North America, Europe · 40 Days · 231 Moments · June 2017

Susan's Adventures in Spain

12 July 2017


11 July 2017

Julia She was our head chef for both of the big meals. She never would let people in her kitchen when she cooks at home, but she had to learn how to ask for help, and accept it, when a job is too big to handle alone.
Ben He described himself as being a loner and antisocial. He felt really included in the gang, and he liked it. He learned how important it is to let people into his life.
June 11 Saying goodbye to our Gerry. He gave me a penny to remember him.
July 10 It's a strange thing, walking a pilgrimage. You expect some kind of epiphany, some kind of grand conclusion. But it's never there. It's not one big answer. It's many, many small things. Amazing views of nature, big sweeping vistas and tiny details. Deep thoughts. Random ramblings. A comment someone made. A new connection discovered. And, of course, the people you meet. Somehow it all adds up. Nothing really changed, but I will never be the same.
July 10. Day 36. 0 days left. Labacolla to Santiago. 8 km Rob and I were both very quiet on this morning's walk. I was feeling all kinds of emotions but couldn't articulate a single one.

10 July 2017

July10 Sitting around the fire after the feast Zach asked everyone what they got out of their Camino.
July 10 It wasn't long until the whole gang was together again. Zach got a huge AirBnB and we taxed over to this amazing refurbished old house. I helped Julia prepare a feast for 17 people: John, Cascade, Zach, two Julianna's, Nikki, Fabian, Rastas (whose real name is something completely different but John couldn't pronounce it so he called him Rastas and he liked it so it stuck), Ben Stewart (John's son), Natalie (I only met her that night. She told me someone stole her phony in an alburgue and I gave her a hug), MC (Marie Claire, who I also just met that day), Maria from Russia (also just met), me, and Rob. All these new people are people that did the Primitivo with John, Zach, and Cascade. There was also two pretty young Spanish girls named Celia and Paula that I don't know why they were there. It was a feast. It was a party. It was the best!!
July 10 We arrived at Saint James Cathedral around 9 am. It's hard to explain how it felt. Overwhelmed and underwhelmed at the same time. The fact that it was covered with scaffolding didn't help to confer a sense of wonder. We met Chang in the square and Alex on the way to the pilgrims reception office. We got our compestelas quickly because there was no line. We made it to the pilgrims mass two hours early and got the best seats in the house. We sat next to a very nice French Canadian couple before Fabian and Nikki found us. We squeezed them in. They swung the big incense thing across the alter. Very impressive! Then we went to see Saint James' relics.

9 July 2017

July 9 Even though the book said 27 km, Rob's pedometer said it was closer to 35. So did my body. It was hard for me, but I did it without complaining. (Although rob might say I was pretty grumpy once we got to our room) But I did it. And I know I could do it again.
July 9. Day 35. 1 Day left. Aruza to Labacolla. 27 km. This was my first day walking on the French Way. It was a completely different flavor if Camino. Crowded. Advertisements. Many many places to stay and eat. But if you just look at the pilgrims. Look at their eyes, at their shoes, at the damp clothing hanging from the back of their packs. You can see that it's still the Camino, and we are all doing this together.
July 9 We didn't take our usual breaks because of the runners so when we stopped for lunch at a little cafe I was really ready for a break. We had hot chicken breast and cheese on a giant delicious fresh roll. We book a room for Labacolla because we were nervous about the crowds and finding a place to sleep. It was a totally unfounded fear. After Pedrouzo, the crowd dwindled down to us and two or three others. It was our last quiet walk through woods and fields. Tomorrow we start our walk into the city of Santiago. The end of our Camino.
July 9 An interesting thing did happen while walking this section. There was a 20k run going on right on the Camino path. There were people on bikes blowing whistles to let the pilgrims know to get out of the way of the runners. It added an interesting element to the walk as we stopped and clapped and cheered them on as they waved or gave a thumbs up and wished us Buen Camino. Love, support, and respect for everyone.

8 July 2017

July 8 We met with Les, Isabel and Tomas for dinner. Gerry decided against walking up and just had his family meet him here in Aruza. They had dinner with us too. Lisa, Gerry's daughter is a petite blond cutie pie who is clearly her fathers daughter. Rory, her husband is very charming and friendly. We had a great time with them. After dinner we went with Les to have some Spanish brandy. He talked a lot about how he met his wife, his family, and his hometown.
July 8 Gerry also caught us at second breakfast. We are calling him our 'bad penny ' cause he keeps turning up. We all walked together until the shortcut where everyone but me rob and gerry turned off the Norte to join the France way further down. We had a long hot walk to Aruza. We had a coffee with gerry before he left to walk backwards on the France way to meet his daughter and son in law. They will walk the last 3 days with him. We got our pension and cleaned up before heading out.
July 8 I had some deep conversations with Zach and Fabian about what we have learned from this Camino. Then we stopped for second breakfast. Ron and I wonder just how these people ever get anywhere. I love them but walking with them is not for me. Always stopping to let everyone catch up. Coffee breaks. Nope. Not for me. Les and Tomas caught up to us and said Don turned back because his back was getting worse. I hope he takes care of himself. ๐Ÿ˜•
July 8 Rob got to ring another bell.
July 8 A pic of Fabian in front of the monastery and our crew walking together for the last time.
July 8. Day 34. 2 days left. Sobrado Dos Monxes to Arzua. 24 km. We decided to walk with our gang for the first 10km before they turn off onto a short cut that will get them to Santiago a day sooner. We decided not to go that way because it's 36 km in one day. We're taking the traditional route that takes 3 days.

7 July 2017

July 7 There was a decommissioned cathedral in the monastery. It was stark and graceful and sadly beautiful. Nature was slowly taking it back.
July 7 Some more pictures of the cathedral featuring rob, zack, gerry, and a dead guy.
July 7 That night we had a feast. The two Julias (they joined the crew on the Primitivo) cooked us a traditional Swiss meal. It was a delicious pasta , potato, cheese with bacon and onions on the side dish. The problem was that there was only two small burners that didn't get very hot. It took a VERY long time to cook. We didn't sit down to eat until 9:45. That wasn't the real problem, though. The real problem was that the alburgue closed at 10. A monk came to lock up the kitchen just as a full bottle of red wine crashed onto the floor. He was not happy. Even though he was talking in Spanish, his attitude and tone of voice made his message clear. It's too late. You need to leave. Now. So instead of enjoying our meal, we had to shovel it down our throats while smelling the cleaning solution he was using to clean the floor right under the table. One of the Julias was not happy and kept talking back to the monk in Spanish. He wasn't having it. ๐Ÿ™ƒ
July 7 Then I ran into Cadcade in the monastery. On the way back to the cafe I met Zack and John. It was a very happy reunion. Stewart, John's son, had met them on the Primitivo to walk with his dad. Ben, a young Brit was also with them. And Don was with them too. He had collapsed while walking and they had picked him up. Literally. He was in pretty bad shape. John was practically carrying him and Stewart was carrying his pack. It wasn't until later that it dawned on me that they didn't even know Don.
July 7 We stayed in an amazing alburgue in a monastery. The monk who checked us in was British and had a very dry sense of humor. We had time for a quick shower and took off for lunch because the monastery closed from 1:30 to 4:00 and you had to be locked in or locked out. We wanted out. We had lunch at a cafe across the street and watched the pilgrims arrive. Les was the first familiar face. Then Tomas and Isabel who had arrived before us. Then Fabian. Then Steve and Terry but they didn't sit with us. They were staying at a pension. Michelle, a French man who spoke no English at all, also sat with us. Conversation died down quickly because we all were so tired. Rob and I took off to find a shady spot to lie down. When we returned to the cafe only les and Michelle were left. They were watching the Tour De France on TV. Rob got sucked into it but I was a bit antsy. I had left my phone in the monastery and went back as soon as it opened again.
July 7 We stopped for breakfast and a tiny little town and Gerry caught up with us. That man walks FAST! We left together but rob slowed down, I think to take pictures, so Gerry and I walked the rest of the way to S. We had a great talk about kids, grandkids, family, and the important things in life.
July 7. Day 33. 3 days left. A Roxica to Sobrado Dos Monxes. 15 km Another lovely foggy morning. Isabel took a beautiful picture of me and rob walking this morning.

