Moonset on the Meseta

Moonset on the Meseta

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Morning, Finisterre

Santiago encore.

I hate to leave-- I'm starting to feel like a regular here.  Hospedaje Seminario Martin Pinario has been welcoming and comfortable.  It finally sunny AND warm.

I hugged the saint statue one more time and sat on the pavement in the Praza Obradoiro and contemplated the facade of the cathedral and my life.

I wonder if I will ever come back.

Langosteira beach was lovely this morning.  So many good-byes today.

Long long plane rides tomorrow.  I'd rather be walking.

Another Camino has ended, and the walk through life goes on.

Friday, April 4, 2014

Santa Marina. At casa pepa

We started walking a bit before 9 this morning from Negreira, and it has been raining the entire 20 plus km to Casa Pepa, an albergue in the hamlet of Santa Marina.

The rain blew in misty sheets across fields of flowers, and tracks through Eucalyptus covered hills ran with water like streams.

I packed my fanny pack away inside my pack, and put my camera in my pocket, but it was pretty wet for picture taking.

Tomorrow we will head toward Muxia at the Hospital Junction.

There is one other American woman here and a funeral is going on in the church across the street. Rain continues to fall.

We hope it will be better tomorrow, as the countryside is beautiful. Our spirits are good despite the dampness.


From a pilgrim on the road of life

A pilgrim on the road of life

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Thursday, April 3, 2014

Clouds over Negreira

In Negreira

Thursday afternoon, April 3

We have made it to Negreira with one very big climb and a couple of smaller ones and a few downpours. A good walk overall, though.  Temps in the low fifties.

We must have left all our helpful maps and guides, including notes I had compiled, at San Martin Pinario this morning.  To our amazement an information booth as we entered Negreira was staffed, and by a wonderfully helpful African American woman from California who was able to supply some of our missing information and suggested this comfortable pension, La Mezquita where we must have the deluxe room with a huge bed

They have even turned on the heat for us, and the shower was hot, although I am still cold.  We have had a few minutes of sunshine, and some dramatic clouds.

I'll try to get a picture.

It was good to be walking again today.  We encountered a total of 5 other pilgrims, plus a lone woman heading back toward Santiago.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Kent in Santiago in the rain

Linnea in Santiago in the rain


We arrived in Santiago on Tuesday afternoon after walking in pouring rain all day.  We are staying at San Martin de Pinario right next to the Cathedral.  WiFi is iffy here.  We are taking a rest day.  We lined up to get into the Pilgrim Mass at noon, but for some reason it was canceled.

It is very cold here with a little sun now and then, and many big black clouds.  Cold and rain is predicted to continue for the next week, but we will probably push on to Finisterre, anyway, after our rest day here.

I am wearing fleece and jacket over 2 shirts, and rain pants over regular pants just to keep warm.

For some reason posts to Facebook are not going through.

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Sunshine, Finally!

We finally had some sunshine and a beautiful day of walking to Pontevedra. It got colder and cloudy as we arrived here.  But, hot showers and a warm room at Hotel Ruas, and a delightful late lunch at a tapas bar with local scallops in garlic, and pimientos padron before we explored the old city.

Three more days of walking to Santiago!  But feet and legs are aching, so early to bed this Saturday night.

Friday, March 28, 2014

Friday, March 28, near Arcade

We spent Thursday night in Pension Maricaibo in the center of Porrino, leaving before breakfast as no one was around at 7:30 a.m.

We walked out of the city in some interesting morning light, and even saw a few patches of sun on distant hills.  We were glad to leave the highways and climb through country lanes, hearing crowing roosters and seeing blossoming apple trees and budding grapevines.  At the charming, clean, pedestrianized hamlet of Mos, high on a hillside, we stopped for coffee, about two hours from Porrino.  There was an Albergue that probably would have been fine, as the location was so lovely.

A whole group of Californians arrived at the cafe, and we later encountered others on the steep climb out of Mos.  They were a group of 12 with one priest, staying in hotels and having their luggage transported.  They were young as well as old.

We rested briefly in a park at the top of the climb, and somehow missed the church just off the route, passed a Roman miliario (milestone), and made our way downhill for another couple of hours, sometimes on narrow lanes where cars traveled at breakneck speeds.

We had taken off layers on the climb, and put some on again as we descended.  It was fairly long slog along country lanes and then through suburban streets and along rather dreary roads to the old part of Redondela, where we encountered a woman on a bench who insisted on leading is through the streets,talking a mile a minute in Spanish or perhaps Gallegos, to the best cafe.

Unfortunately, the empty tables we found in the square belonged to a different establishment, so we ordered our ham and cheese sandwiches from them.

I connected with the cafe wifi
And found a reply in very hard to decipher English from Casa Anton to call the from Hostal Jumboli about, 3 km farther on, and someone would pick us up.  I wrote back that we were in Redondela and had no phone, but would try to get someone to call for us.

So an hour or less later a sleek car slows and a man says "Linnea" and he is a driver from the hotel, who whisked us here in minutes, talking nonstop in English and Spanish and giving us a tour, barely avoiding causing accidents. At the hotel door we were greeted and whisked upstairs to this lovely room overlooking the Rio Vigo.  Cold, though!

Up. And off to Pontevedra this Saturday morning.

View over River Vigo

Kent at lunch in Redondela

Thursday, March 27, 2014

In Porrino

After yesterday's long (for us) walk, we kept today's shorter.  We spent the night in a not especially comfortable albergue which we reached as the sun was setting.

Th day began with a wonderful breakfast in delightful Hotel Mercearia.  We walked across the Ponte de Lima in early morning light.  The walk included the highest climb of the trip on a rugged rocky path.

