Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Back on the camino again

Early mornings have great shadows

In the plaza in Burgos with Santiago

Our new daypacks

one of many photos in the Burgos Cathedral
It was an amazing edifice but I continue
to wonder why the churches are so grand
and people suffer so much in the world. This
was one which was "over the top".

The cloister in the basement of the
Burgos Cathedral
 I just thought I would update all of you who are wondering what happened since my last post. We are happy to say that we are back walking again but now walking without our packs and just a little one for our snacks, water and jackets. We ended up taking 6 days off to rest ourselves and then took a bus for many kilometers from Burgos to Leon (both big cities on the Camino). I also saw another doctor who explained to me that it was not a knee problem but an overuse of the muscles on the shins caused by walking too long and with too heavy of a pack. We started back slowly on Saturday for a short day and then have done 20K Sun, Mon and today and without a pack it is great. We are still tired at the end, but not killing our bodies. THANKS to all of you who have written and expressed concern for us.
One view of Burgos Cathedral

A Gaudi building in Leon which
is now an apartment building

We have already learned a few things....you cannot plan life on the camino (or elsewhere) and it is better to just go with the flow. 

We are not as strong as we might have thought we were, and that is OK. Taking a bus, or having our packs transported is OK and we are still pilgrims. Judging others caminos (or other parts of life) is no good. I had thought before coming that I would not feel successful without carrrying my pack but now feel completely different. People do the camino in so many ways...bike, with suitcases on wheels, with gigantic backpacks, on horse, with bare feet, by bus, with small backpacks....just like life....we all do it differently. I am grateful that we are doing fine and can
Richard´s new "best" friend in Leon
walk and though I would say now that we will plan to go the rest of the way to Santiago, I also know that we might not walk every inch of it. Listening to our bodies has been good for me. Richard has been wonderful and though I did not realize it at first, my troubles were a gift for him as he had some physical discomfort and fatigue and needed time off as well. We are a team and we have promised each other that either can call for a day off, or a change in plan when necessary.

My art journal...I have continued to do
a little drawing about every other day.

Happy feet resting on my bed!

typical church tower in the countryside.
We have seen one almost every day and usually
with stork nests.

Jose Luis ... our backpack angel who
transports mochillas to wherever
we ask.


Cathedral in Astorga

My favorite item for the camino is my bandana! Here are the many uses:
headband, handkerchief, napkin, placemat, hold the ice on my leg, soak with cold water and wear around the neck, eye mask for light rooms at night, hand towel, belt. That is what we know today and maybe more uses will appear. I am so glad that we each brought one.

Now...enough from us. We look forward to hearing a bit of news from all of you as we continue our travels. We do miss everyone very much and have good time to think of you as we walk "our camino".

Monday, May 21, 2012

Monday morning in Burgos...rest days

We are now in Burgos for a few days of rest. Several days ago I began to have significant pain in my shins and my left knee which led to some swelling. On Sat. Rich and Mei Mei walked to Belorado and Richard and I took a bus and went off to a clinic to have my knee looked at. I was advised by the Dr. to stay off of it for a few days which I am doing. Yesterday (Sun) we all took a bus to Burgos and are staying in a lovely hotel which is so luxurious after days on the camino. I am taking Ibuprofeno, anti imflammatory creme on the knee and a brace (elastic) when I walk which I am doing very little of. Yesterday I stayed in while the rest went to a museum about Darwin, history of man, etc. Nearby Burgos a human was discovered of over  800,000 years old. You will have to get more details from them about this museum.

In Belorado....a cold and rainy Sunday

Typical Camino sign

snail on flower


Today I am feeling a bit better and I have readjusted my thinking greatly about this Camino in the last few days. I will honor my body and do what I have to do, not what I necessarily want to do. They say that the Camino gives you much to think about and this is a good lesson for me. I am learning  to lower my demands upon myself and with the help of others (especially Richard who is so supportive, caring and a caretaker) we will plan accordingly to do what we need to do. It might mean taking buses when necessary and/or having someone carry my pack once in a while, and/or walking less kilometers each day......more will be revealed!

We have already walked over 200k so feel good about our accomplishments and the lifestyle seems to suit us as we look forward each day to the new little village, albergues, friends that come and go, the little shops for food.

I will post a few more pictures to explain the last week with Rich and Mei Mei...we have seen great scenery and spent time in some very interesting places.

Always a yellow marker or a scallop shell
to mark the way.
Richard having his blisters worked on.
The spanish way of treating is to enter
a thread with a needle, through the blister
keeping the thread in for a few days to drain
the blister. At this time, they are both healed!

