My Camino Route in 2017

My Camino Route in 2017
This year (2017), I will be walking most of the Camino Levante from Albacete to Zamora I've alloted three weeks in September and October, but may have time at the end for more walking.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Segovia 2


Looking to the main entrance of the Alcazar from the old town part of Segovia.


One view from the Alcazar.




The Roman aqueduct in Segovia. 20,000 large carved blocks and not a bit of mortar to hold it together.






Various views of the Alcazar from the path at the bottom of the hill that it is on.


Being the alert peregrino that I am, I picked up the waymarks for the camino from Madrid to Santiago, which passes through Segovia.

First, to finish last night, we did go to the concert, which was in a 12th century church, San Nicolas. The church seems to be converted to a concert hall. It had very good acoustics and an intimate setting. The young musicians were all from Segovia's conservatory of music, a flutist, guitarist, violist, and percussionist. Not bad for a free concert.

Today, we started our visit at the Alcazar. It started as a Moorish fortress, later used by the kings and queens of Spain as a retreat from Madrid. Quite different design and decoration from the Gothic and Renaissance churches. Lots of geometric designs and no statues or paintings, except for those added by the later Christian rulers. Over the top design with turrets, towers, moats, drawbridges, and all on a steep hill overlooking the entire countryside. This is the castle on which Walt Disney based his Sleeping Beauty castle in Disneyland.

Of course we had to see one last cathedral before we left. Segovia's cathedral was started in 1526 as a rebuild of the original cathedral which was destroyed. Not completed until 1768, it was the last Gothic style cathedral built in Spain.

After some yummy tortilla y pimiento bocadillos and wine in the Plaza Mayor, we saw some art exhibits, then back to our hostal for a little rest. One of the local specialties here is roast suckling pig (cochinilla).. The piece is about the size of a small half chicken and seems to about half of the little piglet. Anyway, I tried it for dinner. The meat was tender and tasty, but pretty fatty and salty. It was okay, just not a "must have again item". Sunday morning, we drive to Madrid and the long flight back home. I am not looking forward to the flight, but after seven weeks over here, it will be good to get back home again.

I promise to post a bunch of photos, but give me a few days to get caught up!

Friday, October 30, 2009

Segovia




In the Sierra Ceberolla mountains, south of La Rioja.


Almost to Segovia, which is just northwest of Madrid. The much drier landscape here is quite a contrast to what we were used to in northern Spain.

We headed south out of the La Rioja and over the Rio Ebro. We meandered up the valley of the Rio Iregua to the Sierra Ceberolla mountains and it's national park. The trees were vividly changing color, mostly yellows and browns. South of this range is the province of Soria. This is wheat and rangeland country and very dry compared to farther north. Grocery stop in the capitol town, also called Soria.

Our lunch stop was to the west in El Burgo de Osma, a surprisingly small town for a cathedral. Of course, we stopped for a look at it, then had lunch at a local café. From there, it was southwest through more meseta like farmland, mostly wheat and sunflowers. If we would have gone straight west, we would have been in the Ribiera del Duero wine region, but decided to head on towards Segovia instead. 

By 4 pm we arrived in Segovia. We went to the tourist information to get a city map and find about available accomodations. We found a close by room in a hostal and will stay here for the next two nights. Why Segovia? 1. We have never been here yet. 2. It has much to see, Roman aqueducts, Moorish castles, the ever present cathedral, and more. 3. It is only about 90 minutes from the airport, so will be convenient when we leave Spain on Sunday. Added bonus- We also found out there is a contemporary classical music concert in one of the old churches on both nights that we will also attend. More tomorrow.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

La Guardia (La Rioja wine region)


Vineyards along the Rio Ebro.


Us.


Finally, an old steam engine.


La Rioja fall colors


This was the view from our hotel window.

