Category Archives: Camino de Santiago

Teeny Tiny House

The Lord of the Rings village house

The Lord of the Rings village house

Should I Stay or Should I Go Now?

June 25, 2014

We walked until 10:30 am. We stopped in Ligonde at a donativo ( Fuentes del Peregrino) and we decided to stay there for the night all because the hosts gave us a hug. Yup…we needed a hug after having spent yet another night having a dispute about leaving the window open. If you don’t want to sleep by the window and plan on closing it at night for fear of getting sick, then do everyone the favor by selecting a different bed placement. Ahhh!
This one window thing in the bottom of a remodeled cellar that holds 35 people along with showers that have no outlet for the water condensation and thus the smell of mold permeates the room, is apparently the norm. I don’t understand. The owners of these private albergues spend lots of money remodeling and yet don’t include more windows and a good ventilation system that will accommodate mass amounts of people.

Anyway, we had a great time at the donativo. Even though we had to wait till 1:30 to check in, we knew that we had to stay here. If you ever wondered what it would be like to sleep one of those cute little hobbits’ homes, I can tell you that it was way cool. Everything you imagine it would be and have seen in The Lord of the Ring movies.

The donativo is owned by Campus Crusaders- or- Agape- I was slightly apprehensive for two reasons: the hosts who were volunteering for the week were all French (flashback of French Banshee woman went through my mind) and I also know from previous conversations from my mission days with this organization, they believe my religion to be a cult and that we are not Christian. They also actively and openly proselytize against us. Mmmm…will we be kicked out if this comes to light I wondered. But they hugged us and we felt impressed to stay here and so we did.

We had a blast with this group of young 20 yr olds as we all slept right next to each other in beds that were pushed so close together, it was like one big slumber party, complete with jumping on the beds and having a pillow fight (I was the casual bystander). My faith in Camino humanity was restored. We laughed, talked, joked and just clicked. They were from Canada- but they are from Quebec which is like a country in of itself as the first language is French and then English. The other members of this walking party came from France, Spain and Croatia. We spoke in English and had a grand time communicating thoughts and ideas. We talked about religion too. The one guy said, “You know, when they floated Jesus’s head on the water.” We all looked at him and through our communication skills, learned that he meant baptism, but didn’t know the English word for the action. We had a great laugh. Later that night, we all shared a meal (8:15 pm was when they feed us dinner after the organization had us first attend a devotional/ fellowship) with a group of 42 young adults who came from Ireland to walk the Sarria – Santiago portion of the Camino. They all belonged to the religious group and were camping along the way. Afterwards, the Irish entertained us with singing. It was a great time for Abby to hang around young adults her age from other cultures and hear and compare life stories. Abby also has decided that we need to bring home the cute Irish guitar player/ singer/ studying Bio- medical science, to serenade her to sleep each night.

And too soon, our relaxing, enjoyable evening came to a close. In the early morning hour, we all headed out. They to walk the 34km distance and Abby and I to walk our 11 km. And that is the way the Camino is. Bond quickly with an individual or a group by sharing time and a meal together and then moving on. It is never a ” Good-bye” parting of ways, but a “See ya later alligator” type. We will meet again…someday.


What is the Objective?

Teeny- tiny roadside place

Teeny- tiny roadside place

Wouldn’t It Be Nice?

June 24, 2014

Perhaps Abby and I are not normal. Maybe we are too nice. Perhaps we are too considerate. Something I have been contemplating these past three days. The Camino has changed. The type of people we are encountering are different. They are still people, but the attitude is one of selfish entitlement. For example, if people are sleeping in the bed area and it is early in the day, Abby and I would be quiet and respectful along with other people. Now, no one is respectful. Talking in a loud voice. Playing around. Moving others ( ours) property because they decided that their pack needed that space. Just very rude behavior.

