Monday 30 July 2012

Day 15 ~ Madrid - Day 2

The kids in the room next to us we're up banging off the walls until 2 am. I finally got to sleep shortly there after. Good thing is... we slept in, 9. Up showered and a wonderful leisure breakfast. Then we secured our taxi for tomorrow morning before venturing off on our first attraction - the Palace Real.  I had no idea where we were staying was only four blocks (or so) from the Palace.
It was 12€ for admission.  It was very hot in there and getting around wasn't that clear.  I mean, I and Elena thought we understood the markings and barriers but apparently not as well as we thought.  And then, sometimes we had to show our tickets and sometimes not.  When we reached the library area - the area I was interested in - there was a ramp to one door, but it was closed.  A short walk ahead there were stairs and the door was open so....we assumed that was the door we were to go in.  NOPE!!!!  A security guard quickly corrected Spanish... but motioned us to use the ramp.  So...up the ramp we go.  I opened the door.  We were in the library, enjoying the books on display (by this time about 8 other people had followed us in) when we were 'attacked' by another guard - ticket...ticket he kept repeating and so...into our purses we go digging for our tickets.  We pulled them out; showed them to him and were just about to continue looking when he said ''No good - leave'' and pointed us to the door. By this time I'd had it.  Thankfully Elena was feeling the same and so we used the facilities and left.  It was somewhat disappointing. 
I get the royals are still living there and there are must be restricted areas but...if we needed another ticket to get in that area...there should have been a ticket kiosk there, or the guard at the main entrance could have asked to see our tickets instead of nodding us in.  Then the second guard, she could have asked to see our tickets when she was directing us up the ramp to the closed door....AND....if the library was not part of the main admission...there should have been someone at the door monitoring the tickets BEFORE people entered.  As it turned out before we were too far into the court yard, there must have been about 12 others who had also been escorted out.  In my pea sized brain...(as that guard asking people to leave) I´d be thinking royal staff/security wasn't doing their job and I should be looking into this.  As I say...that wasn't the first time that we had a similar experience there...I didn't need the stress and in wasn´t that interesting either.
So we headed over to the Cathedral, thinking we´d take a look in the church...6€.  I said to Elena...I have an issue with paying to go into a church but if you'd like to go I am cool with it.  We both thought paying an admission fee to go into a church was something we were not interested in doing and so...we left.  It's not the 6€ that was a turn's the fact it is a church!  I don't believe anyone should pay to visit a church.  But, that is my opinion only.
From there we walked on through the same park area as yesterday, but further down the road to the next museum we were interested in; Reina Sofia - contemporary art from the late 1800s to mid 1900s. Before we reached the museum we saw our third McDonalds.  Tired, hungry and hot we decided to stop for bite.  Ok...Micky Ds is't a great choice - and it wasn't that good but... it did only cost 3€
Finally we reach the Sofia.  Works done by Dali, Picaso, and others were in this museum using mediums such as sculpture, movie, photo and painting (and more).  It was quite different from the work we enjoyed yesterday.  I noticed people were taking photos of the work and so I asked, may I take photos - yes but without flash was the reply I got.  And so, when I saw something I really liked, I shot it.  Until....this lady comes running over with a horrid scowl on her face, speaking quite loudly...'no photo'.  While she was flipping out on me, others (with the iphone) were snapping like crazy and so I smiled and said - no flash.  I realized real quick I better shut my mouth or else.... As my visit continued, it would seem, some were allowed to take photos while others were not and I couldn't seem to figure out the rule.  It was really staring to bother me (must be the 'just' or 'fair' thing in me) but some people got quite nasty when they were told no, while others were snapping away.   I've a ton of photos I've taken and I wasn't about to risk them to prove a point.  But, even though the museum was brighter and cooler than the palace and offer far more variety of art work then those of yesterday, it became very uncomfortable for me to stay.  So...we finished that floor and left.
The blazing heat from the sun was intensified when it bounced back of the the sweltering pavement as we began our journey back to the hotel.  We often sought refuge in a shop here or there.  Elena was very excited to finally purchase her authentic Spanish shawl.  The prices were surprising to me, but it was the one thing Elena really wanted and it truly is a beautiful piece of art.  A wonderful choice El.  I don't know how much you know about this article of traditional clothing but they are very different than those in the tourist shops.  They are made of real silk, square in shape and hand embrodiered and are costly.  The one Elena chose is a cream coloured silken piece with a periwinkle blue embrodeired design - mostly flowers.  And boy is it heavy. 
Our day started about 10am and with the exception of a brief 30 minute break to confirm our flight information, we were getting tired.  No was almost 6pm.  We returned to our room for the night - well sort of.  While Elena worked on her journal and blog, I packed and skyped with my family.  At 9:00pm we went down for supper.  It was nice.  We just ate at the hotel here...goose pate, fettuccine Alfredo, grilled cod, crepes, creme caramel, wine, water and a cappuccino.  I marvellous guitar player filled the air as we reflected on the past 18 days.  Leaving Toronto flying into Madrid to Santiago; taking a taxi to Sarria where we walked 111km through fields, mountains, villages, highways and hamlets back to Santiago.  From there a bus ride to Finisterra where we sat at the edge of the world.  A bus trip back to Santiago, then a train ride through another a very different geological terrain to the heart Madrid and's the evening before returning home.  One more journey to make. 
Tomorrow we will be up at the crack of down.  We´ll make sure we've packed everything, have breakfast then check out as we wait for our taxi to take us to the airport.  We have planned to leave quite early to ensure we can arrange to have our walking sticks packed and included as our checked luggage.  By 12:40pm we should be on our Air Canada Boeing 767 flying westward over the Atlantic ocean for the next 8.5hrs heading for Toronto.  If all goes as planned we should arrive at 3:15pm.  After clearing Customs and collecting our luggage, who hope to find our hubbies waiting for us.  About a 90 minute drive to Elena's and another 45 minutes later and I too should be home.
With the exception of 8 short days, I've been away from home since June18th.  I was in California where I attained my certification as a Soul Coach with Denis Linn and've been with me as I completed my Camino de Santiago de Compostella.  Now it is time to be with my family and prepare to put my skills and experience to work.  I´m not likely going to blog an entry until Wednesday, when I'm finally home and a bit rested. 
In the meantime, I want to say thank you so much for your continued support, prayers, encouragement and thoughts.  I am so honoured to have each of you with me as I fulfilled a promise to myself.  Thank you!!!
Blessings to each and everyone of you.  Love Carleana¨
"Don´t dream your life; live your dream!"

Sunday 29 July 2012

Day ~ 14 Madrid

After a good night sleep, I am feeling a whole lot better today then I did yesterday.
I don't think I shared a couple other good things about last night. We had dinner here at the hotel. I had ginger ale. The first time since I left Canada. I enjoyed scallops on the half shell and a goat cheese salad; delicious! And I got to Skype with two of my precious angles. Which was out ravenously funny. We'd have picture and no sound; then sound and no picture. Actually several times one side of the conversation could be heard but not the other side and we still had video imaging. Wow...that's make for some amazing comedy!!!!! Thank you B&D for making me smile----laugh!!!!
This morning we are well rested. No time commitments and nowhere we need to be today OR tomorrow; how nice is this!!!!
The breakfast was a full buffet, but I'm picky. I like my eggs cooked. I am so craving one of my dad's breakfasts. Croissants, juice and fruit everyday July 13, or some version of these is getting boring. I tried cereal one day but they don't refrigerate. Cornflake and room temperature milk just isn't the same.
From breakfast we set out on our own version of a cosmopolitan Camino. First we back to the store where I saw this cute purse, but it wasn't open yet so we went on to our next stop - Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum.
From our hotel we walked through historical metropolitan Madrid. Our hotel is a block away from Plaza de Callao. We walked down one of the 'spoke' streets (Calle Carmen) out of P Callao to Puerta de Sol; which is another "hub" centre. From there we followed Carra San Jeronimoto Paseo Del Prado (which is a green space a main road runs along) where you'll find a HUGE fountain with a Neptune and his chariot standing proudly.
Once reached the corner of Jeronimo and Prado there is the Thyssen museum. The entrance fee was 9e for the main display, which was our preferred choice. 63 rooms on three floors and so many works of art covering the following periods: medieval, renaissance, and baroque.
From here when walked through part of the Paseo del Prado to the Prado National Museum. The fee here was 12e. This museum was very hard to walk through. Considerably larger than the Thyssen and seemingly without any 'flow'. And the marble floors were uneven which was a challenge for many including yours truly. I certainly didn't need or want to break a toe. Even looking at the floor plan it is hard to be sure how many rooms/areas there were but I'm guessing about 80. Also in the Pardo, there were very few places to sit throughout the exhibition. The art work here covers the period from 1100-1800 and includes artists such as Angelico, Durer, Mor, Velazquez and Goya to name a few. We also has lunch here, in their cafeteria. I don't think Elena enjoyed this museum as much as she did the Thyssen. We had be walking a lot and the art work tended to darker in colours than the Thyssen, plus Elena does have a preferred style of art. I don't have any one 'favourite' artist or period. I either like a piece or I don't it really it that simple for me. Often it's how the piece makes me feel.
I will say I really enjoyed the sculptures throughout the museum though! I never new just how much. It was as if I got lost gazing into 'who' the figures were or represented. I guess what I appreciate most about art in ALL it's forms is the variety, openness and wonderment. It is neither right nor is it wrong. It is simply there to express one's idea and be appreciated by another.
On our way back to the hotel we did a bit of shopping. We stopped for a small treat and rested a while. While we sat I reflected on the "smaller" things I am noticing in the area. In large cities you alwYays see the same characteristics. What surprises me most is the number of police. They seem to hang out in gangs throughout the areas we've been; which translates as follows. If you were in London or St Thomas imagine a group of 4-6 police officers every two or three blocks. I've seen maybe four homeless people , two of which were missing limbs. For me that's bothersome, but not as much as the girl in her late teens early twenties hooking in the middle of the court yard. All the guys were staring at her smiling and chatting amongst their group. The women were staring as compassionately as only women can and I could do was hold back the tears as I thought this is somebody's baby girl. Sadly a man did approach this beautifully young girl and they walked off for all of us to see. It's one thing when you know it happens hidden in the night, but there it was late afternoon in the faces of men, women and children. With that I'll end the thought because my heart is aching. Its breaking and i'm trying to hold back my tears. There is nothing I can do to change this situation. ~~~~~~
After bit of break, Elena and I lwent out for some dinner. We went across the 'street' where hit an all you can eat buffet with many local dishes as well as 'international' choices - our food. I don't know what is so 'international' about pasta, chicken or pizza? Still the meal was nice. From there we took a walk through the square, took a few evening photos and grabbed a Starbucks. red that right - Starbucks!!!! Not a full menu but at least they offer chai. We watched a bit of the soccer game on the jumbo screen in Puetra del Sol -the square- as we headed back toward the hotel.
Into the hotel we go. Time to catch up on our blogs and journals and maybe.... even a Skype catch with family. Another free evening for us to visit too. No timetable in the morning. The only things we need to do is confirm our flight stuff and book our ride to the airport. After that...a couple more museums, shopping and then the dreaded packing ; ) It's all good ~ a piece of cake! Hug someone you love ~ a partner, a child, a parent, a pet or any combination of these. Blessings ~ Carleana
ps - my iPod screen was acting up and I became frustrated. I hope this reads smoothly for you. -C

