My Latest Adventure in 2015

My Latest Adventure in 2015
I'll be walking the Camino this fall from August 11th until approximately October 5th...eventually will spend a week in Paris before returning to USA on October 20th

Monday, October 12, 2015


Up at the crack of dawn we headed for the Santiago Airport, first by taxi from the hotel to the bus station and then by bus to the airport.  Once there we checked in and settled in to wait for boarding.  We saw two french women who were waiting to check in and had their walking poles strapped to their backpacks.  We used sign language as neither spoke the others language to tell them they needed to put them inside to check in.  Jim ended up taking their poles apart for them so they would fit inside.  Not sure who was happier, the French women or the spanish clerk who spoke English but no French.  Jim was the hero of the day.

Then as we were about to board we met another pilgrim who had the exact same backpack as I did.  She was surprised because she said you seldom see it outside of Maine.  She is from Portland Maine.  I explained that a neighbor purchased one while on the Aplachian Trail last year and that's how I discovered it.  It's waterproof and extremely light.  Like a large sack!  We got together in Paris and rode the train from the airport into Paris together.  We're getting together one day this week before we both leave Paris hopefully. 

Our apartment is very tiny...I call it a postage stamp....but through Airbnb it is $48 per night.  On the fifth floor with an elevator.   Tiny balcony with a table and chairs to enjoy the view over the rooftops.  We are in the 18th arrondisement.  The owners live in the building, and although the area is definitely edgy, we feel very safe in the building.  A large grocery store is around the corner and we stocked up for a few days, ate some dinner and then walked up to Sacre cour basicilia for a  view over the city before calling it a day.  We're enjoying our view this evening.  And so ends another day in Paris as we enjoy a bottle of inexpensive French wine and chocolate that we brought from Spain. 

Sunday, October 11, 2015


Our last day in Santiago de Compostela was a wet one with intermittent rain showers.  We managed to stay fairly dry.  Slept in and had breakfast in the hotel about 9 am and by 11:15 we were on our way to the cathedral to see if we could find seats for the pilgrims Mass at noon.  It was already packed and as we squeezed into the crowds Jim soon decided this was not for him so he was  back out the door and exploring the city.

I decided to stay and after going to confession in Spanish. .. does that count ...I think so ... I could find Dutch, French and Spanish but no English priests.  Then I looked around and found a spot along the wall where I could see the television and also have a backrest.  Used my poncho for a seat cushion and sat back and did some  people watching while I waited for Mass to begin.  There had to be a dozen plus priests in the sanctury.  The floor between me and the television was packed with standing people.  But, the television was mounted high enough so that those of us lucky enough to have floor space near the wall could see.   When it was time for communion I picked up my poncho and after communion found a better spot to film the swinging of the Botafumeiro as by this time I knew it was going to happen again. 

Sure enough I was able to take another video but had people in front of me and I was much further I have not posted it anywhere.  Yesterday's film was definitely the best.

After Mass I found Jim and we walked over to the Parador Hotel to get their stamp in our book.  Then continued to visit the city until it started to sprinkle again.  Picked up some snacks and went back to the hotel to tackle the repacking of the big suitcase with our walking sticks that Jim had taken apart, my sleeping bag, Jim's extra shoes and most of his clothing for tomorrow's trip to Paris on Vueling Airlines. 

About six o'clock we walked to a nearby restaurant for pizza and then another walk out to the edge of the old part of the city before returning for  Vesper services at 7:30 pm at the Iglesia del Monasterio Benedictino de San Pelayo that is next to the cathedral.  This was my third Vesper Service on the Camino.  

What is Vesper Service?  It is a series of night prayers that are sung many times in Gregorian Chant by monks and nuns. Tonight there were twenty nuns with the average age of probably forty-five to fifty.  A beautiful way to end the camino.   Buen camino. .. more after we get to Paris...we will be there until the 20th.

Saturday, October 10, 2015


We're back in Santiago de Compostela.  We caught the 9:45 am bus right after breakfast and arrived at 11:15 am.  It was the express bus.   There were a dozen people who showed up  but couldn't get on the bus as it was full.  The rain began just as we were loading and continued off and on all day, never heavy and easy to get around between the showers.

