Spain
Las Cortes

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    • Day 2

      Madrid

      March 22, 2022 in Spain ⋅ 🌧 10 °C

      رسیدم به مادرید و با مترو رفتم تا هاستلی که تو مرکز شهر رزرو کرده بودم. بعد ازینکه وسایلم رو گذاشتم تو هاستل زدم بیرون تا گشتی تو شهر بزنم و سوپرمارکت برم.
      روز بعد تو مادرید باید چند تا مغازه میرفتم. نمیتونستم عصای کوهنوردی رو تو هواپیما با خودم بیارم بنابراین اون رو از مادرید خریدم. گشتی تو شهر زدم. شهر خیلی قدیمی به نظر نمیاد. ولی شلوغ و زنده بود. مغازه‌ها و رستوران‌ها و کافه‌ها بازن و مردم در جنب و جوش. مثل همه پایتخت‌های دیگه.
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    • Day 20

      Calzadilla de la Cueza to Sahagun

      May 20, 2023 in Spain ⋅ ☁️ 19 °C

      The weather is turning fine, and the trail today was much the same as the previous days with a few more rolling hills, and a few more curves ahead.

      I decided today, and once I arrived in Sahagun at the hotel here in Sahagun that tomorrow, I am going to move onto Leon. The itinerary has me walking to Leon over the next coming days, but I feel I have seen and experienced as much as I need on this part of the Camino and because my shin is beginning to give me a bit of grief, my time is better spent in Leon.

      It is one of the challenges of having a booked itinerary. So while, I do not have to deal with the "bed rush" daily in some way or another, I lose the flexibility to experience the Camino as I need to experience it. I don't mind sacrificing a few days on the trail for a more satisfying experience if I push ahead to Leon.

      Today on my walk, I saw "real" bodegas...caves cut into the hills where locals store their wine, meat and cheese. Scattered around the Camino are hermitages. Given that there are quite a lot of them, I think that in the 13th century, give or take some, if men or women did not want to marry, nor did they want to join a monastery or a convent becoming a hermit was a choice. The site of the hermitage in the picture is unusual in that it belonged to a woman. This site is also interesting in that in 2021 Roman ruins were discovered. These ruins are part of a roman road or a dwelling that they have so far unearthed. It is not an active archaeological site, but there for anyone to see and walk around. I find it interesting how civilizations build on top of each other. We also learned this when travelling in Italy and the same is also true in Spain.
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    • Day 37

      Arzua to A Rua

      June 6, 2023 in Spain ⋅ ⛅ 28 °C

      For an unknown reason, I just assumed that the last 100 km would be easier than the other 700. I thought this because perhaps as we approached the coast, we would be nearer sea level, and it would be flatter. I thought because it is so tourist like that why would tourists of the Camino flock to the last 100 km if it was hard? I thought we left the mountains and the peaks in the other kilometres. I was wrong. The last three days have been quite difficult with hills and descents. The hills are as steep as they were in the beginning and the descents just as steep. Today, I only walked about 18 km so it felt much easier, but definitely, am beginning to feel an accumulated tiredness from the last 800 km. Tomorrow is the final day on the Camino Frances and it will be about 20 km to Santiago.

      Today was a day of capturing some images because realizing that this is ending, is becoming real. When I walk to the coast, I expect the scenery to be more rugged and exposed compared to the quaint and pleasant forests and villages we have passed. I had time today to spend some time in a restaurant and have a pilgrim lunch. It was still quite warm today with 95% humidity, and despite some of the hills a really pleasant day.

      I arrived at my hotel at the beginning of the village Rua which is also popular with tourists travelling by car. I am thankful to be able to stay here tonight and not have to venture outside the hotel for dinner. I checked in quickly and then joined my German friends for a beer on the patio. Also thankfully, they have some cortisone cream for my hiker's rash I have developed, so hopefully that helps a rather angry rash.

      So over the last 800 km, there are a few things I have noticed time and time again, and they have become quite ordinary and expected during the last weeks, but I thought today would be a good time to get it down on this page. For example, historically, and currently, the Spaniards plant their trees in clear rows. The forests are often organized in lines, even very old trees. The flowers...the first weeks were filled with poppies, but also all along were roses. Roses covering walls, growing up trees. Recently, I am seeing more hot weather plants like a hydrangea, and I even saw a palm tree today.

      Today also seemed to be a day of wisdom. We passed the wall of wisdom. Later on a fellow who wrote a book on the Camino was set up along the Way, offering his book for a donation! I donated, and am looking forward to reading about his experiences, especially since now it will resonate with me more clearly since I just walked it myself.

