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Day thirteen, Santiago

El Camino is over and it’s day thirteen of Rosalie’s trip. As she is doing some resting up today there isn’t much to report. So, She sent me some photos of her last day walking and I will try to entertain with those.

Day thirteen“Marina, Gouzine & I taking this bus for 7 hilly km, on the last day, so we wouldn’t be absolutely wrecked, walking into Santiago”

day thirteen“Us again, this time at Santiago, after receiving our Compostela certificate!”

Day thirteen“Our tour group in front of the Cathedral in Santiago at the end of our El Camino”

Day thirteen“Santiago cathedral, just to prove I was here!”

Day thirteen“Evening in Santiago, as we go out looking for some dinner. No more included dinners now – we’re on our own again.”

Day thirteen“Sue, our Tour Guide & me at breakfast, day after arriving in Santiago. She did an incredible job of taking care of all of us, keeping us from getting caught in the wildfires etc.etc.”

“19 degrees here today, sort of Raining, but again a Polite rain! Time to go home now, I think. The job is done.”

day thirteen“Santiago celebratory buffet!”

Rosalie sent me a picture of a beautiful blister on her toe. I don’t know how she walked with it. She flies to Madrid tomorrow and then back to Lisbon for her last few days. I, on the other hand, are flying around the house trying to get things back to the way it was before she left. No permanent damage, fortunately. But first, it being Thursday, off to the pub to meet the boys.

Before she left I wondered what I would do without her here. As it turned out I found tons of things to do. I watched hockey of course. I went to archery practice twice a week. I even went for a practice shoot in the bush. Unfortunately, it was a wet day and I only had sandals with me. I got soaked. The guys at the club won’t let me forget it. Of course, there was also Thursday afternoons at the pub. I missed her a lot but I made out okay.

The tea bag is still sitting happily in the sink.


Day twelve El Camino

Day twelve, last day of the El Camino.

I got a lot of texts from Rosalie, as usual, this morning and then nothing. By this time she is usually at the hotel. I waited and waited but nothing. Eventually, I got a belated email saying that she had completed El Camino (yipeeee! I knew she could do it.). She has little or no Wi-Fi so I don’t have a lot of info as of now.

The lady in white in the photos is 80 years old. she made it too.

“Breakfast now, 7:10 am. Loaded up on Voltaren, 2 Tylenol, 2 knee braces, Good To Go! Last day! Glad it wasn’t the 30-day trip!”

“This morning, last day of Camino walking, trying to display the unique shell we found yesterday showing all the towns we have travelled! I’m a bit peaked but Happy! Buen Camino!. Possibly a little emotional on this last day.”

Day Twelve“Starting out, getting ready for the rain.”

Day twelve“Rain abated, just walking along, one foot in front of the other.”

“Carrying on – carrying on, no rain, just pleasant! Sign showing the last 15 km – goose bumpy stuff!”

Day twelve“After lunch, rain starting again in earnest!”

Day twelve“This guy’s gotta be my Mascot! So cute. It is 11:45 am as I send this.”


Day twelve

My Heroine!
she walked with broken knees, a sore hip sometimes a sore spirit through rain and shine, up and down hills, but she didn’t think of giving up.

I finally spoke to Rosalie at the end of the day. She’s happy to be finished and get her Compostela certificate for completing El Camino. They now take a couple of days off before flying to Madrid and then back to Lisbon for the journey home on Monday.

I told that she just has to buy one of those little guys as a momento….no, not the pool boy.

As I walk by the sink I keep seeing that teabag, but I’m darned if I’m going to move it just yet. The bed’s finally made though.

Day eleven El Camino

Day eleven El Camino. it sounds as though Rosalie had a bit of a down day to start but as the day wore on she got out of it. She was in good spirits when I spoke to her.

Day eleven

“Here’s today’s pilgrim fashion statement!”

“On the road again, very pleasant woodland walk today and not too many hills, thank goodness! In good spirits, have done 10 km so far, knee holding up. Taking the bus now for next 7 hilly km, then I’ll walk the last 6 km to the hotel.

Day eleven

“Marina & me on the trail on Camino 5th day.”