We dropped our bags at the hotel and hurried over to the cathedral for the noon pilgrims mass.  I immediately notice two things:  1) the Botafumeiro was on the rope and 2) there was a reserved section which was more than likely for the tour group who was paying the 300 or 400 euro expense for it to swing.  (Not sure...have heard both figures.)

No seats so we found a stone step and then moved to a wood bench that was suddenly empty.  Then I asked a guard if there were any empty seats anywhere... showing our pilgrim credentials.  He took us through the ropes and indicated we could sit on the base of a large pillar that was about ten feet from the altar!

Wow...hard and cold seats but perfect for filming the swinging incense burner  known as the Botafumeiro.  We used our folded up ponchos to sit on and enjoyed the high mass with ten priests.

After communion...I was first in line and actually received a large pie shaped host that was part of the consecration .  Soon the robed men came to release the ropes that were tied right next to Jim and we finally knew for sure that it was going to swing.  The video I posted on Facebook and on YouTube are clip with no telescopic lens used...I was right there with tears streaming as the emotional impact hit all at once. 

We have a lovely 3 star hotel about two minutes walk from the cathedral.  Wifi is not too good because of the three foot thick walls but the Carris Casa da Troya Is a wonderful hotel for two nights.

Just after communion. I spotted a pilgrim from Chili that we met in O'Pedrouzo last Monday and he came over for a hug after mass and took a photo of us together. 

We spent the rest of the day around the cathedral and visited the tomb of St James and also walked behind the altar to touch the statute of St. James and say a prayer of thanks for the safe journey we enjoyed for the past several months. 

Dinner was around the corner and we enjoyed sangria and piayia and their much stronger wifi to put the video on youtube. 

The Web address for the video on youtube if you didn't see it on facebook is here for you:

Copy and paste...and enjoy....

Friday, October 9, 2015


This was the day that we walked to the end of the earth as it was known when they thought the earth was flat.  Now it's the official end of the Camino  as a mile marker showing 0.00 km stands at the lighthouse.

The sun was shining and it was a beautiful day for our walk to the lighthouse at Cabo Fisterra as it is sometimes spelled.  It was 2.2 km from the village each way...about three miles round trip.  Uphill going and downhill home.  Sharp drop on one side and busy road with a barrier on the other side.  Along the way we found our young German friend who I'd introduced Jim to on our first day.  He had lots of time and has also gone slowly.  He walked from Santiago to Finisterre in three days.  We walked both ways to the lighthouse together. 

When we reached the lighthouse we both used our poles and climbed down the steep rocks for photos.  Coming home Jim purchased a small mile marker for the curio cabinet.  We also got stamps for Finisterre in our books.  Found a bagpipe player and did a short video.

Walked back into town and found a grocery store for snacks and lunch.  Once back at the hotel...FYI...we enjoyed a fabulous breakfast before leaving this morning....we ate lunch saving half for tomorrow.

Jim decided to rest and I decided to see if I could find the road to the beach.   It was easy...less than half a block and I found a nice path leading down so I tried it.  In half a mile I was on a beautiful and nearly empty beach.

Waded in the Atlantic Ocean for a while and then headed back up the hill.  When I arrived back at the hotel we decided to take the rest of our food to the beach at 6 pm and watch the sunset. 

We were at the beach until the sun went down.  Enjoyed the water and eating our dinner of bananas, french bread, sausage, potato chips and red wine.  Dessert was a large bar of chocolate that we shared.  A fun evening:  "a loaf of bread, a jug of wine and thou"....Omar Khyyam...per Jim

Due to a storm coming in at midnight, the spectacular sunset of last night didn't happen but it was colorful and made a nice ending for our stay in Finisterre before we walked back up the hill to our hotel.  Tomorrow we take the bus back to Santiago.

