Here I go...

Finding magic under the stars of the Camino Santiago de Compostela

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Pension Sarasate

We checked in to our room in Pension Sarasate around noon.

Theresa from Australia had arrived the night before and we had just missed her. After dropping off our backpacks we left to visit the Navarre Musem which is free on Sundays. We saw a lady looking at a map near the church and I said to her 'Are you Theresa?'

'Yes I am!' she responded and we both laughed.

Joe, Theresa , and I then went to the museum and when we returned Catherine had arrived. Her foot was sore from walking through Barcelona and she had jet lag so she chose to stay in tonight. Between her sore foot and my blister that appears infected, it's a good thing our trek starts out slow!

Joe has looked for two days for a dollar store to buy a hair clip. Tonight we found one right out our back door! We also were able to get a zippered bag there for sharing bag transport.

I'm bushed! Tomorrow I have to try to get a telephone for Joe and meet the rest of our walkers.

Time is drawing near for our Camino, little chicks. Are you ready?


Saturday, May 26, 2012

Day 10 and 11: Ruesta to Sanguesa to Pamplona

We have been walking past fields of poppies! 
 The colors or the wildflowers are spectacular 
and the only thing that distracts me from the beauty is the stifling heat. 

We are learning the best time to begin walking is daybreak. 
That way you are safe at your lodging 
by the time the heat falls like a curtain
 (as Rebecca so beautifully stated).

From Ruesta, we walked to Sanguesa.

We stopped in Undues de Lerda for some cold drinks.


It's a pretty village,
but very quiet.
There is an albergue there
with a nice bar.

This was not a fun climb in the heat!

 I was very thankful for the shade of this olive tree.

 We checked into the albergue.
The man that was hospitalero 2 years ago was gone,
replaced by a young man who took his job almost too seriously.
Several people left rather than deal with him.
A shame, because it's a nice albergue otherwise.

It was here I experienced another "Camino Miracle" which I will write about 
in a later post.

We are running short on time
and need to meet our walkers for the June Camino trek.
So, the next morning, we walked to the next village,
then took a bus to Pamplona,
skipping the last 3 days of the Aragones.

We are now in Pamplona taking care of some business and waiting for our walkers to arrive. Last night we got the last two beds at Paderborn, a very nice Albergue here. Their doors open at noon and the fill up fast.

Today we will sleep at Pension Sarasate.
 Everything is closed on Sunday so it will be a quiet day. 
Tomorrow we will look into getting phones for those walkers who want them 

Our walkers are probably on their planes flying toward Spain. I hope you have a restful flight and we look forward to seeing you today or tomorrow.


Thursday, May 24, 2012

Day 10: The Road to Ruesta

The 30 k walk to Ruesta today was probably my limit as far as distance goes.
Advice: start EARLY and take plenty of water. 
There is no place to fill your bottles and there is very little shade on most of the trail.

We began by leaving Arres about 8 am. 
After a steep descent we turned to look back at the storybook skyline. 
What a sweet place! 

Looking back at Arres up on the hilltop

Soon we were walking through lush wheat fields 
dotted with wildflowers of every hue. 
There were interesting geological formations
 and the trail ran parallel to the river where a lone cuckoo kept calling. 

I think he was saying
 'You people are CUCKOO to be walking in this heat! 
For the weather has certainly turned summer. 

Another Pilgrim left us a message!

Be careful... sometimes the signs are down

 Last night was very special as we ate our communal dinner then stood on the edge of the hill to watch the sunset. It reminded me of my young days camping with my grandparents. Each night we would walk to sunset rock in Sequoia National Park to silently watch the sun sink below the horizon.

Back to the descent... 

We had decided early to pass by Artieda
based on my experience and the experience of some of my fellow pilgrims
2 years ago.
The owner's son is very nice.
The owner lady is not very nice at all,
refusing to give water to pilgrims,
and separating us out from her regular customers,
and not in a good way.
So, rather than spend my money here,
I chose to walk on to Ruesta.

