Friday, August 31, 2018


Day 49 and my schedule changed.  I left at 7:30 am and walked  for two hours...very lonely as I only met a couple of people.  It was an extremely steep downhill...see the photo of that section of the map..
Some on roads but mostly on logging roads in the forest.  By 9:30 I'd reach the village where I'd planned to stay. Only a municipal albergue available so no reservation.  What to do?  And, it didn't open until 1 pm.
I found one bar and stayed there until 11 am.  Walked back to the albergue and still no staff.  Just about that time the driver showed up with my backpack .   There was also a company sitting up a sound system at the albergue that looked like they were going to do a concert.
I told the driver that I would probably be going to Muxia instead of staying here.  He gave me a taxi phone number and left.  I called the albergue in Muxia where I had reservations for   Saturday and Sunday nights.  Confirmed I could come a day early.  Called the taxi who arrived within 5 minutes and I was off on a wild ride over hill and dale until we finally reached the coast and the beautiful town of Muxia.
It reminds me of the east coast.  It's full of history and legends about St. James.  The Blessed Virgin appeared to him here and also his body was found on the shores and was here until they moved it to the cathedral in Santiago de compostela .   That and more legends keep people coming but also I think for the shear beauty of this place.  I walked around for an hour after I settled in.  Tomorrow I'm putting on my walking clothes and heading out along the coast for a few miles to really enjoy the views.
I'll be leaving on Monday for my last two walking days that will take me to Finisterre .  Buen Camino

Thursday, August 30, 2018


Day 48... days are moving fast.  I'm in another little mountain albergue in the middle of nowhere called Logoso.  Today I walked nearly 11 miles in 6 hours, up and down hills and over two good sized mountains.  Well, maybe just bigger hills but they seemed to take forever.   When I saw a row of wind machines I said to myself, I bet I'm gonna be walking under those in a couple of hours.  It was about two miles before the albergue.  I talked to myself a lot today, rarely saw anyone and then they passed me by.  But it was always good to see a person  as that indicated I wasn't lost!  LOL
Last night enjoyed the evening with Sonia and Lisa from Napa Valley and today I met a couple who live in Las Vegas.  They were thrilled when I shared info on the pharmacy.... they are both struggling with injury pain.
The number of pilgrims has really thinned out.  Many who take time for going to finisterre go there by bus like Jim and I did three years ago.  But the trails are well marked and the weather has been beautiful.
Buen Camino

Wednesday, August 29, 2018


Day 47 and I walked 13.4 miles today in 6.42 hours.  Actually had drizzles for a while but the sun was out before 10 am.  I'm in a farming area...very aromic.. 
The albergue is called Casa Pepa and is across the street from a very old church and still very active cemetery in Santa Marina.  No ocean views yet but did have many hills today.
Several people here from last nights dorm.  And met many new people on the trail today.  Two Irish fellows wanted to talk about Trump and I eventually turned it around to Brexit... we all have our political problems.  Have gotten to know two women from Napa Valley.  One walked last year and came back to walk to Finisterre with the other friend who walked this year and it's her birthday.  Nice ladies.  Overall a good day, had my backpack carried and am going to continue.  Hopefully  will be in tip top shape by Paris.  In talking to people many are on pain meds for various reasons.  Biggest is feet and then knees.  Pain is part of the Camino.
I wore my drawstring bag on the front today which was better than it bouncing on my back.  Day by day ...
Buen Camino

Tuesday, August 28, 2018


Day 46 and I'm in a town called Negreira about one hour by bus west of Santiago de Compostela or fourteen miles if you walk the trail.
I decided to walk but then changed my mind  and do this on the bus as a very long portion is walking through the city of Santiago.
Ironically, as I waited for the bus to unload passengers from Muxia; to my astonished amazement I saw two of my favorite and longest running "Camino friends", Kevin and Linda from England.  We first met way back on July 19th, and have been meeting regularly with no plan ever since.  I last saw them in Leon and they are now finished and flying home tomorrow.  As I was running for my bus we  realized we'd never exchanged contact information even though we'd shared meals and walked miles together.  They got me over some tough mountains.  So we did it ..
Finally.  Of course those cards I've carried the whole trip were buried in my bag when I really needed them!  We put phone numbers in the cell phones that were in our hands.  Technology wins again!
The bus ride was great and when I got off in Negreira I had no ideal where my albergue was located so I was checking GPS when I heard someone calling .Martha ... I turned around and hanging out the bus door was a young girl with her cell phone saying hi Martha.. I'm Marta.. I want to take your photo.  I have no ideal where we met, but it was somewhere on the camino.  So much fun.  Because of the gray hair in pigtails they all remember me.  Amazing. 
My albergue was only a block from the bus stop.  Tomorrow I walk across the street and I'm on the trail.  Still looks like rain outside...another reason I took the bus today. Have arranged bag transport for tomorrow and rain or shine I will walk the 13 miles to Santa Marina. 
I've attached photos of the map pages for today and tomorrow.  Buen Camino

