Category: The Camino (Page 1 of 3)

Day 60, Camino de Santiago

Day sixty, 29 June 2015,
Santiago de Compostella to Castelo
12 kilometre~three hours

Left Santiago early about 8.00 am, but had breakfast around the corner! So really I started at about nine o’clock! It was only a 12 kilometres walk! Three hours only! No big deal!
The Albergue was still closed when I arrived! I had booked ahead, which wasn’t really necessary. However, I am glad I did. I was still not feeling a hundred percent. I was so fed up still not being well. Over it not feeling a hundred percent.

Julian the owner was a bit full on, pushy really. I was in the dormitorio and he is telling me which bed to take! Anyway went to sleep and relax, until these Italians came in and talked on the top of their voice So! I really don’t understand people any more! It was obvious I was sleeping and this man is talking on the top of his voice on his smart phone! Well,go outside! Or sit on the road or what ever but respect other people’s right to privacy! Unbelievable! Anyway Julian was going to take me to the river when two very hot and bothered young people walked in! The Albergue only had one bed left! I suggested that I take a private room which gave these young people a room in the dormitorio, as one of the people was my Camino grand daughter, Vita!
It was a BIG mistake! The lovely looking bed was invested with bed bugs and I never slept the whole night!

Anyway he took us to the river we swam and returned to the Albergue. The pilgrim’s dinner was pitiful. Very small uneventful AND he was the first person to charge us for the wine by the GLASS! Unheard of on the Camino!
After the sleepless night I told him about the bed bugs and he basically told that I had brought them in! What an arsehole! I never ever even unpacked my bags!

Today’s lesson: not everything that glitters is gold
Today’s gift: the swim in the river

Day 59, of the Camino

Day fifty nine, 28 June 2015,
Santiago de Compostela
SUNDAY

It was such an anti climax to be in Santiago de Compostela! In the middle of a fiesta! It was crowded with people, touristic and expensive! People came out of the pilgrims office crying when they got their certificate! I felt nothing at all! Certainly not like crying at all. Yesterday there was a big queue at this office so today we went here early, picked up our certificate and went and had a look around! The pilgrim’s mass was at 12.00 o’clock so we had some time to look around.
Pepe and Maria had to leave early today, back to Valencia.

The pilgrim’s mass was very impressive, especially the blessing of the pilgrims, with the I sense at the end! I forgot to ask for something’s! Oops! This was my change and I didn’t ask or what I wanted! This is the moment that people have told me, where a voice speaks to them and they get their gift or “boon” as Joseph Campbell called it. I didn’t hear any voices nor did I feel I received a gift! Oops! Didn’t I walk hard enough? Need I have suffered more? I am not really into suffering! But may be I should have?

Libby and I lost Reme and Anatolia when we came out of the church and after we waited for a while, we went to the artisans a market. I bought some nice smelling stuff for my back pack as all my clothes are smelling mouldy and wet. Later on that afternoon we finally found Vita, and spend the rest of the day with her. We all felt different. I had to say good bye to Reme and Natalia, and it all felt very surreal! I am not very good at the saying good bye part!

Today’s lesson: glory lies in the attempt to reach one’s goal; not in reaching it!
Today’s gift: Pilgrim’s blessing

Day 58, on the camino and almost there

Day fifty eight, 27 June 2015,
O Pedrouzo to San Lazaro
20 kilometres~5.00am till 12.00pm

I had it all planned! I was going to walk early, and stop about five kilometres outside of Santiago, then on Sunday morning I would walk into the town! Romantic idea of arriving on my own, sort of, contemplating the beauty of life and the Camino! Of course life is what is happening when you are busy making other plans! And indeed this is what happened!

I was up early as I thought Andreas had woken me up! This was not at all the case, but since I was awake anyway I decided to get up and move. I had planned just a short fifteen kilometres walk, only about three to four hours worth. The forest was pitch and pitch black. I had forgotten to buy new batteries for the torch so it was very hard to see and find the arrows. I would have liked to have had more daylight as this felt rather threatening. Especially when one dork rain from Brasil found it necessary to scream on the top of his voice as if he was in the middle of a horror movie.