Thursday, October 8, 2015


Our walk started in fog at daybreak about 8 am.  The sun was coming up when we stopped for a second look at the Pope John Paul II statute at Monte Gozo and I got a wonderful shot of the sunrise.

We walked 4.4 miles today into Santiago which put me at 500.83 miles by my calculations using Map My Walk.  It took us about two and a half hours with photo stops and a short breakfast break. 

We walked around the cathedral; I think the most emotional point was when I first saw the spires from a distance after entering the city...the reality grabbed me for a moment and then the excitement stepped forward and carried me about two inches above the ground the rest of the way to the cathedral. 

We went straight to the official pilgrim office and stood in line for about an hour to receive our official Compostela; a beautiful document on parchment paper to frame with our stamp books commerating our journey.

Then the quest to find our hotel for Saturday and Sunday began.  This is when we will go to mass and visit the city sites.   Finally opened Navigator on the phone and found it that way.  There we talked to the clerk at the desk to confirm that Jim's suitcase would be held there for two days until we returned.  A quick visit to the ATM and then a taxi ride to the bus terminal where we purchased round trip tickets to go to Finisterre.  This is a fishing village located at the most westerly tip of Spain on the Atlantic Ocean and for many years was considered "the end of the earth"...  as they thought the earth was flat.

Three hours later we arrived and found our hotel a kilometer up the hill with wonderful views of the water.  Tomorrow we plan to walk to the very tip where there is a lighthouse.  We hear it is only a few miles.  We'll let you know tomorrow.  Buen camino

Wednesday, October 7, 2015


Weather is overcast but no rain today.  We're still hoping for sunshine tomorrow.  Today we only walked 3.38 miles in just under two hours, yes we walked slowly and had one good steep climb coming up out of Lavacolla where the Santiago Airport is located.  We are spending our last night in San Marcos, about four miles outside the city of Santiago.  We're getting our muddy clothes washed and will start tomorrow clean as a whistle for our walk into the cathedral.  We've also discovered a great little tapas bar where we had lunch and plan to return for a light dinner early in the evening.

Before coming to the hotel we walked to Monte dei Gozo to visit the small chapel of Capilla San Marcos that sits on the bluff overlooking the city.  And the huge moumument that celebrates the visits of Pope John Paul II and St. Francis, as well as the thousands of pilgrims that walk from all corners of Europe.  It can be seen for miles.  There is also a seminary that is now a 400 bed albergue to help accommodate the huge number of pilgrims that descend on Santiago each year at this location.. 

Thanks again to the many people who read these journals and walked in spirit with me over this very special journey for me.  I've so enjoyed the comments that many of you have taken the time to write.  They've given me both spiritual and physical strength to get up each morning and walk.  Buen camino

Tuesday, October 6, 2015


Enjoyed a big breakfast of bacon and eggs before starting out this morning.  Raining when we finally left but a fairly gentle rain that continued off and on all day.  So gentle my socks stayed dry inside of my sandals.  They are almost a tennis shoe but very open.  The heavy downpour the past two days immediately soaked my feet prior to pouring in over the tops at we stepped through ankle deep muddy puddles on the trails. 

Our day had some very steep climbs as we went up and down the hills.  But the trail for the most part was a country road partially dirt and very old crumbling asphalt that kept the huge puddles to a minumum.  A shade over seven miles in just under four hours. 

Along the way we stopped once for a stamp in our book and a shorter one for Jim to construct a cross from twigs to add to the fence that surrounds the Santiago Airport.   Adding crosses to fences along the Camino is a very common way of praying.  I had not realize that Jim had not seen this before.

I played tag with my Shadow all day as the sun peeked out for not quite long enough to get a photo.  I finally got tired of trying to catch her so finally gave up the chase.  Jim kept taking his rain poncho off and on but other than the hat I kept mine on. 

While I was waiting for facebook to upload today's photo....very slow wifi here...I met a lovely young lady from California.   She had to go further as the Casa is full, and she had a bad knee.  I was able to give her my knee brace and a card.  I told her if she'd contact me before the 12th, maybe we could arrange to share a taxi to the airport depending on our flights.   She flies home that day and we go to Paris.  Never know...may work out.

