Day 35 A bus ride from Santiago to Finisterre and Day 36 coming HOME.

After nearly walking the entire width of Northern Spain, before we left we wanted to visit the “end” of it, referred to as “Finis Terra”…….known as one of the great treasures of the Camino de Santiago. Only very few continue on after Santiago by foot, a few of our friends are walking there now. We opted for the bus. From the views we saw along the “Way” while driving there, all I can say is those faithful pilgrims choosing to walk on will experience an extraordinarily beautiful journey; the views along the coastline are literally breathtaking.
This final day of our journey felt like the perfect great big beautiful bow to wrap up our camino journey with.

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Awaiting our double decker bus to ride over to Finisterre, we are fortunate to continue to be running into our pilgrim friends.

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Sites along the way.

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Saying goodbye to our dear friend Hupert, he road the bus (for first time since walking over 2000 km) a short way out of Santiago and will continue walking to Finisterre and then onto Muros, another coastal town.

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More views of the coast as we drive along.

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The bus drops us off downtown.

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Only a short 3 km hike (with no packs) up to the lighthouse.

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Our first sightings of the lighthouse.

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The infamous 0.00 km marker!

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Our great pals, Sandra, Jane and Pam- unforgettable!

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A pilgrim tradition continues of burning unwanted items from the Camino journey.

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Showering the oceans with ashes, rocks, and blessed memories of our boys. Sending our Love from the ends of the earth to the heavens- we are ONE!

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<br
Pam from Ashland Oregon.

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Jane from Palm Beach (originally NY)

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Jane and Sandra flying with Camino spirit.

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Starting to head back down to town we meet a pilgrim from Germany who walked the Camino with a borrow (that’s actually a clever way to carry your gear)

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Saying goodby to Jens and David as they walk up, we are walking down.

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Views along the way down.

We took the bus back to Santiago, picked up our stored back packs and hopped onto a “Ryan” (this ones for our pal Norma) Airlines flight back to Madrid.

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Spent the night in Madrid at Hostal Cruse.

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peregrina Elda.

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peregrina Danni

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And peregrina Kate are ready to come on home to Texas!

Thanks for sharing this amazing journey with us. It’s really be a great opportunity for me to reflect on the blessings of this journey while working on the blog. I hope to “clean” it up a bit in the future (blogging via an iPhone is challenging but it fits the lightweight, compact needs of the Camino.
I hope in my own small way I have enabled us all to feel as ONE. In the wise words of a local Spainaird we met in one of the small pueblos, “when you experience ~The Camino~, when you take this journey, The Camino will place a hook in your heart and the camino will always be with you”.

I will always treasure the friendships we have made with our fellow Pilgrims and to those who shared this adventure with us. This journey has been truly a blessing. I can’t express the “Joy” that has arisen in my heart “meeting” each and everyone. Sharing the joys and tribulations of each of our days together; the laughter, stories, and the “camino miracle” moments.
What can I say other than “I’ve been hooked”

Buen Camino everyone.
Abrazos fuertes para todas las peregrinas en todas partes.

(I hope that means something close to “Big hugs to all pilgrims everywhere”)

With unending Love from Kate, (Kathy and Katherine) – to all my family and friends.

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Posted in My Camino Dream | 4 Comments

Day 33 & 34 Lavacolla to Santiago de Compstella

UPDATE: Our last day to walk with back packs!

The link below will show our location, unfortunately it only keeps the prior week of walking not the entire month.

http://tinyurl.com/Camino-gals

NOTE: Blog followers, I apologies for the blog back-log, we have been extremely busy celebrating our accomplishments!

Honestly, I don’t even know where to start with words; we arrived safely to our goal of Santiago after walking easily over 460 miles. This morning while reflecting we all agreed walking the Camino feels as if you lived an entire lifetime in 1 month; filled with the full range of emotions a lifetime brings. We are all very deeply touched, grateful for the opportunity, and blessed by the whole experience.

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We left Lavacolla at 7:30 with an ETA of about 10:00 for Santiago. This was one of the last pilgrims monuments we saw before getting into the City.

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We arrived at this monument at the same time as a whole bus filled with very excited young people on a school trip.

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Our first sighting of the City. With all the dark rain clouds around the sun was making Santiago glow.

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It seems like when you actually arrive walking into a fairly big City, there are always the “less beautiful” parts you have to get through. We always have our eyes looking out for the Cathedral.

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We are definitely starting to get into the older part of the city now.

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We walked up through an ancient tunnel with wonderful bad pipe music celebrating our entry.

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There she is, The Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela.

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As soon as we arrive we start running into pilgrim friends who shared parts of our journey, this is for me the very best part of the Camino.

