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Walking the Camino Frances 2018 , 10 years on. 


    Click here to  go to Camino 2008

Read about our latest walk 2019  The Beara Breifne way, Irelands Camino.



Wednesday 28th March 

Its a surprise to us , but here we are.

Having walked 450km from Lourdes to Burgos 10years ago with Molly our dog and our tent we had no inclination to complete the "Way" until now that is !

We abandoned the walk as Molly got sick.  Molly moved on 5 years ago. Over this Christmas season thoughts of returning to The Camino began to creep into our conversations. After searching for flights to get us to Santander and back again from Santiago the decision was made quickly as the fights were very reasonab y priced. 100 euro out and 50 euro back with Ryan Air. Very little walkling preparation was done as I took a tumble down a stairs in January while on a 100 km walk to Galway, so rest was the order of the day.

We travelled from Mayo - Dubin- the Airport - Santander Airport - to the city by bus - bus to Burgos, and arrived at 8.30 pm  Just as darkness was descending. The city was buzzing, thronged with peope, there was street music in the distance accross the river. We followed our map anxious to reach the hostel fearful that if might be full up or closed for the night.  The Hote El Cid which stands on the site of the house of El Cid, indicates on the map that we are near the hostel. 

What a relief when we arrived to an open door and the most friendy wecome.  La Casa de Cubo is a purpose buit Abergue on four floors attached to the church it seems to be run by religous volunteers  the woman at the reception who was possibly a nun admired my hair.

We didn`t have a meal today due to travel and the speed of our bus change over. We are very happy to get a bed at this hour, the street outside was very noisy all night so sleep didn`t come easiy but rest was appreciated. We learnt next morning that it`s party time, a celebration, as the next day is a pubic hoiday and everyone has the day off . ( it`s Easter week.)

Day 1 Thursday 29th     31.5 km

We are not used to the bustle in Abergues, this is unfamiliar and a bit intimidating.  Living off grid in Mayo    doesn`t  prepare you for getting up out of bed surrounded by so many peope, rushing around queueing for toilets and showers, rush rush rush......     Going to the kitchen to have breakfast was not an option as we just needed to get out of the building to be on our own to that we coud breath,  last time we were in a tent so it was just us and Molly.  We observed our reactions and were unsure if we woud be abe to hostel  the Camino but right now were excited to get our  'feet" back onto the Camino Frances. 











Feet, what to say about feet !

Well mine are exceptional I suppose, my gate is unbalanced as a result of  an accident 30yrs ago when I severed the toes of my right foot with a lawnmower.  I have arrived armed with plasters, toe tubes, compede, needles thread and tea tree oil, all for the prevention and care of blisters. Jimmy will have to be a patient man and a doctor (what`s new there)

After a breakfast of hot chocolate and croissants in a nearby cafe, we were leaving Burgos and noticed a Stork`s nest overhead on top of a monument, there was one bird in the nest and another flying to and fro. Spring is in the air. This is such a thrill for us, a rare sight indeed, there are no Storks in Ireland. Soon afterwards we saw seven more having breakfast in a field close to the path. Further along we greeted some swallows our first sighting this year, always a welcome sign of Spring.

We stopped to have lunch in Hornillos del Camino, the T.V. in the restaurant was showing Holy Thursday celebrations and the celebrants looked like the KKK mostly dressed in white or black which looked very daunting. Later a nun raced from a church to bestow holy medals upon us but she seemed very nice telling us to pass them on if we decided not to wear them. We decided to walk on to San Bol. We intented to spend the night here having covered 26.7km on our first day. Unfortunately it was closed, it looked like a suitalbe Albergue for us, as it was off the beaten track in the middle of nowhere, perfect ! but not today. We bathed our feet in the healing waters before moving on, mine already have several blisters. The water really felt healing or maybe our feet are just numb with the coldness of the water. We moved on as the cold wind was cooling down our bodies very quickly.  5km further on over the Maseta and into the beautiful Medieval village of Hontanas.




What a place, there are no roads in and no roads out of here , it is totally reliant on Pilgrams.The Albergue that we have chosen for tonight has a glass floor which displays the original Medieval foundations below. We have been given beds in a four bed dormitory as the lower bunks in the  larger room are already filled and my short legs just won`t make the height in the absense of ladders. It`s all about the Peregrino here. A woman possibly a nun invited us to prayers in the church and asked if we would like to do a reading, we declined gracefuly, I might not have looked very graceful as I was hobbling due to blisters. We had walked 36km on our first day. 

