Friday 30 September 2011

Day 22. Friday

Late start today ... 8am. Walk today is said to be the most beautiful and all downhill. Sounds good but it is actually more difficult than up! We are in Galicia the final region of he camino. The landscape is peaceful and quite green - a lot like some parts of Canada. We ran into some pilgrims we met yesterday at our first coffee stop. We ordered a kind of Pastry potato pie for the 4 of us to share-the shoPkeeper saying his mama made it . It was ok then we discovered he washed his dishes in the small bathroom at the back of his shop! Ick !!!the town itself was quite beautiful- Molinaria. We walked for quite a lot of Km on pavement, passing an albergue that had all their bunk beds outside under a canopy. We also passed a few small vineyards that were very Raggy looking. Later we ran into a pilgrim who had stayed in the albergue across the road from us last night and heard someone there had a terrible case of bed bugs - ick - we had almost stayed there ourselves! We arrived in Ponferrada about 2pm, checked into our hotel & showered. There is a fairytale castle in the centre of town complete with a moat - without water. There are quite a few churches also. We had lunch, sharing pizza, salad & vino blanco. Later in we had huge jugs of beer and complimentary potato served on chunks of bread! Very strange, but when in Spain...
Joanie retired to elevate her foot while the 3 of us went to find an Internet cafe- not easy but we did find it - persistence pays! The room was full of junk and dark! We spent an hour sending emails and then it Was out to tour the castle- not particularly interesting and we had to race around it as it was closing It was still to early to retire so we thought we could eat again. We sat at an outside pizza place - 2nd of the day. Soon the empty squares and streets were teeming with people including children- the Spanish have had their siesta and are now out for the evening. We are ready for bed and another early wake up tomorrow.

Day 21 ....... Leaving our Rocks

We started the day walking uphill with headlights on. The climb was pretty steady but we were getting quite used to it. and lung capacity improving.  We were seeing more forested area.  All of us were doing pretty good in the foot department. About 7 km in Foncebaden we stopped for this location is one of four celtic huts ...left over from the days the Irish inhabited this part of Spain.  Very beautiful vistas far below us as we climbed, higher and higher.  I reflected on how I used to groan about walking from my place in Kits  up to 4th Ave. and now I walk unbelieveable km every day and usually think nothing of it.  Soon we arrived at what is the highest elevation of the camino.  This is the place you leave the rock you have brought from home. We climb up to the top of the rock pile and ask a fellow pilgrim to take a photo of the 4 of us.  Then it is time to place our rocks.  I have brought a tiny bag containing 3 very small stones, one for Mo, Donna and me.  Donna gave these to me the day before I left Vancouver.for Spain. I had written a little note and placed it  inside the bag......One for Donna , one for Mo, one for Mur, we love you Mo, Rest in Peace.  I like to think I brought them with me.  We took photos of us all placing our stones.  On the trail  again it was challenging at times, lots of loose stones. We stopped for a rest and shared a bar of chocolate. Now we could see the village far below us and the path was downhill all the way.  We hit the first bar for cold beers, sandwich and wine, chatting to all the other pilgrims who had arrived and were still arriving.
We took the top floor of a rural guest house ....very nice====lots of skylights and a nice breeze coming through the windows. Price is 18.50 euros each. A beautiful view from our windows too. We are in the village of El Acebo, 228km from Santiago.  Pilgrims dinner tonight was best ever........however I managed to spill a glass of red vino all over my shirt and pants.
We had a good time.....most of the pilgrims at the dinner where from Canada.  We have met more Canadians than anyother nationality on this trip.


We left Astorga by 7 am after eating breakfast in our room.  We saw  a beautiful sunrise-  There was a small church on the path  and we went in and lit a candle for Mo.  Also a pilgrim was able to pray for one special grace upon touching the foot of Mary. I made a request for  good health for Nova.We soldiered on and stopped after 10 km for coffee and stale donuts.  The rest of our walk was slightly uphill and landscape was changing to forest.  We arrived at our destination ...Rabanal and took the first private hostel where we had rooms with 2 beds each. We had some soup and beer ..... met a couple from Victoria, 3 danes and a dutch fellow who has been hiking since June. We walked around the village ....which is made completely of stone.  We had dinner in a hotel at the top end of the village and managed to stay there till the pilgrims service at the church across the road at 9.20 pm. It seems like there were a lot of village people there.....or just a lot of pilgrims. Afterwards we walked down the hill to our beds ......tomorrow our route will take us up the hill again.Bed by 10 up by 6.......thats our life....