6 July 2017

July 6 The alburgue in A Roxica was in a home at an actual working farm. The woman's grand daughters came over in the evening and shared their puppies with us. Every one got a turn to hold them. Then they brought the father over for s family portrait. It was clear that they did this every night for the pilgrims. They thought it was pretty funny, and a little strange, that so many pilgrims can't speak Spanish. We met a really nice couple from California, Steve and Terry. I really hit it off with Terry, and we spent a lot of time together. We also met a young Spanish couple whose names I can't remember. And we formally met Isabelle from Quebec, a young girl who's path has crossed ours a few times. And our buddy Fabian showed up later. The woman made us a home cooked meal. It was a lovely cozy evening. We had a pretty intense but short thunderstorm too.
July 6. I walked with three American girls for a long time. Janelle, Mary, and Haley. Rob walks alone behind us. Rob and I stopped at a darling little cafe called Witericus Cafe Rustic. They had a couple of dogs several cats and five kittens. It was clear that the woman who ran it and her mother(?) both loved and spoiled their pets.
July 6 Day 32. ?days left Baamonde to A Roxica. 26 km. Today starts our last 100 km. The rule is that if you want a certificate of completion you must walk at least 100 km. Many people, mostly Spaniards, only do this much. We will be seeing a lot more people now. Today's hike was really beautiful. Nice cool morning. Sunshine and breezy in the afternoon. We are hoping to catch up with our friends who took the Primitivo tomorrow. We may change our plans to walk with them the rest of the way, so I don't know if we have three or four days left.
July 6 We decided not to stop at the alburgue in Miraz because it was such a beautiful day and we were feeling great. Plus tomorrow's hike was going to be long so we could take a bite out of it. Most people, including Gerry, stopped here because there is only one alburgue between here and S and they only have ten beds. But we called ahead last night and reserved two beds. So we were all set. When we got hungry we found a grassy field with a big tree and we sat in its shade. Rob even took a nap.

5 July 2017

July 5 Rob didn't sleep well last night so he took a long nap. Gerry bought a tortilla that was too big to eat himself so he invited me to share it with him. We had a nice time. Gerry is one of my favorite people we've met on this Camino. There's just something happy and easy going about him. I just feel happy and relaxed when he's around. We had dinner with him later and he told us that whenever he looks back at this Camino he will always think of us first. ๐Ÿ˜Š
July 5 We arrived at the alburgue in Baamonde at 12:30. We were thinking we were up for a longer hike and we're considering walking longer when who do we see but our good friend Gerry (with a G not a J. I've been spelling it wrong all this time!). That made up our minds. We were going to stay in Baamonde.
July 5. Day 31. 5 days left. Vilabal to Baanorde. 17.5 km Today's hike took us through some very beautiful country. Cloudy and cool weather was perfect for hiking. I was going to hike with my pack today but rob insisted I give him some of my stuff to carry so my pack would be lighter. I felt bad making his pack so heavy but I had to admit it was a good idea. Our hotel included breakfast. It wasn't much. Coffee white bread for toast and prepackaged cakes. I ate my fill but rob wasn't interested. So I grabbed some cakes for the road.
July 5 There was a sign in the church yard that said the artist's name was Victor Corral and his museum was just around the corner. We checked it out. The museum turned out to be the front lawn of Corral's home. It was so beautiful and peaceful there we ended up staying a long time. At some point an old man came out on the second story balcony and smiled and waved at us. We think it was Corral himself. When we finally left he blew me a kiss.
July 5 After rob woke up we went exploring and found an old church that had a 700 year old hollow tree. Inside this tree an artist had carved a beautiful Mary and rosary. Upon further inspection we saw several other carvings on the tree.
July 5 Rob got a text from Zach saying they were going to be at Sobrado Dos Monxes on the 7th. So we are considering changing our plan (again) to meet up with our old friends and walk to Santiago with them.
June 5 We caught up to a pilgrim named Alex from Australia. He was a big guy and he walked slowly. He and rob hit it off though and we slowed down to stay with him for a while. Then who should catch up to us but Regina. I started chatting with her and we sped up, leaving the boys behind. She is doing well. She told me shy got a letter of acceptance from the school she wanted to go to and she will be starting in October. She was so happy !! After a while I decided to stop and wait for rob because I was hungry for lunch. I found a bench across from a tiny old church and sat down to wait. Regina kept going. I was so happy to see that it was possible to ring this church's bell. When rob caught up he rang it. Then a guy who had been working in the field next to the church came over to tell us (in Spanish) that he built the bench so people could pray to Saint Carmen. He was so pleased that we used his bench.
July 5 Most of today's walk was on dirt paths through forests and fields. Very little hard top. We crossed several bridges including this medieval one. There was so much algae on the rocks it made them look electric green.

4 July 2017

July 4. We decided that's we would walk through Goton to the next town and have a cold beer, call for my pack to be delivered, and then ask the guy to drive us halfway up tomorrow's hike to Vilabal. It's supposed to be a 40km hike and we were planning to do it on two days. By driving halfway we made up for the June 31 mistake. I should mention that my new favorite drink is a radler. It's beer mixed with lemonade. Sounds disgusting but it is so refreshing! Vilabal is a big city with no restaurants at all. At least that's how it appeared to us. We walked around a long time with no luck. We did get to take a look inside a Parador hotel, which was pretty cool, but it did nothing hot out empty bellies. We ended up at a small place that had pretty good food.
July 4 We stopped at a shady spot to wait for t Rob to catch up and we had lunch together. I walughs rest of the way with rob.
July 4 It was a foggy morning. Great for hiking. We hiked about 8km and arrived at Mondonedo for breakfast. This was the point of no return for me. If I decided I couldn't finish the hike, this was my last to catch a bus to Goton. But I was feeling pretty darn good so I decided to keep hiking.
July 4 After breakfast they opened the cathedral of Mondonedo to tour. So we all paid the 3 euuyo get it. It was a great audio tour. We took so many great pics it was hard to choose which ones to include! When we came out of the cathedral the sun was shining. So much for cool hiking weather. Rob and I separated and i ended up walking up the 2 km of the greatest ascent of the whole Camino with Tomas. He's a student from the Chec republic and we had great conversations about international affairs, science, and the differences in us vs Chec education systems.
July 4 This dog was serious about protecting his herd of sheep. He actually snuck under the fences d barked and growled at anybody walking by. When he did it to me I was scared. But I knew I Cabot let the dog know. So I stood up straight, pointed my finger at the dog, and said very firmly, "No!!" He backed up under the fence but continued to barks and growl. Rob took this pic when the dog did the same thing to him.
July 4. Day 30. 6 days left. Lourenza to Goton. 27.5 km. They say today's hike is the highest climb of all. I've attached a screenshot of the elevation profile. I was a bit nervous about this undertaking but I just hoped for the best. We discovered that there was a mistake in our plan and we were going to arrive at Santiago on the 11th and not the 10th. It took us a while to figure out that I had planned for us to hike on June 31. There is no June 31! So we pondered what to do about this during the hike.

