Here I go...

Finding magic under the stars of the Camino Santiago de Compostela

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Taking Out Old Stains

I have 3 nice merino walking shirts from Hedrena in Australia.
One was a gift and 2 I purchased myself.
They are not inexpensive. - around $70 per shirt.

So you can imagine my shock when I found oil stains on my favorite one.
Old oil stains.
From food, apparently.

The shirt had already been washed and dried, and as you know, that is pretty much a death sentence when it comes to getting out a stain.

No longer.

I found this on the internet and will be forever grateful because I've used it many times.  Most recently, while unpacking after my winter in the desert, I found a piece of white Portuguese linen that I love, covered with oil stains from a bottle of essential oil that leaked.  It had turned yellow.  I thought I'd have to toss it, but instead tried this method and by golly, it worked!

It's easy.

Just mix equal parts of plain old hydrogen peroxide with dishwashing liquid.
I use DAWN.

Mix them up in a cup or bowl then apply liberally to the stain.

Let it sit overnight.

Then wash in COLD water.

If the stain is still there, do it again and let it soak longer.

Try it!
It works!

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Mercado Santo Domingo en Pamplona

If you're staying in Pamplona in an albergue where you are allowed to cook, you don't want to miss the Mercado Santo Domingo!  There, you can find all sorts of wonderful things to eat, at very good prices! It's also a great photo opportunity!

That last photo is of Bacalao, salted cod fish.
It's PERFECT for carrying on the Camino because it does not have to be refrigerated.  However, you must know how to cook it.

Here is how I do it.
And EVERY time I do it,
it never fails to bring lots of pilgrims out of the woodwork
wondering what that great aroma is!
So you want to plan on feeding others!  

First, the cod is SALTED, so if at home,
I would soak it in water several hours.
However, on the Camino,
I don't have that kind of time.
So I cover it in cold water when I arrive at the albergue,
and let it sit while I get my shower.
Then I cover it in water in a pan,
bring it to a boil, 
and then change the water.
I do this 2 or 3 times,
shredding it as I go.
(Get boneless pieces if possible)
I do this a few times until when I taste the fish
it isn't too salty.

Now, put some olive oil or butter in a skillet.
Add a chopped onion and about 2 cloves of garlic, minced,
and gently fry them until they're clear.
Now add a chopped tomato (or 2) and a chopped bell pepper,
red preferably but it really doesn't matter.
Cook this down into a sauce - maybe 15 - 20 minutes.
Then add your fish and cover it with the sauce.
Let it simmer a while.

Do not season - there will be enough salt in the bacalau.

Serve over rice with some crusty bread.
Add a nice bottle of wine.

It is sooooo good!

And well worth the trouble.

Museu de Navarra in Pamplona

If you fly into Madrid, then bus to Pamplona and take a day or two to rest, adjust to the time change, and see the city, then when you are on the Camino, you can either stop before Pamplona in Trinidad de Arre, or after Pamplona, and get in "between the wave" of pilgrims.  Walking this way, between the stages, there is less struggle to find a bed.

Today I'd like to give you a little teaser about the Museu de Navarra in Pamplona.  Since most of our Anniewalkers groups meet here, pilgrims have a perfect opportunity to visit this wonderful museum.

The building, with its 1556 Plateresque facade, was originally an ancient hospital, the Antiguo Hospital de Nuestra SeƱora de la Misericordia.

Once inside you can see sculptures, paintings, carved stone and plaster, jewelry, glass work, and many other wonderful objects.

Here are a few:

18th Century San Miguel Archangel
Cycle of Genesis - Jacob Bouttats (end of 17th c.)
Interesting human faces
A wonderful Jesus
with feet blackened by human touch.
15th century Virgin and Child.
The Franciscans apparently had nothing against breast feeding.

Some 11th century capitals
1055 Cordoban Islamic ivory chest made for the relics of Sts. Nunila and Alodia.
Some wonderfully carved 3d, 4th, 5th century Roman tombstones
A reminder that glass containers aren't as modern as we think.
Wonderful retablos from 1509-1546. A good reason to bring binoculars with you.

Another beautiful Virgin and Child

This museum really is a jewel and not to be missed. 

Tuesday to Saturday 9:30 am to 2pm and 5pm to 7pm.
Sundays and festival days 11 am to 2 pm
Price is €2 though I believe Pilgrims may still get in free or discounted.