Abby and I were asleep when a group of older French people came in yelling, making noise. Moving our stuff out of our area, placing it on the floor while they unpacked their things and spread them all out. Totally ignoring our gestures and words of protest.
And then we were given the display of old French men underware ( looks just like you would imagine) and then off came the underware and I am once again horrified to find myself face to crotch level of old French men twigs and nuts. Ahhhhh! And yes, it looks just like you would imagine. I am not talking about Burt Reynolds in his Playboy spread look either. Imagine an old Billy Goat…now you can be horrified too.

Oh…but wait…let’s all talk loud and yell and go on and on with no consideration for others sleeping. But, when it is time for them to nap, the look of indignation on their face…well French Banshee woman came back from the past to haunt me!

Like I told Abby, “perhaps there is a lesson we are supposed to learn, after-all these situations continue to repeat. Rude people who lack common sense and the need to drop their underware in front of us. Mmmm…what could the lesson(s) be?

Love one another? Be of good cheer? Give peace a chance? Whatever, we will continue to enjoy the help of others and focus on these acts of kindness instead of the rudeness.

A random act of kindness by a Spanish woman came our way today. We were looking for a place to stay, but they were booked up. We figured we would walk on to the other town about 5 miles away, but there are only two albergues in the town and we didn’t want to risk finding out that they too were all booked up. This woman heard us ask the one Albergue host if they could call for us and she said no. The woman said she would call and she found us a place. Yay! How nice was that?

We have also figured out that instead of booking ahead, we should probably utilize the municipal albergues as they will not accept reservations and our chances of getting a bed if we arrive early enough, will be better than going to the private ones that are being filled up with large groups of people traveling together.

Onward we go. Another 83km to go before hitting Santiago.


Those Darn Rocks!

100km from Santiago

100km from Santiago

Guided By the Spirit

June 23, 2014

This morning we prayed to find an Albergue to stay at. We understand that on this part of the Camino, beds are at a premium. People are reserving via the phone. We font have a phone. Come to find out ( and this is how we were able to get our two beds that night in Sarria when they were full) people are reserving beds at the private places, then when they come to town they go to see if the municipal ( less expensive) has openings. If they do, then they cancel their reservations at the private one. Sometimes the people call to cancel, or as in our case, they didn’t and the owner called them and found out they weren’t coming that night.
This can and will make it difficult for us.

We walked through the most beautiful scenery ever. This is the place I could live at. The stone homes with slate roofs are large farms with green pastures and gardens that are encased with rock walls that have moss and clovers and wild flowers growing out of them. We saw plenty of slate roofs covered with clover and moss.
When you see pictures of European countrysides, this is the place you see in the magazines. We walk through hamlets, not villages. The livestock smell permeates the air. Cows have deposited major explosions all along the trail/road. You can’t call them ” cow pies” as these cows are not making pies. More like “poop spray.”

The number of pilgrims has greatly increased. The attitude is about one self. People walking with cell phones pressed against their head having loud conversations. The smell of perfume and cologne about knocks me over as hikers rush past me. Loud groups of people. Families walking together. Youth organizations traveling in herds. Just not the same.

We reached our one destination only to find out that the place was filled. We walked to the next place, and that too was booked up. All by 10 am. People had reserved the rooms in advance. The one place we stopped at just opened last week. Very new. Super clean. The owners have done the Camino and decided to open a place. They opened the bar/ cafe last year and this year they have completed one room with 6 beds (primo bunk beds each one with their own charger station), showers, bathroom and a great gathering place outside. Casa Do Rego is the name of the place just before Mercadoiro. But, the owner called ahead for us to another Albergue and was able to get us reserved.
We were disappointed with not being able to stay at either of the two previous sites, but Abby said, “there is probably a reason why we weren’t able to stay there. Never know.”