3 July 2017

July 3 Afterwards we had Les find us a place to eat dinner. (He always chooses the best place.) He did not let us down. Because there was so many of us the restaurant had to let us eat in the room downstairs, which we basically had all to ourselves. And the food was amazing. Unfortunately I had taken my muscle relaxer and could not enjoy the unlimited wine that was available. After dinner the ladies offered us a shot of some traditional liquor for free. It packed a wallop! Tasted like listerine tho. Between that shot and my meds I slept like a baby last night. Doris, Beate, Chang, Don, Rob, me, and Les.
July 3 I entertained myself by walking a bit around town and buying a new shirt. Rob showed up around 2 pm. I decided that I was going to try to do tomorrow's hike without my pack. We found a taxi driver to take my pack to Aberdin tomorrow. It was an interesting conversation since he spoke absolutely no English at all. Honestly I was afraid he would go to the wrong place with my pack. So I packed our little bag with my necessities to take with me and hoped for the best.
July 3 We found the gang at a bar across the street from the San Salvador monastery. After a while someone opened the doors to the church so rob and I snuck inside and had a look around. It was quite beautiful. We told the others it was open but by the time they got there it was closed.
July 3. Day 29. 8 days left. Rob got off early this morning. I slept in a bit, then packed up my stuff and headed to the front desk. I should mention that rob tried to pay last night and was stunned when he learned how much they changed us. By US terms it was a real bargain, but for pilgrims on the Camino it was a rip off. Rob was a bit annoyed with the guy. He didn't have enough money on him at that time. So I had to pay in the morning. So there I am, waiting at the desk, with a bus to catch in 20 minutes. Fifteen minutes later he shows up. I was going to ask him to arrange transport of my backpack, but I was out of time. I paid him, grabbed my pack and ran (yes ran with an injured back) to the bus stop. Missed it. There was no other way to get to Lourenza unless I wanted to wait many hours. So I called a taxi and arrived at 10 am. I'm a bit annoyed with that guy too.
July 2 The rest of the evening was just the usual stuff. Walk. Dinner. Ice cream. Etc... We decided that rob would do tomorrow's hike alone. I would take a bus to Lourenza and meet him there. I think I will be able to hike without my pack the day after tomorrow. ๐Ÿ‘

2 July 2017

July 2 Here are a couple of pictures rob took on his beach adventures.
July 2. Day 27. 9 days left. Ribadeo is a pretty little town the sun was shining, and my back feels sooo much better.

1 July 2017

July 1 I went to a farmacia and got some muscle relaxants and an anti inflammatory. We decided to bus ahead for 2 days to Ribadeo because it's a nice big town. We got a hotel for 2 nights. Unfortunately there's no internet in the room. Not a big deal because these meds kick my butt anyway. I'll be sleeping most of the time. The plan is to spend a couple days here so I can rest my back. Then we'll see how I'm feeling. I might have to bus ahead and let rob walk alone another day or two. I'm hopeful that my back will heal quickly so I can hike the last 100km.๐Ÿคž๐Ÿคž๐Ÿ™‚
July 1 I took a very long nap thanks to the muscle relaxers. Then we went to dinner and walked around little bit. It was an early night for us.
July 1. Day 26. 10 days left Morning I feel like I jinxed myself by saying yesterday was the worst day. I woke up today with a backache. There's no way I can walk today. But I'm not going to let this be the end of my Camino. We are waiting for things to open in town so we can get to a farmacia. Im hoping that muscle relaxers and a day or two of rest will take care of it. ๐Ÿ™‚
June 30 We all had dinner together at this very nice restaurant. A very fun time. From the left: Rob, me, Beate, Julianna, Les, Doris,Chang, Lawrence. Don was there but not in the pic.

30 June 2017

June 30 The rest of the day was just wet. Wet and cold. I had my fleece on under my raincoat so it wasn't too bad but it certainly wasn't good. This was my least favorite day so far. Mostly because all I saw was my own two feet plodding on. I rarely picked my head up at all. I couldn't really remark on any of the sights. I just didn't see them.
June 30 After slogging through mud and small rivers, we ran into Les and a young guy from China named Chang. (Or Ching?). We followed them to a restaurant for breakfast where our German ladies were sitting having coffee. Chang speaks excellent English and I think he's going to stick around with us too. They didn't have tortilla ๐Ÿ˜•so I ordered tostada and cafe, much to the amusement of Beate. She's a big coffee drinker and I needed 4 sugars in order to choke it down. But that caffeine really helped me get through the rest of this wet wet wet hike.
June 30. Day 25 (not 52 like in the pic!). 11 days left. We slept in a little this morning because it was going to be a shorter hike to Luarca, only 15.5 km. Also we called Kate in Australia for a good 30 minutes. So good to hear from her! We were on the road for less than 5 minutes before the skies opened up on us. We're we're soaked in minutes. After that, well, we couldn't get any wetter. Bring it on!!
June 30 Some pics of Luarca including a fixer upper we want to buy and a furry new friend.
June 30 We walked around Luarca and took care of some chores including adding minutes to our SIM cards. Then we went to the beach and walked out on the breakwater. Rob sat on the edge and watched the waves for a while. It was a bit too close to the edge for me so it took a lot of coaxing from rob to get me to sit with him. It was beautiful. The waves were so big and strong. Yet there was an element of casualness about it. Like the ocean wasn't even trying too hard. Like it could say, "You think THIS is a big deal?" It's humbling to think we live in a world with so much latent energy. We are so small.
June 30 It has been a sore point for rob through this Camino that all of the churches are locked. Today we came across 2 churches that were locked but had access to the bells. The fit one didn't work but the second did. Rib was happy, and so was I.
June 30 We all went out for drinks before dinner and we introduced Chang to sidra. Lawrence poured for us and he did a fine job (pictured). Chang had a turn pouring as well.
June 30 We arrived at Luarca around 2 and found a nice alburgue. Les was already there and he invited us to have lunch with him. We met Louis from Spain and Tomas from Chec. Louis is walking the Camino looking for some land to buy. He wants to start his own alburgue and have a small farm of his own. Tomas was from Prague so we talked about how cool Prague is. After lunch we had a nice nap.

29 June 2017

June 29 We were in a restaurant killing time until the kitchen opened and our German ladies showed up, Beate and Doris. They invited us to join them along with some new friends. Juliana and Lawrence from Germany ((he's actually Canadian) and a British guy whose name I think is Les. We had a wonderful dinner together. It look like we've got our new crew.
June 29. When we first set out this morning from Soto De Luina, there was a guy in a car handing out flyers for his alburgue that was just outside of Cadavedo. We admired his entrepreneurialism and so decided to walk the extra kilometer to stay with him in Villademoros. A very nice apartment. And he did our laundry. ๐Ÿ™‚ After we cleaned up, rob went to the beach, but my right foot was hurting pretty badly and I caught a chill so I stayed behind and had a nice nap. (I think it's only my right foot because I tend to favor my left knee.)
June 29 And then it poured. For a long time. And then it stopped. Just as we came out of the dark wet forest. It was magical.
June 29 And then we came to this beach. The crazy winds we'd been having lately really stirred up the surf. It was amazing. One of my most favorite moments of this Camino. The spray of water on my face. The crashing sounds of the waves. The sound of the waves receding over the rocks. The smell of salt in the air. The relentless power of it all. I could have stayed there all day.
June 29 Some pics from this morning. We ran into Fabian in the forest, and rob snapped this pic of him and me. We may not see him again. He is planning a longer hike today and we probably won't catch up with him again.
June 29. Day 24. 12 days left. Another glorious morning to start today's hike. 20.5 km to Cadavedo. We met up with Adrienes as he was leaving his alburgue and got to say goodbye. He was in pretty good spirits considering he was going home in pain. He lives in Spain so he's confident he will be able to complete his Camino next year.
June 29 We were walking separately this morning, and I was in front when I missed a turn. (Actually the couple in front of me missed it. I was just following them.) Luckily rob followed me. It was a great wrong turn for all of us. We ended up at this terrific look out over a fantastic beach.

