Spain · 34 Days · 56 Moments · April 2017

Journey thru Spain / Camino de Santiago

31 May 2017

Heading home!😊 Day 35 This is the longest 'trip' I have ever taken in terms of continuous travel (vs being mostly in one place like Belize). I have experienced so much from smiles to tears. The warmth & kindness of the Spaniards. Their sincerity- genuinely seeming to accept all these pilgrims. All languages. No wonder they don't speak English - it really is an international hotspot. I love their honesty. There are so many coins here. 1 euro, 2 euro & smaller denominations. They will count out the change in your hand & then wait for you to acknowledge & approve! The urban experience is definitely a bit different & yet that same warmth & kindness is still there !

30 May 2017

My last day. I hoped to make it to an art museum. I master the subway - feeling good!😌Then as I come up to the street level, there is fireworks , smoke, police everywhere, crowds! Quite disconcerting! It is a City wide taxi driver strike & the drivers are marching & noisy! Police are calm. I observe for a while. Not seen something like this since college (maybe never). The mustard clouds of smoke convince me to move on! The museum is closed!πŸ™ƒ I decide to move on to my last hotel of the trip. Three metro transfers & I got it with minimal confusion. πŸ€—I can do this! This time tomorrow I will be home! I miss you all! See you soon! The taxi drivers are on strike protesting Uber!

29 May 2017

My second to last day in Madrid. Looking forward to heading home. I decide to do just one thing & enjoy it vs trying to see a lot of sights etc. The Botanical Garden is a delight. So many varied species from around the world. The tree trunks are amazing as the garden is 100 years old. I see a Ginko with about a 14 inch trunk diameter. 17 meters high & it is 70 years old. Biggest Ginko I have ever seen. The bonsai collection is amazing as well. Again, the trunks are so intriguing. Loved there treatment of various succulents mixed with stone & wood pieces - driftwood. This I will try! I eat Paella con Mariscos for dinner & enjoy the people watching. I am on Monterra street just off the Plaza del Sol & people are streaming by. All in all a peaceful day. Oh, I spent the morning getting to Madrid by train from Ourense. Delightful seeing all the countryside & reminiscing about the long walk I just finished! Beautiful!
My magic train ride from Ourense to Madrid! One of my goals for this trip - to take a long train ride! 4.5 hours to Madrid mostly polling along thru countryside. Coming into Segovia was other worldly the Cathedral & castle in the distance. No way to capture that on film!

27 May 2017

Muxia is such a beautiful peaceful place. This is the only time I spend two nights in the same bed during the whole 35 days. I love having time to just sit on a rock & meditate on the waves! It is a time of reflection on the journey. I have met people from everywhere from Israel to Paraguay & points in between! Including Minnesota! Part of the magic of walking The Camino is the ease of making friends & conversation. I hope I can bring some of that back home with me!

26 May 2017

Finnestere to Muxia! Ok pouring rain. Bus from Finnesterre takes 30 minutes to load all the πŸŽ’, the bus is full. They send another bus. But I get on the first one! Italian biker dude - the only seat on the bus. You know the cycling kind. Please get your shoe off my leg, ok get your leg off my leg! Con permiso! Short ride for me! Here in Muxia for two days. Meet a dude that walked 6000 K from Cologne πŸ‡©πŸ‡ͺ! Wow! The village is peaceful- love being around the water!

25 May 2017

Fisterra 0 K marker at Cape Faro, Spain. Known in Columbus time as 'the end of the earth' the place where the sun fell into the sea! Hoping for a sunset but it is foggy at this moment. I bussed it from Santiago to Finnestere. Walked about 5 miles to Cape Faro with a Dutch couple that I have bumped into often. Now relaxing on veranda with a view of the sea & the sound of rolling surf! Life is good & I plan to take some R&R!

23 May 2017

Who knew this guy was real? Seriously thought he was a tribute to Ghandi! Starts chatting me up for money as I start to leave! Then gives me a scroll 'Be the change you want to see in the world'. Totally got this one!
The Cathedral is amazing even though under reconstruction. Mass is offered for the pilgrims & there is seating for 1000! Still there are people standing everywhere. The music is beautiful- a Franciscan nun leads the music (just like grade school) and her voice is crystal clear! There are 10 priests offering communion! Lovely way to end this morning!

