August - September 2017
  • Day27

    Rossknowlagh

    September 24, 2017 in Ireland ⋅ ⛅ 9 °C

    We stayed in a old BnB in shabby Bundoran. The decor was typical of an old place, huge flowery wallpaper in three shades of lilac, with a clashing paisley pattern duvet and some diamente throw pillows. The owners were delightful and sat and chatted with us at breakfast. She is an expert knitter and said that is what gets her through the long winters.
    It was overcast but not windy. K&C rented surf boards and I walked the long empty beach. The sun came out, it was really lovely. We drove to Donegal, had a scone and tea and headed back to Dublin by a different route..
    It gets dark earlier each day and it takes longer to get light in the morning. The sun is getting lower in the sky. We did get to see it all day today, what a bonus.
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  • Day26

    Sligo

    September 23, 2017 in Ireland ⋅ ☁️ 13 °C

    Quick weekend visit with Kevin and Chelsea. Beautiful day yesterday, Walked on the beach, and went to a free not Irish music concert at the theater. It was culture night in Ireland so there was a lot of things on offer. . A wander about town today, a coastal drive, then back to Dublin
    I read a yesterday that 39 percent of the people in Donegal are immigrants. 934 of them.
    Ireland is small.
    The sun has been out for 3 days, but there is a chill in the air. First day of autumn yesterday and my last day of work was June 21, so it has been a real solstice to solstice summer holiday this year.
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  • Day23

    Back in Dublin.

    September 20, 2017 in Ireland ⋅ ⛅ 13 °C

    Back art the flat, uneventful flight.
    Kevin and Chelsea are here as they start their own European wander. We wandered in the rain. Ate chips and ice cream, threw raw fish to the seals in Howth and drank Guinness in pub. That takes care of Dublin.
    I have had the National pfloufhinf championships on my list for years but I have not been able to be here in Mid September. The thrill of the ploughing was calling me.
    So here I am this year and it has been washed out by heavy rain., so it is still on the list.
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  • Day22

    Last day in Spain

    September 19, 2017 in Spain ⋅ ⛅ 20 °C

    22 days in one of my, well actually, my favourite place. It has been a great visit for me. I like it here.
    My last day was well ended with a conversation with my favorite group of Spanish people, old men.
    I was wandering in the bus station in Santander, waiting for my bus. Up toddles an old man, smaller than me. He was well turned out, tie, cardigan, jacket, hat as the people seem to take pride in their appearance. Here was me in my ratty hiking gear and backpack. .. Anyway, "que buscas " he asks, and from there I got to spend the last 20 minutes in Santander chatting with him. He told me it was "una ricesa" to work with children. He also asked "what kind of person does that? When talking about the police in America shooting people . I wonder what the answer to that question is?
    So back to Dublin I go with fond memories and plans to return.
    Fue un buen viaje.
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  • Day21

    Santander

    September 18, 2017 in Spain ⋅ 🌧 16 °C

    I got to know this place well, waiting for my plane to go back to Dublin. Ryanair offered no recompense, and after going to the airport, as directed by an email, the girl there said Dublin told them to offer nothing, just tell customers to save receipts, to submit later. Really typical of Ryanair, but outrageous all the same.
    I have done a grand walking tour all around the city. It is quite small, and strolled the beaches, there are 3 right in town.
    It has been cool and wet most of the time. I have wine at lunch and dinner and croissant and coffee at breakfast, so there is no harm in being here, that is for sure.
    I went to the cathedral today, there was a service going on, nuns singing from up in the rafters. Very traditional and quite an experience. Of course at night families come out for walks, dressed up and looking very posh. I am enthralled with the children and their very long held traditional dress style. It is beautiful. The family, and socialising are important here in Spain. It is very nice to see people out walking of an evening.
    There is a non stop parade of dogs too. Small dogs. Ugly small dogs. Vicious, ugly, small dogs. Keeps me entertained as they bark at each other as they pass by, embarrassing the owner. Who needs telly with all this going on.
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  • Day19

    San Vincente de la barquera

    September 16, 2017 in Spain ⋅ ⛅ 19 °C

    And it ends here for now.
    Yesterday, once again I walked far. The planned stop had no beds left. I could have got a hotel or hostel but I wanted my last night to be with other walkers.
    I met up with two Polish grandmother's, my age as we walked into the town we hoped to sleep in. One had a little English and the other backhanded my arm and said, ", food, tired, you ask".
    She was great and I walked the extra 7 km with them to the next available bed. We were tired at the point and hungry too. That was the plan to go right to the next available bed, , but we got off track, or rather we stayed on the track, which was winding and long, instead of the more direct, shoulder of the road route. . The rain was relentless and the wind was harsh. They both hand on ponchos which flapped and made noise like sails. I was singing, yes, singing, to try to lighten the mood. One of them was exhausted, I could not pronounce even an approximation of her name. When she was just about on her last footstep, and after many backhands from Ana, pointing to houses... "you go there, ask where albergue", as she points to a house with rabid, foaming at the mouth dogs, barking, growling and hitting the end of their chains trying to get at us.
    I said "no, we walk, will find bed"
    Then a double rainbow came out, and Ana blocked a cars exit from their driveway, motioned to driver to the driver to put down window, backhanded me "you ask where Albergue"
    I did, she gave us a lift. Less than a 2 minute drive, but it felt like heaven.
    Got a bed, dinner and breakfast this morning. Ana and Bodu.....? were great company. It was a huge challenge for the last few kms in the wind driven rain. We drank wine and ate dinner together and slept well.
    The Camino is a very personal journey, shared with so many others. No words to describe what it means. I will be back
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  • Day18

