Sunday, August 28, 2011

A busy Sunday

Today was the unofficial opening day of the galleria.  For those who do not know, in Europe many businesses and shops are closed for the month of August, it is vacation month.  So before what should be the official opening of the galleria Kees and Vicente opened today to test the waters.  Many people passed through looking at the art work and antiques and placed pieces on hold for pick-up next week.  It was a very successful day.  It was tiring with the early start, the walk to and fro, and the longer hours today.  The alarm system would not work and needed to be checked by the alarm company so we sat around while they tried unsuccessfully to fix the problem.  We did not finish our lunch till five o´clock and now it is a late siesta time.  I am not resting because after yesterdays long siesta I did not get to sleep until about 0230 this morning.

The Metro
Kees met me at the airport on Thursday morning and we came into Madrid by Metro.  The system is fast and clean for those pilgrims wishing to use it.  However, to get where we needed to be took three changes so I am happy that Kees has told me that he will go with me on Tuesday for my flight to Santiago.

The Terrace
Instead of a penthouse this apartment building has a community terrace which was not used by the folks.  Kees is Dutch and is used to being able to walk in a garden or see the sun through the windows of his home in the Netherlands.  In this inner city apartment block the sun is hidden behind other tall buildings.  So as a surprise to Vicente for his birthday Kees cleaned up the terrace, placed potted plants around the area and bought in outdor furniture.  Now the terrace is a nice space for relaxing and watching the evening sunset.  Each night we have gone up there with our books and sit for an hour or so, it is delightful.
The view from the terrace - looking south
I love the tiled roofing
Each night we have watched a Siamese cat walk/run along the roofs across the street.  It goes out of sight then about a half later returns followed by a black cat.  They chase each other and are playful to watch.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Saturday in Madrid

This morning we visited the Real Basilica San Francisco el Grande to see the beautiful restoraation of the fresco´s and the paintings by Spanish artists in the museum there.  The restoration took twenty-seven years to complete but now the work can be seen in all its splendor.

There are mirrors placed on the walls around the room so that the priests, royals, or high ranking visitors did not have to crane their necks.

Afterwards we went to the galleria to place locks on the display cases and then it was time for lunch.  After lunch comes siesta, and I needed a siesta today.  Now at nearly 2000h or 08:00PM we are going to the movies and for tapas.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Madrid, Spain

I know there is an interest from Katie´s question in the comments section.  The answer is no.  Unfortunately the stick did not make it to Madrid. I did have an aircraft hardware change at Newark Liberty and as I thought could happen, must have, and the stick is waiting elsewhere.  It may show up one day as I had the Madrid address on a tag. 

To place a Comment on the Blog you must be logged into one of the optional accounts such as Google or Yahoo.  I do not have the box checked allowing me to approve the Comment before it is posted.  However, I will delete the Comment if it is SPAM, nasty, inappropriate, whatever!

Getting onto European time
Before walking a Camino I like to arrive in Europe a few days early to allow my system to adjust to the time change.  What better way to do this than spending time with friends.  I am in Madrid with Kees, Vicente, and Laura.  For those who do not know, I met Kees in 2007 on his first day walking El Camino de Santiago when we were at the Mirador between Hunto and Orrisson in the Pyrenees.  We helped each other put our ponchos on as it started to rain.  Kees walked on but ten minutes later I stopped at the bar/cafe in Orrisson to have a coffee and escape the rain and he was sitting at the only table with space for me.  We sat and talked for the longest time starting a friendship that would continue to bloom over the next 700 kms to Santiago.  We are now friends for life.  Vicente is his life partner and Laura their housekeeper.

...... and the survey says
This morning we went to the Rastros, the antiques area in Madrid, so that I could see their new Galleria (Art/Antique Gallery) that they hope to open by September 1st. There is a minor survey issue preventing them opening the Galleria as a business which has the building sitting 50cm onto the pavement.  So the problem is, the computer says no!  The building is 100 years old and the older survey papers have the building placed within the zoning.  The galleria La Vidriera de Verona has been beautifully renovated and their paintings and antiques are spectacular.

