Monday, July 26, 2010

Happy Feast Day

I was going to make a post yesterday, but it was a pretty busy day, so I couldn't make it happen. Yesterday I drove from Houston to San Antonio. I had a man weekend in Houston with my buddy, Cody. We got to visit the St. Arnold's brewery and tour it. Its a craft micro brewery. St. Arnold is the patron saint of brewers. The story has it that in Germany, this guy was a bishop and long after he died the people of his parish town wanted to honor him with a fancy grave or something like that. So they went up on a mountain where he was buried and dug him up and walked him to the town. It was a procession of hundreds of people. It was a long walk, so they stopped at a little bar on the way for a rest and a drink, but the bar only had enough beer for one mug. So the first person took a sip and passed it down. Eventually EVERYONE got a sip. It's almost like the story with the loaves and fish or the Hanukkah story. Too bad we don't have a St. Arnold's Day celebration. I could see America turning that into a fun one.

The next morning I was on the road for San Antonio at 6:30. I had a 12:55 flight to New York to visit Mary and her family. It was a bit of a drive for how tired I was. But I made it. I also got to meet her brother Jim and sister-in-law, Janelle. We grabbed dinner at Applebee's. It was a good time. Mary's Dad also showed me his train collection. He has a pretty sweet track set up in the basement with fancy controllers and sounds and everything.

So now, being the morning person that I am, I'm up and I don't think anyone else is. But I have some reading to do, so its OK.

Its good to be back in the US. The adjustment to Spain and life on the Camino took at least a week ... I adjusted to being back in the US right away. Haha, funny how that works.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

July 25 - The Feast of Saint James

The boys have been home for over two weeks now. It is hard to believe that since their trip, hundreds ... maybe thousands ... of people have continued to stream along the different Caminos leading to Santiago de Compostela. Today, the Feast Day of Saint James, I'm sure the city will be extraordinarily full of life and activity ... especially this year because July 25 falls on a Sunday, making it a Saint James Holy Year.

The boys are settling into their lives back home ... Seamus's Navy deployment to Korea was postponed, so he has taken on a temporary construction job until he moves to Texas State University for Graduate School in August. Ian has returned to his fellowship work at OU and will take more classes in August, and Noah has begun a more normal 13-year-old summer ... working on his summer English project, helping out with VBS at the church, swimming and hanging out with Lexi. The trip already feels like it was long ago, but every now and then a fun comment will come up, making me realize that the journey clearly had impact. I thank God and Saint James for their attention to my sons.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Novena to Saint James

Saint James,
Son of Zebedee,
Apostle of Christ,
Pray for us.
- Our Father, Glory Be, Hail Mary -
~ Say each day for nine days.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

James, John, Peter, and Jesus

The three events when James, John, and Peter were with Jesus ...

Monday, July 12, 2010

Journal Reading

Chad and I have been enjoying the journal the boys kept while in Spain. It helps to fill in some gaps ... for example:

Seamus wrote about buying some bread at a store where the store owner was so happy to have American customers. He cheerfully gave the boys an update on how the L.A.Lakers were doing. One of the Lakers players, Pau Gusol, is from Spain, and this shop-owner is very proud of that fact.

Ian wrote about enjoying the morning scenry of mist and fog blending in with the hills of Galicia. No surprise, he has always liked Celtic-type scenery.

Noah explained how they got to the cathedral in Santiago just as the censer was slowing down. He wrote that he was looking forward to seeing the "whole show" the next day. He also wrote about food ... a lot.

It will be fun to show their kids this journal in years to come! :)

Friday, July 9, 2010

Back Home

Back safe and sound (and VERY tired!).
Ian got to Oklahoma O.K. too.

Noah's Pilgrim Credential filled with stamps.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Off to the San Antonio Airport

Chad and I will head to the airport to get Seamus and Noah soon ... Ian went directly to Oklahoma. We're looking forward to hearing more stories from the Camino ... and will hopefully learn they did not actually sleep in the bar the night before their early morning flight!

Some Photos

I'm at the USO in Ft. Worth, the flight got delayed about an hour to go home ... I just want to be home. I've been up for 23 hours now.

Flight went well, watched several movies. I've eaten more junk food today than I generally do in a 6 month period.

Thanks to everyone who followed and read the blog. It's been a great trip.

Here are some pics from the past few days when I wasn't able to post any:

St. James had a rough day. Haha.

The HUGE incense thing.

4th of July in the square.

That's the beach Noah and I went to.