We decided to have the pilgrim dinner 8euro and breakfast for  2 euro. It was a good decision, we had vegetarian Paella with salad, beans vino Tinto and fruit. there was ten of us, and the company was good so we consumed an extra bottle of wine for 3 euro. We learned from a Spanish couple over dinner that the strange head dress of the celebrants and the colours were an indication of the different religous groups. We went off to bed very satisifed with our meal, It was a quiet hostel and sleep came easily.




Friday 30th    Day 2

We had hot muesli and hot chocolate for breakfast. Before leaving the hospitalero Francois hugged us both, and admired my hair. When I thanked him for facilitating me with the bed he replied, "but you are the Peregrino". We departed feeling refreshed and in high spirits. just before the ruins of Arco San Anton we had our passports stamped by a man sitting in his car, we gave him a donativo of 2euro and he gave us a wooden keepsake of our walk. It`s a cold morning and he is prepared to sit here in his car to try and make a few euro.

In the distance we could see a castle on top of a hill overlooking Castrojeriz and wondered if we were being taken up there by the Camino, Thankfully no..... but close,  it has been our experience in the past that if there is a hill, there will be a cross on top, and a path to take you there.  After a stop in Castrojeriz to sooth the feet , eat an orange, buy bread and bananas we were on our way again. Up a very very steep hill, at the top we stopped, eat a little more and admired the amazing views, there were little groves of trees planted in the surrounding hillsides possibly to prevent flooding. the wind took up to great speeds and the decent was difficult with head long winds. The road to Itero was long and hard to push against the strong winds. So we decided to rest up here for the night as wind warnings have been issued. 

We booked into the municipal albergue for the night. Carlos from Hungry is here also, we met last night at dinner. Later an English girl who is walking in the opposite direction arrived. She told us of her Camino from Oporto in Portugal to Santiago and we are making notes, as it sounds like one for us in the future who knows ! We walked 23km today. It was a quiet night with lots of rest just four in the hostel, as we were off the main track.

Saturday 31st   Day 3

We were up early and refreshed for a new day. It was still dark, with a full moon to guide us and frost on the cars and the grass.

As we headed into the West we could feel the sun rise behind us and we took a moment to greet it. The sunshine on our backs filled our spirits. Jimmy found a well by the roadside with amazing depth.......phototime.well

 We were serenaded for the morning by the skylarks.Jimmy has been on the lookout for wild flowers for my hair as it has become tradition on our walks, Spring is late, yesterday he found a dried one from over winter, (darlin` man)

We had breakfast in Bordilla in a family run hostel, with beautiful paintings on the walls, the mother of the hospitalero (who admired my hair) is an Artist.

We came upon Carlos who is enjoying the sunshine. Later we sat in the sunshine in Fromista and an English woman ran past in her bare feet. She is running the length of Spain for Charity 25km a day. She had just crossed the snow covered mountains in her feet, wow.....

We took the alternative route to Villalcazar De Sirga along the river. Again we took sun in a public park out of the wind.

No room at the Inn......When we arrived at our destination the Albergue was full and the other one had not yet opened for the season.

Onwards to Carrion De Los Condes, it is open road and the wind is powerfull and in our faces. I walked in Jimmy`s slip stream.

There is a lot of snow on the mountains in the distance and it looks fresh. But  tonight we are warm and dry and hosted by nuns in a convent, Carlos, Angus from London, and Andreas from Russia, are here also, we all met at dinner after our first days walk. 

We are trying to practise some Spanish phrases e.g. que tal ? habla usted Ingles.

She Spanish women in our dormitory admired us as a couple and said that they think we are beautiful.




Sunday 1st April   Day 4

Last night we went shopping for dinner Beans and Pan fit for a king. We also bought enough food for today as it`s "chocolate sunday" and nothing opens here on Sunday. It`s a long stretch along an old original Roman Road. 17.3km to our destination, we walked awile with Lucas a young German man who was in our hostel last night. The now familiar lark song accompanied us along the way. We met a group of Irish with flags displayed. It`s their fourth year walking stages and they plan to reach Leon by Tuesday.

Jimmy has found some Spring Flowers and today I am wearing a purple one in my plait. We both wave niggly legs so we are taking a nice long rest here in Calzadilla de la Cueza. We sat in the healing sun in the garden then took a short walk around the village. Carlos is here and we shared chocolate Sunday with him, he has taken our website details and phone number as he would like to bring his girlfriend to visit us.


