So much to say! So little time…

Get Off The Road
We’ve had so many experiences over the past few days its hard to keep track!

I got a marriage proposal!!! We are going to get married in Santiago. Michelé from Italy presented a gorgeous ring pull from his juice carton in front of all our friends, it was a special moment for all – and Ally is excited about planning the wedding – But we have not seen Michelé since then, so i might already be divorced…

photo (17)I also got us lost on an adventure! It involved a major highway crossing much like that old arcade ga

me froggy where you tried to cross the multi lane highway without getting squished (we looked more like turtles thou with our backpacks) and parents don’t shake your heads at this story – we survived! There was also laying on a fence so that Ally and Eric could climb over then Eric so generously volunteered to hold the sticks so Ally could help me get over too… 3km off track and ripped pants later a farmer stops his tractor in the middle of the road to stop us turn us around and tell us wrong way wrong way wrong way!

photo (18)Alex the gorgeous college student from America introduced us to “hiking dating”. Eric being the romantic he is has adapted this to the Camino way and since its inception we have all been on many hiking dates :) no second dates have occurred so far but only being half way, there is still plenty if time… Unfortunately one thing about this dating technique is sometimes you get stuck with a dud – and the heckling happening behind you from Eric and Ally does not help the situation – thank god for loose shoelaces or an approaching town to interrupt such occasions :)

Another highlight is our community dinner at the Albergue in Hermanillos where Matt from Canada volunteered me to cook (there were no restaurants in the town to eat at) so what started as a pasta dish for 8 people turned into a dinner for 18!! That’s how it works – more pilgrims turn up to stay so you ask them to join in! Trip to the shop for some ingredients or a bottle of vino and that’s their contribution :) what a great night! Best thing about cooking is I didn’t have to wash dishes (thanks Ally)

photo (20)After dinner we attended mass at the local church (shocked I know) it was Saint James Feast Day so it was appropriate plus as pilgrims we all wanted to pay our respect to those on the Santiago train crash.

Witnessing the holy communion in Latin and Spanish was pretty good experience :) Our host at the hostel gave us a local experience where he made us a fire drink with vino and some sort of spirits coffee beans and lemon rind… We all got a glass and it was like warm honey and whiskey going down your throat with a bit of a kick at the end :)

To top off a fantastic night it was brother Shawn’s birthday (we have 2 monks traveling along the way that we run into from time to time) so brother Shawn had happy birthday sung to him in 7 different languages! Completely fantastic :)

From Hermanillos to Mansilla de las Mulas for a 25km day with the hope of an Albergue with a pool the only thing keeping Eric in good spirits (that and ABBA on his iPod) we passed houses built into hills and stairs to cellar doors leading to nowhere scattered in villages to reach a walled town with the perfect afternoon activity – a gorgeous river with a rope swing!

No I didn’t do it – the water was freezing!! But many countries joined us at the river and most braved the cold to test out the swing! Jim from England set the bar (or should I say swing) high, Benz from Hungry gave it a red hot go and Brittany from the U.S I think got the most air!! Ally from Australia with the promise of a bottle of vino caved to the pressure and joined the crew who swung – if only I captured her attempt on camera… You’d all be so proud!

Meeting old and new friends at each stop always leads to impromptu adventures and our night here was no exception. My night started as another joke cliché an Aussie, a Pom, & a Spaniard sitting at a bar….

Ally’s started with a trip to the ice cream shop and the pastry shop…. Meeting at a local restaurant where I had complete food envy of ally’s 3 course sumptuous meal of squid ink black risotto, then, amazing meatballs in delicious sauce. Followed by a triple chocolate cake! I on the other hand had ham and eggs – I also lost the Ashes Noughts & Crosses series to the Pom :-(

photo (16)But the vino flowed as did the conversations and there were 7 countries sitting at the one table telling stories and creating memories. PLUS there was an exercise bike in the toilet. Don’t ask me why… It is Spain.

I woke up the next morning and was greeted with a site that one can only describe in person… The only thing that made me feel better is that others witnessed it too (it wasn’t a mirage)

My head a bit sore (I do not know why ?? 😉 ) I was wondering if I was going to survive the 20km to León? With Ally and Eric to keep me entertained 5km down the road my head cleared and the 3 of us motored on.

Stopping for coffee and WiFi while listening to Beethoven, i rated the toilet a 1.5 (ewww) – it was a change to see hills and traffic again.

It wasn’t long till the strange site of a big city appears – we start to feel the unnerving sense that we are going to hit a horrible industrial part if town to drudge thru (Burgos comes to mind with a spine tingling shudder) but before it got too much and we lost our sanity again (that happens often out here) a 12 km delayed toilet stop for Ally & Eric as I scared them away from the 1.5 rated one came just in time.

photo (19)Finally the old town wall appeared (these big cities have an old town right in the centre – always the place we head too) and with relief we found the centre. You couldn’t miss it with the 12th century massive gothic cathedral – another beautiful site!

The nuns took care of us at their place with a €5 bed and a very unacceptable 9.30pm curfew… Probably needed after last night thou…

León is a beautiful city full of stunning architecture beautiful pastries and good times. Except the 9.30pm curfew.

We met up with fellow travellers

And the bonus of a local (thanks Victor) and sampled the drinks and tapas at a few bars – a great thing in Spain is that you buy a drink and get a tapas plate for free! Yum! Plus one bar had a chocolate fountain with mash mellows to help yourself, go figure…

After a chat and catch up with the crew we’ve hung out with the last few nights (Jim, Emlie, Victor, Benz, Victoria, Mr Lee) we farewelled them with the hope that we will see them another time along the way (we are going in different directions) they had a few laughs about our curfew but with our vino and plastic cups we spent the night in the court yard swapping stories and welcoming our new walking buddy Michelle who just arrived, until the nuns yelled VAMOOC!!! (away quickly) and it was time to go.

Sunday in Leon meant mass in the cathedral an experience that one can not pass up – wow. Even better is that one of our favourite monks Father Emanuel assisted too!! All pilgrims that went felt pretty chuffed that one of our own was up their :)

So the non practicing Christian and the Jew have been to 2 catholic mass’ in one week! I think our quota is done till Santiago :)

Leaving León meant another big milestone and that means its the start of STAGE 3!!! The last leg of our journey…

The mountains await…

Buen Camino!

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Comments

  1. Wow girls…I don’t think I need to plan a trip to Spain..I feel like I’m experiencing through you xxxx

  2. Hi Girls – love getting up each morning and checking on the staus report – kids love it too and are very proud of their Aunty Kel!!! Take care, keep the pen (keyboard) flowing. And yes, Kel, I am very impressed that you are going to mass!!!!!!!

  3. chris & barb says:

    Great reading.Had us going with MARRIAGE proposal – make sure he is RICH and we are at the service.Love the sandals.Go chicks!!!

  4. Tracey Spencer says:

    What an adventure!! and very impressed you have been to Mass (twice). Fantastic that you are now in Stage 3 – continued safe travels xxx

  5. Victoria says:

    Ahaha the exercise bike in the toilet! I completely forgot about that! That night in Mansilla and the rope swing where we met you all was one of my favorite nights for sure on this trip. Have an amazing time in Barcelona!! Talk soon xxx V

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