Monday, April 12, 2010

Nearing the End

Last night I received some more photos from the hikers, and as of the time of this writing, I believe they are finished walking the trail. It's my understanding that Mom and Glenys are chilling out somewhere in northern Spain until their flight whisks them back to Canada sometime this week. Without further ado, the photos:

Sandra with a dry knapsack walking through a very long tunnel
just before the incident with the knapsack falling in the drain!

Sandra with a fisherman on his way home with a "water haul".
Some fishermen friends of mine can relate to that!

A pilgrim from South Korea who makes a few dollars playing
his drum along the way - he sang us a Korean love song

A fisherman trying his luck like others we know!

Glenys enjoying a beautiful river the first day we started walking backwards.

The iron cross at the top of a high mountain where people
bring their prayers and special requests before God.
A strenous walk to say the least

A helper from the Albergue in Astorga who showed us the way
to the train station so we could get our ticket to head to Pampalona -
we´re on on way to the station now. That algergue and its
people were very good to the two "Canadian Senoras"!

This used to be the "Bishop´s Palace."

So, I'll probably add one more post when the pilgrims return home, but other than that, this will likely be the last content from the trail itself. There's certainly a lot of fishing in Spain, and perhaps Frank should have went along and brought the fly rod. Of course, then there would have been no one to fix the ceiling in the basement. And one last thing. Bishop Cy should keep his eyes open for job opportunities in Spain. I hear there's an awful lot of walking, but the accommodations more than make up for it. ;)


Wednesday, April 7, 2010

A Quiet Easter

With Mom in Spain and Aaron and Danielle gone to Mexico (and not to mention the Spanish-speaking world under threat of tomfoolery), the rest of the Tilleys had a relatively quiet Easter.  Also, as Mom wasn't here to fulfill her traditional duty, Allison was left to "carve" the turkey.  Allison is an excellent cook... but not so much with the turkey carving.  Here's the most recent updates from the travellers.

Hi Guys
Trust you all had a Happy Easter. We got up early today, packed our knapsacks and got a taxi to the Bus Station. Bought a bus ticket and headed off to Piedafita - three hour ride (where the bus dropped us when we skipped aheaded to walk to Santiago in time for Easter). Mailed some postcards there, had some lunch and hit the trail. Walked 10kms today to Vega de Valcarce. We´ve just finished supper (8:00pm), going to head back to our room, get showered, get ready for tomorrow and then hit the old sack!!
We now have approximately 90kms to walk to get us back to Astorga - hoping to finish that sometime Friday. Guess what? There´s no rain, snow, hail or wind!! We had beautiful weather today - yay!

Then there was this message yesterday:

Hi everyone,
Well yesterday we warmed up with our first day back and did 12 kms. This morning we left Vega de Valcarce and walked to Cacabelos for a total of 26kms. This is Fiesta Night here with an orchestra set up in the square directly behind where we are staying. That will be followed by fireworks at 1:00 am! There are crowds of seniors (maybe I should say mature) dancing in the streets! I think we´ll sleep to background music tonight - that´s a fringe benefit of 26kms!!
As you know we are going reverse on the trail from Piedefieta (can´t spell) to Astorga and I have to tell you it´s a lesson in itself. It´s actually quite difficult when you have to try to see signs from behind you plus when the route takes a turn you don´t necessarily see it. In spite of all that we have found our way, not always because we know where we are going but maybe because we make the most sensible deduction and we end up in the right place by having gone there somewhat of a different route. The learning goes on - I must confess I find myself reflecting on what it all has to say about the journey of life (maybe too much time in silence!)
Things are going well and we hope to finish this section on Friday. We will hike up to Cruz de Ferro on this section (that´s where people place the rock & prayers they have brought with them)
That´s it for now
Sandra & Glenys

That's it for now. In less than two weeks they'll be back astounding us with stories.  Until then I remain most Sincerely Yours,


