Tag: The Camino de Santiago

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 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 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 14, Camino de Santiago

DDay fourteen~14 May 2015,
NO WALKING TODAY
Navarrette~ REST~RESTORE~REGROUP DAY
We woke up at eight o clock! I had a wonderful hot bath, relaxed worked in my diary, and dozed a while. We slowly got our shit together, but for some reason or other, the time flew and suddenly it was eleven o clock! We raced around the corner to have breakfast, and came back to the hotel and asked the receptionist to ring the hostel Municipal, to book us two beds before we started our eight kilometre walk. Not possible, the man said, you can only book private hostels and this hostel was not private! Oops! It was by now nearly twelve o clock and very, very windy, the eight kilometres were up the hill, and was going to take us much longer than the three hours we had planned for it. The next town was another ten kilometres away there was no way that we could do eighteen kilometres to day in the time allocation we had. Libby’s feet were still one big blister, and I had worn my newly bought sandals, which created some problems for my feet too. Sigh, what to do? We went upstairs to pack our bags, as check out time was twelve. As we were packing I apologised to Libby, I could have organised our day for today much better, which of course had nothing to do with me at all. We looked at each other and said at the same time let’s just stay one more night. It is a gorgeous little town and I have complaining that there is very little energy left for drawing and sight seeing. So day 14 became just that!
I spend the day sight seeing, drawing, walking to the top of the look out, and generally just totally enjoying myself. I was far behind with the diary, blob and other stuff. Wifi was very bad and kept falling out at all times. It is sometimes hard NOT to force myself to do all these updates for other people! To be honest however if I don’t write about my day as soon as it is over, I forget the whole Camino becomes one big blur! All the villages look the same, all the churches feel the same, and before you know it, the whole Camino sounds the same to!
Today’s lesson: check local information the day BEFORE you walk!
(you can book a bed in a PRIVATE hostel NOT in a Municipal (public) hostel)
Today’s gift: Relax~Restore~Regroup my energies!

Day 13, Camino de Santiago

Day thirteen, 13 May 2015
Vianna to Navarrette started @ 5.00am till 1.30pm~8.5hours~ 22,5 kilometres

This was a horribly hard day! I had not slept very well at all. Stupid Inga, shone a light in my face to see if I was awake, at ten o clock in the evening! Do you mind? Some horribly selfish people, when Libby and I were sleeping, coming in switching on the light, re packing their bags, and talking on the top of their voices! It is hard to display tolerance and acceptance, rather than trying to kill those horribly interfering, irritating and incredibly selfish pilgrims! Often they are feeling superior, telling me HOW a “good” and “proper” pilgrim should or should not behave, act or walk! Incredible, this “one up~manship” of pilgrims! There are the “purists”, one MUST not have a watch, telephone or any electric gadgets! One MUST do a certain amount of kilometres a day, all these MUSTS, SHOULDS or SHOULD NOTS make me want to vomit! Walk your pilgrimage your way, and let me walk mine! Anyway this day was a terrible hard one. Although Libby and I started early, the walk itself was not at all pretty. This of course is a judgement, but we have been walking through some incredibly beautiful country side, so it is a trifle hard to walk along a highway, into an industrial area and through a big city! I will not do this again, big cities will be bused through from now on. It is boring and the asphalt is hard on one’s knees, hip joints and lower backs. It is although totally uninspiring and non spiritual, so there, my new rule is that I won’t do this again. As you can see I am NOT a purist, and I don’t care about that either.

At one stage Libby and I were sitting in the shade, resting on our packs and giggling madly, kind of historical really. This man walks by with an enormous smirk on his face, ” ah, Santiago, muy legos!!” Very funny as if we didn’t know that it was far!
The distance was very long, I thought twenty two and a half kilometres but apparently my map does NOT calculate the going UP the hills, so we probably did over twenty four kilometres! Anyway it was the most amount of distance I have done so far and poor Libby with her minced meat feet was stumbling along. When we finally came to the next small town, Navarrette, I suggested that we could may be stay a bit more up market, preferable a room with a private bath, so Libby could nurture her poor feet and I could give my poor back a rest. Most room were fourth euros but we had to walk even further. We came to a three star hotel with a gorgeous big room, private big bath room and air conditioning (which only worked for the first day anyway!) for sixty euros! We looked at each other, and took the room!