      The forecast for tomorrow into Santiago is rain! I have not walked much in the rain yet, so I suppose it is about time I experience the full scope of a Spanish rain as I walk toward Santiago.
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    • Day 38

      A Rua to Santiago de Compostella

      June 7, 2023 in Spain ⋅ ☁️ 18 °C

      Arrived after 820 km! What an unbelievable experience, and I can't even believe I am here. In fact I am writing this 2 days later, and I am still in a bit of shock. Today I had quite a bit of rain upon arriving in Santiago, but somewhere around 15 km into the trail, it eased off, so I was not still soaked when I arrived in the plaza.

      I was met in the plaza by Veronica ( and her husband who brought champagne), Bernadette, and Deanne. Also in the plaza was Barbara and Martin.

      On June 8th, the next day, I returned to plaza, and met Diana and Yola and Kobus.

      When we all first met on the Way, we shared our stories around our various foot and blister injuries. We shared our challenges of the relentless hills and worse, the relentless downhills. We grumbled about the pilgrim meals, and rejoiced in other pilgrim meals. But no matter how many kilometres were accomplished that day, each day was celebrated with a glass of wine or two or three, and for the times our paths segued, a quick text checking in and updating on the route ahead or behind.

      Whether a pilgrim walks alone or with a group, there is always a confidence that you are never very far from another pilgrim. I walked alone quite a bit, and even have been accused on going rogue for a while in Leon...but with the love and support of my friends on the Way, I did find my way back to the trail. I am forever thankful for my dear friends on this Way who were unconditionally supportive and a beacon when the Way became hard.

      I arrived. I discovered the freedom to be myself. I am forgiving. I can create peace, unity and happiness. I have felt the love of God. I know God is the author of my journeys. I have found companionship regardless. I am walking a path and where this journey ends, another begins. The real journey begins after it ends.
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    • Day 39

      Santiago

      June 8, 2023 in Spain ⋅ ☁️ 19 °C

      Friends.

      I first met Diana in Pamplona. We both stumbled upon the same cafe looking for food at the impossible hour of 530 or 6pm. Diana followed me in the line, and asked if I spoke English, and when I said, "yes," she asked what I was eating. When I told her, "I have no idea!", she ordered something equally unrecognizable, and a glass or two of wine later, we are friends.

      That same night, Diana is also responsible for helping me procure a Spanish SIM because it is impossible to rely strictly on wifi on this track. About a month later, when some of us were trying to share photos using air drop, when Diana learned my phone was called "I phone 45", she says to me, "give me your phone." Until yesterday my phone has been renamed to "Brenda is hot". But it does not end there...last night, our last night together in Santiago, she once again has my phone, and now my phone is "Brenda is hot and is enough". I am not going to change it. Because I think both are true...I am maybe a wee bit "hot" for a 60 year old, and I am definitely "enough."

      The Australian girls (Deanne, Veronica and Bernadette) and I connected somewhere before Leon, and our paths segued here and there, but we spent the last 8 or 9 days on the trail into Santiago, sometimes walking as a group and sometimes walking our own journeys. Many glasses of wine later, many tapas later we are friends. I am hoping Deanne and I will still connect again in Finisterre where she left for two days before me.

      Sherri and Bob are from Summerland, and we met one day in a taxi. Our tour company had us sharing a taxi taking us all back to our last point on the trail after having the night in another nearby town. Sherri and I still lament that we can't get dinner before 8 pm! You'd think we would have it figured it out by now.

      Annette and Martina from Norway...mom and daughter making the trek sometimes on foot, sometimes on bicycles! What a team! They remind me a great deal of travelling with my daughters, and how much I would enjoy travelling with them again soon.

      Barbara and Martin from Germany. Our tracks were nearly the same from the beginning, so what began as occasional conversations over beer and wine became Martin hauling suitcases up many flights of stairs for his "princesses".

      Julie and David from Australia. We met the first time over a dinner with them, myself and a few others from Germany. It is a small world because after they finish the Camino and a holiday, they are heading to Edmonton to see their son and grandchildren. I hope to catch up with them in Calgary during the Stampede!

      Kate and Bob from Vancouver. A father and daughter team. Though I never stood a chance keeping up with the two of them, we shared stories of woe over shin splints and shoe challenges and a meal or two!

