Posts in Pilgriamge
I would walk 500 Miles: An Anecdotal Transition back to the 'Real World' after Completing the Camino de Santiago de Compostela Pilgrimage in Spain

The Camino seems like a far-away dream at this point. A dream that I wish I hadn't woken up from. To think that just two years ago, I was a pilgrim; walking an average of 10 miles a day from pueblo-to-pueblo or city-to-city.  It’s been a little while since I stepped foot in Santiago de Compostela, Spain, the celebrated finish line of the Camino de Santiago de Compostela (Camino Frances route) Pilgrimage. I vividly remember that moment and everything I had worked for up until then… the blood (literally… the unearthly blisters!), the sweat and tears that went into walking those 500 miles (800 km) from St. Jean-Pied-Du-Port (eastern side of the Pyrenees mountain range), France to the Galician city of Santiago de Compostela (northwestern Spain). All worth it, along with a picture in front of the famous cathedral and a Compostela (certificate) to document this feat I completed.

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Day 20: Rest day in Leon aka And I'm (un)Happy when it Rains

Woke up at 7 AM this morning, and had an amazing breakfast. Amazing because the staff (who are all awesome) had gluten-free bread waiting for me. While feastin’, this group of cute hip rockers walked in for some Johnny Walker and cerveza. They clearly hadn’t slept yet. Soon after they went outside with their booze and instruments and played some great jams. Although I was watching from afar, and a few of them had waived hello to me, I was much too shy to take a video of them playing their own awesome rendition of ‘Like a Rolling Stone.’ After their short impromptu concert, I was happy to catch up on blogging and even finished filling out all 35 postcards.

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Day 14: Burgos to Castrojeriz aka Glamping

Woke up late and wasn’t feeling too hot. I think yesterday took a lot out of me. At breakfast we were told by the waitress that there were no busses heading to Burgos for the remainder of the day. We’d forgotten how far out of town we were and found out a taxi would cost us €20 to get to the city's center. Bummer. Minutes later, the waitress tells us that the owner was heading to Burgo’s to go to our old hotel to drop off a couple of things (same company) and that if we wanted we could ride with him. Once again, the Camino provides!

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Day 12: Atapuerca to Burgos aka Burgers in Burgos

Today we started off early and it was quite rainy when we got into Burgos around noon. We’ve begun walking through the Meseta region (known to be the most boring portion of the Camino), which looks very desert meets House on the Prarie.

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Day Nine: Azofra to Grañon aka Pilgrim or Tourist?

We woke up to a cold and damp day, and decided not to cook the food we had, and instead start the day early. We grabbed some coffee at a nearby cafe (€4) and walked 10k to the first town on today's Camino, Curueña, where there was a random golf course (first one I’ve seen). There we ate some breakfast at the golf club, where we met Gregory from Ireland and discussed the Syrian immigration situation. As we moved forward, it started to feel like Vegas, hot and dry. Before we knew it, we spotted Santo Domingo de la Calzada, which truly looked like the Vegas strip… A pyramid shaped mountain behind an oasis of a city. Luxor? On this road, we met a Latvian girl, who I’d seen before, that appeared to have a chip on her shoulder. Amongst other negative things she said, she mentioned that anyone who uses the backpack service isn’t a true ‘pilgrim,’ but better yet, just a tourist. Meanwhile, I’ve seen her using her smart phone at various cafes.

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Day Seven: Los Arcos to Logroño aka Fat Camp

We woke up in our regrettable hotel, where the wi-fi finally began to work late at night, causing us both technological insomnia. We had breakfast at a local restaurant which wasn’t great, and truly once again probably should’ve just stayed in a local albergue, as it would’ve been cheaper, and the sleep would’ve been just the same. My knee is still killing me, unfortunately… as is my mom’s ankle. So, we are taking things really slow. 

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Day Five: Puenta La Reina to Estella aka No mas albergues, por favor

No sleep last night. I mean, maybe 2 hours? Our room smelled of farts and BO. If that didn’t keep you up, it was the immensely loud snoring that ear plugs couldn’t cover. If you ever do the Camino, BRING EAR PLUGS. So two hours of sleep later, and prior to having to walk 15 miles to Estella, our ‘breakfast’ at the albergue was just as good as the sleep. A croissant, orange juice and coffee. I explained that I’m celiac (soy celiaca), and was offered an apple instead of a croissant...errrr. Being gluten free on the Camino is much easier than being vegan, but sometimes it sucks just as much. Especially when it’s too early for any markets to be open.

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Day Four: Pamplona to Puenta la Reina aka Running with the Bulls

We got some great sleep last night, thanks to the awesome hotel we stayed in. We decided to explore Pamplona this AM, because it’s Pamplona ! It’s a medium sized city, with a lot to offer. Something I noticed was a lot of cute hip dads with their babies... Machismo-ness (real word) is so last century. We got to eat at Bar Gaucho aka Pinxtos heaven for brunch (most are naturally gluten/dairy free). I believe my future ex-husband, Anthony Bourdain paid a visit there. Nonetheless, it was the most highly recommended place to dine. Each pinxto was roughly €3 each, completely worthwhile. Getting out of the city was a pain, as there was some sort of ‘Old Pamplona’ festival.

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Day Three: Zubiri to Pamplona aka Parque de la Taconera

Just about all of us had a late start today, possibly because some of us got into private hostels and we’re finally able to have sound sleep, who knows. Nonetheless, we started are day off with a cappuccino and breakfast pinxtos. We spoke to the gentleman working, who said he is trying to perfect his English so he can move to England, since there is no money to make in Spain. T'was bien. Ended up passing Klaus and Thomas, due to their hungoveredness (it’s a word). The trail was beautiful, without too many steep portions. I should mention that people, not just Peregrínos are super nice on the trail. It's like holiday season, all of the time. We’ve had waiters offer their place and a couple of randomers (another word) offer us assistance when we’ve stopped alongside the road. It’s refreshing. 

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Day One: Saint Jean to Roncesvalles aka Ignorance is Bliss

I heard a woman at the end of the day in our bunk bed filled room, say “ignorance is bliss… Isn’t that why we are all doing this?” Today we had intentions of only walking 10k to Orisson, however the universe had other plans for us. We ate a decent breakfast at our hotel, as we started on the Camino. Again, such a shame that St. Jean was foggy/rainy. Climbing the Pyrenees was beautiful and strenuous. I noticed there wasn’t much talking amongst pilgrims on the 4,000 Ft elevation gain. Arriving at Orisson (10k in) was a feat in itself. Being wet and cold, we were able to find some temporary refuge in this Refugio, specifically the veggie soup (€4). We were actually supposed to stay the night there, but lo and behold, I didn't confirm the booking and they were FULL. Ugh. But it all worked out for the best. There we met our new German friend Klaus and a New Hampshire-an (?) Psychologist named Thomas. 

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Intro to Camino de Santiago Journal

Your future female Anthony Bourdain, except traveling solo on a budget... And not a chef. This was my blog's original tagline, until my mom decided to join me for the entire length of the pilgrimage. I wrote in my journal and posted blog entries onto Tumblr everyday for my family and friends to follow along, despite any lethargy or physical pain for the kms of walking.

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