We left the corner garden 10 days ago.  We’ve been quite busy.  First waiting in DeGaulle airport for the ash cloud to lift so we could get to Malaga, Spain.  We finally arrived in Malaga about 10 hours late and our luggage showed up 48 hours later.  Good thing I packed a change of clothes in my backpack!

After getting about 2 hours sleep, we headed off on a bus trip to Granada and to visit the Alhambra.  What an amazing place.  We had a very quick (maybe 3 hours) guided tour of the place, but it would require days to see everything–if they’d even let you that is.

The gardens were filled with the heady scent of orange blossoms, roses, jasmine, and more plants than I can list here.  I didn’t have time to take many photos of the gardens – darn!  That type of trip might be accomplished over the course of several months.

At any rate, after the quik-stop tour, we were allotted all of 30 minutes to see Granada.  Bus tours are ok, but they sure limit the sight seeing.  We saw very little of Granada, but it looked like it had a lot to offer.  Oh well.  That alone might give us a reason to come back to Spain.

The following day we got to sleep in a bit and enjoy the ambiance of  Paul & Lynn’s timeshare in Playa Andaluza. After hanging out a bit  and relaxing, we hopped in the car and went to visit Mijos, a sweet little town in the mountains overlooking the Mediterranean Sea.  The afternoon downpour didn’t dampen our spirits one bit.  We hid out in a local bodega/wine museum sampling the vino tintos and the tapas.

While with Lynn and Paul, we visited Cordoba and the White Villages.  Pix of these places will be in the gallery later.

On Saturday, we got to Santiago  in northern Spain just in time to find the sales office for the bus tix we needed to get to Ourense so we could begin our walk back to Santiago on the Via de la Plata.  That makes sense huh?  With five minutes to spare, we finally found the right bus slot and queued up for the two-hour ride.  The gods had their eyes on us as a taxi was waiting to whisk us away to the hotel.

Sunday, we started our walking trip to our first destination on the route – the Monasterio de Oseira.  The first day’s walk was 30km or about 19 miles.  After retracing our steps because part of the camino was under water, we finally ended up back in Cea and went to our accommodation for the night.

Monday found us back at the Monasterio to start out for Lalin.  This walk was 25 km.  No problems getting to Lalin, but finding the hotel proved another story.  Our instructions said the hotel was 2km from the trail.  Another of our guide books said it was 4km from the trail.  Eight long, hot, uphill kilometers later got us there – finally.  We got our shoes off; I collapsed in the tub and Al collapsed on the bed.  The young woman working in the hotel did everything I think.  She checked us in, she ran the bar, she worked in the kitchen, she bussed tables.

Tuesday a.m. we took a taxi the 8 klicks back to the camino and trekked only 13 miles yesterday.  The short day allowed us to take care of our blisters, wash out a few clothes, and lounge around in the hotel room in Silleda.  Another amazing woman ran this place too.

I’m getting the impression that Spanish men hang out in the bodegas and drink coffee, read the papers, watch TV (Wheel in Spain is way different than Wheel in the US), and in general just chill.

Today, we met a Danish woman on the camino today and we three walked to Ponte Ulle from Salleda.  The walk today consisted of 20km, but it went fast as we did not have to go uphill all the time and it wasn’t as hot.

Our first day we met up with a group of Spanish men who shared their lunch with us.  Galicia is beautiful and from what we can see, mostly agricultural although there is industry here, but darned if I know what it is.  Hardly anyone speaks English and I speak only a bit of Spanish.  Despite the communication difficulties, the people want to help us “peregrinos” on our way.  Every one gives directions when we look like we’re getting lost – though that’s hard to do as the way is well marked with yellow arrows and yellow cockleshells.  But it’s nice that they offer even if I only understand one word out of every ten.  They treat us pilgrims with respect and offer their good wishes to us without fail and stamp our credentials so we get credit for the walk.

Although the road has been uphill, rocky, muddy, boggy, hot, and on the N525 (very high speed highway), the trip so far has been more than worth the effort.

Tomorrow we walk 20km for the last time.  The last 20km will take us to the cathedral at Santiago where we hope to get a certificate that says we walked the pilgrim’s road to Santiago.  But, more on that later.

Now, it might just be time to think about getting ready for dinner.