Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Leaving Spain

Well, today is day 50 of my Camino trip.

I had high expectations before leaving for Spain and walking Camino, but I was not prepared for the depth this would go.  I made friends, some casual, but a few with very tight bonds.  I bought t-shirts, got carried away, but I bought them :).

I learned many be Spanish words and learned that trying to properly pronounced a Spanish word almost always gets help and smiles.  More then one conversation was me attempting Spanish as they attempted English - they were almost universally better at English then I was at Spanish.  I also learned that English is the universal language, everyone migrates to English in mixed languages (not an excuse to learn another language).

I learned how tiny this world really is and while we are different, we are more alike then not.  I met people from over 30 countries and in doing so, experienced firsthand how much we are similar and how little we are different.

I learned that I have the drive and commitment to chase and accomplish my dreams.  Millions upon millions of people have walked Camino over the centuries, and for conveinence, today's modern world grants many conveinences to Peregrinos (modern albergues, supermarkedos, technology, etc.), but the trail largely remains the same trail and is no less physically demanding then earlier Peregrinos experienced.  Walking 800km+ (500+ miles) is absolutely doable and can be quite enjoyable, you just do it one step at a time and don't be afraid to call upon other Peregrinos for support and provide support for other Peregrinos.

Most importantly, I learned you have to let Camino happen.  Don't overly plan things, allow yourself to flow WITH the Camino and doing try to fight the natural flow.  Peregrinos who has aggressive schedules and many days planned did not allow themselves to reply get immersed into the Camino.  As much fun as it is to meet new friends, if the places doing match, don't fight it, another Peregrino is around the corner who matches your pace better.  You can always catch up at the end of the day, or at least the next big city.

I could go on and on about all the thingsi learned and experienced, I think it is best summed up with this was a life changing event.  This isn't like going to see your favorite band in concert, this goes way war deeper, like getting married or having a child.

If reading the blog has inspired anyone, I wholeheartedly endorse the journey, just remember to allow it to happen, don't force it.  Oh, and crocks or sandles is very Peregrino fashion!


Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Back to Santiago

Mission accomplished in Muxia, and not much else going on there, I bussed my way back to Santiago.
Back into the minibus from Muxia to Cee.
Another minibus along the coast to who knows where, we just pull up in a yard "swap to other bus"...
A monster double decker bus, headed to Santiago.
Get to Santiago and take city bus to Placa de Galacia.

Whole journey, €15.50!  That won't get you cross town in the States, and I got a large tour of the Galacian coastline.

Back in Santiago, finally visit the toothpick tapas place I heard so much about...  The word was all good and so want the food!

The rest of the day, just errands and tending to business (like laundry at the pilgrim house).  Speaking of which, time to go retrieve my laundry, dressed in my finest Peregrino clothes
Baselayer pants (might as well call them long underwear)
Tech shirt
Fleece jacket
And crocks!
Nothing says Peregrino more then crocks or sandles.
I would feel out of place, but so many others dressed similarly.

A real quiet day.


Monday, October 19, 2015

My last commitment as Peregrino

After a smart choice to crash in Finisterre for the weekend, I bussed it out to Muxia (no, I didn't bustit out) and arrived to s much rain as Finisterre had, plus plenty of gusting wind!

Quickly picking a place to stay I landed at the SWEET albergue, it has only been open two months.  The beds are pod like with curtains and stairs instead of ladders AND power ports for each bed.  Wrapping up the sweetness, shelves in the bed area and numbered lockers near the bed that actually FIT a backpack!  Ooh, and the doors are all suspended glass doors, many open with electric eye at least on one side and a switch on the other (switches are in the hallways, so you don't walk down the hall and open every door).  The lights are customary motion sensed, but these actually seem to work right.  Large modern stainless steel kitchen...  AND a first for me, a dedicated cleaning lady!  She was even wiping down the railings and making sure everything in the kitchen was properly clean before putting it away!  SCORE!  All the staff here are very knowledgeable and friendly.  It made hanging around the albergue a very pleasant experience.

So, the time came to walk down in the very gusting wind to the Muxia point and let it belt.  Found a sweet spot behind a large rock that sheltered from the worst of the wind and let it rip!  It felt really good to complete the last of my mission.  Of course, only a complete psycho Peregrino walks to a church on a point only to belt out over the ocean...  Ooh, you should have received it around 2:39, give or take a bit! (Early reports that is WAS heard, even in Atlanta!). Came back to the albergue and just socialized with the other Peregrinos and made a few friends.

6:30 I headed down to the ugly metal thing on the waterfront (I assume it is a framework for grapevines to create an arbor of sorts) to meet some friends who wanted to get together for dinner...  No shows, well a cat did, but he wasn't happy about all the wind and stayed under the tree for the most part.

