Day 8 and 9: Vigo

We have nearly no wifi at our hotel, and I found out it is expensive to blog on mobile data.

We are staying over in Vigo for 2 days, good to rest a while.

So only one photo to sum up the day…

Lots of beach, beautiful country, but very hazy today.

We walked into a Pulperia just now at 17h30 to ask for their menu. (A place specializing in Calamari, but you knew that…) They chased us out and said they are closing, only opening at 21h00 (9 o’clock)… Like Obelix said: These Spanish are crazy. Will blog more when I do get wifi.

 

PS Obelix said that words in the academic work of ancient history: Asterix in Spain…. I think he did. Maybe..

Day 7: Baiona

I really had to think hard to get the days right… We left at 8 this morning at Casa Puertes in Oia, really a good experience to stay there last night!

We waited for the sun to set over the Atlantic last night, it obliged at 22h17! But before that, dear Kenneth, I watched it going down the correct and proper  way…DSC_0430.JPG

We were really hurting bad last night. This morning a new day dawned on our Camino.

When we started walking early it was way cooler, and we enjoyed most of the sights, except the walking alongside the main route… but that is life, you don’t always get to choose the route.

After Mougas Campsite the Camino veers off to the right to go across a mountain. (Ok, maybe not a mountain but remember I live in a flat part of the world…) Look out for this sign on the right and do close the gate!

While you are climbing, do take a moment to enjoy the view!DSC_0474.JPG

When you come down from the first mountain, you will pass through a town again but no open coffee shops! When you are about to expire from thirst, the Camino provides again… in the shade of a house, good water!

The second climb is no fun at all on the July mid day heat. But the good people of Galicea has provided shade and water and rest at the top.

At this park the route is not marked at all, turn downwards between the park and children’s playground across the road.

We were tired and hungry and gatvol. Then we came across this jewel of a restaurant.

We shared a menu of the day and a large beer, it was really good and prepared with love.

We were blown away by Baiona! We across the world has not even heard about it, but it is beautiful!

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We love the yaughts (how do you spell really big expensive boats?  and the castle and the small beach… But now we are really tired again and off to bed. Look at what my wife makes me eat tonight!

Day 6: Oia

We found Mario at the mobile home, behind the restaurant, behind the Orbitur Campsite at Caminha. And he asks 5 Euro per pilgrim across the river to Spain. And so we went…

Look out for the purple and red boat, that is the one, got us 4 hours faster into Spain than the ferry!

Across the Minho river you start off with boardwalks. And some spectacular views!

A Guarda first looks a bit disappointing, till you turn the corner and see the harbour.

Enjoy A Guarda, drink your coffee, eat something… for in this stage there are much less opportunities to do so than in Portugal.

In A Guarda the prophets have been busy again…

After quite a lot of km we came across this bar, first one after A Guarda. The only place we found between A Guarda and Oia selling food or drink!

They only had bread for one boggadilo (help with spelling please?) so that was what we shared, our only meal for the day.

The route self goes through different types of scenery, from beautiful, wild coastal to kilometres on the side of the main route. Here are some examples and no, I did not want a highway picture…

There are some nice places to eat and drink your own beverages, if you knew to bring some along…

You will find rest on the Way…

That umbrella is a good idea for the sun, my wife bought it at a Chinashop in Porto, really helps except when it gets windy.

We saw other pilgrims on the Way, this one is not sure when he will reach Santiago, but he is putting in a lot of effort

Ultreia, Senor Snail! Buen Camino!

We were really hungry and thirsty when we reached our destination. We are staying over in Oia, Casa Puertes. Why? Friends of ours walked the Camino in April and really enjoyed this place. We will too, at the top end of our budget but worth the money. I can see the sea from my bed, and that does not often happen to me!

If you stay over here, behind the Casa is a steep small road gong to the main road. At the top, 5 minutes walk away, on the left you will find a Blanco store with everything you need in it. We made our own dinner with bread, salmon paté, mussels, cold smoked chicken and beer. And my wife ate a tin of peas, I don’t like peas…

We were famished! Now we are just laying on the bed, waiting for the sun to set. Oia does have it’s beauty, although it does notvlook like much from a distance…

Tonight our feet are hurting a lot, such a dull thrubbing lot of pain type of hurt. Two more days, then we have a rest day planned at Vigo. We are not measuring distance but my Pedometer app gives in advance of 25000 steps per day these last 8 days. We are off to bed early because of that, really tired. Hope we are feeling better in the morning!

