Thursday, September 15, 2011


Sunday, May 22 - Today is election day- each day we have seen posters, TV ads, heard sound trucks driving through villages. Yound people have been demonstrating in Madrid, the news says. We left the hostal walking through a cloud - pea-soup fog - so thick you could only see a few steps ahead. Today is our last big milage day -23.8 KM ,mostly downhill, the views are supposed to be spectacular but we will not see them. We reached Triacastle by midmorning -- no castles left -- We saw a guy with a Univ. of CA sweatshirt -- was he from the USA? No - from Tasmania - the south of Australia. He is living in Europe for one year - refining his skills as a chef by living on an organic farm. After Tricastle, the book gave us two options and we chose the southern route - through the forest and past farms with no real towns for 11 km. The book did not seem to match our route very well - but we plugged along -we had the last of our cheese and mustard - and a whooper bocadilla. The forest was quiet and enchanting, totally different from the miles of flat autopista we saw in Navane. Eventually, we got back to the road - and there was Samos, with the biggest monestary in Europe.
We walked through town to the Aviega Hostal - showered, did laundry, napped - then went back into town and visited the monastery - which is also an Alburgue. For three euro, we got a guided tour (in Espanol) -- saw the halls and central church - modern murals painted throughout, a lovely central garden, and very, very old sanctuary.

At dinner at a hotel restaurant - menu of the day - thick spinach and veg. soup and fillet of hake with weird yellow potatoes. We couldn't figure out the spice. We went back to our place - went to sleep but were woken up by firecrackers, bottle rockets, cherry bombs - set off under our window. Dozens of people were celebrating the results of the elections - very happy, it seems.

Monday, May 23 -After breakfast at the hotel, we embarked on a short hop (14.3 km) to Sarria. Jim twisted his ankle and fell on uneven pavement - skinning his knee. Now we are both hobbling - lucky we don't have too far to go.

We meet Ogden and Sindra again - even though we took a day off - we are going the same rate as they are. We had a great walk through the forrest -saw a horse, cows, and got to Sarria, just 111 km from out goal. Our pensiopn (3 rooms sharing one bath) is at the top of a flight of steep stairs- we listened to people huff and puff as they attempted the climb -- then sing the "Rocky" song when they go to the top.

We found a farmacia for more ibuprofen - the pharmacist gift wrapped it rather than put it in a bag. We found a supermercado - and place to buy a new book in English -- no luck finding a newspaper in English. Jim will search for bank - we need to change our travelers checks.

Murals - on the way - on the stairway into town - showing pilgrims - struggling - journey to Santiago!!!

Tuesday, May 24 - What a day!! Jim went to all 9 banks in Sarria - not one would change travelers cheques. And his credit card does not work either.
We were sitting outside the hostal - looking glum - Jim calls his credit card company -- but the telephone fails - no time available the voice says -- cell phone out of minutes. How many ways can you spell S-C-R-E-W-E-D? How are we going to buy food or lodging?

Jim looks at his cash - could we sleep on the ground - or beg in some way?

Then - up the stairs beside where we sit - comes an American family from Houston, TX. Gene and Peggy and their 20 year old son Justin. They made the mistake of asking us how we were doing -- and we told them. They wished us luck and walked on -- but then came back and offered to get some euros using their debit card -- they could change a travelors cheque, they said. They both spoke good Spanish and when we went to a back for them to change some money, they talked with the people in the back -- got some euros - no problem - we gave them a travelors check - no sleeping on the ground - we now had some money -- but the best part - they convinced the back to accept our credit card - so now we could get plenty of money - hard time are over!!!! We could get to Santiago!!!

What are the chances of this miracle? Right when we needed help. This was a smack in the head for Karen -- miracles happen.

It was was almost noon before we got on the trail - but we had only 12 km to a private hostel at Morgade, where we got a room for two with the bath across the hall.

Jim is continuing to manifest new hives all over his body - they itch like crazy. This is starting to resemble the boils of Job!!!
Good supper, though - fried eggs, salad, fried potatoes, -- many Germans.

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