Tonight I stay at The Hat hostel where they believe wherever you lay your hat is home. I love this place and would recommend it. I stayed here when I first arrived in Madrid and have returned for my last few days here.
Tonight they are hosting a meet and greet for guests. Here they suggest places to visit and assist with the language. The rooftop bar is so inventive complete with greenhouse and plants. It is a very popular place and one wonders if it will hold any more people.
I am glad that I decided to come up. I even put my newly purchased dress on. I treated myself to a cut and color today where the horrible state of my hair was managed tediously by the stylist. I swear that if I spoke Spanish he would have had a few bad words to my hair. I explained to him that I walked the Camino and luxuries where not found there.
It is obvious by the collection of people here that they enjoy each other’s company. With the sun not setting until 10:30pm, life begins then and runs on through the night.
Today I arrived in Finisterra Spain. They call it the end of the earth. In ancient times they believed the world ended here. It is right on the ocean. The mountains create a horseshoe around the bay. Last night was a horrific storm. It rained so much that the streets in Santiago became rivers. As I was standing outside the hotel this morning waiting for my taxi to the bus station a bolt of lightening hit the street light next to me. Sparks flew. Never before have I seen this. It was something new for me. The trip to the ocean was through this storm which wove through the mountains. Once I arrived the rain stopped and I was able to walk the beach for two hours and gather shells. The storm brought up many different types of shells. I have met a Belgium woman that road a scooter through France to her by herself. She is older than I and is very interesting. Since I traveled today and then walked the beach, I missed eating today. Dinner is now being served so I am anxious to go eat. I am posting a few photos for everyone to see the sea.
It has been some time since I posted but had difficulty logging in. It has been a hard few days. I walked another thirty miles and some with all day rain. This made the walk slippery. As it was, I turned my knee. The large hills made slow going. I passed many ancient farms and villages. Some centuries old. The smell was profusely heavy of animals and fermenting grass. Small streams passed between my legs. I met many pilgrims from all over the world. Some became close and saw you along the road here and there. I found the solitary walk through forests of blue eucalyptus trees to be comforting.
Along the way I entered a town called Melide. It had been my longest walking day yet. I felt my body give out and almost passed out three times. My success was reaching my room. The sleep came qui kly.
The next dat however the rain and wind remained a something flew in my eye. The pain increased so badly that I had to board a bus to Santiago which is a large town. The swelling increased to the point that I had to go by taxi to the hosputal. This was an adventure in itself. No Spanish from me and very little English from doctors. They were fast and kind. The object had wounded my cornia. The fixed me up and patched my eye. Now I faced walking this strange city with one eye for a few days. I survived but slowly. This place is so beautiful. The basilica is truly blessed. I went to the crypt of St. James and wheat atop the alter be hi d the statue of St. James where it is tradition to wrap your arms around his neck and rest your head on his.
This will bless me and give me an up lifting. I felt humbled.
It is time to find dinner. I will travel to the sea tomorrow. They call it the end of the earth on the coast of the dead. More later…
Twenty miles into trek.
Ten miles now behind me and I finally arrive. Had to traverse down deadly mud covered rocks that where almost vertical. Thank goodness it wasn’t raining. Then across the highway to the bridge. Those who know me know that I am extremely afraid of heights not to mention bridges. I will attach pictures. Walking across with steady wind was scarey. However, the hostel is nice and overlooks the water. To digress though, the lovely place I stayed last night should be a destination location very nice people and beautiful patio garden and private rooms. The walk here was mainly thru woods and small medival-like farms with stone buildings that have stood for centuries. Once in awhile a senior its would sit by the path to watch you walk through. It uhhus so refreshing to come across a table with drinks and oranges after miles of no one or anything. One euro can buy a lot here. Looks like it may rain. I am glad I am off the trail tonight and can rest my poor feet and body. I will sit for a bit but then must tend to chores. That is strip down trade clothes and do laundry. Then locate dinner and vino. Must stay on schedule or be locked out by eleven. Hmmm curfews at my age. Life on the Camino is a lifestyle none of the worries of home follow you. The only thing to consider is walking for miles, protecting your feet, meeting great people, and getting a bed for the night. Well off I go for now.
