Spain
Maside

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    • Only 21 km to Go to Santiago de Compos

      October 1, 2022 in Spain ⋅ ☁️ 54 °F

      Tomorrow I will walk to my Camino destination—Santiago de Compostela! I will have walked 779 km over the past 34 days!

      I know when I get home I will spend time reflecting on all that I learned, all that I went through, and all of the amazing pilgrims I met!

      One advantage of traveling solo is the opportunity to extend yourself to others. I had some great conversations, debates, and laughs with strangers who became friends. While I have HATED having a black and blue face from my fall, it was annoying at times explaining to everyone, several times a day, every day what happened—it also was a great ice breaker while sharing a meal, doing hand washed laundry or sleeping in the dormitory Albergues. While curiosity was always in their question, it turned to genuine concern as I progressed on the Camino. By that I mean I would see someone weeks later after sharing my “fall-stitches-bruises” and they would make a point to ask how I’m doing! This is the Camino I will always remember.

      There have been many individuals I have gotten to know better throughout my weeks on the Camino who have touched my heart. Several shared their heart so openly—it was obvious to me they are a prisoner of their past. The Camino is their hope for figuring out a way to move forward and have a new beginning from their escape from the hurts of the past.

      I met other people who are trying to let go of what their perfect marriage should have been, or the mother who didn’t live up to the name, or spouse loss, or abandonment. While I traversed through the old towns on the Camino, I met so many pilgrims with hope for this quest they are on.

      Spending hours walking a challenging terrain for 20-30 km every day was perfect for me to pray for others, pray for America, Spain, and the conflicts all over the world. I loved praying for people important to me, I loved lifting all who prayed for me, and I prayed for the Catholic Church, priests and seminarians. I spent time praying for people who have no one to pray for them.

      I will close here by saying, for all of the beauty that surrounded me while walking, all of the blessings and safe travels I had, and anyone who was even the least inspired by my trip, I give all of my praise and glory to God!

      Until tomorrow, be blessed!
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    • Day 36

      Stage 33: Sarria-Portomarin

      October 18, 2022 in Spain ⋅ ☁️ 15 °C

      22 km/13.6 miles, 58°-75°, 7.5 hours
      I left Sarria at 0800 at a balmy 58°, and there were more pilgrims on the trail than before but it didn't feel congested. They went by in chattering groups looking fresh, clean, excited and energetic. Bless them. I feel like the grizzled veteran hobbling home from the wars.
      There were still long stretches where I walked alone with the birdsong and the wind. I passed the official 100 km marker. Hard to believe I have only 4 more days of walking after today. I'm starting to wonder what it will be like to reenter regular life, out of the Camino bubble.
      We shared the path with cows and farm machinery in many places today. It clouded up just before Portomarin and sprinkled lightly on the last steep descent and on the vertigo inducing high bridge into town. For someone who doesn't like heights (me) it was rather harrowing but I made it.
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    • Day 23

      Sarria to Morgade Day 1

      May 17 in Spain ⋅ ☁️ 8 °C

      We set off around 9am and were at our accommodation by 12.20
      Good day walking, About 14 klms rain and cold with lots of other walkers. Beautiful woodlands and streams along the way, stops for coffee and cake if needed. Sure slept well!!!Read more

    • Day 30

      Day 28 walking!

      June 6 in Spain ⋅ ☁️ 15 °C

      There was a very fine drizzle or mizzle and mist as we left Sarria this morning and started the climb up out of town. The way started on country lanes and then moved to forest tracks with plenty of shade. We did notice more large groups of people walking today including school or college age groups walking, probably starting in Sarria.
      The morning mist cleared after couple of hours and the drizzle stopped. It was fairly cloudy most of the day, but did warm up to about 24/25 degrees. The most exciting part of today was passing the 100km to Santiago marker!! We’re really on the home straight now!
      The way led through villages and hamlets, and saw cows en route and a chicken walking along the road plus horses and a dog who was happy to lay down in the middle of the quiet road! The way moved back onto country lanes as we then walked down into our destination Portomarin after about 23.5 Km. This village/town was flooded to build a dam and create a lake/reservoir and the church and a number of other older buildings were taken apart, numbered and rebuilt up the hill and now sit in a more modern setting, quite an endeavour!
      We're in fairly modern Albergue, best bit no bunks and sheets and towels included, in a room for 3. Also had very nice Galician octopus on bed of boiled potatoes, so decided to include photo!
      Seem to have grown more blisters today, not sure why!
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    • Day 32

      Portomarín

      October 20, 2023 in Spain ⋅ 🌧 10 °C

      So, I think this morning was the first time I woke up and genuinely wished I could just roll over and go back to sleep. It was dark, it was raining, and we had all barely dried out from the thorough dousing we took yesterday. But, pilgrims persist, and we all got up and headed out, into what turned out to be very light rain which then basically stopped by the time we finished breakfast.

