Camino Francés 2017 Part 4

Continued from Part 3, Days 24 – 33 León to San Mamed del Camino

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 34: San Mamed del Camino to Sarria to Ferreiros
Day 35: Ferreiros to Ventas de Naron
Day 36: Ventas de Naron to O’Coto
Day 37: O’Coto to Ribadiso de Baixo
Day 38: Ribadiso to Pedrousa
Day 39: Pedrouzo to Santiago
Day 40: In Santiago

DAY 34: 5/5/17 Friday

“San Mamed del Camino” to San Pedro to Carballal to Vigo de Sarria to “Sarria” to Vileibarbadelo to Rente to Baxán to Leiman to Peruscallo to Cortinas to Lavandira to Casal to A’Brea to Morgade to “Ferreiros”
Walked: 7:30am-2pm
6.5 hours – 14 miles
– 700′ incline: Ups/Downs
TOTAL Miles: 335.5

I have gotten many requests for a DAVID Update. Here is the History & an Update…..
On 4/12: We Walked UP to Orisson
On 4/13: We Walked UP the Pyrenees and DOWN to Roncesvalles, with 20 lbs PackPack.
– Going UP & Coming DOWN was painful on his right Knee.
– A Level: 8-9- then 10!!!
NEXT Year: NO BackPack!
On 4/15: He went to a Doctor in Pamplona.
– The Doctor took an X-Ray.
– She thought it was “Tendonitis and Swelling.” She thought Physical Therapy, Rest, Ice, Time -would cure it.
On 4/16: He took a Train to Leon to get help from the Physical Therapist that helped me Walk again in May 2015. – Roberto Simon
FisioTerapeuta – FisioTerapia
fisioterapia@fisioconde.com
From 4/16 to 4/25: He stayed in León getting Physical Therapy.
– The Physical Therapist & David thought it was possibly “Stretched Ligaments or Torn Meniscus.”
– Roberto gave him Daily Exercises to strengthen the Muscles around his Leg & Knee.
On 4/25: He took a Train to Burgos to meet me.
– Each Day I Walked & he Taxied to the next Town.
– He was HAPPY to be back On the Camino, even if by Taxi.
On 5/4: We arrived to Leon together and he went to a Doctor. she thought it was a “Sprained Knee” and that it would be okay after more days rest.
On 5/7: There was a Knee & Orthopedic Doctor in the Hostal we were staying at.
– He examined David and said he thought the pain was coming from a “Displaced Knee Cap.” (Sprain of the Knee Cap)
– Prescribed a Knee Brace with a Wide Hole for the Knee. Chondroitin, Cream & Pill in case of pain & inflammation.
On 5/8 -The Next Day: He Walked 3 miles & took a Taxi the rest.
– Each day he/we look at the maps; terrain & incline/decline and decide where he will taxi & where he will walk.
From 5/8 on: He has been Walking & Taxi-ing. He & the Doctor do not feel that he is causing damage by walking. He is being prudent.
– Once back in California, he will see his General Practitioner, Request an MRI and meet with an Orthopedic Specialist for his “Knee” and also his “Ankle.”
– He is doing well, considering.

While Walking Camino #1 & Camino #2 people have said, “You could help people Walk the Camino” as a Business.
– This is true. I could do this, as I love people, I love sharing EVERYthing I have learned with others to help make their experiences as positive and anxious/worry free as possible.
– If I were 30 or 40, maybe I would consider it. But, maybe not.
– Once money is exchanged the relationship changes.
– “I am HAPPY to continue HELPING as I am.”

My thoughts on SARRIA and MORE Pilgrims ……
David and I are the LUCKY ones!!
ANYone that gets to Walk more than “Sarria to Santiago” have the ADVANTAGE of one or of ………
– Time
– Money
– Emotional Strength
– Family/Friend Support
– Physical Stamina
So for me …..
“We” that get to Walk more ……
“We are the LUCKY ones!!”

Also ……
The Camino De Santiago “Credential” -the “Compostela,” is given in Santiago de Compostela for Pilgrims that arrive with
2 Stamps a Day for the Last 100 Kilometers.
– On the Camino Frances that is: “Sarria to Santiago.”

Today as David & I were Walking, we stopped at a Bar/Cafe to get an Aquarius Drink.
– David gets Leg Cramps
– He takes Magnesium
– He drinks, Aquarius (aka:GatorAid)
This helps with Electrolytes & Leg Cramps.

At the Bar was Ineke from Canada and the 3 French women from yesterday’s Documentary.
– The women that were inadvertently included in our Documentary yesterday, at the Samos Cafe/Bar.
– We are now Camino & Documentary friends.
– One of the women commented that she liked my “CAMIGAS” Patch.
– Since it was pinned to my BackPack, and not sewn on, I took it off and gave it to her.

I have noticed ….
2016 -Camino #2
Felt less hard than 2015 Camino #1
– knowing where to go, what to expect, helps A LOT!!
– Not knowing makes me feel tired
We “knew” where the steep hills ended.
We “knew” we would finally get into Pamplona, Burgos, Leon, Astorga, Ponferrada when we could see it at a DISTANCE.

One thing helps, even when I am on a new UNKNOWN Alternative Path.
I “know” how long it takes to Walk on the Camino.
I can tell myself, “I will get there between 1:30-2pm.” If it isn’t 2pm, I know “We are not there yet.”
That feeling, that makes me “feel” tired, because I keep wondering, “Are we there yet?” does not have the same influence, and power, as I know, “I have an hour more.”

2017 Camino #3
I notice it is less hard, maybe even easier, if I can risk to say that.
1. I am familiar and I know where I am and where I am going.
2. I realize, even on the steep days; Pyrenees and O’Cebreiro…..
There are UPS, DOWNS, and then some FLATS. -Sort of like life.

PLUS….
Things always seem bigger and harder, in anticipation.
Today I was walking up the Road to La Faba, a little place before going up the O’Cebreiro dirt trail. I looked up and saw that my flat road was turning into a steep hill. But …..
Once going up, it wasn’t “as” steep “as” it had looked.

I love Walking the Camino; for sooooooo many reasons!

David wrote:
Today was a 12 mile walk through the countryside and many small pueblos.
– The map we have showed it to be fairly flat but that was not exactly correct. Many hills and dales.
– It was also sunny and warm.
– I was happy to find Cafes along the way to purchase drinks with electrolytes.
– The Alberque we are in at “Ferreiros” is one we stayed in in 2015. It is very modern and our room is the best of the whole Camino.
– As I told Cathy’s brother, Billy, in 2015, we are in First Class tonight. The knee continues to be an issue but as long as I am careful I can manage it.