Thursday, April 1, 2010

No Room At the Inn

Not a lot of time to embellish today, but here are a couple of recent emails I've received. It looks like they're going to make it.
Hi everyone,
First let me say what a wonderful project on the old Stadium - I´m so proud of you Ben and so happy to have your project on our Blogsite. I´m sorry I´m missing your Heritage Fair but I´m sure mom will take some pictures that I´ll see when I get home. What a boy!! In fact two good boys (Jason & Ben) and little boy on the way (how exciting!) Never mind Allison, I´ve been a minority in my own home all my married life - thank goodness for the female dogs!
Something I forgot to include on the last blog message - the one going up the hill in the snowstorm. We were stopped on the top of one rise, taking a rest when a vehicle stopped and a man with a camera jumped out and took pictures of us trudging through the snow with our knapsacks on our back - he is a photographer for a magazine on the the Santiago Trail. So who knows we may be published BUT there was no promises! He was impressed we were from Canada, said we were use to this, to which we quickly replied we had less snow at home than in Spain.
Now let me go current again - Palm Sunday, March 28th
We´re thinking we´ve encountered just about everything since starting in Logrono on the 3rd of March, so we trudged on for approximately 24kms on a beautiful day and arrived at Portomarin. But fear not, there´s more to experience! There is no room in the inn!! Literally, the albergues are full, as are the hostels, the habitations and yes the hotel. Besides that it is 7kms to the next town - we´re too tired and the toes won´t cooperate!! So here we go - buy a foam roll up mat and bunk'er down on the floor in a sport´s facility along with approximately twenty others who can not find accommodations. Needless to say it was hard with only one inch of foam, it was cold with no heat and there was one toilet at the opposite end of the building (I only made my way there once during the night!), and open public showers in the basement (that we decided to pass up in order to conserve body temperature for the night!). We were all in the same boat and understanding of each other plus a young man and two young women from England were very kind to us and made sure we were ok. The good news - we had a roof over our head, food to eat, company, each other and God to give us courage and hope. The bad news - we woke up to rain.
A short version for yesterday - we started out in fairly light rain, it cleared away during the day, we walked through lovely countryside. The last 4 kms was torrential and we were soaked by the time we reached Palas de Rey - checked all the albergues during the last 4 kms and they were all full. You´re right - everything in Palas de Rey was blocked!! BTW Hundreds of Spanish people joined the trail last Friday, some walking all the way, some being dropped of daily by the bus load. It is traditional for many of them to walk from Sarria to Santiago (or somewhere in this area) for Easter and this is especially so this year because 2010 is a Holy Year. Again there´s good news; a young man in a hotel we checked phoned around and found another hotel 10kms off the road that had vacancies and with two young ladies who were in the same boat as us we got a taxi out there (only 9 Euros). The taxi came back for us this morning and brought us back to the trail again. We are finding the Spanish people very helpful.
Back on the trail again the morning with rain but some sun in between. Not a bad day walking. Just stopped in the Internet cafe so we could email while we ate - had a tasty pizza! Gotta hit the road Jack. We´ve walked 14.5kms so far today and need to go another 11.5 or 13.1 - let´s hope/pray there´s room in the inn tonight.
Talk later - two more days after this one and we´ll be in Santiago (where I might add we have a hotel booked!!
Probably be in touch from Santiago.
Sandra & Glenys

I received this one yesterday:
This will be a short one. It´s March 31st and tonight at midnight we Newfoundland Canadians will be celebrating our 61st birthday! Today we left Boente at 9:00am with the weather questionable and by 11:00am there was no question - it was pouring. Tonight we are in Arca after walking 24.8kms. That means we are now 18.5kms from Santiago!!! We are in an Albergue with a bed each (good considering the first two we checked were full). But look out - tomorrow we move into a hotel for three full days and nights to celebrate Good Friday, Holy Saturday and Easter Day in Santiago - how exciting is that. 
By the way we had another go at being famous today - had our picture taken (two drowned pilgrims Glenys said, I was thinking two drowned rats) and it´s going to be on Facebook identified by the date March 31st. We don´t have our address here so will have to send that later.
It´s 10:00pm so two lowly pilgrims are off to bed.
Sandra & Glenys

So again we are up-to-date.  Til next time (and have a good Easter weekend),