28 June 2017

June 28 Once in a while rob and I separate and walk alone for some distance. Usually I'm in front and he's about 5 minutes behind me. Well today I lost rob. I stopped after a long while of not catching sight of him and waited for him to show up. After 15 min I got a little nervous and I called his cell. No answer. I decided to go back and find him because I knew something was wrong. Oh so bravely I started backtracking. Sure enough, in 5 minutes I see him making his way along just fine. Nothing wrong. Just couldn't answer his phone. He said I should wait an hour before I start to worry. I told him 15 minutes feels like an hour and he should never get that far behind again. This experience was not the happiest of this trip for me. That's all I'm saying about that.
June 28 Oh how I wish I could post videos on this app!! While we were having lunch, a big gust of wind blew Rob's hat off and it went flying down the cliff. I was sure it was gone forever. But Rob engineered an elaborate contraption of walking poles so one of us could go over the side and get it. After a much animated discussion, rob went down the cliff while I held onto the poles ... and recorded the whole thing. I grabbed some stills off the video, but they don't do it justice. Needless to say the hat was retrieved successfully and no one got killed or broken or anything. 1. Rob starts his decent. 2. The elaborate pole contraption breaks 3. Rob uses the broken pole to retrieve his hat. 4. Rob climbs back up.
June 28 We went to dinner at a restaurant and sat next to a German woman, whose name I cannot remember, and her 80 year old mother Doris. We had a very nice conversation with them. We finished our meal first and headed to the bar where we knew other pilgrims were hanging out. We sat with Fabian (yay!!), Benjamin-another German guy, a Spanish guy whose name I never got, and Adrienes who told us he's going home tomorrow because of his back. We had a great time. And I made a furry little friend. Then Doris and daughter showed up. Then all the young guys went to bed and we old farts closed the night together.
June 28. Day 23. 13 days left. Muros De Nalon to Soto De Luina We only have 15 km to do today because we did a little extra yesterday. It was a bright sunny start for our hike to Soto De Luina.
June 28 We arrived at a hostel around 2 pm dripping wet. But we got a nice double room and a good hot shower.
June 28 Some pice of today's walk.
June 28 We got a big mix of weather as the day went by. Wind. Rain. Sun. At least we had sun when we stopped for lunch at our first sight of a beach in several days.
June 28 Some of the pics rob took while I thought he was dead.
June 27 After we both had a nice nap we went out to explore Muros De Nalon. It is a very small village with only one plaza. It was still raining off and on and there wasn't much to see. But we had a fine time anyway. We only saw one other group of pilgrims and they were looking for lodging. Otherwise it seemed we were the only ones in town. The people were very friendly. We ended up in a little bar/ restaurant for a couple of beers and watched some soccer on the TV. (Soccer is boring. The best part is making fun of the babies as they roll on the ground in apparent agony because they got a little push.) Dinner was a small affair but it was served with a flourish. Despite the naps, we both fell into a deep sleep when we returned to the apartment.

27 June 2017

June 27 Because the alburgue was so crowded last night we couldn't charge our phones. Rob's phone died shortly after lunch. I still had a good charge left but my SIM card was locked. So we were flying blind looking for a place to stay. We stopped at a local garage to ask directions but the guy couldn't find the place on his phone. This did not bode well for us. But literally 5 minutes later we found the place, right down the street from the garage. So funny! Anyway we got a nice apartment for the night. We both took a long nap. We figured out how to unlock the SIM cards shortly afterwards so I'm back in business again!! ๐Ÿ™‚
June 27 We stopped for lunch in Soto Del Barco. We made bocadillas and ate them on a roadside bench. A girl we have been seeing around stopped by and introduced herself. Her name is Regina, but when she says it with her German accent it sounds very exotic. We walked together for a while. She's taking a gap year before going back to university to study philosophy. She decided to continue walking to the next town after we decided to stop for the day.
June 27 Once the rain stopped we were off the pavement and walking on dirt roads/foot paths in the forest. It was quite cool and pleasant, if a bit muddy. We saw Adrienes again when we stopped for a snack break. We shared some food with him. He told us that the girl he was walking with left today and that he was leaving in two more days. He seems so friendly. I wish we could communicate better. We haven't seen fabian in two days. ๐Ÿ˜•
June 27 It was misty in the morning but we got a pretty good downpour later. We even heard thunder rolling in the sky. We saw a few pilgrims but no one was talkative. I'm not sure if my raincoat is actually waterproof. It was pretty wet inside but I couldn't tell if it was from sweat or not. Either way, my shirt was quite damp. But I wasn't cold.
June 27. Day 22. 14 days left. Aviles to Muros De Nalon Another rainy start this morning. We had a 19.6 km hike planned for today. But we ended up going 4.4 km more to end up at Muros De Nalon. We arrived around 2pm. We have planned out the rest of our Camino. We plan to arrive in Santiago on July 10. Then we'll fly to Paris for a couple of days and fly home on the 15th. Two weeks from now seems like a long time but two weeks ago seems like yesterday. So I'm sure it will come quicker than I think.

26 June 2017

June 26. Day 21 Gijon to Aviles Today was a damp misty 24.5 hike to Aviles. Not one of the most challenging hikes, but the wetness just made it feel harder than it really was. We slept in a bit because we decided to take a bus through the ugly industrial area to Poago Alto (about 3 km). Plus it would give us time to find a store to get supplies. The book said there wasn't going to be many opportunities during this hike. As soon as we got off the bus we started climbing a mountain. I'm attaching a pic that shows the elevation for today's hike.
June 26 We met Jerry at the alburgue in Aviles. We walked around town and stopped for a coffee and beer. Rob caught me and Jerry deep in conversation. Aviles is a very beautiful village.
June 26 We met another Irish man named Mick after dinner. He is traveling with two Italian men who didn't speak a lot of English. He was very friendly. He's from south Ireland, and Jerry is from north Ireland. Jerry said that under normal circumstances he would never speak to a southern Irish man. But it's the beauty of the Camino that allows them to become friends.
June 26 The alburgue was big and crowded. But it did have a nice quiet courtyard. We got side by side beds so we didn't have to sleep next to strangers. I didn't sleep well. The couple above us in the bunk beds made a lot of noise and the beds squeaked.
June26 Rob snapped this pic of me walking. You can see how foggy it was. We ran into Adrienes (sp?) several times today. He is a pilgrim who several days ago met up with another pilgrim named Davis whose path crossed ours several times in the past. Neither of them speak much English. So they tended to stick together. We would see them often. Adrienes told us today that Davis took the Primitivo. I wish we could communicate with him. He seems so friendly. He's sleeping across from me tonight.
June 26 Because it was such a dreary hike, neither of us took any good pics. So instead I'll posts pics of the beautiful flowers we've been seeing. The hydrangea are OUT OF CONTROL around here!!
June 26 Other amazing flowers

