Camino Francés 2017 Part 2

Continued from Part 1, Days 1-12, St. Jean Pied de Port to Tosantos.

Between April 11 and May 31, 2017, Bay Area friends Cathy Seitchik Diaz and David Stewart are on their third Camino. This page will include Cathy’s practical tips, route details, albergue/hotels, observations, and highlights of the walk. About Cathy.

Day 13: Tosantos to Ages
Day 14: Ages to Burgos
Day 15: Burgos to Hornillos
Day 16: Hornillos to Castrojerez
Day 17: CastroJerez to Boadilla
Day 18: Boadilla to Villalcazar de Sirga
Day 19: Villalcazar de Sirga to Calzadilla de la Cueza
Day 20: Calzadilla de la Cueza to Sahagun
Day 21: Sahagun to El Burgo Ranero
Day 22: El Burgo Ranero to Mansilla
Day 23: Mansilla to León

Continue to Part 3, Days 24 -33

DAY 13: 4/24/17-Monday

Cities: “Tosantos” to Villambistia to Espinosa to Villafranca to San Juan to “Ages”
7:30am-1pm -15 min cafe
-5.5 Hours & 12 Miles
-600 incline -Sunny
-165 TOTAL Miles so far

At 6am 4 of us got up and started organizing our things for another day’s walk
Again, I slept surprisingly well. There was minimal sound with my earplugs & pillow help. At 8:30am, after I had been walking for an hour, I stopped at a Cafe/Bar to say hello to my 6 Korean friends from last night, plus, Momie, Helen and Alex. At 9:30am I walked into Villafranca where David and I had stayed last night. I got to see Silvia & Cristina and tell them I will be back, next year.

During the day I saw many of our Pilgrim friends off and on, as we walked towards; San Juan, Ages and Atapuerca. HeyChang, a tall 26 year old Korean woman from last night and I spent over 2 hours walking and talking. She told me that I speak slowly and clearing. I told her I was an ESL Teacher for Adults. She asked, “How can I learn more English?” I told her, “You will be Walking the Camino for 25 more days. Try to speak every day for a few hours, with Germans, Australians, Americans, Swedes, etc.” I will send her a message later to see how she is doing. At 12:30pm HeyChang and I arrived to San Juan to find her Korean friends and many of my friends, sitting sound the tables, eating, drinking and being merry, albeit, dusty and tired. At 1pm Jeff and I left to head out to Ages. An hour later, I found my Alberque and he continued on to the next town, Atapuerca.

Ages is the sweetest town!! There are just a few Albergues, but they are all next to each other with Cafes and outside seating. And Pilgrims everywhere visiting with each other. I got to see about 20 old Camino friends and 10 new Camino friends. It is such a FUN and unique and fraternity/community experience.

At 9pm, I went off to bed with the other 7 women in my Dorm Room.
– I tend to get to the Albergue first.
When I do, I mention that I love being in a Room with all women, if possible.

DAVID wrote: TRAIN: Leon to Burgos
– Had a nice 2 hour train ride back to Burgos today. We decided that me sitting in Leon was doing me no good so I regressed to Burgos to meet Cathy. She arrives here tomorrow. My knee is about the same. It hurts when I walk and especially when I go up stairs. Unless there is a miraculous recovery it looks like I will spend my time riding buses and taxis from town to town to meet Cathy as she walks. C’est la vie.
– After arriving I walked up to the cathedral here. This cathedral is much larger that the one in Leon but it doesn’t have the beautiful stained glass windows that one does.
– The Burgos Cathedral is located in the historical centre of the Spanish city of the same name, in the Autonomous Community of Castilla y León, in the northern Iberian Peninsula. The inscribed property encompasses 1.03 ha.
Construction on the Cathedral began in 1221 and was completed in 1567. It is a comprehensive example of the evolution of Gothic style, with the entire history of Gothic art exhibited in its superb architecture and unique collection of art, including paintings, choir stalls, reredos, tombs, and stained-glass windows.
– The plan of the Cathedral is based on a Latin Cross of harmonious proportions of 84 by 59 meters. The three-story elevation, the vaulting, and the tracery of the windows are closely related to contemporary models of the north of France. The portals of the transept (the Puerta del Sarmental to the south and the Puerta de la Coronería to the north) may also be compared to the great sculpted ensembles of the French royal domain, while the enameled, brass tomb of Bishop Mauricio resembles the so-called Limoges goldsmith work. Undertaken after the Cathedral, the two-storied cloister, which was completed towards 1280, still fits within the framework of the French high Gothic.
-After a hiatus of nearly 200 years, work resumed on the Burgos Cathedral towards the middle of the 15th century and continued for more than 100 years. The work done during this time consisted of embellishments of great splendour, assuring the Cathedral’s continued world-renown status. The workshop was composed of an international team, and among the most famous architects were Juan de Colonia, soon relieved by his son Simon (responsible for the towers and open spires of the facade, the Constable’s chapel, and the Saint Anne’s chapel) and Felipe de Borgoña, assisted by numerous collaborators (responsible for the choir, cupola, and lantern tower over the transept crossing). When two of these architects, Juan de Vallejo and Juan de Castañeda, completed the prodigious cupola with its starred vaulting in 1567, the Burgos Cathedral unified one of the greatest known concentrations of late Gothic masterpieces: the Puerta de la Pellejería (1516) of Francisco de Colonia, the ornamental grill and choir stalls, the grill of the chapel of the Presentation (1519), the retable of Gil de Siloe in the Constable’s chapel, the retable of Gil de Siloe and Diego de la Cruz in Saint Anne’s chapel, the staircase of Diego de Siloe in the north transept arm (1519), the tombs of Bishop Alonso de Cartagena, Bishop Alonso Luis Osorio de Acuña, the Abbot Juan Ortega de Velasco, the Constable Pedro Hernández de Velasco and, his wife Doña Mencía de Mendoza, etc.

DAY 14: 4/25/17-Tuesday

Cities: “Ages” to Atapuerca to to Villaval to Cardeñuela Riopico to Orbaneja to Castañares to Villafria “Burgos”
Walked: 7:30am-1:30pm
6 hours – 14 miles
– 600′ incline: Steep/ROCKY
– Cloudy – Rain last 15 minutes
TOTAL Miles: 188.5

Another great Dorm experience in a Private Alberque in “Ages,” just before Atapuerca & Burgos.
Newly owned by a precious 35 year old couple, wanting to “travel” through the Pilgrims in their Albergue. We were 8 women in our room; 2 Australians, 1 German, 1 American, 1 Scottish, 3 French. It was relatively quiet with sounds of breathing and light snoring. Earplugs really do help!!
– I enjoy “supporting” these small couple/family owned Alberques.
– At 8am, after a half hour of walking I arrived to lovely Cafe/Panadería in Atapuerca. I needed to use the bathroom and I also wanted to say HOLA to Eva, the owner. I reminded her that last year, this same week, a Pilgrim had left her Credential in the Cafe. Eva had called her husband on her Móvil and sent him up the rocky road mountain to return it to the Pilgrim.
– For these 3 Caminos, I experience the people along the Camino as being soooooo heartfelt loving, caring and helpful to all Pilgrims!!
– Of course, while in the Cafe I got to see and chat with at least 12 Camino friends. It is ALWAYS a treat to see each other. To check in where we walked from the morning, and also where we plan to spend the night. Then off we go, saying, “Buen Camino.”
– Today was a bit different as EVERYone is planning to stop in Burgos. A gorgeous large Medieval City where everyone walks around shopping, going to the Cathedral & Atapuerca Museum and bumping into each other.

