Here I go...

Finding magic under the stars of the Camino Santiago de Compostela

Saturday, April 30, 2016

Medina de Rioseca

Another beautiful walk. The cold wind settled down and he scenery was stunning. I wish I could record the fragrance if the mustard blossoms. Heavenly.   
I love the way these stones look. 
Everywhere I look is a feast for the eyes. 
I'm so grateful for sight. 
The walk began on a dirt oath after crossing the bridge. 
Soon I was walking past fragrant mustard fields. 
Way arks are on whatever surface will hold paint!
Storks are caring for fledglings. 
As you leave Valverde, there is a tiny tienda if you need food. 
Then you walk on the paved road for a short time then are directed to a path running alongside the road. 
After a while, it makes a sharp right and up a hill to this abandoned house. 
A sharp left and you walk on a hillside, seeing the road down to your left. 
You walk around the hill and soon you can see Medina de Rioseca in the distance. 
There is a point where you carefully cross the paved road 
and must make a choice. 
If you want to sleep at the convent (very nice Albergue) then you will walk on the paved highway and it will drop you off pretty much in front of the convent. Turn left at the dead end and the convent is the huge stone complex on your right. 
Go into the door marked 'info,' ring the bell, and a nun will soon assist you. 
The washing machine did not work. However, there was hot water, clean beds, a stove, and wi-fi

Thursday, April 28, 2016


10 k to Castromonte - 10 chilly, windy kilometers.  No rain, and the skies are now blue. I hope the weather holds.   Castromonte has another very nice Albergue. There must be 20 beds here, a very nice kitchen with stove, fridge, and microwave, and hot showers. There is heat but they ask you not turn it on until after 8 pm  
  I found no place to hang laundry (there is a washing machine) and I didn't really have any wash but wanted to hang out my sweaty clothes  so many times I have been happy I brought my little elastic clothesline  I did see another pilgrim with just a lightweight pice of cord, and that would also work fine  There is a carneceria but he closes at 1 pm. I was late but rang the bell and he sold me food; hamburger, chips, an Aquarius. I made myself a burger for lunch and have another for either breakfast or dinner.   
I heard a commotion, looked out the window, and saw a hundred sheep going by . . .

Wednesday, April 27, 2016


It was only about 8.5 k to Penaflor but the last kilometer was difficult as the oath took us down into a wash then up a very steep hill.   
At Bar Hornillo I had rabbit for lunch. 
And a beer with lemon. 
Tha Albergue here is lovely. 
8 beds. 
3 euros
Hot showers. 
Nice kitchen with fridge and stove and microwave. 
And a washing machine!
I just learned there IS a market but you must knock on the door and the lady will open it. 
This is not the fruit market, but a regular tienda. 
I'm going to go check it out now!

To Wamba and Wamba Church

It was a chilly 8 k walk to Wamba this morning. The French people didn't want to leave until 9 am but I can't stay in bed that long, so I was up and out by 7 am.  The bar at Wamba doesn't open until 10. The bar has hot coffee but no food. The panaderia is right next door. I went inside, bought half a loaf of bread, at which point the lady handling the bread sneezed heftily all over it and handed it to me with a smile. I paid, then promptly deposited it in the nearest basura. I really don't want a cold!  Luckily I had some Maria's and an orange in my pack. I found a sunny place at the Church and shared breakfast with a stray cat.  Soon the French folks and the guide to the Church arrived. She gave a nice tour for €1,50.  Here are some photos.   
We called the night before and made an appointment for 10:30. 
This church is a combination of 10th, 11th, and 12th century architecture in different styles. 
I'm sure you can find great info online. 
12th century Fresco
This is supposed to be a Zapatero (shoemaker) vomiting or eating soles. 
I couldn't get a good photo but this pillar is from the 10th century and is in the shape of a palm tree. 
Stonemason mark. They marked their work and were paid accordingly. 
One entire room was an ossuary

To Cigunuela

I had a wonderful rest at Hotel Roma and enjoyed not be, but two hot baths!   Breakfast at the hotel was €5 and I accepted, saving my fruit, olive oil, marmalade, and fruit for later today. I took off early, and found the first bus to Simancas is not until 10 am. Ticket was €1.40. And so I'm sitting in the bus station, waiting, over a second cup of coffee.  I remember the walk from Simancas to Cigunuela being very beautiful and I look forward to walking it again. The weatherman says rain for Thursday. I hope he is wrong but if not it is a short day of only 14 k   The weather was perfect for walking  here are a few photos    
I often wondered why people were staring at me. 
After taking this selfie, I understand. 
I look pretty weird!  

Monday, April 25, 2016

To Córdoba then ???

