Monday, August 31, 2015


Hard to belive I've been gone from California for three weeks and that Jim will join me in only three and a half weeks.  I'm looking forward to having him on the journey.

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Today I started very early and experienced walking in the moonlight for an hour.  The first two hours were spent walking up the mountain of Alto Mojapan which is at 1150 meters. Along the ridge at the top there is a memorial to people who were executed here and buried in shallow graves in 1936 during the Spanish Civil War.

We were walking along a rocky gravel road for most of the day.  Some of it appeared to be "firebreaks" as we had oak and pine trees for most of the day.

The remaining two hours were mostly downhill or level as we eased back into farm land at the lower level.  Arrived at San Juan where there is a very large church and an Augustiņian Monastery built there in 1150. 

As this was our first village of the day many stopped for a break included Christina who had been somewhat walking with me most of the day.  She was always a ways down the road but I could generally see her. Last time I'd seen her was when we crossed the cow pasture and had stopped for photos.

But soon she passed me again on the flat road to Ages where I decided to spend the night.  It was early and she may have walked on to Burgos or somewhere inbetween. 

I'm so glad I stopped here as I saw Lillian who I've not seen since Roncevalles on the third day.  I first met her on the first day of walking when Monika and I found her near Orisson. .. very confused and only speaking her native tongue..Danish. .. which Monika also spoke.  She thought that she was taking the level road and had made a wrong turn.  We got her to Orisson and she has become a legend on the Camino.  She has Parkinson and shakes badly with her walking poles. She is also carrying a large pack.  I heard that she also speaks English and we had a wonderful conversation today.   She stopped for a day because her knees are bothering her...but she was soon on her way for another 3 km before stopping for the today.  She will probably beat me to Burgos tomorrow.  She says she is so strong because she walks up and carries her on groceries several flights of stairs where she lives.  Such a lesson she has been to everyone who has been fortunate to meet her on the camino.  We are so blessed.

The tiny village of Ages where I'm staying  is very old and many of the buildings including the albergue where I'm staying are half timbered from hundreds of years ago.

Tomorrow I will walk to Burgos ...a big city... and meet up will some pilgrims I've met who have stayed two nights in Burgos.  It will be great to see them again.  We've stayed in touch using facebook.   Buen camino


Sunday, August 30, 2015


Beautiful Sunday walk today.  Only did about eight miles and arrived in Villa franca de Montes de Oca before 11 am.  Lovely and very old building, formerly a Hospice when there were bandits who robbed the pilgrims.  Now totally restored and is a beautiful hotel much like the Parador hotels.   The owner has traveled the camino and the hostel attached to the hotel fulfills his wish to give something  back.    Dinner tonight will be in the hotel but with a pilgrims price.  There are 18 beds in the room I'm in.  five euros per bed.

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Today was a beautiful walk with shade trees and clouds in the sky that shielded the sun so that it wasn't so burning hot.  There were more sunflower fields today and they are busy preparing the fields for another planting soon.

Kept thinking we'd get rain....but only a few sprinkles.  I'm enjoying my Sunday afternoon...even took a short nap.  Tomorrow is a 10 mile walk with no towns in between. ..
Buen camino


Saturday, August 29, 2015


The wifi is really good so thought I'd try adding a couple of photos.  I left Granon before daylight and the sky was specular as the sun rose behind our backs.

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Last night was one for the memory books at the albergue in the church.  It is run by volunteer staff from around the world.  They come work for a few weeks at a time.  They are all past pilgrims and still walk it over and over.  After km 7 pm mass we all pitched in to help with the dinner and then we all did the dishes together. 

Then we were led to their secret room.  It is very unusual but they do not have a stamp for our books (we can do that at the bar across the street).  They feel that the sharing time is the stamp on our hearts of what the camino is truly about.

The secret room was through a small door next to my bed/pad and led into the choir loft in the church which was totally dark except for some candles.

There was one large candle that was passed from person to person.  We were told to share something, a poem or something from the heart or just to hold it quietly without talking before passing it on to the next person.  It was extremely emotional for everyone in the room.  We all slept soundly afterwards on our pads. I had a Korean family, adult daughter and the parents next to me.

Everyone was up very early...some left at 5 am...I was out the door before 6:30.  Soon the sun was nearly up and I watched the fields of sunflowers.  The small ones were awake and excited while the mature ones still hung their heads waiting for the sunshine to wake them up.

It was a day of long stretches of gravel roads alongside a large highway.  I was a solo walker but always within sight of other pilgrims.   Enjoyed the pilgrim walking the opposite way...yes...they do walk both ways....with his donkey.

