Wednesday, September 30, 2009

wednesday September 30

We made it to burgos today in record time. An easy walk, but the stretches along the highway can be nasty. We are staying in a brand new albergue. It was not open last year, and is right downtown behind the cathedral in a fabulous location.

I finally had a decent nights sleep and am really feeling refreshed. We had paella at the albergue with our old Canadian friend that we haven`t seen in days. The place was over-run by a group of twenty from France who are travelling as a pack. it can be a bit overwhelming, but they are finished their touregrino vacation today.

We are heading out to explore the city. Tomorrow we start the Meseta.

Buen camino

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

tuesday september 29

I will try to make this quick. i am on someone elses nickel. Dinner in Belorado was a blast. gerry rounded up 12 or so of us for dinner and one of the Italian gals cooked. Pasta with eggplant and tomatoes, bread, a great israeli salad and beer and wine for the grand total of 3 euros each. There were six canadians at the table, and believe it or not three had graduated from Bishop's University. there were two gals from ottawa. one a musician, and the other a recent Oxford graduate. gerry and me, a really nice young man from montreal, and a devout separist from Quebec, working for the federal government(please, you are in or you are out) Although i suppose that he is probably much more representative of canadians in general.. we want to have our cake and eat it. A great time was had by all.

We left at the crack of dawn as usual, and did not get lost this time. the night sky was amazing. there was no light pollution and the stars were so bright you felt you could have reached skyward and touched them.

Big day of walking, but we are in Ages now. tomorrow we will reach burgos. if i am quick I will be able to get this in for free. Until tomorrow.

Buen Camino

Monday, September 28, 2009

Monday, September 28

We have arrived in Belorado and are staying at the same albergue as last year. It is a bit rough around the edges, no hot water at all, but wonderful hospitaleros and we will be able to cook a communal meal. A lot of our crew are only going as far as Burgos, so we won´t see many of them after tomorrow. One of our friends got bed-bugs last night in the spanking new albergue, so I have been giving him a hand with care. Everytime I scratch I freak out. This and lice. please no.

Santo Domingo is a really fabulous place. it is the 900th anniversary of the miracle. A chicken and a hen rose from the dead and they have been celebrating ever since. The albergue raises the fowl, and they are housed in the cathedral. And what a cathedral it is. Spectacular. The algergue had a state of the art kitchen and so we had dreams of a gourmet dinner....not to be, everything is closed on sunday in spain except for Panaderia´s where you can get bread, pastries galore, and candy. Things on a plate once again. This time with sardines for me!! It was amazingly busy, and there are two Paraodores there. These are luxury state run hotels that are just georgous. Perhaps we will treat ourselves at the end.

We had a bit of a problem this morning. We got lost. And I mean LOST. Not a hot clue where we were. You might think that a tour of the countryside would be pleasant, but it was dark, so we saw very little , and it added about five kilometres to our day. Boo hoo. All is well that ends well. We are ensconsed for the night and it should be fine.

Until next time.

Buen Camino

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Sunday September 27

We are in Santo Domingo today. A short day of walking and we have arrived at a beautiful albergue. Better than a five star hotel. Brand new this year.
Logrono was a blast It was the festival of San Mateo and everyone one was out for the festivities. The city is beautiful and it was humming. When in they we joined in. We went out with our Irish friends and joined an American fellow for a feast. They had huge tents set up with long tables and food as far as the eye could see. Paella, octopus, calamari, huge hams the size of which I had never seen before, and of course wine..we are in the Rioja after all. A good time was had by all.
Yesterday was a long walk through the vineyards. The vines are swollen with sweet juicy grapes and the smell of wine-making is in the air. Gerry is developing his own Camino rhythm, and his beat is a little slowere than mine, so we start walking together in the dark of the morning where four eyes are better than two, but then we find our own groove.
Najera, last night, is a big albergue with one hundred bodies in a room. It is an older gang so the snoring is somethingto behold, but last night it wasn´t just the noise, but the smell. Don't these pilgrims shower?
Our friend from Paris showed up last night in terrible shape. You have never seen such feet. Someone took him to the hospital where they bandaged him up, but he is going to have to go home. I really feel badly for him as he is a devout Catholic, and this must be a test of his faith.
Dinner out was fabulous. I had grilled fish with roasted garlic, Gerry had lamb, we both had a big deliciuos salad and a bottle of wine, all for 17 euros. Can't be beat. We have the afternoon ahead to explore. Talk soon.
Buen Camino

Friday, September 25, 2009

Friday September 25

We have arrived in Logrono after a very pleasant day of walking. It has been sunny with a cool breeze.