As we move closer to Santiago de Compostela I thought that more information about “Saint James” might be of interest.
Cause of Death: Beheaded
Who or what is a Patron Saint and What is Saint James the Greater the Patron Saint of?
A Patron Saint is considered to be a defender of a specific group of people or of a nation. There is a Patron Saint for virtually every cause, profession or special interest. Prayers are considered more likely to be answered by asking a Patron Saint for intercession on their behalf. Saint James the Greater is the Patron Saint of pilgrims and Spain.

The Story of Saint James the Greater ……
Saint James the Greater, was one of the disciples of Jesus. He was prominent amongst the twelve apostles. He was the son of Zebedee and was considered the greater (in height) Apostle of those called James.

James is thought to be a cousin of Jesus, by the sister of the Virgin Mary, and the brother of Saint Jude Thaddeus.

James worked as a fisherman with his brother John, his father Zebedee and his partner Simon. John and James were followers of John the Baptist and then Jesus. James along with his brother John left his life as a fisherman when Jesus called him to be a fisher of men. He followed Jesus as one of his disciples until Jesus was crucified. James the Greater was chosen by Jesus to be one of the twelve apostles and was given the mission to spread the gospel of Jesus. He made a pilgrimage to Spain to spread the word when he returned to Judea, he was beheaded by King Herod Agrippa I (10 BC – 44 AD) in the year 44. This is detailed in the Bible in Acts 12 of the New Testament. The remains, or relics, of Saint James the Greater where then transported by his followers to the Iberian Peninsula (today’s Galicia) and are said to be buried in Santiago de Compostela in Galicia (Spain) explaining why Saint James the Greater is the patron saint of Spain.

The Legend of Saint James the Greater …..
Saint James, or according to the Spanish form of his name, St. Lago, is also the great Military Patron of Spain. His mission to defend the Christian Church against the Infidel was however reserved until after his death. In the course of the celebrated battle of Clavijo he suddenly appeared on a milk-white charger, waving aloft a white standard, and leading the Christians to victory. This manifestation was in response to the soldiers’ invocation of his name, “Sant lago!” being the battle-cry of that day. Hence the name of the ancient city (Santiago) which contains the cathedral founded in his honour.

Death of Saint James the Greater
There are two categories of Saints: Martyrs and Confessors.

A Christian Martyr is regarded as one who is put to death for his Christian faith or convictions. Confessors are people who died natural deaths. Date of Death: Saint James the Greater died in A.D. 44. Cause of Death: Beheaded, hence he is a martyr.

Why is Saint James the Greater the Patron of Pilgrims and Spain?
Saint James the Greater is universally regarded as the Patron of Pilgrims because after establishing the Christian religion in the Iberian Peninsual, he returned to Judaea on a Pilgrimage and was there beheaded. The scallop-shell is the recognized symbol of all pilgrims on the Camino, as it is found on the shores of Galicia. When returning to their own countries Pilgrims displayed the scallop-shell in their hats, to show that they had carried out their pious intentions.

How Saint James the Greater is represented in Christian Art
It is helpful to be able to recognize Saint James the Greater in paintings, stained glass windows, illuminated manuscripts, architecture and other forms of Christian art. The artistic representations reflect the life or death of saints, or an aspect of life with which the person is most closely associated. Saint James the Greater is represented in Christian Art in the garb of a pilgrim, with staff, gourd, and scallop-shell. Saint James is often also depicted riding a white horse into battle.

PS: I lost the little bag with my cash today:(. Someone else will have a better Camino due to my generosity:). Such is life. As long as we can find “cajero automaticos” (ATM) it’s no biggie. Don’t worry children, I still have a euro left for each of you:).


DAY 35: 5/16 Tuesday

Cities: “Ferreiros” to A Pena to As Rozas to Pena Do Cervo to Mercadoiro to Parrocha to Vilacha “Portomarin” to Toxibo to Gonzar to Castromaior to Hospital to “Ventas de Naron”
***Ian: Kilometer Marker #78***
Walked: 7:30am-1pm
5.5 hours – 12 miles
– 1200′ incline: UP!! UP!!
TOTAL Miles: 347.5

Here is a Camino Tip……
The 100 Kilometer “Distance Marker” is easy to miss and MANY of the other ones after, are missing their Distance Markings.
– After “Sarria” you will Walk through all of these small Villages.
Some of them have Bars.
– “Sarria” to Vileibarbadelo to Rente to Baxán to Leiman to Peruscallo to Cortinas to Lavandira to Casal to A’Brea to Morgade to “Ferreiros”
– “Ferreiros” has a Bar to the Left and a very modern looking Alberque to the right, up on the hill.

The 100 Kilometer Marker is on the path to the LEFT, just 10 feet past the Ferreiros Bar.
– EVERYone was Walking right by it!!

One of the MANY joys I get about Walking the Camino Frances again, is stopping in to say HOLA to Hospitaleros from Camino #1 & Camino #2.
– Since I give each Hospitalero a Card with our Photos on it, plus an Invitation to visit us in California, they remember me.
– I Walk in with a sample of the Cards from the past years and a new Card to give them.
– Often the Card is on a Bulletin Board with other Pilgrims photos, etc or some other places easily retrieve-able.

This morning as we Walked through Portomarin, I went by ……
Albergue El Caminante to say “HOLA” to Sandra, Asunción & Candido.
– Susana and I took a selfie with the 2 Cards.
– We kissed on both cheeks and said, “Hasta el año próximo, Si Dios quiere.”
– It surprises them if it is the second year, but if it is three years in a row, they have come to believe it.
– It is FUN for me, and David and I both think they are really touched by it.

For Camino # 2 & Camino #3
– It is fun to stay in different
Towns and different Albergues, Casa Rurales, Hostales, Pensiones
to see and experience different places, local people.

As I stopped in Portomarin.
I also stopped in Gonzar.
In Alberque Casa Garcia, to say HOLA to Iza.
– Camino 2015 -We slept there.
– Camino 2016 -We stopped by.
– Camino 2017 -I stopped by.
I promised Iza we would stay there next year.

I sat at the Bar for awhile having a Bottle of cold Water & Tapas of Tortilla de Patata.
– I spoke with Esther & Sergio from Spain. We had been passing each other on and off all day, as one does On the Camino.
– They have 2 Weeks to walk from Sarria to Santiago to Finisterre.
– Esther spoke about her Feet, Knees and Legs and the WEIGHT of her Backpack.
– Of course her Pack is heavier than it is good for her body because it takes time and experience to figure that out.
– I told them about “Transporting her Pack for €3-5 euros a day.” That is less expensive and than Doctor bills later.

