Day 7 on the Camino to Valcarce

Part of hill facing us manana
Tonites albergue in Val arce
Catching up to Steve
Couple from Chicago and Pat from Cork

Today i folded up my towel and then left it behind.   Found out that
drying off on a handkerchief is tricky but the albergue owner sold me
a new one

Steve and I are now one full day ahead of the planned schedule. We either slow down or end up with 2 rest days in Sarria waiting for Dave to arrive. Its a nice problem to have as the weather in the hills is unpredictable.  Tomorrow we climb to  another major peak and we arent sure there will be accommodation.

 Tomorrow’s steep climb is expected to be hard even though its only 12 km. Dave wasnt able to find accommodation at the hilltop. So steve and i are going to ship our knapsacks to the albergue on top, pick up the bags when we arrive and continue down the other side until we find a bed

Weather today threatened rain all day but all we got were enough drops to force us to wear rain gear. That makes you sweat even more. Met up with a pilgrim from County Cork, who has been on stages of the Camino in 2015, 2016 and now. So when people asked if he started in St Jean, france he replies that he started there in 2015 but he’s a slow walker

Day 5 on the Camino

Remnants of hail after the storm
Hail and rushing water
Another cathedral this one in Molinaseca

We started out in a thunderstorm, climbed over 900 metres to 1515m,  walked the mountain ridge for over an hour in high winds, then descended down stone strewn water runoff trails for hours to 490 metres and missed the 2 major storms.  The first one struck while we ate brunch (we had been hiking for 4 hours or more) and the second literally flooded the streets as we popped in to a bar to ask directions.  It helps to have  priest by your side. So all is well.  We are td the best is yet to come in a few days as we climb to O’Cebreiro.  Until then we take our chances with lodging and weather. Right now we ahead of schedule in Molineseca.  We expect to make it to Cacabelos tomorrow. Reservations are typically not allowed at Albergues  we had difficulty finding one today and ended up in a hotel room of sorts owned by man who feels obliged to advise all of his pilgrim guests

Scenery was spectacular today but my phone was in safe storage out of the rain.

Day 10 & day 4 on camino

They all start to look the same
Entrance to Rabanal i thi.m
They all start to look the same
Entrance to Rabanal i thi.m

Starting to see some new  but some familiar faces.  The last Albergue was a  bit of dive and extremely hot for sleeping. I was glad to leave at 6,00 this morning. Also we heard that tstorms were brewing in the hills ahead so we wanted to arrive early.   The current albergue in Rabanal is really clean and managed bt English speaking Christians. We had to wait outside for over 2 hours for it to open but during that time dozens of pilgrims arrived and waited with us.   Once inside we chose our bunks, raced for the showers and did our laundry.  Then right on cue, the storm arrived complete with hail.  Im so fortunate not to be out in that.  They were the size of sugar cubes.    The only wifi  is at the pub down the road. Amazing the stories you hear of pilgrims who started in early May at the start of the camino.  Like winds so strong they were blowing people off the mountain or driving so hard they did face plants.

Day 9 and 3rd Camino day

Sign on today’s albergue
Sign in Albergue
Cathedral at end of street
Old cathedral

we reached Asorga today – hit some hills but nothing too serious. However im getting twinges in my right knee and tbe next two days we climb a great deal[up to 4900 ft] and descending is particularly hard on legs in general.  So i purchased an elastic knee strap. I’ll wear it for next 2 days as a precaution.
We are trying to get away early each morning to avoid high pm temps but there are possible storms coming.  Should make for an interesting walk but they really need rain here.
Tonight im in a dorm that probably holds 40 or 50.pilgrims and the noise and logistics to wash clothes or shower or charge  a phone are sometimes problematic

Its fun to meet new people and sometimes you see the same person over again. I played doctor today patching up feet with the worst blisters ive seen. The 2 guys said they were going to rent bikes to finish the route.  Met a Minnesota girl who has been in Astorga for 3 days just because she loves it.  Last night at supper our entire table was made up of Canadians. In the past 3 days ive had to practice my French, German and Spanish. I saw the Quebecers in a park today and Bob, from Toronto is at the Albergue.  Im on the top floor and the heat there is stifling.  But i could be in Ontario where it rains


Second day on Camino

Albergue San Miguel
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Paintings by pilgrims on albergue walls
Roman type bridge over Rio Orbigo

We had a quick breakfast today and headed out by 7:30.  By noon we had already completed the distance laid out in Dave’s plan (the alternative was to walk al the way to Asrorga and that would have been too far for me.  The terrain was very flat today, passing miles of cultivated fields. Ive noticed that each home we pass appears to have new doors, new windows and what appear to be a security panel.  Doors will frequently match from town to town but they may be brilliant white,  aluminum or dark hardwood.  I postulate that the homes are owned by an agency that leases them back to residents.   However havent seen many residents either – usually just shopkeepers. Tomorrow will be a longer day andAstorga has lots of Roman ruins.

Day 7 we frappe la calle

Pilgrim self portrait
Our albergue in Mazarife
Storks nesting

Today we hit the road on our first day of hiking the buen Camino. After a large breakfast (in case it was my last meal) we struck out from Leon on our way to Villar de Mazarife.  It was a beautiful day and the path was not difficult. Still it was all i could handle.  The sun  became quite hot and my hips started to ache from the constant action under weight. Still the albergue we chose was excellent and im hopeful all will be reset in the morning

Along the route we were reminded by a voice why we were making tbis trek as the sound “cu koo’ repeated itself as we labored along


Day 6 Trip to Leon

somehow i lost all my text so ill insert some words here

We travelled by high speed train to Leon hitting speeds exceeding 200 km per hr. The train ride wS very smooth but it had as bumpy start as we found on the station platform with only 5 minutes to spare that we needed printed copies of our tickets on our phones.  Leon is an ancient city with a basilica dating back to the 11th century.and cathedrals almost as old. Our hotel is immense and includes a museum. Unfortunately its Sunday and almost everything is closed.  After an early evening stroll we plan to get started following 730 breakfast tomorrow