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Live From The Camino Portugués

Discussion in 'The Camino Portugues' started by Wily, Mar 25, 2017.

  1. Wily

    Wily Camino Francés 2016; Camino Portugués 2017

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    Day 1 from Porto to Vila do Conde is complete. It's great to be walking again! We took people's advice and took the coastal route this morning. Long travel day yesterday with missed planes and rerouting! Arrived Porto 12 hours later than planned. More convinced than ever that one needs to keep their backpack with them in the plane. But, with all the changes, our checked bag with our poles and knives did arrive when we did!

    Late night taxi from airport to downtown cost about 25€. The Poets Inn turned out to be a lovely place to stay. It's right in the heart of the old part of the city near the train station. The cathedral opened at 9 am where we picked up our credential. Rather than taking the metro up to Matosinhos to begin, we grabbed the #500 bus (1.90€) for a pleasant ride along the Rio Douro and up the coast a bit to Matosinhos.

    Most of the walk, about 23 km up to Vila do Conde, was on boardwalk along the coast. It was a glorious sunny morning with only a light breeze that made it near perfect for walking. Very pleased to have chosen the coastal route as the walking was straight forward and quite easy. Only near the end of the day did we start seeing the traditional yellow arrows pointing us the last few kilometers. Numerous restaurants and coffee shops dot the beach area north of Porto, so there were many places to stop for a break. Interestingly, we only crossed paths with one other pilgrim heading up the coastal route today.

    Although it was a very different first day on the Camino compared to the walk out of SJPP and over the mountain, it nonetheless did the job of getting us excited for our next two weeks. Here at the Bellamar Hostel, we overlook the river and plan to head out for a well earned fish dinner tonight. Bom Caminho!
     

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  2. Josh unçu

    Josh unçu Member

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    You both look great " amigos "!!!
    " Boa estrada a Santiago "
    &
    " Ultreia "
    J.Ç.
     
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  3. Wily

    Wily Camino Francés 2016; Camino Portugués 2017

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    Just a few quick observations from Day 2. We headed inland from the coast this morning. Signage was adequate, but minimal on the secondary Camino routes. Once we hit the Caminho Central in Arcos, signage was excellent all the way to Barcelos. Many narrow roads here with no shoulders and numerous blind corners. One has to be alert any time they are walking on the roads! Some path walking today, but not a lot. Even on this rainy day, the countryside and small villages are quite nice. One highlight today was getting to walk through a eucalyptus forest just outside Barcelos. My biggest surprise so far is the nealy complete absence of other pilgrims. My conclusion is that we're a bit ahead of the walking season in Portugal. A Swedish pilgrim I met yesterday and who I dinned with tonight is the only one staying in his albergue. If anyone is looking for a quiet Camino, it's the CP this time of year. Clearly, all the reservations I made weren't necessary. We decided that Brierley's stage from Barcelos to Ponte de Lima (34 km) was too long for one day. We're stopping about halfway tomorrow at the Casa de Fernanda that everyone raves about. My feet will definitely enjoy a shorter walking day particularly if it is primarly on the cobblestones. Bom Caminho everyone!
     
  4. Maurice Marr

    Maurice Marr Member

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    Sounds like you all are having a nice time. Stay save on the "roads".

    wayne
     
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  5. dalebob

    dalebob Member

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    Willy enjoying your live notes on he CP, brings back many memories and happy days for me. Just a tip for day 3, start if you haven't already, warming up your vocal chords and practising your favourite songs this might be useful? Can't say anymore but you will know why soon ??? Fardo can be very nice sometimes ? Learn to love he cobbles or they will drive you crazy because there are lots of them still on this Camino.
    Finally come across any mean looking crazy barking dogs yet ? They used to worry me at times but they were usually on a long ropes or chains at empty properties warning you to keep out or else !!
    Hope the weather stays good for you.
    Bom Caminho
    dalebob
     
  6. Amsky1

    Amsky1 New Member

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    Hi Wily,
    I have been following you on this forum since I joined last year. I am starting the CP April 21. I have a question (and I'm sure I will have more to come). I am interested in the Coastal route. But how are you determining when to go inland and when to stay on the coast? I see you went inland after a few days. Is there any particular reason? Thanks so much for your live on CP updates this is so helpful to me.
    Many thanks,
    Amsky
     
  7. Wily

    Wily Camino Francés 2016; Camino Portugués 2017

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    Hey Amsky - Our plan all along was to walk the Caminho Central. We deviated from it out of Porto so as to avoid hours of walking through the cities industrial zone. Loved the coastal walk up to Vila do Conde. So, to answer your question, we had planned on cutting in at Vila do Conde. There appears to be two or three routes over to the Central at that point. All are about the same distance, but the one via Arcos puts you on the Central fairly quickly. I can see coming back to walk the entire coastal route. It was a wonderful first day along the ocean. Buen Camino in April. We enjoyed great seafood in Vila do Conde.
     
