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Camino de Santiago Press
We want to start even earlier than usual, so canada goose winter jackets uk chateau store is still dark outside when we get up. Our destination for today, the Abbey-Church of Saint-Foy, keeps 15 places for pilgrims arriving during the day, as most people reserve a place there months in advance. However, we still have 23km ahead of us…It’s 6:30am when we climb up to Golinhac at dawn and the sun is no more than a small, luminous disc behind dense fog. We follow the road looping back and forth lazily into the valley again, but another climb won’t be long in coming.The fog has cleared, the sun shines and we’re in very good spirits. In Sénergues, we take a quick break, so out of the shoes, a bite to eat and then we continue. Now there are only 9km left till Conques.The last descent to town runs on a small, hazardous path into the valley and our anticipation grows with every step. We’ve already heard so much about this beautiful village. Suddenly, we’re on a road again and right in the village, which is hidden in the flank of the valley. It paid off to get up this early and walk this fast, as we get the last places. :)After dropping our bags in the room, we go out for a picnic and from the contents of five provision pouches forms a multifaceted lunch. Afterwards, we take a stroll through the village before returning to the abbey to freshen up ourselves and our stuff. We want to go for a drink in a while.We’re sitting on a terrace, with view onto the abbey-church and reflect upon the past days of our journey together. Today is our last day as a group and it’s not certain yet how our ways will continue. Aude is going home tomorrow, because like many other pilgrims, she is doing the camino in yearly steps. I should raise my average kilometres per day again, as I’m meant to be back home in mid-September. So I decide to get up with Aude at 5:30am, to start early again. Dorothée and Paulo are not keen on the idea, but Lukas will join me.During dinner in the refectory of the monastery and the following mass we sing the pilgrims song a couple of times. Subsequently, we receive an explanation of the tympanum(unfortunately only in French), followed by an amazing organ concert. The atmosphere in the church is exceptional and I’m moved to tears more than once, because the farewell to these strangers, who have become so dear to my heart in the last couple of days, is more painful than expected. I will especially be missing Aude, as we really connected and also already developed our own running gags (oui-oui). But the journey goes on and is, like it always has been, a constant give and take…

OK boys and girls it’s time for another episode of Nancy’s Spanish Adventures. Today has been less eventful than past days but interesting nonetheless, but you be the judge. I love cornflakes in Spain. I have no idea why this happens, but in 2012 when I was living with a Spanish family in Salamanca I ate cornflakes with milk and sugar every day for breakfast and loved it. In that household yogurt was something you ate for desert in the evening. She had other stuff for breakfast, but I loved me some cornflakes.I never eat cornflakes in the United States. If I occasionally eat cold cereal at a motel buffet breakfast, it is raisin bran. It is not like corn flakes are somehow different in Spain, which is the case with olives, but don’t get me started on olives. The corn flakes here say Kellogg’s Original on the box. The only difference from the boxes in the United States is that all the information is in Spanish. They contain Vitamina D, not Vitamin D. I don’t really believe they contain much of anything useful in either language, but I love them in Spain.So you can imagine my surprise and delight when Stephen showed me the flat last evening and there on the kitchen counter was a big full box of corn flakes and a partially empty box as well. I squealed with pleasure, causing Stephen to look at me a little alarmed. lol I think he thought I was having a seizure or had turned out to be slightly deranged. lol I didn’t tell him about the brain tumor.After he left I checked the frig, and there was milk (leche) I checked the cupboard and there was sugar (azucar.) I was in heaven. I was too tired to go out for a bite last night, so I had corn flakes for dinner, three bowls full.This morning I went down to the corner cafe and had café con leche, in which the proprietor drew a fern design with the steamed milk. Some of my friends of unclean mind saw something else, but we won’t go there. Shame on you! hehehe I also had a fresh warm croissant with butter (mantiquilla) and jam (mermelada.) Oh my God, so yummy.So much for my gastric adventures. Hi ho, hi ho it’s off to work I go, or went. It is crazy busy in the Pilgrim’s Office. Summer is the busiest time of the year and the 25th being the Feast of Saint James (Santiago,) it’s even busier. There is almost always a long line coming up the stairs speaking a variety of languages, tired from the Camino, excited to have finished and and earned their Compostela, emotional in all sorts of ways, and even sometimes a little cranky.I have to try to explain in at least English and Spanish, as best I can, in a friendly way, that everyone should please have their credential ready and in their own hand, because it makes canada goose winter jackets uk chateau store go faster. And sometimes the line creeps forward and I have to ask everyone to move back, again in Spanish and English, and explain this is necessary so that the people who have received their credential can get out the door and those who are waiting can get in.There are anywhere from four to seven people writing Compostelas and my job has been, so far to get the people, one at a time, to the people available to write their Compostelas. This involves much running about to check if someone is available to write the Compostela, then back to get the pilgrim’s attention, and guide them to the right space. Meanwhile problems arise. Some people are in families or have been walking together and want to go in to get their Compostelas together. This is understandable, but very difficult because the space is small and the backpacks (mochillas) are big. But sometimes they insist and just go on through. Most folks are nice about it. Sometimes, it is a parent and a child and they need to go together. It is a special time for all of the pilgrims and I need to try very hard not to detract from it. Meanwhile the paid employees get irritated if a person is not sent to them right away. So I have to scurry. The pilgrims are often fumbling with their heavy packs and walking sticks, and are slow moving. Again understandable. At a minimum these folks have just waled sixty miles, usually more than that. Today someone had walked from Le Puy in France which is a little over one thousand miles. I was exhausted after an hour. I only worked four hours but it felt like six. When some other Amigos (volunteers like me) and they said I could go now, I thought I was getting fired, because I thought I was working six hours. I might be just a tad sensitive.So after I was dismissed (lol) I went and bought a proper coffee maker, went to the tattoo shop and arranged to get a tattoo tomorrow at 17:00. We talked about what I want and he is going to draw up a sketch. He lived in New York for three years and that is where he learned to tattoo.I came home took a short nap, dreamed I was fired from a job. I wonder where that came from? hehehe