Saturday 28 July 2012

Day 13 ~ To Madrid

Today we were up early packed and ready to leave Santiago for Madrid via train. We went down to the lobby to eat, then order a taxi.
First let me share...the train station is really about a two minute walk but once you get to the end of the street there are about fifty or more stone steps to walk down (I may have shared this in an earlier blog too) and then it's an parking area about the size of a six lane hwy to cross before you actually reach the station. Elena and I agreed as silly as it may seem it was worth the fee to pay for a taxi to take us because the alternate route would take the better part of a half hour to walk with our luggage and such. Anyway.....
So we ask the guy at the desk to order us a cab - omg.... He spent about five minutes trying to convince us we "needed" to walk to the station. I mean "needed". It wasn't a translation thing, as if he was trying to save us money or anything and I was getting a bit ticked. He finally got the point when we said too heavy luggage. Taxi now please". Almost immediately the taxi was there. He was just as ticked to learn where we were going. But I'm thinking, what do you care where we're going you're charging us and its. A short run???? So we get to the station and I'm sure he's telling his taxi buddies as they look as us laughing and shaking there heads. Again I think to my self...laugh all you want but you just schnooked us out of 7e. The bus ride which was almost three times the ride cost the same amount. Oh and... We were ok with that because for us it would have been worth 10 - so hahaha.
I know I'm not being kind here but I just don't get it. Why would these guys care? We are paying customers. Your job is to help us whether it's to call a cab or drive one. With that contract understood we all should be happy.
We arrived comfortably early for the train, by our standards, (some might say way too early) and waited for our train to arrive. We waited outside but man was it "chilly" - almost down right cold. Finally our train arrived and we boarded. First class!
Whoopy - I think they saw us coming again or maybe my expectations are too high. I didn't know what to expect particularly but on Via 1 you get fed and beverages. Not here! Except to punch our ticket, give out heads phones or offer a paper all before you sat didn't see any staff. Elena's suit case we managed to put on the small overhead shelf and mine we places on the floor in front of my seat. It would have been nice to put our luggage in the luggage space but the bazzillion backpacks were piled there. As it turned out my suit case worked as a good place to rest my legs/feet like recliner as well as double as a table for cards and the treats we happen to bring.
Trying to see the scenery was a bit challenging since the child in front of me closed the blind and my window seat was actually a "pillar" view seat. And then....I slept when I could no longer stand listening to the horrible noise coming from someone's iPod.
Six hoursish later we arrive in Madrid. We walk out the station doors to get a taxi. Now there has to 30 taxis waiting and this one driver waves us over as we're walking over to him the lady in front of us starts freaking out -in Spanish- my taxi my taxi. I looked at her as if she had two heads and said chill out we're not take it we're going to the other one. REALLY like there were a ton of taxis and only her, Elena and I. It's not like taxis were in great demand at that moment. And so we all get in "our" proper cab. Man I hate the city!!!
And so now we get in 'our' taxi. Get this - he doesn't know where to go. Never heard of the place or the area. Now in my head I'm freaking out. We picked this hotel because it claimed to be 'in the heart of Madrid". Kind of makes you think a cabbie should at least be aware of the area huh?! In London, it would be like a cabbie not know Victoria park.
So he gets out his GPS and starts driving. I'm thinking $$$$$$. Awhile into the ride he says "no cars can go there". Say what?!!!!!! Apparently the area where the hotel is, is closed off to non-essential vehicles. Now he wants to drive us this other way when Elena says, "There's our hotel" and sure enough there is was. I'm trying to get out ASAP because the fee went from 14 e to 17 in the time it took him to stop (a train station supplement of 3e for going from the train station to the hotel on top of the regular fee. Whatever ---- at this point I'm losing it. Then as I get out of the car with the luggage waiting for Elena this big man runs up to me screaming something in Spanish and trying to grab our luggage. Standing like a deer in the headlights, I'm holding the luggage for dear life. Preciado Preciado he's hollering. Finally Elena says, that's the name of our hotel. He's helping with the luggages. Here I think he's call me 'precious'. Ok maybe not really but sounds good huh?!
Finally - service, English and more what I'm use to from hotel staff. We're checked in in no time and our luggage is brought up for us. An explanation of things included meals, mini bar and others of interest. Finally we are able to rest. Later we shower, scouted out the area and had a bite to eat. In bed my 11:00 and no alarm required to wakes in the morning.
All is finally well in the world again....

Friday 27 July 2012

Day 12 - Santiago

Yesterday after I published my blog, the fog had finally lifted.  It was then I could really appreciate why they called this the cape.  As well, I could truly comprehend why they called this was once believed to be Morta de Costa; the end of the world.  It was amazing.
The fog gave way to an amazing blue sky with huge fluffy clouds.  The land that anchored us, was rugged and barely hospitable yet alluring.  And then...there was the water!  I can't seem to find the words to share how vast and hypnotising it was.  I ran...ok walked very quickly...back to my room to grab my camera.  I got lost and consumed by the shots that were waiting for me.
I found myself climbing over rocks to take the 'perfect' shot.  Sometimes I was laying on my belly, other times on my back.  Sitting, kneeling and leaning over, under and into the landscape in an effort to capture that perfect memory.  Before I knew it I was on the other side of the lighthouse.  That´s when I heard someone she going all the way down?  I don't know if they were referring to me but, it was then I realized just how far down the cliff I had ventured.  The most serene thing is...I was not the least bit frighten.  It was as if I knew I was ok and wouldn't fall or lose my footing.  There were others a bit further than me too.  For someone afraid of heights and is strange where I found myself.  It was only when I realized my battery was dying, I realized how long I had been taking photos.
I made my way back up the cliff - I could believe how far I had gone.  Once at the top of the cliff, I still needed to make my way up the hill back to the lighthouse AND...then up the stairs to the hotel entrance and finally up the stairs to my room.  Pant, pant, pant.....
I was so excited to have been able to get those shots.  When looking at them on my camera they look so cool...but to see them on the computer screen....WOW!!!!  I can hardly wait. Waves swirling around rock formations and others crashing against the cliffs.  Little shrines people had created and a mother and son perched on a ledge looking out over the ocean and sharing a moment in time.  A bird hopping from spot to spot and a plant flourishing against the odds.  Down into nowhere or up to the lighthouse...Amazing.  And then there were the photos of the fog rolling back in as if placing a blanket on child crawling into bed for the evening; or the pink rays of the setting sun caught between the clouds and fog...incredibly beautiful.
Finally it was time for supper.  We headed off to the restaurant and took advantage of the ''Pilgrims Dinner''.  Here you get to choose one of three appetizers, an entree and then, coffee, wine, dessert and a beverage are included for 20e (about 24$).  Finally sea food!!!!  I chose the scallops as my appetizer, grilled hake with potato and salad for my main course, the house white wine, the local special 'apple tart' and a coffee con leche.  It was delicious.  The best meal I have had in weeks - since before I left home in June for California.  My tummy was satisfied.  It was a perfect way to end a perfect day!  But day wasn't finished.
I had hoped to go outside to see the night sky was raining; plus they were preparing to lock up the building.  I was able to go out for a short time to take a few amazing shots of the lighthouse at night.  My favourite one is of the hotel...  I caught the light from the lighthouse as it passed across the hotel in the dark.  Breath taking, if I do say so myself!!!!! 
Our room was funky and so we had a view of three different areas of the property.  Opening the windows provided an exceptional cross breeze allowing our room to become very cool.  Alas...with my jammies on I crawled into my bed with a comfy blanket and fell asleep to the ocean breeze caressing my face while the waves sang me a lulabuy.  It was the best sleep I've had in a very VERY long time!!!!
But it wasn't to last. 
6:45am my alarm went off.  It was time to get up, dressed, packed and down for breakfast before going back into town to catch our bus to Santiago.  Our day was to start before the rest of the world of Finisterre though.  Breakfast was at 8 and our bus left at 9:20 and the ride between the two was about 20 minutes but it was FAHG-GY!!!  The man in the kitchen (we later learned owns and operates the facility - and speaks english) made us breakfast.  Hot coffee...warm fresh croissants and homemade jam.  And then...he drove us to the bus so we didn't to wait or pay for a cab.  It was so great!  We even made the 8:20 bus - which was still there at 8:30 when we arrived.  Apparently, it was market day in one town along the way because the bus was crazy busy until that stop.  I was so tired I slept most of the way on the bus ride back to Santiago.
Back in Santiago we took a taxi back to the hotel where we stayed in before.  They had our luggage in our room so checking in was a breeze.  Quickly we dropped off our stuff and returned to the 'square' to finish our shopping and for one last look at the Cathedral.  It truly is breath taking.  It is also brilliant how that core area remains so authentic looking while time has moved forward all around it!  Magical and mystical.  The square was a whole lot quieter today too!  Those that came for the celebration had returned home.  Now a few locals and many pilgrims are the souls that fill the street.  The energy is calm and pleasant; a very different Santiago then the one we left the other day.
On our way back to our hotel we stopped at our 'favourite' resturant for a large lunch.  When we returned I laid down for a power snooze...two hours later, Elena woke me up.  I soaked in the tub, organized my stuff and said, I'm going down on the computer to blog.  When I finish here...I'll enjoy a light supper (buns, cheese and meat we purchased earlier) and retire for the evening.
Tomorrow is our 6hr train ride to Madrid.  We'll be up early, eat and take a taxi two blocks to the trainstation for 8:30am.  The taxi is because there must be a thousand...ok 50....stone stairs between us and the train station.  To avoid the stairs, the route is about 8 blocks (and not our normal blocks) up and down hills; not happening.
We are in Madrid Saturday-Tuesday before we leave for home.  It's much as I really want to go home, I don't want to leave.  I don't say I enjoyed Spain specifically, but I have enjoyed the time to reflect and mostly the time I have been given to reconnect with nature - me!  I have been able to let go of the all the worries I create for my self on a daily basis over things I have no control.  I do feel rejuvenated, connect and really that is what we all need to do every now and then, no matter how we go about achieving.
If I'm true to form, tomorrow...I will like sleep most of the train (I often suffer of motion sickness) ride, but I am hoping not too.  I would love to see what the country side looks like between Santiago and Madrid; perhaps even take a photo or two.
Enjoy your day!  I will be in touch with you all again tomorrow... Blessings, Carleana

