Porto Portugal

Porto is a beautiful place, a mix of old and new. There is lots of revitalizing going on, construction projects everywhere. This city has a lot in common with San Francisco in the U.S. There are lots of steep hills, beautiful bridges, tram cars, and houses seemingly on top of houses. We have a few days here so plenty of time to explore.

What I notice first are the tiles, they are everywhere, on most of the buildings and all different. Some are actually made into murals.

We happened to go into the train station. What a surprise, it was incredible. It is the São Bento Railway station.

The 1st tiles were placed in 1905, there are 20,000 azulejo tiles by Jorge Colaco in the vestibule. I will put a link about this at the end of this post.

We were pretty awestruck, it was amazing!

We got a tickets for the hop on hop off bus. The city is big and the bus also goes across the river into Gaia. Both are known for Port wine and sandy beaches. We checked both out.

The bridge uses both levels for traffic. We walked back on the lower level. I just couldn’t do the top, I think it was enough that I walked across it at all.

We try local food and of course the Port wine. Both fantastic!

The next day I want to go back to the beach so we jump on the bus again. I really liked these trees, nothing said what kind they are. It is a beautiful day and we really enjoyed walking around. Well I did, Al grabs a bench when ever he can, that foot is going to have to be looked at.

I think it is so cool that we are at the other side of the Atlantic.

These are from the 1st time we went to the beach, limpet shells, sea glass, a cool piece of tile and other bits and pieces. Al reminds me I still have to carry everything I pick up. I have 2 rocks in my backpack already from the Camino.

We walk along the beach back to the next bus stop. We decide to walk out here also. It really is lovely.

The sun is setting on our last night in Porto.

Thank you all for following along with us, thanks also for your prayers and encouragement. We are both missing home and looking forward to being back with our family again.

Until next time, be well

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/S%C3%A3o_Bento_railway_station

In Santiago Spain

After the walking is done

AJ and Allen hogged the bathroom and each took baths. I found another book and then fell asleep. AJ said that I am probably the only person on the Camino who read the book that they brought. Then I read another and another. You can always find time to read in my opinion. I did ask people if they had brought a book besides a guidebook on the Camino and if so, what was it. The responses were mostly no, but some yes, Bibles and journals a lot. AJ brought 2 books, one about mushrooms and one of poetry. I brought a book by Janet Evanovich, something fun. When I finished that I left it at an Albergue and took one someone else left.

When I woke up I found that Al and AJ were both sleeping. It is still raining, so I let them continue to rest. We had decided to take a rest day but we needed food. They wake up and we head out to find a grocery store.

We pick up stuff for sandwiches, a bunch of snacks, wine for me and beer for them. AJ then made us the best Dagwood sandwiches!

The rain has let up and some of the people AJ met along the way have arrived in Santiago. We go to the cathedral and attend mass.

It is still blustery!

It continues to rain on and off so we head back to our hotel. Also Al’s foot continues to plague him, so we make it an early night.

The Cathedral Square is the place to go to meet up with other pilgrims. After breakfast the next day we head there.

I take a lot of pictures of doors. There’s just something I love about them.

At noon there is a special pilgrims mass at the Cathedral, we go to that one also. This is where they swing the botafumeiro, it’s a huge incense burner that takes several guys to swing. I have included a link below. We have been to different churches but the experience here was different. There are tourists wandering around during service. There’s confessions going on to the side, it’s a beautiful place but no pictures allowed, but cameras and phones everywhere, it is a show. The people who call this church home must put it out of their heads, I would find it hard, it just seems disrespectful to me. I also film a little of the ceremony when they swing the incense burner, that’s the only part you are really allowed to, not sure why. There was a children’s choir singing, that was beautiful!

We really didn’t do much in Santiago, wandered around for a bit and more resting our feet.

The sky was gorgeous tonight!

Tomorrow we have to hop on a train and then a bus to Portugal. Travel within Europe is very inexpensive. It will be only 13e for a train ticket out of Spain, it will take a couple of hours and the scenery along the coast we hear is just beautiful.

https://vivecamino.com/en/the-pilgrimage/pilgrim-mass/

I hope that there will be more to follow, until then, be well

Day 27, Santiago bound

Less then 20 kms to go until we walk into Santiago! We were really hoping the rain would just stay away a bit. A woman explained to us that last year they had a drought in Spain. She also thinks we all crazy to be walking when it rains everyday. We walk out of town and into a eucalyptus grove.