Error, I have done 10,819 steps, but only 6.49 km, so far and doing well, I just lost a bit of courage this morning, but now have it back!

Good day, total steps 24,128, totalling 14.48 km. I may have thought I lost my courage this morning, but it was momentary. Back on track. Last day tomorrow!

Day eleven

“Gouzine, Marina & me at a little hole-in-the-wall place, where the lemon beer was terrific and the shells he was selling had each of the towns we stayed at, on it. A good day!”

I did ride the bus for the hilly 7 km and I sure don’t feel guilty about it. It is saving my knee for tomorrow!”
I asked Rosalie if riding the bus was going to stop her from getting her 100 km. She said:

“I never thought of that, actually. We only need to get stamps from cafes or bars or albergues (dormitorios with like 50 bunk beds) for at least 100 km to get to Santiago”

I asked her if the fires over there were a problem for them. It seems as though they have passed the area where most of them were. I’m happy about that as the fires looked really bad.

As for me. I’m still having fun. I’m enjoying the freedom while I can. it’s the little things I like the most, like leaving a tea bag in the sink for more than 30 seconds. I look at it and say ” I’ll come back for you later.” Or putting things in the dishwasher in the wrong place. Or actually using the washing machine anytime I like.

Best of all is leaving my clothes on the floor until I’m ready to pick them up.

This will all come to an end soon as she’s home on Monday. I’ll have to start tomorrow putting things back the way they are supposed to be. I may leave the tea bag for another day or two though, just as a final act of defiance and independence.


Day ten El Camino

Day ten and the going gets a little harder. 

“So today, at beginning of day, we are not walking, as the wildfires are causing some concern because we would be walking in the forested area. So we will put our luggage & poles on the bus, walk around town till 11:00 am, then the bus will take us away from this area. We’ll probably still walk the last 10-12 km to the next sleeping place at Caldas de Reis. Not to worry, my knees can use the rest.

Day ten

This was from yesterday. Tou can see the smoke from the fires up in the hills.

Walked 25,839 steps today, about 15.6 km, left knee ok, right knee has its Moments & right hip is starting to give me

Day ten

We have to look for these markers all the time to be sure we are on the right path.

trouble now. I walked most of the time on my own. The fast people including the 80-year-old were long gone, others passed by. Marina was a lot slower than me today but she had a buddy about her speed. It was a very introspective day for me. I watched for all the markers on my own. Met up with other pilgrims I had met before, then they would just carry on, on their own journey. I enjoyed it. It was different from always walking with someone.

It rained today, a warm gentle rain, like a heavy mist, not a drenching downpour at any time.

Today was a good day, not so hilly, but my right knee was truly wrecked by the end of day ten.

Only did 15.6 km, going through lots of vineyards & farms, lots of paths instead of pavement or cobblestones. It was very pleasant to be on my own actually. I will carry on! This Camino is a lot like life! Sometimes we have it easy and sometimes not so.

We are Caldas de Reis, which means something like Spa of the King. We’ve all just been in the mineral pool! Natural hot springs, After I came out I had a hot shower and held the shower head to the knee for quite a while.

I, in the meantime, are doing my best to flood the house. I managed to buy a kitchen faucet from Restore. It was quite the bargain but thought there had to be a downside to it, and there was.

I got it installed okay and it looked good for about 10 minutes and then it started leaking. I took it apart and did a thorough inspection and testing. After putting it back together and reinstalling it all looked good once again. Alas, after about an hour it started to leak again. I ended up buying a new cartridge and that seems to have solved the problem.

I have spoken to Rosalie several times using Facebook messenger. It works just great and is as good as a regular phone call. We even used video a few times the quality wasn’t that good though.

End of day ten, two more days on El Camino.

Day nine El Camino

Day nine of El Camino. Halfway through the trip and halfway through El Camino. Rosalie seems to be doing well but I’m a bit worried about her knees. Apparently, she’s okay on the flat and going uphill but finds it hard going down.

Day nine“If I was going for Pilgrim Fashionista, I think I failed!”