Monday, August 27, 2018


Wow.... day 45... a real day off.  Enjoying doing much of nothing.  Met up with a friend of a Camino friend from 2015.  We actually realized we've talked to each other on the trail. We attended the 10 am English mass on a small side chapel and then spent sometime together before going on with our days activities.  Good to meet DIDI and I also talked with my German ladies who introduced me to their friend who they met on a camino ten years ago.  He flew from Germany to be here to greet them yesterday.
Have been busy repacking for my ten days to the Ocean before leaving for Madrid and then Paris.
Leaving everything that is extra here at the hostel in Santiago, I'll be spending one night here before going to Madrid.
Twin sister is moving into her apartment in Indianapolis, and daughter Jenn is recovering from the first of two foot surgeries to correct bone problems. Nothing to do with her walk. Jim is busy with last minute problems that always seem to happen when you are leaving town.  But he's looking forward to a visit from Jay and Holly who have a wedding anniversary tomorrow.
Keep Jon Davis, a friend from real estate days, in your prayers...very seriously ill...     Life continues..
Buen Camino

Sunday, August 26, 2018


Day 44 and I walked into Santiago de Compostela at noon today in time to attend the noon pilgrim mass and video the botafumeiro swinging at the end of mass. Was met by many smiles and hugs of people I have met during the past week on the Camino.  My newest friend from San Franscisco walked into the city with me and it was wonderful to have someone to share the experience with..
Thanks Yuning.  There were many special moments but those that stand out were the orange shirt family.  The large group from Mexico City and the Italian couple that I shared my story with as we stood in line to receive our certificates. 
Our dorm had alarm clocks going off starting at 2 am.  By 3 am I was wide awake.  By 4 I was getting ready to walk and I left at 5 am..
Full moon and stars were beautiful.  I left Yuning a note as I didn't have the heart to wake her.  She woke as we scheduled and was out the door by 6 am and had
caught up with me by 9 am.  We walked the rest of the way together and entered Santiago together.  We headed for the front of the cathedral for photos and met many friends.  Then hurrided to the side door and a very long line of pilgrims going in for mass.  We got inside and worked out way over to the far exited and attended mass.  At the end the robed men came out to swing the botafumeiro and I was able to get another excellent tape.
Meeting Yuning for dinner at 7 PM.  Have done the long line for the certificate.  I'm all checked in to my albergue close enough to hear the bells.  I also have a huge group of Italians here tonight.  Tomorrow I finalize my additional hike to the ocean.  Stay tuned...
Buen Camino

Saturday, August 25, 2018


Day 43 and I am in the town of O'Pedrouza at a new albergue by the name of Albergue Cruceiro de Pedrouzo.  It has beds for 94 pilgrims in eight rooms.  Some are small but the majority are in huge rooms.
I walked 15 miles today in 8 hours with full sunshine all day, but for the most part the trails were shaded by very old trees and it made for cool walking considering how hot the sun was.
My walking improved tremendously today... mostly because I had American walking partners almost all day.  I had seriously thought of doing at least half by taxi today but walking and talking made the day fly!  We made three rest stops and my German ladies were at the last one.  So good to see people you know.
My Americans were a mother and daughter from Long Island New York and a young woman from San Franciaco who is actually staying in my albergue and we're going to do dinner together.  We'll probably walk into Santiago together tomorrow.  She travels extensively both with her job and personally. 
Tomorrow is the BIG DAY and all three of the Americans are staying two nights in Santiago so hopefully I'll get to see them again after we arrive. I've added the map pages from today and tomorrow for you.
  Buen Camino

Friday, August 24, 2018


Day 42...a short walk of 7 miles in 4 hours.  I'm in Ribadiso.   Stopped three times for coffee.  Arrived at 11:30 am.  Weather overcast; no bright sun until noon.  The trail was sharp uphill and then down and up and down..  continued that way all morning.  Saw lots of new people and many repeats.  The father and daughter from Valencia, Spain walked with me for a while.  Yesterday we talked about their annual festival with the giant paper machi people that parade.  We were there in 2010 and saw them parade!  Nice to be able to talk about something when I learn what town they are from.  Saw the large family with the orange shirts again and another large family group including grandparents... but no matching shirts. 
There were two young men who are running their pilgrimage.  Not sure if they get extra points for that!
An Italian girl in my albergue last night had a very unusual walking stick.  This morning on the trail we talked about it.  She had a much small one when she started and one day an older Spanish man approached her and asked if she would exchange walking poles with him and take his to Santiago for him?  When she agreed he told her it would  carry special prayers for himself and his wife.  So it carrys a great deal of responsibility to make sure it and the prayers arrive in Santiago.  See the photo and you'll see the size of the staff.  Not sure I would have agreed to do this but she is young and strong and I'm sure she will finish with it in the next two days.
Feeling better today, but still taking it easy.
Buen Camino