Just before I reached my destination I found a delightful women that I met two days ago and we walked into Belorado together.  We had orange

at the bar and then she was off to the next town where her backpack was being delivered. Maybe I'll see her again, l hope so.

It's been a restful day ... nice mass this evening followed by a special blessing for the 25 pilgrims at the mass.  They are having a mini festival in the plaza...I can hear the music as I type.  It looks like rain...hopefully just during the night.

Today was 10 miles in 5 hours.  Tomorrow I only go to Villa franca which is about 8 miles.
 Buen camino

Friday, August 28, 2015


Tonight is going to be a unique experience.  I'm in a church run albergue that only takes donations.  You have to be a pilgrim and have been on the road for several days to stay. Our room is already full and the upstairs room is filling fast and its only 3 pm.  Our beds are two inch mats on the floor.  I have a Japanese family...parents and adult daughter next to me.  Mass is at 7 pm (optional) dinner at 8 pm and then a discussion time.  We have not been told what the dinner is as of yet.

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My day started at 7:30 am and after walking 9 miles I arrived in Granon at noon.   My new Zealanders friends were with me last night and waited in the plaza here to make sure I arrived before they went further on for several miles to another village.  They are such wonderful people. I hope I continue to see them along the camino.  My mileage count is now up to 158 miles.

Today's walk took me first to the town of Santo domingo where I stopped for breakfast and then made two visits, first to the Parador hotel in the plaza where Jim and I had stayed in 2004.  And then into the church to see the live rooster that lives inside of a cage in the church, he crows regularly so people remember he is there.  Has to do with a miracle many years ago. 

Then back on the long hot road for another couple of hours.   Many of the fields have recently been harvested and there are still some  fields of sunflowers. 
But there is basically no shade.  And it was a very warm day.  I think I'll get on the road by 6 tomorrow if possible.  I've got a long walk planned.  Buen camino


Thursday, August 27, 2015


Last night the five of us from the picnic went to a pilgrims dinner and Mark and Jan picked up the check.  Then Chris paid for Gelato treats afterwards.  A fun evening with great people.  Hope to see Mark and Jan along the camino...they are faster walkers than me so unless they stop along the way....who knows.  I'm learning the pilgrims have a way of reappearing when least expected. 

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I was out the door in the dark this morning along with many others. This photo is a reflection in a store window.
 I was well on my way when the sun arose and it was a beautiful sunrise.  We walked for two hours along gravel and dirt roads between vinyards.  The dirt was deep red and it's said when it rains the mud sucks your shoe down and then clings like clay.  So glad it was a dry day.  But there was no shade and it was a much hotter day than yesterday or maybe it was because of the lack of shade.

I walked solo all day and enjoyed the ten hot air balloons in the sky near Azofra where I stopped for breakfast.  My favorite orange juice and a slice of warmed tortilla de patatta.  I shared a table with a lady from Mexico .. just over the border from Texas.  She has had a cold ever since starting and has decided it must be an alergy.  She got some medicine from the pharmacy .   Then off I went for a another two hours of walking.

It got very hot with no shade and people were literally sitting in the shade of grapevines to find some relief.

The last two hours of walking was different in that we now had a combination  of freshly cut hay, crops and still a few vineyards.  And we were slowly climbing up and up.

At the end of the day we climbed 1247 feet in that last two hours.  We all were ready to call it a day when we arrived in Ciruena..

Here I found two Australians, a lady from Cape Town south africia,  a man from Northern California and my three New Zealanders.   Jim said it sounds like you can practice your English tonight...LOL

Dinner will be here in the albergue which should be a fun evening.

  Buen Camino


Wednesday, August 26, 2015


Last night in Navarrete I  ate dinner in the village with the Ohio and London couple.  Lots of energy and fun.  The pilgrims meals are so easy...everyone just adds their 10 to 12 euros to the pot and the bill is paid.

We had so much fun we missed the 8 pm mass but did go in at the end to see another fabulous gold altar. 

Up early and out the door by 7 am.  Walked all day with Debbie and Chris from London.  They are doing the camino in eight segments and this was their second.  They leave for home tomorrow...they are doing two per year.  They adopted a sole pilgrim last April and called him their tag along.  This segment I became their tag along.  Great fun and loads of energy.
It was a comfortable walk through the vinyards today on mostly gravel roads.  Mostly gentle rolling hills.  We took an option trail to stop midway in a village for breakfast.  Other wise no villages on the direct route between Navarrete and Najera where we are staying tonight.  It was a 5.5 hour walk of 10.79 miles making a grand total to date of 138.51 miles.
We were joined off and on during the day by Mark and Jan from Ohio.  They are newly retired art teachers and will be finishing their camino about the same time as Jim and I so will probably be seeing them off and on along the way.

