Tag Archives: Spain

Life Happens While Making Plans

The Via Francigena pilgrimage had been in the works for almost two years – August 28th to November 19th – generous time to walk, explore and then return by means of a transatlantic cruise.In April of this year we learned our son and daughter-in-law were going to have a baby – the due date coincided with our walk.

Plane and cruise tickets had already been purchased and commitments to our pilgrim partners had been made. We decided to continue and make a plan when the time came.

Graciella was born October 8th.

Rome was five days out and the proud parents wanted some alone time. This allowed time to finish the Via, rest a couple days and fly home for some Gracie time.Oh, to hold a grandbaby. What a miracle.

It was only 36 hours after arriving in Charleston that Bill and I looked at each other said let’s fly back to Italy and get on that ship. The boat sails in 14 days…

The cruise took off from Civitavecchia, an hour outside Rome. We stayed near the airport and meandered our way to the port.First stop, Barcelona. We have great memories of our time here. I was particularly looking forward to seeing the progress of the Sagrada Familia. A Gaudí designed church. It’s a fantastical whimsical fortification – part adult hallucination part child’s mind. Within a year of the corner stone being set in 1882 Gaudí became the architect. He abandoned the original Neo-gothic theme for his own modernistic style. Rumor has it that the goal is to finish in 2026. This – Gaudí’s last project.On the opposite end of the spectrum both in time and in design we toured his first commission, Casa Vicens. The juxtaposition from the start of his career to the end is a lesson in the creative mind.The ship was scheduled to arrive in Funchal (an island just west of Portugal) in two days. However, a northerly storm with twenty foot swells put an end to that and we remain another day in Barcelona.Tomorrow we head west, out into the Atlantic, where we will sail seven days to St. Maarten.

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.