be a party everywhere we go. Someone is always helping me with my French pronounciations and have a lot of fun doing so . Most people now just call us Californie, (Cal-a-forn-ee). Nancy is possible to say, but Vern seems difficult. Once we got to the summit of yet another mountain the walk, for me was enjoyable…perfect spring weather and perfect company. While Vern and I were taking a break here comes the three brothers. We met them two days ago in Saint-Come d’Olt and have been seeing them ever since. One brother, Jacques, always says to us…SPEAK WITH YOUR HANDS!!

Pictured: Pierre, Jacques, and Jean-Claude (3 brothers)

Today we saw Jean-Michel and Christine again from Saint-Come d’Olt. We had an afternoon beverage with them at the Gite snack bar. It was fun to show each other where we live by using google maps. It still amazes me that I can zoom right in on our home and others in a matter of seconds. We were even able to show them downtown Gasquet! Awhile later we walked from the Gite to the restaurant. The Gite is part of a large facility: campground and many chalets.

Montbonnet to Monistrol-d’Allier

Day Two. 9 miles (14.4 kilometers) written on April 21, 2012.

Surprises and Celebration on the Camino.

Vern is shown here on his birthday with an ancient Camino de Santiago marker in the background.

This morning I signed and sealed the birthday card that I had brought with me from the U.S. and handed to Vern for his 60th birthday. Aloin, (who we now refer to as Nice Boy), Evelyne, and Yannick said happy birthday to Vern. Soon it was time for us to leave.

We had been on the trail for awhile when Evelyne, Yannick, and Aloin caught up with us. They immediately started singing Happy Birthday to Vern in perfect English! A few miles further we saw a note on a stick. We thought it was some information about the trail. It was a note with “Happy Birthday Vern” written on it. How thoughtful! They are fast walkers, but not walking so fast that they are not thinking of others. So as we walked further and the hours went by there were more wonderful and thoughtful messages to Vern.

It was a good day for surprises! The hike was steep, up and down over slick boulders and roots. It was a good second day of walking thanks to our friends and the warmth of the “French Camino”.