Camino de Santiago 2016

Every single one of us possesses the strength to attempt something he isn't sure he can accomplish. It can be running a mile, or a 10 k race, or 100 miles. It can be changing a career, losing 5 lbs., or telling someone you love her (or him).
-- Scott Jurek

Old age is the time to be dangerous. Dangerously fun loving, dangerously alive . . . This is the time to do every single thing we can possibly do with all the life we can bring to it. This is the time to live with an edge, with strength, with abandon. There is nothing for which to save our energy. Now it is simply time to spend time well.
-- Joan Chittister

Thursday, June 30, 2016

Sightseeing in Madrid

I started my first sightseeing day in Madrid with a walk in Parque del Buen Retiro which was established by the Spanish monarchy in the 1600's and given to the public in late 1800's. It is a labyrinth of paths. 
Near the center of the park is the Palacio de Cristal which was built to house botanicals but is now used for various exhibits. I got there before it opened but in time to catch some great sun. 

Then it was time to queue up for the Museo del Prado. No pictures allowed inside fortunately; it was crowded enough without lines of selfie photographers. 
After three hours of the crowded museum I went for another nature stroll in the Jardin Botanico. 29 acres and two huge greenhouses of trees, shrubs, flowers, edibles. I couldn't begin to see it all.  
Sunflowers loved the 95 degree heat. Me?  Not so much. 

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Day 34 Finisterre

Not officially a walk day as I took the bus out to the coast. But I did walk out to the lighthouse. This statute on the way. 

The last way mark: 0.00 km. And the Lighthouse at the end of the Earth. 

My last stamp. Credential is complete. 


The Atlantic is beautiful and smells incredible. 
The harbor from my room. 

Day 33 O Pedrouzo to Santiago

Last walking day - so close. First km marker I saw was 790 just after Roncevalles 32 days ago. 
There was still some beautiful land to enjoy before the bustle of Santiago. 

Unfortunately the Catedral is still covered with scaffolding as it was two years ago. The tower that has been finished looks wonderful though. 

I made it just in time for the noon pilgrims' mass. Standing room only. 

The crowds in Santiago were a bit of a shock after walking through many nearly deserted areas. 

Day 32 Aruza to O Pedrouzo

Got a late start this morning as I couldn't pass up another meal at Pazo Santa Maria. The Camino was crowded so I spent some energy trying to situate myself between pilgrims.

Roman we church in Aruza. 
Quiet forests most of the day. 
And farmland. 
Flowers everywhere. 

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Day 31 Palas de Rei to Arzua.

Long day-19 miles. Iglesia San Tirso in Palas de Rei. 
Clouds, but still some nice light. Again an early start gave me some solitary walking. 
Roman bridge. 
15th century fresco in church in Boente. 

Walking out to my hotel off the Camino. 

Day 30 Portomarin to Palas de Rei.

Cloudy and foggy this morning. 
Galicia is green, rolling hills and farmland.
I'm still seeing abandoned shoes. I'll do a series when I get to good service. Probably when I get home. 
Rock fences abound here. Cheap, available material, but the work required to build all these fences is mind-boggling. 

Day 29 Sarria to Portomarin.

I left Sarria at dawn. Hundreds of pilgrims start the Camino in Sarria as it is close to the 100km minimum one must walk to get a certificate. From here on the Camino will be far more crowded. 
Iglesia Santa Maria in Sarria. 
I was still able to find a little solitude in the farmland. 
Had to wait. These girls were not to be hurried. 
The reservoir at Portomarin from the edge of the town. 

Day 28 Fonfria to Sarria

This was to be a tough day. 17 miles and more than 3,000' down on rocky trails. 
The famous moon - first summer solstice moon since 1948, year I was born. 
The first five miles were high up and the views were incredible. 


The round stone building demonstrates one of the Celtic influences of this region. Rounded stone buildings, rock walls, thatched roofs and bagpipe music all are found in Galecia. 

The dirty side of the Camino. In many hamlets the age old way of living is two story houses with livestock below and people on second story. Each day the cows walk out to pasture along the Camino. The way is often covered with cow droppings. And flies. 
Iglesia in Sarria. 

Day 27 Las Herrerias to Fonfria.

Last look at Las Herrerias at dawn. Today's 14 miles included 3300' of elevation gain so at first light I was off. 
In the first section  to La Faba, the Camino was muddy and torn up by tractors and horses. It is really just a farm trail. 
In La Faba I caught first sun highlighting its small church. 
The trail continued to wind upwards. 
Finally the trail opened up and the views were spectacular. 
And up. 
Looking south. 
Just above O'Cebriero, looking to the north. 

Finally the high point of the day. A modern sculpture of a pilgrim. 
As I headed down, the views continued. 
The churches in this area are small and quite modest. Still, the slate roofs.