Saturday, June 29, 2013

June 30

Santiago to Terneuzen by bus plane and car.
Took the bus from Santiago to O Porto in Portugal then the plane to Brussels where Howard came to pick me up. What a happy sight it was to see his face in the crowd, family does mean a lot. Got to Terneuzen at 11:0pm. had a chat with Tiny and off to bed. Martha came the next morning and we spent the day in Terneuzen and then drove to Oost Souburg. Today we had a lazy morning and in the afternoon went to a birthday party at Jeroen and Nicole's. my left foot is giving me some trouble, I think it is missing the boots. It is strange to walk around without the pack, almost like something is missing. Thank you all for the many congratulations, and see you all soon.
Big Hug

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

June 26

Arrived in Santiago at 9:0am.
The last 10km. Are nothing to write home about, suburbs, city, traffic and lots of people and traffic lights.
Walking up to the Cathedral was amazing. I walked with Brigitte which was nice as we walk the same tempo. There were so many pilgrims, many without a pack but you can tell by their limping that thy are pilgrims. Went straight to the pilgrim office to get the Compostela. There was just a small lineup which is rare, but it was early and most pilgrims arrive at noon. I was hoping not to cry but when I got to the lineup lots of pilgrims were crying for joy to have made it. All along the way the Compostela did not seem important, but once I got  there I really wanted it. A quick scan of the list showed me that on my page I was the oldest one. Went to the pilgrim mass at noon and all the countries and number of pilgrims get mentioned, from Canada there were 5. Brigitte was the only one from switzerland. The town is teeming with people. It is amazing how many people I met with whom we started out in St. Jean. We greet each other like long lost friends. Met Barbara with the hip replacement, two dutch couples, and lots of pilgrims from recent stops. Just now the Spanish couple who had a bet that I will never make it to Santiago walked in, big surprise and big halloo.
For me this walk is the hardest thing I ever did (besides having and raising a family)    but also the best and most rewarding.
I could not have done this walk without the support of you all, your mails and posts kept me going and your spirit gave me the strength to go on. So the Compostela is for all of us as in spirip you walked every step with me.
How Blessed I am.
Grateful Pilgrim.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

June 25

Walked ron Arzua to Lavacolla.
First of all thank you for all the comments, even this morning  before my walk I read your letters.
Had another wonderful walk, left the albergue with a frenchman and a lady from Spain but after a few kilometers walked blissfully alone. Had cafe con leche and met Brigitte from switzerland and walked the rest of the way with her, we now share aroom in a hotel, what bliss to have a bathroom where I can lock the door. Walked today further than intended as the hostels were full.
Hard to believe that I o

nly have 10km. to Santiago, will start walking at 6:30am. Then I will be just in time to get my Compostela and attend pilgrim mass at noon. There are 7 of us who will walk in to Santiago together.
My feet are now fine and I feel like I could walk further, as some will go on to Finisterre, but Santiago is enough for me. Will book a flight to Brussels in the afternoon.
Hugs and Thank you to all.
Grateful Pilgrim.

Monday, June 24, 2013

June 24

Walked from Palac del Rei to Arzua
Again had a good walk I planned to go til Ribadiso which is 26 km. but got there at noon and felt it was to soon to stop so walked another 3km. to Arzua. Got a nice hostel right on the Camino so will leave early tomorrow morning. Thank you all for your mail, read it all over a late lunch.
Today I walked with Ann from Atlanta, I have seen her off and on along the way. Ann is walking the Camino to get help for her grieve. She lost her son in an accident and tries to make some sense of it, Ann does not carry a pack she ships it from hotel to hotel but when she walks you can see her internal burden. She is living a mothers worst nightmare. I stopped in at the next church to thank God to have spared me this kind of loss and to give Ann strength.
The Camino is now very busy but it is nice to hear young people joking and laughing. I always hear comments when thy see the canadian flag on my pack, right away thy start talking to me in english and every day someone says thy have family in Canada. At the hostal I was asked to take my boots off by a young hostalero and when I said how can you ask a grandmother to take her shoes off he said "grandmothers sit at home and knit and do not walk for 33 days" but he did carry my pack to the room. The first photo we walk out of the village, the second is the path the third is the cafe con leche.
Big Hug to all
Grateful Pilgrim

Sunday, June 23, 2013

June 23

Walked from portomarin to Palacio del Rei.
Started walking at 6:30 as I wanted to get ahead of the crowds. Well I got my wish, for the first 10km. I did not see another soul. It was the best walk ever, a little cloudy but no rain and no pain. And the only sound was the birds. Today I felt a big shift within, I started my Camino for gratitude for the things in my life and today I was very aware that my walk is not for the things but it is gratitude for the people in my life. This whole jouney I felt carried by so many of you. You all were like wind under my wings. I know a lot of you worried about me and I am thankful for that, your mails gave me the strength to go on. It is hard to describe how connected I feel to you all. Thank you.
Grateful Pilgrim.

