Posts tagged camino de santiago de composela
Day 34: O Pedrouzo to Santiago de Compestela aka THE FINISH LINE!!!

Walking into Santiago felt like it took forever, but I never walked so lightly, so briskly into a city on the Camino. What a feeling ! Which I believe would be more bitter than sweet, if it weren’t for this cold (slightly better) and my blister-riddled feet. Santiago is an old and beautiful city, full of history. But I seem to always visit cathedrals while they are being renovated. There were quite a few pilgrims rejoicing in front of the construction site (that’s what it was).  They were all either crying, laughing, hugging, or laying on the square’s floor, staring at the clouds and digesting their own feelings. I didn’t recognize most, but I did run into Thomas, Tongdo, Mitchell and Peter.  Peter was my Camino stalker from Hungary, who I felt the need to take a photo with in front of the cathedral (because it was a win-win situation).  As the photo was being taken, and with a heavy accent he told me that he hoped he as a Hungarian was a positive representation of Hungary, causing me to burst out into laughter. Then apologized for perhaps making me feel uncomfortable for placing his arm around me for the photo. Nah dude, you breathing heavily behind me on the trail and in restaurants made me feel uncomfortable.

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Day 31: Portomarin to Palas de Rey aka It was all a Fog

Woke up with achy muscles and a sore throat... I guess the patio wasn´t as warm as I had perceived it to be last night.  I´m surprised I have held out without getting sick for this long, so I can´t really complain.  It´s really only a few more days until we reach Santiago.  We again declined the 8 euro a person buffet at this new hotel, and opted for just coffee.  It was foggy beyond belief outside, and you couldn´t see more than 100 ft in front of you. This made what seemed to be the hundreds of new pilgrims following us look like zombies protruding from out of the fog.  The fog also gave the lost city of the river an even more eerie vibe.  

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Day 30: Sarria to Portomarin aka Well, I'll be dammed

We decided to decline the €10 a person breakfast buffet that the hotel had to offer.  Instead we opted for coffee and gluten-free stale muffins for 2 euros each at nearby bar.  This AM was cold, and as we were leaving Sarria, I kept thinking to myself that I am sure this city has more to offer, and that we weren´t in a good mindset yesterday to enjoy it.

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Day 29: Fonfria to Sarria aka Zummo!

Our albergue may not have had any gluten-free breakfast options, but it did have a Zummo vending machine. Take note: Christmas/Hanukkah/Birthday wish-list only includes this vending machine. In all seriousness, we knew that real food was 12 km away, and that we couldn’t afford to skip out on two meals like we did yesterday since we were completing 23k today. Therefore, we sat for an all-American (ha) breakfast at a bar in Triscaterra, 12k in.

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Day 27: Villafranca de Bierzo to Las Herrerias aka Power's Out

All but two pilgrims had left by the time we had gone to the kitchen for our breakfast. The express coffee maker was not up to our standards of coffee that we had gotten used each morning at the various cafes we sat in. We were saddened by the sight of rain pouring outside, knowing that it would make for a long day. Starting off on the Camino, we got a good idea of how pretty Villafranca de Bierzo would be sans rain and fog. At the point of exiting the city, we had a choice of either passing under the seemingly narrow and treacherous tunnel or taking the long way around. We opted for the former. This was a good risk to take, as it resulted in us saving two miles of walking in the rain. I wouldn’t usually say this, but I was glad to walk parallel to the road today because of how much it was pouring. Luckily it wasn’t just road, but also nature (mountains, rivers, streams) keeping us company… And even better, no rocks.

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Day 26: Ponferrada to Villafranca de Bierzo aka "A farmer doesn't eat what he doesn't know"

I had some coffee, OJ and the rest of the gluten-free bread I was given for free yesterday. It was surprisingly not that cold outside and the weather report said no rain, but the gray colored clouds seemed to think otherwise. I don’t trust meteorologists.

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Day 19: Sahugun to Leon aka “Sin dolor, no hay Camino”

At 6:30 AM we were awoken by the sound of loud church bells. I suppose it was time to rise for the The Last Breakfast... Ha! After packing up our belongings, we headed to the comedor, where we found Bridgette. She told us how the head nun yelled at her this morning for apparently leaving her bathroom light on all night, and thus wasting energy. “I don’t know how she knew I had left it on? I need it for when I use the restroom at night and can’t see.” We exchanged our own nun-run ins. I informed the nun I was allergic to gluten yesterday, so I had a banana and yogurt awaiting my arrival, while the others had plastic wrapped pastries. We paid €3 each for this feast, since we’re all told that nothing else would be open at this time (7:15 AM). Have I mentioned that sunrise isn’t until 8:30 AM here? So it's pretty dark when we begin walking.