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  8. Wily

    Wily Camino Francés 2016; Camino Portugués 2017

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    Hey Dalebob - So far, lots of barking dogs! But, most of them are behind walls and gates or on chains just as you remember. No problem with them since they all seem well secured!

    Good to know that there are more cobbles ahead. It's not that they're difficult to walk on, but they do seem to tire the feet out more than other surfaces. But, I will heed your advice and learn to embrace the cobbles.

    Thanks too about warming up the vocal chords. I'll dig into long term memory and see if I can remember the words to any songs that I may have once known.
     
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  9. Crepes4Suzette

    Crepes4Suzette Well-Known Member

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    Wily, so the risk related to the blind curves and no shoulder and too-fast drivers can be made less of a risk by hearing the cars on cobblestones so you can get out of the way?

    Is the scenery nice? Hope you both have had a good day of walking and that a great dinner and rest await!
     
  10. Wily

    Wily Camino Francés 2016; Camino Portugués 2017

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    Hey C4S - Hearing the cars approach on the cobbles is definitely a plus. Still, we find ourselves regularly stepping off the road since cars do get pretty close. Definitely, not my favorite part of walking. However, today was a real mix of surfaces including more non-vehicle paths. Much nicer! The Portuguese countryside is lovely! Wonderful small towns, just like in Spain, to walk through, along with plenty of cafes for really good cafe on leche (1€). Three days of rainy weather which makes it a bit on the chilly and damp side. Temperatures are going up over the next week which will make for better walking. Bom Caminho!
     
  11. Wily

    Wily Camino Francés 2016; Camino Portugués 2017

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    Greetings from Ponte de Lima. Four days on the Camino and the sun finally found us. Coupled with some of the best walking trails so far, our short 15 km walk put us into town for lunch!

    Anyone planning to walk the Caminho Central should really try to spend a night at Casa de Fernanda. It's roughly halfway between Barcelos and Ponte de Lima. Greater hospitality will probably not be found elsewhere! Fernanda can house about 12 pilgrims plus a couple more on mattresses on the floor if necessary. We were lucky enough to get her one private room. Shortly after arrival, we were sitting outside with some fellow pilgrims from Norway, Germany and Korea enjoying a light snack of fried fish, olives, bread, and hot wine. Less than two hours later, Fernanda had prepared a full dinner with a delicious veggie soup, fish, chicken potatoes, and sauteed greens from her garden. The white and tawny ports after dinner topped off a great homecooked meal. This began again this morning with breakfast in her kitchen. Her homemade lemon marmalade is to die for! Fernanda only accepts donations for lodging and meals. Without a doubt, the Casa de Fernanda will be one of our Camino highlights.

    Anyone wanting to stay here is best to call in advance to reserve a bed. Although there were only 5 of us at the Casa last night, she is full tonight. It might be fair to say that Fernanda, who has been taking pilgrims into her home for over 20 years, is one of the genuine Saints along the Way. Bom Caminho!
     

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  12. dalebob

    dalebob Member

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    Willy glad you enjoyed staying at Casa Fernanda it was my best stay on CP in May 2015 it was full. The hospitality , company, food, drink, and entertainment was the best of the trip. After diner at the table we all had to sing/hum our countries national anthems! This was very funny and carried on for days as we passed each other on the trail. And we had chorus from 2 French and 2 German ladies that led us through a selection of Abba's greatest hits in several languages. Then Fernanda's Dad gave some of his favourite Fardo ballads. Hope you had a good walk up Alto da Portela Grande good views on a clear day ?
    Hope the weather stays good for you ! Bom Caminho
    dalebob
     
  13. Wily

    Wily Camino Francés 2016; Camino Portugués 2017

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    Hey Dalebob - Yes, Casa Fernanda was truly special! Just genuine hospitality! Unfortunately, it wasn't Abba night, but we did get entertained by a German rapper! Great food, great camaraderie, great fun! The real spirit of the Camino!

    Loved the walk up the Alto da Portela Grande today. Not a tough climb, but a refreshing break from the flats! It was clear, so the views from the top were great! We're finally meeting more pilgrims along The Way!

    We've landed for the day in Rubiaes and are staying at the Albergue Ninho. Immediately, we knew we had found another gem of a place to stay! Just resting a bit before dinner. Ah, life is good on the Camino! Bom Caminho my friend!
     
