Pilgrim

Camino de Santiago: Day 37 -- Arrival!

Somehow, I didn't get a ton of photos of our walk into Santiago and the two days we spent there.  In a way, I'm glad.  The last day of the Camino was one totally spent in the moment--excited and partially astonished to have made it and sad that the end is approaching as we knock of one kilometer after the next.  We stopped at every cafe--took our time. We people watched. We enjoyed the last of the Camino sunrises and scenery.  I limped into Santiago so so grateful my feet carried me this last day without something popping loose like a wonky spring in a clock.

The cathedral was under construction inside and out, but it didn't matter.  The perfect photo backdrop didn't matter.  What felt good was to arrive with friends and to watch other pilgrims arrive throughout the weekend.  It was a lovely time sightseeing like a tourist, having meals with friends from the way and waving hi to somewhat recognizable faces.  Santiago is a beautiful city for arrivals.

We also visited the Pilgrimage Museum behind the cathedral with gave me a frame of reference for an accomplishment I still don't quite comprehend. 

Thank you for your visit.

Thank you for your visit.

Last Galician early morning.  We'll be sleeping in from here on out.

Last Galician early morning.  We'll be sleeping in from here on out.

To prolong the day we stopped at every cafe. This is the first I saw with a gift shop though!

To prolong the day we stopped at every cafe. This is the first I saw with a gift shop though!

Winding our way into Santiago.

Winding our way into Santiago.

One view of the massive cathedral

One view of the massive cathedral

The cathedral interior with Botofumeria.

The cathedral interior with Botofumeria.

Camino de Santiago: Days 25 - 27 - Leon to Villadangos del Paramo to Astorga to Rabanal del Camino

Leaving Leon, I passed the beautiful Leon Parador, a 12th C pilgrim's hospital (hostal) spruced up to become the headquarters of the Knights Order of Santiago. 

Leaving Leon, I passed the beautiful Leon Parador, a 12th C pilgrim's hospital (hostal) spruced up to become the headquarters of the Knights Order of Santiago. 

In front of the parador, another statue of a weary pilgrim.

In front of the parador, another statue of a weary pilgrim.

Some interesting farm contraptions--my only photo of the day into Villadangos. It was a highway adjacent walk through pit stops for truckers.  Nothing going on in Villadangos but good company and a delicious dinner at the albergue with new friends.

Some interesting farm contraptions--my only photo of the day into Villadangos. It was a highway adjacent walk through pit stops for truckers.  Nothing going on in Villadangos but good company and a delicious dinner at the albergue with new friends.

Sunrise through corn stalks. It's actually quite creepy to walk through corn during the pre-dawn. believe it or not.

Sunrise through corn stalks. It's actually quite creepy to walk through corn during the pre-dawn. believe it or not.

I only passed through, but really liked the town of Hospital de Orbigo. This long bridge dates from the 13th C. Legend has it that a knight was thwarted in love. To restore his honor he vowed to defend that bridge against anyone who would challenge him.  In 1434, Knights arrived from all over Europe to joust against the heartsick Don Suero.  300 knights were defeated, and I guess that was the magic number because a victorious Don Suero then journeyed to Santiago in thanks for being cured of his heartbreak.

I only passed through, but really liked the town of Hospital de Orbigo. This long bridge dates from the 13th C. Legend has it that a knight was thwarted in love. To restore his honor he vowed to defend that bridge against anyone who would challenge him.  In 1434, Knights arrived from all over Europe to joust against the heartsick Don Suero.  300 knights were defeated, and I guess that was the magic number because a victorious Don Suero then journeyed to Santiago in thanks for being cured of his heartbreak.

Yellow arrows mark the dusty path toward Astorga.

Yellow arrows mark the dusty path toward Astorga.

Casa de los Dioses, which I anticipated because it is so beloved by my guidebook and favorite Camino forum.  Entirely donativo, sustenance, good vibes and a shady place to rest is offered. 

Casa de los Dioses, which I anticipated because it is so beloved by my guidebook and favorite Camino forum.  Entirely donativo, sustenance, good vibes and a shady place to rest is offered. 

After a long day, weary pilgrims (including me!) on the outskirts of Astorga.  Look at that sky!

After a long day, weary pilgrims (including me!) on the outskirts of Astorga.  Look at that sky!

Cannot resist the handpainted signs.  Or patatas fritas for that matter.