Our "apartment" here at the Casa De Amancio has a mini kitchen but we've no food to cook.  We could hike two km back to town to the store...but me thinks we'll wait for dinner at eight o'clock.  Sounds good to me.  Buen camino

Monday, October 5, 2015


A day full of rain as we walked but still some sunshine in the late afternoon.  Must mention two things from last night.  There were two women from Canada who had selected easy wash and dry long sleeve tee shirts with hoods and had a print shop complete the job.  I posted photos on facebook.   The front was a photo and info on the trip. On the back they had printed "Everyone comes to the CAMINO with baggage, the beauty of the Camino is that it let's you sort out and find out what is important and what is not!"

Secondly we had first class meals last night for 10 euros each.  Jim had soup and fish including clams in the shell and hake. I had a large salad and chicken all beautifully presented on the plates.  We had water and wine plus bread and ice cream for dessert.  A very special pilgrims meal on a cold rainy night.  The hotel lost power during the night but still managed to have a beautiful breakfast for us this morning.

Left the hotel at 9 am in pouring rain.  Not as much wind as yesterday but we did get some thunder and lightening about 11 am.  Our day today was a short six miles and we did it in three hours.  Not many photo stops and only one very short rest stop for a stamp on our Camimo Credential book...We're required to have a minimum of two per day from Sarria on.  Jim has been getting more on some days but I will fill my book with the last two on Wednesday.  We arrive on Thursday morning.

The last two miles was on a steep decline and the trails were full of running water.  At one point we were in the brush and trees and had to jump down a three foot enbankment.  Jim went first and then kept me from falling as I half slid down to the deep puddles on the trail.  But we made it and soon were back with the large group of tour group pilgrims who'd walked the road instead of the forest trail.  More dangerous but less streams than were on the paths.

We found the 25 km monument and a lady from San Francisco took our photo.  So glad my cell phone has a complete case on it as I'm able to use it in the rain.  But I still keep it in a plastic bag in my purse...everything's in zip lock bags inside the purse... including the purse in a big gallon bag!

Arrived at the Pension Platas in O'Pedrouze at noon and decided to play Chinese laundry in the room.  We watch the pilgrims walking by from our window.  Many will walk all the way into Santiago today, but we will take three more days and walk in on Thursday.  It's another fifteen miles from here.  We're taking it a about five miles each day for the remainder.  We are savoring every minute.  Buen Camino.

Sunday, October 4, 2015


A wet and windy walk today of nine miles for five hours.  We walked fast as very few photo stops and only one stop to take off the backpacks and have some hot chocolate.   The place was packed with pilgrims trying to get out of the rain.

Jim played his music for a while but ended up wrapping his phone in a plastic bag inside his pocket so that ended the music.  Some have asked what he is listening to for his music.  Our son in law Tushar downloaded a selection into his iPhone  for him before he left home.  Makes the walking easier for him.

We had one huge puddle that covered the trail and when we crossed it we were ankle deep...there went the dry shoes.  From that point on we just splashed merrily along the trail.

Finally we found Salceda and our albergue which is really more of a hotel and restaurant.  The Albergue Turistico Salceda, a few minutes walk off of the trail.  Jim found it on
A lovely hotel that is self contained and reasonably priced. 

After hot showers we enjoyed a lunch of grande beer, potato chips, bread and a hot vegetable soup.  All the wet clothes are being washed and dried for us and the shoes are drying by the fire.  Diner tonight at 7 pm. 

And then tomorrow We're expecting more rain all day and lightening starting at noon.  We should be at our hotel by then.  We only have about five miles tomorrow.  Buen camino.

Saturday, October 3, 2015


No rain today which was good but due to come in about 3:30 am per the wifi so we will probably walk our longest day in the rain tomorrow. 

Today was 7.64 miles of some steep up and down.  Mostly beautiful country roads and trails for over four hours.   I enjoyed watching people pass Jim as he listens to his classical music as he walks.  Mostly Beethoven, without using ear buds so I can also hear the music.  Some slow to listen, some smile as they pass and others ignore him and walk past.