My new tattoo was quite a hit today. The two ladies from Ireland that volunteer was me gasped and covered their eyes with both hands. They were aghast. It’s kind of nice to know I can still shock some people at my age. In the Pilgrim’s office there are, besides the volunteers, paid employees or interns who write the Compostelas. One of these ladies asked me when I would be there tomorrow because she wants to bring her camera and take a picture of my tattoo. Another of the employees want to take a picture of me to show his grandmother. He, and the others, can’t believe I am almost 67 years old. lol when I leave the office after five hours of work I feel like I’m almost ninety seven.The “children” as Johnnie named them, because they are just out of high school or first year of college, are adorable and they really liked the tattoo. When I saw them yesterday it was covered, so they came into day asking to see it right away. I actually relate to them better than the two older ladies I’m working with. Maybe it’s because I’m still juvenile. Several of the pilgrims also commented on the tattoo.It was wild in the office today. It was rather slow in the morning and then bam we were slammed. The line went down the stairs, through the patio, out the entry and down the block to the corner. It was crazy. The pilgrims are always so excited and so tired from the journey. I’m sure standing in line is just torture. There is a door way where pilgrims are admitted one by one from the line to get their Compostelas. There are usually five to nine people writing Compostelas, which entails them checking the credential to determine if the person has walked the requisite miles, fill out forms about where they are from, where they started the Camino, how old they are, if they did the Camino on foot, bicycle, or horseback, and whether they did the Camino for religious or spiritual reasons. The last one is tricky. If they say no, they did it for personal, athletic or other reasons, they don’t get a Compostela, they get a Certificate.After they get their Compostela or Certificate, they exit through the same door they were admitted to get their Compostelas or Certificates. Meanwhile, others are being called in to get their Compostelas or Certificates, all through the same door. Remember most of these people have with them the large backpacks, walking sticks, etc they used on the Camino, going both ways throughout the door. Very difficult to choreograph. Additionally, as they exit there is a little counter where they can buy a tube to protect their Compostela or Certificate from getting bent or crumpled on their journey home. Now this counter is about four feet from the doorway where people are entering and exiting. Today there were a few times, when the line to get out with backpacks was so long it went through the door so nobody could move through it to get their Compostelas or Certificates. Five employees were sitting with no one to service. It took a minute or two each time to clear it out enough to keep the traffic flowing.Mind you, I’m trying to get people to move and do canada goose winter jackets uk chateau store in Spanish and English, which probably works for most of them, except those that only speak French, Italian, German, or Asian languages. I must say I’ve pretty much gotten over my reluctant embarrassment to speak Spanish, I’m just rattling off stuff. It’s one of the benefits of being too busy to think about it. For the most part the Pilgrims are understanding and kind. Occasionally there is a cranky one, but it is understandable, given the long way they’ve come and how emotional this moment is to them, and there is some crazy American with purple hair asking them to move here or there, or to “squishy up.” I’m still trying to figure out how to say “squishy up” in Spanish. lolAfter work today I took a moment in this lovey little park with flowers, hedges, benches for sitting and tables for eating. I just love this about Spain. In the middle of the cities there are always large and small parks. Tomorrow I get to have lunch with one of my friends from the states. She was one of the trainers and the one that made it possible to have this dream experience in Santiago. I work the afternoon shift for the next three days from 2pm to 7pm, and tomorrow night Johnnie is playing the organ and Stephen is singing in the Cathedral!! I haven’t heard Johnnie play but I assume he is great. Stephen sang for us the other night at dinner and he has an amazing voice.Sleep tight my friends.

