Here I go...

Walking and Talking Across Spain - long distance walking chelates the chemicals that trigger my Multiple Chemical Sensitivities

Thursday, August 24, 2017

Tomatoes, Tomatoes everywhere!

My tomatoe plants are producing like crazy this year!

Here is today's haul.


They came with friends; rutabagas, beets, onions. cucumbers, and strawberries.


With my roommate gone for a month, 
it's a LOT of food for one person.
So I'm dehydrating the tomatoes today.

Here's a good start. Sprinkled with salt and garlic powder,
these make a wonderful winter snack!


When they're finished, tomorrow,
I'll pack them into jars like these.


Good in soups, sauces, or just to eat like candy!
Maybe I'll carry some on the Camino!

I love my garden!





Taxis in Spain



Despite what some well-meaning people tell you, there's no law against grabbing a taxi on the Camino until you get to Sarria. From Sarria to Santiago, or from any other route, you must WALK every step of the last 100 kilometers.  However, before that, it's fine to hail a taxi if you need one.

Always hail a taxi that is already going your own direction. They will almost never do a U-turn for you.

If they have a client in the seat, they probably will not stop for you.

If they do not have a passenger, they may be on their way to pick one up.

If there is not a taxi in your area, your fare may include the drive to the pick up point. For instance, if you are in Foncebadon and need a taxi to Molinaseca, changes are you will pay the fare for both directions, unless the taxi is already AT Foncebadon.

Your taxi should have a meter. Be sure it is turned on.  There are general guidelines for taxi fares and most taxi drivers are very honest.  If your taxi does not have a meter, he may be freelancing (or even illegal.) At that point it's up to you if you want to negotiate your fare. If he has and is using a meter, please do not try to negotiate. This is Spain, not Mexico.

Though most fares are set, be sure to agree on the fare BEFORE you get into the taxi. Just ask, "Cuanto cuesta Molinaseca?"

If you are in a village and don't see a taxi, go to the nearest bar or lodging. They will almost always call for you.

As you are walking, keep your eyes peeled for local taxi numbers. You will often find them posted on signs along the route.

The taxi fare is per taxi, not per person.  So for instance, if the fare from Foncebadon to Molinaseca is €20 and there are four pilgrims, the price will be only €5 per person.  It's usually easiest for one person to do the paying and collect from the others once you're at your destination.

Talk to your taxi driver!  They are used to pilgrims, and are often quite friendly and full of information! Many do speak a bit of English.

My favorite taxi service is Caminofacil. They also do luggage transfer and you can book ahead. I often use them for Santiago to Sarria pilgrims:
Caminofacil

Teletaxi San Fermin will carry you from Pamlona to SJPP or Roncesvalles:

I use Express Bourricott in SJPP.

Buen Camino!
Annie


Friday, August 11, 2017

Enjoying My Garden and Catching Up

I'm really enjoying this summer at home. My garden is producing lots of veggies and fruit. My chooks are laying regularly. Despite the heat wave, life is pretty good here on the homestead.

This is the haul from the garden today. I get this much every couple of days.
Today I made garlic dill pickles with my cukes.




My Pilgrims Helping Pilgrims group on Facebook now has over 260 members.
If you're planning a Camino and need some help,
there's a lot of great information there.

My May 2018 Camino group is nearly full. 
If you know anyone who would like to walk with us,
we have 3 spots left.
Right now it is an all-woman group,
though I'm willing to take men if they would like to join us.

Tomorrow I'm having a yard sale.
I keep trying to downsize.
I don't know WHERE all this stuff comes from!?
Seems like I shovel out 2 carts full
and 3 carts full sneak back in.

My youngest son is taking me to Disneyworld
for my 65th birthday,
which was August 2.
I'm really looking forward to that trip.
We'll spend 4 days there.

I'm still looking for one more ALTUS poncho
for one of my Anniewalkers ladies to use
on this next walk. 
If you have one for sale or to donate,
we would appreciate hearing about it.
I loan them out to my pilgrims
so they don't have to buy new ones.
It's just another way of upcycling.

I guess that's all as far as updates go.
Life is good!
Gotta go check the tomatoes
that are in the dehydrator.


Buen Camino!
Annie




Tuesday, August 01, 2017

Following the Pack on the Camino ... or Not - A Few Shortcuts







When walking the Camino Santiago, you don't always have to follow the pack.




The original "Camino" was the road and some walking trails. Over time, it has been re-routed to either bypass or go through specific villages. So by going "off" the Camino, you're really not committing any big sin. There are places where sometimes I wonder if the folks making the trail weren't laughing while rubbing their hands together and gleefully thinking of ways to make the pilgrim suffer! lol! In addition, many (most?) villages in Spain were built up on fortified hills, so it seems you are always climbing a hill at the end of the day when you're exhausted.

Here are a few of my favorite shortcuts. Please be sure to ALWAYS WALK FACING TRAFFIC when walking the road. :

Ciraqui: If you've never seen Ciraqui, then by all means, follow the Camino route. However, if this is a repeat Camino, or if you aren't up to climbing that hill, you can go around. Right before Ciraqui, you will begin seeing signs pointing off to the right for a restaurant. Take that trail. When you hit the main road, turn left and walk along the road. Soon you will see pilgrims coming down the other side of the big hill and crossing over a bridge above you. Keep to the road. You will eventually approach Lorca and join up with the others. But caution, here is another shortcut...

Lorca: As you approach Lorca, you will be walking on the N0111. The trail will turn off and begin down a very steep path DOWN DOWN DOWN. Ignore it. Stay on the road to Lorca. It's not busy. Not much traffic at all. Because when the Camino goes DOWN, it must then go UP, and those pilgrims are going to then be climbing UP a steep hill to Lorca, while you are taking the gentler path along the road.

Skipping Monjardin. There is an alternative route that takes you to the left of the main Camino. You can grab it after Irache. You will go under a concrete wash and on to Luquin, where shortly after, you will again join the Camino. Both routes are nice. I've done both. The only benefit I see to taking the alternative is missing the climb.

Leon to Virgen del Camino: This is an ugly stretch through the city and you can avoid it and get a head start by grabbing a bus to Virgen del Camino.I f you have a Brierley or other guide with a map of Leon in it, find the long straight street that leads to the Cathedral called Avenida OroƱo. After it crosses the river, it becomes Avenida Palencia. When you are in Leon, you will know exactly what long straight street this is. Anyway, walk straight up that street and over the river. You will come to a dead end. The Renfe (train station) will be to your right and the bus depot to your left. Turn RIGHT at the dead end and go to the nearest bus stop. People will be standing there most likely, for their morning commute. When the bus stops, ask if it goes to Virgen del Camino (it does) and jump on. It's very inexpensive, less than a Euro last time I rode. Ride this bus through the ugly parts of the city and get off in Virgen del Camino, where you can have breakfast, then begin walking. SUGGESTION: Watch for San Froilan Church on the right. You can't miss it. It has these weird statues on the outside. See photo. When you reach that church, the Camino splits. Cross the street and take the LEFT way that goes to Vilar do Mazarife. The other way walks along the highway and isn't as nice.

Acebo to Molinaseca. This trail can be washed out and rough. If your feet or muscles are in bad shape, consider just walking the road.

Molinaseca to Ponferrada. This is another stretch that people think is not so great, and you can simply grab a morning bus on the other side of the village that will deposit you in Ponferrada 5 minutes later. Start walking again there.


There are others. As I think of them, I'll add them.  It's worth making notes in your map book so if you are hurt or unable to make the hills, you can take the shortcuts.  

Buen Camino!