David and I learned the hard way.
David is 71. His knee was bothering him before we left California.
– In retrospect we realize he should have Transported his Pack from St Jean, OVER the Pyrenees, to Roncesvalles.

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David wrote:
Ventas de Narón is the Pueblo where my amigo Rowland Ian Kitchen left the physical Camino and started walking the spiritual one on Sept 15, 2015. He was on his eighth Camino when he moved to a higher plane. I’m sure that he still watches over the rest of us pilgrims now, just as he did in the past.

Today’s walk was warm with partly cloudy skies and no breeze. There were some hills and then a large drop downhill to reach a long bridge across a reservoir.
– The town on the other side, Portomarin, sat at the bottom of the valley and it was relocated up on the slope above the water line when the reservoir was built in the 1960s.
– The huge church was disassembled stone by stone and reassembled over 100 feet higher than it’s original location. Other historic buildings were relocated in this way as well.


DAY 36: 5/17 Wednesday

Cities: “Ventas de Naron” to Perrera to La Meiros to Ligonde to Eirexe to “Portos” to Valos to Mamurria to Brea to Rosario to Palas de Rei to Carballal to San Xulian to Casanova to Cornixa to “O’Coto”
Walked: 7am-1pm
6 hours – 14 miles
– 400′ incline: Steady UP
TOTAL Miles: 450

It is Day 36, May 17 and last night I asked myself again…..
“Why am I doing this?”
Then we wake up in the morning and by 7:45-8am, we are out Walking in the fresh air.
– The day just waking up.
– People Walking by saying, “Buen Camino,” or Walking and chatting a bit.
– Saying HOLA to the Locals as they open their Shops or Walk by.
– Seeing Parents & Grandparents taking children to School or later in the day, playing in a Park.
– Babies and Toddlers in Strollers and Kids & Adults on bicycles or scooters.
– Meeting & Talking to Pilgrims from 40+ different countries.
ALL in the course of a Day, while being outside in nature, amongst the Trees, the Fields, the Villages, the Cows, the Roosters. Plus, the Rocks, the Mud and the occasional Rain.

We left the small town of Ventas De Naron with its 2 Albergues, 2 Outside/Inside Cafes, Sheep, Baby Lambs, Pastures, large Vegetable Garden. It was Lovely!! Quiet!! Relaxing!!

In each Alberque there were:
2 Dorm Rooms -5 BunkBeds each.
2 Private Rooms -Double Bed each.
There were still 4 beds available when I went to sleep.

We walked 4 miles, 1+ hours to the one Albergue/Cafe Town of Portos.
– We had stayed in this very nice Albergue last year, with the owners; a Retired couple, Carlota & Jesus.
– It is a joy for me/us to stop in, say HOLA, while getting a Cafe con Leche and a Tortilla con Patatas.
– Jesus remembered David!!
– Last year David left his glasses on the table after having his Cafe con Leche & fresh Tortilla con Patatas (Spanish Potato Omelette)
– We were about a Kilometer down the road and there appeared Jesus in his car, with David’s glasses in his hand.
– We have seen similar kindnesses for others while Walking Camino #1, #2, #3.

Again, about one Kilometer away David remembered, “I FORGOT to PAY!!” This is easy to do, as they don’t ask us to Pay at the moment.
– I told David I would Walk back to Pay.
– As I was in sight of the Alberque/Cafe, I saw Jesus Walking towards me. I was waving the 5€ euros in my hand saying, “¡¡Lo Siento!! ¡¡David OLVIDÓ Pagar!!”
– Jesus reached me and he said, with flushed eyes, “¡¡Ustedes son AMIGOS!! Es mi Regalo para ustedes. Les espero en un año.”
– I tried to give him the money but he said, ‘We were friends, and it was his gift to us. And he would wait to see us in one year.’
– We Kissed on both Cheeks with a bit of a HUG, and said, “¡¡Gracias!! Nos vemos en un año!!” – See you in a year!!

And I last night I was wondering, “Why am I doing this?” Hummmm…… The answers and reasons keep popping up this morning!!

David reminded me how he has been Reviewing EVERY Alberque, Hostal, Pension, Hotel on Trip Advisor and/or Booking.
– Many of the Albergues, Hostales, Pensiones, Hotels have a “Trip Advisor” sticker on the door or window. Some Hospitaleros ask us directly to please submit a Review.
*They read them!!
*They REALLY appreciate it!!

At 1:30pm I was passing by a Cafe while a number of people were eating lunch
– I recognized the 3 French women from when I was Walking from Triacastela to Samos on Sunday, the day the Documentary crew were filming me.
– We chatted for a bit and then I bid them farewell with a cheerie, “Buen Camino.” And off I Walked as they finished up.

I chatted with Roland from Frankford, Germany for awhile
– We had been seeing each other, ALL day, off & on.

Then I sat and visited with the Spanish women from yesterday; Susana & Charro, as they aired their feel and rested their bodies.

At 1:30pm when I arrived to the 6 to 10 building Town of O’Coto, I saw this young woman from Argentina again. It turns she was bummed because she miss placed her Credential. Our “Camino PassPort,” where we get a Stamp at each Alberque, Cafe, Church. She was going to make some phone calls to see if anyone found it!!
Fingers crossed!!

At 2pm as David and I were settling in to have an awesome lunch, up Walked my new Spanish Camino friends; Susana Cruces Azpa & Rosario Sanchez Criado. They joined us, and it was so much fun!! We are already planning to meet in Sarria again next year and Walk to Santiago together. Next time with Charro’s husband!
– I LOVE the Camino!!
– I LOVE the people we meet!!

I walk and make friends!!
– If you are a “people person” the Camino can be sooooo much Fun.
– If you don’t identify as a “people person” but you like people at your own choosing, the Camino is also great.
– David says the Camino is good, because he gets to meet many interesting, kind, helpful people, but at “his” choosing.

David has “his Camino.”
I have “my Camino.”
– It is a good place for the “2 of us.”
We have “our Camino.”

May I add….
This “his” – “my” – “our” Camino does take Love, Caring, Honesty.

My Camino GOAL:
“We” deal with any and all challenges with; love, patience and kindness to each other, and ourselves. So then, no matter how it goes, it will be okay/good.

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David wrote:
We left at 7:30AM in a misty mist that lasted for about 3 hours. It was just enough to cause us to don our ponchos to keep from getting moist.
– We are shipping stuff ahead each day by Baggage Transport companies primarily to minimize any extra weight I would have to carry.
– The Fee is 3-5€ per bag and the service is very reliable.
– We are moving forward 20+ kilometers a day and this allows me to walk at least part of the way.
– Today I walked to Palas de Rei which was 8 miles and took a taxi the last 6 miles for 10€.