As we were walking a very rocky dark part of the trail due to the over- hanging trees, we found out why we were meant to walk on. A man was laying in the middle of the trail with several people around him. I moved past to assess the situation. Abby stopped right in the thick of the group. People were talking in Spanish, German, Italian and French. I picked out some words. Looked at the man to see if he was having a stroke, heart attack…then I saw his arm. Broken at the wrist. Should have been compound the way it was broken, but no skin was broken. Just a very nasty break (he had tripped over a rock and his arm fell onto another rock when he went down). Well people were on the phone to the emergency number and it became apparent that he was going to have to walk out. People were in a frenzy. They didn’t know what to do at that point. Abby took control of the situation and told the people to wait. I broke a tree limb off, gave Abby the stick. She showed people that she needed something to wrap around his arm with. Someone found gauze/ Ace type bandage. Abby wrapped the stick to his arm. I was going to give him Ibprofine for the swelling, but he indicated that he had a heart problem and was taking meds for it. A woman, gave him her scarf and Abby and a Spainsh woman created a sling to keep it elevated and mobilize the arm. Then Abby picked up his pack and along with hers, walked with him. The Spanish couple kept beside him and the four of them went down the trail.

The ambulance took almost an hour to come. We all made it to the one and only Albergue ( the one that Abby and I had been able to reserve a room at). The medics were impressed with Abby’s skills. The French man was extremely grateful. The little international group all felt good with the outcome.

Our a First Aid training was finally able to be put into practice. Lesson learned, keep those First Aid skills fresh. Be prepared. And don’t be afraid to step in and take charge of the situation.

We will continue to allow the Spirit to guide us.



Stop and Smell the Roses


Clouds Look Like Cotton Candy


June 22, 2014


If taking it slow means staying in nice places like this farm I’m all for it!
We are staying in Barbadelo. We walked a whole 3.5 miles…didn’t feel like that many miles-felt like 1 mile. Our legs and booty are firm from climbing the mountains and hills. Our backpacks fit well. Our feet are strong ( yes…even my left one). We had to climb up a steep hill…no big deal after the ones we have conquered before, but for others who have just started their walk to Santiago from Sarria, it was a struggle for them.


I, of course was a huge sweat bucket, but that is the norm.


Last night’s experience at the Albergue was a complete new one for us. In all the ones we have stayed at, there is a 10 pm curfew and in the morning time a couple of people will start to make noise at 4 am and the majority of the people leave around 6:30.
Not at this place. The two women who shared the room with me came in from dancing at around 12 am. Lots of “kids” who stayed up till 1 am playing games, drinking beer and talking real loud right outside my door. I could care less. I’m used to noise. I’m a kinder teacher and I can sleep through anything (not that I sleep in my classroom when I’m teaching).


Well, I think I was snoring too loud, because sometime around 3 am the women both were rustling in their packs. I think it was for their earplugs. But they were snoring too!


In the morning, I woke up at 5 because the rooster next door was going off. But no one was awake. Nor was anyone up at 6. Finally, I got up at 6:30 and took my stuff out of the room to pack up. People got up around 7- 7-45.


The walk up to this Albergue was interesting. We were among about 200 walking. WOW! Lots of large groups…like church camp groups…walking, all color coordinated with teeshirts. Quite different from the way we have walked before. And women were wearing make-up with their hair done and wearing clean clothes and shoes and they had shaved, unbriused legs. People were put together, unlike us. We looked like mismatched smelly semi- homeless people.
We had some looks. Well…we did smell. We have bear hair legs. Our arms are peeling. And our backpacks are dirty.


Heck…we have been living out of our pack going on almost a month now.


And we walked 3.5 miles and parked our butts and watched the people walk by and the clouds move across the sky and the horses grazing and the cows lumber along in the field.


It is good to sit and smell the roses and swat at the flies.

image image


Just Stop With Planning

Day in Astorga

Day in Astorga

Do Not Make Plans. They Don’t Work Out

June 21, 2014


We had a nice rest day. Slept on a park bench in front of the Astorga Cathedral and Gaudi Castle until they opened. It is Saturday, everything opens up later in the morning…like 10:30. I highly recommend going in to see these two places. I am learning a lot about the Cathedrals’ history on the Camino. And Gaudi is one of my favorite people of all times. What an artist!

We met up with two of our friends from the American Pilgrims on the Camino, Amy and Ena who arrived in town walking down the middle of the street. It was nice to visit with them before they continued on.