25 June 2017

June be 25 We ended up having a small dinner and watching European women's basketball. Spain beat France in a very exciting game. Gijon is a great city. One of my favs so far.
June 25 After we settled in and rested a bit. We went out to explore Gijon. Being a Sunday, there was lots going on. After getting some ice cream, we came upon some traditional dancers dancing to bagpipes (?). Then we found a trailer for a professional racing team called Repsol. Inside were things about the team like gear, profiles, and even a motorcycle. But the best part was a VR setup where you could put on the headgear and actually experience virtual reality. It was the first time for either of us. It was pretty freaking cool.
June 25 Zach texted us this evening and sent us this pic of the sidra crew sitting on a statue of apples falling out of a hat. Villaviciosa is the apple (and sidra) center of Spain. From the left it's Uri, Jenny,Zach, Fabian, me, and Rob.
June 25 Other pics in Gijon.
June 25 Next we went to a music the history of Gijon. It was all in Spanish but we did see representations of decades of posters for the annual exposition held here every year.
June 25. Feet update PIta the blister healed up quite nicely a few days ago, but got red and irritated first day out from being bandaged. So I'm keeping it covered with Compeed just to be safe. I got rid of the sandals I bought because I can wear my hiking sandals again. (I hated those things. Never fit me right.). I have a moderately sized blister on my left pinky toe and a small one near my left big toe. Neither one of these are causing any pain or problems at all. Compeed is magical! I can go 15-20 km before the bottoms of my feet start to hurt, and the plantar fasciitis is completely gone. Slowly but surely my feet are adjusting to the Camino way. ๐Ÿ™‚
June 25 We bumped into Fabian a couple of times today. And we met Sarah from South Africa who was walking with him. She had had a touch of the bug, too. We stopped in Deva for lunch and had to wait 30 min for the only restaurant to open. (Businesses in Spain keep the weirdest hours!) And we met Jerry there. He's doing the Norte too. We got our bocadillas (sandwiches) to go and conquered that second mountain. At around 25km in, my knee got a bit wonky. I don't know why. It's been great for days. We stopped again and I took some ibuprofen and that helped.
June 25 We got a nice hotel in Gijon that actually had an elevator! (Stairs really suck after a long days hike!) It might have been the smallest elevator in the world, but I was still happy.
June 25 Some pics from today's hike. Rob is making some big wishes. And our first view of Gijon.
June 25 The parting of the ways.
June 25. Day 20 Villaviciosa to Gijon We both woke up in pretty good shape after last nights adventures. We were ready to tackle today's hike to Gijon. I am sharing a pic from the online book that shows the elevations for today. The scale is cut off. That first peak is 450km high. It took us three and a half hours to get up and down. The whole walk was just under eight hours. So, yeah, a tough day.

24 June 2017

June 24 Some pics from Villaviciosa
June 24 Since the others weren't feel well it was me, rob, zack (he rebounded from his big pretty quickly),Jenny and uri who went out and did the sidra trail. Basically we walked around town drinking sidra and beer. Here is a pic of the 15 year old bartender pouring sidra like a boss. Uri tried to teach us a Basque card game. Then Jenny taught us a cool version of the card game war. Then we had these amazing breaded hamburgers around 11 pm. We drank a bit too much and stayed up a bit too late considering tomorrow is a 29km hike. (It's also why this days entries are late.). But it was worth it. Uri is heading home tomorrow. Jenny was undecided about which way she wanted to go so far.
June 24 The Camino splits tomorrow. We had to say goodbye to John, Cascade, and Zach tonight because they decided to take the primitivo way. It cuts inland and is more rugged. It's supposed to be very beautiful. Rob and I are sticking with the Norte. We like the coastal views and sea breezes. Plus it's not as hard as the primitivo. Fabian is also doing the Norte so we will be seeing him around still. I don't know what Nicki is doing. I think she's a day or two behind us. We hope we all end up in Santiago around the same time. We've become quite a close group.
June 24 There seems to be a stomach bug going around. Zach got sick yesterday. Cascade this morning. John this evening. Fabian isn't feeling well either. So far rob and I are ok. (Knock on wood!!)
June 24 We arrived around 1:30 and got a nice room in a hotel turned alburgue. We cleanup quickly and had a big lunch with a whole bottle of red wine. Needless to say we were ready for a nap after that I slept way too long, almost 2 hours. I don't wake up well after a nap life that.
June 24 Along the way we passed the oldest church on the Camino. It was built in the 900's. Of course it was closed. But we stopped and shared some of our fruit with a nice couple of German women. It was a nice cool morning, a little misty , but good hiking weather.
June 24. Day 19 Colunga to Villaviciosa We slept in a bit this morning because it was going to be a shorter walk today. Only 20 km to Villaviciosa.

23 June 2017

Here's a pic of our crew from a few days ago. At the "kids table" from the left: German girl, Nicki, Fabian, Cascade. At the "grown ups table from the left: Jerry, Rob, me, John
June 23 We stopped for breakfast at a small restaurant in a very cute village. I ordered tortilla (my new favorite food group!) but rob went up and changed our order to omelettes without my knowing. I just thought it was a language thong and enjoyed my omelette. I didn't find out until much later what he had done.
June 23 Here's a pic of Rob and Cascade. They actually did the France way together with joey. She had this picture of that group as the background pic on her phone for a year. That's Joey all the way on the right. She never knew who that bald guy in the pic was. Small world!
June 23 We got to Colunga around 3:30, plenty of time before my interview. We cleaned up and met friends for drinks and snacks. Cascade ordered tortilla, and for some reason they gave her the whole thing!!
June 23 We met up with cascade just before we caught up with the rest of the group having lunch. We had to say goodbye to Tom and Katie because they are leaving tomorrow. It was then that we realized that the crew was going to split up for good in just a couple of days. John, Zach, and cascade we're going to leave the Norte and walk the primativo in just a couple days. Jerry and we are continuing on the Norte. It's going to be hard. We've been a 'satellite to their tight group for a while now. From the left it's Tom, Katie, Cascade, Zach and Jerry.
June 23 We stopped at a beach where there was a class trip of some sort. Rob decided to climb the lifeguard stand and make sure everyone was safe. ๐Ÿ˜‰
June 23 We ran into Zach sitting by himself at this incredible point. Zach is the slowest one. He stops often to look around, get a drink or something, or just take a nap. The rest of the group was ahead of us.
June 23 It just amazes us that the cows have the most beautiful views of the beach!
June 23 Along the way we passed a place where an artist painted scenes of traditional living in the blocked windows of an old house.
June 23 Some pics of the cute town. These structures are everywhere. They are where they store grains and stuff up high so rodents and other critters can't get to it. Quite ingenious.
June 23. Day 18 Ribadesella to Colunga We decide to cut today's hike short because I had another job interview today and the official end point doesn't have wifi. So it was a 17 km walk to Colunga. Because it was going to be so short we stayed in our pension room until nearly 9 am. We watched a movie on Netflix. It felt so decadent!! It was a rainy start as we walked on a tiled boardwalk along a long beautiful beach. These amazing beaches are so common that we didn't even take a picture of it. We stopped a bit to watch a beachcombing machine sweep the sand.

22 June 2017

June 22 Some nice pics rob took today.
June 22 We caught up with Tom and Jerry this afternoon. Toms friend Katie met up with him in Santander to hike a few days with him. Here we are in front of a very colorful stone wall.
June 22 We stopped for lunch near a church with a cemetery next to it. Michael decided to keep walking. Maybe we'll see him in Ribadesella tonight.
June 22 We met a pilgrim named Michael who was from Romania and lives in Pennsylvania. He walked with us for a while and told us the airline lost his walking poles. Rob let him borrow his for a while.
June 22 It was a nice cool day after the scorchers we've had for the past couple of days.
June 22. Day 17 Well I'm finally caught up in the journal. ๐Ÿ™‚. Today we had a long hike to Ribadesella, 30 km. I think my body only lasts for 25km before it poops out. Those last km are so hard for me!

21 June 2017

June 21 We arrived in Llanes and planned on staying at a pension near the beach. We walked at least a half km looking for it. We never found it but we determined that it wasn't near a beach, just cliffs into to sea. So we walked another half km looking for an alburgue to stay in. Walked around town and found the crew and had dinner at a place that served WAY too much food. But it was delicious. We met Jan from Chec Republic and had a nice conversation about Christmas in Prague. We learned that Nicki's blisters are forcing her to take a day or two off walking. I'm afraid we won't see her again. We exchanged info so hopefully we will catch up.
June 21. Day 16 Colombres to Llanes Another early start. Today we are hiking to Llanes, 23.5 km away. We walked for a couple of hours and came to this beautiful beach at low tide. We decided to stop and have an early lunch. Then I went exploring around the rocks and caves while rob had a quick nap.
June 21 Rob took this pic with the timer. I'm going to use it as the cover photo for this journal.
June 21 It was a beautiful day with lovely coastal views on one side and the Picos Mountains on the other.
June 21 Pics of picnic at the beach.