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Our wonderful accommodations at the San Martin, which used to be a monastery; located right next to the Cathedral.

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The very special pilgrims mass celebrating the Pentecost and the wonderful Catholic tradition using the giant botafumeiro.

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We were so fortunate to receive such an extra elaborate pilgrims welcoming.

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Some pictures of inside the Cathedral.

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The tomb of Saint James (Santiago)

Before we left, Danni, Elda and I had already shared (of what you can share) the worst journey possible; the death of our beloved children. We have now shared a completely different, yet very reflective long and difficult journey together to arrive in this enchanting location.
The entire “Way” offers the challenges, blessings, sorrows, friendship, laughter, and Love that this miraculous life offers. Somewhere in that connection and reflection we are now feeling like very blessed peregrinas; our hearts are Camino-hooked and I hope that feeling never leaves and we can pass it along.
Buen Camino,
Kate, Elda and Danni

Posted in My Camino Dream | 10 Comments

Day 31 & 32 Palas de Rei to Ribadiso – Ribadiso to Lavacolla

UPDATE: 3 & 2 WALKING DAYS REMAINING. Which means we have 1 as in ONE, walking day left to reach Santiago!

For efficiency sake (and because I didn’t take many pictures today) I have decided to consolidate these days together.

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Leaving Palas de Rei.

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joyful dancing pilgrims, just like us!

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We were seeing these “structures” in the yards of homes, farms with no idea what they were? We thought perhaps a burial place? something for feeding the animals? We put Elda’s wonderful Spanish speaking skills to good work and discovered they are for aging cheese!

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This was a small one, more ornamental that said it was for getting pan (bread) delivered.

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Some sights along the Way.

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A sacred heart with Mary and a Botafumeiro in a chapel we passed.

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A crazy waiter and waitress we met at lunch were wishing us good pilgrim luck by throwing salt over their shoulder.

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A crazy smoking pig head on display in a butchers window.

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A beautiful church with lovely painted ceilings.

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The baptismal room and more candles for our boys.

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A pretty well with roses.

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At dinner with another place mat-map. We were close to Arzua on the map and look how close to Santiago! a I ate a burger and fries, it was ok, but nothing to write home about.

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The start of a new day! 2 walking days left.

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We were afraid it might be raining, but it was a beautiful morning.

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A field of wildflowers and more of those amazing giant eucalyptus trees. The strong winds blow those high tree tops all around but protects the walking pilgrims underneath.

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We’re getting closer with every step and so is our excitement, along with the pain in our bodies and feet. In case you were wondering, walking 20 miles after you’ve been walking 100’s of miles everyday for over a month takes it’s toll on you both mentally and physically.

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A nice pilgrims sign.
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We walked right past the airport for Santiago.

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We finally see our hotel Ruta Jacobeo in Labacolla.

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These accommodations were way upscale from the albergues we’ve gotten used to- we had hot baths and a blow drier, such luxuries for pilgrims.

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Look, we were even greeted with a rainbow!

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We shared a wonderful dinner along with our Camino memories and lots of laughs.

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We sat next to good pilgrim friends who sang lovely Irish folk ballads, a really nice gathering.

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We took pictures with our pretty blown dried hair sitting in the hotel living room.

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Our friend John (the elementary school librarian from DC – John) did a little photo shoot of us after dinner.

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These were our “Charlie’s Angel- Pilgrims” poses !

Enough silliness! It’s time for bed now. We have 1, yes ONE more walking day (I think from the above photos you can tell we are just a tad bit excited, thrilled, proud, elated, and feeling totally blessed).
We will see our supporting friends and family tomorrow as the walking/back-pack part of this adventure comes to an end tomorrow in Santiago!
Buen Camino,
Kate, Danni and Elda

Posted in My Camino Dream | 15 Comments

Day 30 Portomarin to Palas de Rei

UPDATE:4 WALKING DAYS REMAINING:

Today was a very enjoyable 15.5 mile hike. We were all in good spirits and overall feeling pretty good.

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Leaving Portomarin.

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Another pretty flower window.

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The early morning mist coming off the water, beautiful.

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A heart arrangement with pinecones amongst a larger pinecones/rock- patch.

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Some beautiful views and walking along fern-filled forests. It reminded me of the movie “Fern-Gully” that my boys and I loved to watch when they were young. I was keeping my eyes out for little fairies but I didn’t see any.

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We stopped at a wonderful spot for lunch. They had great fresh food and a fabulous view, plus lots of cute animals.

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These are the fake animals.

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These are the real animals.

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This is the view!

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All happy after a nice lunch and rest.

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a sleeping puppy and Columbine.