From guest blogger Kathy:

We spent today meandering through the La Rioja, Spain's most well known premium wine region. Autumn in España is spectacular. The browns, reds, yellows, and oranges of the countless vineyards of the Sierra de Cantabria mountains and the Rio Ebro at the valley floor is fabulous. Along with quite a few medieval churches, castles, ermitas, and ancient villages sprinkled throughout, the effect is wonderful. The wineries and bodegas (cellars) are very modern and efficient. Napa and Sonoma Valleys, take notice!

We visited one winery with a modern museum that showcased both the production, history, and culture of winemaking. Both antique and modern equipment was displayed, including a steam engine and an IHC Titan tractor. We are spending the night in La Guardia, an ancient town on a hill with a 360 degree view of the valley. Before dinner, we will wander through the narrow streets of the old town, perhaps stopping at one if the many vinotecas (wine shops) before dinner.

More tomorrow from Segovia.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Nájera 2




I liked the gargoyles on the outside of the Palencia cathedral.


The bishop's door, Palencia cathedral.


The carving on the pulpit in the Palencia cathedral.


More jamons for Kent

Today must have been cathedral day for us. We got an early (8 am) start on the 40 minute drive south (and off the camino track) to the medium size farming town of Palencia. The cathedral here was built over the original 7th century Visigothic church, of which some parts remain. Except for the main door, it is somewhat plain looking outside, but is one of the largest of the Castillian cathedrals at 130 meters long. The inside is a different story. From carved wood altarpiece panels, carved stone choir screen, and the carved oak pulpit, plus more, this is a grand cathedral for a smaller and relatively unknown town.

Next was an hour or so drive to Burgos and it's well known cathedral. Since I already covered this cathedral in earlier posts, there is no need now for further elaboration. Kathy and I went through it at midday, then ate lunch at a restaurant in the cathedral plaza.

Next another hour or so east to Santo Domingo de la Calzada. On this part of the drive, the pilgrim camino parralled the road that we took. We ended up in Santo Domingo about 4 but the cathedral did not open till 5 pm. We waited around, then viewed the cathedral, then drove on to another camino town that I previously stayed at, Nájera. We will spend the night at a hostal here, then on to the La Rioja wine region for tomorrow.

From guest blogger Kathy: What is the fascination with cathedrals? They are certainly not all the same. Each has it's own character, design, and strong points. John and I both read Pillars of the Earth and World without End since our last Spain visit fours years ago. It is interesting to see how these vast structures were built given the limited technologies of 600 to 1000 years ago.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Carrión 2


Our picnic lunch in Hospital de Orbigo.


The Leon cathedral.


Another stained glass window in the Leon cathedral. It is hard to do them justice with a photo.


Kathy outside the Gnomes gift shop in Leon.

We were able to sleep in this morning and have a leisurely desayuno before returning to the cathedral and Gaudi designed  bishop's palace in Astorga. We viewed the cathedral which has had much restoration work done. It is simple and a bit austere in the furnishings. But very imposing in it's construction. Kathy was impressed with the 100 year old, but very Gothic design of the bishop's palace. The stained glass and arches were especially impressive. From there we drove on to Hospital de Orbigo and it's several hundred meter long, multiple-arched bridge originally built in the 1300's. Kathy and I had our picnic lunch here today. Then it was on to the short drive to León. We saw the cathedral and it's magnificent stained glass. Kathy is off to find some souvenir magnets and stuff.

More later--Well, we drove on to Carrión, one of my stops a few weeks ago on my camino. It is about halfway between León and Burgos. Tomorrow a quick trip south to Palencia's cathedral, then on to Burgos and, hopefully, Santo Domingo de la Calzada.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Astorga 2

Well today we backtracked across about 9 or so stages of the camino, crossing the Cantabrian mountain ranges at O´Cebreiro and Cruz de Ferro. We are now in Astorga, back in Castilla y León and out of Galicia. There are still lots of pilgrims out walking the camino even though it is almost November. The weather has cleared up and even though it was a cool start this afternoon is sunny and in the low 70´s. The little Peugot Diesel we are driving is a great little car, why can´t we have some like them in the USA? Guest blogger Kathy here; We had a nice little picnic lunch at Cruz de Ferro, munching on great Spanish bread, chorizo, cheeze, olives and John had sardines. YCCK! For desert, left over torte de Santiago from last night's dinner. The scenery was spectacular and just imagining John walking up that mountain was amazing!