Estella was a beautiful city. The alberque was as I remember it. Incense burning, crotchety hospitalero, and really close beds. We went out for dinner with a very nice gentlman from Paris, a fellow from Montreal and an Irish gal. Oh yes, and most importantly, beer in the vending machine.

The next day was hot and beautiful, and we left for Los Arcos. We managed to get lost twice, really very difficult to do given the waymarkings...much to the amusement of some of our young friends. Gerry stopped to pick up a brace for his knee. Memories of our Danish friend. In Los Arcos we decided to push on to Torres del Rio, but by the time we got to Sansol we figured we had better grab a bed as it iwas very busy and I thought that there was only one small private albergue. It turns out that there is a brand new albergue, but that too was full. There have to be double the pilgrims this year over last.
We cooked a communal meal and had a great time with the other pilgrims so all is well that ends well.
The line up for beds here in Logrono snakes down the block with more pilgrims arriving all the time. What is this about? I dread to see the numbers nest year given that it is a holy year.
We will join our Irish couple for dinner tonight. We are going out for Tapas. It is a wine festival here so it shoud be a good time. They are leaving tomorrow for Barcelona. We will miss them. She is a cellist, and they are tons of fun. All for now

Buen Camino

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Wednesday, September 23 I think

We have arrived in Estella. The weather was absolutely georgous today. Sun, sun, and more sun,

There was a communication problem with my friend in Pamplona and we never did hook up. I don´t know whether I gave him the wrong day, or forgot to send the confirmation e-mail, but we arrived at his house and he was not there. Every cloud has a silver lining however, and it meant a very enjoyable evening in Pamplona. A beautiful, vibrant and clean city. Wine and pinxos-delicious, and the whole town was out in the evening. A state of the art hostel...better than a five star hotel. Hey N, even Miele washing machines!

It was off to Obamas yesterday---sorry, Obanos, the president did not invite me for dinner. Small town, very quiet. Past the almond orchards, the fig trees and the most glorious fields of red peppers. Things on a plate for dinner. Tomato, cheese, tuna and sausage.

Hope the good weather holds.

Buen Camino

Monday, September 21, 2009

Monday September 21

We got off to a great start on Friday. Montparnasse on time, found the right platform, and went when our track was called. Yikes. It was really difficult to find. No one to help, and the train, unbeknownst to us, went on forever, and was actually two trains. Finally found our seats and away we went. Just as we were approaching Bayonne, and realizing that we were never going to make our connection, the train kicked everyone off at Dax. Hundreds of people sitting on the platform with no information. Turned out that there was massive flooding and no trains could pass, so they were sending for busses. Talk about the perfect storm; a tractor -trailer overturned on the highway with traffic backed up 6 k, and no bus. We waited 5 hours. When we finally got to St. Jean it was close to midnight, all the hostels were closed and we had to find a hotel. First1-closed 2-closed. Third time lucky. A bite and to bed.

Saturday we decided that we would sleep in a bit and go as far as Orrison. Full, so we decided to go all the way to Roncessvalles. Long way across the Pyrenees in the rain, then driving rain and heavy winds, and fog. My hands were numb but we made it.

Day two to Larrasoanna was rain with heavy mud. Tough but we made that as well.

Now we are in Pamplona and will stay with Inaki tonight. We can´t find a laundromat so all our clothes are wet. Matbe he has a drier, if not we will hang,

Looking forward to the sun.

