Posts tagged camino de santiago de compostela
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 32: Palas de Rey to Ribadiso aka Pulpo Fresco

Upon leaving our ´hotel,´we located a bar to have coffee and zummo OJ.  It wasn´t raining until about 10 minutes into our trail.  Having a cold, this really put a damper on things (no pun intended).  Luckily we had stopped at a pharmacy were I was able to get some herbal medicine.  I was also able to get a refill on my prescriptions I had on me.  Why is the US Healthcare system as corrupt as it is?  For example, I got 30 Tramadol tablets for 5 euros without a prescription or insurance.  Must be nice, Europe.  Must be real nice. Unfortunately, no Z-pack without a prescription. 

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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 28: Herreira to Fonfria aka Pallozas

The coffee was super crappy this morning, which meant we would have to wait for 12 km, all uphill until we could get our hands on some descent Joe and hopefully something edible. We were however grateful for the sunshine, bringing us some surreal views. Our app recommended taking the road rather than the trail set out for pilgrims. Perhaps we were sharing the road with cars and bikes, but we didn’t have to climb down and back up and up again for more of an incline, unlike the other pilgrims.

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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 25: Acebo to Ponferrada aka Two Paths

Our breakfast this morning made up for yesterday’s mediocre dinner, and it was included in our stay. The skater boy setting it up gave me an entire loaf of the gluten-free bread to-go (the one I really like here). We thought by 9:30 AM we would be the last to leave our albergue, but rather the family from Delaware was right ahead of us, finishing up their bfast upon our arrival. With only 13 miles to complete today, we figured there was time to spare. The descent down the mountain was steeper than expected, and we saw absolutely no pilgrims on the trail. There were times when we were questioning whether we were on the right path, then a yellow arrow would show up out of no where. There were also a couple of moments where we could hear gunshots from a distance.. Most likely hunters, we figured.

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Day 24: Rabanal to Acebo aka Mad Cow(s)

Once again, we were awoken by church bells at 7 AM (I’m glad they have not one, but three churches for a town of less than 50). Really though, how have people not made any complaints about this? Breakfast was five euros and I would’ve paid five euros to get back my untainted taste buds. I was initially stoked to hear that that they had gluten-free bread, but it turned out to be as old as the Roman remains in town. I swear it may, or may not have had mold on it. Luckily, I still had day-old toasted bread from Astorga yesterday that I saved in case of emergency. I suppose this was an emergency.

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Day 23: Astorga to Rabanal aka Church Bells

The church bells made it impossible to continue sleeping in our wonderful, warm and comfy beds. How are people in these towns 'ok' with church bells going off until midnight and then waking up you up again at 7 AM? Seven hour of silent sleep isn't enough. We barely made it outside before hitting a wall of 1°C cold fog, forcing us to throw on more layers. The fog gave the city this eerie vibe we weren’t accustomed to. We decided to stop at the café for coffee and OJ, and toast (the gluten-free bread I purchased yesterday). We then went to the cathedral where mass was taking place, and took pictures realizing later that there was a poster with a camera crossed off in the front. Sorry Jesus.

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Day 22: Hospital de Orbigo to Astorga aka Food Coma

Woke up decently early and had coffee and orange juice before heading out from our albergue. We both agreed that this was the second cleanest albergue we had stayed in thus far. The waitress, who’s also the hospedería (most do both) is really sweet but I was saddened to see her go outside to smoke more than once, being 7 months pregnant and all. I’m used to everyone smoking in Europe, but not as much as I have seen in Northern Spain.

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Day 21: Leon to Hospital de Orbigo aka This Charming Man

I was surprised to wake up as late as 8:30 AM this morning, but I got the sense that I was trying to sleep something off. We bumped into a couple of pilgrims we knew yesterday, and all had a cold. This is why I’ve been dousing myself with Doterra’s OnGuard essential oil since I’ve been here, and I feel like it has helped some. We headed down for our last breakfast at the hotel. Their staff is really so affable. We grabbed a map to spot the location of the post office and a few other stores we wanted to hit up before heading out. So, who spends €140 mailing out postcards and souvenirs? Obviously, I do… Luckily the post office system is really organized. I grabbed my ticket (number 82) and had enough time to place everything in proper envelopes. The postman was sweet and patient, most likely because he knew how much I was spending. I justify it thinking it’s better than carrying it all on my back. After that, we headed to a few stores, including Mercadona, a supermarket known to have a gluten-free section. Stocked up on bread and pasta, all for €5. Such a steal! 

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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 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 15: Catrojeriz to Fromista aka Restart

It was nice to start the day off early, and I am feeling more like myself. But unfortunately our albergue didn’t have any gluten-free options for breakfast. We decided to get breakfast at a bar in town, but of course they were not open at 7:30 AM and it was 12 km to the next town. Oh well, I I thought... It will water for brekky. In addition to the lack of calories, we didn’t realize we would have to scale a huge hill. Karma for skipping out on walking 40k? I will say arriving at the top in time for the sunrise was something unbelievable. To top that off, there was a pop-up bar with coffee, bananas and other items. It was hosted by a guy named Javier, who speaks Greek! He overhead my mom and I talking (luckily we didn’t say anything too awful), and inquired within. He said he was confused because my mom looks Greek, but I apparently don’t? #someonepeedinmygenepool Anyway, he was a sweetheart. Turns out he had met his ex-girlfriend a few years back while traveling in Greece. They fell in love and he decided to move to Greece. He lived there for a year, but became homesick and had a bunch of projects going on here. So, he decided to end the relationship and head back to Spain. Now he has a Spanish gf.

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Day 13: Santander (played hooky and went up north for the day) aka Gran Hotel!

Woke up to a rain storm outside, which was at first a bummer. It was at breakfast (provided by the hotel/really decent), where we met Marcy, who’s from LA and completing the Camino with her son. He’s a couple days behind us because she unfortunately got an infected blister and decided to take the bus to the next big city to wait for him, while she healed. It’s sad that I keep hearing these tales of infected blisters and toe nails falling off. I can’t begin to stress how important it is that you take good care of your feet on the Camino. That means good shoes, sandals to change into, nightly foot baths, short toe nails and Compeed or Second Skin for blisters.

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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 11: Belorado to Atapuerca aka Neanderthals!

We thought our very mediocre hotel would’ve a least included breakfast, but alas, we paid an extra €12 extra for some empty calories. How do you say BS in Spanish? It was 10K to the first town, and the trail paralleled the road the entire time. I can’t stand when the Camino parallels the road or the highway, as it takes away from the Camino charm. In the town of Villa Franca, we met up with other peregrinos and headed up towards the mountains. Inclines are never too exciting, but we ran into Noah, from DC, who we had not seen since the first day. He told me that our friend Ana was probably already in Burgos, and thought that he too would walk the full 30 miles to get there by today. He introduced me to a couple of his Italian friends, who spoke limited English. I love being lost in translation on this Camino... Communication seems to fluctuate between hand gestures and laughter.

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