Day 9 ~ Close encounters of the urban kind

Life is what you make of it, always has been, always will be. ~ Grandma Moses

Spain-1040176dmvThe sun continues to shine and we still find rocks left on side markers and monuments. If the size of rock matches the sin…

Spain-1040170dmvThe path leads us on, just as it may have done when the apostle, James,  walked on this earth and preached in this region following the old Roman roads.  Kind of mind-boggling when you think of it.

Spain-1040180dmvI’d like to introduce you to Michigan. This husband and wife are walking the Camino with their son (Doctorate in music with a trombone emphasis) and his wife (Professional opera singer). We visit with the parents while we walk and later meet up with their son and his wife having lunch as we strolled by. Of course, we had to stop and visit. Gee, I wonder why we are so much slower than the rest of the Camino walkers?

Spain-1040179dmvThanks, Michigan, for taking our photo. Life IS what you make of it and our Camino experience is richer thanks to the people who took the time to meet us and share a moment in time.

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Evidence that we are getting closer to Santiago.

This Camino monument is at the entrance to the what is considered the Santiago metro area, even though is is still about 7 miles to the cathedral. It  depicts the traditional symbol of the Camino de Santiago, the carnet shell. The symbolic shell dates back to a  2,000 year-old legend. The apostle, James, returned to Jerusalum, but was decapitated and was said to have had his remains put on a boat and shipped off to Spain (where he had previously spent 12 years as a missionary). The boat is said to have arrived on the northwestern coast of Spain in Galicia, where carnet shells from the sea surrounded it.

In medieval times, the resourceful pilgrims walking to Santiago de Compostela were said to have used the shells to ladle out soup and coffee from pilgrim supporters along the way with their carnet shells. In modern times it is customary for pilgrims to hang carnet shells on their backpacks.

~ www.thebestwaycamino.com

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Crosses on the fence, placed by pilgrims, line our path.

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Is everybody happy? H-A-P-P-Y!

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Randy adds his cross to the display.

Spain-1040202dmvIf you linger too long at this spot a security official stops to survey your activity, so there must be something top-secret or hazardous along the path.    Spanish Area 51?  We must have appeared suspicious since we were being watched. Was there a sign that said No Photos that I missed?

Actually, it is the Santiago Airport that borders the Camino path so I doubt that we’ll see aliens or spies.

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We enter the town of Lavacola, Spain which is also near the Santiago Airport. This devout woman is arranging fresh cut flowers by the tomb in an old mausoleum.  Her spouse, child, parents…?

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That is quite the flower power display by the nearest tomb.

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Randy waits on the steps outside since his blisters are causing great discomfort todaySpain-1040377dmvblisters.
Ouch!  A member of our Camino group, Lori, was a nurse in a previous career and was brave enough to pop blisters for anyone needing this procedure. The blisters looked much worse a couple of days before this photo was taken.

Spain-1040211dmvcrWe no longer see the old, stone kilometer markers and our signs are now more contemporary. We see and hear the sounds of traffic nearby, jets landing and taking off, and I’m starting to miss the natural surroundings that take you back in time, and give you a mythical type of experience. The sounds and signs of the city are interrupting my bliss.

Oh, well.  It’s all part of the Camino experience and required in order to make it to the finish line.

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!

Camino Day 8 ~ Travel to the beat of a different drum

The 2-way radio comes alive: 

BLIP…Hurry up and get here.  We are having SO much fun!!  Ireland is here, the Dr. and his fiance are here, Switzerland is here, Spain is here, drummers are here…  (Apparently, everyone but us are there)

We hear the clicks of our walking sticks pick up the pace as we try and catch up to the fun.

We arrived too late for the fun, but did catch some drumming on video.  We see evidence on the bar from the previous crowd:

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Ireland and Switzerland are still lingering on the steps of the bar enjoying the first consistent rays of sunshine that we have seen in days.  Oh, well.  Guess Randy and I aren’t having the MOST fun on the trail today.  We missed most of the festivities at the bar, including unique stamping techniques, but it is still a wonderful day to be alive!  Can’t complain.

Back on the road again.

Spain-1040024dmvThe sheep munch on the tender, sweet blades of new spring grass.

Spain-1040025dmvSome lucky critters will get a treat today!

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Yep, tail’s still there.

Spain-1040028dmvAlone and together at the same time… That kind of sums up the Camino for most of us, I think. Plenty of time for private reflection, but still try to watch out for one another.

Spain-1040037dmvTwenty kilometers to go to fulfill our goal!

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What does this say?

Although everyone, Nolle-guamos (tall branching leaves of trees used to shade coffee plants), bodies in souls become oars all.