Last night in Spain, watching Spain beat Germany in the World Cup semi finals. L-R, me, Noah, Alaska, Atlanta, England (I usually call people by where they are from. I learned very few names.).

Officially Back in Texas

We are officially back in Texas!
Good to be home.

Madrid-BarajasAirport...the Land Of Bad Keyboards And Yucky O.J.

Here we are in Madrid. The Flight from Santiago only took an hour, butthe plane was really cramped and hot. The good side is that we only have a 5 hour layover...we thought it was 6 hours.We got to the airport, and neither Seamus or Ian was feeling 100%. Then, Ian and I got breakfast, and seamus justgot an orange juice. Ian and I each got orange juice with our meal, and if you read the title, you can guess how the orange juice was. Now Ian feels better, and Seamus does too. I´m Ready to be home.


Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Adios Santiago!

I had fun too.


We will be on a plane 12 hours from now (provided there are no delays).

Until then, we will be at the bar watching the game.

We met a guy from Alaska, he´s been pretty cool. He likes to remind us from time to time that his state is more than double ours in size ... I don´t care, its still too cold and still not Texas. Haha. He´s been good company.

The game plan is to stay up all night until it's time to go to the airport. I don´t know if I´m going to make it. I stayed up till about 3 last night in hopes of sleeping in, but was up by 8:30 ... FAIL. So I went for a little run and read and then tried napping ... ANOTHER FAIL. I´m not always a good nap-taker.

Well, we need to head to the game soon, If we don´t get a seat soon, we won´t find one.

¡¡¡Hasta mañana, Texas!!!

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Padrón & Winding Down

The Church of Santiago in Padrón, Spain

Padrón is a town about 16 km (10 miles) south of Santiago with some impressive distinctions. It is believed to be one of the places in Spain where Saint James preached when he was evangelizing Spain ... and it is recorded as the site where his martyred body reached land after drifting in a boat. Padrón is not typically visited by pilgrims because it is not on the main Caminos. However, because of its location, Portuguese pilgrims typically pass through this town on their way to Santiago de Compostela. Seeing the boys had some extra time, it was a good idea to make this extra jaunt ... and see a lesser known Camino town.

The boys have one more full day in Spain. Their flight takes off real early Thursday morning. I hope they enjoy their last day and feel special blessings from God.

Today is Chad's and my 25th Anniversary. When the travel dates finally settled and I realized the boys would be gone for our 25th, I was a little disappointed. But as I thought about it, I decided that having our sons in a place of spirituality and together as brothers is a perfect anniversary gift.

Pigeons in Venice ~ 1996

Taking Bad Advice is a Great Way to Kill Time

As Noah explained, we waited for our 12:25 bus until the 2:10 bus came (about 15 minutes late). When the ticket guy came back and saw us there still he asked why we didn´t get on the bus. I explained what we were told, he said she was wrong. He made sure we were able to get on with our old tickets.

Oh well. The church we got to go in was pretty cool.

It was fun to feed the ducks too. I haven´t done that in years. It seems as if Spain has abandoned the sale of corn to feed the pigeons. I guess rain makes corn and corn makes birds poop all over the nice cathedral. I was kind of looking forward to feeding them again like we used to do back in the day even though I hate pigeons now. Its pretty gross to look at the pictures of us 14+ years ago holding a little thing of corn and being covered in birds trying to get at it. Haha.

My camera battery has died and the computer still does not recognize it, so I can´t charge it or load pictures. But I have a feeling we got most of the pictures we need.

Tonight is the Netherlands vs. Uruguay, and tomorrow is Spain vs. Germany. I´m looking forward to both games.

A Day And A Half

This has definately been the most memorable trip of my life so far, but I´m ready to get home.

This morning, we took a bus to the city of Padron, where St. James´s body supposedly washed up. The interesting thing was that the only water to be seen was a river. So, we went to the two churches in town, but one of them was closed. After that, we went to a supermarket to get some bread to feed ducks. That was fun. Then, we headed back to the bus station. While we were waiting for our bus, Seamus and I each got a burger. We got up to head out to our bus, but the lady at the restaurant insisted that it was not our bus, and told us that she would let us know when our bus was here. When she told us that our bus was there, we went out to it but it was the wrong bus. The first bus that we tried to go to was actually the right one. Oh well, we got on another bus free of charge, and now we are back in Santiago with a day and a half left until we leave.