After checking in and our showers and laundry; Debbie went shopping for picnic supplies.  The hotel let us take dishes with our food across the street where we sat on the grass near the river for a delightful picnic

Another good day on the camino.   I saw three pilgrims today that I never expected to see again.  It's a blessing to be with such wonderful people.

 Buen camino


Tuesday, August 25, 2015


Last night was very special.  The man from Holland invited several of us to join him for dinner at the bar near the church that serves the pilgrims dinner.

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Afterwards we all walked to the church for the 8 pm mass.  It was in the chapel and at the end we were all invited up to the altar and the priest first spoke to each of us to find out where we were from.  Then we were individually blessed with holy water and then he individually laid hand and prayed over each of us.  It was totally unexpected and made me think that God had a plan when he had me stop in Viana.

Have arrived in Navarrete this afternoon .  I'm at Albergue El Cantato....very nice and my backpack was here when I arrived about 2 pm after a 7 hour walk of 16 miles.  That makes 127 to date.

I left about 7 am and had company most of the day between two couples in our albergue last night.  One from Ohio....but spent the most time with an.english couple.  We're doing dinner and then 8 pm mass together tonight.  Unfortunately tomorrow is their last day...they are doing segments. 

A lot of the Walk today was on very nice paths with shade here and there.  The tough part was at the end of our hike but through vineyards as we climbed towards Navarrete when I am spending the night.

Today we saw many vinyards as we are in the wine region.  I tasted the blackberries...they are small and tart.  I saw the first stork nest on top of a power pole...we will be seeing lots of them as we go east.

The city of Lograno  was very large. .stopped for breakfast and to visit the cathedral. ...and then got lost but asked enough questions and found my way.

A good day over all...
Buen camimo


Monday, August 24, 2015


Well, it's been a humbling experience today.  I slept really good with earplugs and didn't even hear all the others come to bed  (they were mostly spanish and they probably didn't even begin dinner until I was asleep)...then the cell phone alarms started going off at 5 am so I got up, packed and headed out.

It was 6:30 am and pitch black for about half an hour but I put on my headlamp and headed out with my  backpack.  Because so many were also getting up I knew there'd be a string of pilgrims passing me soon. 

The sunrise was especially beautiful this morning, but the brisk winds kept it a very cool walk.  At the top of the first ridge there was an interesting collection of rock memorials with prayer sheets, photos and other personal items held down with rocks.  There was also a coffee truck near here as we crossed a highway in the area.  In fact, we actually did more highway walking then usual today.

Along the way I was passed by many camino friends from past days.  Some from Friday night and several Italians from the birthday party.  Many stopped to make sure I was okay.  I'm very recognizable with my gray hair and pigtails.  One kind gentleman said that I was an inspiration to many of the pilgrims.  But, they could tell I was struggling more than usual today.  If I tossed my sleeping bag and another five pounds I'd be fine... but I like suggling down in my bag early in the morning when it's cool.  And it's good to know that I have the supplies and creature comforts so decision made that unless it's a less than five mile day. .. the big backpack is going by Transport.  I'll drink one less beer and sleep in large dorms to pay for the cost...well worth it...7 euros...tomorrow it goes down to 6 euros and after Burgos...5 euro and by the time I meet Jim in Sarria it will only be 3 euros per day.

But back to my journey today..
I'd planned to walk 20 km...about 12 Logrono.  I made it to Viana in 4 miles.   I dropped my backpack next to the first abergue I saw at 10:30 am and planned to wait until it opened.

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I was lucky as the owner came out with her son in the first 10 minutes.  Using sign language...she let me put my stuff inside and told me to come back at noon.

I spent the next two hours exploring the old city center.....up the hill...which was a snap without my gear.  Beautiful church that I will go back to this evening after dinner in a bar that offers a pilgrims 10 euro dinner as they have a 7:30 pm mass.

I was very fortunate as this is a lovely new albergue and several English speaking guests...including two recent college graduates from Florida.  We have a dorm room with eight bunk beds ...16 people....for only 8 euros a bed.  There are also several private rooms.  But no dinner.  They do have a Continental bkf for 3 euros but I find I walk better on an empty stomach.

To transport you have to have  a reservation so they know where to deliver your bag.  The albergue is very helpful setting up the next night and arranging the transport.  Also the municipal albergues do not take reservations so I'm using the private ones which are generally cleaner and the same  price.

