Monday, June 10, 2013

Santiago to Madrid to Home in Anacortes

We left Santiago with mixed emotions as our new friends went their separate ways but we also looked forward to returning home.  The Camino was a special journey for us in that we often experienced the unexpected as we walked the ancient trail.  Trekking across an unknown landscape 12-15 miles a day for over a month in all kinds of weather conditions has its physical demands, but our emotional highs more than made up for the harsh conditions.  

 The towers of the cathedral were framed beautifully as we strolled through a park in Santiago for the last time.
 We gathered one last time with new found friends; Shin, from Japan, Richard from England, and Ed from Ireland in front of the Pilgrim office in Santiago.  Time to say goodbye. We left Santiago on a 6 hour train for Madrid, where we spent a day visiting the Prado (art museum) and walking in the peaceful Parque del Retiro.
 This towering structure,Puerta de Alcal, opens the way into the Parque del Retiro in Madrid.
 Ann and Camino friend, Linda from Texas, stroll through one of Madrid's larger parks (have to keep walking).

 Scene from a beautiful rose garden in Madrid.

A tea rose from the above garden which we took the time to smell the rich fragrance.  It's a good way to end our blog of the Camino journey.  We are unable to express in a few words how the Camino has affected us but we do feel blessed that we were able to complete the journey and gather what wisdom that it may have empowered to us.  Time will tell how we will live out the lessons we learned but we know for sure that we are better persons for the experience.  A lady from Holland who we walked with for many days reminded us that the Camino doesn't end when you arrive in Santiago, it is only just beginning.  She was 72 years old and was walking the Camino for the fourth time.  So, our parting words will be what we said to every person we met on the trail, "BUEN CAMINO."

Now we are back to real life in our hometown of Anacortes, dealing with piles of mail and messages.  One of our biggest challenges is getting over the 9-hour time change and the jet lag it presents.  From the time we left our hotel in Madrid until we arrived at our home, was a total of 28 hours!


  1. We are happy to know you made it home safely. Congratulations on an impressive and meaningful pilgrimage experience. We look forward to seeing you soon and hearing some of your stories in person.

  2. Ann, Charlie, welcome back! I hear the melancholy in your last blog post. You must miss it, no? I bet it's just like coming home from summer camp and not wanting to be home? Hugs and kisses to you both. I read Wayne's book of their Camino experience and would love to hear your story in full. Would you invite me to your reading/talk, if you're doing it for your Anacortes folk? It would be worth a trip for me. Plus maybe Shelly would come too. Love, Marinka.

  3. Texan friend LindaJune 17, 2013 at 5:41 PM

    I love this last post and especially the photo in front of the pilgrim's office! I'm seeing Shin somewhere in Portugal now. It's been kind of a rough day for me, the busi-ness of reentry accomplished, back to work, back to reality, and I find myself missing the Camino. There's an emptiness I haven't yet discovered how to fill. Thanks for the blog, I love reliving the days. I'm feeling the need for a good long walk .....

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  5. Hey you two! It's Walt (from back when you were biking the West Coast). I just stumbled on your blog. How wonderful to see all the adventures you've been going on. Your bikes look the same on the cross-country trip as they looked on the west coast trip. I still remember when I had hurt my knees and you said Bill, "Well, I'm a vet not a doctor but I'm used to treating injuries like that in horses and you're sort of like a horse"

    Anyway, I hope you two are doing well (sure looks like it) and that your adventures are continuing to inspire you.

    Take care and perhaps we will see one another somewhere along future roads.