20 June 2017

June 20 After cider shots we headed back to the alburgue for a great pilgrim dinner. Primero was spaghetti and here's a pic of me serving it up for everyone. Next to me is Cascade, and Nicki is on her right. Fabian is photo bombing from across the table.
June 20 After San Vincente the rest of the hike was pretty hot and monotonous. We didn't take any pictures. Just pushed through the kilometers. We arrived at Columbres and stayed at an alburgue with the usual crew plus Jenny from Montana and Uri from San Sebastiรกn. They had met just a few days ago on the Camino and it looks like they might be a new couple. We met Andres from Italy at a bar where we all tried sidra, a traditional hard cider that must be poured from very high up into a tilted cup. Here is a pic of our friend Zach giving it a try. The cider isn't especially good. Tastes a bit like vinager. You're supposed to drink it right away before the bubbles fade.
June 20. Day 15 We left Comillas as the sun was rising with a 28.5 km hike to Colombres ahead of us. This will be our last day in Cantabria. Tonight we will be in Asturias. We started walking along the coast with beautiful views.
June 20 We came to San Vincente de la Barquera, another fishing town that was very pretty. It is dominated by the ruins of an 8th century castle and a 13th century gothic church. The church was closed (of course) but the castle was open with a museum inside it. We had some breakfast and spent 2 hours visiting the castle and church grounds.
June 20 Cow drama continued as we passed these farmers who had a vet there to give their cows injections. They had a bunch of cows corralled and used sticks and their bodies to separate one from the herd and get it into a small pen where it could not move. The cows were not cooperating. Then the vet gave the shot and they released the cow back into the pasture. We stood and watched for at least 5 minutes.
June 20 We continued walking through some nice country with lots of cows and pastures when we had to stop and pull over to let these farmers transport these cows down the road.

19 June 2017

June 19 Turns out that the whole gang made it to Comillas. Even Irish Jerry! He was quick to tell me I am damned for cheating on the Camino for taking a bus (a running joke between us!). We all had a big dinner together and had just a bit too much to drink. Great times!!
June 19 Comillas has a very nice beach and rob went swimming while I took pics of my handsome bathing beauty.
June 19 The other things I wanted to do were flops. The Casa Del Tiempo was supposed to be a museum of old clocks but it had closed, and the clocks were on display in the lobby of a hotel. They weren't very impressive. Most just had pretty faces behind class and in a picture frame. There were two that I liked. One was a painting of a church with the clock on the tower. The other just had a pretty pendulum. The other things, the Palacio De Pereda Barreda and the caves were closed, and the zoo was too expensive. So I just ended up having a cup of tea and waist to see if any of my friends showed up. After an hour I got tired of waiting and I took a bus to meet rob at Comillas.
Jude 19 After the torture museum I walked around and saw a church was open. Knowing how rob felt about visiting them I went up to the front door. A nun who had been cleaning inside the church just coming out and was getting ready to lock it up. I asked if I could go in, and she said yes. So I went on as if I wanted to pray cuz I felt she was doing me a favor and didn't want her to feel bad that all I was was a tourist taking pictures. I did manage to squeeze off a quick one of the alter. Rob would be proud. Then I walked around the outside a bit. Very pretty little church the Convento De San Ildefonso.
June 19. Day 14 After our big hike yesterday I just wasn't feeling up to another big hike today. So rob took off on his own to Comillas while I stayed behind in Santillana. I slept in, had breakfast with a German woman I met on our first night named Elka (she didn't speak English very well and I speak no german but we still managed a very lively conversation!), and then I set out to see this beautiful medieval village. The day 14 pic above shows a small view of the amazing room we had in an amazing old building. The further we go, the cheaper things get as we leave the big cities behind... and the crappier the wifi gets. I'm doing June 19 and 20 on the 21st from notes.
June 19 Next I went to the Museo De Inquisicion where I saw all kinds of torture devices and methods, really just awful things. What was most disturbing was that many of them were used until as recently as 1960s, and some are STILL used today. This place was not for the faint of heart. There were no pictures allowed, and I meant to take a pic of the outside but I forgot. ๐Ÿ™. Here is a pic of a rack that is very similar to the one I saw.
June 19 The first thing I did was buy a new hat. Mine had been scrunched up one too many times and lost any shape it ever had. Found a nice one for only 10โ‚ฌ.

18 June 2017

June 18 We finally arrived at Santillana by the sea. It's an amazing medieval village that has recently become a tourist attraction for its picturesque ancient architecture and a church built in the 1100's. We stayed in an amazing pension in a building that was 100s of years old. It was filled with tons of antique furniture, art, and items. It was just beautiful.
June 18 After the rr bridge excitement, it was a long hot walk on hard top with no respite from the hot hot sun. It was really hard on me. I had to push myself to keep going because I didn't want to sleep on the street. I'm sure rob was hurting too.
June 18 We were the first to leave the alburgue. We had to get to a train station to take a train across river. Otherwise we would have added many km walking around the river to the neatest bridge. We took several wrong turns on the way. Because the trains run only once an hour on Sundays, we decided to walk across the rr bridge, with thoughts of that scene in the movie Stand By Me running through our minds. "My lucky comb!!" We're such rebels....
June 18. Day 13 I don't know what we were thinking!! It was 35 km from Santander to Santillana DelMar. Look how happy I was at the beginning! Little did I know what was in. I didn't take a single picture during this hike, and rob hasn't posted his yet so I'll just write from my notes and add pics later. In the meantime, here's a screenshot of my pedometer.

17 June 2017

June 17 It was a great day for a boat ride!
June 17 After my swim I met a girl named Nicki from Dutchland and we walked the beach together. We talked a lot. She's a doctor doing the Dutch equivalent of her internship. Luckily she saw a Camino sign that I totally missed and we left the beach. (I would have kept going the long way around.). We met John at a bar/restaurant and had orange juice and a snack. Then more people from the alburgue caught up to us: Zach from Arizona, Fabian from Germany, and Cascade from Georgia. We walked together to the ferry where we met Rob.
June 17 I stopped to take a dip in the ocean but rob pushed on.
June 17 Day 12 Guemes to Santander Started with communal breakfast then we headed out. It was a beautiful day, and we were looking forward to a nice short walk along the beach to Santander. But we took our first real wrong turn and added a good 30 minutes to the walk. I'm running out of fingers. I had to use my 2 walking poles to make 12. ๐Ÿ™ƒ
June 17 We saw a wedding at the cathedral. Such an elegant dress!
June 17 Some pics of the cathedral at Santander.
June 17 We had lunch together in the plaza. We couldn't decide what to order so we got 7 different things and took 2 bites and passed the plates to the left. It was a real bonding experience. From the left it's Fabian, John, Rob, Nicki, Cascade, me, and Zach.
June 17 We all stayed in the same alburgue in Santander. We saw a beautiful art display of photographs in the middle of a plaza.
June 17 Last night was pretty cool. We ran into John and Matthew there. I also met a really nice girl named Cascade, a very pretty name! The alburgue is run by this old priest whose family has lived there for 3 generations. He had all the pilgrims gather together so he could tell us the history (through a translator). Then we had a communal dinner. Then he had us all go to the ermita (small chapel) on the grounds and he told us the story of the paintings on the walls. It was a very spiritual message.
June 17 After we got back on track it was 3 hours of this. Just beautiful!!
June 17 Our first glimpse of Santander

16 June 2017

June 16 Along the way we saw a sign for American hamburgers so we stopped there for lunch. We didn't take pictures but damn! That was a good burger!
June 16. Day 11 Today was yet again another long hike. We walked 29 km from Laredo to Guemes. There's a not-to-be-missed alburgue called Alburgue La Canana del Abuelo Peuto that we wanted to get to. The terrain was pretty flat, and I had no problems. I don't know what makes the difference between a good and bad long hike. It started with a ferry ride across the bay.
June 16 We came across a church that was open (Rob was happy! He is disappointed that most churches are locked.) It had a display of art and messages from pilgrims that had stayed at the alburgue. It was amazing to see all the different messages and why people do the Camino.
June 16 Here are some pics of a type of tree that I call naked leaf trees. They look like the leaves are naked and all there is are the veins of the leaves. They look so delicate and cast soft shade.
June 16 Some pics from the hike.
June 16 Mornings are foggy on the coast.