22 May 2017

15 K to go & I am concerned my feet may rebel. I taxi into Santiago & don't really feel too guilty. Just under 300 miles & 500K. I drop my backpack & head to the Cathedral & Compastello office!
Early morning start today! Amazing the cafe is open at 6:30! Best cafe con leche of the trip! Beautiful day! Warm sunshine, cool breeze & a path mostly thru the woods. The wildflowers were spectacular. And who knew fuschia grew as a 'shrub' here! I continue to run into others I have met along the way. And new people. I start my day missing a turn & a kindly gent appears to set me straight! I walk with two young women from Israel & the first 3 miles fly by! I end my day connecting with Kim from NZ & now I have walked 30 K - 18 miles! So lovely! 15 K , 9 miles from Santiago!

21 May 2017

Today Sunday I pass the marker for under 50 kilometers to go! More than half way from Sarria! A dear sweet women pauses & waits for me at the mile marker letting her husband go on. She presents me with a small bloom & wishes me a happy second day after my birthday! So sweet - she had been at another table nearby the day of my birthday dinner!
It is Sunday! One of my last few days formally walking the Camino. I feel the pull to push on as well as the resistance to slow down & linger along the way. I walk only 10 miles today. Leaving about 12 miles per day for the next 2. I bump into so many people that I have previously met along the way. I stop at a little refreshment cart to change socks & check feet! I have some tender spots to monitor. I also have a sinus issue & my nose just keeps running - not a good nights rest! But of course the lovely couple from Alberta come along & Karina has a cold pill for me someone else offers up moleskin. The Camino provides! Time to stop early, get laundry done & give these toes a break! I am grateful! The day is warmer but cloudy! The path meanders up & down river valleys - so peaceful. There are not so many pilgrims but there are some small groups walking just from Sarria!

20 May 2017

14 miles today. The countryside is so peaceful & beautiful & the path meanders up & down. I spend several hours with an Irish women from Dublin who is an author of Haiku. She has been traveling for a while but headed back to teach in Dublin. Maeve O'Sullivan! We will try to reconnect in Santiago! I stop at the Carlos hotel & they give me a great deal on a room. Did I mention they offer in room massage?

19 May 2017

Walked 16+ miles today! Landed in Lingrone Albuergue. Christian - Evangelical! Little worried at first. But really lovely. Reflection time & sharing felt good. Staffed by volunteers from Virginia. Best night on the Camino. Slept like a baby! So quiet. Welsh Rector wondered how I balance Yoga wi h Christian faith.

18 May 2017

Happy Birthday to me! One of my intentions was to be walking The Camino on my birthday! Lovely dinner with kindred souls!
Cows walking towards us on the path! Closer, closer ..... closer! πŸ€—
The path is variable & changes often! This lane of ancient oaks was amazing- if these trunks could talk!

17 May 2017

The final leg of the journey begins! Sarria to Santiago is 100 kilometers/ 62 miles. Going to shoot for 15 - 17 k or 10 - 12 miles a day! Walked a total of 15 today with rest stops! My pedometer says I have walked over 200 + miles since 4/28 ! I did not have a mileage goal but this is probably more than I would have challenged myself with. Feeling strong but I know my hip gets really tired at 9 - 10 miles. Rest helps! Walked with a Scotsman today who was just a joy! Buen Camino!

16 May 2017

Before a new chapter is begun, the old one has to be finished. Stop being who you were & change into who you are! Paulo Coelho
Walking to El Beseo Lovely Albuergue - private-. Organic, vegetarian & family setting. Young couple with 3 year old. She is Italian & he is Dutch. Little girl understands 4 languages. Beautiful setting, surrounded by mountains, babbling stream in the background, hammocks to lounge in- beautiful day. The birds never seem to stop chirping & the air is fragrant with Spring! Perfect day on the Camino!

15 May 2017

Beautiful views on walk to Santa Maria de Polo. About 1335 meters up.
Up & out early like before7 am. Walking a 'scenic trail'. 2 miles straight up & another mile gentle incline! Beautiful once you arrive. The woodland flowers & birds make it all worth while! 8 mile hike total. Generally we walk about 10 - 12 per day! The views are panoramic & meditative!
I love the way folks buy bread here, right out of the truck!

