Wednesday, 12 October 2011

Still in Santiago.....October 12/11

Parador sitting room

Dining area at Moure Hotel

View from our room Moure Hotel


We have moved to another hotel close to the Cathedral as well......we have moved from a very grand old historical hotel to a brand new ultra modern one....this one all black, white, grey with the odd touch of lime green....and even our bath has a view.  Breakfast at the Parador was unbelievable.....great bowls of fresh mango, papaya, strawberries, orange, grapefruit as well as kiwi, pineapple & melon.....variety of cold meats including serrano ham and specialty sausage, cheeses, smoked salmon and hot dishes of eggs, peppers, bacon, sausages, cereals, yogurts, juices, breads, muffins, croissants, sweet breads & cakes......it was hard to know what to have!  There was even champagne though we didn't partake......and breakfast here at the modern place was great too.......fruit, fresh squeezed orange juice ....you should see the machine....whole oranges in one end, juice out the other......pates, jams, croissants, cheese, toast etc.....and never ending coffee/tea/hot chocolate.

Yesterday we went to the pilgrim's mass....this is a first... at the cathedral which was very impressive with about 1000 people in attendance.....a nun sang beautifully, the botafumeiro swung from side to side nearly touching the ceiling.  It spread incense throughout the cathedral killing all other smells......luckily as the pilgrim next to Derek hadn't washed his shirt in a while!

It is a public holiday in Spain today......lots is closed but Santiago being a tourist city like Victoria has a lot of bars, cafes, restaurants open.....and the weather is still fantastic in the higher 20's.  The streets have been hosed down after parties last night.....just like in Leon & Burgos .....so everything is fresh and clean in the am.

Thought we would write a few thoughts about the experience of walking the Camino:

Spanish hospitality workers work long hours and work hard.
People are generally friendly with a nod, a smile, an hola, or a buen camino.
Early mornings are fresh and lovely.
One can get by comfortably without a lot of clothing/shoes.
The more one has the more one has to worry about.
Communal living is as successful as the participants are respectful of others.
Walking uphill is easier than walking downhill.
Walking the Camino requires perseverance.
Walk with your head up but don't look too far ahead or you could miss your step or trip on a raised rock.
800 kms seems like a lot but others we have met have walked from Holland, Geneva, or Austria ....distances greater than 2000 kms.
Walking the Camino puts everyone on the same level.
Walking 20 kms allows one to eat/drink without gaining weight.
Botafumeiro in Cathedral

Monday, 10 October 2011

Santiago de Compostela - October 10/11

Well here we are in Santiago at last.....hard to believe that we have actually walked about 800 kms....it feels very good to be finished with carrying the backpack all day.....we have our official compostela (certificate) with our first names in Latin......we have been on the road for 41 days and haven´t had a single day of rain....how lucky is that!

final celebration lunch
second course of pilgrims menu last night - beef and chips!!!!
our hotel next to cathedral

in front of cathedral Santiago

Happy birthday to our dear son Morgan for the 12th and there is the next world cup for SA to win.....

Saturday, 8 October 2011

Arzua - 10.08.11


 It has been difficult to access the internet other than wifi these past days.....and now we are about 40 kms from our goal.....have given up the municipal albergue scene and now prefer private albergues or even casa rurals like last evening.  Galacia is known for its wet weather and hills.....we have been very lucky with just a couple of morning mists and then bright sunny skies.  There has been a cool wind blowing the past few days which has made walking 20 odd kms much easier.....but we are feeling like it is about time to be done with the walking and so won't do the add-on to the coast.  Galacia is full of hills and valleys and so even though our guide says the walk is relatively flat - it isn't.....so we still work up a thirst for a cerveza by the time we arrive down the road....and we are starting later now as it is darker....this am we started at the civilized hour of 845am.  So the end is near and we are booked into the parador in Santiago to celebrate.....Yeah!
through oak forest
octupus is speciality in Melide
stairs to town of Portomarin
hills of Galacia
this should have been the way to carry packs

farmer loading corn in rat proof storage

Sunday, 2 October 2011

Ruitelan 10.02.11


leaving Rabanal at first light
early morning pilgrims
Rabanal del CaminoWe now have 167 kms to go to get to Santiago and are spending the night in an albergue in the tiny town of Ruitelan before we climb up out of the Bierzo Valley.  The mornings have been cooler but it still gets very hot midday.  We have walked through many vineyards and sampled some delicious grapes which are just beginning to be harvested.  There are more animals now that we are in the mountain valleys and we can hear cow bells again while walking.....still lucky with the weather ..... no rain yet.

