Sonali James

Joined May 2018Living in: New Zealand
  • Day28

    Last day at Santiago de Compostella

    June 10, 2018 in Spain ⋅ 🌙 13 °C

    Final day at Santiago de Compostella. In a way I have been living the last few weeks in a cacoon. All that was needed was to get up, get sorted and then be on the way, putting one step in front of the other. Keep your eyes open not just to see where you stepping but also to see the country your travelling at grass root level literally. Mindless but mindful, tired but happy, challenging but achievable. So now knowing tomorrow I am leaving here makes you realise how fortunate I have been, and privileged to walk " The Way of st James".

    Today being Sunday I thought I would go for mass, even though I went last evening for mass. But the que at the cathedral was just too long, so went for a wonder. Found a local church where I was the only pilgrim. It must have been a family mass. It was so nice. The priest involved the kids in the sermon, then when the "Our Father " was recited every one moved to the out side of the pews and held hands I long the length of the church, while the kids went to the alter and held hands with th priest and the alter servers round the alter. It was lovely. Last year they did this in Poland where the entire country held hands in the parameter of the country and recited the rosary at a given time. Imagine that. When the peace be with you and hand shakes was done during mass, kids were flying around the church kissing parents, onto the alter kissing the priest and the siblings who were alter servers it was mayhum of the nicest sort.

    Met Otterly ( Shanalee's friend)who had done the French way. Feelings were mutual to see a familiar face. Had so much to compare and contrast, swap thoughts and also how it seems doing the walk again was in both our minds.

    I would like to take this opportunity to thank all of you who read my posts, commented and supported me on my journey. I wrote this journal to keep family and friends informed and to see a snap shot of the walk and the journey. But It would also serve as a record to me at a later date. I would also like to thank Shanlee for her support and encouragement. But the mainhonours go to Colin, who has supported, discussed and been a pillar in doing this walk. THANK YOU VERY MUCH COLIN for your love and support.

    This will be my last post, as Colin is going to be joining me in Lisbon in a couple of days and we will be touring round together. Good bye to all for now.
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  • Day27

    Santiago de Compostella

    June 9, 2018 in Spain ⋅ ☁️ 13 °C

    Up early once again so that we could have breakfast and go for mass. Surprise surprise cheese and ham on the menu. Continental breakfast is all that is offered in most of the places, so get used to it if your travelling to this part of the world.

    The English mass was very very nice. I did the first reading, and an American lady did the second reading. The sermon was really nice, as yesterday was the feast of the sacred heart of Jesus, and today it was of the sacred heart of the vergin mother. He connected the dots in his sermon. Then when it came to doing the prayers of the faithful he asked the congregation to come and light a candle and offer the intention spoken loudly. It was very touching. It was only for those who wanted to do it. At the start we were also asked to introduce our selves. Very nice. He is a Philipino priest.

    After mass we checked out of our shared room into my single room as Shyama was going back to SL. She wanted to do some shopping, so we spent our time there till she needed to be back here to get to the airport. So now there is one. We had walked the way, supported each other over the last 2 weeks or so, prepared and planned it for a longer time. And it was all over rover now. Back to SL for her and for me a few more days in SDC and then onwards.

    Tonight off for dinner, met the young Sri Lankan seminarians this evening as I was on my way down for a walk. Asked if he and his friend would like me to take them out for dinner. He thought it was a great idea. Also had a call from Otterly Shans friend, she is coming into Santiago de Compostella tomorrow. She also has been walking, but doing a much longer walk than yours truly. It is is going to be very nice to have a catch up, and compare and contrast experiences.

    Mini me here has also been doing some sourvernia shopping. Got me a lovely bracelet with 4 charms. All pertaining to SDC. I earned it.

