To market, to market… Paris, France

Time to leave the hostal and explore, so we visit a neighborhood Paris street market near the Red Light District. Market products are often fresher, more flavorful, and less expensive than supermarket counterparts. They can also be a lot more environmentally friendly since the fresh fruit and produce, in particular, tends to come from local farms.

It’s entertaining listening to the French chatter while we try to identify products while their smells permeate the air.












2014Paris-1070897dmvWith access to a kitchen, it would be fun to buy food and beverage at the market and cook our own meals.

Bon appetite!

It’s a beautiful day in the neighborhood ~ Paris, France

Want to experience Paris, but not willing to dole out extravagant amounts of money?

paris_map3Welcome to the neighborhood of Calaincourt Hostel, located in the Montmartre, a hill in the north region of Paris, France. If you check out the map above, we are located  just  north of #18 Sacre Coeur, located at the summit of the butte Montmartre. (Click on links for more info.)

2014Paris-1070930cl All five of us are crammed into this little room, but it is actually a wonderful spot to be and the price is right.  Breakfast included with all the coffee/tea you can drink(Sadly, not many bathrooms in the city so we had to limit consumption of liquids),  happy hour each day with a great view overlooking our steep steps, so we can look down and see/hear the people passing by. Bonus points for having our own bathroom/shower, and the bunk beds double as drying racks!

2014Paris-1080124dmvFront view of our hostel with a nice laundromat  located nearby. Thank you, Italian Family On Holiday for the interesting visit as we shared the laundromat facilities.

2014Paris-1080126dmvWe really are situated on a hill as our hostel window is upper left. Lots of beeking (eavesdropping?)  opportunities as people pass by on these steps. I am surprised that French does not seem to be the predominant language spoken as the chatter of Middle Eastern and African languages pepper the air as we listen through the window.

2014Paris-1080175dmvcrRandy finds an English-speaking French man to share dog stories.  Kind of looks like our old dog, Sandy.

2014Paris-1070982Fragrant smell of sausage and bread.

2014Paris-1080109dmvKids are kids the world around as they eye the yummy looking items in the window of a nearby candy store.

2014Paris-1080111dmvPopular mode of transportation.

2014Paris-1080119dmvThe name of this restaurant, Le Cafe Qui Parle,  reminds me of home ~ Lac Qui Parle County in Minnesota, but it is out of our price range. (Click on the link to view info and menu.)

2014Paris-1080121dmvcrWe purchase food and beverages at our local little grocery store and at a nearby supermarket.

2014Paris-1080177fp20pop30crThis little gal is ready to leave the cafe at the bottom of our steps before her parents have finished visiting.  Just like home.

2014Paris-1080184dmvDown the street, this gentleman sits at this spot waiting for handouts and is dressed in this attire each day we are here.

2014Paris-1080186dmvOne afternoon, I did see him standing in a small sandwich shop. I don’t know his story, but it seems to be a boring life.

paris happy hour

Photo credit: Joan Rigdon – Ipad

So, here’s to Paris and our new home away from home!

Au revoir… until tomorrow.





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!!! 


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.




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?


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?







…at the end of Day #1.

Tired and hungry, we look forward to the Pilgrim meal at the end of day one in the Albergue Orrison.  The albergue host asks each group to introduce themselves, say which country they are from and where the Camino will take them.    We are fortunate to sit next to a delightful family (mother, father with four children) from Normandy, France.

At the bottom you will find a Youtube link that will feature my attempt at a video of the Pilgrim introductions. I apologize for always struggling to find the right spot on the camera to stop recording which results in some wild movements. (…and I can never keep my mouth shut!)

2014Cam-1060902I am amazed at how many people from other countries can speak English, while I pretty much mutilate the Spanish language in order to get my point across.

2014Cam-1060903Delicious vegetable soup and the next course was roast beef.  Excellent!



El Acebo is far enough ~ Injury on the trail

Really?  This is STILL day two?

After a long and challenging descent we finally see a town. El Acebo lies ahead and we plan to stop for a short rest and continue on to Molinaseca.
Spain-1030503dmvThe grueling downhill descent has taken its toll on a member of our group as Kathy’s knee has flared up and she is struggling to make it down the hill.  Being a positive thinking problem solver, she gets down a steep hill by crab walking on her backside.  Whatever gets the job done, right Kathy?  This appears to put a wrinkle in her plan of completing the Camino.

Randy and I get to El Acebo and sit in front of a building called La Rosa del Agua to wait for the rest of the group.  A cute young couple run the hostal and she brings us delicious, hot coffee to sip on while we attempt to visit with our limited language skills.  We each have just enough skill to get the information we need.  She is hoping we decide to stay tonight and they are ready to provide lodging. Meanwhile we discover we have another 10 kilometers downhill until Molinaseca, it is after 4:00 p.m. and one swelled knee will go no further today.  La Rosa del Agua will be our new home tonight.  I don’t know why I didn’t take a photo of the front of the hostal so you’ll have to click on the link and it will take you to their website with photos and information.

Spain-1030508 Notice stage 25 on the elevation map to the left.  I told you it was steep!

The menu del dia (menu of the day) tonight included trucha (trout) complete with the eyes.

Spain-1030510Fish is not a favorite of Lori’s but she did pull it together long  enough to pose for a photo.  Good to the last bone!  Or, should I say, good to the last eyeball!

A man that claims to live on the Camino joins us tonight at the restaurant and, after enough wine, is quite politically outspoken. I’m afraid we don’t share the same conviction he has so we excuse ourselves and head back to the hostal to settle in for the night. Little did we know he would also be at our hostal and he is not a quiet sleeper!

Spain-1030513dmvWe shouldn’t misplace this key.

Spain-1030514dmvWe waken to find a delicious breakfast waiting for us in this cute little kitchen. Granola, fruit, muffins, toast, milk, juice and, most important of all, hot coffee.

Spain-1030517dmvOur host mom leaves us a nice little note in English to cheer us on and get our day started on the right foot.

Spain-1030521dmvOn the cover of this book is the stamp they put in our Camino Pilgrim Passports and inside we are to write comments and greetings.  Of course, I write a positive message since I’m “Minnesota Nice.”.

Kathy’s knee is swollen and very sore so our hostal mom helps arrange a taxi service to take her  down the mountain along with my sister, Joan, for moral support.  It rained quite hard during the night, but the sun is now shining brightly with just a few clouds.  Hooray for no rain!!  We are going to attempt to make up time from the short day yesterday and plan to meet up with the two that took the “fast forward” in the main plaza of Ponferrada.  We’ll see how well our two-way radios work today.

La Rosa del Agua gets bonus points for the wonderful heaters with drying racks so our soaking wet boots, socks, clothing, etc. are nice and dry this morning as we begin our walk.  You really learn to appreciate dry feet!

Now to continue the descent… ugh, the legs are a little stiff this morning.