Is it something to do with the fluid movements of our walking sticks as we flow down the Camino path of life?

May need to phone a friend and use a lifeline on this one.

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Clothesline in the old lean-to. Why not?

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This garden is way ahead of mine.

Spain-1040047kpsh50We see quite a few gardens with these tall plants.  Collard greens?

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Tall, tall trees remind me of what I envision of the California Redwoods.  I’m guessing these trees would appear dwarfed next to the Redwoods.

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It helps to look at things from a different angle, from time to time.

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Another one bites the dust… Memorial to an Irish pilgrim. By the grace of God…

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E.T., phone home?  Not sure what this is, but it may have something to do with the tub at the bottom.

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Busy traffic as we near our albergue for the night.

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This pilgrim from Chicago has decorated his backpack with the traditional shell, practical umbrella and the common yellow flowers we see along

the way.

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We find a nice albergue in Arco do Pino.  Large room full of bunk beds, nice hot showers and food/bar across the street.

A-h-h-h-h… a little bit of heaven here on earth.

Only one more day of walking… after laundry and sleep.

Camino Day 8 ~ Meet South Korea, poultry and more.

It’s the afternoon of Camino day eight and we continue down the path.

Spain-1030952dmvOur new friends this afternoon are from South Korea. (From now on referred to as Korea) One is a software engineer for Samsung (My tablet is a Samsung) and the other works at the Seoul airport. They requested a photo with us so we reciprocated.  They started the Camino at the border of France and have been walking for 37 days.  I don’t know how they did the Pyrenees during the winter let alone O Cebreiro.  Tough cookies!

Spain-1030964dmvGrapevines are found on many of the fences. Homemade wine, perhaps?

Spain-1030968dmvSmall, elevated buildings appear in this region. A horreo holds grain and some are quite elaborate with crosses on the top.

Spain-1030973dmvFamiliar scene for those of us from the farm.

Spain-1030977dmvSomehow this character trying to entice me into the bar creeps me out.  Looks like something out of a horror movie!

Spain-1030980dmvYep, still creepy.

Spain-1030983dmvAre you sure this is the way?

Spain-1030988dmvLeft or right?  Hmmm…

Spain-1030989dmvA quick shower of rain, but the temps aren’t too bad. The path winds through old, old buildings in a small hamlet.

Spain-1030993dmvI’m surprised to find so many trees and flowers blooming this early in the spring.

Spain-1030996dmvI tried to find information on Outeiro, Spain but all the pilgrims must be too tired, at this point, to care.

Spain-1030999dmvIt may not be raining right now, but creeks are still running at full speed.

Spain-1040004dmvcrPretty poultry brighten our Camino experience.

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My grandma would say that the Bontons live here. Must be an affluent resident to have a palm tree growing in the yard, landscaping, security fencing and a nicer house than the neighbors.

Randy and I are lagging behind the rest of the group, as usual.  Randy checks in with the 2-way radio.

Randy to Hot Cross Buns… bleep!  Nothing

Again he tries to make contact:

Randy to Hot Cross Buns…bleep! 

Contact is made:  Garble, mumble, rumble, waa-waa-waa…boom,boom-boom, boom… RANDY!!!!

Randy looks at me with a puzzled look,  It sounds like a bar…

Camino Day 8 ~ Walkin’ on sunshine…

Day eight…. really?  We’ve been walking THAT long!

Spain-1030867dmvWalking through Arzua takes some time with streets, traffic and so much to look at.  We stop at a grocery story for snacks and look forward to a short day of only 10 miles.

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The old kilometers marker contrasts the modern setting.

Spain-1030873dmvIt’s interesting that centuries old walls still stand and buildings are built alongside and  around them.

Spain-1030879dmvNot too many pilgrims this morning.

Spain-1030883dmvThe tired remains of an old stone building is a reminder of earlier days in this city.  Follow the yellow arrow…

Spain-1030884dmvMeet our new friends from Germany.  A mother, father, and two children in their late teens spend their holidays on hikes throughout Europe and the UK.  Favorite hiking destination?  Ireland.  That may be worth checking out!

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Finally out of town and enjoy the company of a few pilgrims this morning.

Spain-1030892dmvThe path takes us through woods reminiscent of old fairy tales with winding vines, while the countryside seems to explode with the vibrant greens of spring.

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Spain-1030907dmvcrWhy does the tractor have a 40 on the back?  Slow moving vehicle sign?

Spain-1030911dmvWe see a few modern Camino highway signs, but even these seem weathered.

Spain-1030915dmvThese connected buildings appear to be one home using the old stone walls, but installing modern doors and windows.  I’m guessing the round attached building may be a grain storage facility?