Day nine“We saw some caballos today too. They only have to do 100 km just like we do. The guys on bicycles have to do 200 km to get their Certificate of Completion of El Camin”.

Day nine“Got pretty pooped there, at one point, lost all my pouff but regained it after 5-10 minutes.”

Day nine“Marina, my sister, just showing the kind of terrain & how steep it is. This picture doesn’t really tell it like it is! The whole thing is hard sometimes since my knees gave out about 2 hours in on the first 6 hours journey. It is all part of the pilgrimage. I am very Happy to be here. I did 22 km the first day, 14 km yesterday and 16 today. Incredibly Awesome to be here. Thanks for your encouraging message.”

Day nine

“Steps today 25,414, so estimated 16 km. Bum knee still in evidence, but I am very happy and at peace, and accepting, and playing the cards I’ve been dealt. One lady, a pilgrim from Edmonton, said I was an inspiration for her, seeing me struggle down those steep hills.”

“My spirits are great, my stamina had a blip down today before we had that lie-down. But even though it was only 10 minutes, it sparked me right up!”

“Today is the 15th, so that means I will be home in 9 more sleeps. No probs, it’s do-able!”

Day nine“Celebratory lemon beer in Pontevedra after our third day on the Camino.”

Peter and I spoke to Rosalie by video call yesterday. We were enjoying a glass of wine sitting by the fire after closing up the trailer. I also had a great conversation with her this morning. The connection was really clear. She had to quit though as the rest of her party turned up with wine and chocolate. If all the days end that way, and they seem to, I’m going next time.

She’s doing well and I’m really proud of her. Keep going kid!

Day eight El Camino

Rosalie likes to wake me early, so, on day eight she dinged my phone at 7 am.

I got a message saying that compared to yesterday, today was a doddle. Only 14 km. After the first 8 km there was a

day eight

My little hiker

250-metre climb. They all seem to have a few physical problems: knees, hips, feet etc.

Starting on the second day of the walk, both her and her youngest sister marina have bum knees. they call themselves “the broken sisters” which according to Rosalie is a mountain range somewhere in Spain.

Her right knee is worse, so she wears my brace on it. Someone lent her another brace for her left knee so she seems to be doing okay.

She bought a shell that is the symbol of the Camino. She still teams up with the 80-year-old lady as a companion.

They are seeing some fabulous scenery along the way. The terrain is very hilly. She has trouble with the steep cobblestoned streets, especially going downhill.

At the end of the day, they get together and have wine and chocolate.

She is doing really well. He daily goal at home was 10,000 steps per day. yesterday she did 38,100 and today did 23,640. 

We were texting on facebook today when I decided to call her for a video chat. It worked out not too bad. she was a

day eight

Wine and chocolate

bit fuzzy as they had been at the wine, but we could understand each other. 

I’m Struggling to get some more content because Rosalie is too busy to send more info. I’m kind of winging it and hope that the message gets across.

Peter and I went to close up the trailer today. we did a bit of work and then sat and had a glass of wine by the fire. Afterward, we went to the Shady Rest and had our favourite lunch of mussels, and of course another glass of wine. 

No sign of Alan. Although Peter did say he heard him yelling in the bush somewhere.

Day seven El Camino

Near disaster on Day seven of El Camino!

I got an email from Rosalie this morning and she sounded a bit desperate. She couldn’t call me on Skype so we

Day seven

The first El Camino marker post.

texted on Facebook messenger. They were told that the first day’s walk was 15 km but it turned out to be almost 22 km. This didn’t seem to bother her as she said she had lots of stamina. The problem was that her knees gave out. Not wanting to give up and wait for the bus back she slowed up and walked with the 80-year-olds from Florida.

The first day was from Tui to Porrino. They were walking a lot on cobblestones so that didn’t help. She had stolen my knee brace before she left, just in case, but didn’t put it on. I advised her in the strongest terms to do so. We also had bought hiking sticks for her and these did seem to help.

We both installed Whatsapp but she still couldn’t contact me. I think this will be a day to

day seven

The “Sole Sisters” foots

day problem. Some hotels have good Wi-Fi some don’t.

