Hi there! I’m off to hike the famed El Camino de Santiago—Europe’s longest and most storied pilgrimage route - starting September 3. I’m taking the Francis Route that starts in SJPDP, France and takes me over the Pyrenees and down into Spain.
  • Day48

    Santiago de Compostela!

    October 17 in Spain ⋅ 🌧 14 °C

    Day 43 - arrived in Santiago around noon yesterday. It rained almost constantly through the day. I had gotten messages from friends who had reached the previous day, asking for my ETA on “the plaza”. About half a dozen were there to greet me as I made my triumphant entry 🤪. After several photos we went to a bar and had beers. That night we celebrated with dinner in an upscale restaurant - a fabulous multi-course tasting menu with wine - that cost all of €35 per person.
    This morning I got up early again and got in line to receive my Compostela - a friend had told me that the first 10 in line get a free brunch at the Parador restaurant. So of course I had a fabulous free brunch.
    I received the Compostela along with the distance certificate that shows my mileage of 779 kms from SJPDP.
    So now I’m going to end this trip journal “Adventure on Camino Francis”. It seems to be a lifetime away from when I started on September 3rd from SJPDP. I have some time this week and next to process it in my mind. On Thursday I’m off to Finisterre - the end of the earth - a coastal town. I’ll walk from Finisterre to Muxia along the coast and then take a bus back to Santiago. Thank you for following me on this intense journey.
    More when we meet!!
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    Traveler

    Congratulations 🎊🎉🍾!!! You are a real inspiration sister! Love you!

    10/17/22Reply
    Traveler

    Thank you! ❤️❤️

    10/17/22Reply
    Traveler

    Congratulation! Always in awe of you 🙌🏽

    10/17/22Reply
    Traveler

    Thank you! ❤️❤️

    10/17/22Reply
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  • Day46

    O’Pedrouzo

    October 15 in Spain ⋅ 🌧 16 °C

    Day 42 - it was a wet rainy day and I was supposed to walk 20kms. The pension is located 5 kms out of town so I ended up walking 25kms - which means I’ll only walk 15 tomorrow. To Santiago!
    I’ve posted some photos - not because you haven’t seen these types of cute villages, cows, sunrise, people and countryside, but because there’s nothing else to say and to post! Oh wait, I forgot - my friend Ginny, who like me started in SJPDP, and has been regularly getting stamps on her pilgrim passport in the hope that she will get her Compostela in Santiago - lost her pilgrim passport. She left it at this little spot where a man had a booth and was selling incense and other stuff. We had no idea where the booth was - we had passed so many little towns and the booth was on a dirt track between two of them. Anyway we hired a taxi and drove back to look for it. Luckily found it at the second spot. Phew!! She was a wreck! I had offered her mine, but she didn’t want that 🙄 so am really glad she found it.Read more

    Traveler

    that is a blazing orange sunrise, indeed. awesome.

    10/15/22Reply
    Traveler

    Yes, the sunrise was awesome many mornings!

    10/17/22Reply
    Traveler

    Great story about the passport

    10/16/22Reply
    Traveler

    Yes, poor Ginny, I felt for her!

    10/17/22Reply
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  • Day45

    Arzua

    October 14 in Spain ⋅ ⛅ 19 °C

    Day 41 - nothing much to report. Todays short walk - again about 9 or 10 miles was pleasant. Morning mist, cute towns, dairies and paths through eucalyptus (non-native) forests. Our destination was Arzua, a town famous for its local cheese - which we tasted and found quite bland. The town of Arzua itself is quite nondescript. It would have been better to have stayed in an Albergue in one of the small villages.
    As I walked into town I saw a man making paella, so I brought Ginny and Steve back to it for an early dinner.
    We have 2 more days to get to Santiago. If I had followed the stages strictly, I would have reached in 33 days. As it is I will have taken 43 days. This is partly because I took 5 days off in some of the more interesting towns and secondly because in the beginning I walked shorter distances in order to toughen up my knees. Now that I’m nearing the end there’s almost a feeling of anti-climax. I’m hoping that the walk to Finisterre will help me overcome feelings of withdrawal that so many pilgrims have expressed. My plan is to spend a few days on the coast and process this whole journey and experience.
    You’ll be hearing more from me….
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    Traveler

    Remarkable achievement so far sister! You are amazing !