The walk was easy and went well. The morning was pleasant filled with the usual honeysuckle smells, varied bird life and water trickling along in the small creek. I love these mornings in the forests, especially when I am alone. The way went through many small villages and as per usual I had my breakfast in the first cafe that was open. People were excited as we were so close! I had on purpose decided to stop before Santiago, but had booked a place, which I thought was out of the town! Imagine my confusion when we kept walking and walking and suddenly we saw the sign of Santiago de Compostela! At the top of the mountain, Monte do Gozo, I met up with Remy and Natalia, who were walking with Peppe and Maria Jose. We all set down for brunch and laughed a lot! My Spanish is getting rather good again, should really go and study it now, while it all has come back. Anyway the five of us walked the rest of the way together.

We came across a huge monument celebrating the pope’s visit I believe,we took lots of photos and were joined by a group of youngsters who were collecting money for a dog shelter! All the dogs wore bandanas and were quite excited to be out I think! I called these dogs “perro~grinos”! This was my very first Spanish joke! A play on words, wow smart I am!
There were also a lot of “touri~grinos”! Big bus loads of tourists so they could walk these last. Twenty kilometres into the tourist office! Easily recognised by their clean clothes, lack of bedbug bites, and the ease they were walking with! It was obvious that they had had no blisters nor any other problems with their feet!

As it was San Lazaro was literally only ONE kilometre away from the cathedral! It was not at all a little village outside the city! As we had walked the whole way by surprise, we decided to just check in to our Albergue and have a rest first. Pepe and Maria were staying in the next Albergue, so we all showered, not me since there was no hot water left by the time I had my turn!

 

Day 57, on the camino

Day 57, Arzua To Pedrouzo,
started @ 5.15am arrived @11.00am~ 19kilometres

It all started, again, with three Italians swing light into my face at five o’clock in the morning! What is it with Italians and LIGHT? Are they THE light? Do I need to SEE the light? How come they are always MEN? Trying to pack their packs? Can’t they pack the night before? How come I can pack with NO light? How come they wake up so early and then they arrive AFTER me? I don’t get it! Anyway, I am working on tolerance, hard to achieve at five in the morning! But the up side of this is that I was in the forest on my own at six o’clock in the morning! Just for about five minutes there was a group of five Americans, in their latest “travel fashion”, obviously started in Sarria as they were clean, crisp and roaring to go! Also LOUD! Had I seen any arrows this woman asked me, while chewing loudly on her gum! Eh, if you stop shining your light in my face, I can actually see an arrow right behind you! Duh! Here they were in the forest, it is quarter to six in the morning, three of these women had music blaring on their gadgets, while the others were talking on the top of their voice! I waited until they were out of sight, as I prefer to listen to the sounds of nature! There was a small creek, babbling along side of me, the birds starting to wake up, frogs in the distance and a cookcook far away! The air was scented heavily with honeysuckle. Being in nature this early in the morning, and on my own, is like being one with god! Here and Now god IS! Well, it is to me!
It was an easy walk today, no strain what so ever I had my luggage send on, as the hair
Iine crack in my hip was playing up something chronic!
I am living on pain killers right now, shame really. Only one day of walking left, and that is an easy day as well. I hope to be in Santiago on Sunday morning, after only about four kilometres walking, I should be at the cathedral, early and fresh! Libby arrived yesterday, by bus, and I hope she has an hotel booking for Sunday. I will stay the one day and then go onto Finisterra on Monday. To atone for all my sins omitted on the Camino! Such as catching a taxi, when I pulled a muscle in my foot, was sick with my stomach cramps, and when Lucia and I went to Pondeferra. By walking the extra 90 kilometres I should have made up for my “failings”! What to do AFTER the walk? Jose has booked my flight to Ireland as I couldn’t pay for the trip on my gadget WHY is this so? Hm! Apple?
Anyway I am going to walk the Wild Atlantic Way, at least part there off! Better book my flight to either Zagreb or Istanbul as well! The earlier, the cheaper it is!

Day 56, on the camino

Day 56, Melide to Arzua,
Started late, didn’t want to leave the comfort of the hotel!
Had a delicious breakfast and started at
8.30am arrived in Arzua, by 2.00pm

It was hard slog today! After my thirty three kilometres yesterday, the body just ached. No matter that had three very hot baths, two hot showers! My whole body was complaining. My legs, hips and back were all incredibly sore. I couldn’t get into the “Zen” of walking, into the “zone”! Some days are like that. Some days one just flows, the walking seems effortless, one is and stays one with the nature around, other days it is just hard slog! And today was award slog day!

Day 54, on the camino

Day fifty four, Ferreios to Gonzar,
Started @6.30am till 12.00pm~17 kilometres

Had an early start today. Felt good. Had a restful sleep, and the pain in my knees had sort of gone. Not all the way but much less than yesterday. The dormitorio was rather quiet. The place was brand new. Shame they put in these crummy showers! Ah well, not necessary to complain!