Then we ate lunch. Picked up train snacks. Saw the Roman Bath House ruins that the Catholic Church had dug up while building over it. Ate an ice cream cone. Got lost walking to the train station. Saw some great slums. And upon arriving to the station for our 3:15 departure, found out it was going to be an hour late.
Uh-oh. We also had a connecting train to catch, but it wasn’t going to wait for us.

We hung out in the train station listening to great music from a Brazilian woman’s IPhone while we bonded with her. She had walked the whole way last year, but was leaving the Camino early and heading to Santiago to meet up with friends and head to the beach. She just wasn’t feeling the Camino Spirit inside her anymore. The people were not nice like last year and she found no need to continue.
She was a wonderful help to us in translating for us with the conductor later on.

Ok…so for the fun part. I am all about setting goals. It is the way one progresses. I read Stephan Covey’s books way back when I was 19. Hence why I like to have things kinda planned out and yet I’m not anal enough that I can’t go with the flow, however, NOTHING has gone as planned on this pilgrimage. The one lesson that keeps repeating over and over again is, “Don’t plan. Keep it loose. Just go with the flow.”

The conductor informs us that there isn’t a connecting train at the station for us. No train. He said something about taking a bus or a taxi. He is explaining this in Spanish. Abby comprehends some of it. I’m getting nothing. So for the next 40 minutes we are wondering what we are going to do. We agree that it will work out. We will sleep in the station until the next day to find out when the train comes or the bus comes. Once again, we are going to get in to a station that will be closed. The Albergue that we figured we could stay at would probably be filled up if we continued on to Sarria. And there are ominous dark clouds that completely filled the sky for the entire 4 hour trip. Rain. Yeah. Oh…and snow was on the mountains too in some parts. Yippee-skippee. And tomorrow is Sunday and trains and buses cut back on their service. And we figured we had lost out money for the remainder of our train ride and would have to pay more for another ticket.

The Brazilian woman told us to wake her up when the conductor came back and she would find out the info for us.
Thank goodness for her being there. Turns out that the conductor had made arrangements for a bus to meet us at the station to take not only us, but the other passengers that had missed the connecting train. We could stay the night at the town and have our money refunded partially or continue on without paying any additional money.

Of course we are continuing on.

We get to the station. The bus is there. We ride going 90 down the road and get to Sarria in 30 minutes. Then we get lost trying to find the Albergue. It starts to rain. It is 8:30pm when we find the place. And they are filled up.

I’m going to cry. It is raining. We look like pathetic drowned rats. We ask if they can call another place to see if they have rooms. Informed that the hostel down the street has beds at 20€ each. “I can’t afford that” I say as water is running down my face. She looks at us and says, “Wait a minute” when she comes back, she has found us each a bed in her place one at 9€ and another at 10€!

Yes. It has worked out. And breakfast is included.

We are tired. Grateful. And we will continue to start each day with prayer to help us find a bed that we can afford each night. We also give thanks each night for the blessings we have received each day.

Now let’s see if my prayers for no rain while I’m walking play out.



It’s the End of the World as We Know It…and I Feel Fine

Sleep in peace

Sleep in peace

Don’t Stop Believing

June 20, 2014

Just when I was ready to throw in the towel. No. Really. I mean it. After last night’s experience in Leon with the two rude women twins who locked the window shut due to the party noise outside. The only ventilation for the one women’s section that housed 30 of us females, we were in was now cut off and I cannot begin to describe the Hell Hole that room became.

Stunk of farts, B.O., stale pee from the bathroom…and the heat was stifling. I had nightmares. Woke up soaking in my own sweat at 4 am and had to flee the room for the outside courtyard in order to breath.

That was it. No mas.

Plus my left foot is not cooperating. A ligament is strained. If I sit or stop moving, it tightens up, swells and hurts. I limp when I walk. It is sore and throbbing. But I’m bound and determined to finish this pilgrimage come Hell or high water. I did not climb the Pyrenees to go home without my Compostella.

