Day 15 – Santiago 5 July 2016

Warning: Long Post 

First off it was overcast almost the entire day with a cool breeze and we tried to make our way as quickly as possible the last 25 km. Then at 1:00 the sun came out with a vengeance and I’m not sure where the breeze went , but it wasn’t with us. The Kentucky group split our last day into 2 days; a 15 km day and then a 10 km day into Santiago. We wanted to have an extra day in Santiago so off we went. It was again uphill and wasn’t too bad until the sun came out.  It was again a lot of asphalt. Not sure why there is so much asphalt on this Camino but it just cooks your feet when it gets hot. By lunch we were both starting to feel the heat and wear in our feet. But we were so close we could almost see the church spires.  Gadgetman found the original route into the city and that cut off several km from our walk into Santiago. We had already agreed to get into the city and find our hotel first. Notice the word hotel?  Gadgetman was wanting AC  for sleep.  


Seeing the church the first time was such a mixture of emotions again his year. Maybe not the overwhelming relief and disbelief that we made it but more of a familiar welcoming. There is no doubt there was relief as well and a feeling of accomplishment. And then I had an unexpected flood of memories from last year. It was really unbelievable and warm fuzzy kind of feelings. 


As we wound our way up through the old city my feet were so done and each step was getting more painful. Gadgetman was having issues with one of his heels as well. But true to form he led us right up to our hotel.  We made our way into the city from a different vantage point or path than we did last year, but seeing familiar sights was really nice. After arriving and giving my passport, the first question asked by Gadgetman since we’re in the old quarters was, “there is AC in the rooms, right?”  After being assured there was he produced his passport. I’m not really sure what would have happened if she had said no. I don’t think I could have walked any further. 



After a refreshing shower and a thorough foot cooling we were ready to reacquaint ourselves with the city, see the church, and  find the new Officina de Peregrinos. When we got to the church it was bad timing with the sun. Hmmm, that photo op will have to wait for the morning. Found the new Pilgrims Office right behind the parador and it is wonderfully large and thankfully empty right now.  Imagine, at 7:50 pm and no pilgrims standing in line!! We were in to get our credentials stamped 1 last time and receive our Compostelas as well as distance certificates after answering a few brief questions and out the door in under 10 minutes. 

We took the requisite pictures of each other with our certificates and out the door and on our way to find shade and refreshment. Almost immediately we ran into the mom and son duo from DC. They  was so excited to make it and like us hiked it hard to get there while it was overcast and no sun.  We talked and she gave me a big hug for giving her the info of things to ask for at the pharmacy for her feet. They were better and she was in Tom’s shoes. They were off to Rome and then Cinque Terra  the next day. We had a nice quick visit  and then off in different directions. We still have not seen the mom squad or any of their bambinos here. 

Gadgetman has a new girlfriend at the front desk – the one who assured him there was AC – and he got  the lowdown where the locals eat and what to order. So off we went tapas hopping. Let me tell you Christina didn’t let us down.  We celebrated in style with an incredible salad and beef cheeks with collard greens. Yep collards greens with peppers. And it was delicious. Might go back it was so good. 

Today was a day to sleep in a bit then picture taking at the church. The heat wave did indeed hit today and it is miserably hot.  So happy to not be on the path today in this heat. My feet are even happier. 

Perfect timing in front of the church for photo op. They have moved to the other spire for cleaning. Due to the technical aspects of the cleaning  – it was compared to using different painters – the same company was contracted for 15 years to completely clean the outside facade of the church. That’s what all the scaffolding is for around the church. 

Gadgetman went in search of his barber from last year and I went shopping, we were to meet up at the Pilgrim’s House in and hour and a half. Not much time for shopping. 

Gadgetman ran into a couple of people from the Kentucky group. They made a donation  to the church for tomorrow so they could be sure to see the botofumeria swing. Originally the incensor was swung to rid the church of the smell and delouse the area as pilgrims used to sleep on the floor of the church.

