Back in the USA

I made it back to the USA I’m waiting for my connecting flight to Detroit.  My wifi works, my phone works and even Siri works.  I guess all is well with the world.  I made 13 post Camino goals on the plane coming home, sorry they are personal right now, if I list them all of you will know when I come up short.  I am very tired and need a bath and a change of clothes.  Just got a New York coffee for $3 ,not as good as my Spanish coffee but should help keep me awake.

I miss the comforts of home, but hope I don’t just fall back to old habits.  I lost some weight,not sure how much but when I had to take off my belt for security my pants wanted to fall off.  I know I put on some muscle also but I don’t want to get to far ahead of myself .  I promised myself to sign up for senior yoga, for I’m so very tight and inflexible.  I also will not shave until I go to morning mass at St. John’s, hope there is still a 9:05 mass.

It will take a few days for me to put some notes together with a good map of Spain.  The days and memories kind of float together.  Right now I’m doing what I have been doing for the past couple of days, “waiting”.  I seem to be waiting for a bus, or a plane.  I guess that means the journey is almost over when all you can think about is “home sweet home”.

Thanks again for all of your support, with out your encouragement I would have not been able to make it.

Buen Camino see you all soon.

Frank

A New Beginng

image imageI now begin my trip home.  Not leaving Spain and the Camino behind but continuing in its next phase.  I hope to bring the life lessons home to walk a different way but still in the “Way of St. James”.  I will share what I learned along the “way”, in hope that I have left my foolish pride behind somewhere on the rocky path.  As I wait for my plane tonight and tomorrow I will try to write down some of the things the Camino has inspired me to accomplish.  This journey was every thing I hoped it would be.  And yes miss Tina I cried when I came around the corner and saw the church of St James.  (Tina can attest I cry in movies). They were tears of joy and appreciation for every one that helped me along the way.  I have learned to trust the Lord, my family and my dear friends, crap my eyes are watering again.  I thank God for making me emotional and in the future will not hide it.

In honor of St. Jaamed I arrived for the 12 mass at 11:25 am. Not sure that I can keep that up.  Ok time to move on lunch is over so I need to kill a little time be for heading to the bus terminal for an all night ride to the airport in Madtid.

Buen Camino

see you all soon

Frank

Compleato

imageimageimageimageIt’s complete we finished Thank God and all my family and friends we did it.  My arms are open to let you know we all did this journey to gether.  I will post a few pics but more later.  I received my certificate and certification that I walked 193 km.  All of you walked every step with me!  At times I wanted to quit but I thought of all of you and it kept me going.  Your prayers and support were the only reason I finished.

The Last Day

I have only one more day on the Camino.  By making the decision to shorten my route by going to Saria I’m now almost finished.  It turned out to be a good decision since my right knee might only hold out one more day.  Today I was at the 20 km mark and decided to make it home in 2 days.  So I sent my backpack (Muchilla) on to the 14,7 km so I could finish with a shorter day.  Well the Lord kept throwing in long climbs and longer decents and I was getting discouraged.  Of course he would send a messager to encourage me.  One was an engineer from Ireland that slowed down to my pace and we talked and walked for at least 2 mi.  It made the time and pain go by.  When he left me I had covered over 6 miles and I was temped to take taxi to my hotel.  But no I kept going and expected God to make the path level and gentle.  Nope right away the road shot up and I slowly climbed thinking (I get it you are going to take me up this mountain only to face another deep descent).  Yep he did, and I keep going but ever so slowly.  Now I checked and it was getting on to 3:30 pm and no place to even call a cab.  I saw the main highway a little off the route so I headed there only to find all stores and even the cafe closed for siesta.  I trusted he would take care of my needs but how, my immediate need was to get off this knee so I can walk tomorrow.  Then I saw the Albergue and went in and after much translation was able to communicate I need to catch up to my machilla.  They called a taxi for me to finish the last mile.  I know that I gave it my all and was humble enough to take the help I needed or would have lost several days mending my knee.

Once I am done tomorrow I will get my certificate in Latin look around the Church, hug St James statue, and then find the bus terminal.  I am happy to compliant this journey but recognize its not the end.  I need to continue to learn life changing lesson at home.  I also miss my wife, family, friends and my car.  I hope I don’t bore you with my stories, can you imagine I had dinner alone with a Bishop from Illinois.  We had a great converstion that I will share if you are buying the cafe con Leche.  Before I came here I thought of visiting Finestere from the movie, “The Way”.  But now I want just to go home, where I can chose to walk or not.  I guess I’m just tired out.   Say a prayer that my knee holds out so I can finish.  No taxi into Santiago. I’m sure I made that mile up when I got lost and had to take a short cut in the deep woods.  That story will cost more than a McDonalds coffee, may be at least Panera Bread $4 coffee.

For all of you that supported my quest I want you to celebrate with me when I get to the Church.  I could not have made it without your words of encouragement.  You will recognize me in the pic, I’m the one that looks like Ernest Heamingway.   Until tomorrow, I’d better get to bed I want to start early.  Hate to show up to mass late!

Buen Camino

frank

Last 2 Days

By tomorrow I should be on Santiago and then I will head home.  Today’s news is about a Camino bus that crashed.  I’m ok they make everyone wear seat belts in taxi or buses.  I will stay about 3.5 miles from my finish to night.  I can’t believe it’s almost done, yet it seems so long ago since I started.  Another little help from the Lord last night.  The man in charge of the pension left for the night, when I discovered I hadn’t made arrangements to ship my pack.  I worried but nothing to do about it so I walk the 3 flights to the street .  As I opened the door there he was with a friend, they worked together to book me and arrange to send my pack.  I do not know what I could do if I did not run into him but I’m beginning to trust that my needs will be taken care.

