Last dinner in Spain -- pinchos and beer!
The Madrid city hall -- check out the sign -- won't see that at home this year!
Now on the tour bus that circles Madrid -- checking out all the sites on my list from Megan!
Now I'm across the street having lunch in the Museum Thyssen-Bornemisza after seeing the Carravaggio exhibit which just opened this week.
Back to the Prado to see what I missed yesterday -- the good news is with my 2 day ticket I get to skip the line which wraps around the building!
A selfie of me hanging out in Plaza Mayor!
Madrid comes to life after the sun goes down (& it cools off) ☀️
I'm doing what I can from Megan's list of what to see and do in Madrid. My hotel is just steps away from Plaza Mayor so I walked and found the Marketplace de San Miguel.
I think this is why she liked it--fun beverages!
Went to the Prado today, spent 7 hours there and didn't even see it all! Luckily I bought a 2-day ticket so I can go back tomorrow.
Wasn't allowed to take any photos there but it was amazing. It was my art history textbook come to life!
You may have to zoom in to see -- but this street is wall to wall people. Spain is playing Croatia in the Europe Cup tonight so there is a real Party atmosphere on the streets-- lots of young people out and about.
Update... The party fizzled... Spain lost 2-1
These are bocadillos -- basically ham or cheese on a roll. No condiments, no veggies. You might be able to get them to add tomato. Nothing bad about just boring if it's all there is to eat.
I've been complaining to Wally that I'm tired of eating the same things over and over-- the Spanish love their tuna -- it shows up in everything. Pizza was common on the Camino but here in Madrid there are a number of pizza shops and here is one with tuna!
The yellow building is the hotel I'm staying in.
Well the bus system may have been efficient yesterday but the train system not so much. My 7:45 am train has been "suspended" and now I have to wait 2 hours... Take a train to another town and then change trains there to find the Madrid train... Promises to be an interesting day!
Update: it was interesting--the new train broke down for about 45 minutes so we ended up being over an 1 hour late. When I finally got to Madrid I opted for a taxi to the hotel -- just wasn't up for figuring out the bus/metro system!
My faithful boots are being officially retired here in Santiago--they have sprung a leak and now make an annoying squeaking sound so I think it is only fitting that they stay here in the city they walked so far to get to❣
Back in Santiago for the evening--I catch a 7 am train to Madrid in the morning.
Santiago is prettier when the sun is shining and the sky is blue but it is still a very humid city. I walked around the old city again looking for familiar faces but the city is just too big and crowded to find people.
Bus got flat tire en route. Don't know if it was Spanish efficiency or just dumb luck but another bus with enough empty seats for all of us arrived within minutes. Here we are collecting our bags to transfer to new bus!
The good news is the air conditioning on this bus is working:-)
Pack back on -- walking to bus stop to start heading home! First stop, Santiago again, tomorrow train to Madrid then museums and finally plane on Friday!
It's been a great trip but I'm ready to come home!
This was the view from my room. I could lay on the bed and see the ocean and the birds swooping by... Finisterre has been a lovely resting spot. Highly recommend this hotel Mar de Fisterre!
It's a tradition for pilgrims to hike out to the lighthouse and watch the sunset in Finisterre.
In Santiago I had a hard time finding the people I walked with on the Camino but here in Finisterre they are easy to find. A group decided to take a sunset boat cruise so I did too.
I figured a little R&R was in order so here is the view from my room in Finnistere! It's not hot but it is sunny so I'm about to change and head down to that white sand beach😄
Fantastic Italian restaurant! I've eaten here every night because 1) it's been raining and 2) I'm tired of the same Spanish dishes that all the other restaurants serve. There is very little variety in the food here.
The hotel I've been staying in -- it's a lovely old building with granite walls and wood beam ceilings. My room even has a balcony overlooking the street. It has been fun to watch people walk by.
Nothing special to report today... Walked around Santiago and went to the museums. Lots of religious art and the story of pilgrimages. After living it all first hand it the displays seem Inadequate. Everything is for the bus tourist trying to understand what this is all about.
While walking back to my hotel after dinner I heard an orchestra playing -- went to investigate and discovered a band playing big band and show tunes in front of the cathedral steps.
They played Frank Sinatra's My Way, Coco Cabana, West Side Story, etc.It was great and unexpected!
Today was a non-tourist day. Spent the morning walking to a laundromat in the "real people" part of town where I washed and dried my rain soaked clothes. Should have taken. A picture of the washer but it didn't occur to me.
Then walked back to hotel, dropped off my clothes, had lunch and then walked back to find bus to shopping mall where I bought some new clothes!
My boots and wonderful feet. The boots are still soaking wet after days of rain. I'm sporting Einstein Bagel plastic bags on my feet to keep my socks dry.
I've recorded what my iPhone has recorded as my daily step total since I started walking on May 10th. This is total steps including wandering around, going to dinner extra...
Total steps taken as of today in Santiago is 1,336,781! Thank you feet😛
My stamped credentials-- the larger white one is almost full on the back as well. You are required to get at least two stamps a day for the lady 100 km to prove you walked. For the first 600km I have a stamp for every place I slept and the major tourist sites and for the last 100 km where I ate lunch and slept.
There are 82 stamps!
The non-religious document that certifies I've done the Camino Frances from St Jean de Pied a Port to Santiago de Compestela--an official total of 775 km which for us Americans is 482 miles.
My official Compestela -- forgiving my sins. This is a special holy year and I entered the Cathedral through the portal of mercy so I get extra credit.
I'm not sure I understand all the finer points of this but I will accept it in good faith.
I dropped off my backpack at the hotel because you can't take it into the church or pilgrims office because of security.
Then went to the Pilgrims mass and was surprised at the end that they swung the big incense -- they say they only do it on Sundays but today was a lucky extra day. I was in the 4th row so I had a great view.
It's hard to make out but it's that big silver thing just front and left of the 12 priests.
And I'm photo bombed by a tourist! A couple from Toronto wanted to know all about the trip. The wife made me take out my credential so she could take a picture of her and me with her holding it! They were nice but it was different.
The square had so many bus tourists they overwhelmed those of us that walked there.
I did it!
Raining again... Still raining is more accurate. You have to look closely in the background but this was my glimpse of the cathedral in the distance.
Leaving the alberque this morning. Maybe it was because of the cold and rain last night but I this stay wasn't what I expected -- I thought there would be more of a party atmosphere but people really kept to themselves. Just tired, cold and pensive I guess.
It poured rain today so this was the last photo before I wrapped my phone up in plastic and buried it my pack.
It really came down today -- even with rain gear, pack cover etc. everything got soaked.
We walked through the town of Lavacolla today which evidently means "wash your private parts!" In olden days pilgrims didn't bathe until just before getting to Santiago--today the rain gave us all a complete cleaning whether we wanted it or not!