Thursday 26 July 2012

Day 11 ~ Finisterra: Morta de Costa

Up early, fed and at the bus station for 8am in order to buy our tickets and get on the bus to Finiaterra, from Santiago. Good thing we did. While it appeared we were early, at least we got our ticket AND a seat on the 9am bus that left at 8:50. I assume because it was full because we left while people were still waiting to get on as we left.
I stood alone in line for 30 minutes but I'm glad I did. It meant I got the seat I wanted front, second level right above the bus driver. My seat was perfect for sight seeing except for one flaw...I fell a sleep. Ok well, I dozed on and off. The three hour scenic tour only took two hours. I experienced only 5 panic attacks and then we were dropped off in the middle of town. I was confused. It looked nothing like the location of our hotel.
We went into a restaurant looking for directions. When we did, a table of ladies looked at us with a shocked surprised type look and said "ahhhh the cape; you're going to 'the cape'". Not sure if it was good or bad but it was where we were heading. One lady pointed us to a vehicle across the street and said you no walk. We hired a taxi and five euros later we were at the end of the world, at our hotel.
Only a few feet in any direction and one would fine themselves on the edge of the rocky bank leading down into the Atlantic ocean. The fog is heavy today and while it would be nice for it to be a clear day, warmed by the sun, cooled by the ocean breeze and topped off with a deep blue sky dotted with clouds; the truth is my soul needed today just as it is.
No expectations, no demands and simply a quiet reflective type of afternoon.
As I sit in the cafe dock area my mind drifts off to other places I once found solitude. Places such as Newfoundland, Cape Cod, Port Franks and California. The weather today actually reminds me of the day Dave and I took off our thinking caps, put on 'floater' suits, signed release waivers and went whale watching in Toffino BC. The only difference surf. Today the water has a gentle rippling on the water surface instead of 30' swells crashing down on a group of naive tourists believing some shape in the far off distance was some sort of whale.
During the time when the fogs drifts off a bit, I take advantage of the opportunity to capture the beauty and endlessness of my surroundings with my camera.
Purchasing my camera is a long story but so far I am very pleased with it. I am excited about the time I can post these photos for you to enjoy and further shared experience.
Tomorrow we are up early again. We will need to be in a taxi, to the bus station by 8/8:15 as our bus back to Santiago leaves at 9:30am.
The air is cool and clear here. I suspecting sleeping will not be an issue tonight. However, I hoping the sky will clear up so I can sneak a peak at the stars. I've been told the night sky here is better than anywhere in the world - especially the milky way. I can't imagine a sky more spectacular then a clear August Montana sky though! That sky seems to have the power to possess a soul! It reaches deep down inside you and takes over as if to place you in a trance.
Until tomorrow ~ dream well and have the courage to make your dreams come true. With you in spirit, Carleana!

Wednesday 25 July 2012

Day 10 ~ Santiago

Thank goodness Day 9 is 'done'.
Yesterday was such an amazing and emotional day on so many levels and for so many reasons. I think I could have written a chapter just on arriving into Santiago all on its own. Maybe another time.
Today we slept in - well sort of. We got up at 9:00 so we could eat and get to the Cathedral early so we would have a seat during the Pilgrim's Mass. We wanted to hear "Canada 2" being read off.
We ate and headed up to the church. Some how I lost sight of Elena, but there was a line forming to the doors of the church and I wanted to be sure I got in as "Santiago" is the experience I wanted to have in Spain. It was my only reason for coming here! (As well as Fisterra.)
I didn't particularly care about being in Santiago for the festival, especially because there was an extra charge but it worked out for the best on many levels. Last night there was the amazing fire works and then today there was the special mass. (note to self - ask own questions).
Remember I told you about the pilgrims that washed in Lavacolla and so to hide their sink the church used incense in that big holder during the services? Well apparently they no longer use it for every mass only on "special" occasions. And because of the feast of St James the Pilgrim's Mass was going to be later, not it's apparently usual time of noon.
Anyway, I went up to the police officer who was manning the door and in my fluent garble asked about the line. He explained pretty much what I've told you and I got in line. Finally Elena joined me. Two hours later... We didn't make the cut to get in BUT we were close enough to see and hear the Feast of St James Celebration Mass. The added bonus, we were in the shade and had a nice breeze. I was so excited when I realized they would be using the incense burner.
With the fragrance of frankincense billowing out of the burner it was swinging back and forth across the front of the church so high I thought it would bounce off the ceiling. I took a few photos then changed to video. It didn't turn out as great as I'd have liked least you'll get the idea.
Once that service was over, the Pilgrim's mass began. We were allowed in as others left and sat about three rows back but to right of the front alter. The only thing I understood was "Canada" during the entire service. I was incredibly hot, so during the Eucharist Elena and I left our seats and walked around the church.
I took some amazing photos inside and look forward to sharing these with you too. By the time we left the church it was almost 2:30.
Hungry hot, tired and with limited stores open, we headed back to the hotel. First we stopped at our pizza place for pasta - another nice meal.
When inside the hotel, I asked the receptionist of they could call and book our bus ticket to Fisterre for tomorrow and our train ticket to Madrid on the 28. She couldn't do that but she said we could walk to the train station (2 blocks to the right and a cross the street) to book our train ticket. To get our bus tickets we'd have to take a taxi. we go. $143.00e for two one way first class tickets from Santiago to Madrid. Apparently this ticket, for a six hour ride, doesn't include any beverages or food....but there is a dining car where we can buy stuff. As of 9am on July 28, we'll be on our way to Madrid via the train. :)
The bus was another story. So after an almost 8e taxi ride to the bus station...we learn you can't book your bus ticket in advance. I'm so trying to remain soulful but I couldn't help think....really ~ not one person we talked to didn't know you couldn't by a bus ticket in advance. Not our trip planner or any of the four people we talked to at either of the two tourist information offices or any of the front desk help at the hotel. The taxi ride back was almost 7e so we paid 15e to find out we had to come back tomorrow. I was not impressed!
However, it doesn't matter. Tomorrow morning we will be up at 7 to have breakfast, take our bags to the lobby (they are letting us leave them for the night as we're back here the following night) then grab a taxi to the bus station with the hopes we can get on the 9am bus. The ride is 3hrs each way but very scenic.
Fisterre was the pegan's pilgrimage to the "end of the world". It is also the place many pilgrims continue on to for a "cleansing" celebration. Often here is where they'll burn the clothes or other items they brought in order to release and move on.
I had some court documents I thought about bringing but I decided on a different celebration for those. My sneakers (the ones I paid $160+ for that were suppose to be great walking shoes) I have decided to rid myself of those puppies.
I could of cried for days with the pain they caused me. The one blister, had me really nervous as it was angry red and looked horribly infected under the skin. That is when I bought my "ugly" (Jesus) sandals. They saved my feet during the day while I nursed them with arnica cream and peppermint oil at night. The blister band aids were horrible and seemed to make them worse too. I glad to say my 8 (in total) blisters are almost 100% healed!
Since coming back to our room today, Elena and I have spent the day catching up on our journals, blogs, packing up for our side trip and resting
The hotel we're staying at tomorrow looks like its in a light house. It does say its built in the "Cap of Fisterre". Hopefully we don't fall into the ocean!? There doesn't appear to be much around the area but hopefully there is wifi.
Journey well...blessing and goodnight ~Carleana

