Leaving Logroño heading to Nájera

Day 9

We had such a great day yesterday that today hit us kinda by surprise. We both feel miserable. I woke with a headache and had hoped it would just go away with coffee, which works sometimes, not this time. We must have been near the last to leave the city, which seemed to take forever.

Then on the outskirts of town we hit the path, which also happened to be the towns preferred walking path. It led out of the city, around the reservoir and to a huge park and an animal reserve called Granjera.

Here we were feeling bad and older women, arm in arm out for a morning stroll were passing us! We were trying, I don’t know what it was but we were awful slow.

After breaking to eat some olives and a banana we felt somewhat better. I started out in my sneakers because of the city streets, you really don’t need hiking boots. Then I tried to wear them again once we hit the real trail but they were seriously hurting my feet. So in the vain of striving for total honesty, my feet have swollen maybe 1 size bigger, my boots don’t really fit me any more. I get such pins and needles pain that I can only managed an hour or so. Then that’s it they have to come off, each step becomes agony.

Looking back at Logroño

We had a couple of big climbs today, Alto Grajera at 520m and Alto san Antón at 620m.

We actually got Nájera early, around 2 in the afternoon. We should have kept walking. The Brierley guide, that most everyone on the Camino uses has this at the top of the page. An overnight stop, but a short day is a good place to jump the page and start on the next.

We did not jump the page.

More to follow,

Until then be well.

Leaving Estella heading to Logroño

day 8

We met up with Aj last night. He got to the albergue 15 minutes after us! It was sooo nice, he plans to walk with us when we set out in the AM. He has made so many friends, from all over the world. I am sure some will be friends for life. That is sorta what the Camino is all about. You walk beside someone and before you know it you know their life story and they know yours. Or you just walk side by side and no words are spoken, but later you greet each other as a friend.

Aj has been saying for awhile that he is going to walk the Camino, then about 14 weeks ago now he said, hey just so you know, I bought my tickets. Oh man then it was a scramble because of course I wanted to go again, then I brought it up to Al, he felt the same way. So it all just came together and here we are. So with all that being said, we did not train, that much, not that you can really. Walking everyday, long walks with some hills maybe that would be good training. Al only did very little, me some Aj a lot. Another thing AJ said was He decided to walk the Camino from all that I had said about it in my earlier blog and things said at home. He told me I wasn’t really telling the whole story, I was candy coating what it was like.

Ok, so ladies and gentlemen take off the rose colored glasses I put on you. This is the real deal in my opinion.

The Camino is hard, you hurt, a lot, pretty much all over. It’s not just us older outta shape people. I have seen them all complaining, i have seen the taped toes and feet. I personally have a bad blister between two toes.Then two more on both of my insteps, from my orthotics rubbing. Those aren’t so bad. It gets to a point where you just have to keep putting your feet in front of the other, disregard the pins and needles you feel stabbing in your feet. The trail never seems to end, the road just goes on and on, and usually you got to go, with no place in sight.

I have been sending my backpack ahead because I can’t stand to carry it, my shoulder hurts so bad.

I don’t say any of this, because no one wants to listen to a montage of my aches and pains. I wasn’t trying to sugar coat it, I honestly disregard the bad stuff, I tend to just put it out of my head and carry on.

Again with all that being said, it’s my 2nd Camino, I came back for more. And to set the record straight, AJ is loving it!! Even with the blisters I know he has. I am pretty sure he is already planning his next Camino.

Take aways from all this, Yes the Camino is hard, it’s a test of endurance. Do you have to train, no, but you should. This is a marathon every day, day after day. But you can do it. Old or young, fit or not. We have a short time span to do the whole thing, 28 days, most do it in around 30-35. You could do it what ever works for you, maybe a week at a time. We met 3 ladies from Denmark who are doing that.

I loved walking with AJ yesterday, we had some deep conversations and some laughs, it was really nice! Another nice thing, yesterday I finally had tapas!

More to follow, until then be well!

Walking to Estella and the much longed for Fuente del vino

Day 7

We knew today would be another long day so we finally managed to leave early. The first time we walked the Camino we passed by the wine fountain in the dark. Newbie pilgrims. Now we know, wine fountain is locked until 8am, no rush, also the path splits a little to see the fountain. Take the fork to the left!

