Category Archives: history

Hobo, Tramp or Bum?

“A hobo wanders and works, a tramp wanders and dreams and a bum neither wanders nor works.”  -Anonymous.

hobo“Hobo at the Breakfast Table” by Randy Meyer

Randy recently picked up the paint brush, after a long hiatus, to capture a memory from his childhood:

It was a cold, snowy day in the early 1960s and this gentleman wandered up to the farmyard asking for work in exchange for food and lodging. He seemed somewhat prepared for the weather being dressed in a long, heavy, hooded coat that had seen better days along with big boots that were held together by wrappings of a sort.  Randy’s parents could not afford to hire extra help, but they generously invited the man into their house to eat breakfast. Imagine four little children peeking into the small  kitchen with wide eyes watching this disheveled older gentleman with a monstrous beard and tremendous appetite devour copious amounts of eggs, bacon, potatoes, toast and whatever else was available that morning. After satisfying his hunger, they wished him well as he made his way to the next farm site.

Who was this man… Hobo? Tramp? Bum?

Since the railroad was still running a train route to the towns of Gary, South Dakota and Marietta, Minnesota it is possible that he hitched a ride on the rail and walked farm to farm in search of food, board or money. This would define him as a hobo.

True hobos fully embraced a strong work ethic, bouncing from place to place, looking for short-term jobs to earn their keep, while bums and tramps wanted to bum everything—money, food, or cigarettes.

The very first American hobos were cast-offs from the American Civil War of the 1860s as young men rode the rails to find their fortunes, usually finding menial work or farm labor. The name hobo is believed to be a shortened form of “hoe boy.” The Great Depression and the Dust Bowl in the 1930s forced millions of Americans to become migrant laborers riding the rails in search of work.

My mother was born in 1920 and talked about hobos coming to her family’s farm when she was a child. Since threshing and haying were labor intensive processes there were opportunities to be had and her parents or grandparents would occasionally hire a hobo to help, allowing him to sleep in the barn. There were hobo markings along the railroad stop in nearby Smiths Mill, Minnesota that would communicate places in the area to work, sleep, etc. which led the hobos to their farm. These markings were a pictographic Hobo Code understood among the hobo community. Since hobos weren’t typically welcomed (and were often illiterate), messages were left that were easy for hobos to read but looked like random markings to everyone else which maintained an element of secrecy. hobo signs helphobo signs lawhobo signs trouble

hobo-glyphs-code

Whatever happened to the strange breakfast guest depicted in this painting? We’ll never know, but Randy can still see his crazy eyes.

HoboGlyphs:  Secret Transient Symbols & Modern Nomad Codes by Delana

Don’t Call Them Bums:  The Unsung History of America’s Hard-            Working Hoboes by Lisa Hix

 

Walking the Path ~ Coba Mayan Ruins

Imagine walking the same jungle paths as ancient Mayans living between 300 to 900 A.D.

Archeologists have estimated that 6,000 structures exist here at Coba, but only three settlements are for public viewing.wolls-1120351r Coba is not a single site, but a large group of sites connected to the central pyramid, connected by over 16 Mayan ceremonial “white roads.”wolls-1120347e4x6Don’t feel like walking? Take a Mayan Limo, which is a chauffeured tricycle, or rent a bicycle. Plan on 2 1/2 hours if you walk or 1 1/2 hours if opting for wheels.cancun-1120328eThe largest pyramid at Coba is called Ixmoja, part of the Nohoch Mul group of buildings.  wolls-1120332dmvUnlike other Mayan ruins, you can still climb this one. cancun-1120342eI’m not fond of heights and this pyramid is 42 meters (138 feet) tall, but I need to do this so I have no regrets.wolls-1120338eFrom the top the lush jungle looks like a green wilderness of wonder, but this gentleman meditating probably has his eyes shut. Good thing, since he is right at the edge. Not me!!cancun-1120341ewebThis thick rope is my best friend as I inch my way down the 120 stone steps of the pyramid finding the descent much more difficult than the ascent.
cancun-1120362eWe were part of a van tour group, which restricts the amount of time allowed. If I did it again, I’d look into another transportation option to allow more time at the ruin site. Or, maybe I need more friends along so we could put together our own DIY tour. Hmmm…
cancun-1120352dmvcrbgwebAs usual, souvenir shops are situated by the entrance/exit gate.cancun-1120355ecr2web…and dogs wander the streets.

For more information about exploring Riviera Maya destinations check out locogringo.com.

Here is a link to an interesting blog post I found within the locogringo.com site: 10 Ways to Save Money on Your Next Riviera Maya Vacation.