We toured the market and all it had to offer. It’s like our version of the Dallas Farmers Market. I could have eaten and drank my way through the entire thing. Their fruits and veggies looked amazing. 


All in all this has been a wonderful experience and a successful trip. I have no idea what I could do differentally to prevent blisters. Maybe it just is the way it was meant to be for me. 

Tomorrow we’re taking the train to Madrid no standby flights or long lines. Already have tickets in hand and mostly clean machine washed clothes in our packs. I did convince Gadgetman to mail some things home. I should have done it without him. It was a little more costly than I had expected.   

It is again time to go in search of dinner. But I’ll have to take off the robe as Gadgetman has it cold as a meat locker in our room. And it has suddenly become very overcast outside, maybe a chance of rain? But I don’t care about that right now because I’m no longer on the path. 


Hugs and kisses and as alway Buen Camino (good way) to all ~
V & C

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Day 14 Evening sights 4 July Padron

Oh my gosh the churches here are truly exquisite. Found another one open this afternoon and the docent could not have been nicer. Delightful actually. I want that job when I grow up. 

Igrexa de Santiago – dates back to the 18th century. 

St James the Moor slayer



Under the main altar is the Stone of Padron which the town is named after.  The partition was pulled back and the lights were on making everything visible. It was like walking through a museum. Every piece was so well documented in several languages. To see in a pew in awe of not only the magnificent art pieces but th beauty of th church, what it has withstood and what it has been through is humbling and mind blowing. 



We finished looking at the churches I “had” to see and immediately headed for the tree shaded paseo by the river. 

The scallop she’ll planters were all around town with a variety of different types of flowers in them. 
Franciscan monks supposedly brought back the seeds from Padron pepper plants from their missionary work in Central America. The seeds liked the soil and climate here and grew in abundance. While having our tapas of peppers I decided to take a look at a hot spot and found another blister on another toe.  At this point Gadgetman told me “your feet are a wreck”. He went to the pharmacy once again to get band aids while the little lady and her grain kept me company.  I wish I had gotten a picture of our dinner – which was menu of the day. It was so good – roasted chicken salad and roasted potatoes. Gadgetman noted for salmon. I opted for chicken because the chocolate cake looked incredible. 

As I get my feet ready for the long day tomorrow – about 25 km – I will hopefully be writing this from Santiago tomorrow night. 

Feet are better than they look and will carry me one more day I am sure. Interestingly everyone we see is suffering from the same. It’s just the daily wear and tear on your feet along with the fatigue. Add to that sleeping in unfamiliar surroundings every night and the body starts to wear. 

The mother son duo from DC in staying in our same place. She passed us at dinner in search of a pharmacy. We gave her directions and hoped she found it. Her poor feet are covered in blisters. Her son said his feet are fine he’s just tired and ready to be in Santiago so he can wear clean clothes and sleep in the same place for more than 1 night. I think that pretty much sums up everyone’s thoughts at this point.  

From Padron Galacia Spain

Buen Camino y’all – be nice to each other

V & C

Day 14 Padron 4 July 

Happy 4th of July everyone!!  

Again our morning started out cool with a breeze. That’s always such a tease as it heats up quickly during the day. 


Our walk led us across the bridge – where an old mill used to ground corn and we had tapas last night, past a palm tree covered square and a church. 


They were setting up a market on the very narrow streets. There was a lady sitting next to a spring filling water bottles and selling the. 


And just like that we were out of town and on our way up again. We soon passed another church – the Santa Marina and it was locked. I walked around trying to find a window or something open so I could take a picture. But I couldn’t find anything. We bumped into the Kentucky group here again. 


We wound our way through some vineyards alternating between asphalt and gravel path. It heated  up quickly today and there wasn’t much to keep my mind preoccupied with what was next. And I could feel the heat in my feet, such a pain and distraction!

As we left a small hamlet and started back through fields a very short older Spanish lady stopped us to talk and cheer us on!  She was speaking so quickly and mixing her Spanish and Galacian I was only getting about every 4 or 5 word.  She was happy for us and we only had 10 more km to Padron. That’s as the crow flies. Gadgetman had already told me the km left so I knew better. Still I wish I had gotten a picture with her. She had been tending her garden in her mud boots and apron. 



