Here I go...

Walking and Talking Across Spain

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

A VERY cool HAT!

Today I got a surprise in the mail!

One of my Anniewalkers, Barbara,
 sent me this AWESOME hat directly from China!

I had seen several Korean pilgrims wearing these 
and happened to say out loud, 
"That would be a great hat to wear on the Camino in the hot sun!"

Barbara took note, 
and I'll be darned if one didn't show up in today's mail.

I"m STOKED!
I LOVE IT!

Won't I be the height of fashion!
And… no sunburn!
The attached scarf completely shields the back of your neck
and the sides of your face,
places that got quite sunburned on my last walk!

This hat is definitely going on my next Camino!

(I probably won't wear the face mask, 
but it is very cool and you can see just fine through the screen.)

Thanks, Barbara!


Thursday, July 17, 2014

What's New for 2015!


Today I booked almost all the lodging for our 2015 Camino trips!

There will be two trips in 2015:

1) A "Crone's Camino" for women only. This trip has only 1 spot left!

2) The "Best of Both" mixed group trip.  This trip has 2 spots left!

We've made some changes this year.

No More Pyranees.
We've cut out the Pyrenees.  Why? Because in the past few years, we've seen a change in the weather, making the crossing in May often dangerous. We have seen more and more injuries due to the weather and due to people not being in shape for this strenuous section. Injuries can mean the end of the line for some people.

This year, our walkers encountered rain, sleet, snow, hail and winds over 75 kph! We've decided we are just not willing to risk our lives and the lives of our friends to make a crossing that isn't even traditionally a part of the route. So we'll leave the Pyrenees to braver souls.

Instead, we'll begin walking in Pamplona. It's easy to fly in and there's a lot to see there. It's the perfect place to recover from the time change and get ready to walk!

Upgraded Lodging!
We have upgrade our lodging. No more gites. No more low-end lodging. We will only be staying in one albergue in private rooms. The rest of the time, we've upgraded to very nice casa rurales, apartments, and hotels.

No More Leon but TWO Days in Burgos!
We are cutting out Leon. Most people are more interested in seeing the Burgos Cathedral. And many are interested in the wonderful archaeology museum in Burgos, which hosts the remains from Atapuerca, site of the oldest human remains to be found in Western Europe. We've booked TWO days in Burgos so people have time to do both. Those that wish to go on to Leon the second day may do so on their own and hook up with group in Logrono.

No Ponferrada. No Viana.
We have cut out Ponferrada and Viana. The two 7 kilometer stretches just weren't worth the effort. Ponferrada has become depressingly covered in grafitti. Sure, there's the castle to see, but folks can see that on their way through. And Viana, though a lovely village, doesn't have as much to do as Logrono. So we're going to try walking straight through.

Bag Transport is INCLUDED!
We have included Bag Transport in the cost of the trip.  People can still carry their pack if they wish, but it's been our experience that most people would rather have the heavy stuff transported.

Bus Fares INCLUDED!
We include the price of the two bus transfers from Logrono to Burgos, and from Burgos to Astorga.

TAXI to O Cebreiro INCLUDED!
We include in the cost a taxi ride to O Cebreiro for breakfast!

Our New Tentative Schedule is as follows:

Day 1: Meet in Pamplona
Day 2: Walk to Puente la Reina  -  23k
Day 3: Walk to Estella - 21.9k
Day 4: Walk to Los Arcos - 21.1k
Day 5: Walk to Logrono - 28k*
Day 6: Bus to Burgos
Day 7: Extra day in Burgos (or you can bus to Leon)
Day 8: Bus to Astorga
Day 9: Walk to Rabanal del Camino - 21.4k
Day 10: Walk to Molinaseca - 26.5k*
Day 11: Walk to Villafranca - 30.9k*
Day 12: Taxi to O Cebreiro and Samos, Walk to Sarria - various k
Day 13: Walk to Portomarin - 22.4k
DAy 14: Walk to Palas de Rei - 24.8k
Day 15: Walk to Arzua - 25k
Day 16: Walk to Pedrouzo - 22.1k
DAy 17: Walk to Santiago - 20.1

We have raised prices a bit to reflect these changes, but we are confident people will love the new itinerary and will be very satisfied with their Camino.

In fact, people are SO excited about the trip that we only have 3 spaces left for 2015!
If you wish to join us, it's time to sign up NOW!

We look forward to seeing you on the Camino!

Love,
Annie

Wednesday, July 02, 2014

Joe's 2014 Group


I didn't walk with Joe's group so really didn't get to know them.
But here they are, happy to have made it to Santiago!
And I believe they had a great Camino.

I did get a photo of Lee getting her Compostela.
Can you tell she was excited?


