Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Photos from 9/29/15

Zariquiegui to Puente La Reina
Great views as we ascended Alto de Perdon' Mountain
Famous Pilgrim Sculpture at the top of the mountain... Photo Op for sure!

Many pleasant tree lined portions of the path today!.....a gift to a pilgrim!

This is the original spelling "Baztan" of my Basque Spanish lineage , later spelled Bazan. No one at the Casa Baztan to inquire about Mary's  possible family connection to this family.
Play yards are often located right next to the village churches. This beautiful church is in Obanos.
Below photo of ancient gateway to Obanos. A fellow Pilgrim from New Zealand took this photo for us. When he heard I was from Newport Brach all he could talk about at first was how "over the top" Fashion Island is... Funny! Says he loves to come to the U.S!

The Mystical Historical Octagonal Church and our energetic tour guide Miguel. His parents were married in this church and he is passionate about its history!

Soaking in the mystic vibe in the early 12-14th century Knights Templar Church

It's all about the arches! Mariah in front of one of the 100 arches that exist on this octagonal wonder at La Ermita Santa Maria de Eunate Church.

Zariquiegui to Puente La Reina

 9/29/15 Tuesday
It was a great day on the trail! Mariah and I are both getting over our  initial muscle/ joint soreness and psychological stress  from our first few strenuous days on the Camino. 
We left our Alburgue earlier this morning and enjoyed the crisp morning air on the Spanish hillside paths.
After a steep climb accomplished with relative ease in the cool morning air and our new level of well being ... we arrived at the top of the mountain named Alto de Perdon' where the famous metal pilgrim sculptures stand prominently. (See photos.) I then donned my new trusty knee braces for a steep loose rock descent that brought us through 3 quaint villages before we arrived at our destination for today...Puente La Reina.
We found a great combination Pilgrim Alburgue / Hotel just as we entered town and they had plenty of room for us. Yea... And a great nap followed settling in.
We met a great young manager of the Pilgrim Albergue named Miguel who took us on a fabulous tour of an exceptional history rich Church where the French Camino and 3 Spanish Camino routes merge. It is considered a very mystical site for a variety of reasons and Miguel did a thorough job in Spanish and English to give his small group a very interesting historical and mystical insight into this 
Church's history and architectural features.The name of this octagonal shaped church is La Ermita Santa Maria de Eunate. It has an early history with the Knights Templar who were all about protecting Pilgrims on the Camino in the 12-14th centuries. If you ever read "The Pilgrimage" by Pablo Coelo you will have a fun experience getting acquainted with the Knights Templar!
We had a great dinner and are off to bed early so we can hit the Camino in the early morning as the sun is still shining and not much shade on the Camino tomorrow.
Buenas Noches!
Mary and Mariah

Monday, September 28, 2015

Pamplona to Zariquiegui

Mary has again provided a wonderful summary of our trek to this small mid evil city which was almost wiped out in the 14th century by the Bubonic Plague! Tomorrow morning we will climb another 200 meters to the top of a ridge with lots of windmills and then slowly make our way down another 500 meters to a relatively flat plain. Everyday is a mental and physical challenge and we are learning How to make the best of our equipment as well as what is essential on our walk! Lots of nice interesting people of all ages! Love to all! Mariah

Pamplona to Zariquiegui

Photos on the Camino 9/28/15
Castle in the distance from the trail
Mariah and I taking a break in the shade!
Church of Zariquiegui -this church was in movie "The Way" with Martin Sheen that inspired me to walk the Camino
Maybe if I lie in front of the church I will receive ultra physical spiritual  transformation before tomorrow morning!
Ultra marathoner running the Camino for St Jude's Hospital's critically ill children inDominican  Republic... Her name is Mariluz Vinas
The Camera Crew from Miami and Dominican Republic
Gracious runner welcomed interaction / hardly out of breath, had picture of child she was running for that day attached to her. She called the children she runs for "her angels"

Cinematographer Luis from Miami

Reconnected with Pilgrim Katherine  who we met a few days ago. She was on the last boat of "boat people" out of Saigon at the end of Vietnam war . She was raised in England. Great gal walking on her own.
The trail we covered today
A needed rest in the shade .... Always a good reprieve!
Our home and dinner house for the night

