Camino Portuguese XXIV

 Final day in Santiago…, friends, finding family gifts….

 Food. Churros with the thickest chocolate from a nondescript little establishment on Rua San Pedro – if you’re in Santiago, don’t eat churros near the cathedral; come here!  

 Then when you’re ready for lunch head a little further out on the Camino Frances route until you come to Cafeteria-Restaurante “Periquillo” at Calle San Lazaro No 59. For 3,90 euros you will get a three course meal with bread. Wine and coffe are extra, but you can hardly complain about that!  

 The food is home-cooked standard fare with lots of vegetables. And yes, that is a whole chicken on the plate! Every day there are different choices.

Friends. Before we did our first camino in 2008 I joined an online Camino Forum. Early on this Camino I met  two of the members, a married couple. We snapped a pic of the two lasses with the forum badge on my pack:

 And today we caught up again for a drink and some final Padron peppers. Although both couples did the Camino Portuguese and bumped into each other again halfway, we then took different routes in to Santiago. We forgot to get a photo, but had a pleasant time comparing stories today. While we are all grateful to have walked this route, we agreed it was not a favourite for any of us (I’ll do a summary post later which will explain why – but probably not until I get on the plane in a few days!)

Family gifts. Now that would be telling;-)  


By the way, thanks to those who joined our Kiva Campaign yesterday. It’s now 32% funded.

PS There’s another “f” word……fantasised. We dreamt of bringing home some of these cheeses, but commonsense won, so there will be no party for the Auckland Airport Biosecurity Guards!  



Camino Portuguese XXIII

  Traveling as a twosome is very different to traveling as a family – no surprises there! It has meant we could rent a little attic room in Santiago instead of staying in a big dormitory. See the skylight up there on the left in the picture? That’s our room. Here it is from the inside – perfect for two:

Traveling  without kids also means you’re not looking for playgrounds or stopping to catch lizards or having to be particular about always having food available. On the downside, when there are only two of you, you cannot buy a large wedge of Brie because you simply can’t eat it all at once, and if you buy muesli you have to carry it for three days for the same reason.  The real disadvantage of having no kids with regards to muesli is that Rob gets to choose and he doesn’t pick the nuts and chocolate variety;-) And without kids here it’s hard to justify buying a six-pack of icecreams (although we did buy a three-pack at the seaside town of Arcade and managed to demolish them all before running in to Art and Mike with whom we would have had to share the spare!) On the upside, when traveling sans sprogs you can splash out on fancy icecreams: 

You can linger in the square listening to musicians instead of looking for aforementioned playgrounds.  

 (Although to be completely fair to our kids, it must be mentioned that they have happily listened to hours of street musicians in our travels). These two elderly gentlemen were so understated, perched on the stone pavement, strumming and fiddling in perfect harmony, expertly, modestly. 

I stopped to watch a brass band for a while, too – beautiful rich music that filled the summer’s afternoon wafting up to the cloudless blue sky. If I’d known I would blog about it, I’d have snapped a picture, but I just enjoyed being present in the moment. 

 The musical interlude was disturbed when Mr Brazil, the second pilgrim we walked with back at the beginning, appeared along with a nameless pilgrim we shared the first monastery with. They arrived in Santiago this morning. Friendly greetings and chance encounters are some of the magic of this town.

Because I was thinking about traveling without kids, it was natural to consider the question “is doing the camino without kids different?” The answer would have to be yes and no, but more no than yes. When Rob was walking with me and the four youngest children last year – and when we walked with all eight children and Grandpa too – we were a more self-contained group and people did not approach us quite as much as when it was just the kids and me or Rob and me. That is not to say we had no interaction with others – far from it! There is just MORE  when the group is smaller; in fact, I think it has more to do with the size of the group than the age of its members. When Rob went home last year, other pilgrims looked out for us. Pilgrims seem to treat other pilgrims as a class of their own, not as adult versus child. That was something our children enjoyed.  

The two biggest differences in walking without them would be 1) being more relaxed about food availability (we adults can skip breakfast if necessary as we did yesterday or we can wait until 9pm for dinner as we did after mass at the Herbon monastery), and 2) simply not having responsibility for them (even though they did all their own clothes washing, and  looked after and carried their gear, and helped with cooking, and filled their water bottles there were mental/emotional considerations, but this time we had only to – perhaps selfishly – think of ourselves) So, while traveling per se is quite different as a couple, doing the camino as a couple is not so different to doing it with children. Both are good! I’m guessing going solo would be different again. 

But I must say enjoying a leisurely tapas session in the Praza de Cervantes at 8pm is hard to beat!



So we have walked without kids (although there has been daily contact so they don’t feel entirely abandoned). We have walked to celebrate our 25th wedding anniversary and we have asked if 25 people would join us in lending $25 to Kiva…..right now our campaign is at 24%. That’s got a ring to it, but we’d love it if you’d help us make it 100% sometime in the next nine days when the campaign will end.  You can find out more by clicking here.
Muchas gracias!

Camino Portuguese III

  So we’re about to celebrate our 25th wedding anniversary!
We’re not going to ask you for a gift; in fact, we didn’t even ask for wedding presents!
We’re not going to throw a party, but we’re going for a walk.
And we are going to dedicate this walk to Kiva, an organisation that lends money to those who don’t have access to traditional banking so that they can improve their standard of living through further education or establishing a business or making home repairs or buying more capital for an enterprise they have already begun. We have been supporting Kiva for the past couple of years and have had a blast doing so. We have made 71 loans in 62 different countries. How exciting is that!
We would like you to share in the excitement, so we are going to ask you to LEND $25 to Kiva – you go to the website and choose the person or group of people you would like to assist. When they have repaid their loan (and so far 98% of people have repaid), you can get your money back. You don’t have to take it back – there is always the option to relend it if you prefer. We have paid $600 to Kiva – but the awesome thing is those few hundred dollars have grown to $1,850 worth of loans… far…..just by recycling the $$ as repayments come in.
If you’d like to join us, you can CLICK RIGHT HERE to go to our 25th Wedding Anniversary Campaign. We’re hoping 25 people will help us celebrate!! Will you be one of them?