Sunday, September 26, 2010

And some food...

Some food along the way.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Home at last.

Spent Sunday afternoon to Tuesday morning at Lisbon. Again, I stayed at the pensao Nova Goa who were good to hold a bag of clean clothes etc for me for the time I was on the walk. Monday did the tourist stuff. I am now a tourist not a peregrino! Open top bus tour of Lisboa Monday morning. Got off at the Tower of Belem, and walked down to the Monument to the Navigators, reflecting Portugal's great age of discovery in the 14th and 15th centurys (think Vasco de Gama, Bartholemu Dias, Henry the Navigator, Ferdinad Magellan?, discovery of Brazil, first to round the African continent, expeditions to India). The Tower of Belem was built to defend the Rio Tagus. Walked under the road to get to the Monasteirio Geronimos. I was looking forward to this, as I went there in 1993 with Patty. Closed on Mondays! B!!. Caught a tram back to Lisbon, as the tourist bus was a PITA to find and get on. Later in the evening took the cheap harbour tour - a passenger ferry across the Tagus to Cacilhas? and back. It was just on sun down and quite atmospheric.
Tuesday morning I took a dodgy taxi ride to the airport with some German folk, to begin the butt numbing trip back to Australia.
  • I found this harder in some ways than the Camino Frances. I think I expected it to be easier, I had insufficient long walks in the legs and in particular the feet. I worked up in winter conditions, so unlike the summer conditions in Portugal. A 20C jump in temperature impacted big time.
  • The blisters coloured the early experience, and it may have been wiser starting in Porto, and hence have less tarmac walks at the start.
  • I had not learned the footcare lessons applicable to me. Cream the feet early and often, a thin pair of inner socks, and beware of infection. For me, Compeed added to the feet woes.
  • The spiritual experience was there, but much more hidden. The lack of pilgrim masses were part of this.
  • Angels are real, just not in the guise you may expect.
  • Wonderful travel companions add to the enjoyment. I have had good companions on both caminos.
  • Santiago de Compostela is highly commercial, you need to dig below it.
  • Pilgrims can be obnoxious, I know I was at times.
  • Finsterre is gorgeous, the perfect conclusion.
  • The big fella helps the mind, the mind helps the body.
  • Family and friends are great motivators and support even at long range.
  • I am not getting any younger, I sure felt it in terms of range and endurance.
  • And finally, Germans DO have a sense of humour.

Thankyou to those who have stuck with me to this point. As you will see I have finally uploaded some photos.

Friday, September 17, 2010

The end of the World

Finisterre, Friday morning. Waiting for the bus back to Santiago. Finisterre is absolutely gorgeous. Watched the sunset, dipped the feet, drank some red (and then some red, and then some red), burnt some clothes and had a thoroughly good wind down.
This place should close out all Caminos. It is so different to SdeC.
Tonight SdeC, then tomorrow to O Porto.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Day 16 Done that, got the T-shirt

Wednesday afternoon at 1400, the quartet hit Santiago. Objective reached. For the most part a good day´s walk, though the last hour was confusing and jumbled. By 1700, many beers, a Cuban cigar and several toilet stops, Ashley had stopped moving and the world was circling and leaning and quite uncertain. We had run in to the Canary Island guys! Africa!! Have not been into the cathedral, the lines are huge, and circling that are the bar bandits. Compostelas have been issued and the world is good. Today we have taken the bus to Fistera (Finisterra - the end of the earth) and are staying at a nice pension, as long as I can keep Steve from snoring. We are nicely fead and relaxed. Have called home and miss my family so much. I want to go home NOW!
But sadly that will be next week.
Thankyou for following my journey, dedicated to my father and the dreams of all my children. And thanks to Sigi, Miss Ohio and that Englishman for the companionship along the way. You are special.
But most special of all thanks Cristina, for helping another dream come true. I love you.
To all,

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Tuesday evening Padron

Now about 22 kms from Santiago. We hope to get there late tomorrow afternoon all being well. It is low 30´s C. Need to get away early before sunup to maximise the cool walking. Had a few issues (operation related) but trucking along OK. Padron is gorgeous, just climbed the 142 steps of something. Had a wonderful spanish man show me across town to this internet kiosk. Last couple of days have been good, lovely canopy covered walks for the most part. I can see the radio masts of Monte de Gozo overlooking SdeC. Stayed at Monte de Gozo 3 years ago. We will come in from the other side of town. Hoping to take a bus to Finisterre on Thursday and watch the sunset and burn some clothing. I hope my next post announces objective reached.
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Day 15

Hi All,
Ashley has asked me to put in a comment as he has been unable to get internet. It is Tuesday morning for him (afternoon for us). He stayed last night at Calda de Reis. They are now heading towards Padron. Padron is the legendary starting point of SantIago's ministry in Spain. O Padron is as legends state-the stone to which the disciples tied the boat which was carrying the mortal remains of St. James back to Galicia after his martydom in Jerusalem. Ashley hopes to make it to Santiago de Compostela on Wednesday evening/night (thats wed late night or early Thursday for us in Australia).