Spain-1030920dmvcr The street name is Preguntono, house number 15Bars on the windows… is that a security system?  Hmmm…not everyone means well on the Camino?

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Mo-o-o-o…

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Lugar means place,  and Pregontono, I believe, is the street name spelled slightly differently from the other house.  Albergue in the busy season?

Spain-1030926dmvThe yellow flowers are providing gorgeous scenery today and the sun is trying to shine.

Spain-1030928dmvLooking back over the village of Rua as we trek up the hill.

Spain-1030938dmvWe visit with the Dr. and his fiancé as we stroll along. Randy is answering their questions about farming / livestock and the Dr. is answering Randy’s questions about sore knees and the like.

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Looks like they didn’t use all of their chopped wood this winter.  Grapevine is ready to do its thing.

Spain-1030949dmvFollow the arrow to find the right path.  Some of the Camino markers don’t have numbers, so they just mark the path.

Spain-1030950dmvcrThis is the most pleasant day of walking so far. Temps are warming up, as well.

Maybe too pleasant…

Camino Day 7 continues with some suds

Cleanliness is next to Godliness ~ Ancient ProverbSpain-1030835dmvWash day takes on a whole new meaning.  It doesn’t mean quickly throwing a load in and doing something else while it runs through the cycles.

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The swollen river rushes by as I look below from the medieval bridge.Spain-1030824dmv

Scrub-a-dub-dub

Spain-1030837dmvChurch Furelos  in Melide.

Spain-1030838dmvSome of the buildings date back to the 10th century.

Spain-1030839dmvTake advantage of a little sunshine when you can.

Spain-1030843dmvArtwork of Jesus never gets old.  The weathered textures add another dimension to this piece.

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Large stepping-stones are a gift as the rushing water swirls around us. The water wasn’t too deep, but it would have been an inconvenience to fall in, at this point.

We hike through 4 to 5 inches of mud, manure and water, up and down steep hills, all the while enjoying the countryside, small villages and hamlets. (At least, I am enjoying it)  The day is getting longer and fewer photos are captured since I need to make some time and get to our destination.
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Break time.

Spain-1030855People leave coins on the wall, so I think I’ll leave a Jamaican coin I have rolling around in my bag.

Spain-1030860We meet two new Camino friends today from New Jersey.  An Orthopedic surgeon and his fiance, who is a nurse in a memory care facility.  Interesting conversations make the walking seem a little easier.

We arrive in Ribadiso only to find that the albergue has not opened yet for the season and are given directions to an albergue in Arzua.  Another 5 kilometers… A-r-r-r-g-h!!

We walk and walk and walk some more.  This long day is starting to seem like an eternity.

O.K., will we find lodging just around the corner?… past the next grove of trees?…  at the top of this hill?  Maybe it’s never going to appear, and we’ll have to sleep under the stars.

Our distance today is approaching 21 miles.

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A-h-h… O Retiro. You are a friend of mine.

Camino Day 7 ~ Walking in a winter wonderland

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We wake up to a winter wonderland in Palas del Rey and put on our warmest clothing to start day seven. The hotel last night had nice heaters for our socks and shoes, laundry facilities complete with dryers and a restaurant/bar nearby.

Spain-1030748dmv  Oh, baby, it’s cold outside!

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Everywhere is walking distance if you have the time. ~ Stephen Wright

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Built in the 13th century,  Iglesia de San Tirso  church has a  Romanesque doorway and scallop shell motifs.

Spain-1030767dmvWe are walking through downtown  Palas del Rey (2nd time for some of us) where there are many bars, restaurants, albergues, hotels and small shops. Here we also see the typical Galician Ayuntamiento, Town Hall, built with a mixture of granite and whitewashed render.

Follow the shells, follow the arrows, turn here, turn there and we eventually find ourselves outside of town and on our way.  Listen… I hear some cheerful singing.  It’s the Spanish angels!  The video is short due to pushing the on/off record button at the wrong time.  (Another note to self:  figure out video settings)

 

Spain-1030778dmvO carteiro means “the postman.”   Looks like a good place for a break  and a person could send a postcard. Ultramarinos means “groceries” and a snack does sound good.

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Beverages purchased and apples for the road.

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Buen camino!

Spain-1030780dmvRemains of someone’s fun last night sitting outside the bar along the street.

We will be walking through Ponte Campana, Cazanova, Laboreiro, Melide and will be aiming our sights on Ribadiso today.

Day seven is warming up a little with just a few snow and rain showers, so far.  The leg muscles even feel better, but ohhhh, the blisters!