My Camino Route in 2016

My Camino Route in 2016
This year, I will be walking Camino Madrid from El Escorial through Segovia and Valladolid to Sahagun. I will have a few more days of walking and am currently thinking I might then walk from Astorga to Zamora on the portion of the Via de la Plata that I did not walk in 2014. In all it w=should be about 18 days and somewhere between 250 and 300 miles of walking.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Madrid 18 October


Four great things about Madrid that I experienced today, a relaxing final day in Spain!

1. Cathedral. Madid's cathedral is very atypical for cathedrals in Spain. For one thing, it was not built in the Middle Ages as every other cathedral that I've seen. It was started in the late 1800's and only completed and dedicated in 1992. It is very contemporary and beautiful in its own special way. The saints that are commemorated are not the typical old saints from Jesus time but are more contemporary ones from the last 200 years. And interestingly, more than half of them are women. The photos can speak for themselves.

2. BorremeoThyssen Art Gallery. The big three in Madrid are the Prado (justifiably heavy on Spanish Art from the Middle Ages through the Renaissance), the Reina Sofia (justifiably heavy on modern Spanish art), and the BorremeoThyssen,  very balanced in art from all countries, including the US, from the 1400's through the 20th century. I chose this museum as my next stop of the day. It has been four years since I was here and was not disappointed to reacquaint myself with the works here, except that it seems many of the French Impressionistic painter's works are currently on loan to other museums worldwide. Some photos below, there is to be an upcoming exhibit of American impressionistic paintings, but I was too early for it. 

3. Mid day meal. I was impressed by the professional service at the restaurant last night so decided to give it another try. I was not disappointed with either the service or the meal. Food heaven, wow, even better than last night! The first plate was a sopa de marisco (seafood soup) delicately flavored with saffron, giving it the yellow color and exquisite flavor. The second plate was even better, bacalao de la Riojana (white fish in the style of Rioja, with a sauce of onions, sweet peppers, and paprika). Heavenly beyond description. Kathy, this is something we have to try to duplicate!

4. Parque del Buen Retiro. Just as New York has its Central Park, Madrid has its Retiro Park (Park of the Good Rest). It is a huge park in the center of the city, so I walked here to enjoy the warm autumn afternoon and to work off the great food and wine from my meal just before. This is a peaceful oasis in this city, with lush growth, meandering paths, and families and couples enjoying the serenity here. I am writing this post on a park bench while listening to podcasts from the Isabella Stuart Gardner Museum in Boston.

Soon, it will be time to pack up, and tomorrow, take the subway to the airport,  the flight home and back to real life. It has been a great chance this last month to step back and relax walking many miles each day and enjoying Spain. I can not thank Kathy and Matt enough for making this possible for me.


Interior view of Madrid's cathedral
A sample of a side altar

The sacred chapel, very contemporary
A painting by the American John Sargeant Singer in the Borromeo Thyssen
The balcony view from the hostal. I think it's pretty good


My sopa de marisco (seafood soup), saffron gives it the yellow color

My bacalao a la Riojana, the sauce is onions, sweet peppers and paprika 

The Retiro




Friday, October 17, 2014

Madrid 17 October

Well, I wasn't going to post again, but my food critics want some photos so here goes. I did take the train from Santiago to Madrid today, arriving late afternoon. I took the Metro subway from the Chamartín station to the Anton Martin stop where I then booked a room for the next two nights at the Hostal Nieto, where I stayed last year. I made a grocery run to the Diá market for food items to take home that are hard to find in the USA. Then,  I walked to the Prado for the free admission between 6 and 8 pm. Sensory overload as this museum has got to have the world's largest collection of Rubens, Velasquez, Murillo, Zurbaran, El Greco, and much, much more. I make it a point to stop by every visit to Madrid. Following that, a stop in a restaurant on the Ronda de Atocha, I was hungry and the photos are shown below.



Some of the grocery items to take home: a Viña Pomal Reserva  2007, asparagus for ensalada mixta, bomba rice for paella, saffron, and two kinds of paprika.


My paella tonight. Okay, but not as good as the Salamanca paella.