They had a meal included with their tour today so the Sole Sisters trudged off for that. I hope Rosalie can continue. She’s been looking forward to this since January. It would be heartbreaking for her to quit now.

I, in the meantime, got out the manual and managed to unload the dishwasher all by myself. I’m so proud. I’m still a bit worried about Alan though.

Day Six, Oporto

It’s now day six and Rosalie is drinking it up at Sandeman’s in Oporto. She better stay a tad sober as she starts the walk tomorrow. I’m not sure if some of her reports are out of order as they come to me at odd times. Because of the Wi-Fi being erratic. I told her to find a Timmies but she didn’t respond.

“Very interesting presentation at the warehouse where we had the port tasting.

The Sandeman rep was a young woman dressed in the garb of the University of Coimbra, along with the small Day sixsombrero that is the logo of Sandeman. She did an excellent job and we learned a lot about the cool temperatures the casked port is stored at.

Some very large vats holding up to 14,000 litres.

It’s about 1:30 pm temperature is 26-28 in the shade. Oporto is a beautiful old City. Lots of limestone on the Iberian Penninsula, everything’s made of it.”

Cruise on Douro River:

“Wine tasting at Sandeman Port wine located in the sister nearby city of Gaia. Apparently all the grapes are grown in Oporto, then the crushed grapes/green wine is taken by big stainless steel bins on trucks, like our milk trucks, to Sandeman in Gaia to be casked & stored for many years. 

Very tasty – I prefer the Tawny port, although the white is also delicious. The Ruby one is sweeter & has hints of fruit & chocolate. Apparently, we can buy this brand in Canada.

The one I may bring home is called Invictus Tawny & That is even more superb! Don’t think we can buy this one at home.

It is now 12:30 pm, on the bus doing a big bus tour of the city of Oporto.”

Braga to Tui:

“We went up the perilous windy narrow road with lots of switchbacks to famous Bom Jesus church – ABC – It cost €2 so Day sixmost of us didn’t go in.

The toilets cost €.50 & of course, I no longer had coin! I asked Father Larry who was nearby if he could change a €5 & he gave me €1 coin & said to share with a friend.

This is only the second time we’ve had to pay. The washrooms are generally better & cleaner than we experienced before on our Europe trip.

Our hotels have been good for the most part. Strange though the first hotel Inspira Santa Maria in Lisbon was very modern but had no privacy at all for someone showering. So by now Dedee, Elonda & I no longer have any secrets!”

“It is around 2:45 pm. As I sit on my own on the bus, I hear the buzz or some conversation, the slight snore of sleepers, and luckily, no commentary from the tour guide, I feel at peace.

I am exactly where I should be at this moment in time. 

The coach temperature is exactly perfect, the day outside is warm, like 28, I talked to you last night & today, all is right with the world.

This really is another Trip of a Lifetime!

So far, our seven are friendly with the others, but we also watch out for each other of our seven. We don’t want to say too much about the commandeered food because we don’t want to have everyone do it, or we may be stopped.

Nearly at Braga. We only tour here. We head to Tui for overnight.”


Tui is in Spain and also where El Camino starts. Here reference to ABC means ‘another bloody church/castle

I’m home for a while. I have to go back to the trailer on Saturday to do the final closing up. So sad. Oh well! off to Melaque in a month. I’m sure Alan won’t miss me as he should be hibernating, cuddled up with all those peanuts for insulation.

Day five Coimbra

Rosalie day five:

“Quite a few tense moments this morning as we gathered at 9:00 to check out & get on the bus.

Two older ladies left their phone charging & handbags & luggage in their room when they went for breakfast.

When they came back, handbag and phone were gone. Quite a lot of shouting occurred that Housekeeping must have done it.

Turned out they went back to the wrong room! That’s why their phone & handbag were not there. 

We were all very happy to be reminded to take better care of our important stuff. I never go anywhere without my handbag, ever, & have taken to wearing my passport and extra money & credit cards always in the money belt around my waist, at All Times.

An embarrassed little lady said she never locks her doors at home, is not that good with keys, & didn’t really notice or remember her room number.

Lots of fun on this trip!