Monday, July 5, 2010


I've read that lots of Pilgrims top off their pilgrimage by visiting Fisterra (Finisterre). I didn't realize it was a three hour bus ride, though! (UGH!) I'm sure Seamus and Noah loved it, it's supposed to be beautiful. The name Fisterra/Finisterre evolved from the Latin words "finis terrae" which mean "the end of the earth/world." It juts out quite a bit and so they literally used to think the earth ended there. Lots of boats leaving this part of the coast were lost ... which added to the feeling of it being the end of the world. Seamus loves the water, so I am glad he got to feel the chilly Atlantic Ocean splash his feet (sorry there were no surf boards available, though, Seamus!) Another neat thing about the town of Fisterra ... it is a fishing town ... and Saint James was a fisherman.
A Monument in Fisterra to Honor Santiago Pilgrims

From the Corpus Christi Cathedral ... near warmer waters.

The boys come back to the U.S. on Thursday!

One More Photo of Lexi for Noah

Lexi will be happy to see you again!

I Need to Live by the Beach Again.

We went to Fisterra which is where the Romans thought was the end of the world. It was a 3 hour bus ride. Once we got there we went to a light house at the point that was the end of the world as Romans knew it. I can´t imagine looking out at the ocean as far as you can see and think there is nothing else out there. Thank God there is ... little did the Romans know, not only is there more out there, but there is the promised land, the greatest country in the whole world! (USA).

It took Noah and me a couple hours and way more walking than necessary to find the beach, but we got there. We didn´t find a board rental shop, though. But the waves were real nice. They came in sets, they were very clean and very organized. Nothing like Corpus. Also unlike Corpus, they were freezing. I like my bathwater waves in the sparkling city by the sea. I got in and promptly got back out. It was just nice to feel and taste the salt water. Noah made a castle and we stuck an American flag in it. Then we checked out the tide pools where we found crabs, fish, a star fish, and I think I caught a glimpse of an octopus. By the time we were done with the tide pools, the flag had already gotten washed away. Oh well. The beach was surrounded by mountains and pine trees which wiped out the salt water smell that I was looking forward to. But it was a very nice view. Very cool.

We got back and made dinner. Now we´re just hanging out. Tomorrow Padrón is on the schedule. The hostel guy found a place with surf shops, but its pretty far out, so I don´t think we´re going to be able to make that happen.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Fourth of July

Sounds like your Spanish 4th of July was fun! Glad you got a better view (?) of the botafumeiro (a.k.a. thurible, a.k.a. censer). I'm sure the bishop of the Cathedral loves the P.R. job the guy dressed up as St. James is doing (sigh). I've always thought the German really came out in you boys ... funny people think you are German!

Dad and I went to Brackettville yesterday for the 4th of July celebration. (Grandpa was the president of the 4th of July committee and did a great job.) Grandpa asked Dad to drive the Parade Marshall - Bobby Barrera - who is a Vietnam vet. During the Vietnam War, he was in a tank that blew up and he had to be hospitalized for two years. Very inspiring. His wife was impressive too. He now dedicates his life to Veterans with disabilities. Thanks to Hurricane Alex it was the coolest 4th of July I can remember in a long time!

After lunch ... Lauren was with us for most of the morning, but had to go lifeguard right after the parade. :(

Here's the really neat wooden box (that used to be full of candy) from the candy shop that is just down a bit (right next door, I guess!) from the restaurant with langoustine, which is just a few yards from the Cathedral. Can't wait to see your pictures!
p.s. The Kerry Egan book sounds really good ... and I'd like to see the arrow keychain.


This morning we went to see the tomb of St. James, that was pretty cool. We also went to mass and saw the incense thing, way cooler to see the whole thing. Cooler than YouTube even.

After mass we moved to a new hostel today. Its a little more expensive, but it does have a nice kitchen, so I think we´ll make our savings in there.

There was supposed to be a BBQ pit too, but its more like a fire pit for hippies to pass a guitar around. There are some out there right now playing what sounds like a trumpet and accordion but I´m not sure.

Since the pit fell through, we celebrated the 4th by making steak on the stove ... not the same, but I´m sure Uncle Sam will understand. We did have a mini American Flag on display.

I also had one displayed on my backpack this afternoon while I went around town checking out the street musicians. I also went to Pastelería La Perla. The lady looked at me funny for taking a picture so I explained I had been there 14 years ago. She thought that was pretty cool.

I also saw a guy dressed like Saint James who has been walking around the past few days. Only this time he was sitting outside a bar with a beer. He was also dozing off. I guess Saint James had a long day. I got a good picture of him.

On that note, the computer here is not working that well, so I can´t post pictures. Hopefully I´ll come across a better one.

Tomorrow we are hitting the beach by a point that our Australian friend, Michael, said the Romans used to think was the end of the world. So we will check out that town, then hopefully find a board to rent.