Thursday 29 September 2011

Apologies !

So sorry for the mistakes in grammar and spelling - hope you can get the gist of it! The iPod has a mind of it's own and key board so small I don't catch all I should.

Day 19 ties sep 27

We woke at 6 for breakfast at 7 - eggs we could hear them sizzling in copious amounts of olive oil - they were delicious! French bread was toasted - it is always served dry-this morning the señora showed user should pour olive oilon it - yum! Coffee and biscuits finished it off nicely. The weather was cool and thewalk fairly flat for about 6 Km then we climbed but nothing too strenuous. Next we came up in a juice stand in a farmers field and to our surprise who should be there but young Luke. We hadn't seen him for days . Juice fruit and cookies for a donation. We stopped tocsin for 1/2 an hour. Soon we were on the road again & down in thevallwy we could see 3 towns- we were set for the furthest one - Astorga . We first walked into sanjusto de la vega till became across a bar - we ordered lemonade and cokes and scab - wisely I think to drive us to the centre of Astorga about 3 Km of pavement that we thought it best to miss. I'm sure our feet will thank us. A Ross from the cathedral and theGaudi museum is the Gaudi hotel we havea room for 4 for 100 euros. Showers all around and then we will head out for lunch. First we had a drink at a sidewalk cFe beside the cathedral. We went for the 3 course Spanish meal with as much wine as you candrink. We then toured the cathedral till it closed & walked about & bored with that we came back to the hotel - we have nobooks & only Spanish tv so are reduced o doing jan's crossword puzzles till we go to bed!

Tuesday 27 September 2011

Day 18

We left villa de mazarife at just after 8 am - the road out of town was paved, long and boring with cornfields on both sides. After 10 Km we stopped for coffee. Boots off to check the hot spots. I discovered another small blister-popped it applied polysporin & a bandaid. Feet felt fine and we made good time arriving in Hospital de Orbigo. We stopped at the first place we saw which we thought was a tourist office but it turned out to be a private hostal. A most beautiful oasis ! A young girl came out to greet us & show us the rooms. It was very cleanand well kept. We could do our laundry In a basin outside and hang it in the garden. Believe me this is preferrable to doing it in the sink in your hotel room. Two little dogs very happy to see us! Gorgeous flowers- very quiet and peaceful. We were paying 20 euros each;and 10 euros for lunch - big salad with egg and tuna, beef and chips, lots of fresh bread and dessert,all with 2 bottles of red vino! Then we had coffee and another dessert called fried milk- sounds weird but really tasty. Then we all had a two hour nap- guess it was the wine;either that or we have finally adopted the Spanish siesta. We got up & went out to see - the church - what else!but it was closed. We walked over a famous bridge - very old with 19 arches & a cobbled surface. Viewed the area where jousting takes place- an annual festival. Walking back to our abode we met two other pilgrims - jill from Wales who was 64 & an Irish girl who seemed a bit younger who was walking the camino for the third time. None of us can imagine doing it more than once! Tomorrow we rise at 6am for breakfast 3 euros for eggs bread & coffee! Protien!

Sunday 25 September 2011

Day 17

Today the pilgrims woke up in a little bit of heaven our rooms were so nice in the monestary, simple but beautiful, with many paintings of the masters and other antiques in the hallways, gorgeous antique rugs on the floor.
We had breakfast at 8am and then Joanie and Sandy started their walk.....21 km to Ville de Maztrife.  Jan and I would join them later by taxi cab.  We felt our feet would benefit from one more day of rest and all four of us will walk again tomorrow.  One benefit of having ailing feet is that we got to see a lot of Leon.....when otherwise we may have just been walking through.
The village we are in appears to be very poor, only albergues to stay in.  We are in one called Tia Pepe, and it feels like it should be in Mexico!  The church is right next door to us...there are three tall towers and each has a giantic storks nest on top!
We had a pilgrims dinner (all that is available in small villages) and a couple of bottles of vino tino and prepared for bed.  Nothing else to do!  We will be rising early again tomorrow and hope to get most of our km in before the sun gets too hot.  I know some of you are already into winter rain...believe me we would love to have some of it!  We keep hoping it will get cooler as the days get closer to October.
So nice to receive the comments on the blog and know you are thinking of us!  It helps!
love from pilgrims l, 2, 3 and 4