We wanted to see the Gaudi designed bishop´s palace here this afternoon, but it is closed on Mondays. So we will wait around till 11 am tomorrow morning so Kathy can see it, too. It is definitely worth seeing and won´t really set us back too much time. It will then be about an hour´s drive to Leon, where we will also view the cathedral there tomorrow. We may still be able to see the cathedral here in Astorga this afternoon after 4 pm. And there is the old city to explore again and decide where to eat tonight among the large choice of restaurants.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Portomarin 2






Acouple of photos of the botafumeiro at the Sunday Mass at the Santiago cathedral.


We stopped briefly in O Cebreiro. Galicia puts up markers every half Kilometer along the camino, with a countdown of the number of KM to Santiago.


We had a picnic lunch here at Cruz de Ferro. It sure looked different in daylight than the the first time I was here in the dark, early morning fog.


This one is for Kent-lots of jamons here.

Wow, it sure is nice to have a bathroom in the room- first time since I have been in Spain. Also we had a very good tapas dinner last night ( ensalada mixta, croquetas, jamon asada, and tortilla, unfortunately they were out of pimientos de Padrón). So far today, we had a liesurely breakfast, then watched preparations being made for a marathon race around the cathedral and old part of town. Right now, Kathy and I are sitting in the cathedral waiting for the mass to start. We got here early in order to get good seats. Fifteen minutes till it starts and already standing room only. Kathy was fascinated by the organ- we were sitting right underneath the pipes.

Later: We are on the road, backtracing the Camino. In Arzua right now at a free wifi that I remembered. Still lots of pilgrims and the weather is nice and sunny again. Not sure where we will stay yet tonight, maybe Palas de Rei or Portomarin.

Later yet: This is guest blogger Kathy. I really enjoyed our drive through Galicia today. The fields are so green, a nice contrast to California brown. We ended up staying tonight in Portomarin, a small pilgrim town. We just checked out the small village church, a huge contrast to all the gold and gilt of the Santiago cathedral. We are off to have dinner, I am hoping for caldo gallego, a soup `popular in this area. More tomorrow,

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Santiago 3

This morning I slept in late and did not leave the pension till 10 am. I went for a café con leche and just kind of waited around until i could check into the hotel and wait for Kathy to arrive from the airport. Never saw the sun yesterday. It was gray and drizzly/rainy all day and night and it looks like today will be the same.

Later- checked email and had one from K at Madrid airport saying she is waiting for her flight to Santiago.

Later yet- well Kathy arrived right on time, but tired. After resting a bit, it is 7 pm and we are going out to do some shopping then have dinner. At least the rain let up and the forecast is for clearing skies the next few days.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Santiago 2


The view from the bus window. It rained all the way back to Santiago

I boarded the bus in Finisterra this morning for the 2 1/2 hour ride back to Santiago. It was a strange feeling to know that my pilgrim days are pretty much over. I am a tourist now. It also came with an emotional sense of relief to know that it is over and that, God willing, I was able to accomplish what I set out to do five and a half weeks ago. I am thankful and happy that I was able to do it. I met many interesting people along the way, most I do not know by name, some by first name and country only, and a few that I would like to stay in touch wih. I did not feel these emotional moments last Sunday when I finished the first part of the camino since I knew I would be walking for a few more days. Now that the walk is over, I feel the emotions but also am happy to be done.

