Sunday, July 24, 2011

So what happened????

Well, I've been home 13 days and so many of my friends and family have asked, "What happened???  I was following your blog and you never posted anything about the final days!!"

I know and I am so sorry, but I have a couple of good explanations!  First of all, while I was still in Spain I couldn't find a computer with a darn card reader and therefore couldn't upload any more photos.  I felt like I needed pictures to accompany my last thoughts.  And then when I got home...well, honestly I just couldn't bring myself to turn on my computer.  No REALLY!!  I had no desire to surf the internet, look at my blog or log into Facebook.  And those who know me, will agree when I say that it was so unlike me!  I resisted as long as I could, but I have finally given in--only to some extent :)

It was great to get home and see my family, but I must say that I have had a hard time adjusting to reality.  I feel like I'm in limbo.  I feel so out of the loop and lost without the trail.  My responsibilities at home, work and church are slowly creeping their way back into my routine and causing me to miss the Camino more and more each day.  Even with all the pain and struggles that I had, I would love to be back out in nature with my boots and trek poles.  Heck, I even miss hand washing my clothes--well, maybe only a little! haha

I think what I miss most is the simplicity of the trail and being unplugged from a world that is always on fast forward.  I miss NOT having to choose my outfit for the day or NOT spending an hour doing my hair!  I miss the friendly faces of my fellow pilgrims with their helping hands and caring attitudes.  I miss being in a state of mind where you don't worry about anything anymore.  You don't worry about what you will have for dinner, where you will sleep that night or where you are going the next day.  You just let things happen and accept them.

I am so grateful for the opportunity that I had to walk every step.  I'm grateful that my mom was willing to go with me and walk the trail for the third time!  I'm grateful for the wonderful people that I met along the way.  They will never know how much they have influenced my life with their words and kindness.  I will never forget them!  I have learned that it doesn't matter where you come from or what you do for a living, but we are all connected and can easily make a friend by offering a smile.

I have included some photos from the last day as we walked to Finesterre--THE END OF THE WORLD.  I am so glad that we decided to continue as this was probably the best and most beautiful part of the whole trail.  It was a great feeling to walk into Santiago, but it was an AMAZING feeling when we reached the coast and the Atlantic ocean.

Thanks to all those who have followed us on our journey.  I felt your love and support every step of the way.  


On the way to Finesterre!

Coming over the mountain and seeing the ocean was an amazing feeling!  It was a sense of accomplishment that I've never felt before.

The last marker telling us that we had truly made it!

ZERO!!!!!!  Accomplished in 37 days!

We felt so great that day!

I made it to the END OF THE WORLD!

So proud of my mom for her accomplishments!

The ocean was more beautiful than I had imagined!

My mom celebrated with her favorite beverage--wine and I stuck with my Agua con Gas (mineral water)! haha

We received our 2nd certificate, declaring that we walked to Finesterre.

Along the trail we received many stamps from the cities that we stayed in,
but this was the ULTIMATE stamp!!


Monday, July 4, 2011

Back In The Saddle Again!!

Well, it looks like we are on the trail again!!  We spent  2 days in Santiago and fortunately my mom recovered very quickly.  We walked around, sat around, took a nap, ate great food, litened to some fantastic musicians, took some photos, did some shopping, took a tour and realized that we were completely bored!  We are much happier when we are walking.  Crazy, huh?!  So, we decided to give Finesterre another try!  Originally, we had planned 4 days for the 55 miles trip but now we only have three so, we have to really pick up the pace.  We may end up taking a taxi somewhere in between to help us cover ground.  We have to be back in Santiago on Thursday night and will be flying to London on Friday.

Today we left at 6:30am.  It was amazing to see the square in front of the Cathedral, completely empty, quiet and dark.  During the day, there are hundreds of people wondering around.  But this morning it was only us--very nice.  We headed out with no real map or information about the Camino to Finesterre.  But, again we have complete faith in the yellow arrows and will rely on their direction.

We were pleasently surprised with the the landscape.  It is beautiful and lush.  We both agreed that it is probably one of the best on the entire trail.  So glad we decided to come!

Here are a few pics from this week....

Made it to Santiago!!  Standing in front of the Cathedral.  It´s definitely a masterpiece!

Vegetable paella!  Yummy!!  I can´t believe how much we´ve eaten!

My mom proudly displaying her third Camino certificate!

This was about a week ago.  The weather went from HOT to COLD overnight.
I was wearing everything I owned that day!  My mom said that I looked scary! haha

Today´s lunch.  I have to say that I´m a bit tired of french fries.
We have them with almost every meal.  Although they do give us the calories that we need to walk 20 miles :)

On our way to Finesterre, we came across a beautiful town with a river going thru it.  The camera will NEVER do it justice.  It was one of the most beautiful sites we´ve seen on the entire trail.

We spent a lovely Sunday afternoon in Santiago.  It would be odd back home, but here in Spain it´s very common for musicians to set up right in the middle of the street.  The surrounding buildings make for some amazing acoustics.  This orchestra had to have professional musicians.  The music they played was so beautiful.

This is us taking in some caffeine before we head up the mountain at O´Cebrerio.

Yes, I´ve really pee´d outside behind bushes!  My mom caught this shot of me coming back out onto the road! haha

Flowers are everywhere!  I´ve been puting them in my pack and on the back of my hat.  We expecially love to carry sprigs of lavendar!

