Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Popes in Santiago de Compostela

Santiago de Compostela has been a place of pilgrimage for many … including Pope John Paul II who traveled there in 1982 and 1989. Pope Benedict XVI will visit this coming November in honor of the Saint James Holy Year.

I doubt John Paul II worked in a side trip to go surfing at the nearby coast during his pilgrimage… but as I think about it, he probably would have if he could have. He was a great athelete in his younger years. He loved to ski and swim … I bet he would have loved to try surfing too.

Teach us, Saint James, friend of Our Lord,
the WAY which leads to Him.
Open us, preacher of the lands of Spain,
to the TRUTH you learned from the Master’s lips.
Give us, witness of the Gospel,
the strength always to love the LIFE.

3 Days Away!!!

It´s hard to beleive how far we have come. We plan on doing 20k tomorrow and Friday, and whatever is left on Saturday (11k I think). Then we party. :-) We are going to make a day trip to the beach. That should be fun. The place that we will be staying at has a barbeque pit...awesome. Then, the pilgrims mass is on Saturday. I am looking forward to that. It has been fun, but it is going to be nice to go home too.


Getting Real Close!

To those of you who thought Sarria is 100 km away, it is actually 110. But we´re still doing well. We really trucked it today and yesterday. 28 km yesterday and 31ish today. So that puts us at 51ish left. What that means is we can sleep in the last couple days and take our sweet time walking while still making the progress we want and not having to worry about making it to a place on time. Today the lady had to roll out a little folding couch for all 3 of us to stay at the same place. And we had stopped by 2:30.

So now we are using the computer, charging our chargeable stuff and killing time. I don´t like it when we have to stop so early because it gets so boring sitting around. Fortunately yesterday I got a new book, its called Fumbling, by Kerry Egan. A very friendly guy named Michael, from Australia, passed it on to me. Its about a girl from the US who goes on the Camino. So it will be fun to read. At least something to do.

The game-plan is to milk out the next 3days to get to Santiago, spend a couple nights there. Then take a bus to Boaños which is about 65 km away ... and on the beach! The beach is called¨Playa de Traba and its supposed to have 8-10 foot surf around that time. The water right now is about 63 degrees which is pretty chilly. That's 10 degrees cooler than the Comal for all you tubing readers. But I´ll just have to suck it up. I don´t know when I´ll be able to return to Spain and surf, so I´m going to have to just trunk it. Hopefully I can find a place to rent a board.

And for those of you who aren´t reading fans, here´s some photos:

This is what I thought was the Cathedral of San Marcos in Leon, but it turns out it's a hotel. But still neat. All the little white things sticking up are little fountains ... we like to call them bum baths.


It's nice to have Ian with us ...

We´re the three best friends that anyone has had!

106 KM to go! (that was from 2 mornings ago in Sarria) -kai-

What is this!?! A shower for ants!?!

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Shell & Santiago de Compostela

An interesting tidbit … Marcus Samuel, the founder of Shell, adopted the Scallop Shell logo in 1904. It appears there are two reasons for this. 1) The origins of his business involved shipping trinkets, including seashells … which were very popular. 2) A close business associate had a special fidelity to Saint James due to some ancestors who had made the pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela. So, as the business grew and evolved, Marcus Samuel chose the Scallop Shell to be the company’s trademark.
* * * *

While the boys have had long desolate stretches in the past, they are now hitting one town after another. Probably more interesting … more things to see and more people to meet. But, of course, new challenges can come about too ... like finding a place to stay or having to get in line to use a computer, etc....

Monday, June 28, 2010

Celtic Spain

Earlier today, Seamus, Ian and Noah entered into the Spanish region of Galicia. Curiously, Galicia has Celtic roots. This region actually even looks and feels a bit like Ireland … lots of rain, a rolling terrain, green fields, etc. There are cultural similarities as well ... some traditional bagpipe music ... and potatoes are one of the main crops found on the small, often oxen-plowed farms. By many standards, Galicia is one of the most beautiful and unique areas of Spain. I think the boys will enjoy the new scenery for this leg of their journey.

The Celtic tiles of Saint James and his brother, Saint John, were relpicated from etchings on a stone sarcophagus at Jerpoint Abbey in Ireland.

Bus Day

Quite the bus day. I think we covered about 120 km. Once we got to Sarria we had to just use out man-stinct to get on the Camino (and a little direction-asking). We found a hostel, but it only had 2 beds. Since it was 2:45 and we had heard so many stories about places filling up real fast, I told Ian and Noah to take them and I´d look for another. The guy said I could use a floor spot on the patio if I couldn´t find anything. Then around the corner I found a place and the guy put me in a room with 5 other empty beds! haha. Oh well.