Thursday, August 23, 2018


Its day 41 and I'm in the town of Melide, yes we have ATM and pharmacies!
It was a very long walk of 15 painfully slow miles over 9 hours.  Left in the dark at 6 am and had a walking partner until day light two hours later which was great. I finally relented and got some 600 mg Ibuprofeno pills when I arrived at the pharmacy...I'm a new woman this afternoon.  I can walk without pain. But no beer or wine until I don't need it any more...strong motivation.
The crowds were less today as I began and ended mid-stage.  But we had a group of twenty from age 3 to 50s.. appeared to be brothers and sisters and their children.  They had 2 "buggies" with them for the little ones when they got tired.  Everyone was in an orange shirt with their name on the back.  They all live just north of Madrid and this was their third day of walking.  Yes... I found one who spoke English and asked questions.   Met 2 German ladies who spoke English and we stopped several times for coffee...  they for beer.   My Canadian sisters were on the trail with me but the last time I saw them the older (6 years) one was desperately looking for the younger one who had stopped.  The younger one is a smoker and overweight... definitely not her ideal to be doing this trip.  Their mother paid their airplane tickets and thought this trip would bring them closer together.  Reminder:  this is a trip that EACH pilgrim must WANT to do!  I walked to the grocery store and purchased things for dinner.   My alberge is very new and the bed price included top/bottom sheets, pillow case and a towel!  Living in luxury tonight.  Buen Camino

Wednesday, August 22, 2018


It's day 40 and I'm in the village of Airexe.. blink and you'd miss it.  Two albergues and a bar on a corner of the trail.  Today was two tough long uphill climbs during the 11 mile walk for six hours.  I left in total darkness at 5:45 am... but I was never alone on the trail.  Amazing the number of people who were already out long before me.  Just before leaving I checked message .. which I rarely do .. and received some very sad news.  Little Joe McCann died suddenly this week.  He was a giant among men and thus his nickname from childhood stuck as an adult.  He was like a son to us as he was always with our boys all the way through school and has continued to be part of our lives.  He and our son Russ are the same age and best friends.  His service is Saterday.  He will be missed by many in our community.  My prayers today as I walked were for Joe and his beautiful family. 
As we walked in the dark this morning there were several groups saying the rosary together as they walked and others filling the air with songs.  All of this as we carefully stepped around the droppings from animals as we are using their trails most of the time out here amidst the farms. 
The man from Scotland walked the last three miles with me and it was nice to have someone to talk with as we walked.  I first met him 3 days ago before Sarria.  He is a bit difficult to understand with his accent.  Met a group of 12 from Mexico City today and a group of 25 from eastern europe.   So many pilgrims.  Finding beds is becoming difficult for those without reservations. Today  was easy.. tomorrow will be a bit longer but hopefully the Scottish man will walk part of it with me. Buen Camino

Tuesday, August 21, 2018


Day 39 and I'm at the albergue Ultreia in the town of Portomarin.  This was to be my longest day of walking but thanks to a Camino Angel.. I arrived early enough to get a regular twin bed rather than the dreded top bunk bed that I'd expected due to a very late arrival.  I left at 6:15 am in total darkness for my 15 mile walk.  Because of the hip pain I'm walking much slower than I generally do.  So my planned arrival would have probably been 4 PM or after.  But I was determined to walk the distance.  I arrived in Sarria, 2 miles, by 7 am. Stopped for some breakfast and was out of the city by 8 am.  The next five miles to Morgade was mostly uphill. I was never alone.  I probably had seen about 100 of them in the past two days. Everyone else was new... pilgrims beginning their journey from Sarria to Santiago.  If they get two stamps per day that proves that they have walked and they can request a Compostela certificate when they arrive.  Today there were large groups, families, one couple with their dog, and a donkey carrying goods.  The weather was perfect.  Remember those clouds I showed you yesterday?  Today we were below them and it was nice and cool, and a bit damp, up until 11 am when the sun broke through.
I stopped for lunch and took my shoes off at Morgade.  Leaving there I walked the next of mile of the remaining six of a total of 15 for the day.  I'd finally taken two aspirin and at the next time the trail crossed over a road.. there sat a taxi!  He motioned, I smiled but shook  my  head no, as I limped past him.
Suddenly out of the trail popped a husband and wife from Madrid. I'd been walking with them on and off for two days.  They asked me to share breakfast on the trail earlier but I said no that I was doing lunch at Morgate.
They'd decided to take the taxi to Portomarin.  They grabbed my arm and pulled me with them to the grinning taxi driver.  When I took out some money they immediately said NO.  They spoke very little English,the wife none at all.  I kept quiet, felt a bit guilty as we contined to pass group after  group of pilgrims.  After many thank you and gracias the husband looked me in the eye and said "your welcome". I told him that they were Camino Angel's today.  I've only been able to be one several times, but on the receiving end over and over by so many wonderful people. 
Enjoyed our community dinner last night.  Tonight will walk to the restaurants that are nearby.  This is a very interesting town, they rebuilt the entire town on high group when there was a dam built that caused it be covered in water many years ago.  Only the church survived because it was already high on the hill.  Tomorrow is a much shorter walk .. see the photo of the map page.  Enjoying all of the new pilgrims but so glad I have all of my reservations for beds every night.  So today I only walked 10 miles instead of the planned 15.
Buen Camino.