Not relishing the thought of dining in the local establishments I was kinda relieved when no one showed, so of you the local supermarkedo I went.  Perusing the isles I found NACHO CHIPS, yes, seriously, I actually found them AND salsa!  Around the corner Tabasco sauce (which is consecrated HOT in Spain).  A quick trip to the helpful deli and I had nacho fixings!

Back at the albergue they turned out really good, sharing them with friends, were destroyed the nachos!  Passing around a bottle of cream orujo just made things sweet.

The lesson here, let Camino happen and it will provide!

Tomorrow, I take the bus back to Santiago and start prepping for my return home Thursday.  I still rang to visit the bar where you buy tapas cafeteria style and pay by the toothpick, sounds like fun.

So, check out this :
"Ultreia is another pilgrim salute, like the more popular 'Buen Camino!'. While 'Buen Camino' literally means 'have a good journey, a good Camino', the meaning of 'Ultreia!' goes a bit deeper, implying encouragement to keep going, reaching 'beyond', heading onwards.".  It seems very appropriate, more so as my foot travel journey is wrapped up.


WHOO-HOOO Belted Out!

The shout should arrive around 2:39pm EST

Sunday, October 18, 2015


Today is the first time in the whole Camino that I spend two nights in the same place :)!  I decided to camp out in Finisterre for the day and say farewell to Alabama when her tour came thru.

I headed into town for a breakfast then into the waterfront area to scope out anything exciting...  I swear, they have hidden cameras on me ("Pedro accidentally shot off fireworks, but he though we were celebrating his entrance to town, we must do it again! ", " he looked the parade, get some more scheduled quickly! ", and "he liked the marathon in Burgos, three more times should do nicely!") Cause I think the conversation went something like this ("Shit!  He's in town, do something....  No fireworks handy...  All the bands are elsewhere, well get a road race scheduled... Yes yes yes, all the way to the lighthouse and back, no no no, tomorrow morning....  Yes, of they won't die in the race, make them run!").  At any rate, there it was, another road race and quite amusing to boot.  It went up and back down about as quick as the the weekly markets I always seen to hit as well.

So, I sauntered around town and decided to saunter up the hill to the lighthouse, following the race route with much amusement...  These poor people, hugging and puffing, panting and wheezing, probably should not have ran up and back down a hill.  I reached the summit to find it very pleasantly peaceful.

I had another first also while there, it was bound to happen sometime, might as well be Finisterre - Coin operated toilet paper dispensers!  Yep, €.20 for 1 meter of paper...  Guess they didn't count on this Peregrino coming prepared!  Destruction complete, I moved around the peninsula to see what I missed the night before.  Finding a comfy place to sit, I discovered a clearing in the clouds, due west...  HOME!  Honestly, I choked up for a second out two but then started thinking, add I looked out over there ocean - the ocean that reveals the roundness of the horizon and gives scale to the earth...  I was home.  In the future, should we master space travel, earth as a whole will be h
Pome...  Comforted with that thought I settled into a long comfortable quiet time where I just pondered and thought and came up with : my WHOO-HOOO's should get to Portland Maine in ~236 minutes from the time I yell in Finisterre!

An hour later. I started to hear the chatter of people..  THE BUSES WERE ARRIVING!  I located myself in a nice high spot where I could spot Alabama when she arrived...  You know, when someone on a high spot spots out "ALABAMA!!!" REALLY REALLY LOUD everyone stops!  They soon realized it was a reunion of friends and someone actually took a picture they were that moved.

When it came time for them to depart on the bus we discovered they had another two hours in town for lunch!

I was 1km into a 2.2km descent, everyone jumping out of my way, before the bus overtook me. As a marter of fact, I made it to their restaurant just after they ordered...  Seafood, I didn't partake!

What a great time we had just chatting, like Camino brother and sister.  She even got to such her feet into the Atlantic as part of one of the many traditions.

I wasn't walking trails but my Camino was really back on!  When I went for supper I even bumped into some English and Canadian friends.  Dinner took 3 hours, buy we had fun!

Tomorrow, I leave my mark on Muxia, the shout of shouts and WHOO-HOOO of
WHOO-HOOO's will be belted out, listen back at home for it :)!

(Think I fixed the photo link)

Tonight's signoff is a little different!


Saturday, October 17, 2015


So, recall earlier that I said plans were subject to change...

I left this morning and started out of town not feeling it at all.  I was walking mechanically, but that was all, no heart in it or any desire at all.  I promised myself you finish the days stage and reassess.  Well, I finished the days stage and found myself wondering why I way beating myself over the head on this, I obviously was not enjoying the walking as I had previously, I had my Camino back on for a while yesterday, but it stalled out again.