Monday 2nd    Day 5

Well rested we set off early 7.30 am. The dawn chorus was just begining and the Cuckoo led the choir in the opening number. Coming into Ledigos there were 2 little Egrits, 1 Stork and 2 Grouse,  and Spring Flowers are popping their heads up and today I sported a beautiful Calendula proudly to our destination. It seemed like it was going to rain so the rain gear went on and the rain went off. We stopped in Terradillos de los Templarios for breakfast, our second one as we had already eaten in the hostel with Carlos. 



A little further on at Moratinos we saw what looked like a huge Hobbit house. We were interested to find out more about it. We met Carlos and asked him but he hadn`t seen it. We had the best Tortilla in Sahagun after walking 23.5km and we stocked up for tomorrow`s breakfast. 4.5km later we arrived at Calzada del Coto.

We were so glad to see an open door and a friendly face, Carlos is here too, it`s like we are reserving private rooms for the three of us. This is our first experience of a Donativo Albergue.

The hospitalario who was very welcoming needed to talk a lot. He has been volunteering here for 17days now, 24hours a day and it is very quiet so far this season.

Alain from France arrived later after walking 44km today and 50 days walking from his home. He chose the furtherest bed at the back of the dormitory as he seemed to be unable to stop walking, then he walked up town for dinner with the hospitalario before retiring for the night.

The large room was very cold, but as there was just four of us there were plenty of mantas to keep us warm.




Tuesday 3rd Day 6

The Hospitalario had  a table set for breakfast and  all four of us joined him. Just the two of us, chose to take the alternative route today. From here lies the longest stretch of Roman Road remaining in Spain. Emperor Ceasar Agustus trod this road ! Calzada Romana.calzadaromana



It`s a few km longer but when will we ever be here again, it was an opportunity that we were not going to miss. 

There was no one on this route except us Magic !

Today`s flower was the curry plant, a wonderful scent.

Any weather and every weather hit us. Rain, sunshine, gales, hailstones, It was the first time that I was ever litterly blown off my feet. I was blown off the open road onto the ground and into a ditch , from here Jimmy tucked me in under his oxter until the storm passed. There was no where to shelter so we kept moving against the elements. Images of Roman Soldiers flash past......

The joy of arriving at Reliegos wiped all the memory of the weather away. We had read about the "Elvis Bar" in our guide book so we made our way there. It wasn`t a dissapointment...... wow was like any pub in the west of Ireland, with bits and pieces of machienry and brick a brack stuck in the corners and under tables. That`s a welder under my elbow.elvisbar





Elvis himself prepared and served our Bocadillo and a bottle of wine, which had his picture on the label. The perigrino`s  have decorated the walls with messages and art work. It added to the already mighty character fo the place.

We met Stefan from "nowhere" in Germany his words, who insisted on buying us another bottle of wine.


Graham from Queensland and Maria and Fran from Spain, we all had dinner together on our first night. Graham was documenting his Camino in art form and his work was beautiful, easy for us to recognise as we had been impressed by the same things as him and had taken photo`s. Fran is now travelling by taxi as his leg hurts.

We had a bit of craic with everyone and were tempted to stay longer as Angus, Andreas, and Carlos were expected to arrive, but the legs said rest....

 Wednesday 4th   Day 7

 We set out early before 7am. stopping off for breakfast in Mantillas de las Mulas, Hand on the Mule`s back.





 Later we had hot chocolate at a vending machine and reated our legs and feet.

Leon is in our sights so we paced ourselves until we arrived. The walk was a pleasant surprise as the guide book suggested taking a bus on this section so we expected it to be a boring walk. Today`s flower is a species daffodil, I had never seen one before, it is delicate and beautiful.

We arrived in the Albergue early 1pm. and had our dinner in the connecting Hotel, what a meal, wonderful. Dinnertime at home is 1pm so this was a real treat. Lots of now familiar faces here, and new ones too.


We had a funny experience in the Post Office. We were sending one postcard home as it was my sister`s birthday, the staff member was so surprised that we were just buying one stamp that she had the craic with us about it , Solo Cello ? Solo Cello ? she repeated several more times. Then she read out the greeting on the card before giving us the Solo Cello, The Spanish and Irish humour are a lot alike. It was a magic moment !

