Strolling Santiago de Compostela

2014Camino-1070857dmvView from our small third floor room with 5 bunk beds for a total of 10 persons in our room. Cozy…

 

2014Camino-1070858plcrWe call Roots & Boots our home for two nights. It is in the old part of town, three levels of multiple rooms down narrow hallways with as many bunk beds as they can possibly put in each room.  We had two bathrooms for our floor, so we had to be patient or find an open bathroom on another floor…maybe.

We shared a room with sheep farmer from Portugal, college students waiting for housing and a grandfather/grandson pair (Sweden? ), as well as another silent partner that did not converse with us.
2014Camino-1070813dmvcrRandy is wearing his strolling attire today, so let’s start exploring.
2014Camino-1070810dmv Interesting, but I don’t think I’ll put these sculptures on my deck.

2014Camino-1070830plThank you, Random Strolling Ladies, for following the photography Rule of Three and Odd Numbers.

2014Camino-1070832dmvcrShe must be my relative since Pemble women are known to wear bright red attire.

2014Camino-1070834dmvObviously, she draws the attention of old and young alike.

2014Camino-1070838dmvcrSign reads:  Painter looking for work urgently – I’m hungry. 

2014Camino-1070881dmvcrYou’re going strolling whether you want to, or not!

2014Camino-1070829plBeggar outside the coffee shop.

2014Camino-1070855dmvNeighborhood near our hostel.

2014Camino-1070871dmvWe crossed through Alameda Park several times as it was between our hostel and the city center. The origin of the park goes back to the donation of the grounds to the city by the Counts of Altamira around the middle of the 16th century.

2014Camino-1070824plcrHarry Potter influence here?

2014Camino-1070867dmvWe see many monuments amidst the garden area of the park.  Mirador da Alameda.  Translation: Viewpoint of Alameda

2014Camino-1070883dmvWe are thrilled to meet up with Al, our Spanish friend that we met at the pilgrim meal in Fonfria just past O’Cebreiro. I sincerely hope he is doing well with his new job in South America.

2014Camino-1070889dmvThese Italian pilgrims are all smiles and glad to be done with their journey.  We shared the trail frequently with them the past few days. A smile is comprehended in any language.

2014Camino-1070841dmvWe attend the Pilgrim Mass and they did not swing “the thing.”( Botafumeiro) We are 0 for 2 on this, so if I ever return to the Camino experience again I will not be leaving until they do swing “the thing.”

2014Camino-1070845dmvOutside the church, I notice this beggar who is prepared for rain with an umbrella tucked behind her.  I’m guessing she is a Gypsy, which is a slang term for the Romani people that frequent European countries.  More to come on this topic in future blog posts.

2014Camino-1070826plcrThese gypsies appear to be quite stern.  Is this an omen?

 

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Camino de Santiago ~ Lucky Day #13

Or, maybe not so lucky for some…

2014Camino-1070727dmvTranslation: Parents and students in defense of the nusa (neighborhood?) school. We see this as we leave the town of O Pedrouzo.  Destination ~ Santiago de Compostela!

2014Camino-1070730dmvThe path leads us through wooded areas…

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2014Camino-1070733dmv…and small farms

2014Camino-1070735dmvSmall hay bundles

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2014Camino-1070742dmvThe path is now closer to the road.

2014Camino-1070746dmvcrOne last photo opp before we enter the city.  Thank you, Random Pilgrim, for taking our picture! Liz and Bryon hiked at our pace so that we could arrive together.

2014Camino-1070751dmvpopFence next to the Santiago Airport is full of crosses made from branches. Lavacolla is recognized today more for the name of the international airport than the place where medieval pilgrims came to wash lavar and purify themselves before entering the city.

2014Camino-1070759dmvcrWe still see livestock and small farms.

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2014Camino-1070774dmvWizard of Oz?

2014Camino-1070778dmvMonte do Gozo (Mount Joy)  The monument commemorates the visit of Pope John Paul II.