 The temporary shop sign
The offending corner.
 Kees y Vicente
Afterwards we went shopping along a street where each shop is a hiking/sporting goods shop.  At the first shop I found a fleece and walking stick.  Then to the Farmacia for foot cream and another toothpaste.  I am now ready to start Walking Home next week.

I am so happy to have the chance to place photographs before walking as I can see I need some camera adjustments for focusing.

Till next time .....

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

A lighter pack

Culling the backpack

It goes against my nature not taking all that I think I need but heck, I will be in Spain, they have pharmacies and supermarkets. When you carry everything on your back tough decisions must be made. I halved the shampoo, conditioner and vitamin count, took out the 4th pair of socks, one top, the extra pair of sunglasses (in case I lose the pair I wear), two packets of Fishermens Friends and one of gum and a few other little things ..... now the pack weighs 8.4 kilos, much better. 

On my way in two hours ..... it is a long journey as the Madrid flights starts in Houston but stops in Newark.  Since I think the plane is the same for both flights my new stick should be in Madrid waiting for me.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

One sleep ......

Well, it is down to one sleep and then I leave Houston, Texas for Madrid, Spain.  I look at the previous sentence and tell myself that it should match .... city name, country .... and then I smiled and thought, well dang, ain't Texas a country?

I spent the early part of the morning with my backpack, it is ready but at 10 kilos (22 pounds) a little too heavy.  I would like it lighter, it should be 10% of body weight.  Tomorrow morning I will use my time working out what I can do without, surely there is something that can be left behind.

Our neighbor (Bill) came over this morning with three sticks and asked if I would like to select one, or not.  Mind you, my collapsible stick was already packed but to be gifted with a stick is pretty special.  My new stick (not being collapsible) will need to be checked separately.  Here's hoping it arrives in Madrid and will be at the Odd Size Luggage area waiting for me to find it. Dawnie always calls to wish me well and did so this afternoon.  Karen, Stephen, and Charlotte never fail to call and wished me Bon Voyage.  Katie sent a text and friends Kees, Andrée, Con, Bev, Kay, and Tan sent emails.  This afternoon Carol and Nancy came for a swim and to say farewell.  It was certainly hot enough at over 100 F. (37 C.) for the twenty-third consecutive day and thirty-fourth 100+ day since June.  The weather report was just shown and the temperature will remain at 100+ for the next seven days.  Lucky me! Garry and I went for a seafood dinner at Pappadeaux (Cajun restaurant) which as usual was great. It is comforting to have our friend Melinda looking after our home and cats while we are both traveling. thanks Mel.

I will spend five days in Madrid with Kees and Vicente before heading to Santiago de Compostela to start Walking Home.

Thank you all for the good wishes for another walk along the way.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011


In a week I leave for Spain.  Am I ready?  Yes.

Having walked (west) into Santiago de Compostela, Spain many times it is now my time to walk home (east).  When I started researching the Camino de Santiago in 1999 I first learned of the returning pilgrim.  I have wanted to walk east since 1999.  Some folks walk home after their arrival in Santiago or Finisterre.  However, for many pilgrims there is a time constraint and they can only allow for the four to six weeks walking west.  This is my case.   In the future I would love to walk west the 800 kms (500 miles) to Santiago de Compostela (SdC) from Saint-Jean-de-Port (SJPP), France then turn around and walk east the 800 kms to SJPP - but this would take ten-twelve weeks for me.

I followed my pilgrim friends Sue Kenney and Sarah Hoskin Clymer on their return journeys and all the time I was wishing that I could be with them.

Uploading photographs along the Way is not always available (or easy) so here are photographs from a previous walk.

Starting in Praza del Obradorio, Santiago de Compostela, Spain

Hopefully I will finish in Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port, France