14 May 2017

Simple ensalada mixta on the Plaza Major in Villafranca! Mother's Day thinking of all you moms. There are so many Cathedrals!
Lovely hike thru wine country today - another beautiful day! This is a very productive area for wine grapes. The vines are both young & old. Much of their stock has been grafted onto American vines due to fungus disease. Unfortunately the tasting room is closed on Sunday!
Early morning hike to Iron Cross. It is a symbol along the Camino. Many leave a commemorative for someone special! I leave a special stone for all those who are special in my life. It is a cool beautiful morning. The hills are covered with purple heather type flowers!
My little balcony room in Foncebadon! Hiking to highest point on the the Camino!

13 May 2017

The spring flowers especially in the mountains are lovely!
Astorga Hiking thru early am. Breakfast on the square & search for ATM. Heading out of town on lovely walk & lovely day! Running into friends along the way. There is a Gaudi Museum in this village. Unfortunately- not open yet! I have eggs for breakfast- first time this trip. The Spanish eat 'lots' of bread & potatoes!

11 May 2017

Hiking 10 miles to village of St Martin, Casa Verde Albuerge. Small Albuergue with just 9 of us! Lovely pilgrim meal with ensalada, potato & chicken. Much snoring so sleep not the best. We are fortunate to land before rain today. Rain predicted for next two days! Cooler temps in the 40's & 50's. Lovely roses in this town!

10 May 2017

When in doubt, follow the arrow! We walk out of Leon treading across granite, marble & ancient stone pathways. City walking is hard & asks an inner focus of me to close out the urban atmosphere. Then even more inner attention to get past the traffic & roadways! I ask myself what am I doing here when I could be in a quiet National Park in the U. S.? I don't have the answer! We move on toward Santiago, next larger town Astorga but a few smaller ones in between! We find an absolutely charming Albuerge - new, family operated & homecooked meals! Hiked the morning & time to chill in the afternoon!

9 May 2017

Mansilla de las Mulas These smaller villages can hold some big surprises! There is ethnographical museum here considered to be the best in Europe! Walking the path daily but allowing time for local discovery!

8 May 2017

That's it!

7 May 2017

Easy walk into El Burgo Ranero today. Spain is celebrating Mothers Day today. Lovely to see families out at the local restaurants - most days the streets are very quiet in these smaller villages! There is a stork (or two ) on each church steeple. Perfect weather - 68 & sunny. Learn Spanish before you travel & make your trip easier. Glad for Google translate!

6 May 2017

Leaving Sahagun bright & early! Cool 41 degrees but great temps for hiking! We got the right gearπŸ˜‰

5 May 2017

Stroll through Sahagun. History, architecture, art. We now intersect the French route. Camino de Frances, heading west across central meseta toward Santiago de Compostela!

4 May 2017

The Castillo Canal, camino shell & end of day cerveza! Burro de Sancho - apparently honoring Don Quixote! But it reminded me of feeling like a burro hauling this pack around! It's all good! Having a great time.
There are so many cultural opportunities in Medina. Cathedrals from 16th century. Amazing art, architecture, and history. The Church of Santa Maria has a Sistine chapel that portrays the Bible. Napoleon was there & used it as a 'kitchen'. The Church of Santiago contains scenes from the life of St James. We ditched our packs at the hostel & hiked along the Castillo Canal. Another awesome day! Buen Camino!

3 May 2017

Simancas to Medina de Rioseco via autobus! We are taking it a little easier. Blisters etc.

2 May 2017

No way out of Ane but our own two feet. We walk 6 + miles to Santa Maria & check into local Albuerge. It is operated by municipality on donation basis. Clean w kitchen & we are the only pilgrims. The operator reminds us we did not walk so far as he stamps our 'credential'. My body wants a rest. I now have 2nd blister forming despite avid foot care. Many pilgrims click off 15 / 20 miles a day but that is not my goal! I am amazed and grateful for how strong I feel!

