Category: The Camino Page 2 of 3

My Pilgrimage on the Camino de Santiago, Spain

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

Day 37, on the Camino

Reliegos to Mansilla de las Mulas
this had not been the plan, we stopped much earlier than planned,
feeling sick, bronchitis coming up. Coughing like mad.

It was an easy and very short walk to this gorgeous little place. It had a fabulous museum, an ethnological museum. It was worth visiting. Without a doubt it was one of the best museum I have seen so far!
Contemplation of beauty brings you closer to god! We spend the day having brunch at a lovely cafe, looking around the town and caught a mutual taxi to Leon!
Where there were shops and bought myself a hot pink new jumper, as the mornings and evenings are still very cold! We bumped into Kiki from Norway, who told me it was ridiculous to buy a jumper as I wouldn’t need it any more! How wrong she was! We walked around, found the house Gaudi built and designed. I bought a necklace with a scallop shell, from the artisans a market. There was a lot of musicians in town and we came across a practise session just outside the cathedral! A party in town?

Today’s lesson : ALL IS ONE
Today’s gift: Ethnological museum, just the best!

Day 36, on the Camino

DAY THIRTY SIX, 5 June 2015,
Calzadilla de Los Hermanillos to Reliegas,on the alternative route,
without luggage,

It was cold and miserable when we started off in the morning! As we had left our back packs behind, we were treating ourselves today, the taxi would send our luggage on! Lucia had not packed her rain coat and neither did I. But at least I had my warm jumper on, she had not bothered, as it had been so hot the day before. We really need to be prepared, the weather here changes so incredibly fast! We had another Roman road to walk on, again very hard, rocky, cold and wet. But again with less peregrinos! I was hard slog! I don’t know the amount of kilometres we did today as I didn’t have any information about this alternative way. We just slogged away. Step by step, hoping for the end.

In Reliegos we stopped for brunch and I lost my expensive jumper and Lucia her walking sticks. I had hoped a pilgrim might have dropped them into the cafeteria, no such luck. This I find amazing. If you are a pilgrim, how can you take something that is not yours? Hm. Ah well, bad karma indeed! We had a meal in the Elvis bar, not too clean, and the food although plentiful was awful! This was one of the lesser days. In the end all the days blur together but this one was definitely in the no fun day box!

Today’s lesson: be prepared
Today’s gift: The rain didn’t get too heavy

Day 35, on the Camino

DAY THIRTY FIVE, 4 June 2015,
Sahagun to Calzadilla de Los Hermanillos
started @ 7.30 am till 12.00 pm ~13 kilometres
hard slog as we took the old Roman road

The morning started of well. Leaving Sahagun, after the bedbugs drama, was not at all hard to do!
It was a cold and crispy morning, we had not much to walk, but the road we had taken was not at all an easy one! It was either the old Roman road or walking next to the highway. We choose the old Roman, much less peregrinos, but the uneven surface of the road made for hard walk. Many rocks, uneven surface, no shade, it was only thirteen kilometres but it was certainly hard slog.

It was hot very early on, and the walking without shade, cafeterias and extra water was hard to do! About six kilometres outside of Calzadilla de Los Hermanillos there was a water fountain for feet and drinking! Much too late really! Would have been better if it had been earlier on. I was exhausted and at one stage I thought I could sneak a photo of Lucia, I fell asleep instead!

We were hot and bothered after only a short amount of kilometres. But our Albergue was lovely and there was nothing to see in the very little town, so a hot shower, a nap and a very cold beer, not necessarily in this order! Still, it was a lovely quiet walk , without the thousands of other peregrinos!

Today’s lesson: one foot in front of another!
Today’s gift: I was able to kill the one bedbug in my bed!


Day 34, Camino de Santiago

DAY THIRTY FOUR, 3 June 2015,
Calzadilla de la Cuenza to Sahagun
started @ 5.30 am till 12.30 pm~ 23 kilometres

Half way point from Roncevalles to Santiago
(this means I passed the half way mark sometime before!)

I danced most of the way today! It was an easy and early start! The walk was next to the highway which I don’t really like very much at all, but sometimes there is not much you can do about this except just laugh and dance! The first few hours were beautiful. Each photograph I took was a painting! Then, as It got hotter and hotter, I had to walk next to the highway.