Pamplona to Zariquiegui

You have to love the new location name....I'm pretty good at "sounding out" words but gave up on this town name.... You try....
The excitement today as we arrived at this Pilgrim Hostal/ Alburgue in Zariquiegui (where we decided to stay the night ) was a camera crew waiting for an ultra marathon runner who is "running" the Camino as a fund raiser for St Jude's Children's Hospital in The Dominican Republic! The cinematographer originally from Venezuela but now U.S. Citizen in Miami Florida knew all about and loved Cary's company of JL Fisher. He loved Mariah and I being  Grannies on Camino and wanted our blog page. We saw the runner come in and he introduced us ... A loving and gracious gal who is running for a specific child each day to raise money for these very ill children who come from ultra poor families in the Dominican Republic. ( see photos)
It was a hot walk today with some hills and wide open beautiful spaces. We re-connected w/ some pilgrim friends, met new ones..seems you have to be some kind of a character to walk/run the Camino! Hmmm! Love to all...Mary

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Photos in Pamplona

A Day of Rest and Regrouping... parades, parties, street musicians, good food, cappuccinos  and lots of fun festive people!

Party Time in Pamplona

Mariah and I out on the town partying with the Basque People in Pamplona!! They are festive folk and everyone from babies to grannies come out to celebrate! We loved the Mariachi Band!.... Everyone talking,swaying, laughing , eating , drinking and dancing in the town square !!
Stepped in and stood at the food bar and had the locals special potato dish , Mariah had calamari .... Loved both! Fun crowded place with waiters dancing and serving as the band music poured in. See the photos ... What a fun and happy sight!
You have to love these folks! Met a few new pilgrims in the mix like Martin from Germany at the food bar.
Mariah and I have lightened our backpacks sending un-needed weighted items or doubles to Santiago via Postal Service. Our legs are feeling somewhat revived , Mariah bought a lighter pair of shoes in the Pilgrim SOS store and I bought 2 knee braces in case we hit anymore crazy steep downhills. On a learning curve , we are learning at a deeper level the importance of Simplicity i
& less is better because it's lighter!! Heavy backpacks cause many issues. We are both getting our own little systems in place for living "on the move". This day of rest has been literally heavenly!! We both had some of the best cuisine of our lives at the catedral restaurant at our hotel ... check out the WHITE dining room we enjoyed for lunch! ( photos to follow )
Our spirits are revived with the help of this festive city and its friendly people. We made fun connections with some of our basque friends in the town square and I used some of my "Spanglish"  (thank you Gloria) and they were happy to be able to interact with us... One couple went out of their way to get me to the local chocolate store. 
Onward on the Camino and back to pilgrim life on the road!
Buenas Noches!
Mary & Mariah aka
Grandmama & Oma 

Leaving Roncesvalles & on to Zubiri & Pamplona

Photo log: leaving Roncesvalles arriving Zubiri 9/25 Pamplona 9/26
Leaving Roncesvalles... Wow only 790 KM .....or 490.59 miles to go to Santiago!

A friendly local mooing us on!
This is the marker we look for ensuring us we are on the right path accompanied by yellow arrows here and there... Mariah has switched to her hiking crocs! Much of this day was a walk through a variety of forests... I am learning my "tree species" from Mariah!
Cappucino break... walking through the Village of Espinal...they have their own cool markers to keep us on our path
Big Coincidence along the trail ! ...we met the Biskett family from America  (Oregon and Eureka, Ca. ) researching their Grandmother's Basque Spanish Roots in Navarro Province....they were surprised to hear my (Mary's) Basque Spanish Great Grandmother was from this same province!
At last .... Arriving in Zubiri after a long days walk ... Population 400
The mideaval bridge to Zubiri
Guide book says this is supposed to be an "easy" 15 mile day.... they lied ...look at the hill we climbed just getting out of town!
Mr Ed says hi and keep up the pace girls!
Beautiful Arga river we walked along through the day
Cappucino revival break in small village...metal sculpture of the "original Pilgrim", St. James
We enter big city suburb of Pamplona and the Camino markers to keep us pilgrims on track are found on the city sidewalks.  Many city folk pass us and wish us "Buen Camino!"
The Draw bridge to the City of Pamplona
As we enter the city on this ancient road we can hear the bands playing , we pass large groups from babies to grandparents dancing in the street! City Celebration of their heritage! The band and festive marchers are below our hotel window! Fun welcome to Pamplona!