They then went on to the university town of Coimbra

“Lovely tour of the University which is over 500 years old.

Lots of stories, but one personal one from the local guide:

Bit of background: the students, box sexes wear black capes. We saw lots of them on the street & at the University.

Well when the tour guide was going to Coimbra University, she & a girlfriend went to a pub. There was a guy there wearing his robe with nothing underneath. He was asking all the girls if they wanted to see his teddy bear. All evening and he didn’t get many takers.

Finally, most partiers went home & our tour guide & her friend were left.

He came around again asking if they wanted to see his teddy bear. So they reluctantly said ok so he flashed them.

What they actually saw was a hollowed out teddy bear in his private area!

After touring the University, we walked for a bit, some went to a church, some, the ‘Sole Sistas’ again had our commandeered lunch. Afterwards, there was a very very steep cobblestone road down to the main Coimbra commercial area to yet another cathedral.

Giselle & Dedee had a glass of wine at €1.20, where Elonda had a can of 7-up for €1.80.

It is now 3 pm on the bus heading to Oporto where we will overnight.

Tomorrow is the 12th & guess what: the next day we start our Camino.

The weather this morning was 10 overnight & today by noon was 26+”.

If wine is cheaper than 7-up in know which I would be drinking.

I had to come home from the trailer today. Pub day tomorrow. I don’t know how Alan will take it. I did leave him a handful of peanuts in his bucket to last him until I go back on Friday. Poor little guy.


Day four, the bus tour.

Day four and the bus tour begins. This is Rosalie’s take on the day.

“I was sitting right up front on the bus this morning, with a great view of the coming trip from Lisbon to Fatima, as the tour members took their seats.

Along came a woman who says she gets car sick if she doesn’t sit right in front.

Cathy & Giselle didn’t say anything, but Marina told her we all have the same problem.

There was fog & we were high up, here at the End of the World, so we couldn’t see the ocean very far down & then we saw this little Bay so had to photo it.

So I got up & said I don’t  get car sick, & moved to a seat farther back by myself.

At first, I felt a smidge disgruntled, but then I realized I have been needing a bit of space from our tight little Sole Sistas group. So then I welcomed my new solitude.

There is an older woman in the new group who can barely walk, so I’m wondering what she might be doing on a Camino pilgrimage. Yesterday she spent the whole time in the cafeteria, while the group went up into the castle.

Certainly, some of the new people are older & don’t appear fit at all. One woman, Barbara is loaded with arthritis, & used her walking sticks to get around the castle. She thinks she will be taking the baggage bus a lot on the Camino.

I am just putting down my thoughts as I enjoy my solitude, without having to make conversation this morning.

It is nearly 10 am. It is about 1.5 hours from Lisbon to Fatima.



We’ve just spent an hour in Nazare, on the way to Fatima. Trouble finding toilets of course.

We only bought tea, as we’ll be eating our commandeered buns, ham & cheese from breakfast, once we get to Fatima.

I had to buy a shirt, as it is absolutely Me. 

I already have a fridge magnet from Lisbon for us.

We are driving through the countryside, so they do have dirt, grass, trees, as well as rolling hills.

Quite fogged in today, temperature about 17, so we all are chilly except Elonda who has a marshmallow coat she takes everywhere.

Cathy bought each of us two fig & big walnut confection, traditional Portuguese, not sweet, just perfect.

Luiza bought one glass of Beirao that we all sipped from. It helped to warm us up, along with the tea.

I got another email from Rosalie in Fatima saying that it was a real gong show. The place is full of shops selling religious items that she doesn’t want. Typical though, she gets a new shirt, I get a fridge magnet.

I think the older folk she mentions are going to Fatima looking for a miracle. Let’s hope they find one.

I’m missing Rosalie at the moment. the dishwasher needs emptying and food just doesn’t taste the same somehow, even after I scrape the burned bits off.

I was sitting minding my own business yesterday when I felt this furry thing touch my arm. I jumped about three feet in the air with visions of huge spiders in my head, but it was only old peanut breath, Alan. I’ll have to teach him to whistle before he attacks me. 

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