I missed the half way point as it was across the highway and I actually could see the town ahead of me! I caught Lucia just before going into town! We stayed with the nuns , where they had the most unfriendly volunteers! After having had the friendliest in the last town, this was a tad weird! This woman really hated her work! Hm? Why would you volunteer for something you didn’t like? I have no idea, but don’t do things you don’t like , it makes everybody feel un comfortable!
I met this Dutch woman, she was really nice, she shared our four bed dorm. Also Kiki from Denmark, but she was less nice, barely spoke to us. A very strange acting woman. Anyhow, also four Irish women were staying with us as well.Carol, from Galway, was lovely. We kept bumping into each other, and had quite a few drinks and lots of laughs together. They had seen us at the singing with the nuns, and Carol appreciated the video I send her of the singing nuns with Amazing Grace. We sat in the square and tried lots of different tapas and bars. It passed the time! Later, when churches and musea were open, we visited the church for the peregrinos and collected my half way certificate! hallelujah! I am now counting down! It is all psychological! Sahagun is a lovely town with lots to see and do, but after 23 kilometres, I had very little intention to walk any more!

Bedbugs for Carol and Lucia!!

Today’s lesson: Stay positive
Today’s gift: ONE with ALL

Day 33, Camino de Santiago


Carrion de Los Condes to Calzadilla de la Cuenza,

started @ 6.00 am till 10.30am~17 kilometres

Today I sent my backpack ahead! It was a long stretch, the meseta, hot, long, no water and absolutely no shade! Due to Lucia’s poor feet, she caught a bus ahead to the next town! The meseta was unbearable to walk in new shoes, no shade nor water!

It was like highway number one! So incredibly busy! Unbelievable! There was no escape, no tranquility. A good way to learn how to find peace in the market place! It was an extremely boring walk, no where to rest, stop or go to the toilet! I was fortunate, I was fast today! Stopped in the Albergue, where they had the friendliest hospitalero! I had a nap and visited the Roman Vila in the afternoon! I was the first visitor in four days! Oops! It is four kilometres of the Camino, but by taxi rather expensive! Not one of the other pilgrims was interested in sharing the taxi to go and see this Vila. Of course it was not as impressive as the villas I had seen in Jordan, but still it is part of the history from Spain, so I am glad I took the time to explore this museum.

The rest of the time I sat in the shade and slept a lot!

Today’s lesson: staying in the HERE and NOW
today’s gift: I saw the whole world in a wild flower today

Day 32, Camino de Santiago

DAY THIRTY TWO, 1 June 2015,
rest day today

As there was plenty to see and do in Carrion, we decided to stay an extra day! All I wanted to do is stay in bed and read! Lucia needed to buy some shoes as her bunions were so very bad! Also socks and plasters. So me sleeping, reading and resting, while she went shopping. Finally I got up to get brunch and Lo and behold who would we bump into but Wilfred, Libby, Vita and Bernar!
As we shared a brunch and a few beers, they all left to get back to their Albergue in the sticks, while we went on to hear the nuns sing int he evening! It was stunningly beautiful! Amazing Grace brought tears to my eyes!

We had also bumped into the German guy, Peter, whose feet were one big awful blister! He was catching the bus to the next place! He was a strange man, seemed lost and lonely. I feel for him! I also feel this Camino is getting harder and NOT easier!
I now have a sore throat and a chest infection! Oops! Probable because of the smoking I did the other day! Too much partying and not enough walking! Hmmmm! It is also a sign of my body telling me that it is tired! I have been on the road now for over eleven months. Putting an exhibition together is hard work, let alone doing it in an incredible short amount of time! May be I should have just walked this Camino BEFORE going to Africa! Yeah, living in hindsight is really easy!
Anyway an extra day of rest, with the gorgeous nuns singing and I am ready to go on!

Today’s lesson: I need time out, from walking and people
Today’s gift: Amazing Grace from the nuns

Day 31, Camino de Santiago

DAY THIRTY ONE, 31 May 2015,
Villarmentero to Carrion de Los Condes
started @ 8.00am till 11.30am
10 kilometres~3,5 hours

I left on my own early in the morning, walking next to the water way. Lovely warm morning. Stunning yellow irises next to the creek. It was a flat piece of walking and so I gained momentum very fast. I just walked and walked. Till I met an open cafe in the next little village. There I had breakfast, and bumped into Henrietta from London, whom I had met several times before. She is an amazingly fast walker, so it had been only snippets of interactions that we had had.

We enjoyed a breakfast together and waited for Lucia to show up. This little town, Villalcazar de Sirga, had a lovely church and lovely sculptures! A much more interesting town then the one street town we stayed in last night! We looked around and took lots of photos. I had an enormous hang over, all the fire water started its damage! Also coming to Carrion de Los Condes was gorgeous. It was hot, very hot, and most of the path was along the highway! Boring as anything. In Carrion we asked the way, and this eighty year old man, walking faster than the both of us together, was going to show us the way! His daughter showed up and he was very cute! He had to do this job first!