I figure we´re 5ish days out from Santiago. That is pretty exciting.

I´m trying to upload some pics, but this computer is pretty old, so I´m not sure if it will work.

I Hate it when the Bus Fills Up with Smokers...

... you can smell them ALL!

We took a bus from Astorga to Ponferrada, and now we are going to take one to Lugo, and then take one to Sarria. That will put us 100 KM out from Santiago.

In the past hour we covered in a bus what would have taken us 12-16 hours of walking over the course of 2 days. Buses are pretty rewarding.

Don´t have much time to write more. But all is well.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Iron Cross and Last 100 km.

The boys seem anxious to arrive at the 100 km mark. The rule is that if you walk the last 100 km (or, 62 miles) of the Camino, you are entitled to an official Pilgrim Certificate. 100 km out of Santiago is in the town of Sarria. Lots of pilgrims start their journey at this point ... especially if they have time constraints. So, the Camino can start getting pretty crowded at Sarria! Actually, I'm not too concerned about whether or not the boys get the Pilgrim Certificate ... mostly, I want them to just have a bit of time together before they really grow up and move on. And ... I hope they grow in faith just a bit. Hopefully they will be able to stop at "Cruz de Fierro" (a.k.a. Cruz de Hierro) ... a spot on the Camino with an iron cross where pilgrims toss a rock to the base of the cross. We have a TON of rocks in the Texas Hill Country, and I sent them each with one rock for Cruz de Fierro. I guess if they miss the cross, they can place their rocks somewhere else along the way ... maybe at the base of another cross.

A photo from about 11 years ago, when we lived in San Diego. Diego is another Spanish variant of James, but this particular San Diego/Saint James is not Saint James the Greater. This San Diego/Saint James was born in the province of Seville, Spain near 1400 and his parents had great devotion to Saint James the Greater, so named their son after him. He became a very holy and good person and was canonized a saint after he died. So, not long after the Spaniards had arrived at what we now call southern California and had their first mass on the feast day of this saint, they decided to name the new settlement after him. So, San Diego, CA is named after San Diego of Spain who was named after Saint James the Greater.
  • Ian ~ Thanks for going to (how many?) stores to find a pair of shoes that would fit Seamus! I appreciate that!
  • Seamus ~ Sorry the shoes are black ... but am glad that your feet are happy and blister-free!
  • Noah ~ I've got Lexi covered for her Hartz treatment and pill on July 1.

Math in Spain ...

New shoes = ugly but very nice to finally have


World Cup Refs = LAME

Ian got in a little later than I was thinking, but we connected just fine. He got me the right shoes but the only ones in Oklahoma City were the black ones rather than silver ... I think they look really silly, but they feel great. And no blisters so far.

Ian really wanted to walk, so we walked yesterday to San Martin. Then after talking to Mom I determined we had 270 KM to go and only 11ish days to do it ... not gonna happen. So we decided we would take a bus this morning. But the bus stop was by a bar and some guys told us the bus wouldn´t come on Sunday. I found a schedule that said it would at 10:55, but we decided to walk today too, rather than risk waiting 3 hours for nothing. These guys may or may not have been drunk still. They were pretty funny. They told this guy in front of us to take a wrong turn for Santiago, when he turned, they called him back and told him the right way. He got pretty flustered and came and asked us if we had seen any signs since he didn´t understand exactly what they were saying. So I told him he was going the right way and they were just messing with him.

The German guy actually looked a lot like my friend, Tim Gillespie, but in about 10 years. I talked to him later, he was really cool too. I bet Tim would have enjoyed meeting him.

We made it to Astorga (didn´t smell any garlic, sorry). Nice big hostel. We also found the bus station where we met a girl from Austin. She seemed pretty flustered about missing her bus. I felt bad for her, but I couldn´t bring the bus back or anything.

We´re going to watch the Mexico game tonight. We were pretty bummed about the USA game, I think the refs ignored A LOT of fouls. But oh well, we did pretty well. We watched it with some girl from Orange County who is doing Grad School in London.

Old computers here, so no way to load pictures. Sorry.

Astorga we are in Astorga. We are probably going to catch a bus to the 100 km. mark tomorrow, so we have some time in Santiago. I am really hoping to catch a Sunday mass there, then we plan on splurging our last 2 nights. The computer is running out of time so I´ll go ahead and sign off


P.S. Thanks for the pics, mom.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

San Martin del Camino ... About 150 Miles To Go

A statue of Saint James the Pilgrim
from the Sanctuary at Our Lady of the Atonement in San Antonio.