Last day of significant mileage -- it was about 24k. Tonight I'm only 5k away from Santiago at the traditional stopping point for pilgrims who want to walk into town and go to the noon pilgrims mass.
Today was a long day walking much of it in drizzle or overcast skies so not many photos. I'm 26km from Santiago--could walk the whole way tomorrow but I'm going to stop at the traditional "last night" place and walk in with the crowd on Wednesday morning. Whoo hoo!
One of the advantages of living life at 3 mph is you get to notice things like this as you walk by!
Another rainy morning. Doing another 25 km today. Only 2 nights away from Santiago!
The cook graciously posing for me with the next person's lunch!
It rained this afternoon as I walked into Melide. Am staying in a nice alberque in a four room bunk -- got in early enough to score a bottom bunk!
I keep getting put in rooms full of men because I think all the Spanish think Patrice is going to be male. I'm like a boy named Sue here!
Melide is famous for its octopus so I did it -- I actually ate some! It tasted just fine but not great enough for me to eat it on a regular basis. The suckers just look gross.
The flowers are few and far between now but this is the kind we have now.
Me just standing in front of the same statue.
It's Sunday morning and got a late start because today is a short day. Met Tom and Nancy again at breakfast -- they felt silly and decided to pose like the statue.
The path at the end of the day--this was a pleasant section. At various points today we walked through groves of eucalyptus trees -- which I've never seen before.
A sign next to one of the fountains.
I'm not taking as many photos as I walk because I'm not seeing many photo-worthy sites. I kind of feel bad for all the newcomers who have just started the Camino here because they have missed the best parts.
This section is full of working dairy farms and fields of feed for cows. The smell of manure is pretty constant and cow pies line the path.
The new pilgrims seem to be either racing by or are busy chatting away. It's interesting to watch... They don't know about stopping at the bars to rest and visit with others--or that benches are there to sit and take stock of your feet, are your laces tied, etc....
The Camino humbles everyone and today it felt like watching people right before their "fall" (not that I'm wishing them ill but this really isn't a race -- "run" and you get shin splints or blisters)
My walking buddies Luis and Ed from Brazil. I met them on day 2. Luis and I were both walking slowly down a treacherous downhill and I was worried for him because at the time he had no sticks. Ed is Luis's son-in-law. We've been running into each other at least every other day.
You know we're getting to the end because they were so excited to see me today and wanted to be sure to get a picture together--lots of photo taking is about to happen!
The fog burning off -- it turned out to be a lovely day.
This morning's walk was in thick fog -- was interesting to walk along in a cloud and not be able to see what you were walking past. It lasted for about 2.5 hours.
Me at the 100km plus a little milestone --oddly enough with their updated numbers they don't have an even 100km post!
Thinking of my mom today. She had a thing about cows... She would of approved of this one... Nice and fat.
A selfie in the rain. It is drizzling today which makes nice walking weather.
Many more people on the Camino now. You can tell some people have just joined because their gear looks like it is straight out of the box -- all new and pretty. Also their packs are bigger -- still stuffed with things they don't yet know they won't need.
There are also what appear to be a few Spanish family groups walking together.
Another example of how you never know about the signs... Here is where I'm staying tonight in a Casa Rural that in the guidebook said was at mile marker 108. Well today I'm walking along and come to this nice little hamlet at 110 and think darn, this place is cute but I've got another 2 km to go... Then I see this sign and I'm like wait the official stone says 110 the sign says 108. When I checked in I asked about it and the woman said they changed all the mileage signs about 2 months ago and now they're stuck because their name and marketing materials all say 108!
The town of Sarria -- the official starting point for the people doing the minimum number of kilometers to get the Compestela in Santiago. I've chosen to stop 5 km outside of town in a quiet little hamlet.
I walked all morning by myself on trails like this -- I'm on a scenic detour -- and won't intersect the main path until afternoon.
I didn't get many good photos today because it was very humid and the light wasn't particularly good--this field was one of the best.
Not 50 steps away from the 142 km this one says 127.107 km. I'm going with the 127 plus 5 miles just in case...
Now that I'm on the home stretch there are way markers with the miles to Santiago everywhere--the only problem is you can't trust them. This one says 142km.
Here I am this morning--taking a selfie with this pilgrim. I think I look more perky than him😊 I probably slept better!
I've lost track of my days! Didn't realize it yesterday but I've walked over 1 million steps! As of tonight I'm at 1,048,215!
My starter at dinner tonight. I have discovered the menu de dia versus the pilgrims menu. For a few dollars more you get a much better meal!
If you're checking the map you'll see I covered a vast distance today. I'm a little annoyed with myself because I let other people's fear and stories about there being no room at the inn get to me. This section has very small towns with limited beds so I went ahead and booked the "closest" room I could reserve.
(I had gotten to O'Cebrerio early enough I could have gotten a bed 😕 just didn't trust myself...)
Instead I had to take a taxi to Samos because I had paid for a room and have made more reservations after this one down the road.
Let me tell you riding in a car at 110 kph after walking at 3 mph for weeks is EXCITING!
Live and learn. I finding that I am better off ignoring most of the "advice" I get because it seems my personal experience often differs from others.
Traditional stone house with thatched roof. Inside there were beams and a slate floor.
A closeup of the flowers growing in the wall. The town was all built with this stone and many of the buildings also had these flowers.
Stone wall in O'Cebreiro.
Looking forward across a field of buttercups. Just miles and miles of rolling hills in all directions.
Looking back at where I've come from...
Had to step aside twice as two herds of cattle passed by on the way to their pasture.
Here I am, still one town away from the top and I'm a tired, sweaty mess! The only consolation is that everyone else looks just as bad 😉
There were some pretty vistas along the way.
The only problem is that it is a steep climb to get here. The walk today was similar to the first day crossing the Pyrenees--lots and lots of up!
Today the goal was O Cebreiro -- a Celtic town in the mountain province of Galacia. The people really identify with the Scots and their traditional music includes bag pipes! This region has a totally different vibe than the rest of Spain.
I got an early start this morning--I left just after six because I knew I had a long way to go today and I wanted to get over the mountain before it got too hot.
I have no early morning pictures because it was too dark but it also wasn't very scenic. The Camino isn't all pretty paths. Sometimes it is drudging along the uneven shoulder of a road.
The alberque where I'm staying tonight. I'm in a co-ed room with 4 beds in the attic (see the window at top). It is very charming. Hopefully no one is a loud snorer (including me ;-))
You can't see it in this photo but someone left a message for this tree which said "You're Beautiful!" And they were right. This was an impressive tree.
A pleasant stretch with some trees... I can't imagine walking the Camino in the middle of summer... It is already hot and rarely shady. I'd melt if I was doing this in August!
Late morning the walk was next to a river and a road. Look at the pretty pink flowers on the mountain.