Today the weather had changed. It was much cooler, with rain even, albeit not much. It was too hot wearing my jumper AND raincoat. So I had to change a few times, before it felt right! Most of today’s walk was up hill. I had promised myself to do better than yesterday! It felt good and I set an easy rhythm for the day. The landscape again was stunningly beautiful, it was a pleasure walking through the forest, listening to the creek below. Lots of birds singing away, glad that the heat was gone for a day! Met some lovely people on the way. Walked a while with an American lady who lives in Andalucia. Her mother had only joined her in Sarria, she was 68 years old, but when her daughter told her that I was nearly 65 she was not at all impressed! I was much fitter and younger than her! Made me feel good though!

I was glad when I reached Gonzar, although I had planned to climb the big hill this afternoon, as it was cool, I decided to have an early start tomorrow, and tackle the hill when rested and fresh! I hope to be in Santiago on Sunday so I can at least catch up with Libby before she flies out on Monday morning!

Today’s lesson: Listen to yourself
Today’s gift: No back ache

Day 53, on the Camino

Day fifty three, Samos to Ferreiros,
Started @ 6.30am till 1.00pm
Had my luggage send onwards, much too far
Ended up having to take a taxi

One of the most beautiful walks. After walking along the road for a while, the Camino turned into a forest. Along a small creek, bright green bracken and dappled sunlight coming through the leave trees. I lost most of the other peregrinos quickly and walked mainly alone. Most of the walk was going up and down but there were no deep ascends or descents.

After about three hours I reached a small cafe where many other pilgrims were sitting down. I decided to have breakfast here. I met up with Marius and his. Father Gregor again. Also this strange Dutch woman, who constantly wants to know where I am going next, who constantly refuses to speak English, or who thinks I understand Dutch! Weird! (Which of course I do, but how would she know?)
Just before I reached Sarria I met up with Remy and Natalia. I met both of them on the monastery tour in Samos.

Today’s lesson: stop having expectations
Today’s gift: unexpected visit to the monasterio de Magdalena

Day 52, on the Camino

Day fifty two, la Faba to Samos,
One of the most beautiful walks yet!
Woke up early and decided not to have breakfast! The walk was stunningly beautiful. Through forests, creeks running, birds singing, tranquillity, peaceful and totally alone.
Today was one of my best days. I was happy and content to be on the Camino, there was no problems in my mind, my body was holding out, and although my knees decided to play up, all was good. Slowly, slowly got me to Samos. A very small and tiny village with an enormously BIG monestario. I stayed in a private Albergue rather then at the Monastery. Mainly because this Dutch woman I keep bumping into, wanted to know if I was going to stay there! She drives me crazy, one of these clinging people, who cannot be alone! Great! But I am NOT one of these people, so leave me alone! Some people just NEED to be with somebody ALL the time! Pete was like that! Driving people crazy and away in the process. Or may be it is me who is the one who is strange, wanting to be alone all the time! I like my own company, my own thoughts. I don’t need to constantly tell people how far I have come, how many kilometres I have done or want to do. She asked me every time she sees me, where am I going to? Where am I staying? As answer I just shrug my shoulders and don’t even answer her any more!

Samos was absolutely gorgeous! When finally got there’s! There were several villages I came through that were not at all on my map! I actually got lost , for the first time! There were several ways to go to Sarria, I ended up in a three house village where there was something going on, a fiesta? A funeral? The three people standing next to a table with candles, told me it was only one, three and five kilometres to Samos! Shame there was not a Albergue here! I could have joined them in their wake, fiesta or what ever they were having!

Day 51, on the camino

Day fifty one, La Faba to Biduedo
Started @5.30am till 12.30pm~21kilometres
4 kilometres straight up to O Ceibrero

It was not a peaceful night. Martha, the Austrian girl, had nightmares all night long. The overweight German lad snored his head off. Nina tossed and turned above my head! And at five o’clock, the Canadian put his headlight on, right into my face! Great! He needed top pack his whole backpack, most of it in plastic bags! Do you know how much noise these bags can make? Unbelievable! Then the two Dutch women joined in! I tried very hard to bury my head into my pillow, and by a quarter past five I realised I wasn’t going to get any more sleep. I was up and gone within ten minutes? It is then that I realised that I am highly organised! All I needed to do was put my sleeping bag away, nighty and brush my teeth, which I did outside at the town Fuente, the town pump!