I decided, much like forest gump being tired of running, i was tired of walking.  I bussed it into Finisterre and along the way discovered I had some people here I knew.  I quickly hooked up with them, destroyed a pizza, and headed to meet then at the Finisterre lighthouse to watch the sunset...

Only it started raining as I made the ascent....  The crazy Peregrino, almost jogging up the slope, walking in the rain...   Hey, I had my pack, I had my gear - I was prepared!

When I got there, just add I got to the lighthouse, the skies opened up and the rain poured down and the wind blew!  Everyone was ruining for cover...  Well, almost everyone...  There was ONE crazy Peregrino walking around talking in the sights!  Funny, I finally went into the museum to look at the actual displays and it was full of people huddling...  Strange people...
They even got out of my way, one would think they were fearful of someone walking around in the pouring rain and bit bothered at all by it!
The clincher was "The last stamp"!  Pulling out my Peregrino passport and paying €.50 for the last stamp (OK, that is actually pretty cheap of then to do that, but still).  Apparently I was the only one in there on real business.

Business finished, I headed back out in a temporary lull in the rain (and I mean temporary), I still had unfinished business to attend to!  Climbing the stairs over onto the cliff overlook and positioning myself properly, I introduced myself to everyone else!
"WHOOOOOOOOOO-HOOOOOOOOOOOO"!!!!  I actually got applause from a group huddled under a pile of umbrellas.  I belted it out back home, you should be hearing it soon, right around 7:30pm, and a second one around 8:00.  I figure it might take 6 ish hours to get there give or take!
Ooh, my friends there heard me loud and clear during the deluge!  The knew I was there, no one else is crazy enough :).

Just as the sun set it cleared up a bit and I reconnected with my friends.  We then walked the 3+ km back to town in the increasing darkness and upon arriving we emptied out packs of excess food and had a Peregrino celebration.

So, what is next?!  Dunno!  I could walk to Muxia in two 15km days..
I could hang in town and wait for Alabama to arrive in the bus and give her a proper goodbye..
I could play and win the Spanish lottery.

My only commitment is to go home on Thursday


Buen Camino!

Friday, October 16, 2015

Back on the trail

Smarting from the emotional impact of the Camino family parting ways, I still had to get out and finish my walking journey to Finisterre and Muxia.  Walking out of Santiago was a double edged sword - i  was leaving some friends behind who would be in the city for a few more days, but the noise of the city was starting to get to me.

Back on the trail it was quiet!  Very quiet, but that was probably a good thing.  I needed time to mentally process my emotions and check myself - I always knew my walk to Finisterre and Muxia would be different then my walk into Santiago.  I had some down feelings thru the early morning, nothing unexpected given the tight bonds you make on Camino.

I was still struggling to get my Camino back on when I hit a hill...   For the first half I struggled and just did not have it in me, I swore if there was a bench I would sit and convert the land into shorts...  There it was, around the corner.

As I was pulling off my sleeved shirts and unzipping the legs of my pants, two bikers, whom I had passed earlier going up the hill went by.  The giggle as they walked their bikes up past me and said with glee "Buen Camino" got me energized.  These guys are short haulers, I'm going to show them howa long hauler climbs hills! - Camino Back On!  I caught up with them quickly and it was funny, they were huffing and puffing trying to keep ahead of me.     HAHAHAHA!  "BUEN CAMINO again guys, see you over the top!" - Zoom!  As I pulled away surrounding up the hill I heard then mutter something in Spanish to the effect of Superman...  I was half way down the other side when I heard a giggling "Buen Camino" as they FINALLY overtook me...

Ooh Yeah!  I was getting my Camino back into gear!

The rest of the days walk was much better, arriving at my albergue to an empty house...  I rocked my Camino so bad the second part of my walk, receive was BEHIND me - they caught up eventually :)!

Starting to get myself out of my depression, I searched out the local supermarkedo - this one was respectible in size.  I wanted to get something for snack tonight and trail munchies for tomorrow...  Then it clicked, Sunday night munchies...
No cheddar cheese in this country, but a piece of Spanish cheese will do.
No onion crackers, plain crackers will do.
Gawd! No pepperoni...  I don't want chorizo, but that is what this country has.
No dill pickles, little nibblers will suffice.
Mustard, check (yellow mustard is yellow mustard)
Sunday night munchies, Spanish style!  Check!  So many compliments :).

So here I am at the end of my 42nd day on Camino.  38 days walking, 4 "rest" days.  Depending on which resource you reference you'll get a different answer, but the most reliable says I've walked about 822km so far.  I have just about 100km to go, 5 days to do it in, and one very very loud "WHOOOOO-HOOOOO" to deliver over the ocean!

Till tomorrow:).