Tag Archives: plans

Life is a Beach

Beach Day!

Beach Day!

Beach Day

July 9, 2014

Yesterday, we took the bus from Santiago back to Muxie to stay for the week on the coast. The beach is beautiful. White sand, clear blue water. Perfect. We also found a hostel to stay at for 22 € a night x 7 equals 154€. About $200 U.S. ( less than what I would pay for camping on the beach in the U.S.) It has a full kitchen a TV and a washer/ dryer. Plus it is a new place that a family owns. They are very friendly and helpful and they speak English. We like it.

We ate at a bar/ cafe a couple of hamburgers. I thought I had paid with a 20€ bill! but the man gave me change like I had paid with a 50€ bill! which was about $60 in return change. Neither Abby nor I speak enough Spanish to get it straightened out, but we had determined that I had paid with a 20€ bill and that he had given us the wrong change. We went to the counter to explain and lucky for us a woman sitting there was able to translate our concern. Both looked at us and upon hearing the story they both shook their heads in disbelief that we would return the money. No one would have done this if they had been locals they agreed and yet here we American tourists are doing it. We told them that we were very honest and did the right thing. We know what is the right thing to do. This man would have lost a lot of money and he could have lost his job over this missing amount.

We are taking the bus from here to the main bus station in Santiago in order to catch the over night bus that will take us to Madrid to fly out on July 16. It should all work like clock work. We ride the bus down from Muxie and arrive at 5 pm, in time to catch the 9:30 pm- 6:30 am bus to Madrid and from that bus station, catch a bus to the airport and have plenty of time to make our 12:30 pm flight. Well, I got to thinking that I should figure out the bus situation and make sure time wise we would have enough time to catch the bus to connect to an airport bus upon arrival in Madrid. I have enough time in advance just in case I need to rearrange plans. I put my questions out on American Pilgrims on the Camino seeking advice from others who had done so. I received a whole lot of information. More information than what was told to me from the one bus agent. Turns out that there is a bus that goes directly to the Madrid Airport and I won’t have to unload and find another bus. Great! This should work out. But then I found out that I need to reserve my seat in advance just in case it is sold out. Uh-oh.

This morning I went on the computer to the ALSA website, filled in the information, found the bus I needed, completed the form, typed in my credit card amount and nothing happened. So I did it again and still it didn’t go through. I remembered someone had said they could pay using PayPal. So I completed the form again and put in my passport number for id purposes and once again it wouldn’t go through!
I’m getting frustrated. There are only 10 seats left on the bus. I am going to have to go back to Santiago in order to book directly at the bus counter and turn around and come back. I was thinking of the bus schedule to Santiago and trying to determine if I should just take a taxi there this morning and catch a return bus late tonight. Ahhhh!

Then Javier, the employee who was helping us out last night with our laundry came in. He said no problem that he could figure out the website and get my tickets booked. Well…long 2 hour and call to the main ALSA office later, it was determined that my Visa card did NOT go through, even though the seats showed that they were taken ( the seats are placed on hold for 10-30 minutes in order for transaction to occur) AND since I had a foreign card I was directed to another bus site ( http://www.movelia.es) to pay there. So we went to that site, selected the seats, completed the form, paid with Visa, only for a message to come up from my credit union wanting my password. I put it in. Nothing. Access denied. I put in my other code. Access denied. Javier and I look at each other. He says, ” no problem, I pay with my card and you pay me” well…3 attempts later- meaning filling out the forms again, and again and again- it finally went through! We printed the tickets. I received an e-mail confirming the purchase and Javier and I jumped and shouted with joy. We had a bonding moment.

In the end, I booked the remainder of the week with him to stay at the hostel. He even gave us two large towels to use at the beach.

Which is where we are sitting at now. In the wind. With the sand blasting us. But we don’t care, because we are at the beach on vacation and letting the waves wash our stress away.

“See mom. I told you it would all work out,” said Abby.

When I’m on the plane heading back to the States, THAN, I will totally relax. Until then…I’m trying not to think of all the little things that could still go wrong and screw us up to have us miss our flight. I am NOT going to project my unspoken fears, just in case the fates are listening and think it would be fun to mess with the end of our trip just as much as what occurred in the beginning.

Please send good karma and thoughts and prayers our way that NOTHING goes wrong to interfere with this current arrangement. And keep reading, cause you all know there is going to be more to this adventure.

 

 

Just Stop With Planning

Day in Astorga

Day in Astorga

Do Not Make Plans. They Don’t Work Out

June 21, 2014

AHHHHH!

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.