Our walk took us past a place we stayed last year called A Paso Formiga.
– Jesus is the owner/operator and when I walked in he said that he immediately recognized that I had been there before.
– It makes these hardworking Hospitaleros very happy when we show up again and renew our acquaintance with them.
-I use Trip Review sources like Trip Advisor or Booking to write positive reviews of the places that we like and the reviews mean the world to these people. Many of them read the reviews and respond to them.
– They supply a wonderful service to us people on the Camino and lots of times get very little thanks for their hard work and positive attitude.
– The least we can do is spend a few minutes to post positive comments about those who have earned it so others can see them and maybe stay there as well.

On this year’s Camino I had my first order of Pimientos de Padrón for lunch today. These things are delicious! We only get them in Galicia and I will probably eat a plateful every day until we leave Spain. Of course, I have to have a Cerveza Grande to go with the salty little devils:).


DAY 37: 5/18/17 Thursday

Cities: “O’Coto” to Lobreiro to Disicabo to Furelos to “Melide” to Carballal to Penas to Raido to Boente to Castaneda to Portela to “Ribadiso”
Walked: 7:30-11:30am
4 hours – 12 miles
– 400′ incline: Steady UP
-Miles today: 12
TOTAL Miles: 458

Ways to Make the Camino Fit & Work for YOU!!!
– The Camino is Do-Able, but We need to Do it, Walk it at “OUR” Level.
– We use the Guide Books as a “Guide” ONLY!!
– We WALK the “Miles/Kilometers” that work for “our” Feet, Legs, Heart.
– We CARRY/Transport the “Pack” that works for “our” Hips, Back, Heart.
– If you want to Talk your ideas/plans through with me, I’d be HAPPY to give you kind, loving, perspective and support.

Today I met a Brother, Sister & Cousin from Seattle, Washington.
Brother does 300 mile walks each year. His sister and cousin asked him to put something together for them; at their Feet & Fitness Level.
– They are Walking 12 Days;
Sarria to Santiago: 100K – 70 miles.
The “Stages” in the Guide Books say, 5-7 Days.
– This Brother knew what was best for his Sister & Cousin. ¡¡YES!!

And……
Mary and Jane are sisters. We all had Breakfast together in St Jean, on April 12th, before we Walked UP to Orisson. We are ALL 2 days from Santiago. They adapted their Camino as needed. ALL is GOOD!!

I follow this Foot Guidance:
– Hiking Boots: a Size Bigger
– 2 Socks: Nylon Liner & Wool Merino
– Glide for Chafing Prevention

I wear a Nylon Sock and a Wool Merino Sock. I pull them up to my knees when Cold. I push them down when Hot.
I wear Gaiters. They prevent people’s from going in my Hiking Boot, and driving me crazy.
– They keep 2/3 of my Hiking Boot and Socks DRY when it Rains.
– I bought them while Walking the Camino last year.
– We can buy EVERYthing here.

At 9am David and I were walking into Melide and we met a man & woman from Bogota, Columbia.
He was speaking into his phone, recording his Camino experience, and the experiences of Pilgrims he met along The Way.
– I met him when I came out of a Church after getting our Credentials Stamped, as from Sarria to Santiago we need to have 2 Stamps a Day.
– He was speaking to David and asking him about his Camino experience.
– He is a Professor in Cultural Communication and he is getting his PHD at the University of Santiago.
– We meet such interesting people while Walking.
It is my FAVORITE way to spend time with people. It is my FAVORITE way to socialize;
– Walk & Talk.
Sitting at a table filled with food, is just not good for me!

At 10am David and I walked into the same Cafe/Restaurant that his daughter, Susan Stewart and our Camiga, Megan McGeowin had eaten lunch at last year.
– Fernando was there last year, as well. I gave him a Card this year and told him, we hope to come back next year.
– He gave us 2 small “Camino Conchas” (Camino Shelves) as a GIFT.
I love our interaction with the people in the Cafes/Bars.
– I love the people on the Camino!
– I love developing relationships.
– Some relationships will continue once home.
– Some will be renewed Camino #4.
– Some will come & go with Love.
ALL is GOOD!!
I love ALL results, ALL relationships.

As I Walked between Melide & Arzua I came upon Cafetería El Alemán, with owners José Ramon & Fabiola.
– We talked for a bit and it turns out they know the people from our Pension Los Dos Alemanes, where we stayed last night. Plus, Jesus & Carlota from the Alberque in Portos where we stopped in to say HOLA, yesterday.
– This has happened before when they asked me where we had stayed.
– The towns are only 8-15-20 miles apart, so it makes sense. But for David and I, it is 1-2 says. Ha!! Ha!!

Walking from St Jean Pied de Port, France and now the last 100 Kilometers, 70 miles, we Walk through one precious Village to another. I have to refrain from taking more than 30+ photos a day.
– Today when I took another photo while Walking through another tiny precious Village of less than 10 buildings, I waved HOLA to the older woman in her kitchen as she was washing her dishes, and watching us Pilgrims go Walking by, day after day. She gave me a BIG smile and said, “¡Buen Camino!”

I get to walk along the California Coast and in the Redwoods EVERY day when I am home.
– Here I get to Walk through stone paved Villages, beautiful Countryside and Cows & Roosters, on my own or with…..
– Gunta (35) from Germany Germany
– Juan (60) from South of Spain
– Aunt Angela (54) from Brazil/Germany
– Niece Angela (32) from Florida/Brazil
– Husband Rob (32) from Florida/Brazil
– Esther/Sergio (40) from Barcelona
– Srena (81) from England
We talk about our Camino, our experiences, our challenges, our joys, the day, our plans after Santiago, future Camino plans, and so forth.

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David Wrote:
Our start today was 8AM with cloudy skies and cool temperatures.
– We walked about 5 miles before stopping in Melide for cafe con leche. Leaving our bags behind always has its moments of anxiety.
– Today we left them outside the front door of our Pension. We haven’t had problems but it’s like dropping them in a black hole and hoping that they get spit back out where we are staying.
– Here at Melide I took a taxi to our next place to spend the night while Cathy continued to walk.
– Ribadiso really isn’t even a Pueblo. There are 3 places to stay with a nice Cafe/Bar attached and that’s it:)!!! All three places are recently built.
– It is just west of the Puente crossing Rio Iso, which is a beautiful small river that flows swiftly downstream here. I even saw some small fish under the ancient bridge.
This is a waypoint in Brierley’s Camino guide but I’m not sure why.
Arzua is only 3 Kilometers further and it’s a much larger town.
– We are getting close to Santiago now:). Tonight, tomorrow night, and then we arrive!