    Since last afternoon the rain has not stopped. I pity those walking the Camino at the moment, and I pity my self, as it just does not feel nice trying to do anything in the rain. It is supposed to be like this for the next 4 to 5 days. So I might as well hibernate tomorrow. But I need to get some washing done too. No rest for the wicked. During the last few days when walking along talkng to this American and German gents, they asked me if after the Camino we were doing anything else. So Shyama mentioned how she was heading back home and I mentioned how Colin was coming and we were going to hike up a mountain in Slovakia and then maybe do some walking in Austria. He asked me if it was against my religion to relax.🤔😋 (no comments from the gallery please)

    After dinner with Shehan and his friend I went to the reception to see if I could borrow a travel weighing scales. One of the Irish gents who had been present at the morning mass complimented me on starting off the intention offering at morning mass.He said I spoke very nicely and that they had been talking about it. ☺🙄

    The first photo is the casket that holds the relics of st James. It is very nice to look at.
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  • Day26

    Milladoiro to Santiago de Compostella

    June 8, 2018 in Spain ⋅ 🌧 12 °C

    Yes we have done it. We arrived into Santiago de Compostella around 10.40 this morning. I cannot believe It. All the plannng, close to a year. With God's Grace and Blessings I have accomomplished something that I feel very proud off.

    What I had read befire hand was, if you got to the sanctuary by 10.00am and got your passport in, then there was a good chance that you would be able to get your Compostella in 2 hours. Which would also mean at the pilgrims mass at noon your country would be read out as arrival of a pilgrim from that country. Armed with this bit of information we planned to leave our fancy accomodation by 8.00am. Breakfast taken, and we were out by 8.00, Good for us.

    It read 7 point some kind of kms shortly on the start of our journey once we got back on the Camino route. After walking approximately 3kms we see another rmilempost with 7.kms. that is not the first time that has happened on the walk. But by now who cares about a few more kms. Uphill, down hill, outskirts of Santiago, pass small schools, and large schools we were marching forward. Getting our last stamps on our passport too. Cannot forget the stamps, just like cannot forget the cheese and ham that has been served each and every day for breakfast. If I do not see another piece of ham for the rest of this year call me satisfied.

    Once we got to the cathedral, we did not even have time to take a photo, as we needed to get our passports in as mentioned above, and also drop of our back packs as we are not allowed to take backpack in either to the cathedral. So got to the hotel first, dumped the packs. ( my shoulders are missing the pack, it has got withdrawal symptoms). ( I think you cannot call your self sherpa Tenzing from now on Colin, those bragging rights go to me now).

    When we got to the place that gives the Compostella the que was a mile long, so scratch that idea, we decided first to go to the noon mass. While at the mass I did my confession, as there were so many priests round the corridors. So did that with a English speaking priest. After mass approached him and asked if I could do the reading for the English mass on Saturday. That sorted, went off to get the passport and Compostella sorted. There was yet long qua , but much shorter than before.

    I am now the proud owner of a Compostella and also a certificate to say that I have walked 280 kms. Impressive!!!!!!!. (That too will be going up on the wall at home)

    After that a much needed lunch by then the time was 2.00pm. Then the skies opened, there was thunder bolts going on over head, and the place was pelted with train, we had just got in on time I reckon all in all.

    While getting our Compostella when Shyama went up to get her one, the guy at the counter asked her what country, and she said Sri Lanka. So he says you should go to the guy next to me, as he is from SL you should get him to do your Compostella. So she starts talking to him, and he is a seminarians who has come from SL for a short time. What are the chances that hen would be the one doing Shyamas certificate. We got some very good news.

    As this was Shyamas last full day we went out around the place to do some shopping, and then went for the 7.30 pm mass as well. There we got front row seats, and had the opportunity to see the famous botofumerio in action. Wow that was something. (I cannot post the entire video, so please look it up on u tube. It so worth seeing. Believe me. I can only post 10 second videos and that would not do it justice. Just type in Botofumerio in Santiago de Compostella)

    It was announced before communion only those, that have received the sacrament should come up for communion. We were seated on the very first row. Well there was this stupid young teenager who tried to walk off with the communion. And the priest who was the celebrating priest called her up, and she mocked him and put it in her mouth. I felt like smacking her one, honestly she should have been kicked out litteraly from the sanctuary not just the cathedral. There was I would think approximately over 2000 at that mass. And the noon day mass must have had double that amount of people.