The boys made it to a town called San Martin del Camino this afternoon in Spanish time/this morning in Texas time. It’s a small farming community … with no computers available … but there was a phone, so Seamus called while Ian was snatching a bit of sleep. I’m sure he’ll need some time to get his body adjusted to Spain’s time zone. After an afternoon of resting, washing clothes, shopping and cooking, the boys will watch the next game in the World Cup Soccer series.

My father got a kick out of an e-mail he received from Noah on Father’s Day. Noah explained that they would be going to mass later that evening and then to the local bar to watch soccer. Americans are just not used to 13-year-olds casually mentioning plans to go to a bar!

Tomorrow the boys will probably smell some garlic. One town they are bound to pass, Villares de Órbigo, grows lots of garlic.

They might get as far as Astorga, which would be neat … Saint Francis stayed at a refugio there in 1214 on his way to Santiago de Compostela. It was actually while he was in the Cathedral in Santiago when God revealed to St. Francis that his order of friars would grow in great ways.

Friday, June 25, 2010


So, I´m hanging out in Madrid at the moment. I noticed thatsomeone had paid for time on one of the computer in the airport and not used all of it so i snagged it. This keybord is ridiculously difficult to use.

The flight here wasn´t too bad. We were delayed by an hour leaving Dallas. We spent an hour sitting in the plane waiting for the rain to stop. We made it though.

I have invented a game that I have been playing around Madrid. It is called ¨Obviously American.¨It´s fun.

I´m tired of fighting with this keyboard. Bye

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Feast of the Nativity of St. John the Baptist ... in León

(John the Baptist is often portrayed using a Scallop Shell to baptize Christ.)

Gosh! I don't think St. John the Baptist would be impressed with lots of people in León celebrating his Nativity by getting drunk. Wouldn't a day of eating nothing but wild honey and locusts be more suitable? I think getting drunk like that would be more impressive to Herod Antipas than to John the Baptist.

Anyways, I hope things were calmer for the boys during their second night in León. They have to spend their extra nights in León in a hotel. The albergue/refugio/hostel owners allow Pilgrims to spend only one night in each city ... unfortunately, some have tried to take advantage of the unique and generous system of the Camino to get looooong free rides. You can spend a second or third night if you have a note from a doctor indicating that you are too ill to walk.

Dad and I just got back from Corpus Christi ... it was a real nice trip. Something refreshing about the Gulf air! We saw lots of pelicans brought in from the oil drenched regions.

Mr. Keane is doing better ... and is happy to be home. I'll keep you posted boys, but if you happen to think of him, please ask God and Saint James to bless him!

Ian called, Kelly got him to the airport safely ... Thanks so much, Kelly! I appreciate that! Ian was just about to board the plane to Madrid when he called. Kind of neat how he's flying out on a Saint John Day (one of the many!).

Mary - CONGRATULATIONS on your new position as a Math Specialist! Great job!

I Love How Thing Just Don't Quite Translate Sometimes

I love how things just don´t quite translate sometimes. Fortunately, we got the idea.

This is from a few days ago ... that's after about a week of hiking in them.

The police (?) band this morning.

This was after our 32 km day. You can´t see it that well in this pic because of the dust, but I´m developing quite the impressive flip flop tan.

This is Noah at about 8 AM with some people who were super friendly and super drunk. The guy on the right has a mullet, you just can´t see it that well. The girl is 20 and was amazed at Noah´s age/height. Her coke cup also does not have coke in it ... some sort of booze. They told us they were getting ready to go home and go to bed. They guy on the right spoke a little English, but mostly Spanish. He explained that it's not that nice of a walk to Astorga, but from there to Santiago it is the best part of the entire Camino, especially Galicia.

¡The Mornings are So Boring!

We are here in Leon for our second day. There is nothing to do in the morning but walk around ... the idea was to rest! haha. It's ok, we checked out the cathedrals (a solid 5 minutes each). There are also tons of drunk people running around, still drunk. But much friendlier. Leon is celebrating the feast of St. John the Baptist (or, his birthday or something like that). I get the impression the streets look like Mardi Gras in Galveston.

Before I forget, Ian: I don´t recommend all those books, but you do what you want.

Anyway, we have met about 9 drunk people this morning. Some have been very friendly. We took pictures with some of them, but I can´t upload them for some reason. One wanted to talk Spanish versus American politics. But he only wanted to talk, not listen. But that was fine with us.

We also saw a small parade of what looked like a police band. They were escorting some sort of beauty queens for some ceremony. I was assured I´d find tons of beautiful Spanish women here, but it's been pretty slim pickings compared to who´s in San Antonio waiting for me.

