Santiago de Compostela

We enjoyed one last day exploring Santiago before flying home tomorrow.  We went to the pilgrim mass at the Cathedral in the morning and browsed through the shops.  Our final destination before dinner…..a local tattoo studio!

 

 

 

 

Gres to Santiago de Compostela

We arrived in Santiago de Compostela today!  We cycled over 500 miles to get here.  Seeing the cathedral and receiving our Compostella Certificate of completion was a truly joyful experience.  Several of us are staying an extra day to take in the sites before flying home from Madrid on Tuesday.

Leaving Gres this morning.

 

On our way to Santiago.

 

Ricardo with us at a coffee stop this morning.

 

Leaving the coffee shop, we came across a woman leading her cows down the street. She said they were hungry and she was going to feed them.

 

Arriving at the Cathedral in Santiago.

 

The end of our journey!

 

 

 

 

 

We arrived in Santiago and went for lunch before checking into our hotel.

 

 

 

Our hotel is located 150 meters from the Cathedral.

 

View from my hotel room in Santiago.

 

Laura enjoying her one and only beer. She said she would have a beer when we arrived in Santiago.

My passport was filled with stamps collected along the way. We had to show this proof of our journey to get our official Camino Certificate.

 

Portomarin to Gres

Today We cycled through rolling farmland where little has changed in centuries. Inheritance laws have required farms to be divided among the heirs, so they’ve become smaller over time – too small for machinery. Farming is still done the same way as it has been for generations.   it was a very hilly challenging ride.  49 miles.

 

 

Candace at morning coffee break.

Nancy at picnic lunch

 

Our picnic lunch.

 

Candace and Carol singing “I love New York” as we followed the arrows, smiley faces, hearts, etc. marked by our fabulous guides!

 

 

Views from my hotel room.

O Cebreiro to Portomarin

We are now in the lush gentle country of the Galicians.  Their music, culture and even countryside are similar to Ireland.  We had quite a few hills today but no long climbs.  43 miles.


View from my room. Sink laundry hanging on balcony to dry.

 

 

Villafranca Del Bierzo to O Cebreiro

Our most challenging climbing of the tour occured today as we crossed the Galicia Mountains.  We stopped just over the pass in the tiny hamlet of O Cebreiro. You may remember seeing the thatch roofed stone houses here in Martin Sheen’s movie “The Way.”

As we climbed, the scenery changed to lush countryside.  It was absolutely beautiful!  25 miles.

 

Gonçalo briefing us this morning about today’s ride.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

View from my room for the night.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Astorga to Villafranca Del Bierzo

Today we headed into Galicia and cycled through tiny villages virtually unchanged since the Middle Ages. We rode the challenging climb to the Iron Cross!  Total distance = 47 miles.

 

Ricardo and Diana before our ride this morning.

 

Laura with her new bicycle bell.

 

 

Glenna

 

 

Pat at the Iron Cross

 

At the top…..the Iron Cross

 

 

 

Carrying a rock up and Leaving it at the Iron Cross

 

On the way down the hill from the Iron Cross

 

Interesting trees at our lunch stop.

 

Lunch stop

 

Ricardo at our lunch stop.

 

Village after our lunch stop

 

Castle stop after lunch

The weather has been perfect…..cool at night and in the morning but warming up by the afternoon.  No rain!!

Leon to Astorga

We headed out after breakfast cycling along the Orbigo River.  It was a very nice ride with some hills and flat lands.  We had to climb a very steep hill to reach the town of Astorga, our destination for today.  In Astorga, we visited its 15th century cathedral and the Episcopal Palace (designed by Antoni Gaudi).  We also went to the main square and checked out the Chocolate Museum.  This region of Spain was among the first to see the future in chocolate after it was introduced to Herman Cortes and his conquistadors by the Aztecs in the 16th century.  This area began making chocolate in commercial quantities in the early 17th century, which turned Astorga into one of the great chocolate centers for Spain.

 

The group leaving Leon this morning headed for Astorga.

 

Laura

 

Puente de Orbigo

 

 

 

 

 

Laura and Diana at lunch.

 

Glenna

 

Main square Astorga

 

Storks nests along the way.

 

After the climb into Astorga.

 

Gloria on the hill to Astorga.

 

Michelle after the climb into Astorga.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Leon


 

 

Pinocchio Pat

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Harley Davidson for rent

 

Tonight at dinner our beautiful guide Lucia presented each of us with a camino shell and commemorative pin to celebrate our strength, stamina, and perseverance on our trek to Santiago.

Lucia

 

 

 

We are a very serious group of cyclists as you can see.

 

Save the Tatas!

Carrion to Leon

 

 

Our first stop on today’s route was also one of the most famous on the Camino. It was here on the banks of the Cea River where Charlemagne fought the Moors in the year 778. More than 40,000 knights died.  We ended our cycling day in the beautiful city of León.

It was a long cycling day but the headwinds were not as strong so today’s ride was much more enjoyable than yesterday’s ride.

Total for today = 65 miles.

 

San Benito Monastery

 

 

 

The nuns were very curious about us and what we were doing.

 

Lunch stop.

 

Ricardo led us into Leon where we will spend the night.

 

After showering and getting cleaned up, a few of us met for a glass of wine and then dinner in Leon.

 

 

We had pizza and more wine for dinner. A great end to a challenging day!

 

Lucia joined us later for pizza and wine.

 

We will enjoy a layover day in León to visit the sites and give our legs a rest. Our hotel is a short walk to all the sites!

 


Burgos to Carrion de Los Condes

 

After breakfast, we left Burgos on a bike path. The day began with rolling hills but turned into the flattest section of the Camino. We cycled past fields of grains and sunflowers and wind farms. We stopped to admire the 11th century Romanesque church of San Martin full of beautifully detailed sculptures.  Then we stopped at the huge church of Santa Maria la Blanca.

It was a very tough day for riding.  The flattest section of the Camino was actually the hardest for cycling because of the strong headwind.  We were all exhausted by the end of the day.

Total distance today = 60 miles.

 

 

We stopped for picnic lunch along the way. Lucia prepared a wonderful lunch for us!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Santo Domingo de la Calzada to Burgos

Today’s beautiful ride took us through the Goose Hills. Yellow arrows and scallop shells carved into stone marked our way. We ended the day in the great cathedral city of Burgos. Stunning from the outside, the grand cathedral sits in the center of the town’s square and a short walk from our hotel.

Along the way we passed the sanctuary of San Juan de Ortega.  Total distance = 56 miles.

 

Convent where the nuns will stamp your passport. They also make and sell exquisite chocolate truffles

 

Nancy having a conversation with the nun about the chocolates she sells.

 

The nun stamped my passport and I bought some chocolates from her.

 

Pilgrim statue in front of the convent.

 

Our next stop was San Juan de Ortega.  This was once one of the most important stops along the Camino.  St. John of Ortega was St. Domingo´s principal helper who later went on to build more hospitals and churches for the pilgrims.  He is buried in the church here.  Queen Isabel was cured of her infertility after praying at San Juan´s tomb and in thanks had the original little chapel completely rebuilt.  The pilgrim´s hostal is still run in the old tradition by the parish priest.  We also had our passports stamped here.

San Juan de Ortega

 

 

 

 

After a long climb, we made it to Burgos. our final destination for the day.

 

We checked into our hotel and walked over to the town center of Burgos for dinner.

 

Burgos cathedral.

 

Burgos

 

 

I have been converted to red wine. This wine is delicious and available in the USA. I will be looking for it when I get home.