A tiny piece of the castle in Villa Franca where I stopped for a cafe con leche and cake. Wrens were swooping around the castle and I got a cool video of them but can't post it on track my tour.
Words of wisdom along the way!
On the tree!
Taste one and you have to buy a cone full for $1. Delicious.. Ripe and juicy nothing like what you'd get in the market.
Today was a lovely walk in the foothills so it was mostly thru rolling hills with vineyards and cherry trees.
The cherries are in season and here was a man sitting along the Camino offering free samples.
Finally out of urban area and back into the countryside. Getting close to Galatia and the land is changing to rolling hills and vineyards again.
This photo shows what to me is one of the mysteries of Spain--I've seen many examples of this -- a new house attached to a ruin? I haven't yet found someone to explain the real estate market to me...
After leaving the old city Ponferrada was not "scenic." Graffiti was everywhere and for a while it was difficult to find the Camino signs. I did do one unnecessary loop around town trying to find my way out.
Interior of church. Cathy this is where I lite a candle in your father's memory.
The Knights Templar church in Ponferrada.
Me in front of the Knights Templar castle in Ponferrada.
My Galatian beef stew -- didn't look like stew but was melt in your mouth delicious!
Cat friend at CasaRamon--hoping for scraps... Poor cat picked the wrong restaurant--the food here is fantastic--by far the best pilgrim meal I've had since arriving.
While the morning was lovely the afternoon was grueling... I didn't get a good picture of the trail because I had to concentrate every second on where I was putting my feet. Many, many km of rocky downhill--just exhausting. It took me 11 hours with breaks to cover the distance. Ugh.
Not the best photo but I had limited time to catch this as it passed by -- check out who is riding on the donkey's back!
Nothing special- just some cool contrails along the way.
Tomas standing by statue.
There is a little "town" with 1 resident named Tomas who is the last "Knights Templar." He welcomes pilgrims and blesses them on their way.
He did a very fancy blessing ceremony complete with Knights sword. I don't have a good photo because I was part of the ceremony-- I got recruited to hold the Knights Templar flag!
Looking back as I walk on... Burdens left behind.
Me by the Cruz de Ferro.
The white rock by picture closest to the pole is the one I brought with me from Colorado. I picked it up from the top of Green Mountain when I was training for the Camino.
The goal today was to get to the iron cross. A marker has been here since the time of the Romans. The Camino tradition is to bring a rock from your home and leave it here as a symbol of leaving your burdens behind.
Flowers like these lined the way...
The day started out with a lovely walk uphill-- it was a gentle incline along a pretty path.
You know you're in a pilgrim town when you see laundry hanging out to dry in any sunny spot-- the was on "Calle Major = Main Street"
The view from my room tonight.
"Cowboy bar" where I stopped for a coke. They say when this place is full the population in town doubles!
The Camino is still spectacular to walk along with so many flowers in bloom. (Thank you Joanne for suggesting this time frame!) This is clearly the prettiest time to walk and the weather has been great too!
Today was a day for cool doors... We walked through a few old hamlets that only still exist because of the business the Camino brings... Most of the buildings are in ruin but some of the old buildings have great doors. Here is one example ( I have many...)
The vegetation had changed too -- gone are the red poppies -- now all the flowers are yellow, purple, and white.
I'm no longer walking the flat Meseta but have moved into the foothills on the Western edge of Leon province. Today was a very pleasant gentle uphill climb.
Many people rave about the churro con chocolate-- well Astorga is famous for its chocolate so I thought this would be a good place to try it. The churros were hot and fresh and the chocolate fine but it's not my favorite.
In Astorga, the cathedral, the old church where they used to imprision prostitutes and the Gaudi palace where the bishop used to live.
Arches inside the Gaudi Palace.
The Gaudi Palace. I opted to tour this because I don't really know much about Gaudi. This building was the bishops house and is now a museum for Camino related art.
Here I am at the cross which overlooks Astorga down in the valley about 6 km away.
The scenery is starting to change. I'm approaching the mountains so I've been going uphill all day and we're starting to get some trees.
Isn't this little guy cute? Today I walked thru 3 or 4 villages all of whom had "village dogs" wandering around. When this little guy came around I was drinking tea with a man from Australia. I asked him what kind of dog he thought this was and he said with great authority "Oh I'm sure it's a "Bitsa."
I'm then thinking Bitsa? Shitzu? I've never heard of a Bitsa and he goes you know a bit of this and a bit of that! In Australia they call mutts bitsas.
You learn something new every day. Bitsas are related to the Mexican Rock Hound 😉
Here I am leaving Hospital de Orbigo this morning--sometime late last night or very early this morning the town draped these medieval banners down the street. Tomorrow they will be having a joust and they say 25,000 people will come to this little town!
I'm sitting in a park having a tuna empanada for dinner. (If you do the Camino you better like tuna with ketchup--it shows up in everything)
In Spain everything closes up from 2 to 5ish for siesta. Then "pow" everything opens up again and people gather in restaurants and parks. I've been watching many children at play on an "old style" playground complete with one of the twirling merry-go-rounds now obsolete in the US. These woman have met upon a park bench and are busy chatting away -- I get the sense they probably do this everyday. No one is on a cell -- everyone is interacting -- it is nice to see.
Magical Camino moment! This is a South Korean man who plays incredible guitar and has an amazing voice. He sings in many languages. I started out with him and he once "sang me up a hill" when I was very tired.
I was very pleased to see him again. There were about 10 of us on this patio and he must have sung about 5 songs. Made a nice morning even more special!
Tea on a patio overlooking the bridge and jousting area-- life is good 🙂
Me on the bridge -- it's very long. Next to the bridge is a jousting area where they still do reenactments of a love sick night who once fought over 300 knights here.
The beginning of the historic Roman bridge with 19 arches in Hospital de Orbigo.
So I again took the guidebooks suggestion and took the bus out of town to avoid miles of walking along a busy truck filled highway that is lined with warehouses. It was an excellent idea!
Today I'm in early at a lovely historic town and basically have a day off!
A better photo of Leon Cathedral!
The square across from my room. I'm staying in an old monastery.
A part of the Camino in the old city-- a narrow street filled with little shops.
This is a "forbidden" photo -- I didn't realize you could not take photos in the museum -- so I got yelled at -- but it was worth it -- look at the expressions on these faces... They were looking at a crucified Christ.
Looking back at the church through a cloister archway. The attached cloister and museum were incredible--better than the church tour.
Leon cathedral has spectacular stained class windows unfortunately now of my church interior pictures are very good.
Me at Leon Cathedral. One of the finest examples of Gothic architecture, built in the 13th century.
Me in Leon... Sitting in a park getting my bearings after just arriving. The guide books recommended taking the bus into town because the walk was boring thru city streets and "dangerous" because it required numerous highway crossings.