Yesterday some old French guy tried telling us it's a boring walk to Leon and that we should take a bus. I´ve loved this trip and its been great, but we´ve walked through nothing but wheat fields ... I´m not clear how it can get less exciting. I guess he´s really into wheat, because there were only little towns that we passed through.

Also, Ian: In my beard experience, I´ve never suffered a tan line. I´m growing a Camino Beard too, but I have to shave everything below my jaw line, otherwise it gets tooo itchy.

We can´t check in for another 2.5-ish hours. So we are just killing time. I´m also trying to charge my camera and MP3 player since they are both running low. Since I don´t have my converter any more I have to rely on computers and USP ports to charge them.

I really wish my pics would upload. I´m going to try again, I´ll just put them in a new post.

Mr. Keane, I hope you´re doing well.

And congrats to Mary who got hired as a Math Specialist!

Hasta La Vista


Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Leon & Packing

Lots of prayers and warm wishes to the Keane Family of Bandera as Paul recovers from his chain saw accident. We are praying for a full recovery of Paul's arm, for Eileen and the boys!

Seamus and Noah called this morning to let us know that they made it to Leon. If you look at the map on the right sidebar, you'll see they are a bit more than halfway there. They happened across a Benedictine convent where Benedictine nuns provide rooms for pilgrims ... so they will spend the night there tonight.

Seamus and Noah:
According to my The Pilgrimage Road to Santiago guide, spending two hours or more taking in the beauty of the San Marcos Cathedral and the church of San Isidoro in Leon is a must (2 hrs+ per church). DON'T WORRY! I don't really expect you to do that ... but, it wouldn't hurt to stop off at San Marcos to cool off and say a quick prayer to San Marcos for your next two years in San Marcos, TX, Seamus. Leon is known for LOTS of stained glass ... (San Marcos has more stained glass windows than any other Cathedral in Spain).

I hope you enjoy your brief break in Leon and thanks for getting there in time for Ian! Have fun at the bull fight!

Ian ... your Tech gear will go well with Noah's OU shorts ... which he would wear every day if I let him (by the way, Noah, I saw some Corpus shorts I thought you might like, but decided against buying them ... maybe at Texas State).

Travel safely, Bean!

Love my boys!
p.s. Please say an extra prayer for Mr. Keane today!


Well, I'm finally packing. Seamus told you all what he was going to pack and since I'm not packing much differently I won't subject you to a full length list again. I'll just give you some highlights (and not-so-highlights).

Some things you may find interesting that I am packing:
  • new shoes for Seamus
  • Toy Story Band-Aids
  • a rock with my initials on it (thanks mom)
  • Texas Tech stuff
  • reading materials including such fascinating works as "The Index of Global Philanthropy and Remittances" and "On the Empirics of Foreign Aid and Growth"
  • 2.36 Euros leftover from when I lived in Germany
  • frisbee
I am still debating whether or not to bring a razor. I am seriously considering growing a camino beard. However, I am concerned that a camino beard would come with a camino beard tan line which I am not terribly keen on. I'm sure I'll end up bringing one just so I have the option.

That's about it for the moment.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Great Progress!

Sounds like the boys made great progress yesterday! (And like Noah isn't in the least homesick!)

When you cross over the bridge to the town of Puente de Villarente, before you get to Leon, look for a two-story building with an arch. In the 1500s it was provided for from the will of an archdeacon,who considered the area to be difficult to travel through, and with too few places to stay. So, he wanted the funds he left behind to be used to build this building as a place for pilgrims to stay ... it was his way to give glory to God and honor to the Blessed Mother.
* * * * * * * * *
p.s. The Scallop-ish.Cockle Shells are from the beach on Padre Island.
p.p.s. The blue gymnasium-looking coliseum downtown on the bay was demolished yesterday.
p.p.p.s. On a whim, Dad and I went to Best Buy today ... just to look at laptops. The kid who helped us was so helful and polite ... and there was a really nice model that Dad thought was a decent deal. It really wasn't our plan to buy a computer during a vacation to the beach, but when I saw that the nice kid's name was James, I took it as a sign and we bought it. xoxo

This is the Life

I love this trip. We simply eat, sleep, walk, and watch soccer.....I could live like this.
I am definately ready for the bullfight on Thursday. It's going to be fun.

Happy annivesary Mom and Dad...yáll are great


So Much Walking!

Yesterday we accidentally walked 32 km. We made it to Saghoun (sp?), but decided to press on to the next town only 5 more km. But it was a little sketchy, so we went another 5 to the next one (Bercianos del Real Camino). The lady said we could stay if we wanted to put sleepìng bags in the street in front of the hostel. So I asked if they had no beds and she said the did not. That was a little discouraging, but she laughed at me and said come on in. It was very nice (and free). They fed us and everything. We also got to watch Spain win a match which they really needed.

