Dedication and Hope -Day 3

The unlived life isn’t worth examining. Unknown

Hi All!  A part of the Camino experience is taking time to reflect and focus on the important people in your life.  Day 3 starts with a shout out to our Pop/Dad/Mentor/ and friend on his birthday… Happy Bday big guy!

Go Hawks!
Go Hawks!

It’s not the years honey, it’s the miles. Indiana Jones, Raiders of the Lost Arch

And one more thing before we describe our Day 3 trek to Pamplona, Spain….

Grandma/Mutti/ Mom … the Camino is known for healing.  We will all rally around you as you fight your tough health news today.  We are dedicating this trip to you.  You better get your list together and start making your demands!  It is time for others to give back to you for all that you have given us.  Love you! G&P

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Great times!

Day 3 – Another rainy walk in Spain!  Yesterday’s walk was  covered in snow today and we were fortunate to be at lower elevations.  Our walk was 13 miles mostly along the river and then into the suburbs of Pamplona, Spain.  Pamplona is well known for its bull fights and the “running of the bulls” every July where men dress all in white with red scarves and try to outrun angry bulls let loose in the street…. Well Hemingway thought it was cool!…. Some quick pics:

Snow in the mountains
Snow in the mountains
The Bridge to Arre
The Bridge to Arre, Spain
Penny charging the French Gate to Pamplona
Penny charging the French Gate to Pamplona
Day 3 Completed! Time for a glass of wine!
Day 3 Completed! Time for a glass of wine!

What Goes Up, Must Come Down…

Your living is determined not so much by what life brings to you as by the attitude you bring to life; not so much by what happens to you as by the way your mind looks at what happens. Kahlil Gibran

Hi all!  Day 2 was the mirror opposite on our 15 mile trek to Zubiri, Spain today, ALL DOWNHILL…!  It was an early start from our Alburgue in Roncevalles at 7am with the rain coming down heavily to start the day.

Just 790 km to Santiago...
Just 790 km to Santiago…

The motto… Don’t Stop Walking! (I am the one in the fashionable blue hat!)

Don't Stop Walking!
Don’t Stop Walking!

We stayed at a bed & breakfast (pensione) near the river and enjoyed our first night in our very own room.  This was a treat after a tough second day.

The bridge to Zubiri.
The bridge to Zubiri.
Our Pensione.
Our Pensione.

 

Camino Day 1!!

A journey of a Thousand Miles Begins with Just One Step. Chinese Proverb

(In our case, we will walk about 1,000,000 steps over the next 35 days.)

That Which Does Not Kill Us Makes Us Stronger. Friedrich Nietzschke, German Philosopher

Hi All! We are finally at the start of this journey that we have been researching, thinking about and planning for over the last few years.  Today’s hike was 15 miles through the Pyrenees Mountain range.  It included great views and a fun first day except for a brutal increase in elevation over the last 6 miles of almost 1000 meters that left many Pilgrim casualties on the side of the trail.

The day’s weather changed over our 7 hour journey so our look changed as the layers peeled off and went back on.

Here is the start of the day….

Starting Line Penny!
Starting Line Penny!
Starting Line Greg!
Starting Line Greg!

About half way through the day we optimists just knew we were kicking this trails butt!  See the mountains in the background … we ended there not as optimistic but stronger…

We got this!
We got this!

The last six miles tested our resolve but we made to the top … sore but satisfied.

Summit ... Holy Crap We Are Tired!
Summit … Holy Crap We Are Tired!
The Church at the Summit.
The Church at the Summit.

One mile walk down the other side to Roncesvalles, Spain (pop. 100) with a hostel built out of the medieval cloister space of the adjoining Royal Collegiate Church of Saint Mary.  It houses 183 pilgrims in rooms of 2 bunkbeds per room with two other pilgrims for the night.  After the pilgrim meal, we are done for the day.  A baptism by fire and we are happy to have Day 1 behind us!

Arrival at our Hostel...Yes!
Arrival at our Hostel…Yes!

 

Getting Started!

Only those who will risk going too far can possibly find out how far it is possible to go. T.S. Eliot.

Hi All! We arrived to a rainy and wet St. Jean Pied Du Port, France on Tuesday, April 5th.  First stop, the Pilgrim’s Office, along with 50-60 other want-to-be pilgrims.  After a brief wait in the rain, we received our official passports.  These are stamped by Albergues (hostels), churches and other establishments along the path to Santiago.  When you complete the 500 mile journey in Santiago, you take your passport as proof of your journey to the church office to receive the Compostella Certificate confirming your journey.  In addition, we received a shell which you tie to your backpack to indicate you are on a pilgrimage.