Cannot resist the handpainted signs.  Or patatas fritas for that matter.

At this point in the trip, I can handled the blisters, but my foot is killing me and I feel like I've aged 30 years. I really enjoyed my meal Plaza Major, though, and watching people gather to see the clock at the top of the Ayuntamiento chime -- it has little characters like the Glockenspiel in Munich!

At this point in the trip, I can handled the blisters, but my foot is killing me and I feel like I've aged 30 years. I really enjoyed my meal Plaza Major, though, and watching people gather to see the clock at the top of the Ayuntamiento chime -- it has little characters like the Glockenspiel in Munich!

Astorga was lovely. With a beautiful cathedral too.

Astorga was lovely. With a beautiful cathedral too.

I like comparing the grandiose cathedrals with the tiny hermitages I'd pass along the way. Even though it was sunrise, this medieval chapel, Ecce Homo, was manned by a friendly elderly woman who tried to tell me the story of the chapel's well. From what I gathered a miracle happened, but my Spanish wasn't up to the task of sorting out what type of miracle. So I blessed myself and looked as the display of antique photos of parishoners past.  As I was leaving the tiny woman mimed my putting on my backpack and trudging away.  She must see a lot of us droopy pilgrims.

I like comparing the grandiose cathedrals with the tiny hermitages I'd pass along the way. Even though it was sunrise, this medieval chapel, Ecce Homo, was manned by a friendly elderly woman who tried to tell me the story of the chapel's well. From what I gathered a miracle happened, but my Spanish wasn't up to the task of sorting out what type of miracle. So I blessed myself and looked as the display of antique photos of parishoners past.  As I was leaving the tiny woman mimed my putting on my backpack and trudging away.  She must see a lot of us droopy pilgrims.

I thought the walk toward Rabanal was stunning. Sunny with walled paths, then later, a forest trail. I came to love the entrance to small towns. 

I thought the walk toward Rabanal was stunning. Sunny with walled paths, then later, a forest trail. I came to love the entrance to small towns. 

The Camino "color scheme" of yellow arrows against a blue background is truly accurate.  To me the Camino is yellow against blue.

The Camino "color scheme" of yellow arrows against a blue background is truly accurate.  To me the Camino is yellow against blue.

Besides Elvis Bar in Religos, Cowboy Bar in the sleepy Maragato town El Ganso was a favorite.  The inside is like the prop department of a spaghetti western

Besides Elvis Bar in Religos, Cowboy Bar in the sleepy Maragato town El Ganso was a favorite.  The inside is like the prop department of a spaghetti western

Rabanal in silohuette.

Rabanal in silohuette.

Camino Thoughts plus Days 20 - 23 - Villamentero De Campos to Calzadilla de la Cueza to Sahagun to Reliegos

Well, my app didn't end up working so well and, as it happened, I got more wrapped up in the walk as it went on, which is a good thing. During the second half of the walk , things began to click for me, despite the fact that my body was ready to reach its destination and began to voice big, loud complaints via my right foot and ankle.  All my wretched limbs held together though and I hobbled into Santiago with friends on October 7 after 35 days of walking.  I'm home now and just beginning to wrap my head around the experience.  Did I dream the whole thing? 

I'm sprucing up my sketchbook which I will post, along with some more thoughts on the Camino and some practical things I learned.  Despite years of researching this trip, there were still things I hadn't thought out that would've helped me before I left. It just goes to show that each person's Camino is a different animal and despite that, we all have a shared journey.  It was a horrible and wonderful trip and that's the only way I can think to describe it.  Just like a month and a half of real life, there are good and bad and many in between days.  I have to imagine that each is valuable, even if I can't see it yet.

This week, though, I will continue to share some images from the 2nd half of The Way.

Carrion de los Condes, passing through the main square before a very long walk through the Meseta

Carrion de los Condes, passing through the main square before a very long walk through the Meseta

Plenty of food and water...16 k until my stopping point.

Plenty of food and water...16 k until my stopping point.

The town of Calzadilla de la Cueza and the sign for its municipal albergue seemed to rise from the grass like an oasis. It's a two albergue town and not much else, and in my haste to take off my shoes I managed to pick the albergue WITHOUT the pool.   Plenty of time to think here...this cafe and the view of pilgrims coming over the hill is the only thing to do in this town.

