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Direct line to Jesus

Sunday, September 30th, 2012

By MamaBear

Our final day in Santiago captured everything we have enjoyed about the Camino….primarily food and friends and wandering, but also seeing sights and seeking out some special souvenirs.

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The day we arrived in Santiago we had not brought our backpacks as we were returning to the same accommodation that evening, but today we came in to town carrying everything, so we took the required crazy arrival photo:

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…..and we had to take a photo of our completed Credencials, that only three weeks ago were empty with promise, and now carry special memories:

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Desayanos Spanish-style was on the menu – we found those much-sought-after churros:

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There are no pics of our lunch, eaten outside a wee church in a sun-soaked square out of the breeze, but I can make you drool with a description. Ham and cheese empanada, quite different to the other ones we’ve tried – this one was made with flaky pastry and melted in your mouth. Artisan bread hacked up with a pocketknife, carrying slices of that delectable cheese we discovered yesterday – it tastes just like camembert, but is semi-hard and also melts in your mouth. Not having had our fill of cheese, we then entertained the notion of sharing some baked cheesecake too! Delish.

But the day was not entirely centred on food…there were friends too. And that’s where the direct line to Jesus comes in to play. In our email inbox first thing this morning was this message:

Hi New Zealand Family
It’s Jesus, from Madrid. My mother and me send you a very big kiss.
Let me tell you once again that my mother and me are very very happy to meet you yesterday. My mother was thinking about you and told me many times, specially because of the rain and the kids. I’m sorry because of you hadn’t shelter at Santa Irene as I understood….
In case you decide to come to Madrid, please, don’t hesitate to contact me and we can have a walk around the city. You could stay in my own house (on the floor I’m afraid) or divided between the houses of my relatives, my two sisters, my mother and myself.
Once again, a very big kiss from Madrid. It has been a very very big pleasure to meet you.
Don’t forget that all of you have a new friend and a new family in Madrid

We carried these kind thoughts with us as we wandered. We also met other newly-made friends from the albergue, including a couple from Israel, who have walked with their 15 month old daughter (yes, the Mama carried her!) And we met an American family with four children, who have been living here in Spain for five years and hope to open a welcome centre for pilgrims and their own albergue at some stage – they sure gave us a warm welcome even on the side of the street, offering to take us to the airport tomorrow! This is the spirit of the Camino right to the end. They also advised us where to find good cheap food for dinner:

DINNER PIC will be added tomorrow as we have not eaten yet!

The final thought for us to take away from the Camino we found as we set out this morning; a stone wall bearing a message:

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Changing perspectives from Santiago

Saturday, September 29th, 2012

How quickly perspectives can change! It was only a few days ago that the thought of covering 17km  in a day’s walk was “not too far” – today we were checking out the airport bus timetable to cover the 10km to catch our flight on Sunday! GrandpaBear also commented that as he watched the pilgrims stagger in to the albergue at the end of a long day’s walk, his only thought was “The poor devils! They still haven’t finished! That was us on Wednesday!” We all have mixed emotions at finishing the Camino – satisfaction at having “made it”, but almost a sense of loss at the same time. We are all still processing what the Camino has been for each of us – perhaps more of that in a later post. For now, we are enjoying having the time to look around Santiago at a relaxed pace, to sample more fantastic Spanish breads and baking at new panaderia, try different Spanish wine and cheeses, watch the muñeiras dancers in the square, wander through the markets, and try and decide what our final meal in Spain ought to comprise of tomorrow! Being back in a big city, it is noticeable how different the pace of life is from what we have experienced the last three weeks walking through rural Spain. Such contrasts and changes! Soon we will be in London to soak up another wide spectrum of experiences.

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Friday, September 28th, 2012

by MamaBear

Day 21: Total distance to finish the Camino! 5kms
Weather: Foggy and cold, then clear and hot.

Four hours sitting at the University Hospital of Santiago waiting to get Tgirl8’s ... [Continue reading this entry]

Only 5km to go to Santiago!

Thursday, September 27th, 2012

Day 19: Total distance 16 km. Total ascent: 263m
Weather: Cloudy, showers and cool. Temperature: 16

There is a sense of expectation and excitement as we approach the end of our Camino adventure. ... [Continue reading this entry]

Wet, wet, wet.

Wednesday, September 26th, 2012

by MamaBear

Day 18: Total distance 22 kms. Total ascent: TBC
Weather: Raining, windy and cold. Temperature: 12

An adventure may be worn as a muddy spot or it may ... [Continue reading this entry]

Spanish lessons in Arzua,Spain

Tuesday, September 25th, 2012
Day 17: Total distance 14.5 kms. Total ascent: 249m
Weather: Raining, windy and cool. Temperature: 13

gato, cat…”
perro, dog…”
dos pies, two feet…Good! ... [Continue reading this entry]

The rain in Spain…

Monday, September 24th, 2012
Day 16: Total distance 17.5 kms. Total ascent: 164m
Weather: Raining, windy and cool. Temperature: 19

As we waited in line for the albergue to open, we first smelt the delicious aroma of freshly ... [Continue reading this entry]

Surprise on the road to Palas de Rei

Sunday, September 23rd, 2012

Day 15: Total distance 17.5 kms. Total ascent: m
Weather: Sunny and hot. Temperature: 28

How often is it in life that the unexpected changes to our plans often bring the most rewarding ... [Continue reading this entry]

Quiz Results from Hospital

Saturday, September 22nd, 2012
Day 14: Total distance 12kms. Total ascent: 267m
Weather: Cloudy and cool. Temperature: 23

Thankfully Hospital da Cruz is the name of the hamlet we are staying in and there have not been any ... [Continue reading this entry]

A Short Spanish Quiz from Portomarin

Friday, September 21st, 2012

Day 13: Total distance 10kms. Total descent: 316m
Weather: Clear and hot. Temperature: 28+

The countryside in this part of Spain is quite similar to New Zealand – rolling hills, lots of ferns ... [Continue reading this entry]