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Congregational members, Martha Bailkowski and Louise Procter-Maio are in Spain walking the Camino Frances to Santiago de Compostela from May 5-25. Here are their postings from the pilgrim path.


Wednesday May 8

Leon, Spain ... Day 1 ... and we are off!

Hello from the Camino! A few pics from our first day of walking. We walked from Leon to Villar de Mazarife - about 20 kms. Beautiful sunny day. It took us 7 hours with breaks. We are tired but all is well!

This was a stop along the way. This fellow had coffee, freshly squeezed orange juice, bananas, muffins plus other goodies. All for a donation! Also had his computer set up for anyone needing a connection. Such is the way of the Camino.

Thursday May 9

Two very tired pilgrims got to Astorga tonight. It took us almost 12 hours but we covered 30 kms. We took much needed breaks along the way and monitored our feet. We won't need much rocking tonight!

Friday May 10

Only 20 kms today but it was HOT! Left Astorga this morning and arrived in Rabanal around 5 pm. Mainly flat but some tricky terrain. Beautiful scenery. Tomorrow is a big day as we make our way through the mountain to Moninaseca.

The birds are storks. They build these huge nests often on church steeples. You can see the mother standing watch.

Saturday May 11

Your pilgrims made it up and down a mountain and then around a mountain. Rabanal to Molinaseca. 28 kms. Very challenging terrain. You can see the cross where the pilgrims leave their stones. There is a sundial there that tells you the time using your shadow. It took us 12 hours of walking but we made it.

Sunday May 11

Molinasera to Villa Franca del Bierzo - 32 kms. The flowers are beautiful - roses, Cala lilies, geraniums, poppies. Louise is airing her feet and changing her socks and shoes; also snack tine. Less than 20 kms to Santiago! Chilly this morning but will warm up this afternoon. The villages are just lovely to walk through. 

Monday May 12

Villa Franca del Bierzo to Las Herrerias. 20 kms. On our way just after 7 am today. Rained off and on. Thankful for our rain gear. The walkers were a colourful group with all different colours of ponchos. Arrived around 2:30 pm. You can see the 'floating clouds' in the mountains. We are grateful for an afternoon to resst and have some down time.

Tuesday May 14

Two drowned pilgrims walked uphill from Herrerias to O Celebreiro. Here we are entering Galatian Country.

On the climb up; rocky and very muddy; we always stopped to marvel at the view. We were especially grateful for our poles today.

Wednesday May 15

O Cebreiro to Triacasteela 21 kms. Your pilgrims saw mostly overcast skies with lots of showers. It was chilly - around 6 with the wind chill. We even  had hail and a fallen tree that we had to traverse by sitting on the trunk, swinging our legs over to get to the other side. Still, beautiful scenery. There was a very meaningful Mass at the church in O Cebreiro last night. Louise read the prayer in english; others read the prayer in their native tongue. The priest gave us all a stone with the yellow arrow on it. I am hugging the plinth that says we are 150 kms to Santiago which is half way from Leon where we started. The very large tree that Louise and I are standing in front of is an 800 year old chestnut tree! Our walk was about 7 hours.

Thursday May 16

Day 9 Triacastela to Sarria. 21 kms. 7 hours. Rainy all day. Our rain gear is getting a good workout! A small waterfall; Louise at the vending machine in a small village complete with a change maker; an Oasis for pilgrims all for a donation - they even asked if we wanted coffee! A labyrinth made out of rocks; the views are specatacular! Mr. and Mrs. Stork minding their family. All good here.

Friday May 17

This horse grabbed my backpack! I think she smelled my apple.

Oh my stars! This was the final descent before entering Portomarin. Definitely the biggest challenge yet.

View from the bottom. We made it down!

Saturday May 18

Portmarin to Palas de Rei. 27 kms. The song of today was 'Cry me a River.' lol. Note the umbrella. Your pilgrims walked on happy to be well protected in our rain gear. We are blessed.

Someone took the time to brighten our day.

Those skies were heavy laden with rain.

Such colour.

An orange tree!

Lots and lots of water.

Sunday May 19

Palas de Rei to Melide. 17kms. Cloudy morning and we anticipated rain but we were pleasantly surprised that for the most part, it was cool, cloudy day just right for a day of walking. They were setting up their stands in the marketplace as we were leaving ths morning.

A very tired pilgrim.

There is sun in Galicia apparently.

Louise and Martha on the bridge leading into Melide.

Such a beautiful angel offer her hand to you. It is truly amazing how a sculptor can craft something that brings so many emotions to light.

View of Melide.

Another stork nest. I couldn't resist.

Monday May 20

Melide to Arzua. 17 kms. Great walking weather as cool (and no rain), another Oasis on the Camino! So thoughtful. Donation only.

The road ahead. Some steep climbs and descents (apparently if you go up, you must come down).

Entering Azura.

Beautiful scenery ... threatening clouds but no rain.

Tuesday May 21

Arzua to A Rua. 20 kms. One day to go. Louise and I are on our way to A Rua. We wore our rain gear and it did rain but not for long. The temperature was good for walking.

One has to marvel at the beauty of nature.

So many homes have these huge beautiful vegetable gardens.

Since it has rained most days in the past week, trails were muddy.

The view, the view!

The winding road.

Entering A Rua

Wednesday May 22

A Rua to Santiago. 29 kms. Our day started at 8:30 thinking positive that there would be no rain. Galacia had other plans for us so before long out come the rain jacket and backpack poncho. It poured and then stopped. Then the sun came out. The Camino made us work today with changes in the weather and steep inclines and descents. We were up to the task. As usual, we marveled at our path ahead of us.

See there can be sunny, clear skies in Galicia!

We walked through many tree groves.

Ah yes, our walk ends by crossing the bridge into the city. The noise was in sharp contrast to our day walking in nature.

And here we are! It was an emotional moment for us when we set our sights on the Cathedral. We had to take some time to take it all in. We made it! Louise and I were so blessed to have you share this journey with us. Thank you all for your caring and interest. We had a Buen Camino!