Those of you who have been following my blog know that I had originally planned to walk today from Finisterra to Muxia, another fishing village on the Atlantic. It would have been a long day at 19 miles. After my short walk yesterday, I studied my guidebook to find that there is a river along the way to Muxia with no bridge. This river can be forded at low water, but in rainy season (which is now), one must take a three mile detour to the nearest bridge. 22 miles and possible rain did not sound very appealing, so I made the decision yesterday to return by bus to Santiago this morning. I was vindicated by the fact that today has been the rainiest day yet. There was a steady rain all the way from Finisterra and it is still drizzling this afternoon in Santiago. The bus trip back was beautiful with most of it along the coastline, even though it was cloudy and gray. I arrived at the bus station about 11 am, then walked the two miles to the mom and pop pension that I stayed at last Sunday. Got a room, then took off for the Museo del Peregrinos and the Museo de la Catedral before they closed at 1:30. Then back to the room for shower and laundry chores. I was not able to find an albariño, so I tried a verdejo from the Rueda region. It was  Blume from the Pagos del Rey winery in Vallodolid. 3.55 euro a bottle and once again an excellent wine.

Kathy should be on her flight from San Francisco to Madrid by now, then another flight to Santiago. She should be getting here in about 24 hours (5 pm Saturday) and I can't wait to see her again after six long weeks. Anyway, keep following the blog as I will keep posting the adventures of John and Kathy over the next week. I don't know for sure yet where we will go or what we will see, no plans, so stay tuned!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Finisterra 2


"The end of the world"



The sun was starting to come out on my walk back to the town of Finsterra



The fishing harbor at Finisterra


This morning I walked along the road out to Cabo (Cape) Finisterra, about 3 miles to the actual end of the earth, then back. I left at 9 am in the rain and it rained about half of the way out, a good downpour. When I got to the cape and the lighthouse, there was no one else out there. This is quite a contrast to 4 years ago in July when Kathy and I were here with crowds of people, souvenir sellers, and so on. Actually it was kind of nice to be here alone, with overcast and cloudy skies and rain off over the Atlantic Ocean in the distance.

I walked back along a different gravel road. There was no rain but a very strong wind coming off the water. By the time I was back in Finisterra, the sun was shining again. Since I could stay in the albergue only one night, I got a tip from another pilgrim about an elderly couple with roooms for rent for only 10 euro, so I heraded there first to get a nice place for the night. Afterwards, I walked the length of the long pier and looked at the sea, the fishing boats, and all the activity. I did buy a disposable camera after the fiasco with my real camera, so hopefully can get photos posted at some point after I return. I also tried another albariño, Legado del Conde, which was very good. I noticed a restaurant with a menu del dia that has pimientos de Padron, so that is where I am headed tonight.

I also decided not to walk the 18 miles to Muxia tomorrow. I will take the bus back to Santiago in the morning and relax and sightsee for a day until Kathy arrives on Saturday afternoon. 560 miles of walking in just over five weeks is enough for now. I am going to make the transition from pilgrim to tourist! It should not be too hard and my sore feet will thank me!!

Later: Just finished my dinner. I saw a German couple who I had met a few weeks ago and had been walking at about the same pace. A man from the Netherlands that they knew also joined us. So I had a chance to relearn some of the German that I have forgotten over the years. And I had pimientos de Padron-they were delightfully good! I also had fish and potatoes-a very good dinner. The weather this afternoon and evening was nice. Sunshine with some clouds in the sky. The restaurant was along the marina, so the views of the harbor and the hills were unmatched.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Finisterra

18 miles of walking today. I had planned to stop at an albergue 5 miles back. I arrived at 1 pm and they did not open till 5 pm, plus there was no restaurant or store close by. Probably no internet either. So here I am in Finsterra and will walk out to the cape where the end of the world is tomorrow.

There were some rain showers during my walk but nothing too bad. I wore my rain poncho about a third of the time. I did not see a single walker till the last three miles. Much of the walk today was either from high bluffs overlooking the ocean or along the ocean. More tomorrow.

Olveiro


Wild brush country between Negreira and Finisterra


First glimpses of the Atlantic Ocean

This is the post for 20 October. I was not able to find any internet yesterday.

21 miles today. It was my longest distance walking yet. There were no good intermediate stopping points, except at about the halfway point. The camino here is very well marked and easy to follow, but much of it is on asphalt roads, which are harder on the feet and more dangerous.