Buen Camino

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Thursday, September 17

Missed our hookup last night, so we decided to go to Sacre Couer alone. Everybody in Paris answers your questions..but they just make up an answer. No such thing as "I don't know" We got as far as Garde du Nord station and that was it. The print on the map was ineligible, the station was impossible to navigate without directions and we were getting hungry. Came back to our hotel area and ate at an absolutely fabulous (and affordable) restaurant.

Today was off to the Louvre. If the building did not house even one piece of art it would be fabulous.

Lunch at the Canadian Pub. The waitress was from Vancouver. We did a dry run to the train station where we leave from tomorrow. We don't want any surprises. Piece of cake.
In Paris it is definitely about the shoes. You just don't see ladies running around in Keen's. If you happen to see someone in running shoes you know that they are a tourist. FORM OVER FUNCTION BABY.

Sat with a great American couple over dinner last evening. The talk is all about health care. They were wealthy Obama haters. Yikes.

Not sure about the plans for this evening. Nest message will be from the Camino.

Buen Camino.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Wednesday September 16

Rolled into bed and crashed last night. We walked our little feet off again today. Good prep for the Camino I suppose. To the market and then off to the Rodin. We walked the Blvd. St Germain every which way and backwards. I saw every street three times looking for the Louis store fo N. Finally found it. I am really directioally challenged in this city with the streets going in a circle around the Seine.

It is very expensive here. As long as you drink wine and visit museums you are fine..they are about the only things on par or cheaper than at home.

I am in a different internet cafe, not nearly as good as yesterdays because I COULDN'T FIND IT AGAIN. Didn't mean to shout, hit the caps lock by mistake. I am running out of time. talk tomorrow.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Tuesday, September 15

We made it!!! We are in Paris as I write. It was touch and go at the beginning....I didn't leave quite enough time to make all the bus connections and we were 10 seconds late. That left Gerry and I running to Yonge street to flag down a cab...all's well that ends well. Check in and security took about ten minutes, so we had plenty of time to read and wait. The flight was uneventful. They served a great chick pea and tuna salad, but the pasta was ho-hum. Free wine mind you.

We landed at 5:30 this morning and have not had any sleep for hours. Off to Notre Dame, beautiful;then to the Louvre, closed; the D'Orsay, beautiful but overwhelming; the gardens of Luxembourg; the market , and then home. It has taken at least two hours to find this darn internet cafe. Dinner tonight and into bed early. En tout ca.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Sunday, September 13

In exactly 24 hours I will be on the plane heading across the pond to Paris. If anybody needs to get a hold of me while I am away, I can be reached at I certainly won't be able to get to a computer everyday but I will do my best. We are taking the Viva to Richmond Hill, then transferring to a GO bus for the last leg to the airport. Seems rather appropriate given the type of holiday we are embarking on.

We had an uninvited guests last night. Something, (I am assuming a racoon) made his way into our kitchen, jumped up on the counter, and ate all the peaches. He had the good grace to sit on the chair to chow down, and used the pillow as a plate. It is going in the garbage needless to say. He threw the pits on the floor and left. I hope to goodness that he left. I have checked the house pretty carefully and have found no further sign of him.

On a completely divergent topic. My neighbours lilac tree has bloomed again this week. Very odd. It must have something to do with the weather, although I am not sure what.

One more sleep. Until tomorrow.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Saturday, September 12

I just can't sleep. Don't know if it is nerves, excitement, or the huge cup of tea that I had before bed, but I am wide awake.

Went for lunch in Markham with one of my ballet buddies. We visited an old haunt that has changed hands and been given a facelift. The staff have remained, and the food is as good or better than it was. We quite literally roll out of there stuffed to the gills for nine dollars each. It seems wrong somehow, but delicious nevertheless. Back to her house for a good old chin wag-everything from Michael Bryant to cicadas.(not sure of the spelling) She showed me the pictures from her mums recent 90th birthday party. That woman does not have a wrinkle in her face, and is as smart as a tack. Something to celebrate for sure.

