Category Archives: photography

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!!

Santaland 2018, Madison, MN

Fun holiday tradition located in Madison, Minnesota!
  • Christmas, my child, is love in action. ~ Dale Evans

Camino Portuguese Day 8 ~ Old Roman Road


Monday, August 13, 2018|Rubiaes-Pedreiro, Portugal|12 kilometers

Day_8-1171The number of pilgrims is putting pressure on the bed supply so there is no room at the inn if we walk to Valenca or Tui. We opt for a short day and reserve a bed in a bunk house at Quinta de Camino in Pereira. Too early to check in so we order a little snack…Day 8-1178

The long, dark, narrow bunkhouse reminds me of a railroad car, so I kind of expected it to start moving.

Nice hotel rooms are close by and we enjoy visiting with a delightful Brazilian/Netherlands couple on a working vacation, along with their daughter, and two young German men. I take the night off from taking photos/videos and now I’m kicking myself!

A short video of Day 8:

Camino Portuguese Day 7 ~ So Tired!

Sunday, August 12, 2018:  Ponte de Lima to Rubiaes, Portugal | 20 kilometers

Oh, so tired today.  Ponte de Lima festival included loud music from midnight to 3 a.m. this morning. The albergue balcony with open windows, due to the heat, allowed all of us in our section of beds to feel as though we were part of the fun and  merriment. Style of music was not the lullaby kind and the tremendous fireworks show after was lengthy, as well. Thus, little sleep, but that’s o.k.

IMG_1058

Warm temperatures today plus we climb the largest hill on Portuguese camino. By the looks of the photo above we tackled it like beasts! All rocky sections are compared to the Loch Lomond section along the West Highland Way and this was not as challenging.IMG_1078e

Beautiful views, but we must hustle along as we hope to score beds (bottom bunks) in the 5 euro Albergue de Peregrinos in Rubiaes, Portugal.

IMG_1106

Welcome!

IMG_1112

Yeah!! We arrive in time… Our home tonight is an old school converted to an albergue filled with bunk beds, well supplied kitchen, large dining area and outside patio/laundry area complete with clothes lines strung across the sunny yard.

Albergue de peregrino rubiaes beds
Image from Albergue de peregrinos website

Albergue de Peregrinos is an old school converted to house Camino pilgrims with rooms filled with bunk beds, well supplied kitchen, large dining area and outside patio/laundry area complete with clothes lines strung across the sunny yard.

Albergue de peregrino rubiaes clothesline
Image from Albergue de Peregrinos website

Chilling in the patio area outside, we meet a tall man from South Korea who has completed the whole Camino Frances from France to Finisterre, Spain and immediately started walking  the Camino Portuguese backwards from the coast. His current unemployment status has given him time for this lengthy endeavor and by now he can cover a tremendous number of miles each day. While you may be tempted to look at this as a mid-life crisis situation,  I would prefer to see it as an opportunity for personal growth. To each their own, right?

Short video featuring Camino Portuguese Day #7:

Camino Portuguese Day 6 ~ Celebrate!

Saturday, August 11, 2018: Casa Fernanda to Ponte de lima. We sadly bid farewell to our new friends at Casa Fernanda and embark on a short, but hot 12 kilometer day. It’s as though the hills are singing to us as we walk from one festival to another.

Below is a short video of Day 6:

 

IMG_0965

A line of RV’s from all around Europe are parked along the river take on the duties of “Welcome Wagon” as we enter Ponte de Lima, so it took a while to visit with the gang. It’s hot and  we have been told the Municipal Albergue de Pereginos doesn’t open its doors until 5 p.m.  All the time in the world, right?

IMG_0981.jpg

Wrong… Randy makes the trip across the bridge (While Joan and I have a cold beverage) to check out the bed situation and discovers  Albergue de Peregrino opens at 4 p.m. and he is encouraged by camino friends to get our bags in line ASAP! We quickly get all of our bags across the bridge and get in line for beds. When the doors do open we stand in a long, slow line for well over an hour, but it’s worth it as we do get beds.

All low beds and we have a beautiful view… A-a-a-ah-h-h-h.

 

 

 

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

Day4-0733

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.

day4-0769.jpg

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.

Day4-0781-3

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:

Camino Portuguese Day Three – Going the wrong way!

August 8, 2018

 

Oh, my, what a beautiful view with tree silhouettes against a blanket of white.

Day 3-0567

Our Finnish friend, Tiina, is walking with us today as we follow Google Maps while crossing the bridge near Vila do Conde. The goal is to make our way to Sao Pedro de Rates via Arcos to hook up with the central route. We see no other pilgrims or arrows so maybe this is like being true pioneers. But when the locals stop what they are doing and violently gesture and point you another way, you’d better take heed. So, back we go across the bridge we just crossed. With the help of some German Jakobsweg Camino arrows we find the correct route and proceed to tackle about 13  kilometers of hot, road walking complete with speeding cars, motorcycles and dogs barking, At least the terrain was quite level.Day 3-0637

The Caminho Central sign at Arcos is a welcome site as it means we have successfully connected with the correct route.

Day 3-0655cr

The lineup begins as we try to score some beds for the night at the donativo Albergue de Pereginos in Sao Pedro de Rates. The young South Korean woman  standing in line is my inspiration today. (white shirt and hat) Smiling from ear to ear, she seems to not have a care in the  world. We do notice her clothing is not your typical hiker quick dry attire and the very small backpack is more like a child’s schoolbag. There must be a story…

Her original backpack was stolen in the Lisbon bus station! It gets even worse as all of her cash, credit card and passport were in the stolen backpack.  Thankfully, the Camino provides and a stranger loaned her some emergency money, her mother was able to send a new credit card and the embassy allowed her to receive a temporary passport to continue her trip. Valuable lesson  learned… My favorite tactic is looking homeless with a “decoy” pouch around my neck containing small bills. The real goods is buried deep where nobody wants to go.

“These days, it’s better to look poor and be safe, than look rich and be a victim.”
Anthony Liccione

Below is a short YouTube video summarizing our day #3 on the Camino Portuguese. Excuse my horrible hair. The light on our deck was so beautifully diffused this morning that I got wrapped up in filming these clips and totally forgot about my previously scheduled and desperately needed hair appointment!