I was on the steep high road at exactly five thirty. It was a cool and crisp morning. Barely needed my light. The ascend was steep. The woman at the drink stand told me yesterday it was only one kilometre of steep ascend and then it was all flat and downhill from then on. She lied! It was a steep ascend for over four kilometres. However the stunning landscape made up for the hard slog I had to do! It was stunning, green mountains, wild flowers galore and such a variety of birdsong that it was just amazing. I walked on my own for about two hours, when finally the Canadian and the two Dutch women caught up with me! They barely said hello, which was fine by me. I am working on being tolerant and kind, but shit it is hard to do when it is five o’clock in the morning!

I took awhile to do the steep ascend, but as soon as the ground levelled out, my speed increased and I was walking in a wonderful and easy pace. I reached Fondria at about twelve o’clock , but the casa rural was booked out, and the man asked if I could wait awhile before his sister had time to ring a casa in the next village. I couldn’t do another eight kilometres, but three was all right. His sister booked a room for me, and off I went on my merry way! It was lovely and warm. I know all the perigrinos call it HOT, but it isn’t it is about twenty five degrees and absolutely wonderful. I rather walk early and in the sunshine then in the rain, thunder and lightning.

Arrived in Biduedo at about one o’clock. The lady of the house Cecilia, is gorgeous, and my room, with private bathroom is delightful! Albeit it could do with a good clean though. Everything is a tad greasy, the friendliness and helpfulness made up for it. Had a lovely hot bath, shaved my legs and just indulged in the luxury of being able to walk around naked in my own space! hallelujah for the simple things in life! the bath water looked like mud by the time I finished my luxury indulgent past time. Unbelievable rich I felt!

Today’s lesson: I am highly organised!
Today’s gift: Casa Xato in Biduedo

Day 50, and still walking the camino

Day fifty, Trabadelo to La Faba,
Started @ 7.00am till 11.30am~14 kilometres

Although the Albergue Camino y Leyenda, was wonderful, quiet and friendly, the four Italians I shared the dorm with had other ideas! At five o’clock the first alarm clock went off, and then the three other clocks went off at different times. Within five minutes they were talking and laughing, with NO consideration of the other person still in bed asleep! Sometimes I just can’t believe how incredibly rude people can be! Before my eyes were open, they turned on the light and that was the end of me starting any later than five thirty in the morning! Unbelievable! Hell really IS other people! Jean Paul was so incredibly right about that!

I was grumpy and. In a foul mood. I stormed downstairs, complained to Pio, and grumbled about the coffee he offered! He laughed and thought it was very cute to see me in a bad mood! Of course it didn’t last long! As soon as Pio laughed there was not much I could do but laugh with him! I was out and on the road at seven o’clock! I stomped my feet so fast that I made an incredibly good time, I did over eight kilometres within an hour and a half! It was quiet, not many pilgrims were out as yet, all was still closed, so before I knew it I had reached the BIG HILL part! This is was I had been concerned about. I am not good at going up hills. It hurts my knees, hips and my total body. Never mind the hill was here, and I had to get up there, not much I could do about this! So I just got on with the task ahead and step by step, slowly ever so slowly I made it up the steep hill. It took me over two and a half hours to climb up for nearly five kilometres!

The thing is, although I am slow, I DO get there in the end! I have to be honest, I was very glad to get to La Faba, and seeing the Refugio ?…………..was amazing! My foot had swollen to twice the size, was throbbing and complaining. I booked myself a bed, tried to ring Nina to let her know that I had reserved a bed for her and Martha, but was out of credit. this lovely woman send an sums message on my behalf. I was the first peregrino there, so I made my bed and laid in it!