    10/14/22Reply
    Traveler

    She really is

    10/14/22Reply
    Traveler

    Ooh hi Ravs!

    10/14/22Reply
    Traveler

    Hiiiieee. I’m sitting at mekelburgs and missing you!

    10/14/22Reply
    Traveler

    Im glad you and Tisha can have a loving exchange on my post…. What is mekelburgs?

    10/14/22Reply
    Traveler

    Ajao, and I’ll take you!

    10/14/22Reply
    Traveler

    Ooh wait for me!! I wanna go too!

    10/14/22Reply
    Traveler

    Yessss

    10/14/22Reply
    Traveler

    Promises, promises!

    10/14/22Reply
    Traveler

    Num num num

    10/14/22Reply
    Traveler

    Are you channeling my daddy?

    10/14/22Reply
    Traveler

    Mhmmm

    10/14/22Reply
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  • Day44

    Melide

    October 13 in Spain ⋅ ⛅ 20 °C

    Day 40 - Today and tomorrow are shorter walks. Since I didn’t take a rest day in Sarria I decided to break this 28 km stage into two. It was an easy walk (9 miles) and I bumped into this guy who I’ve met 3 or 4 times and each time he compliments me on my shoes (he has the same kind) and calls me India. I say ‘Brazil, right?’’And he says ‘No - Venezuela’. And then I say - ‘but you live in Canada’ - and he says - ‘No, Australia’. We both laugh at my good memory!
    Melide is a decent sized town and has a local population of 7,500. Three Camino routes from the north come together in this town - Camino Frances, Camino Del Norte and Camino Primitivo. This means that the crowds have grown even more and it’s harder to find rooms and beds. Three of us (Ginny, Steve and I) are sharing a hotel room. The room costs €80, so each of us pays a third of that. We have booked apartments for the next two nights, until we get to Santiago. After that I am splurging and getting my own hotel room.
    On the Camino, the goal is to pay as little as possible for the night so that the pilgrimage is more meaningful. In the past I’ve stayed in dorms that have 4 - 10 people and a bed costs as little as €10. A couple of times there have been some heavy snorers, that’s when my one deaf ear comes into good use. But each time it was a very pleasant experience because those albergues had a really good communal dinner and I met a lot of fun people from different countries. Now that I’m nearing the end of the pilgrimage and the crowds have grown humongous, I’ve thrown in the towel and pre-booked hotels/apartments till Santiago.
    More tomorrow from next stop - Arzua….
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    Traveler

    😍

    10/14/22Reply
    Traveler

    I could make a living there!👣

    10/14/22Reply
    Traveler

    Yes indeed!!

    10/17/22Reply
     
  • Day43

    Palas de Rei

    October 12 in Spain ⋅ ⛅ 14 °C

    Day 39 - quick note to tell you that I’m in Palas de Rei. Four more days and I’ll be in Santiago. As I was walking past a cafe my friend Anna hailed me, she was having lunch with none other than Carsten ( the German I meet at least once a day). So I walked the rest of the way with them. When we reached Palas de Rei, we stopped at a bar for beer. In time Dr Steve and the Aussies joined us and we sat chatting and whiling away the time. It’s a bit like ‘senior-ites’ that high school kids get when they have been accepted into college and don’t need to study anymore.
    This post is really about nothing - I will try to write something more meaningful tomorrow.
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    Traveler

    I like hearing seemingly insignificant moments that are still important memories.

    10/12/22Reply
    Traveler

    As i checked you are some 66 kms from destination. so you would have completed the journey in 6 weeks. That is great going, specially after what seemed a slowish start. Quite obviously, these new friends you have made during these 6 weeks will be there to stay. i know from Suneeta's 4 week trek to Kailash that it created a whole new group of diverse people to whom she has become so very involved.

    10/12/22Reply
    Traveler

    Yes, they will be friends for life!

