Monday, October 7, 2013

Walking the Camino

Posted by auberrie on September 5, 2013 at 6:40 PM

A first cousin and niece who live in Madrid planned this trip for me (a labor of love) and we are at the 100 km marker indicating distance to our goal: Santiago de Compostela.

To make it, we have to walk 15 km. (about 10 miles) daily.

The process involves applying for a "credencial" (an informal passport which you get stamped at hostels, bars, churches along the way to verify you walked through the route).

The minimum requirement to get a "Compostela" (official certificate of pilgrimage) is 100 km. walk through last section of the 500 km. Camino route (Sarria to Santiago). There are several ways to do the Camino, starting your walk from "home" (from Portugal or France, from parts of Spain through the coast or through the central area cutting through Pyrenees).

I chose to start from Edgewater, walking across the GW Bridge into the Cloisters in NY, using the museum's statue of Santiago de Compostela (with a pilgrim shell on his hat) as my "starting from home" reference.

The plan for the journey was to break the 100 km. journey into 15 km./10 mile sections/day, finding albergues (instead of hostels with bunk beds and common bathrooms).

Hostel lodgings average € 10-15/night for shared common sleeping accommodations (with stinky snoring pilgrims, or if you are unlucky, sleeping in a gym with bring-your-own-mats).

Food even at our upscale pilgrim "hostels" range from € 4-10 with ours at the top end at € 14.50/person for a 3 course meal with wine!

Our first stop was a basic hotel that was like a Best Westin room, where they charged me € 39/night! I thought they made a mistake!

Our second stop was a spa in the mountains of Galicia with hot pools with sulfur waters and Hammam which cost € 55/night.

Our third is a "pazo" (a converted antique home which is one of top-rated unique properties along the Camino. This one is quite nice with original stone walls, large wooden plank floors and stairs, a view that looks like rolling hills of Tuscany, and a pool. It is € 59/night.

Traveling as a pilgrim does have its advantages!

It was satisfying to look up at the new moon on Rosh Hashanah and know that I am physically and emotionally in a different place, 10 years after Russ' death!

My best New Year ever!

Shana Tovah!!!!