Thursday, April 30, 2009


Happy Birthday
Best wishes to Charlotte, Katie, and the Queen of the Netherlands for their April 30 birthdays (official day for the Queen).

First to the most important issue. Karen was stable but uncomfortable when I spoke with Stephen late last night. There is a tiny hole in her collapsed lung which will need to heal, or it may require surgery, and we will have more information today. My family are hopefully sleeping so I am unable to talk with them right now. I feel very fortunate for the friends whom have been in contact with me over the last twenty four hours, all wishing Karen a speedy recovery. Thank you all for your SMS messages and telephone calls.

My knees
Tanya offered me her knees but was certain that I would fall over using her bung leg. I am not sure if I mentioned that I fell off the bus when I arrived in Salamanca. I tripped on a step, grabbed an arm support to stop the fall, the arm rest went down and I twisted my left arm, for a couple of days I could not get my arm above shoulder height. This is great when you have to put on a backpack many times a day.

This morning Kees gave me a clue to help myself and I am putting the clue into practice. I am walking well without a stick and smiling as I walk. I am thinking positive thoughts of getting to Santiago with the legs/knees that I have and I am looking forward to the wonderful times ahead with friends.

Where is Rolf?
This could be Rolf´s Bar in Salamanca.

Last night I enjoyed dinner at Meson Don Pepe which has quickly become my favorite Cafe/Bar in Salamanca. I love the fact that Meson Don Pepe serve their entire Menu all day, this might be common in Salamanca but as all pilgrims know it is not the case throughout Spain. I have a passion for white asparagus and so Primeros was Esparagos con dos salsas (Asparagus with two sauces) one of which was mayo and the other a green/red pepper and onion salad. I have also discovered San Jacobus along the VdlP and do not know how I have missed it along Camino Frances (if it is offered up north). When ordering I asked for San Jacobus sin patatas (San Jacobus, no fries) because I have had enough fries to last me for the year. So my meal came with a little salad on the side, huh, I have found the trick to eliminating fries.

Like any country the food varies by the Cafe/Bar/restaurant but one can certainly enjoy a huge variety of Tappas. Along the way I started to see Hay Migas (we have Migas) signs on the Menu boards. I wondered what this could be so I ordered a small Tappas prepared to take what came. Turned out to be fried crumbed bread with chorizo y huevos (sausage, egg) and a few other things combined. Quite nice but it is not gluten free. The mussells are simply superb and the gambas (shrimp) are usually great. Kees taught me how to look for a good Tappas Bar in 2007 - by looking at how fresh the Tappas on display appears to be. I do not accept Tappas at just any Bar.

Throughout Spain Flan is the most popular dessert. It is a nice cold egg custard covered with a caramel sauce, ooh, and it goes down so easy even if you could not eat all your dinner. Light and lovely.

Eating times in Spain are tough for pilgrims. I have existed on Tortilla Francesa sin pan (omlette, no bread) for days when nothing else was available to order. Not being able to eat bread a bocadillo (sandwich)is out of the question. Jamon y queso (ham and cheese) are always on offer but when it is hot they make me all the more thirsty .... plus I am not supposed to eat cheese.

Most Comedor´s (Dining rooms) are only open for an hour or so around 2:00pm and again at 9:00pm, which is late for a walking pilgrim when albergues close by 10:00pm. And they do close. There were six of us nearly locked out of the Monastery (I believe it is Aljucen or nearby village) at 9:59pm, the monk was ready with the key at the door.

Small things make a pilgrim happy. Today I found in town (without having to go to the shopping center) new walking socks. I also found lined with fabric insoles for my boots. Up to this point I had to make do with unlined gel insoles, which smell. A lesson for Andree and other potential pilgrims .... do not take your insoles out of your boots to dry once they have firmly established themselves in place. I did this and then my left insole kept slipping down the boot, it would not grip, this could cause blisters or other foot problems. So with shopping done I am a happy camper.

The Festivities in Salamanca
I am off now to the Turismo (Tourist Bureau) to see if I can get a plan for what is happening in Salamanca over the next three days. If there is fireworks like there was in Caceres then I want to know. I do know that all shops are shut tomorrow but I am not sure about Saturday and Sunday. It would seem rather pointless to come for vacation/festivites in Salamanca if everything is closed. With all hotels Completo (full) there must be many people here over this weekend.

As I look back over this camino so far, it has been wonderful, I have enjoyed every minute of the journey that started in Alicante with Kees. I am a little sad at what I have missed by the need to get to Salamanca for this R&R break. The symbol for the Via de la Plata is Arco de Caparra and all the way markers have the Arco chiselled into the rock blocks, so it is something you get well used to seeing. This Roman arch is in a remote place and I have missed it, perhaps Caroline has a photo, I do not! I tried to take a photo off the web but using a PC is not one of my specialities, it is easier on a Mac (I have placed a link to a photo on this page). I also have missed walking past the half way point between Sevilla and Santiago de Compostela. No big deal but they are benchmarks for the pilgrimage.

I am still unable to interrogate my account. So if you want to email me privately please use my Yahoo account. This account was opened as but I noticed yesterday that I have a second address for it, However, tomorrow this place will be closed and I doubt that I will be able to email again until Astorga (around May 20).

Bye for now
Thanks again for your interest in my travels along the Via de la Plata. I am ready to walk on towards Zamora on Monday. The next section is the Meseta, a section I enjoyed in 2007.

I met Rolf on the first day of the Camino Frances Meseta section and we soon became camino friends. We shared a drink in the rain, under cover at the Bar (not yet a Rolf´s Bar). I stupidly walked on while he decided to sit the day out in that tiny place (pilgrims, it was that little church refugio). I got drenched to my socks and ended up with many blisters, lesson learned, keep out of the rain when you can. Ashley that was the day the lightening struck the tree.

Rolf is mending ... I have spoken with him a couple of times and he is feeling good.


  1. Anonymous8:19 AM CDT

    Dear Luiza: Talked with Stephen yesterday...keeping a check on Karen. Wished Miss Charlotte Happy Birthday - Stephen said she smiled and I heard her giggle. They were in parking lot at hospital preparing to go see Mommy.
    Hope knees are getting better with each hour. Kees always has good advice! My back/hip both are improving (thank you). Thank you for advice via text message - wanted to reply, but had customers (thank you)!
    Have a wonderful time in Salamanca and enjoy the festivities. Your group should be catching up on Friday, yes? Have a glass of wine for me!
    I will check on Karen again today. Happy pilgrimage, Love, Dawnie

  2. Hi Dawnie,

    You will have read the update so I will not say more. Thanks for contacting Stevie. Knees are better, esecially with the warmer weather, and of course understanding what Kees was telling me. All goes well and I will chat with you at the end of the week. If I have not called then give me a reminder.

    Tons of love,