Tag Archives: Pilgrim

Day 1 of the Via Francigena

In keeping with our style the Fab Five (new name thanks Cathy & Kevin) decided to head out a day early.

We all met up yesterday at the Hospice du Grand Saint Bernard in the Swiss Alps.

Cheapmeister, Bill and I came from Martigny, Switzerland by train and bus. Darrell and Roxanne came from Aosta, Italy by taxi.The bus ride was nail biting and thrilling at the same time.

It was foggy, windy, cold and blustery at the top.We layered up and walked to Italy (200 meters) for cocktails and hot chocolate. Our dorm room slept 16 (8 sets of bunk beds) and had equal amount of cubbie storage space. Spotless. Lucky for us nobody snored.Our dorm We woke to stirring of our bedmates followed by soothing music that was played throughout the Hospice. Lovely.

Coffee and bread for breakfast. Certainly not the breakfast of champions. However, we came prepared so no worries.Miraculously it was a clear and glorious day! We layered up for the cold and within 500 meters stripped down. What a contrast from the day before.We walked approximately 11 miles mostly downhill – a 3660 foot drop. It was stunning beyond description.Our bodies were shouting at us by mile seven. Knees, hips, back… all asking us what the hell we were doing to ourselves.

We shouted back and kept walking.

Now showered up, clothes on the clothesline. Staying at a 1000 year old monastery/hospice. Roxanne and I are writing and the boys are at the bar.

In the other part of our building is a group of walkers who are here for spiritual reasons and are practicing a vow of silence.


“After a day’s walk, everything has twice its usual value.” – G.M. Trevelyan

Now here’s Rockenstein…

Our reunion with Bill, Paige, and Chappy at Grand Bernard Pass, Switzerland was as fresh and invigorating as the rolling fog and crisp wind.

We were all warmed up by tea elegantly poured by the Monk named Frederic.We spent the night where 40,000 of Napoleone’s soldiers once hung out and for 300 years the Saint Bernard dogs sniffed through fog, ice and snow finding those of us who got lost. The Fab Five are keenly aware of this precious moment in time to show up able bodied and willing to walk 620 miles to Rome, Italy.

Why? For the pure joy of being able to walk the Via Francigena.

Internet is really slow so no videos today.

Slowly Making Our Way

Martigny, Switzerland seemed liked a great place to rest up and acclimate to the time change before we start walking the Via Francigena.

This charming community of 18,000 people of which 25% are expats rests at 1545 feet above sea level and at the base of the Alps. The hillsides are lush and bursting with grapes. The hills are starting to turn falls colors but the flowers are still happy and colorful.

Home to the St. Bernard Museum, a Roman Amphitheater, the La Bâtiaz Castle and one old wooden bridge (1823).A three night stop gave us ample time to explore, rest and eat our way through town.

Tomorrow we head north to 8,100′ where we will spend two nights at the Grand St. Bernard Hospice – founded nearly 1,000 years ago. Starting in the 17th century monks at the hospice bred and raised the St. Bernard rescue dogs to help with snowbound travelers. Today there is no need.

Hunters, pilgrims and Napoleon have laid their weary heads upon this spot high in the Alps.

Tomorrow five pilgrims from Nevada will be added to the list.

Images of Martigny…Postings and photos are all from my iPhone. Here’s my first attempt at loading videos. They appear sideways on my screen but play in the correct direction. If it’s harsh (or sideways) looking at it on a computer please let me know.

Camino de Santiago Portugues Final Day 20

Life is simple on the Camino – walk, eat, sleep, walk, eat, sleep, walk… Oh and follow the yellow arrows – sometimes it’s like “Where’s Waldo” but that’s part of the fun.Yesterday, June 4th we walked 26,850 steps and 11.38 miles into Santiago de Compostela. The crazy Peregrino video. Click here.

We had the best time and couldn’t have asked for better Camino buddies. Some picked up new trail names: Rocknstein and Chapmeister. Darrell had a love affair with Vino Verde. Bill managed to wear his flip flops everyday and was discovered to be a contrarian and I talked too much and was referred to as being a pain in the ass. 