Hasta luego…

 

 

Camino de Santiago: Hospital de Orbigo to Astorga

September 24, 2016:  Camino Completion ~ third time’s a charm. Another dot is connected as we walk into Astorga, Spain.

villar-de-mazarife-to-astorga-elevation-mapcamino-1030350Cruceiro Santo Toribio is a stone cross that commemorates the 5th century Bishop Toribio of Astorga who supposedly fell to his knees here in a final farewell having been banished from the town. Wonderful view of the city of Astorga with the mountains looming in the distance.camino-1030356This gentleman has welcome wagon duty today along with tending to the flowers and shrubs near the stone cross.camino-1030378Tonight we sleep in the loft of a very old building,  Albergue de Peregrinos San Javier located on a narrow street near the cathedral. 110 beds and we are up three levels in the top loft area. camino-1030384As you can see, we both get a front and center bottom bunk tonight  surrounded by our international roommates. Friendly conversations are a bonus to this situation and we experience absolutely no bedbugs. A full kitchen is on the bottom level of the building so we are able to cook our own meal tonight and converse with other pilgrims doing the same. Flashlights are close and ready for action in case we need to walk down the dark staircase during the night to a lower level to use the facilities. Watch to the end of the video on this blog post and you will take a walk with me from top to bottom of the albergue. I’m glad there wasn’t a fire during the night because we would surely have been toast.camino-1030400Inside these doors… Astorga’s cathedral was built between the 15th and 18th centuries and combines various styles including Gothic and Baroque.
camino-1030398The edifice was begun in 1471, within the same walls of its Romanesque predecessors from the 11th-13th centuries. Construction lasted until the 18th century which explains the inclusion of elements from later styles.  ~Wikipedia
camino-1030388Is Harry Potter home? Opposite the cathedral is the Palcio Episcopal designed by Anton Gaudi for the bishop of the time who was a fellow Catalan. The palace’s bizarre appearance and enormous cost horrified the church and no future bishops ever lived in it. It is now home to the Museo de los Caminos, an excellent museum of the pilgrimage to Santiago. ~spainthisway.com 

We were not able to visit Museo Chocolate also located in Astorga, Spain. Here you can see a display of tools and objects that represent the history of chocolate production: instruments for roasting, refining and rolling, as well as pans, mortars, moulds and machines from the early 19th century.

Top three photo picks of the day:

camino-1030344 camino-1030393camino-1030337

 

Camino de Santiago: Virgen del Camino to Hospital Orbigo

September 23, 2016: Two options today ~ follow the highway path or take the longer alternate path. We naturally opt for the longer route since we rarely seem to do anything the easy way.camino-1030256

Short video of the day featuring the inspiration for our morning mantra ~ …Coffee Town:

camino-1030313As usual, we follow an arrow to proceed straight ahead. What’s this?  A set of large railroad tracks loom ahead and we are hesitant to cross since neither of us like to break rules. Hmmm…? Turn around and back we go to find this little arrow pointing to a road that winds us through town, up and over a pedestrian railroad crossing. Safety first and it’s a good thing we like to walk.

Image from Galicia Guide
Image from Galicia Guide

The 13th century bridge taking us into Hospital Orbigo is the longest one on the Camino at 204 metres long (approximately 670 feet) and has 20 arches. The river that it crosses doesn’t seem to appear to warrant such a lengthy bridge, but prior to a dam being built at Barrios de Luna the river was a lot wider. ~Galicia Guide

This bridge has facilitated trade since Roman times including the passage of livestock as part of the cattle trail Camino de la Canada, as well as sweaty pilgrims. ~John Brierly

I see our albergue! A  sign can be spotted from the bridge so we have finally arrived. The albergue tonight is connected to a bar/restaurant which means we have a zero kilometer walk tonight. Yes!

Top three photo picks of the day:

camino-1030248 camino-1030265 camino-1030275

 

Camino de Santiago: Leon to Virgen del Camino

9-22-2016:  Breathtaking… remarkable… amazing…camino-1030150First ancient Roman baths, then a palace and finally León Cathedral, dedicated to Santa María de la Regla, which was declared of Cultural Interest in 1844. It is known as the Pulchra Leonina and is a masterpiece of the Gothic style of the mid-13th century. The design is attributed to the architect Enrique. By the late 16th century it was virtually completed. ~Wikipediacamino-1030169I found it fascinating that the stained glass on the north side of the tower features cool colors to represent the Old Testament; the south side’s stained glass uses warmer colors to show how Christ brought light to the New Testament. This design also takes into account the movement of the sun during the day. Now that took an architect with keen attention to detail…

Before leaving the hostal, I check out Facebook and notice an American Pilgrims on the Camino Facebook friend is staying at the famous luxury hotel called the Parador.  Thinking I’m clever, I leave a comment that I will wave at him as I walk by in about an hour.

Around noon we leave the historic center of Leon with a 7 kilometer hike to Virgen del Camino as our destination.

Short video from our short journey today.