Just when I was about to fall asleep I heard The owner come in, the women’s voices sounded familiar and there were Nina and Martha. Nina never got my message! So very funny, they had chosen the same Albergue as myself!
I had a small nap, until a very rude Canadian talked on the top of his voice to these two Dutch women. Why he couldn’t whisper like they did is beyond me, especially since I was on the bed next to him, and he could see I was trying to sleep! Later Nina encountered the same problem with the German guy, fond of his own voice talking full volume to Martha right outside the dormitory door! Man, I am so over other people! I always thought I liked people! Well, it is official, I don’t ! I like children, but NOT adults and certainly NOT peregrinos! I am also over the conversations they have, HOW many kilometres did you do today? Where did you start? Hey are you doing the Camino? After fifty days of these conversations I am over it! I lighten things up by saying things like, do you know the first rule of the Camino? Don’t talk about the Camino! This often shut people up, and you can go on to other topics! It is all so competitive and as if it is a race! A little bit like I am more enlightened than you! Ah, you have days off? Well, then you are NOT a serious pilgrim! You only walk twenty kilometres a day? Well, you are NOT a serious pilgrim! And so forth and so forth! You feel like asking, and WHO set up all these so called rules?
Mind you you also meet lovely people, such as the Brasilian girl who gaveme a fabulous massage and was shocked I gave her twenty euro! And the lovely German gentleman, who is walking the Camino , when he recovered from a tumor last year. Of course meeting Nina and Martha has been delightful as well, but to be honest, I need to walk the rest of this Camino ALONE, I have been thinking. If I should just act as if I can’t speak at all! Hm! Good idea!

Today’s lesson: develop more tolerance
Today’s gift: Brasilian massage

Day 49, on the Camino

Day forty nine, Villafranca deal Bierzo to Trabadelo
Started at 8.30am till 1.00pm~12 kilometres
Took the Camino Dura,
the high road in the mountains

The best day on the Camino, four hours of absolute solitude!

Had an early start ! Was stunningly beautiful! NO other pilgrims on this road! I walked, played, created, and sang on the top of my voice! There was literally no body else on the path, for over four hours! Unbelievable! I loved every minute of it! I sat down amidst the wild flowers. Left little notes on stones! This is how I had imagined that I would be able to walk the Camino! Yeah I know! A bit naive really. However, when I get glimpses like HOW it could be, I get all tears eyed. To walk the Camino without other people! Of course totally impossible, but a woman can dream!

It was without a doubt the best day yet!

Today’s lesson: smile, and the whole world smiles with you
Today’s gift: Solitude

Day 48, Camino de Santiago

Day forty eight ,Ponferrada to Villafranca del Bierzo,
Started @ 6.30am till 2.30 pm~23 kilometres
(Should have stopped in Cacabellos)

Had a very early start. The American women got up and started to pack their bags. Okay. I can do this too, much faster than anybody else. I was out by six thirty. The morning air was crisp, I walked fast. Warming up as I went. My notes had said that it was very difficult to get out of Ponferrada, but I had no difficulties what so ever. There were two peregrinos in front of me, who set a good and fast pace. The weather was gorgeous and it soon warmed up. The walk went through all kinds of small villages and, although one had to walk along the road, it was pleasant enough.

I arrived in Cacabelos, around ten o’clock. I had planned to stop here for the day, but as I was doing so well, and it was still so very early I decided to go on. While having a drink, a Spanish woman came up to me, telling me something, I had no idea what she was trying to tell me. The young woman at the next table told me, I was not allowed to sit at that table as it belonged to a different cafe. So be it! I was not at all concerned. The young woman was from Germany, and obviously eager to talk. We chatted for awhile and I made up my mind to go on. She asked if she could walk with me for a while. This is not what I had in mind, but as I had walked for over three hours by myself without speaking anything more than “buen Camino”, I was ready for a chat. At least we didn’t do the how many kilometres or what ever boring Camino talk consists off. We talked about life, relationships and self confidence. Suddenly I seem to be an expert in young women’s eyes! And I suppose looking back indeed, I have come an enormously far way when you think of it. Wisdom eh, comes with the years! Hallelujah! Nina and I got into an easy rhythm, and soon we were talking and walking rather fast. Before we knew it we were in Villafranca del Bierzo.

You enter the village past an old Roman church. This church has a door of forgiveness! (Only Santiago has one too) I didn’t take any photos. Thinking I would come back later. I had booked a bed at this lovely Albergue Leo! Very reasonable, and there was room for Nina as well. Hot shower, washing, sleep! My gosh, life is full of routines! Scary, must watch this!

While checking in Nina met Martha, from Austria, who had been at the Hostal for over two days now. she had been walking over thirty kilometres a day, and after three weeks her leg had given up. Just like that! Young over achievers, trying to get to the end stop as fast as possible. Nina and Martha went off together, and I was so happy that they had made friends their own age.
After my nap I explored the town, took photos of the” Door of Forgiveness”, and let it all go!
Life is good and God is great!