  14. Wily

    Wily Camino Francés 2016; Camino Portugués 2017

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    Greetings from Tui, Spain! After six days on the Camino, we have left Portugal behind us. What a great first half to our Camino!

    So, with 125 km completed, we've been averaging 21 km a day. Even with Nancy's sore knee, we're still arriving at our destinations by mid-afternoons. The leisurely pace has allowed us stops for numerous coffees along The Way as well as plenty of time to take photos. Weather has been near 70/20 each of the last two days. Perfect temperatures for hiking. And, ever since Casa Fernanda, the trails through natural areas has made for wonderful walking.

    We continue to have very good luck with our accomodations. Last night in Rubiaes, we stayed at the Albergue Ninho. Quite nice! A bed with breakfast cost 12€. Just down the road a couple hundred meters was a restaurant serving a good pilgrim's meal for the same price. Delightful hospitaleros from Germany offered a very warm welcome at the albergue.

    Signage along the Caminho Central continued to be excellent all the way to the border. The Camino route takes you right through the heart of the old fort in Valenca. After crossing the river into Spain, one climbs to the old part of the city. The Tui Hostel where we are staying tonight is just a block from the cathedral and right on the Camino route. From what I could tell walking into town, there are abundant places to enjoy some tapas and wine tonight. Buen Camino!
     
  15. Wily

    Wily Camino Francés 2016; Camino Portugués 2017

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    Another lovely day on the Camino! By shortening our day to just 17 km. we arrived in O Porriño early in the afternoon. The Brierely stage of 32 km would have been much more than we could have handled today. Interestingly, a number of Camino friends were doing exactly the same thing. Don't necessarily think of the Brierley guide as the Bible. Make decisions based on what works for you.

    Anyone walking the CP should take the alternative route that is suggested about about 9 km north of Tui. Although it adds a bit to the walk, you will avoid both the highway and the industrial zone around O Porriño. Signage is confusing at the turn so pay attention! The sign that says alternativo is not the right way to go! Most of the walk from Tui today was on tranquil paths in wooded areas and along streams.

    Nancy's knee held up very well today! We shipped her backpack ahead using Tuitrans and it made all the difference. She reached O Porriño with more energy and feeling better about finishing her Camino. We'll ship her pack ahead again tomorrow to Redondela. Assisting her to Santiago has given my Camino an important new meaning and importance. It's not just another long walk!

    After seven days of walking, we're seeing more and more familiar faces. Right now is a very quiet time on the CP. Bumping into Camino friends is one of the highlights of walking and something we look forward to. Five days to Santiago!
     
  16. Wily

    Wily Camino Francés 2016; Camino Portugués 2017

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    My wife is celebrating her birthday today walking the Camino! How great is that?

    In so many ways, this is a very different Camino this year. Due to the low number of pilgrims right now, there is absolutely no pressure on beds. We were at the private Albergue Camino Portuguese in Porriño last night with possibly 10 other pilgrims. There has been no need for reservations anywhere. But, as the season gets going, that may certainly change. Still, getting to your destination by early afternoon is the best advice I can offer anyone looking for a bed. No early risers here as I experienced last year on the CF. At 7:30 am, no one had yet stirred!

    We used Tuitrans again today to move my wife's backpack on to Redondela. The transport system in this part of Spain works identically to that of Jacotrans along the CF. Our pack is tagged and left at the albergue in the morning and is at our next albergue/hostel when we arrive in the afternoon. The fee has been a very reasonable 5€/transport. Although my wife's pack is relatively light (6 kg), not carrying it the last two days has really taken some pressure off her knee and made walking easier. I have no doubt that we'll finish our journey into Santiago continuing to take advantage of the Tuitrans service.

    Blister care is going so much better this Camino. With changes in Nancy's gait due to her knee, the blister family showed up. Take care of them as soon as they develop. Open and drain them. Then, use a paper pharmaceutical tape to cover them while walking. Air them out at night and drain again in the morning if necessary before re-bandaging. In two days time, although still a bit sore, they are well under control and going away. My advice is to stay away from products like Compeed.

    In Redondela early on a beautiful Saturday afternoon. Off to enjoy some tapas and wine. Only 84 km/52.5 miles to Santiago. Two-thirds done! Buen Camino!
     
  17. hindsfeet

    hindsfeet Donating Member Donating Member

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    Happy Birthday Nancy, ....Yes indeed, a great way to spend your birthday. I planned the same
    for my Camino next year. Hopefully your knee and blisters will continue to heal! Does that
    surprise you Wily, that so few pilgrims this time of year? Is it jacket weather while walking?
    Enjoy Redondela! We will be offering a toast for your birthday Nancy!
     