Wifi is getting slow so we will have to post our sight seeing pics tomorrow in Santiago and the rest of today’s pics as well. 

Gadgetman is learning what the Camino shuffle means now. After sitting for coffee, beer or dinner when you first stand up every muscle is your body has tightened up and it takes a few minutes before they all start working in unison again. 

Until tomorrow mi amigos Buen Camino

V &C

Pictures that didn’t post for Day 12 & 13

This was outside Cesantes at the top of a hill. Just before the steep climb a woman had been selling the shells  from the beach for €1 each. Each shell  has been written on with a message quote or person’s name. 

Again this is out of Ceaantes with the ocean in the background. And once again we are heading up. Seems to be a theme. 
This is an occasion – I need that vehicle if it has AC. My feet are cooking on the pavement. The 2nd picture and the next are in the front of a house and it looks like a diorama of a pilgrimage. Very clever. 
The top wooden pilgrim was on top of a family’s gate at their house. Love the shell and walking staff. 
The next picture is of a hierro – they hold the corn, flax or whatever crop off the ground to dry. Sometimes they are very elborate and look like playhouses other times they are very rudimentary. 

The last picture above is a little metal guy telling us to stop we’re going the wrong way. I love how the Camino over here is a community affair to look after and help every peregrino. 

We made it to Pontevedra to be rewarded with this beautiful church. The Santuario da Peregrina is an 18th century church where the floor plan is not a cross but a scallop shell. That’s why it looks round from the outside. 



We had the streets to ourselves this morning when we left Pontevedra with the exception of a few birds and some fish. Please notice the scallop shells on the bridge!

Another thing I like besides bridges and sculptures is graffiti art. 

As we were going into Caldes de Reis – hot water/river we passed lots of little waterfalls. But don’t let it fool you. The biggest part of to day was in the sun. 
All of these pictures are outside a small church. The little guy sitting there made me think of the pope for some reason. 



I thought the sign with the train was funny. We were coming up on train tracks we had to cross and it was a warning. 

We have been following the XIX Roman Road on and off since we started. These granite markers show the way when there are intesections or multiple paths to take. 


The very small church of Santa Maria was built in 1285. I took the pictures of inside the church through the bars in the door. Closed for siesta. 

We spent an entire afternoon walking through a family’s vineyard. I’m so thankful they allowed the path to go through their property so we didn’t have to walk beside the highway. 

Th Galicians are a very proud people that consider themselves Galician first and then Spanish. Like the Basque they would like to become their own state in Spain.  

That pretty much gets us up to tonight. I’ll post a separate post for today since the wifi seems to be holding up. 

Thanks for following along on our journey. 

Peace, love & Buen Camino

C

Day 13 – Caldas de Ries 3 July 2016

No pictures last night due to weak wifi when we got back from dinner. I’ll post pictures I promise because I know that’s all some of you look at on the posts. 

At dinner we bumped into the mom squad at the same restaurant that we were eating. They are so much fun and the kids ranging in age from 11-15 are all polite and very mannerly. As we were walking by to find a table outside we heard someone yell “Hey!”, it was Danny and he said he had forgotten to ask our names. Cannot even imagine what their bill was the way those guys were chowing  down. 

Today was hotter than it has been so maybe the heat caught up with us. Even the Kentucky group thought it was hot. I was told 100 but who knows. 

Beautiful tranquil bridges today and this morning walking out of the city no one around so I could take lots of pictures. It was wonderfully beautiful. 

We spent a great deal of the morning walking through shaded tracks following the creeks from the river. There were so many waterfalls and shaded spots to sit it was mostly very peaceful until the bicyclists would come barreling through. They don’t use their bells much here which is even more frightening than being scared out of your mental conversations by a bicycle bell. 