At 10:30am I spotted Momie & Maddy in another town’s Cafe. I squealed with delight!
– At 1pm Momie and I took the Turn to the Left over the Bridge to the River Walk into Burgos Old City.
– John Brierely’s Camino Guide has it as his “Green Dots” -the Alternative Route, instead of Walking an hour through the outskirts of the City we had a beautiful walk along the River, as I did in Pamplona for 4 Kilometers.
And just as we entered the River Walk, I happily saw my new Barcelona young couple Pilgrim friends, that I had met yesterday in Ages.
– At 2pm after wondering around Burgos, Momie and I saw David raving us down outside our sweet small Hotel in the Old part of town, near the Cathedral.

I would like to give a Shout Out to my Pinterest “IT” son, Derrick!! My sons & DILs are ALWAYS looking out for me and helping me!!
This time Derrick said…..
– Mom, When you are Typing on your iPhone and you DELETE something by MISTAKE, as I have done so to COMPLETE long Posts, you can…….
***SHAKE your Phone Up & Down 2 times and Click “Updo.” I tested this out on my Email, Notes, etc and it WORKED! So far this Camino it has saved me A LOT of Melt downs.

What “I” do while Walking ……
“I” Walk & Talk with Pilgrims that are Walking the same Pace.
“I” Walk alone listening to Music, looking out at ALL the beauty & taking Photos.
This year, Walking SO many hours alone …..
“I” Walk typing these Posts, Organizing my Logs of Expenses & Lists of Alberques, Deleting unneeded Photos, etc.
I am a HAPPY Walker/Multi-Tasker.
Good thing we ALL have our “Own Camino.”
And …..
When someone Walks up behind & along side me, I HAPPILY put down my phone and interact and chat.

I have learned……
Pinchos are Bread with something delicious on it or some small portion of food. Elegantly presented.
Tapas are a small portion of something included with a drink.
Raciones are individual Portions of Food

Hasta mañana

David wrote:
Today was spent checking out some Cafes and going to a few Phone Stores looking for an iPhone Cable for Cathy. One of her cables is not performing it’s assigned task so it is being benched for a new team member. Life is tough on the Camino. You keep up with your part of the program or you get left behind.

Cathy arrived at 2PM from Ages. Here in España  almost everyone shuts up shop from 2 to 4 or 5 PM each day for their lunch break, or siesta. The shops open at 9 or 10, close for siesta, and open back up until late in the evening. It requires getting used to because we learn to try to arrive early enough to get our shopping done before they close. If we don’t make it we have to sit in the bars drinking cervezas. The bars do not close for siesta:).
– David

DAY 15: 4/26-Wed*Meseta 1

Cities: “Burgos” to Tarjados to Rabe De Las Calzadas to “Hornillos”
8am-1pm – 15 min cafe
5 hours & 14 Miles
– 400′ incline: Gradual to Meseta
TOTAL Miles: 201

David & I re-met in Burgos yesterday after I walked there and he Trained there.
– He will Taxi each day to the next town, as I Walk.
– Once we get to Leon -5/4, he will get an MRI or Sonagram. If he has a “torn meniscus” we will discuss if going home then and seeing a doctor is best or if waiting until our original 6/8 return is best.
I was not as Pilgrim “social” tonight. Burgos is so BIG and I have seen everything many times in the last 2 Caminos. Plus, it is cold, windy & raining tonight, so I/we are staying in.

At 9:30am as I was leaving the outskirts of Burgos I met up with Sheila & Andrew From England. They told me about a number of AWESOME Walks in England; 200 to 650 miles. Staying in Bed & Breakfasts instead of Alberques and Hostals. They are being added to my List of Pilgrimages & Walks.

At 10:30am I stopped at a Cafe for the Bathroom and bought a small Bag of Almonds. I always buy something if I use their Bathroom.
I got to say HELLO to Bernhard & 2 French ladies from Ages, plus Cher from Day 2 and Darlene from Day 5. We see each other off and on. We all Walk about 12-14 miles a Day.

Today was the the 1st Day of the Meseta.
– The Meseta is 7-10 Days of mostly FLAT, high Plains from Burgos to Leon.

I met Irene & Larry because his APOC Patch on the front of his Hat. They are from Minneapolis. It is sooooo fun for me to meet people from the Camino Forums; APOC, CAMIGAS, etc. This year I signed up to be a Life Time Member. APOC uses our Membership money for
– Camino Improvements, Hospitalero Trainings, etc.

At 1pm I walked into Hornillos where we have stayed the last 2 Caminos; 2015 & 2016. The Hospitaleros at Alberque Meeting Point, are Laura & Omar, a sweet brother and sister. I was looking forward to seeing them again.

At the Alberque I saw -OLD friends
– Mike -Scotland; 3 nights ago
– Korean friends; 1st night
– Sara -Alabama; 4 nights ago
– Xavi & Esther walking on
– Momi & Maddy
– Peter -London; 4 nights ago

At the Alberque -NEW friends:
– Mandy -30: NY -Australia
– Erica -65: England
– Pete -45: Australia
– 3 Mexican Women:

We hung out all afternoon & evening; washing clothes, reading & responding to messages on our phones, visiting with each other, etc.
30 of us had an awesome dinner of Salad, Paella, Bread, Wine, Water and Lemon Yogurt.

I love our Camino Pilgrim life.
PS: I walked through the exact Path and Location in the Movie “The Way,” where the Gypsy boy returned Martin Sheen’s Backpack.

DAVID wrote:
Cathy left at 8AM and I left at 11:30 AM and I still got to Hornillos del Camino before she did. Of course, I took a 35€ taxi and she walked for 5 hours but that’s beside the point:). After arriving I took advantage of the washer and dryer here to catch up on clean clothes. In many places we end up washing and wringing socks and undies while in the shower and letting them hang dry in the room. If they don’t complete their task of drying, they get hung on the backpack as punishment. That usually convinces them to get dry. Of course this allows other pilgrims to get an intimate idea of some of your clothing preferences:). Not that I’m embarrassed.

It’s colder today and cloudy with 15KPH wind. There are some sprinkles of rain as well. A cold front is coming thru and the temperature in the morning will be -2*C. That’s frío!

We are staying in “Meeting Point”, an Albergue that we have stayed in for each of our Caminos. It is run by the 20+ year old children of a Spanish family and they are so happy to see us each year when we arrive. Cathy just loves it and it is nice:). I’m much happier to be going from town to town, even tho I’m riding and not walking. Hornillos is a thriving community of 70 inhabitants. As you might imagine, we won’t be doing much partying tonight. Of course, we never do any partying:).

DAY 16: 4/27/17-TH*Meseta 2

Cities: “Hornillos” to San Bol to Hontanas to San Anton to “Castrojerez”
Walked: 8am-12pm
4 hours & 12.5 miles
-450′ incline:Gradual Up/Down
-Cloudy/Sunny -Cold
TOTAL Miles: 215

At 8am I left MANY friends, knowing I might see some of them again iff and on as we walk towards Santiago. But I did have to say Goodbye to Momie. She chose to Train past the flat Meseta to hilly and mountainous Astorga, up to Cruz de Ferro and O’Cebreiro.
Momie is a mountain goat after her 35 years living in Scotland.

Many Pilgrims are re-evaluating there Camino at this point, Day 16 and 215 miles.
– Maddy will take a Taxi tomorrow after arriving at Boadilla to get ahead, as she doesn’t have the time needed to Walk EVERYday to Santiago.
– Mike from Scotland, and others are choosing to, Transport their BackBags for €5-7 euros a day, to give their bodies a rest as they walk for the next few days.

At 9am I met retired Sue & Jim from Lubbock, Texas. They plan to arrive to Santiago about 5/20, similar to David and I. That means the chances of bumping into each other along “The Way,” are greater.

As I walked I saw OLD Friends; Korean Pilgrims, Mike from Scotland, etc etc.