  18. Wily

    Wily Camino Francés 2016; Camino Portugués 2017

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    Hey Hindsfeet - First, yes, I am surprised by so few pilgrims. However, I am seeing more and more the closer we get to Santiago. But, the albergues are still nearly empty (at least the private ones) and if anyone is looking for a tranquil walk, this is the one to do at this time of year.

    Even with the rain, it has been light jacket weather in the mornings and then long or short sleeved shirts later. We had a bit if rain this morning, but it's still almost 60 degrees here. Will be dry and sunny according to the forecaste for rest of our walk. The poncho has stayed in the pack. I'm hoping to wear shorts from here on out!!!

    I will pass on your birthday wishes to Nancy. We've already enjoyed some tasty tapas and red wine earlier today with more to come. Take care.
     
  19. Josh unçu

    Josh unçu Member

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    Feliz Aniversário, Nancy !!!!!
    Desfrute de tapas e vinho Português. A toast to you and all the pilgrims.
    For then will come the Octopus plates and the Riveiro wine cups.
    Ultreia to both!!!!
    J.Ç.
     
  20. toadoftoadhall

    toadoftoadhall Member

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    Great write ups Wily, it really makes me want to do this walk now. Just keep finding those gem Alburges.
    Toad.
     
  21. Wily

    Wily Camino Francés 2016; Camino Portugués 2017

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    A most wonderful day on the Camino Portugués! The sun was out which made for great walking. The 20 km walk between Redondela and Pontevedra is quite nice. For the first 7 km, one has views from above of the Rio de Vigo. It is really quite a large body of water. The single most impressive spot we saw today was the stone bridge, Pontesampaio, built in 1795. Numerous cafe/bars are to be found in the town of Arcade for a much welcomed coffee break mid-morning. From there, for much of the next few kilometers, you are on a path that winds through peaceful woods with an easy climb up Alta da Canicouva (only 145m). So far, this has been one of my favorite stages on this Camino.

    Unlike some larger cities, the walk into Pontevedra was pleasant enough leading us to the center of the city where we are staying at the very pleasant Slow City Hostel. Here, we have a private room with a shared bath. It's very comfortable and they're full! Tonight, a traditional Galician restaurant awaits us. Among other things, we look forward to pulpo!

    We're now seeing more and more pilgrims for the first time. It appears that many have just started in Tui so as to walk the last 100 km into Santiago and qualify for the Compostela. Had a pleasant coffee break with a Canadian couple walking from Tui to Santiago with one of the organized tour groups that are available. Everyone walks their own Camino! Just three days left! 65 kilometers to Santiago!
     

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  22. Amsky1

    Amsky1 New Member

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    Hi Wily,
    I am heading to Porto in about two weeks. How is the weather? Shorts? Long sleeves? Trying to finalize the packing. Thanks! Thoroughly enjoying your updates!

    --Amsky
     
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  23. Wily

    Wily Camino Francés 2016; Camino Portugués 2017

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    Hey Amsky - Weather is a bit crazy. 5 days of light rain out of our last nine. However, sun and warm the next 4 days for us. I wore shorts today for the first time. It was great! Will do so again rest if my trek to Santiago. Long sleeves possibly in the morning. Layers are good. Actually, I've started out with just a short sleeved shirt and my light jacket. By mid-morning the jacket was gone. The weather forecast on weather.com has been spot on. Enjoy your Caminho!
     
  24. Wily

    Wily Camino Francés 2016; Camino Portugués 2017

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    An easy 22 km walk from Pontevedra to Caldas de Reis today. Most of the trail was off road through many wooded kilometers.

    Although we stayed in the heart of the old city in Pontevedra last night, the municipal albergue is on the southern edge of the city, a fair distance (2 km) from most of the eateries in the Center. My advice, so as to enjoy the city center, would be to walk past the municipal and look for a private albergue further on. My other suggestion is be sure to grab coffee before leaving Pontevedra. No coffee stop, except for a vending machine, until you get to Meson Don Pulpo in San Amaro.

    Although there's not much information in the Brierley guide, the turn-off to the Variante Espiritual is well marked a few kilometers out of Pontevedras.

    Our albergue tonight, the O Cruciero, is quite nice. It's just a few blocks off the Camino. The O Cruciero is both an albergue and a hotel. It's reminiscent of the Albergue/Hotel Jakue in Puente La Reina. In the albergue section, they have rooms with 2, 4, or 6 beds. For a private double, it's our cheapest sleep yet! Albergue almost empty tonight!