Today’s lesson: don’t overdo things! (Cacabelos was far enough!)
Today’s gift: Photographic exhibition in Cacabelos

Day 47, on the camino

DAY FORTY SEVEN, 16 June 2015,
Molinaseca to Ponferrada
Took a taxi as Lucia needed to be at the bus station in Ponteferrada by 9.30am

Lucia woke up early. Anticipation for the upcoming travel I am sure. We were packed and ready to go by seven thirty. Lucia was convinced that the coffee shop would be open. I was not convinced, as I haven’t seen to many open coffee shops this early in the morning. It wasn’t open indeed! I had organised a taxi for eight o’clock last night, when I made a special reservation. This was a completely fruitless excercise as there was NO taxi at eight o’clock! Or at a quarter past for that matter neither! I rang the company again and they told me they had NO taxied available, this frustrates me no end! One would like to think that after ten months of travelling in Africa one would be used to this kind of behaviour. I just didn’t expect it in Spain. Anyway this man stopped his. Car, and he is racing on a mile a minute. Asking me WHO I rang, WHO I booked with etc etc. anyway he himself was very busy so he had no time to take us to the next town.Lucia took it all in her stride. Finally Jorge came, and he told me that there was no record of my booking! The guy who took it had made NO notes. And since there are a group of taxi drivers,they need to make notes and leave instructions and so forth for the next person calling in. However as it was it all ended up working in my favour. As we dropped Lucia off at the bus station, Jorge took me into town, no extra payment charged, and dropped me off at an absolutely brand spanking new Albergue, right next door to the castle! I couldn’t believe it! It was all too good to be true! I was able to get a bed immediately and put my washing into a machine. Went and visited the castle, some other places of interest, and returned to the Hostal to have a shower and a nap. In the afternoon I tried to visit the museum, but no such luck, although the time and the date were right it was NOT open! Shame! I walked around some more. Felt lost a bit, suddenly on my own after three weeks with Lucia. Bought a new bag and a spiral ring. Decided to call it a day after I set up payment for my website and dealt with important e mails. Hurray I am back walking my Camino!

Today’s lesson: just stay calm, it will all work out for the best
Today’s gift: Brand new Hostal! Hot showers, clean beds!

Day 46, on the Camino

DAY FORTY SIX, 15 June 2015,
El Acebo to Molinaseca
7.30am till 10.00am~8 kilometres
The morning was fresh, crispy and stunningly beautiful. The mist was slowly clearing and the sun shone its first watery rays onto the cold landscape. Today most of the road was descending. We had thought that may be we could walk all the way to Pondeferra, if possible. It didn’t rain today which was an absolute blessing as the path was covered in slippery stone, uneven and all ready difficult. There was a big road nearby, but due to the heavy fog, I thought it would be much saver to stay on the pilgrims path, rather than risks our lives on the highway in the fog.

It was an absolutely stunning walk, not too hard or too strenuous! We could have walked on, but Molinaseca was such a delightful little place! We had our lunch there , looked at each other, and said let’s stay here! So we did! It is our last day together as Lucia is catching the bus to Madrid tomorrow from Pondeferrada. We found a gorgeous room here in a private house. Sat and did some drawing, and had a gorgeous meal at the river side next to the church. Such a beautiful place!

Day 44, on the Camino

DAY FORTY FOUR,13 June 2015,
Santa Catalina del Somoza to Rabanal de Camino,
Started@ 8.30am till 11.45am

A beautiful walk. We started very slowly. Hot shower, breakfast, hot water and mint tea.
My stomach seems more settled. Feeling good. Starting out slowly. Soon the sweat is dripping into my eyes. Time to strip off. The landscape has changed again, mountainous, more broom, and heath. The Camino runs next to an old road. It is not a main highway hence very, little traffic.
It didn’t take long before I got into the rhythm of walking. It was such a perfect day. Lots to see, and it didn’t take long before we came to the next village, where the cowboy welcomed us with open arms! The man was quite rude at first, but until he had answered my question if he was well, I would not let him serve me! Muy bien! Todo Estes bien. Ah! Life how fortunate we are.

The second half of the trip was easy too. We ended up here in Rabanal, where Ramon, the volunteer welcomed us with open arms. Lucia did the signing in, and she booked a double room! Wicked!
Very a hot shower, and lovely beds.
When we went to have some lunch, Ramon heard about my stomach upset, he gave me a drink that would cure me ,if it didn’t kill me first! But I managed a potato omelet and a glass of white.
I feel on top of the world and I have booked a twenty minute massage as well. Life is good and God is great! At seven o’clock we went to the Vespers at the local church. Gregorian chanting. Stunning. A walk through the village, a hot chicken soup and hot shower. Pilgrims blessing is at 9.30pm doubt if I will be awake by then!