Day 9 Santiago ~ Part 3

Peaking through the 20th century walls of smooth white concrete was a dome capped bell tower. On top of the dome, a smaller structure gives anchor to a cross which appears to have grown out of twisted and laced steel.
From the top of the cross as far down as I could see, the entire structure appeared to have decorated with the same precision as a princess bride's wedding cake. As fast as it appeared it seemed to vanish again as we passed behind another building.
It seems so strange to look at modern day buildings, with all our technology, and they are so simple??? I mean perhaps we may not want such exotic art work but plain slab walls. I'm sure there could be a compromise; but that's another conversation.
With our next turn...the sky line changed again. Now several towers stood tall and majestic as if to say "We're still here. Please come and explore." Many of us did accept that invitation; explore we did.
Tears of joy and awe not only caresses my face but so many others as well. In spite of the midday's heat beating down upon us - dirty and tired - we couldn't simply race on. To stand in the Cathedral's west square seemed to have washed away the memory of pain and fatigue - not that much unlike a mother who see's her child after delivery. The struggles of labour seem to give way to a feeling of calm and tranquility if even for just a brief second.
The more you look at the walls that surround you the more there is to see. The detail is indescribable. As you start to take it in, you begin to ask the question how did they do this? I forget exactly how old the church is but I'm confident in my memory that they did not have the technology we do today. Working conditions - hah. Maybe a place to sleep and a meal each day was their pay; for which I'm guessing they'd have been thankful for and perhaps they were even honoured to be a part of the construction. I'm not trying to compared or even suggest one time is/was better than's just very interesting to notice the differences and marvel at the skill of a bygone era.
But I still have complete my promise. To officially end my Camino there are two more things to do. First get my last passport stamp and second receive my certificate.
Elena asked for and received directions to the Pilgrim's Office, but all the entrances looked similar. Finally we went through a stone gate way. Elena seemed to be getting concerned and so I lead her in a building. There were people chatting in Spanish. I don't think Elena was comfortable with my action. Finally I stepped down the stairs toward the room where the voices were. When I got their attention I spoke a little Spanish between my English when the gentleman replied "I speak English". Indeed he did and very well.
I told him what we were looking for and in his Irish/Spanish accent he placed his hand on my shoulder and said, "We've been waiting for you. Let me escort you to where you need to go." Now I know he didn't me me specifically but let me tell you how wonderful it made me feel to not only hear the English language out to hear such wonderful words spoken so sincerely AND them to be personally guided to the proper area.
As Elena and I ascended the stairway to get our stamp and certificate, our guide was needed elsewhere. Only moments later...he stood before the line directing others in order to keep the line moving. Now it was my turn.
He turned to the young man behind the counter and directed him to speak English and to take 'good care of her'. As I answered the questions (name, age, where are you from, where did you start, and what was your reason for pilgrimage), my Irish friend stood be side me. Soon Elena joined us, as he said 'you must be so proud of yourself.' I smiled and thanked him for being so kind. He wished us well and we were off.
We spent time walking around the old area of Santiago with no care about time or commitment. I tried to see if I could find some of the people we had met along the way previously, particularly the Irish man would be celebrating his 70th birthday in Santiago on the Feast of St James, but there were so many people and the space is huge, with nooks and crannies all around. Everywhere one looked, there was another potential hiding place to be found.
It was hard to believe how fast time slipped by from the time we arrived in Santiago to the time we thought about checking in. The decision was agreed that we should go and settle in our rooms, clean up and the go back out to explore the area more. And so we did.
We heard there were going to be fire works at 10:30 and we didn't want to miss them - not that I think we could of, even from our hotel but when in Spain....
I'll share something with you I wasn't going to share but leaving it out might make some other parts sound 'weird'. Please know that I am ok but I was freaked out for a short while I felt scared and quizzy (very unsure too).
As Elena and walked toward the restaurant to eat we passed many people; and as we all do, I often turned to allow for others to pass by. OMG. As I was turning back around after a man had passed between Elena and he grabbed me. I mean a full hand grab to the crotch. While Elena didn't see "what" happen she knew something happen and that I was upset. I felt 15 again and sick at my stomach. I couldn't believe what had just happen. Elena turned to see if the guy was still there but...I wouldn't have recognized him if he was cause it happen so fast.
But I share this because for the rest of the night Elena and I held hands -tightly. For me it was to settle down and for Elena it was to feel safe. The crowd was huge and there were lot of police around. As a city girl, i expected this. And let's face it - Spain is having some economical problems, consider the history of St James and all the world loves a stage. (Oh and our pizza supper was nice).
We stood in a line by the Cathedral not really knowing why or for what but when it was over....we were glad we did. We were among the last of the people who were allowed into the west square area, where we could see the firework up front and personal and not so crowded. We ere able to see the laser show that was displayed on the cathedral wall and then directly above our heads on the west side of the cathedral the firework display went on; and on....and on! I have NEVER seen anything like it before in my life and I have seen some amazing displays including the Chinese entry at the international Symphony Firework competition when we were in British Columbia a few years ago.
Elena and I were still holding hands -apparently I was holding on tightly. I don't remember that but I do remember feeling over come by emotion as I watched the display in awe.
The past nine days have been more that "just a 111km walk" to do the pilgrimage. It has been an expedition of discovery on so many levels, some I'm sure I won't begin to understand until sometime in the future. I had many questioned of myself as I prepared for this trip. Some of the answers were obvious and others I look forward to uncovering in the days to come.
My actual physical Camino de Santiago de Compostella may be over but my soul journey will continue on and so I will continue to post on my blog. As a soul centered person my journey will never end. As a recently certified soul coach and a successful pilgrim, I look forward to adding this new dimension to the work I do.
Tomorrow is the Feast of St James here in Spain and we will be in the heart of Santiago to celebrate. I look forward to the experience and will sure it with you then.
With love and blessings....Carleana

Tuesday 24 July 2012

Day 9 Santiago ~ Part 2

Some days it's just good to be alive!!!
Its after midnight now and I'm finally I'm my room for the evening. There is wifi but I'm on my iPod as there is no computer for public use. That's really too bad as I've so much to share. Maybe there will need to be a part 3?!
We were on the road around 8 this morning. Later than we hopes but that's ok. I don't know why but I was hoping the walk would have had less hills today. We started off on a long slightly comfortable incline that seemed to go on for ever. There wasn't a whole lot to see nor were there many places to stop. Good thing we weren't hungry or in need for a bathroom.
We reached Monte de Gozo (Mountain of Joy). At the top of that peak Elena said, looking at the next mountain? "You don't thinks that's another green roof do you?". We laughed and agreed nothing should surprise us. Along the fence heading UP to Gozo people had taken sticks and wove crosses into it. It was so cool. Also on the peak of Gozo there was this amazing monument. I don't know how to describe it but it was astounding. I took photos of each of the four sides. At the top of this monument was a cross and two designs that were sort of circular. The one shot I got....the sun was shining through the circle. The shot was incredible.
There was a young artisan man doing his work - bending wire into the shape of pilgrims. He had one that also includes the saying 'Buen Camino' the cost....a donation. I hate that because I never know what does one should pay? I notices several 1 euros but most were taking the single figures. I wanted and took the bigger one with the greeting and left 4 euros. He was very thankful for my donation and insisted I take another. I had said no thanks but he placed it in my hand. I accepted his gift for several reasons one because of what it represented and second because I'm learning to accept such gifts graciously. I have to admit I was emotionally thankful for his gift but I can't share why until i return home. We continued on our way.
1km from Santiago and another 3km from the Cathedral.
Leaving Gozo met going back in time for a very short while. We descended on a very old set of stairs and passed some very old buildings. The buildings were pitted by time and many of the images carved in the stone have almost vanished - yet there they stood every proud while "the new world" was suffocating it.
From there we crossed a couple (less scary) bridges. One was over the hwy; the other was over railway tracks. And yes....that village we wondered if it was another "green roof" Yes it was. It was the first sign of Santiago, but we didn't know that then. The vision I had for Santiago did not include a mountain side littered with white structures capped in orange tiles. I thought it would have been more like what I had seen the past few days. I anticipated old trees, stone roads and buildings similar to those in the old Sherlock movies as he travels through London.
We walked on further realizing we hadn't stopped at all for a break since we left in the morning and we'd covered almost 7km. We decided the next place we saw we'd stop.
The next thing we knew we were surrounded by ribbons of concrete and a molded Fiberglas traveling at break neck speeds. And now we needed to cross several hwys. What a change of pace; with no transition time. Thankfully I can say we made it.
Once we were safely on the other the middle of a grassy area there was another brilliant monument. Each of the four sides had carvings of historical people who has walked the Camino. Under there likenesses was a list that gave there names. From there we came to our first cafe and we decided to take a break. We finished our cappuccino and coke then moved on.
I had forgotten the craziness of the city. More people on in a hurry to get where? They were bumping into us and not acknowledging us at all. The city was most definitely hustling about. While I understand that, I didn't have enough time to transition myself.
What surprised me was how the city's energy was physically effecting me. I could even feel the change effecting Elena and the tenergy between. Neither good or bad, just that it was there. Have you ever been around a person or group of people and suddenly you feel different; either increased energy or depressed? It was similar to that. In order to not lose that inner calm i needed to check in with me right away - and so I did.
We continues to walk through the city weaving in and out between traffic; winding around the streets, people and buildings. Watching for signs, shells, cars and so on became quite a chore. I am quite good with directions and, if I must say...I have a good seance of where I am and where I need to be Because I'm confident in my ability - rarely do I get nervous, or challenge others who believe their sense of direction is better. Most often, if I'm with someone like that I tend to let them lead until....they indicate something is wrong; at which point I often say...."let's try things way". A whole lot better than arguing or saying I told you so ~ I think. Bottom line we got to where we needed to be.
And then...suddenly out of -what seemed to be nowhere- we caught our first glimpse of the majestic vision. I would love to share more but I am very tired and I've so much more to tell. I'll write a part 3 in the morning. Till then, blessings ~ Carleana

Monday 23 July 2012

Day 9 Part 1 - Santiago

It is 7:30 am right now. Bit of a later start than planned but the breakfast options were good. By the time you read this....we will have arrived in Santiago, the good Lord willing. Buen Camino!!!!!