We both have heat rash on our feet and ankles. Jimmy`s lower leg is swoolen, the blisters on my feet are settling down, and my damaged ankle from the fall before we letf home is improving and the swelling is reducing. We were glad of this time to assess, treat , dress and most of all rest the affected areas.

Thursday 5th    Day 8

We left the Albergue at 6.50am as we were awake with the heat. The heating was too high for the number of peregrino`s staying here.  We had a nice walk out of town, again not at all the walk which the guide book had prepared us for. We would have missed these two beautiful days walking if we had heeded the " take the bus advice" !



This enchanting sign signaled to us that we were doing alright. Today`s flower was a beautiful daffodil. The sun arose from our east side and the terrain was wonderful. Three Irish pilgrims from the albergue last night were ahead of us in the distance.

 Later we met them in Villar de Mazerife, they had taken the "Bus" advice as it is their first day. 




sunriseWe decided to stop here and take a private room over the pub in the town square. We had walked 21.8km and it felt like the right time to take time for a leisurely shower and a room to ourselves. It was a room with a view. What luxury !     We lay on the bed and the Sun shone in on us to keep us warm with it`s healing rays.

We had a Birds Eye view of 3 Storks nests and with our binoculars (now we know why we had carried them all the way from Ireland ) we watched them come and go from the nests, we were even so privileged as to wittness a pair mating, our hearts smiled.

 We met Angus and Andreas in the town and they were undertaking another 14.4km before the end of day. They were feeling fit.

Friday 6th   Day 9

After a great rest we began our walk at 6.45am it was still dark, it was a beautiful sunrise, and we walked 10km. before stopping in Villavante to eat our breakfast at a picnic table. Today`s flower is the beautitul Cherry Blossom.


On to Hospital de Orbigo across the Medieval Bridge. We met a German girl from a few days ago, and she was taking time out for a few days. Her leg was hurting and the Albergue is allowing her to stay on in exchange for help with some painting, while giving her leg some time off from walking. We met a Spanish woman walking with her 10year old daughter, amazing ! mtroad



 We took the alternative route up the mountain road , again it`s a bit longer, but more beautiful we believe.  We watched a flock of Eagles overhead, later found out that they were probably Black Kites, they seem to have white heads. We`re so glad to have our binoculars.  






This Creatur at he mountain top greeted us from a distance, and seemed to be beconing us onwards and upwards, courisity teased the climbers to the top more easily. The resting place was also a welcome. 

We have been noticing a type of cocoon on the tops of pine trees. It is something that we are not famiiar with and are keen to know more.davids


We arrived at David`s place. We are so impressed. He is a young man in his 30`s living here alone and off grid for nine years. Living off grid we know as two people can sometimes be difficult  but on your own without another to motivate must take a special someone.

We inquired about the cocoons, he said that he heard it had something to do with a Caterpiller, now we were more curious. He is continually working on his place and today is no exception. He is lime plastering a wall and is so busy that he has almost no time for conversation, but possibly he may prefare his own company. His stall of donativo food and drink is of exceptional quality and choice. We choose some juice.  

As we went through the crossroads passed David`s place we noticed a line of Caterpillers across the road dozens of them. At home we call these Hairy Mollies. Later we researched and found out that these Pine Processionary Moth`s PPM are destroying the Pine Trees of Europe. They have`nt reached Ireland and England as our climate is not warm enough "yet"

As we decended down into Astorga, we met and walked the last 1km with two English sisters whose family were origionally from Co. Sligo, an adjoining county to us in Co. Mayo, they were on holidays and just out for a stroll while waiting for friends. One sister really put Jimmy through his paces.



Tonight`s Albergue is beautiful a very old stone building, and just opposite is the magnificent     "Gaudi Palace" . While we would like to take the tour of the Palace, we are taking care of the priorities. Jimmy has quite a bit of swelling to his ankle and has shin pain. I`ve got an achy instep  in my left foot which is very dissapointing as my right ankle discomfort hasn`t quite worked it`s way out yet.

We timed our shopping trip to see and hear the Margato figureens come out to dance high up on the town clock as the Bells struck 6 o`clock. We sampled the local Mantecades ( fairy cakes ) as we sat to watch the little display, very tasty.  We met Angus in the town, he is still feeling fit and looks it too.

We are sharing our room with an older Swedish couple, he had also shared our sleeping space with them in Leon.We had a microwave Pajella for dinner, suprisingly good. The Swedish couple were having the same dinner as us. They are amazing, possibly 10years older than us. They told us of the facility available for 5euro to have your bag taken from you in the morning and delivered to your next nominated destination.




