Finis Terrae

Sunday, July 26

Hi everyone,

I have reached the end of the known world. The small peninsula called Finisterre in Spanish and Fisterra in Galician is the westernmost spot in Spain. The Romans thought it was the end if the earth, or finis terrae. A lighthouse protected ships from the treacherous rocks that gave the area the name “Coast of Death.” On a sunny day it’s easy to see some of the rocks barely submerged below the clear, cold water.

When I last wrote, my plan was to walk from Santiago toward Fisterra or take the bus if my feet pooped out on me. Given that I had enough time, I was able to walk it over 6 days, going between 13 and 23 k per day, mostly around 15.

It was a wonderful week. Going slowly meant that I could sleep in a little, have a cafe con leche or two and mosey westward after the majority of people had cleared out of the way. I had time to stop and pet the moss. The people I met along this stage of the Camino were for the most part others not in a hurry, and I had some very good walk and talks. There were the Danish woman in charge of law programs at her university, the young Brazilian actress/clown working on her fears, the Dutch chemical engineer who had quit his job to start walking the Camino from his front door. Arriving early each afternoon at the next albergue I often had the pick of beds, successfully avoiding all upper bunks.

There were times when the Camino was  immediately on the side of a busy road with no shoulder, but as a veteran of walking our county’s roads, it was second nature to me to always be aware of my jump-to spot in case a car came around a bend quickly. There were many lovely long hilly stretches along paths through eucalyptus forests, scrubby pine and bushes, some small corn fields, stands of fern, narrow paths between rock walls, and villages and towns. And then on my 5th day, the first glimpse of the Atlantic. From then on there was a lot of sea view, until the last couple of kilometers when I tied my boots to my pack and walked barefoot along the water’s edge to Fisterra town.

I love small European towns because they’re like tiny cities. No car is necessary, everything is close together and usually all you need, at least for a few days. So my 3 days in a little hostal here have been relaxing and delightful.

After checking in (room with a view AND bathroom) I rested a while and then walked the 3 more kilometers to the lighthouse to see the sunset over the Atlantic.  I saw people there I’d walked and talked with over the past few days, and we took each others’ pictures and shared some rich rioja wine. I spent much of yesterday at a gorgeous beach with a very few other people around, doing what I love best at a beach, watching, smelling and listening to the waves. It was way too cold to swim.

I leave from Madrid on Thursday, so still have a few more days in Spain, but my Camino is over.

What is the take-away of my summer? That is too much to fathom all at once, and for that matter, the effect of experience tends to reveal itself over time. Here are a few thoughts, though, in no particular order.

As a Lebanese Boy Scout and I concluded, there is nothing better than getting out and meeting people to remind us that we are all just people doing the best we can, despite our governments (he was not crazy about his). And after a Swedish woman and I missed a directional arrow while joking about how we’d ever find our way around home without yellow arrows, I think one of them was assigned to keep an eye on me. He was a sweetie.

I am not as strong as I think I am. My foot hurt and I got lonely.

I am stronger than I knew. My foot is feeling better and I learned to put myself forward much more than is my wont to do. I set a goal and made it. Now to generalize that to some of the other tricky bits of life…

I have loved and will miss speaking French and Spanish, and hearing the various Spanish languages and dialects – Catalan, Castilian, Galician, and a really rapid southern Spanish that I never gripped at all.

I will really miss cafe con leche. A lot.

I look forward to being home, with my family.

I will miss tile. Wonderful tile everywhere. Oh wait, I am going home to new tile!  The 2 bathroom reconstruction project that has been occurring in my absence is moving along but not complete, so I’ll get to witness the actual laying of tile!  But really, the diversity and creativity of tile here has been an aesthetic high point.

I will miss purposeful walking for hours each day. It has been a real pleasure to get up each morning and know that with a little effort I will be somewhere else that night. I could of course walk to the store at home but I’d have to stay overnight and walk back with my groceries the next day.

I will miss the fact that even not counting pilgrims’ albergues, a person can sleep in a clean, respectable room in a hostal for the equivalent of about 30 bucks. Sure puts traveling within the grasp of a lot more people than our $100+ hotels.

Will I do it again? Probably not, at least not the same way. There is so much to see and do in this world that with few exceptions I tend to want to go somewhere new.  But this was the summer for me to walk the Camino, and I’m very glad I did.

Many other things will come to mind, but here end the ruminations for now from the end of the earth. The WiFi here is slow so it may take a couple of days for this to post, or maybe not.