15 June 2017

June 15 Because I was so slow we arrived at the alburgue quite late. It was an interesting place run by nuns called La Casa de la Trinidad. They had a mass where they had a special blessing for us pilgrims. Then we sat in a circle and sang songs and talked about why we were doing the Camino. Then we had a communal dinner where each of the pilgrims brought something to share. We brought wine, cheese, and chocolate. Unfortunately we didn't take any pictures of this spiritual stop. I was quite touched and comforted there. But still too tired from that hike to write in this journal.
June 15 Walked through a blue gum tree Forrest. Rob always says pics are more interesting with people in them.
June 15 Some pics of the hike
June 15 Day 10 Another long hike today. From Castro- Urdiales to Laredo. This one was harder for me even though the terrain was similar to yesterday. My knee was "tweety" and I was afraid to hurt myself. Consequently I was going slowly and I think I was frustrating rob for a while.

14 June 2017

June 14 Pictures in Castro, including a pic of my laundry drying on our balcony.
June 14 There was a very very old fort and church there. The church had some impressive flying buttresses.
June 14 Our first view of Castro.
June 14 Some other cool stuff we saw.
June 14 We left the restaurant and walked along a beautiful boardwalk that too us to an old road used by miners years ago. There was a cool tunnel we had to walk through.
June 14 We walked to the coast and had breakfast at a lovely little restaurant in La Arena.
Two nights ago we had no internet and last night I was just too tired. So I'm doing 3 days at once, going off notes from each day. June 14. Day 9 We deviated from the mapped stations of the Camino,so I don't have a handy dandy map. We left Portugalete and walked almost 30 km to Castro-Urdiales, leaving Basque Country and entering Cantabria. Even though it was a long hike it went well. The terrain was moderately flat.

13 June 2017

June 13 After dinner I had my interview. It went ok. There was a lot of chaos in the room so I don't know how well it was received. But it's over now. I don't have to stress over it anymore. Tomorrow we hav a big hike ahead of us to make up for today's short one and I need to focus. I should mention that my knee brace works like a charm. What a difference!! ๐Ÿ˜Š
June 13 The best part of the hike came at the very end. It was this suspension bridge. I've never seen anything like it. The guidebook says it's the only working one in the world. For 0.40 euros you can ride this carriage that is suspended from the bridge on a track. It slides on this track to the other side. Or, for 8 euros you can walk over the top. I ride; rob walked. The pics just don't do it justice.
June 13 It was a pretty boring hike, mostly factories and industrial stuff. We did stop to watch some big tractors digging a very large hole and dump trucks carrying the rocks and dirt away, but we didn't take any pics. So I'll just post some old pics from past hikes that are pretty.
June 13 Day 8 Bilbao to Portugalete Today's hike was a short one. We had to stop at Portugulete because the true destination didn't have wifi, and I had my job interview today. I needed wifi to do the video conference. So we took our time and arrived around noon.

12 June 2017

June 12 We went to dinner and ate outside where a protest was happening. It was the weirdest protest we ever saw. Just a bunch of people standing around holding up signs. They did a couple of chants but nothing exciting. Then a woman got on a mic and spoke in Basque facing the protesters, not the people watching the protest. They applauded themselves. Then they went home.
June 12 So now is the time for me to discuss my knee. Over the past 6 months or so it has started bothering me. I proactively went to the doctor and did physical therapy to strengthen it for this hike. I was feeling pretty confident that it would be ok. It lasted 3 days of hiking. It's been downhill from there. I haven't spoken about it sooner because I was hoping it would get better. Today I caved in and bought a brace for it. What a difference! You can see it in this picture of me in front of a Flying Tigers store, Elle's favorite store.
June 12 Then we went back to our room because I have to get ready for a job interview for tomorrow. What? Doesn't everyone do that in the middle of a 500 mile hike? Rob went out on his own and did some sightseeing.
June 12 Next we took the metro to a Primark because that's what we dining Europe. Bought a light scarf for cool nights when I wear my dress and Sandro replace the cheap flip flops I've been wearing. (Still waiting for that blister to heal.)
June 12 Next we found an open church where you could get really close to the statues.
June 12 Bilbao We slept in this morning and woke up feeling great. We decided to take a walk down to a local market to check it out. Not what we expected. It was an indoor market with butcher shops, fruit and veg shops, and the like. Nothing for breakfast. So we wondered around and bought some chocolate croissants to eat.

11 June 2017

June 11 After the G museum we went back to our room so rob could FaceTime with his parents. Then we thought we'd get some dinner. But we forgot about Spanish timing. Every kitchen closes around 5 and won't serve dinner. We got a bit grumpy until we finally found a tiny place that would feed us. When we came back to the room for the night, I took a look at my blister whom I named Pita for pain in the @ss. Looks worse than it feels. But still a pain. If only I hadn't worn those sandals!! BTW: Thank goodness for Compeed It is AWESOME for blisters.
June 11 Once we got to Bilbao we cleaned up a bit and went to the Guggenheim museum. Didn't actually go in. Just got our credentials stamped. And took pics of the giant flower dog.
June 11 Look how happy I am waiting for that bus!!
June 11 Our lunch spread.
June 11 We stopped in Larrabetzu for lunch and came upon a little parade. We think it was a protest/demonstration for Basque independence from Spain. We saw several painted signs for Basque freedom. Interesting that so many of them were written in English.
June 11 Gernika to Bilbao Today's hike is a very long stretch, 35.5 km. That's just about 22 miles. Rob really wanted to walk the whole thing in one day, but I put my (sore) foot down and said no way. Our Camino buddies all said they were going to take 2 days to complete it. We compromised and decided we would walk half of the hike to Lezama, which is slightly less than our usual distance, and take a bus for the rest of the distance to Bilbao. We spent last half of the day not too sore and enjoyed the city, and we will have a whole day tomorrow. We also splurged on a pension instead of an alburgue.

10 June 2017

June 10 Can I just take a minute to talk about my feet? The first couple of hours of a hike are quite enjoyable except for pain in my arches (plantar fasciitis) which will eventually go away. I tolerate the middle of the hike. And then I suffer through the last hour or two. My arches become on fire. My heels ache. And the rest of my feet are just ... f@cking ouch!! Seriously. You think, yeah, I'm on my feet all day every day. How bad can a hike be? I truly know that the word footsore is a terrible understatement. The struggle is real.
June 10 We got to Gurmukhi-Lumo around 3 this afternoon and found our alburgue. After showering we wen to the Gurnika museum which was about the terrible bombing that happened here during the Spanish civil war. This event inspired Picasso to paint his famous "Gurnika" painting. It was a very well done museum that focused on peace and reconciliation. No pics were allowed but here is an internet pic of picaso's painting.
June 10 We were so ready to stop for our picnic lunch but couldn't find a good spot to stop. We ended up just sitting in the ground in a shady spot. Soon a couple of goats wandered over. Ofcourse rob made friends with them. That's just the kind of guy he is. ๐Ÿ™‚
June 10. Day 5 Marking-Xemein to Gernika Today's we are staying in a hostel that doesn't let us bring our backpacks into the bedroom. As a result I don't have the guidebook to give the stats of todays days hike. I'll update when I can. Here is a map and a diagram of the ascents. It took us 7 hours. Last night we had dinner with Tom from California and Irish Jerry from ... Ireland. We had a wonderful discussion about politics, abortion, and drug abuse, and remained friends. It was a very enjoyable evening.
June 10 This hike started in walking through the town of Markina then back into the woods and up another mountain. It was hotter today than usual and quite muggy and humid. But much of the path went along babbling brooks which seemed to cool the air some, and there were plenty of nice breezes. Still we stopped often to refill our water bottles. Here is a pic of rob crossing an ancient bridge in the forest and some scenery.
June 10 One of Rob's biggest issue is that so many of the churches are closed on this Camino. But we hit the jackpot today. We visited the Zenerriza Monastery. It was built in the 1000's and is still functioning as a church and an alburgue. It was so quiet and peaceful. We stayed for s good long visit. We went into the church where 2 monks were doing ... stuff. It was was so beautiful. Outside on the covered porch west a very friendly cat. Rob was very happy here. I was happy too, especially with the cat.