Day 8 - Lavacolla

Well, today we are in Lavacolla; our last night before reaching Santiago.  We had 9.5 km to walk today which turned out to be 10.  Not a big deal at all.  However, we did take four hours to make the journey.  We took our time first of all (and we did take some longer breakers too) seemed to be all up hill. didn´t just ''seem'' to be all up hill it was 75% up hill.
As we were walking out of town we saw a sign ''Ablergue''.  I laughed to myself and said to Elena, ''I think I made a wrong turn at Albergue.''  Without missing a beat she replied, ''Ok Bugs''.  I thought to myself, what on earth is she talking about 'bugs'.  It took me a few seconds but I did get it.  hahahaha  She got my joke a whole lot sooner though.
Once we got out of town, we travelled  through the country side.  It was cool so I was glad I had my long sleeve t-shirt on but as we got into the sun it was warm, so I took my shirt off.  Back into the shaden area and I put my shirt back on.  And then it happen....we started a climb.  I believe it worked out to be almost 3km up a mountain at what felt like a 45 degree incline.  OMG I wondered if it was ever going to end.  And now I was hot again, came the shirt.  I tied it on my back pack so I could use it to wipe the sweat from my face as I had lost my Camino 'dude rag' the other day.  My grandma (nana Eva) use to say ladies don't sweat - the glissen.  Sorry gram either I'm no lady or we DO sweat. I wasn't just glissening - I was down right dripping!  Thankfully it was still early.  I´t would have been a challenge to do that hike in the sun during the heat of the day; for sure!  In truth it was a nice balance between sun and shade and most all was we walked on a natural earth path.  While the upgrade walk was taxing it was truly an amazing walk.
Finally we reached the top of the mountain (Sound of Music thoughts again - when you see the family walking across the mountain top) where we stopped to have some breakfast.  While it was included in our room it was half a sub bun toasted with your choice of a coffee or orange juice or water, does not a breakfast make.  I'm telling you - breakfasts for hikers - here its not the same as I had expected. We took quite a long break here and took some time to just take in the past 7 days.  Our Irish friend arrived and sat for a while and then the German couple joined us.  It was nice to share reflections.  We talked about how we'd each met so many people from so many different countries and how nice everyone was.  Of course that's partly because we are walking the Camino, so we have that commonality but...we don't all have the same religious background or even the same political points of view.  What we all do have is....the simple truth - knowing.  First and far most we ARE people.  By our soul or core truth, people are good and we want good for each other no matter where a person comes from, what their religious or political belief is or what their physical or intellectual abilities are.  .......then we parted ways again.
From this point the path leveled off.  We found ourselves walking between fields again with the highway rushing beneath us and planes flying over head.  It was a very perplex sensation.  I felt like I was walking in the eye of the storm.  I seemed to be walking in a protective bubble of  serentity while chaos was swirling all around.  I'm sure many of you can relate to that state of being in your own way. 
Our walking notes are a bit off, I think, on a few points of interest.  They said the mile markers would end at  Amenal however they went on a while longer; another 3km in fact.  The 13km mile marker ended up being the last marker.   Interesting...we flew out of Toronto on Friday July 13!!!!  Some would say coinsidence, but I (and many soul coaches) would is not.  I've always found Friday the 13th a calming day and many good things happen for me on those days.  The 13 also felt like the end of a chapter for me as our plane took off and here it was again #13 - the end of the mile markers.  The end of the tool I used to ensure I was on track; a comfort/crutch if you will.  Now, my material security was gone.  For some that may be scary but for was simply the end of yet something else.  Now I move forward with the new.
We entered the Lavacolla limits.  In was a very beautiful water spot with a rust coloured water fall.  As I took some photos, I said to Elena, this area smells a bit of sulfer.  At that point we wondered if this was the 'river' the pilgrims washed their neck and faces in.  There was no sign or anything in reference this point of interest to suggest we were right or wrong.  We didn´t really care.  It was lovely and I took a photo.  Around the next bend was another cafe.  We stopped and enjoyed a rest and ice-cream treat.  Mine was half ice-cream sandwich and ice-cream bar while Elena enjoyed a white chocolate with almonds vanilla ice cream bar.  While we were their the lady owner freaked out.  Screaming and crying.  Through the chaos, Elena understood the woman´s father had disappeared and that he was ill - altizmers.  As the events unfolded we learned her dog a small lasoapso had bite the hand of a pilgrim. We didn't stay around to see what the out come would be but a little while along our path we were passed by the 'emergency' vehicle.  I do hope the man who was bit, is recovering well and that the lady whose dog did the biting is also settling well no matter what the out come was for her pouch.
The final step count today was 13302; km was 10 and we burned 532 calories.  I can assure you I ate FAR more than that today.  Our hotel is lovely!  Air conditioning, blow drier and a fine restaurant.  We had lunch there.  50€ for the two of us.  The wine (a bottle) was only 3€.  It was the food that was so expensive.  We got two of the waiter's choice apetitzers, two salads and two desserts.  Note to self...I still do not like fish that has it's head and tail attached AND all its bones and scales on - no matter how one prepares it - but I tried it.  The pepper things were good though.  And...I must confess, I did enjoy TWO glasses of wine.  I'm not a drinker for a reason and today was no different.  I smile a lot and then...zzzzzzzz   Once the bill was paid, Elena escorted me to the room (I was not that bad) and slept for an hour.  The resturant was so beautiful and the food delicious and I felt like I was a lady being spoiled and so I wanted the wine.  Plus I´ve been dead tired the past two days and not able to sleep.  I knew the wine would help and it did.  It was a very nice flavoured wine.  In fact the best wine I've had in years.  I still don't care for 'the drink' though!
Today..I saw my first snake.  I´m not sure who was more startled - it or me?!  As you may remember I had to purchase new shoes (sandals) and this morning my sock kept slipping down under the heal strap.  I stop and noticed this 'cord' which I was going to look at closer, after I fixed my sock and shoe however...just as I put my foot on the stump...that interesting 'cord' slithered away.  I guess you've figured out it wasn't a huge snake but it did catch me off guard.
Ok, Elena suggested I put this part in my blog...toilets!  The toilets here flush differently.  Not just here in Spain but often from bathroom to bathroom.  I mean...if you are in Canada and your in a flush toilet 99.9% of the time the flusher is a leaver on the tank and you push it down.  If it's wonky you may have to pull it up but that's rare.  Then we have some toilets you don't have to flush at all - you just get up and move and swoosh...its all taken care of; or maybe you're in an out house or porta-potty and then - well there is no flush BUT here... HA...its a game of crack the flushing code!  Do you push, pull or tug?  Is this device on the toilet or near it?  I'm getting good at 'cracking the code' though.  Today the 'push' was the chrome button on the wall above the toilet.  On some, the 'button' is split so you can choose which half to push.  I am NOT trying that out!!!!!  At home the water gently comes down from a ledge in the bowl to wash away the stuff.  Here its as if it bubbles up like a volcano ready to errupt.  Some stuff  we put in at toilet we don't want coming up and I don't want to know what the other half of the button is for...down is good!!!!
We didn´t see anything we thought was the Cathedral today but tomorrow I'm very sure it will be clear!  Once we got to our hotel...we just enjoyed a very calm and relaxing after noon.  Tomorrow is the day we reach Santiago, the end of the pilgrimage for most.  We will take a down day before enjoying a coach ride to Fennestira (spelled wrong I'm sure), but I´ll tell you more about that after.
I am going to sign off for now.  Keep your comments coming - I really enjoy them as well as your emails.  Safe journies... Carleana