Day 16

We left our hotel in Burgos this morning with my feet heavily bandaged (Muriel).  I was not moving very fast but thought I could manage.  There was more pavement to get out of town and I soon realized I was going to have to stop!  We got about 10 k m to Tardojor.  I had decided to tell the girls I wanted them to keep walking and I would take a bus ahead a couple of days, rest up and hopefully heal blisters and walk again by the time they caught up.  Turned out Jan was also having foot woes and she wanted to do the same.  After much discussion it was decided all 4 of us would bus.  We ended up having to cab back to Burgos as it wasn´t possible to bus from the small village we were in.  Arriving back in Burgos we had to wait for the 4.30 bus and had to travel on to Leon as we were at the start of the meseta where there were long stretches between towns.  Leon is about 170 km from Burgos so basically a 4 day walk at least.  Again after much discussion Joanie and Sandy opted for the bus also.  We had heard the meseta was both boring and could be dangerous (banditos!) Joannie particularly did not want to walk it - so it was a majority rule decsion.  We went back to our former hotel in Burgos and had them book us a hotel in Leon.  The bus ride was a couple of hours arriving about 6 pm.  We took a taxi to our hotel - where filming of a soap opera was in progress.! We wandered around the tourist area for a bit, did some laundry and foot doctoring and went to bed, feet raised up with pillows and blankets.  The ruckas of the Spaniards partying into the wee hours of the morning did not make for a restful sleep. 
Next moring we discovered we had to find a new hotel, Joanie wandered off to see what she could find.  She was back soon saying everything was full....again her and Sandy went out looking while I soaked blisters in the tub and Jan lay with her feet up on the wall!  Success!  They found a hidden gem - a hotel in a former monestary connected to a church.  It is absolutely fabulous and blessedly quiet.  We are so happy to have found a place that is perfect!  If only for one night!
We went out for lunch - 3 course meal with wine starts at 2 pm - this is turning out to be the main meal of the day for us as we can rarely find dinner before 11pm (yes 11pm!) which is way too late.  After lunch everything closes for siesta until 5.30. We rest too and then about 6 pm went to an internet cafe.  Next we went to the church of Santa Marina for a choral performance in Spanish but still enjoyable - A very young conductress and also a youngish fellow who may have been either downs or mentally challenged who played the tambourine. 
After that we were off to the cathedral for an organ performance at 10pm.  >The man playing was very old and very good. We enjoyed it but all of us expected it would have sounded more dramatic and powerful - perhaps it was where we were sitting.  There were hundreds of people attending.  Out of there at 11pm and on to the church near our hotel for a light show played on the was unreal!  Did manage to get a few photos......but missed the eagle that was on it when we first arrived.  By then we were all ready to hit the sack....up way too late for us!
Next morning Sandy and Joannie are walking to a village 20 km away and Jan and I will meet them there after travelling there by more day of rest for our feet which we think we need.  Most blisters are healed.
Thanks again for your support and messages.....they really lift us up!
Hugs and kisses all.......pilgrims 1, 2, 3 and 4 xxxxx