I did have a bit of a "crisis" this morning before leaving-- I got all packed up went to put on my hat and NO HAT! I couldn't believe it -- I LOVE my hat! Luckily the restaurant where I ate dinner last night was open for breakfast and they had my hat. Whew...
This is for Matt 🙂 here is the first Spanish fire truck I've seen. It's very short I assume so it can negotiate the narrow curvy streets.
Famous pilgrim statue in center of town. The girl is now wearing the flowers 😄
This town used to be a walled Roman city. There isn't much wall left... But it does have pretty flowers growing on too.
Turns out according to some Spanish people this is an exceptional year for wildflowers. They evidently had a lot of rain in March which is what has created this beautiful display.
Farmers Market in the square near where I'm staying tonight.
Like my flowers? I was walking along and found this flower wreath hanging in a bush. I know one of the college girls has been wearing this in her hair. It must have slipped off her head and someone hung it in the bush.
The walk today felt like I was walking in Colorado-- I don't think you can really tell in the picture but there are mountains in the distance. It was sunny and flat!
Here's the trail today. Tree lined path next to road, mostly straight for 18km. One town at 10km otherwise lots of open space.
The storks again as I was leaving town this morning--I got an early start which is great on sunny days. It's good to get some miles in before the sun gets hot.
Another view of the same church.
This is the church in the town I'm staying in tonight. It had a storks nest in each corner.
Here is an example of a bar along the way. No two are exactly alike but they serve drinks, food and have wifi and bathrooms!
The sun did come out and things did get better as I walked along. Wally pointed out that I frequently use "we" as I describe my day. The reality is that 90% of the time I am walking alone but it never really feels that way... There is a group of us walking alone together if that makes any sense. You can almost always see someone in front of you and someone behind. If you stop someone will be with you within minutes and we usually meet up at the next rest area or bar.
Here is where I stayed last night. Today was an easy day of walking and it was a good thing... Because as Kate would say I was on the "struggle bus!"
Woke up late to totally fogged in skies. Had felt good last night and this morning when I woke up so I didn't take any ibuprofen (everyone is on a daily dose)... Realized later when walking that my sciatic nerve/left leg still needs it.
Ordered tea, got coffee... You get the idea it was one little thing after another that wasn't quite right.
A building I walked by when looking for my Hostal -- it looks medieval and was right across the street from their church.
Me standing between the two monuments that mark the geographic center of the Camino! I think I've mentioned before that the distance signage is frustrating because it is always different. I'm assuming this spot is official since they made a point of erecting statues.
Not the most exciting photo but this is significant because I've crossed into another province -- am now in Leon.
More Camino art-- someone lost their hat and someone else decorated it and hung it up on this tree. You will also see decorated boots, sandals... Anything people tie to the outside of their packs and don't realize fall off.
Today is the feast of Corpus Christi. The town I stayed in 2 nights ago was busy decorating Saturday morning as I was leaving town. Today I passed this "shrine" someone made at their front door.
Check out this hobbit house! We walked through a couple of towns that had many of these. They say they are over 500 years old and were/are used to store food and wine. I passed a larger one that was clearly someone's home complete with chimney and TV antenna.
This is Nancy and Tom from upstate New York. I've been walking with them off and on for the past couple of days. Tom is "famous for his kilt"
Camino road art -- every now and again you come across "rock art!" I always marvel that someone stopped walking long enough to gather the rocks and do something with them.
Me and Lena starting out this morning.
Wally asked for a photo of what is still in my pack since I started. Much has changed. I shipped some things home. Bought some new things and have donated a bunch of thing I brought.
The white jacket is my new raincoat. I donated the old one in Burgos.
The scarves are original. All have worked well. I've used the big black one everyday in some capacity.
The black, mint green and teal quick dry t-shirts are all new -- the old navy ones I bought didn't dry well. These great shirts were only $4.99 in Burgos.
I still have my long sleeve black Marino wool shirt and my two sun shirts have been great.
I've still got my two pair of pants but the black ones have gotten so baggy I'm only wearing them at night.
Socks , some old, some new. The socks I brought are so thick they don't dry well but they are great to walk in. I got rid of two pair and have bought other thinner ones that the jury is still out on. I have bought nylon socks to wear as liners and have had no blisters since I started using them.
I sent home the fancy toiletry bag and am using a coke cola lunch bag which is perfect.
I still have my sleep sack, inflatable pillow, towel, and sleeping shorts. All good.
The red bag is first aid stuff-- haven't needed most of it but am reluctant to let it go. I did give my KT tape away today to someone in pain.
Food and water. I always have something to eat just in case -- some days it is a long way between rest stops. I kept my knife and spork but got rid of the rest of my Kitchen since I wasn't using them.
My sandals and hobo bag which works great.
That's it! Gone is the dress and tights... They were great but the dress got bleach spots on it and looked bad and while no one would have cared it wasn't worth carrying the extra weight.
The view from my room tonight. Just had a lovely pilgrim dinner: lentil soup, very tender roast chicken, potatoes, wine and cheesecake. Ate with Lena, Tom and Nancy all of whom I walked with today.
The little town where I'm spending the night. I think the population is 54.
Just after I checked in the heavens opened up and it started pouring. I had planned to take one day a week off but then didn't like the feeling of "getting behind" now I'm trying to do a few short days with at least some forward progress instead we'll see how this works. Right now it's nice to be out of the rain with a bed to nap on 🙂
Another selfie! Today I've got my pack on with rain cover because rain is forecast, my rain coat is just under the rain cover. Shortly after this photo was taken it didi start raining.
Today was a day with one long stretch 18 km to the next town with no services in between. Lucky for us we had clouds and just a little rain.
I had a choice to make, either stop early in a small town and make today a rest day or make it a long day. I opted for the short rest day.
Give or take a little I'm halfway there!
This is where I'm staying tonight. It is right in the center of town which is nice.
Even the coke machines are all about the Camino! This one has an arrow and the distance still to go to Santiago!
Knights buried in a Knights Templar church.
Rose window in Knights Templar church.
A selfie! I'm getting a little better at these. Wanted to show the flowers that are still lining the route.
Stopped at a little place along the way for an orange juice and look who joined me. There were 3 chickens that took a liking to me and sat under my chair! There were also 3 dogs and a family of new ducklings taking a nap -- you never know what you'll see next along the way.
Two pilgrims. I'm the one in blue 😀
I don't think I've mentioned it before but "Buen Camino" is what you say to people as you pass them on the trail or leave them when you move on. It is also what all the locals greet you with as you pass them on the street -- this sign was on the side of someone's home.
This was on a pillar that I passed as I walked out of town this morning. I got a late start this morning because it was gray and overcast and barking dogs kept me up for much of the night. It would have been a great morning to really sleep in.