At the Pilgrim’s Office, we learned that the upper 16-mile, Day 1 route through the Pyrenees was closed due to snow and we would start Day 1 with a 15 mile lower Pyrenees route.  This was unfortunate as the upper route is supposed to have great views of the mountains.

After completing this official business, we retired to the Albergue Du Pelerin for a modest dinner and off to our four bunkbed room with six other Pilgrims to await dawn and the start of our Camino journey.

Just off the Train at St. Jean
Just off the Train at St. Jean
Hurry up and Wait at the Pilgrim's Office
Hurry up and Wait at the Pilgrim’s Office
The Pilgrim's Shell
The Pilgrim’s Shell

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St. Jean Main Drag
St. Jean Main Drag

Rome in a Day

Hi all! We had a brief day and two nights in Rome before flying to Biarritz for the one hour train ride to our start of the Camino in St. Jean Pied du Port, France.  It was great to have a few days on land before all of the activity of the Camino started.   We were able to eat at our favorite restaurant near the Pantheon and grab a gelato by Trevi Fountain.  A few pics of a fun City are attached.

Penny at the epicenter of Rome.
Penny at the epicenter of Rome.
Trevi Fountain
Trevi Fountain

Mulaga & Cartegena, Spain and Goodbye Oosterdam

We made it to Rome!  Penny and I spent a ship stop in two Spanish coastal cities, Malaga and Cartagena, Spain, and we finally docked in  the port outside of Rome on Monday morning.  The Spanish coastal cities are beautiful and like many cities in the area, they ooze with history.  Being on the Mediterranean, they have all the old armaments and batteries on the hills to protect their ports.

On Monday morning we said goodbye to the M.S. Oosterdam (home for the last two weeks) and made our way to the train station for a one and one half hour train ride into Rome, Termini Station.  The station is in the heart of Rome and it is good to be back for a few days of seeing the sites, people watching and avoiding the constant pitches of street salesmen.  We will spend a full day in Rome and then fly out to Biarritz.

Best to all,

G&P

Malaga - Cool Fountain!
Malaga – Cool Fountain!
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Patio view – Cubans allowed!
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Shopping in Cartagena – Great architecture!
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Goodbye M.S. Oosterdam.

Sunny in Malaga, Spain

Life moves pretty fast, …if you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it. Ferris Bueller

Hi all-

We just reached our second port of call on our transatlantic cruise, Malaga, Spain.  The above quote probably sums up our last year.  We have been moving pretty fast for years and last year and this are our years to stop and look around.  We kicked off last year with our first transatlantic and spent great weeks in Rome and Umbria Italy, spent great time with friends in Palm Springs, road-tripped across the US to Utah and then North through Yellowstone and Montana and wintered in Florida.  Great times and great experiences.  Thanks to all of you who hosted us or helped us during our travels and gave us the time to start checking off some great bucket list items.

If you can find the time, I highly recommend a transatlantic cruise.  They are typically two weeks across to Europe in the Spring or you can catch them in late fall coming back to the US.  These entail repositioning the cruise ships for their high seasons either in the Caribbean or the Med.  Our cost for all inclusive passage, meals and entertainment was less than $500/ person and a perfect vacation from the phone, email etc.

Attached a few pics from Funchal (our first stop).  Best to all, G&P.

Soggy Morning Start
Soggy Morning Start
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Goodbye Funchal … On to the Med.

Land Ho!

Hello all!  We just landed in Funchal, Madeira Island, Portugal after seven days at sea from Fort Lauderdale on the SS Oosterdam.  It was a great ride with plenty of time to plan and read onboard as we sailed across the Atlantic.  As most of you know, we are starting our trip to walk the Camino de Santiago, a 500 mile walk across Northern Spain (see map).  Madeira is the first stop on our cruise which will have two more stops at ports in the Mediterranean before reaching Rome on April 2nd.  We will spend a day or two in Rome and then fly and train to Saint John Pied du Port, France, the starting point for the most popular Camino trail (the French Way).  It is great to be on land if only for a few hours and see this beautiful island again.  It is known for its Madeira wine and flowers.  We will post more as the journey starts but please feel free to comment or add feedback, questions or input to this blog (we are newbies).  Best to all! Greg and Penny

The Way
The Way