Today we only have 18 km till Leon, so we will get there a couple days ahead of Ian. We are probably going to get a hotel on Friday so he can come in late since the hostels lock up around 10. We were told last night there is a bullfight Thursday night, so we are going to try to check that out. We also saw an ad for it.

The next couple days will be nice and relaxing.

No Pictures right now, I might be able to add them later though.

Happy anniversary to Mom and Dad! You two have been great role models for us!

¡Hasta luego!

Monday, June 21, 2010

A Desolate Stretch

If my guess is correct, the boys should be on or close to one of the more isolated stretches on the Camino. In the 1670s, Fr. Laffi came across a dead pilgrim being eaten by two wolves in this area. In 1743, a pilgrim named Nicola Albani who had trekked al the way from Naples, Italy opted to hire a guide to get him safely through this stretch. Even as recent as 1974, there were no paths, no buildings and little vegetation.

Now, however, things are more comfortable outside of Sahagun ... trees have been planted, there are picnic tables and a gravel path to guide the pilgrims. However, I wouldn't be surprised if computers have not yet made it to the area.

p.s. Ian returned to OK this morning and now I am writing from Corpus Christi ... where Chad and I are celebrating our 25th anniversary ... but we miss the boys.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Phew! That Was a Hard Blog to Read!

Ian grilling some steaks for Poppy for Father's Day.
(By the way, I gave Dad some Poppy seeds today - the kind you plant.)

About Seamus's last blog ... Gosh! And kids wonder why mothers worry! I wish I could go to Villalcazar and thank all of those people who helped my boys out! Sheesh! But, the good thing was … Seamus got to a doctor! I think his feet will improve more and more each day now!

Thanks to Fr. Vincent Fecher … who said a Hail Mary for the boys and offered up two masses for them! Your prayers are powerful ones, Fr. Vincent!

Seamus did call shortly after posting the blog and told me one more intriguing aspect to the story. When the guy grabbed and broke his chain, the Saint James medal fell. When all was done, Noah and Seamus went back to the area to look for the medal, but couldn’t find it. The hospitalero, Jesus, saw them and came over to help them out. He encouraged them to ask St. Anthony to intervene and within 30 seconds, Jesus had the St. James medal in his hand! Seamus and Noah were amazed! I sure wish I could give Jesus a hug … but instead I’ll have to say a special prayer … just for him … which is probably worth more than a hug or gift anyways!

I was brainstorming the Santiago Peregrino (Saint James the Pilgrim) statues facing away from Santiago de Compostela and came up with two theories. 1) Back in the medieval days, pilgrims did not hop on a plane or train to go back home … they walked back home. Maybe those statues are reminiscent of that. 2) Maybe they are posed to greet pilgrims making their way towards Santiago. Or … maybe I’m thinking too much and it doesn’t really matter! I like the idea of collecting photos of/with them!

I'll be happy when Ian joins you two later this week!

Oklahoma is OK

More undivided attention!


Hey's Noah just seeing if I can post now...thanks Mom

A Few Things I Forgot:

We call our dad Poppy, so ...

(We saw this in someone´s yard the other day, so we thought it would be good for today.)

We see Poppies every day, that makes us think of our Poppy.

Happy Father's day Poppy, thanks for being the greatest, even when we made it tough.

And thanks to our Grandpas for setting us up with great parents.

(We also see roses daily which make us think about our Mammy.)

Also, today is my 1 year mark since my dad swore me into the Navy which is pretty cool.


Mom and Mary, before you read this, I´ll call later and tell you about it too. I´m fine.

Yesterday was crazy. We stopped in Villalcazar because of the spread of towns after yesterday it would have either been a really long day today or a really short one. We like less walking on short days, but the afternoons/evenings go be so slow! So anyway, we stopped at this free hostel with a hospitalero named Jesus. He was very friendly and explained that he greets all pilgrims with a hug, and then he did. It was a good hug. He explained that mass is at 7 and a concert is at 7:30. Before that, everyone who wanted to, would meet at 6:25 to go to the store that opens at 6:30. So Noah and I walked around town to look for a phone. We saw a store so we grabbed a couple sodas to pass the time and hold us over till we made dinner. When we left the store, there were 2 drunk guys. One was so drunk he was throwing up right outside the store. Of course we looked. But we kept walking and I explained to Noah how stupid and irresponsible that is. The guy not throwing up must have caught on that we were talking about them and started yelling and following us. I wasn´t 100% sure, but I decided it would be better to just not look back and keep walking. But Noah looked back and got worried that he was coming for us. I told him we would just go to the hostel and find a phone later. Then the guy threw his cup at us (and missed by a bit), but then I turned around and said all I could think of (tactfully) in Spanish: ¨Por favor¨ and then kept walking. Then he ran up to us and hit me. I pushed him off and we kept going. Jesus heard the yelling and had seen him hit me and started talking to him. Then the guy ran at me again. This time I was pretty worried about Noah and Jesus getting caught up in it so when he came at me I grabbed onto him, grabbed his leg and dropped him to the ground. Someone started breaking us up, so I got up, but he ran at me again. This time someone managed to restrain him (I think it was his friend). But he managed to get several hits off on me before it was all over. He also grabbed my chain at one point and I held onto it because I didn´t want to lose my St. James medal (esp. not on this trip), but I did. I also cut my hand a little from that.