AJ has been walking with us now for 3 days. A lesson for him in patience I am sure. He has been great about it.

You have probably all figured out by now that I like plants, rocks and trees, it is fascinating to me that they are still growing things, these look like young plants to me. There are also fruit and nut trees everywhere. I picked a couple of figs yesterday. Lots of orchards where the fruit just seems to be on the ground. Not sure why.

Me investigating a mushroom.

Well the rain started again. It is a very cold rain.

I normally have no sense of smell, but recently since the medicine in Leon I started smelling things. I tried to smell one of these trees but it is the leaves that smell of eucalyptus. I may have been a little annoying trying to guess what’s that smell for the last few days . 😁

10 kms to go! They are not easy or fun to walk, but grueling long and hard.

Walking into the outskirts of Santiago, up hill, of course, I just want to get there. We have a snack while walking, an orange for Al and I eat a power bar. We normally walk all day, leaving around 8, stopping for a quick coffee, then lunch around 1, if there is a place. Today, just coffee and a snack. We had no real break. Our plan was to make it to town, stay at a nicer place, get a real room that has a bathtub! So we finally make it, wet and cold to the bone, AJ can’t stop shivering. We want to get to wherever we are sleeping, take showers, get dry and then go to pilgrim office. Everything sold out! No! So we order lunch, which is good but takes way to long. We call more places, nothing. AJ really did not want an Albergue, but he wants warm and dry more. So we settle on a place close by and check in.

If you can imagine, the rain is worse, it’s like a monsoon out there. Everyone’s umbrella is bent backwards. It’s all so anticlimactic, we are happy to be here and done, but we also just want it behind us.

We are again soaked to the skin. It is still a couple of kms to the pilgrim office to complete our Camino and get our Compostelas.

This is Al’s Compostela and then a pilgrim passport.

The passport is a little booklet that had places for stamps. Every Albergue at night would stamp our pilgrim passports and make sure we had real ones s well. We could also get a stamp at churches or some restaurants and bars. The back side is all stamped up also.

So I will probably blog a few more times until we go home, maybe do a follow up I am not sure yet.

Do any of you have any questions?

More to follow, until then be well.

Day 26, almost to Santiago

We left Arzúa which was a pretty big city and hope to make it to Pedrouzo. It took some time getting out of the bigger town. Also it is seriously raining today. We are in a conga line again today. Groups of people passing us, lots of Bien Camino!! Everyone in rain gear. 5th day of rain so far, but tomorrow, we reach Santiago.

I have really enjoyed this walk, Al and I have had time for some serious conversations. Aj and I as well. I have loved hearing them behind me, snatches of conversations, bits and pieces of arguments over silly stuff, Tv shows or music. Lots of singing. Trying to remember songs, which reminds me. Aj asked me awhile ago why I say, “until then, be well”? Well thats kind of a long story. We sing a lot of hymns at our church, Preston City Bible Church. Our pastor, David Roselund likes to tell us the story behind some of the songs we sing. This one, It is Well With My Soul, by Horatio_Spafford has always resonated with me. The man who wrote it had a family, prosperous business, everything he wanted. Then one by one, he loses it. Through it all he was able to maintain, no matter what, it is well with him. So when I am saying, “until then be well”, I know we all are on different walks, doing different things, some of you I have never even met.

I have had a difficult year, lots of things, I was laid off from a job where I had been happily employed for 31 years. I felt a little worthless for a bit. I found out two of my younger children were dealing with drug addiction. One of my daughters nearly died from an overdose. She wasn’t breathing when the EMTs got there, after 3 doses of Narcam, she revived. Almost lost her. Another daughter had a difficult pregnancy and her son who was born 5 months ago still hasn’t left the hospital due to a birth defect that affects his heart. We all have stuff, burdens we quietly bear. We get beat up some times by life, scars on the inside where no one can see, same as me, but through it all, It is well with me and I hope and pray that until we get together again via this blog, it is well with you also. So that’s the story with that. 🙂

I think this is so lovely!

Notice the happy faces! We were miserable!

Now he is smiling now, 25 km to go.

Everyone thought AJ was a little crazy with the shorts. The rain was frigid, but once you’re soaked it just didn’t matter anymore. One day I wore two layers thinking it would help, no, I’m afraid not. It felt like I had lead weights on my legs.