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2014Camino-1070780dmvThere it is… Santiago! We can see it!

2014Camino-1070784dmvcrWe pass by the ruins of an old church. Spooky…

 

2014Camino-1070786dmvCity limits?

2014Camino-1070790dmvpopHere we go!

 

2014Camino-1070805dmvcrTa-Dah!!  What?  Under construction?  Seriously?  Oh, well…

Might as well drink in the celebration…

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2014Camino-1070814pl 2014Camino-1070817plBuen Camino! After 165 miles of hiking, we look forward to new adventures and challenges after a good nights sleep.  A bunk bed at Roots & Boots is calling my name… hmmm, wonder who our roommates will be tonight?

I have a feeling we won’t be the only ones counting sheep tonight!

 

The Rain in Spain…Camino Day #12 ~ Arzua to O Pedrouzo

I look down from the albergue window as a lone, wet pilgrim shuffles down the dark street below. A-a-a-rgh!!
2014Camino-1070700bgI am also dismayed by the bathroom situation this morning.  Rule of albergue ettiquette:  When sharing a bathroom with twenty-some people, do not spread out a whole trunk load of make-up and proceed to tie up the bathroom and sink for 40 minutes.  Nobody cares what you look like on a wet, miserable day like today!  End of rant…

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2014Camino-1070713dmvGenerally speaking, the stage goes along dirt tracks, with some stretches through secondary roads and also through paths parallel to the road. Yes, this must be Galicia because it is raining.

2014Camino-1070718dmvNot sure I’d want to push a stroller, with a little one, across northern Spain in the rain.  …yet, he smiles.

2014Camino-1070719dmvDefinitely a rain coat kind of day.

2014Camino-1070721dmvMeanwhile, we seek refuge from the elements in a cafe with hot coffee. Not many photos taken today due to the wet conditions.  The rain did let up long enough for a short video:

2014Camino-1070725dmvThese speedy hikers arrive early and find a window seat to enjoy the view of wet hikers strolling past them. It looks like Bryon’s new insoles are helping the blister situation.

2014Camino-1070723dmvHooray!  After about 18 kilometers, we arrive at our destination, O Pedrouzo, and check into Pension A Solaina.

One more day of hiking to go.  Am I happy or forlorn?  Both?

 

 

 

 

 

Almost there, but not there… Melide

Today is going to be the longest day of the trip as we cover about 30 miles or close to 50 kilometers.
Portomarin-to-Palas-de-Rei-Elevation-MapPortomarine is a couple of kilometers to the left of the map above.

Palas-de-Rei-to-Arzua-Elevation-Map Randy, Bryon and Liz start walking and their destination is Melide which requires walking the full distance of the top map and half-way into the next stage.   Will the feet survive?

2014Camino-3 Adios,  Italia!!! 

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2014Camino-1070620nrFoggy day in the woods.

2014Camino-1070625crOccasionally a cement picnic table will appear to facilitate a quick break.

2014Camino-1070627dmvThe path is worn down from centuries of pilgrims walking to Santiago.

2014Camino-1070632dmvcrWhy can’t we stay here?   In March of 2013 we did stay here and woke up to fresh snowfall.

Have Joan and Joyce been kidnapped?  Where could they be?  Um-m-m-m… shopping?

2014Camino-But first we go to the Church of San Juan since it is Sunday. This church was reconstructed brick by brick when the dam flooded the town to build a hydroelectric power plant and they were forced to relocate the city of Portomarine.

We say a little prayer for the other three trudging down the 30 mile path today.
IMG_20140824_042957_700dmvNow we hop into a cozy taxi for a joyride to Melide where we check our group into the albergue.   Every Sunday in Melide you will find a fruit, meat and cheese market where farmers bring their produce in to sell. Randy took my camera so I’m stuck with a low-end cell phone camera and Joan’s Ipod to document the day.