Libby and Wilbert came to Carrion, so we caught up for a beer! It was lovely and warm!
We talked, laughed and overall just sat in the sun to enjoy the company and the day itself!

Lucia went to her very first pilgrim’s mass, and was very enthused about it! I had my special experience in Zabaldilka, and didn’t go to another one. Mainly as one than makes comparisons , and each and every one is unique! I just slept, to get over my hang over, and read, as I found a REAL book, a murder mystery in English! Ah, God is good and life is just great!

Today’s lesson: just put one foot in front of the other
Today’s gift: the gorgeous little old man, who became our guide


Day 30, Camino de Santiago

DAY THIRTY, 30 May 2015,
Boadilla to Villarmentero de Campos
started @ 6.45am till 12.45pm~15.4kilometres
two long breaks

It was another good day, although the walking didn’t flow as wonderfully as yesterday. I am starting to realise that this Camino is just like life itself. Some days are good, some days are not so good, some days are just awesome and some just awful! I tried to book a private Albergue in Villarmentero de Campos but the woman told me she was full! Just outside the village I met up with Henrietta from London, who had also booked at the private Albergue, Lucia and I just went to the one and only other place in this nothing town! Albergue Amanecer. Lo and behold but who would I find there? Libby! She had disappeared so fast I thought she was nearly in Santiago! Instead she had stayed here and relaxed! It was so great to see her again! Fabulous! In a hammock, wine and sunshine! We caught up and chatted all day! In the evening Jesus made us a very special drink! Pure undiluted fire water! It was an amazing day!

There was a man there the spitting image of Hassan! Not only that, the music that was played was “our” music! How is this possible? Let it all go! I was so relaxed! Had I been on my own, I too would have stayed here for two or three days! (Or just for the rest of my life?) Wilbert,  the Dutch volunteer, made an amazing breakfast! Home made bread! Ahhhhh! Life is just so incredibly great!

That night, Peter, the German guy and Bernar, the Hungarian, played music, and we all sat around and drank, laughed and talked! Most of the pilgrims went to bed, and so did Lucia.
I laughed so much that night! I even smoked! Oops! A sign I had too much to drink! So much fun though! I really liked Jesus, a very sexy Spanish man! None of my photos turned out as they were all out of focus! Oops! But so much laughter and fun! I met Vita, from Lithuania, she is really too old to be my adopted grand daughter, like Libby, but she begged me to be her “Abuela” as well! Jesus wanted me to adopt him to! I am not quite sure in which capacity as he is well into his fifties!

Today’s lesson: Let it go!
Today’s gift: Meeting Libby again!

Day 29, Camino de Santiago

DAY TWENTY NINE,  29 May 2015,
Castrojeriz to Boadillo deal Camino
started @ 8.00am till 2.20pm~17 kilometres
We had a long break in between!
The first five kilometres a steep ascent

We had decided to ring the albergue in Boadilla and book our accommodation for tonight, as it was Lucia’s longest day yet. We had decided that she could always call a taxi if the need arose and she could not go on! When I rang the albergue, Eduardo told me he could NOT book nor hold a room! Okay! Small problem here, as I am an old woman with a friend who might not able to go fast at all! Suddenly this young man tells me that he will make an exception and he will hold the two beds for me!

It was one of these gorgeous mornings, with the sun starting early, making a promise of a lovely warm day. I took the first half hour for taking photographs in the village. The stunning early morning light made the small streets extra special. The hospital of the soul was all ready open and I went for an early morning prayer and meditation. I also took some more photos. The first two to three kilometres were up a rather steep hill. Easy does it! Lucia was going to start later and I felt full of energy and love. I met a lovely American/ Mexican woman, whose name was Diana, a lovely Scotsman and a woman from Kentucky. At the end of the steep hill there was the delight of a stunning view and mini rest, before starting the decline. Met a lovely sexy Brazilian man, who was strolling down the hill with his hands in his pockets! I don’t mind down the hill so much, I bend my knees and lean back a tad and she’s right! At the top of a medium hill, was a lovely man selling coffee, fruit and juice. Very smart idea as everything in Castrojeriz was still closed at 8.00am! In the first little place, Diana and I stopped. We had met for coffee and had a chat.

When I went inside to order some breakfast and find a toilet, a man at the bar said to me!”oh, what an incredible energy you have!” I laughed and told him to come back after I had my coffee! As it was he was sitting at a table near me! There was white stuff floating around every here , like in Logrono. It looked like snow! I got very excited and chatted to Diana about snow! Then Fernando, a Canadian from Portuguese decent, started chatting about the fact that this was his second Camino! He had been given the gift of writing and had divorced, sold all he had and after this Camino is going to the South of France to write a book! As he left, he told me I was pure “light”!
And then proceeded to tell me that this was my first lifetime as an adult and not be too hard on myself! My mouth fell wide open, and I told him, “I know this, but how do you know this?”
He smiled at me and said ” I know that and so much more”!

