Here I go...

Walking and Talking Across Spain

Monday, February 01, 2016

The Spring Camino Best of Both Trip is FULL!

Last night, our final peregrina signed up, giving us a full group.
We will have one couple and 4 people booking private single lodging. This makes the group smaller, as lodging is prime real estate.  However, we will pick up 3 more pilgrims in Sarria, and they're friends of the couple. So it should be a lot of fun.

In addition, I booked 2 self-guided Sarria to Santiago groups this Spring. One is a group of 4 friends from Texas and the second is a group of 3 sisters from the Pacific Northwest.

Joe has space for 4 more in his Autumn Group, but we expect it to fill up fast, due to the Holy Year of Mercy. So if you're interested, better get online and sign up!

I'm so excited!  I'm looking forward to a wonderful Camino 2016!

My plans to be hospitalera at San Anton are not going to pan out. After much serious consideration, I realized that it would be impossible to be in control of my environment, and with my MCS, that is important to my health. Sadly, I have decided not to volunteer.

Instead, I'll spend the last two weeks in Spain either walking a section of the VDLP. Or I may just decide to go south and visit Cordoba, Granada, and Toledo. I'm still undecided.

Now that most of the work is finished for the 2016 Camino, I'll get back to posting blog photos, and try to pick up where I left off.

Are any of YOU going to walk the Camino this year?

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Update: Holidays, Flu, and Hospitalera

Hola Peregrinos!

I haven't posted much in the last few weeks because both Joe and I have been sick with the flu. But here is a quick update.

We really enjoyed having my eldest granddaughter, Emma, visit for the holidays. I think she enjoyed the respite from the Portland, Oregon cold. We took a hike to an oasis,  and she made many new friends at the pool being a mermaid!

Christmas, we drove to my mother's house, about 5 hours away, where we met up with my youngest son and his partner for Christmas dinner. It was a wonderful visit!

My eldest son and his family sent photos of them enjoying the snow.
It made me homesick!

My grandson, Hiathan (above) has really been wanting to learn to hunt.
My son is not a hunter, but he told Hia, "If you'll take the Hunter's Safety Course and pass it, I'll find someone to take you hunting."  

That's all Hiathan needed to hear!
His parents paid for the course, which you take online now,
and he passed with flying colors.
And so, Samu found a friend he trusted to take Hiathan duck hunting.
The group got 12 ducks!

I decided to make my own holiday cards this year.
I used a zentangle technique and had a lot of fun!

I also did some plain watercolor cards:

The weather here has been on and off.
Mornings are beautiful, but by 9 am,
the climate control planes start their spraying, 
and because of my MCS, I'm stuck in the house.

Joe caught the flu after Christmas and was sick for several weeks.
I did my best to stay away, staying out in my own room most of the day
except for cooking and cleaning.
I got the danged flu 
and I've sick as heck for the past several days.
Today feels like maybe it's better than yesterday.
Hopefully, I'll be on the mend soon.
But this flu gives you one or two days when you think you are better,
then hits a second time with a vengeance.
So I'm doing my best to stay in bed and rest.
It gets boring, but the computer screen hurts my eyes,
and my brain isn't functioning clearly enough to do much otherwise.

The most exciting news of all 
is that I've been accepted as a hospitalera this season.
I'll be working two weeks at one of my favorite albergues,
San Anton.

Here is a photo from 2006,
my first Camino,
at San Anton:

I'm so excited to be volunteering there!
I'm scheduled to be there the first two weeks of June,
after I finish my Madrid Camino 
and my group trip.

If you're walking, 
stop by and say hello!

Ok.. back to bed for me.
I'll try to finish up the posts on the Camino I've been working on,
once I'm feeling better.

Buen Camino!

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

To Vega del Valcarce and O Cebreiro 2009


While in Villafranca, we stopped by the church 
and found this phallic shaped statue of the Virgin quite interesting. 
Both Joe and I are students of symbolism 
and there is a lot that can be read into a statue like this.

Leaving Villafranca, 
we walked along path with the highway on our right 
and the river on our left.

Here is some of the scenery we saw on the way to Vega del Valcarce:

House with rough slate shingles 
Albergue at Vega de Valcarce is quite nice

This is for storing grain

One of Joe's ancestors?