Gerry went to the football game with some friends from work. The elderly gentleman beside him bought him a beer, so Gerry gave him his Argo's hat. Gerry hates the Argo's. The fellow was from Sarasota Florida, loves the CFL, and was over the moon about the hat. Go figure.

Well I'll try the bed thing again. Two and a half sleeps.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

September 10, 2009

I am sure glad that someone reads this blog because it resulted in great Indian food for lunch. Sat down with a couple of friends and solved all the problems of the world. A really interesting discussion was had by all on parenting, not our own, but our parents, and how that has impacted us. Very interesting. The bottom line was that our parents were definitely not helicopter parents.

Since both our watches were on the fritz we had to come up with something that tells time and has an alarm...all for under ten bucks. We visited Zellers, Sportcheck, and the Supercentre. All had something that would do in a pinch, but wouldn't clip on the backpack. Mastermind to the rescue. A kid's clip-on timepiece with a clock and alarm for $6.95, ages three and up. The only problem was that you had to be three to get the thing set up. We finally sorted it out and it is good to go.

Gerry's team had a good-bye party for him tonight. He read me the riot act and told me that I had to behave. I did. A good time was had by all. The food was great and the company even better. Thank you hostess with the mostess. Until tomorrow.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

September 9, 2009

Only five more sleeps, as my best friend reminded me ten minutes ago. She also informed me that she has signed on for an organic fruit and vegetable delivery. The girl who eats only oranges and tomatoes. I hope that she has the large sized green bin. Hah hah.

I've been running around picking up small last minute items, andI have to tell you, service out there is non-existent. My shopping is limited to the grocery store and I know why. Getting help is impossible. I think that we are good to go, mind you, so not to worry

Lunch with a friend and her children tomorrow. I hope that she cooks Indian, she does an amazing job. Then it is off to a work party for Gerry. One of the girls on his team is hosting it. Not only is she a great gal, but she has a marvellous home. I made my Peanut Butter Mousse Cake. Considering that I am not a baker it is pretty darn good...though calling it baking is a stretch. Should be fun. All for now.

Monday, September 7, 2009

September 7, 2009

Happy Labour Day. A long week-end for most-but just another Monday for Gerry and me. Hate to rub it in, but it feels good. Gerry wrapped on on Friday, and it was a celebration around here. I guess week-ends just won't feel the same for the next year. We were off to our local market on Saturday, then down to the city. Sunday caught us strolling the Mono Mills Outdoor Education Centre with our friends and their delightful six year old who is starting grade one tomorrow. Seems like a long time ago for us. Today some friends are coming for dinner, and tomorrow. That really feels like the start of a new year to me. This time next week, at exactly this time to be exact, we will be boarding the plane for Paris, and the start of the real adventure.
Until then.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

September 2, 2009

Home sweet home. Riley's soccer team won last night!!!! First place again. Go Cobras.

Had a chance to meet with dad's doctor this morning...a fabulous young man. Approachable, easy to talk to, seems to be on the same page as we are, and generally a good guy. I came away with a good feeling.

The trip back along the 401 was once again long and boring. Saved by Tim's and a $7.99 audio CD. Good to be back in my own bed.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

September 1,2009

I am sitting in Pte Claire at dad's computer. The trip down the 401 yesterday was uneventful,
thanks to the final chapters in my audio book that took me as far as Cornwall, and my Mama Mia CD that allowed for release of pent-up energy the last 45 minutes. I had to make a quick trip to Chapter's this morning to purchase a new book for the long dull trip home. Gives me a better
appreciation of our public librairies, not that I don't love them already. We went out for mussels and fries..yum...and then I was off to my sisters' for a quick visit before bed. One of my nieces started high school yesterday, and the other one started the first day of her final year today. They were full off P+V.

The weather her has been beautiful. Warm and sunny. Dad and I have been able to get down to the village, over to Stewart Hall, and outside for meals. We will pick up a pizza for dinner, have a glass of homemade wine, and I will be off to my nieces soccer game. Hopefully I will be able to meet with the doctor tomorrow...four ears are better than two, and then I will hop in the echo for the ride home. Until then, Happy Birthday Eby.