DAY 38: 5/19/17 Friday

Cities: “Ribadiso de Baixo” to “Arzua” to Quintas to A Calzado to A Calle to Boavista to Salceda to Brea to O Emplame to Santa Irene to A Rua to “Pedrousa”
Walked: 7am-12pm
4 hours – 14 miles
– 400′ incline: Steady Up
TOTAL Miles: 470

David and I are REALLY enjoying staying in small 1-3 Alberque Villages, on occasion.
– Camino #1 & Camino #2 we stayed in “Arzua” right near the Church and Plaza with a Bar/Cafe on the Plaza.
– This time we stopped short of Arzua after 12 miles of Walking and we stayed in “Ribadiso.”
– Our Alberque had a Kitchen and I got to make my Camino Invented Soup; 1 onion, 1 zucchini, 2 cans mushrooms (or fresh), 2 cans mussels (mejillones), soup packet, bouillon cube, oatmeal or muesli to thicken. YUM!!
– We also went to the Bar/Alberque across the path and split a Pilgrims Meal & David had his FAVORITE, Pimientos de Padrón. YUM!!

It took us 45 minutes to walk to Arzua, for David’s first Cafe con Leche.
– We went to the Plaza Cafe for the 3rd year in a row. I gave Javier, the owner, a Card this time.
– There was a table with 5 Spanish PeregrinAS. They only have time to Walk from Sarria to Santiago. They are so happy to be Walking together!!
– They are a different Pilgrim from what we have been used to, but/and, I WELCOME them ALL!!

– I stopped in to say HOLA to Fernando & Felisa in Pension Casa Frade, where we stayed in 2015 & 2916.
– Fernando was not there but Felisha was. When I gave her a new Card, she reached behind the Table Clock on the Mantel and pulled out last year’s Card with our picture and Golden Gate Bridge on it.
– She said, “¿Donde está David?”
I told her David was at the Cafe in the Plaza having his “Cafe con Leche.” She said, next time we should come to her Pension for Breakfast, even though it is normally just for Guests.
– We kissed on both cheeks Goodbye, and said, “Hasta el año que entra.”

By the way……
“Galicia is NOT Flat.”
– “Sarria to Santiago” is NOT Flat!!
It is beautiful green “Rolling HILLS,” -“UP & DOWN” & “occasionally” Flat.
– It is through a multitude of little Villages & small Towns. PLUS, tree covered “muddy rocky” -UP & DOWN Hills.
– People as me if they need …..
Hiking “Poles” & Hiking “Boots”
I and David have BOTH and we are glad we do!!
We see others that DO NOT and they struggle with SORE Feet and going DOWN & UP the HILLS.

– “Sarria to Santiago” also has a new influx of Pilgrims, as it is this last 100 Kilometers that counts to have our “Sins Forgiven.”
– At the same time this is where one gets 2 Stamps a Day in the Camino PassPort; aka “Credential,” to show we Walked it.
– It is the Church that gives the “Compostela,” “Pilgrim Certificate of Completion,” free of charge.
– fI we do not have 2 Stamps a Day in the Camino PassPort; aka “Credential,” to show we Walked from “Sarria to Santiago” we don’t get a “Compostela,” even if we had Walked from St Jean.
– The Church has had these Rules for 100s of years.

For most Pilgrims that started in St Jean, Pamplona, Burgos, Leon or even Astorga -this new influx, that DOUBLES what we were used to is a bit of a Shock. To many, Offensive, as this new influx come FULL of energy and excitement and often in groups with louder voices.
– I welcome them in my heart and in my mind and support and salute them when we talk and connect.

There are groups of ……
– Older Spanish men. They love taking photos, MANY photos of the beautiful green lush trees in the Woods. As many of them come from the South of Spain where it is dryer and not as lush.

Plus…..
– 3 to 5 women in their 40s come to Sarria, as they have the support of their husbands & children to leave for a week to Walk the Way of St James, this ancient Pilgrimage, “The Camino De Santiago.”
– The list of newly added Pilgrims goes on.

David and I saw Aunt Angela, Niece Angela and Husband Rob at the Wall of Wisdom an then a really FULL
Bar/Café. We kept Walking and 15 minutes later we arrived to Bar Lino.
– David said today was his BEST Tortilla De Patata, EVER!!!
– David has eaten a Tortilla de Patata almost EVERY Day On Camino #1, Camino #2, Camino #3.
This would be approximately his 120th Tortilla De Patata and many of them have been homemade fresh, like this one.
– I told Alfredo & Sune Maciñeiras Tojo, the Bar owners, what David said. Sune beamed as she makes EVERYthing FRESH!!
– I gave them a Card and said, “Esperamos regresar en un año.”
– We shook hands Goodbye with smiles on our faces and love in our hearts.

I want to say…..
I am sooooo grateful for these new understandings of Extroverts & Introverts
– This morning we helped a woman take the correct road, when she was Walking.
– She barely acknowledged us then.
And when we saw her later, the customary, “Buen Camino,” is not acknowledged.
– I tell myself, “She is an Introvert.”
Also …….
– The responses & feedback I got from y’all gave me more insights, plus love and kindnesses.

I was reluctant to Post/Share all of those thoughts Walking down from O’Cebreiro, as they were NOT Camino insights. But they were “my insights” while Walking the Camino that day, so I went for it. And your comments, have confirmed for me the value.
– Thank YOU!!

Today we arrived to Pedrouzo, where we have stayed in
2015 & 2016.
– Miyka & Manuel remembered us last year and again this year.
– They treat us to Wine and Tapas.
– Each year we are happy to see each other again.
– Each year we say, “Regresamos en un año, si Dios Quiere.”

It happened again.
We were walking down the street in Pedrouzo and we heard, “Caaaaaaathy!!”
– It was Mel Saunders & Jane Edmunds from England.
We had MET on the Facebook CAMIGAS Forum, and had exchanged FB messages back and forth, knowing David and I started on April 12th and they started on April 14th.

Tonight we ate an amazingly flavorful sizzling cooked steak meal with Salad, Patatas, Dessert, Wine and Water at the “O’Pedrouzo Restaurant”
– We are there last year with Susan Stewart and Megan.
– I gave Cristina, the owner and told her “Nos vemos en un año.”
– It was the BEST Tierna ever!!

We sat next to 2 Australian couples and discussed our love of John Brierely’s Camino Guide & I showed them how we also have a copy of it on our Phones.
– I bought it “on” iTunes and it appeared “in” iBooks.