We reached what we had intended to be our night's stop by 2 pm, which was much too early.  There was no one at the albergue, and nowhere nearby to hang out, so we kept on walking, identifying, 3 other possible stops, two of which turned out not to exist.  So, we ended up having to go much farther than we'd dreamed we would.

Most of the walking was through lovely forests, fields, and small villages.

Today was different, although the huge old fortifications of Valenca were impressive.  We crossed a long modern bridge into Spain, spent time wandering and climbing hills in medieval Tui, then did lots of road walking with some nice forest paths and old stone bridges in between.

Tonight we are in industrial Porrino, got clothes washed in a laundry, and are enjoying a rather small room in a little pension after a dinner that was more an we could eat.

Weather continues mostly cold and cloudy with patches of rain, requiring constantly changing layers.

My cold is much better, although I am still taking medicines it.

We look on track to arrive in Santiago on April 1.

All the way to Valenca

We ended walking over 30 km and (over 20 miles) yesterday and have reached the Spanish border.  Cold, but we are doing well. More later. Setting off to walk now.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Ponte de Lima

We are slowly making our way north toward Santiago after two nights in Barcelos where I took it easy to try to shake my cold.

I felt much better on Monday morning (yesterday) as we set out about 7:30 in a fine drizzle that became a steady rain.  In a small bar I unzipped my wet pant legs and put rain pants over the rest of the pants. Over rain jacket and pack covers we put our ponchos.  Kent tied the poncho hood over my hat with my bandana so I could see when I turned my head.  We walked on some muddy trails where mud went up over my shoelaces, but rain soon washed the mud away. 

We stopped at a little crossroads cafe Olveira with the usual contingent of men smoking and playing cards, and had most delicious warm ham and cheese sandwiches and cafe con leche. As we ate, the rain stopped, and we even had some wonderful sunshine in the afternoon as we walked among green flower-filled fields, and over a medieval stone bridge.

We met Frederick from Ottawa, at the cafe where I added rain pants, but he and his friends were much faster walkers than we.

Later we were enjoying a break on a stone wall on a hillside when we met a group of 4 friendly Croatian pilgrims.

All of these people were heading to Ponte de Lima last night, but by the time Kent and I got to Casa Fernanda, about 2:30 or 3 pm, and about 19 plus km from Barcelos, we were both thinking we did not want to walk 14 more km that day.  It was still sunny off and on, but a cold wind gusted, and I was slowing down.  Fernanda said we could stay, invited us to a room in the house with a double bed and a bath, and then she disappeared for 3-4 hours.  I sat outside for awhile, and we read (I am rereading Finn Family Moomintroll and finding it oddly comforting),  then we huddled under layers of blankets and sleeping bags in our room, but it was very cold, so cold my hands got too cold to hold the book.  About 5:30 pm we walked outside, following the country lanes in 4 directions. Finally, at perhaps 6:30 or 7, we heard Fernanda in the kitchen, where she built a fire in a wood stove, and began cooking on her modern range. She gave us a jug of wine and some pistachios as we warmed up at the kitchen table while she cooked.

We ended up enjoying her conversation and cooking (fish, potatoes, greens) and homemade wine, and we were later also joined by her husband Jacinto and her daughter.  We saw the news of the discovery of the wreckage of the Malaysian airlines flight.  The stove heated the pipes in the radiator in our bedroom, so we had a little heat at bedtime.

We arrived here in Ponte de Lima about noon today after walking through lovely country and pretty small villages, and found a hotel in the old town center.  We have heat and internet and hot showers.  We are not sorry that we are not in the albergue in a dormitory with bunk beds and no heat.  As the picture from our window shows, the weather is miserable, cold, and rainy.  It is good to breathe warmer air here in our room.

We had an excellent lunch this noon at Restaurant Alameda overlooking the swollen river and the ancient bridge.

Weather is predicted to remain miserable at least through tomorrow when we have another 20 km to go.

We would love news from home.

Kent and Linnea

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

In Porto

We arrived in Porto and as we awaited the Metro into town, Kent looked at his feet and noticed he was wearing one new boot and one old boot.  "My socks match!" he says.  The boots definitely don't, and this for a three-week walking trip.

Otherwise all is well. We just had a lengthy rather unusual, elegant,  sidewalk supper in an alley overlooking the Douro, complete with stories by Carlos our cook, waiter, and host, and now it is time for a full night's sleep in a real bed at Porto Hotel Dixo.

Unfortunately the photo of the mismatched boots is on the camera, not on the phone.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Caminho Portugués March-April 2014

On Tuesday, March 18, Kent and I will fly to Porto, where we will begin walking toward Santiago de Compostela on Friday, March 21, the first day of Spring.  We are making preparations to leave home behind, and carry as little as we can.  I have the Brierley guide, from which I have removed the pages covering Lisbon to Porto; an updated listings of albergues from the Via Lusitana Portuguese pilgrim association: and a link to them on my phone, which I hope to be able to use for internet access via wi-fi, as it won't work as a phone in Europe; some pages from the Confraternity of Saint James; and some information on the route from Santiago to Muxia and Finisterre.

I have a new U.S. passport, and we will pick up pilgrim credentials at the cathedral in Porto, as the ones we used on the Via Gebennensis would soon be full.  I have a new water-proof jacket and we have two new ponchos, as rain is quite likely.

Why are we doing this walk?  The Camino experience continues to beckon, and I remembered the scene from Martin Sheen's The Way, in which the French police inspector says he has walked the Camino before, and will do so again to celebrate his 70th birthday.  I thought, what better way to celebrate my forthcoming 70th birthday than with another Camino?

I will try to post brief reflections, news of our progress, and perhaps even an occasional phone photo during the next three weeks.