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Camino de Santiago

Day 19 to O Cebreiro

We left our wonderful albergue and friendly hosts in Trabadelo close to 7:30. It was a good 18km in 6 hrs and a climb of some 800 meters to O Cebreiro. We are happy we did a few extra km the previous day. We stayed in the municipal albergue, a very nice looking bldg. Hans says it is the same one from 2007. The bldg interior is neat and clean -- then we see the dorm --OMG -- they have bunks pushed together to max capacity. It was sunny but very cold on the top of this mountain. As a result windows closed - 30 bodies generate a lot of heat; the room was like a sauna. It was an average sleep. I will add pictures showing room in O Cebreiro, also, some scenes before the village and a morning picture - cool.

Today we meet Klaus from Cambridge, Ont. who is mid 60s civil engineer from Waterloo. He is just stepping into retirement. In ant case Klaus, Tony (get to him soon), Marty and I are having supper. Not sure why but we start talking about Mennonites and a young lady behind asks if we ate CDN. She is Mennonite from Cambridge Ontario. Klaus knows where her family farm is and they have mutual friends in Cambridge. Go figure! She now lives in Ottawa with her husband and 9 month old son ( he is a big boy) -- who is doing the Camino with them. Another Wow!

Oh - Klaus has a cottage at Bay field so very familiar with Goderich area and the famous Goderich bakery (daughter Tara, Rob and Gavin live in Goderich).

Today we meet Tony a mid 30s Irish lad from Belfast. He got tired of working in the family furniture business - decided he didn't need a Lexus or big house so quit. He had been travelling for a few years. He did some humanitarian work in various Africa locations and now doing the Camino. A good kid - lots of laughs. Here is a story he shared - luck of the Irish. He had a pilgrim friend were walking through Burgos and came upon the San Miguel Brewery. Tony wants to push on but his friend talks him into checking to see if they will stamp their credentials. They arrive at reception and greeted by a lady who speaks English. She says they do not stamp credentials but says they can join their group for a tour. This is a group of friends from somewhere in Spain who boarded a bus to Burgos for Brewery tour - and they get to join for free. It sounds like a royal tour, first the working brewery, then video of brewery history in Spain, then sampling new brands they are considering for release - then food and all the beers they want. The two guests leave with a box of beers each - popular at the Albergue that night. As for us old farts - we still wonder how we missed the brewery.

One more story from today's hike. At about the 5 hr mark we stop at a small village bar for a cold beer in the sun. Here we see a young boy being groomed for life in rural Spain. He is around 4 and pushing his toy mover around the property. To us it is a work tool -- to him a toy. We learn his parents bought it at Toys R Us in Madrid. Crazy - right?

Hasta Pronto Amigos!

Al

Posted by al poole 08:49 Comments (0)

Camino de santiago

Day 18

A few more pictures from my phone

Posted by al poole 11:22 Comments (0)

Camino de Santiago

Day 18

Ponferrado is beautiful little city in a simply gorgeous setting. It is nestled in foothills much like Pittsburgh area - even parts of our foothills in Alberta. It was a 30 km hike today (6 hr) to shorten a steep 20 km tomorrow. We walked through a new wine region I did not know - Bierzo-. We tryed one wine at dinner - we liked it (surprised).

After 20 km today and brunch at 11:30 Hans mentioned we should stop at Pereje as they have a wonderful old western style saloon. We imagined it from Clint Eastwood spaghetti westerns. Wow - it was like turning a horse for home -- Marty was gone. I caught up to him in the town and we waited for Hans - when Hans arrived he said the saloon is gone ' we had pasted soot where it had been. Poor Marty was deflated - we almost had to carry him the next few km. We ended up in a fabulous albergue -- 4 beds in one room. So far only the three of us.

Today was a milestone I backed my sandals in the back pack this morning -- first time in 10 days. There were a few influencing factors: it was cool, we are coming to some steep climbs and the bottoms are like slicks - no tread left. I will pull them out when walking is flat and hot.

Saw more wildlife today -- a rabbit , seen a few of them. Also saw a magpie - so disappointing ( very few so I hope they are rare). For many mornings we have listened to cuckoo birds - so much better than crows and magpies.

Approx 170 km left. Looks like we should make it.

Chow

Al

Posted by al poole 11:19 Comments (1)

Camino de Santiago

Day 17 Astorga to Ponferrado by bus

Hi! We are in Ponferrado after a 50 km bus ride. It is absolutely gorgeous here. I look forward to walking through this country side for next couple of days. Since see arrived in Astorga before noon yesterday and the bus ride today -- a good break for the aging bodies.