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David Wrote:
We left at 7:30AM in nice cool weather and partly cloudy skies. It was a nice day for a walk.
– Today was a 14 mile day. I walked 9 before catching a cab.
We are staying at Pension O’Muino, where we have stayed for the last two years as well.
– The people here really love to have us return. It’s part of what makes theYou Camino so special.
– Cathy arrived at about 3PM after completing the 14 miles.
– O’Pedrouzo is a more modern looking town.
– One more night before Santiago de Compostela tomorrow! We should arrive at the Cathedral around 1PM or so.


DAY 39: 5/20/17 Saturday

Cities: “Pedrouzo” to San Anton to Amenal to San Paio to Labacolla to Villamaior to “Santiago”
Walked: 8am-2pm, -David Knee
6 hours – 12 miles
– 400′ incline: Up-Down-Flat
TOTAL Miles: 485***

I was thinking last night……
“How is it possible that we/people can Walk the Camino across Spain, almost 500 miles?”
Well we/I do it…..
– Step by Step
– One day at a time.
*Evaluating our Feet, Knees, Legs, Hips, Backs with the Inclines & Declines ahead.
*Evaluating the Distance our Bodies feel most capable of Walking each Day.
*Going to the Farmacia & Doctor when needed.
*Walking Shorter or No Days if necessary.
– Step by Step
– One day at a time.
Then after 35, 40, 50, 60 days we turn around a realize we are “Walking INTO Santiago.”

Today we Walked with A LOT of EXCITED Pilgrims, Walking “TO” & “INTO” Santiago!!
This mutual EXCITEMENT and ANTICIPATION is palpable!!

For Pilgrims that were lucky to start their Camino further back than “Sarria,” in O’Cebreiro, Astorga, Leon, Burgos, Pamplona, St Jean ….
– The newly added “Sarria” Pilgrims are more Rambunctious, Vocal, Excited and Energetic.
– When I hear them approaching behind me,
– I step aside, say, “Buen Camino,” with a SMILE, LOVE in my heart & I continue on.

Yesterday & Today as we Walked, the LAST two Days, TO & INTO Santiago, there are MANY PILGRIMS.
– I can say I am I am GRATEFUL for my innate, “out of the chute,”
non-opinioned & non-critical voices in my head, about others (Myself, that is still a “Work in Progress.”)
– As I just said, there are MANY excited Pilgrims “Walking InTo” Santiago for the FIRST Time!!
– Of course, there are others Walking IN, for the 2nd, 3rd, 4th++ Time.
**We are ALL “Equally” Excited.**

*We are Hundreds of Pilgrims with:
– Different Ages
– Different 40+ Nationalities
– Different Provences-States.
– Different Languages
– Different Physical Capabilities
– Different Start Places
– Different Walk Distances
– Different Sleep Preferences
– Different Moods/Personalities
*At the end of the Day…..
– We are ALL Equal
– We are ALL Pilgrims
– We are ALL Walking the Camino
– We are ALL Walking to Santiago

We arrived to the first Bar/Cafe:
– People stopped for their 1st Cafe con Leche for the day.
– 3rd year HERE!! -Clara & Ruben
– Gave Card -BIG SMILE from Ruben

I had the joy of Talking with some new Pilgrim Camino friends……
– Ray (40) from London
We talked about our Camino experiences. His trip to San Francisco and driving down the Coast of California with his Family.

– Albert – Uli (60) from Switzerland
– Willy (60) from Germany
We met at this AWESOME Cafe/Bar,
– A Casa Verde –
With 1000s of Pilgrim’s T-Shirts.
Sonia Duro Lema y Kiko, the Bar Owners are the most jovial, sweet, loving, playful, HAPPY, fun Cafe Owners I have EVER met!
– We stop here EVERY Camino.
– This year I introduced myself and I gave them one of our Cards from California.
– We Kissed on both Cheeks and said, “Nos Vemos en un año, si Dios quiere.”

I have noticed that MANY of my “new Camino Pilgrim friends” from Spain, and other counties, that “started in Sarria” didn’t Know to……
– Prepare Physically
They just thought, “We have the Time. Let’s Walk the 5 Days; Sarria to Santiago.”
– Use HikingBoots or Hiking Shoes.
They just pulled out of their closets some sneakers and thought that would be sufficient.
*Many of them are experiencing the same Feet, Leg, Hip, Knee, Pack …..
Pain & Blisters we Pilgrims experienced during our first 5-10 days.

Dolores y Carmen from Barcelona, started Walking the Camino in Sarria.
– As we were walking by Dolores asked me, “Where did you start your Camino?” I told her, “St Jean Pied de Port, France, 39 days ago.” I have to admit, I enjoy saying it.
The response is always met with a bit of surprise, awe, and appreciation.
*She asked me which areas were the most beautiful to me from, as I Walked the Camino.
– She assumed that Galicia was by far the best because of the lush green forests.
– I told her that in April and May, the whole Camino is exceptional!!
– Expansive green fields and wildflowers for as far as the eye could see.
– I showed her a few of my iconic Camino photos, and she couldn’t disagree. She was surprised.

Many Spaniards that started in Sarria asked me about my Camino since St Jean.
– They are REALLY curious. It is sweet.
– I try to answer all of their questions and give them insight to an experience that is also an option for them.
– Either in 2 week sections each year or all at once; Time & Money permitting.

David and I arrived to the iconic Monte Gozo that was erected for the Pope John Paul’s visit in 1989.
– This year I had planned to find and walk to the 2 Pilgrim Statues pointing towards Santiago.
– They are 400 Meters beyond the Monte Gozo sculpture.
– David sat and rested his knee while having a Beer, visiting with Albert, Uli and Willy.
– I Walked over to the 2 Pilgrim statues.
– The day was clear and I could see where their pointed fingers did show The Way to the Cathedral De Santiago.
– It was an exciting and emotional moment for me.
– I took a dozen photos (Yes, Paul – at least a dozen!!
– I just wanted to stay and figure out more photos to take, but I knew David was waiting and we needed to get on to Santiago.
– I asked a French man to take a my picture with the Pilgrim Statues.
He was sweet. He took a few photos and then we Walked back together speaking in our “simple English.”

Just as David and I were approaching the “Santiago” sign, entering the city, we came upon year old Jesus (25) from Venezuela.
– He and I had been passing each other over and over, during the past few days as he limped along.
– David has mentioned how he has noticed many Pilgrims as they struggle to make it to Santiago.
– We offered to take his Photo, and then he took ours.
– Last year we were with Susan Stewart, David’s daughter and Camiga Megan McGeowin at this “Santiago” sign.