Merluza a la Romana ( Breaded hake)


Kathy wanted to know why I didn't stay at one of the Tryp hotels. This one is less than 50 meters from my hostal, but is probably 3 or 4 times as expensive. Heck. I even have my own bathroom here in the hostal.

Only problem is the rock band that is playing tonight in the Plaza Anton Martin outside of the hostal. Hope they don't carry on too long.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Santiago 16 October

Well, call me a wimp if you want. I woke up this morning and it was already a steady rain with predictions that it would last through the evening. I already spent the entire walking portion yesterday in rain and was not looking forward to another day of it. Originally I had planned to walk 20 km to Padrón, then catch the bus from there to Santiago today anyway. So I altered my plans and just took the bus from Caldas to Santiago instead. It is still raining here in Santiago. I got off at the train station and bought my ticket to Madrid for tomorrow, then walked through the old part of Santiago to my favorite Hospedaje and got a room for tonight.

I figure that in 28 days of walking that I walked 475 miles or about 17 miles per day. The walking part of my Camino is over. The rest of the time until I go home on Sunday will be spent traveling to Madrid and relaxing.

That bus sure looked good in the rain. I wasn't the only pilgrim who caught it for the ride to Santiago

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Caldes de Reis

A wet, wet 14 mile walk today. I was expecting rain today, even though there were only a few drops as I left Pontevedra. But it started drizzling more and more until it was a pretty good downpour about 90 minutes into the walk. Luckily after getting pretty soaked, I did walk into a small village with an open bar, perfect stop for a cafe con leche while waiting for the rain to lighten up. Started walking with just a drizzle, but all the rest of the walk, it rained, sometimes lightly, sometimes a downpour. During one downpour, I waited it out on someone's front porch. I hope they didn't mind. So when I walked into Caldas, I saw that the Hostal Moderna has a pilgrim special for 15€. Can't beat that for a private room and I really wanted to get out of the rain and dry out. Right now I am having a menu of the day at the cafeteria down the street. Cundi, I posted some photos of my meal!

This was my view out of the little bar/café as it was pouring rain. Not much fun to walk in!

My sopa

My bacalao. Mmmmm, delicioso.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Pontevedra 14 October

A nice relaxing 13 mile walk along the Camino path between Redondela and Pontevedra today, some coastline, some hills, mostly off any heavily travelled roads. I arrived at the Xunta albergue before noon, but it did not open till pm, besides being out on the edge of the city, so I walked into the city center and found a room in an hospedaje. Right now I'm having a menu del dia: lentils with vegetables and stuffed albondigas.





Ponte Sampio

The ever present kale garden

Monday, October 13, 2014

Redondela 13 October

Well, I've got a few extra days, so why not do some more walking? I've more recently walked to Finisterra, and Muxia, and the Camino Ingles, so did not really want to do those again so soon. I decided to do four days of the Camino Portugues again, so I took the train this morning from Santiago to Vigo, a large seaport town to the south. I made my own path today along the coast, a walk of 11 miles to arrive in Redondela about 1 pm, just as it started raining lightly. I am staying in a private albergue and will continue on the Camino path tomorrow. Rain is predicted for the next few days, but so far it has rained mostly in the afternoons and night, when I have not been out too much.


 

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Santiago de Compostela 12 October

It was a short 11 or 12 mile walk into Santiago this morning. It was kind of surprising how rural it was until about the last two or so miles. It was drizzling lightly most of the walk, but not enough to be much of an inconvenience, except that all the sweating I was doing inside the rain parka was not escaping. Shortly after arriving, the rain has stopped, at least for a while. I walked past the railroad station and the cathedral to find a room at my old favorite, Hospedaje San Roque. I just finished my midday meal, photos below. Then waited almost an hour at the pilgrim's office for my Compostela. 

That's me in front of the cathedral, light drizzle
My first plate of octopus and potatoes

Second plate of white fish cooked Galician style



Outeiro 11 October

0nly 10 miles more to Santiago. After a 16 mile walk today,I should be in Santiago tomorrow. Yet this albergue is out in the country with no restaurant or store nearby. Still, for some reason, there are a fair amount of pilgrims here, including some I have not seen for several days.