    Sontonio, SANTANDER, Santilla del. Mar

    September 15, 2017 in Spain ⋅ ⛅ 12 °C

    This is a beautiful lille place. No words to aptly describe a medieval village. It was enchanting to arrive here yesterday evening after my second day of 40 km walks. I don't set out everyday with a plan, I just follow the arrows. However that was a bit of a wobbly plan the day before when I apparently followed the less well marked trail along the coast.
    I left Sontonio to the smell of fish offal being pureed into pet food. There were large vrates of fish stacked up along the pier, well fish bit really, and when I asked man what it was for he showed me the big grinder and explained the process. I was very appreciative of the information, but blimey, the smell.
    Anyway I walked briefly with an English woman who had rented her house out and was walking all about the world. She had me in hysterics telling me about using the bathroom in various hostels etc, and how you just let go of your inhibitions. Then she said ",I have to wee," she dropped her pack and her shorts and proceeded to do so! I walked on.
    The day was long, hot and magnificent. However a was tired and hungry and was distracted from that buy the scenery. Cliffs, huge beaches and big waves. However there were no other walkers about and I was hoping for a "fletcha amarilla " (,yellow arrow) to show me the way when out of the blue on a cliff above a beach full of bronzed naked bodies I came upon an ice cream truck!!, I talked to myself as I got closer, in case it was a mirage, but through theagic of the Camino it was real. I got ice cream, direction, energy and joy beyond compare as I continued on my way. A boat trip across the bay, in the evening sun, and with directions from my favorite tour guides, senior men, I got to the hostel after 10 hours of walking. To end it all I was the last one to check in so I had a room to myself, with a bathroom and coffee and bread for breakfast.
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  • Day15

    Sontonio

    September 12, 2017 in Spain ⋅ ⛅ 19 °C

    In a hosteland there is a man from Leeds talking to me even though I have turned away from him. He is nuts. The walk today was glorious, fantastic scenery. I got off the trail a few times but elderly men are friendly and helpful, so they are my go to all the time.
    This qtown is famous for anchovies, it smell like it. There are shops that sell only anchovies, in many forms. Fiesta going on, I watched what appeared to be an intense game of bols. I could not figure that out at all, but people who were watching were riveted.Read more

  • Day14

    Castro Urdinalesand bust.

    September 11, 2017 in Spain ⋅ 🌧 17 °C

    Yesterday was a tough one. I walked way more than I thought I was going to. Ten more kms than I wanted to and my feet were not happy.
    I left Bilbao after a sleepless night in the hostel owing to fellas coming in to set up at 11.30pm then going out on the town to return at 5.30 am. Anyway, walking out of Bilbao on a quiet Sunday morning was good. Not so nice along the river, but it is bring revitalized. The next part of the walk was lovely. Country life like it had been for centuries. It looked like people were at their alojamientos, harvesting and grilling the veg.
    I thought at 26 kms or so, I would stop, but there was no place. A passing walker told me 10 km more and that was not what I wanted to hear. I put on my flip flops, with socks Woonsocket style, and kept going. I can do this saysI, it is only like two laps in Lincoln Woods. Well, no, because it was a lot of big hills on a busy road, so Says I to myself "look you, it is OK to stop" and since it was 4 pm and I started at 7.15am I did stop! I put on a few band aids, put the shoes back on and hobbled along. I was not doing any positive self talk, that is for sure.
    Then..
    . Along comes Pablo! A recently retired Basque French fella who spoke French, Euaskadi and Spanish and who also had sore feet and just wanted to get to the town. So we went hobbling along together, he was charming company and made the last 5 km go by fast. We consulted our guide books on a bench on the lovely promenade when we got there and he made the phone call so we could go straight to a place and not have to roam around looking for somewhere .
    It was heaven to have my own room and shower and no snoring or smelly feet to deal with.
    Pablo and I went out for Pinxtos. We talked kids and work and football. He played on a lower division in France and he said it was the first time in his life that he had a conversation with a woman about the physical attributes of football players. Of course CR7 was top of the list, well my list. He was very interesting andy Spanish was flowing freely. It was such a lovely end to what was an up and down day, both physically and mentally.
    Thee is something about this Camino. You read about it and I am sure it is different for everyone. The Spanish people are so ready to help out and also wish you well. The people who are walking are friendly and interesting.. Maybe every one's defenses are down. It is hard to not get involved when there are 14 of you in bunk beds in a small room, sharing food and one bathroom. Great as long as I can escape to my own room after 5 or 6 nights of it!
    I fed up being ignored, despite my cooing and clicking and psh, psh kitty, horses and sheep and cows and goats and sheep, with really long legs, just keep on eating. But victory this after noon., "here chicken, here chicken" I plead from the gate, and it came over!! Made my day.
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  • Day12

    Guggenheim etc

    September 9, 2017 in Spain ⋅ 🌧 17 °C

    Rainy and cool so a good day for a bit of a rest and a walk about in Bilbao. It is nice. The museum is extra ordinary to look at but most of the modern art inside is either rubbish or I don't appreciate it. I am glad I went in, I even had to pay admission.
    I had more pinxtos and tzcoli for lunch. It is like a holiday every day here. Put something on a lump of bread, put a toothpick in it and have a few with wine. Easy and really delicious. 7.50 euro for three, with wine, makes it affordable. I go to the bar with confidence now. Awakened some dormant gene or other.
    I got on the tourist bus and got the layout of the city. A lot of hills and stairs. It is not so easy to have a wee chat with people as they bustle about or in today's case walk bent over in the driving rain. With a day to look around but I think San Sebastián has the edge. Hostels are great value and this one in Bilbao is rather chic, but the inhabitants still snore and have smelly feet.
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