The town of Calzadilla de la Cueza and the sign for its municipal albergue seemed to rise from the grass like an oasis. It's a two albergue town and not much else, and in my haste to take off my shoes I managed to pick the albergue WITHOUT the pool. 

Plenty of time to think here...this cafe and the view of pilgrims coming over the hill is the only thing to do in this town.

A perfect color palette.

A perfect color palette.

I love these little Spanish buildings. I want to live in every single one.

I love these little Spanish buildings. I want to live in every single one.

Not Hobbit Houses!, a sign helpfully explained to passing pilgrims.  These little cave cottages are for storing wine.

Not Hobbit Houses!, a sign helpfully explained to passing pilgrims.  These little cave cottages are for storing wine.

I know it looks cute but its cat talons are sharpened and waiting to rip food from pilgrim hands.  This cat ferociously guards Elvis Bar, which is the epicenter of tiny Reliegos, as well as acting as a graffiti-ed notice board for those passing through.

I know it looks cute but its cat talons are sharpened and waiting to rip food from pilgrim hands.  This cat ferociously guards Elvis Bar, which is the epicenter of tiny Reliegos, as well as acting as a graffiti-ed notice board for those passing through.

Days 6 and 7 - Uterga to Lorca and a rest day in Estella

I am suffering from muchas ampollas. After a hard hot days walk with a lot of pain I stopped in the tiny village of Lorca for the night then hobbled a couple hours the next morning to lovely Estella where I booked a room all to myself for rest and foot care. It's been beautiful scenery though and very nice people around every bend in the road. 

Early morning hang gliders (?) outside Uterga

Early morning hang gliders (?) outside Uterga

always grateful to see an obvious Camino sign to guide the way  

always grateful to see an obvious Camino sign to guide the way  

Walking through Puente La Reins

Walking through Puente La Reins

The queen's bridge, built in the 11th C to help pilgrims across the deep river

The queen's bridge, built in the 11th C to help pilgrims across the deep river

Walking through vineyards and Oliver groves today

Walking through vineyards and Oliver groves today

The pretty and very unbaked hill town of Cirauqui

The pretty and very unbaked hill town of Cirauqui

The Roman road remains along this not of the Camino  

The Roman road remains along this not of the Camino  

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This morning I made it to Estella, a short day so I can rest my feet.  I e made it about 71 miles. 411 to go! Estella is small but ver picturesque. Perfect place for a break.  

 

Out of Lorca, bypassed by a dog on a donkey   

Out of Lorca, bypassed by a dog on a donkey   

But I caught up. Note the shell on the donkey... They are in pilgrimage too! 

But I caught up. Note the shell on the donkey... They are in pilgrimage too! 

10th C ermita de San Miguel Arcángel .... Hermitage and pilgrim hospital

10th C ermita de San Miguel Arcángel .... Hermitage and pilgrim hospital

Arrived in Estella to find a farmers market outside my door.... Cooking in tonight

Arrived in Estella to find a farmers market outside my door.... Cooking in tonight

Rio Ega

Rio Ega

Cafe chairs in Plaza Fueros

Cafe chairs in Plaza Fueros

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Camino markers and Camino feet

Camino markers and Camino feet

Self care

Self care

Day 4 and 5 - Zubiri to Pamplona to Uterga

Two rough days with blisters beginning to develop but the pain was dulled by the beautiful Navarra region.  

Started in St Jean with 482 miles to walk to Santiago. At the end of day five I have 429.5 to go

 

Puente de la Rabia leaving Zubiri

Puente de la Rabia leaving Zubiri

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Tortilla, orange soda sand new friend at Zuriáin cafe

Tortilla, orange soda sand new friend at Zuriáin cafe

The alterpiece at Iglesia de San Esteban

The alterpiece at Iglesia de San Esteban

Hemingway hideout on the back of Cafe Irunia in Pamplona

Hemingway hideout on the back of Cafe Irunia in Pamplona

day five, free of the city and headed over that hill. Hot and dry  

day five, free of the city and headed over that hill. Hot and dry  

Beautiful skies

Beautiful skies

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Made it to the top! Alto del Perdón and the monuments peregrino  

Made it to the top! Alto del Perdón and the monuments peregrino  

The long hot walk down to Uterga, my end point for today

The long hot walk down to Uterga, my end point for today

Relaxing in Casa Baztán, a relaxing little albergue  

Relaxing in Casa Baztán, a relaxing little albergue