      I met Theresa in Logrono along a very crowded tapas street. We ate mushrooms soaked in butter on a kabob on a slice of baguette, roasted peppers topped with a just soft egg on a baguette and so much more...all soaking up the copious glasses of red wine. Theresa and I walked one long day together into Burgos, and were glad of the company navigating the complicated and very industrial route into Burgos. Theresa lives in Toronto, another fellow Canadian on the Camino.

      Yola and Kobis from New Zealand, but their accents are definitely South African, I met early on the Camino. They are keen, enthusiastic, and a soothing presence to our group. Diana and Peter enjoyed the evening with them before they left Santiago, and Kobis asked Diana to relay a message when she saw me next. "Tell Brenda that she will find what she is looking for when she stops looking." I cried because is it so obvious? Kobis and Yola have a wonderful kind presence about them, and I find it reassuring that kind people recognize the pain in others and quietly navigate.

      I met Lorill and Kathy early on the Camino, and saw them again in Leon, and knew from our discussions that we would be walking to Finisterre at the exact same time. We also shared the same tour company, and so our itineraries were nearly identical. On the couple of days we walked together, we wrote a book or two...one a Camino murder mystery, and the other a brochure for renting a husband. For the men in my life reading this blog, you may find yourself in my brochure. We laughed and took nothing seriously, not even ourselves...I learned a-lot from these two lovely ladies and their candid discussion we shared along the last 100 km.

      I walked with Adam (England) to Finisterre. Enjoyed dinners and he showed me the best beach in town. I didn't walk with Kevin (Long island USA but originally an Irishman born and and raised in the Bronx) because he walked the Primotivo Camino and I walked Frances, but no matter we enjoyed our walks and meals in Finisterre even if he is a democrat!

      I walked with Barbara from Baltimore, Nicole from California, Ricardo from Guatemala, Jim from California, Holgart from Germany, Rainier from Germany, Sonia from Houston, Darlene from Florida, Kelly from Portland...and so many others. We may have shared a simple "Bon Camino" to a complex conversation of why we are here on the Camino followed by a simple "Bon Camino".

      Bon Camino my friends! May your next journeys be blessed by the experiences of this journey.
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    • Day 64

      Back to Madrid

      October 18, 2022 in Spain ⋅ ☁️ 81 °F

      We flew back to Madrid yesterday, going to spend our last few days touring the city and enjoying the sites. Today we had lunch at the same restaurant (Steak Burger Atocha) we all had dinner at when we arrived in spain, sure wasn't the same without Greg and Tam. Then found this cute little donut/ice cream shop to get a snack.Read more

    • Day 65

      Tuk Tuk trip around Madrid

      October 19, 2022 in Spain ⋅ 🌬 72 °F

      We took a Tuk Tuk tour around Madrid this morning, it was fun, had a great guide named AL, he showed us all the historical sites including the Royal Palace, the main Cathedral, and a temple which was a gift from Egypt. It is surprisingly hard to take pictures from a moving Tuk Tuk. 🤣🤣🤣Read more

    • Day 23

      Madrid day 3

      October 16, 2023 in Spain ⋅ ☁️ 16 °C

      Madrid continues to impress. Beautiful buildings and gardens, gin clubs and restaurants galore. Today we had lunch in a great place that I would describe as granville island on steroids, shopped (Mary bought a pair of shoes, fancy trainers), saw an impressive 12 foot sculpture (part of a city program to show the art of locals for up to a year), visited the national library (Mary's happy place), had dinner with a former NDI colleague I've not seen since 2002 and visited a gin club where we tried a new to us spanish gin.Read more

    • Day 3

      train to seville

      May 14, 2022 in Spain ⋅ ☁️ 22 °C

      great way to see the country side. saw many small hamlets surrounded by fields and groves of trees. definitely lots of olive trees, grey leaf, but there was another taller crooked trunked tree that looked evergreen. not sure what tree that was. great hills and what looked like basalt columnar rocks.....is this like the chilcotan plateau and part of an old lava flood plain??? more research needed 😁 later. looked like some nice walks out of a train stop at I think porto lenno. saw purple flowering plant along disturbed areas and at least 2 types of pine trees tall and airy and short and squat. unfortunately we were facing backwards and I started getting motion sickness by the time we got to cordoba. next time we will have to see how you book a seat that faces forward!Read more

    • Day 3

      night time wanderings 1st night

      May 14, 2022 in Spain ⋅ ⛅ 25 °C

      after getting some groceries 9 pm we headed out. found a beautiful flatiron building in calle tueton with lots of wood details, palm leaf on balcony which we have seen before....leftover from easter I think. swifts nesting above the wooden blinds you can see the poop stainsRead more

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    Las Cortes

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