Maps of us

View Camino! in a larger map

Friday, April 29, 2011

Credencialas so far!

These are our credencials so far. At every stop... hotel, Albergue, bar, cafe, store... we receive a stamp. (really I think it's just proof that we made a purchase!--By the time we get to Santiago, we'll receive a nice document thanking us for helping the Spanish economy) ;)

Posted by Picasa

Starting trail

At the start we walked through woods... actually it was the forest of "Witchcraft"... seriously! Back a few centuries ago witches were persecuted here... don't know much of the history, but was observed by another pilgrim that we walked with that there were "witches" everywhere, on the houses, on signs... We were just loving the forest!

Posted by Picasa


O.k. bear with me... trying to get pics up.
This is Day 1, before we start to walk. We're in Roncesvalles. Just on the Spanish
side of the border between France and Spain.
Posted by Picasa

Thoughts for the next trip

Take less clothing
Take less 'extra' stuff... anything
Take no toiletries... except toothpaste
Maybe just wear the clothes on your back and a small small pack only to hold your rain plastic, fleece and extra socks...
Take NOTHING else!

Would probably even leave the camera at home (have Great pictures but have been unsuccessfull at sharing with you all)

Also yesterday... we walked through fields of PEAS!!  and Peach orchards!  Very cool... Now if it was only a month or so later, we´d be eating GOOD!!

Uterga to Circuaqui

After a long days walk (14 some miles) we get to this cool HILLTOP town of Circuaqui... did I tell you it was a hilltop?  Narrow steep streets.  Population 500.  We stay in a local private Alberque.  Get a room for 2 this time instead of sleeping in a communal bedroom.  Climb to the third floor... small room has a balcony and BEAUTIFUL views over the tiny town and rolling green hills down below.  Absolutely awesome!  We have a peregrino´s dinner (set menu for pilgrims) down stairs after going to mass at the church, which is front of the Albergue.  Very cool...also the shortest mass we´ve ever been too... 25 minutes, including communion (for you catholics out there)  Went to dinner down below in the 'basement' which looked like an old stone bunker.  Also very interesting as we sat in a stone room (walls, floor, rounded ceiling) all stone, and had dinner with four other germans.  Here´s the interesting thing.  Two of the germans were an older couple, another gentleman was a single guy traveling alone and the other woman was an older german woman... 72 years old!!  Traveling alone!  She was particularly interesting...  She said she had alway dreamed of walking El Camino but didn´t have the time.. Her words of wisdom were that she had wished she had done the things she had always dreamed of earlier in life... so Do Them Now!  she said.  Do them when you are younger because time gets away from you.  Interesting! 

The german couple... mid-sixties... had been walking the road for three years now... since somewhere in northern Germany... So far they have walked OVER 2500 kms!!  That km´s but still that´s a long long way!  In fact we have met many different people that have been walking this road for many years and from destinations far away... One gentleman said today on the bus... Oh, did I let that slip?.. that he had walked over 2000 miles not km´s, from Amsterdam.  (yea, we took a bus for a bit, but more on that later).

Pretty fun... Still having problems with the picture download.  Will get that going soon.  Later All...

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Day 4 - Stage 4, Cizur Menor to Uterga

O.K. we´re a day late.  Two days ago we walked from Zubiri to Larrasoanna.  Both very nice towns, Larrasoanna being a very very small, one bar town (note: Bar in Spain is also a diner, coffee spot, all purpose cafe, so don´t be alarmed if I reference it a lot).  We had a nice lunch at the BAR, the only bar in town.  Janet´s feet, legs were really bothering her from the 14 mile walk the day before.  We sent Janet´s pack ahead to Pamplona early in the day in a special "pack taxi".  So even though she was pack-less, she was still hurting.  After lunch Janet and three Austrailian women shared a taxi to Pamplona... along with my pack.  I walked into Pamplona pack-less, to meet her at the Albergue Jesus y Maria, in the center of Old Pamplona.  I walked many miles and finally reached the east entrance to Pamplona... I was so happy to see that sign!!  Then after walking and walking... it turns out Old City Center is on the WEST side of town... for my California friends, that´s like arriving into Del Mar, seeing the San Diego city limit sign, then having to walk to Chula Vista... in Iowa that´s like getting to Joe´s house then having to walk to Mom´s house!!!  I walked an extra 9 miles that day.  It was worth it though as I walked along the rio Arga, along narrow wooded trails, on hill sides, through horse pastures... really beautiful country side.  It had rained earlier in the day so the 9 mile walk was on mud, the entire way.  Finally arrived at Jesus y Maria Albergue... a large building which was part of a 17th century Jesuit church.  It was a large dormitory where 112 of my closest peregrinos and Janet and I shared a large communal bed room.  We felt like we were sleeping in a manger.  You were given a sheet and a pillow and told to find a  bed.  Sleep wasn´t so bad... till 5:30am when most people decided to get up early to head out for the road. 

We hung out in Pamplona for the morning then headed out for Cizur Menor.  Short walk that day, only 3.1 miles.  Ended up at a private Albergue, Maribel Roncal.  Very beautiful little place, two bars, two churches.  Arriving to Maribel Roncal, we met Maribel.  Very nice, cute... looks like an old converted barn.  Maribel takes us to our stall and this time we are lucky... only 8 beds in this one room.  Now we are thinking this is really a manger.  I swear... wait for the pictures.

PĂ®ctures are coming but haven´t been able to upload them yet.  Hopefully in a bigger town with more facilities.