When we get settled in, I'll ask Joe to write a short post about his trip.


Annie's 2014 Group

I just wanted to say a few words about the group I escorted this Spring.

Four of them have known each other since childhood,
growing up on the Isle of Mauritious,
which I (embarrassingly) had never heard of!

This made for quick bonding, 
and those four generously
and lovingly pulled the others in,
making the walk a beautiful example
of community, and how it should work.

The first one to contact me was Paul.

Full of personality, I soon came to love his sense of humor,
and his quick wit!
Paul kept me in line.
He let me know when I made mistakes.
And I appreciated that!

His wife, Patricia,
a gentle beauty,
was spiritual, kind, and soft-spoken.


Jack showed a sensitive quiet strength.
He was even-keeled and when I needed a rock,
or advice,
Jack was there.


Oh, we loved Chantal!
She kept us laughing,
and kept us fed
with her great cooking skills.
She lost her glasses crossing the Pyrenees 
and had to wear sunglasses the rest of the trek.


 If I could describe Jan with one word,
I think it would be steadfast.
She was strong and good-hearted,
and kept us well entertained with poetry and prose.


Gary kept us fed 
at the finest restaurants along The Way.
He was another fairly quiet, but strong team member
who was always helpful.


And Barbara!
How we LOVE Barbara!
She was our navigator,
always finding the best directions
to the next hotel.
She also kept us in stitches 
with her AWESOME personality.

We had one other walker, who has requested his name and photos not be posted. 
He was a quiet, but friendly pilgrim,
who never met a stranger,
a speaker of many languages,
and an intellectual who always had a story to tell.
He was another well-loved member of our group.

What a wonderful experience this year's walk was!

Thank you all so very much!
And wherever life takes you,
may you walk a Buen Camino!

Love,
Annie

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Santiago!





We made it!

I have spent the last hour trying to upload the last post of this trip. 
I think the photo heavy post is too much for San Marin Pinario's Internet. 

And so it will have to wait until I am in Madrid next week. 

Until then, know all pilgrims made it safe and sound. 
They kindly treated me to a fantastic seafood dinner upon arrival. 

This was a wonderful and unique group who bonded closely on the Camino

I will miss them. 

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Pedrouzo

The walk to Pedrouzo is beautiful and easy.  Here are some photos. 





Pension Maribel


We love pension Maribel!  She has just remodeled the whole place and it is super nice. 


The rooms are clean, bright, cheerful, and affordable. There is a sweet yard and patio out back. 

I will post photos when I return to portland. They are in my dropbox and I cannot figure out how to get them onto my iphone. 

For dinner, Padrilla Boy can't be beat!  The food is home cooked and mouth watering!  To me it is more affordable and much better than Galaisco. 



Beef Churrasco








Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Lovely Casteneda

Oh!
I'm in love with Castaneda!

Seen in Melide


Still being used for laundry.









Barbara washing her clothes




Palas de Rei

The morning began with breakfast.
 I had Cola Cao and just look at Jack's cafe con leche!


We stayed at Apartamentos Guillermo and it was wonderful!

Barbara cooked a great tuna pasta dinner.
Chantal and Pat made salad and bought a cake.
Gary brought the wine.
We feasted!
 It was a great bonding time. 

The rooms there are quite nice.
Anniewalkers had been staying at Pension Palace
but I think this will change next year. 


We had two apartments which meant two kitchens and two living rooms! 
Jack used one for his Tai Chi. 




The bedrooms were bright and comfortable. 



Rates were reasonable. 

The manager, Luis, was very helpful!  He took me to pick up my bag at another hotel and then delivered Jack and I to the fisiotherapista for much needed massage. 

Th 'complete' massage for 36 euros was quite an experience.  It was a cold room. I was pretty much naked except for two towels I asked for to cover strategic places. And the receptionist kept just walking in and chatting as though I wasn't there. I guess if you've seen one butt you've seen them all!  

The massage was strong - on the edge of being painful. When I asked what type of massage it was, she said 'deportivo' or sports massage. I cried out a few times and nearly kicked her in the teeth twice. But it worked and I felt much better the next day!

If you are in Palas de Rei, try the massage!

No, really!

Love, Annie








To Portomarin

Just 4 days left to Santiago!

Here are some photos I took yesterday on the way to Portomarin. 





And of course I can't forget my bacalau dinner and the empanada Barbara bought for the group!







Saturday, June 07, 2014

To O Cebreiro and Sarria

Photos from today's stop at O Cebreiro and our walk to Sarria.
I taxied that last 4 kilometers.

Hoping to be able to walk 23k tomorrow.


Santiago in O Cebreiro Chapel




Kevin 


Gary



Samos Monastery






View from my window in Sarria