Sunday 22 July 2012

Day 7 - Rüa-O'Pino

18km as the crow flies; as Elena would say.  Today we logged 20.1km; 27670 steps and burned 1153 calories.  I guess the ham and cheese sandwich with fries counts as an experience only?! ; )  This was our longest scheduled walk for the Camino.  We've two more days, each @ 9.5km.  The last day takes us into Santiago de Compostella, which is July 24.  July 25 (our first 'down day') is the Feast of St James (Santiago).  For those of you in Canada, it is a celebration similar to Canada Day or May 24.  For my American friends and family it would be....July 4, Friends and family in Mexico Mayo de Cinco and for the rest of my family and friends whose holidays I'm not familiar with, it would be similar to a national holiday in your area.  I'd love for you to send me the names of holiday in your area though.  What perfect timing for us!?  Even better timing, remember the retired Irish music teacher I told you will be his 70th birthday!!!!  How brilliant would that be to celebrate your birthday after walking the Camino at the Feast of St James!!!!  I´m excited for him!!!!!
There were a few things I wanted to share yesterday but forgot so I´m going to do it now.  During the walk yesterday we often crossed under the national hwy by way of a tunnel (passage).  When you walked under it,  it would make you think of a small underpass.  Because it is so small the echo is marvellous.  So ever the mature person, it used my walking stick and started tapping out a beat.  Keep in mind, I'm telling you....these tunnels are small and you enter and exit them at almost a 45 degree angle - got the picture how small this is?  Coming at it head on MAYBE at Volkwagon beetle or Austin Mini or the small Fiat could go through so in my North American mind...I'm thinking I've this space to myself or with other foot travellers.  HAHA it is to laugh.  And my Canadian friends will get this for sure... All of a sudden, out of the blue in a deafing loud voice, Elena screams out ''CAR!!!''  I laughed (thinking El's being as mature as me) and turned around only to have Elena pull me out of the way of a car the size of a Toyota Camri.  OMG...what in the world is a car doing down here.....I'm telling you...the paths - they refer to as 'roads' is really bizarre to me.
Remember I told you of the 'hill cafe' from yesterday...well at one point we heard these loud boom sounds!  I thought a canon had gone off.  An english male voice said to his group 'one pigeon down'.  I laugh and thought that must be one big pigeon.  For about 30 minutes you could hear these things going off.  I've no idea what was happening but the sound was truly unsettling.  Boom,  Boom-Boom, BOOM  Over and over again.  Until it finally ended.  Today, in the not too far distance, about the same time as yesterday, again the 'canons' went off.  This time I could see the puffs of smoke in the sky.  I still have not been able to figure out where the actual noice came from, or why it happens.
As for today.  Elena and I knew it would be a long walking day and shortly after lunch it would start to get hot so...we planned to get up at 6:00am in order to get a solid start to the day.  We may of had the 'quieter' side of the hotel because we didn't have the hwy outside our window but...we did have the cattle farm next door and the party animals outside directly below our window until 1am.  Then at some point, tragedy hit a senorita.  She was running around crying and a team of others seemed to be chasing her; some quietly and other not so quiet.  Still, at 6:00am our alarms went off and we woke up.  Can you believe this....someone had forgotten to wake the sun!!!!  It was pitch black out.  Not even a hit of a sunrise anywhere on the horizon.  Elena and I looked at each other; neither wanting to say what we were both thinking until...''Elena, what do you think if we go back to bed for a bit - maybe half hour and we'll get going?'' says I.  And so we did...well sort of.  It was more like an hour an hour later we got up.  No big deal; we got going fine.
The morning was cool and our walk was nice.  In no time we were back in the country following at dirt path (or a 'country side road' as they call it - note to self, watch for cars, trucks, buses, bikes, cows, horses, etc) through the country side.  Sometimes it was as if we were walking through a tunnel made of trees and vines.  Other times as if two huge walls of rock and earth had parted, allowing us a place to walk and see what lies beyond the earth's surface.  There were many foot bridges to cross as sound of babbling brooks filled the air with their laughter.  Even the cool breeze seemed to gently tickle the leaves of the trees so we could hear them giggle and allow the sun to sneak through giving us a gentle kiss of warmth.  From hamlet to village to country side again, the early part of our journey was filled with many opportunities to experience the wondrous beauty in nature. 
Our path was splashed with a rainbow of vibrant colours today.  So many flowers.  Hydrainas, blue bells, bleeding hearts, roses, daisys, to name a few.  The shades of green seemed to be never ending between the forests of oak, pine, and eucalyptus trees; as well as different mosses, vines and ferns.  Fields of wheat and corn seemed to wave us on as we meandered our way throw the secrete passages.
As they day grew longer, the paths of shade grew shorter until finally we were walking along the hwy.  Our soft paths of cool soil cushioned with fallen leaves turned to rough uneven ground littered with protruding rocks until we finally landed on the black tar of the hwy during the heat of the day.  No shade and no end in sight.  Each step seemed to steel all the energy we could muster.  Mile markers seemed to stretching farther and farther apart.  If we could only reach the 20 mile marker? I kept thinking to myself. 
Finally a reprieve.  The last cafe on our stop today.  Elena and I agreed we NEEDED to make an 'official' stop.  That meant we'd not only take a 'health' break (bathroom & beverage) but that we'd actually rest for a bit and get a solid bite of food. 
The place was cool, but not airconditioned, and they offered a variety of menu choices.  Shortly after getting settled at a table, I man came over with the menu and took our drink order.  In no time he was back with our drinks and a young girl, who took our food order.  Minutes later our food arrived.  It was delicious!!!  We sat and chatted a bit, about nothing really until we thought we should get going again.  We had 4km to go and our day would be done...or so we thought. 
Finally we hit the 20km mile marker.  This was both emotional and exciting for us.  At the 20km mark people often leave a small note - their intentions if you will.  Elena and I were prepared for this.  We had special papierus we wrote our 'intentions' on.  We kept them secret.  This marker also means Elena and I have walked 91km!
91km!!!!  The next step we take means we're less than 20km from the end of our journey, Santiago de Compostella.  That is HUGE!!!!  It seems like only yesterday we had 91km to go.  In spite of my horribly blistered feet we kept on trekking; one step at a time.  In the heat of the day when silence seemed to be the only thing that kept you sane...we kept on trekking; one step at a time.  When we knew the kilometers we understood we'd be walking were less then we were actually walking...we kept on trekking; one step at a time.
Tomorrow we are treating ourself.  We have an 'expected' 9.5 distance to walk so we are going to ''sleep in'' until 7:00am!!!!  I'm going to share a paragraph from our walking notes with you: ''The next point of interest is Lavacolla, where traditionally, pilgrims washed themselved in the river before reaching Santiago de Compostella.  Rows of tall eucalyptus trees line your journey to Monte del Gozo (Mount of Joy, 368m) and it is from here that you can catch your first glimpse of the Cathedral of Santiago.''  How excited do you think I am!!!!  And, I have to share ''Lavacolla''.  This means 'washed neck'.  Our taxi driver from the first day...remember the lady who studies the Camino and has walked it herself a few times...told us this; The city was named Lavacolla to recognize/honour the pilgrims who washed their necks and faces in this river, but the water made them stink horribly and that is why so much incense is used during the celebration during the mass at the Cathedral.  Interesting hug!?  Tomorrow night, we are sleeping in Lavacolla.  If the water smells that bad...maybe I'll not bathe or maybe I'll wash my neck and face when we arrive but shower in the morning before we leave for Santiago?!  ; )
I wish there was a way to add my photos so I could share them with you as I blogged, but I promise I will get them up as soon I can and let you know. 
I haven't writted too much about the churches and religious markings along the way.  Part of that is because, most of those are in the cities and I only see them in the morning when I'm leaving or late in the day after I've blogged.  So I'm going to try to share a bit of those, I've seen so far.
Over the past few days I've seen and been able to go into several very old churches such as Santa Maria and Mary Magdeline (that I remeber their names).  The churches are VERY small and maybe would hold 30 people at best.  They each have their how masses, which means every church does hold a Sunday service for their community.  The churches in the hamlets, if they are open when we're there, set out baskets of bread for the pilgrims to enjoy.  As well they have small information materials (most all in Spain, some in French) and little charms.  They are free to anyone who wishes them.  Most often there is a nun there to welcome vistors, encourage them to take what they offer and ensure photos are not taken inside the church.  That is the sad part, because if you're not there you won't see how simple these churches are. 
Many of them have a 'wagon' wheel hanging from the ceiling with candles placed around the wheel.  You can see the rope that is wound and unwound to lower and raise wheel.  The walls are thick stone and bare.  The wooden benches are just that.  Some have a back but most don't and there is no padded anything or a kneeling bench. The alter is marble, as is the vestibule.  There is a crucifix, scared heart, Madonna & child and maybe two other saints and/or paintings.  And yes...candles you can actually light are at the front of the church too.  In the cities you drop in a coin and an electric candle or more (depending on how much money to drop in) will light these small older is the real candle rack with a wick, sand tray and a place to leave a donation.
Along the actual Camino there are many individually made crosses and alters.  Many of these are decorated with personal items such as photos, clothing, etc.  Randomly along the path are stone statues many of which have softened in appearance by the weather over the years.  The Camino de Santiago de Compostella is a Christian pilgrimage and yet, along the actually path...more people seem to be on a spiritual journey; beyond religion - if you will.  There have been people saying the rosary as they walk.  I've seen several walking sticks decorated with saints, crosses, rosaries and other items.  Funny thing...these people have HEAVY feet and seem to be on a determined mission ''Santiago de Compostella or die!'' is the motto I've given these people.  The don't seem to notice all the beauty that surrounds them; the smells, sounds, the images, the wind/sun, etc.
We stopped at a cafe somewhere between Calle and Salceda that was really cool.  People who´d been there while on the Camino were encouraged to leave a message.  I didn´t leave a message but I did leave the following three words ''Chelsea'', ''Courtney'' & ''Cadie'' in BIG BOLD RED letters across the back of the chair I was sitting on.  Later on as we came into a small hamlet, we were greeted by a motion activated message.  It was in Spanish but I think it said, 'Welcome to village name have a safe Camino'.  After my heart fell back to my chest...I thought how nice that was!  Early in the morning...near the beginning of the day...I heard the a lovely song being song by a bird.  I couldn´t see the bird to see what it looked like but hear is the best way I can share with you, it's song.  First think of music class do ri mi....  ok?!  [It was a Sound of Music sort of day today] So as a bird singings...the tone seemed to go mi, do, hi do and then a bree getta bree getta bree getta sound.  It was so cool.  There was this other sound.  Again I couldn´t figure out what was making it but it sounded like a person snoring.  Perhaps it was a critter?!
Ok well,´I'll close for now... Blessings and until tomorrow... Ciao   Carleana