Thursday 22 September 2011

Day 15

The day started out very cool,even I wore a second shirt. We actually thought it might rain, but it was likely just heavy dew falling. It was a climb to get out of ages (yes that is ages ) right up to where the windmills are perched on top of the landscape -and it was extremely rocky going. The wind was blowing quite strongly, which was a blessing as it cooled the sweat from the attempts climb -remember we are hiking early mornings often just as dawn is breaking.
Up top we saw the big wooden cross- it looked beautiful with the blue sky in the background. Also there were mazes people had made with rocks, also messages with rocks too. We walked on. Not stopping all day toward Burgos. we missed a shortcut and ended up walking through urban sprawl . About 15 Km of the 23.5 was on pavement!
Very hard on the feet. About half way through the day we say acres of sunflowers. Some still in bloom. Now jan and me had killing pain in our feet . We soon passed a pharmacy and stopped for toothpaste and glide! We finally arrived at our hotel 2 rooms with shared bath between us ,after showering and changing into clean hiking clothes we went out for lunch - which turned out to be our dinner! gazpacho, seabass/calamari salad and vino tinto . We then went to the main square (in 'old town' Burgos ) where we ran into a bunch of pilgrims we knew so that was fun- we all took photos of each other- some are on their last days . Next was a tour of the cathedral - gothic style magnificent and huge many apsesu crypts , towering ceilings etc . Awesome! Jan and I bought some cookies , Joanie picked up some fruit and yogurt for morning and that was Our night . Jan and I inspecting our feet while sandy & Joanie went to the cathedral lit up at night. .here's to hoping we can walk tomorrow. Amen!

Wednesday 21 September 2011

Day 14

After a very disruptive night and a breakfast of coffe and bread and jam  (pattern again)we started our day at about 8am.  A lot of very steep hills and low valleys.  The day is really hot again - where is fall!  We stopped at Villafranca at a lovely hotel ...beautiful grounds where we had a coffee and biscuit.  It was a very steep clim out of Villafranca and there were lots of pilgrims - soon they would all go their own pace and we´d be alone - each of us also going different paces also sometimes losing sight of one another.  The landscape has changed from vineyards to agriculture - hay and fields of sunflowers - sadly they are long past blooming but it is neat to see them stretch for acres.  Below our feet the path is mostly rocky which makes it very hard to keep your balance especially near the end of the day, when the sun is making us crazy!  Thank goodness for poles which help us keep our balance.  We had bought lunch in Villafanca to eat on the path as we were going 12 km without a village.  We spread out the space blanket in a little bit of shade - sat down, removed our boots (heaven) and cut into the bread cheese and ham with a swiss army knife.  Dessert was yogurt and a couple of chocolate bars!  yum !  Mext stop was San Juan de Ortega - another beautiful church to tour and a bar for some limon!  (lemonade)  no beer yet as we still have 3.5 km to walk for our last stop of the day in Ages.  We have a room with 4 single beds and  basically our own bathroom.....its like luxury after last night!
Today we did 28.6 km  tomorrow we get to Burgos. 
Tonight dinner is paella!
thanks for all your support and coments. 
pilgrims four. xx

Day 13

This morning we slept in - didn´t wake up till 7.30 - blame it on the wonderful parador beds!  Today our walk was through many little villages.  We stopped for coffee and some breakfast in a bar in Granon....this is also a pattern in our mornings !  The couple who ran the bar were really friendly.  We each had 2 coffees (thery are small) nice fresh bread with cheese and chocolate pannier cookies.  We all used the loo and we were off to the next town.  Weather was to be warmer  but it was still cool  till almost noon - a blessing, then it got hot.   We passed through many little towns - nearly ran out of water.  >We stopped for lunch at a nice albergue  bought some cheese, bread and boiled ham and a treat - potaato chips !1  Off again we had about 4 km to go - to a parish albergue.  This was a new experience - price was by donation and we had to help make dinner and clean up.  Unless you wanted to go to church...then you were excused from clean up.  The dining room was boarding house style - one very long table.  There  were about 25 - 30 pilgrims.  The house was run by volunteers and we asked the two young men how long they had been volunteering - they havd just started today!!  There was one bathroom/shower room for peregrino´s and one for peregrinas. the sleeping room we were in had 15 mats (MATS!) on the floor.  Sort of like the ones you remember from gym class...but not as bouncy!.  The building was a few hundred years old with low crooked ceilings, walls and floors.  At 6 pm a local village senoria came to take us for a tour to an old church built into the side of the hill.  Itwas a climb to get there but worth it. What a feat of engineering - hard to describe how amazing the inside was - we weren´t allowed to take photos. I did get some of the outside. The senoria told us to remember it in our minds and our hearts.  She asked each different nationallity to say a prayer aloud.  I did the english prayer and asked for strenght and health for my friend Nova and rememberance for my friend Mo.  and also to bless me and my pilgrim friends on our journey to Santiago.
Back at the parish we attended church - Joanie outside in her church, Sandy and I upstairs in the church room.  Korean, Japancese Fr4ench, Italian, Spanish and Englilsh  - we all read part of a Psalms and prayers.  The Korean girl sang a pslam.  Then as is the custom at this aburgue we each read aloud a prayer that a previous pilgrim had written. >We left our prayers to be read by newly arriving pilgrims.
All in all, though it was not our accustomed type of accomodation I think we were all feeling glad we had given it our best shot!"
The night was not so pleasant as none of us got a very good sleep......mats were hard and the 8 other people in the room and ladies, were making various noises if you know what I mean!  one guy was eating...making a racket in the middle of the night...and then there were the snorers!