Today we walked from Cizur Menor to Uterga, 9.4 miles.... BUT most of it up hill! 1500 feet elevation gain up through the Alto del Perdon.  Today walking through many rolling fields of wheat and mustard (?), lots of greens and bright yellows.  Very nice day.  Met many nice people again on the road.

Later all... I´m running out of time on the internet meter.  Pictures to come.
Buen Camino

Monday, April 25, 2011

Day 3 - Stage 3-4, Pamplona to Cizur Menor

O.K.... you  wouldn´t believe it... MJ has 27 miles under her feet!!!  Did read that right 27!!!  Janet has Less than 27 (she followed me in a taxi part of yesterday). Spent night in Pamplona, just arrived in Cizur Menor, outside of Pamplona by 6 miles... ooohhh, that means I´ve got 32 miles going now!!!  Janet did not take the taxi today.  Yes our feet are doing o.k.   More to come...

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Day 1 - Stage 2, Ronsconvalles to Zubiri

O.k. walked 12 miles today.  Got up late, alarm wasn´t set right, started at 9am.  Ended at 7pm in Zubiri.... I have so many good things to say about today´s trail.  Can´t even put in words how beautiful it was... but it was Beautiful.  Through woods, forests, along a mountain ridge, next to really peaceful rolling green pastures with sheep, cows, sheep, horses, more sheep, over rivers, streams, and tiny bridges, down rocky trails, steep rocky trails, with lots of flowers, and color. We have lots of pictures and they will be up soon.  There were many metaphors for life on this trail... the main one for me today being about Baggage, and not because my pack weighs 20 lbs. At the end of the 12 miles it weighed 40.  It didn´t bother me really but as I walked through this really awesome place I couldn´t help think about the baggage we carry around in life.  You don´t realize how much clutter we have physically and mentally, and how much it consumes you and prevents you from seeing the really important stuff in life, the truly beautiful and meaningful stuff.  Note to Dewey, DO NOT go and empty the garage.  I know what you are thinking.  Well pictures are coming soon... then you will see what I mean.  Off to Pamplona tomorrow.
Buen Camino

Thursday, April 21, 2011

And pictures....

Thank God the camera battery went dead... we took 383 pictures today... of which ONLY 250 were of the Sagrada Familia.  I promise to post more but then maybe a link to a web album would be easier.  (I think Janet has "mapped" every inch of Gaudi's Sagrada Familia... and boy is there a lot of detail there!)

Out on the town... Barcelona!

Today we took the train from Sant Cugat to Barcelona.  Walked part of Las Ramblas, had a coffee and a bite at  the Moko Cafe.  Janet then posed with one of the famous Ramblas mimes...
Other things we did, the Mercat...

Then the small church off of Plaza di Pie, The Cathederal, shopping, Roman columns, shopping, another Plaza, shopping, taxi to Sagrada Familia...

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

In Barcelona (o.k. Sant Cugat)... and boy are we tired!

The trip to Spain was great but boy are we tired!  When we got to London, Janet woke up and had a second wind, "I'm excited and will be up all day!!".  We got on the plane from London to Barcelona and crashed!! We were so tired we couldn't stay awake...still can barely stay awake.   

This evening we walked around Sant Cugat with Rosa and Jep, popped into the Monastery in Sant Cugat, popped into a couple of pastry shops... and we are now at home eating the pastries before dinner!

Monday, April 18, 2011

One day to go...

I left sunny, warm San Diego Friday to arrive in Iowa to cold drizzle.  Then woke up to SNOW on Saturday!!  SNOW!!  About 3", and big flakes too!  I'm really hoping spring has sprung in Spain because otherwise I am severely under prepared for cold weather!  We'll be wearing all 4 articles of clothing we brought.   Fortunately Jep informed us that his friend had just walked the route from Roncesvalles to Pamplona this week and that it was beautiful and great weather.... yeaa!  Very nice to hear that.

Janet and I leave tomorrow for Chicago... then we're off!  We can't wait, really looking forward to it.  Let the adventure begin!

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Unpacking and Repacking... continued

O.k. I've unpacked, packed, and unpacked some more...  pack is still feeling on the heavy side.  I took my pack to the YMCA and weighed it this afternoon... 20 lbs!!   Not bad BUT that's without food or WATER!  Add two half liters of water and it's 25 lbs.  Hummm... so now I'm off to unload it one last time.  Janet's pack was 13.2 lbs yesterday... sans water, raincoat, and sandals.    Well my journey starts tomorrow morning.  I leaving to go to Iowa, where Janet and I will mull over our packs some more, and then we'll leave on Tuesday for Barcelona.... Oh boy!!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Packing and unpacking...

Spent the day packing my bag, then unpacking, packing it again... I'm trying to remove or reduce as much as I can.  Although my pack is a "small" pack, 35 Liter, it seems to hold a LOT!  I'm really not bringing that much... in fact you'll likely see many photos of me in the same t-shirt or pair of shorts (hopefully both!)  :)   My pack still feels heavier than I'd like to be carrying.  Well I'll give it another shot tomorrow....

Monday, April 4, 2011

Training continued

Today I "officially" measured my average walk...  3.3 miles every time Dewey and I walk down to Honey's for our coffee. We average about 3 to 4 trips a week to Honey's so ..(pull out calculator)... 9.9 to 13.2 miles per WEEK!  Now at that rate... (pull out calculator again).. I should be able to walk 470 miles in... oh, maybe two months?  O.k. maybe in 35 to 47 days without taking breaks... so add in blister time off, sore legs, swollen feet, having to pull Janet along with a rope, just plain grumpiness, Janet and I should be able to finish this trip by Thanksgiving.   ;)