Saturday 7th   Day 10

 We slept in this morning. We left our Albergue at 8.15am at a slow pace, it took a while to get our legs, but shor` what`s the hurry ! artisanevillage We met Carlos and sat to catch up on each others experiences.


cowboybarWe parted company as once again we were taking the longer alternative route, to visit Castrillo de Polvazares. This is a beautiful village rebuilt by Artisanes but unfortunately it has not opened for the season yet.

We again met Angus in the next village where we had a wonderful ensalada.

On to El Ganso to the Cowboy Bar stopping for a cold drink and to use the outdoor loo, shor` it`s just like home. Today`s flower is once again the cherry blossom. At Puento de Panote a man robed in chainmail had a Mexican Harrier and was collecting for charity, on up the hill past the crosses woven and tied into the fence, and up into Rabanal del Camino. We decided to stay, have an early day. The Albergue is a donativo, very clean, warm and beautiful. the hospitalero`s were an English couple who volunteer here every year for a couple of weeks, and welcome their guests with a tea reception. It`s a small village but has two well stocked shops. We cooked our dinner, had a bottle of wine and sat in the garden in the sun.  

Later we went to hear the monks Gregorian Chant  in the church opposite the Albergue. They are a dying breed, really... there was just two of them it`s the way of the church in today`s climate, no change, no gain !  One young man and one much older man. They live in the stone building attached to our Albergue. It was really nice, but we were just imagining the difference when once they had great numbers of singers.

Sunday 8th April   Day 11



 cruzdeferroWe set off well rested before dawn 6.45am yp the hill to Foncebadon. It is a beautiful village rebuilt 15years ago, still one or two more, it`s a job of work.

No sign of " it " yet as we climb higher and higher, but we could just make out Carlos in the distance.

And then .... there it is !

Cruz de Ferro.

The highest point of the Camino de Santiago de Compostella.

It was a great feeling to have made it this far, as we have been hearing talk of it for the last few days. We talked to a couple with a dog who have been walking and camping on several Camino`s for the last 6years. They were very interesting, with lots of stories. 

On down to Manjarin, where we had hoped to meet Tomas, a Templar living off grid in basic conditions and offering rest and accommodation to any and all.



Just as we arrived a light fall of snow added to the already beautiful morni

Alas Tomas wasn`t there, we had heard that recently he was unwell, but we were reassured whilst inside that he is very well and had gone for supplies. We were made to feel very welcome in the darkness within, but our eyes soon adjusted to the lack of ight, as we were given tea and biscuits.

townviewFrom here we began our decent to El Acebo, it was difficult underfoot  most of the way and we were happy with a stop pff for lunch. Homemade Tuna, Potatoe, and onion Pie with ensalada, washed down by freshly squeezed zumo naranja. Re-energised we headed on to Molinaseca, here too it was difficult going at times but we made it 27km.

Where we  just enoyed a couple of Cervasa`s on arrival.

Next morning we met Roger from Canada in the Templer run Albergue and we walked together for a time.


Monday 9th   Day 12

 We have planned a small walk today from Molinaseca,  again the alternative route. It is a beautiful rural walk, past small sheep pens and what seemed like Romany Gypsie houses. We walked awhile with an Irish couple Tom and Triona,into Cacabelos. Later we walked with Maria from Australia and Rene from Denmark, they met on their first day and have walked together. we missed our planned Albergue  in Las Angustias as we were chatting. Instead of going back (there is no going back) it`s onwards and upwards to Villafranca del Bierzo.

Today`s fower is again the magical Cherry Blossom.










Angus, Carlos, and Andreas were all staying in our Albergue. We had a very special meal together, maybe it`s our parting meal !

It`s striking how we are all forgetting words, basic words, everyday words, it`s the same for everyone.

We discussed the European Union and we had very diverse opinions. Carlos had two orgasms during dinner, one was caused by cheese and the other by chocolate, well that`s what I`m saying.

Life is beautiful.......

 We shared our room with two beautiful Finnish girls and a German man in his 70`s. 









Tuesday 10th April   Day 13

 We are not rushing out in the mornings as we now know that we have lots of time to complete our journey before our flight date. I`m still hobbling along with my stiff left foot. It seems to be loosening sooner each morning after just a few kilometers. Today`s flower is an unkown white wild flower, with a beautiful scent.