Day 12

We left Nejera at about 8 am...after breakfast at the cafe.  Toasted french bread and coffee!  We walked 7 km and had another coffee, bought a few things for lunch , yogurt and bananas and nuts.  Weather was cool again. We met a few different people that we hadn´t seen before.  We arrived in >Santo Domingo and checked out the municipal albergue - na da! too many people in too many bunk beds.  So we wandered on to the hotel across the street - we decided to find something cheaper than the 35 euros they wanted.  We eventually decided to stay in one of the 2 paradores in town.  A bargain for such luxury at 45 euros each.  We do have to share beds but we are ok with that.  The sheets are lovely and internet works!  The building used to be a convent.  The main rooms are very beautiful archetechtually.  We just wish we looked like we belonged here instead of looking like pilgrims in hiking clothes. We had fantastic showers and did some laundry in the sink with a plug for a change!  Then we had a nice bowl of pasta with prawns - along with beer and wine.  We went out for awhile to see what was happening - locals everywhere lining up for free wine and tapas.  We went to have a tour of the cathedral - which started at 9pm....we got there and nothing!  No tour, church locked, nobody there!  This seems to be a pattern. we have gone to 24 hr grocery stores to find them closed too!   It was getting chilly and we were tired - so back to our parador4 where we mat a lady in the internet room - from Gibsons >B.C.

Sunday 18 September 2011

Day 11

We left Logorno at 6;45 in the pre dawn light.  We all felt pretty good this morning ...none of us were complaining about our feet!  It took a little while to exit the town.  After 6 km we stopped at a bakery and bought lunch and chocolate croissants and chocolate milk which we ate right away.  The weather was quite cool, which was great for walking.  It was so nice not to be sweating!  We were making really good time in cool weather.  It is supposed to be hot again for the next 2 days.  (30 degrees again!)  It was a little windy and terrain was generally flat, we went through a park and came across a guy who looked like he was one of the original pilgrims - he had a little stand where he had a stamp for our pilgrim passports and for a few euros you could have a cookie, an apple or a rock with a yellow arrow painted on it!  Yellow arrows are painted along the camino to show you "the way".  Soon we felt some spitting rain, but nothing to fuss about.  A little later the rain came a little bit more and we got our rain ponchos on as we didn´t want our packs to get soaked.  It didn´t last too long and after about 1 km we had them off again.
We had phoned ahead to a private albergue to book a room - the guy said he would hold the rooms till 3 pm....and to come to another address to get the key.  We arrived in Najera and it being a sizeable town we had trouble finding the 2 addresses.  Usually when we arrive in a new town/village we can find what we are looking for fairly quickly.....there is not much else but a bar and an aubergue!!  Anyway after much frustration we managed!  Our two rooms with 2 single beds each are pretty basic - 15 euros each.  We did our usual laundry and napped - waiting for hot water for showers.....which never came!  Good thing it was not a sweaty day!! 
We went out for another pilgrims dinner.....all we can seem to find!  a fairly basic 3 course meal.  The regular pilgrims show up......our friend Barry from Oz was there.  After dinner we hit the internet cafe for an hour.  Seems there is a festival going on here of the town squares has a large bandstand set up and the whole town is out watching and listening to the boom boom boom......right beside our little aubergue!!!  Hopefully it won´t go on too long ......or the earplugs will be out. 
We were really pleased to make 30 km today......tomorrow we will stay in Santa Domingo!
love to all our fans  xxx

Friday 16 September 2011

Day Nine (Sept. 16, 2011)