I also met new Pilgrim friends;
– Jade with 6 month Indie in Stroller; Australian
– Fernando from Spain
– Vera from German, a surgeon

I walked with Vera for a bit. Today was her 2nd day. She started in Burgos yesterday. She has 40-50 days and plans to get to Santiago between 5/19-5/25. Again, we might run into each other along the Camino as she too likes to walk 12-14 miles a day and her timing into Santiago is similar.

At 1O:30am I Walked through Hontanas. It was the 1st town after Hornillos. It is filled with adorable Cafes, Alberques, etc as you walk the Camino path, following the Yellow Arrows.

Then I walked through San Anton, a gorgeous entrance through Arches of an old Monastery to Castrojerez. It was a beautiful Walk. Mostly flat. Sunny and cool/coldish.

As I was walking into Castrojerez, the end point for today, I met an elderly Netherlands man and his adult son. The father has been Walking from his house in the Netherlands over the past years of his life. He has completed 2000 Kilometers, to Date. He will Walk for 2 more weeks. He plans to come back next year to finish his Camino to Santiago de Compostela. This is the 1st time his son is joining him. And his wife is meeting them both in Castrojerez. So sweet!!

At 12pm Sara, the 30 year old Pilgrim from Alabama that I met in Grañon and I, walked into Castrojerez, a town 40 Kilometers from Burgos. Sara and I have been in touch off and on, either by coincidence or by WhatsApp & FB Messenger.

When I want to STAY IN TOUCH with someone I meet on the Camino, and Family and Friends at home, I/we use ANY one of these below FREE methods, with the FREE WIFI at the Alberques and Cafes, that “sometimes” works.
– FB Messenger
– Email
– WhatsApp
– Viber

Since this is our 3rd time in Castrojerez I wanted to go say HOLA to people I had met in 2015 & 2016.
– I visited Charo & Blanca at the Farmacia. We took our yearly photo.
– I visited Jorge at his small Supermercado.
– I made friends with Mari Carmen, a new Supermarket owner and with
Amancio; an old man that sold me awesome light fold up Poles for €45.
– I told them all, “Nos vemos en un año.” -“See you in a year.”

When David and I returned to our Albergue I walked into the shoe room, to leave my Hiking Boots.
– A man looked up at me and said, “Cathy? Cathy Díaz?”‘
I said, “Yes,” with a question in my voice. Thinking, “Who are you?!?!”
He said, “Giovanni.”
I looked with SURPRISE, as he is a Pilgrim I met Walking up the Alto de Perdon (Where the metal Pilgrim Statues are.) on 4/19/2015!!!!
– Crazy!!!
And …..
He, a Camino biker, traveling 50+ miles a day.
And …..
Me, a Camino walker, traveling
12-14 miles a day.
Ended up in the SAME Town,
on the SAME Day and IN the
SAME Albergue, when there were 20 other places to stay in Castrojerez between Albergues, Hostals, Pensiones and Hotels!!
It is a crazy & fun world, out here, On the Camino!!

This is our 3rd time staying in Castrojerez and the 2nd time staying at one of our FAVORITE places of Lodging on the Camino. Even though we love all of them!! Our choices come from John Brierley’s Camino Guide.
– Albergue Ultriea: Olga & Jose
Olga & Jose are similar to MANY couples we have met on the Camino that LOVE hosting Pilgrims
-After our DELICIOUS Pilgrim Dinner, Jose took us downstairs to his Wine Cellar and explained to us how the Romans & Moors, etc would use the Cellar/Tunnel to move Troups from one place to another while defending the area and the Castle. We “touched” the original Roman Walls!!

David wrote:
We left Hornillos on a very chilly morning and headed to Castrojeriz, Cathy at 8 AM walking and moi at 11 taxiing. It was near freezing when Cathy left and never got over 10*C with a brisk wind and occasional clouds. It made for a cold day.
– I arrived at 11:30 and Jose the owner of the Albergue immediately let me in even though he didn’t open until 1PM. Cathy has been reserving our spots a few days ahead and letting them know my knee situation and they have been just wonderful about it and many of them offer suggestions for helping deal with it. Most of the locals here are really friendly and helpful people. As at Hornillos we stayed here last year and Jose and his wife were happy to see us again.
– Last night in Hornillos we joined the community meal at the Albergue and had paella with ensalada vino and limón yogurt. There were 25 peregrinos in attendance and the paella was cooked in one BIG pan. It was at least three feet in diameter. Very impressive, and very delicious.
– At the top of a large hill just north of the pueblo are the ruins of a large Castile. The origin is unknown to me but it has parts from the Romans, the Visogoths, and from medieval times. Therefore it was probably started near the start of the 1st millennium AD. The 1st historical mention was in the 9th century during skirmishes with the Muslims who had invaded this area.
– David Stewart

DAY 17: 4/28/17-FRI *Meseta 3

Cities: “CastroJerez” to Itero De La Vega to “Boadilla”
Walked: 8am-1pm – 30 Store
5 hours- 300′ incline: UP!! Flat
Steps: 25,000
-Miles today: 12

At 8am, as I was leaving, I heard a familiar voice from days past; Julie from Darwin, Australia. From Day 1 in St Jean, and various days after that. But not for 10 days.

Giovanni was also JUST heading out in his bicycle with his cousin. We took one photo and I said, “We will come visit in Milan, Italy.” Oh, so many places to go, see, visit Camino friends & to Walk.

As I was starting up the steep nonstop incline out of Castrojerez I heard, in a lovely British accent, “Cathy!!” It was David, a man I met walking to Pamplona in the first few days and as he tells the story with laughter and glee each time, of me being “Pushy,” as I handed him my phone asking him to take my photo with the Cafe owner. Now we have a new friend to visit in London.

After walking on my own for a bit, I came upon Peter from London that a met days ago in Grañon at dinner. We both Walk about 12-14 miles a day. It is always nice to see him. His wife died a year ago his Camino is for her. We walked together for a while.

I continued on my own and then all of a sudden a familiar face was facing me with her hat on. Was it Erica from Hornillas? No!! It was Ineke from St Jean and the Canadian group. I had not seen her since Estella, about 10 days ago. Again, it is sooooo exciting to have this minute to minute, hour to hour, day to day SURPRISE Camino friend appear!!! We chat about where we have been, where we are going, ANY challenges we have been having and Camino friends we have in common.

This people interaction is one of my Top 5 Camino JOYS!!

At 10:30am Ineke and I came upon el Hospital para Peregrinos de San Nicolas De Puente Fitero.
I think the first Pilgrims slept in “Hospitales” and therefore the people/hosts that tended to them and to us now, are called “Hospitaleros.”
Therefore, to this day, many places Pilgrims stay are in are a “Hospital para Peregrinos.”
Of course over the past 1500 years many Albergues, Hostales and Pensiones have arising to accommodate the growing Camino De Santiago Pilgrim population.

When Ineke and I came upon el Hospital para Peregrinos a small building with 6 Bunkbeds, a table with free Hot Coffee and Cookies, I spoke to the Hospitalero, Miguel de Itero del Castillo. I told him this was my 3rd time taking a little rest in this wonderful “Hospital para Peregrinos,” and that I would see him again next year. He said in Spanish, “Next year you need to stay in San Nicolas De Puente Fitero.” Ineke took a photo.

At 11am I walked into Itero De la Vega, the one town between Castrojerez & Boadilla today. MANY people will Walk on to Fromista, as that is the next stage in John Brierley’s Camino Guide. But that is 15 miles and Boadilla is 12 miles. We Walked to Fromista in 2015. In 2016 now, Boadilla is our choice.

I stopped in the Cafe as I was walking thru and I saw many Camino friends from the Alberque last night.
– 18 year old Raika from Germany
– Dangyra from Lithuania
– Maya the French Canadian
– French women
– David from this morning and many times prior
– A new Japanese woman
– A bunch of happy South Koreans
– Sue & Jim retired from Texas
– The retired English couple leaving Burgos 2 days ago.