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IMG_20140824_043511_793dmvcrPigs feet?  Not sure how I’d cook them so I’ll pass this time.

IMG_20140824_043540_275dmvcrThis little piggy went to market…

IMG_20140824_043601_120dmvcrNorwegian cod caught in Spanish waters. Is this like lutefisk?

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IMG_20140824_043740_452dmvcrThe air is filled with noisy chatter.

IMG_20140824_060430_499dmvcrJoan negotiates our transaction and we will be supplied with delicious cheese straight from the farmer for the next several days.  Delish!

IMG_20140824_060507_631dmvJoan and I have the great plan to walk back on the trail to meet the rest of the gang to show support.  We walk and walk, but don’t see pilgrims.  This can’t be right?  We go back, find the right road out-of-town, and wait for them…and wait…and wait… and wait some more.

Finally, after almost every pilgrim has gone by, we finally make radio contact and walk to meet them. The last 10 miles have been brutal and Randy, Bryon and Liz finally limp into town, too tired to take pictures.

Painful feet, blisters and exhaustion dictate the mood tonight.

How about some cheese with that wine?

 

 

 

 

 

 

Day #9 ends in Portomarin

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Some unfortunate pilgrim has taken an alternate route.

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Hard working folks.

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We finally arrive at our destination today, Portomarin. In the 1960s the Mino River was dammed to create the Belesar Reservoir, putting the old village of Portomarín under water.

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In March of 2013 we crossed this bridge while strong, cold wind gusts pushed us around making it hard to balance. Today we have no wind and pleasant temps.

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We soon will tackle the 52 steps that will get us into the arch of the ancient Roman bridge, the entrance of the city.  These steps are challenging after a tiring day of walking with a backpack on. We do muster up enough energy to smile for the photo.

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Indiana Joan is especially elated to reach the top.

800px-Portomarín_IglesiaThe most historic buildings of the town were moved brick by brick and reconstructed in the new town, including its castle-style main church: Church of San Juan of Portomarín. This is an unusual late Romanesque temple as it is designed to be both a church and a castle and so has architectural characteristics of both buildings. The church was relocated to its current position from the valley in the 1960s when the river was flooded to form a reservoir. ~Wikipedia

Albergue FerramenteiroAlbergue Ferramenteiro has 130 beds and 5 have our names on them!  Hooray!

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Nice laundry facilities in our albergue so many pilgrims decide to clean up, including us.

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The albergue is filled to capacity tonight so we’ll be joined by many other pilgrims as we slumber.

Ah-h-h-h… home, sweet, home.

 

Italy meets Minnesota & a cattle drive

Meet our Italian friends from the area of Romeo and Juliet.  We have absolutely no Italian language skills and they are equally lacking in English-speaking skills.  However, we made it work even though Randy was kicking himself for not bringing along a little translator that could help with our communication.

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Google Earth to the rescue! Wonderful group filled with fun and laughter. We will see them often the next few days and share a cheerful greeting:  Minnesota!  Italia!

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Using a smart phone, they show us their home and we locate our farm zooming in so close we could see the junk behind our grove of trees. Green Acres is the place to be. Too bad Google doesn’t let us know ahead of time so that we can spiff up the yard for the satellite picture.

I may have to learn some Italian in case they come to visit since our address is in their phone.

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What are you looking at? Crazy pilgrims…

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One cow decides she wants to explore a different path so Randy, the experienced cattle man, blocks the way so she must now follow the rest. Good try, Bossy.

Camino Day #8: Fonfria to Sarria

2014Camino-1070432kpdmvWe’ve had our typical breakfast of tostadas (toast) and coffee only to step outside and discover pea soup fog this morning as we leave Fonfria, Spain. Kind of pretty in a surreal way, but not good for viewing scenery.

2014Camino-1070437kpdmv50Fog clears off and the trail starts descending, steep in places.

2014Camino-1070440dmvpopIt’s turning out to be a lovely day as we walk through the quaint village of Biduedo Above is a tiny chapel dedicated to San Pedro.

