Yesterday and today, I am in Madrid. A beautiful city and quite the change from the small towns that I have been walking through. First, I’ve never seen a city with so many cafes and restaurants. No problem finding something to eat here!
A neighbor had mentioned thoughts had while walking on long hikes. I met Tracy from New Orleans and we had a similar conversation. I was anticipating having all sorts of Deep Thoughts and Epiphanies while walking, but….I didn’t. She didn’t either and we wondered if we were missing something. Honestly, while I was walking, I was mostly thinking about my knees and singing silly songs to myself to keep going.
This is an easy one, but sometimes, it’s just a little yellow arrow painted on the side of a wall or a lamppost.
True to form, I get lost in the city looking for the Cathedral. I follow the signs diligently, but I must have missed one, because now I don’t see any signs or fellow pilgrims. Once again, Google Maps to the rescue!
Pretty snazzy, huh?
My inspiration and my strength. My mom, Jean Hamilton. Today (4/23) would be her 87th birthday.
The last leg. A combination of country, suburban and city terrain. A nice lady from Atlanta, GA offered to take my picture at the Santiago city sign!
This was the nicest walk of the journey. I was rested and felt good most of the day. The terrain was pretty easy. The weather was bright and sunny. Only 20 kilometers to walk today.
I’ve found that frequent infusions of caffeine keep the energy up. Luckily, the route from Sarria has many cafes along the way where a weary hiker can get her caffeine fix.
And a little touch of whimsy along the way!
Took another rest day today. I took a cab over to my next accommodation, the Pazo Santa Maria in Arzua. Each day when I change lodgings, it’s always a big surprise when I see what the next hotel will be like. Well, this one was absolutely stunning. It is in a mansion house dating back to the 1740s.
It was truly a pleasure to spend a relaxing day here.
This was a grueling walk. 30 kilometers and plenty of rolling hills. Saw some nice scenery, but am really starting to feel worn down.
Here’s a British family enjoying a break at one of the many cafes along the way.
Tabby cats are everywhere, and they are all sweet!
Sarria is the starting point for many pilgrimages, as 114 km is the minimum one must walk to get the Compostela (the certificate showing that the pilgrimage has been completed). The route is very different from the Camino del Norte legs that I completed. There are many more people and many more services to accommodate them. It’s a lot easier to get your credential stamped and you can even get a Camino T shirt or two.
I saw many of these along the way, both on farms and in yards. What is this? Several of them were quite elaborate. But all were raised from the ground. Rather an odd shape for a tool shed and there were no stairs to allow a person to access whatever is inside.
Here in Sarria this morning, getting ready for the next part of my pilgrimage. I took a plane from Bilbao to Santiago, then a van from Santiago to Sarria. The van driver was a nice man with two cell phones. One had the Benny Hill theme song for a ringtone. You know, the “Yakety Sax” song. Every time it rang, it made us laugh.
I found this one crying by a curb. I went to pet it and it cuddled up to me so sweetly. It was obviously a former pet that is now living on the streets near the guest house where I stayed. He LOVED the attention and let me give him belly rubs and chin rubs. If this had been in Santa Fe, George and I would be welcoming another member of the family. But…when I left the guest house the next morning, I noticed that someone had placed a small saucer of cheese on the ground outside. So I think someone is looking out for this dear one.