    10/17/22Reply
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  • Day42

    Portomarin

    October 11 in Spain ⋅ ⛅ 20 °C

    Day 38 - Yesterday I had gotten a bit wet in the rain and my shoes had gotten completely soaked! So in Sarria I found a pilgrim equipment shop and looked for shoes similar to what I was wearing. I didn’t find those , but I found a pair of comfortable Keen sandals. I wore those today and they seemed to work fine on the slopes. It was another beautiful walk today, about 14 miles in my brand new Keens. Initially there were hoards of people - because remember I told you that a lot of people join at or near Sarria ? So I walked really fast to get ahead - practically running at times. This paid off and about 6 miles into it I was able to pass most of them and find a wonderful cafe for lunch - a cafe that didn’t have lines. Then stopped in Vilacha, the village just before Portomarin and had a beer at this really cute villa with a courtyard. The owner is Italian and this is his summer home and he runs a bar-cafe. In the winter he lives in A Coruña, a coastal town. I’m quite fascinated by people that have moved from other countries to Spain…and at the same time it amazes me that more people are not moving here. 😀
    Oh and I forgot to mention that it’s my birthday today and my two friends Ginny and Steve took me out to a fancy dinner. They also got me a gift - a silver chain and pendant with a Camino shell. ( Yes Anand, I did get an unexpected gift).
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    Traveler

    Happy birthday, my intrepid mommmmyyyy 🎉🎂🥳

    10/11/22Reply
    Traveler

    Beautiful!

    10/11/22Reply
    Traveler

    Beautiful!

    10/11/22Reply
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  • Day41

    Sarria

    October 10 in Spain ⋅ ☁️ 19 °C

    Day 37 - The much anticipated rain started early morning. It was light so I set out fairly early. Somewhere along the way my Aussie friends caught up with me and I raced along with them and made it to Sarria in about 5.5 hours - a distance of about 13 miles, initially a climb and then a decent. Some parts of the walk were very reminiscent of the areas around Devanya in Uttrakhand. There was a very cute artists studio in the middle of nowhere that looked like the old stone buildings in Devanya.
    Did I mention that the number of pilgrims has increased by at least five fold. There are now hoards of loud people looking fresh and clean-clothed. People that started the Camino a few towns before Sarria. Gone is the peace and quiet we old timers are used to. There are lines at all the cafes. Luckily, since the lot of us that started at the beginning have gotten fitter over the days and miles - we can race past them. And if we start early, we can be ahead of the crowds.
    As we approached Sarria the rain picked up and we dashed into a coffee shop to warm up a bit. I then ran a few errands and stopped for a bite. As happens on the Camino - sometimes you keep running into the same people. This German guy Carsten, to whom I had once remarked that I see him at least once a day, walked in just as I was finishing a huge hamburger and was on my second beer. So I chatted with him at this warm friendly bar while waiting for my friend Ginny who had organized the apartment we are sharing tonight.
    Given the hoards, it’s getting harder to find places to stay, so we sat down this evening and planned and booked shared facilities till Santiago - Hurrah!
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    Traveler

    Beautiful!

    10/10/22Reply
    Traveler

    What an amazing location. Realize it’s the same building from the previous photo ❤️

    10/10/22Reply
    Traveler

    🤣 I’m throwing away my pedometer.

    10/10/22Reply
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  • Day40

    O’Cebreiro and Triacastela

    October 9 in Spain ⋅ ☁️ 21 °C

    Day 35 O’Cebreiero and day 36 Triacastela - Left Villafranca early for the 18 mile walk to O’Cebreiro. The last 10 kms of the route was one of the steepest, second only to the climb over the Pyrenees at the beginning of the Camino, but there were some stunning views along the Varcace valley that could not be captured by camera - although I tried. The valley is steep and narrow and heavily wooded with pine and chestnut so quite shady. Some of it reminded me of walks in Uttrakhand. Half way up the climb I stopped at a cute (and very welcome) restaurant for a fabulous meal and made the mistake of having a glass beer - bad choice because I still had a significant climb! Ran into the Aussies when I was at the tail end of the climb. Passed a pleasant half hour chatting while herds of cows passed right behind us. And then on to destination for the night.
    O’Cebreiero is a very cute town that apparently used to be a dairy village and is now a tourist hotspot. Ran into my friend from Vermont - Ginny, and had dinner with her. Somewhere along the way she had taken a bus to catch up. I also ran into Josh who has moved to Burgos from Florida. His wife had done the Camino several years ago and loved it so much that she decided to move here. She teaches English at a local primary school.
    Today, day 36, was similar with hilly terrain, there were some steep climbs and descents with a final steep descent into Triacastela. I walked for a while with the Aussies and Dr Steve and had dinner with a bunch of friends. It’s a small town and all the pilgrims had gathered outside this one restaurant that had seating all along the road.
    Tomorrow I’ll be in Sarria - from there it’s just 100 kms to Santiago!!
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    Traveler