We walked 24km to La Faba close to the top of the mountain.

Through rain, sleet, snow for most of the day.

But as we began the rough tuff climb through a steep narrow, stone walled mountain path the sun shone . 











 It was worth the climb. 

We have a double bed in an eight bed room. It`s a really good Albergue with a Bar and a vegeterian restaurant.

We are sampling Oroju, distilled grape skin, with Grappa to follow (when in Rome ). There are five perigrino`s for dinner, two Lithunian men, and an Italian woman. We had great conversations over dinner.

The food was amazing, this is definately not one to be missed. Next day we heard that the accommodation in O`Cebreiro was cold, so this it definately to be recommended.





Wednesday 11th April   Day 14




From La Faba we climbed to Laguna, where we had breakfast yuckyyy tortilla, give this one a miss. 

This is our first sighting of a Galician "palloza" a round house. It looks like we will have some snow today. We crossed the border into Galicia, what a milestone.

As we approached O` Cebreiro the conditions deterioated, it was slippery underfoot and the visibility was poor...galicia




 On into the forest and we had to confront 1.1/2ft of snow from here to Alto do Poio.





We are both feeling great today and our bodies seem to have crossed barriers, we are on a high, emotions and altitude are well matched. It is such a delight to be up here in the snow. There`s nobody here but us.

Today`s fower is a species daffodil from the snowy mountain, it`s a privelidge to wear it.


As we were just wondering had we taken the wrong path in the snow, before us lay tyre tracks, the Civil Guard had driven as far into the Forest as the snow would allow to guide the snow blinded peregrino. We has noticed this on more than one occassion and they will wave and beep their car horn to give reassurance, mighty....

It was heavy going in the deep snow so we left the path and walked the last 3km by road into Fonfria. We will stay here tonight as the visibility on the road is too dangerous for us and for the motorist. We booked the evening meal. There were 4 Corians, 1 Hungerian, Gabro who is a barber in Malahide Co. Dublin a place that we both know well.  Beautiful soup rice and vegetables, with vino and followed by Santiago cake. Good food and good company, good hospitalarios, a mother and her son. They had a warm air hose in our boots to dry and warm them, every home should have one.


Thursday 12th April   Day 15

As we left Fonfria there was a little drizzle, more like being in the cloud. On down to Triacastela where we had breakfast 9km later. Today`s early morning fower is the species daffodil.800yrtree

 This is the Chestnut of Ramil it is 800years old.

At the bottom of the town we watched as plaster was being sprayed onto a house wall, that`s the way to do it.....

We are walking on air for the last couple of days, feeling fit and full of energy of the place, maybe it`s Galician energy.

Jimmy is develoing a look, I`ve been noticing it more and more as the days pass, there are no words to describe it. Maybe it`s the beard and the suntanned face ? but I think it`s much more. A man in Riego de Ambros a few days ago, who was giving a battle dance exhibition on the street saw it too. A true peregrino I


Up magical tracks towards today`s Alto at San Xil .

Glad not to have this one on my back, Scallop Shell at A Balsa. Sticks are so important today especially on the decent down to Furela,  1/4 steps are the only way.

We missed our planned stop at Calvor, so we are in Sarria. Vigo de Sarria on the outskirts. 



We walked into the town for the makings of a beautifu tea, and later we enjoyed our wine and Phisalis in the lounge area. There is an Argentinian woman sharing our room. But there are some very loud and noisy Korian`s in the room next door and downstairs. There is only one toilet and shower for all, and they are both in the same room. We are over a Bar, but this is the first time that we have experienced a noisy Albergue.

Friday 13th April   Day 16

Again it was drizzling rain as we left Sarria. There are a lot more Peregrinos on the way today, as several routes converge here and some choose to just walk the last 100km.100km

As we passed the 100km marker it was a thrill, the excitment is building.

Today`s flower is a rare beauty the primrose Narcissous.

We met and had breakfast with Gabro the Barber, and we met a young man Darragh from Limerick at an excellent Donitivo food counter, Also Maria and Rene.

We made the decision to continue on to Portmarin as we were feeling good. It was raining very heavily when we arrived and we had a pizza in an Italian restaurant for lunch. The hostal is big but warm, no cooking facilities or utensils. We got our clothes dry, the most important thing.

The couple with the dog and the tent seem to have parted company, we have met her a few times and today she is begging on the steps of the church. We took some food down to her, we feel sad, she has no English, and we have no Spanish, We wish good things for her and for him also.