We had many cornfields and beautiful flowers.  At one point a herd of cows on their way to pasture passed us. 

We arrived early and had some lunch while we waited for the albergue to open where we had reserved a private room. private I checked out the other much newer one and we are checked into the albergue Los Caminantes a beautiful new facility.  Jim has a lower bunk in the corner and he's already had his shower.   Laundry is in the machine and I'm happy to see him experience the albergue life as it has been a very positive part of my camino.

Soon we'll walk over to the bar for some dinner...hopefully the kitchen will be open.  It will be an interesting night.  There are twenty eight people in our room.  Buen camino

Friday, October 2, 2015


Last night was very quiet, we were the only guest in a beautiful albergue located a mile from the camino trail.  They will pick you up at the trail but we walked in.  They have room for about thirty but it's nearing the end of their season.  For 58 euros we had a private room, beer in the afternoon and a lovely dinner plus light breakfast this morning. 

This morning we left about 9:30 am and walked a different road back to the trail; shorter than yesterday and brought us to a point further than when we left it.  Much like walking an odd shaped triangle.

Along the route today we saw cows lying down in the pasture, a baby colt with the mother, beautiful wild flowers, a dog riding in a buggy behind a pilgrim on a bicycle....who stopped and took a photo of us.  He asked if he could do it for us and another lady also took a photo for us.  Angel day on the camino.

When we entered the town of Melide the markers were in the low 50's...I wanted to find 50 km and Jim said okay.  Walked the trail all the way through town and down a steep hill before I gave up.  Jim was ready to find the hotel.  Back up the hill, Jim had waited at the top for me, we stopped at the 50.5 km marker where the bicycle rider took our photo.

Soon we were back into town and found our hotel that we'd found on   It's a bar...oops...but then they took us a block away where we have a lovely quiet room and bath.

Settled in we walked the three blocks to the main street and enjoyed a large lunch.    We're going back for tapas at 7 pm tonight.  Going to have calamari which the town of Melide is famous for.  Also walked to the large church for a visit before stopping at the supermarket...the first we've seen in days, for snacks for the next few days.

The weather prediction is for rain for the upcoming week.  A week from today we'll be enjoying a wonderful day in Finisterre which is on the Atlantic Ocean.  After arriving in Santiago on Thursday we'll be taking a bus to Finisterre and then spend two nights in Santiago afterwards before we leave.  Buen camino

Thursday, October 1, 2015


Today was only 4.13 miles including the mile off trail to our Casa Rural out in the countryside.  It's in a 600 year old building and feels like a hunting lodge.  It took us nearly three hours to walk here including our breakfast stop. 

Fun photo when we had pilgrims on horses passing and a bicycle pilgrim also passed and I took a photo of the three methods to do the Camino.  For walkers you are required to walk 100 km...from Sarria.  Horses and bicycles are required to do 200 km.  These are the minimum to receive the Compostela certificate.  And you must have two stamps per day in your books.   I will have filled two books by the time I arrive in Santiago.  

It was clear when we left at 9 am and soon the sun was shining also so we followed our shadows for most of the morning.  We did see a bit of fog off in the distance just before we stopped for breakfast mid way through the walk.

We planned to walk to visit some ruins after we arrived but the Senor of the Casa offered to drive us there.  So glad as it was many ups and downs and nearly three miles each way.  The castle was built in the 13th century and is unusually well preserved.  The state is currently restoring it to its former glory.  It was build to house soldiers who were protecting the pilgrims.   It is officially know as the Castillo de Pambre. 

Our afternoon has been spent enjoying some of the best wifi we've had for several days.  We do have to sit in the common room off the lobby but since we're the only guests....not a problem. 
And a grande beer adds to the enjoyment.