I looked at Diana and burst out in tears! Then I told her a condensed version of my experience on the 10/10/1994! She also cried! When I got ready to walk on I nearly danced onwards and upwards! I was ONE with the whole Universe. Songs kept bubbling up and over. The plants waved at me and sang with me! The birds, the flowers we were ALL ONE!
Diana and I walked for a while and then I took off. Met beautiful Shirley from Kentucky on the way and after a sort chat while climbing another hill, I went on. The day was gorgeous I felt so incredibly alive and happy! Then suddenly there was a field chokker block full of bright red poppies. Of course the poppies have been in flower since I started, but this was special. I threw off my backpack and stick and climbed up! I wanted to throw myself onto the ground but didn’t want to squash the flowers! I cried, I stood there and cried for so much beauty!

I had to slide down on my bottom as the bank was much too steep to come down any other way! This gave me the giggles for the rest of the way! I lost all track of time or of how many kilometres I still had to do. Suddenly I was at my end destination! It was so un expected and sudden that I was totally confused! But indeed I had walked the whole way with ease and although I had taken a rather long time it was one of the best days yet!

Suddenly there were messages from Lucia, she was not able to catch a taxi from her small village and what did she have to do now? It was hard to answer with the dreadful signal, messages to and fro were not received. I suggested she start to walk slowly and I would see if I could organise something on this end. Eduardo, my adopted son, took the car as soon as he had a spare minute and went to pick her up! Eduardo explained that he never ever books people on the same day! And how wonderful for us that he done so!  I felt terrible! I no longer seem to worry about accommodation, food or what ever, as I believe that God will provide for me. He has done and will do till the day I die! But this is not yet the case for Lucia, and although she is strong, independent and capable, I still felt responsible for her well being!
Luckily all was forgotten very soon and after a hot shower and a very cold beer all was well. I have been incredibly tears today, not sure WHY! I suddenly understand the message in the bible about the virgins hiding there lights or letting them go “out”! One needs to be oneself in ALL circumstances! An absolutely awesome day!

Today’s lesson: We are ALL ONE!
Today’s gift: Fernando’s message that I am pure light!

Day 28, Camino de Santiago

DAY TENTY EIGHT, 28 May 2015,
started @ 6.20am till 12.20pm ~15 kilometres

Lucia and I agreed that there was no need for me to wait, I can get  packed and be gone early in the morning. I just love the early morning light. It makes for great photographs, and I just LOVE the peace and quiet early in the morning. I have my most deep and meaningful thoughts while walking along, and it is a shame that I don’t remember any of these thoughts in the evening. Should have carried my dictaphone along!

The poppies and the wheat talked to me along the way. Waving their heads in agreement to my philosophical thinking! I walked quickly to the next village where I had a lovely and leisurely breakfast. There was an old fuente and also a shrine for Saint Bridget. Which I didn’t go and see. My foot is holding out although still swollen and painful, if I don’t overdo the kilometres it seems to manage.

I walked most of the day alone with my thoughts and enjoyed it. Coming into Castrojeriz was stunningly beautiful. The trees on both sides of the road made a tunnel through which you could see the church at the end! Stunning. On the way there was an old Monestary, in which we could have stayed, they had beautiful stone carvings on the door frames and the TAO cross. A “T” shaped cross with a slight curve in the top beam.

When we arrived in Castrojeriz, we went to go sight seeing at the church first. I ordered a beer and watched the luggage, while Lucia went in and when she came out we swapped. She was going to organise our accommodation so I spend a lot of leisurely time in the church. When I came out it so happened that there was no phone coverage! Oops! Ah well, slowly we started to move to get ourselves a bed. We were in for a big shock! Everything was full! Oops! How was that possible? Full? In the end we had the last room in a casa rural, the attic room with three beds! Fabulous room lovely place. Later on our travels we met a lot of people who had to walk to the next village to get accommodation there!

One of the things I wasn’t aware of in the beginning of the Camino, was that people actually book their accomodation ahead! Only the Municipal Hostal or Council Hostals , don’t allow you to book at all, but of course when these are small, and they often are in little villages, they fill up quickly! Since I am a very slow walker I would miss out a lot! So I started to book ahead too, soon after, but I don’t really agree that this should be possible at all!