I'm pretty pleased with these boots and "sticks" as the Europeans call them. According to my iPhone I've walked 637,427 steps since 5/10/16.
I've heard the Camino described as a journey of a million steps but at this rate it looks like I'll go over that! Wow!
Some icons in the Romanesque church in town. It is evidently one of the most authentic Romanesque style church on the Camino. While nice inside it appears almost a ruin on the outside. It's a shame these ancient building can't be better maintained.
The last 6km was along a canal. It felt like walking the high line canal at home!
Another flowering tree at a beautiful alberque and bar at the 20km town. I had booked a room at the next town 5km further down the road and stopped in here for a coke. Many of my friends were staying here so it was hard to leave. I horrified the Spanish man serving drinks because I ordered two cokes. They come in 8 oz bottles and I was thirsty. He said I was drinking too much sugar. Of course he is right but I did need the sugar buzz to get me the rest of the way. What would he make of a big gulp?
Early afternoon the trail flatted out and we winded our way they green fields of wheat. Many were still lined with poppies, daisies and bachelor buttons.
I'm now in another province. I think I'm two days away from being 1/2 way there!
Flowering tree and hedge along the way.
Today the Camino outdid itself with beauty. We walked for MILES along a flower lined road. I walked for a while with a man from South Africa (my 32nd nation) and he says that they pride themselves on their flowers but today the Camino had them beat!
Uphill was 12%, downhill was 18%. I "skied" down zig zagging back and forth.
This may be hard to make out but this is a young man that set out fruit and drinks at the top of the hill for donations. I just love these guys! I got my cup of hot tea with milk and a banana and a terrific view!
Another look back at the sunrise.
This was a first look back -- it's impossible to tell from the photo but this hill had a 12% grade. What's really unnerving is that I didn't care... I just walked right up it -- in spite of myself I must be getting stronger.
It was a pretty morning... Fog was still drifting in the valley.
Here's a look back at town as I was leaving this morning. Today was a longer walking day (25 km) so I wanted to set out early. This town had nothing open early for breakfast so I was off to climb a mountain without tea!
After a night in an alberque sleeping with 9 new friends and one champion snorer I've reserved a room to myself. Am in a lovely old hotel with a great garden bar and my room has 2 windows with views and a balcony. It's on the far end of town and one block off the Camino so I seem to have the place to myself!
Here is the more popular image today -- St James or Santiago as a pilgrim.
Here is a statue of St James the Moor-Slayer. This is no longer politically correct but for many centuries in Spain he was celebrated as helping by miracle the Spanish forces to drive out their Moorish conquerors.
Stopped in at the cathedral on my way into town. Yet another old church filled with art. This painting on board is from the 1600's.
Castrojeriz. My endpoint for the day. This town has multiple old churches, castles and ruins.
The ruins of the convent of San Anton -- famous for protecting pilgrims. I bought a handmade cross from a man who sits outside the convent and makes them. I got his stamp and have added the cross to my hat... Can't hurt to have added protection along the way!
The walk has been pretty glorious today. Nice partly cloudy day, pleasant breeze, not too hot, path lined with beautiful flowers. Sure beats working! (Sorry working friends...)
Lena, my friend from Budapest, who I met on the 2nd day. We had lost track of each other but met up in a rest stop today. She wants to see the Grand Canyon so I've invited her to Denver. May have another trip to Havasu Falls in my future.
One my best photos of the day -- again walking the Meseta so it is mostly fields and while beautiful it can be hard to take a distinctive photo.
Church square as I was leaving Hornillos this morning. Note the rooster -- he is significant -- evidently once an invading army came they town and stole all the chickens when the villagers were in church. When accused they denied it but a rooster hidden in one of their drums crowed and saved the day.
Dinner at the alberque. A fun group --lots of talking and laughter fueled by pitchers of vino!
Finally an authentic home cooked Spanish paella! It was delicious.
Wally asked about how my pilgrim credentials were filling up so I took this picture. The top one is for the places I've stayed primarily and the bottom one is for places I encounter along the way. Some are from food trucks, restaurants and the one that days Felisa Higos Aguay Amorvis from an old lady alongside the path who offers figs and love to pilgrims. Her mother did the same all her life until she passed and now the daughter has taken over.
Where I am staying tonight. Had to play the "woman card" to get a bottom bunk -- not really proud of the fact but I so don't want to have to climb up on these bunk beds!
Beds are getting hard to find in part because there are a bunch of college May term groups here that can take 1/2 the beds in any one place. Internet and phone service is also getting sketchier -- I'm evidently staying in the only place in town with Internet and I have no phone service.
A close up! It rained this afternoon. I'm happy to report that my new rain coat is an improvement over my last one which I left hanging in my last room. I hope they donate to someone.
Once out of the city this was the view. I'm officially on the Mesta and will be walking past fields of cereal grains for the next week.
A fork in the road... I followed the signs to the right but you do have to wonder where the left fork would have taken me?
There are many, many of these old doors in stone walls...
A pretty town square we walked thru this morning. I took a picture of a couple of Italian ladies and they returned the favor.
A little roadside humor... Walking out of Burgos this morning was not too exciting. I was glad I started early before the city got really moving because it made it easier to see the arrows.
A nice example of a Camino way marker -- they are rarely this pretty -- usually covered with graffiti.
Burgos Cathedral early morning... I got an early start today - the moon was still up.
I can recommend if you're ever in Spain the Caramel Cookie McFlurry -- exceptional 😀
You know you're in the suburbs because looks what here! Couldn't resist since it was dinner time when I was here. Unlike Mexico their Mickie Ds is the same as home. A few different menu items because delivery is identical.
I've eaten so many things I could not identify since I've been here it was nice to eat something I knew and have it taste as expected... Comforting.
Very proud of myself... I figured out how to find and take a free bus out to the suburbs so I could go to a sporting goods store. I needed to replace the rubber bottoms on my walking poles (had lost one). Also got new rain coat so I can ditch the one I brought (hate it) and got a couple of new shirts. Compared to home things are very inexpensive here.
Selfie in front of Burgos Cathedral. What an incredible place -- spent over 2 hours walking around and took so many photos I killed my phone's battery. I'm now in a coffee shop recharging both me and my phone.
Me being "artsy" took a photo of the outside of the church through one of the cloister windows.
The Cathedral has lots of ornate Renaissance sculptures and paintings but this little guy caught my eye.
Check out this domed ceiling... Incredible!
Wish this photo came out better because it was pretty spectacular in person. What none of these pictures convey is the vast scale of everything. The walls are so tall and the pictures are hung 2 stories high so you get neck strain looking up at everything. Built to glorify God we are small in comparison.
These flowers heading up to doorway were really pretty... Weird thing is that they were all gone 2 hours later when I walked by... Pop-up art? A photo shoot? I have no idea why there were there or what happened to them...