So we took the bus to Astorga. Yup…jumping ahead, but time is moving forward and so do we. I have no shame. I have no guilt. I do not owe anyone any excuses for doing so. Even though I overheard a conversation about pilgrims doing as such, being described as losers and cheaters. That compassionate pilgrim spirit hasn’t bit that group of pilgrims in their butt yet.

And then upon arrival, we decided…well…I decided that perhaps now is the time to bite the bullet and take the bus to Sarria. This is the point where you HAVE to walk 100km and collect two stamps per day on your credential in order to get your Compostella. This isn’t an easy decision to come to. I had looked through the next stages coming up. Knew we would take a bus in two of them, but for the most part walk and still have time left over.

Then as I was stewing in my own juices last night, the thought came to me that perhaps I should go to Sarria now and not hobble through the next stages, eeking out the left foot. What if it got worse and due to it becoming more inflamed I wouldn’t be able to continue during this last stage that HAD to completed by foot ( or bike or horse)? All for not. I would be upset with myself for NOT finishing.

Turns out, we can’t reach Sarria by bus, only by train. And we are going out late on Saturday from here, take the train to a connecting point and continue on from there. We won’t arrive in Sarria until 6:30 pm on a Saturday night. It is a crowded place with a lot of pilgrims just coming in to start their pilgrimage. We don’t know if we will have a place to sleep or not. But we are going for it.

Anyway, all of this has been a bummer. Last night’s experience. Caving into jumping so far ahead…I was feeling pretty crappy about everything, when we reached the Albergue (Albergue Publico in Plaza de San Francisco 3) that I had seen advertised last week at the 80 men hostel. It looked nice in the picture. In person, it is stunning. And they gave Abby and I our own room. With a window. With a view. For 5€ each. We squealed and jumped up and down delighted with this.

Things happen. Things work out one way or other. If we hadn’t stayed in the 80 men hostel, we wouldn’t have found this place. Just when you get discouraged and start kicking yourself because The Plan is not working, something better comes along to give you an attitude/ gratitude adjustment.

We will continue to progress.


Are We That Different From Each Other?

Waiting for the bus

Waiting for the bus

To Be or Not to Be, Is There a Difference?

June 18, 2014

Tourist vs Pilgrim is there a difference? Let’s explore using a pseudo Venn diagram

Tourist                                                 Pilgrim
Vacation from stress.                         Vacation from stress
Explore                                                  Explore
Interact with others.                            Interact with others
Eat different foods.                              Eat different foods
Learn another language.                    Learn another language
Travel to different places.                  Travel to different places
Go visit a variety of sights.                Go visit a variety of sights
Pack too much stuff.                           Pack too much stuff
Reflect on life.                                     Reflect on life
Relax.                                                     Relax
Keep to a schedule                              Keep to a schedule
Walk a lot.                                             Walk a lot
Shop for nic-knacks.                            Shop for nic-knacks
Make new friends.                               Make new friends
Spend money.                                       Spend money
Get blisters.                                           Get blisters
Get sunburnt.                                       Get sunburnt
Wear the same clothes.                      Wear the same clothes
Take pictures.                                        Take pictures
Get bedbugs.                                         Get bedbugs
Sleep in hotels w/lots of people.        Sleep in rooms w/lots of people
No curfew.                                             Curfew
Complain about stuff.                          Complain about stuff

Mmmm…I’m sure I could ( and you too) continue to add to both of these lists, but I believe that tourists and pilgrims are both in the same category—visitors—with a purpose.
Not so different after all as people would like to make them out to be.

Take it Off? Leave it On? Whatever…

The Walking Dead

The Walking Dead

Things to Remember to Take Off or Not Put On ( and other things that bug you)

June 15, 2014

*Toe rings- your feet swell in the hot weather when you are walking. The toe ring cuts off circulation until your toe becomes numb. When you discover the toe purple in color, the ring band embedded in the flesh, you remember too late that the pain you were feeling in your toe wasn’t due to a hot spot, but the ring. Removing it is quite an undertaking. Your toe will turn back to flesh color in a few hours, if you are lucky. If you are not so lucky, your toe will blacken and it will need to be snipped off.