    Beautiful!!

    10/9/22Reply
    Traveler

    Beautiful tree! It’s sad we lost these to the blight here in the states

    10/10/22Reply
    Traveler

    you are really pepping it up. i guess just 5 more walking days to Santiago.

    10/10/22Reply
    Traveler

    The craftsmanship. It’s sad how American is such a throwaway society.

    10/10/22Reply
     
  • Day38

    Villafranca Del Bierzo

    October 7 in Spain ⋅ 🌙 10 °C

    Day 34 - walked 32 kms from Molinaseca to Villafranca. Passed through the town of Ponferrada, I didn’t realize it was such a nice town with the ancient (Knights of the) Templar Castle, church and fortifications. I will have to return to this town next time and spend a couple of days here.
    It was a beautiful walk through vineyards with mountains in the back, but didn’t leave early enough so was walking in the hot afternoon. It hadn’t rained for many weeks so the ground was dry and dusty. Got into the beautiful town of Villafranca quite late in the evening and clouds had rolled in and there was some dramatic thunder. I had booked a room in a Hostal that used to be a monastery, very austere but full of character. My Aussie friends Rod and Jamie invited me to visit the cathedral and then (3) drinks but as soon as I was about to leave the Hostal, it started to rain hard. So I didn’t get to do any sight seeing at all! Just a lot of wine and food! Villafranca will also have to be visited again!
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    Traveler

    🦋

    10/8/22Reply
    Traveler

    So meta…morphological.

    10/9/22Reply
    Traveler

    The original extraction juicer. I spent 5 minutes reading the Spanish and trying to translate before I noticed they had kindly done a Google translation on the right. 😀

    10/9/22Reply
    Traveler

    ♥️

    10/11/22Reply
     
  • Day37

    Molinaseca

    October 6 in Spain ⋅ ⛅ 9 °C

    Day 33 - I made it to Molinaseca! It was only 25 kms but there was a major descent in the last 10 kms that rattled my knees. This was after a climb of about 2,000’ through some beautiful mountain terrain and beautiful villages. While I had liked walking through the plains (the meseta) I was surprised at how happy I was to be back on the mountains. I walked with Dr. Steve - the ER doctor who grows his own turmeric and ginger and makes his own potents using natural ingredients, including some special mushrooms. We stopped for a wonderful breakfast of fried eggs, toast, fresh orange juice and coffee - normally if you stop at a cafe in the morning you just get coffee with tortillas which are made with more potatoes than eggs along with bread. Cruz de Ferro is the highest point in this mountain pass and many people bring a rock from home that they leave here. It signifies the release of some load or emotion. Since I don’t have either 😜, I just shot a photo of Steve depositing the rock his father gave him many years ago.
    Dr Steve admitted to me today that he has on 3 occasions used ibuprofen to reduce inflammation. So guess what? I’m going to have 2 Advils today so that my knees are ready for the 32 km hike to Villafranca tomorrow!
    This evening I sat and calculated how many days I need to complete the journey to Santiago and realized that if I follow the traditional stages, I only have another 9 days to Santiago. After that I have 2 weeks to hang out in Santiago and make the trek to Finisterre and Muxia. The last couple of hundred kms have gone by fast!
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    Traveler

    Views are good…cuter cousin😍

    10/7/22Reply
    Traveler

    This is stunning!!!! Holy Moly! 🥴

    10/7/22Reply
    Traveler

    At the speed at which you have been walking the ldst

    10/7/22Reply
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