An attempt to capture the size of the cathedral -- it is so large I don't think you can get the whole thing in one photo.
On the bus which is full -- I'd say 1/2 pilgrims, 1/2 locals. I sat next to a Muslim woman. It was interesting going by bus and seeing things from the highway. The Camino meanders thru all these scenic towns. From the highway Spain has the same industrial/modern business sprawl as the rest of the world. Good to get a more "realistic" view.
Bus schedule... I guess I'm officially cheating but I'm going to take a bus into Burgos tomorrow. I've got a "hitch in my giddy-up" -- something in my left thigh isn't happy and the thought of walking 12km uphill and then through the industrial part of city isn't motivating me to walk so bus it is!
This is for Kim -- my first real paella -- most places only sell the frozen kind -- this was okay but I like yours better. Don't know that I'll seek it out again. Maybe in another region of Spain.
The view right out my window. I'll be sure to hear the church bells ring. It's too bad there are no storks on this church.
The great news is that I'm in a great hotel with my friends and have a great bathtub. I'm planning on a lazy Sunday siesta -- bath, ibuprofen and nap! I expect to be a new woman tomorrow.
I realize that posting hotel room pictures may seem kind of weird but honestly you have no idea HOW GOOD a clean quiet private place is every few days -- really makes a difference!
FYI Werners... The Finns I stayed with last night did speak some English. We had a very nice conversation, they were great people -- you should be proud of your Finnish heritage!
Lilacs outside a church door. Today is Sunday and I kept passing local villagers walking to church.
You can't really tell from the pictures but as Kate would say "I've been on the "struggle bus" today! The official tour books have today as one of the longest and difficult days with a steep 6 mile uphill at the end of the day with a stay in an only ok alberque. My traveling companions and I decided to make this a short day and do the hill in the morning when we are fresh. A great call because I struggled with the easy part. It has been raining off and on all morning. I'm not a fan of my rain coat and just could not get it right today. Put it on it stops raining and I get super hot, take it off, it starts raining.... Over and over again. My feet are great but now I have a kink at the top of my left leg -- it's always something right?
Another hermitage built into the cliff. This one is famous for hiding a statue of Baby Jesus under a flower pot when the Moors invaded.
My first cliff side hermitage which was right behind the church.
More storks nests atop church in Belarodo. Don't know if you can make it out but there is a baby stork in the nest. I guess they deliver their own too 😉
Where I am staying tonight. An upscale alberque where I thought I had booked a room but I did it for yesterday... I have totally lost track of time. Luckily I got here early enough there was still a bed in the hostel. I've got a bottom bunk in a room with 3 Finnish people. I made an attempt to learn their names but I think it is hopeless.
A little tapas to tide me over until dinner!
What the trail looked like for most of the day. Also this is my first horseback rider I've come across who is doing the Camino!
Four lovely Irish ladies who are here for 4 days. Yesterday they sang ABBA and Disney songs as we walked into town. I had dinner with them last night!
Got to this little town and all that was open was this one old hostel. It didn't look like much but they cooked us fresh fried eggs sandwiches and fresh squeezed OJ that was fantastic!
Another historic building -- didn't want you to think I was done with them....
Looking at a map of how much further I have to go--whose idea was this? It's a long way!
I've moved out of the wine region and into the beginning of long flat fields which I think will last for another week.
Storks in the early morning light on the way out of town. There were at least 6 nests.
A part of one of the triptychs within the church. There where many many pieces of art --overwhelming!
Live chickens that live in the church. They are the "direct descendants" of the miracle chicken that came back to life hundreds of years ago!
The cathedral tower in the plaza where I am staying tonight.
Pure luxury! This is my bed all to myself tonight. Last night I slept in the bottom bunk in a room with 23 new friends. Tonight I'm treating my self to a hotel room in the historic Parador de Santo Domingo. The building was built almost a thousand years ago by Santo Domingo himself. Santo Domingo did many things to improve the old Roman road that is the Camino (built bridges, hospitals, etc.)
Santo Domingo in the distance! Almost there!
A piece of shade! This photo might not look like much but I was very happy to get a break from the sun and rest in this shade (again on a long uphill stretch). Can't imagine walking this in July/August --it must be brutal.
Check out this bird! This picture is not zoomed in. This bird flew right in front of me and perched on this reed and sang and posed for photos. I must have been 3-4 feet away. I hope he wasn't telling me my Colorado birds are being neglected 😉
Today was like walking in Colorado. Blue sky, not a cloud in sight, long vistas and mountains!
Me all sweaty after walking for 45 minutes uphill. There are a lot of ups and downs on this trek. The sign shows how much further I have to go. Given that I started at 800 km give or take -- at least the number is going down.
A last look at the storks nest as I leave Najera this morning.
The Virgin in her cave -- this picture focuses on the statue but the overall setting was pretty spectacular... Complete with Benedictine monks chanting in the background. I have had excellent timing when visiting these churches. Im often one of the only people there and the atmosphere feels "holy." (Which is what you want in magnificent churches)
After a shower and rest went exploring the town. Toured the monastery which is famous for its virgin in the cave.
I'm still in Spain right? These signs are on the wall of my hostel! Home is never far away 😄
This structure has some historical significance which I will have to research and get back to you -- the sign was in Spanish.
A little art along the road! St James among the flowers.
Getting closer to Santiago -- about 200 km down!
Got an early start this morning -- I left at 7:00 and was actually at my destination before the alberques opened. This was the first day I traveled with no reservations and I've lucked out and am in a lovely place.
This is the Alberque where I'm staying tonight. I paid a little extra to get a private room so I'm actually on the family's floor and am sharing their bathroom. All the other 18 pilgrims are upstairs in one big room in bunk beds.
Would you expect to see this inside? This photo is just a small sliver of the floor to ceiling entire front of church decor. There were also fancy altars in all the niches. Someone was practicing the organ while I was there so it was a very nice experience.
So if you saw this building....
Navarette just beyond the vineyards. I crossed into another province today. I'm no longer in the Basque region but am in the wine region. Lots of vineyards and is more modern.
At last a place for lunch -- this was a lovely stop in a nature preserve. There were very few pilgrim friendly places along the route today. I was real glad I had breakfast at the hotel before leaving. Lots of people just wake up and start walking without eating first. Not me!
Proof I'm stopping en route to rest and dry my feet (Wally wanted to know) stopped 3 times today and changed my socks.
More poppies lining the way -- the pop of red color is always great to see.
Pilgrim graffiti! Was glad to be back on the Camino!
Here is a picture of a street I was lost on in Logrono. You might think being in a city is a good thing because they would have lots of everything but it's not. It's overwhelming and confusing. I got lost because the signage is terrible and a lot of it has been stolen... You have to look for the "missing tile marker." It took 3 people to point me in the right direction. The good news is if you just stop on a corner and look around wearing a backpack and walking sticks strangers take pity on you and tell you where to go by pointing.
