Camino Day #11 ~ Melide to Arzua

palas-de-rei-to-arzua-elevation-map2(Map reads left to right)
2014Camino-1070637dmvWe leave Melide, Spain with a little extra spring in our step since today will not be a 30 mile day.

2014Camino-1070640dmvA good day to chit-chat along the way while drinking in the views.

2014Camino-1070647dmvMeanwhile, a couple of tough guys make their way up the hill. Blisters are plaguing Bryon due to the 30 mile hike yesterday.

2014Camino-1070653dmvWell, Madre, time to get Bossy.

2014Camino-1070656dmvclShe obliges her owner and dutifully follows as she does every day at milking time.

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2014Camino-1070662dmvPilgrims take a break by the river near Ribadiso, Spain.

2014Camino-1070668dmvcrYour rug is beautiful!

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2014Camino-1070673dmvA graffiti filled tunnel provides reading material.

2014Camino-1070674dmvRocks and flowers left by pilgrims alongside this farmyard.

2014Camino-1070677dmvAnother good drying day, but will it last?

2014Camino-1070688dmvWe arrive in Arzua, Spain and look for our albergue.

2014Camino-1070678dmvYep, here it is.  Ah-h-h-h-h… home at last (for tonight)

2014Camino-1070683dmvWe settle in (looks like we’ll have several neighbors) and decide it’s time to do some laundry.

2014Camino-1070679dmvRandy washes.

2014Camino-1070680dmvJoan hangs clothing to dry while I take pictures. We all have our roles in life!

2014Camino-1070696dmvMmmmmm… Paella  on display right on the sidewalk. Not sure if this is enticing if it has been here all afternoon.

2014Camino-1070695dmvWe decide it’s worth the risk and go for it and order paella.  They must have been expecting us since the menu is in English.

(I should have lined my body up with the picture of the good looking gal on the ad so it looked like it was me!)

Another pleasant day, but the air is cooler and the sky is darkening.  Makes me wonder what tomorrow will be like?

 

 

 

 

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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.

 

Camino Fast Forward… to Pamplona

The end of Camino Day Three is becoming more challenging.  No beds to be found in Zubiri (Rats!) No beds to be found in Larrasoana (Double Rats!).

Not being able to bring a bed back to Joan, waiting at the Rabies Bridge, we collect her and locate a cafe with wireless capabilities.

Time to figure out what Plan B should look like.  Elizabeth, A.K.A. Guru of Travel, works the daylights out of Joan’s Ipad at a cafe in Zubiri and she and Joan team up to find enough beds in Pamplona, Spain. Fast forward, via taxi, about 12.5 miles.

2014Camino-1070091dmv We end day three with a stay in a hotel near the Camino route about three miles from the city center. Day four begins with a leisurely three mile walk to the historic city center, which is quite easy compared to the previous days.
2014Camino-1070098dmvcrIt appears other tourists are eager to greet us, ignoring the poor homeless man.

2014Camino-1070095dmvcrWhile passing a city park I observe that kids are kids the world around, complete with moms overseeing their activities and sharing a conversation.

2014Camino-1070100dmvcrAfter a little bit of wandering and asking directions, we find our place of lodging  (above and on the left) and are early enough to get five beds.  This albergue opens at 1:00 p.m. daily and will fill up by 2:30 p.m. today. Finding beds has become a race in itself due to the number of people walking and biking the Camino this time of year.

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A little background on our lodging tonight:

2014Camino-1070120dmvAnother way of re-purposing, which is a trend these days.

2014Camino-1070117dmvPosters advertise bull fights, but no running of the bulls… that’s O.K.

2014Camino-1070096dmvcrNow, which street do they run the bulls?  Could be any of these or all of these.

2014Camino-1070097dmvcr Quite narrow and I would surely be trampled!

2014Camino-1070132dmvWe tour the massive Pamplona Cathedral, mostly dating from the 15th century.

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2014Camino-1070129dmvcrRandy visits with the French monk that we met the day before while on the path.

2014Camino-1070138dmvDo I see a clothesline through these enormous pillars?  Adrenaline rush.

2014Camino-1070134dmvMy day is complete.  Boom!

2014Camino-1070160dmvThe guy in the red t-shirt seems to be training for the running of the bulls!

2014Camino-1070113dmvTime to locate a meal for these starving pilgrims and Menu del dia is a favorite.

2014Camino-1070176dmvYum!?

2014Camino-1070106dmvTraditional paella is on the menu… why not?

2014Camino-1070121dmvHome, sweet home, for tonight.  Our tummies are full and it’s time to call it a day.  Tomorrow includes another Fast Forward, as scheduled in our original Plan A.

2014Camino-1070126dmvThis creepy doll is across the street from our albergue… watching us as we sleep.

Sweet dreams…?

 

 

 

Takin’ Care of Business

Segovia, Spain…a day in the life.

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Spain-1050288dmvcrWash day break to catch up on the news.

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Spain-1040993dmvpopLast drag on the cig before 10th grade math class…

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Spain-1050279dmvEven this little bird has found its own little spot in this world ~ a special perch on the aqueduct.  I guess we all have a special place and purpose and that makes the world go around.

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 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 4 ~ Every rock has a story

It is  Camino day four and we are just leaving the hilly vineyard region past Cacabelos and discover a touching memorial along the side of the path.

Spain-1030606dmv Another pilgrim must have passed away near the vineyards.

Spain-1030606-2dmvI hope his daughter was able to finish the Camino and fulfilled his dream, as well as her own.

Spain-1030628dmvI don’t have many photos in Villafranca del Bierzo due to the constant rain, but I just can’t resist strolling ladies.

In the Middle Ages, the town of Villafranca del Bierzo is first mentioned in 791. The origin of the modern town is connected to the Way of St. James as a rest place for the pilgrims which started to reach  Santiago de Compostela from the 9th century.  ~Wikipedia

Spain-1030630dmvcrIf you want clean clothes you need to do the laundry, rain or shine. It is going to take some time to dry if the weather stays like this in Trabadelo, Spain.  The village is in the region of El Bierzo and Galician is spoken here.  It is still the province of Leon but we are getting closer to Galicia.

Spain-1030641Our Spanish is limited and her English is, too.  We still managed to have a wonderful conversation.

Spain-1030639She has to be one of the cutest ladies I’ve seen.  Her twinkling eyes and warm smile can sure brighten up a dreary day.  “Buen camino!”  are her parting words.

Spain-1030642dmvThe 17th century Parish Church of San Nicolas is in the background. This simple church contains a small seated image of the Virgin with Child dating from the Middle Ages.

Our gang is now traveling in three groups.  Kathy, Lori and Jane are together;  Randy and Joyce are bringing up the rear; but where are Joan and Diane?  Are they pursuing an alternative camino experience?  Are they sitting in a bar somewhere, too exhausted to go another step?  Have they been abducted?

Hmmm…