For Matt Boehm: there aren't bacon flavored, but at least they are ham flavored chips
The albergue at Outeiro

The view from inside







Friday, October 10, 2014

Silleda 10 October

16 miles today, with one more night before Santiago. I decided to treat myself to my own room in the private albergue here. I will have to note that last night's Xunta albergue was very nice with only six of us peregrinos. That is, until a bus load of 50+ Spanish high school students showed up for the night in a place designed for only half that many. They took most of the beds out of our room (at least they did not mix them in with us). I know I'm an old fogey, but those kids were clanging and banging and yelling well after 11 pm. I guess they were on a school field trip to study pilgrimage, but most peregrinos are quiet and considerate after 9 or 10 pm. Oh well, I figure I deserve my own quiet room tonight!

A typical view on today's walk. Just coming around the corner into another little village.


The wet, warm weather has brought a profusion of mushrooms out along the trail. Don't worry, I am not tempted to try any


Walking into Silleda, here's where to buy your Lamborghini tractor.

Or your very own new windmill (Molino de viento)


My own room for a night, even has a little balcony seating area!


My menú del diá featured my first caldo Gallego of this trip. Lots of liquid, no hint of meat beyond the stock. It was delicious and I need to try it this way when I get home.

Second plate was macaroni and meat with tomato sauce. A good high carb meal for a walker.


Thursday, October 9, 2014

Castro de Dozon 9 October

Kind of a, resting day as I walked only 10 miles to Castro de Dozon. It was mostly off the asphalt and was some net elevation gain. I arrived at the albergue 11:30 am. I was glad that it was open so I could go in and get settled for the day. This was my 22nd day of walking, three more nights and I should arrive in Santiago.



Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Cea 8 October

Today's walk would have been relatively easy at 23 km, or 14 miles, but it started raining about halfway through the walk. Mostly not too hard and not all the time, until about the last half hour. It poured and then continued pouring for a while after I reached the albergue.

Walking over the Río Miño on the old Puente Romano this morning. I don't know, but that modernistic bridge in the background sure looks like it could be a Calatrava design.

Here is a selfie of the wet pilgrim, suited up for the rain

And it did rain during the walk

And it did rain afterwards at the albergue

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Orense 7 October

Since I arrived at the albergue at Xunqueira at 10:30 in the morning, three hours before it's opening time, I decided to just keep on walking to the large city of Orense, which was 22 miles (36 km),but it was more downhill than up. 


Early morning part of the walk, still in the hills

This farmer is still bringing in the hay the old fashioned way

Some pilgrim art at a bar along the way


Just before the industrial area, this welcome pilgrims rest stop came in handy


Walking into a large city usually means suburbs or industrial areas (poligono industrial) and Orense was no exception, with about 10 km before the city center. At least the waymarking ( yellow arrows  scallop shells) was very good. It threatened rain all day, but no rain.

The cathedral in Orense, unfortunately it was not open

The albergue in Orense, in an old convent. However it is very modern inside.

Monday, October 6, 2014

Vilar de Barrio 6 October

My poor toes and feet need a bit of rest, so instead of walking the 22 miles I originally planned for today, I am breaking it into two days of walking. Today I walked 14 of those miles. The first 9 or so miles was a steady uphill climb. It was also very foggy and I could not see much of the mountain scenery. By the time I reached the top, marked by the wooden cross, it cleared enough to be able to see the valley below, along with my destination town of Vilar de Barrio. I got to the albergue about 12:15, but the farmacia next door says no one will be here until 1pm to open it. Hope they are right. It looks like the library building behind the albergue has free wifi, but the signal here at the albergue is weak. It's probably a good thing that I am not walking for another 3 hours this afternoon, as rain showers are predicted and as I write, it is starting to rain.

The foggy walk this morning

The Cruz madera (wooden cross) at the highest point of today's walk

Looking out over the valley on the descent

The Xunta albergues run by the Galician government have gotten a bad rap over the years, but all three that I have stayed in this time have been modern, clean, and I have no complaints


I also like the fact that the Xunta albergues combat the bedbug problem by providing every walker with disposable sheet and pillowcase that you know are clean and new and that you install them yourself