We left our pensione at 6;30 am = Joanie still not 100%!  We were off at a fairly fast pace, terrain was mainly flat.  We stopped for coffee in Toro del Rio and visited the CHurch of the HolY Sepulcher.  The day wa more pleasant as here was high cloud = but still very hot ...temp 29  30 degrees.  Most pilgrims seem to be sending either their whole packs or park of their gear on ahead to hotels and therefore aren´t getting blisters and foot problems and don´t look as sweaty as we do!  By 9 in the morning our shirts are totally wet!  We all were listenening to i pods today which really helps with the pace.  Since we had our hotel booked we weren´t rushng to make sure we could find a place so we looked for a place to relaxs...found one on a bank above the camino path, overlooking a small vineyard.  Joanie sacrificed her space blanket for us all to sit on and we took off our boots, leaned our backs against our packs and pulled out lunch === yogurt and fruit!  The vineyard below was harvesting white grapes and we waved and yelled buenes >dias  to the workers.  Muriel (me) got up to take a photo of the scene and the head man motioned for me to come down for grapes.  I found a path down to the vineyard and after taking a photo the vinter loaded me up with an armload of grapes.  We ate our fill and still had so much that we started handing (throwing) them to pilgrims on the trail who were very appreciative.
Soon we packed our backpacks up onto our backs once more and we were off!  It got a little warmer btween 1 and 3,  countryside was quite beautiful with stunning vistas we could see from the tops of all the hills we climbed.  Onxce we rached Viana we found our hotel, checked in and sat outside for a beer, along came deacon Paul, who sat down to chat,  Several other pilgrims wandered by.  We thne went up to our room and showered and cleaned up......what luxury!!  Before we went for dinner it stated thunder and lightening......wondering if we will need our rain ponchos after all......tomorrow!
PS  ;:.....Sian....I was finally able open my utube video from Sam and it...watched it so many times.......
Pilgrim 3
xxx  thanks for all your support !!!
apologize for spelling.....half the time we are in the dark doing this....on a spanish keyboard.  !

Day 8

Alarm went of at 5;15 and we were on the trail by 6;30 in the dark with headlights and a full moon .  We had bananas Yogurt and mut mix in our room before leaving.  It was up and down hills to get out of Estella    Our Korean roommate Miriam left just before us.  We only planned to go about 9 km today as we were all recovering from something or other, but we did the 9 km by about 9;30.  BUT at 7;30 we came upon the Irache´s Bodega where there was a free wine fountain coming out of the we were totting up on red wine earlier than expected!!   As the day didn´t seem to be quite so hot and there were lots of puffy white clouds moving about, we thought there would be passing shade.  This turned out to be the way it was any although we were moving pretty slowly we wre moving! Eventually we did 21 km today and arrived in Los Arcos.  There were a lot of pilgrims stopping here and many had booked rooms ahead. Lots of places were full!  WQe did find pensione Mavi whre we got 2 double rooms for 50 Euros each room.....A bit more than we have paid so far but the rooms are nice....and hey we are not poor!  We dumpted our backpacks and went right back out to the main square for beer.  Lots of pilgrims doing same thng.  Irish Tom / Anne, Barry from Oz, and his friend Paul / and wife from Somerst England....We chatted to them a bit.  Joanie left to go have a nap nd the rest of us followed soon for showers and laundry.  Now resting till we go out for hopefully a decent meal.  We haven´t seen a vegetable unless you count the tomato on our burgers last night.  This morning at th bar (10am) I had two big glasses of I guess thats how I will get my vegetables!  Dinner at Hotel Monaco = Pilgrims dinner was the best yet...wonderful gazpacho which we all had.  Lots of red wine and watr, main course and desserts.  After dinnr we visited the local church which was also the best on we have seen .  Joanie and Jan went off to bed ...Joanie still not feeling 100%...Sandy and I set of to find an english speaking person to phone a hotel for us in Viana where we plan to go tomorrow.  There was a weeet girl at th AUstrian aburgue ..only  he was off duty when we arrived.  Back we went to our pension Mavi where luck would have it our landlords were just about to leave . they helped us out securing a room with Sandy´ñs credit card.....Since it is harvst time 0 wine, festivals all over the Roja region rooms are very scarce. We finally go to bed about 10;30 and wake up was 5;15

