The Camino, Santiago and the Pilgrims

Words are not flowing here. So photos will do the talking.
My Camino through these pilgrims –

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Michael, Australia and Georgina, Italy

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Tracy, NYC

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Katja, Germany; Yoost, Elsa & Bernard, Netherlands

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Yoost, The Netherlands

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Always my girl –

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Elsa and Bernard, Netherlands

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Katarina, Sweden

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Andy, Germany

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My girl again!

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Oh and whilst we were walking, Tori was flying!

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Kiwis Jenny and Sue

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Marjanne and Peter, Netherlands

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These wonderful nuns

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Jill. Australia

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Trusted bandy legs and Gortex Solomon shoes

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One pilgrim who encouraged us at the top of a mountain!

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These Spanish angels helping Georgie

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A little bit of God helping me!

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Rune, Denmark and Sebastion, Germany

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Olivia, Australia

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Rune, Sebastion and Georgie

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And just cos this is my favorite photo!

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Not just the Spanish are a dignified race, their dogs are also!

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Walking mate, Will from London

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This Spanish hotelier who was gruff in the beginning, then THE best!

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And still my favorite animal ..

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Ozzie family Bill and son Tom

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Betty, Canada

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Viking 1 and 2, Norway and Esperanza, New Mexico

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Some of the Canadian girls – Lynne, Barb

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Eleanor. UK/US

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And finally – the Santiago Cathedral

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790km – Completed!

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This donkey also completed The Way

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Excitedly Will (my walking companion of 12 days) and I found an albergue, then headed to The Office of the Peregrino for our Compostela.

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And immediately to buy a beer to celebrate.

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I know I said this would be the last blog but I have another day in Santiago and will be attending the final pilgrim’s mass. So – not quite finished yet!
Reflections to follow!!

Nearly there!

Down to the wire! Last 25km before Santiago. Staying at private albergues more now. Less people, less pressure, wake naturally, leisurely breakfast. Guess I don’t want this to finish!
Octopus everywhere in Galicia.

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Cooked!

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Some people walked in bare feet; others didn’t have a choice!

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Found this appropriate cartoon on a wall and felt it resembled me!!

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Some people carry a backpack – others do it this way!

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Cows just wander down the road to be milked. Everything stops!

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Last 100km

Nearly there!

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Walking with Will from London and loving running into so many people who have been in the road with me for 30days. Have relaxed these days and leave the albergue around 8am (instead of the pressured 6am). Even get a leisurely coffee! My new best friend –

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I want to take photos of my toes for you all!! Not a pretty sight and am sure you don’t want to see them!!! But some people are focussed on blisters, others on bowels!! For me? It is watching no.4 toenail leave me!!!
Down to the wire now. Have walked 700km to date! Been an absolute joy, unexpected and amazing.

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Will arrive into Santiago on Wednesday with the 769km completed. Want to spend two days there. There is a massive final church service for pilgrims at midday, then we get our Compostela (certificate) to confirm the walk.
Will blog my final blog for the last 6mths shortly and finally YOU will be rid of me!!

To the oldest Monastery in the western world!

Another 31km walk but this time it was through the most beautiful woodlands to Samos.

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Rain is now with us!

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Monasterio de Samos – 15 monks reside here.

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I was looking forward to staying in this monastery – the Benedictine hostel is located behind it. But sadly a bedbug epidemic hit and it was closed to pilgrims!
Countdown now to Santiago. Less than 200km. Walking with Will from the UK now. At Samos, I was thrilled to catch up again with Jenny and Sue from Wellington, Di from Sth Africa and John from Brisbane. Georgie is still a day behind me, but have said our goodbyes and will meet again in Perth in October.

Once this is over, it will be hard not to wake up, don the backpack and just walk! Been a very special time.

Villafranca to O’Cebreiro

Bed bugs! Attacked some friends in a huge way. Delayed scratching – 12hrs, then a mass of welts! Don’t know why they missed me (same albergue, different room). Everyone busy searching sleeping bags, squashing very large bloody bugs!
Walked 31km uphill to O’Cebreiro. A strenuous walk to say the least!

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Some chose to ride up!

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Long long day with a well deserves beer or three at the end!
Dog ate my sock!

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OMG!!!!!

Left Astorga around 6am and headed UP the mountains.

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Decided to set my goal for Manjarin; basic facilities! ie no running water.

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The Loo!

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This was by donation only. Population: one! This is another abandoned village brought to life by the modern hospitalero Tomas who is the ONE official resident. He renovated one of the abandoned houses (pilgrim’s hospital existed here 12th century linking it to the Knights Templar).
Were we in for a treat!

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Tomas (head Templar) had a band of followers who made us (10 pilgrims) dinner. Tomas then donned a white robe with hood, sword in hand and presented us with a Temple ritual of blessing. It was such a special evening. We slept in the basic of huts, swatted a bedbug or three, smelt abit ripe after the 26km hike up the mountain and felt the luckiest of pilgrims to experience this.
Next morning Tomas and his band of merry men put on breakfast around the round table. Our camino passports were not returned until 8am, when Tomas considered Walking the Camino should not start until the day had well and truly begun!

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Down the mountain today and what a sight!

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Mountain villages –

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A welcome sight – Ponferrada

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