Again lots of “rolling hills” today but not many cafes in the afternoon. And today was a sandal and sock kind of day for me to allow the toes a chance to breathe. They are better I think, but I’m not touching them so we’ll see how tomorrow goes. The only problem with walking in sandals is there is not as much sole on your shoe so your feet tire. But it’s all good. 

Gadgetman is still comparing guide to his gadgets and “making notes.”  Honestly, I’m more about what is around the next corner I need to see or at the top of the hill. So many cruceieos here and ranging in dates from the lates 1800’s  to one I saw yesterday was 1911. Lots of quaint small churches, but not too many are open which is a real shame.  But still so incredible and you wonder what all they have seen. 

We passed a way marker that said 45 km to Santiago. Today was another 25 km day and it was tough at the end. But in “2 sleeps” we’ll in in Santiago. That’s exciting for sure. At least I know my feet will be able to rest then. If I can get shoes on my feet that is. 

Dinner was awesome, octopus, chorizo, and simple salad. Saw the mom squad and crew just coming into town as we made our way back to our room. They were totally worn out and it was 9:30 – no shower and no dinner yet for them. 

I had forgotten now late it it stays light outside here. It’s really hard to sleep when it’s 11:00 and still bright out. 

Windows wide open listening to the music from the river with feet propped up in bed. 

For tonight peregrinos – Buen Camino

V & C

Day 12 Pontevedra 2 July 2016

Wow what a day not sure where to start. Due to staying at the beach we had almost an hour uphill walk to get back to the way – or beaten path. Once there we started our morning ritual of a 2 hour uphill climb on asphalt. I’m telling you the asphalt is killing me. 

Just remembering all the parasailing and sounds of the music from the night before helped move us up the hill. Being from Texas everything looks like mountains. When you start looking at the next day’s elevation map before deciding where you’re staying for the night you know you’re starting to acclimate. 

THe morning was a mixture of asphalt, rocks, gravel and dirt path. My feet love those dirt paths let me tell you. Gadgetman has succumbed to a Camino toe as well but at least it’s just one toe. 

We have passed so many wonderful little Waterfalls I have to stop to take a picture each time. I love them. If I weren’t afraid of being left behind I’d probably stop to dip my toes in and cool my feet. 

You can tell your now in Galacia because we’re hearing the bagpipes more often. As we passed a music school today you could hear the lessons going on inside. It was beautiful and a little sad sounding at the same time. 

We’ve met an interesting mixture of people today too. A mom and son duo from Washington DC. Mom is Spanish and speaks the language as does her son, who is about 16. We chatted to him as he sprinted past us earlier in the day with mom in tow. 

A man with a group of about 7 or 8 boys from Vigo out for a day hike kept things interesting on and off for a couple of hours as we passed each other back and forth. Finally during a rest soccer/futbol came up. They all spoke great English and several asked about the Thunder because they follow American basketball. 

We’ve also been passing a Portuguese couple on and off for a couple of days. They only take day packs and have been doing the Camino together for short pieces at a time for almost a year. They must still be in the honeymoon phase as they walk holding hands. Gadgetman is so far in front of me that isn’t even a possibility. 

We bought boccadillas at a small cafe to eat between cafes since cafes were sparse today. So glad we did!  After lunch we met up with 3 ladies from Finland again. One of them is a teacher trainer and misidentified a frog as a duck. She was mortified when we said frog and said please let that stay on the Camino!  They’re all very nice and speak wonderful English. 

As we were waiting outside of one of the small landmark churches I saw the mother son duo go past us on the highway bypassing the optional route.  This time mom was steadily leading the way onward as her son was dragging up the rear. Slow and steady I have been saying in this trip will get you to the end. 

As a side note I need to add that Gadgetman left his adaptor several nights ago in our room. I know sad thing.  But I giggled a little too because he couldn’t believe when Kim or I left them last summer. And between the two of us we left about 4 or 5. But the way I look at it, we made someone else very happy when they discovered their treasure. 