Wednesday 14 September 2011

Day seven

To date we have walked/hiked 106 Km. We thought today should be an easy day. After a slow morning in the aburgauy we packed up,had coffee in the downstairs bar ,bought some bocodillas with ham and cheese(steady diet)and 4bananas also part of steady diet! We are all quite emotional so enjoy you positive comments .. Keep them them coming!...we had ordered a cab to take us back towered puente del reina to a famous church built in the 12th century the Santa Maria eunte; which was 4 extra km of the camino trail. It was super fast getting there in a cab . I think we had all forgotten how much fun cars were!!!we had the cab wait while we saw the church. Amazing architecture the windows we guessed were very thin sheets of marble as the light was shining thru them. The cabbie then took us back to the town Estella which is 9 Km past lorcos where we stayed last night .so do the math and u will know we have"cheated" but we are (mostly)okay with that. We should be back on track tomorrow . Our abstruse tonight is like an old school and we are in a 6person room just the four of us with a Korean girl from Los Angeles. She is very nice and has sore feet too! Pardon my grammar and spelling --not easy on an iPod when tired!

Tuesday 13 September 2011

Day Six

We planned to start early but didn´t get going out of town until about 8:30 coffee, but we had some big chocolate croissants in our packs and hoped to find coffee in about 3 km!   NO LUCK. Two towns later, major uphills again and nothing open for us and also no bathrooms!  We filled our water at the town fountain and carried on.  It is really difficult to start early and expect to find things open.....I guess !  Spanish people have very different hours from N.Americans......they also close up shop from about l pm to 5 pm and then open up again....and it is almost 5 so we need to get some fruit for the morning and also i am going to buy some eggs and hard boil them as we desperately need to be eating protein for strenght!!   Anyway as our day went on Joanie was feeling sick and soom Jan & Sandy joined her also not feeling well.  The heat was not helping the situation and my feet were beginning to hurt...blister..altho a small one family !!  I sat on the side of the trail took off my boots and nurse Sandy administered first aid.  We were all very slow given the situation and thought we better stop early today.  We made it to Lorcos...about 15 km and grabbed an aubergay.  We hit the bunks for some zzz´s.  I didn´t sleep too long and got some laundry done.  The Auzzies and English are here too...but the men walked and the (smart) women took the bus!  There are some other familar pilgrims here too....still very hot....we are hoping the weather starts to cool  but heard the next few days are to be hot!
It is what it is...and we have a lot to be thankful for....we just can´t remember right now.  Sandy and Joanie would like to have someone tell their chiro that his patients are doing well!  He fixed them good!! 

Buen Camino !!  xxx

Monday 12 September 2011

Day 5

We left Pampolona at 6Ñ30 am...Joanie had bad feet which slowed us a bit.  We stopped a lot sorting out bandaids for me and Joanie.We stopped in Cezar Major, Pilgrims store for some snacks, water and choco milk...the day was another hot hot one and a long assent up to the windmills.  Once at the top we ate lunch and met some of our fellow pilgrims and some Aussies and English who were big jokesters and lots of fun. We then started our descent in Puenta >La Reine, it was late in the day and we were all suffering )in silence= in the heat.  We finally rolled into the first hostel we came to.  Plans are to start to walk in the dark tomorrow as we want to avoid as much heat as possible......we´.ll see!!!!

Day Two

We woke up in Orisson ...sleeping in a tent my clothes were still wet on the was so dewy.  The view from ahigh was surreal, like being in an airplane.  The valley below our regugio was blanketed in cloud and the sun was just breaking in the east with a faint red glow....amazing photos opp!  After a breakfast of coffee, bread and jam we started off....uphill some more.  We saw peregrines, lots of sheep, cows and small Basque horses, the occassional farmer with his herding dog...The wind was ferocious, almost blowing us off the path. We stopped at the Basque fountain...famous....Basques beat the French back in the day !!  We sat in the shade of some trees and ate our leftover lunch from the day before. We have trouble finding food!!  A very steep decline into Roncavalles. We stayed in a private aubergay, next to a monestary.  Joanie and Sandy attended church..then Sandy attended again with Jan and Muriel . We met up with Irish Tom and Anne, Luke, the Waco Texas women.  We had the 3 course pilgrim dinner...a whole trout with some anemic fries!  Food not high on our favourites yet!  but the bread is good!!  Forgot to mention......on our hike out of Orisson we came across a guy in a suv who had a bunch of goodies for was his hard boiled eggs...most welcome after our bread and jam at Orisson .....