My adventure has officially begun. The morning greeted me in Madrid. The flight was long but well worth it. My grandmother would tell me how she loved Madrid at Christmas. It might not be Christmas but it is a wonderful mix of current times and centuries of history wrapped together.
I found a very accommodating hostel called The Hat to stay tonight. Wonderful place with friendly and helpful staff. If you ever find yourself in Madrid, I highly suggest you stay there. Very inexpensive. The rooms have Windows with shutters that open onto a small patio. This of course is perfect for hanging your wash.
My favorite place here is the Plaza Mayor dating back to the 1500s.
It is a cultural gathering place for all bordered by wonderful cafes. This area looks like a palace but I was told it has been a grand plaza forever.
Tomorrow I will venture by train to Sarria, Spain…I can’t wait.
After many months planning and preparing for my hike to Spain, the time has actually arrived. It is my last few days before leaving. I have to say that I am actually frightened. I sit and feel this great fog in my mind preventing me from packing or moving forward. Here I have been so looking forward to this journey and now my brain is playing games with me. I hear the gears moving but nothing is happening.
I hear this wee voice deep inside of me saying, “Snap Out of it Woman!” It must be my gut and you know what they say about your gut? Yes, always listen to your gut. Very well then….I am up and moving! I cannot let myself get bogged down in too many plans. I have my well thought out list, purchased and gathered gear, tickets, and wonderful family support. Now I need to work on space management. Think of this ladies (and gentlemen), I have one backpack to use for everything I need for over two weeks. This weekend I will double check the list and then attempt to put everything in the backpack. It will take a master’s degree in packing to make this work. I have read a ton of blogs that warn me about how much weight to put in the bag. I am sure I will be “unpacking” many things before next week’s departure.
As the packing commences, I will chime in on my packing methods both dos and don’ts.
For the wandering soul…My next entry will provide my packing list to assist you with their potential journeys.
For as long as I can remember, I have dreamt of walking and backpacking from place to place especially Europe. Well dreams have a habit of becoming reality when we choose to take the first step. This always seems to sound easier than it really is. For me, the first step was almost preceded by a swift kick in the seat.
After seeing the film “The Way” with Martin Sheen, I was compelled to walk the Camino de Santiago in Spain. It was calling me. At first, I refused to believe that what I felt was achievable. Things like work, family, and low self-esteem seem to be impassable hurdles.
Little did I know that God had plans for me. It began with a happenstance conversation with a monk at a buffet. I realize this sounds a bit unusual but realize this…God works in mysterious ways. Friar Maurice Richárd, OFM Conv. of Our Lady of the Angels Province to be exact. He and I began chatting while we gathered up the last remaining cookies at the fall picnic at church. Some how the topic of movies came up and I explained to him that I had recently watched the most inspiring film called, “The Way”. His face lite up as he said he too had watched it. Wow, a kindred spirit dressed in a long brown robe. I elaborated that I felt drawn to go and to actually walk the Camino (The Way) de Santinago. No matter what I did, I just could not shake the power of this potential adventure.
Friar Maurice looked at me and said, “Then you must go!” He explained that God must be calling me to this experience. Of course, I told him there was no way I would ever be able to get off of work let alone ever be able to break away from my fears. He continued to gently push me. I was glad I had the chance to speak with him because he became my mental coach.
From that moment on, I could hear him telling me that God wanted me to go. Therefore, I promised myself that I would make a plan and take each thing one step at a time.
I am very excited to begin blogging about my travels through life, nature and my world.
Recently, I participated in a seminar that focused on re-branding or re-defining me. The instructor discussed our dreams and goals for the future and how other things–life, fear, and work can stop us in our tracks. By doing self-examination of our dreams and goals, we each discovered new things about ourselves. We rewrote our buck lists, refocused our drive and stepped out into the world ready to discover new things.
One of the great suggestions that the instructor gave was to begin a blog and write about my travels and adventures. Therefore, welcome to the rediscovery of me. I hope you too will begin the “you” discovery soon.