Bien Camino

Pilgrims of all shapes, sizes, goals, missions and strength take to the variety of Camino de Santiago’s routes every day.   The Camino de Santiago – Frances http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Way_of_St._James is the most popular route which goes through by the inland passage and is the route which the popular movie “The Way”  with Martin Sheen is about.   After riding the world’s flattest country of northern Europe,  then the steepest country of the Pyrenees we decided to join the forces and chose the Camino de Santiago “Del Norte” route, or the “Coastal Route” http://www.csj.org.uk/route-coastal-route.htm that follows roughly the north coast of Spain.   This route starts in Irun of Southern France and runs 523 miles to finish in Santiago, Spain.  The guide we’ve been using is the Camino Del Norte en BTT,  by Juanjo Alonzo, which is the mountain bike guide for the route.

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We’re sure it’s an excellent guide if you can read Spanish.   For us the maps and profile charts are awesome and between the two of us we can read enough of the text to get us from day to day.

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The route is divided up into 13 days which are all doable yet still challenging for sure.  At the moment we’re at the halfway point.

So….  A little about the route…..  Most people walk this route and all we can say is bless their hearts and may the force be with them.   While this is an awesome bike tour, the amount of time on tarmac would beat the soul out of most of us spoiled folks who think that hiking should be on trails.  People seem to love it and ALWAYS smile and say. “bien camino” as we fly by on our bikes.

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An average group heading out fresh in the morning.

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Most all of them have this shell or conch attached to their packs which takes on mythical,  metaphorical and practical purposes http://www.otherspain.com/pages/writing/scallop.asp

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And after about 100 miles we started seeing a lot of knee braces and limping.

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And,  as always,  some interesting characters.

Most, if not all, Pilgrims stay in albergues which are hostels that run anywhere from donations to about $15 per night.  For us we’ve been following the daily mileage guide, camping and staying out of restaurants.

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Camping..

And eating well…

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With breakfast…..

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Lunch…..

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And dinner….

During the day we chase yellow arrows that are painted,  for better or worse,  along the entire route.  Sometimes following them is effortless, other times practically impossible. Occasionally there are alternate routes for “bici”  or bicycles.

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If we lose our arrows we can always pick them up again as the route goes past most churches.

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Like this amazing cathedral..

The type of riding surfaces vary…

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From trails….

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To dirt roads…

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To urban riding and a lot of pavement.

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To ferry boat rides…

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Where Pilgrims get a break…. .

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And at times,  on the trail…. Trusting souls leave delightful surprises….

And,  as always, we see plenty of pretty things.

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Uh huh……

At the moment we are at the halfway point and for the record,  just saying,  WE ARE TIRED!!!!

We passed a little Rural Casa http://catavino.net/casa-rurales-the-best-way-to-explore-spain/ in Villaviciosa yesterday morning at 8:00 AM,  knocked on the door,  a really nice lady let us in, the place was pretty and clean and we were badly in need of a break….  Here we are on day two and we’ve been sleeping and eating and taking lots of badly needed showers… We’re feeling better and by tomorrow we’ll be good to go..

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In the two months since we’ve been out we’ve taken 4 days off the bike logging in over 2000 miles, and yes, we still love it, and yes we’re totally happy with the routes we’ve chosen, couldn’t be better, but once we hit Santiago you can trust that our Web searches are going to be for something like this…  Most likely off the coast of Portugal.

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If anyone has info on Portugal please,  please,  please,  let us know….. 

And,  as always,  we miss everyone at home and life there is fresh in our minds and hearts making the thought of being gone for a whole year a little bit challenging, but we run into reminders that make us smile

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Kent and Shawna.. This is for you…. This guy was paddling about 2 miles and TOTALLY booking it,  probably late to work.

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And Cass…. This one’s for you.

So, for now….. Bien Camino!!!!!!!!

Much love, Patti and Gary

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14 thoughts on “Bien Camino

    1. G&P –

      I especially love the photo of the fog rolling off the mountain and into the sea.

      You’ve now been out there for as long as the longest trip that Jim and I have ever taken, so although I can relate in some small way to being “on the road” like you’ve been, I can’t quite imagine looking ahead to many more months. Changing up the pace, with more days off the bike and more days with no place to go sounds like a good plan.

      Amy

      1. Hi Amy, I’ve thought of you many times since you made the comment. I miss many, many things about the US. Not our house, not our old day to day lives, but the familiarity of our home country. Sometimes I wonder if 8-10 weeks is my ideal time frame for a trip like this. Patti is still raring to go though. GB

  1. bien camino! beautiful country through which you two are riding….beautiful! I was becoming a bit concerned that there had been no news from you but i can see that you were/are completely preoccupied with life and little worried about blogging. As i remember hitch hiking around N. Africa/Spain I remember the occasional shower being a dream come true and the respites at small pensions totally welcome. I liked the ferry rides! be well you two….and careful. you seem to be having such a good time. i’m enjoying your writing.

  2. Wow beautiful places, glad to get the report. PDL and I did a hagen loop yesterday I thought of you many times as we were off the main road, we saw only two cars the whole dirt section.
    miss you guys…keep the reports coming.

  3. Love the pics. So glad you are on this route. It is on my bucket list to hike, but now that it looks like so much pavement Im not so sure about it any more. Im just back from Seattle. Drove out to my brothers. On the way back I rode the Hiawatha trail. 10 tunnels and 17 trestles. Very fun and super easy. Have fun and take more time off.

  4. AHHHHH! such inspiration!!!! Did you check it out??? I am offically working for CDE now as a Systems Coach / PBIS Implementation Consultant ….. miss you guys!

  5. Wow, How absolutely incredible your trip has been! 2000 miles and a million smiles! I was just thinking about you two and then get three great blogs in a 24 hour period. Rain gives you a rest and us your wonderful stories. Love it!!!

  6. I think it is something to worry about, when I am more drawn to food photos than I am to stunning scenery. Thanks for sharing, you guys!

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