Walking into Boadilla from last night I walked with
– Kyle & his 4 year old daughter, Scout
This is his 2nd Camino. The fist was Porto, Portugal to Santiago with his wife, 2 sons, daugher and Scout.

At our beautiful SUNNY garden and Albergue.
-Maya from Quebec, last nights English to French Translator
-Kyle and 4 year old Scout
– 18 year old Raika from Germany
– Dangyra from Lithuania
– Sue, a Korean woman asked David how he was feeling. She had never met him but had met me and was concerned about him. EVERYone knows David, even if not directly. Sooooo sweet!!

35 people at the Pilgrim Dinner
– Lentil or Vegetable Soup!!
– Meatballs, Fish or Beef Stew
– Ice Cream Bars
– Wine, Water, Bread

How I Deal with Cold & Hot.
– I wear exercise stretch pants. And MANY women do as well.
– I wear a Pair of Knee High Nylon Socks as a Liner & a Wool Merino Sock over that. To prevent Blusters, and to keep warm.
– I wear long Fingerless Gloves.
I start out all covered up.
When I get Warm/Hot…..
– I push the Knee High Socks down and Fold Up my Exercise Pants to have a few inches of skin to cool me off.
– I take off my long arm Gloves
– I take off my light jacket.
I can do all of this while walking, without taking off my Backpack.
I am LAZY about that!!

David Stewart wrote:
Last night at our albergue we ate the common meal with 20 others and then Jose, the owner, gave us a Tour of the Wine Cellar under the building. He has a very entertaining presentation about old wine making and discusses how the wines of those days do not compare to the quality of today’s wines. The cellar is actually the remains of tunneling done by the Romans in the 1st Century time period! Most of the buildings along the Calle Mayor of Castrojeriz have this type of cellar. The tunnels were made as part of the fortifications of the town and fort so troops could move from one area to another. Just the presentation and tunnel/cellar tour make this a great place to stay and Jose and his wife Olga are super hosts. We stay in Habitaciones Privado and they are extremely nice. I don’t know how the dorm rooms and bunk beds would be but they are probably like dorm rooms and bunk beds;).

Today was even colder with wind but it was clear so there was a bit of radiant heat from our small star. When Cathy left at 8:15AM it was -4*C! Brrrr! I got my usual taxi at 10AM and arrived in Boadilla thirty minutes later. The place we are staying is a combination Albergue and Hostal. It is also family owned and one brother runs the Albergue and another the Hostal. One guy is cleancut and the other has dreadlocks:). One is married and the other not. They routinely make fun of each other but it’s obvious that it’s all in fun. Boadilla is a small town of about 50 residents with no real infrastructure.

Stork nests on top of the local church. We see these regularly. You would think there would be a lot of babies here but I don’t see any:).

DAY 18: 4/29/17-Sat *Meseta 4

Cities: “Boadilla” to Fromista to Poblacion De Campos “RIO VIEJO” to Revenga De Campos to Villarmentero De Campos to “Villalcazar de Sirga”
Walked: 7:30am-12:30pm – 15cafe
5 hours- 0′ incline: Flat
-Miles today: 12
TOTAL Miles: 239

At 7:30am I left David and went to tell Eduardo, “Goodbye & See you next year.” He is the sweet hippy appearing Hospitalero next to our Hostal, owned by his brother Jesus.

I saw 25 year old Andres from dinner last night, and Vera & Raika leaving, as I walked out.

I was Walking with 18 year old Raika at a very brisk strong young woman German pace, for about 30 minutes.

A Pilgrim up ahead stopped to take a photo of a Cuckoo Bird. We have been hearing them for many days.
She turned around as we approached and said, “Cathy?” It was Candy, a Pilgrim my age from Maine, that I had met on Day 6-ish in Los Arcos when she and her friend were knocking on the Alberque entrance door at 10pm because they couldn’t figure out how to make the key work. I was still downstairs using the WIFI to send these Posts.
Oh, the JOY of these Camino Pilgrim surprises!

I stayed walking with Raika & Candy at their brisk pace for a few more minutes and then I slowed down a tiny bit and said, “See you later, Buen Camino.”

Minutes later I saw Maya, my Quebec French Translator friend from the Wine Cellar Tour at Alberque Ultriea in Castrojerez. She was walking slowly and stopping to enjoy the wildlife along the Canal with all the Bird sounds. It was delightful!

I passed and said, “Buen Camino” to Camino friends, a retired couple, Larry & Irene from Minnesota again.

As I walked through a town I saw Doug & Kay Sharlow again, the retired couple from New Hampshire I had met on Day 7-ish In Navarette, because he is an APOC member and had said, “Are you Diaz?”

As we were walking through & leaving the small town of “Poblacion De Campos,” all 5 of us came to a crossroads at the small Bridge, and discussed which way to go.
John Brierley’s Map shows a “Green Dot Alternative Route,” along the River. A man sitting outside his house with a table full of Camino trinkets said, “Go Right, to the River.”
In 2015 David & I took the Alternative Route along the River by mistake and got confused & lost. We had to transverse someone’s field of wheat to find our back to the original Camino Path along the Road.
In 2015 we took the Original Route along the Road & through the next Town.
David TOLD me this year to look out for this & to take the Road. The Yellow Arrows are not as obvious on the “Alternative Routes.”

All 5 of us 60+ year olds took the “Orange Dot, Original Camino Path along the Road.”

Doug & Kay, APOC from Minnesota Walked for an hour+ together. We discussed how much our Backpacks weighed and how we DON’T NEED “Just In Case” items.
They weight TOO MUCH. And they are NOT NECESSARY!!
#1. -It is NOT a 3rd World Country
#2. -Most Towns; small & large, have a Farmacia. And the Pharmacists & Pharmacy Techs have been helping Pilgrims with Blisters, Knee Problems, Swelling, Pain, etc or hundreds of years.

I listen to Music while on the Camino. I wear Wireless Earbuds that I love!! It is music that gives me a pick me up and I have a bouncy happy step as I walk. It is an old play list one of my besties gave me years ago. Shout Out to Andrea!!  One song that I keep hearing is “Stronger than Yesterday,” by Britney Spears.
Now I am stronger!
Stronger than yesterday
My loneliness ain’t killing me no more.
I am stronger than I ever thought that I could be.

Walking the Camino “on my own” is making me “Stronger than yesterday & my loneliness ain’t killing me no more.”
And to my surprise, “I am stronger than I ever thought that I could be.”
– This is my 3rd time Walking the Camino and each time I learn, grow and also enjoy myself and benefit from ALL of the experiences the Camino brings.
As they say in 12 Step Programs, “Keep Coming Back, it Works.”
-I plan to “Keep Coming Back” for as many years as possible.

I walked with Carlos y Mari and Antonio y Clara, 2 Spanish couples David & I met yesterday in Boadilla outside on the Patio having Soup. We walked and talked for awhile.

At the Cafe in Town as I arrived to Villalcazar de Sirga, 4 of the 6 Canadians from St Jean were there. I sat with them for a bit. I also got to say, “Bonjour,” to the French women I met in Castrojerez, when we used the Google Translate App to converse.

In Town at a Hostal were OLD friends …
Peter -50, from Australia
Peter -65, from London and friend.
Doug & Kay -65, from New Hampshire

At the Alberque Cafe I met 3 Korean woman I had seen walking into Burgos this past Tuesday, 5 days ago.

Staying at the Alberque were OLD friends …..
Vera-45, from Germany
Raika -28, from Germany
Kyle -40 & Scout -4, Seattle, WA
Dangyra -35, from Lithuania

David was sitting outside the Cafe and Hostal waiting for me.

Later we walked back to the Romanesque Church.

We stopped in a little Store for some Fruit and Veggies, to make Soup in our Hostal’s Kitchen. Stores are Closed on Sundays and this Monday, May 1st is a Holiday so Stores will be Closed for the next 2 Days.