This is what you see when you make that turn. Vineyards and a monastery upon the hill. We made our way down and had to cross a road. It always seems weird to me, we are walking these dusty trails or on cobbled streets and when we turn a corner, cars, trucks and buses. We go from one century to another.

There was a metal Smith and his forge along side the trail. He had a lot of amazing art work that he created.

Finally the fountain. Some people had a little too much. You can take what you want, but in all honesty they are not giving away the best stuff. So a cup or so is really all you want.

I went into the wine museum to look for a rest room, there are no bathrooms on the Camino. If you are lucky you sometimes pass a bar just when the need arises, or you walk on or find a good spot. Sometimes a good spot is even hard to find, then it’s just oh well!

We pass so many beautiful places, today with most of the crops in its a stark beauty. Well we made it to our Albergue, got in kinda early even and started on our laundry.

We found a cafe, fortified ourselves with sangria and explored the town a bit.

The church in the village square. More to follow, until then be well

Leaving Puente La Reina heading to Estella

Day 6

A day without coffee is not a good day. We started our day off right with some café con leeche . Then we walked out of the town,

We walked over a bridge, Puente la Reina, meaning; bridge of the queen.

There were more clouds today and a light rain, nothing major in the forecast though. Past more vineyards and olive groves.

The terrain is much nicer, hills not mountains.

Its so strange to me that we see these places far off in the distance than more and more details as we get closer.

Sometimes there are newer houses and developments before we enter the older section, which in this case is another walled city.

With very narrow streets that go up and up, if a car comes you have to move fast.

This is a picture of Al and Jameem, a Korean girl we have walked with a few times on a segment of the old Roman road.

This road is over 2000 years old.

Lunch was paella and lemon beer, both were very good.

Later we grabbed some figs from a tree beside the trail, fresh figs are marvelous.

This is what their fields look like , more stones then Connecticut I think.

All of the doors here are incredible, it could almost be a contest, this is the winner today.

more to follow, until then be well. #pilgrim #doors #caminodesantiago

Leaving Pamplona

Day five
Staying in Pamplona was marvelous. I loved the albergue, 9e and washers are free to use, they even supply the detergent. How can you beat that!?

This is another one of those huge places, with dormitorios. We were in bunks side by side, no one above. 😀they were set in alcoves in groups of two, so our own little section we could spread all our stuff out in. So a good night. We bought wine, cheese, sausage, bread and some olives and ate in the plaza! Super nice. This is a picture of that plaza, oposite side had a cathedral. Very big.

Leaving the city we walked past the arena where bull fights are held. Then the campus of the University of Navarra. This is a picture of a way mark.


Getting out of the city we did manage to get a little turned around, Al says that, I say, are we lost? Again?!

But we did stumble across some cool sights.


Then the suburbs, not much to say. Then we hit the path which is rocky. This is looking back

I didn’t think we would see water this high but we did, so I had a little soak

The constant walking has been taking a toll on me.

We are getting close to the top of another mountain 2,590ft or 790km.

This is called the monument to pilgrims. You may notice, one of these pilgrims does not look like the others! 🤔

Coming down not so fun, big boulders and rocks plus a steep decline.

After a long day the path seems endless.

But finally we have arrived at our albergue

More to follow, until then, be well.#camino#pamplona#pilgrims

Out of Zubiri

Day four

We stayed at at a pretty nice place last night we stayed in Zubiri. It was only 10 euros and the woman there washed and dried 3 days worth of clothes for us for 6 euros more. Which was fantastic! The last time we were here the whole town was so crowded we ended up on mattresses on the towns gym floor!

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We had a good start, walking by the Arga. The Arga is a river that paralleled our path. We had a little road walking in the beginning. We had only two big hills to deal with. Some with steep declines. We are still slowly coming down.

I want to live in this house . Just throwing that out there

looks like I’m entering the secret garden

The day was mostly good until we hit the city streets, i hate walking on cement.

We could have crossed this bridge into the city but choose the alternate route which went through the park, and of course got lost.