*Make-up. Why bother putting it on in the first place. It will drip off with the sweat and sting your eyes. Plus it is one more thing to pack, along with make-up remover. No one cares what you look like.

*The over-the-shoulder- boulder- holder. Also known as, The Bra. Take it off as soon as you come to the place you will rest for the night. Air out your wares. This contraption helps to reinforce The Girls, but it also is very binding when rubbing on you under your backpack straps. Hint: wear your bra when buying your pack in order to see how the two will fit together. Go buy a bra that fits with your backpack shoulder straps.

* Trying to decide if I can balance with my pack on or if I have to take it off in order to pee.

* Being aware of the direction the wind is blowing when peeing and then it changes on you.

* How to scratch an itch when you can’t get to the bug bites- on the bottom of your foot ( who wants to take off all the socks and the shoe in order to scratch it?) and on
your backside ( good luck trying to reach around your pack to take care of the itch). It drives me mad…feels like the way a dog looks, chasing its own tail trying to nip that flea.

* Pulling a wedgie out. Ahhhhh!

Stay tuned. I’m sure there are more things I will discover as I walk.



My Own Philosophical Musings

Looking at the road less traveled

Looking at the road less traveled

Philosophies of Men (Rambling musings along the dusty road)

June 14, 2014

Some thoughts as I contemplated life while walking the long, flat terrain of the Meseta today.
We human beings love to qualify things. We appoint levels of pain; scale grades; have ranges for a variety of areas…we love percentages and data. And then we have the audacity to determine based upon these ratings the degree to which one has reached success. As a teacher, I know all too well about determining the level of achievement based on a chart that shows developmental levels of growth. And yet, these results don’t really acknowledge the learning an individual has achieved over a given time period.

Hence when one decides just how successful a pilgrim is, it is based on some pseudo misconception that has been predetermined by an individual or a group that has collectively decided the scale as to what a pilgrim is. Pain and suffering seem to be a key point. You get points if you suffer along the pilgrimage. More points if it is for a spiritual reason–and by spiritual it is not a broad encompassing definition. It is determined based on the individual who is reading or hearing about a pilgrim’s journey that decides if it qualifies within a small range.

How one travels is another point of either contention, justification or qualification. Anything deviating from actually walking and carrying one’s own pack is frowned upon by some hard- core believers that one can not be a pilgrim unless you suffer the whole way through. Comes to mind the saying, “there is no gain, if there is no pain.” And yet history shows that pilgrims throughout all the centuries have used modern day convieninces in order to make the journey on the Camino de Santiago. Porters were used to carry bags. Carts and animals were used to transport not only bags, but people too. So in today’s time and place, buses, taxis are used for the transporting of individuals as well as equipment.
For some purists, this is sacriglious of the purpose of the pilgrimage and is seen as circumventing the journey.

This brings to mind the other scripted controversies heard throughout the years, women who use drugs for labor vs those who did it the natural way and birthed their young without. Does this mean that one way is superior to another even though the outcome is the same…a baby. For some, it is lauded above those who “caved” and birthed with the usage of drugs or other methods that deaden the pain.

Pain. Being a mrytre for a cause or enduring through pain and suffering is seen as a sign of strength or evidence of “true” sacrifice for service. And yet, is a veteran any less of one if he/ she does not have battle scars to prove to those that they were in combat?

Yes, we humans indeed enjoy determining grade levels, point systems, stats, percentages…in all areas in order to show proof of one’s level of success. And yet, why do we believe that there are certain ways which one has to meet in order to be a pilgrim on a pilgrimage? Why do we cancel out others levels of achievement by saying, “Well, next time…” Or “You almost made it…” Or ” If you put your mind to it you can do better.” We, in general discredit the level of one’s success by comparing theirs to another’s. Us humans are very quick push others to be better, faster, richer, better looking, smarter…

For me personally, I came to the realization early on, that for me, my pilgrimage is on- going. It is a metaphor for life in general. It isn’t to be confined to a 500 mile walk from France to Santiago, Spain. It isn’t something to check off on a bucket list. It isn’t about collecting the most stamps on my credential and framing it like a trophy on my mantle. It isn’t about how many miles I can walk in a day and brag about. It isn’t about how many or lack of any blisters I have. It isn’t about the pain or suffering. It isn’t about the need or the belief that one needs a health issue in order to justify taking a bus or having someone transport the pack ahead. It isn’t about the struggle in the elements or the long walks over the stones.

