Milking time is done… for now.

Camino de Santiago Day #6 continues up the mountain, O’Cebreiro…

The path passes through a small dairy farm and we arrive just after morning milking.

2014Camino-1070308dmvThe girls are milked and it’s time to mo-o-o-o-ve on.

2014Camino-1070313dmvLooks like Grandma has kid duty and a strong grasp on her charge. Don’t even think about it, Nino!


Day #1 from St. Jean… Can we really do this?

A restless night filled with anxiety. Dreams of falling off a mountain. ARE WE INSANE?
stage 1 camino ele_st.jeanOur destination for the day is Orisson. We opted to book our first night at Refuge Orisson instead of trying to do the entire 27.1 kilometer Napoleon Route over to Roncesvalles in one day. The first day seems to always be the hardest and combined with the steep grade would make the route to Roncesvalles miserable.  We choose not to be miserable as we don’t want to suffer that much!

2014Cam-1060805Visions of streets filled with noisy people starting their Camino de Santiago experience were quickly dashed.  Where is everybody?  Are we the last ones to leave?

2014Cam-1060821dmvThe St. Jean Farewell Committee on duty.

2014Cam-1060820pophpWe see a few stray backpackers, look down and there it is!  The shell…  We will see several shells in the next couple of weeks, but none as fancy as this until Santiago.  Note the French wording, “Jacques.”

2014Cam-1060818Follow the arrow!

2014Cam-1060833 The views become spectacular as we ascend the increasingly steep path.

2014Cam-1060837dmvRandy finds a new friend. If only he had brought along an ear of corn…

2014Cam-1060854Ding, ding, ding chimes the cowbell in the distance.

2014Cam-1060861dmvBreathtaking scenery and the path is challenging but not painful.

2014Cam-1060868dmvWe are not alone as we find walking mates throughout the day from Columbia/Miami, Scandinavia, France, Germany, Canada and Spain, to name a few. Columbia/Miami on the far left is doing the Camino on bicycle.

2014Cam-1060871dmvDoing A-O.K. and enjoying the view.

2014Cam-1060877View from my path location to the path below as a small group of hikers rest and chat.

2014Cam-1060883The climb becomes more difficult as we labor towards our destination.

2014Cam-1060884Yes!  Can’t see it yet, but it’s always comforting to have hope and the guidance of a sign.

2014Cam-1060885Ah-h-h-h….  There it is. Refuge Orisson consists of this albergue building and across the road is a terrace including tables from which we can enjoy a spectacular view of the valley.  All beds are booked and they are filling up the back yard with tents. Eighteen beds (bunk) in three rooms, two toilets, showers and a bar with food downstairs.  Who could ask for more?

2014Cam-1060890Boots are not allowed in the rooms so we park them here.  We are in a room with three bunk beds so one poor soul from Sweden will be joining us in the snoring chorus tonight.

We watch some wet Pilgrims arrive later as the rain drizzles down on them.  We are thankful to have arrived early enough to beat the rain.

Now we must make sure we are signed up for the evening Pilgrim meal and rest so that we can stay awake during the meal. I will be using the video features of my camera tonight so stay tuned for the results!





Meet the Most Eligible Bachelor in Spain

It’s around 6 p.m. after day #1 of hiking the Camino de Santiago and we decide we are in desperate need of something to relax and medicate our sore, aching bodies and warm our wandering souls.  We find a stone building that houses a tavern and see some customers that are just leaving.  Don’t they say that a sign of a good establishment is one that has customers? Plus, Taberna del Pueblo is Spanish for village tavern so that may be just what the doctor ordered.

Spain-1030359dmvBonus points for having a broom parked outside to show that they care enough about their business to sweep. This should be worth checking out…

Spain-1030356dmvO.K., so the regulars don’t exactly greet us with shouts of joy and welcome us with open arms.  It is dry and warm in here so we decide to at least have a beverage.

Spain-1030349dmvI’ve seen some interesting bar decor in my day but this takes the cake.  This leg of a pig is featured front and center on the bar and our new friend, Damian, shaves some meat off, arranges the meat on a plate and we are offered some delicious, succulent ham as tapas to go with our drinks  (What we would call appetizers, the Spanish call tapas).  Tapas may be cheese, meats, olives, bread, etc. to snack on with your beverage of wine or beer and the first plate of tapas is often provided free with the purchase of drinks.

I’m guessing, from my research, that we were eating Jamon Serrano,  meaning literally “mountain ham.”  It is aged in the fresh mountain air of Spain for a minimum of 18 months with only natural Mediterranean Sea salt.  Most Serrano ham is made from Landrace breed pigs, or a mix of Duroc breed, Large White and Landrace. In Spain, Serrano ham is a part of life, served in bars, restaurants and found in virtually every home.  ~D’


This member of our group is involved with the pork industry in Minnesota and is so intrigued by the pig leg adorning the counter of the bar that she soon makes herself at home and decides to try her hand at carving.  Our new friend, Damian, must be equally intrigued by this bold American and does allow her to wield a knife.  However, he does appear somewhat unsure of what he has gotten himself into tonight. Gloves and a hair net would be required to do such work at home, but when in Spain do as the Spaniards!

Spain-1030364crdmvDamian has some personal items of interest on display.  I wish I had asked if that was an old photograph of his family since we could have o-o-o-ed and ah-ah-ah-ah-ed ~  El es un nino lindo (He is a cute little boy).  On the far right are books that a friend of his has written and he was selling them in the bar in case we wanted some reading material in the albergue.  It also looks like Santa visits Damian at Christmas time, too!

Spain-1030357dmvBuen Camino!!  We raise a toast to day one.  It appears that Damian likes old movies judging by the posters on the wall.  I am standing by the bar while I take this photo so you can see that it is a very small establishment.

Spain-1030376dmvAs the evening progresses we become even more acquainted with Damian and Damian continues to be amused by this group of Americans.  He has become endeared to our hearts and I think  he was amazed that we found him to be such a cutie pie!  He may have received more than the normal amount of admiration typical of a Thursday night in the tavern.  He reveals to us that he is single, so I feel as though I need to do my part and spread the word across the world that we have discovered the most eligible bachelor in Spain.


O.K., ladies, I know where he is so I can point the way to Damian of Rabanal, Spain!

Time to eat supper and go back to the hostel to rest up for day two of walking.  A chorus of snoring may be lulling us to sleep tonight and I hope I am in the choir and not part of the audience.