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Day13 Pontevedra

Sunday afternoon at the alberque in Pontevedra. S,shower,shave and shampoo. The world is good.Lovely scenic walk early today over the hills surrounding an inlet.
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Saturday, September 11, 2010

Redondela Day 12

Spent last night at a hotel in Porrino, day 11 ?. The walk in to Porinno was a tough slog as expected through an industrial estate for 9 or 10 kms for a total of 16kms. Hot, hard and boring. We were glad to arrive. Had a few ales, and dinner. A labour march was on whilst we had dinner, not real comfortable, lots of agitation and noise.
Today we walked about 16 kms to Redondela, a bit of a climb, some nice woodlands, then it got bit harder with hot and tarmac. About 83 kms to go, and will take us another 4 days or so. Tomorrow we aim for Pontevedra which is about 18kms. We are staying in a private alburque. Accomodation is starting to be competitive, though last night we probably could have alburqued.
Feet are much improved, and I hope to hold together a little longer. Steve and Sieglinde seem to be coping well.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Espana at last

Well good friends, tonight we are in a private alberque in Tui, Spain. Spent some time looking around the old part of ValenÇa.Reminds of Toledo. Crossed the international bridge this afternoon. Tomorrow we do a short stage to Porrino. Feeling better all the time, especially after the morning call home. Feet are mending, but the uneven trail hurts some, still better than blacktops in HEAT. 28c today. Will upload photos when I get home,as I cannot easily compress them. Starting to find the place. Felt strange leaving Portugal, almost a little fear. Seeing mainly the same bunch of peregrinos now. Lots of german, some aussies, a mexican.
Missing family,
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Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Sao Roques? near Rubiaes

I ave forgotten what day number it is, I think 9. Stayed last night at the alberque in Ponte de Lima. An uncomfortable night. 18km today up over a big climb in the rain. Now staying in a Pensao at Sao Roques (I think it is spelt something like this). Looks lovely. Sharing a rooom with Steve and the German lady (Sieglinde or similar). Having dinner with another German lady as well. Lots of German ladies. Another walked with us for a large part up the hill/mountain today. Left stones and shells at a wayside cross for my dad, a workmates mum, and some sick folk today. Was tearful, but special. Tomorrow we hope to make the border.
Until later, ate logo

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Day 8 Lugar do Cordo to Ponte de Lima

Stayed at Casa Fernanda near Lugar do Condo last night. Wonderful couple and place, lovely dinner and conversation. Also have a german Peregrina staying and walking with us today. Found some antibiotics in my first aid kit, they have helped heaps, also bludged some antiseptic spray, so feet are feeling better. Now about half way between the two place titled above. Yesterday we did nearly 20 kms opting out of the easier 9 km, as it would have made today 24kms instead of 15 kms. It is has been raining all this morning´s walk but I am feeling much uplifted, now I just need to solve the mobile problem as it is not charging now.
Later that day: Reached Ponte de Lima in pouring rain. A gorgeous town, working itself up for a weekend festival. Lovely old bridge. Now waiting for the alburgue to open at 1700. Have got new mobile charger so one less worry.
Did I say I am worn out. Big climb and 18 km stage tomorrow, but we will manage.
I see we have a lady Prime Minister.
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Heading to Ponte De Lima

Hi all, it Cristina again for Ashley. He was walking out of Lugar do Corgo heading towards Ponte De Lima. His feet are a little better, Ashley is now taking some antibiotics and these seem to be helping. He was a little short of breath when talking to me so I guess he was hard at work walking. Is having some phone problems and that is something he wants to solve as he wants to be able to speak to Callum and Riley each day (and me too I think). Ashley and Steve were coming up to a cafe and he said they would stop and enjoy a drink. So everyone, stop have a coffee and enjoy life. Cristina