We eventually found a way- marker. Way-markers are yellow arrow pointing the way, sometimes they are in tricky places or so slight you miss them. In the city they are metallic clam shells imbedded in the sidewalk.

Pamplona is a vibrant city. we had to walk right through the newer city that surrounds the older walled city.

This is the actual wall that surrounds the city! I just find that so incredible. These people live in a medieval city and walk on cobbled streets every day!! Next we cross the drawbridge and go over to get into the old city.

Inside the ramparts

then a quick march to our albergue.

more to follow, until then

Be well

#pamplona #caminofrances

Out of Roncesvallesu

Day three

We left late this morning hungry and in need of coffee.

This is the inner courtyard at the monastery.

It’s another beautiful day but we are still a little sore and weak from yesterday. I kinda hurt everywhere and some places are worse than others.

This sign is outside the monastery, we still have a long way to go. I wished I could say it was an easy day but it wasn’t, there were still many ups and downs.

They were many pretty places that we walked through also .

I am not sure what was going on in my head, but I was ready to just quit today. We did our usual morning routine, we talked we prayed and I felt a little better. This is not like other vacations, we are not busy doing stuff, going from place to place trying to fit it all in, we are just walking, usually side by side. It’s nice. Our lives are so busy and complicated. I work the opposite shift from Al, and I work every weekend, so this is a blessing to have this time together.

We were getting passed a lot today while walking, taking lots of little breaks. At lunch we stopped for a much longer time, met up with a few people we had run into along the way. That was what finally lifted the black cloud over my head. It also could have been the hot food and coffee. 😁

The trail got rough again after that, steep declines, and rocky, we are still essentially making our way down from all the altitude we gained yesterday. It was like walking through a gorge over slabs of rocks and loose stones. At a few places I thought, We can’t get by this, it was too narrow or steep, mostly both, but we did eventually get down.

We walked almost 20 miles today, but it felt way more then that. We got in late, had a so so dinner but sat with a couple from Ireland, I could have listened to their voices all night.

Sometimes it’s not the food you eat but who you are sitting with that makes the meal. Well it’s late, I will leave it at that.

More to follow, until then be well.

#Pyrenees, #camino

Out of St. Jean and onto the. Pyrenees

Day two.

St. Jean Pied de Port is a beautiful town with medieval cobbled streets.I have only seen it in the dark. Twice now we have stayed here, slipping in and out in the twilight to begin our walk. Pied-de-Port means ‘foot of the pass’ in Pyrenean French. Some people starting the Camino chose to start their walk in Roncesvalles and miss the hike over the Pyrenees. Not foolish us.

Leaving town we walked through the gate of Saint James.

Then there are two choices to make when you leave town, the easier way, the Valcarlos Route, which is used a lot in bad weather or the much more difficult route, the Route de Napoleon, which travels over the Pass of Roncesvalles. This is what we did last time and it’s supposed to be a beautiful day but It is arduous! It winds up for 20km and then steeply down for 5km.

It was drizzling when we left town, I had on rain gear Al choose just a jacket. The beginning not so bad, but we made some mistakes, Al made a big one, he did not fill his water bladder. Which was serious! No matter what, always carry water, even if you don’t think you will need it, someone else may. Which we did. I filled up my bottle, which we were sharing.

Our first glimpse of the Pyrenees, which is a range of mountains separating Spain and France.

We are slowly getting closer and haven’t yet realized the danger we have set ourselves up for.

Yes, we will be crossing these mountains. As we get higher the views get more and more impressive. We will reach the Col de Lepoeder at 1,450m.

In the pastures are many animals, they seem to all free range together. We walked through herds of sheep, horses and cows.

We emptied my water by now and we had the opportunity to fill it up again, we could have filled Als container, but we did not. Big mistake!

We tried to ration our water and when we were down to just half bottle just Al was drinking it because he was in dire straits.

The road winds around, you think this is it, around the corner is the top, nope another hill to climb.

We decide after another rest, Al is going to rest longer and I am going to go ahead to get water at the fountain after the peak. But that was also farther than we thought.

I asked other pilgrims if any had spare water and a generous person gave me half a bottle. I hurried on knowing this wasn’t enough for Al, it barely slacked my thirst. There was a food truck there selling things and as I had no money another generous person paid for two bottles for me.

