Harbour Hostel in Cullen, Scotland

September 8, 2015:

We follow the directions from the Cullen, Scotland bus stop to our hostel for tonight:  Harbour HostelCullen-1100733ecrNice and roomy and we are delighted to find ourselves the lone occupants of this 16 bed hostel.

Cullen-1110031The kitchen is supplied with a stove, dishes, pots and pans, refrigerator and more…

A-h-h-h… Let’s stay two nights.

Cullen-1110186Day two finds us gaining a roommate.  Meet Bill Nickson Sr., an ex-international professional cyclist with many notable victories in his career, including the overall in the Milk Race (Britain’s most prestigious stage race) and the British National Road Race championships. He also rode and completed the Tour de France. In 1981 he started Bill Nickson Cycles in Leyland, England and his son runs the business now.  He biked into Cullen from the train station (I think, 30 miles away) and is touring the area on bicycle. What a wonderful gentleman!

Cullen-1100736ecrView of the sea from our hostel.

Cullen-1110035

Elvis’ roots are also in this region and, fate would have it, the hostel has an “old school” record player and at the top of the pile of records is Elvis’ Greatest HitsO.K., let’s stay here a third night.

 

Advertisements

Day 9… It’s what you CAN do…

…not what you can’t.

A man on a bicycle approaches us speaking Spanish and, through his photos, we understand his purpose.

Spain-1040239dmvRandy is signing the guest book of sales. This gentleman, on the bike, pedals the Camino selling t-shirts to fund trips to Para Olympic athletic events. His binder is full of news articles and photos of his participation to help prove that he is legit. Scam or not, we purchase a 10 Euro t-shirt and don’t regret it. You just have to trust once in a while.

Spain-1040242dmvcrPlus, he shares a cell phone photo of his baby AFTER the sale (Or, maybe he thought we’d buy more shirts).  I mention to Randy that it could be anyone’s cute little baby, but Randy chooses to trust that the story is all truth.

Spain-1040243dmv
I’m happy to discover that he is legit and our t-shirt purchase is going toward an honest endevour. Check it out at this website:  http://ionutpreda.com/

Spain-1040247dmvThe path is along the side of a tar road and the old wall has a sturdy appearance.
Spain-1040250dmv

The origin of the horreo is the horreum from the Roman Empire, and is an old technology that has nearly disappeared in the rest of the empire regions.

Spain-1040251dmv
A horreo is for storing grain off the ground to keep rodents out and the design dates back to the Celtic era. Some are quite substantial and made all of stone.

Spain-1040257dmv
Hmmm… So many signs to read. Oh, look left!! Oh, my goodness!!!

Spain-1040282dmv
This photo doesn’t really imply the height of this monument built to recognize the pilgrimage and a papal visit. We estimate it to be around 50 feet high.

Spain-1040262dmvMonte do Gozo (Hill of Joy) is a hill in Santiago de Compostela, Galicia, Spain. It is known for being the place where Christian pilgrims on the Camino de Santiago (Way of St. James) get their first views of the three spires of their destination, the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela. At 370 meters (1,210 ft), it is the pilgrims’ last hill and last stop before reaching the cathedral, with about an hour’s walk still to go, and by tradition is where they cry out in rapture at finally seeing the end of their path.  ~Wikipedia

Spain-1040278dmv
Another pilgrim tells me that I should be able to see the cathedral from the monument hilltop area, but I can’t seem to make anything out.
Spain-1040265dmv
This modern sculpture utilizes all four sides in its design.

Spain-1040288dmv

The Capilla de San Marcos looks rustic, but isn’t all that old compared to what we’ve already seen.  Follow another path and it takes you to an albergue that has 500 hostel beds in rooms of 4 to 8 beds.

Spain-1040287dmv

We are not stopping here so I guess we’d better follow the arrow to the right and head down the hill.

One more hour of walking…

Camino Day 9 ~ Living in the present

One day at a time…Live in the present, and make it so beautiful it will be worth remembering. ~Unknown Spain-1040094dmvWe are now out of the town of Arco do Pino as tall, weathered trees line our path through the Spanish forest. Spain-1040100dmvThe moss and vines give the woods an eerie appearance. Spain-1040165dmvWe find the orthopedic surgeon and fiancé along our way and discuss history. He could be the next Rick Steves type tour guide. The path seems to be cut down into the ground with a wall of rock alongside us. Spain-1040111dmvcrA gentle haze settles in the bottoms. Spain-1040112dmvcrThe path lends itself to variety today as we hike though thick woods, open valleys with gentle slopes, easing our way toward the end. Spain-1040121popdmvcreI could speculate that the red, white and blue circle on the photo is an orb of some paranormal being, but I know it’s only lens flare from the sun trying to pierce through the clouds. Spain-1040123dmvpop Quiet walking today as we culminate our journey with reflective thoughts. Spain-1040131crI really should start raising my own chickens, but I’m not crazy about the butchering part of the process. Spain-1040133dmvFunctional or decorative? Spain-1040141dmv Here come the Spanish girls! We take one of  their “last day” group photos for them and we all go on our merry way. Spain-1040158dmvCamino on a bike?  Nope, not for me. Spain-1040177dmv Getting closer…anticipation.  Slow down!  I don’t want this day to end, quite yet!

