Category Archives: backpacking

Portuguese Camino Day 12 ~ The race is on.

I find joy in living day to day, not in the future.

August 17, 2018 | 26.5 kilometers | Pontevedra to Caldas de Reis

Apparently, we missed a huge celebration during the night and as we leave our hostel a little after 5 a.m. we find a young man slumped over a table. This larger facility has a security system, so this sleepy young man most likely found himself locked out of the building after partying. Oh well…

The groups of men huddled together near alleyways (especially near the ATM machine) bring our guard up a notch. Leaving town poses to be challenging in the dark, but friendly, young revelers help us out with directions to the river, so we find our way to cross the long bridge. An older gentleman on his early morning walk is also kind enough to give us a detailed city map and directions.

Why the early start? It appears no beds are available to reserve in our destination of Caldas de Reis, so we opt to race for the 50 beds at the Municipal Albergue. Excitement fills the air as we count out backpacks in line and discover we made the cut-off…46, 47, 48! The crowd of fellow pilgrims cheer along with us, Yay, Minnesota! We wait until the 1 p.m. opening and continue to stand in line as each pilgrim is slowly checked in. As we get closer to the building entrance we are able to chat with friends already checked in as they leave to shower at the city pool since the albergue showers are dirty. I overhear others leaving to go to the drug store to purchase bed bug spray. No big deal… at least it’s a bed and we’ll survive. We get within 4 people and discover they only have a total of 42 beds (per small hand written sign in door) and we are turned away.

Luckily, an assertive (Irishman that lives in Italy?) man with excellent Spanish speaking skills takes on the role of advocate for all of us waiting in line. The albergue employees say they can do nothing as there are no beds available in the whole town, so we all must start walking the 10 kilometers to the next town, (Even though it is now mid-afternoon.) Our spokesperson continues to argue and scolds them for not cutting off the line of pilgrims hours earlier to allow time for those of us without beds to walk on. He insists the community must attempt to accommodate this overflow of pilgrims and proceeds to call the police, churches and hospital to no avail. Not one to give up, he continues to plead his (our) case. Like a true Camino miracle, affordable beds a short walk away and just a few Euros more than the public albergue magically become available. Yes, the Camino provides…

Our Camino Angel advocate is still very upset with the municipal albergue and the unprepared, unresponsive community, so he continues walking down the road. I hope he finds a bed. 

This lady also has three beds for us above Bar Caldas. Now that would be a story to tell!!

Camino Portuguese Day 10 ~ Buen Camino

 Wednesday, August 15, 2018

O Porrino  to Cesantes, Spain

16.1  kilometers

You need special shoes for hiking—and a bit of a special soul as well.”   ~Terri Guillemets

Camino Portuguese Day Four ~ Where are we?

Start where you are. Use what you have. Do what you can.    -Arther Ashe

August 9, 2018: Joan, Randy & Joyce take on Camino Portuguese Day #4 | 18 kilometers

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A good day becomes great…the walk from Sao Pedro de Rates to Barcelos along the central route includes a photo opportunity with Elvis, the King of Rock & Roll.

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As we enter the Barcelos town square we hear music and see the festivities. Is this their way of welcoming weary pilgrims? No, wait! It’s Thursday, the traditional market day, Feira de Barcelos.  Why wait until the weekend?

Albergue Cidade de Barcelos

Poor Tiina, our Finnish friend, is having ankle issues so came in later that day. Joan is the hero as she marks a bottom bunk ready for Tiina’s arrival at Albergue Cidade de Barcelos.

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The grocery store is apparently having a sale on Bacalao, salted dried codfish. Reminds me of lutefisk with a better smell, consistency and taste.

Below is a short video of Camino Portuguese Day #4:

A Pilgrim Rests

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Image by Joyce Meyer

Resting the body, mind and all things in between. Lightening the burdens carried may help, as well.

End of this Journey… until next time.

The journey only requires you to put one foot in front of the other …again and again and again. If you can find  beauty every step of the way, you are truly blessed.

An early start to a  thirty kilometer walk today with random conversations and  historic villages along the way. I arrive at the steps reaching the bridge into Logrono catching the tourist information office gentleman at the top just as he is about ready to close. The excellent map he gives me makes my journey to tonight’s lodging a piece of cake allowing me time to pay it forward and help another young pilgrim find the municipal albergue in time for her to get a bed.

Seems like I’m just getting my trail legs and this Camino has ended. The departure process now begins with a bus, three planes, my very first Uber ride until my little red car takes me all the way back to the border of Minnesota/South Dakota.

It may be time to go home, but it’s never too early to start planning the next adventure… I am truly blessed.

 

 

 

2017 Camino de Santiago: Puenta la Reina ~ Estella ~ Los Arcos

Short video featuring moments along the Camino de Santiago:  Puente La Reina – Los Arcos:

A few highlight photos:Puente la Reina
Crossing this 2,000 year old bridge, we step back in time upon the best example of a Roman road on the camino, .Music always adds to the day …

 

 

 

2017 Camino de Santiago: Orrison-Roncesvalles-Larrasoana

Image from “Turn to Wonder” blog.

Cold,  rain and fog accompany us as we walk through the Pyrennees from Refuge Orrison to Roncesvalles. The thumping sound of large, raindrops pelt against my rain gear… a constant drumming throughout the day. Soaked gloves offer no protection from the cold resulting in numb fingers and toes. Large flocks of sheep hunker down together, staring at the passing Pilgrims as if to say, …and they say sheep are dumb. We  later discover that the mountain was closed to those leaving St. Jean that day.

Maybe I do feel like a hiking beast…

The following stretch from Roncesvalles to Larrasoana provides a  much better day for hiking with plenty of photo opportunities due to the pleasant weather. I am much more appreciative of this wonderful weather today due to the rough weather yesterday. Minnesotans learn this lesson early in life.

Image by Joyce Meyer

Image by Joyce Meyer