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Back Home From 4th Camino

Discussion in 'General Chat' started by Laurie Ferris, Jun 1, 2019.

  1. Laurie Ferris

    Laurie Ferris Laurie Ferris

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    I just returned home from another relatively short Camino. Two travel days, one night in Rabanal, one night in Ponferrada, ten days of walking, and two days in Santiago.

    [​IMG]

    I was craving a less crowded walk, so decided to do the Camino Invierno, aka Winter Way, from Ponferrada. This is definitely a less-trodden Camino, but little did I know that I wouldn’t see a pilgrim until the third day! This was by far the most challenging Camino for me because some of the stages were very long, and a few days there were no places to stop. But, I walked through incredibly beautiful landscapes, connected with some locals, and survived some unforeseen challenges. In short, it was a Camino of solitude at the beginning, a test of my fortitude in the middle, but throughout it all, left me with a feeling of extreme gratitude. I will write more about it later. I did some posts on Instagram and Facebook if you want a sneak preview of my adventures and a few pilgrim hacks, see:
    Instagram.com/CaminoProvides
    Facebook.com/CaminoProvides

    Thanks to all those who purchased patches while I was away! I am back to my usual fast turnaround of mailing them within 3-5 business days. As promised, I made a donation to Egeria house from the sales of patches while I was on the Camino. I visited Sybille Yates and met more of the volunteers from the Camino Chaplaincy. I wholeheartedly support what they do, so if you are looking for some Camino camaraderie while you’re in Santiago, or a good cause to donate to, check out Egeria.House

    Hasta muy pronto!

    https://thecaminoprovides.com/2019/05/31/back-home-from-4th-camino/
     
  2. raymond john

    raymond john Well-Known Member

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    Hi Laurie
    Pleased to hear you enjoyed your Winter Way camino. As you say, it's very strange not come in contact with another pilgrim for 2/3 days. I had a similar experience when walking the Portuguese camino Costal route from Porto in early June 2016, there where lots of holiday makers in the costal resorts but no pilgrims, I stayed 3 nights in Albergues on my own, the costal scenery was spectacular. When I got back on the main traditional route at TUI i met some amazing Pilgrims with great stories and experiences to share,
    Where did you stay in RABANAL ? .There is an American lady Kim who now lives in the village. She owns and runs a Casa Rurales " The Stone Gate " which is half way up the main street on the RHS not far from the Benedictine Monastery & Church. I met Kim this year when I was opening Gaucelmo then on my two weeks Volunteer duty at the begging of April. She a very friendly and easy to talk with, we invited her to our village party that we hold every year prior to opening on 1st April . However, she couldn't make this year to prior another commitment,but she made us banana cake " Perfecto " which the villages loved. Kim also made another banana cake for one of our pilgrims daly afternoon tea party at 16;30.
    I believe Kim is an artisan she make many different kinds of thinks and is still finding her way and integrating with the village life.

    Hopefully, I'm going back at the end of October to close Gaucelmo down for the winter period and will make a point for going to see her and find out how she is settling in to village life and had plenty of pilgrims to stay. As an aside, last year in July, August & early September there was a big drop in Pilgrim numbers along the Camino and every one in the village was effected. This is the first time it has happened and there are lots of theories but no real explanation real why?. The baker who delivers our bread every day said it was the same all over his delivery area.

    Carpe Diem and live the moment

    Raymond John
     
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  3. Laurie Ferris

    Laurie Ferris Laurie Ferris

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    Thanks Raymond.
    I stayed at The Stone Boat in Rabanal and enjoyed the banana bread and Kim’s hospitality. She’s doing well. Rabanal is a very special place.
    Laurie
     
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  4. raymond john

    raymond john Well-Known Member

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    Laurie
    Thanks for the update on Kim. Whoops the name of her Casa Rurales as you said is the "Stone Boat" and not Gate (having senior moment). Yes, Rabanal is a very special place our Refuigo/ Albergue Gaucelmo has been in Rabanal since 1990. The CSJ (Confraternity of St James ) a British based charity which was formed in 1982 to promote the camino, were approached to provide a Refugio/ Alberugue in Rabanal because there was no places to stay on the 50km section of the camino between Astorga and Ponerrada. The old derelict priest house next to the now a Monastery was Rebuilt / Modified / Extended into the Refugio/ Albergue Gaucelmo it is today.
    The CSJ Members/ Volunteer Hospitalero's have very strong links with the village community and the Benedictine Monks which have been built up over the years. The villagers / Monks are very welcoming and supportive and long may it continue.

    Carpe Diem

    Raymond John
     
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  5. Laurie Ferris

    Laurie Ferris Laurie Ferris

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    I would like to stay at Albergue Guacelmo some day. I hear there’s a good afternoon tea? And evening vespers?
     
  6. raymond john

    raymond john Well-Known Member

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    Lauri
    I do hope you decide to come and stay with us, the Volunteer Hospitalero's will make you feel so very welcome. The daly afternoon tea in the garden, country yard or in the salon depending on the weather. The party's is a lot of fun filled with joy and laughter,we put a lot of effort in trying to make it successful and getting the Pilgrims to to mix and talk and share with each other. Sometimes it's not always successful as we would like to be because of language difficulties. However, The Pilgrims arrive as strangers and leave as camino friends.
    Vespers is at 19;00 in the church with Compline - Evening Prayers with a Pilgrims blessing at 21;00, there is also a morning Mass at 09;00 during the week ( Mon - Fri). There are 5 Benedictine monks in residence at the monastery. Fr Javier -Spanish , Fr Pious - German- Fr Clemens - Korean plus 2 newly arrive monks and I can remember their names. They have a residential retreat centre where they hold 3/4 day residential retreats for the pilgrims which are very popular, from April - October ish . The monks are lead by Fr Javier who, along with the other monks are very welcoming & approachable. They meet & talk with the pilgrims after Mass,Vesper's and Compline and also have a small gift shop and are happy to bless articles or give a personal blessing. Fr Javier is very charming and has a great sense of humour.

    I attach a video taken by Tom & Liz Brandt in 2016, Volunteer Hospitalero's from the USA, which gives you good picture of Gaucelmo & Rabanal at that time, I hope you enjoy watching it. Personally it brings back many happy memories of working at Gaucelmo & Rabanal

    https://www.caminodesantiago.me/community/threads/movie-of-our-time-as-hospitaleros-at-refugio-gaucelmo.36773/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed:+PilgrimageToSantiagoDeCompostela+(Camino+de+Santiago+de+Compostela)

    Carpe Diem

    Raymond John
     
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