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Zubiri and Pamplona

Mariah and I wonder why we waited until our 60s to attempt the most difficult physical endeavor either of us have ever taken upon ourselves? We have catapulted ourselves into a new world where the simple basics seem critical......  well being of our feet, knees, lungs, hips, shoulder blade muscles, a shower, water spigots, los banos, food availability , shelter for the night, adjustment of back pack straps, heat stroke to name but a few.
Yesterday evening after 9 hours on the Camino trail we entered the village of Zubiri crossing over an amazing medieval bridge . Population of Zubiri is 400. Mariah's on the move internet skills procured us a room at the only hotel in town.....The Hosteria de Zubiri. At first sight I thought it said Hotel Hysteria and at that point we did feel a bit hysterical... We have gotten through a lot in our first few days by laughing a lot! 

Today 10 hours total on the trail for us which includes village cafe stops for the best cappuccinos ! Spain knows their coffee!
We arrived in the highly populated big city of Pamplona walking past the huge ancient city fortress walls through a draw bridge gate that dates back to the 11th & 12th centuries. We were surprised to find ourselves  in the middle of an entire city celebration party going on in the middle of the streets. From what we could gather it's the celebration of Pamplona's heritage... we waded through brass bands playing & men, women and children dancing in the streets. Exhausted we ducked into the 1st hotel we saw which was very upscale but we weren't proud... hot and sweaty in our hiking gear we asked if there were any rooms available ...there was 1 left that came with a discount due to the noise in the street!.... 20 minutes later settled in our room we hear loud music below, peering out our window we enjoy seeing a joyful group of people with flags and noisemakers accompanied by their brass marching band coming up the street below our window... so much unexpected excitement!! Being really spent from our long day on the road we ordered room service....a Pamplona hamburger...&  just an aside on Spain's  cuisine...everything comes with ham and cheese on it, in it or served ala carte!...even our hamburger!
 Well all this is not exactly the "sacrificing Pilgrim way" .... with fancy hotel and room service but somewhere between knowing we couldn't handle one more minute on the road or interaction struggling with English/Spanish translation & desperate for a shower and real food...we somehow felt we had a special pilgrim dispensation! ( a pilgrims night off ! )
We may take tomorrow off for R&R ... It's Sunday you know and it's Spain's way.
We felt a little funny walking through the streets of a big city looking bedraggled with our backpacks, walking sticks and a bit of vagabondish  appearance but the sidewalks are marked with the Camino de Santiago symbol accompanied by  yellow directional arrows which keep us Pilgrims going in the right direction. People on the street see us and say Buen Camino!... One older lady said to us
"you are a blessing!" ... that was worth the days walk! Pilgrims have been passing through their city for 1200 years along this well marked Camino de Santiago. It is considered a blessing to support Pilgrims along their journey. 
That's all from this Pilgrim for now,

Well Mary has done a beautiful job of discribing our experiences of the last few days! We have concluded that the guide books we are carrying are flat out lying about the difficulty of the terrain! They described today as an easy 5 or 6 hour stroll over relatively flat terrain! We spent 10 hours walking ,sliding ,tripping up and down hundreds of meters of terrain on narrow gravel footpaths bordering steep drop offs ,and also beautifully shaded trails through Beech forests along river rapids(where I stepped on a snake ) .We passed through tunnels under highways and over Roman built bridges and near the end of the day find ourselves absolutely exhausted! Our occasional Capachino breaks in the villages we pass through are wonderful energy boosters but we can only sit for a few minutes before Riga mortis sets in everywhere below the waist and we waddle like ducks for the next mile! Are we having fun yet? Yes but it is a challenge and we are glad to have each other. Occasionally someone will ask about our relationship and when I explain Mary is my daughters mother in law people generally pause and the say. " And how's that going?"  We both just laugh !  Laughter has really helped us keep our perspective! More Soon! Mariah

Friday, September 25, 2015

Mariah shoots video of local color in the Pyrenees

Sheep, pigs, horses, pilgrims action in the Pyrenees. 
Mariah's live video interview  of everyday life in the Pyrenees!

YouTube Search - Mariah's live video interview  of everyday life in the Pyrenees