Anyway, someone called the cops and the guys drove off. But one of the other pilgrims got his plate number. Jesus gave me an ice pack for my face. I sat and waited for the cops to come. Some lady who spoke very good English gave me a pack of Kleenex for my hand and some antibacterial stuff and had a Kit Kat bar for Noah and said ¨Here, take a break.¨ I said, ¨You must be a Mom, you´re ready for everything¨ ... she is. Then she apologized and said they are like rednecks. I laughed because I´ve been called a redneck before. A lot of people apologized and wanted me to be sure that I knew that they were not typical of Spain. I told them I was fine and very happy here and that we have stupid people in America too.

The cops came, the pilgrim who got the plate number, Jesus and the lady from the store all gave testimonials. Then I tried my best to explain it to the police in Spanish and free-lance sign language. He didn´t take any notes except my name and age. I guess it wasn´t that good. haha.

Then the cops insisted on taking me to the doctor in the next town. So I went and we determined what I already knew ... put ice on it. But I had him look at my leg too. He said its tendinitis. That was a relief to know. I´m not sure how serious that is, but I´ve heard of it and I´ve never heard of it killing anyone. So I figure I´m ok. He asked if I have any pain meds and I told him ibuprofen and he said good, take 3 after breakfast each day. I think my body relaxed at that and now my left leg is a little sore today. We´ll see how that goes. I´m pretty sure new shoes are going to make a world of a difference.

Then we went to the police station. They explained that I could sue for money but I´d have to come back to Spain for court. I opted out of that. They said they will press charges themselves.

Everyone was very nice and helpful. We got back in time for mass. There was also a wedding. We missed the concert to look for food, but the store was closed by then. So we went to the bar to eat and watch the game.

Today was LONG. We had 5 km to the next town (where the doctor and police station were), but 17 km to the next one. We bought sandwich stuff at the first town and took a break at a picnic table around 12:30 then finished the day.

One of the bumps on my head.

We are seeing more and more pilgrim statues like this. So, we like to take pics with them.

Another. The weird thing is that they all face the wrong direction (away from Santiago).

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Sandals & the Modern Pilgrim

Seamus’s left sneaker was doing something weird to his arch … and after days of walking, his left foot was getting pretty achy. Of course, trying to walk in a way to avoid putting weight on the foot began to impact his shin. So, he’s wearing sandals (a.k.a. flip flops). That doesn’t sound ideal for such a journey … but … as I think about it, his patron saint, Saint James, always wore sandals when he trekked about with Christ. Maybe this is a nudge from heaven … a way to really feel the journey and perhaps notice some things he might not have noticed if he were blasting through at 20 miles a day. I don’t know. Sometimes, less is more. Saint Francis (Seamus’s confirmation saint) walked to Santiago de Compostela from Assisi in 1214. He certainly either wore sandals or went barefoot the whole way there ... and back.

Jesus sent out these twelve after instructing them thus, … “Do not take gold or silver or copper for your belts; no sack for the journey, or a second tunic, or sandals, or walking stick.”
-Matthew 10:5a,9a

Back at the Ranch

With his brothers gone, Ian gets some great undivided attention ...
at 90 degrees (or so).

Friday, June 18, 2010

A Visit From Ian

Ian drove in from Oklahoma today for Father's Day weekend ... it's so nice to have him here! On Thursday of next week, he'll fly to Spain to join his brothers.

Book IV of Codex Calixtinus

The Book Of Saint James
There is a really neat book within the Cathedral in Santiago called “The Book of Saint James.” It is a collection of homilies, prayers, songs, stories of Saint James miracles and great medieval information on the Camino put together by a variety of authors hundreds of years ago. It is sometimes called the “Codex Calixtinus,” after Pope Calixtus II (1119-1124) who had great enthusiasm for the Santiago pilgrimage. This book is a medieval treasure ... and you can get a copy of it ... for only $2,990.00 (Yikes! I like books, but I think I'll have to wait a while for this one!)

