Monthly Archives: September 2015

To Baamonde

Our plan called for us to be in Baamonde since that was the next town with accommodations. There was another town along the way at 7 km, but it had no accommodations. 

Marc did not get much sleep and was not feeling well.  He decided to give it a go anyway, at least until the first village. As we stepped out of the albergue it started to mist and rain. We went right back in to put on our rain gear to start the day. 

The mist did stop soon, but then it came back again. It was slow going for most of the morning. 




We continued on for a few hours before reaching our first stop (cafe, bar, grocery store – all in one stop). 

Marc was feeling worse, so after breakfast Sakkar and Marc took a taxi to Baamonde. Pat and I moved on in intermittent rain and mist. 



It turned out to be over 21 km, but we made it to Baamonde in time to enjoy a little bit of the fiesta going on in town. 


To Vilalba

Today our goal was very lofty. We had planned to go about 20 km with options to stop at 15 and 18 km. This would be a first-ever experience for Marc walking such a long distance. Sakkar, on the other hand, had done much more distance on the previous Camino walk last year, but this would be her first on this trip, also. 

After yesterday’s climb out of the way ( 195 floors), today was considered a fairly flat course.  

We left the pension at 7:40   The weather was cold, and fog was mixed in with a little mist.

We immediately moved into a beautiful country path. 
Fortunately, mist did not turn into rain. The fog and cold were welcome, as we did have some minor climbs in the early part of the day. 

We kept moving for an hour before taking our first break. 

We found a cafe about 9 km into our walk (unexpected, as it was not in any of the documents). We gladly stopped to have fresh eggs (from the cafe owners who own chickens). 

It was probably the best day for blackberries, as they were plentiful and ripe. I even saw Marc giving it a taste. 

On the way to our first accommodation option, we walked over a 17th century bridge. 

By the time we reached the village, we were all a little tired, but no one wanted to stop yet, so after a brief stop, we moved on. 

As we reached the outskirts of Vilalba,  where we could have stayed in the first albergue on the route, we decided to have a nice lunch instead and move on into Vilaba to a more modern albergue.

As you can see on the Camino sign that we have less than 123 km left to reach Santiago. 

After over 23 km and 80+ floors of climbing, kudos to Sakkar and Marc for a great day of hiking. Looks like they must not be tired yet, as they have just asked me if I wanted to go see the Parador in town.

A serene and peaceful morning

Today was going to be Galacia’s opportunity to humble us through its climb. It was the hardest climb in Galicia and our last major climb as we near Santiago. 

Marc and Sakkar wanted to skip this stage due to its notoriety in the books. This stage was mostly climbing with no downhill until the end. 

Pat and I left at 7:40 in the morning so we would have enough light. 

The day was nothing like yesterday’s glamorous sunrise. It was an overcast day with a cool breeze. While it was not glamorous, it was serene and beautiful. The essence of the day cannot be captured by a camera and must be described for the senses to feel its beauty. 

We began the climb immediately through a country road devoid of traffic.  The cool morning breeze through green trees and and the chirping birds made us feel like we were in a magical world. 

The absence of sun and the cool weather made the climb a lot easier for us. At about 2.8 km we met the artist who has a little place away from everything and offers pilgrims the opportunity to stay at her place and provides food on a donation basis.  If we had come across this at the end of the day, yesterday, as we entered town, this would have been a perfect experience to enjoy local culture and hospitality.  But at 8:30 in the morning, we continued on after a brief chat. 

After a brief snack at around 9, we continued on. The climb was not as hard as it was described. The birds had stopped chirping and the forest was deafeningly quite. All one could feel was a cool breeze and hear ones own breathing and the rustling of leaves. It was a meditative and mesmerizing time. 

At about 10 km we stepped off the country road onto a country path and immediately felt as if we had entered a land that time had forgotten. Abandoned bridges and houses were overgrown with vines and bushes. We felt as we had entered into a time warp. 

In another  1.5 km we were at the top of the ridge and back in the hustle and bustle of civilization. After 11.5 km we were done with most of the climbing for the day.  

We began our gradual descent into Abadin, another 5 km away, our destination for the day.  We stopped for a picnic lunch around 12:30 where we met Andrew, a British chap who joined us for lunch and a lively chat. 

As we entered town, we heard from Sakkar. She had just secured our pension for the night and was waving to us from the window, welcoming us to Abadin.


Hike to Mondonedo

Today’s stage was about 25 km, most of it uphill. We decided to break it into two stages. The first stage is to Mondonedo, which is about 9 km and climbs up and then down. The next 15 km is said to be the steepest and hardest climb in Galacia for the Camino del Norte.  We left that for tomorrow. 

We decided to leave at 7:30 in the morning. When we tried to get out of our room this morning, the lock was jammed and we could not open the door. We called the Pension number explaining in the little Spanish that we know and kept getting “no intendo.”

Fortunately there were two angels next door (Marc and Sakkar) who somehow found the manager and rescued us out of the locked room. 

We started 15 minutes later than planned but managed to not miss the morning glory. 

It was one of those beautiful mornings which reminds you why you go through the agonies of climbing and walking the Camino. 

The first 5 km was uphill, so we kept on walking and making steady progress. Even though it was 41 degrees, none of us felt cold. 

It started to rain by about 8:45, so we had to get our rain jackets on. Fortunately it stopped soon and by 9 we were ready for our snack.  