9 June 2017

June 9 So we walked into town and rob says we have to go into this old-church-turned-gallery where there's a modern art display. Now, I didn't my usually get modern art but this was just unbelievable. There were 3 giant boulders with small white statues of babies in weird situations and other strange shapes. One was a tied up baby with rats chewing the ropes. This pic looks like a baby doing coke. WTF??
June 9. Day 4 Chickens!!
June 9 Day 4 Today's hike was from Deba to Markina-Xemein. 24.2 km distance. Ascent 600 km. It took us 8 hours and 13 minutes. Yesterday was my hump day. I'm over the hump. Felt pretty good all the way until the last couple of hours. The last 30 min were the toughest: all steep descents. Hard on my knees. But overall I'm feeling much stronger.
June9 Truth is I wasn't really alone. I had my boy Kevin with me. He's smart and brave and kept me company. We had a great time walking at our own pace listening to music (iPhone in my pocket with low volume so we could hear birds and such).
June 9 We spent most of today walking separately. I was grumpy this morning and rob didn't want to put up with me. At first he was in front but then he decided to let me go first so he wouldn't worry about me. It was nice walking alone. The hike today took us away from the coast. We walked mostly dirt paths through the forest. Lots of farms too. Just beautiful. And cool!!
June 9 Will someone please ask Kimberly to follow my journal so she can see these pot belly piglets? ๐Ÿ™‚

8 June 2017

June 8 But then my body decided it had had enough. I got a big blister on my foot. Then towards the end my body just gave up. My feet hurt. My calves hurt. My thighs hurt. My back hurt. Even my triceps hurt from using the sticks. I was so fatigued I was close to tears a couple of times. The only reason I finished the hike was because there were elevators down the last bit. Literal elevators. Look how happy I was on one of those elevators! I'm feeling better now after a shower and a meal. But I'm dreading tomorrow.
June 8. Day 3 Zarautz to Deba We left Zarautz early this morning looking forward to a great hike today. 24 km long. 640 ascent. Similar to yesterday's hike. Here is the map.
June 8 A nice shot of vineyards going up a mountain. And some scenery
June 8 We made lots of new "friends". Even rob made a couple.
June 8 The hike started off well. Beautiful day. A nice long walk along the beach. You can see the road we walked on in the background , all along the cliff.

7 June 2017

June 7 There was a spot on the road that had free water a couple of chairs and a Camino stamp. This is me signing their book to thank them. Yeah that's my big butt.
June 7 Last nigh I bought cherries for a snack for today's hike. Many of them didn't fare too well, got bruised and soft. Luckily I found a friend to feed them to.
June 7 This days hike wasn't nearly as grueling as yesterday. But still, it was challenging, especially since our bodies were so beat up from yesterday. There weren't as many sea views. But it was quite pretty. Rolling green planes with mountains in the distance. Huge vineyards going way up the sides of hills. Lots of farms with grazing goats and horses. The second pic also has an old fashioned selfie.
June 7. Day 2 San Sebastiรกn to Zarautz Here is a map of today's hike. Its18.5 km long. Total ascent 520 m total descent 520 m. Here goes day 2.
June 7 Rob said I didn't talk enough about how difficult yesterday's hike was. It was grueling. Jaizkibel was almost 500 meters high. Then we hiked all the way down the other side. Then up Ulia which was 200 meters high. Then back down again. I don't know how many feet that is. Somebody else can do the math. It took almost 11 hours and we were both hurting, especially the bottoms of our feet. Who knew feet could hurt like that? The entire surface of the bottoms. Toes. Arches. Heels. And my lower back. Ugh! Everything felt better this morning, though. Ready for another hike.

6 June 2017

June 6 Spent the evening in San Sebastiรกn. It's a really nice tourist town. Beautiful beach. Lots of shopping and food and churches. Because we didn't stay in an alburgue we had to find a church to stamp our credentials rob took a pic of it. Unfortunately my back didn't fare as we're as I would have liked from today's hike. I took some meds and I'm taking it easy so hopefully I'll be up to speed for tomorrow's hike.
June 6 I forgot to upload this this morning. Here is the map of today's hike. 26.5 km long. Total ascent 710 m. Total descent 720 m. It's the longest hardest day.
June 6 As we walked along the mountains along the coastline there were these old ruins of watch towers that over look the water. One was whole enough to enter and walk up the stairs inside.
June 6 Our first look at San Sebastiรกn, our destination for today. It was a long hard climb with wind and some rain. But I was never really cold and I'm proud that I made it!
June 6 We made it up the first major climb and got a look at our first coastal view!
June 6 This one is for Joey. It's a new friend!! He walked along the fence and followed us for a bit. ๐Ÿ˜
June 6 I saw a real castle!
June 6 Day 1 Irun to San Sebastiรกn Neither of us got any sleep last night. And today is supposed to be the toughest day. We are woken up with some loud cha cha music and s continental breakfast. It was a rainy start.
June 6 Some would say a rainy day would ruin the views but I think it's just a different kind of beauty.

5 June 2017

June 5 afternoon We found our alburgue eventually. We got a little lost but a very nice man who recognized us as pelegrinos helped us. He literally turned around and escorted us back to the path. Just amazing. The alburgue didn't open til 16:00 so we had an hour to kill. So we bought some salami and cheese and bread and headed to a park to eat. We ended up feeding most of it to the birds. I eventually got them to eat out of my hands. Then a little boy with an extra car came along and infiltrated the flock.
Monday June 5 morning Irun Slept late. Jet lag. We packed up and left the hotel around noon. Got European SIM cards and breakfast. We found a boardwalk along the river between Spain and France. Then we walked to the beginning of El Camino del Norte, or what we think in the beginning, it wasn't really marked. We took a picture at the first official marker we found.

4 June 2017

June 4 The highlight of traveling happened in Palencia. We had an hour layover so we walked around the town. Very pretty. Lots of old European architecture. Place was very quiet. It was a Sunday. We walked through a park where merchants we selling their stuff. There was a giant steam engine tracker in the park. Rob loved it. He walked all around it, figuring out how each part worked. He was so happy. He loves old stuff like that.
Sunday June 4 We landed in Madrid around noon on Sunday. No big issues except I forgot my headphones. So expensive to buy at JFK. Rob said not to worry. "The Camino will provide." I just rolled my eyes. Sure enough, when we sat down to eat someone had left behind their ear buds. After an hour with no one coming back for them I decided that they were meant for me. ๐Ÿ™‚๐Ÿ™‚Rob was right. *later* It has taken us 24 hours and 15 minutes to arrive at our hotel in Irun. One plane, 1 subway, and two trains. To be honest it wasn't that bad at all. The most stress we had was in Irun because it was raining and we had a bit of trouble finding the hotel. And that took less than 15 minutes. We are both pretty tired so we just ate and went to bed. Tomorrow we have a few"chores to take care of. Then we will walk the Irun portion of the Camino and stay in our first alburgue. The adventure begins.

2 June 2017

So I just subscribed to this app to share my experience walking the Camino with friends and family. We leave tomorrow. Tensions are high. But I am getting excited. I'll keep you posted.