For Noah ... a photo of Lexi.

Just love the photos and stories, Seamus and Noah! Thanks for filling us in! I'm praying for that foot! (Jared - you are awesome to pray for my son! Also ... just found a quesadilla recipe online ... for sure when Noah gets home, we'll make some!)

I Feel Like One of Those Clowns on a Motorcycle with the Helmet Strapped to his Seat

It always bugs me when I see people on motorcycles with their helmet strapped to the back. But here I am trying to knock out 500 miles in flip flops with a pair of sneakers tied to my bag. Oh well. I took some Ibuprofen this morning which seemed to help a little. We met some funny Italians yesterday. One of them spoke some English. So we hung out with them during dinner. Then we watched Mexico beat France which was awesome. There were some Germans with us who wanted Mexico to win just because it was against France. haha.

My MP3 player died today. I was going to charge it, but I think I accidentally left my converter for the different plugs here in Burgos. So I might plug it into a computer tonight while everyone is asleep. I´m a little bummed about my converter.

It rained really bad a couple days ago. We only made it about 10 km. It was pretty miserable. But oh well. We sure slept well that night. Yesterday we called mom then the phone cut out on me. I´m not sure how long I was talking that my mom couldn´t hear me. But apparently all the phones in town died. I was a little bummed I couldn´t talk to Mary too.

I´m running low on time, so I´m going to comment on these pics:

There are windmills everywhere! Lots of them. They are pretty cool.

Here´s an example of a triple bunk we stayed in in Viana. That's my bag with the bread sticking out.

Its kind of hard to see, but there is a stork nest at the base of the dome. We´ve seen a few of these. If storks bring human babies, who brings stork babies?

If this works, its a video of some hippies making music out of some boards sitting on a saw horse in Hotana last night. The guy with dred-locks was really friendly. He ran the supermarket in between his performing. We bought stuff for sandwiches and got some cheese that he explained was made here from cow and sheep milk. He clarified "queso de mooo y baaa" haha, it was pretty funny ... ok it didn´t work. At the top is a pic of them playing. I´ll add the video when I´m not on a time limit.
We just got news that the US game is not on the channels they have here. So we will wait to see the England game this evening. Oh well.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

The Village of Hontanas

Seamus called today and mentioned that he and Noah are in a town called Hontanas … so they have another 95 miles before meeting Ian in León a week from today. Sometimes they prefer avoiding some of the large cities when they look for a place to stay, but then, with the smaller towns there can be a lack of some things … like the internet and groceries! Truly, I’m glad they are experiencing a variety. Even in smaller villages, however, they have been able to watch the World Cup soccer games in the evenings.

In the 1600s, Hontonas was a shepherd town … mostly a cluster of straw-roofed impoverished huts surrounded by stakes to keep wolves out. The pilgrims of this time frame had to pay to sleep on the floors of these huts. From that perspective, having no access to a computer doesn’t seem so bad!

1 week and 1 day to go

So, one week and one day more before I leave for Spain to join up with Seamus and Noah on el Camino. I would have waited until it was just one week left to post but I'll be driving most of tomorrow. I'm going to Pipe Creek for Father's Day. Actually I'll be driving further tomorrow in 8ish hours than Seamus and Noah will have walked on the entire Camino.

It has been a busy summer for me so far so it should be nice to slow down. I've been trying to get my master's thesis started. It is certainly a learning experience. I'm looking forward to the break from that.

So far about the only prep I have done for the trip is getting my hiking backpack. I played with it a little bit when I first got it but since then it's been in the corner of my bedroom tags and all. I'll pack some time next week. I haven't really given much thought to what I'm going to bring. I imagine it won't be much though. Seamus and Noah, anything you wish you had brought?

That's about it for now. I'm going to focus on enjoying this last busy week for now. It shouldn't be difficult to do as I'm going to see my parents and Kelly before leaving. (Hopefully I'll get some work done too.)

Wednesday, June 16, 2010


Hi Seamus and Noah,

I bet you didn't expect to hear from me on this blog. As you know, I don't normally go places where I have to let my fingers do the talking. It sounds like things are going well over there. I was out on the tractor mowing in the upper pasture with the cruise control on and decided to see if I could check on your progress on my Blackberry. Sure enough - from here in the Texas Hill Country all the way to the hills of Spain I can still check up on my boys. Be good and have fun.

Pilgrimage Music

Since the boys have been gone, I have been enjoying a really neat and peaceful CD, Pilgrimage to Santiago. It was compiled by the Monteverdi Choir from England. In honor of the choir's 40th anniversary, the group hiked several chunks of the Camino and performed at various cities and towns along the way. They had done their research and learned many songs from medieval Spain ... songs that were heard by countless pilgrims within the stone walls of the many churches along the route. The music is wonderful and helps me to keep the boys in my thoughts.