Around 2 something we were just starved. We stopped at this road side place and thought we would just get something to warm us up because we were just so tired and worn out. It turned out there was a special and everyone just got that, kinda wether you wanted it or not. So the waiter asks us, 3 for lunch? Yes 3. There’s a bottle of house wine, we have that. Then 3 beers from the tap. and bread, a whole urn of bean soup. Then salad with tomato’s and thin onions drizzled with olive oil. Then a platter of slices of beef over a mound of fried potatoes! Then dessert. He also comes around with this big silver pot of black coffee and then some kind of liquor poured into that!!! We had to say no to that. All of this, 10e a piece! You just can’t beat that! And our waiter was so nice! We left there replete! Walking on air, but also a little like we just had a thanksgiving meal! Nap time! Man we felt good but ready to just lie down, and it’s pouring! Really drenching cold rain.

We finally make it to a town, decide we have had enough, only 20 kms today. We have to back track to find and Albergue. The 1st two we try are both full. One of the places was willing to call around for us to find us a place. Cereal for dinner again but our lunch was just so fantastic it was fine. When I pulled my rain coat off, puddles of water in my sleeve. Just horrible. Then warm showers, I made some tea, we ate our cereal and pretty much that was it.

I’ve included some links for hymn.

More to follow, until then, Be well!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zY5o9mP22V0&feature=share

http://www.staugustine.com/article/20141016/LIFESTYLE/310169936?template=ampart

Today we hit the 25th day of walking the Camino

Leaving Casanova walking to Arzúa

We decided to eat breakfast together before AJ set out. We had a great dinner at the Bar last night. As we get closer to the coast the menú is changing. More seafood. Aj had Orejade cerdo, pigs ear. He has tried all sorts of stuff. I played it safe with paella and then chicken. We have these marvelous dinners, I think I may have mentioned it before, the pilgrims menu. There are always 3 courses and a jug of wine. The last few places we have had fantastic home cooked meals. Homemade wines and desserts. Last night I had made a piece of Santiago cake, and the husband tells us his wife makes this herself, he then poured wine over it as he served it. I already loved it, now over the moon about it! Everyone, truly, well I would have to rethink that, there have been a few people who could have been a little nicer, but I want my rose colored glasses on, everyone has been so nice, treated us so well, it just makes your day when someone is kind to you. Maybe it’s the language barrier thing, they are certainly trying to give us what we want even if they don’t know what that is. Last night while we were at dinner, the woman from the albergue did are laundry so we could go eat earlier. We were tired, wet and hungry, she said just go. We came back, all done. AJ said, he felt rejuvenated just having clothes that didn’t smell. Also he decided to walk with us again, the rest of the way, into Santiago!! Made my day!

Well it’s still raining. Not really bad, but I am starting to really hate my raincoat. You either hot and sweaty or cold and clammy. The sun is trying to come out. Al takes off his rain poncho, and of course it pours, really rains, by the time we get him back into it, he is drenched.

Then, hello Dolly, finally the rainbow i have been looking for

I just love all the plants here, no idea about this one. We talk about them, especially the forests and groves of trees. I want to find out why are there groves of this tree or that?

Are they wind breaks? For paper? Housing? They are beautiful, maybe just for that, I don’t know. Finally a town, which means a break. First we have to find a place, which is sometimes not that easy. We follow the Camino, the arrows, way marks, if it’s not on the caminó, we walk right by. We do find a place, that has kiwis growing on a trellis. I am all agog and have to find the person who owns it and ask questions. He says they won’t really be ripe until December, then they pick and preserve them. It was a great place. They also bottle their own liquor, with herbs. AJ has seen this a few times. A first for us, very nice. AJ bought us lunch, which wasn’t fancy but it was good and just what we needed. I think we walked a bit faster after that. Aches and pains seemed to be gone, could have been that herb liquor. We continued on. Some towns we go through are older, very small. The bigger towns have the outskirts 1st, which are sometimes a mix, always up a hill, then the newer then and always the really old and churches, lots of stone churches.

.

We are down to the last 50km If AJ had left us and walked on, he would be walking into Santiago tomorrow. He has literally walked across Spain in 22 days! 780 kms!!!No taxis or buses for him. I have really enjoyed this time with him. He is a man now, 26 years old and he is such a great person. I know I am his mom but seriously he is. One night a couple of weeks ago when we met up, there was a woman eating alone, we had already started but he invited this stranger to eat with us. She was Hungarian and didn’t speak any English. She joins us, gets out her phone to translate and tries to apologize for not speaking our language. AJ says no apologies needed, you speak better English then we speak Hungarian. Then he made her feel welcome and we enjoyed the rest of our meal together. The sun has been in and out most of the day, but only light rain here and there.