Sooooooo..... What a day! 
My new Camino Angel showed up last afternoon in the form of a Peregrino named Tony, an Australian from Antequera (now). Tony is walking to raise money to buy wheelchairs for sick children in Antequera. He s a survivor of a usually fatal leukemia who was one of the few saved by bone marrow transplant. I learned his story over a bottle of wine he shared with me and also learned he too had been snubbed by the French guy!
 In the late afternoon, Tony took a short nap and the others were horrified to hear his very healthy SNORING!!! They then,apparently, told him he would have to sleep on a mattress on the floor in the kitchen! When they told me this, I just said, "Gee guys, that's nice of you. He survives death to sleep on the floor!"
 But I don't think Tony minded. I know I must sound evil but it gave me great pleasure to hear Tony's LOUD SNORING not only echoing, but amplified up the stairs all night. It literally shook the roof, like a big friendly bear!! I had good earplugs but the French guy woke me up several times tossing and turning. I know it's mean, but it just felt like Karma. 
This morning, Tony and I were in great spirits and he had coffee while I waited across the street in the dark for my bus. The minute the bus picked me up, I saw him leaving and I felt he had been keeping an eye out for me. Bless you, Tony, wherever the Camino takes you! 
My bus took me to Antequera, my only option to get out of town, as it was a fiesta day. I had made a Hostal reservation at Lucena, thinking I might continue walking from there. However the ticket counter was closed today and I was forced to use a cranky machine. I bought a ticket to Lucena, then tried to get a ticket to Córdoba for tomorrow. The ticket machine told me that if I went to Lucena, there was absolutely no option to get to Córdoba from there!!! None. Zip. 
I tried a dozen combinations and it said no bus to Córdoba from Lucena. I would have to backtrack to Antequera AGAIN and go to Córdoba from there. At this point it was like the Universe was telling me to just move on. And so I bought ANOTHER ticket to Córdoba, where I knew I could get to Madrid, then Vallodolid. 
Imagine my frustration when the damned bus took a 15 minute stop at Lucena!!!! My Canadian friends and I just laughed. This Camino is kicking my butt this year. 
So I lost €€€ on the room in Lucena plus I was out for the cost of the one ticket. I complained to the bus driver but he just shrugged and at this point I felt laughing was the best option.
 Sooooo... I have already seen Córdoba and am really wanting to walk, (after a day of rest, now) so I got a train ticket to Vallidolid. It was spendy, €82, but so much faster than the bus would have been. It was already turning into a 12 hour trip! Met another angel on the train who helped me make the jump from Atocha to Chamartin in just enough time to catch our train! She was going to Vitoria. 
Arrived here starving, stinky, and weary. Found a hotel for €40. Didn't have the energy to look further. I'd like to get onto the Madrid route tomorrow if possible but I don't know. I'm going to shower then check bus schedules. I have not seen Vallodolid but at this rate I am going to run out of funds and I will still need to find a place to hunker down for two weeks from June 1-15. 
Anyone need a house sitter or hospitalera? 
Ok. That's my story and I'm sticking to it. 
One thing is for certain, life is an adventure! Isn't it great?! 
My first hamburguesa!

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Dinner in the Microwave

You are on a budget, and all the Albergue has for cooking is the microwave.  There is a small tienda open.  What to do?   Here is what.  Go shopping and buy or scrounge: 1 tomatoe, small 1 onion, small 1 clove (not head!) garlic Bread Macaroni Tomato paste (in the box or can- you just need about 1/4 cup Salt Oil would be great, or butter, or mayo in a pinch   In a microwaveable bowl, put: A couple of slices of onion, minced The garlic clove, minced The small tomatoe, minced A bit of oil and salt Barely cover with water Put some type of lid on it and cook on low until the onion is soft (about 4 minutes)   Now add about 1/4 cup of the tomatoe paste and half a cup of macaroni.  Just cover barely with water.  Put a lid on it. Use a napkin, a plastic lid or ??  Use your imagination. You just don't want it to splatter.    Now cook on medium for about 5 or more minutes. Keep checking it and stirring, and when the Mac is al dente, it is done.  My dinner tonight took 10 minutes and was sooooooooo good!  
I sliced some queso curado on top.

To Cuevas

To Cuevas Bajas. 10k  

 Today I walked to Cuevas Bajas, only about 10 k.  -
 otherwise tomorrow into Lucena would have been over 30k.   

  Another beautiful but not easy walk. Half was all uphill. Reminded me of the walk to Orisson - a constant stop and start. The minute I though I was at the top, there would be another hill behind that one. Finally, the top, then a steep descent on a combination of tracks from dirt to rocky to paved. 

  Cuevas is a nice village. Everybody here is in a happy mood. The keys are at one of the two bats in the square at the bottom of the village.    I grabbed some fresh churros on the way in. 
  The Frenchman almost had a heart attack trying to beat me here and in the end, the barkeep handed me the only key. I could see the steam coming out of his ears. He likes to be in control.  There are 3 bunks here for a total of 6 beds. Kitchen has a microwave but no stove. 1 shower. 
  And me, I've made a mess of my booking for Lucena by staying the extra day in Antequera and not checking my sehedule. I have a booking there for today. I have asked to see if they'll change it but I may have to eat the fee. Bummer.    I'm thinking about stopping at Lucena. I really want to finish the Madrid route this year and the weather is looking better there. I will decide tomorrow.    The way was well marked. Just pay attention to the difference between yellow arrow and yellow 'X's!!  

I think the town mermaid needs her water changed!