We continued our walk through the hills, enjoying the views and working hard. 


We could see the town below and were eager to get to our destination. It rained again for a bit as we were going down to the town. 


The first stop in the town was the cathedral at the center of town.  We had our lunch right across the plaza. 


We are staying at the serene and peaceful seminary Santa Catalina for the night. I am sitting in the wonderful courtyard as I compose this blog. We are looking forward to a nice dinner at the seminary tonight. 


To Lourenza

Today’s hike was mostly uphill, and we thought it would be about 18 km.  It turned out to be 20 km.

Marc and Sakkar were still a bit jet legged and not ready for the long day and the steep climb, so they decided to sleep in and take a cab. 

Pat and I left at 6:30 in the dark.  It was a foggy and cloudy day. 


At 9, we stopped for a snack along the path.  The climb uphill was continuous all morning and went on for over 6 km.  At about 11 the sun finally peeked through some of the clouds. 


We could finally see the beautiful,  lush rolling hills of Galicia. 


At about 14 km, as we came down a path into a country road. All of a sudden this car honks at us. Surprised, we look back and guess who we see (two autogrenos- that is peregrinos in a car). 


We and our backpacks were offered a lift, but we only had another 6 km to go, so we declined. After about another km or so finally around 11:30, we reached our first and only cafe of the day. We decided to stop and enjoyed chatting with few German pilgrims before we took on our last climb of the day. 

After 20 km we reached Lourenza, a town famous for it’s 10th century Monastery and church designed by the same architect who designed the Santiago church. 







A successful start…

It was the first day for our new arrivals. There is no true way to prepare for the Camino. Camino is the way and we wanted a gentle way to break in our new partners.  Unfortunately the albergues along  the stage were at 7 and 21 km.  

After research at the tourism office, we found a pension some 11 to 12 km away which would make for a challenging but manageable day. 

We started around 8:45 am from Ribadeo. 

The path turned out to be combination of country roads, paths, and dirt roads with some beautiful views of the mountains. 

We successfully made it to our first stop for coffee and drinks at 7 km. Everyone was feeling strong, so we continued on to look for our pension. 

After going 12 km we had not seen our pension where we thought it ought to be (there were no signs to it, the pension was not on the “way,” and gps could not locate the place). 
After talking with a few locals, we realized that we had overshot our target and had to go on a different road to eventually find the place. Instead of walking 12 km, we ended up walking almost 14 km.  

It was a nice and challenging day and everyone is feeling good and tired.


Catedrais of Ribadeo 

About 18.5 km from Ribadeo is the famous Catedrais; I think it means cathedrals. On full tide the structures are underwater, but during low tide you can walk on the beach among these rock formations. We decided to use our rest day to take the bus and visit this monument in Galicia. 

It was amazingly beautiful, the likes of which I have never seen. Even though it is a rest day, and even though I was not going to blog, the pictures are worth sharing and tell a story of nature and its magical artistry that I don’t have words for.  Enjoy. 


Goodbye to Coast and Asturias

Today was our last day walking along the coast. We have thoroughly enjoyed our coastal hikes across the regions of Basque Country, Cantabria, and Asturias. Once we cross the bridge to Ribadeo, we enter Galicia and start moving inland toward Santiago. 

We started early to catch the morning light on the coast.  It was one of those beautiful mornings that we will remember for a long time. I think the pictures will give you a a partial sense of the beauty we encountered.

The sunrise with the mountain backdrop was simple yet spectacular.

We had our breakfast while sitting on a bench overlooking the ocean. 

Soon we reached another beach. At the same time Kristen (American), Philip (Austrian), and Merith (from Norway) joined us to enjoy the beach together. 


We all have different schedule plans, so the probability of our meeting again after today is pretty low. 

We continued our way to Ribadeo. 


In the town center a car show was going on. 

We wanted to get a place near the town center so that we could enjoy our couple of days here with Marc and Sakkar (brother in law and sister) who now join us and begin walking with us on the Camino. 
At lunch we met Juan and Christine, a French couple living in Spain and spending their summer in Ribadeo. 


Mark and Sakkar arrived at 6 after a long trip. They travelled from LA to Dallas to Madrid on plane, from Madrid to Oviedo on train, and from Oviedo to Ribadeo by cab. 

At 7 we visited our new friends Juan and Christine in their summer home overlooking the river. 

We are all tired and happy that we have a rest day tomorrow. 

Coastal route

Today would have been the last coastal day for us if we had gone to Ribadeo. We decided to take the longer route through Tapia and stay at the albergue there.  Once we reach Ribadeo tomorrow, then we move inland toward Santiago. 

We left at 7, had breakfast and started our walk. With the detour we only needed to do 13km for the day.  Another 13 for tomorrow to reach Ribadeo to greet my sister and brother in law, as they arrive to walk the Camino with us. 

We moved into the country path after we left the town. The day was still cloudy and perfect for flower pictures.


Eventually we reached the split on the Camino. Left you head to Ribadeo, right you head to the beach and continue along the coast. 

The sun never materialized but the hike was nice and short. Tomorrow sun is expected to come out, so our coastal walk tomorrow should be nice. 

Lunch with Alex from France. He started the Camino the same day as us and we have run into him few times. Last 3 days we have stayed in the same albergue.