It's been another wonderful day on the camino.....  Buen Camino

Wednesday, September 30, 2015


Last night we enjoyed a wonderful dinner with new friends, pilgrims from south Orange County in California.   A touch of home.  They started their camino in Lourdes France and will end in Fatima in Portugal after joining Sue's  brother and sister-in-law when they enter Santiago in a few days.  They walked together from st. Jean. PdP in France to Burgos  but due to different pace and ages decided to split after Sue needed a few days off due to injuries.  They took the train to Sarria and are walking at their own pace now and enjoying their separate adventure.  Everyone has their own pace and you are encouraged to walk it even it it means letting friends stay behind or walk ahead of you.

This morning I went out in the dark to see the moon, no moon....we are low enough that we are once again under the layer of fog that spreads it's roof over the land that is known for wet weather patterns.  The many mountain streams are testament to the amount of moisture in the air.

We  ventured out at 8:30 am into light fog and daylight to begin out morning walk.  We were on fairly level trails until we stopped for breakfast at Portos.

After breakfast we left the trail and walked north off trail for less than two miles to a 12th to 13th century church out in the country.   Considered a transitional church between Gothic and Romansque, Jim was thrilled in that the caretaker arrived just as we did and opened up the church an hour earlier than we'd expected.  He also gave us a wonderful tour all in Spanish.  This was an ancient seat of the Knights of Santiago or more commonly known as the Knights Templar.  An hour later we were back on the road south for about two miles and then again on the Camino trail headed east towards our next hotel in Palas de Rei.  Soon we had some rolling hills through woodlands but enjoyed the walk especially after the sun came out and we could once again follow our shadows.

We walked a total of 8.68 miles today in just over five hours with two food stops plus the church.  Took us a bit to find our lodgings. I'd forgotten that it was on the next page of maps as it was located right on the trail but after we walked through the town.  Thank goodness for the Navigator took us right there once I'd thought to use it.

All checked in and will be going to dinner soon here in the hotel.  Tomorrow we walk across the highway and we are on the Camino. ....   buen camino

Tuesday, September 29, 2015


Had a morning and left about 9 am.  Beautiful full moon was still visible in the sky....hope to wake early one morning this week and walk by moonlight.  We are above the fog 5his morning and the valleys look like huge lakes and the mountaintops like islands.

Our walk was only about four miles and we took a little over two hours including a stop for some breakfast.  Fairly gently with little ups and downs.  One area we were on what was a fire break...actually a road between the burned hills on our left and the beautiful green forest on the right. 

Jim got to experience some rocky trail today...we really appreciate our walking poles on this type of trail.

We had lots of pilgrims today but not too many huge groups.  Many had no backpacks so were walking quite rapidly.

We are in a lovely Pension with a private room and private bath for only an extra five euros.  Had the laundry done and have enjoyed the afternoon planning our next few days.  Have a couple from south Orange County on our Pension .
Buen Camino

Monday, September 28, 2015


We were awake early so left before daylight,  jim got to use a headlamp.  It was a wet foggy morning as we joined a steady stream of pilgrims on the trail that went steadily up for over a mile.  We soon had light but the sun didn't break through the fog until about eleven o'clock.    By that time we were well into our nearly eight mile walk in four and a half hours.

We didn't have a place to stop until we were half way there, and that was jammed.  Jim had hot  chocolate and I enjoyed a fresh squeezed glass of orange juice along with the banana that we'd purchased yesterday.  That was breakfast.  Then I got into line with a dozen or so women to use the bano.

By the time we were back on the trail we were well rested and prepared for the second half of the trail which again included some climbing and this time in the sun.  But, we did enjoy shade trees along the majority of the trail.

Jim was sure we'd missed our village but I assured him we had not.  At this point of the camino there are very few alternate routes and so many pilgrims it's difficult to get lost.

About 12:30 we came down into a valley and found out home for the night at Hppistal da Cruz.  It's a tiny village with two albergues and farms and that's it.  Not sure how well the wifi will work but we do have a connection.

Finally settled in we enjoyed a lunch of ham and cheese omelets with a glass of beer. Jim is now napping.  Private room but nine rooms share two bathrooms.

We have a German couple staying that we met in Casa Morgade.  They are  English-speaking so will probably join them for dinner this evening.  Buen Camino