Today’s lesson; LOOK
Today’s gift: The stunning landscape

Day 43, on the Camino

DAY FORTY THREE, 12 June 2015,
Astorga to Santa Catalina del Somoza
Started @ 8.00am till 11.45am~ 12 kilometres
DENNIS BIRTHDAY

(Was not able to ring, not enough credit?)
The day started slightly rough, with some dear desperate pilgrim taking my walking stick! I had put my bag ready and was waiting for Lucia, so we could have breakfast. I nearly took my stick to put with my bag, decided not to, and voila, somebody else needed it more! My stick was quite different from any of the others, but by the look of the ones that were left behind, the “thief” had the better end of the stick!

On the way out of Astorga, we came across a gorgeous little chapel, Ermita de Ecco Homo XVII. It had a Fuentes with water that had healing qualities, if one believed! The Ermita had a lovely feel, and I felt so close to papa for one reason or other. I sat down and prayed. I didn’t drink the healing water, as my stomach bug had only just got better!

The landscape has changed completely, slightly more hilly. Beautiful and interesting, a lot of bushland. I kept thinking of Denise Thiem, the Chinese American lady, who disappeared, while walking the Camino, on the fifth of April. If she was murdered, one would only find her by pure fluke. She disappeared just outside Astorga.
The walk was easy, my stomach cramps seem to have eased off. I feel much better. We arrived in this little village, Murias de Rechivaldo, where we sat down in a gorgeous little cafe. The owner, an absolutely lovely woman, and a naturopath made me fennel tea and gave me ginger to chew on during my walk. On the way there I came across a young man from Germany, who was in absolute agony with a pulled hamstring. I gave him the last of my deep heat, and was glad to see that he ,too, made it to this little shop!

Most pilgrims one meets are very kind and caring, which is why it is such a big shock when people deliberately take stuff that isn’t theirs, such as my walking stick or my jumper.

We walked for a little while more and stopped at the first Alberge in Santa Catalina de Somoza, where we took a lovely double room with private bathroom! Luxury plus!

Today’s lesson: let the food talk to you
Today’s gift: let the food talk to you

Day 42, On the Camino

DAY FORTY TWO,11 June 2015
Hospital de Orbigo to Astorga
Started @ 7.00am till midday~16 kilometres
Woke up with terrible stomach problems. I had been vomiting all during the night. Thought it might have been the fish I ate during lunch time, but as Lucia had exactly the same food and no problems, it couldn’t be that. This lovely man told us there was a stomach bug going around, and obviously I have caught it. The walk was hard slog. My stomach kept cramping, and it was hard to even enjoy the slightest bit of the walk or the landscape. I am normally a positive person, but it is damn hard to stay positive while in pain.

On the way, about six kilometres out of Astorga, we came across a little oasis! David, a lovely Spanish man, who lives off the  grid, and has created this “House of the Gods”. A wonderful, wonderful little refuge. He was making organic fruit juices, sold biscuits and home made goodies. He made me a lovely apple tea for my upset stomach. He lives all year round in this unfinished stone place. Made it incredibly cosy. He has no gadgets or belongings. People asked if the dog was his and his answer was that the dog belonged to nobody, it was a free dog! David did not believe in having possessions or in possessing anything at all. A young man from Russia asked him if he wasn’t terribly lonely? “Lonely” I said? “He has hundreds of pilgrims around his house every day!” David laughed, and told me that the young man was asking if he wasn’t lonely for a woman! Oops! What do I know! He told me that he would love to live his life with a woman, of course, but had not found one as yet who would be able to give up all modern comforts to live in these circumstances. I can imagine so. Although it is incredibly romantic to have no possessions and I am fully aware that we can’t take anything with us, I DO have an attachment to stuff! Although sometimes emotionally only, but even that is an attachment.

Just about 2 kilometres outside of Astorga I doubled over with cramps (I had eaten some dry biscuits at David’s place) I nearly cried. Felt like a total idiot, but couldn’t go on. Lucia went to the super mercado and rang a taxi, at midday we arrived at the Hostel San Javier, where I went to bed immediately, with a large bucket next to me, and slept the sleep of the dead for the next three hours and probably would have slept around the clock, but we wanted to go and see the museum, cathedral and the Gaudi Palacio. It was superb! Absolutely loved it, but was very quick visit as I was cold and miserable. Obviously needed more sleep! Lucia was so kind and loving, how bloody boring this must be for her! I seem to go from one thing to the next! I feel exhausted and worn out totally! I cried when she spoiled me so! To be nurtured like this while I’ll is a novelty for me! I am not used to it!