David Stewart wrote:
After having a nice cafe con leche y zumo de naranja y pan with Eduardo, I left Boadilla and rode to Villalcazar de Sirga. The Camino path parallels the road in this section and I was able to wave at Cathy as we drove by. I arrived at 11AM and was able to get into the habitación by noon. Cathy walked in at 1PM and we took a stroll around the town and took a few pictures.

This small town’s skyline is dominated by the Romanesque Church of Santa Maria la Blanca, (St Mary the White, Virgin Mary). The church, built in the shape of a Latin cross, started construction in the later part of the 12th century by the Templars and was finished in the 14th; it is now a Spanish national monument. As can be seen from its structure this is a fortress church. This church is definitely worth taking the time to see, especially the enormously tall porch with its richly carved portal. Inside there is a Retablo portraying the life and death of St James and a 16th century figure of him in pilgrims clothes, it is the most comprehensive Retablo of St James along the Camino Frances before Santiago. The Retablo illustrates St James meeting Jesus, his martyrdom and then being removed to Galicia.

DAY 19: 4/30/17-Sun*Meseta 5

Cities: “Villalcazar de Sirga” to Carrion De Los Condes to San Zoilo to Calzada Romana to “Calzadilla de la Cueza”
Walked: 7:30am-1:30pm
6 hours- 0′ incline: Flat, LONG!!
-COLD Wind & Hail for 3 hours!!
-Miles today: 14
TOTAL Miles: 253

At 7:15am I went downstairs from my Hostal to say goodbye to Veronica in the Cafe. I saw 3 Pilgrim friends sitting together having Cafe con Leche and Pan Tostado.
Raika -28, from German
Dangyra -35, from Lithuania
Maya -45, from Quebec
We discussed the coming Rain Storm ⛈ and our Rain gear; Raincoats, Ponches, Gloves, etc.
I bid them farewell and “Buen Camino.”

At 9am I walked into a Cafe in Carrion De Los Condes and there I saw …….
Peter -55, from Australia with
Kyle & 4 year old Scout
Australian mom & Baby
And other Pilgrims having coffee.

Crazy, but since I had been in this same Cafe the last 2 years, my phone picked up the WIFI automatically. This has been happening all along, in the Albergues & Hostals, and in the Cafes & Bars. Way fun!!

As I walked through Carrion De Los Condes I decided to stop in and say HOLA to Rocio Lopez, our Hospitalero in 2015. Last year we didn’t stay in Carrion so I stopped in to say HOLA then too. Her family owns Tienda David, so as I turned the corner to follow the Camino, I stopped in the store and there she was. We exchanged pleasantries, took a photo and I got her Móvil to send her a WhatsApp with the Photo. I said, “Nos vemos en un año, Si Dios Quiere.”

It took 3.5 hours to walk from Carrion De Los Condes to Calzadilla De La Cueza.

Besides the WIND crossing the Pyrenees, I think this stretch of land has the potential to be VERY challenging.
There are NO Stores, NO Water,
NO Food and NO Shelter.
And sometimes the weather in this exact stretch of land, can be VERY extreme.
– Today was one of those days.
Out of the 3.5 hours, the last 10+ Kilometers, 2.5 hours were the COLDest, HARDest, most challenging hours of Walking I have ever experienced!!

Luckily 23 year old Thomas Masheter from London and I met leaving Carrion so we were together 10am to 1:30pm and between 11am to 1:30pm, it was KILLER!!!
– The WIND was blowing toward US SO HARD, with RAIN and HAIL as well, for 2.5 hours!!
– It was crazy!!!
And NO place to say, “I quit!! I want a Taxi. No more Walking today for me.” Once started we needed to finish or turn around and Walk ALL the way back.
We were sooooo COLD after an hour, our Fingers didn’t work, nor our Lips. We had a hard time talking. Plus, the WIND was SO loud sometimes we couldn’t hear each other. And we would bump into each other from the pressure of the WIND pushing us backwards.

Everyone that Walked that day had a common experience, so we could all discuss the shock of it all.

In the tiny town of Calzadilla I saw…
-Peter from Australia
-Peter from England with friend
-Kyle & 4 year old Scout
-5 of the 6 Canadians
-English retired couple

Our Hostal and the 3 Albergues were booming with activity.

I took a 30 minute bath in a 1/2 size Tub, in our Hostal, and I was GRATEFUL.

David and I had a delicious Pilgrim Meal. I have learned……
– Menu means Pilgrims Meal
– Carta means Regular Menú

People have been asking about my FEET. How are they holding up 12-14 miles a day for 19 days.
Knock Wood, I am GOOD!!
– I put Glide on each morning. Thanks Andrea!
– I wear a nylon Sock as a Liner.
– I wear a Wool Merino Sock as a second Sock.
I have been told the Socks rub together and this prevents Blisters.

People have asked about my “Training for the Camino.”
I Walk a lot at home. 3-6-10+ miles every day, if I can. I walk with friends. Sometimes with 3 different friends in one day. Ha!!
I also did P90X DVDs for 3 years and now I do them occasionally.
This seems to be enough, making the Camino doable for me.
Knock Wood, AGAIN!!

David Stewart wrote:
Cathy left Villalcazar in a drizzle at 8AM, I checked out at 9AM and waited for my taxi til 1PM in the bar, I didn’t drink, and caught another one at 1:15PM in driving rain and wind. Cathy walked for over 5 hours in a cold windy rainy downpour. She was freezing at the end. Today she is recovering from the long cold walk:). My 30 minute taxi was warm:), although the lady taxi driver was driving 150 kilometers an hour! On wet, curvy roads! That’s rápido!! There are 50 or so inhabitants here with one Hostal, one albergue, and one small tienda. Cathy knows people in the Hostal, the albergue, and the tienda:). Tomorrow we go to Sahagun, a larger town, but this is a holiday weekend here and nothing will likely be open:). That’s life on the Camino:).

Oh the humanities! I just found out that my DIL Emma’s favorite singer is Britney Spears! I don’t know what to think.

DAY 20: 5/1/17-MON*Meseta 6

Cities: “Calzadilla de la Cueza” to Ledigos to Terradillos de Los Templarios to Moratinos to San Nicolas to “Sahagun”
Walked: 8am-2pm – 15 min cafe
6 hours- 0′ incline: Flatish, Long
-Sunny & COLD!! Perf!!
Steps: 32,000
-Miles today: 14
TOTAL Miles: 267

Before leaving at 8am from our sweet Hostal in Calzadilla de la Cueza, César, the owner, and I took our 3rd Photo together; 2015, 2016 and now 2017. As in other days, I handed my phone to a man from Denmark and said, “Can take our Photo?” After taking the photo, I showed César our past photos and he hugged me. Then we kissed on both cheeks Goodbye.
– I said, Nos vemos en un año, Si Dios Quiere.”

Today’s Walk started out COLD, Sunny and Flat.
– There were Pilgrims within sight behind me and ahead of me, most of the time. I like that.

Within 45 minutes we were walking through Ledigos. I stopped in to get some Apples for the Walk. I got to talk to my Danish Photographer for a bit. An avid 60+ year old hiker and traveler. I love meeting and talking to fellow Pilgrims. By being here, Walking the Camino, we automatically have sooooo many things in common, at ALL ages, ALL Nationalities, ALL Physical sizes & capabilities, ALL Intelligences, ALL Educations, ALL Incomes, etc.
– We have ONE Commonality…..
Walking the Camino De Santiago, one Step at a Time. Like Millions before us, for 1500+ years.

At 11am I walked into the small town of Moratinos and a Cafe/Albergue David and I had been in 2015 & 2016. It is sooooo fun for me, the familiarity!!! I say HOLA to the people in the Cafes OR Albergues we had stayed in, and many/most times they remember me, as I tend to make friends as we/I Walk across Northern Spain on the Camino De Santiago.