    After that mass we had a pilgrims get together, and a thanks giving prayer time in a side chapel, the priest asked me to do a reading for that service too☺. We were asked to share our stories of the Camino if we wanted, which we did, and then we were taken to the crypt of st James and a final prayer was said there before we all dispersed. Perfect end to a perfect walk.

    Then had some dinner, walked a bit, took some photos of the squad and the cathedral, there were some street musical group playing Spanish music and songs listened to it for a short while, and then to bed.

    Note the last photo is one from 7kms away Santiago cathedral in the mist.

    Thank you dear heavenly father, with thy grace I have archived what I set out to do. Walking the walk, touching me, talking to me as I walked this path. May my Camino carry on, as I now journey through my life that you have destined for me.
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  • Day25

    Puentecesures to Milladoiro

    June 7, 2018 in Spain ⋅ ⛅ 12 °C

    Our penultimate day. Tomorrow we reach Santiago de Compostella. God willing.

    My jinxing the whether did not work today. Mice and man and God and plans!!!!.

    Last night the dinner was the worst we have where had on the walk. But it looked as if the people on the next table had it worse. The hotel had a skeleton staff which was a receptionist cum waiter times 2. But moving on......

    Today was wet, overcast and set for the day by the looks.we walked 21 kms with the last 1.5 being the only time the whether let up. The rest of the day it drizzled, rained and was a pain. But you learn to take the good with the bad.

    To we passed Padron. This is believed to be the place where St James Body was brought through to go to Santiago. It was very meaningfull to see the church and the stone known as Pedron ( the stone to which the boat which was carrying the body of st James was tied too) under the alter of the church. The city apparently got its name from this stone. Coming into the city we passed a market where you could get a stamp on your passport. It had fresh fish crabs the biggest have ever seen, meat, he goes and also salted fish of every kind. Yum.

    Tonight we are just 8kms from our final destination. Yepeeedo. We are staying at another very nice place. I had booked this is a treat. After all I worked hard, and I believed in rewarding myself. When Shyama decided to join me I just changed a single room to a twin room. Most places that I had planned to stay were on the way of the Camino walk. This one and one other place were the only two places that we had to de tour fro the Camino way. But I later found out that we were only approximately 500 mters from the Camino route to come here. We just came of the Camino way too early today. Should have just kept to the Camino Path as my gut told me too. No harm though just a bit longer. But not as if I had to cook dinner.

    Talking of dinner mmm...... it was absolutely fantastic. The food was par excellonce. The ambiance, the service, my only regret is I am not here for longer.😀. Good job Colin does not pay the bills. He leaves it to the accountant. 🤔🤗

    Till tomorrow
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  • Day24

    Caldas do Reis to Puentecesures

    June 6, 2018 in Spain ⋅ ⛅ 14 °C

    Today the Camino walkers other wise known as Shyama and Sonali were up early, sorted, feasted on breakfast of fried eggs and garlic mushrooms, and we were on our way.

    Google was saying 14 kms, but by now we know to add on 3 to 4 kms more. And by the time we got to our hotel it was 18kms. But to be honest it was more a leisurely stroll. There were hills to climb and dales to walk through but it was preety, soothing to the mind and soul. Met the 2 kiwies from Auckland when we were stopped at a way side joint to have lunch. I call it a joint as it was not a taverna, and neither was it a cafe. Met an American gent, a German gent and a Croation gent who was very keen to have a photo with us. Met more German ladies too. I think the Camino has more walkers from Germany than any other country.

    We checked into our hotel by 2.45 or so, now it's siesta time, not sure if should join them if I cannot beat them. Or else just go for a nosey round the town. Seems to have a huge industrial building with smoke or steam coming out. Need to see what that is all about. Went and checked it and it is a wood mill on the other side of the river, and a Nestles factory on this side if the river.

    In order to jinx the rain, I wore my wet weather pants, and you guessed it no rain, not a spot, not a drizzle. Will try the same philosophy and see if reverse psychology is going to do the trick tommorrow as well. This part of Spain is known as Galicia. And apparently 90% of the time it rains. Home away from Home!!!!!.