I look forward to seeing my local peeps soon.

All the best,



Ponies sheltering under a horreo


Early peek at the ocean


How beautiful is this?


Sun setting at lighthouse at Fisterra



Auction of freshly caught fish.


The last arrow?


View from my window.



Hi everyone,

Here I am in Santiago!

I arrived Wednesday morning in time for my first cafe con leche of the day.  The city is alive with the excitement of people arriving, people finding each other by plan or happy serendipity, people who have completed the goal they set for themselves.

After first taking a peek at the Cathedral, I got into my night’s albergue, dumped my pack into my locker, changed into my sleeping/going out dress and went back out. After breakfast and a bit of wandering I went to the cathedral square and just sat there soaking it all in. I’ve run into a French couple from mid-trip, an Irish man, a Dutch man and a Hungarian father and daughter that I’ve become friendly with lately. Everyone is excited for each other’s arrival as well as their own. Late in the evening I ran into a woman I met my very first morning and several others from along the Way. A truly fine finale to a long trek.

I went to the noon Pilgrim’s Mass at the cathedral at noon, bookending the one I attended 43 days ago in Saint Jean Pied de Port. Then I stood in line for a little while to get my Credential, the paper certifying that I’ve completed the Camino Frances, one of the several routes of the Camino de Santiago. It’s been a remarkable 6 weeks.

And now the processing and resting begin.  My plan is to spend Wednesday, Thursday and Friday nights here and then evaluate whether to walk or take a bus to the end of the world, Finisterre. In either case I think a job for rest days will be to buy a bathing suit.

Now a little nap, then it’s out for tapas and/or pulpo.

I have thrived on your support all this time, dear family, friends and readers. Thanks for being there for me.

Thursday morning now. Still feels pretty awesome to be here! I’ve just found a little room in a pension, with bathroom, for my 2 days of rest. Last night’s WiFi didn’t have enough juice to send this out, so I’ in my now-favorite bar about to order another cafe and try to send this out over their 2 bars of WiFi. Thanks for fb’ ing the photo I sent you, M.

The next report will probably be from the west coast of the Atlantic.

All the best,



Eucalyptus forests- smell so good!


Mid day cooldown


Santiago Wednesday morning!


Front of cathedral, a work in progress

Attempt #2

Well hello again, everyone,

I do not know what happened to last night’s post, but the WiFi seems a little stronger today so with any luck this one will go through. I have searched for yesterday’s text and pictures and they seem to have completely vanished. It all may of course turn up in your inbox when least expected.

As I said yesterday:

There is a reunion thousands of miles from Spain of many of the biological and chosen descendants of some remarkable people. To these Little Acorns I send special love and greetings. I know you are having wonderful conversations, making wonderful music and eating fabulous food.

One gastronomic specialty of Galicia is octopus, or pulpo. I have always loved octopus and am thrilled to be in a place where I can eat it as often as I want. As of yesterday’s version of this note I had had pulpo 3 times in 2 days in the small city of Palas de Rei. My favorite was a plate with several tentacles battered unbelievably lightly and cooked on a skillet of some sort, served with boiled potatoes and white wine. That was after a wonderful bowl if gazpacho garnished with croutons and chopped cucumber. Last night’s pulpo was sliced, parboiled and finished in slightly spicy oil. And today I’m in Melide, where octopus is really a specialty. Can’t wait for dinner!

Now as to the walking stick. It seems that after 700+ K of walking with very little trouble or discomfort, trotting along at a pace that had been comfortably fast, my feet suddenly rebelled.   Several days ago I started to have some lateral heel pain. I should have taken a day of rest then, but walking felt so good and I was having fun walking intermittently with some people I really liked so I kept going. Note to self and other walkers: take the day off early, you ninny! Discomfort did limit me to 10k on Wednesday and 15 on Thursday, but yesterday I realized I had to sit out.

So I reserved a room with a private bathroom (you have no idea how wonderful that was!) in a little hotel and was allowed to check in at 9am yesterday. I moved my stuff over from the albergue and proceeded to luxuriate in doing nearly nothing all day long. By “nothing” I mean sit on the bed with my legs up, read an Agatha Christie novel I’d found in English at a stationery store, get a wonderful foot massage, repack my backpack, buy a walking stick and eat octopus. Oh, and write a blog post and watch it vanish. It was a mostly delightful day.