Arriving into the old medieval part of Santiago was emotional and special.
– There was music playing outside of Bars.
– Spaniards, Tourists and Pilgrims ALL intermingled walking the Streets, free of Cars.

As we Walked in we heard, “Caaaaathy!!” It was Phillip, one of the Canadians, that I met in St Jean, the night before we ALL began this incredible journey, and MANY times over the past 39 Days.

David and I continued to Walk down the Steps and through the Arch.
We Turned LEFT as we Walked Hand in Hand to the Plaza in front of the Cathedral.
– This is where EVERYone arrives to take their iconic Photos.
– Some kiss the ground.
– Others Throw Off their Backpacks and just collapse.
-Many walk in alone, dazed by it all.
– Some walk in with their Camino Family of one or more.

This was our 3rd time arriving and feeling the emotions.
– It turned out, instead of weeping at the moment as I did at Camino #1, I noticed I was emotional for about 7+ hours. On the verge of tears at any given moment.
– Finally, by 9-9:30pm, I noticed the VERY SENSITIVE ME, was better, and not on the verge of tears anymore.

Upon my request David & I hung out for an hour, in the Cathedral Plaza with the Pilgrims arriving, with Groups of People & their Tour Guides, plus Families Touring Santiago, and School aged children marching around singing.
– This is the ONE moment to take it all IN.
– Once we go to our Alberque, take off our Packs, we are done!! Walking back to the Cathedral Plaza later is awesome but it isn’t the same as that first moment.
– I saw others, that must have felt the same, because there they sat, just watching everyone, as they too, TOOK it all IN.

While hanging out taking pictures for our selves and others, up appeared Julie. YEA!! JULIE!!! From Perth, Australia.
– Similar to Phillip, we met the night before we started Walking.
– Similar to Phillip, we would RANDOMLY see each other!!
Seeing each other today was a DELIGHT for BOTH of us!!
*Because NONE of it is planned.
It’s just by chance. Just lucky timing.

Then in Walked our new Swiss and German friends; Albert, Uli and Willy.
– We took photos for each other.
– We took photos together.
FUN new Camino friends!!

John Theroux; a Camino Veteran from APOC, introduced himself while he was hanging out in the Plaza.

We saw Andres, the Bogota, Columbia Professor, and his student.

As we were Walking to our Hostal we heard, “Caaaathy!!”
– It was my “Home Girls,” daughter Ally Jargan and mom, Helen from Sydney, Australia. -And Husband arrived!!
– I Dormed with them when David was in León recuperating for 12 Days.
YIPPEE!! I was so glad I got to see them one more time!!
– The next time will be next Camino: April/May 2018 or …..
– September & October 2018, as David and I plan to go to Australia again.

After we got our Room figured out, which was an emotional experience, because it wasn’t what the woman had said it would be…..
– I left David to rest his Knee and I went out to Take IN Santiago and all of the people, Pilgrims, “energy,” as my mom would say.

I saw ……
– Peter from Poland!!
– 6 Pilgrim Friends from French !!!
– George from Denmark.
– Joop from Holland
– Mateos Susana & Rosario Sanchez Criado from Spain
– Paul Llewelyn Franklin from New Zealand
Each one were a surprise and a delight to see, for me and for them.
– We hugged, talked a bit, and then I continued wondering around Santiago.

I went to the “Pilgrim HOUSE.”
*I met Anne & Mariano
– An AWESOME facility to Greet, Support and be a caring place for Pilgrims.
APOC (American Pilgrims on the Camino) gave a Grant for their Kitchen & Dining Facilities.
– The Pilgrim’s ‘HOUSE’ in Santiago is BEAUTIFUL, clean, new and fresh.
– It has a wonderful Kitchen, Patio Garden, Meditation space, Backpack Storage, Laundry, Camino Support DeBriefing Meetings, WIFI, etc.
– There’s GREAT caring, kind, helpful personnel.
Address: Rúa Nova 19
Hours: 11am- 8pm
Closed: Wednesdays & Sundays
Facebook: Terra Nova Pilgrim House

Finally by 9:30pm, I was ready to go back to our Room, and tell David about everyone I saw and what I did.

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David Wrote:
We had a nice 12.5 mile walk “into Santiago” today.
– The weather was mild and just cool enough to make it very pleasant.
– My knee, that’s a completely different issue. After my 9 mile walk yesterday it was very tender this morning. A few ibuprofen later it was good enough to walk.
– To look at the Brierley Camino Guide you would think this day was essentially flat. Susan, you remember how flat it was, right? Not!
– The part out of Pedrouzo was flat for three kilometers. Then we climbed. Then we dropped. Then we climbed. Then we dropped. Well, you get the picture.
– My knee did not like it.
– I was very happy to get to the Cathedral at 2 PM.
– We hung out in front for at least an hour meeting and greeting with other Pilgrims who finished today or the previous two or three days.

Afterwards we went to check into our Hostal. This is a different one than we had used previously but the location looked great so we were excited about it.
– Well, that didn’t work out so well. The person checking us in said we were in another building. She walked us out of the old Medieval section of town to a room that had just been renovated.
– It is nice but there is no WIFI yet. Plus, the location is definitely not what we planned on.
Marshall, “We are NOT happy!

But wait, there’s more
– We elected to make the best of the situation but it slightly soured our arrival.
-At 7:30PM I was in the room resting my knee and Cathy was out and about meeting many of the Pilgrims she had met over the last 40+ days.

Arrived to “Santiago”
I saw ……
– Albert, Uli, Willy from Switzerland
– Peter from Poland!!
– 6 Pilgrim Friends from French !!!
– George from Denmark. 🙂
– Joop from Holland
– Susana & Chayo from Spain
– Paul Llewelyn Franklin from New Zealand 

Each one were a surprise and a delight to see, for me and for them.
– We hugged, talked a bit, and then I continued wondering around

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DAY 40: 5/21/17 Sunday “IN” Santiago

6am: David and I got up at 6am.
7:30am: We walked to the “Pilgrim’s OFFICE,” aka “Compostela Office”
8am: It Opened
In the front of the Line I saw ……
– Ray from London
– John Theroux from APOC

The Camino COMPOSTELA….
The “Church gives the Compostela” with “Proof of TWO Stamps” per Day from Sarria-Santiago.
– “Before Sarria” Pilgrims a Stamp every day at their Alberque, Hostal, Pension, Casa Rural, Hotel.
– Plus, “Cafes & Churches” as desired.
– BUT to receive a Compostela, the only Stamps that are needed, that count are the “TWO Stamps per Day from Sarria-Santiago.”
– There was a Pilgrim next to David that “only had ONE Stamp per Day from Sarria-Santiago.”
***She was NOT Rewarded a Compostela.”
– Pilgrims “Write their Name” &
“if Religious, Spiritual, Sport.”
– The “Compostela is FREE,” with Donation.