Viana is an active town with 4000 residents.   The Camino passes through the historical center which is much the same as it was when medieval pilgrims were walking through.  Cesare Borgia was linked to this town during the reign of Pope Alexander VI...he was his iligimate son.   This was the 15th century.

There is the newer church and then the ruins of another named for st. Peter.

Another chapter closed...buen camimo

Sunday, August 23, 2015


Last night the dorm completely filled by 4 pm..  we were one American (me) several who spoke English very well including an Italian girl who works in Philadelphia.  4 germans,  1 from  Argentina and the rest all from Italy.

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About 5:30 I walked over to the bar to see about dinner.  He said not until 6:30 so I got a glass of wine and settled in.  Soon Jorge arrived and sat down to talk.  It's his 36th birthday and the italians are coming over to celebrate.  He asked me to join them and of course I was delighted. 

The bar had many more than expected so we took the late seating and they  brought us snacks and more wine.  Actually I think Jorge picked up the cost.  We all had a great time and finished up just before ten which is our curfew ... they lock the door. .. and that's also about the time that the very loud thunderstorm rolled in.  A fun night and we all ate the 10 euro pilgrim meal that included a large salad..pasta or chicken with French fries. Dessert was a choice of flan or ice cream and of course more wine. 

I woke up about 5 am....2 were up and on their way by 6 am in the dark as they were walking the full 40 km to Logrono.
Soon others were stirring and by 7 the young German girl  left with me.  She was carrying a 50 lb pack and she still out walked me .   We missed the first directions and after half a mile uphill decided we'd missed something and walked back.  So we got an EXTRA mile today.  But a Texas lady also missed it so we were not the only ones.

It was a day of rolling roads through farmland with no shade.  We didn't see our first town for 8 miles.  By then the sun was very hot but a good breeze kept us cool.  Twice I caught the German girl when she stopped to rest and then she'd pass me again.

The town was Los Arcos, a beautiful and very old town.  They had a festival last weekend and had a running of the  bulls through the streets.    Would have been fun to see if I'd been walking faster.  My Arizona people who started with me were new friend Monika who walked with me the first two days is in Burgos today...I keep plodding along.

But, I did stop and join the Germans for an early lunch, a slice of a camino favorite...Tortilla  de Pattaya ... like an omelet filled with potatoes.  Delicious.  We were in the plaza of the church and although no mass, I did enjoy a visit and a short concert being played on the massive organ.

Back on the road for another nearly 8 km where I reached the Albergue Sonsol where I had reservations and my backpack.  Opps...the backpack had not arrived .

Phone calls were made and within ten minutes it arrived.  The Texas lady said her pack did not arrive until 11 pm yesterday so I was more than a little concerned.  Tomorrow I'll be carrying it again as planned. 

Showered, laundry done and I'm listening to the arrivals...we are one big room with 24 beds...12 bunks.  I'm in a Lower bunk up against a wall which is nice.

Buen camimo

Saturday, August 22, 2015


Dinner last night was wonderful, beautiful presentation....I think they had a chef in the kitchen.  4 courses. .. the main dish was piayia but vegetarian. .. totally unexpected but delicious.  We didn't sit down until 8 pm so it was a late night.

This morning I left my backpack at the hotel when I left at 7 am...for 7 euros it will magically appear at the end of my day at a prearranged albergue .

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It was a lonely walk but so easy...didn't see a soul until I arrived in Estella an hour later.  Had one spooky thing ... as I was approaching a factory there was a red light flashing and a loud siren blaring.  Not a soul in sight so after a short stop I quickly walked past.

When I entered Estella I saw the French couple who was at the table with the American and me for dinner last night.  We took photos for each other before they walked on.  I did have a new experience today...I actually walked pass over weight older man with a backpack. 

As I started up into the hills after leaving the city I notice a winery.  It was the one that has a treat for wine or water.  But I was too early and they had not turned on the tap for the wine so it was only photos and water.  The Italian pilgrim man kept trying to get some wine from the tap. 

So enjoyed my weekend walk and will do the same tomorrow.  I've decided to use the transport each weekend since I'm not planning on any days off.  At least that the plan today.

I reached Azqueta by 10 am and the albergue was not ready.  So I went to the bar and waited until noon.  When I went back they still were not ready but my backpack had arrived.  When I viewed the rooms I was very disappointed.  So I apologized, put my backpack on my back and walked the mile straight up the mountain to where I'd orginally planned to stay.  They had room and it's very nice.  I'm on the third floor in a 12 person room.  So far only 3 of and 2 germans.  The college girls speaks beautiful English.   And is very good to translate everything we say to the older woman.  But they speak German mostly.