These are wooden shoes for wearing in the fields. I've seen people still wearing them.

While staying at the municipal albergue in Vega de Valcarce,
we noticed a steep trail going up a hill.
At the top of the hill was a shack,
facing the sunset.
We saw several elderly people climbing the hill
in the late afternoon.
We learned the elders go up here to socialize,
have a drink together,
and watch the sunset each night.
The locals say "They're holding Parliament!"

We enjoyed the municipal here very much.
Friendly and clean.

Witch Land!

I heard Led Zepplin and walked over the wall, and looked down.
These fellows were making thatch for the roofs.
When they saw me watching them, 
they switched to Spanish folk music. 
But it was fun watching them!

I love the rainbow colors of the sheets

Inside one of the thatched stone houses.

This is what the thatch looks like from the inside.

Kitchen in thatched house

This serves as a bench seat, and then the table portion folds down in front of you.

Bed and cradle. I slept on a straw mattress in Villafranca one year.

I imagine this grinding wheel came from the nearby water mill.

We made it!

Monday, December 07, 2015

Cacabelos, Pieros, and Villafranca del Bierzo

2009 - Autumn

Just leaving Ponferrada, you pass a park in Compostilla
with this wonderful painted Iglesia Santa Maria

Castilla Compostilla

It helps to put your feet up when you stop to rest

A hot and tired Annie has lunch
In 2009, we slept in Cacabelos at the Las Agustias Parochial Albergue.
There are only 2 beds per pilgrim here,
and we enjoyed it very much.

When we arrived at Villafrance del Bierzo,
we wanted to stay at Ave Fenix.

However, I found bedbugs and told the hospitalera.
She put us in touch with another Templar and his wife,
Andres and Federika.

They fed us, and we slept in their home on real straw mattresses.
It was a wonderful experience!

Andres and Federika were leading groups on the Camino
on horseback.
What a lovely couple!

Loved this Baby Jesus in the local church

Please be prepared when you enter the Spanish churches. 
The art was made to evoke emotion,
since most people did not read or write.
It can be very realistic.

2012 Spring

This restaurant is after you pass the park with the painted church.
You will come up on it in the back, 
and you have to walk around front to enter.
But it's the best place to stop for coffee and breakfast
after leaving Ponferrada early in the morning.

Lots of storks in the fields this year

And a sweet little abuela selling sweet cherries
Sculpture Studio
Lots of vineyards on this stretch

Municipal Albergue in Villafranca del Bierzo
La Piedra, our favorite albergue
2012 - Autumn

So we were walking through Camponayara and heard a familiar voice.
I peeked under a red hood,
and there was Edeltraut,
who we had met and partied with on our very first Camino!
What a surprise!

Annie, Edeltraut, Joe

It was wet walking this stretch but Pam had her ALTUS on!
I was happy to have my ALTUS on as well!

Oh those luscious massage machines at La Piedra!

The rooms here are modest, but nice, and we love the owners.
Backside of Villafranca del Bierzo
Conan was happy to see us!

Patricia and I enjoyed some hot coffee and snacks after the walk.

2013 - Summer

I think this pilgrim was soaking his feet in the nice cold water.

I stopped in at the tiny church of Santa Maria.
Inside were some lovely statues and other treasures.

Saw this in 2012, and again in 2013
I stayed at El Serbal y la Luna, a private albergue.
It was clean, but the people there were a little distant.
They all sat down to eat, and planned on serving the pilgrims later.
I figured we were getting leftovers, 
and the dinner was more than I wanted to pay.
So I walked on up the Camino a bit and across the street,
I found a wonderful tiny cafe where I was served
a delicious meal for under €10.

Loved the walls at the Pieros Albergue

Here are a couple of ads for albergues I saw in this section.

Okay, those who know me know that I love hamburgers
almost as much as Wimpy.
This is the BEST hamburguesa on this section of the Camino.
It is at the end of Cacabelos on the left hand side.
It is inside a little "mall" type place,
and when you look in the door,
you will see the mural I have posted below.
You buy the hamburger at the Donar Kabab place.


Owners at La Piedra