Saturday 14th   Day 17

 Still thinking of the homeless woman with her dog we took a moment to contemplate and will her well.

We left Portmarin and the numbers of Peragrinos are increasing again today. We met and walked with Gabro.  There are a lot of Korian ladies on the route today. They asked Jimmy`s permission to have their photo`s taken with me, as they seem to think that I`m beautiful, lots of photo`s, they thanked Jimmy before we moved on.....this was a strange experience for us.

We had Soapa and Ensalada for lunch, ( lamb stew ) we had forgotten to say  "sin carne". It was good at the time and although we didn`t eat the meat, I paid the price later, as my body rejected it. 

The passed through Palais del Rei to a small water mill on the outskirts of the town, which was home for the night. They are not very friendly and are over priced wine, it`s just business, it`s not about the peregrino here. 

We met Claire and Roger from England, We sat together in the sunshine and shared our wine. A good days walking was accomplished.


Sunday 15th April   Day 18

Last nifgt`s Brazilian room mate left before us this morning. He`s a lucky man to have survived the night. A train would have been quiter, We just sat up in bed talking and laughing, but nothing was going to disturb him. I wondered that the laws were like in this part of Galecia, for murder versus manslaughter. We had the giggles, probably sleep deprivation.  woodland

 Today`s flower is again the beautiful species narcissus. 

Jimmy seems a bit low in spirit today, too many hills, overly religious conversations with peregrinos, a bit tired in mind and body. The lack of sleep overnight didn`t help. I`m a bit worried about my instep, maybe there is something broken ? but rest is probably all it needs. ( soon )

This mornings walk is on little woodland tracks, mostly Eucalyptus trees young and old, some are being harvested. That`s a strange sight for us, the harvesting of Eucalyptus. We passed through little farms, Sheep , Cows and Pigs and small hamlets. 

We stopped for breakfast at a Hotel, Claire and Roger arrived as we were leaving. We are meeting some familiar faces, Korian, American, Maria and Rene. The Korian man who opened our wine bottle in Sarriaas we didn`t have a cork screw, came up to me today and said that he thought I was amazing ! He possibly sees me as an old granny, who knows.....

Thoughts of home are creeping in today, we are looking forward to reaching Santiago, possibly by lunchtime on Tuesday.

There is a big street market in Melide, we stopped for a cuppa, it was like a maize trying to find our way out through the throng of people. 

We had lunch in Boente. Soup and Custard Cream Cake, well it is Sunday, beautiful but a little bit overpriced.

ON through Ribadiso, and another 3km to Arzua. The albergue door was open, there was no one home, so after 1hour we chose our beds for the night. An hour later two German peregrinos arrived and did the same. We took turns going for food, and still nobody came,  very strange. This is the coldest Albergue yet but there are lots of Mantas as there are just four of us. Nobody dares to take a shower, there is even a reluctance to go to the Aesos brrrrrr. 

Just as we were settling down for the night the hospitalero arrived from Mass and Bingo, he took the money and left again. It is the Camino !


Monday 16th April   Day 19

We decided to walk 30km today and leave the remaining 10km to Santiago for our last morning. So for the first time we made a reservation in a Hotel for tonight. It`s a beautiful day . We walked about 5km with Maria and Rene before we stopped for breakfast. They are stayed in Hotels all the way so their breakfast is provided and they are taking a 20km stretch to tonight`s Hotel.

There are not so many peregrinos today, we walked with Jose from Equador. We met in the Albergue in Portmarin, a beautiful young man, a doctor, and he has walked from Salamanca 16 days walking. Later we over heard three Spanish speaking peregrinos in their 30`s talking about us. We have crossed paths a couple of times already. They seemed surprised that we were possibly travelling at a similar pace. " Those Irish Hippies are high on Marajuna ". This brought a smile to our faces and spurred us on.



 We came through the Amenal tunnel and stopped for lunch at the Hotel,  so Peregrino Beer was sampled, not bad. 

Jimmy is much in brighter today, and he looks amazing.

Today`s flowers are, a type of wild garlic, beautiful white flowers, purple vinca major, and a lavender heath.

We are staying in Lavacolla tonight , as this is the place where peregrinos traditionally stopped to wash and purify themselves before entering Santiago.

The Hotel is just perfect for the night, it`s a typical Airport type hotel.