There is a church right next door...not open but they ring the bells.  Beautiful wedding when I arrived. 

It was very overcast this morning and very muggy...but so far none of the predicted rain. Tonight's dinner will be the pilgrim meal for ten euros at the bar about a block away. 

What appears as a large rocky outcrop at the peak of the mountain ... We're just under it ... and from the town you can see that it's actually the ruins of a chateau that goes back to the first century.

I'm enjoying the afternoon and the forever views out our window.  Showered, laundry done and blogs finished.  And the owner helped me reserve tomorrow so my bag is all set to go to Sansol..a village outside of Torro del Rio.  That's about 7 km passed Los big city that I will walk through tomorrow.  I plan to be in Logrono on Monday night.

Today I walked 8.77 miles in 4.5 hours.  My total miles to date is 90.32 miles. Tomorrow I will pass the 100 mile mark.

Thanks for joining my journey. 
Buen Camino

Friday, August 21, 2015


Enjoyed dinner last night with the couple from Holland.  They are near Rotterdam and have ridden their bikes from there to st.jean pdp.  Lively couple who are camping whenever possible.  They will go to Santiago and then to the coast and south into Portugal before flying home.

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It was a good night even with 20 people in one room.  The church bells woke us up early and we were all out the door before sunrise which was good as it was a very HOT day with hardly any shade.  Plus there were a few steep climbs.  I ran out of water about 2 km before the next town and learned a good lesson to always carry extra water.  I missed the bar in one town where I'd planned to use the WC , so it was behind the olive tree for me.  Saw blackberries today and sunflowers along with vineyards.

I talked to two Americans. from Maryland broke her arm in Madrid but is still walking her Camino with a day pack and transporting her big pack.  The second American  woman was younger but walking slower because of many blister issues.  She is from the San Jose CA area.   She is in the same room with me tonight in la casa magica in Villatuerta.  She has a new blister today.  The 3 German ladies in our room are also suffering with blisters and they are having their packs carried.   they are all trying the salt and vinegar treatment recommended here.

I have decided to have my large pack  carried's a short day but very steep hill  and they're predicting rain .  Plus I need a day off from The backpack.

Today's journey was 11.96 miles making a total of 81.55 miles to date.  It took me 7 hours to complete including two stops.  When I went without water I consumed 1 bottle of juice and 1 whole bottle of water  plus purchased a second one to take with from the first vending machine I found.

When I arrived here it took me a while to find it and I was very tired.   Lots of people helped me b with directions.  So glad I was not going on to Estella as many were. 

This place...that I booked last night by telephone is wonderful.   12 euros but no bunk beds.  And a real dinner for 13 euros.  Very nice and she helped me book a room for tomorrow in Azqueta which is 1.9 km short of my scheduled place but that's okay.   I have to have a booking to have my bag transported

Thanks for checking in today...buen camino


Thursday, August 20, 2015


Walkways are more dirt and gravel and sometimes very large stones.  Sometimes near villages they have paved them because they use them for their own use I think.  Overall not bad but the downhill today would have been a dangerous one in the rain.  15% grade  (my guess) and many large stones and ruts.  It took me 2 hours to do those first 2 miles....up and then the long downhill.   Love my walking sticks for added balance....but I still walked very slowly.   And you know me...I stopped frequently for photos.  I was alone most of the day but frequently people passed me.  I took one lady's photo .and then she took mine near the top of the mountain.  Loved the sunflowers but they are defiantly going to seed.  This was right after I watched the sun rise.  Turned into a very warm day.

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Near the top I was right under the big wind machines and could hear and feel their energy.  And that's also where I found the wrought iron figures of the ancient pilgrims...Glad the wild wind wasn't blowing today.

Once I reached the bottom of the hill I found myself in farmland.  Saw my first  Vinyard and picked a grape...rather sower.  Many field with corn six feet tall or more....made me think of Indiana.

I walked through three small villages today...stopping to visit in the two churches that were open.  Along the way I met an English couple walking with their two daughters, probably 10 and 12 years old.  I also saw another woman camping with children and a donkey .

My pack was getting heavy so I stopped a couple of times to rest on park benches in the villages.  One enterprising boy had a lemonade stand with chairs to sit on in his open garage. 

I reached my goal today  arriving at  1:30 pm. ..Puente La Reina.  8.84 miles by my Map my Walk ....6 hours.  The first albergue was already full  but she called another one and they had room.  Very clean and new...20 people in the room but I'm up against a wall on a bottom  bunk.

Showered and settled in then walked to the beautiful church and then to the ancient bridge that we'll walk across tomorrow as we leave town.  I wanted to get some photos in the sunlight .