Day 38 and I'm at an albergue 2 miles before Sarria.  Should have gone further today.but had good memories of this place and wanted to stay again.  So tomorrow will be extra long.  Today was 9 miles in 6 hours.  But no aspirin for the hip so that's good. 
I made 2 stops, the first at what one would call a hippie stopping point... offered free coffee, etc. For a donation.  I said a toilet would be nice and yes,  they had a glorified toilet out back just for women.  So the donation was worth it.  See the photos.  The 2nd stop was a regular bar but enjoyed the coffee, pastry and a regular bathroom!
The numbers of pilgrims is increasing drastically.  I was never alone on the trail.  I will post separately a video of a young nun playing her guitar and singing as she led her group.   Did another cow
Video but no good.
one bull  stopped to sniff me until the woman farmer shoved him away.   Not seeing any of the earlier pilgrims, all new from yesterday.  Tomorrow will be interesting as Sarria is where they must begin walking to qualify for a compostela certificate in Santiago.  I posted a photo of today's map so you can see the up and down of my walk... good workout, but most of the trail sections had good shade.
Buen Camino

Sunday, August 19, 2018


Day 37 and I had a short walk today of only six miles to Tricastela.  But, 90% downhill.  The next two days are both long ones.
Nice mountain town with a very old church that had a mass at one o'clock which was two hours after I arrived. Tonight I have to find my own dinner but last nights dinner was wonderful.  Sat between a French history teacher in middle school and a German  Male nurse who worked  a year at half pay so that he could take this year off with like pay to walk the Camino.  He started in Berlin and is camping most of the time as in the beginning there were not may places to stay like Spain has.  Both very interesting and the food was extremely good.  We were all seated at one very long curved table.  There were at least forty of us or more.
Mass thismorning did not have a sermon and a fun part was the sharing of one pair of eyeglasses by the priest and the lady who did all of the readings. The host was dipped into wine before being handed to us.  Nice custom which I've seen in several of the churches. Today's walk was very solo but pilgrims passed me on a regular basis.  About half way here I suddenly had a thought that I did not complete the paperwork on my pack for Jacotrans.  Fortunately I was here when they arrived and he held up my blank envelope.  I immediately got his five euros and apologized for my mistake.  We had a good laugh and I immediately did the one for tomorrow. Hard to believe this time next Sunday I'll be in Santiago.  My plan it to take another week and only pack bare necessities to hike to the ocean ar Muxia and then to Finisterre.  I'll take a bus back to Santiago. The map page today is for tomorrow..long day. 
Another day completed
.. buen Camino

Saturday, August 18, 2018


Day 36 and I'm in Fonfria tonight.  I was able to post a video of the cows walking past me this morning. Hope you enjoyed it.  I actually left in daylight this morning for my walk over the top of O'Cebreiro... it was a mile of a rather steep road to the village where I was able to visit the Church and then had breakfast before continuing on to the actual top where I stopped to take photos at Alto San Rogue with a large statute of a pilgrim.   I walked a total of 9.74 miles in 6 hours with two rest stops.  Arrived here at 1 PM.  Tomorrow I start with a very steep descent so I'll once again wait until morning to begin my walk.
This was a day of solo walking; sometimes I would go for a mile or more between pilgrims. I did meet a Sophia from south carolina; but it was a hi and bye type of meeting.  Tonight we will all be eating together in a very long table as we are out in the middle of the country.  Should be fun.  My sister Mary is winding down her trip; she will be flying home from London on next Wed.  So glad I brought my fleese jacket with me as it feel good early in the morning.  I'm still using just the drawstring stuff bag with a bottle of water clipped to the top.  May continue to do this all the way to Santiago.  When I take off the fleese jacket I tie it around my waist.  Enjoy your day.  Buen Camino

Friday, August 17, 2018


Its day 35 and I've lost my post so will try to recreating it.  I tried to post some  videos and it did not work.  Last nights dinner at casa susi's was fantastic.  There were 14 of us representing ten countries. The food was all prepared from the garden except for the seasonings and the rice. The salad even had eatable flowers.
My day today began at 7 am when I left in the dawn light and 5 minutes later realized I'd left my walking poles.  Back to get them praying that someone was eating breakfast and would let me in the locked door. Thank goodness there was someone.
It was nearly 11 miles and took me 6.5 hours.  My mind was wandering twice and I missed the yellow arrows.  The second time I'd nearly given up when a group of Spanish pilgrims pulled me into their group and got me back on the trail.  In one village a group of women were doing individual prayers for pilgrims and it was an emotional high with tears rolling by the time I left the church. 
The last 3 miles were at about 45 degrees up, rocky and full of horse apples and cow pies.  Now you know why weremove our shoes before entering the sleeping areas.  Lots of work but inch by inch anything a cinch!  Arrived about 1pm
And am Staying at Laguna de Castilla; only 1.5 miles from the summit.  Tomorrow will be mostly downhill.
Today was cloudy for the first few hours and the sun for the rest.  Cow bells all the way  often accompanied by the sounds of the mountain river.  Its been a cool and very windy afternoon.  Sorry,  no videos..had a great one of the cows walking in front of our alburgue.
.... buen camino