Yea....vegetarian Paella in Logrono

The famous street in Logrono with
all the ¨tapas¨or ¨Pincho¨ bars

another scallop to mark our route

a long fence with many crosses
placed by pilgrims into the fence

always beautiful scenery

Coming into a small village

When arriving early we all
have to place our packs in a line
and wait for the albergues to

shoes always kept outside
till morning.

a mirrored window with

fields of grain and poppies

crossing the river...interesting
plant formations

2wo  Happy Ricardos

Passing a potato factory along an industrial
section of the camino....see the potatoes
coming down the chute.

Our accomodations a few days
ago...on the floor in a chapel. At
least we were early enough to
get a mat. Later folks were right
on the floor

The makings of an outdoor meal...all bought
from the simple grocery store...asparagus, beans, cheese,
tomato, apple, bread, nuts, chips, sardines

Happy Birtday breakfast for
a peregrina at the church albergue

Tonight is our last night with Rich and Mei Mei. We ate lunch at a great VEGAN restaurant here in Burgos and have found a few more places to go tomorrow. We will rest till Wed and see how things go. So, we wish Rich and MM bien viaje for Barcelona and we will stay in touch with all of you as the weeks move on. Love to all from Ricardo y Susanita

Sunday, May 13, 2012

End of first week and days off in Bilbao

Our "gear"...2 backpacks, 4 poles
Fields of rape seed

We've survived our first week and have already walked 165K to Logrono where we will meet my brother Richard and Mei Mei who will walk with us for a week. It has been the most different week of our lives and so far we are enjoying it, though I will have to admit that it is not easy. The difference of walking with a backpack that weighs about 20 lbs with water and snacks makes it much different.
typical view...see windmills in the distance

We have experienced many different kinds of terrain and weather. We had rain, mud and heat....on different days. Each makes for a little slower going. I will let the pictures and captions tell the story. There are many, but I have heard from so many of you that you like the pictures best and I love them all so enjoy. The scenery is absolutely magnificent which makes walking much more fun. We have heard that this will not always be true.
at the top of a hill....sculptures mae of metal
of peregrinos or pilgrims

We take each day as it comes and I am learning to plan less and to trust that everything will always work out OK. The saying goes...."the Camino will provide" and this seems to be true everyday.

Richard has had two blisters on the back of his feet due to poorly fitting socks and I had a few days of sore shins...I guess from backpack and long walking. I had a very wierd accident one night...probably the first on the camino. I was reaching for my light which I had in my shoe in a room of just the two of us and the next thing I knew I was head first hitting my head on the tiled floor. I scraped both of my hands and have a big bump on my head and had one day of very sore neck but am fine to tell the story. I was so scared when it happened realizing how bad the story could have been so I thanked the powers that are for my luck. I was knotted up in my silk sleep sheet and sleeping bag. My lesson is to use either one or the other. They are both so slippery and I guess I just slide out of bed. Thankfully I was on the bottom bunk. I have a pretty strong rule and this is that I will stay anywhere as long as I am in the bottom bunk. No top for me. The other day we were in a hostal with 3 tiers!
In one of the many small villages

Puenta la Reina - early in the morning

fields of poppies dot the landscape

View of a village ahead. Typical scene

Snails walking the same pace as this pilgrim

Little alters everywhere. Not sure why the
shoe was left. Probably a tired pilgrim

Now we are in wine country
A bit about the food....Spain is no place for vegans or vegetarians. I am keeping note of what we are eating so that I can write about it for the veg world....so far so good as long as we find albergues with kitchens. I have cooked quite a few nights and I take a few leftovers for lunch or eat nuts and loads of fruit. It is easy to buy fresh fruit and vegetables in each of the small villages but the restaurants do not seem to like to cook them!
me eating a baggie of lentils from the night before

Sandwich made by pilgrims we passed on the  way

my feet and the mud

A fountain with wine for all pilgrims

Our room of 5 one night

Early morning leaving Villamajor de Monjardin

the moon in the morning

I am always by my side

I  was who you are, you will be what I am...
a sign outside a cemetery

Friends relaxing in Viana

Mary Magdalene in Viana

old marker for the Camino
Casco Viejo - old part of Bilbao
We traveled on Saturday from Logrono to Bilbao after walking 10k early in the morning. This is an incredibly beautiful city which has become very well known for the Guggenheim Museum designed by Frank O.Gehry. It is very hard to capture the city in pictures but you will see some of the many that I have taken.
We also visited a Basque history museum and the Bellas Artes Art Museum. Many for one day but since we are only here for a short time we do not want to miss these great museums.

The city is very lively this Sunday as everyday in Spain. All the big and small places, however, close up for siesta everyday from 2 to 4 or 5 and then reopen again in the evening.
Sunday morning in Bilbao

Walking bridge in Bilbao

The Guggenheim Museum

Outside the Guggenheim

So friends, I look forward to telling you more as we travel together with Rich and Mei Mei. Hope all are well and we love hearing from you and will carry you with us on our travels. Happy Mothers Day to all of you mothers and children. We miss our mothers on this special day and every day.