Saturday, June 22, 2013

June 22

Walked from Sarria to Portomarin.
It took me 7 hours to walk 27km. The terrain was steep up and very steep down, very rocky and deep mud in places. But I had a fantastic walk. The scenery, the bird song and the flowers plus sunshine made for a wonderful day. Today I met the things I feared most, dogs and horses and cattle. Well the dogs paid no attention to me, the horse walked right past me and the cows just brushed my pack.
The Camino is now busy  and noisy, lots of young people and Spanish people talk very loud. Also more garbage on the path. I booked in to a hotel as the albergue has 140 beds and with all these kids it will be noisy. Getting to Portomarin you have to cross a bridge and at the other end you have to climb 70 steps to get in to town, it took all I had to do it. In the town square I met Karin again, I thing we said goodby for the last week and kepp meeting again. From here it is 88 km. to Santiago and it is supposed to be sunny so I have to stock up on water, I use 2.5 liters a day. Well I am off to pamper the feet and a little nap. Thank you all for your mail that makes for a nice end of the day.
Big Hug to all.
Grateful Pilgrim.

Friday, June 21, 2013

June 21

Arrived in Sarria at noon today.
I stopped counting the kilometers that I do a day, it does not seem important any more.
The climb up to o'Cabriero was long and tough and I was very lucky that it was sunny. Did not stay long and walked on to Fonfria and stayed in the albergue. There is just a farm with milk cows and the smell left no doubt of where we were. They had 60 beds and were full. Started to rain heavy in the afternoon. Had a wonderful pilgrim dinner, it was one long table for 30 people. And what a surprise who should sit next to me, remember the frenchman in sandals in the mud at the beginning. I think it was in the first week. I did not recognize him as he has lost 16 pounds, but he asked me where my brother and sister in law was then I had a good look and recognized him. What a difference 4 weeks make. He still has some trouble with his feet but keeps on going. The walk today was hard, mostly downhill on what seemed riverbed but is the Camino. Saw a nice albergue before Sarria  but kept on going. After getting in to town I was sorry that I had not stopped.Sarria is teeming with pilgrims it is the starting point of the requisite 100 km. to get your Compostela and a lot of people who do not have time to do the whole way start here. On top of that they have some kind of fiesta, so loud music everywhere with rides for the kids and food and drink stands everywhere. So I took a taxi back to the albergue  at the edge of town, have now a nice private room as there are few pilgrims here. Nice and Quiet. Will have a good rest as the next stretch to Santiago will be very busy.
From here it is 110.0km to go. The mural is on a wall in Sarria this is just part of it.
Hugs to all
Grateful Pilgrim.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

June 20

Still in Villafranka.
Well here I am at 3 in the morning and wide awake. Fell asleep at 7:0pm. And woke up now so as there is nothing to do I will write my thoughts down.
As the walk comes closer to the end  I am saying goodby to some terrific walking companions, some were further back and some now. There is Karin  from Sweden who as it turns out is now ahead of me as she has problems with her knee and took the bus and there is a good chance I will see her again. Monika from Creston has to return home, she had only 2 weeks and will continue her Camio some other time. Kirsten from Denver I am sad to say goodby to also, I met her in Leon, she is the lady the young girl with the ashes was trying to keep up with. Kirsten and I started out every morning at 6:30 and as soon as we were out of the village or town she was off and we would meet up at our next destination and have a late lunch and sightsee together and find a store to buy supplys for the next day. Kirsten has a rest day here and so we say goodby. What a wonderful companion she is.
Then there is Estrella from Italy, she came down with a bad cold and will take the bus for the next stage, but I will probaly see her again as well. Before leaving today I will go to the post office and mail some stuff to Santiago to general delivery to lighten my pack, there are some very steep mountains (1,400 meters) coming up and every ounce counts. I have 2 kilos that are not essential.
Thank you for your posts I read them and think of them while walking.
Grateful pilgrim


Walked from

Ponferrada to  Villafranka 25.0km.
Left Ponfrrada at 6:30 am. and it took us 45minutes to find our way out of town and on to the Camino.
Had a wonderful walk today, no pain and a light breeze. Walked alone and at a good pace, this is the best day so far, beutiful countryside  vinyards streems and very old villages, stopped and talked to a few residents, as I get asked about Canada. Along the way a farmer stoped me and gave me a kilo of cherries. He has a on living in Toronto. There is birdsong all along the way. A few times I was wondering if I was on the right path,  and everytime I was not sure there was in the distance a red dot, when I cougth up to it it was a french lady doing the Camino in stages. We waked the rest of the way together. Met the German lady who had fallen, her face looks terrible but she can keep on walking. Tomorrow will be a very steep climb, and in the next albergue no internet, so if you do not hear from me, know that I am fine and on the right path. Thank you all for your mail and posts, I am so happy to get your mail as I feel that you all are on the Camino with me.
Love you all.
Grateful Pilgrin