I dropped my pack there and hurried back to Al. He thought he wasn’t going to make it but I arrived and he drank one bottle down. He felt he could now walk so I carried his pack and we reached the summit.

We shared the second bottle of water because it turns out the fountain was still 3km’s ahead.

I had to drop my pack a couple more times and run back and then carry his until we finally made it to the fountain. He didn’t feel better until he drank 3 more bottles of water. I think we were both dehydrated.

Going down wasn’t that much easier, we were both running on empty. I was hurting all over and could feel the blisters forming on my feet.

Finally we arrive.

The monastery at Roncesvalles, where we are assigned beds 117 & 119.

More to follow,

Until then,

Be well.

Our 2nd Camino Adventure

Our 2nd Caminó Adventure

Day One

Well saying what a day doesn’t even cover it. We started out on an Asian bus from Mohegan Sun to Flushing NY in the wee hours of Saturday. First I need to mention that I worked Friday into Saturday at Mohegan sun myself. Instead of slipping into bed when I got home, I woke Allen up. We wanted to be out the door by 3 am and we still had some things to do. The bus left at 4:30. I have a co-worker who has taken these buses before and said be early, the buses leave right on the dot. I was told the bus would take a few hours from Norwich to JFK. Well we made it to New York in less then Two! Our driver drove like he was being chased. I am not sure why we were asked to sit in the very back of the bus, it could have been the huge back packs, but I don’t know. We were thrown around and bounced so much sleep was not an option. I almost bit threw my lip and was air born more then once. It was crazy! But we made it to New York!

We were dropped off on Main St. in Flushing in the pre-dawn darkness. We really didn’t know where to go but the bus driver said the subway is right around the corner. We’ll not really. We just kept walking down Main Street to where we could see more lights and people. There were a surprising number of people out at 6 am on a Saturday. We did find the subway and got some help and a map. Some how we still managed to get off on the wrong stop. I like mass transit mostly and we got to JFK pretty quick. Down side is our plane doesn’t leave till 6pm. We talked about walking around the city, we don’t get to New York that much but I was tired and we had the huge packs strapped to our backs.

Well sleeping at the airport not so good. I think they purposely design the chairs so you can’t sleep in them. And it was so dang bright in there. We were pretty much the only people in our terminal for quite awhile. We watched flight after flight leave, finally ours was called.

We landed in Paris at dawn of another day. Beautiful, but no time to enjoy the sunrise we had to run to catch our bus to the train station. Bus was in whole other terminal, Paris CDG is huge, really really huge. Buses supposedly run every half hour to the train station which is an hour away. Normally. Why is there a rush hour and so much traffic on a Sunday I don’t know. Well I won’t drag it out, we missed our train. Al knew the times were kinda tight but thought we could make it. We only just missed it too! Which was awful. Also awful, only two trains a day run to where we want to go. We missed the morning one, next train, 6 PM!#@#&~!

Several hours in Paris you think, not so bad right? Well we were both pretty tired, we still walked around a bit, we were a little afraid to stray to far away from train station. We got a sandwich and some water, back to train station. Which was also huge and jammed packed with travelers, no seats anywhere. People sitting on floors and luggage. We roamed around a lot, do you know they charge a fee to use the rest room, almost a whole euro. It’s actually someone’s job to sit inside the restroom and make change for people, crazy. I eventually found a seat and Al had to stand nearby until another one opened up. Not fun.

Now we are sitting on the train, couldn’t get seats next to each other, which I hate. Al, knowing there’s a chance we might miss train got insurance on tickets. Oh, that’s not how it works we we’re told! What? Excuse me? What is the insurance for? Well I don’t know, Says the ticket agent, I just know you have to buy new tickets! She says we will have to take it up with online service, hmm I am still hoping for a refund.

Several hours later, one train transfer and we finally arrive at St. Jean Pied de Port.

The people at the pilgrim office are beyond nice. They volunteer to man the office until the last train comes in. They also help you find a bed if you haven’t booked ahead, which we didn’t. 10 euros a piece, we get a bed, hot shower and breakfast in the morning!

Our first sello in our pilgrim passport!

Now off to bed,

more to follow,

until then, be well