The next day we are going to go to Padrón where it is said that St. James´s dead body washed up on shore.

I got a pair of jeans yesterday. I was going to have to get a pair fairly soon anyway. So I did it here. It's really nice to have them. I haven´t worn a pair in nearly a month ... I haven´t worn anything with pockets in nearly a month for that matter. It's the simple things in life.

We´re going to run to the store to look for a ball or something for the beach.

Hello again!

Hey, so I meant to post sooner but obviously that didn´t happen. I guessll just fill you in on some of the highlights of my part of the trip so far.

I started working on learning a little more spanish before I got here and my first day walking, the first person to try to talk to me was speaking German. I guess I was working on the wrong language.

On a similar note I have been asked repeatedly if I am German. Or Czech. Or Dutch. So far the only person to pick me out as an American is an Australian guy we keep running into.

Still on a similar note, the other night I got to try to translate a conversation between a Spaniard and a German. I pulled it off, surprisingly. I was pretty proud of myself.

It is nice because most places here charge to use their computers but the two places we have stayed in Santiago have wireless internet which I can access on my iPod. That has saved me a little money. One problem with that is that I can´t post on the blog from my iPod. Oh well.

We just cooked dinner. Between the three of us we turned out a pretty good meal. We´re cooking again for dinner. It´s better and cheaper than a restraunt so it works out well.

I bought a keychain today to add to my collection. It is just an arrow. I figured we were dependent on them to get here so I may as well get that.

The hostel we are at right now was pretty hard to find but it is nice. Very comportable. We´re staying here until we leave. I´m about to run out off time on the computer so I´ll leave it at that.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Don't Order Langoustine!

Langoustine (a.k.a. small lobster)

Boys ... the red dot on the map above shows the location of a shop just a few doors down from where Ian ordered Langoustine in '96.
* * * * *
A Funny Santiago story ... When we took the boys to Santiago de Compostela in 1996, we went to eat lunch at a restaurant near the cathedral and each of us ordered an $8.00-ish meal. Ian ... who was 8 years old at the time ... ordered shrimp. The waiter told him they were out of shrimp, but did have some langoustine, which tasted a lot like shrimp. None of us had ever heard of langoustine before, but Ian decided to go ahead and try it. When we were done eating, the waiter brought the check over and Chad about had a heart attack ... the dish of langoustine cost the equivalent of $85.00! (It turns out that langoustine is a delicacy ... a variety of lobster found in the northeastern Atlantic Ocean.) It wasn't funny at the time, but we laugh about it now.

* * * * *

Kelly - It was about a week after Ian's 9th birthday that we went to Ephesus ... how sweet of you to think of that!
Seamus - Thanks for calling today! So sorry I missed it! That would be fun if you guys made it to Padrón!
Noah - I'll make an appointment with Miss Lisa after the 4th of July.
Ian - The CDs sound like fun!
* * * * *
A week or so ago I read that The Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett was a great book. So, I borrowed it from our small town library. It is an historical fiction novel set in England during the 1100s. One page I read today made a random reference to Santiago de Compostela. I liked that!

Day 2 in Santiago

I can´t beleive that we are alreaedy here. The Cathedral is really cool. I am looking forward to mass tomorrow. Our last day of hiking was really easy. Yesterday was disappointing, because of the rain. Luckily it cleared for the afternoon. We got back from the grocery store about 30 minutes ago, and will probably be eating shortly.

BeforeI forget, Mom, would you please schedule for me to get a haircut with Ms. Lisa when I get back...I can´t stand my hair.

I´m looking forward to going to the beach on Monday. That should be fun. Well, thats it for now.


Some Photos

Some Russian street performers ... one has a HUGE, 3-stringed, triangular bass guitar, pretty cool. Ian got their CD´s (all 3 of them). They were really good, though.
Noah likes grassy hills ... he had to scope it out the make sure it is free of dog poop, though.
beard ...
no beard
My Compostela ... I think that´s Spanish for, ¨Wow, you finally did it!¨ To that I say, ¨I know!¨

I think the whole thing is in Latin too. And there is a note saying it was done during the holy year.

The First Thing I´m Going to do When I get Home ...

... is take a shower, dry off with a normal sized towel, put on some jeans, and then talk to someone in English with zero struggles. Then I might hop on the computer without dropping money in it first.

I might also get some new flip flops. I´m convinced these will never recover from this mildew smell.

I was going to wait until I got home to shave, but I´m pretty over the Camino beard.