Saturday, July 2, 2011

So Close and Yet So Far

Yesterday, we were very close to Santiago--only 5 or 6 miles away.  We decided to walk a longer distance and quit outside of Santiago, in hopes that we could arrive early in the city and find a place to stay.  We went thru our daily rituals of showering, washing clothes and napping.  When we awoke about 7pm, we went down to dinner and my mom mentioned that she was not feeling so good.  She tried to eat her beautiful salad, but her stomach would not allow her to finish.  She decided to head up stairs and go to bed early.  I, on the other hand, finished my huge steak and french fries:)

During the night, she began to feel more nauseated.  We were worried because several of our Camino friends had similar symptoms and became very ill.  She did not sleep well and continued to feel nauseated.  When the alarm went off, she announced that she would have to take a taxi into the city.  I agreed that it was a good idea.  Then, I began to think about how close we were and I didn´t want to take a car after coming all this way.  I suggested that I walk and meet her there.  She said that this was the most important part of the trail and really wanted to give it a try.  She got up and started to pack.  After about 5 minutes, she forfeited the attempt and agreed to take the taxi.  She went back to bed and I left with my pack.  We agreed to meet in 4 hours in front of the Santiago Cathedral.

I´m not sure if I ran or flew, but I made it in record time!  As I came into Santiago and made my way thru the large city, a thought came to my mind... Here I was all alone, in a foreign country, not able to speak the language well, without a map and had never been to this place before---but yet, I was completely at peace.  I had no worries about where I was going or when I would get there.  I felt completely safe and comfortable.  I followed the yellow arrows and trusted their direction.  I walked thru alleys, neighborhoods and busy intersections--all with no cares in the world.  Finally, I arrived at the main square and laid my eyes on the Cathedral for the first time.  It was so massive and the detail was amazing!  It was still very early and there were only about 5 others besides myself in square.  I stood there quietly and peacefully and thought about our accomplishments over the last 5 weeks.  That in itself was just as amazing as the cathedral.  I still can´t believe that we´ve come so far--by foot!

I hadn´t eaten breakfast and was started to hear grumbling in my stomach.  I decided to wonder around and look for a bar (cafe) and order a croissant and cola coa (hot chocolate).  Right away, I ran into some ladies that we met weeks earlier.  They are from South Africa and invited me to sit with them.  I told them about my mom being sick and how I had walked in alone.  They suggested that I go right away and get my Compostella (certificate).  I left and made my way thru town looking for the Pilgrim´s office.  Within minutes I was at the office and presented my pilgrim´s passport.  This has documentation of my travels with stamps from every city that we´ve stopped in.  They handed me a beautiful certificate with my name written in Latin and offered congratulations.  With a big grin I said,"Muchas Gracias!" and accepted it.

I went back out to the square and again ran into other pilgrim friends.  We all hugged and offered congratulations to one another.  Within a few minutes, my mom came walking around the corner.  We were both very surprised to see each other there so early.  I was glad to see that she was feeling well enough to make it to the Cathedral.  She had taken the taxi and already checked us into our hotel.  I felt bad that she was so close, but yet too far to walk in her condition.  At noon, we headed back to the Cathedral for the Pilgrim Mass.  The inside of the Cathedral is beautiful!  It was standing room only and we had 2nd row seats.  As soon as it was over, my mom decided to go back to the hotel room and lay down for a while.  She definitely needs rest for a speedy recovery.

Unfortunately, I don´t think she is up to walking to Finesterre.  We would have 3 or 4 days of 30-34 km--IN A ROW!   As we have watched our pilgrim friends recover from this bug, they are not up for walking such long distances.  So, as of now we have decided to stay one more night in Santiago and possible go by bus for the remaining 50 miles.  If we had more time, we would give it a try--but at this point, we would not make it in time for our flight home.  Sure there is some disappointment, but when I think about what we´ve accomplished, we have nothing to be ashamed of!  Especially my mom, as this is her third time to walk the entire Camino!  Walking any futher could cause her to become more ill and that´s just not worth it.

I´ll keep you posted and let you know how my mom is doing.  If I get a chance later this eveing, I will post some photos.

Buenos Dias Amigos!

Friday, July 1, 2011

Day 31 (I think) We´re almost there!!

Mileage to date:  800 km or 497 miles!  
Actually, we have walked close to 540 miles.  This is figured by taking into account the mountain ascent and descents.

Well, we did a very long 20+ miles today in the hot sun.  We chose to stop at 4pm and just 5 miles outside of Santiago.  By stopping here, we will arrive early tomorrow and have a better chance of finding a hotel room.  There are many, many more pilgrims now than there was in the beginning!  We will also get in line to receive our first certificate and information about Finesterre.  We are anxious to meet up with our Camino friends as we enter Santiago.  Everyone is planning to celebrate by attending the noon mass at the Cathedral and then dinner that night.  It will be a great celebration!

We had originally planned to walk to Finesterre in 3 days, but people are telling us that we will need at least 4.  We will have to do 18-20 miles for 3 days in a row!!  We haven´t had to do that  yet and I hope we are up to it.  I have decided to ship my pack ahead each day.  I want to enjoy walking without weight and possible ankle pain for the last few days.  I think it will be a good choice!

It´s almost 9:30pm and I need to get to bed.  We´ve got a busy week ahead!  Hugs and kisses to everyone!