Here's the cathedral of St James in Logrono. Today's walk wasn't too exciting... The morning was all one long approach to a big city -- walked past lots of factory/car dealer type places.
My hotel this evening. I'm staying in a lovely historic building that has been turned into a swanky hotel. Was able to take a bath and soak my feet which has done much to improve my outlook! This a great little town which is one stop off the official guidebook. Makes a world of difference to be just behind the crowds following the book by the letter. I'm going to do my best to stay on this track.
Me, in front of some of the beautiful poppies that often line the Camino!
Me, outside church.
Altar piece in famous octagonal Knights Templar church.
The Camino today, sunny, hot, a few steep up hills-- lots of wide dirt roads thru fields of wheat and vineyards.
A last look at the cathedral with the magnificent interior before leaving town. I apologize I'm not naming each place but to be honest it is all running together, I will have compare photos to guide book later but right now it is all too much work. I've gotten to the point where it is walk, drink, eat, sleep.
A last look at where I stayed last night, Pension Mavi -- I thought I had a reservation but I got in late and I think they gave my room away. Awful when you are spent... Had to share a room which was fine but I'm learning I have a lot of introvert in me and do need some time away from strangers.
Just one of six altars in this church -- all were amazing! I got to the church after dinner just after mass and in time for a pilgrims blessing in Spanish which was lovely. I'll take all the blessings I can get!
My first paella and while I scarfed it down it was only OK Kim -- nothing special. Today was another long day and I've got more blisters on my feet so in some ways I'm getting stronger and in others more tired...
Some of walking friends stopping for a snack -- I'm drinking lots of OJ which is amazingly delicious and I'm sure the vitamin c doesn't hurt.
Here I am at ten in the morning drinking wine out of the free wine tap. Hope it was 5:00 pm in Denver 😉
On the steps of yet another beautiful church with incredible carvings.
A view of the mountains starting out this morning.
The view out of my rooms window. I got the bed next to the window.
What my room looks like tonight -- 6 women in one room. Co-Ed bathroom.
The hostel I'm staying in tonight. It's called Casa Magica and it does seem magical! I got here early enough to get a MASSAGE! Which was fantastic-- my legs are so much happier. Also met some lovely people from UK and Australia who wanted to know about the Donald. They all hope Hillary wins.
A sample of what many of the streets in the towns we walk thru looks like. I wish I could tell you the town name off the tipoff my head but they do blur together-- I'm starting to lose track of the days!
A little further along -- my in front of a white city on a hill. This stretch of road has a lot of native English speakers which makes conversation easier. I met a couple from Denver who walk at my slow pace so I've been enjoying the day with Mary and Craig from Capitol Hill. They took my picture.
This is the famous Roman bridge built by a queen long ago to save pilgrims from bandits. A bunch of drunks still up from Saturday night surrounded me when I was en route to bridge... They were saying something to me that I didn't understand and when they got no reaction from me they stepped aside and let me pass without trouble. The worst that happened was I got a face full of drunk breath. I guess they were my modern day "bandits" and I'm having an authentic experience.
Church is Puente la Reina as I was walking to town. One really cool thing that has been happening is that the church bells ring in almost every town while I'm there. My walking pace must be 1/2 hour increments.
You may not be able to make it out but this is a stork in its nest atop a smoke stack. I tried to get him to pose but he wasn't cooperating!
This where I stayed last night in la Peunte de la Reina. It was a real hotel and I had a nice room to myself. When I arrived I was greeted by my friend from California whom I met on my first day just a few hours in. He had found a group of English speaking people -- from Vancouver, Australia, California and Boston. We had a fun dinner talking away!
Today was a particularly pretty walk -- lots of wild flowers and fields in bloom as I walked along. The sun even made a short appearance ☀️ Occasionally you could smell honeysuckle. Red poppies popped up throughout the ditches. Someone gathered some of these flowers as they walked along and left them on the Camino way markers!
And here I am walking with the other pilgrims under the Milky Way to Compestela!
I made it to the top of the Hill of Perdition--you should recognize this sculpture from my home page.
Way marker at top of hill -- couldn't resist standing under the 8800 km to Cabo sign.
Altar inside church --the outsides of most of the churches are very plain and the insides are all gold and ornate even in tiny little towns.
Again looking back I can see the whole Romanesque church--did step inside and will show altar in next photo.
One of today's lessons is you have to look back occasionally-- this impressive building was not visible from the path going forward because of hedges but look back and viola! Even with me stopped and taking pictures everyone else just trudged by... I don't know why they are rushing.
Wally likes head shots so here you go... Me in my last private room I think for a while... Right before leaving. With a little more selfie practice I hope to lose the bug eye look.
As I was walking along the very safe feeling streets I was surprised to see Spanish police with riot gear on their belts. I kept glancing around to see if anything seemed off -- around the next corner I came upon this group of peaceful people listening to a man talk on a megaphone. My guess is there were Basque separatists. All long the Camino there are signs in English that say "This is not Spain."
If I hadn't been craving a room to myself I might have stayed here.
I went out exploring old Pamplona this evening for one last look and to find some dinner. After shuttered stores at siesta this place is full of tourists, families with children and pilgrims.
The first American chain I've seen. I resisted.
A pen! Never travel without one -- they can be VERY difficult to find. I came with a felt tip pen for journaling but they won't work on multiple page forms... (& I left it behind in hotel).
I went to the post office to mail home 4 lbs of unnecessary weight and could not fill out shipping forms because I didn't have a pen and I didn't want to ask a stranger. Had to walk up and down many streets before I found a "dollar store" where I got this distinctive pen.
My timing was perfect because when I walked back to the post office all the stores had closed for siesta but the post office was still open. I managed to buy a box and ship home my extra load with a little Spanish a little English and some hand motions.
It's easier on the actual Camino than the city because on the Camino the locals expect us to not speak Spanish well or there is someone nearby who can translate.
The Spanish are a very attractive people--well dressed and thin. Their food is delicious but they don't overeat. French fries are common but they come lightly salted with no ketchup. Bread is served with meals -- one slice, no butter. Here is a picture of a regular Oreo, notice how little frosting there is compared to ours -- it seems their diet "secret" is skipping the extra fat and sugar.
Very pleasant little bar near hotel where I had lunch.
I'm being very lazy today since it is siesta time!
Here is the street in Pamplona where my hotel is. That silver building on the right is a big department store like Macy's except it has a grocery store on the lowest level so it's more like Harrod's in London.
I have spent a second night in Pamplona. Slept great and slept late. My feet are starting some blisters so I know they appreciate the break.
Here's my bed for the night (maybe 2) I'm lying on it now and am pleased to have a room all to myself 😊
Walked over quite a few old roman bridges today-- at this one I got a lovely lady from Australia to snap my picture.