Thursday, August 16, 2018


Its day 32 and I went swimming...sitting... in the ice cold river flowing in the mountains in Trabadelo at Casa Susi.  Great after a 12 mile hike over 6.5 hours.  Beautiful sunshine day with brisk winds as we wind our way up the mountains heading for O'Cebreiro.  I will actually walk over the top on Saturday morning. This is a new albergue owned and operated by Susi from Australia.  Dinner will be a community style ... hopefully something we all like.  No bunk beds.. just 12 single beds.  I'm in the penthouse... separated by a short wall and 3 steps up because I reserved last March.  I feel very special.  I slept in this morning and didn't begin walking until 7 am... earplugs and a benedryl nightcap with sangria after a special dinner of pulpos. Octopus.  Met a Polish couple who crossed my forehead with a blessing, 2 Australian girls, a young girl from New York and a French family from Versailles.   Walked several times with a swedish man from Stockholm  who has injured his knees and is walking slowly.  He is staying at this Albergue also.  Enjoying meeting  new people every day.   And, greeting old friends as they walk past me.  I'm going down to the river now to take  a photo then will post for today. Almost forgot about the lady who invited me into her home and wanted to give me a huge bottle of water.  I thanked her and in broken Spanish explained I could not carry such a big bottle; so we filled my little bottle which was almost empty.  She didn't speak English and you know my Spanish limitations.. but it was a beautiful and very special moment for me.  Buen Camino

Wednesday, August 15, 2018


Day 33 and I'm in Cacabelos.  A quaint little village that has been here for hundreds of years on the way to our last big mountain ... O'Cebreiro ... not as tall but much steeper climb.  I plan to do the accent over two days and another going down the other side.
Last nights dinner was another fun evening.  There were three Italians and me.  One from Sicily, one from Milano and the third from Rome.  Italian flew around the table and then suddenly they would pause and give me the English version.   We got on the subject of the repairs on the cathedral in Santiago; they've now finished the outside and are beginning the inside.  Rumor has it that the botafumeiro may not be swinging at Mass soon.  They were very disappointed and then I remembered my UTube video that I posted three years ago.  Since I've only posted a couple of videos, it was very easy to find.  They seemed to have loved it and unfortunately they now know what they probably won't get to see.  But they were impressed that I've posted something on UTube and then they discovered my blog.
  Oh dear... will be a tough act to follow for parents at home in Italy.  But I do have fun with their enthusiam.
This morning I was ready to go at 6 am.. still dark.  I asked a young Spanish couple who walk holding hands and were just leaving from our albergue if I could walk with them to the edge of the city to the trail.  They agreed and slowed down and I picked up my usual pace.  They actually stayed with me for all two miles which took us to the trail and daylight.  By the time we separated there were large groups walking out from the city.  it was a good walk, 9.43 miles in just under 5 hours.  Light hills, lots of country roads and a portion through vineyards. It was 90 degrees yesterday late afternoon and more of same expected today.  But mornings are perfect for walking and I was finished by noon.
Must mention Gil from Brazil.  Now lives in Verona Italy.  We talked, music and life.
  I would say he's nearing.30.  Delightful young man.
    Buen Camino

Tuesday, August 14, 2018


Day 33 and I'm in a delightful family owned and run Albergue in Ponferrada. It features all bed linens (so no one uses sleeping bags or sacks of there own) for the regular price of 10 euros.  I reposted the map page so you can visualize my walk today.  I began in daylight at 7 am and walked nearly 9 miles in a little less than six hours.  The first mile was downhill on a country road; the next four miles was an extremely steep downhill in what one could characterize as a stream bed more than a trail.  It is notorious as one of the more dangerous sections of the camino.  One you definaly don't walk in the dark.  And, rarely will you see a bicycle on this trail, but this morning I did see one!
Reached the town of Molinaseca just after 10am, sun out and getting warm. I took off my fleese jacket, put on my hat and white sun shielding Cape for the last half of today's journey which was uphill all the way on a broad sidewalk along a busy road to the large city of Ponferrada.   Nice to be here about noon.  My bunkmate is David from Spain who speaks excellent English.  The other 2 bunks in our room are still empty but the day is young.  Looking forward to a delicious community dinner tonight with home grown ingredients from the family garden.
Last night in the hotel dining room there were six at our table, 2 germans, a French couple from Paris and  my south Korean friend Seulgi... I finally had her spell it for me.  We all spoke English which was great for me.   Back feels better today after some treatment yesterday at the hotel spa.  Also picked up 5 patch treatments to stick on the skin at a pharmacy as I walked through town.  Best thing was adjusting the straps on my backpack that I carry.  Looking forward to meeting more new people at dinner tonight. Tomorrow I begin walking in the area of Spain known as Galicia... a touch of the Irish and very green mountains due to more than average rainfalls.  So , I'm now carrying my new raincoat in my backpack as one never knows when there will be a surprise shower!
Buen Camino