Tuesday, 27 September 2011

Astorga september 27th

We are now in Astorga and some time has gone by since updating this blog.  We have been unable to download pictures and have finally found out that we have 6 viruses in our camera!.....we have now covered approx. 540kms....have been blessed by nuns in Sahagun after listening to them do their version of a Gregorian chant....all 12 of them.....we have listened to an organ concert in the cathedral in Leon at 10pm....which was fantastic.....spent two nights in Leon with no sleep at all......we stayed in a pension on the plaza mayor and it was party night sat. and we thought it would improve sun.....but the party ended when we woke up both days.  Leon is a lovely city though and we had some great food.......Derek enjoyed some lamb shanks stew and beef cheeks...delicious.  We have met so many people.....from countries like US, France, Ireland, Italy, Denmark, Germany, Holland, Austria, England, Scotland, Australia, New Zealand to name a few.....but mostly we have met so many Canadians.  My blisters have healed but have been bitten by something all over my feet that are causing a few problems.....wouldn´t you know it!  Still no rain....we have been very lucky....we leave for the mountains again after days of flat walking on the meseta.....hopefully the weather holds out so we can enjoy the scenery.  We are in an albergue tonight that takes about 60 people in bunk beds but we have two bottom bunks that are set right next to each other.   Hopefully our new camera card doesn´t get compromised again and we can update the blog with more pictures more regularly.  Hope all is well with everyone.....
The place of the Bishop designed by the famous Gaudi finished in 1913
Self portrait with the palace behind
A view of house with chickens and the usual 3 cats taken from ramparts of town
Ramparts surrounding the old city of Astorga
in front of the doors of the cathredal-construction started 1471, finished in 18th century

Tuesday, 20 September 2011

Ledigos - Sept 20.11

Arriving in Castrojeriz....after 20km we decide to walk up to that ruin of the castle on the hill on the left!
Gayle at the laundry facilities
At Castrojeriz ...at the Castillo built by pompey or caesar

We are now  400 kms into our walk.....really quite cold in the mornings before sunrise and we have used our gloves and warm shirts...but not the long johns yet.....however, it does warm up by about 11am and we start shedding layers......no rain so far......try to finish the day by about 1pm and then like today we shower, wash clothes, have a cerveza, have the menu del dia with vino tinto......and then put our feet up and have a snooze......not a bad life if you don´t count the hour before we arrive....we are always thanking Bonnie our trainer when we are struggling and are thankful for no serious injuries so far.....thanks for all your comments...we appreciate your interest......hope all is well with our family and our friends.    We have seen a  mongoose, fox, mouse, and for justene and christo...we have seen hoopoes     


This is the easy way to do the camino!
Walking the meseta
Derek´s view from his bed
Stork nest on bell tower at Boadilla del Camino
hot dry walk thru wild thyme, lavender to ledigos

Thursday, 15 September 2011

Burgos - rest day - 15.09.11

We are taking the day off in Burgos.....to rest our feet and backs and to see Sue off on the bus to London this evening.  We have had some interesting experiences along the way including a very laid-back albergue that turned out to be a hoot....but we did have a private room with bath for 14 euros.....on the third floor with steep steps....hard work to climb after a long walk.
Burgos is bustling.....going to go inside the cathedral later today....still enjoying the bread, enjoying the chocolate croissants, vino tinto, cervezas, and now calamari.


last day with sue
bar in Villafranca

Cathedral in Burgos
surgery by derek on gayle's toe
not far to go
maryalice sue me
our friends for a walk to the supermarket
guess who
on the road