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On My Way!!

Discussion in 'Camino Frances' started by Jose, Sep 25, 2017.

  1. Jose

    Jose Well-Known Member

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    Greetings everyone! I posted this a day or so ago in another string, but thought maybe it belonged more here and here it goes.
    Just crossed into Roncevalles on September 17. Despite all heroic advice to contrary, I would seriously recommend stopping in Orisson. Believe me the climb was very much for the first day. I was ready for a stop and plenty tired. Besides that the supper was great, the company fantastic and a real wonderful atmosphere developed. I took the road up because I missed the turn off. If it has been raining my advice indeed would be stick to the road. I think I was only one who did. The next day is actually fairly monstrous. So glad I split it. Still the final climb was mighty. Rain, cold wind and, well, cold. Was so glad to see the two trailers selling food and great coffee. And the first guy was selling his own aged sheep´s cheese, a hunk of which I bought and used it for two days worth of delicious chunky bites. Roncevalles is tremendous. So well done. So clean and organized and dinner at Sabrina´s was super. Then Zubiri, then San Esteban which was unforgettable. Passing through Pamplona which I loved. The exhibition on archeology in the cathedral is mind-boggling. Spent the night at Albergue Maria Roncal in Cizur Menor and then over the Alto de Perdón onto Orbanos with the detour to San Eunate. Couldn´t miss that. Found a CasaRural for 27 Euros in Obanos and spent my first night alone...well, a whole floor of a new, spotless house for that price. Great bar for dinner in Obanos and today arrive in Casa Magica in Villatuerta. Which is wonderful and have just had one of the best massages of my life. All this, guys, without reservations after Roncevalles. It's what I want to do. I am such a planner and controller and I just want to feel where I want to be and want to stop. Am trying (obviously) to stay off the Brierly stops imagining that the crowds are bigger there. Have had many hours of solitude on the paths. I love it. With my 74 years am doing fine. I know my backpack is still too heavy and am working on that saying if you haven´t used it by now get rid of it. My amazing Hoka shoes are, well, amazing. No blisters. I did take care of a hot spot with k-tape and that was the thing to do. Disaster avoided. Tomorrow will aim for Los Arcos and see if there is room for me at Casa de la Abuela. If not I will find something else. Now I am smelling a fantastic vegetarian (!) paella cooking in the kitchen. Dinner and great wine at 7:30. Also, I am refusing to leave in the dark. I am here to experience and SEE the camino. So my earliest leaving time has been 7 Am which gives me about half an hour or so in pre dawn light and then I get to see the dawn this morning lighting up the towers of Puente de la Reina. Signage is good, but you have to be careful in towns and cities since it doesn´t always feel logical as it does out in the country. Just have to pay attention. This is the week anniversary of my departure from Saint Jean Pied de Port which I loved. Wanted to live there. Attended the Sunday early mass all in Basque before setting out. Quite an experience. I needed two espressos to get my head around setting out. But I did. Weather is wonderful. Two days of rain. Otherwise a little overcast with hours of sun. Very cold in the mornings which now after coming over the Alto de Perdón the afternoons get very warm between like 1 and 4:30. Then delicious. The night I stayed in the CasaRural...will give you the name if you want it. Casa Raichu. Was a little lonely which surprised me. I missed my fellow pilgrims. Buen Camino
     
  2. UnkleHammy

    UnkleHammy Well-Known Member

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    Please keep these coming.
     
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  3. fraluchi

    fraluchi 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2015

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    Jose, your report makes lick one's lips: the right approach with the right spirit. Keep on going and Buen Camino!
     
  4. hindsfeet

    hindsfeet Donating Member Donating Member

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    Jose....Your Camino sounds AMAZING! I am so excited to get there myself! I am so happy to hear that you are healthy, blister-proof so far and enjoying yourself. Keep us posted if you can! Buen Camino!!! :D
     
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  5. Crepes4Suzette

    Crepes4Suzette Well-Known Member

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    I'm so happy for you, Jose! You did your preparation and sound to have pressed on through a great deal of effort and are enjoying the all the good things that are along the way. I'd heard that Casa Magica had massages, but didn't find anyone there doing them when I passed through.....what a pleasure that must have been! And oh that paella!

    I've been back from the Portuguese for a few days - Santiago was mobbed and we had trouble finding a room a month ahead. 1.5 hours for Compostelas, and that was after getting there to stand in line a half-hour before opening time as advised by the staff as it was at least 2.5 hours if we'd waited the evening before. I'm hoping by your arrival date, things will have quieted down.

    You have some wonderful days of walking ahead. I wish you the very best, and will look forward to hearing how your Camino is going!
     
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  6. Wily

    Wily Camino Francés 2016; Camino Portugués 2017

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    Hey C4S - Welcome home! How time flies! Seems like you were just leaving for Portugal!

    So, how was your walk? I know you found large crowds in Santiago, but how was it out on the trail? Any problems with accomodations there?

    You're correct about the Casa Magica. Although I didn't get paella the night I stayed there, I did have one of my best meals on the Camino. A great albergue that I'd stay at the next time through Villatuerta. Although it was a quiet little community, I did get to see one of the coolest bee hives. Buen Camino!