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Day 18: Terradillos de los Templarios to Sahugun aka The Camino Ghost

We are currently staying in a monastery (Albergue de las Madres Benactidinas) where the stamp they use looks like it’s a HP dementor... Quite fitting for them. Where do I start with this place? It is €17 per person to stay in a creep double room, and they charged us €10 each to wash and dry our clothes and wouldn’t even wash everything in the bag provided, because they said we packed too much inside? Mind you, the nun busted into our room while I was showering just to tell us this. Later on, when it was time to grab our laundry, she angrily told me I nearly broke the dryer because our clothing had too much lint? I was shocked by the way she spoke to me, and could not formulate a response, and then she said, “wow poor girl, you don’t speak any Spanish at all, do you?”

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Day 17: Carrion de los Condes to Terradillos de los Templarios aka Alban's Four Fears

Dear blister gods, why do you hate me so? I’m writing this with bloodstained socks. We woke up early this AM and went straight to the to the grocery store, knowing that we wouldn’t have anything to eat for 17.5 km or 10 miles on today's camino. The woman working there was pretty rude. I asked about any gluten-free options, and she responded with a quick and sure ‘no.’ Even when I showed her the bag of cookies I found in one of the aisles that clearly stated ‘Gluten Free,’ she said they weren’t. My Greek mom, minutes after asked if she spoke any English, and again she responded with a quick 'no.’ My mom then asked her if she was a nice person, and she responded (with no surprise), 'no!’ My mom then said, “I already knew that.” I nearly peed my pants watching this scene before my eyes. I realized Spaniards might hate us (pilgrims). Bridgette (you will hear more about her later) told us this is due to pilgrims having a history of being rude and offensive and even knocking on doors at 6 AM to use villager’s restrooms. I’d probably be annoyed with us too.

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Day 16: Fromista to Carrion de Los Condes aka RIP Taste Buds

Our abergue didn’t have breakfast. The owner says it’s because there aren’t as many pilgrims in the fall, so it’s not worth it for her. It was freezing out .. My phone read 30°. We stopped by a bar for coffee to get out of the cold, and because we needed some caffeine and calories. Today wasn’t too eventful. We stopped about 7 miles into a bar and bought some delicious ham and sheep's cheese (€5) that is from a local farm. The road was extremely rocky and give us both blisters. I know I keep saying this, but I’m over the roads being rocky and/or parallel to freeways. I want dirt, soil, mountainous terrain, not man made foot-killing paths.

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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 10: Granon to Belorado aka "we don't eat backpacks here!"

For some reason, I was really tired today. Luckily for us, my knee has gotten better and so has my mom’s ankle. We woke up to clean clothes and ate a decent breakfast. We also got to talk to the South Korean a little bit more, and he even offered and gave us a ride to the city center. Before then, I got to play with Anna’s (the owner) puppies who are four months old and adorable. Anna also gave us a behind the scenes tour of the church attached to the arbergue that is seldom used because it’s farther away from town.

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Day Eight: Logroño to Azofra aka The Camino Provides

Logroño was quite rainy this morning, but doable. I got to mail out my postcards (€1 to the USA), which was easier than I thought it would be. In Argentina, they ask you a million questions before they put a stamp on something you'd like to send out. Prior to leaving, we had coffee and a snack (€5) at a cute café we spotted yesterday. It´s a wine bar, with an adorable bathroom (see photo).

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Day Six: Estella to Los Arcos aka Wine Fountains!

Breakfast was great in our pension – They had fried eggs and gluten-free bread awaiting my taste buds. Turns out the super market in Estella has tons of GF options (see photo). Our goal for the AM was to eat, stop by the pharmacy for steroids and supportive braces and exchange some dinero at the bank. The first pharmacy we went to was not at all helpful, but we did buy a box Predisona (no prescription needed — €2.50). We decided to head to a different pharmacy (see photo) that was super helpful and found us a proper knee and ankle brace (€20 each), as well as electrolytes (€2.50 per packet). Electrolytes seem impossible to find here, so my recommendation is to bring a box if you ever do this. Ok, so the bank will only exchange $150.00 a day. We have decided the exchange rate isn’t too terrible at ATMs, that withdrawing money turns out to be a lot more convenient and less of a risk than carrying a wad of moola on you. But of course, it’s always important to carry cash on you, just in case. Another thing, the bank won’t exchange change, only dollar, dollar bills, y'all… Meh.

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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 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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