It rained heavily one time today as I walked for about 30 minutes, showered a few other times, and actually had some sun the last part of the walk. Rain is predicted the next 4 days, but at least it is not raining the whole time.

Later: Olveiro is a small village of 200. No internet and barely one restaurant. The albergue is okay, but only one toilet and one shower each for the men and the women. The albergue is a restored farmhouse with walls two feet thick and two horreos (grain storage-look it u0p on Google). I finished my shower and laundry and am sitting in the kitchen with the thick stone walls. There is an open fireplace about 5 by 10 feet. I am looking out the narrow window at the rain, drinking a glass of red wine, reading my novel about Templars on my iPod Touch. There are flies all over, because the building next to us has pigs in it.Chickens and ducks down the street. Wow-Back to the real world in less than two weeks.

I failed to securely fasten one of the ties on my backpack this morning and 5 km down the trail realized that my GoLite windbreaker fell out. I did not want to backtrack to try and find it. I was hoping, but not expecting that a fellow walker would see it, and bring it to the albergue. And late this afternoon, one of the French men told me that someone had found it and was looking for its owner. 45 minutes later, the person who picked it up came looking and I was so happy to have it delivered as I will be needing it the rest of the trip. Most other pilgrims are very helpful in ways such as this.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Negreira


The lush farmland along the way to Negreira

I had three guesses- Denny's, Middle Earth, and the end of the world. Hmm, end of the world is closest. I started walking this morning to Fisterra (Finisterra in English)-it literally means Land's End or end of the earth. Finisterra was the westernmost point of continental Europe and thought for thousands of years to be the end of the known world.

Fisterra is 60 miles west of Santiago and I walked the first 14 miles today. If time and weather permit, I plan to take four days to reach Fisterra, then another day (18 miles) to walk along the Atlanticcoast to another fishing village, Muxia. The weather may interfere as rain is forecast for the next four days, so I may cut it short if I start getting too wet.

While Santiago was the end of the camino for Christian pilgrims, Fisterra's connection is with it's pagan and Celtic past and was already known as the westernmost point centuries before Romans, Christians, Visigoths, and Moors swept through Spain. The pagan altar to the sun, Ars Solis, celebrated the sun's setting in the west, into the Tir-na-nóg, the Land of Eternal Youth.

So bear with me a few more days as I continue my walk to the ocean.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Santiago de Compostela!

Woke up a bit earlier at 6:30 so I could arrive in Santiago by late morning. After a cafe con leche grande from the bar across the street, it was walking by flashlight on wooded unpaved trails until daylight around 8:45 am. Then past the airport runway and Mount Gozo. This was where the medieval pilgrims got their first view of the cathedral, but with the growth of the city, it is now almost impossible to see from there. I did not see it until I was in the old part of the city, nearly another hour of walking through the suburbs. Eric twisted his ankle, so I came in alone, about 13 miles.

The albergues are all beyond the city center, so I had a pension in mind. As I neared, an older lady approached saying she had rooms for rent. I took a look and it was very nice for 20 euro-she and her husband were very friendly and accomodating.

Since it was only 11:30, I hustled right over to the cathedral for the pilgrim's mass. By the time I arrived it was standing room only with at least 1200 people in attendance. Of course, not all were pilgrims. The bishop and eight priest's said the mass, thenun with the beautiful voice sang, and the botafumeiro (a large incense burner) was swung. This was done in past times to cover up the smell of stinky peregrinos and I certainly was one myself today!

This cathedral and the mass definitely was lively and hectic with pilgrims taking pictures of the church, tourists taking pictures of pilgrims, and the local townfolk tolerating it all. Compared to the sterile museumlike cathedrals in Burgos and León and their no photo signs, this was an active, interesting, happening place. I picked up my compostela after mass so I now have my official notice that this pilgrimage is complete. It was also fun to remeet many of the fellow pilgrims that I had gotten toknow over the past few weeks.