    IMG_1520.JPG
     
  7. Maya Grandmother

    Maya Grandmother Active Member

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    Hello Jose, so happy for you that you are well on your way. Thanks for sharing your experience so far. It is great to hear you are doing so well. Many blessings to you for the rest of your journey.
     
  8. Crepes4Suzette

    Crepes4Suzette Well-Known Member

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    I missed that beehive, Wily. Very cool! Here's a lengthy response to your questions:0)).

    I always enjoy the basic walking part of Caminos, but to me the scenery during the walks was a bit tedious on the Portuguese. My sister didn't want to be away long, so we chose this instead of something more scenic, so I shouldn't complain. My sister had her pack bitten through by a dog who ran out of an open gate at one of those vacation home compounds that you'd mentioned (I reported in to the police - with pictures - in Vilaboa after we got back). Some seriously crazy and aggressive person on the streets in Porto lunged at my sister and shoved an object into her face and kept trying to shake it in her face. She's quick, fortunately, and was able to get away, but he went after two other females passing by immediately after. She'd just that morning been talking about acid attacks in London. We had a mess on our hands with the flights over from and back to the U.S., but Ryan air from Spain to London went well despite all of their cancellations that week.

    I liked the towns most of all. Porto is pretty wonderful, as was a beautiful day walking up the coast. Barcelos, the fort at Valenca, Tui, etc. - every one a pleasure to see. Even O Porrino, which was supposed to be industrial, was really nice if the river walk was taken in and one went toward centre-town to see the park and the art center. And Santiago was, as always, a happy experience. 1.5 hours' wait for a Compostela even when going 1/2 hour early before their opening as recommended. It was more like 2.5 hours the evening before.

    Yes, we had trouble finding lodging even booking ahead. I wouldn't recommend BlueSock Hostel in Porto and wish we'd been able to stay at your Poet's Inn or the Gallery Hostel (both booked a month ahead). BlueSock was definitely a youth hostel only, despite a few references to a mix of ages on their reviews. The location was fantastic, though. They messed up our reservations and when I tried to get them clarified beforehand they sent reassurances, but they were still wrong when we got there.

    We booked all ahead like you guys. One of my favorites was Alojamiento Camino Portuguese in O Porrino mainly because of their excellent hospitalera and the curtained bunks. Tui had a medieval festival going on, and we stayed at a place that would have been wonderful (Ideas Peregrinas) if there had not been bagpipes and drums and yelling and singing going on under our window until 2 a.m. after no sleep the night before. We stayed in Hotel Duarte in Arcade, which was fine. The Parador in Pontevedra was wonderful, as was seeing the town. At Caldas de Reis, we had an entire floor to ourselves at PensionLaModerna, which was nice. An excellent place after Padron is Casa de Meixida, a casa rural in Lugar de Escravitude/Esclavitude (Slavery - no idea why.....). Very welcoming and semi-luxurious place after a long day's hike. Then in Santiago, we stayed at a very noisy place in town called Casa Iacobus where the proprietor is off-site. Guess the noise can't be helped many places in town, but next time I'd stay at one of the other quieter places like Pension con Encanto San Martin Pinario, the Hospederia San Martin Pinario (a favorite of many of us here, but sadly they had no availability), or the Seminario Menor (the latter was the only OTHER place under $200/night with availability that I could find despite checking for almost a month).

    There were two days when I wished we'd taken hiking poles because of the long, steeper inclines, but we made it. I'd do it again, but would take the coastal route up to at least Caminha and cut over.
     
    Last edited: Sep 28, 2017
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  9. Wily

    Wily Camino Francés 2016; Camino Portugués 2017

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    Wow C4S, a real mixed bag of experiences! I know the CP is a popular route, but doing it early or late in the season might be better regarding getting accommodations more easily. When we walked in early April, and the weather was most delightful, most nights there were no more than a handful of us in the albergues. I certainly agree with you that the Alojamiento Camino Portuguese in O Porrino with the curtained off pods was quite nice. And definitely do the river walk to get into town to avoid a long industrial section. Regarding reservations, I've had luck on my side in that all has gone very smoothly. Not so with flight delays, but that's part of the deal when one travels. Sounds like you maintsined a good perspective about the whole thing!

    We, too, had a beautiful day to walk up the coast out of Porto. Not having walked the Caminho Costal, I'd certainly opt for that route next time although I enjoyed the same towns and cities that you mentioned. Because it wasn't crazy when we were there, the experience with our fellow travelers still was one of the special things about walking. Meeting people from around the world will bring me back to Spain many more times. People make the Camino experience!

    This coming year, we're walking Holy Week. I'm not sure yet what to expect. Even though Easter is early this year, I'm anticipating a pretty busy Camino Inglés since it's a relatively short walk from Ferrol to Santiago. As my wife's 60th birthday falls on Easter Sunday this year, we thought it'd be particularly special to celebrate it in Santiago. I've already made my reservations ar San Martin Pinario which even a month ago was getting booked up this far in advance. Bom Caminho!
     
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  10. Crepes4Suzette

    Crepes4Suzette Well-Known Member

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    I love that idea for your wife! Will look forward to hearing about the Ingles! Ran into a nice Brit in line at the Pilgrims's Office who had just enjoyed it, and people are saying that A Coruna is lovely:0))
     
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