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Wonderful daisy’s remind me of my mom (her favorite flower) and our good friend Cheryl’s Angel daughter who’s name is Daisy.

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We started to see and smell the mighty eucalyptus tress.

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More cows marching down Main Street!

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This little albergue was quite a lively little spot, we stopped for an offered cookie and to fill up our water jugs.

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free hugs, how sweet is that!

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“I am the Camino”
“I am truth”
“I am life”
Jesus

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A nice fountain for filling water bottles.

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Our pal Estelle from Sweden who sounds sooooo very American, so much fun she is.

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Nice fields of wild flowers.

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Danni waiting for us at an albergue rest stop who’s theme was “ants”

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A little more walking in the woods while Elda stretches her tight shoulder from carrying that heavy back pack.

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We arrive in Palas del Rea.

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A great albergue where all the staff has walked the Camino, those are all the certificates.

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A pilgrims “good- luck” wall, leave a coin and have good-luck for a year!

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A nice little bunk space for three!

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A lovely meal shared with John, an elementary school Liberian from Washington DC who’s been on sabbatical this past year traveling the world. Completing the Camino is almost off his bucket list.
Another great Buen Camino day.
Will continue to keep you posted as the big day draws closer.
Abrazos,
Kate, Danni and Elda

Posted in My Camino Dream | 8 Comments

Day 29 Sarria to Portomarin

UPDATE:5 WALKING DAYS REMAINING:

Today was a fairly easy 14 mile hike. We officially passed the 100 km marker which means pilgrims must now walk every step or no certificate in Santiago (no matter how long they have already walked before getting to there). There is definitely a new look to many of the pilgrims on the trail now. They have a fresh beginners look, but it’s also nice to see and meet new and excited faces.

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Leaving Sarria.

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Walking past another cemetery, the dark clouds in the sky make it look spooky like “Dark Shadows.”

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Scenery along the Way.

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Those “spooky” clouds by the cemetery turned out to be rain clouds.
This is a group of fresh new pilgrims getting on their rain gear. It turns out the rain sprinkled and then went away and the weather turned out being lovely.

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A lovely rest stop in Barbadelo.

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There are so many new pilgrims on the path now sometimes there are pilgrim-jams.

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We saw 83 year old George, what an inspiration…..step by step no matter how slowly gets you where you want to be.

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Another sweet encounter with a puppy along the Camino.

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Nice brightly painted arrows pointing the “Way” for new pilgrims.

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100 km left to go!

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An adorable Camino puppy who carries his own pack. We even saw them later in the day all rested up and without packs!

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Cows and an Emu, a new Camino animal.

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A beautiful horse on the side of the road.

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We passed this odd little “shrine” that has items and some messages that people have left behind.

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Danni leaving behind a sweet message for her family, friends!

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Beautiful sights along the way.

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Sweet dogs we think are St. Barnards, we have seen several, probably good for herding sheep and/or cows.

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First sighting of our final destination for today, Portomarin.

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We crossed over the Rio Mino, which looked more like a lake. This was the largest body of water we have seen so far in Spain.

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When ever we come to our town, we always look for the church/Cathedral because our albergue is usually right near it.

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After walking our 14 miles, it’s so heartwarming to arrive at a town where everything is “UP HILL”

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Here is the Church and another pilgrim statue.

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Our Albergue.

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Visiting with our friends Ann from England and Ann & Bob from Tipperary. Cheers!

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Inside the Church.
We’re getting more and more excited with each passing day that we will reach Santiago, and be back home with our friends and family.
Buen Camino,
Kate, Danni and Elda.

Posted in My Camino Dream | 10 Comments

Day 28 Tricastella to Sarria

In the words of James Brown, “I feel Good”!!! That little bit of rest did my tendons wonders and today was a great, short hike – only 11.3 miles so we arrived in Sarria nice and early today allowing for plenty of rest time.

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A typical Spanish breakfast, pan tostadas with cafe. Today was extra special because our pan was heart- shaped.
This is our friend John from Suffolk England. He started his Camino from St. Jean on April 25 and has gone through a lot of illness, trials and tribulations but bless his determined Camino heart he is now feeling healthy and strong and ready to finish his Camino like us, next weekend.

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Leaving Tricastella.

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An ugly pilgrim fountain and a Camino doggy getting some water.

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Today it seemed that we were walking in the clouds that we saw in the valley’s from our view yesterday looking down from O’Cebreiro.

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Sightings along the Way.

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While walking today we saw this vending machine in the middle of no where along the wooded trail. I’m really not sure how it got power, but the girl sitting at the picnic table said she got a cold drink from it.

