LSan Juan de Ortega to Orbaneja Riopico

DAY 20: SUNDAY, MAY 7, 2017

Another beautiful day of hiking. 

We hiked through a herd of cows grazing peacefully on a Sunday morning.

The road to Ages.

Finally made it to Ages.

Found a nice place for breakfast.

Inside was decorated beautifully with ivy.

It had one of the best bathrooms in Spain.

This is Pilgrim Jim from Colorado. He is a brewmaster at a small microbrewery. This is his second time doing the Camino.

This was the tough part of today’s hike.

A resting area. The sign reads something like, Since the Pilgrim has mastered the mountains of Navarre in Burguete and saw the fields of Spain he has not seen a more beautiful sight as this.

This is our Albuergue for tonight in Orbaneja Riopico.  Very nice and no roommates.

Very friendly bar at the Albuergue. Pilgrims dinner featured stuffed eggplant, lentil soup, pork or chicken.

Nice outdoor patio where we made plans and reservations for the rest of the Camino.

Espinosa del Camino to San Juan de Ortega

DAY 19: SATURDAY, MAY 6, 2017

We stopped in a little town for breakfast. 

This is John from Seattle. He is a former Marine. He said he had enough of the pilgrim crap … he was staying in hotels from here on out.

We hiked the Matagrande and yes it was steep. It was also a very long walk through the woods.

Footbreak needed after Matagrande.

This is Chubbie from Hungary. He was walking barefoot. He said it felt like a massage for his feet.

Lots of good trails to take.

Interesting rest area.

These are the wild hombres from Barcelona (plus one guy from Argentina.) 

This is the monestary at San Juan. The accommodations were not as nice as the one in Roncevalle.

The monestary was full. They served 75 for dinner that night. We had about 25 people in our room.

Viloria de Rioja to Espinosa del Camino

DAY 18: FRIDAY, MAY 5, 2017

We walked along the freeway for many miles. 

This is Villafranca Montes de Oca. If you look at the top of the bell tower you can see huge stork nests with the storks sitting in them.

This is our Albuergue for tonight.

Our room has four beds. We are sharing our room with Harry and Ji Young from Sol Korea. The man on the left is Jon from France.

This is Anthony from Melbourne, Australia and Jon from France. They were a lot of fun.

It was Kentucky Derby Day …. I am wearing my lucky Derby shirt. I placed my bets thru my sister Mary all duds! Mary said it had been raining for 8 days prior to Derby.

This is Ji Young on left and Harry Kwon on the right. Harry spoke really good English. His father was an engineer and they lived in Indiana for a few years when he was 9 years old. They are biking the Camino.

Santo Domingo to Viloria de Rioja

DAY 17: THURSDAY, MAY 4, 2017

It was hard to say goodbye to Quinn and Emily. They headed off to Barcelona and we were back on the trail.

Last night, Quinn and Emily took me out to dinner for an early Mothers Day gift.

We’re back on the Camino and Quinn and Emily headed for Barcelona.

The road to Viloria de Rioja.

Grañón is a very charming town surrounded by many miles of green fields.

At this Albergue in Viloria, I was lucky to get a mattress on the floor.  

Terry scored an upper bunk.

The kitchen and dining room were kind of garage like but very neat and very charming.

Maria & Tony run the Albergue. They made Paella for dinner.

We had dinner with Quique from Madrid, Spain. He was doing the Camino on bike. Also at our table we’re Lydia and Giselle from Germany. They had walked from Bremen, Germany and were doing the Camino in segments over five years.

Santo Domingo de la Calzada

DAY 16, WEDNESDAY, MAY 3, 2017
It’s been fun being with Quinn and Emily. I think we’re all weary travelers and needed an easy rest day.

We wandered through town. Quinn was impressed with the size of these giant tomatoes.

We found the dollar store.

Found the liquor store.

Terry and I thought we were ordering hamburgers. This is what we got. We mixed it all together and it was great.

Can’t get enough of this warm sunny weather.

We toured the cathedral of Santo Domingo. Very interesting. It’s also a museum and they charge 5 euro to tour it. You can get in free if you go during mass times.

This is Santo Domingo. Many legends exist about his miracles .  The most famous is the one about the hanged innocent man and the chickens. The descendant chickens live in the cathedral.

This is the fancy perch in the Cathedral for the hen & rooster descendants.

Here’s a close up of the Rooster.


A Germán family (father, mother and son named Hugonell) were on the pilgrimage to Santiago. In Santo Domingo they stayed with a farmers family, and the farmers daughter tried to seduce Hugonell but, as a pious pilgrim, he refused her. She became so angry that she hid some silver items in his pack and after they left, called the authorities and accused the boy of theft. Upon finding the items in his pack, the boy was found guilty and hanged.