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Homemade Sauerkraut

My roommate, Eric, and I made homemade sauerkraut today.

He bought the whitest, crispest cabbage he could find and chopped it into quarters.

Next, he shred the cabbage into a bowl.

We added salt and caraway seed to the bowl, 
and I used a heavy cleaver to chop up the cabbage even more.

When it was cut up small enough,
I poured the cabbage into my fermenting crock.
Then I used a pounding stick to pound the cabbage.
I pounded, and pounded, and pounded,
until I could see lots of juice up over the cabbage.

The edge of your pounding stick should not be rounded.
If it has sharp edges, it will crunch the cabbage much quicker.
If I ever lost this pounder, made especially for kraut making,
I think I'd just cut off an old wooden baseball bat!

Then I put weights on top.
You can't see them but they look like these:

I put the lid on and put water in the well around the top.
And now it will go to "work" and in about one month,
we'll have the most EXCELLENT sauerkraut!

Here is a diagram of what goes on
inside that crock:

This is the brand crock I use.

Here are our three crocks of kraut,
sitting on the floor, farting kraut bubbles.

Here we go again . . .

I've decided walking the Camino Santiago is an addiction.
Others have told me so, but now I believe it.

After my last group trip, I decided it WAS my last group trip.
I even left my pack in a bin in a bus station,
never expecting to need it again.

I was done.

No more Caminos.

I told my friends and my family, "That's it!  I'm finished walking the Camino!  I will never return to Spain again."

Their response?


And in unison:

Well, turns out they were right.

What IS it about walking the Camino that calls us?
Hooks us?
Keeps us going back again and again?

Why does walking the Camino,
with all the difficulties it presents,
make us feel happy?

I think there are many answers.

Walking gives us time to THINK.
Our modern lives are so busy.
We have so much planned,
that we rarely take the time to just sit and think.
To think about what we WANT out of life.
To think about our experiences and how they've affected us.
To think about difficult decisions we need to make.
On the Camino, walking 6 hours each day,
alone, if we prefer,
we have time to do nothing but THINK.
Even the Greek philosophers believed
there is a deep intuitive connection 
between walking, thinking, and writing.
Our hearts pump faster, 
giving more oxygen to the brain,
helping clarify thought.

The Camino connects us with Nature.
Most of us live in a concrete jungle,
where the earth is covered with asphalt.
If we're lucky, we may have a back yard with real grass,
where we can lie and look up at the trees 
and the sky.
On the Camino, we are surrounded by nature
for a full 6 weeks.
Instead of being overstimulated
by the sights and sounds of modern life,
we are softened and relaxed 
by the sighs and sounds of nature.

We walk through forests and parks,
and up hills and across rivers.
It is a known scientific fact
that exposure to plants boosts our immunity
and our mood.
On the Camino, we touch all the elements; 
the earth,
the air,
the fire,
the water,
and it reinvigorates us.

Walking the Camino exposes us to sunlight,
and to the natural earth rhythms we've lost contact with.
At homes filled with artificial light 
and artificial weather
our bodies crave the natural cycles of light
that help us heal.
We can experience watching the sunrise,
the sunset,
the rain,
the wind,
the heat,
the cold,
and it helps set our body clock
back to "normal" -
back to the way it is supposed to be.
At the end of 6 weeks
we are ready to face anything!

Walking the Camino gives us time for community.
At home, our community may be limited
to a few close friends and family.
On the Camino,
we meet and experience people
from all countries, 
from all walks of life.
We eat together as family.
We sing together.
We walk together.
We pray together - no matter our religion
or lack of it.
And we cry together
as we bind each others' blistered feet
and rub each others' shoulders.

The Camino teaches us to be receptive;
to give
and to receive,
to have patience with ourselves
and with each other,
to help when help is needed,
and to ask when we need help,
to depend on ourselves
and on the kindness of strangers.
The Camino teaches us to be good friends,
good people,
good pilgrims.

The Camino shows us our strengths
and our weaknesses,
so we can correct ourselves
and become more balanced humans.

And if nothing else,
it will improve your health
and teach you good habits.

This is just a smattering of reasons
walking the Camino is helpful to us.
And over the past year, 
I've come to realize
that my friends knew me more 
than I knew myself.

here I go again.
Planning to walk in Spring 2018.

Looks like I'll be buying a new backpack.