After a hot shower and a bit of a rest, we went out to explore the town. It was gorgeous. The first place we came to was the Hospital de Alma, a magic place, meditation music playing, lovely photographic exhibition on the walls and fabulous vibes.
We found a place to eat and drink. A super market to buy some necessary stuff and did our washing. It was relaxing and very soul repairing, I slept like a babe, but we decided to book the next place for sure.

Today’s lesson: Organise a bed first
Today’s gift: The last room in the village and it was lovely

Day 27, Camino de Santiago,

DAY TWENTY SEVEN, 27 May 2015,
started @ 7.00am till 11.30 am~14.7 kilometres

It was a fabulous day, with a slow start! Lucia is a fiddler! It means she takes forever to get ready! Hm. I might have to start walking before she is ready, other wise this will drive me crazy.
The weather was great, although quite cold and very windy. We walked through fields and fields of poppies today. Stunning.

I had not booked an accommodation at all, it does not seem to worry me anymore. But as we walked along Lucia kept asking if it would be all right. I kept re assuring her that there would be a bed for sure in San Bol!

When we finally saw the first and only house I was rather concerned, there was NO church! Only one house! Oops! What was this? A small hamlet with only an Albergue. Shit, I worried myself stupid wishing and hoping there would be beds available! And of course there were! The Albergue had ten beds available and we had number two and three! There were showers but not very hot! I bought something to eat and a bottle of wine and we all had an impromptu picnic in the garden surrounded by poppies.

There was a Fuente with ice cold water that had healing qualities, I stuck my feet under and worked out that your feet would be frozen so they felt like they were healed!
I had a long afternoon nap, with my foot up as it was still painful and swollen. Slowly the Albergue filled up. I had not too much interest in talking to other pilgrims as the conversation is constantly the same; where did you start? How many kilometres do you do a day? What? A rest day? Oh, then you are NOT a true pilgrim! It is this “I am holier than thou” attitude that pisses me right off. Lucia however had not yet many other pilgrims and she thrived in hearing their stories. Some were very funny. Especially the American woman, who encountered this crazy French man. Apparently she told the story quite funnily and I could hear everything what was being said. So didn’t really miss out much! Although I would have rather slept to be honest!

That evening we all had a communal dinner, as there was no where else to eat or to go. The French were very funny, and ended up introducing themselves to us all. It was really lovely and in the end there were twelve pilgrims. Two of the Frenchmen were put upstairs in the attic, where our beds were. One of them was the worst snorer I had come across. Although up to now I have not yet come across anybody as bad as Pete was! In the middle of the night I just woke him up told him in sign language that he was snoring and to turn around. He did and a peaceful night was had by all!
Today’s lesson: thought is power
Today’s gift: the beautiful poppies every where and finches singing

Day 26, Camino de Santiago

DAY TWENTY SIX, 26 May 2015,
Started @ 8.00am till 11.30am

A very crispy morning! Lovely start to the day! Lucia ‘s first day! Burgos was quiet and still. Not much traffic around! We stopped around the corner for a coffee, before walking along the river to the Camino. There is a green belt going through the city and it was a stunning part of town to walk through. On the bridge we met other pilgrims and soon we were out of town and on our way! It was not a hard walk, all flat surfaced, and easy going, we detoured via a small village, in the hope to find some breakfast! This was not possible until 10.30 am we looked at the church, took photos of the storks, and left. Back on the Way!

We came across a lovely lady, Maria, who redirected us to a short cut as a large viaduct was being built across the highway. I suggested she sat up a small business, selling hot coffee and fruit or bread to passing peregrinos , who didn’t have breakfast yet! It didn’t take us long to get to the next place where we stopped for lunch, or brunch rather! On the way we listened to the koekoek bird, sounding like my parents clock! We arrived in Rabe de las Calzada very quickly and sat down, drawing and waiting for the door to open. It is a gorgeous little town and after a hot shower and some sunshine it was time to look for a bar. A large cold beer did go down well. The owner of the bar, Jose Maria, was delightful and very friendly. He showed us all the souvenirs the pelegrinos had left behind! I was told by the lovely Clementina, of our hostel that there was no place in town to eat! I HAD to book a dinner, which was not quite true!

 Today’s lesson: start your drawing small
Today’s gift: another medallion from Jose

Day 23, Camino de Santiago

23 May 2015, Burgos, Rest day today!

Due to lots of problems with my swollen foot, I decided to have a day off completely! After last night’s stay in a wonderful hotel, it was time to go to the local Albergue Municipal. There was a long line of waiting people after us! People were getting stroppy and aggressive in case somebody would “push” in! It was the BIG night a year La noche Blanca! All the private hotels and hostels were booked full! A big shame was that the Albergue closed in the evenings at ten o’clock while the party would start at eleven o’clock! No exception was made! A big shame because now all peregrinos are NOT spending their money in this city! Very inflexible! ONE BIG night a year and no exceptions, may be leave the doors open till six in the morning or something like that.