I don’t have to have the acceptance or acknowledgement of others in order to justify the belief that I am a pilgrim. My spiritual experiences are different from everyone else’s, because I am a unique individual and there is only one of me. There are no amount of notches needed to obtain in order to prove to others that I am a pilgrim. We all are different from one another and therefore what we each learn and how we develop on our own pilgrimages cannot be qualified. There is no need to do so and how presumptuous are we for doing this very thing.

A successful pilgrimage cannot be determined using science researched based methods. It isn’t quantifiable. The experiences cannot be replicated-even by the same individual. Anecdotal notes can be kept and compared, but to what avenue?
And yet, I have read and have listened to a great number of individuals ( I’m even guilty of having said some of these things way early on in the beginning of my planning stages) who believe that certain conditions need to be met in order to have a ” true” pilgrimage.

And this means for me, I am still learning how to embrace others whose experiences differ from mine and that I need to guard against becoming smug and resting upon my laurels. Everyday is a new day that brings with it a new adventure and another 7 hours to contemplate life as I trudge along The Way—or ride the bus.



Seek and Ye Shall Find

The monastery in ruins

The monastery in ruins

Seek and Ye Shall Find, Ask and it Will be Provided

June 16, 2014

Quick update as I’m tired. We are currently in Itero de la Vega. We had to climb up out of a deep valley, 1080 ml high at a 12% grade- though at some points it felt closer to 25%. And then we descended back down 380ml at 18% grade.
So thankful for the breeze blowing and the dark rain clouds covering us from the bright sun.

Last night we stayed in San Anton Albergue, which is housed in the ruins of of an ancient crumbling monastery. No electricity, no warm water and yes it was cold at night in spite of the two horse blankets I slept under.

But I wouldn’t have it any other way. This place is beautiful. Under the full moon, it was gorgeous.

Oh…and a Japanese TV station showed up to interview those of us staying at the Albergue. The documentary is being produced to commemorate the 10th yr anniversary of their relationship with The Way- or something along this line. Anyway, the Japanese show had selected 10 Albergues to document in this series which will air only in Japan. They were selected based on their historical ties to the Camino. So since there were only three of us staying the night, Abby, myself and a very interesting woman from Lutherania and the both of them quickly headed to the bedroom, that left me standing there to be questioned.
The donativo hosts were making dinner and I was asked by them to help out and as I was slicing cucumbers for the salad, the camera was zooming in on close- ups of my hands all the while I am being questioned about the Camino. Thank goodness I have been able to process my thoughts during the long hours of walking the many miles of the Camino. I was able to answer all the questions fluidly ( Abby and the Lutherania woman confirmed this as they could hear everything on the other side of the wall division) much to the satisfaction of the interviewer.
Nothing like being filmed looking like a real pilgrim, decked out in a multitude of different mix matched clothes, with no make-up on and my hair sticking up in all directions due to it drying funny. A 20 minute interview…whew!

And then we were filmed eating. All of us were told to ignore the camera and act natural. While we did the best we could. The subject of why Abby and I didn’t drink alcohol came up as other religions allowed consumption. On film, I explain that we are member of a The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter- day Saints…which drew blank looks until I said “Mormon” and that was understood.

Who knows how much will be kept and cut, but keep your eye out in Japan for my debut. After the Japanese film crew left, we all cheered and toasted them leaving. We had a great conversation which we enjoyed before going to bed.

What a great day and evening. We knew we were meant to stay when we arrived there at 10:30 am ( by this time we had already walked out 10 miles). I am so glad we listened to our heart and to our feet. A great relaxing day, filled with interesting conversation amongst this small group.

And these are the rich blessings that the Camino provides.