I bought a walking stick at the beginning of my Camino but rarely used it, preferring to swing my arms. Since I didn’t use it much, I forgot it in an albergue early on, breaking off a stick from fallen branches when I needed one occasionally for a tricky downhill. Yesterday I bought another one, which I used gladly today. My feet still hurt but bearably so, and the plan now is to keep my walks to about 15k per day. I’m just about 55k from Santiago now so I expect to be there probably on Wednesday.

Today’s landscape and architecture have changed a little. The past few day’s small  villages had featured stone buildings, sometimes in lanes as narrow as 9-10 feet wide. Cars maneuver through many of these, having to make 3 point turns to make a right angle. I have often wondered at these hundreds- year old buildings and the incredible person- hours it must have taken to build a village. Many of these are in ruins, and I wonder about that too, whether there is some historic structure regulation that keeps them where they are. The work of most of them is detailed and fine. Some have been beautifully restored. Today’s architecture appears generally newer by a century or two, streets wider.

The feet are hanging in there, I’ m looking forward to dinner, I have good roommates tonight, a lower bunk in a room for 4. Now to post some pictures, hit “publish” and hope for the best.

Best wishes to all,



Mighty oaks may grow


Galician landscape. Reminds me of home.


Garden adjacent to an albergue


All my stuff, ready for re-packing


Yesterday's foot. Wasn't really that red.


Yesterday's pulpo.


Small granary, commonly in use. Ledge at bottom of container keeps vermin out.

Ups and Downs of the Camino

Dear Friends,

This is what I hear right now: chickens cackling near the laundry line, a rooster farther away, people speaking German, footsteps, a big dog breathing, chair scraping. It’s Sunday afternoon in the courtyard of a very pleasant albergue in the tiny village of Fonfrea, just into the district of Galicia. As with many areas of Spain, Galicia has its own culture and language, connected to Gaelic historically. Of course Spanish is spoken and understood by everyone.

So – ups and downs. When last I wrote I was feeling rather sad. My mood has improved over the past week, due to various factors, including fluid familiarity and friendships with people who were new faces last week. My intention was and remains to mostly walk alone and have a great deal of time with my own thoughts, but it’s sure more fun to have dinner and connection with a group of other pilgrims.

Last night I stayed in another tiny village in an albergue run by a German Jacobite organization ( St. James being Jakob in German). It happened that several Germans were among the pilgrims there. One of them is a priest, and got permission to celebrate Mass in the small 1000 year old church there. I am neither a Catholic nor a speaker of German, but I found the event very moving. Then we all went out to dinner where people from Germany, Netherlands, France, Sweden and the US further bonded over good hearty food.

So it seems my mood is mostly self- inflicted, as moods tend to be. My thoughts go from a to z, from crowded to nearly empty.  When I get home we’ll have coffee or meet at the barrel house and talk it over. Never again will I attend a bullfight, that much is certain.

Another up and down has been the temperature. It’s been everywhere from upper 50s some nights/early mornings to nearly 100 some afternoons. The sweatshirt I bought last minute at Goodwill for $4.00 intending to re-donate once over the Pyrenees and the airplane blanket I brought to lay over my silk sleeping pouch have turned out to be among the best bargains in my backpack.

A very practical and sometimes hotly contested up and down is that of bunk assignment. I remember as a child wishing my sister and I had bunk beds, thinking nothing would be more fun than sleeping on top. On the Camino I have seen otherwise rational adults practically lose it when their only sleeping option was “on top.” There is a huge variety of bunk beds. Some are sturdy and have good ladders. Others are flimsier and have no ladders whatsoever. More than one lower person has been stepped on, more than one upper person has inadvertently done a split groping in the dark for a ladder that’s either not there or is set up for the left foot when the right one is flailing.  I of course never get hostile about a top bunk but I have tried to bargain with the hostelier once or twice. Most places allow pilgrims to choose

from among whatever is available but occasionally they are very strict.  All this adventure for only about $8 per night!

This past week the Camino has had the most altitude change since the first few days. The stretch from just after the lovely small town of Astorga to the other sweet town of Molinaseca is over a pass in the Cantabrian Mountains – up one day to a spectacular spot called Cruz Ferro and down rather tricky terrain the next. Again yesterday and this morning were strenuously up, this afternoon and tomorrow morning down.  Photos don’t do justice to altitude but you’ll find some below anyway. At Cruz Ferro (Iron Cross) one is invited to place a stone from home to symbolize unburdening. Mine is in the pile.