Astorga to Rabanal ~ Camino Day #1

The rain falls gently in a slow drizzle. This isn’t so bad and the March temps in the mid 40 degree F are mild by Minnesota standards since it isn’t snowing, there is very little wind and our constant movement means we aren’t shivering. We don’t stop for long, though, for then the chill begins.  We slowly climb in elevation from Astorga to Rabanal. With this stage we enter a  transitional area between the plains and the area of El Bierzo, with its reddish earth covered with trees and heather.

Spain-1030327dmvWe are still in the province of Leon during this leg of the hike and the tree lined streets of Murias de Rechivaldo are quiet except for the click, click, click, click from the walking sticks of the occasional Pilgrim passing through.

We had the opportunity to walk, for a while, with a group of Spanish doctors  that were walking around 30 kilometers per day for 8 days.  They walk different sections of the Camino de Santiago – French Way each year with the ultimate goal of eventually completing all of it.

Spain-1030429dmvHand painted, yellow arrows help guide us down the right path.  I’m glad some joker didn’t decide to play tricks on us and point us the wrong way.  (Note to self ~ carry a detailed map next time.)

Spain-1030399dmvRabanal del Camino  continues a centuries old tradition of caring for the pilgrims before they take the steep path up and over Monte Hago (Mount Rabanal).
Aymeric Picaud was a 12th century scholar, monk and pilgrim who wrote the first travel guidebook for the Way of St. James. This was the IXth stage of Aymeric Picaud’s classic itinerary and the Knights Templar are thought to have had a presence here as early as the 12th century ensuring the safe passage of pilgrims over this remote terrain – the Church of Santa Maria (steeple is visible in the above photo)  was possibly built by them.

After 21 kilometers and a day of walking in the rain while carrying backpacks that weigh around 16-18 pounds, we are relieved to arrive at our destination.  We are hoping to find an Albergue with a nice bed and shower.  Many hostels and albergues are closed this time of year so you take what you can get.  We see a promising view ahead…

Spain-1030390dmvAt this point we are just happy to be inside a dry building.  Our standards of what we consider luxury seem to be adjusting.  Hmmm…

Spain-1030347dmv

Our house mother, Isabella, stamps our Pilgrim Passports and checks us in.  We need two Pilgrim stamps per day and they can be obtained at a cafe, bar, restaurant, albergue, hotel or hostel. We each pay 5 Euro for the night and settle into our home away from home called the Albergue del Pilar.

Spain-1030341dmvOur sleeping quarters include one room with 32 beds (29 of them filled this night).  The room was approximately 20 feet by 40 feet with two long rows of bunk beds leaving a narrow aisle in the middle.  A mixture of ages and genders will all sleep together in this cozy room including a father/son from Korea, a group of bicyclists from southern Spain (Malaga), a young man in his 20’s originally from Iowa but lives in New York now, a young couple from Poland and India along with our group of lovelies. (AKA ~ Randy and the Hot Cross Buns).  I told you we were friendly!!

We put our wet clothing on the heaters available, take showers, and look forward to finding beverages and food to medicate and fuel our sore and tired bodies. Little did we know that we would soon meet Spain’s most eligible bachelor.  To be continued…

It’s Photo Friday ~ Seniors…the art and the card

Anderson_Devin_blog
Lately it seems like most of the hours of my days have been spent designing high school graduation announcements/cards for my class of 2013. I know they aren’t my kids but I have spent some quality time getting to know them through their sessions and I try to follow their sports and academic accomplishments. The graduation card is the grand finale of this process. I don’t know if I just get the best seniors around or if this class of 2013 is one to be proud of. I’d like to think it’s both.

I confess to be somewhat attention deficit in how I conduct my life ( I blame it on my years teaching kindergarten ~ if you can’t lick ’em, join ’em!) but this does not seem to be a detriment during the card design process. Or, is it? I try to make each card unique and approach it as though it is a work of art. I know this is not a good business practice as far as making the most money. I should offer a handful of designs and take it or leave it, or else charge five times more than I do. I’ve been a parent with bills and now I’m on the other side trying to make a living with this photography gig. I struggle with this balance and hopefully will find a happy medium at some point. I have a feeling that I’m not the only photographer struggling with this balance of making a living versus creating art.

It’s Photo Friday – Bliss…

My world, my bliss

My world, my bliss

Bliss is a viewed as a positive term and something we are constantly searching for.  How far do we need to look?

My guess is bliss is there as long as I pay attention.

  • spending the day doing something I love
  • sipping wine on the deck, overlooking my palatial estate (the cowyard and back pasture)
  • appreciating God’s creation wherever we go
  • volunteering to help someone in need and feeling good about it
  • eating a meal with the primary ingredients coming from my garden and meat raised locally
  • remembering road trips
  • when my grandaughter smiles at me
  • my cozy bed at the end of the day
  • a warm house during a raging blizzard and knowing your family is home and safe inside
  • feeling as though our kids are doing well even if one lives in a college “Animal House” from the John Belushi era, another lives on the other side of the planet in another culture and the other is discovering the joys and challenges of parenting

I’m sure younger people, such as the young man in the image,  have a list that is much more exciting than mine but this is my life and my list.

What’s on YOUR list?

It’s Photo Friday and I was inspired by yellow…

“Yellow wakes me up in the morning. Yellow gets me on the bike every day. Yellow has taught me the true meaning of sacrifice. Yellow makes me suffer. Yellow is the reason I am here.” 

~ Lance Armstrong  (See, he wasn’t blood doping – it was the color yellow that gave him the edge!)