We have soaked in the bathtub for an hour and it did the bodies good, we are now ready for tomorrow`s final steps into Santiago.

We indulged in Cream filled Crepes smothered in hot Chocolate Sauce and a cuppa, followed by a Baily`s style Orujo,because we are mighty and we are worth it. 

We met Mark from Bray in Ireland, he has walked from Sarria with his wife.


My foot is improving by the minute since the bath earlier, so I`m hopeful that it`s just under stress and in need of a good rest.


Tuesday 17th April   Day 20

 We`re on our way.   10/12 km to Santiago



 It`s a good morning and we checked out of the Hotel at 7.45am.tablet

 We are the only peregrinos in sight.after climbing for a few km`s we were joined by a couple of pair of Jay`s. today`s flowers are the orange Calendula and the purple Salvia

On past the Radio and T. V. Stations we arrived at Monte de Goza  the Mountain of Joy today`s highest  point.

There is a monument erected here to Pope John Paul 11.

 We can see Santiago in the Valley below, It`s exciting to be here now to view  this sight  on our 20th Day.








Two hours later we 9.45am,santiagoflowers

 " If a picture paints a thousand words" then I think our faces speak volums.

We have arrived, we are in the city,  Amazing....

To stand in the Oldtown, in the square in front of the Cathedral. 

It`s not too impressive at the moment as there is a scaffold covering a large area of the facade.




 We went to the Pilgrim Office and recieved our Compostella which gave us a sense of having arrived and a completion to the walk. They also included the 450km from10years ago which was a surprise.

We met the young woman with her 10year old daughter who had walked all the way, mighty......

On the steps of the Cathedral we met an Enghish woman who had to abandon her way with 200km to go as it proved too much for her, she is sad, but vows to come back next year to complete her journey.

And unsurprisingly we met Carlos, slow and steady Carlos, It was an emotional moment for all three. Soon we met Angus. We arranged to meet up later in Bar Tito to have a get together. A mighty Camino send off was had, with good food and a lot of wine (7bottles) Alain, Roger, Angus, Victoria, Carlos and the two of us. Contacts were exchanged and spirits were high.

Most enjoyed having company each day for short intervals but not all  day, and found it difficult to understand how we managed to walk  together all the time without putting even a few yards between us, and did we need to bok. into private accommodation occasionally so that we could have a row. We tried to explain that we are in each other`s company 24/7 at home and are able to give each other space while together, and that we don`t have anyting to fight about.......It`s not for everyone, we know that.cathedral


Angus`s major concern at the end of each day`s  walk ? Would his Vermouth be served with a slice of Lemon or a slice of Orange.









Perfect Closure.









We stayed on for 3days as our flight dictated. We have time to enjoy the town and the 20degrees of sunshine. 

Each day we met recognisable faces including Boo and Morianne the couple from Sweden, they too look great and are happy to have made it.



We found a great Hotel in the centre of the City, The Hotel "Nest Style" 33euro per night perfect for leisurely mornings as breakfast is available until 10.30. for 6 euro extra, you won`t leave hungry and a there`s a huge selection.



 We strolled around each day soaking up the athmosphere. Up San Roque, back by "Cerrantes" into the market, down into the now familiar Alameda park along the Paseo de los Leones, had our photograph taken with writer / dramatist Don Raman Maria del Valle, and two local ladies, used to the camera I`d say.

We observed a women`s rights march.










There is a notable presence of witches in the town, with Souviners and images on tee-shirts.

Maria was a famous woman who was tortured here in Santiago by the inquisition, confessed to practising witchcraft by helping to cure the ailments of people around her with her knowledge of plants and herbs. She wasn`t burnt at the stake and it is uncertain what happened to her. She was 70 years old at the time.

Temperatures have reached 24 degrees and the bodies are loving it. Nature`s healing balm.

Later as we reflect on the last three weeks, we are surprised just how much of an impression the Camino has had on us. We didn`t expect to be so relaxed, especially with the Albergues. We are so used to our own company at home, seeing people only as we choose, as we live in a very remote location.

The earlier stage 10years ago was more who we feel we are, camping out in our tent. On previous walks, we seldom meet other distance walkers even if it`s a weeks walk. Now we see this as a different Camino and the difference is " people ", it`s all about people. That includes us, accepting and enjoying all, as each one is on their own Camino. 










 Now it`s time to leave,

We are as excited to be going home as we were to get here 3weeks ago.




Buen Camino