My laundry is flapping in the breeze, a group dinner will be served in 90 minutes, and If I can avoid a concussion from the bottom rail of the upper bunk (yes, I scored a lower!), I’ll post a few pictures and settle in for a little rest.

My best to all,



Cafe before the final climb to the town near the Cruz Fereo


Cruz Ferro


Going up


Coming down. Beautiful but a bit treacherous.


The girls passing the bar this morning on their way to be milked


Every group has its leader


The lower bunk bears my sleeping sack


Terrible photo but this is reportedly the Holy Grail

Finding the Way

Hello all,

Camino, caminar, to walk, the Way. Early pilgrims followed the Milky Way to the shrine of St. James in what is now called Santiago de Compostela (literally Saint James of the Stars).  Over more than a thousand years their footsteps have beaten the path we now follow. There are of course modern concessions – stretches of farm lanes, logging roads, roads through villages, towns and cities, and paths alongside highways. Light pollution and the fact that most albergues call for lights out before Spain’s summer sun has set mean that we don’t follow the stars. There are some photos below of what we do follow. They generally involve a yellow arrow of some sort or a symbol imbedded in the sidewalks of towns. Sometimes they can be a little confusing or hard to find, as the internal path can be as well.

The Way of course also refers to each pilgrim’s internal path, his or her reasons for making the trip. These are as varied as the pilgrims themselves.

I’ve met people who have wanted to walk the Camino for years and have just quit their jobs to do so. Others are on their 2nd or third Camino. Some walk a couple of weeks each year, going toward Santiago as they can. More than a few are contemplating divorce or have recently gone through it. One man’s mother kept her cancer a secret until it was too late to do any useful treatment. Some people just like to walk a lot and felt drawn to this particular walk. Some of them have had “aha” moments or encounters. I’ve met a few people whose motivation has truly been religious or decidedly spiritual. I’d say the majority of the people I’ve met would have a hard time explaining just what their reasons are for taking an 800 kilometer walk across much of northern Spain.

Nearly 500 into my Camino I still fall into this last category. Some mornings it feels so good to be out in the cool dim morning air that if I didn’t have a 17-ish pound pack on my back I’d run. Sometimes I wonder why I don’t feel more transformed than I do. I am very glad I’m here. It’s a lot to process.

Today I feel sad as friends I made on my first day have flown home. Others walked on as I’m taking a semi rest day. Learning to let go is part of this, as is being open to whatever comes next.

What’s next this evening is another half glass of rich red wine and early to bed. Today got up to about 98F and tomorrow will be hotter, so an early start is just about essential.  The humidity is low, though, so it’s bearable.

Random notes:
-Someone is playing a bagpipe, sounds great
-People in Spain still smoke a lot, yuck
-I went to a bullfight last night because it’s a big deal culturally in Spain. I loved the parade, the pageantry and the buildup but left partway through as the reality was more than I could handle

OK, here are some pictures of how we find our way.

Best wishes to one and all,




Sometimes you have to pay close attention





Two roads diverged in a sea of yellow arrows


Scallop shell imbedded in sidewalk in small town


Sometimes what's wanted is the store


Part of the walk a few days ago


Tile, tile everywhere


Shadow selfie with backpack including lunch bag

The Care and Feeding of…

Hello, Dear Readers,

It is Sunday afternoon June 21, and I write from the shade of the albergue wall in Castrojerez, Spain, about 40 kilometers (24 m) west of Burgos.

First off, please congratulate WordPress for its creative use of quotation marks and italics in my last entry. Remarkably unorthodox if you ask me. I can hardly wait to see this entry’s novel construction.

A pilgrim on the Camino does nothing if not walk, so I thought you might like to know something of what keeps me on my feet.  About 2 weeks before leaving for Spain I decided my shoes were too small. With great trepidation I went back to REI where I had bought them, tried on various others and ended up with the same shoes a half size larger. The young man told me to go exchange them at the front desk. When I protested that the originals had 80 miles on them he said it didn’t matter. They were cheerfully swapped and boy am I glad. I’ve seen the toes of walkers with small shoes and it isn’t pretty.

Next comes the tape. This is a vital part of the foot kit and cannot be skipped even if one has no blisters. I wrap the left big toe and its neighbor where they tend to rub and overlap a bit. Voila! no blisters. Some people spend a small fortune on their tape and some stuff called Competed, mine was 2 rolls for about $4 at the Kroger.

Next comes the important choice of socks. This really is important. I brought no fewer than 6 pair with me and have settled on two options. One is my lovely thick woollen Fits. The other is the creepy but effective combo of toe socks covered by a very thin woollen sock.

