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Thursday, May 19, 2011

After walking from Villar de Mazariffe to Astorga...

I decided to come home.  Actually my knee decided for me.  Aside from sore tired feet, and tired calf muscles, my knee decided it wasn't happy.  While walking along the ligaments behind my knee decided that they had either been over extended or just stretched too much... especially while going UP hills, or stairs.  Since the next few stages of the Road were up and into the mountains my knee and I decided we would finish the trip next year.  As awesome and beautiful as the whole journey was, I think knees can only take about 175 miles at a shot.  So I am almost home... 

I'll post more photos when I'm at my familiar internet connection...  See you all soon!

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Leon!! What am I doing in Leon you ask?

O.k. to catch you all up...

After the first couple of gruelling weeks, Janet couldn't take the pain and suffering. She walked over 40 miles and through the mountain pass, Alto del Perdon (the Hill of Forgiveness), and then went home.

I have continued and since that gruelling day on Saturday, where I walked 34.6 kms to Fromista, I was so pooped on Sunday that I decided to take the train to Leon. (I jumped ahead a bit) It was either go to Leon and take a break or go home. So Leon it was. I took a break for two days. It's a wonderful city, smaller, population of about 130,000. The church(s) were great. This is the inside of the 13th century Gothic Cathederal, Pulchra Leonina. There are lots of historical monuments here.

After walking around a bit, taking it easy, I decided today to head off on the next leg... Stage 21. I walked from Leon to Villar de Mazarife. 13.8 miles! O.k. not a long day, but still 13 almost 14 miles...

It must have been the right thing to do today because on my way I was 8.5kms out, in the village of La Virgen Del Camino, and I met a NUN! I was near the church San Froilan, when a nun met me on the street and told me I should see the basilica, go see the basilica...Ok. I will. She wished me a safe journey, told me it was great I was doing the Camino, and she gave me a hug and a kiss!! (I'm thinking I got a blessing out of it or something... I felt pretty good after that little exchange)

Later in the day I met a French lad, Francois... a young guy working on his Phd in Antropology. He was studying "The Camino". He had walked it a number of times already. Also met a Swedish girl, Amanda, a South African, John, and my two bunk mates here in Mazarife are a couple of Italian women. So far I've met people from almost every country... except China. I met a Korean girl walking the Camino in "reverse" (from Santiago to Roncesvalles)... she was helpful because I was lost that day! I was on a trail but it wasn't the "main" trail... I could see Burgos in the distance so I wasn't in danger... I just didn't want to have to walk any farther than I needed too. I've met Slovanian women, Belgiums, Germans, English, Ireland, Indians, Austrailians, Sri Lankans, more South Africans, Mexicans... John from New Jersey, Mary Ellen from Seattle, Katherine from Michigan.... and many others I can't remember right now.

Well that's it for now. Must check my socks to see if they are dry yet! My socks, next to my fleece, are my most prized posession out here. Later...

Buen Camino!

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Monday, May 9, 2011

Cirauqui: Remember earlier when I mentioned about sleeping in a "Manger" well this is the village of Cirauqui. This is where Janet had her first "Toe Repair". Also the Hospitalera (guardian of the Albergue) offered comfort to her poor aching feet, by asking what size was her foot... Small, medium, or large. She then put a large "fémina pad/producto" into each of her sandals. They were absorbant and comfy, and the adhesive strips kept them in place! It was too funny... I guess Janet has big feet because she required super absorbancy. :)

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Stage 3

Larrasoana, then coming into Pamplona. After a nice lunch, Janet, my pack, and 4 Australian women caught a taxi into Pamplona to the main Albergue.

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Stage 2 pictures

O.k. I've got a decent internet connection... So we have pictures.

Stage 2 was from Roncesvalles to Larrasoana. This is the trail for the most part up to Zubiri, about 25 km, through the Witchcraft Forest, through lush green woods, open fields with horses, sheep, green pastures... Very beautiful serene and peaceful place.

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Saturday, May 7, 2011

Stage 14 into 15 - Hontanas into Fromista

Another LONNNGGG day... 35+ km´s!!  (21-22 miles)  One word for the day... TIRED!!  Really tired... I´d give you more pictures but I think Pakistan has better internet connectivity than some of these remote areas of northern Spain.   Climbed about 1000+ feet to the table top called the 3000 ft. Very green and lush... All of Spain is very green and lust... just beautiful. 
Later,  Buen Camino

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Stage 11 into Stage 12 - In Ages

27.9 km's!!!!  Holy smokes... That's 17 Freaking miles... Today alone!!  MY FEET ARE KILLING ME!!!  That wasn't the worst part of it... I had to "gain" about 400-500 meters... THREE times!!  I think that's like 1500+ feet in elevation..  (that's why I'm sitting here drinking a beer right now)  The hight point today was at 3773 feet at the top.  Not really that high but still....

I walked from Belorado to a small village called Ages.  San Juan de Ortega was a very very interesting and beautiful village.  San Juan was a disciple of Santo Domingo (a saint dedicated to protecting and helping the pilgrims on their way to Santiago).  The church and Monastery were incredible.  The sarcophagus of San Juan was in the monastery.  The monastery was built in 1477, built somewhere else and moved in 1901 to this location.  I'll have pictures soon I promise.  

Anyway, I'm checked into my Albergue, showered and now waiting for dinner with my fellow pilgrims.  I can't tell you the number of people from so many different countries I've met. Last night I shared a room (6 beds) with a couple from the Netherlands, another gentleman from the Netherlands, and a Spanish fellow... the room next to us, 2 Americans, 2 Germans, 3 Sri Lankan's (Dad and friend living in Australia, son living in Brooklyn NY), an Italian woman, 2 Slovakian women... and on the road today met a couple from Brazil.  Very interesting... 

Now in Ages, I'm here again with the Spanish guy, the one fellow from the Netherlands, and a few of the others I've met over the last few days... In my ROOM is 2 Catalonian women, older women, 2 French folk, the Netherlands fellow, an Austrian, and god knows who else... only one problem with sharing a room with such an eclectic group... folks tend to run around in their skives!!!  (unders, pantalones...know what I mean?) Sorry that's just not for me... only 60 year old dude I want to see in his unders is Dewey!  

More to come...  I'll tell you about Janet's foot problem and the solution in a moment, after I find the pictures.
Buen Camino!!

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

What day is it? Where am I? Belorado!

I think I walked 33.7 miles in the last two days.  Today I walked from Santo Domingo De Calzada to Belorado, 14.2 miles.  Yesterday 19.5.  Just had a nice "communal" dinner with a bunch of other pilgrims, the three at our table were all Germans.  A very nice bunch...  It rained a little today.  Just a light sprinkle, but it was mostly warm and comfortable.  

Yesterday a middle aged Spanish fellow took his morning walk from Ventosa to Najera and asked every pilgrim he ran across if they spoke English.  He then found me... he walked with me for two hours just talking in English. He was unemployed and wanted to practice his English.  He said he gets out daily for his walk and keeps up his english skills talking with pilgrims along the way.  Then he gets on a bus and goes back to Ventosa.  Nice fellow.  

Lights are out for now... More later, and hopefully more frequently.
Buenos dia hermana, Yo pie es mismo. Donde esta ?