These aren´t complaints, just a reflection on stuff I took for granted.

We went back to the Cathedral today and got in without waiting in line. There is a line to see the tomb. We also figured out it opens at 9, so we are waiting until tomorrow We´ll probably get there at about 8:30 and then eat breakfast while we wait for the doors to open. I bet there will be a line already, but we´ll have something to do in line.

We also saw the huge incense burner swing today. It was pretty cool, but way more impressive on YouTube. Regrardless, it was very effective, we couldn´t smell any of the stinky pilgrims. I wish they would swing it through our hostel, it smells pretty bad in a couple areas.

We found a store yesterday that sells men´s clothes and says there is a liquidation sale, but we have yet to see it open. We´d like to try to find some clothes on discount. I have a feeling it's not going to work out, but we can try.

Tonight Spain plays Uruguay. That will be fun to watch.

I think I´m going to shave and then participate in siesta.

Hasta Luego

Friday, July 2, 2010

Woo Hoo!

I just LOVE that photo of the boys in front of the Cathedral! For some reason, I like that it was raining the day they arrived. (It’s been raining here on and off for days.) I thank God for the blessing of their arrival.

Seamus, Chad and Ian in Santiago de Compostela, May, 1996.
(Noah was born four months later.)

Seamus in front of the Cathedral of Saint James.
May, 1996

Just for the record ...
We took Ian to the burial site of his patron saint too.
Basilical and tomb of St. John the Evangelist (brother of Saint James)
Ephesus, Turkey.
January, 1997
Unfortunately, there are no hiking trails across Turkey leading to Ephesus ... that would have been neat.

I Forgot to Mention ...

I finished that book by Kerry Egan. Good stuff. I think I´m going to email her for three reasons:

1) I want to meet her husband (he was her boyfriend during the trip and went with her). He seemed real cool and I think we would be buddies.

2) Yesterday around 2:00 we still hadn´t eaten lunch because there was this 17 km gap of nothing. We passed some lady and her fruit stand and I looked over my shoulder and wanted some of the raspberries she was selling, but I hate backtracking so much that I didn´t go back the 5 steps it would have taken. Then I got to the hostel and read about her and her boyfriend getting a basket of raspberries and they were so good that they got 4 more and the lady put sugar on the rest of them. I wonder if it was the same lady. I wish I had gotten some.

3) Yesterday evening I also read about how they bought cherries and how the lady asked if they wanted a kilo so they said sure not knowing how much that really is (2.2 pounds). It took them 4 days to eat them all. That sounded pretty rough to me. Literally 30 min later, Ian and Noah showed up with a kilo of cherries AND a kilo of plums! I thought, ¨great, 8 days of fruit.¨ FALSE, it was about 12 minutes of fruit. Then we had dinner. haha

So here I go:

Rain is a Good Thing ...

Rain makes corn. Rain also makes us walk faster to finish the trip. I can´t believe it only rained 2 days of the trip, one of which was the last day. It was light, so we refused to use our ponchos.

The plan was to leave the last 10 k for tomorrow, but yesterday we accidentally ended up going 27ish KM only leaving about 22 more. So we felt really silly splitting up 22 km into 2 days.

We have a hostel. We were able to get it for 2 nights. We secured 3 beds then walked the rest of the way to the Cathedral. They don´t let you go in the front door. But when we got to the side door there was a huge line (and still rainy). So we are going to go back in the morning and find out the hours and wait while we eat breakfast ... or eat breakfast in line if there already is one.

Here is a monument for when Pope John Paul 2 visited. I just took that today, I didn´t realize Mammy had posted something about it too. I think I have a holy card with his remarks/prayer on it. They were giving them out.

¡¡¡ WE MADE IT!!!

Ian in the hostel

Santiago Matamoros!!!! (Sorry Mammy, I think it's cool.)

And this is the line that we opted out of standing in. We´ll check it out in the morning.

Thursday, July 1, 2010


The boys’ trip to Santiago happened to land on a Saint James Holy Year, which means there are a lot more people (not so great) and the “botafumeiro” is swung at the pilgrim mass each day (very neat). “Botafumeiro” is a Galician word for censer. The Santiago botafumeiro is a HUGE censer that requires a team of eight men to swing it. Censers are often used at high masses to symbolize prayer rising to heaven and to help create a sense of solemnity. The extra large botafumeiro of Santiago also helped with the stench of hundreds of pilgrims who had been hiking for many days during the centuries of the Middle Ages … when showers weren’t so readily available!

Let my prayer be incense before you. -Psalm 141:2a


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