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Wednesday, 4 May 2016

Camino de Santigo - Guest blog by my daughter Emma Little


Photo from
The next two weeks I will be walking a portion of the Camino de Santiago, walking approximately 25km a day, so I decided I would post about this journey! In addition, I will be posting about the rest of our travels (we are away for two months!!!).  

Since I will only be posting from my iPad, I had to format most of posts ahead of time, in terms of layout, as the apps aren't very sophisticated. As well, in order to keep my blog neat and tidy, I decided I would create one post per country we are visiting. Therefore, I will only update this post for the camino, and won't create multiple posts! Hope that all makes sense - just keep checking back on this post each day, and hopefully (crossing my fingers) I will be able to post a photo and talk a little bit about how our day was.

The Camino:
The Camino de Santiago is the name of any of the pilgrimage routes, known as pilgrim ways, (most commonly the Camino Francés or French route) to the shrine of the apostle St. James the Great in the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela in Galicia in northwestern Spain, where tradition has it that the remains of the saint are buried. Many take up this route as a form of spiritual path or retreat for their spiritual growth.

Travel Day:

Our travel day was very very long! Starting on April 28 with a 7 hour flight to London heathrow, arriving the morning of April 29, then a 3 hour stop and then a 2 hour flight to Madrid, then a 2 hour stop and a 5 hour bus ride to get to Ponferrada. I get very travel sick, so needless to say, this was not a great day for me! Though I managed, and we finally got to the hotel around 9:30 pm, and went out for a late tapas meal followed by a long, well deserved sleep in an actual bed after so many hours sleeping upright on planes/busses. 

Day 1:

Day 1 has been very easy going and we have spent it exploring Ponferrada. We visited  Los Templarios Castle, as well as the Saturday market and walked along the river. The castle was beautiful as well as the views, allowing us to see all across the city. The market was huge and covered many streets with clothes, jewelry and fresh vegetable. 

We've been having trouble with the menus - all Spanish and all tapas. It's always a surprise to see what turns up. Just having a little siesta and then heading back out for tea and pastries. 

Photo: View from the castle 

Day 2:
Day 2, or our first day actually walking, we walked 25km and it took a little over 5 hours. It started off very cold with many layers to very hot at the end. We stopped for lunch about 15km in and had lunch at the most beautiful restaurant, Casa de Comidas Prada a Tope. Probably one of my all time favourites. After lunch we walked a little further and hit a huge market with May Day/Octopus Fiesta celebrations, which was very exciting for us to see! Finally at the hotel, enjoying tea and a nice bath. No blisters today, but sore hip/back area from the packs - we think?! Tomorrow we have a long day ahead with a 30km "scenic route" hike.

Day 3:

Day 3 was definitely brutal! We woke up sore form our first day and walked a total of 31km today. The first 20km was mostly along a road, which wasn't that exciting other than all of the cows and cats that we saw. We saw an abandoned house in a little village that had been taken over by cats so of course we gave them a little bit of ham from a sandwich. The last 10km was up hill. First, on a wide open road with the sun on us, which was killer. Then, it switched to a trail covered by trees, with a gravel path. Finally, to the last part through little villages as well as on stone and gravel paths - all very uneven and uphill. Once we arrived, the views made the hard work worth it, even though we are hobbling around in pain! The village overlooked many valleys and mountains in the distance with amazing views from all angles. We were quite proud of ourselves, only stopping around 18km for lunch and then not stopping again after! The temperature ranges are something I didn't expect though. We started the day around 3C and then at the hottest it was around 23C. Tomorrow is a much easier day with 21km of downhill!

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