Thursday, October 7, 2010

Camino Photos, Stages 25 through 28

Monday, September 20, STAGE 25
Molinaseca to Villafranca del Bierzo

A Gate at Dawn

Made me think of our son Andy

Castillo de los Templarios

This great looking castle in Ponferrada belonged to the Knights Templar who, as I've mentioned before, are a big part of the Camino's history.

Ste. Jaime is BACK!

Jaime caught some sort of intestinal virus with the usual unsavory results. She was off the Camino for a few days and boarded a bus to Ponferrada to be ahead of us by two days and get some rest.

I was so thankful to have her back in the fold refreshed and revitalized.

Greg and Kim

Another reason for Jaime to go to Ponferrada early was that she was meeting two of her friends from San Diego, Greg and Kim, who would be starting their Camino at this point, about 220 km/137 miles from Santiago.

Kim works with Jaime in the field of archaeology and while I'm not really sure of Greg's line of work, he did graduate from the University of Washington.


Camino Saint

This lady parked her red car on the Camino at the outskirts of Ponferrada. In her trunk she had crates of figs which she was happily giving away to hungry peregrinos as they walked by her post.

The Camino Provides.

Se Vende


I'm not sure what she is delivering

Any guesses?

They named a street after us!

A typical Supermarket in España

These grapes look ripe

Harvest Time

When I tried to take this picture, the person who they belonged to started to complain. I thought that she believed that I was going to take some to eat not take a picture.

As it turned out, these grapes were scheduled to become vino tinto and are somewhat bitter to the taste. She was simply telling me in Gallego not to eat them for that reason.

As soon as she understood my purpose she was fine, went inside her home and brought out some proper eating grapes for me to enjoy.

The Camino Provides.

Let's eat lunch here!

We stopped in Cacabelos for a sustenance break, the food here was outstanding and inexpensive as usual.

Ste. Julie, all smiles after lunch

Team North America made a large mistake due to cockiness and took a long time eating and chatting away during this break in the action. To this add our equally long Cafe con Leche time out in Ponferrada and you now have us walking uphill in the heat of the day for the last 10 km/6 miles of our walk.

A river runs under their home

There must be a lot of anxiety in this domicile anytime heavy rains are predicted.

We're going uphill in the heat

But the food was really good.

We made it!

Villafranca del Bierzo even has a church!

Lise and Madeline

Originally from Canada, these sisters were walking the Camino together and were delightful dinner companions. Lise now lives in Tours, France while Madeline still resides in Quebec.

David and Michael

David is an incredibly fast walker while his friend Michael had some hip issues that slowed him down at times but they both made it to Santiago de Compostela on the same day that we all did.

When we asked Michael our current road question, "What food do you miss the most from home?" his answer was yogurt with granola. I tried some for breakfast yesterday, quite good actually.

Along those lines, Jillian answered the same question with "Hot carrots." I blinked.


Then in London on Sunday night I was served hot carrots with my steak and Spitfire Ale pie. They were also very good and of course reminded me of my beloved "Speed Racer" walking companion.


From the Galician dialect, Gallego, meaning something like "Walk Onward" or "Walk Higher." Basically this is a phrase uttered to other peregrinos to raise their animos.

The Palacio de los Marqueses
in Villafranca del Bierzo

Tuesday, September 21, STAGE 26
Villafranca del Bierzo to O'Cebreiro

"This stretch of highway is free of death"

Needless to say, we all felt better about this information as we walked in the early morning darkness.

A Condominium Complex

I just liked it

Gallego Struggles

Galicia is made up of people very proud of their heritage. As a result, we saw several street signs where the Spain's official language, Castillian, is of course used.

Many of them have been painted over with the Gallego dialect spelling of words. It could get confusing if you are not following the yellow arrows and clam shells of the Camino.

A small herd of cattle at rest


They were about six feet tall at the shoulder. We nodded to each other as we passed.

I thought that the second one said "Ultreia" to me but I could be mistaken.

Unfortunately, not our albergue

It was also a lot farther than 600 meters!

Big Onions

We are now officially in Galicia

The view from our albergue in O'Cebreiro

It was from right here that my animos took over and I yelled at Spain in general and the Camino in particular, "IS THAT ALL YOU'VE GOT?"

The climb up here was the end of our third straight difficult day of walking. Besides the elevation change, today was also a 30.9 km/19.2 miles death march. Team North America had taken on the worst that the Camino had in store for us but we won, we conquered.

A peregrino on horseback

This was the first person we saw experiencing the Camino on a horse. This along with walking or riding a bike are the three recognized methods of touring the Camino.

O'Cebreiro is known for
these unique rooflines

We had a good dinner in this rustic
mountain lodge in O'Cebreiro


Wednesday, September 22, STAGE 27
O'Cebreiro to Triacastela

The Monument to the Peregrino
Alto San Roque

Galician lanscapes make it easier to walk

Jose Antonio Garcia with Ste. Jillian

Jose Antonio is the peregrino who started in Jerusalem! He is on a two year pilgrimage and has already been to Santiago de Compostela and Finisterre. When we met him on this day, he was walking back up the Camino on his way to Rome and a scheduled audience with the Pope on December 24th. His pilgrimmage would eventually cover 9,800 km/6,000 miles! He carried his newspaper clippings in an oversized three ring binder stuffed into his backpack to prove things to the "Doubting Thomas" types.

Amazing. . .

Beans in their red pods

Go this way

Another small herd of cattle

Follow the clam shells as well

"Only a little way to go
relax with a San Miguel"


Homer and Avital from Israel

Nice couple that we enjoyed meeting the last few days of the Camino.

Ste. Jillian's colorful foot

It was her 24th day of walking having joined us after Pamplona on Stage 3.

Thursday, September 23, STAGE 28
Triacastela to Sarria

Ivy House

The Canopy of Trees

Good protection from both the Sun and rain.


Follow the arrow. Sometimes you felt like this guy looks.

Team North America invades Samos

Let's take a closer look at that ancient Benedictine Monastery below.

The Benedictine Monastery of Samos

Nice, but. . .

The Cafe con Leche and fresh squeezed orange juice we had across from this water fountain was perhaps even better!

Now it was time for some animal husbandry. . .



Nice haircut by the way.

Dog and Horse



Brian and Michael, stay calm!


The animals have to eat afterall.

Sivil, Galicia, España
Population Two

Two armed and dangerous citizens that is!

No, not really, they were quite helpful in assuring us that we were not lost as we thought but were actually still on the Camino.

King Alphonse IX

He died here in the town of Sarria doing a pilgrimmage to Santiago de Compostela in 1230 A.D.

We would all fare much better than the King.

Good food and an ice cold caña
hit the spot for lunch

I'm still big on heraldry

This door looks like something that
I would have made in a woodworking class

Nice Detention Center in Sarria

Only five days left until we reach Santiago de Compostela, the worst is behind us and the excitement is building.


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