Approaching this magnificent building, we speculate that it must be a museum. I sit on a bench to tie my boot.  Hmmm… this can’t be the Parador…
camino-1030203Backpacks and hiking poles are dead giveaways that we are pilgrims. A gentleman approaches us and we begin to visit. Little did I know, but this was the same Facebook friend I was planning to wave to as I walk by. Small world.  He confirms that this is, indeed, The Parador. This five star Parador was originally a monastery founded in the twelfth century to provide lodging for the pilgrims travelling to Santiago de Compostela in Galicia. It later became the headquarters of the Order of Saint James whose soldiers provided protection for the pilgrims. ~www.paradores-spain.com

Our conversation expands to include a wonderful young man traveling in a camper van throughout Europe with his wife and dog. I’m thinking that is a great plan as you’d always have a place to sleep.

camino-1030214As we approach our hostel for the night, the neighborhood is looking  dodgy.

No key issued to us for the front door of Hostal Sota and we are only allowed in by the lone hostal employee. In fact, we may be about the only people staying here.  Nice lounge area in the basement and our activities are constantly monitored. 

Why does the song “Hotel California” keep playing through my mind?

Top three photo picks of the day:
camino-1030228Lottery ticket sales appear to be going well before mass outside the Catholic church.

camino-1030195 camino-1030223

 

 

 

Camino Day 8: Najera to Santo Domingo

September 8, 2016:  A short video of the day…

This morning finds us departing in the dark hoping to find available beds in Santo Domingo. We are meeting more Camino friends as we trudge along and cherish these conversations and chance encounters. You know who you are!!! We look forward to and enjoy the e-mails updating us on their Camino journeys and life in general.

najera-to-santo-domingo-elevation-map

camino-1020049eBest welcoming committee on the Camino with wine in a jug, tapas and friendly staff at the Santo Domingo de la Calzada albergue operated by the Spanish Confraternity. Nice backyard area with outdoor laundry facilities, kitchen and spacious lounge/dining area. A bonus is that many of the pilgrims we have encountered along the way are staying here.

20160908_121838_resized-2ecrApparently, English and German-speaking pilgrims need rules, so we make good use of the wonderful laundry facilities in the backyard. Randy is extremely  impressed with Julio’s Scrubba Portable laundry bag (Click on link).

camino-1020077ecrOur Irish hospitalera enjoys friendly conversation with Randy and leaves him with a bro hug. camino-1020061ecrA tour of the Cathedral of Santo Domingo de la Calzada includes viewing a live rooster and hen. A gothic henhouse was built during the middle of the XVth century to keep alive a hen and a rooster in memory of the most famous of Santo Domingo´s miracles. Click on this link:  Hen and the Rooster Miracle for the full story behind this live display. I was told they switch out the fowl every 14 days, so I’m guessing chicken soup is on the menu every couple of weeks.camino-1020081eAfter wandering down our street we pathetically gaze inside a restaurant at 6 p.m. and inquire as to evening meal service. 7:30 p.m. is the meal time and our sad, hungry faces must appeal to the gentleman’s heart-strings as he pauses and decides to make an exception.  He rushes around and quickly sets a table for us. The best paella EVER!!!camino-1020083eThe Irish hospitaleras invited us to a prayer service in the basement of the albergue, so this early meal time means we return in time to attend.  Hard to stay awake, but glad we participated since we need all the help we can get. Bonus is this piece of artwork on the wall of the prayer room.

Top three photo picks of the day:
camino-1020054e camino-1020055e

 

 

Day 4 ~ Camino de Santiago…Estella to Los Arcos

Sunday, September 4, 2016:

estella-to-los-arcos-elevation-map

Rats!! Apparently we missed a huge party last night in Estella as at 6:00 a.m. this dark, Sunday morning we hear the revelers still going strong from the downtown area of Estella, Spain. We did enjoy our Pilgrim meal last night in Oceana Youth Hostel (Ignore the name – they take in old people like us, too!) as recommended by a colorful character from Amsterdam. Our table included people from France, Germany, Brazil, Australia and ourselves from the United States so the air was peppered with the sounds of these  languages and accents. Our stay also included a nice visit with a brother and sister from Israel as they shared some insight to their culture and way of life. The hostel is in an old school turned dormitory and serves us well for a good night’s stay, especially when we weren’t sure we’d even get a bed.

camino-1010723eTwo choices of routes leaving Estella – Go left to experience the wine fountain “Fuente del Vino” beside the Monastery of Nuestra Senora la Real de Irache... that is the route we choose. Free wine? Can’t pass that up! A community of monks served pilgrims here since the 10th century but were forced to vacate in 1985 and it is now a museum.  ~A Pilgrim’s Guide to the Camino de Santiago by Brierley.

camino-1010738eThe ruins of 10th Century St. Stephen’s Castle are at the top of the mountain and can be seen from Villamayor de Monjardin.

camino-1010808ecrAnother incredibly hot day of hiking and Joan may have sucked her bladder (water supply in her backpack) dry. Interesting conversations with other pilgrims help take our minds off of the heat today.

Short video of our day:

Top three photo picks of the day:camino-1010770e camino-1010741e

camino-1010815ecrCeiling view of Iglesia de Santa Maria de los Arcos XIIth C in Los Arcos, Spain