My feet have been quite happy most of the time. Most days they pound out about 20 k (12 miles) with nothing more than soreness. A little variable lower leg pain is alleviated by voltaren cream and occasional ibuprofen.

Today’s albergue has a wonderful foot pool, great cool water for soaking and therefore an international gathering place.

And of course a cold cerveza helps restore courage after a long day on the road. All the albergues have some in the fridge for about a euro per can- just over a buck.

Last Monday I took as a rest day in Santo Domingo as I told you. The next day all the faces on the Camino were new to me. Fortunately others have also rested so I have an ever increasing number of connections, new and old. Funny how someone first met 2 1/2 weeks ago is an old friend.

Burgos is a wonderful city of nearly 200,000 people, dating back a thousand years. I took a rest day there as well, on Friday, explored the cathedral, city streets, and on the morning of my second night was brought to happy wakefulness by the albergue mistress singing the wakeup version of a lullaby while playing the guitar. I could have listened all day. The harsh reality of the pilgrim’s life, however, is that when the clock strikes 8 a.m., anyone who hasn’t already left is put out onto the street.

The last two days’ walk have been on the meseta, a high plain but in this part at least, by no means flat. There are wonderful upward thrust areas that look like limestone to me but may not be. Wheat continues to be the predominant crop.

The towns are increasingly dun colored. Most facades are relatively intact but backyards adjacent to the albergues are likely to be in ruins. The EU economy is complicated and way beyond my understanding. I do recognize that while sometimes it feels like The Camino de Santiago is a business, I recognize and am glad that we pilgrims are clearly bringing some income to people who live along the way.  Tonight’s bunk in a room of about 20, what should be an excellent dinner including wine and a modest breakfast are costing me 22 euros, about $27.

This time I’m putting photos at the end in hopes they won’t appear in bizarre formations.  So that’s it for now. All is well on the Camino. Tomorrow another 20 k or so as I near


Foot care, tape demonstration





Along the meseta today


Today's road followed an old Roman one.


Frosty beer in Burgos


Cathedral in Burgos


This one's for you, George- pushups with Danes after 2nd cafe con leche.

the halfway point under clear blue skies, temps up to about 80, with low humidity.


Pilgrim’s Progress

Hello everyone,

I write from the upper bunk in a room for 6 at the Albergue Cuatro Cantones in the town of Belorado, population 2,140.

It has been uncommonly chilly here, with frequent threat of rain, although actual rain has been spotty and usually in the afternoon. As I write almost everything I brought to wear is in a washing machine. I am huddled in a tank top, hiking Capri’s and my raincoat.

Last night and the previous I spent in Santo


My little quiet room in Santo Domingo

Domingo, named after an 11th century secular man who devoted his life to building bridges and clearing sections on the Camino. For me Santo Domingo was a day of rest after about 12 on the Camino. I h


A little cake

ad a private room in a pension, luxurious after communal living.

I slept, napped, left my feet mostly elevated on the bed and ventured out just to visit the cathedral and its amazing bell tower, get a little somethi

ng to eat and buy a new pen, as mine had gone to globs.


Speaking of food, I had thid fabulous little dish of octopus a few days ago in Navarette. Amazing array of pintxos ( tapas).

I downloaded a book from Gutenberg and read while elevating, resting, napping, etc. It was quite a delightful day. I woke up bright and early today raring to get back on the Camino.

The strange thing about taking a day off of walking is that today every face I’ve seen has been a new one. People tend to walk the distance suggested in the guidebooks, generally 20-30 kilometers. Since my feet seem happiest


Just a few kilometers to go.

at the lower end of that range I’d been walking with a certain group of similarly-footed people. I hope to re-meet some of my favorites along the way and suspect I will. Meanwhile I’m having fun speaking French and getting to know new pilgrims.

I took this selfie early this morning. The number reflects kilometers remaining, from which we can now subtract about 20.

I think there’s time to collect my laundry and maybe take a little nap before dinner.

All the best until next time,


Henry Higgins was not fully informed

Greetings to one and all,

Well, it seems it rains in Spain wherever it pleases. Since yesterday it has pleased to rain in the Navarre district, where I am walking. I have learned several things from this.

1) As it is said, the Camino provides. More accurately, its people are kind and generous. An Iranian German woman gave me a thin poncho yesterday when it was clear my rain setup would allow parts of my stuff to get wet. Then on arrival at yesterday’s hostel when I asked where to buy a more substantial one, the lady rummaged through the Abandoned Things bag and came up with the very poncho I needed.