Monday, August 13, 2018


Its day 31 and I'm in a mountain village town named El Acebo... we overlook the large city of Ponferrada.  I'll bewalking there tomorrow.  I'm in a beautiful hotel that offers bunk rooms for pilgrims. Plus the pilgrim meal will be the same as the regular guest but at 12 euros for all 3 courses and wine.  We also have use of their facilities. 
Two of my recent pilgrim friends are here also. I stayed here in 2015. 
I had planned to sleep in this morning... didn't happen and I was on the trail at 6 am.  It was a mile further up to reach the top of the mountain and the Iron Cross.. Cruz de Ferro. The photo is difficult to see as it was still dark and their was a heavy layer of fog all morning.  Sad as the views  are phenomenal all along the seven mile trail.  And yes , like many of these iconic items we visit on the can actually drive right up to it.  I knew a third of the people who passed me this morning.  It was rare that more than 5 minutes passed between.  One fellow said, "you must be Martha?"  He was from Chicago.  I took a group photo for them before moving on.  We commiserated about the view we were missing and agreed the weather doesn't always cooperate to give you the expected views of God's creations.
Took advantage of the hotel and finally got a massage ..
Back should feel much better in the morning.
Jenn arrived home last night and Jim went with Kelly to pick her up at LAX. He said she looks great and is full of renewed energy and stories. She is back at work today.  By the way my south Korean bunk mate is here again.  I really enjoy her wonderful sense of humor.  Her job at home is makeup for movies and photographers.  Sounds like some great stories.  Also the 7 mile trail took me 5 hours..
The mountain is mostly shale and makes for difficult trails.  Especially down in elevation over a thousand feet mostly in the last two miles.
Buen Camino

Sunday, August 12, 2018


DAY 30 and I'm in a mountain village called Foncebaden .  The walk today was tough.  Left at 5:30 am in the dark.. no moon but the stars were brilliant in the black sky.  I knew it was going to be a tough climb.  Went from 2910 ft attitude to 4890 ft.  It took me nearly 8 hours to do a little over 13 miles.  But I did it.  Mountain trails and no taxi even if I wanted one!  See the photo of the map page.  I'm definitely into the mountain stage of the camino.  I will finish the last bit tomorrow as we go another short hike up to Cruz de Ferro ... the iron cross.. where one leaves a token.  That is the highest point of the Camino trail. 
I have a very small rock that my twin sister gave me to leave. The rock was brought home with us from Medjugorje from our pilgrimage in May.
One thing that has been fun has been all the photo request when they learn my age.  And new people already know my name from other pilgrims. Today a group of bicycle riders insisted that I pose with them on the trail.  We'd all just competed a very difficult section.  One of their group was 60 years old.  I can't imagine pushing a bicycle over some of these trails that I can hardly walk!  Some ride the roads but many walk and ride the trails with their bikes.
Last night was a community vegetarian dinner of a group of 20 pilgrims.  Lots of fun, met many new people and the south Korean girl was again in our group.  One fellow from Germany picked my mind once he found out I'd owned my own business.  He has a company that does tutoring for students .  Such delightful young people.  And there are older ones also but have only found one at the very beginning that is near my age.
I've discovered why I have a nagging pain in my left lower back on long days.   I've been tightening the hip belt at my waist. Lengthened my shoulder straps today and it made a difference. It's the little things. 
Jenn is flying home today. Last I heard she was all checked in at Gatwick for the final flight to LAX. 
FYI this afternoon I'm the keeper of the cell phones..  the charging plug is next to my bed and they are all very comfortable leaving them with me!
Buen Camino

Saturday, August 11, 2018


Its day 29 and I'm in the village of Murias de Rechivaldo, just west of Astorga.  It was a 12 mile walk through the hills instead of along the road for most of the way.  The walk was about 6 hours including a short look around Astorga.  I spent a few hours there 3 years ago and toured the bishops house that is now a museum and designed by Gaudi at that time.
There are buildings designed by Gaudi in many major cities in Spain but his most famous ones are in Barcelona.  Met John The Scotland man who has very bad feet and walks about 1 mile an hour out in the middle of nowhere.  Then there was David who for 9 years has lived in the middle of nowhere and earns a living by donations for offering pilgrims free food, mostly fruit, and a shady place to stop and put your feet up for a spell. There are many such stops all along the camino.  Lemonaid stands, food, handmade trinkets. Etc
Last night was a delicious dinner cooked with homegrown ingredients and served in the courtyard.  About 8 PM we started hearing very large firecrackers ... the frequency increased as the night progressed.  We learned that is was a bachelor party and would last for many hours.. this Spain and their life happens at night mostly. 
I changed to an inside room, used earplugs and took a benedryl... slept like a baby. They said the last one was about 2 am.
I woke at 7 am, had breakfast and got a late start at 8 am.  Tomorrow is a long walk, heading into the mountains so plan to set my alarm for 5am.  Many do but I usually don't but I want to be on the road early.
Tonight is a community vegetarian dinner at 7:30 ... then off to bed.  Jenn is on an all day bus ride to Madrid, due to arrive at7:30 this evening then she goes to the airport to wait for her early morning flight to USA.  Buen Camino