We walk until almost 5, we didn’t get as far as we wanted but decide to stop in Arzúa.

more to follow, until then be well

Day 24 of walking our 2nd Camino de Santiago!

We started out of Gonzar in the woods and past that place we ate at last night. We are trying for Casanova, about 22kms.I love rocks and these stone walls are a work of art! These are incredible, 2 feet thick, right in the middle of the woods. And Yes, it is still raining! More on and off at the moment.

Most mornings we get up at 6:30, get dressed in the semi dark and out the door by 8. Sometimes someone will turn the lights on around 7. With less people they aren’t pushing us out the door like they were before. I have seen the people shaking pilgrims up, then literally stand by the bed and say, you have 15 minutes to leave. Harsh. Last several places, no one is even there at night, in the morning we shut off the lights and let ourselves out. But anyway, where I’m going with this is we leave on an empty stomach, and walk. At a coffee stop there are sheep.

We are getting there, well under a 100km to go.

The road gets tedious, I don’t mind the trips into the woods once in awhile.

This cow looked a little down to me.

Started raining again. We had to take another break to warm up, toast, the ultimate comfort food. A lot of the places we pass say artist here. This coffee stop had an artist

We are trying to walk more because it is getting crowded again. Lots of people just do the last 100kms of the Camino. That’s the minimum requirement to get a Compostela, a certifícate saying you have walked the Camino. Also AJ, our son is very close to catching up again and we may see him tonight.

Off the road again and hopefully the last stretch of woods tonight.

We get pretty scared here because a pack of dogs cross our path. First we see a group of dogs go by. I immediately stop, I wait for Al to catch up, now a few more go by. We wait, just about ready to continue, several more go by, all kinds of dogs, big and small. Finally we think it’s safe, Al picks up a big stick, 2 more dogs go by. I don’t know which way to go, I’m thinking let’s go back. Al wants to continue on, we quickly and as quietly as possible walk by, and see all the dogs, sitting in the woods. No idea what was going on but we were moving pretty fast by then. Maybe 5 more minutes we found our Albergue!

Half an hour after that, AJ arrived. We all ate a fantastic meal together, it was perfect!

More to follow, until then be well.

Day 23

Leaving Sarria in the rain we are making for Portomarín, a pretty big town. I think today is day 3 of rain. By far the worst for us because we were in the woods a lot on steep terrain. The rain tears through the woods making the path a riverbed. As much as we try to stay to the side, sometimes that’s impossible, we are in moving water.

I didn’t get a lot of pictures earlier today because my camera/phone wouldn’t allow me to, fingers too cold or the lens was all fogged up from my pocket.

We stopped around lunchtime at this place that had a pellet stove running. We probably over stayed our welcome. We were wringing the water out of our jacket sleeves. We have rain ponchos, as you can see, but the movement of your arm has the water flowing right down to our elbows.

Every thing is certainly green here. There has been a lot of improvements to the Camino since last we walked on it. Paths are wider and more stone, gravel and cement.

I just love these little churches. Dolly Parton said once, “if you want the rainbows 🌈, you gotta put up with the rain”. Well I looked all day for one, still waiting.

Finally, close to the end of our day, clearing.

We had to cross this massive two lane bridge. Which had an itty bitty rail.

The rail on the inside, up to our knees, the outside one, insubstantial in my opinion. I was terrified! Held Al’s hand the whole time, which was a long time. His poncho kept blowing in my face, I was essentially blinded at times. Awful. This used to be a river that has been dammed up to make the Belesar reservoir. I can take a picture once we reach solid ground.

So we made it into Portomarín. This staircase is part of the original medieval bridge across the river Miño.

The wind is blowing the clouds away we decide to walk to the next town, another 7.7km.

I liked this garden wall. Very impressive.

We did make it in to Gonzar, the weather did not cooperate, we also had a hill to deal with. The wind was very fierce. All and all, it was an ok day. I wouldn’t mind some sun. We so appreciate when we get in at night, this place, no WiFi, no kitchen, but water, nice and hot. We were two out of four in the whole Albergue. The main problem was no food. The lady at the desk told us just one km up the hill is a restaurant. Oh! It’s also an Albergue and has WiFi. Well that would have been nice to know. We walked up, ate then walked back in the pitch black . The worst part was, first thing in the morning, we walked right past again!

More to follow, until then be well!