Madrid: a beautiful day so far!

We have just one full day in Madrid at the moment. We were so happy to arrive yesterday after two long flights. Eight hours to Qatar, and then 7 to Spain.

This morning we started by going to tea with the king in the Royal palace… but for some reason they would not invite us in. .. Then we walked around a bit. For South Africans it is always amazing seeing the old European cities. DSC_0018.JPG

We discovered a delightful restaurant in the corner of the Plaza Mayor, and had our first Cafe con Leche on Spanish soil. What a beautiful place!DSC_0028.JPG

DSC_0024.JPGAfterwards we walked all the way to the Parque de Retiro, where we spent some good hours in the stillness of the park. DSC_0043.JPGWe sat for a long time on a bench, listening to a really good saxophone player.

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Yes, we saw the devil’s statue- the Fallen Angel.. DSC_0032.JPG The delight of music, good food and nature at its best makes today a very happy day in my life. Thought I would quickly share this before taking a siesta. It is really hot in Madrid today and we have walked more than 8 km so far. No complaints, enjoying myself a lot today!

Just a question:What is the story with all these dolls, each painted another color? DSC_0045.JPG

Today is the day that the Lord has made…

Countdown timer to departure: o days and 12 hours.

I remember with my previous Camino in 2011 I have just started blogging. And then I thought it very original to write the title of the post  ” ‘Cause I’m leavin’ on a jetplane…”  Afterwards, with the growing wisdom as the years went by, I saw nearly every other person blogging also used that one to announce their departure.

But nobody ever announced their departure better than Douglas Adams’ dolphins…

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Except Jesus, leaving his life behind on the cross with the word “tetelestai”… It is done…

But this is not done, it is the Genesis of a new adventure, and an Exodus into the desert out of our comfort zone, and I hope the Numbers add up. No clue what to do with Leviticus and Deuteronomy on this trip, might call my boots that…

I have woken up excited. It will be my first trip on an airplane in 7 years, since the last Camino. Last night we had the mother of all parties for our kids- the two of the four that could be with us.  We had a marvelous rumpsteak on the grill, with some salads and wine, definitely wine- a good Pinotage. We had laughter and joy. And as I was laying in bed earlier this morning, the Camino softly greeted me. I felt joy and gratitude already.  I have a wonderful wife walking alongside me on the journey of life. We are blessed with four beautiful children, each their own unique individual. I do have a very comfortable bed, which makes it very hard to get out of on such a winter’s day… (now that song will be spinning in my head for the next few hours…)  I have friends that I can go to war with, and I even most of the time love my job.

Because I work with the pain of people every single day, I tend to see all the wrong things in life. I hear of everything that can go wrong daily. Unconsciously that creeps up to me at night, wondering when it will be my turn to hurt.  But that is why I need experiences like the Camino. It is so good to focus on what is beautiful, what is possible, and how the Camino provides…  Everything do work out in the end.  That is what Pi Patel promised. 🙂

So yes, while the rest of the house are waking up, I thought I would just pack up my laptop, and then the keyboard has drawn me closer. I think everything is ok, I think I have remembered everything, and it found it’s place somewhere in my backpack.

So today is the day. The purple plane waits.

” ‘Cause I’m leaving, on a Jetplane, don’t know when I’ll be back again…”

Ultreia!

Camino: One week to go…

After months of planning, dreaming, worrying, looking forwarding… it is the final week before we fly to Madrid.

My backpack is packed and ready. I just have to grab it and go on to the airport on Saturday.

As it usually goes in real life, I still have to work till Thursday. And as real life tends to go, a lot of things still have to get into place before I relax on the purple plane.

I have treated myself to a small neat journal to keep exceptional thoughts that may happen along the Way. I have also dreamed a long time about owning a Lamy Safari Fountain pen, and could not resist buying one on Saturday- a yellow one. Now the one fear is that the journal will remain empty on the journey.