Inside I re-met, retired Dick & Tony from Texas. The last time we saw each other was when we hobbled into Roncesvalles from Orisson;
– Day 2.

Also, Sheila & Andrew from London, whom I met Walking out of Burgos last Wednesday. We have seen each other a number of times over the last 5+ days.

As I was walking out of Moratinos I came upon 3 Korean woman I had seen walking into Burgos this past Tuesday, 5 days ago. We were all urgently looking for a Bathroom at that point.
– Julia: North Carolina – Korean
– Nana: Korean
– Agnus: Korean

I also saw Kyle & 4 year old Scout playing at a Park. There is at least one Playground in each town.

By 11:30am, my numb fingers were not so cold. I wear my Fingerless long Gloves up to my underarms every morning. David bought us a good pair of Water Proof Gloves. Well, “Water Proof” they may not be, but they are Wind & Weather Proof. I put them on top of my Fingerless long arm gloves when verrrrry COLD and also when Raining.

I also wear a Wide Rim HAT. It totally Shades me & protects me from Rain & rare but possible Hail. Sometimes the Rain & Hail are verrrrry COLD and piercing. Especially on that open 15 Kilometer Meseta stretch from…..
– Carrion de Los Condes to Calzadilla De La Cueza.
For me a light Water Proof Rain Coat and a Poncho are essential.
The Poncho helps keep my Backpack & WaistPack DRY.

At 11:45am as as I was leaving the Town of Moratinos, I stopped to look and see if I should go straight or turn left.
Up walked Tony & Dick from Day 2 and minutes earlier. Dick pointed to the Sign and I said, “Oh yes, that is clear.”
We ended up Walking the rest of the Way, into Pamplona.
Today is again one of those trick days. We could see a City from a distance, and Tony asked, “Is that Pamplona?” I said, “Yes, but is sort of a Trick, as it might be an hour until we get to our Alberque or Hostal.” Ha!! Ha!!

At 2pm I found our Hostal within the Old Medieval section of Sahagun. David with the help of John Brierley’s Camino Guide, always finds a nice place to stay at, in the heart of the Pilgrim area, near the Church, Cafe/Bar’s, Plaza. Once in town we find the closest SuperMercado OR Frutería, and occasionally a Farmacia.

People have been messaging me, asking, “How is DAVID?”
– David’s Knee started to hurt a few weeks BEFORE starting the Camino.
– Day 2, as we Walked UP and Over and DOWN the Pyrenees to Roncesvalles his Knee was NOT HAPPY!!
– He Taxied the next 2 Days as I Walked.
– On Day 5 took a Train from Pamplona to Leon to get some Physical Therapy from our friend Roberto that helped me in 2015.
– He got an X-Ray and Days of Physical Therapy.
– He was told it was not structural and Therapy and Rest would help.
– David was lonely in Leon and the strong pain had subsided.
– On Day 13 David took a Train from León to Burgos. I walked into Burgos on Day 14.
– We have been together every afternoon/evening since.
– I Walk and he takes a Taxi. Sometimes I see him as the Taxi Driver HONKS as they pass.
– Tomorrow I Walk into León. His plan is to go to the Hospital in León Request an MRI, to give him/us more information.
– From research & talking with others, he thinks it is mostly Stretched Ligaments or a Torn Meniscus.
– I loVed my 12 nights of Dorm Room Sleeping with my Camino women friends, and now I loVe staying with David in Private Rooms in Alberques, Hostales, Pensiones.

I am a VERY Happy Pilgrim!!

David Stewart wrote:
Mayday Mayday! The first of May is a holiday in Europe, hence, May Day. I arrived by taxi at about 9:15AM and dropped my mochilla off at our delightful Pension and searched out a cafe that served tortilla de patata y cafe con leche. Although this is a holiday there are several shops open as well as most of the cafes and restaurants. Sahagun is a town of 3000 so there are more amenities here than we are generally used to.

Sahagún contains some of the earliest examples of the Mudéjar style of architecture. It lies on the Way of St. James.

The first settlement on the site grew up around the nearby Benedictine monastery consecrated to the saints Facundus and Primitivus. The name Sahagúnis thought to derive from an abbreviation and variation on the name San Fagun (“Saint Facundus”). The monastery acquired importance during the reign of Alfonso III de Asturias, and reached its greatest splendor during the reign of Alfonso VI of Castile. On November 25, 1085, this latter king promulgated the edicts known as the Fuero de Sahagún, which gave a number of privileges to the Monastery and town, fomenting its growth. The king favoured the Cluniacorder and the monastery was known as the “Spanish Cluny”.

Friction often erupted into disputes between the townsfolk and the monastery in the mid-12th century, as recorded in the Crónicas anónimas de Sahagún. The monastery was very important on the pilgrimage route to Santiago de Compostela, and in the 14th century housed a University (see also List of early modern universities in Europe). In the 19th century, the monastery was disbanded and the structure nearly completely razed.

DAY 21: 5/2/17-Tues*Meseta 7

Cities: “Sahagun” to Bercianos del Real Camino to “El Burgo Ranero”
Walked: 8am-12pm-15 min cafe
4 hours- 0′ incline: Flat-Sunny
Steps: 22,000
-Miles today: 11

It is hard to leave David, especially when we are staying in such a sweet Hostal!!
Finally, at 7:45am I kissed him and said, “See you in a few hours.”

I love the City of Sahagun.
– 1st of all it is the 1/2 way point of the Camino.
– 2nd it has more amazing Sycamore Trees we have been seeing since the first sighting during the loooooong walk through Pamplona to the old Medieval area.
– The Sahagun Churches, Monasteries, Arches thrill me!!
I touch them and imagine the HUNDREDS of years and MILLIONS of people that have lived their lives here and passed this way.
– The Center Plaza with Cafes/Bars on both sides is a joy to see again.
I like leaving at early morning light.
My favorite is 7-7:30am but 7:45-8am will just have to be okay sometimes.

At about 8:30am there was a confusing part of the Camino as there were 2 paths to choose from. Three of us congregated at the intersection and figured out which was the path we wanted.
That was when 31 year old Stefan from Holland and I started walking together. We Walked the next 3.5 hours to Burgos Ranero at an awesome fast pace, on A FLAT path.

Stefan and I arrived to the Alberque; where David and I stayed in 2015 and 2016. Vicente gave me a big hug and kiss on both cheeks with such delight. He showed me where the last two cards I left him were, on the Bulletin Board. I gave him a new one for 2017.

– La Laguna Albergue has Dorm Rooms, Private Rooms and a nice Kitchen.
The expansive green grass garden has lounge chairs and tables. Plenty of space to relax, chat, do yoga, etc.
I met new Pilgrims while sharing my homemade Camino soup creation…..
– Yung 48, from Australia, originally from South Korea.
– Maike 28, Netherlands
– Sebastian 30, Argentina
– Jose Luis, 55 Spain

– Stefan was also there.
– As well as Peter from London and his friend Paul.
– Also, 2 of the 5 Canadian group.

I met 2 woman because of their Phone Cord Challenge.
– Alka, 45 -Indian, lives in CA
– Renata, 35 -Hungry. Plus, others!!

David and I stay in Private Rooms, because as a self proclaimed “loaner,” and being over 65, he prefers them.
I enjoy the Dorm Rooms, but I also enjoy being with David.
I love “our” Camino!!
I loved “my” Camino when he had to be in León for Physical Therapy.
– The Beds in the Private Rooms are either..
-Matrimonial, means a Double Bed
-Doble, means 2 Single Beds

Sometimes I Request a Matrimonial, but a Matrimonial (Double Bed) is SMALLER than a Queen size bed, so a bit squished.
Sometimes I Request 2 Dobles,
– My solution when we get 2 Single Beds is…..
We push the Beds together.
Then take a blanket out of the closet, move down the Sheets and Blankets on the bed, and place the extra Blanket on top of the Bottom sheet.
We then place the Blanket across both beds to help prevent the Beds from separating.
Then remake the bed as a HUGE Kingsize bed. We like it!! It works!!