Saturday 21 July 2012

Day 6 - Azura

Well today was a much different day.  We seem to have developed a pretty good routine/pace.  We get up and packed, bring our luggage downstairs and then have a bite to eat.  We return to our rooms.  Enjoy a health break and then leave for our walk.  We walk for about 5 hours, give or take, depending on breaks and photo ops before reaching our destination.  We have a short rest and a light bite.  Then hit the shops before dinner and try to be a sleep by midnight so we´re up and ready to go again for 7am.
Our distance was listed to be 14km but we actually travelled 15.8km.  We took 21,061 steps and burned 829 calories.  Today Elena and I journeyed together more.  That was nice especially because the walk was a bit harder.  We were warned there would be a few steep inclines and steep declines.  OMG!!!!!  That´s all it was.  Up and down.  Up and down.  Down and up and then up and down repeated for almost 6 hours.  We did stop more often and for longer periods just to rest the legs; and in truth the spirit too.
As we walked we tried to think how we could describe the terrain so you would have an idea what the conditions are like where we are walking.  The best we could come up with was.... imagine walking from London to Sarnia (basically or at least 111km) but rather than being flatter lands picture the landscape you have walked across like the hills/mountains of the Hamilton area.  Because there is such a wide audience reading my blog, here are some other comparisons.  Northern Ontario, Pennsylvania, the California hills along the coast, Tennessee/Kentucky, Eastern Canada.... I hope these places give you some idea of it's like.  Lots of rolling 'smoking mountain' type country side.  Peaks and Valleys though!  Now imagine walking up to the top of the highest point only to walk down the other side; only to walk up the next peak and down the other side of it over and over for hours on end day after day.  I´m telling you...I chose the 'easy' way because I imagined it would NOT have this up and down thing going on but that it would be  more of a level path.  The saving grace is, most often the path is smooth and not too rugged.
Oh and I have to tell you about the ''green roof''.  Elena and I had climbed the top of a hill and were looking over the scenery.  At this point we had about 4.5km to go before we reached Azura.  On the peak of the next hill (which looked VERY high and too far away to be within our range) I said, that green roof is our hotel.  Elena said 'No way.' and it truth I didn´t really believe it was either.  We got about half way down that hill and found a cafe.  Like many other pilgrims we stopped there and rested - a long while - before continuing on.  Finally we pulled it together, loaded up our items and headed off.  Down, down, down we went.  For a short while it levelled off and then...UP.  From that point on the next hour was up, up, up. And guessed it....I turned to Elena and said, ''See.  The green roof!''  We were standing across the street of the building with the green roof.  I turned and took a picture of the hill top we came from.  The building, for interest sake, is the Azura Co-Op.
Wow!!!!  It´s funny, huh?!  You look at something (like a hill in the distance) and think nope I could never make that walk and then...sure enough your standing in that distance place looking back where you were thinking WOW... I did it!!!!  How many times do we do that in our life?  Setting a goal; getting through a dark time; whatever it is.  Each journey starts with one step.  A mountain is moved with one shovel of dirt at a time.  We can achieve ANYTHING if we are willing to be patient, committed and open.
At one point I wanted to take a picture of a flower that was beautiful and unique to me.  I prepared my camera to take the photo but the screen wouldn´t turn on.  Hmm thinks battery must be dead.  Elena and I stop to change the battery but...I can't find it.  I emptied my backpack and was a bit bothered that I couldn´t find it.  'I must have put it in my suit case instead of my backpack' I said to Elena 'but this battery shouldn´t be dead.'  I played with my camera a bit more and it worked.  I must have hit a button and not realized it because I got my camera working again.  Long story short...I found my battery pack in my 'money' pouch where I put it this morning to keep in safe and where I wouldn´t forget where I put it.  Oops ; )  I do that so often....
Last night, Elena I travelled in to town, Melide, to try some of the local specials; octopus and these cookie/donut pastries.  It was NOT worth the half hour walk I'll tell you.  The recommended pastry store was the first stop.  I'm so sure we were bothering the lady.  Literally she tossed a small bowl at us with three of these morsels in it.  We tried them and....they tasted like an incredibly stale mini eclair without any flavour, icing, chocolate nothing.  They were horribly bland.  We didn´t even eat a whole one.  It took forever to get her attention AGAIN to ask how much we owed her.  Finally we approached her to ask.  She scowled and waved her hand - 'denoda' (which mean nothing) as if to say get of out my store.  And we left.  Then we went to the recommended cafe to try the 'best' pulpo (octopus).  Desperately thirsty we sat at a table and waited.  Keep in mind....service here in Spain is nothing like the service we expect in Canada or the US.  It was already 7:45 and we were both tired so neither of us wanted to wait long.  Plus Elena wasn´t really interested in trying the pulpo anyway, but she did want a cappuccino.  After 5 minutes of nothing...we left and went back to the hotel.  While we did pick up a couple trinkets...the extra 3km walk was not fruitful.
Funny thing about today...we didn´t see many of our usual fellow travellers.  We did meet some new ones though.  One was a very talk, straight, soft spoken man who is travelling alone.  We learned he is from the southern part of Ireland and a recently retired piano teacher.  His students came from all around the world to learn from him in order to earn a higher achievement.  I loved his voice.  Our paths crossed continuously through out the day.  Remember the Irish family I told you about...well their daughters ran past us earlier in the day and later we met the mom and dad enjoy cervesa (beer). 
At the hill cafe where we enjoyed a long rest, we met a trio travelling together.  One of the men was was from Jasper Ab.  His travelling companions were an older man and his daughter, both from Colorado.  Apparently the granddaughter and a friend had ran a head.  Running????  Really what is up with that?????
The weather continues to be our friend.  While it does get quite hot when walking in the direct sun, there is most always a cool breeze.  The times we're not in the sun, the shade is beautiful.  While walking through the wooded trails the air is fresh, clear and moist.  Oh... and I saw this HUGE beetle.  It must have been the size of my thumb.  Normally I would have picked it up had pinchers and I wasn´t sure if it was safe or not.  I did get a great photo of it though.  It was so quick when it walked too.  I watched it for a few moments before realizing I needed to keep moving.  I also saw a worm today.  That was strange?!  Maybe it survived a bird's attempted to eat it and the bird dropped it????  A calf we saw had a cast on its leg.  Jemima, my butterfly, bumble bee and red beetle made their presences know several times for me too today.
Three more days and 38km before we reach our destination, Santiago de Compostella.  Tomorrow we walk 18km (as the crow flies).  Breakfast doesn´t start till 8 so I suspect Elena and I will pass on the breakfast.  We´re hoping to get an early start while the air is still cool.  Shortly we´ll go into town to do some shopping, maybe even pick up our own breakfast so we'll have something in our bellies before we head out!  As well, we´re hoping to get to bed earlier tonight.  Our room is on the back side of the building; over looking the last hill we conquered, and is much quieter than the hwy view room we had last night.
Just quickly, between yesterday and today we saw many medieval buildings and bridges.  We saw the oldest cross, went inside the oldest church and covered the oldest bridge in Spain.  And yes I did get pictures.  It was so amazing cross the bridge over the 'river' though.  For a second I felt as if...well what I felt was, as if I were in a long black dress with a whitish bonnet on.  My steps felt restricted but there were so many others on the bridge with me.  It was crowded and very noisy.  Then I thought...this is strange and the feeling was gone.  I felt so at home in that area.
Before I close for the day...the one thing I see here in Spain that warms my heart so... is how during the afternoon, during their 'down time' generations are interacting together.  Most often people are smiling and laughing; hugging and kissing.  I'm sure they have their issues; especially when you consider the economic situation in Spain right now.  but from an outsider's would not know there was an issue.  And today was the first time I've seen the policia (police) since arriving in Spain.   They were in a car travelling the dirt road of the Camino with no apparent intention to anything.  I feel SO safe here!
Until tomorrow my fellow pilgrims...blessings and sweet dreams.  Lots of love, Carleana xo

Friday 20 July 2012

Day 5 - Melide - Reflection at the half way mark

Thank you so much for your emails and comments!  They truly are wonderful to read and a nice reminder I'm not ¨alone¨ here :)  Today we arrived in Melide.  The hotel (Carlos 96) is a two star hotel.  Not a lot of luxuries but it is very bright, great meals, offers free wifi in the room and pay for use internet on an old computer.  Again spell check is not a reliable option so I ask for your continued forgiveness as I hope my message read with some ease and flow.
Breakfast, this morning, was a croissant and a glass of orange juice.  After a horrible supper I am starving.  Our walk today was 14km through some very nice country side.  The weather was cool to comfortable with a lovely breeze.  It was bit hilly but hey...I'm beginning to think Spain is hilly. 
4km into the walk we came to our first and pretty much only cafe along our walk.  It was .50€ to use the bathroom or free if you purchase from the menu.  Being hungry I thought I'd buy something to eat.  After all how could I go wrong with a cheese sandwich, right????  Ok, let me tell you.  First, I don't like butter on my sandwiches.  The bread was sopping in butter or oil or something.  The white of the bread was soggy and the crust, well lets just say I'm sure I could have used it as a pick to dig for diamonds.  Man...this local bread is not on my top one million things to eat (in fact, I'm trying local octopus tonight - it cant be worse than that other fish or this flippin' bread).  On the pluse side, the cheese was ok.  It tasted like cottage cheese but not curd style.  In hind sight it would have been cheaper for me to pay to pee than to go 'free'.  I am so glad I packed my granola bars and twizzlers, from home.  In truth, while I'm walking I'm not very hungry so its ok.
SIDE the cafe here they have old MTV videos playing.  I keep getting distracted my the music (It's a classic bub) from the late 60s, 70s & early 80's.  I'm sitting right under the speakers too.  Not my ideal location but, I am enjoyingthe music tonight.
Today I saw a dog that looked very much like my Tiphonie.  My heart filled with so many emotions.   I just wanted to pick that puppy up, hold it close and never let it go. It was so nice to see her image.  I sure miss her!  Seeing this puppy made me think of the day I was walking with my mom and Tiphonie.  This lady pulled over and got out of her car to look at my dog.  "I had a dog just like her, but I had to put her down." the lady said.  Today I could have said the exact same thing to another lady.  How interesting, huh?!
Anyway, the journey today was filled with interactions between so many other pilgrims along the way.  Funny thing, many of us have been 'travelling' together for days but respecting the unwritten boundaries; allowing each other to be alone with their thoughts for their own experience.  I guess today we just needed to (side bar again - listening to Baby You're a Firework) connect to each by voice.
I spoke to a young man from Montreal, Qc  He had knee surgery but wanted to do the Camino.  He started in Leon and is travelling to Santiago then going back to St Jean through the Pyrenees stopping at Leon where he started.  He wasn't sure how his knee would hold out so if his plan works, he will have completed the entire Camino.
There is a couple from Germany who decided to do some travelling.  The flew into France started the Camino via auto (car) getting their passports stamped along the way.  In Sarria, they traded their rented car in for walking sticks.  Neither of them are athletic or 'fit' by definition but, they thought it would make a nice memory.
I met another lady walking who seemed to be struggling with each step.  I asked if her feet were sore.  Thankfully she spoke english.  She too is dealing with blisters.  We caught up to her hubby who was walking with another gentleman.  The lady and her hubby are from San Diego Ca on a two month tour of Europe after recently retiring.  We shared some California stories.  The other man walking with us was from Scotland and hilarious.  A lone, older and a huge sense of humour!
There is a family from Ireland we often cross paths with.  Their youngest daughter is having a hard time with the diet too. We talked a little bit about nothing at all really, mostly the country side, how nice the weather has been and how greasy and salty the food is.
I met a younger lady who seemed to be 'lost'.  I couldn't understand her, maybe that's why she felt safe to 'share'.  Then there was this guy who was very unique looking.  I suggested to Elena he might be a Shaman.  He and the lost girl connected.  As they spoke she showed him a charm she was carrying.  He closed her hand around it and placed her hand in his hands then began to speak softly.  Tears caressed her cheeks as he spoke.  When he was finished they sat silently for a moment.  The a bright smile broke the silence.  She seemed at ease as they embraced.  They walked together for a time; then parted ways.
I came across another couple.  Much younger than most people I've seen so far.  They were sitting on the dirt path chatting.  Clearly, she had been crying and he, comforting her.  Based on the earth around her tears were not because of a fall - but she had been sobbing for some time.