    On to Padrón tomorrow. Nancy's knee is improving by the day thanks to the wonders of Ibuprofen.

    43 kilometers to Santiago. Buen Camino!
     
    Last edited: Apr 3, 2017
  25. Josh unçu

    Josh unçu Member

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    The Variante Espiritual or Sea Trail:
    Stage 1.- After crossing the city of Pontevedra, follow the portuguese route 2 km. and detour can be found st left.
    Here it starts, running through Poio & Combarro until the Armenteira Monastery to spend the night aftertraveling 21 kms.
    Stage 2 .- From Armenteira to Pontearnelas you will walk the " Route of Stone & Water" through a natural landscape in the shadow of trees, old water mills . Gardens& vineyards indicates the approaching to the Arousa estuary , so after 24 kms one reaches the beaches and the town of Vilanova do Arousa.
    Stage 3.- Between here to Padrón a boat will carry the pilgrim ( if not walk on foot 28 kms).
    The boat crosses the Arousa estuary and the river Ulla up-streams, ( as the remains of St. James), this time about 1 hour. During the ride one enjoyes the mussel farming in the waters of the estuary and travel the only maritime Via Crucis where 17 centennial cruceros can be admired, identifying the trail of Santiago as the Origing of all roads.
    In Padrón or Pontecesures the trail once again merges with the Portugues Way.
    See other trails in " The Cathedral Camino Game: http://iosusweb.blogspot.com.es/ The trail of Saint James ".
    Ultreia!!!
    J.Ç.
     
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  26. Wily

    Wily Camino Francés 2016; Camino Portugués 2017

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    Another beautiful day walking in Paradise! Excellent trails winding through woods and villages between Caldas de Reis and Padrón. The overcast skies and rain seen far behind us as we enjoyed blue skies and sunshine again today. Nancy's knee problem has greatly improved. As her knee has improved, her Camino "joy" has returned! Even with leisurely breaks for coffee, we arrived in Padrón before 2 pm and before many of our Camino friends!

    I can't believe that we're near the end of this journey! For anyone yet to walk the Camino later this year, you have so much to look forward to. My one piece of advice: don't hurry your Camino. Our pace has been between 20-25 km a day. Although slower than I walked the CF, we have had time to really appreciate the small treats the Camino offers instead of hurrying past and missing them. Carpe diem (slowly)! I know Brierley means well, but when he suggests 30+ km stages, that's too much! Build an itinarary where you can keep your daily kilometers down.

    It's most bittersweet to know that we reach Santiago tomorrow. Although this has been a much shorter Camino for me this year, I can tell you that by the day the excitement of seeing the cathedral has been mounting. The anticipation one feels about entering Santiago is amazing! Since we added an extra day of walking to this trip, our stay in Santiago will be one day shorter. However, I'm so pleased to have had that extra day on the Camino and the experiences that it brought.

    25 km to Santiago! Ultreia!
     
  27. Crepes4Suzette

    Crepes4Suzette Well-Known Member

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    I've so enjoyed following your Camino! You've missed nothing weatherwise here in the NE of the U.S. - rain and grey the entire time, and still fairly cold. So glad your wife's knee is improving and wish you a wonderful day walking into Santiago tomorrow!
     
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  28. UnkleHammy

    UnkleHammy Well-Known Member

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    Wily

    How are you making these interesting posts? Are you carrying a lap top? Or are you finding Desktops to write on. I do almost everything with my cell phone and writing as much as you do would drive me nuts.
     
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  29. Crepes4Suzette

    Crepes4Suzette Well-Known Member

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    Wily, did you and your wife take hiking poles this time? And, if so, did you find that you really needed them? Congratulations on arrival in Santiago! Hope you have some wonderful food and enjoy your stay at San Martin Pinario!
     
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  30. hindsfeet

    hindsfeet Donating Member Donating Member

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    Wily, what a joy reading your posts while on the Camino! Excitement builds to walk my own Camino.
    It is hard for me to comprehend, but I know so many people that have spent their whole life in the city
    that they were born in. (and of course they think I am odd) They tell me that they are home-bodies, and
    have NO interest to travel. I know, that's what makes the world go around, but can't quite wrap my
    head around it. I am so excited to experience the Camino......able to share some of it with others, and it
    sounds like much of it is cast in your spirit to be shared with no one. Beautiful!
    Enjoy Santiago "PEOPLE DON'T TAKE TRIPS......TRIPS TAKE PEOPLE"- John Steinbeck
     
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