The blister fairy visited during the day today and I’m very sad she decided to pay me another visit. 3 toes damaged and 2 of them are ridiculous. Sad news of the day. I purchased new insoles and Gadgetman got me more band aids. Gadgetman has been nursing the same toe for several days now and it’s at least not getting any worse. We’ll see how tomorrow goes – wish us well.  However the asphalt is eating our feet alive between the heat and the sweat. 

We’re going in search of a place to eat dinner now so until tomorrow mi amigos

Buen Camino~

V&C

Day 11 Friday 1 July 2016 – Cesantes

First of all we are now under 90 km to go!  Can’t believe it and also lots of people walking with day packs and transporting “living items” via muchila transport or private transport. Today we started earlier after a delish breakfast and wonderful coffee. I really and truly could have lingered over the coffee much longer. And another cup would have been equally nice. However, a very nice climb awaited us. A climb that started right out of the city proper and kept going until 12:30. That’s 4 1/2 hours of asphalt – mostly – and uphill. But we were blessed with overcast skies and a really nice breeze. The countryside was a nice distraction while moving slowly upward. Again, the hydrangea and wisteria continue to amaze me with both their color and abundance. 


Almost immediately we ran into the “New York” group. But come to find out, after walking with most of them on and off all day, they’re all from Kentucky. Just Holly, who is riding a bicycle and ” sheparding” them lives in New York. They all attend the same church in Lexington. They are a group of 14 strong with a couple mother daughter couples, several husband and wife duos and “some party busters”.  Due to the large number in the group they started stringing out almost immediately. We walked with, between and amongst them most of the day. They are all super nice and enjoyable company with which to walk. Fortunately cafes were spaced a relatively good distance apart today for water and restroom breaks. It just makes life much easier than carrying 4 pounds of water and finding bushes. I’ve also noticed the closer we get to Santiago not only the more pilgrims but the more cafes. Still probably less than 10% of the number of pilgrims we saw/met last year on CF. 


After the stroll uphill all morning we were rewarded with the downhill slide. I truly don’t mind going up but down for me is a hot mess. I feel off balance with the pack and toes and knees are being asked to do waaay too much work. Let the quads do the work. We detoured through the small city of Redondela to go uphill to a church, which dates to the 15th century. Th statue above  circular window is of Santiago Matamoros and the church is very emblematic of the Camino with shells, walking staffs and peregrinos. It’s a beautiful church that is well used by the community, which does my heart good to see it being used daily. 

 Going down the hill we saw Anna and Gunnar from Denmark. We chatted a bit and continued on our way. Since Redondela only has municipal albergues we are staying off the beaten path at the beach. Too bad my poor feet cannot tolerate the sand or the heat right now. Gadgetman stayed busy talking sports with one of the Kentucky men and is learning to slow down because it’s not a race but a journey. 


The small place we’re staying tonight serves dinner starting at 7:30 – we’ll be there with bells on believe me!  One of the sisters where we stayed last night gave each of us a granola bar as we were leaving this morning. It was a wonderful afternoon snack but I’m ready for a meal. As I’m writing the blog a couple of women came in to inquire about dinner. We started talking to one of the ladies and they are a group of moms walking with their teenage children. They’re all friends or related. Carmen went to Berkley and her husband to Univ San Francisco. They met in college and have lived in Texas, 2 sons born in California and Cinncinati as well as Paris. They’re a very international family for sure. There are 14 teenagers walking with them, 12 boys and 2 girls. Tonight might prove to be interesting. Very sweet women and the kids all seem very polite. What an experience to walk this with your kids. Teenage kids – I cannot imagine. But they walked the last 100 km of CF last year and said it went well and was a learning experience for the kids. 

Watching the calm peaceful blue waters, drinking a glass of local delicious wine and shivering in a long sleeve pull over. Feet are resting as Gadgetman is charging electronics and “Life is Good”. 
Until tomorrow y’all

Evidentially some people think Texas Rocks. The brave women walking the last 100 km of the CP with their teenagers. 

Yes that is the hill we came over today. 

Buen Camino

V&C