    Shyamas leg started hurting on the top of her foot about 5 kms before the end of the journey. She is going to rest it this afternoon and evening, and hopefully all will be well in the morning. She has decided not to take any medication, will decide based on how she feels tommorrow morning.

    Included is photo of my Camino passport all stamped up. On to my second passport now. Bragging rights.🤗.

    The last photo is a grain store house that most homes seem to have. This is a small one compared to some others we gave seen on our travels. Their built of the ground in the gardens of most stand alone homes.

    For now adios amigos.
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  • Day23

    Rest for the weary soul and body

    June 5, 2018 in Spain ⋅ ⛅ 14 °C

    This is a much needed day of rest for my body, mind and soul. Ignoreing the lead up to me flying out of NZ, I have been on the go, not wanting to miss out on my days in Europe. Some say you can rest when your dead, I think I buy into that philosophy. Making the most of my time here, living life to the fullest, i believe whole heartedly. But today my physical and mind needed this rest, and it is enjoying it in spades.

    I had booked a two bedroomed apartment for our stay in Caldas De Reis. This place is known for its spas, they have thermal spas in and around. This area. Went for a massage this morning, and hope to go for a spa shortly. Other than that both of us have done sweet nothing.☺

    So today for my photos I am going to be photos of flowers I have taken along the path of the Camino. Hope you enjoy some of the best from my collection.
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  • Day22

    Pontevedra to Caldas De Reis

    June 4, 2018 in Spain ⋅ ⛅ 12 °C

    We started off early today, as we were not too sure if it was 21 or 19 kms we were going to be walking. This was our last longest day. After this we have one day of 17kns and another one of 16 kms. And a short day. As it was, the days walk turned out to be 25kms.

    But it is official; the writer of this journal is a MORON, and the likes of my husband will agree with me and even go on to say "I knew that all the time". We were having breakfast and we were talking to a Polish lady who the previous day had walked 35 kms,and ended up getting blisters on her foot, they had tried to do the walk in 6 days. Her brother had got up at 5.30 in the morning and left, as he was attempting to walk the rest of the 60 kms today. She was going to catch a bus to Santiago de Compostella, as her foot was hurting to much. She went on to mention it was going to be raining all day. I had looked out that morning too and thought it was going to rain. Any sensible person would have taken their wet weather gear. But not muggings here, she sent off her water proof pants with her main luggage which was transported each day. Stupid stupid stupid.

    2 to 3 kms into our walk it drizelled, it rained, it poured. Out came rain coats and back pack covers and ponchos, then the sun came out for a short time, we would just get off the wet gear off, and back again the skies decided other wise. So we had 20% sun shine and 80% rain. This in 25kms of walking fantastic. NOT.

    We met with the American family we had met at dinner and breakfast the day before, walked a short time talking to them. There was not many places to stop and get food today, so we had some snacks stashed up in our back packs. This was actually breakfast I had not eaten, but taken to eat on the go. But about 10 kms into our walk there was a cafe high up on the peak of our walk. It was doing a roaring trade with all the walkers stopping for a hot drink and lunch. There I even met a kiwi from Palmerston North, with an Australian friend. She had two daughters studying in Wellington, and I had a daughter studying in Plalmerston North.

    After a hearty lunch and a glass of fresh OJ we were back on the path. Even though it was raining you appreciated the walking path. It was sometimes through very picturesque woods, then at times through small grapevine plots, at times parralel to the main highway, but most of the time it was through beautiful country. This walk needs to be on everyone's bucket list at least to do it once.

    When we were close to our destination I thought I will look the way to our place of accommodation, trying to multi task in the rain, I stubbed my toe, and saw stars through the rain, my anger with myself now grew to mamoth proportion, not only was I sopping wet, but now I had a very painful toe. I had changed my wet socks at one point, so that I would not get blisters, but the pair I now had was quite soft, so ofcourse I felt the pain through my boots. Honestly!!!!!!!