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Can you see Elda walking on the path up ahead? This gives you a good idea of just how tall the trees were. Today’s hike was gorgeous, lush and very green; reminded me of Ireland. The couple from Ireland that we ate dinner with thought the same thing.

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A nice little rest stop with some cute puppies.

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Meet George from Boston, at 83 years young he’s the oldest pilgrim we’ve met yet! And look at those Camino shoes. George did that to his shoes after his first week of walking. He said his greatest Camino regret is that he hadn’t cut those toes out right away.

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Elda and I in front of those wonderful trees. This photo was taken by an Italian gentleman. Danni was way up ahead today!

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We arrive in Sarria to a very nice albergue, we even have a room for just us three!

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P

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We shared a delicious meal here with a German and Irish couple and a gentleman from Portland Oregon.

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The Chapel Santa Marina is right next to our home. It’s lovely to hear the bells ring throughout our visit.

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Another tranquil and beautiful Church.

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Our view from the roof top patio and laundry facility of our albergue.

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Jesus is truly a very peaceful fellow! And where else would you see a window display dedicated only to scallop shells?

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A lovely picture of Elda with her Jesse & Chuy necklace.
Before we left for our journey, Deana gave each of us a picture necklace of our boys that we wear around our necks every day. Whenever the subject of our kids comes up with fellow pilgrims, we proudly each hold up the pictures of our kids! Thanks to Deana for such a perfect and well used gift.
We are now officially on the last stretch (5 days and around 70 miles).
Please continue to keep us in your thoughts and prayers. We have all been carried along by all of the amazing support we have received.
Buen Camino,
Kate, Elda and Danni

Posted in My Camino Dream | 13 Comments

Day 27 La Faba to Triacastela

Hola,
Today marks going under the 100 mile mark of our journey! Also, when we reached the town of O’Cebreiro (pictures to follow) we entered the Galicia region which is our final region and the area that Santiago is in. (This are is also known for raining a lot)
Galicia shares many historical and physical similarities with other Celtic regions, particularly western Ireland. My heritage is part Irish and my boys dad was born in Scotland so this Spanish/Celtic link is quite interesting to me. The moment we entered this region you started seeing familiar Celtic symbols on jewelry and ornamentation’s, and even heard some bagpipes! There’s even a language called Galega that is still spoken which has roots in Irish or Scottish Gaelic.

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A place map given at our meal tonight shows the Galicia region. If you look at the checked line that marks the Camino you can see O’Cebreiro and Triacastela where we are staying tonight.

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Leaving La Faba.

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Yippy! That’s right around 100 miles!

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Beautiful views looking East and West!

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Entering Gaicia.

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Coming into beautiful and quaint O'Cebreiro.

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Thatched roofs just like in Ireland!

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O’Cebreiro Iglesia is one of the earliest surviving buildings on the Camino, dating back to the 9th century.

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Santa Maria la Real is patroness of the area and connects with the miracle of O’Cebreiro Santo Milagros on which ‘a devout and humble peasant, saw the bread and wine turn into the body and blood of Christ.

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We always light candles for our children.

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The alter of the church. Do you see the shape of an angel in the top window light above the cross?

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A tribute to the pilgrims.

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The burial place of A parish priest Don Sampedro (1929 – 1989) who did so much to preserve the Camino route.

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A pilgrim proud of her Macedonian roots.

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Beautiful ladies with beautiful clouds laying down in the valley below us.

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Enjoying our breakfast of Spanish tortilla (more like a potato and egg torte) with coffee and tea.

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Camino dogs.

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A pilgrim shadow and a Camino dog!

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Views along the “Way”

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Alto San Roque, monument to the Pilgrim.

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I really love this photo of the three of us!

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Hand carved walking sticks.

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I loved the purple flowers growing on this white stone church.

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Danni sending emails to all her loved ones and friends after arriving at our Albergue.
Confession from pilgrim Kate: have you noticed a very productive blog writer today? Well it turns out that I opted to taxi in the last 6.5 miles of the trail today due to a very painful case of tendentious in my shins. Yesterday it helped to ice them, today nothing helped. I decided to give them a rest up so that hopefully I’ll be better for the remaining trip. Danni and Elda were awesome super-duper-trooper pilgrims and did the whole really tough hike today. They supported me every inch of my decision, and I in turn saved them really good bunks and got caught up on blogs!

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Tomorrow we hike to Sarria which is the last town where pilgrims MUST WALK EVERY MILE IN ORDER TO GET THE CERTIFICATE!
Buen Camino to all and to all a good night. My shins are feeling much better, Danni and Elda are doing great (although their feet are naturally sore)
So it’s off to Sarria we go!
Abrazos,
Kate, Danni and Elda

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