Here I go...

Walking and Talking Across Spain

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Rabanal del Camino

Joe and the Peregrinas just finished the stretch from Astorga to Rabanal del Camino.

Here is what he reports:

We are here. 
A fine day for walking, not too hot not too cold, just right.

Saw at least 2 police cars on the caretera, so they are patrolling.

Here are some pics.
1. Girls buying necklaces from manuel on the way to el gonzo
2. Sharon and pat at cowboy bar and Kristen checking out cowboy memorabilia before ordering her cheese sandwich
4.Group from Fordham college who were willing to pose for me to take pic while my girls prepared to leave.

All will attend the mass here and get stones blessed.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Casa de la Abuela Cakes

Ahhh.... I missed having some of this lovely cake baked each morning at La Casa de Abuela, but Sharon had some for me!

A Camino Angel for Joe

Joe sent me this story this morning from Logroño:

Sometimes when things are not what they should be, something better happens when you don't get discouraged and you decide to follow the lead presented.

I went to the TI in Viana during normal hours to get the bus times and parada location for the ride into Logrono.  We had had a challenging walk through rollercoaster hills, some rain with cooler weather and most of us were looking forward to a warm bus ride that would cut off  the extra 5 miles of our walk, and also deposit us at the station only a block and a half from our posh hotel with tidy modern rooms and bath tubs waiting .

But the TI was closed, with a sign in Spanish that said, go to the Ayuntamiento and find the office of revenios.  Next door the TI was the Casa Consistorial, which I knew should be synonymous with the ayjuntomiento.

I walked in and found that the office I was looking for was on the 2nd floor.  Luckily there was an elevator to carry me, in a wet poncho, with pack and walking sticks up those flights of stairs.  Down the hall and around the corner  from the elevator, there was an office with a short man, white-bearded and long-locked, sitting at a desk with his back to me and the door.  He was concentrating on some papers at his desk.

I asked his pardon and explained in my broken Spanish that the TI was closed and I was looking for information about the bus.  He said yes, he could help me.  He put aside his work, took a scratch pad and wrote the two times a bus to Logrono would depart, the price of a ticket, and the names of the 2 operating bus companies.

When I asked where I could find the parada, he said in Spanish  "wait a moment and I will show you".  He closed the office and we walked the two flights of stairs to the ground floor and out the door into the church square.  As we walked down the street past the church he told me about how significant this church was, with much information I did not understand.  His voice was soft and calm, unlike much of what you will normally hear on the busy streets at midday.  We walked 100 meters to the high ring road round the ancient hill-town, to the waist-high stone wall that overlooks the green valley into Logrono.

He explained the first bus stops next to the basura bins just below us; the second bus stops on the other side of the street below, and they go in opposite directions.  " Dos paradas".  He made certain I understood that although the buses go in opposite directions, that they both go to Logrono.  He made sure I knew the names of both bus companies and that I knew which bus went in which direction, by writing the names and directional arrows on the paper he had given me.

" Si, claro, intiendo" I assured him.

I followed him back to the church and the square that separated the Casa Consistorial from the magnificent church.  I thought myself very lucky that I had been able to get the information for our weary group and that indeed we were in time to catch either bus we chose.  Many times you can find no help or it is already too late to catch the last bus.

Then, the best part, of what had been a somewhat worrisome situation, happened.

The gentleman told me he was the curator of the library of ancient books in Viana; that the library held books that were 300, 400, 500, 600, 700, and 800 years old, including the Codex Calixtinus--the first travel guide of the Way to Santiago.

Suddenly I became very interested in spending more time with this very kind man, as those who know me know I have a keen interest in books of this sort in any language.

I summoned what courage I had and in my malo espanol, I asked if someone like me would be allowed to visit the library and have a look at
los libros.  He smiled warmly and said, yes.  I told him I would certainly return, perhaps next year and do so.

With that, it was time for both of us to return to our individual  responsibilities and we parted with a hand shake and my best attempts at expressing my sincere gratitude for his assistance.

I lingered in the square for a moment and watched my benefactor being greeted by three older men as he walked to the front of the casa consistorial.  They engaged in lighthearted conversation and then I  recalled that  he had been greeted with the same warmth by virtually every person we had passed in the street as he had lead me to the dos paradas.  Was this a man of some deserved stature in the town-- well-known, accessible and well-liked-- who had put aside his important business to assist a scruffy, mud-splattered wanderer with fewer than 100 Spanish words in his vocabulary?  Perhaps.

And perhaps it was his admirable mix of training and knowledge combined with a genuinely caring disposition which made it easy for him to gain the respect and affection of everyone I saw him pass.