    Finally we got to our destination, which thankfully was slam bang in the middle of the city. Soon as got to the apartment we went and got some provisions. Shyama does the cooking I do the chopping stuff. Mainly because she can cook better than me. Once again it was rice and curry for dinner. We were so tired but even through we went to bed around 9.00pm neither of us apparently did not get to sleep till around mid night. In my case only because I was listening to a book, and was scared. So any one who believed my yarn about killing a snake the day before is a Moran just like me, or you do not know me that well. What was good though was Colin thought I had done the deed, i love it when I get one over him. Love it! love it! love it!!!!

    I will put the photos on tomorrow.
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  • Day21

    Arcade to Pontevedra

    June 3, 2018 in Spain ⋅ 🌧 13 °C

    Today our distance to travel was approximately 12kms. For us seasoned walker's it was going to be a walk in the park. Up and out of the hotel by 9.00am. Even though it would be lovely to travel earlier to that, most places do not serve breakfast till 8.30am. The Spanish live a life of less stress. So the good thing is they make you slow down too. You do not hear drivers tooting when someone has stopped to drop of a person or to have a chat. The ones behind wait till the conversation has finished. They will always stop at the zebra crossing if no traffic signals. But if there is traffic signals then you as s pedestrian too need to follow the rules.

    Arcade is famous for its Oyesters, and you can go on a little d tour at some point and eat these, but we were not going to be doing this today.

    Walking on the bridge, across a small river named Verdugo was very picturesque. The mist was yet hanging over the mountains. The water was more like a lake than a river. It was lovely. Real Patience Strong material. It even had a sandy beach.

    Then it was climbing up cobble streets, and goat tracks and mountain paths. Through lovely small forests it was hard but very nice to walk "The Way."

    I have two stories to tell today - one is about David and Gloliath. We came across a snake and he was coming towards us. We stopped and told him to go the other way. He did not listen. So he left us no other choice. I used my trusted walking stick and hit him as hard as I could. He did not know, what struck him. Once I started I did not stop first; it was stopping him on the tracks and then it was stopping him full stop, and then Shyama joined in as well. So he was now either in snake heaven or he'll. Who cares. Colin I think you should take me hunting. I will show you how it's done.🙄🤗🤓.

    The next story is we met a Canadian lady aged 69 doing her 7th Camino. This one she started on the 31.03.2018. To date she has walked 1400 kms on this journey. And now has 60 more to go. This has been the longest Camino she has done. And to top it off she was carrying her own back pack. Her Husband was in BC canada looking after the cats and mowing the gardens.When I asked why she does just Caminos, why nor some other country to go for a hike or tramp. She loves Spain, and it keeps calling her. As charming as it was to meet her, it was a wake up call to my pride on the misley 200kms I have walked so far.

    Pilgrims every where at the moment. Mainly because all the Spanish and Portuguese routes have joined up. So from now on it is going to be like this. We were having a bit of lunch in a cafe after we checked in and rested they were coming in drones. From now on there is going to be swarm of bees going to Santiago. We even met the New Zealanders we had met over a week ago. So that was lovely. Hugs and kisses and we walked together for a very short time, after which we parted company as they were going on a d tour.

    We walked today's paths in record time. We were in our hotel by 12.30pm. That is with hill climbs, weewee stops etc.

    Now it's resting time as to tomorrow is going to test our metal. 21 kms or so uphill most of the way, need to start early. One of the reasons for doing it so fast today was the weather was so great. It was not sunny neither was it raining. It was just right for walking.

    Once again I have had a siesta time, and now we will go and get some dinner. Some of the photos is of our dinner and Sangria from last night. As you can see both of us are far from starving.

    One photo is of a fig tree with so many figs on it, they were not yet ready for harvesting what a pity. One of the photos with the walking pilgrims, the Canadian lady Charlott is the one with the blue back pack cover walking at the back.
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  • Day20

    Vigo to Arcade

    June 2, 2018 in Spain ⋅ ☁️ 12 °C

    Today we had a relative short and relaxing day. Covered approximately 8kms. It seems as if we are climbing quite a bit now. Today we climbed up to 190 mets and then dropped down again. Was in the destination hotel before noon.