Saint Peter the Apostle and Saint Servatus are the patron saints of feet issues. (Great research, Kelly!)

Saint Peter - a neat connection ... seeing he and Saint James were good friends.

Saint Servatus - was a bishop in what we now call the Netherlands in the 300s, and had some prophetical abilities.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Stork Nests?

Santiago Peregino
Saint James the Pilgrim

The boys wrote that they were about 1 hour and 15 min. (walking) from somewhere in/near Burgos … I wonder if they are near the small town of Villalba (which actually has yet another bridge … I had no idea there were so many bridges in Spain!). What I really want to know about this area, though, is whether or not they have seen any stork nests. I guess there are plenty stork nests in Spain and the church in Villalba almost always has one on its “espadaña” (some sort of church exterior decoration).

I missed a phone call from the boys today. It was disappointing, but I enjoyed listening to their fun message! (Thanks again, Mary!) I was glad to hear they were relaxing and enjoying a soccer game ... and VERY grateful that they were finally taking a day off.

I also had no idea how chilly it would be! Noah is NEVER cold! I can’t believe that he needs windpants and a jacket ... in Spain ... in the summer! I’m always waiting for the school to call me complaining that he is too fair-weathered-dressed!

p.s. The Santiago Peregrino photo is from Our Lady of the Atonement Church in San Antonio.

p.p.s. Boys, if you meet up with Aiden again, tell him I said, Hello!"

Pictures to go with Yesterday´s Post and Today

This is the bridge from Puente La Reina.

This is a picture of our Irish friend, Aiden, who is studying theology to become a priest. We passed through a town that has a free wine fountain. We agreed that this would be an epic failure and bum central in Ireland and USA.

This is the toy I got (we found real kinder eggs today with the chocolate shell).

The tape is to prevent blisters from my shoes. But I switched to flip-flops. Much more comfortable ... or less uncomfortable anyway.
No pictures. My mom said she was expecting that we would take the bus on Sundays since we´re a little short on time to make the whole Camino. Since we didn´t realize this was an expectation, we took the bus today. We walked from Viana to Logroño (about 10 km) then took the bus to Burgos. Its quite a trip. 2 hours on the bus. But my foot is still in rough shape. We decided to skip the bike concept. I´ll just continue to take it easy until Ian gets here with shoes. Everytime I go into a zapateria (shoe store) and ask if they have my size 15 or 49.5 in Europe) they just laugh at me. So I´m gonna rock the flippie floppies for about 10 more days. Its not that bad except that its cold. Oh well. I think taking a bus is way more complicated than walking ... easier on the feet, but more complicated. we had to walk across Logroño (30 min) for their bus station. And then the bus stopped somewhere in Burgos, it didn´t look like a bus station, but we didn´t want to overshoot, so we just got off and started walking in the direction we figured we should. Then I asked someone for directions. We were headed the right way. But his directions weren´t clear, so we asked a couple more people and made our way and found some of the Camino markers. That was a very nice sign.
But we had to walk for about 1 hr 15 min from the bus till we found a hostel. And it's kind of wierd. Its a little off the Camino. Its in Burgos. Its free. But it locks all the time and you have to ring the grumpy hostel (or should I say hostile) guy to let us back in. Because I didn´t want to bother or see him again, Noah stayed while I looked for food so he could let me in. And there is no kitchen here. But I found some cold cuts and bread (and Kinder huevos!) and stuff for breakfast too. AND I found sliced cheese! It feels like I haven´t had cheese in forever (sorry Mary). So I´m pretty excited about that. But since the place locks and it's cold, Noah and I are going to lay low for the afternoon/evening.
Last night we had sausage, mushrooms, bell pepper, corn, tomato, and beans. The French people were very surprised that Americans knew about the Camino and that we could cook. They were just boiling eggs. We had a good meal last night.
We had some good maps for Navara (a state in Spain?) but we just left Navara today, so now our maps are no good. I´m hoping there is something in the hostel we can use. I saw a little pamphlet with the 5 things everyone should know and one of them is to carefully plan your route and where you will be each day ... I think that's dumb on this kind of trip. We just go until we are hungry and our body hurts. Then we get lunch and then we feel better enough to go to the next town. It's just too bad when the next town is way farther than the sign says!
I think that's it ... Oh, and I added a new profile picture on facebook special for a friend who likes to make fun of me for all my shirtless profile pictures. I have not been walking around without a shirt, I just took it off for the picture. But he likes to call me the ¨shirtless wonder¨so I decided to take the title international!
I´m out!


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