Stopped here for tea and a banana and bathroom break. There are lovely little bars with outdoor seating for us tired pilgrims.
I've been walking by lots of animals. This pasture was a "maternity" ward there were probably 20 horses, some still pregnant and some with very young looking babies. Thought this little guy was cute.
They have columbines in Spain. One stretch of the path had them lining each side. It was very pretty!
Here's a picture from the trail today -- it was very lovely walking past a number of old basque villages.
Here's the house I stayed in last night.
This was the common area. It had a kitchen with table for 4-6 a couch and a tv. The food was amazing they made us salad with all kinds of things in it, chicken in a wine and sesame sauce and grilled potatoes. It all melted in your mouth. This morning they made us fried quail eggs and toast with fresh oj and tea. Best breakfast yet.
Here's what the bunk beds looked like. I was the 4th person to arrive and should have had a top bunk but a nice young German man took pity on me and switched bunks.
So I did the huge alberque (300 people) last night so I thought I'd mix it up and I booked a six person room at a Spanish family's home. I thought it was 5 minutes outside of the town I was planning to stop in but it turned out to be almost 1.5 hours walking on very tired legs. It was awkward when I arrived because the wife who speaks English wasn't home. It has turned out to be a fun evening with Mexico, Germany, Ireland, Canada and Serbia represented. Last night I ate with people from Peru, Brazil and Ireland.
I don't have many photos from this afternoon because it was a real slog. In theory it was an easier day but tired legs took their toll. This a picture of one section of steep rock. Most of the path was full of mud so it made for slow going. I do love my poles they saved me from landing in the mud more than once. I definitely am carrying too much stuff I will be mailing things home from Pamplona tomorrow.
Here was an interesting site. I stopped at a food truck along the way and saw this box... Lucky for me I have a great husband so I don't have to leave behind any of my 2 underwear!
Stopped for cafe con leche and cake with new friend Lena from Budapest. I'm in no rush today because I booked a bed in a small b&b.
The trail with a town ahead. Second village of the day.
Much of the trail today is like walking the high line canal. Horses, cows, cats, dogs show up periodically.
A church with other pilgrims walking by. The rain is not falling hard so it is fine to walk in.
A last look back at the monastery when heading out today. It is gray and drizzling today. The alberque was an interesting experience. Slept in a room with about 40 people. Was awoken first be early alarms and the guitar playing and singing staff.
Here I am at end with monastery in background... Not so perky...the last 3 downhill miles which I had been looking forward to were the treacherous part -- I was very very glad I had my poles! My phone tracks steps... Not necessarily accurately but it does give you an idea of the effort you've expended -- right now it says I've walked 45644 steps for 19.68 miles and have climbed 230 floors! And I'm not done yet-- I still have to walk to dinner and my bed is on the 4th floor. My laundry is drying down at the basement level.
Here I am at maybe 10 miles in -- still looking pretty perky which is amazing given the wind I've battled 🙂
When we got down below tree line the trail got real pretty in places. Kind of treacherous in other places with steep slopes, loose rocks, tree roots, mud, and piles of decomposing leaves that could suck your foot in. Did see one little patch of snow.
The famous food truck at the top of the windswept tree line path. I got a lovely cup of tea and was out of the wind for a few moments. The food truck offered the "last stamp in France" I of course got one. I've got two credentials going--the one from American pilgrims and the one they give you in St Jean. I'm using the St Jean as my official overnights and major places and the American one just for fun stuff!
I did get to see everything the guide book mentions. The griffon vultures, cows with bell, different kinds of lamb and the wild horses. Here was a family of horses with a new colt at the top of the world.
Well I thought the worst part of today was going to be the steep part in the early morning -- well I was wrong. The trail got really tough above tree line because the wind was fierce! This photo looks nice enough but it was blowing!
My first cafe au lait and Basque gateaux. Delicious! Met up with Alton from Georgia and had a nice coffee break.
Orisson! The morning break spot. Was pleasantly surprised to see it as I rounded the corner. Got here faster than I thought 😄
Stopping at a turning point. It is a steep climb so it's nice to take in the view at the switchbacks. Climbing Green Mountain was good training. The lower altitude makes this seem easier than climbing at home.
Gorgeous morning. The birds are chirping, lambs are bleeting, the air smells of lilac and wisteria--couldn't be more beautiful!
I thought it was going to be raining today and that I would take the low route but the sun was shining so I'm on the Rue Napoleon.
This photo of my orange room seemed appropriate to use to share my new Spanish phone number on the Orange network. It is +34 655 244 625. Wally has successfully called and texted to it so we know it works 😀
This post is kind of specific... It's for my cat, Luna! Luna could move to France because they sell her favorite cheese! (For everyone else... Luna demands a small piece of this cheese every morning!)
Here's the street up to the pilgrims office... Uphill with cobble stones. There was a line out the door when I got there, the volunteer thought at least 200 people had come thru today.
Rooftop view from my room in St Jean. Bus ride was exciting. Narrow road with no shoulders and constant switchbacks -- it makes you realize how steep the mountains are!
On bus to St Jean. Last motorized transport before I start walking. The bus is filled with pensive people who like me are wondering what they have signed up for.
Finally found other pilgrims! I'm now at bus station and more and more people with backpacks and shells are arriving as bus departure time nears.
Found this cool building while wandering around old town Pamplona today. I was standing right in front of this building when all the church bells were ringing at noon. It was very cool.
Spotted my first Camino sign! If I didn't already have a room booked on France I'd start here.
Update: I'm back in Pamplona and it is a good thing I didn't start here on my own because I would have gone the wrong way!
My walk from the Pamplona train station to the hostel took me thru an old city gate. There is a huge wall that goes around the old city.
Renee trains. They were super nice. Very smooth ride, so nice I can't tell you what much of the Spanish countryside looked like because it "gently rocked" me right to sleep. I can tell you that the "weeds" along the train track are beautiful red poppies!
I've made it to the train station without any problems. Found the airport bus to the train station. Got my free transfer to the main station. Now am waiting for train to Pamplona. Went outside and walked around train station but it is raining quite hard so I'm back in station. Photo shows the station turtles. They have a indoor garden, pond and turtles in the waiting area.
My first view of Spain. Lots of rain but the good news is I slept well on plane (thank you Kim for your international travel tips!)
At Newark waiting for next flight. I'm optimistic that I will be able sleep on route to Madrid because I'm already tired. It's been a long day and I think I'm only about 1/4 of the way there. These long layovers are a bit boring.
Selfie with Kate at airport curb. Thanks for breakfast -- I love Bruegger's bagels and ride to airport.
Ok I'm ready! I've checked all my gear and it all looks good to go! I'm checked in for my flight -- now all I have to do is wait for my ride to the airport. Thanks Kate 🙂