The city of Burgos itself is stunningly beautiful. There is a BIG cathedral, I believe one of the top four in the country. La Sagrada, in Barcelona, Leon’s big cathedral and the cathedral in Santiago de Compostella. I found the cathedral of Burgos much better than all, except La Family in Barcelona. The museum was absolutely fabulous and I enjoyed spending time in it. There was a look out as well, which was up a hill, so I decided not to bother, same with the castle, anything up hill I don’t want to do in my spare time!

In the little cafe opposite the Hostal they made lovely tapas and sangria. As my foot was still terribly swollen and painful I decided not to do too much walking. But rest and one of these days find somebody who can tell me about feet, pain and muscles!

In the evening I went on the tourist train and saw the city, which is full of art, every corner you turn there is a statue or something interesting to see!

Today’s lesson: you can’t have everything you want!
Today’s gift: Lovely sangria and party with the local people in the little cafe

Day 22, Camino de Santiago

Day twenty two, 22 May 2015,
Ages to Burgos,
Started @ 8.00am~walked 9 kilometres to Cardenuela Rio Pico
Due to pulled muscle in the top of my left foot took a taxi to Burgos!
Could NOT walk one more step!

Started off early enough, it was cold but dry! Walked quickly to Atapuerca, where I had hoped to stay and see the archeological site! I arrived in the lovely village very early and all was still closed. After breakfast it somehow seemed more appropriate to walk on, rather than spend a day in the cold, looking at old bones! I do regret this now! As I started to walk on after breakfast, my left foot went into severe cramps and spasms. Terribly painful and no idea why. Until I thought back to waking up very early in the morning and do some stretching of my body, it felt as if I had “snapped” a muscle. I didn’t think much of it at the time, but as the cold and walking went on it became more and more difficult to walk. To top it all off , on the top of the hill, my right shoe snapped! I had anticipated the fact that my dear old sandals might not be able to handle the Camino, as I have walked on them daily for over a year! Still I was shattered! I DO thank my lucky stars that I had bought new Keen’s in Viana, and had been walking in them for at least two to three hours a day!

The weather was still cold and miserable, but I did see a shepperd get all his sheep out of the paddock and had three dogs helping him! Very interesting to watch. I thought I had video taped it, but no such luck, as you are supposed to press a button, otherwise nothing happens! Duh!

Today’s lesson: do Not force yourself when in pain

Today’s gift:  Skype with Michelle

Day 21, on the Camino

Day twenty one, 21 May 2015,
Villafranca Montes de Oca to Ages,
Started @ 6.30am till 11.30 am (16 kilometres)~ 5 hours

I started very early as the first five kilometres was ALL uphill! I am very, very slow going up, hence everybody overtakes me, and if I go early, I can look at the beautiful things on the way, dream and think. There was a lovely forest at the top of the hill, with lovely hen and chicken ferns in bright green. Stunning beautiful. At the top of the high hill there was a monument, one of the Spanish civil war I believe. I couldn’t translate all that it said, but it talked about body’s found on the Camino! Need to google this! The walk was very pleasant, we had a lovely breakfast in San Juan de Ortega, which could have been a lovely village, and it will be soon, but at the moment the village is being repaired! An interesting church and or Monestary. I was too tired to find out. We met Esther from New Zealand who had walked over 44kilometres the day before and had hurt her foot! I suggested that may be she should take it easy for the day and she told me that she was going to, and only walk twenty five kilometres! Hm! I know we are all on our own path, but may be I am incredibly lazy! This is my day 21, and Esther was on day seven! Oops! Ah well, we are walking for different reasons for sure! I decided NOT to stop in San Juan, may be feeling a tad guilty after all? So the three of us walked on to Ages. It was a lovely all the way down hill walk and not hard at all. We stayed in a lovely private house with Anja, from Norway, who used to be a doctor in Africa. Fascinating woman, wish I could have spoken to her in more depth. We explored the very little town, Esther decided to walk on, and so we, Libby and me, looked around and ended up in a small cafe, restaurant and shop of Antonio and his wife. We had some lovely red wine, and Antonio only served us some tapas with the very first glass! When his wife found out she lashed out at him and he dutifully made us more lovely little bites! Delicious! It was warm, cosy and great wifi! Why move? At Anja’s place we stayed by donation only, on a mattress on the floor, was fabulous! Great view we had some delicious pizza for a late lunch, mine with lots of pepperoni which made my stomach upset for most of the night! Either that or the cheeses that were on it! So I was like a yo yo in and out of bed most of the night! Which turned out to be all right as the young people above me were very noisy and kept on moving something on the floor most of the night! Anja asked me if that was us making that noise, and I could clarify that I was too busy running up and down the toilet most of the night, so truly the culprits were these young chickadees! We had a lovely albeit simple breakfast and chatted to Anja, before going to Antonio’s shop to buy the necessary chocolate and bananas.