Friday, August 10, 2018


Its day 28 and I'm in a beautiful village called  Villares de Orbigo just east of Astorga.  The Albergue has the name of the village and is owned and managed by a lovely woman from Belgium.  Creatively decorated and extremely clean.  So enjoying my afternoon after walking ten miles in 5 hours.  It was cold this morning but is quite warm in the sun this afternoon.  While walking through Hospital de Orbigo I walked across a beautiful and very old stone bridge, said to be the longest bridge on the camino frances. 
I'm sure you saw my earlier post that Jenn has completed her camino and will be headed home tomorrow.
Met interesting people as I walked today.  Audry from Germany, a father and 10 year old daughter walking the camino together and camping at night along the way. My roommate from last night Sieligee from south Korea was headed much further than me but I kept catching her as she took short breaks to rest her feet.  Also I think Tevo, the Australian from China who was born in Denmark, may also be staying here tonight.  Seeing more and more pilgrims every day.  New drink that we find refreshing is beer with lemonade.  Gives it a nice tangy flavor.  
Life is good on the Camino...tomorrow is a walk through farmland and meadows with slight hills.  Getting me ready for the mountains to come. Keeping all of you in California fires in my prayers.  Buen Camino


Day 27 and I'm in Villadangos del Paramo about 13 miles east of Leon. Left there at 5:30 am this morning and was never without pilgrims in sight in both directions.  Unusual but a pilgrim slowed to walk with me and I picked up my normal gait and he was very impressed with how well I really can walk when motivated... 20 minute miles.  We walked up and down the hills leaving Leon until I asked for a break for breakfast 4 hours after we  started.  I knew he was losing time and he had many more miles to walk today than I did.  I've taken photos of the pages showing distance and hills for the past week to help those that are interested see what this is all about.  Colin was 67 years old and in good condition.   Two funny stories; we both have problems with drippy noses.. but only when walking?
And at one point suddenly  he said,  he really would like to pack it up and go home but coming back to finish is too long of a trip.  We all envy the Europeans who do it a week at a time.  I reminded him that we all question our sanity and reasons why... but that's all part of the journey.
I was in a large convent last night in Leon...I was so blessed to be there.  There is something special about all of the volunteers who give up time in their lives to help pilgrims complete their journey.  Jenn is in a religious house tonight and has a short walk in Santiago tomorrow.  Hope you enjoy the extra photos of flowers today... the trail was filled on both sides and I couldn't resist sharing. Buen Camino

Wednesday, August 8, 2018


Day 26 and I walked into Leon today.
A bit over 12 miles including some pretty good hills in 7 hours.  There were several detours that were surprises.  But when I arrived at the convent where I am staying I was greeted by my dinner companions from last night. Zack from Texas had already shared my history and the fact that I like a touch of Fireball to spice up sangria.  The nun looked at my birthdate on my passport and asked if it was correct!
It's been a fun day.  One of the volunteer workers who is from New Hampshire brought me a small glass of a tasty orange liquor as he said they didn't have any fireball.  We all had a good laugh.  Yes, the community dinner last night was great fun and I have many new friends.  And when  I went out later in the afternoon to see the cathedral, I found old friends Kevin and Linda who helped me get over many hills at the beginning of the meseta...  actually I originally had dinner with them while Jenn and I were still together.
Another beautiful mass tonight in the convent followed by individual hands on blessings from the priest.  Having a delicious dinner for 10 euros in a restaurant with linens!
The wifi is not too good tonight...hoping this posts okay.  I'm walking 13 miles tomorrow.  Feeling really good.  CORN CROP HAS BEEN FOUND! Jenn is okay...excited about being so close to santiago...
Buen camino

Tuesday, August 7, 2018


Day 25 and I'm at the Municipal albergue de Mansilla de Las Mulas.
I had a wonderful evening at my hotel.  Enjoyed going to bed early and planned to be up to walk by the pale light of the silvery moon.
Woke at what I thought was 6 am.  Hurried to get ready before the daylight arrived..I was an hour late.
Almost out the door when I noticed the time on my phone as I was preparing to send jim a text that I was walking.  OOPS... it was12:30 am not 6 am.  Old eyes do not always see things correctly.   LOL. Set the phone alarm for 5:15 and went back to another 4 hours before the alarm rang. Quickly dressed and headed out into the dark.  As I was leaving town there were five dogs barking and daring me to pass to get to the trail.  I backed off. Looked at GPS and found another route along the highway.  Bad move as I hit one barrier after another forcing me to finally turn around, backtrack and find another way. I was within a distant view of my goal when I found the entire trail flooded.  It was give up or tread deep water. I turned around...walked into the sun and returned to my starting point.  They called Jacotrans who agreed to pick me up when they picked up my bags and take me to my destination. The good news is that I did get an eight mile walk this morning.
Tonight I'm back in a dorm room, only 12 beds in our room. Its market day here  and I enjoyed walking through after I arrived in my new town. And this town even has a store and a Bank!  Tomorrow I go to Leon...big city.
Jenn is doing great, she is right on target and has developed a "Camino family" of friends that she is traveling the same pace  with.  This means that she will walk into Santiago with others to Celebrate the  journey together. She will be home teaching school this time next week.  Me... I'll just keep moving along day by day.  Tomorrow is the end of the masetta.  Looking forward to cooler country but  more hills. Buen Camino