I do have some English tonight...a couple from Holland who are riding bicycles and camping.  But decided to stay in an albergue tonight.

I have to wait until 7pm for my pilgrim's meal...okay as the price is great.  10 euro for the bed and 10 euro for dinner including wine. Then it's off to bed. Buen Camino

Wednesday, August 19, 2015


I've just finished reading all of the wonderful comments...thank you one and all.  Typing with my thumbs is quite a job so it's good to know you're enjoying the journey.  More tomorrow but just wanted to thank all of you. 
Below is my entry on Wed Aug 19th:

Link for the Picasa Web Album:

The language is a problem...I  can understand some french but very little spanish.  Many people do speak English so that helps but they will generally only do so when I approached them. But sign language helps and so far I've been able to get a bed and food every night.  Sometimes I miss sharing the joy of the camino but then someone comes along and I have a new friend.  Must admit it would be harder if I didn't have wonderful cell service with T-Mobile which allows me to be in almost constant contact with family.  It's truly amazing.

Last night was the biggest dorm I've ever slept in but with earplugs and a gentle sleeping pill I had one of my best nights sleep.  Everyone began to stir early and since I decided not to pay 3 euros for toast and juice.. I and most everyone was out the door in the dark but the street lights made it seem like daylight.  We had about a two mile walk to get out of the city.  The sun came up just as we entered the countryside.  It was lovely.  The next five hours was a gentle climb steadily upwards.  Many stopped at Cizur Menor for breakfast but I continued to walk eating my power bars from the store.  Soon I was seeing many of my new friends again as they.caught up with me.

Our jouney today was 7 miles of beautiful countrside.  We passed a field of sunflowers...they were getting old and their faces were hanging down.  I so wanted to go stand in the middle of them but the ditch between us made the decision .  When we reach Zariquiequi I stopped at Albergue San Andres and booked a bed and breakfast for 10 euros.  The pilgrims dinner will be an extra 10 euros including wine.  I used the washer and dryer for 5 Euros after my shower and now have clean hair and all clean clothes. 

One of the fun things was greeting several friends that I haven't seen for several days..the New Zealanders from Orisson, Thomas and Marianne from Viskarret and from Larrasoana the 4 french  ladies and several others. 

Tonight I'm in a room with eight bunks...mostly ladies...but I've not heard a word of English. Dinner should be interesting. ...all are napping right now and it's  3 30 pm. ..
That's it for now....thanks for tuning in and sharing my camino...buen camino

Tuesday, August 18, 2015


Have defiantly decided to stop trying to post photos on this blog...but am putting many on Facebook and one a day on instagram.  It was a shorter walk than I expected.  Probably because it was less hilly.  The last few miles was through a large city...the route was well marked.  

Now that I'm home...I'm adding my is the Link to Picasa Web Album:

I arrived at the albergue before 1 pm and by 4 pm they were full for the night. ..all 140 beds.  But the price is right at 8 euros for a bed..including clean sheet and pillow blanket so you need one or a sleeping bag.  Bathrooms and showers are unisex....
For 3 euros you can get coffee and a piece of bread in the morning but I'll wait and get something on the trail.

Last night was shall we say interesting.  I seem to be the only English speaker.  At dinner. ..a very good one for 10 euro...including wine and dessert.  I sat with Rolf from Germany who only spoke his language and 4 french women...friends doing a week every year together.   One spoke German and English so we kept her pretty busy.  Two others spoke limited English. it was pretty quiet.  My roommates were two young Romanian girls who spoke good English but preferred to talk with the young Italian who is above my bed tonight. ..too funny. And he speaks beautiful English.    I discovered on the trail today that the German also speaks limited English.  His son works in washington DC  and he and his wife will be visiting him this fall.

Bottom line after two quiet day...I had lots of opportunities today to talk to many people. 
Buen Camino

Monday, August 17, 2015


It was a it was a beautiful day of sunshine but not too hot.   I walked many miles by myself. It was very pleasant and I used my phone to say the rosary as I walked. Lots of bicycles on the trail and they are sometimes very fast.
The paths today were beautiful but very rocky....could have been very slippery in the rain .  I am at a beautiful albergue tonight in Larrasoana called albergue San nicolas.  Recommended by my host last night.  I did 10 miles today in 6.5 hours.  Tomorrow I will walk to Pamplona which is another mile longer than today.

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I saw a lady with 3 small children and a donkey camping near the river in zubiri.  My host last night said she knocked on their door looking for a place to stay the previous night.

Arrived here about 2:30 pm...6.5 hours of walking 10 miles.