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Day 6 Barcelos

Took a leap forward today courtesy of Comboios Portugal to Barcelos. The cunning plan from here is to try to keep the stages to less than 20 kms a day, though this is not always possible. The feet are still very sore, soaked a couple of times in warm salty water, cleaned up and I have Compeed style patches over the blisters. I suspect I may have bruised heals and that is the real source of the pain. I think with care and Nurofen we will manage. Pack is getting lighter, both through discarding non-essentials and maybe getting more used to it. Support from all at home is a big help.
I have to say this has been tough, and maybe I have underestimated the demands. The amount of tarmac walking has come as something of a shock, and that I think is the major protagonist. The countryside is less urban here, than south Of Oporto, so that also may help find rhythm and the ´place´. Tomorrow is likely a very short stint of about 10 kms, and the following day about 23km, aiming to rebuild and break up a longer section.
Staying at a lovely Pensao (Arantes) in Barcelos. Temperature is in the high 20´s C.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Oporto! Day 5

Took the easier path to Oporto today. After a long slog into Oilvera de Azermeis yesterday I was a mess on many levels. Today staying at a lovely Pensao in Oporto, and getting some laundry happening. Had a magnificent meal last night, Zoupa de Legume and Omelette Espanhola. Food has been good on this route.
Hope to make Vilarinho tomorrow.
Thanks for the encouragement, I hope to break out from the House of Pain, and find that House of Insight. I have had one significant moment, which I will not elaborate on here.
Cristina, thanks for posting for me. Happy father´s day to the dads tomorrow.
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Hi All,
I am writing this entry for Ashley as he is unable to get internet access. He has made it to Olivera de Azemeis a little short of their target Joao da Madeira . He is having a rather hard time of it, his feet are giving him quite a bit of bother. From the sound of it he has blisters upon blisters. Ashley is now contemplating whether he should take a bus to Oporto and then rest up for a few days to give his feet a chance to heal. I have encouraged him to do this as I think for his feets sake and his mental sake he need to be kind to himself. He has nothing to prove. The weather over there is hot and humid and this has impacted on the state of his feet. He did say that he would like some of our rain and cold but I assured him that he wouldn't. The weather in Adelaide has been awful wet, windy and wild and we all would like some warmth to come our way. Please continue to leave messages for Ashley as I know it gives him great encouragement. Happy fathers day to all the dads. Until next entry which will be from the man himself I hope.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Day 3 Albergaria-a-Velha

A shorter walk of 17 kms today. Last night, I thought even that was not going to be possible. It was cool and foggy early, and a much more pleasant walk, the last 5-6 kms was a slog through a forest before the town. Cute country town, and we are staying at another Pensao above what appears to be a pub. I am hoping to balance that by staying at a monastery in 2 days time! The next 2 stages into Oporto are long, and might try to make 3 stages out of it to allow the body some recovery, and considering taking the beach/coast way the other side of Oporto. We hope to get away earlier tomorrow as we have been starting too late and missing the best walking conditions. Did I tell you I had an awesome sleep and vivid dreams last night, the magic starts..
I also must pass an important message to Work W when I get back (this is a reminder). Spirits are high when the temperature is down, but the heat takes its toll, and I am considering options should the heat continue, I want to reach Santiago again, and get a Compostela, but I have done enough hard yards before, and will lower my expectations/ change my methods if I have to.
This camino is solitary in so many ways. We have seen no other peregrinos, neither to Fatima (coming towards us) or to SdeC travelling our way. People do stop to talk and ask if we are travelling to Santigo de Compostela, and wish us the best.
My glasses broke today, optician man fixed them and would not take money, indicating a prayer for him in Santiago would do. Camino Frances revisted!
Internet access is awkward, plenty of free WIFI, but I am not carrying anything to access (left that in Lisboa). Posts may be sporadic, and I may get Cristina to update things if I cannot.
Probably aiming for Olivera de Azemeis tommorow, or a little further to Sao Joao if things are really good.
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Day 2 Agueda

A 25 km slog today in hot conditions. The tarmac roads knock the feet around, and I have very well developed blisters on both heels. The first hour in the morning is rugged as is the first 10 minutes after a break. Staying tonight at a lovely Pensao. Had a very nice beef dinner, but could not do it justice. The condition of my feet is worrying, and I just hope they do not get infected. The heat of the tarmac is the big problem. The lady at the Pensao was saying the weather is unseasonably hot, and was 41C at 1am a day or 2 back. I believe it. Walking was through some vineyard areas, and the town of Agueda is just across the river, as is meant to be the turismo, but no that is shifted. After 2 slogs up abd down the hill to the main street we were directed to it.
2 Angels today.
Man stopped us about 5 kms out of Agueda, signals us over, and handed us a couple of bottles of bottled water each, and a couple of apples, wished us Bon Viajem and off he went.
I asked a lady at Agueda directions to the turismo, she went in to a shop to ask, leaving her child in pram with me, came out and told us directions. Off we go to the building, but found the door shut closed for the day. We retired towards a cafe, and the lady comes tearing down the hill with some council fellow, who then directed us to the other side of the building and the turismo. Very friendly folk.