View from within pink poncho

This is a view from within the thin pink one.

2) There is nothing better than a thick wool sock. Even sloshy wet, my Fit merinos have kept my feet safe and blister-free.

3) A rainy day is much cooler than a sunny one.

4) Thunder and lightning don’t kill everyone. Don’t try this at home, kids, but today when it was obvious the rain would be intermittent but persistent with occasional thunder, I decided to forge onward. I am happily alive.

Hostel life is nomadic yet communal.  I am in the 9th albergue of my trip, and this has been the 9th day of walking. Inga and Arvid, the Danish couple I met the first night are here, as is Jim, the Irish New Yorker I met at a coffee stop several days ago. I started the day with Marian, the Spanish air traffic controller, walking from her natal home in Navarre to her home in Santiago de Compostela, the goal of many pilgrims along the Camino.

The rhythm of the day starts early, with  packing up, maybe eating a bite, walking, stopping now and then for sustenance, arriving at an albergue, showering and rinsing out the day’s yucky walking clothes, relaxing, visiting, eating and going to bed early. Speaking of sustenance, here’s a picture of the wine fountain I passed about 8:30 yesterday morning. This was the first time I have drunk


red wine while listening to a rooster crow. Note the interim rain outfit. Yellow rain pants turned out to be unnecessary and have been retired.

There is good time to think, beautiful scenery -these days passing through rolling fields of wheat and vines


primarily. Occasionally there is a magnificent village tightly packed onto a hill.

I apologize for the bizarre placement of the photos. It is not obvious to me how to rearrange from a phone.

I was able to get a Spanish SIM card into my Verizon phone. If you need to call me you can call my US landline for the number.

That’s it for now. Buenas tardes a todo.


Yes, the Pyrenees are mountains

Saturday June 6

Greetings to one and all,

I sit beside the river Arga next to the municipal hostel in Arre, just east of Pamplona. When I walked into town early this afternoon after about 16k, I didn’t quite want to walk the remaining 5k or so to Pamplona. Arre is having their annual “neighbors” day today, an all-town block party. The main street is lined with tables with everyone in town having paella, roasted meats and all manner of other delicacies with their  neighbors.

Today was my fourth day walking. So far walking the Camino has been a rich and varied experience. My feet are tired at the end of the days but holding up well. I have no blisters that I didn’t acquire during practice at home and those are small and not troublesome.

The practice walks I took on the steep roads around the home county served me well. My first day was all up, walking within a cloud the whole way. Ethereal, no view, part of the walk was with sheep. Came upon my first hostel with about 20 feet visibility.  Because I didn’t want to overdo the first day, I arrived ridiculously early. It was interesting talking to people as they passed through, and once settled into my bunk it wasn’t long until dinner. Folks from every populated continent bonded over soup, chicken with vegs, wine, water and dessert served refectory style. Early to bed.

Next day continued up, up, up, over the Pyrenees and then steeply down. The day was clear, blue, green, with a headwind. It was gorgeous. Lunched in the shade of a stone hut with food I’d bought in St. Jean Pied de Port. Note to hikers: they’re a bit heavy but there’s nothing better than cherry tomatoes and cheese with bread in the sun when you’re hungry and thirsty. I had fun using my first-ever pocket knife, purchased in St. Jean and embossed with the souvenir statement “pays basque,” or “Basque Country.” I arrived satisfied and sore at the large pilgrims’ hostel at Roncesvalles in the early afternoon.

The long and short of it is that each day’s walk has been spectacular in its own way.  I’ve walked mountain ridges, shady lanes with deep spongy  leaf litter and the clear bright song of birds, forests with the rich ancient smell of pine, areas with loose shale and up-cropped sedimentary ridges and an arid area today where I wouldn’t have been surprised to see a rattlesnake. So far each few kilometers has rather steep ups and downs with various footings.

Although I’m hardly assimilating into the local culture I am meeting people from all over, of all ages and abilities and feeling pretty good about my ability to hang in there and even thrive. There’s a bit of a game to decide what language to use when meeting someone for the first time. So far I’ve used French, Spanish, my 10 words of German and one word apiece in Turkish and Japanese.


Crossing the Pyrenees


Last night's hostel


Bell in tower in 12th century church

I’m off to search for food. Maybe some leftover paella?

Best to you all,