Today’s lesson: know thy self
Today’s gift: Lucia’s goodies and David’s serenity

Day 41, on the Camino

DAY FORTY ONE,  10 June 2015
Village de Mazarife to Hospital de Orbigo

Heavy rain and thunder and lightning
started @ 8.00am finished about 11.45am
I was soaking wet, so the time was not at all important!

What an amazing day! Heavy thunder and lightning to start of with. Scared the living day lights out of me. In the end I just started my mantra.   Here and Now~God IS! It was just amazing. The green maize, opened its leaves to let the rain in, I just saw it grow, go greener and smile at the heavens.
The frogs sang an opera just for me! It was just amazing. I felt so alive! One with ALL of creation! The rhythm of the rain played music on my plastic poncho hat. I had bought one early that morning just as an extra cover as the rain looked like it was going to settle in for the day. Lucia bought the same one, yellow, we looked like bananas in pyjamas! After a while the rain stopped bothering me, I just got in the rhythm of the walk. My increased fear of the thunder and lightning, which increased after my New Year’s Eve near death experience, paralysed me early in the morning. I wanted to cancel the walk, but this weather had been predicted for the next three to four days. After a while I was able to walk, being one with all, Here and Now I am in God and God is in me! Just totally amazing! As I got more and more into my powerful mantras, the fear dissolved into nothingness. I like to think forever, but will face that as it comes. My bronchitis of course got worse, at one stage I coughed so much I ended up throwing up at the road site. Two lovely American ladies stopped to see if all was right.
I arrived in Hospital de Orbigo, found the instructions a tad confusing for me, and asked a postie the directions to Hostal San Miguel. As soon as I entered the woman owner helped me to take of my poncho, rain coat and shoes! She was so sweet, she planted a stool in front of the open fire place just so I could warm myself up. All was soon forgotten. After a hot shower and a dive under a warm blanket, I slept like a baby. When I woke up we went out for a lovely lunch. Gorgeous place. Had a great pilgrims meal. A bottle of wine was had by both of us. But somehow I paid a price for this fish meal. Did I eat too much? Too fast? Was the wine too sour?

Today’s lesson: face your fears, and they dissolve
Today’s gift:       hot fire to dry shoes and clothes

Day 40, on the Camino

DAY FORTY, 9 June 2015,
La Virgin deal Camino to Villar de Mazarife,
started @ 6.30am till 11.15am~14,5 kilometres

I do not remember much of this walk. It was not easy for me. Although the Sudafed had dried up the mucus somewhat. I was still not my old self, and still not enjoying the Camino as yet! In an ideal world I would have stopped for a week or so until I was feeling better. I know that most pilgrims walk this whole Camino under forty days, but I had made a conscious decision to take sixty five days, one day for each year of my life! I know that this puts me into the catogory of ” fake pilgrims”, by most of the people I have met, but I couldn’t care less! One of the things I decided to do on day one, was to ENJOY this experience to the fullest! And live it with ALL my senses.

Henry David Thoreau wrote;
” in my walks I would forget all my thinking and obligations to Society.
I want to walk, I want to return to all my senses,
be “Here and Now”.

In Villar we stayed with Tio Pepe, a lovely Albergue with a great atmosphere. I didn’t do much, sleep, quiet. Visited the church and since there was nothing else to do, just slept some more!

Today’s lesson: stop judging people
Today’s gift: sleep

Day 39, on the Camino

DAY THIRTY NINE, 8 June 2015,
Leon to La Virgin del Camino,
7 Kilometres~ less than two hours walk

My head cold has reached horrible proportions. All I want to do is hide under a blanket and sleep! I took the Sudafed and just slept for over three hours. I didn’t even go and look at the church! Today I didn’t even take any photos! Unheard of! Feel bloody awful, can’t stand this Camino any more and I am so over all this crap. My nose keeps on running, coughing all night long, chest on fire and a fever, and no longer fun to be with! Hm! My body trying to tell me something?

I left my old Keens at the home for the people with a disability. They need very little work done to the may be they make somebody happy! I would love to stay in bed for the rest of the week, preferable with the blankets over my head! Lock the world out! And never ever walk again!

Today’s lesson: REST
Today’s gift: Sudafed

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