Day Three

We started our walk late at about 8Ñ30...very nice walk to a supermercado to buy fruit and some lunch items, then another stop for was lunch time and we had only gone 5 km.  It was an unbelieveable steep descent into Roncavalles for about 3 km....We arrived to find Joanie with her feet in the river where we all joined her....feet are a big issue....they are hot and usually swollen, sometimes with blisters and other hot spots.  We found a penision next to a bar, up about 10 flights of stairs.  The bar was quite fun...lots of pilgrims that we had met along the way.  Our Orisson friends ...the german trio, a dutch fellow and another Janpenese guy.  We again attended the pilgrims dinner .....seems that is all there is in these little towns and we are too tired to seek out anything else.  Sandy and Muriel sat with a father and son from South Korea, son in theology at uni and the father a paster of a 2500 member church.  Very sweet, obviously a mutual admiration between them.  Jan / Joanie met two ladies from >Spain, Eva and Menchu...who tried to teach them Spanish over dinner.   We had a disruptive night with the church bells ringing every hour and half hour.....right outside out window!  We were getting up walk again in the cool of the early dawn.

Day Four

We left Ziburi in the dark, wearing our headlites.  We arrived just at dawn in Larsonna where unbelieveably a dance party was happening at 7am!  Joanie and I, backpacks and all went in and joined the foray...briefly just for a phto opt....lots of young people...having fun....they posed with us for a photo!!!  Hiking commenced...we still had to find foood and are having a hard time adjusting to Spanish eating hours!  ...Shortly we came across a lady wqith an outdoor pizza oven in her garden....she was making pizza, baked apples, croissants and other goodies.....and VERY good coffee con leche.....that was a good stop....a lot of our new pilgrim friends had stopped there also.  Off we were hiking again....arrived in Pampolona about 1 a lovely German Auberge. We were welcome with juice and cookies and had a private room for 4!  nice clean showers. We ventured into downtown area ..itr was Sunday night so most of town was closed...we had tapas and beer at a bar, visited the cathedral and went back to our hostel..where we sat outside with some other guests young spanish who played guitars and bongos,...bed about 9:30  and were getting up early at 5Ñ30 for 6 am breakfast. 

Friday 9 September 2011

Day one and day two

We arrived in St Jean Pied a Port and started our pilgrimage at 12 noon.  It was a little later than we would have liked as the sun was HOT.....and it was all uphill......8 km and the sun was relentless.  The scenery was more beautiful than we could have imagined.  Cows and sheep, rolling pastures, narrow roads and few cars going by.....but when they breakneck speeds.  We didn´t see many pilgrims this first day, the few we did were French, well we were still in France!  We stopped at the side of the road and ate our baquettes with cheese and ham, washed down with WATER......then continued was SO steep it is difficult to describe, one foot in front of the other.  When we thought we were almost there we met some pilgrims coming back down the road....they said 2 more km......sacras de bleu!!!!  Long story short it was actually only about 200 yds!!  we thought it was a mirage.  Joanie and I were shown to our tent, Jan and Sandy to their bunk beds in a six person room!  2 washrooms for about 50 pilgrims.  Mostly older pilgrims.  Dinner was served at 6 much as you could consume almost.....soup and beans bread and pork.....filling but not too special.  After dinner Panchetta, our lovely serving girl, asked all to stand, introuduce themself and say where they are from and why they are doing the Camino.......Germany, Holland, France, Brazil, Canada, Quebec )yes they said Quebec!, and Ireland, and many other was fun.
It was of to bed and I spent a sleepless night!  jet lag I guess.  Next day we were up at 6 45 for breakfast, which was bread and jam and coffee!  how can you hike on that!!! 
I think I will tell you about day two my time on the computer is fast disappearing...Buen Camino All.
signed, the pilgrims four xxxx