Sunday, August 5, 2018


Day 23 and I'm in a town by the name of Sahagun.  Its claim to fame is that it is half way to Santiago de Compostela.  A certificate is available at the museum. But I got one last time.  This year my walk is more about making the trek than certificates.  I'll know if I've met my goals.  Based on that premise... taxis are okay if they make destinations possible... today I did 6 by taxi and walked 10 .. a total of 16 miles in 5 hours.  Tomorrow is only 13 total... if I get going in the dark I may  try to do it all.  Waiting for the taxi makes me leave after the sun is up. Saw an American priest walking do I know?  Black shirt and carrying a rosary in one hand.  Also he only talked to men. LOL

He was in a hurry as he wanted to make mass in Sahagun... don't think he did as I stopped at every church ... open, but no Mass.
I'm across the street from a huge Benedictine Convent... stayed there last time..  and there is a sign on the door that there is a Mass every evening at 6:30 so I will make my Sunday Mass. 
Good day, walked with a young Italian boy who was singing as he walked.  Group of five from Benging.  One woman spoke excellent English and remembered meeting me two days ago. We talked for a long time while we all ate lunch .  They were off to walk another 13 miles.
Life is good.  Across the street are the ruins of a huge church originally build around the year 1000.  At one time this was the most important Benedictine monastery in Spain.  Life is good .. stay cool.. the world is hot everywhere.. buen Camino

Saturday, August 4, 2018


Day 22... we are in the middle of no where.  In a tiny village called Calzadilla de la Cueza.  This is one of the hardest portions of the camino to walk especially in July.  Last night Tove and I decided to share a vegetable paella for an early dinner before the guitar concert by university students in the church.  We also made plans to met at 6 am and take a taxi for the first 5 miles of the 15 mile track across the Masada..there are no rest areas. The concert was great and the mass was a full house. The convent was  overflowing with extra mattress everywhere.  After mass we all came forward for the pilgrims prayer and then the head nun and the priest laid hands on each of  us for a very personal blessing when they gave us a small paper star to remind us as we're walking in the dark to look at the stars and think about the reasons we are walking. The night was miserable as I continue to run between the backpacks in the dark to the bathroom. Both end were running.  Well at 6 I found I'd not been alone.  Tove immediately said she had also been sick and we agreed to share a taxi for the whole trip.  Both are better now and will be walking tomorrow. I'm being very careful what I eat and drink today.   Some will say too much info but it's part of the camino.  I was concerned about dehydration... but seem okay today.  Pilgrims are still arriving and its 90 degrees. Buen camino

Friday, August 3, 2018


Its day 21...3 weeks.. and I'm in Carrion de los Condes
I thought it was a 5 mile walk  but was only a bit over 3! Good news is I arrived at sunrise but can't check in until noon. It's a convent so basic and no wifi so I'm drinking more coffee where I had breakfast when I arrived to use their wifi.  After breakfast I went into the church where they were having morning vespers.  Posting my first video of the service.  Nothing quite as pure as nuns singing their prayers.
Feeling great...looking forward to another early start tomorrow and a 12 mile walk.   This is another very old town that had over ten thousand citizens at one time and now are around two thousand.  Economy is farming and tourism... pilgrims especially as most all stop here as its wicked out there for many miles with no shade.  Jenn is over the top of O'Ceberio and probably nearing her stop for the day.  She began before 5 am.    Buen Camino

Thursday, August 2, 2018


Day 20 and thanks to a 13 mile taxi ride I am safely in Villalcazar de Sirga.
I think waiting for the taxi was harder than walking as the entire dorm was up getting ready to walk  before  5 am.  We are in the midst of a record breaking heatwave in Europe.  But it supposedly peaked yesterday and each day should be a bit cooler.  Jenn started her walk at 4:30 this morning with another woman... to beat the heat. She has arrived already and tomorrow she climbs O'Cebreiro ... the last big mountain.
Must admit, when I arrived yesterday I was ready to quit...but after a shower and a long nap I had some soup for dinner and arranged for a taxi ..
All is right again.  Love hearing the multitude of languages in the room.  Tomorrow I will be up before dawn to walk the 5 miles to my next destination.  The next day  is 12 and that's about the  max I plan to do each day.  Looking forward to a light but  complete meal tonight!  See my photo that a friend took of me after dinner...note my pouch peeking out.  Only take it off for showers... has my passport and extra money and cards... the purse has rosary, Camara and pocket change.  It's usually well hidden under my shirt.  Note the photos of the wheelchair pilgrims.  There was a group of four that came by.  The church in this village goes back to 12th century...Knights Templer... there are tombs of nobles and royals here... but no kings or queens. 
Buen Camino

Wednesday, August 1, 2018


Day 19.... Boadilla del Camino
It was a tough day...had a fabulous dinner last night and about 5 am everything went south.  Have been living on water and bread today while walking 12 miles in extreme heat.  I think I've met my match.  Have been sleeping most of the time since I arrived. 
The first six miles was a very long uphill followed by a steep descent.  Then we went across the Mesata for another six miles in the heat of the day.  Planning to take a taxi tomorrow to my next albergue.  Jenn is doing well.. she had a mountain today and has another one coming up.... even bigger .. in a few more days.  We walked this afternoon and she looks great.  She has developed a cadre of friends that are working together on conquering these mountain.  Hard to believe she will be done and leaving on August 10th
Buen Camino