David & I both love being in Spain.
I am sooooo grateful, knock wood, Walking has been comfortable and doable so far.
-Happy Pilgrim m’I.

David wrote:
This is one of our favorite stops on the Camino, not because of the pueblo, because of the albergue La Laguna and it’s hospitalero Vicente. He has been here all three years and if Cathy is the “Girl on Fire”, he is definitely the “Man on Fire”. Everything he does is at double time:). Cathy also likes that there is a kitchen where she can cook a big pot of soup to share with other pilgrims who are staying here. I arrived at about 11AM by taxi and Cathy walked here and arrived at noon. This is a very small village with one small tienda and a couple of cafes. There are two other hostels here to handle the peregrino trade and only a kilometer away is one of the major highways that run across northern Spain. For the most part pilgrims are never aware that the highway exists.

I have the itch to walk some of the time but my knee just doesn’t feel stable enough to risk it. I just have to be patient, get to Leon in two days, and get the sonogram or MRI, and get a diagnosis of the issue. It sure is difficult to watch everyone else leave every morning while I am sitting around waiting to call for a taxi but it is the prudent course of action:).
– David Stewart

DAY 22: 5/3/17-Wednesday Meseta 8

Cities: “El Burgo Ranero” to Reliegos to “Mansilla”
Walked: 8am-12:30am
4.5 hours- 0′ incline; Flat
-Miles today: 12
TOTAL Miles: 290

Leaving in the morning.

Leaving in the morning.

Before leaving this morning I said Hello to a few of my Pilgrim friends.
28 year old Maika from Holland asked me last night, “Is it possible to Ride a Horse up for the Long Steep Hill to O’Cebreiro or is it a Myth?
I Googled…..
“Horses Herrerías to O’Cebreiro”
It said……
CALL when in: Vega de Valcarce
– WALK: Vega de Valcarce to Ruitelan to Alberque in Herrerías
9:30am: HORSES go from……
Herrerías to O’Cebreiro

I like to help people. I believe it is because I struggled so much as a child in School; Academically, Uncoordinated & Socially Timid & Scared of not being included.
– I didn’t pass 1st Grade. Instead of repeating it, my mother took me from Private School to Private School until finally one accepted me into 2nd Grade. I struggled. I had a Tutor 2 times a week 7th through 12th Grade. My father would look for the least Academic Classes I could take and pass; Stenography & Home Ec. Plus, Metal Shop & Wood Shop. I was the first girl in those 2 classes in 1968-1970.
– In 12th Grade I went to the Virgin Islands with Sally, Meryl & her mom. When I came back with in a week it became clear that from the SeaFood I had contracted Hepatitis A and also Mononucleosis.
I was in bed for the rest of the school year.
– My father had had factories in the Dominican Republic since 1965. In 1970 when I graduated High School we moved to Santo Domingo with my brother. My sister was in college.
I had nothing to do so I attended 12th again in an American International School. I was in a class of 30, not 300+. It was good for me. I excelled. I got As for the first time! I continued excelling in college. I graduated with “Highest Honors,” 4.0 from University of California, Davis.
– While living in Mexico with my then husband, 1978-1985, and 2 small children my friends asked me to Teach them English. I taught in my dining room; Singing, Cooking, Playing and having Conversations.
– Returning back to the United States I fell into teaching English in Watsonville, California. A large Farm Worker community. I always knew “If I could learn, If I could do it, so could they.” Hundreds and Hundreds and Hundreds++ of the Adult Students I had in my classrooms got their GED, Driver’s License, went to College and got rewarding jobs they love. It was a privilege and gift to me to be able to help them “accomplish whatever they wanted to accomplish.”

I love HELPING others.
Sharing my Camino experiences and helping others feel prepared, less scared, ready to Walk the Camino brings we A LOT of JOY.

As I walk the Camino now I want to write back to EVERYone but WIFI is sporadic. But I will get back to EVERYone little by little, because it makes me HAPPY to be helpful.

After Walking Solita for 2+ hours along a VERY easy to follow flat path -Typing these Posts to y’all. I saw Jose Miguel a sweet 60 year old Pilgrim I met last night at my Homemade Soup Dinner.
– This is his 3rd attempt to Walk to Santiago.
1st: St Jean to Los Arcos
Stopped -Knee Problems
2nd: Los Arcos to Sahagun
Stopped -mother was sick
NOW 3rd: Sahagun to Santiago
– As he and I were chatting for a few minutes about our Camino experiences, challenges and current intentions & hopes up Walked…..
-50 year Joop/Joseph from Holland. Joop and I have been seeing each other off and on since St Jean, 22 days ago. Like all Pilgrims, sometimes we are so excited to run into each other after days, we Hug. Other times, if we have seen each other more recently we joyfully say, “Hola, Buen Camino.”
– He stopped for a few minutes. I introduced him to Jose Luis. They spoke of Knee Pain, Not being Young anymore and Walking SLOWLY and no more than 20 Kilometers a Day.
– We each confirmed our plans to sleep in Mansillo tonight and to Walk into Leon tomorrow.
– We also realized that at 20 Kilometers a Day, we will probably be seeing each other off and on between here and the next 9 cities (and many little ones) on the Camino …..
– León
– Ponferrado
– Astorga
– Cruz de Ferro
– O’Cebreiro
– Sarria
– Santiago de Compostela
And maybe…..
– Finisterre: “Finish the Land”
– Muxia

DAVID Wrote:
Mansilla de las Mulas is a town of 1900 and is the last stop before Leon, a metropolis compared to the towns we have seen since Burgos. Our 1st year we only caught a bus to Leon from here but last year we stayed in Mansilla, at Hotel El Puente, and we are here again the same time as last year. It’s right on the Camino and we get to watch numerous pilgrims walk past under our window. Tomorrow I take a taxi to Leon and go to the hospital to find out what is going on with my right knee. That will be a relief!

DAY 23: 5/4/17 Thursday Meseta 9

Cities: “Mansilla” to Puente Villarente to Arcahueja to Puente Castro to “Leon”
Walked: 8am-12pm-15 min cafe
4 hours- 300′ incline: Sm Ups/Dwn
– Cool & Fresh
-Miles today: 11
TOTAL Miles: 301

At 8am David and I headed to a Cafe for him to get his morning Cafe con Leche and then Taxi, and for me to head out Walking.
– We kissed and said, “See you in León in a few hours.”
– For most Pilgrims, “getting to” León feels exciting!!
– The 1/2 point & León Cathedral on Calle Ancha where MANY Pilgrims congregate at the outside Cafe tables to talk, laugh, commiserate, plan, discuss and “Eat, Drink and be Merry.”
– Well, for sure, “Drink and be Merry.”
It is a very fun and special moment for many!!

The Walk into León started off flat and then there were some upslopes but nothing too strenuous.
I like walking from the outskirts, into & out of the Old Medieval areas. I get a feel for the working & living of the Locals.
– At the same time…….
Walking into Pamplona and into Burgos can be done through a Park ALONG the RIVER, and NOT through the Industrial Zone.
– In John Brierley’s Camino Guide I follow the “GREEN” Dots (Alternative Route) for the 4 last glorious Kilometers into Pamplona & Burgos.