1 May 2017

On our way to Velasco but when we arrive there is no accommodations so our gentle easy walk ends up being 16.5 miles & we walk thru two more villages to find a bed in Ane. . Community of 100 or so. The Albuerge is clean & we are so grateful for a bed & a meal. Thought we might end up in an alfalfa field & at 38 degrees for a low not an option. I learned patience & trust along the way. So many times the urge is to turn around when things get challenging. In this case no where to turn. No autobus or taxi. Just our own two feet & the support of the Camino angels along the way. It is so interesting how the path seems longer when you want it to be shorter. This last part of the hike took us thru about 6 miles of pastoral fields, tree farms, pine forest - the village did not appear untiil we were so close to it. Earlier in the day the path was direct & villages were easy to spot! Of course the more tired & drained the longer the miles get! Pork Chops, eggs & potatoes for late supper!
Pilgrims lunch in Zamarramala! On the way to Velasco! Great lunch - such hospitality & welcome for the pilgrims! Castillean soup very traditional garlic soup!
Leaving behind beautiful Segovia! Plan is to do an easy walk & land in Velasco!
Lighting the candles for all of my friends & family! May they light the way!
Leaving Segovia - touring Cathedral on our way out! Able to catch Mass which was beautiful!

30 April 2017

Train to Segovia after morning walk. Will be using transport as needed to cover some ground as impossible to walk the whole way in 30 days without injury etc. Turns out this is a World Heritage Site. Roman aqueduct from 1st century towers over older part of city! It's a holy celebration. Right now we are in a hostel near train station. A band just started to play - loud- & it's 10 pm. 😌 Up and out early tomorrow!
Early morning walk to Navacerrada. Beautiful pastoral setting through mostly countryside but part of the path followed the road. Only a small diversion where what we thought was a yellow arrow marking the way was really an X. Learning something new everyday! Cool in the mountains around 40 degrees but perfect hiking. Loving the gear I invested in for the trip. Pretty much wear same clothes during day & do laundry at night. You will notice me in same shirt a lot! Walking with mindfulness & intention. This trip is not about how many steps I take but how I take those steps! Knee's are in a bit of shock but allowing time for rest each day, lots of arnica and love. Doing well overall- legs getting stronger. I am telling you this is a lot of work figuring out the path, where to stay each night, eat etc. Doing a lot of tapas in the local bars since 'dinner' hour is 10 but craving vegetables.

29 April 2017

Arrived Madrid 4/26! Spent the day discovering & enjoying the space of this place! So amazing to be in a new culture surrounded by familiar & yet not so much !
Spent the evening in Mataelpino. A quaint village nestled in the mountains northwest of Madrid. Sierra de Guadarrama - folks from the city spend weekends here. Chilly, raining a bit & 40 degrees. Our first municipal albuerge which is operated by the city for pilgrims. Had the place to ourselves! Super clean & comfy for 8 Euros. Tapas & some lovely Spanish wine for dinner. Vino tinto for 2 Euro a glass! Had to send the tripe soup back - could not eatπŸ˜”. The photo is my shrine to the Camino for the nightπŸ™πŸΌ
From Tres Cantos to Colmenar Viejo today. A lovely historical village with a great visitor center & cultural museum. The large clay pots are from wine making years ago. The village has a very old center surrounded by expansion & growth! The folks at the visitor center were wonderful & helped figure next steps on the journey!

28 April 2017

Day 1 heading out hiking The Camino de Santiago de Madrid. We changed our plan to walking a different route so starting in a suburb outside of Madrid - Fuencarral. Beautiful day! Clear blue sky! Wild flowers of spring lovely! Red poppies reminding me of mom & her stories of growing, harvesting poppy seeds from her mothers garden! The poppy seeds were then ground, cooked into a filling that was the baked inside a sweet dough lichen with crumb topping! Mom still makes it from scratch today - but she doesn't grow the poppies! You have to walk the Camino to know the comfort & reassurance of the Camino shell & the yellow arrow! It signifies that you are on the path & in this case we were excited to 'find'. We got off the metro & wondered around looking lost trying to find help in English. Then the first of our camino angels - a sweet little Spaniard recognized our packs & very graciously gave us directions in Spanish. But that was all we needed. Awesome first day on the Way.

27 April 2017

Spent our first day in Madrid sightseeing- beautiful city! Great architecture, history, horticulture & people are awesome! Had a sandwich at the Museum of Ham - they love their jamon - it's a cute little deli! Checked out the pilgrims office & are all set to start walking tomorrow am! Temps cool about 39 but roses in full bloom & palm trees common!