Today’s lesson: ASK ~BELIEVE~RECEIVE
Today’s gift: Finally got warm as we had a heater in the room!

Day 20, on the Camino

Day twenty, 20 May 2015,
Belorado to Villafranca Montes de Oca
Started @ 8.15am to 12.45pm~(12 kilometres)~4,5hours

Started at 8.15am and after a few false starts, we finally found the Way again! At first we needed to walk next to the highway, which is really not at all pleasant! Lots of trucks, pollution and noise! Not what I had in mind when I signed up for the Camino! I wish the warm weather would come again as I don’t mind walking early in the morning, or in the sunshine. This grey mist, which makes everything damp, cold and miserable is making me slightly depressed.

We had rang the private hostel and booked a two dorm room. In the end this was not at all necessary as there were plenty of beds in the Auberge Municipal. Villafranca was a lovely little village that had the highway, and hence the trucks, going through the middle of it! Shame! We got settled in our brand spanking new room, before we went out to explore the village! We had a lovely pilgrim’s menu for only ten euro. Pilgrim’s menus are often only served in the evening, which is too late for me to eat them, as I then go to bed with a full stomach. However as an afternoon big lunch it is ideal. You get an entree, a main course, often meat, pork fish or chicken with chips, and a desert. It also comes with a bottle of wine! So very Spanish! We sat in the dining room of this small place and were the only pilgrims in sight! How wonderful! The food was excellent, the waiter was very funny and cute. And an excellent afternoon was had by all. There was very little to see in Villafranca. We did find a lovely little bar type place where we had some delicious coffee, the little deli like cafe, had strings of garlic hanging down, dried chilies and home made meats and cheeses on display. I did a drawing in my diary before we returned back to our lovely room to have another early night and rest. My left foot I playing up a tad. However the back is holding its own!

Today’s lesson: watch out for trucks on the highway
Today’s gift: All the small villages made it for a lovely and interesting walk

Day 19, on the Camino

Day nineteen, 19 May 2015,
Redecilla del Camino to Belorado
Started @ 6.00am till 9.30am (12,5kilometres)~3,5hours

At six o clock this morning I started my walk. It was absolutely freezing. Unbelievable? Yesterday it was over thirty degrees and here it is near freezing point all over again. I refused the instant coffee and walked to the next village! Great, due to the early start everything in the next village was closed! No coffee to be had! Not to worry, walk on the the next village! By now the mist was quite heavy and I was starting to get slightly wet on top of being cold! In Viloria de Rioja, I decided to put on my raincoat and cover my backpack. Just as I finished I decided to take some photos of Santo Domingo’s birth place when I heard somebody call my name! Unbelievably, it was Libby! I thought she would all ready be in Belorado! I was so incredibly happy! We walked together as we had done these last few days. It made the sun come out! We were looking for coffee and breakfast, but no such luck! Finally we knocked on the door of what we thought was an hotel! No coffee, no breakfast and no toilet! It was a pig factory! Okay! We just walked on! It wasn’t a long walk and at nine thirty we arrived in Belorado. The first stop was a place where we could have breakfast and a hot cup of coffee! We found a lovely pension for twenty euros each! A hot shower and warm change of clothing and we were ready to face the town. I had some shopping to do, toothpaste, deep heat, chocolate, painkillers, chocolate. We found a place to eat some lunch, stay warm and drink wine through a straw! It is miserably cold outside and beside the two very old churches very little to do! We watched the movie channel, and after quite awhile finally managed to change the Spanish movies into English, rather than English movies dubbed into Spanish, with Spanish subtitles.
Today’s lesson: chocolate cheers you up!
Today’s gift: chocolate cheered me up!
Libby was on my path again! Hurray!