I mentioned on the blog that my wife Jennnifer doesn’t believe in the past. She’s been working hard to release the past from her life. Some of you wanted further explanation, so today I’m giving the blog over to her, … Continue reading →

We had a long day today. Initially, I anticipated training to take an hour, two tops. Not the case. We were there for eight hours. I have to remember though, that I am a volunteer, not a tourist. We had training in the morning and again in the afternoon. In between, we had lunch just off Copacabana. We were chatting with a Mexican seminarian who suggested this place because it had a pilgrim menu for 15 reais. I asked for the most Brazilian option and was given white rice, black beans, yuca (or something like it) and sausage. It was yummmmmy. In the evening, we walked along Ipanema. It was lovely, though since it’s winter here, the sun had already set. I hope to see it during the day. One special moment occurred near the bus stop. We were walking along when a man walking with a woman made eye contact with me. Initially, I ignored it, but as he approached, he moved to hand me a paper. I assumed that setting my backpack, he knew I was a volunteer and was going to give me a food advertisement. I didn’t move to take it until he looked at me with a kind smile, ignoring my friends, and said, “é pra você.” I took it to be polite and said obrigada. As I looked at it, I saw that out was a prayer card for São Judas Tadeu. Seeing that, I knew it was know coincidence. The church that is housing me is Paróquia São Judas Tadeu. ———Hoy era largo. Inicialmente, anticipaba que el entrenamiento duraría una hora, dos máximas. No era el caso. Estuvimos allí por ocho horas. Tengo que recordar que soy voluntaria, no turista. Tuvimos entrenamiento en la mañana y en la tarde. Entre los dos, almorzamos cerca de Copacabana. Estuvimos platicando con un seminarista mexicano qie sugerió este lugar con menú del peregrino por 15 reales. Pedí la opción más brasileñas y me dieron arroz, frijoles, yuca (o algo parecido) y salchicha. Era delicioso. Por la noche, caminamos por Ipanena. Era divino, pero como aquí es invierno, el sol ya bajo. Espero verlo durante el día.Un momento especial ocurrió cerca a la parada del canon. Íbamos caminando cuando un hombre caminando con una mujer me vio. Lo ignoré, otro cuando llegué más cerca, me comenzó a pasar un papel. Pensé que como tuve mi mochila, el sabía que era voluntaria y me iba pasar una propaganda. No lo iba tomar hasta que me miró a los ojos con una sonrisa suave, ignorando mis amigas, me dijo «é pra você.» Lo tome para ser buena y le dije obrigada. En verlo, me di cuenta que era tarjeta de oración a São Judas Tadeu. Viendo eso, supe que no era coincidencia. La parroquia que me está dando el hospedaje es la Paróquia São Judas Tadeu.

I have an important announcement to make – Roll of the drums please… Sister Clare has agreed to be a moderator on my forum – I can hear the stunned silence. Yes, it took a bit of arm twisting, because … Continue reading →

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