Now I've showered and the laundry is done.  I've had a beer and am enjoying the good wifi...tomorrow pamplona. .buen camino

Sunday, August 16, 2015

My Basque Farmer

Monika and Martha at the beginning


This is late as the previous post did not send..probably because of photos.

A link to the photos for this day in Picasa:

On the first day of walking I waited until 10 o'clock for my walking partner to arrive.  Her name is Monika and she is from Sweden.... but Hungarian heritage.  Much younger than me but because of tendinitis need to walk slowly for the first few days.  We connected on the Santiago forum.

This was a short five miles but about 12% grade so it took us about four hours.  Very pastoral countryside with great Vistas along the Way.  We got rain...light..part way up but the clouds stayed low and the views were spectacular when we arrived.  I really enjoy Monika but know we'll probably only walk together the first couple of days.  Buen Camino


I'm posting two blogs today so not sure how they will enter as they will have the same date.  But the first one posted immediately without going to the bar! photos makes a huge difference.  Leslie....I really didn't have any jetlag....amazing.

Link to Picasa web album:

Today I  was up early and for the first time walking primarily by myself.  Different terrains .... many miles in forests and sometimes on roads as I passed through villages.  Sometimes I didn't see anyone for ten minutes or less but over the four hours there had to be at least one hundred pilgrims who passed me walking or on bicycles.  I've only seen one on a horse.

I stopped twice at bars to use the bano (toilet) and always purchase something from them but moved on quickly.  There was a lovely old Basque farmer who was stopping all the them kisses and then offered to have his photograph taken with you.  I have  great selfie that I'll try to share.

The weather has been warm and sunny all day.  First day for sunscreen.  Early this morning it was  cool and I thought of the gloves I left at home when trying to lighten my pack.  But soon the sun warmed everyone and the jackets came off. 

The last couple of miles was up and down on a broad  concrete path that had been stamped to appear as flagstone...I soon recognized the repeat patterns.  It was at least two miles long. 

I arrived in Viskarret about noon.  Checked in to the same Pension where I stayed the first night.  Purchased some food for my walk tomorrow at the local store here in the village.  Unpacked before washing my hair and have been enjoying meeting more new people.  A young British man and his girlfriend and the fresh off the airplane from Georgia lady who starts tomorrow  on her  camino.  I've shared with her what I've learned as she is staying at all the same places. 

So until the next chapter. ...buen camino


Finding good wifi is very difficult so sending photos is very hard.  I've decided to just journal and add special blogs with photos from multiple days when I find strong wifi.  I'm lucky that texting is fabulous 99 % of the time and map my walk has been working well.

Link to photos in Picasa:

Our second day began with clear skies and beautiful pastoral scenes as we continued our camino. They say that these two days will be the toughest of the entire camino!

Far below we could see the clouds....they were slowly moving up the hill.  Those that started out later had rain on their way up.  We still had beautiful weather most of the day.   There was a food cart on one hilltop and we purchased hard cheese and fruit to eat for lunch along the way.  We are surrounded by free roaming cows, horses, goats and sheep.  It's very green everywhere and the animals are natural lawnmowers.

The huge statue of the Virgin Mary on the crest of one hill is beautiful.  Many other memorials dot the landscape alone the way.  Some are for people who have died on the camino.  Others are commerating ancient events. 

We passed the French / Spanish  boarder.  There is a large fountain and a grill (to contain the animals)...that you walk the only sign that you have crossed into another country. Within a few miles we found a structure for people who need help....for most of us it was where we stopped to use the wifi!

From that point on the descent became very steep.  And, the rain finally caught us.  It poured and the muds got deeper and deeper and extremely slippery.  We did fine until the very end when I landed on my tush twice.  Only my pride got hurt but I was definitely a muddy mess when we arrived.  I literally took my poncho and pack raincover into the shower with me.

We stayed at a huge albergue in Roncevalles and (God bless them) they had a laundry service and for pennies did all of our laundry for us.  We had four bunks to a cubical ... very new .. I had 3 men...Two snored....and a man on the other side of of the very thin wall also snored so it was definitely an ear plug night.

But I'm getting ahead of myself....prior to dinner I went to the church for was standing room only...and at the end of the service all of the pilgrims were invited to the front and a special blessing was said for our safe journey.

I'll  close this now and walk over to the local bar to see it I can send it using there wifi....buen Camino.

