Walking East Journal


Feb 2010 25

Last of North America Pictures

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Today I put together the last of the North America Photos, the pictures down along the Hudson River and on into New York City to include our arrival at the Atlantic Ocean. With these we end the photo summery of our walk from the Pacific to the Atlantic. In a few days I hope to have pictures of Portugal here also.
 
Now Saturday we head for southern Germany.

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Feb 2010 24

Pictures of the Erie Canal

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We spent most of November on the Erie Canal. I have finally added some pictures of that transit of central New York. Click on the Pictures tab above to see them.
 
We celebrated Petra’s Mom’s 80th birthday Sunday with a fine birthday party. Soon we will be off to see friends in other parts of Germany before heading back to Santiago.

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Feb 2010 17

Pictures of Canada

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We arrived well in Germany and are getting ready for a big birthday party.
 
There is time to get up to date with the pictures too. I added a page of pictures of our transit of Canada in October. Click the Pictures tab and take a look.
 
I’ll do my best to work on the rest of the pictures in the next couple weeks as I find time.

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Feb 2010 13

Break time

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We have returned from Finisterra to Santiago and are about to go to Germany. It is cold here but colder in Germany, we hear. We also hear there is snow–some foreign substance.
 
So the pilgrimage is now on official hold for a while. We will continue to post but the statistics page counter is on hold at 402 days with 9,966 miles covered ( 16,144 kilometers). A passel of that was over the ocean. We walked 4,002 miles (6,645 kilometers). Almost 73% of those 402 days we were moving. The rest we were in some form of stop mode–weather, rest, just stop.
 
The statistics page says we are 52+% done but that is only a wild guess; that depends totally on what paths we take from here to Jerusalem.
 
Stay tuned.

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Feb 2010 10

End of the world

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We arrived at Finisterra, the “end of the world,” yesterday after walking four days from Santiago. This is the farthest west point in Europe. Until the discovery of the Western Hemisphere, the Europeans thought this was literally the end of the world.
 
Walking out of Santiago, like walking in, was down and up steep rocky paths. Later we balanced ourselves with our sticks on narrow strips of dirt as we walked around mud holes. Leaving the cart in Santiago made our passage a lot easier as we labored through many watery and stony mazes. Those mud holes and rocks mirror live. You have to find your way through some messy and difficult paths in live. That doesn’t mean that life is not good. It only means that you have to work at it in order to enjoy the beautiful times. The rough times are there to contrast with the smoot–to make the smooth more intense. So after the mud, stones, and rain of the first days, we enjoyed the smooth paths, bright sun, and blue skies of the last two days.
 
The first night out of Santiago found us arriving late at a hotel in Nagreiga. At 9 pm in the hotel restaurant, we were the only two in a large a room sitting at a table in the middle of many others arrayed for a 10 pm banquette. It was a unique experience.
 
Late in the afternoon the next day we arrived at what was supposed to be our destination, a private alberge for pilgrims. It was full of mildew. I was dead tired. Rain began to fall. A cold wind was blowing. We left and walked another three kilometers (2 mi) before giving up on reaching a hotel we thought was close. It’s listing said it has a pilgrim-pick-up service. A farmer called and we stood in a barn until someone from the hotel picked us in his Mercedes. He took us around the mountain in the heavy rain to his dry hotel. Our path to the same hotel was four or five kilometers (2.5-3 mi) over that quite high mountain. As in life it is good to ask for help when you need it–hard as that may be for some of us (like me).
 
The sun shown brightly all the next day. We walked through rolling mountain on mostly smooth paths to the Atlantic. Along the way we stopped at a bar we visited almost seven years ago on our first Camino. That time we played with a little dog , Perla. She is still there welcoming pilgrims and “bringing them into the bar,” as the owner said.
 

This is how Perla and I looked in 2003.
 

And here she is yesterday. Both of us look a little different. You can see me a couple posts back.
 

Petra is sitting inside where Ian sat seven years ago. Perla has her place on the pavement and I am taking the picture on the right.
 
Yesterday we walked under another clear, blue sky from Cee to Finisterra along familiar paths. We haven’t been here since late 2003. It was emotional seeing all those oft-visited and oft-walked places again-Mason Blanche where we stayed for a month, the two- kilometer (1.2 mi) beach we walked so often, the town, and Cabo Finisterra. Cabo Finisterra is a peninsular mountain forcing its way into the Atlantic, the ocean, the beginning and end of all life. It is there where we stood and symbolically ended one life and began another at the end of our Camino in 2003.
 
Now we return to Santiago in a couple days and put this pilgrimage on hold for a month or so as we fly to Germany to celebrate Petra’s Mom’s 80th birthday. But we really don’t put it on hold; it is only a non-walking phase. In March we’ll return to continue walking east, from Santiago.

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Feb 2010 05

At the Cathedral

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This morning we had someone take our picture in front of the Santiago Cathedral, at our third major milestone on our Pilgrimage to Jerusalem. The first milestone was Woodstock and the second New York. The next will be Rome. So here we are at the cathedral six and a half years and more since we first visited on our separate pilgrimages.
 

Morning in Santiago.
 

A closer view.

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Feb 2010 04

Excesses

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The other day we had an extended and difficult encounter with a long section of path submerged in water. We ended up having to carry our backpacks on our back and our hand cart in our hands. We walked through the bushes beside the camino on a makeshift path created by necessity. At the end we sat resting on a stone watching a stream that was the seeming destination of all that water in the path.
 
I thought about the excess water we have been putting up with, all the rain that has been producing floods in Portugal and the rest of Europe. Then I had an Aha! Moment. I thought about old lessons and old tales that have told us to learn from Nature and the order in nature. But it doesn’t exist! It’s not there! Nature does most everything in excess. Too much! Too little! It rains till floods overflow rivers carrying the excess to the next river and the sea. Snow storms close down big sections of the country. Storms tear down trees and buildings. No rain and too much sun make deserts. Volcanoes and earthquakes devastate vast areas. Oh, there are some calm times, some ‘balanced’ days, but not that many. Trees produce thousands of more seeds than will ever produce trees. Animals and man produce huge quantities of seed, most which can and never will be used to father new animals or men. Nature’s norm is excess, not order. So all those old school things that told us to learn from nature turn out to be telling us to be a little excessive rather than orderly and conservative….

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Feb 2010 04

New Route Graphic

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I just added a map of our route through Portugal to Santiago. You can see it on our Route East Graphics page. You can find it under the heading Actual Western Europe on that page after the planned route.
 
On Saturday we begin walking to Finisterra, five days to the Atlantic coast. When we return we will fly to Germany for Petra’s Mom’s birthday later in the month. After some time off we should be back on the road by mid-March. Or…

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Feb 2010 02

Santiago

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We made it to Santiago this evening! We have arrived at one of our milestone stops. The weather has been great for several days and the walking fine. Except for a few rough places with water and steep climbs and descents the path has been a joy. We also did our share of avioding some known heavy sections. Walking on the highways, though not the best, was also quite acceptable where we had to do so. More later.

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