Sometimes when there is a hiccup in the system, and we resolve to follow the thread of an unexpected trail, we find something far better than what we were initially seeking.  Sometimes we find an example of how to act in a better way and see the rewards for doing so, all in an instant.  When these instants stick in memory like super-glue, challenges can sometimes be recognized for the presents they offer.

My benefactor in the man in the red jacket.  Perhaps my interruption of his work, was a challenge he recognized could become a present he might offer to me.  But I believe he gave no thought at all to it, and that it was simply his habit.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

To Los Arcos, then Logroño

the Peregrinas and Joe walked to Los Arcos, 
where they had private rooms 
at La Casa de la Abuela. 

It was a good walk. 
The temperature was cool, a bit windy, but dry.

On the way, they passed Irache 
and took the opportunity 
to fill their bottles with wine!

Below are a few photos of Gretchen. 
Sharon, and Janet 
at the Wine Fountain at Irache.

Pat and Kristen left too early to drink from it.

And here is the path they walked. 
They chose to go the alternative path 
through Loquin.

Below are a couple of photos 
of the reliquaries taken in 
the Church of S. Maria in Los Arcos. 
We have never seen these open before.

Today, the group continued on to Viana,
then took a bus to Logroño,
where they'll enjoy the best tapas in Spain tonight!

Enjoy the tapas, ladies,
and have a grilled mushroom for me!

Buen Camino!

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Angels Unawares

I was walking the Aragones route, 
I stopped for the night in Sanguesa. 
I had broken a small bone in my hand that day and it was very painful.

The hospitalero showed up around dinner time, 
stamped our credentials, and took everyone's money.

After a bit, a dusty desert man came into the albergue. He was tanned as leather but clean, and his bright green pants and orange shirt made him look like a circus performer. 

When he smiled, his teeth were so white they threatened to blind me!

There was a problem with the hospitalero. 
He apparently didn't believe this was a pilgrim 
and was refusing to give him a bed. 
After a soft-spoken argument, he relented.
No, he wasn't a pilgrim in the normal way,
but he was clean, and weary,
and needed a bed.

And so the desert man was given a space. 
The place was not near full, after all.

He was sooooo very lean! 
Like leather stretched over bones, 
but in a sunburnt, healthy way.

I was eating an orange, some bread and cheese.
The orange was juicy and sweet and I asked if he'd like some?
He nodded and I gave him half 
and motioned for him to help himself to bread and cheese.
We both laughed as the juice ran down our chins.

Later that evening I was sitting at the table, 
making notes in my journal.
My left hand hurt and I was rubbing it, absentmindedly.

The desert man came in and asked if I was ok?

I said, 'No, I broke it today."

He motioned for me to give the hand to him.

As he took my hand, 
the hair on the back of my neck stood up and I got chills all over.
He closed his eyes, 
and held my one broken hand between his two tanned hands.

Gently, he squeezed 
and I felt something happening.
He didn't rub it. 
Didn't massage it. 
Just gently but firmly held it with his eyes closed.

We sat in silence.

After maybe 5 minutes, he released my hand.
There were tears in my eyes.

My hand was healed.
It never caused another bit of pain.

I don't know his name.

I don't know who he was or where he was from.

But he was one of my Camino Angels and I wish him Peace always.

Buen Camino.


Monday, May 18, 2015

Safe in Estella

Just got news from Estella.
Everybody is snug in their beds in their apartments there.
Wifi is up and Joe says:

We have Wi-Fi here, but have been busy today.
It was about 82 degrees but a good walking day.
Everybody is having a good time and here are some more pics.
First- approaching Ciraqui

Wow!  Look how GREEN it is!

2nd- Gretchen and Sharon walking roman road outside Ciraqui

Buen Camino, Peregrinas!

3rd- the fountain AT Convento Comendadoras Del Espiritu Santo just past Puente La Reina.

4th- A dry fountain at Villatuerta.

Scaaaaary!  lol!
Jakue hotel rooms all had bath tubs!
More later.

Glad everyone had a good day!
Buen Camino,

Trouble Between Astorga and Rabanal del Camino

It appears an attempted abduction of a local woman has taken place between Astorga and Rabanal. This is the third problem reported in the past few months. The first was actually a male pilgrim who was tazed and robbed as he went off the main Camino to take the alternative route to Castrillo de Polvares. The second was a German pilgrim (female) who was tazed in the same area. She managed to escape. Then Denise Thiem disappeared in the same section, and now a woman has escaped from two men again.

I've also read accounts of men flashing female pilgrims in this stretch going back to 2007. So it has a bit of a history.

I've always thought the Camino was perfectly safe, but until police catch these men, please consider walking with a group on remote stretches. 

I would caution you to not use earphone in your ears, to walk with a buddy, and NOT to take the Castrillo de Polvazares stretch until these men have been caught.

No need to be paranoid.

Simply be aware.  