Bill did the math and realized that we spent approximately 400 awake hours together which equals about 5 to 10 years of socializing. Sort of like speed dating…Our bodies stood the test of time and distance. Consider the writing on a Pilgrim’s t-shirt: Know Pain Know Gain.We are Peregrinos!!!The video of our entry into Santiago de Compostela – click here

Camino de Santiago Portugues Day 17

Every morning we start with jackets, beanies and knee socks. The air is crisp. Within 2 hours we’ve worked up a sweat between our backs and packs – the rising sun forces us to exchange clothes for sunblock. 

Below are photos taken in order so that you may enjoy the Camino with us. 

Today we all felt like barn horses hoping to reach our hotel in Caldes de Reis  (known for its thermal waters) sooner than later. We walked with purpose. 

31,108 steps and 13.41 miles took us to our rooms at the charming Balneario Hotel Dávila. 

A peek into the kitchen at our morning coffee stop.

Our 2 accordian players and their amigo.

Another dog looking for lunch!

Train tracks.

Our 2nd coffee stop.

The stench coming from this building was awful!

Flowing river plants.

Darrell sipping his wine bowl.

Bamboo garden at our hotel.

Public thermal foot bath.

Camino de Santiago Portugues 16

This day couldn’t have been more beautiful – magical in fact – from the weather to the Camino.We started out with a heart pounding – lung squeezing steep climb.We walked through fern forests, up narrow traversing streets, across a Roman bridge where the Spaniards beat Napoleon, quiet suburban neighborhoods and up again over mosaic rock paths worned by Roman chariots – topped off with song birds and crystal clear rivers with trout and fouls gold sparkling in the sun.

Roman Chariot indentations in the rocks

Roman Chariot indentations


We walked 27,714 steps and 11.76 miles into Pontevedra, Spain – famous for seafood and the birthplace of the Santa Maria – the largest of the three ships used by Christopher Columbus.

The Atlantic.

At times we walk on busy highways.

Laundry time at the local community fountain.

Roman Bridge.

The tide is out and the boats hang out.

Taking off layers.

Killer dog trying to eat us under the gate.

Camo Fisherman

Camino de Santiago Portugues Day 15

Bill and I slept with a mosquito last night. That darn thing buzzed our ears for hours. After jumping out of bed and turning on the lights 4 times trying to kill that f**king thing Bill ultimately smashed it in his ear. We only had 2 hours left to sleep.

Another glorious day through wooded areas on cushy paths and rural neighborhoods on pavement.

Ferns, ferns – everywhere.

Yucky burbs.

We had the best Pilgrim’s lunch today. It is where I fell in love with Fabado – cooked beans similar to pinto beans. I dressed them with vinegar, salt and a bit of Tobasco Sauce. Unbeknownst to the rest of the group I have never eaten a bowl of beans. My new favorite meal! When Bill and I walked the Camino Frances we learned to eat the Pilgrim’s menu (a starter, entre and dessert) at lunch time instead of the usual 8:30 mealtime. Opting for a glass of wine and less heavy tapa in the evening.

We walked 28,330 steps and 12.02 miles into Cesantes, Spain where some of our rooms overlook the Atlantic. 

The Atlantic.

Hydrangea bigger than my hand.

Granite walls for the longest distance.

The outline on the ground for displaying flowers for Corpus Christi Day

The afternoon washing of our clothes

Camino de Santiago Portugues Day 14

What a marvelous day! 

It was so good to be back on the Camino after 2 days and 3 inches of rain. Not to mention it is wonderful to be back in spectacular Spain!

España cares about marking the Camino, they cater to the Peregrino, the towns are lively but that darn siesta hour is so hard to get used to. 

Our walk today was filled with delightful views, soft terrain, goats, sheeps, crosses, horses, Roman bridges, roses, kiwi farms, hydrangeas, trout streams, lots of pilgrims and Chappy’s bottom.

We walked 26,489 steps and 11.26 miles into Porriño, Spain.

The building sign says Vending

Here is the vending machine.

Pan = Bread. This is in the block wall around a house.

Mail and Bread

Lots of Pilgrims


A painting on a block wall.

Kiwi Farm