So many people taking this journey and for at least as many reasons.  Sometimes I want to ask 'what brought you hear' but the truth is it doesn't matter.  The point is we are all here individually, together helping each other along the way.  Strangers, but kindred spirits - fulfilling a soul contract.
I could tell you more about the country side, the hamlets and paths but today I want to share my reflections.
Today is day 5 of our camino not only are we passed the half way mark by travelling days but we are also down to the last 52 of our 111km journey, and so why am I here? 
The truth is I don't know specifically.  I was inspired to take the Camino de Santiago de Compostella after reading Paulo Coehlo's books ''The Alchemist'' and ''The Pilgrimage''.  At some point in our lives we all asks ourselves why am I here, what's the point and similar other questions; especially we did everything 'right' and yet we feel wronged and/or unfulfilled.
Many of us spend our lives doing what's ''right'', but my who's standards?  Some of live to achieve goals and dreams, but who's goals and dreams are we living?  Others spend their life wondering around trying to find them self, often because they buy into some illusion of how life is suppose to be, but who's life; who's illusion?
Today as I watched people on the Camino and noticed how they choose to journey.  Some are on bike racing pass others.  Many are still attached to their electronics trekking along at a deliberate pace.  Some walk with their eyes glued to the ground, while others seem to be starring at the sky.  Others seem choose to sit in on the path to take their breaks while other seek out a cafe.  It doesn't really matter, I guess, how people choice to take the Camino, what matters is what it means to them.
For some it means meeting a religious desire.  Others its to prove something to them self or someone else.  Some it's ''because it's there''.  Maybe it's because they're still searching for an answer or sign.  Whether it's alone, with a companion, with strangers, or a group...each years thousands of people choose to become a pilgrim of the Camino for their own reasons, in their own time and at their own pace.  That is what is so cool about this.
So why am I doing this?  The truth is, I'm not sure.  I thought perhaps it was to prove to myself I can take care of me, but I've lived enough shit in my life that I know I can take care of me.  Maybe it was to prove to myself I could set a goal and achieve it.  Well, I've done that many times too or I wouldn't have done as much as I have.  Was it for religious reasons?  I can assure you it wasn't because I was raised Catholic, but maybe as part of my soul's journey - an inner discovery; even at that I don't think this is the reason.  To be alone...nope.  To prove to someone else I can do it, NO WAY!  The people who care about me wouldn't ask me to prove anything to them and those who would ask me to prove something to them, don't care about me.
But, the last couple of days I'm thinking the reason I'm doing the Camino is to reconnect.  Reconnect to myself, to those who love me, to nature, to a simpler time; a soulful time.  Maybe it was to allow myself to be vulnerable?
Could I have done this at home?  Perhaps but in!  It wouldn't have the same impact.  You see, all I have to do is get up in the morning and walk.  Someone else prepares my meals, cleans my mess, carries my baggage and makes sure I'm where I'm suppose to be.  I'm not asked to do anything but walk.  What I choose to do while I walk in my choice and so I'm choosing to observe, reflect, enjoy and appreciate.  Maybe that's why my heart felt lite today.  I felt playful and excited, just as I remember the spirit of my Tiphonie.
I know many of you are sharing this journey with me for your own reasons.   Whatever you're reason is, please feel free to send it to me through your heart and thoughts.  Permit me the opportunity to be the vessel that allows your answers to reach your, ease your worries, enlighten your soul or whatever it is you're searching for. I promise you, you are in my heart and through that connection, this can happen.
I know my message, today, is deep but I felt a real pure connection to the day.  I saw, smelt, heard and felt so much beauty on my way.  As well, along the path, there was an area where memorials had been placed for those who had died while making their pilgrimage.  I hope that's not my destiny but the truth is it was for many and will be for many others. 
Life is a treasure; the ups and the downs.  None of us likes the crap but we don't seem to appreciate, value or celebrate things as much as we should without it.  Maybe the crap is our reminder????  What I have learn over the past few can choose to live in a dark place can choose to turn the lights on and see what is truly important to YOU!!!!!  Choosing to turn on the light really is a lot easier than we think too.  And as soon as you turn one light on you can find so many more light switches to turn on too!
On a lighter note....according to Elena's pedometer we have walked 69,314 steps, travelled 65*kms and burned 3555 calories as of today.  Tomorrow we've got another 12kms to cover which should leave another 36km.  After that I think there is an 18km day and two 9km days, but I'm going by memory.  Between that and my math...I could be out a km or two but as Elena says, ''The 111km Camino is as the crows flies, not as people walk.''  Oh and we've learn this is NOT the 'easy way'!!  This stage is the same pilgrimage as it would have been if we started in France.  The only difference is, rather than doing it in 5 days, we're doing it in 9.
With that, I should close for the evening.  Melide has some interesting things to see and hopefully, I'll have a chance to speak to my hubby and angels tonight.
May your journeys, short or long, be exactly what you need and may you always remember to celebrate all the things that warm your heart!
Abundant blessings always, Carleana

*Do the math.  111km was our distance.  The mile marker at the Camino when we stepped off indicated 52 and yet we've walked 65kms on the Camino. 

Thursday 19 July 2012

Day 4 - Palas de Rei 67km marker

First i need to warn you Im back on my ipod with free wifi. Oh and on my blog yesterday, "botice" is my new word meaning "notice your blessings" Im sure most of you got that though ;) Such a different day today.
First off the sandals I bought yesterday have made a ton of difference in my pain factor. Plus last night I really worked on my blisters - popping and cleaning them up as best I could. A few are still very sore but a couple are so much better.
This morning, I must admit - I am quite tired. I didn't sleep well in that hotel but I think a lot of it has to do with the art work. They were ink stretches but the women's faces looked as if they hade been tortured or something.
Anyway, today we had breakfast and were dropped off at our starting. The morning was foggy and quite cool; in fact chilly. So chilly that my fingers became numb in the morning air.
It didn't take long before there was quite a distance between Elena and I As we walked we were getting dripped on. It didn't take long before it was clear the droplets were coming from the pine trees that reached high above our heads. Here is why we became separated. The drops that seemed to cling to the tips of the pines needs was so beautiful. With this amazing knew camera I think I was able capture that little blessing.
After such a trying walk yesterday there were so many brilliant images all of them seem to glisten like a tinsel cover Christmas tree waiting for Santa to arrive early in the morning. There were spider webs that appeared to be strung with tiny crystal pearls. The foliage was rich in many shades of greens and textures.
We were trekking along at a very good pace. In fact we thought this might be one of our quicker days, but that was not to be true. Both of us needed to use the bathroom (we've not had to pay since that first day - thank you Courtney for thinking of the Bridge of Terabethia 'free the pee' seemed to work!) so we stopped at the first 'bar' called Ant Trail. After a quick drink, bladder emptying, pass port stamping and photos we were on our way.
Not too far along the path the drinks let us know they needed to be freed so we stopped in Ligonda which is a hamlet at a hostel. This place was soooo clean and they spoke english quite clearly. I was waiting for Elena who had been talking to another guy, Jim. Come to find out he brought a team of mission volunteers to the area and part of their experience is work at this hostel. For me the conversation was a welcome change as we spoke about spirituality. His was more Christ based but we agreed people back home (he and his team are from Boston,USA) rarely take time to notice and appreciate what they have and so the run faster and faster on their treadmills go nowhere; often collapsing
Alas it was time to move on. From this point on we didn't stop anywhere else until we arrived at our destination; Palasa de Rei. The first building we reach is an info centre. We got our passports stamped and ask where our hotel. Hurray! It's across the street. It's call La Cabana and looks like a set off log cabins. The main building is the reception area with a cafe and
a restaurant. There are three other similar buildings but these house the rooms. I believe there are 20 rooms in each, but there are simple. Sink, shower and toilet make up the bathroom. Two twin beds - not great and in order to use the hydro you must insert your key card into a special slot.
The trip into town is 1km all down hill. The roads are similar to a single lane driveway but intended for two way traffic AND people and you better have several sets of well working eyes as well as lighting bolt reflects. You don't want to be a slow mover unless you have nowhere else to go. Drivers have far more faith in their cars than I do. They have two speeds break neck and stopped.
The buildings are right at the end of the road and several stories tall. I've no idea what they look like inside but outside seem run down. I'm sure they are practical but very few are visually appealing. Oh and in the hamlets and villages the buildings are the house, garage, storage AND barn. In fact several times the cows and people used the same door. I can't imagine any parent having a leg to stand on went telling their teen "clean your room" as the cow poos beside them.
Just finished dinner and sitting on the terrace. It is very cold right now. It's just about 9pm so I think I'll close for now so I can get ready for bed. Thank you so much for your comments everyone and your emails. I really needed to receive them. Just before I close I wanted to share something about the food. I am really not a picky eater but I can't eat red meat, pork, greasy foods or foods with a lot of salt. Omg....that is 90% of the diet here. I've had only one meal that hasn't upset my tummy. Tonight there was 'turkey loin' on the menu. I think that translate to thin pork (fried in tons if butter and breaded in salt). I had two bites and that was it. is starting. To form on my body so I'm off to bed plus the smell of grease in turning my tummy. Stay well. Blessings -Carleana
Sorry again for typing errors ;)