    Now we have joined the central route and so there is a lot more pilgrims, and also a lot more cyclist. Came across this board where some people have signed the shell and left it on this board. As today is Saturday this afternoon the country is on holiday. Not much open after lunch time.

    Have a nice view from our bed room. The church is just oppersite the hotel and mass at 8.00pm to night. So we are sorted for Sunday mass again.

    Been out for a walk and brought myself a hat, so did Shyama. I had to buy one as my so called friend Heather and my critical child both thought my hat was ugly, thanks a lot. After all that critic I have lost all self esteem, hence had to buy a hat. (The sun is getting quite hot now. I am two shades darker, not that any one of you will notice.) Please be warned I will be sending my invoice to you two (Heather and Child).

    I needed some sleep or else I am getting climatised to the Spanish way of life . Siesta time today for me from 1.00 or so till nearly 4.00pm. VERY NICE. The past few days I have been burning the mid night candle so it was good to catch up on sleep.
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  • Day19

    Vigo to Redondela

    June 1, 2018 in Spain ⋅ 🌙 14 °C

    While we were having breakfast at the hotel which was next to tasteless, we could see the sky's opening up. Our thoughts were we had to walk in that. Grin and bear we are pilgrims you take the good and the bad. One could always pray, and hope we are heard. So after a glass of freshly squeezed O.J. and a cup of tea, and a prayer to the one above we were on our way. By now the rains had settled down to a drizzle, and after 10.00 minutes or so it was completely gone. We were heard!. As a side note the last thing we do before we leave our accomodation is to say a prayer, and we take it in turns to do this.

    We were on a roll in getting stamps now. Today I think we got 5. Impressive. I have only one more page and my passport is completely full. I either need to get another passport, and if not do it over some of the printed matter on the back of the passport. Will cross that bridge when I come to it.

    The journey today was climbing but it was all the way a gentle climb. We were just walking round the entire port of Vigo for miles. It is a large port, and seems to go on for miles. When we first saw the view of the harbour and the port as we were walking it looked great. But as we kept walking the view just got better., yet it was the same view basically.

    We stopped for a shoe shopping break, and then off again. We went to a church and for a change it was open and there were people in it. As we knelt to pray a gent came up and asked if we wanted a stamp in sign language. Of course we did, we had been going to ask, I think the gent was a priest. So that was great. We are told the staff at Santiago de Compostella like pilgrims to have stamps from churches. One yesterday, one today we are on a roll.☺

    Then we were walking past a taverna and a dog was playjng with two people, and we stopped to watch. A old lady came out and asked if we wanted a stamp. Yes! We are on to it. A cranberry drink and some nachoes with it, and we were on our way.

    Photos a galore, walking through a forrest, a beautiful glade, a small but very cute water fall, and now two very hungry pilgrims wanting some lunch and not a taverna to be seen. Then there is a sign to say 500 meters to a bar. Yes !!!!!

    Well it was not just 500 meters, but it was up a very steep climb. If you were not hungry you would be by the time you got to the top. But the food and the service was worth it. I ate the biggest pasta bowl in my life, and Shyama did justice to a baguette which was a foot long. ( Of course we shared each other's food).

    The distance today was 16kms and finding our accomodation was a bit of an issue, but we got there. We are both of the mind to get some bread and noodles and have it the apartment.

    My body is starting to feel the ache of non stop walking for the last 2 weeks. 12 days straight on the Camino, and two days prior to that in Porto , not to mention the plane journey and the side trip to Poland. Come the morning your back on the road, and actually looking forward to what's on for the day. We met a lot of pilgrims while having lunch at the taverna, 6 cyclist came along, but after lunch when we were walking we met so many cyclists and walking pilgrims, including a young girl from Australia.

    The main photo is me getting the blood back from my legs to the rest of my body. Coming down the steep hill was hard on the knees. The elevation was 240 meters and we came down some very steep steep parts to get back to sea level. Also in the pictures you see how still the water in the harbour is. It was like a painting at times.

    A big thank you to all of you who comment, post, like etc. As that makes it a two way communicatuon and everyone who know's me, know what an introvert quite, shy person I am.🤗
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