      The walk turned out to be one of the most scenic thus far, reminding me often of the Irish countryside, full of giant trees and mossy rock walls and cows. Most of the day was cloudy and breezy but dry - so much better than predicted! At times the sun even broke through. Once finally tucked into the albergue it got colder and really poured. Sorry, slower pilgrims!

      In four days we will walk into Santiago. I have been re-reading the Letter of James, to better get into his spirit. It’s such a good, pragmatic letter, very suited to pilgrims in some ways, I think.

      As we get closer, a lot of conversations are about how we’ve been affected, or wondering what if anything will be different for each of us once we’re home, but it’s too soon, too close to really know. For now, even if my mind runs ahead my feet still have their job to do, and four days are four days. Time to get some sleep.
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    • Day 36–37

      Day 32 Triacastela Day 33 Barbadello

      May 13 in Spain ⋅ ☁️ 14 °C

      The descent of Day 32 was not so bad but with lack of sleep and Stephen's sore shin it was still a difficult day. Tomorrow's another day.
      Steady 22 km with ups and downs through farmland and we beat the afternoon rain 😁
      The internet is not so good so I'm not able to post when I want.
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    • Day 42

      Camino Day 32: Triacastela to Barbadelo

      September 12, 2023 in Spain ⋅ ☀️ 22 °C

      Total Distance: 25.3km
      Step Count: 36.1k
      Blisters to date: 2
      Tortillas to date: 24
      Injuries: shin splints

      Today, I started a bit worried about what would come the next few days as everyone who has done the full Camino or was already ahead said that the Camino magic is lost after Sarría, which I’d pass today. This city was towards the end of this stage and just before the 100km mark. So many people start their walk from there as the last 100km are the ones required to get the Compostela (certificate of completion of the Camino de Santiago) so they’re considered a different type of pilgrims.

      I met up with the spanish speaking ladies from the night before and off we went! The day was cool and the walk was beautiful, mostly in the forest. A few kms in, I lost the ladies as I was walking faster and also lost the trail for a bit (distracted 🙃). By the time I realised I was off the trail and walked back to the junction I missed, I met up with the group again and also met Mercedes (another lovely lady from Mexico). I ended up walking with Mercedes for a while until we lost each other in one of the stops.

      I kept on going aiming to do a quick detour to check out a very unique place: “La Casa del Alquimista”. This 200 year old rural house was set up by a man who works with minerals as raw material for his art, which is showcased all over the house. The man passed away a few years ago but his son took over the place and it was very interesting to see the contrast in their styles. 🖼️

      The lady who welcomed people there was so lovely and asked for our names. When I said mine, she was like “Oh! You’re Lukas’ friend! He stayed here last night and left like an hour ago”. I was like “Ah, so that’s where he went?, he just left without saying much… I think he was trying to get away from me haha” to which she replied “Oh I’m certain he cares for you very much because he talked about you a lot!”. 🥰

      Shortly after leaving the alchemist’s house, I was going down a road with a cafe when who do I see sitting on a table as if he hadn’t left me the day before? My lil bro, Lukas! I knew he’d miss me haha and I annoyed him for the rest of the day.

      Lukas and I ended up staying at the cafe for like an hour or 2 waiting for Tommaso to catch up and in that time we met a couple of Dutch men who were doing the camino together and the first Venezuelan pilgrims along the way.

      After we were all reunited again, we kept on walking and decided we didn’t want to stay in the big town so we pushed on for another hour after to Barbadelo which had a beautiful Albergue with a massive garden and pool. It was too chilly to swim but we relaxed during the afternoon drinking sangrias.🍷

      At dinner time, we asked everyone around us if they wanted to join tables and we ended up meeting Jan and a few others. Lots of laughter and an endless debate about coffee marked the end to another beautiful day on the Camino where the magic had not yet been lost! ✨
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    • Day 32

      Stage 29 - along the way

      May 3 in Spain ⋅ ☁️ 8 °C

      The walk today was lush and green again and not too hilly, which was great (though wasn’t so keen on the rain). I found it harder to be present today - maybe it was because of all the people, or because it feels very close to the end. Although I’m missing my fam so much (plus it was Richard’s birthday today) and I can’t wait to see them again, I also don’t want this to end.

      A big moment today - we passed the sign that marks 100km to go (though it looks like 100,000km because of the way they use a comma for a decimal point!)

      This is the reason so many people start at this stage - you have to have walked at least 100km to get your Compostela in Santiago. And from here on in, we have to get at least 2 stamps per day.

      I’ve filled up my original Credencial, where you put the stamps, so have started a new one and got 5 today alone!
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    • Day 32

      D

      June 18, 2022 in Spain ⋅ ⛅ 72 °F

      Never think you are finished with climbing up

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