Worrying too much about this event when you're anywhere else on the Camino would be like worrying about a kidnapping in Seattle, Washington when you are in Portland, Oregon. 

It's one very short 12 mile section of a 500 mile-long Camino. 

Be smart, use the buddy system in that section, and have a Buen Camino! 

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Update! We have Photos

Joe just contacted me from Puente la Reina, and the internet is back up!

Here are photos of his lovely group of Peregrinas!  If you click on the photos, they do get a bit larger.

In Plaza San Francisco, Pamplona, before the morning walk.

Up at the top of Alto del Perdon

Joe says:

It was very windy at Alto del Perdon but very nice after. 

We did not do Eunate. All of us were too tired after 8 hours walking. 

It took us an hour to get out of the last coffee shop in Pamplona - 

 these Peregrinas like their coffee and pastries! 

 ::::Annie doesn't blame them!::::

We also stopped to buy some fruit

Good job Peregrinas!
Get a good night's rest - tomorrow will be easier.
Buen Camino!


May 17 - Group has arrived safely in Puente la Reina

It is now Sunday at 10:48 am in Portland, Oregon.
It is now Sunday at 7:48 pm in Pamplona, Spain.
That is a 10 hour difference.

I just got word from Joe that the Anniewalkers group has safely arrived at Hostal Jakue in Puente la Reina and all is well.

 However, the internet is down, so for now, no photos or news. This is a common occurrence on the Camino - no wee-fee - so if you have a loved one walking, please do not panic if you don't hear from them for a day or two.

Once the internet is up, which could possibly not be until tomorrow afternoon, all will return to normal communication.

If you're interested in learning more about Puente la Reina, I have a blog post on the village here:

Eunate and Puente la Reina

Tomorrow, the ladies and Joe head to one of my favorite albergues, La Casa de la Abuela, in Los Arcos. It will be a beautiful walk!

Buen Camino!

Want to Walk the Camino Madrid?

Last year I walked from Madrid, but wasn't able to complete the walk because I ran out of time and had to pick up my group in Pamplona.

In 2016, I'm going to walk that route again, starting around April 14 to 16 and walking all the way to Sahagun, where the route joins up with the Camino Frances.  It should take about two weeks.

From there, you can continue on to Santiago or you can take a train or bus to Leon and fly home.

I'd like to have company and am looking for 4 people to walk with.
You can either make your own arrangements or you can join the group at my website at and I will make your lodging reservations for you in the places they are allowed.

That would include Madrid, Colmenar el Viejo (if we can get reservations. If not, train back to Madrid), Manzanares el Real, and Segovia.  The rest of the lodging is in albergues and we'll just play it by ear (like real pilgrims!).

If this sounds interesting to you, give me a shout. Lodging is already filling up and I need to make reservations.

Let's walk from Madrid!

Saturday, May 16, 2015

2016 Anniewalkers Camino Walking Schedule

We have set the dates for the 2016 Anniewalkers Camino walk!

The Best of Both 2016
May 17 - May 31
with Annie Carvalho

21 nights

(17 days of walking and 4 of touristing)

From €1200 ($1350)

Price INCLUDES: Lodging and Bus Fares

No racing for a bed!

If you'd like to walk the Camino
but don't want to go it alone...

If you'd like to join a small group
of 6-8 pilgrims ...

If you only have 3 weeks 
and want to walk the BEST of the Camino ...

and if you want to get your Compostella,
but don't have time to do the entire Camino...

Why not join us!

Check out the details on my website at 
Anniewalkers USA 2017 Camino Trip

Note:  If you are interested in an AUTUMN walk,
if you have other dates in mind
and can gather 6-8 people for a private group,
let me know.
I'm happy to plan and accompany private groups.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Joe is in Pamplona!

I just received this message from Joe:

"I just arrived at Pamplona. I had a 7 hour layover in Dallas instead of 1 hour. They had to change a tire on the plane and other maintenance. Arrived Madrid at 11 am , got bus to Pamplona at 1 pm for a 5 hour bus ride. 36 hours traveling with no sleep. So I am a little tired."

I'm glad he's safe and sound and now I don't expect to hear from him for a day or two while he sleeps.

If you're in his group, you can find him at the hotel.

Sleep well...

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Buen Camino Joe!

Joe set out for Spain this morning about 7:30 am.
He will fly into Madrid, then bus to Pamplona to meet up with our group of 5 Ladies.

I'll post news as he sends it.

Buen Camino Joe and Buen Camino Peregrinas!


Tuesday, May 05, 2015

Waymarks On The Camino

Here are a variety of waymarks you might expect to see on the Camino de Santiago.

These photos have been taken from the internet and I apologize to anyone who'd like credit and didn't get it. As you can see, the way is well marked!