2014Camino-1070442dmvcrArrows continue to point the way.  I sure hope we keep seeing these helpful guides.

2014Camino-1070443dmvclThis little guy is quite friendly and does not pose a threat.

2014Camino-1070445pldmvThis spectator doesn’t seem to mind our presence, either.

2014Camino-1070446pldmvclHey, you are walking the opposite way!  Inquiring minds want to know…  We stop to chat and discover he is Australian and walking backwards to meet his wife who is walking with her sister.  Hmmm… familiar story here.  I play back the camera images from the albergue near Vega de Valcarce and it is confirmed that we are both talking about the same lovely Australian sisters.  Technology is useful, even on the Camino.

2014Camino-1070447pldmvMeet World Peace.

2014Camino-1070448hfm20pop40dmvRandy poses for a photo opp with Australia and World Peace.

The trail now descends down to the small hamlet of Pasantes.

2014Camino-1070450pldmvHuge size to this tree so it may be worth stopping to read the sign. Locals claim this unusually shaped chestnut tree to be around 800 years old. An albergue is located right next to the tree.

2014Camino-1070451dmvplNeed to take a picture since I know I won’t remember what it said.

2014Camino-1070454dmvSparse population with just a few homes and yards appearing along the trail. It’s another good day for laundry.

2014Camino-1070459hfm20pop50clWe stop for coffee in the town of Triacastela and meet this American woman walking the Camino alone from Burgos to Santiago.  Flight landed on her first day at  4:00 p.m. and she started walking immediately, arriving at an albergue at 8 or 9 p.m. after walking in the dark. Brave lady!

We leave Triacastela and need to choose the best route to Sarria. Left or right?  O.K., left it is.

2014Camino-1070462dmvcrWe pass a church with its adjoining cemetery.

2014Camino-1070465dmvcrGardens are maturing all around the old cemetery.

 

2014Camino-1070469dmv Thank you, Random Gardener, for wearing a color complementary to green.

2014Camino-1070473dmvcrOpen areas nestled in with wooded areas are used for growing crops for feed that are cut by hand.

2014Camino-1070477dmvcrThis section of the path is steep and slippery and we don’t see any other pilgrims.  Are we lost?  Did we miss a sign?  We come to a fork in the road and see no yellow arrows. Should we turn back? Should we panic? We gingerly trek to the right. Thank goodness... we finally see a yellow arrow.

2014Camino-1070479dmvplcl50crColoring with his daughter in front of his home along the Camino de Santiago.  What a great dad!

2014Camino-1070480kpdmv50crThe Camino takes us along the village of Samos and the Benedictine Monasterio de San Julián de Samos. It was founded in the 6th century by San Martin Dumiense and renovated by San Fructuoso in the 7th century. Unfortunately soon after the monastery was renovated it was abandoned because of the Moorish invasion and it wasn’t until the Asturian King Fruela I reconquered the area did the monks return. Some years later King Fruela was assassinated and the monks gave refuge to the King’s wife and son, who was later to become Alfonso II of Asturias. Because of this the monastery was granted royal protection.  ~ Galicia Guide

2014Camino-1070484poppldmv13th century Iglesia San Salvador. The belfry is a later 19th century addition.

2014Camino-1070481dmvkpcrPilgrim Statue along the Camino route.

2014Camino-1070485dmvcrFinally, we reach the town of Sarria.  How much further to the albergue?  Elizabeth and Bryon have gone ahead to get us booked into the albergue in time so we try to make radio contact now. We make contact and we must keep going through town to the other side.  A-r-g-h…

2014Camino-1070488dmvcrReally, this many steps?  We’ve already gone about 30 + kilometers (extra credit since we find out later that we took the long route) and we are hungry and tired. Our albergue is at the top of these stairs, but at least we see the yellow arrow indicating it is on the Camino route.

O.K., here we go...  anything for a bed to sleep in tonight.