Pilgrims can Request a ……
– “Distance Certificate” -3€
– “Tube” -2€

The “1st 10 Pilgrims”
– “Offered FREE Parador Meal”
We said “NO Thank you!!”
– We did the “FREE Parador” Lunch in “May 2015” and it was a “HORRIBLE” experience for me & others that have done it!!
– They treated us like ……
– Facebook Message me or Email me if you want a more detailed explanation.

At 8:30am, David & I met up with Joanne Cashman from Melbourne, Australia
– Joanne and I met on the
Facebook “Camigas” Forum in September 2015
– We are such Kindred Spirits.
She like me ……
– Loves the Camino!!
– Loves Walking, Talking, Helping Camino
– In “Melbourne” she gives Camino…
*Information Workshops
*One on One Support
*Brings People to the Camino
www.caminocommunityinmelbourne.com.au

We met at a wonderful place…..
San Martin Pinario
Hospedería Seminario Mayor
– Buffet Breakfast €6

We talked about our Camino joys, experiences and helping others.
– I mentioned that I like to go to the Cathedral Plaza to greet, welcome, take photos and guide newly arriving Pilgrims.
– She said, “Let’s do it now!!”
– Off we went to the Cathedral Plaza
– David went to rest his knee.

10am: at Cathedral Plaza
– My HAPPY place!!!
Pilgrims came in I/she offered to take their Photos, Asked Where they had Started their Camino, High Fived or Hugged, Helped go to Pilgrim Office, Relished in the Moment -Especially if the Pilgrim arrived without others.

In between greeting, meeting, photographing ….
“Randomly I got to see & take pictures with Pilgrims I had been Walking with” on & Off for days, weeks or since St Jean ….
– Marie: (30) Italy -Met in Santiago
– Mary & Jane: (60) Virginia
– Michel: (30) Italy
– Meron: (25) German
– Peter: (40) Poland
– Andrew & Sheila: (65) England
– Mel & Jane: (55) England
– Elizabeth, Nuria: (30) Documentary
– Maya: (45) Quebec
– Paul Llewelyn Franklin: (40) NZ

After about 3 hours; 10am to 1pm: at the Cathedral Plaza, I thought I would go buy some fruit, veggies and a Silver Ultriea Ring for me and David. Suggested by Narelle Ryan Vandermaat & Gerry Vandermaat, our 2015 Camino besties!!

I went to the same “Peregrino Store” I had bought my 15 Buffs at, last year.
– This year, I introduced myself to the owner and his daughter, gave them a card and told them I hope to see them, “En Mayo 2018.”

While in the store, I met a sweet couple my age, from South Africa.
– They looked more Pilgrim-ish than Tourist. I asked if they just finished Walking the Camino.
– The woman told me, a bit apologetically, they were going to start tomorrow from Sarria, as if that wasn’t “a real Pilgrim.”
– I reassured her & her husband that “Sarria to Santiago” is “NOT a Walk in the Park,” and that they are going to put in effort!!
– That “Sarria to Santiago” is a good taste for many, and a good start for others that then realize they will come back and do more at another time.
– I assured them that they will “EARN” their “Compostela” and they can be “PROUD” of it, as I am mine.

David and I went in search of a place to buy fruit, veggies, wine, snacks. -Difficult on Sundays, as only Cafes and Restaurants are open.
– As we were walking with a Santiago City Map in hand, we ran into Alka, (45) from Indian, and lives in San Diego, California.
– We had last seen each other, 15 days ago, in Burgo Ranero, in the kitchen at La Laguna Alberque.
– She was in the kitchen with Renata (35) from Hungry, while I was making my Camino Soup, and she was having an iPhone Cord Challenge.

We ended up finding a perfect little Tienda, with everything we wanted.

David decided he wanted to have his FAVORITE, Pimientos de Padrón and a cold Beer.
– As we were sitting in the outside Cafe in the Medieval part of Santiago, with streams of pedestrians walking by, up came Joop -Beaming!!!
-Mind you, ever since Joop Walked to Samos and attending the Mass in the AMAZING Benedictine Monastery and then arriving to Santiago. -He has been BEAMING!!
– Then to add this, he had another awesome “Camino Moment!! Camino Connection.” He was over the MOON!! He had to tell us!!
– His older brother had died in a small Town in Brazil. And today while in the Cathedral Plaza, he met a Priest from the same Brazilian “Village & Church” where is brother is laid to rest!!
– This Priest just “happened” to be in Santiago for these 2 days. He just “happened” to be in the Cathedral Plaza, when Joop was there. And they just “happened” to meet.
– Joop stood at our Cafe table glowing as he told as his experience and how he had called his mother in Holland to tell her.
– Minutes later, he was off with a cheerie, “Buen Camino”!!

Next up, appeared Australian Joanne Cashman from this morning, that we had seen a few times in passing during the day.
– She had a few stories to tell us of her day. She sat down, David still eating his Pimientos of Padrón and drinking his beer.
ALL so Santiago Camino Magical!!

Next we went back to our Hostal, for me to eat my Camino Vegetable & Mejillones (mussles) Soup and try to catch up on ALL my Daily Posts & Updates. No WIFI to send out, so that will have to wait.

5/22 Monday……We start to Walk to Finisterre (5) and Muxia (2)

5/30 Tuesday…….BUS to Santiago

5/31 Wednesday…….FLY to Nantes & Noirmoutier, France to visit Jean Marc and Colette, 2016 Camino friends.

6/8 Thursday……
FLY: Biarritz – Paris – San Francisco

Blessed r’We!!

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David Wrote:
It was nice to wake up today without having to pack our few belongings in our backpacks in preparation for leaving before 8AM.
– We did go to the Pilgrim’s Office to receive our Certificate of Completion.
– Cathy got the full completion documentation because she walked all the way from St Jean Pied de Port.
– Since I was unable to walk parts of it I got one stating that I walked from “Sarria to Santiago.”

After getting the Certificates we went to a Hotel that has a huge 6€ Breakfast Buffet.
– Cathy met an Australian woman from Melbourne there who she had become acquainted with through one of the Camino forums.
– They hit it off right away.
– After our breakfast I walked through the Cathedral while they stayed out in front Meeting and Greeting many Pilgrims who arrived.

Tomorrow Cathy starts walking to Finisterre, a 5 day journey for us.
– Some do it in 3 days, walking up to 35 Kilometers per day. That’s way too much for me:).
– I will taxi from town to town meeting Cathy at our stops for the night.


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.

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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.