Hot showers were had, baths were taken, and after several hours we actually felt human again! Funnily enough, our next door new our was Judy from Adelaide! Hurray great Australian minds think alike! The room was indeed gorgeous and check out the next day at twelve o clock, so we decided to have a long, long sleep and have a leisurely breakfast before walking the eight kilometres to the next town. It was such a good plan!

Today’s lesson; keep old shoes rather than throw them away as the sales lady suggested
Today’s gift; Delicious breakfast in a very trendy cafe in Logrono

Trotting Towards Tolerance

It is twelve o clock midnight, and I am wide awake due to the loud cacophony of snoring,coughing and splutter        ing of the hundreds of different pilgrims in the huge dormitory at Jesus y Maria in Pamploma. I arrived here yesterday, by train from Barcelona. I travelled by first class, not tourist class, not because I paid for it, but because I didn’t know I was in the wrong cabin! I am surrounded by people who have walked all ready for days! I have not walked anything at all, hence the listening to others activity in the middle of the night on the left of me, a young very overweight Canadian woman, who snores louder than my ex boyfriend ever could! On the right of me a very drunken Spanish man, who slobbered all over the fat woman’s pillow last night, and now in his drunken stupor just makes a lot of disgusting noises. Hm! Is this what it is to sleep in dormitories every night I might give it a miss all together!
I met a lovely young German girl, Lisa, just outside the rail way station. She asked me if I spoke Spanish and. Lo and behold, she was my very first pilgrim I ever met, and we have been friends since. Pamplona is an old and mediaeval village,surrounded by old thick stone walls. I had to ask the way a few times. I had not yet received the passport and was surprised that it was handed out by the hostel. I was so impressed by the friendliness and the helpfulness of the local people. One woman went out of her way to walk to the street where she could point out where the hostel was, As we walked on I noticed that she turned around and walked away in the opposite direction., incredibly kind, I thought. after settling in to the Hostel, paying our ten euro, I had to eat something, as I only had a cup of coffee that morning on the train. We found a lovely cafe, Ole, in the main square where Lisa and I shared a lovely tapas lunch, with a complimentary glass of wine! It was delicious and at six dollars each quite reasonable as well I thought, I am not yet on he Camino, well, not walking anyway, and I all ready feel so excited meeting and talking to other pilgrims. I had not expected so many people this early in the year! I believe that each and every one I meet I have to learn something from! serendipity! I am fascinated with other people s stories like Englishman who started to walk in England, and hopes to arrive in St James for his 75th birthday in June!

My second night in the hostel is over. I fell asleep immediately, although not yet on the Camino, I DID walk a lot during the day. The noises and snoring was much less. Also no drunken people entered the dormitory during the night, hence no hassle what so ever. Was sleeping between a Spanish painter called “Pedro” and a Canadian, who’s name was “Peter”! Okay, so much for NOT mention my ex boyfriend’s name! Hilarious really! Who says the Universe hasn’t a sense of humour?
I am sitting in a small cafe opposite the bus station. It is freezing cold outside and I have just lashed out and bought a gorgeously warm top! The shop had a big discounted sale going on, but even without that I would have bought something warm! Can’t believe I didn’t think of COLD! Mind you I have just arrived from Africa where the coldest moment was ten months ago in Ethiopia! I have been hot for over ten months! Not to worry it is all characters building, for sure! Today will archive bus to St Jean Pied de Port in France, from where I will start the Camino tomorrow!
Most people start walking around seven o’clock in the morning. I have decided to get up every morning at five fifteen and start my walking at five thirty in tHe morning. I sometimes do agree with Jean Paul Sartre, “Hell is other people!” The noise, carrying on and human animal noises in the morning I can do without. I am also much slower than most people and I am determined to enjoy my walk! I can just imagine seeing the sunrise in the morning and listening to the birds rather than humans to start each and every day. It will be hard enough without all the negativity surrounding me. It seems to me that there is a one up manship going on! Who has the most blisters? Who has had the hardest hardship? I enjoyed talking to Pedro this morning, he has been walking via Africa as well, he has plenty of time and is not in a rush either. We enjoyed each other s company and as he is a painter also we looked at each other’s art works.

This afternoon I should be arriving in St Jean around four o clock. I hope to still have enough energy to go and explore the town, plus working out where to start the walk tomorrow morning!

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