I will post a picture of me at the church of St James tomorrow.  I’m taking my time but this is the first break of the day.  I really needed my cafe con Leche since its 11:30 am

I’ll post more when I get to my pension.

Buen Camino

Frank

Pedosca

Only 20 km to go or 12.4 miles.  I walked over 5. 5 miles today and my knee was complaining.  With a mile to to to get to my hostel a wonderful man [angel] stopped me to ask if I needed help.  Of course I said no but he insisted.  “Can I give you a ride to town ?” No I can make it and I noticed the stubborn pride and said yes.  He was from Kenya but white and showed m me his cane.  He said he looks for pilgrims that need help and refused my offs of money.  Can you imagine paying an angel.  My lesson is to accept help and repay it by giving help to someone that needs it.  We have to let go of our pride, the Camino often humbles you but always provides help usually from a stranger or fellow pilgrim.  I stared the day with a wonderful note from Joe Camill, it stayed with me all day.  I will try to respond to night for I want to do it justice.  So many lessons, so many km I wish it could go on but my body will not hold together much longer.  I plan to write some personal life messages to my self when I finish and head back to Madrid.  It seems like I’ve been here for so long but it’s been only 3 weeks.  I love Spain, and its people and its beauty but I really miss home. I guess that’s the Camino teaching me to let go and start living my life Camino style.  Wow I’m getting heavy, and emotional and my eyes are tearing.  Now I understand how happy we can be that the end is in sight but how sad that this important challenge is ending.  Of course it will not end just changes direction.  I will continue my Camino as I walk familiar roads back home.  I can even have my cafe con Leche in McDonalds.  I Hope  I can stay focused on the new lessons.  Now I have finished my lunch and it’s time for my siesta.  Buen Camino

Frank

In The Home Strech

I can’t believe it I’m heading home, only a few more days.  I planned on only walking 5 miles today, but the Camino had its own plans for me.  It took 6.3 mi to get here.  Of course there is no restaurant in the hostel, the nearest one was .2 miles down the street, and then .2 miles back.  So I’m close to 7 miles tonight.

Tomorrow is supposed to be only 8 km or 5 miles, but I’m sure it will be more to the last big city before Santiago., only 20 km or 12.4 miles to go from there.  I could do that in 2 days but with my knee I may have to take 3 days.  The hospitalero just put a blanket on my bed.  I left my fleece blanket that I bought at Dicks for $12 when I tried to reduce the weight of my pack.  Then I was introduced to the Machilla Express, a back pack delivery service.  The first company charged 7 Euros but I soon found out about Machilla Express they only charge 3 Euros. It works like a charm but you have to chose your hostel the night before and the walk to your machilla.

For anyone thinking about walking the Camino I do have a lot of advise and suggestions.  My socks and boots have worked well, for no blisters.  Of course my feet are tender on the bottoms.  I cut my big toe a few days before I left and I promised Evelyn to put antiseptic ointment on it every day and I have and it is healing  well.  I am losing weight and have my belt on the last hole.  I tried to wear my shorts without my belt to go to the shower room, and it felt like my pants would fall off.  I am sure I put on muscle too, I use the bastones or walking poles almost all the time,  My hands some time are sore at the end of the day from holding on to the poles especially downhill.

Well it’s getting close to my bed time (almost 9 pm) so I’d better close for today.  I miss you all and I’m looking forward to home.

Buen Camino and love

Frank

 

Melide on Rest Day

i have found a good wifi so I will up load some pictures.  Only 32 miles to go but it seems a world away.  I will be ok once I get going again.  Plan on walking 5 or 6 miles.  Not a big deal back home but the Camino ones down hill and then up hill on very rough trails.  They are often just rocky cow paths, no cars just cows and pilgrims. I still hear Tom saying little steps and Jeff reminding me there is pumkin bread when I get home.  It is very hard to follow the Tigers but I see they are still playing for a wild card.

So that you are not shocked to see me when I return I am posting a current picture of me. Don’t I look like I’m having fun?  The Camino truly is amazing but my next vacation will be a cruise or some thing where I do not walk.  It’s 8 pm here close to my bed time.  Lif is sure simple, just eat sleep and walk.  Cameron, I watched Real Madrid play against Portogal.  Madrid won 2 to 1.  I only watched the the first half in a bar.  Ok I will try to post some pics.

Buen Camino.  I miss you all

I am showing the wear and tear of the road.  Can't shave until I go to church at St. John's.
I am showing the wear and tear of the road. Can’t shave until I go to church at St. John’s.
Rain rain more than 3 days of bone chilling rain.  Friday promises to be sunny, thank god.
Rain rain more than 3 days of bone chilling rain. Friday promises to be sunny, thank god.
Some of the small villages on route are falling apart but the Camino is saving them.
Some of the small villages on route are falling apart but the Camino is saving them.
Slot machines in the bars
Slot machines in the bars

image

My clothes on the line before it rained now very hard to wash and dry your clothes.
My clothes on the line before it rained now very hard to wash and dry your clothes.
The hostel owner had me dress as St. James pretty good likeness don't you think
The hostel owner had me dress as St. James pretty good likeness don’t you think
The beer was delightful but not the octopus.  I'm sure Evelyn and Irma would love it.
The beer was delightful but not the octopus. I’m sure Evelyn and Irma would love it.
My favorite fruit, the green melon tastes like honey dew, only better
My favorite fruit, the green melon tastes like honey dew, only better

Frank.

On the way to Melindre

Ok today is Wed 9/14 for me.  I started today with 65 km to go or 40 mi.  Yesterday it rained hard and today so far lite rain.  I have traveled between 4   To 5 km.  Stopped to get dry and have a cafe con Leche.  I pray the rain stays light and that it clears up tomorrow.  The farmers need the rain.  I’ll write again when I catch up to my machilla.  

Frank