Equipment wise we are sorted. I think my backpack weighs around 9.5 kg when there is a  1 1/2 litre of water on board.  Much less than we had to carry in the army anyway. What is going on in my wife’s backpack, I have not got a clue…

I do tend to overpack. But here is more or less what I do have packed:

We are flying out of a cold Johannesburg South Africa on Saturday. For flying I have a lightweight technical removable long sleeve pants (is that the right word? Remember English is a second language for me…)  I also have a long sleeve shirt, very lightweight that will help in the Portuguese sun. I have a fleece type softshell jacket, and will wear my hiking boots on the plane. Luggage tend to get lost in South Africa, all things else I can replace in Madrid but not my worn in boots.

In the backpack:

  • two pairs of hiking shorts,
  • two shirts,
  • three sets of underwear,
  • three pairs of socks,
  • a pair of Crocs for the evenings in the albergues,
  • a single duvet cover to sleep in, I hate sleeping bags. A single fitted sheet, and cushion sleeve in which I will use my inflateable cushion.
  • A head lamp,
  • a sea to summit plate and a spork, with a swiss army knife
  • an aluminium cup
  •  a 1.5 l water bladder
  • a 700 ml Atlasware hot water flask, no idea what it weighs but it keeps water boiling hot for nearly 23 hours.
  • some plasters and pain pills and sunscreen lotion
  •  a lightweight battery pack for extra juice for my phone
  •  a bandanna for walking through the cattle farms in Galicia (yes, it is my second Camino, remember…)
  • My single walking pole, usually used in South Africa to fend off black Mambas and small dogs along the way.
  • My John Brierley guide

Undecided:

  •  a pair of long johns underwear for flying
  •  And that is about it…

We are doing the Portuguese Camino, starting in Porto on 21 June. Before that we will be playing tourist in Madrid and Lisbon. We will be going by train to Porto, and after a good night’s rest start walking the Coastal Route, drifting off to the coast as far as possible. We live a long way from the ocean, and so any walking involving a sea view has our full attention.

You might come across us… this is our emblem on our backpacks and some of our clothing. My design…DSC_0321.JPG

We are quite shy and not always so sure of our English use, but be friendly and so will we…

Buen Camino!

 

… and so did May…

Did you ever write a whole post, and then deleted it, because you fear the contents will bore the reader to death?

This writer’s block is really serious! My mojo is gone…

Camino time in 15 days.  I hope I will have something readable to write soon.

Oh and yes, I watched Reese Witherspoon’s “Wild” movie this week,  and now feel inspired for a long walk with a much lighter backpack. Brilliant movie.

Thanks for stopping by.

 

The Camino calls… again…

Those who know it recognize it immediately.  A growing sense of unease with your life in general is growing inside you, reaching detonation point.  You scroll through the stack of bills, you plan your week and your month ahead, and something inside says: “Is this what life is all about?”

And then a dude called Erns Grundling starts a television series in South Africa, taking a film crew along from Leon to Santiago.  While watching this series, I can smell the air outside Leon. I can taste the dark red cherries in my mind. I can feel the blisters on my toes, and the easy chatting with fellow pilgrims in the albergue at night.

My first Camino was in 2011, just before my first child finished her school career. I knew then that I was getting older, and that huge changes was waiting on the horizon. I needed some time alone to think, and to just BE.  The first call of the Camino was heard, and answered.  The experience did me a lot of good.

I made a lot of mistakes during the first Camino.   I bought the best boots available, but one size too small. I suffered blisters the whole journey long because of it. I packed way too much stuff, and the heavy backpack reminded me every day that I need to travel a lot lighter through the journey of life.  I opted to carry my own load without any help, not sending my backpack by taxi.

The first Camino restored a sense of peace and quiet in my soul. It gave me time to adjust to a new phase of my life.

And now… all that peace and quiet has quietly disappeared again over the years. I fell back into the rat race, working and sleeping, paying bills, surviving…

But since I saw the first episode of the television series “Elders” (“Somewhere else” in Afrikaans, not wise old people… 🙂  )I heard the call again.

I am destined for more than to just breathe for 70-80 years.  I need the journey again, waking up each morning, just walking, breathing, seeing, smelling, tasting, hearing, feeling… just being for a while.

And this time I will not do it alone.

I have bought the flight tickets to Madrid. For me, and my wife…  we are going…

Ultreia!

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The first time…