It has been almost five weeks since I have been in a motor vehicle. I am happy to say that I travelled every step of the 500 miles on foot and carried my backpack every bit of it.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Arca

Only 13 miles from the cathedral in Santiago de Compstela now! Today's walk was only 11 miles. I arrived at noon. I would have liked to walk farther, but the next pension was 7 miles and the next albergue 9 miles. I may start a bit earlier tomorrow to try to be in S de C by 11 am. I am not sure if it will be a relief or a disappointment to finish. Is the pilgrimage the process of doing it or the act of completing it?

There was no fog or wind this morning when I started walking about 8 am. There was a light dusting of frost on some of the farm fields, though. Still, frost, fog, or wind is better than rain!

However, It does look like rain by Tuesday and Wednesday. How will that affect next week's plans? And what are next week's plans? I have not had any guesses yet. Come on!

I tried another albariño wine from the local supermercado this afternoon. It was made by Lembranzas for 4.75 euro. Also very good, but it would be nice to be able to chill it for a while first. Later on we shared a bottle of Campo Viejo tempranillo.

Later: Peter the German from Equador showed up tonight, also the young woman from Scotland, it has been about two weeks in Carrión since I last saw them. And Sean's friend Peter from Australia, who I thought was imaginery, actually does exist. I have seen him a few times on the trail in the past few days. Sean is at least one day ahead in Santiago already. I had dinner with a Canadian couple the past two nights. Thankfully there were always other people there too, but this woman is always bragging about how she's been hiking in Nepal or Peru or wherever. I swore after last night that I would avoid them from now on, but she is very insistent on joining in every group. Hopefully I can avoid them in Santiago.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Arzua

The last picture, before I dropped and broke my camera. This is a photo of Greg and I in Melide.

A bit longer walk today, 18 miles, as I wanted to end in a larger town than the small village a few km back. There are now about 25 miles left to Santiago, two easy days. There was a net elevation loss of about 400 feet, but I crossed six river valleys (with rivers), so there was a constant up and down all day.

The weather is still good. No fog this morning, but a brisk and cool wind. This afternoon is sunny and breezy in the low 60's. Greg decided to stop earlier in the day in Melide and take it easier for a few days, one day longer into Santiago. Eric is still walking with me.

It is mid afternoon, nothing open till 5 pm, so I am relaxing here before I go out shopping for groceries later. I had one bit of bad luck today. I dropped my camera while it was on and I think it is broken beyond any hope. Not sure what I should do for the rest of the trip, it is only a week till Kathy will have hers here.

No guesses yet on what I am planning for the next week after I get to Santiago?

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Palas do Rei


A church and cemetary along the way.

16.2 miles to Palas do Rei. Fairly easy day and maybe I am getting used to this walking thing. Notice that the spelling changed to "do Rei" from "de Rey". The place names here are in Gallego, not Spanish. It was foggy and cool until about 11 am. Which made a good excuse to stop at a pathside bar for a cafè con leche grande about the time the fog was lifting (also had one before starting today's walk). Greg loaned me a pair of gloves that he was not using as my hands have been cold the past few mornings. That item was on my "maybe to bring" list but got crossed off. This time of year it should be on the "definitely bring" list.

After yesterday's disappointment with the wine, I tried again today. I found a very good 6 Euro Albariño, Miudiño, which we enjoyed with our afternoon pan y queso snack.

Unbelievably, the weather forecast for Santiago calls for no rain for the next 5 days, with lows of about 40 and high in the high 60's. Perfect walking weather. With 65 km to Santiago, I hope to arrive there on Sunday to complete this part of my pilgrimage. More details on what's coming up next week, but you have one guess what it will involve!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Portomarin


Many of the small fields in Galicia are bordered with rock fences.


Follow the yellow arrows!


Our afternoon cafe con leche stop at a bar/cafe enroute to Portomarin. The man and two women on the right are from the Faro Islands.


The Rio Mino.


At least my big toe is healing up!

