We´re off on our Camino trek...

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June 25th 2015
Published: June 25th 2015
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First leg of QT15..11 hour train ride from A Coruna to Bilbao
Today is day 5 of QT15...we flew from Prague to A Coruna, Spain on 6-18, followed by an 11 hour train ride to Bilbao on 6-19. We set off for our Camino trek on Saturday, 6/20 to walk from Portogalete (on the outskirts of Bilbao) to Pobena. The 22 km walk this first day was tiring, but fun at the same time as we have been preparing for this adventure for some time, and it was good to finally be underway. Unfortunately our best laid plans were set aside early on as we arrived in Pobena only to find that there were no hotels available and the pilgrim albergue was full. Since we have our pilgrim credentials, we were offered a space in the yard where we pitched a lean-to shelter with our treking poles using our tarp as a roof and our ponchos as ground-cloths. It made for an adventurous start, but it only happened that 1st night, and since then we have been fortunate to find relatively comfy beds. We had not initially planned to use the pilgrim albergues except as a last resort, but we are finding the individuals who stay in the albergues so interesting that we

Prayer prompts...anchored by Michigan J Frog and CJ Gummybear )ClisbyJames until next week...
have stayed in an albergue every night so far. The pilgrims on the Camino kind of move as a fluid group from wherever they start as they progress toward Santiago, so you see some of the same folks every couple of days as they flow in and out of the albergues. Each night we have seen a couple of folks we met at a previous albergue, and we have kind of played leap-frog with several as we walk along the day´s trek...sometimes walking together alone and sometimes with others.

This first week has been tough physically, but really fun. We are particularly grateful for the good weather as we have been on & off the coast for the past 3 days, and it is often rainy, foggy / windy in this region. But so far our weather has been perfect, and the sea breeze has been a welcomed relief for the mid-day sun heat. So far we have walked about 120 km, and we both have a couple of large blisters...Ray more than me. We are taking some time off today to let the blisters heal, finish up some grading for our online courses and enjoy spending time in

don´t ask...suffice it to say Michigan J Frog and CJ stay close at hand during our long walk days.
Santillana del Mar. (this by Cathie)

Even though we trained regularly since February, we were ill prepared for the terrain, as the first few days have been difficult. Additionally, other factors that we sort of knew about but did not take too seriously involve, waymarkings, hydration and nutrition, poor quality sleep in multi-unit sleeping accommodations where everyone snores. So, the past day caught up with us, me especially, as we experienced some dehydration, lack of caloric intake, lack of quality sleep. However, it seems that jsut about everyone we encounter of the Camino is experiencing all of these things to some degree. Hopefully, we can regain some strength after a nice evening in a quaint hotel in this little town of Santillana. (this by Ray)

Additional photos below
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We´re off...like lots of others before us

finding the waymarks are kind of like a where´s waldo game...sometimes they are in the pavement, sometimes on lightposts, sometimes painted on rocks or fences

Breakfast our first day was fresh tomatos, cucumbers and bananas from the Saturday market

Fresh water in the public fountains is much appreciated

our first view of the sea

Unfortunately, there were no hotel rooms nor no beds left in the pilgrim albergue...so we made do with our treking poles, tarp & ponchos

Thankfully it didn´t rain and our make-shift lean to held up fine. Hope this is the first and last time we have to use this trick...

Since we only have a couple of changes of clothes, washing every night is required

cozy, but it worked for the night

Our early departure from the albergue was rewarded by this beautiful sunrise walk the next morning

lots of varied terrain today...seacoast, 660 meter climb and country roads

our breakfast stopover view

breakfast overlooking the ocean

some highway walking, but not too much this 1st week

mostly just gorgeous countryside

one night we only had 6 pilgrims in the albergue in a tiny hamlet with only 1 restaurant, so Ray cooked dinner and we äte there

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