Day 18, on the Camino

Day eighteen, 18 May 2015,
Santo Domingo de la Calzada to Redecilla del Camino
Started @ 8.15am till 11.45am ( 10,5 kilometres) ~3,5hours

Had a lovely coffee to kick start our walk this morning. My back was absolutely killing me. Every step I took was painful! What to do? After a lovely breakfast Libby and I decided to split up, as I was holding her back something chronic! Her blisters had healed and she was roaring to go!
During breakfast I met a very sexy Polish American man from Maryland, an ex navy officer! Shame he was staying in the very first village I felt, or may be I needed to push on! In the second little town there was an auberge for five euro, and a massage place opposite to the hostel! After I drank a very big cold beer, did some drawings in the Main Street and had an afternoon sleep, I felt reasonably human again! At four o clock I went to the massage place! The lady told me that the damage was deep inside, and pointed out that one hip was higher than the other! She gave me a very weak massage and put these deep heat plasters on my back, strongly advised me NOT to carry my luggage and to stop walking! Okay! Thank you! Great advice! I took her painkillers with a double whiskey and went to bed again at six o clock! I would deal with all this kind of shit tomorrow morning. Right now I want to be Camino free and NOT be a pilgrim any more! I slept until midnight, when two people got up and left the hostel to go and walk? I woke up checked the time and realised that it was bloody midnight! Duh!
Hell, it IS other people you know! Anyway I fell back asleep until six this morning! Twelve hours should do the trick!
Today’s lesson: one’s life can change in a split second
Today’s gift: I got a LARGE double whiskey as the bottle was nearly empty!

Day 17, on the Camino

Day seventeen,17 May 2015
Ciruena to Santo Domingo de la Calzada
Started @ 8.15am till 9.30am ~6km~ 1.15 hour

I woke up quite early, about four thirty, when I realised it was Sunday and it was not yet necessary to jump out of bed and to start walking! I fell back asleep and woke up much later e guest house had such a lovely feel about it, I could have stayed forever! Packing was done quickly and I decided to have a coffee and two slices of toast! Bad choice, I really do prefer not to eat for the first two hours! Walking in the early morning makes me feel so good! As it was the next town of Santo Domingo was very near, a lovely walk, and as soon as I got here I realised that there was a lot to see! Libby and I moved into a private hostel for fifteen euro each, it is worth it being without the dormitory experience! Is going to be hard to pay for single rooms again! Mind you Lucia is coming on Sunday, so hey it is only for one week! No probs! We signed in and had a coffee and hand made chocolates for breakfast! Delicious! We met up with Rhonda from Washington State, and we were both amazed to realise that Washington DC was far from the state! Makes no sense to me, but hey what do I know? I had a long hot shower and an afternoon nap and Libby and I went to visit the church at four o clock.  The seventy metres high tower was amazing, we climbed all the way up and saw  all the heavy bells close up! Then we went to the cathedral and saw the church and the exhibition, amazing stuff!  We had dinner at the Piedra restaurant where Libby and Rhonda had a meal in the afternoon. It was cheap, delicious and quick service! What else does one want?
I had “pinched” a little booklet, which asked for a two euro donation. As I just put in five euros for the burning of candles, I felt justified in taking this small item. Within five minutes I missed a step and hurt my back terribly! Shit, God never sleeps, eh!
This became quite a hassle in the next day walk! What next? I am too tired to write more!

There is a lovely story to the church of Santa Domingo. There was once a pious young pilgrim, who stayed in this town. A young and beautiful young girl from an Albergue fell in love with him, but the pilgrim wanted nothing to do with this”wicked” girl!(as if!) Anyway he pissed this young girl off, and she hid a goblet in his backpack. Then told her father that her silver cup was gone and it must have been that pitiful pilgrim. Father raced after the pilgrim found the cup and hanged the young pious and pitiful pilgrim from the highest tree nearby. Everybody was happy, except the parents of this pious and pitiful pilgrim. His father came to Santa Domingo town, which must have had another name then. He went to the Albergue where his pious son had been staying and demanded to know what happened. The father of the neglected and rejected girl told him his son was a thief and the world was a better place without him! Of course the pious father refused to believe this of his own son, as parents do. So he that he was innocent and that Santa Domingo had told him his son was alive and well. As the Albergue owner was eating a rooster and a chicken at the time, he said your son is as dead as these two cockerels on my plate! Well, as soon as he said that the rooster jumped up and started to make a lot of noise letting everybody know he was alive and well, the hen joined in and hence, everybody knew that the pious, pitiful pilgrim was innocent of his crime! This is a true story as it was verified by a priest from Germany a hundred years later, as he saw the grill on which these chooks had been roasted! Hm! Interesting premise for truth! (A bit Tony Abott like?) to this day a rooster and his hens lives in the church up high! Poor little mites, never seen daylight or had room to move, but I am assuming that they are NOT the same chooks, however one never knows with miracles!

Today’s lesson: dishonesty does not pay
Today’s gift: Thousands of shades of green!

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