Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Photos from the Camino

Day 4 & 5.

Thought we would like to share some of our favorite photos with you.

Back up a few days. Here is Ann in the snow on our second day of walking.

Sign on building about the ancient route of the pilgrims.

Narrow street in Pamplona, where they run the bulls.

Old church in Pamplona.

Family from Germany.  Youngest pilgrim at 8 months.

Mother pulling child in chariot.

Spring flowers.

Pilgrim statue.

Sending from Villamayor de Monjardin.  All is well.

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Off to a Rough Start

Off to a rough start.
Flying from Madrid, Spain to Toulouse, France, we were met by friends from Bolivia days. We drove to see their 300+ year old house and enjoyed a restful time as we relived our past and caught up on our present lives. The extra days gave Ann a little more time to deal with her shingles symptoms which are slow to go away. Our hosts drove us to the beginning of our Pilgrim hike as we explored beautiful southern France.

Arriving in our starting point of St Jean Pied de Port (name of town at the foot of mountain), we were disappointed to find rain, thick fog and a forecast of snow the next day for the mountain crossing. The path was closed to hikers as it was too dangerous. Our friends offered to take us to the next town, Roncesvalles which is in Spain, about 10 miles away to  avoid the snow. We decided that was the best course so we drove there, ate lunch and picked up our Pilgrim Certificate (Credencial del Peregrino) and started walking in the rain. Our first night is in a hostel run by a nice Basque lady named Anna. Tomorrow snow is forecast along with cold weather. We will take it day by day.

Day 2.       Started the day with a few snow flakes which turned into a sideways blowing snow storm. At noon it was almost over except for a cold wind. We grabbed a bite to eat in a small village and got to our albergue in Larrasoana around 4 pm. We are in a dorm type room on upper bunks with about 30 other people. After washing some clothes and a shower we bought some food for dinner, breakfast, lunch. Hopefully we will sleep well as the 12 miles we walked should be a good sedative. Tomorrow we will walk through Pamplona (famous for the running of the bulls).

1. Day 3.   Just walked through Pamplona today and enjoyed the beautiful scenery. Have settled in an Albergue Sanjuanista run by the Knights of St. John of Malta.  Cold and windy but no rain or snow.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

It's Travel Time

Sunday, April 21, 2013

The time has flown and Monday morning is almost here.  We are mostly ready to go, just a few last minute additions and more deletions from the backpack.  A goal was to get the backpack under 20 pounds and we are struggling, but hopeful we can accomplish that.

A wrinkle in the plans occurred last week when Ann developed shingles.  Yes, that's right, shingles, which presented itself with a blistering rash on her back (where the backpack goes) and pain to accompany the rash.  She started taking the anti-virus medication right away but the pain and rash has managed to hang on.  A visit to the Dr. resulted in more medication for the virus and anti-inflammatory drugs.  The pain is starting to wain a bit so we are hopeful she will be able to hike and carry the pack.  Time will tell. A message from her, "If you haven't gotten your shingles vaccine, head out the door right now to get it."

As you can see by our equipment on the bed and in the backpack, we are putting it all together.  If we have to make one more list or review someone else's list, we may go crazy, but that seems to be the name of the game.  In theory, every item should serve at least two purposes, and if it doesn't think hard and long about carrying it for 500 miles on your back.  It's a good guide but sometimes hard to follow through.

Like the pilgrim in the photo above, we are now ready to start walking.  Buen Camino!   Bill and Ann

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Camino de Santiago

We are off on another adventure, this time to Spain where we will walk 500 miles on one of the oldest pilgrim paths in the world, Camino de Santiago.  This will not be a camping trip as we will stay in "Refugios" where sleeping may be a bunk bed or a mat on the floor. There will be hotels along the way so we may use that option at times.  Meals will be from cafes so we will not take a stove or eating utensils.  The journey starts in France where we will cross the Pyrenees Mountains and walk into Spain on the other side. Many people from around the world (especially Europe) walk this trail so we will have the opportunity to meet and share stories with them.We have planned six weeks for the hike leaving on April 22 and returning June 6.

Along the way we hope to update this blog to share the adventure. We will try to post photos if possible.
We would recommend seeing the movie "The Way" to learn more about this trail. More to come later.