I will write about a some of my thoughts during the long walking sections. At one point I recalled many wonderful moments with my grandparents. I was quite young in some of them. It reminded me of a section in a Malcolmn Gladwell book where he talks about some negative consequences when young people do not get enough adult time. It is a challenge today with two working parents and easy access to electronic games and social networks.

I spent a lot of time with my grandparents, aunts and uncles -- same for my brothers and sisters. I really believe that time helped shape me - giving me the chance to accept responsibility - be curious - not afraid to try new things. So many wonderful memories - more so as the older generation begin to disappear (die). I see many of these memories and experiences repeating with my siblings and their children, similar in Sharon's family. I suspect watching family in action here in Spain triggered some of these thoughts. In many ways we are very similar. I'm impressed we (Sharon and I and our siblings) have taken the time effort to keep family spirit alive. It matters - you always have a place you feel connected with - a part of. My oldest daughter Tara was from a first marriage - she grew up in BC. She has always been active part of the bigger family. She knows her aunts, uncles , cousins - and Sharon's family as well. It does leave me with a question about our grandson Gavin who lives in Ontario. He has some of his dad's family close - but sees us once or twice a year. I'll think more on how I feel about that.
It does raise another question: what about the people with very small or no familr - or the impact of family members moving around the country or the world to find work. Their task at family seems daunting -- but just as important. I suspect the successful ones (happy and fulfilled) have built a kind of family network through close friendships, becoming more personally involved in others lives. More walking more to ponder-- what does it all mean?
One thing I'm certain of - small events and memories help create a smile - a chuckle - just good feelings. I had one a couple of days back - it kept recurring and I chuckled every time. Anyone knowing my father-in-law Bob will understand. It is a video clip of Leah and Spenser (5 and 2) playing in a small wading pool in our back yard. The camera never leaves the kids but its full of Bob - a hearty laugh and then some directions to the kids. One direction - for Leah - but can't find the right name so defers to Sissy -- leave the boy be. Always a parent! And, after years of thinking it could never happen to me - I often go through a few names before getting the right one. I've only been scoffed at when I included a pets name.

You just don't know what any turn up when you go for a long walk. I have more of a sense for what it might mean when a writer talks about getting away to clear the mind.

To my family.

Love Al xoxo

Posted by al poole 10:14 Comments (0)

Camino de Santiago

Day 16 Villavante to Astorga

Hola! Today was a 25km trek - 5hrs from Villavante to Astorga. We stopped for breakfast at Hospital De Orbigo - an incredible bridge and home to real jousting every summer. I'll try to add couple of pictures. Apparently the jousting is a big festival every summer. Legend has it some knight was turned down by a lady so he declared he would take on any challenger until he was defeated or the lady reconsidered. He kept winning - she finally conceded. The jousting continues today. I'd love to see it and compare to what we have seen in the movies.

After breakfast I declared what I would do the day after I'm back home: breakfast will be two medium poached eggs, bacon, tomato with rye toast. Lunch the next day -- I'm hoping I can get Sharon to make me a sandwich as she makes an awesome sandwich. Finally, for dinner - an Alberta beef steak - filet with mushroom sauce and green beans. And most importantly -- no fries! I can hardly wait.

The trek to Astorga was wonderful. Approx 6 km from Astorga we find a young Spaniard along the trail offering fruit, juice , coffee, etc -- all free, you could make a donation if you like. He is late 30s I think and said he has been doing this for 6 years - or maybe it was 6 months. He lives in a small old building with no water or power. He is there 24/7 except to get supplies. He said it is something he had to do -- a simple life and give to others. He is a wonderful young man. We enjoyed meeting him and having a few laughs. Pictures later.

A story from earlier in the trek. We met a couple from Hamilton - say Jane and Joe. When Jane learns we are Canadian she joins and begins chatting -- she likes to chat. Now - the story comes together later in the evening when Hans, Marty, et al, are visiting over a beer. As Jane chats with Hans/Marty she mentions husbands can't be left alone as they don't know what to do. Meanwhile about 10 meters behind Joe and I are chatting. During our conversation he mentions he retired last year but Jane is still working --- there is a pause as he looks at me and says, "and that is not all bad" - with a sly little smile. A good chuckle all around the table. I suspect a lot of us have variations of that story.

Astorga is a lovely little city. We stay in an old albergue...turns out to be noisy. Ear plugs are a must.

We chatted with a gentleman from Perth, AZ. He is cycling with a group from Perth. They had just finished day one and it turned out more challenging than anticipated. A group expects there will be some slower riders and the agree on stopping points. In this case a slow rider is directionally challenged and can't seem to find the yellow arrows marking the way. It may be a long trip, we wished him buen camino.

Hasta Luego

Al

Posted by al poole 04:22 Comments (1)

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