Camino de Frances, Camino de Santiago, Personal stories

Rebecca’s Video of the Journey

Certainly there must be many emotions as one walks the Camino de Santiago, not the least of which is finally walking into the square where the church of Santiago de Compostela is located. My daughter and her group put together a video which hopefully will evoke these emotions. Photos & video footage: Kelsey, Garin, Rebecca and Rosa. Editor: Rebecca. Music: “Oceans” by Hillsong.

Camino de Frances, Camino de Santiago, Personal stories

Home Again

[Tuesday, August 5, 2014]

Hey all!

We landed yesterday at SFO [San Francisco International airport] at 1700 hours and we were so happy to be back. We had spent two days in Madrid. At this point we were so done with everything that we spent one day sitting in our Madrid apartment sleeping, watching television, and wandering around for a little while in the crowded streets of our downtown residence. We also cooked a dinner of veggies and tortellini in a single frying pan. Sunday [in Madrid] we went to Mass at a convent (the church was literally one street over and a half block down), then proceeded to do a bus tour of the city. We visited the cathedral in Madrid [Almudena Cathedral] where Pope Benedict XVI said Mass with seminarians during World Youth Day in 2011. The cathedral has many side chapels of saints who were born in Madrid or other parts of Spain. We were pleasantly surprised in our wanderings to find that the cathedral housed a relic of Saint John Paul II …

The rest of the day we wandered through the major park in Madrid [The Retiro Park ?] and enjoyed ice cream on that blistering hot day next to a lake for row boats. We passed a pharmacy that said 35 degrees Celsius [95 degrees Fahrenheit], but it didn’t feel that hot, or we were just acclimated to it. That evening we went out to a plaza and got drinks …, shared a pizza, and enjoyed the atmosphere.

We arrived in the states [first at the Charlotte, North Carolina airport] and ate beautiful American food again. Kelsey went to Quiznos to get a sandwich… She was standing there for 5 minutes in shock and started crying tears of happiness because there was no ham on the menu [that she could see, anyway — there may have been. Ham had been the only meat available for most of the Camino].

Our flight from Charlotte to SFO was painful because of our eagerness to be home and done with travel. We touched down on a clear day after a beautiful view of the Bay and went out to Mexican food [Araujo’s Restaurant, San Bruno] with Rebecca’s family. We talked until 8 p.m. before heading home. When we opened the door to our house, it was like walking into a dream. We all dumped our packs and took showers and went to sleep…in our own beds with our own sheets and our own pillows. It was glorious. We can’t wait to see you all. We have SO many more stories to tell you all. See you all soon!

Jill, Kelsey, Garin, Rebecca [Gail and Rosa had gone home earlier]

Los (ex) peregrinos

Camino de Frances, Camino de Santiago, Personal stories

From Madrid

[Saturday, August 2, 2014 — Garin writes]

We sent an email in Santarem and we are now in Madrid. We spent around four days in Lisbon, riding on sightseeing tours to see the maximum amount of the city in minimal time, and we looked in on all the chu​rches. ​Lisbon is our favorite large city by far. We stayed in the old part of the city which is beautiful and lively, but also visited the modern part of the city that was built for the 1998 Lisbon World Exposition [ ] that looks like a futuristic science fiction movie set. We enjoyed amazing gelato, sitting by the beautiful [Tagus] River with a scenic background, and a historical market turned modern food court with cuisine from all over the world. To quote Becca, “These aren’t cooks in the kitchens. These are chefs!” Lisbon even comes with hills, tram cars (like cable cars in San Francisco), the 25th of April Bridge (like the Golden Gate Bridge) [ ], and a statue of Christ the King (like the Cristo Redentor in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil) [ ]. Jill has a few postcards that could fool people into thinking we visited San Francisco. We enjoyed ourselves nonetheless.

Lisbon has a vast number of museums for a wide-ranging audience, such as the Marionette Museum and the National Tile Museum. One day we decided to split up and see the museums that interested each of us the most. Mom visited the Coaches Museum, one of the best in the world because a queen predicted the permanence of the car and preserved the royal collection. One of the favorite stories was of the king who wanted to gain favor with Pope Clement the 11th and [had his ambassador in Rome have] three huge decorative coaches made at different times, with statues and carvings inside to show Portugal’s growing importance. The king received so many letters and compliments about the grandeur of these coaches that he wanted to see what they looked like, and so he ordered the coaches to be returned to Portugal so he himself could see them. Garin wanted to see the Oceanarium (aquarium), and Becca went to keep him company. Ironically, they spent over an hour watching the sea otters in an exhibit that was modeled after Monterey Bay. Kelsey visited the Ancient Art Museum for four hours, enjoying the variety of religious art and objects acquired by the Portuguese in their various explorations. The exhibits were set up so that people could see Indian, Chinese, and Japanese pottery over time and watch the influence of each of these cultures on Portuguese art and vice versa.

Last night we traveled on a painful eight-hour bus ride into Madrid, arriving at 6 a.m. to a sleeping Spanish city. Fortunately, the bus was not full, so we could spread out and try to catch a few hours of sleep.

We are increasingly excited to get home after all the traveling of the past few weeks.