Tuesday, June 18, 2013


Walked from Foncebadon to Ponferrada 30.0 km.
Well the weather man was wrong, it did not rain as predicted, I got dressed warm as we were in the mountains and it was supposed to rain, left the albergue at 6:30 and had a wonderful sunrise, it made the climb a lot not so bad.
Today again walked with very little pain, and the views made  me forget even that.  It was very rough terrain and I walked with extreme caution. You can see on the picture how rocky and steep it is. I had planned to walk alone and did for the first half, but at the steep section I met up with a Korean lady, then a Spanish couple, then a german lady  and a german man and an Australian couple. So we ended  up to be a group. It was fun until Marianne fell on her face, lucky nothing broken just two black eyes and a swollen nose and hand. We wanted to get her a ride but she walked all the way to Ponferrada.
Passed by the memorial of a cyclist who got killed  a few years ago, always a little reminder to be careful. Well I am off to my bed to pamper my feet.
Hugs to all
Grateful Pilgrm

June 17

Waked from Astorge to Foncbadon  27.2 km.
This is the first day in a long tine that I walked almost pain free. Stated out at 6:30 am. and it wad cold and windy and a little rain, I am now off the meseta and the terrain is getting interesting again. In Astorga I met up with a lot of pilgrims who started in St. Jean with us, we greet each other like long lost friends and many a story is told. Lots of blisters, sorefeet and pulled backs. Nice to know that I am not the only one with  problems. Arrived in Foncebadon just after lunch and as there was rain predicted for the next day I walked 2.5 km. up to the Cruce de Fierro. The Iron Cross and put my rocks there. It was an amazing feeling to stand there, very emotional. The hostal was not very good but it is just a few houses on top of the mountain. Had dinner and went to sleep at 7:0 pm.
Thank you all for your mail

Big hug
Grateful Pilgrim

Sunday, June 16, 2013

June 16

Sorry the post got strewed up and I could not fix it also the pictures are too big. Hope the next one is better.
P.S. happy Birthday Harold.

June 15/16

Walked from Leon to Villar de Mazarife 22 km.
I did not stop in Leon as it was very busey, so I started my walk  at the edge of town. Traffic is cracy and as I am not so nimble on my feet it is a bit scary to cross a street. Again walked through beautiful countryside. Along the way I met a very young girl from San Francisco with a very heavy pack, very white skin, shorts and selleveless. Totally red in the face from trying to walk fast. This is her first day walking and she had never hiked before so was not prepared for the Camino at all. She was trying to keep up with a lady she met on the plane who is a seasoned walker. I told her to slow down and find a pace that feels good to her and meet up with the lady in Mazarife. So she walked the rest of the way with me . She is 20 years old and has her mothers ashes with her which she wants to put at Cruce de Fierro which is at 1,515 meters altitude, so quite a climb.
At my slower pace I can observe  the different types of pilgrims.
There are the men who get up at 5am. and race to the next destination. There are the young people who party a lot and in the morning have to get kicked out of the albergue. There are the couples who are very organised and help each other put on their packs. The bikers are a breed of their own. And then there is the rest of us. Out of the albergue at 7am. walking at a medium " mine now slow" pace and stopping often to take pictures or just rest in the shade. By mid afternoon we all end up at the same place and the slow ones get greeted by the fast ones. This is my observation of the Camino population.
June 16. Mazarife to Astorga. 18 km. walking and 13 km. by bus.
Left Mazarife at 6:30 to get an early start de Obrigo we had another stop and admired the Roman bridge which dates back to the 13th. Century. Got to Astorga at 2.0pm. And what a neat city it is, would need more time to explore, am going to bed soon as tomorrow will be a long day. Astorga is the chocolate capital of Spain, what temptation.

 start as it is very hot and I needed to arrive before lunch and give the ankle a break. Stopped along the way for my coffee and sandwich which is very welcome after 10 km. and also gives me a rest. At Hospital
Hooray only 254 km. to go.
Hugs to all from the
Grateful Pilgrim.

Friday, June 14, 2013

Day 23

Walked from Mansillas de las Mulas to just outside Leon. 18.0 km.
Last nite in las Mulas had a nice dinner with a lady from Australia and a mother and son from Brazil.
There were 18 bed in our room and quite a few snorers so had a restless nite. But the view of the sunset from my window made up for it. Left las Mulas at 8:0 am. And had a good walk, the feet hurt in the beginning  but after about 5 km. I get in to my stride and am fine. It took me 5 hours to do the 18 km. so very slow. Around noon the temperature was 27 degrees and when the our destination village came in to view it was a great relieve. We stopped along the way to cool our feet in the irrigation canal and spent 20 minutes in an underpass tunnel to cool off. Just before the village was a shaded rest area with drinking fountain. We could not go til Leon as all the albergues there were full. Now that school is out in Spain it gets busy on the Camino. I will not stop in Leon as it is very busy and one day is not enough to see the sights so tomorrow I will bus through the city to Option and walk from there to Villar de Mazarife where I forward my pack to a hostel.  The village I am in is Arcahueja, about 100 inhabitants but the hostel is nice and I can do my laundry.
Thank you all for the comments, as always it is appreciated.