At 9:30am after delightfully walking on my own, in refreshing cool air, and a flat path, for 1.5 hours, I came upon a Cafe in Puente Villarente, where I saw New & Old Pilgrim friends.
– I hugged 65-ish year old Inuka from Canada (from original group in St Jean, 24 Days ago) & I met 31 year old Tinja from Finland.
– I saw and spoke to 50 year old Japanese Keiko, whom I had met about a week ago and have seen a few times since. I passed her on that Carrion to Calzadilla Day of COLD Rain, Hail and WIND. We talked again and commiserated.
-There was also Brian, Keith and Rene from the “Canadian Group” with Inuka (+Phillip & Helena).
– The South Korean women that met in the first few days, “On the Camino” -Julia, Nana & Agnus.
Momie & I saw them searching for Bathroom as were we, entering into Burgos a week ago.

I met each one of the “individually” over the past 20+ days, along “The Way.”
– There “they” sit “together” at the Cafe outside, ALL talking to each other, as they too have met along “The Way,” as well.
– My Camino friends are their friends, and their Camino friends are my friends.
– What happens then is….
I might bump into Inuka from Canada in a day or two, and we can check in with each other saying, “Have you seen Felicity? Are her Blisters healing?”
Diane from Holland that I met on Day 2, might say, as I stop to say Hello to her and her Pilgrim friend having coffee, “This is Conrad” I say, “YES!! We know each other!! We met Walking through Logroño!!” (Day 9). He and I hug each other Hello!!
– Not only do we get this surprise joy of crossing paths again and again; “our” Pilgrim friends meet and know each other and we find this out when we are Walking and talking, or seeing each other at Cafes.
– It is ALL so unique & SPECIAL!
A bit later as I was still walking through the outskirts of Leon I met & talked with Peter & Mari from Melbourne, Australia. They spoke about the Aussie Camino and the Great Ocean Road. Both of which David and I might do when we go back to visit Narelle & Gerry in October 2018.

I have been asked if the Camino is okay for not so social people.
– YES!! The Camino works well for “quiet loaners,” like David and “outgoing talkers” like me.
– It also works great for the 2 of us together because David can keep on walking if I am socializing at a Bar/Cafe. Or if at the end of the day, he can go lie on his bed; read, write his Update and I can be, my social self.
– On the Camino, EVERYone gets to do EVERYthing “There own way!!”

At 12pm as I was walking with Peter & Mari I saw a YOUNG woman sitting on a bench and then I realized it was 18 year old Raika from Germany. We both were so excited to see each other. She jumped up to hug me, and I said “Buen Camino” to Peter & Mari.
– She was trying to decide if to walk through Leon, because she doesn’t like big cities, or to get a private room. I said León was awesome and everyone hangs out on Calle Ancha at the outside Cafes need the Cathedral. I told her about the 30€ a night, nice simple Hostal in León, near the Cathedral. I told her I could call and make a Reservation for her.
– I took out my handy dandy Spanish “make calls only” phone and made her a Reservation.
– Just them Kyle with Scout Walked up saying the same thing about wanting a Private Room for 2 nights.
– I called for him too.
– Then Micka Walked up, and YES, she was walking fast into León in search of a Private Room. So guess what I did. YEP!! Called Antonio, the owner of Hostal Guzman El Bueno, and Reserve one more “Habitación Privado.”
At that point we decided we needed to take a selfie.

As we were getting closer to the Old Wall that once circled the whole city, I could see David waiting for me, for us!! He escorted us to the Municipal Albergue because Kyle and I needed to get another Credential and they have them. David then took them to their Hostal, as he had stayed there for a week while going to Physical Therapy.

David and I were staying at a VERY sweet Hotel, steps away from Calle Ancha, where all the action us.
– We met Roberto Simon Fernandez our Physical Therapist in León that made it possible for me to finish Walking the Camino in 2015. Roberto took us to the most AMAZING restaurant, with an INCREDIBLE view of the City and of the Cathedral, called Nimu Restaurant.
View of Leon & Cathedral at a distance.

Kyle mentioned Calle Ancha in León had a similar feel to Santiago, because “EVERYone” is here (Well, mostly.) and “getting to León” feels BIG, feels significant.
– We were all there mingling around, sitting at outside Cafes talking with other Pilgrims, food & farmacia shopping, etc.
The Canadian Group, with Feliciti, whom they met on Day 2.

Filling the outside Cafe tables -Talking, Laughing, being HAPPY to have “made it” to LEON, I saw….
– Tinja from Finland
– Peter from London
– Paul, friends with Peter
– George from Denmark
– Andrew & Sheila, English couple
– Kyle & Scout; daddy & child
– Maika, 25 year old Holland
– Raika; 18 year old German girl
– Stefan, Peter, Paul…..
– Diane, Beth, Conrad, Peter,
– Felicity and the Canadian Group; Brian, Keith, Rene, Inuka, Phillip

I kept walking up and down Calle Ancha because I felt soooooo much JOY seeing EVERYone!!
Sometimes I would just look at the Cathedral in AWE!!

Finally, by 8pm, I pushed myself back to our sweet Hotel where David was reading. On the way upstairs I met and chatted with 2 women from Melbourne, Australian. We had a lovely 5-10 chat and then off to our rooms we went.

By the way, it stays light in Spain until 10pm. In León the Spaniards stay out in the Cafe/Bars until 4-6am laughing and partying.

You can Click on the Links below for a Published Version of my Camino 2017 UpDates.
Thank YOU -Laurie Ferris & The Camino Provides, for creating this Online Blog, for me and OTHERS.

DAVID wrote:
Back back back in Leon! At 8:30AM my taxi driver and I whizzed past Cathy as she was on her 4 hour walk to Leon. He smiled and said that I would be there in 20 minutes. It was a 20€ ride in a very nice Mercedes coupe. As soon as I arrived I went to the hospital to see the doctor about my rodilla. There was no waiting and within 20 minutes I was being examined. After bending, twisting, turning, and kneading my knee, she asked a few questions about when and how it happened and diagnosed that I have a sprained knee. She prescribed antiinflamatorios, a few days more taxi rides, and a different type of knee brace than what I have been using. This is the third different brace, fourth if I count the one I brought:). I think the doctors all have investments in the brace companies:). One thing that the doctors and physiotherapists have in common is that they only like the brace that has the opening for the kneecap. This one also has ribs along the sides for better support. This diagnosis is really good news. It means that I may be able to start walking soon. Hopefully it’s the real problem. I guess I will find out:).

We plan to meet our physiotherapist friend Roberto for lunch today. We met him three years ago when Cathy was suffering with a sore knee and his therapy really helped her recover and continue the Camino. He is a real blessing for any peregrino with muscle or tendon issues.

Continue to Camino Francés 2017 Part 3.

More stages coming soon. Cathy is currently on the Camino and posting on her Facebook timeline. For real-time posts, Facebook friend request at @CathyJoDiaz.

Back to top

About Cathy

I met Cathy in spring 2015 when I first started learning about the Camino de Santiago. She is truly passionate about it and loves to share tips and advice. Her detailed posts on her Facebook timeline showed a glimpse of what pilgrim life really entails—from camaraderie to injuries. I had the opportunity to interview her on a hike in Santa Cruz (see Pilgrim Interview: Cathy Seitchik Diaz.) In November 2015, Cathy and David came up to Oakland for a NorCal Chapter event, A Walk in the Redwoods. In January 2016, she and I organized the Santa Cruz Coastal Hike. She even wrote a guest post, Walking the Camino as a Couple for the February “Camino Love” feature. Needless to say, Cathy is a great peregrina (female pilgrim) friend and a trusted source of pilgrim knowledge. Since she is the official route reporter for Camino Francés 2017, her updates will be documented here for you to enjoy as well as to refer to when getting ready for your own Camino.

Cathy was interviewed on the Camino Podcast for the series about Camino Francés. You can listen to Episode 15 below. In this episode, conversations center on the first six stages of Camino Francés. The episode starts with Cathy Diaz reflecting on the first part of her pilgrimage—St. Jean Pied de Port to Pamplona/Cizur Menor. Rebecca Gallo picks it up from there and talks about the stretch leading to Los Arcos.