After passing Artieda at about 21 k 
we walked along the road for about 6 kilometers more 
and then took a sharp uphill trail.

 From there we walked a shady path for what seemed forever until finally we emerged at Ruesta!

Dang, my feet hurt!

Here is a photo of the Roman Road at Ruesta. 
It looks as if they laid It yesterday!

The ruins here are awesome and there's plenty to explore.

The Albergue here costs a little more than usual,  but is worth it. 
Pilgrims pay 12 euros to sleep, or 22 half pension. 
 Dinner was good. 
A huge salad, pork ribs, peas, carrots, 
the ever-present fries, wine, bread, 
and a pudding dessert.

I'm full.
I'm tired.
I'm going to bed.
Goodnight world.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Day 9: Santa Celia to Arres

Today's walk was short, only about 12 kilometers.

But do not discount the last 3 kilometers in the heat.

It is an uphill rocky trail around the mountainside 

and has plenty of loose rock.

We left Sta. Celia about 9 am after our 3 euro breakfast at the Albergue.

Not a bad price for 2 ups of coffee, croussants and cakes.

We stopped at the panaderia hoping to pick up 
a loaf of the famous local bread for our lunch,
but we were too early.

The walking was nice, much of it along the Aragon River.
We saw a lot of wildlife, 
including a vulture feasting on a dead boar!
Phewie! That thing stunk!

The wheat fields were full of wild poppies.
I've never seen so many wild flowers.

I've walked in the Fall in the past

and the landscape is totally different

this time of year.

At the bridge we turned right and walked over the bridge
and about 100 meters to a market called Meramix
(on our left)
where a nice man from Columbia let us browse and buy our groceries.
We found fresh bread, tuna, ham & cheese,
a beautiful juicy orange and a small but sweet nectarine,
 juice, sunflower seeds, gazpacho, olives and salty bits
all for about 12 euros.

We walked back across the bridge and sat on the benches
and had lunch before continuing on our way.

If it is hot, you can hold off eating for 15
 minutes because there are shaded Picnic tables
right across the road from the trailhead up the mountain.

Be sure you have water if it is hot
because the trail is a bit steep at first and there is not much shade.

Very soon after the bridge the road splits.
You bear to the right and walk the road
until you catch the trail to Arres.

As you meander up this trail take it slow.
There are some slippery places,
and the view is spectacular,
so you must keep your eye on the trail
and stop when you want to look down into the valley
from which you climb.

Once you come around the corner and see Arres 
take caution for the last 10 meters of trail is treacherous! 
Go slow.
My walking partner 2 years ago fell and split open her head
on this section,
ending her Camino early!

After reaching Arres, 
we were happy to see a familiar smiling face from home! 
Angela from the Pacific Northwest is hospitalera at Arres!

This is one of my favorite stops along the Aragones Route.

Laundry was done and hung out back

The beds are in a nice cozy stone room

The Albergue here is donativo with places for 12. 
At 6 pm they will open the church for you to visit, 
after which all pitch in to make the communal meal.
The weather was pretty, and so we ate outdoors.

 I think 8 to 10 minimum euros is a fair donation per person considering you get dinner and breakfast. But give what you can please.

This albergue has a 'free box' here if you need gear or would like to lighten your load. 
Take what you need or leave what you no longer want to carry. 
Some pilgrim will be happy to have what you donate!

This is such a sweet village.
There are views in every direction.
There is a nice bar where you can have 
a cervesa con limon (very refreshing!) or a coffee 
or buy food if you can't wait for dinner.

There are awesome hot showers 
where you are standing next to the huge foundation boulder 
and a great scrubbing sink to do your wash.

The rest of the afternoon you can explore the tiny village, 
take a siesta, or sit in the shade out front.

Angela took us on a tour of the tiny chapel after dinner.

We had a friendly visitor

Watching the sun set

I am in love with Arres!