14.2 miles to Portomarin today. Some up and downhill but nothing too strenuous. It was foggy and cold this morning but sunny and nice this afternoon. Portmarin is located on the Rio Miño, a huge river that flows through Portugal then out to the Atlantic. In this area, the river has been dammed for hydroelectric power. The entire town was moved to higher ground in the mid 1950's with only the church and one other building moved to higher ground.

Well we got away from the cheap vino tinto this afternoon. Greg bought a bottle of albariño at the supermercado. But it was oxidized and undrinkable, so I took it back. It was the only albariño so I got a different white wine, plus a Rioja tempranillo, some pulpo, mejillones (mussels), anchovy stuffed olives, and potato chips for our afternoon on the terrace overlooking the Miño here at the albergue. Life is good. The rest took off to explore the town while I decided to stay behind to write my blog.

I don't know if it was a good idea, but I took some pictures of my toe today.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Sarria


The Benedictine monastery at Samos.


A typical farm cart that was pulled by oxen. These are all over Galicia at most farms. Of course, they are not used anymore, just on display as yard art.

I did take the longer more country route of 15.5 miles today. The optional route is closer to the original pilgrim route, but also right alongside the modern highway. The route I took is along country trails and small farm roads. There were other hiking trails in the area which made for a cofusing day to keep on the right track, but I managed to do it without backtracking. There were no small villages as on previous days. Instead there were groups of three or four farmhouses often with a very small church. These are typical of the Galician hill country and they are called caserios. I arrived in Sarria about 1:30 pm. It is getting cooler here at night now, down into the mid 40's. But daytime temps are still in the low 70's. And clear skies. I just checked the forecast and it is supposed to be no rain in Santiago through at least next Sunday, which is when I hope to arrive. That much nice weather is almost unheard of here.

It will be interesting to see if we get a bunch of new pilgrims on the camino tomorrow. Sarria to Santiago is the minimum required walk to receive a Compostela (the certificate the diocese in Santiago issues for completing the pilgrimage). But already this late in the season the albergues seem less crowded. with many open bunk beds. Hopefully for that reason the pilgrim traffic may be lessening. We will see.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Triacastela


On the way up to O Cebreiro.


And we walked into Galicia.


More mountain ranges in the vicinity of O Cebreiro.


Lots of small scale cattle farms here in the hilly part of Galicia. This herd passed by as we were eating our lunch at the village fuente (fountain).


It does seem greener here in Galicia.

This is the real post for 12 Oct.

Galicia! A 5 km uphill climb (1300 foot elevation gain in 3 miles) put us over the summit at O'Cebreiro and into the province of Galicia. There was a bit more up and down before this afternoon´s final steep descent into Triacastela, a drop of 2000 feet in the last 6 miles. Altogether another 15.6 miles total walking today. We are out of the steepest mountains now. Even though there will be more up and downhill the next few days, the hardest part is over. As of tonight, there are abut 80 mles left to Santiago. The weather again today was gorgeous, around 70 degrees with the wind blowing during the day. Down here in Triacastela it must be close to 80 degrees this afternon, no wind. The mountains are all green from the recent rains. I walked today mostly with Erik and Greg, and saw Markos and many other people at various times during the day. We enjoyed some wine and beer at the local cafe after the shower and clothes washing chores. I also went to the tienda to buy some food for tomorrw, visited the local church, and will meet up with the others at 7 for our evening peregrino menu. Even though it is Monday, many shops are closed today as it is Christopher Columbus day, a national holiday in Spain. I think they will take any excuse for another national holiday!

Tomorrow it is on to Sarria, but need to decide about taking the longer scenic route or the highway route. I don´t think it will be a hard decision.

Later on: Shared peregino menu with Erik, Greg, Markos, Ian from Canada, and Klaus from Germany. Markos distills 200 liters of apple schnapps every year from his family´s orchard in Germany. He carried a flask of schnapps with him for the past month and tonight he shared it with all of us after dinner. It was very good and we appreciated the fact that he carried with him all these days!