Thursday, August 13, 2015


Enjoying a day in St Jean before I start tomorrow.  Purchased new poles and have been practicing with them as I explore this lovely and very old town.
I'm meeting lots of people.  Just swapped stories with 3 young men from Germany and another one from Isreal.   I broke into their conversation with the comment that I'd been to all of their cities....soon they were all asking me queations.  Actually the intro entrance was when they asked the Jewish boy why he is walking the camino....he stumbled and I said...actually only about 40% walk for religious reasons.
I spent the morning and ate lunch with Sharon from Tasmania who I discovered is also staying at the same house as I am tonight.  Buen camino

Wednesday, August 12, 2015


The photo was taken by my daughter at 4 am at LAX.   I'm  now sitting in Madrid Puerta de Atocha train station waiting to board the train to Pamplona. 

Yesterday was hectic due to bad weather in Philadelphia causing flight delays.  But my angels were all around me with good advice and although I had to run through the airport in Philadelphia. ... I caught my scheduled flight with five minutes to spare.  They had already changed my flight to 8 pm to Lisbon connecting from there to Madrid ... I would have missed my train by the time I arrived.  Thanks everyone for your prayers....I know they helped.
The flight was only about one third full and all the center seats were used as beds.  I should have grabbed one but took two on the side so I could get some photos.

                         The storm was headed east so we had some bumpy weather but after we cleared it they feed us a lovely dinner and I celebrated with two cups of wine!
Eight hours later we were in Madrid.

Tuesday, August 11, 2015


It's 5 o'clock in the morning I'm at the airport at lax all checked in and ready to fly.  I have another hour until my flight leaves.
Yesterday about 5 o'clock in the afternoon I decided to check information and see how well this flight did yesterday.  Probably not a good idea because I discovered that the six am  flight did not leave until 1:30 in the afternoon. I would've missed all my connections and been a day late arriving in spain. 
I leave LAX at 6 to st. Louis and then to Philidelphia. ....they are having big storms there so it should be a bumpy ride. God willing my flight leaves at 6:45 pm...east coast time from Philadelphia and I'll arrive in Madrid about 8 am Wednesday morning.
I'm sitting in St Louis in the airport ... the flight to Philadelphia is delayed and I  may not make it. But there is a very nice gentleman who lives in Philadelphia and flies all the time and he's going to help me get from terminal F all the way to Terminal A which is the international terminal at the other end of the airport.... he said there's the shuttle and he'll see that I get on it.   his car is parked outside that  terminal so he's happy to make sure I get there.
Hopefully I  won't spend the night in the airport in the USA.

Sunday, August 9, 2015


The the time is near, and in just two days I'll be leaving for Spain. On Friday morning I joined a family friend Laura Curran for a hike into the Chino Hills. We went from 490 feet to 1456 feet in elevation. Definitely the highest hiking I've done in the last 2 months. It was 7.88 miles in 3 hours but I must admit I did not carry my backpack. Chino Hills is a state park created by mandate when they wanted to put an airport on the site back in the 1970s.   This park creates a natural boundary for the north east side of our city of Yorba Linda and has provided a wonderful place for me to train for my upcoming journey.
I hiked a total of 43.5 miles last week. I carried my backpack on almost all of those miles. I started on Monday with the long one of 11.28 miles on Tuesday it was only 5.75 miles. I stretched a little further on Wednesday with 7.2 miles and on Thursday it was 9.24 miles. After my long hike on Friday I did a spin around the lake of two miles just to work out the kinks. I'm taking today off and tomorrow I will try and get out and take some short little walks around the lake to keep the muscles moving. My flight leaves LAX at 6 a.m. on  Tuesday morning.
Thanks for the wonderful advice Leslie about drinking lots of fluids during my trip. I haven't had sodas for about 5 years now and about 2 months ago I stopped drinking coffee so I'm strictly a water drinker and some wine now and then. So yes I not only get up and exercise every half hour or so on the airplane I am a good water drinker also. Keep me in your prayers and I'll try to keep you posted as often as possible. Buen Camino

Sunday, August 2, 2015


Well this begins my last week of training.  I had a really good week with 54 miles all with my full pack except for the last day which was my longest day:  14 miles.
Starting with last Sunday of 2 miles around the lake in the sun, Monday was 7.59 miles, Tuesday 6.71 miles, Wednesday 8.02 miles, Thursday 8.35 miles, and Friday 6.95 miles.

I've nearly worn the top of my pack out with constantly repacking.  Jim is getting excited and walking more miles every day.  I have made contact with a couple from Phoenix who will be meeting me in Pamplona and we will spend the first night together in a small Pension and travel together to the starting village in France.  I'll spend the night there to deal with possible jet lag and since they have two days in Barcelona to recover they will immediately head up the mountain . 
I have my twin sister Mary to thank for the connection, she found them on a website called trails.  It's going to be a good beginning.