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!


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.

Lavacolla to Santiago de Compostela

Day Seventy Seven. 6.8 Miles, 11.0 Kilometers. Total miles walked to date: 969.1. Total Kilometers: 1,558.1.

Written on July 5, 2012.

We have arrived in Santiago de Compostela!! We walked for a short time this morning. We arrived at 9:30 a.m. There were other Pilgrims walking in at the same time. We all seemed to be walking at a fast pace. There was definitely excitement “in the air”.

A sign at the entrance of Santiago.

Many people were going to the same place: The Oficina del Peregrino, (Pilgrim Office). We were at the office for approximately thirty minutes. The volunteer helping me looked up my Latin name and added it to my Compostela.

My Compostela.
We left the Pilgrim Office and saw many people either coming into Santiago or were already here. We wanted to leave our backpacks at our room so we could go to the Cathedral for the Pilgrim Mass by 12:00 noon.
We heard from many people that today the Botafumeriro will be used. It is a giant incense burner, a symbol of an ancient tradition to fumigate Pilgrims.
The swinging Botafumeiro.
The Plaza in front of the Cathedral is full of excitement, contemplation, gathering of friends, and a wonderful view of the Cathedral.
Vern and I in front of the Cathedral in Santiago.
We saw many Pilgrim friends today, some who we have been seeing everyday, and some who we have not seen for two or more weeks. We were at the Mass with Tom, Kat, and Robbie. We saw Barbara and Jordan before Mass and Dieter shortly after.
Barbara and son, Jordan, from Texas.
Vern and Dieter.
Vern and I last saw Dieter as he rode by us on his bicycle many days ago. It was very special for us to see Dieter at the Cathedral. We have known many Pilgrims who walk the Camino de Santiago, but have never known anyone who is a bicyclist. We are grateful for the time that we have spent with Dieter and that the perfect “timing” of the Camino allowed us to see him before he left for the airport today.
A few days ago we met Anna, her parents, Jose Miguel, and Consuelo. We saw them yesterday and made a plan to meet for lunch after Mass. We ate at a very good place in Santiago….Gato Negro.
Vern, Consuelo, Jose Miguel, and Ana.
We had a great lunch and a fun time together. We decided to go back to our rooms and then meet again at 7:30 p.m. We were in the Plaza and saw Jose Miguel. He proceeded to take us on a wonderful tour of the Parador, Hostal dos Reis Catolicos, built in 1492.

One example of the exquisite beauty of the Parador in Santiago.

After some time together in the evening we were walking back toward the Parador and discovered that a band was playing.

A Tuno Band.

We had a wonderful time singing and dancing to the music of this band. What a great way to say hasta luego after an incredible evening!

Tomorrow we will stay in Santiago. On Saturday we will start walking toward Finisterre.


Astorga to Rabanal Del Camino

Day Sixty Six. 14.5 Miles, 23.4 Kilometers.

Written on June 24, 2012.

Not far from Astorga is a sign indicating that this is the “Residence of St. Francis de Assissi”. I’ve always been Interested in St. Francis. His prayer is a well known prayer and is written in many languages.

We walked for about three miles and entered Murias de Rechivaldo. This is a village where many people continued to after reaching Astorga.

The next village was Santa Catalina. We stopped…Vern had his normal Cafe con Leche and I am now ordering iced decaf. While drinking our coffee I met another Nancy on the Camino. She is from Belgium. She told us that she started walking in France. She was in pain, at one point, and had a high fever. A Hospitaliero took her temperature and then took her to a Doctor. She had been walking on a fractured foot for four weeks. The Doctor created an insert for her shoes and treated her foot. She is now doing well and on her way to Santiago!

Cowboy Bar in El Ganso.

Another 5.5 miles of walking and we’re ready to refill our water. We stopped in at the Cowboy Bar and saw some familiar Pilgrims. Louis had been thinking about the song, “Don’t Worry, Be Happy”, he found it on his phone and he and I started singing it with headphones in our ears. Shawna and Vern suggested that we keep the headphones in our ears!

The walk today, especially from El Ganso, was hot. I tried to keep well hydrated and walk in the limited shade, when possible. I was glad to reach Rabanal del Camino.

After a shower, clothes washing, and a nap we were ready to eat dinner.

As we entered a Hostel/Cafe down the road we saw Barbara and her son, Jordan from Texas.

Barbara and Jordan.

Rabanal Del Camino is a great place for Pilgrims to gather before the long ascent the next day.

San Martin del Camino to Astorga

Day Sixty Five. 14.0 Miles, 22.6 Kilometers.

Written on June 23, 2012.

It is a great morning for walking. Several of us left the Albergue at the same time. One of the first sights this morning: a decorative water tower.

Water tower in San Martin del Camino.

After walking four miles we crossed the Puente de Orbigo into Hospital de Orbigo (name of village) to have a coffee.

Puente de Orbigo.

While having coffee and a banana in a bar/restaurant in Hospital de Orbigo we met a family from Georgia, U.S.A., (parents and two children). We spent some time getting acquainted and then continued on.

Several miles later we found a bus stop with shade and took a break. Just then a French lady Pilgrim came by with a kitten asking us where the nearest village is. She had found the kitten and was worried about its health. She was returning from Santiago.

As we kept going we greeted a woman who was walking not far from her home. She wanted to talk so we used our “un poco” Spanish and had a “conversation” with her. She was pleased to have her photo taken.

Friendly lady with Vern.

Three miles after meeting the lady we were ready for another break in San Justo de la Vega not far from Astorga. As we were sitting outside our friend Brigitte, from Switzerland, came by on a bicycle. She is resting her feet for a few days and is riding a bicycle instead of walking.

Brigitte on her rented bicycle.

We arrive in the center of Astorga. We “need” a coffee and an ice cream. We are sitting in front of a Museum.

Museo de Catedral in Astorga.

A street artist Musician in Astorga.

While spending time in front of the museum and near the Cathedral we heard someone playing a guitar. Vern was interested in the style of music he was playing. The performer showed Vern a few chords.

Najera to Santo Domingo de la Calzada

Day Fifty Two. 14 Miles, 22.5 Kilometers.

Written on June 10, 2012.

Sometimes I wonder how do we know if we’re on the Camino de Santiago? Yes, there are yellow arrows pointing the way and since 2009 there are added manufactured signs that are very easy to follow. But today when I saw this ancient marker I knew that we were walking exactly where pilgrims of centuries past have walked.

Ancient way marker.

We steadily climbed today from Azofra to Ciruena. Ciruena seems to be an attempt at creating a suburb. There is a golf course, condos and apartments.

Pilgrim sculpture in a roundabout in Ciruena.

Many days ago between Ronscavalles and Zubiri we had to walk on the highway. As we started to walk on the highway I heard singing behind me. I turned around and saw a group of Pilgrims pushing a man in a wheel chair and walking beside him for traffic “control”.

Not shown: two women with waist straps ready to pull their friend.

As we entered Santo Domingo de la Calzada we heard a marching band and saw a crowd of people. We learned that it was a Corpus Christi festival. Many children participated. Girls were throwing rose petals through the crowd.

The Corpus Christi Festival.

In St. Jean Pied-de-Port, France we stayed in L’Esprit Albergue. That is where we first met Ali and Maire. Later the next day we saw them as we were all making our way through the Pyrenees. Today we celebrate with them their determination and achievement of walking from St. Jean to Santo Domingo in 11 days. They walked in joy, love, and laughter. We are grateful for time spent with them.

Ali and Maire. The best of friends.