His grief stricken parents continued to Santiago, but stopped to see their sons remains on the return journey (thieves were left to rot on the gallows as a warning to others). They were delighted to find that he was still alive, claiming that Santo Domingo had held him up so he did not die. The parents hurried to the magistrate and asked them to cut him down their son, as he was clearly innocent. The magistrate had just sat down to a hearty chicken dinner, shouted, “Why he is no more alive than this roasted chicken I’m about to eat.” At this, the cooked chicken stood up on his plate, miracously brought back to life feathers and all, crowed.

In remembrance of this story, live chicken are kept in the cathedral which are said to be descendants of the resurrected fowl in the story. A piece of the gallows is displayed on Santo Domingo’s tomb.

Taken from, “A Village to Village Guide To Hiking The Camino De Santiago”

Ahorcaditos (little hanged men) are sweet almond cream pastries shaped like a shell. Very popular here. A little bit on the weird side though.

We found the tomb of Santo Domingo in the crypt of the cathedral. 

The cathedral museum had a statue of one of my Swedish favorites, Santa Lucía.

Lots of nooks and crannies to explore at the Cathedral.

We were even on the roof level of the Cathedral which gave a great view of the courtyard and mountains in the distance.

Emily is a dog lover and couldn’t resist petting Chico who is a Burmese mountain dog.


This is another Santo Domingo tradition, a little on the crazy size. The women shown here are carrying cakes on their heads. They parade through the town as part of the Santo Domingo festivities held around May 11. After they process through, everyone eats cake. Go figure.

Cirueña to Santo Domingo de la Calzada

DAY 15: TUESDAY, MAY 2, 2017


This was a very easy day. Less than five miles to Santo Domingo where we planned to take a rest day. My son Quinn and fiancé Emily are going to join us there. They started in London, went to Paris, then to LaRochelle France and San Sabation, Spain. So excited to see them. 

We had been hearing about all the cold and snow back home. Also hearing that the beginning of our Camino in the Pyrenees was also experiencing cold and threats of snow. So glad we got through it when we did.

Camino artwork in the round about leaving Cirueña.

The road to Santo Domingo. Love walking these roads.

Camino people love dual purpose — when the shoes wear out, make a trail marker out of them.

Had to walk through an industrial area to get into Santo Domingo. Not very pretty.

We finally made it to Santo Domingo. Here’s a sculpture dedicated to the Camino.

Lovely chapel near our hotel.

The chapel doesn’t have a cross, just Mary dressed in real clothes.

Many of the churches in Spain have replaced vigil candles with the electronic version. Probably a lot less maintenance involved but there’s a lack of sacredness. Too electric, not natural. 

This is the Santo Domingo “hanging man” cookie. I will tell the whole story in next blog.

This is the Santo Domingo rooster cookie. I will tell the story in my next blog. Delicious — very flaky.

The bakery had a big selection of other delicacies too.

Lots of chocolate animals.

We were having a beer and the bartender ran out and wanted to know what size socks we wore. He gave us a free pair of “900 year anniversary” (of Santo Domingo) socks … a freebie. A little odd but we loved it. I’m getting the feeling that Santo Domingo is a very strange town with lots of oddities …. the hanging man cookie, the Rooster in the cathedral and happy hour socks. Quinn posed with the bartender and his new socks.

Najara to Cireuna

DAY 14: MONDAY, MAY 1, 2017


Another adventure awaits! As we left Najara, we saw the preparations being made for the May Day festival. 

We were a little bummed that we didn’t get to experience the festival but needed to get some miles in today.

This is a portable oven. They use it for baking bread at the festival but I think it would do well for pizza too.

At 8am they had it stoked with wood and good coals. This dude was already baking bread for the day.

This looked like a swing set structure with two cow? Bull? skulls hanging from it. Now sure what that festival fun was all about and I think I’d rather not ask.

Beautiful hike to Cireuna. Could see the snow capped mountain in the distance. Love walking through this beauty.

Happy reunion! We crossed paths with our friends Louis & Sara from Venezuela.

Stopped for breakfast in a small town enroute.

Louis said he wanted to see a bullfight in Santo Domingo. We thought about it. Unfortunately, the bullfight isn’t until next week. They will soon be extinct because of all the animal cruelty protests. Not sure if we really wanted to experience it or not. Love the poster. Notice the female picador on the horse. 

Foot break alongside the road. We take the boots and socks off and take a nice rest. A little further down the road we passed a “golf community”. The golf clubhouse was busy but the community was a ghost town. This was a new developement in 2008 and no one bought into it. There are beautiful condos and no one lives in them. 

Happy hour at the only bar in Cireuna.

Nice accommodations in Cireuna. No bunks, double room with bath. We did the Pilgrim dinner in the dining room with about 20 other people including our friend Jazebel from St. Louis and Steph from Majorca. It was a good dinner and a good day on the Camino.

Naverette to Najera

DAY 13: SUNDAY, APRIL 30, 2017


Got an early start … the Muni boots everyone out by 8am. We stopped in Ventosa for breakfast.

Smoothies for breakfast.

Met some German people who were using a cart to transport their backpacks. They let us try it and it is very light. 

Newly planted vineyard.

A beehive shelter can seat a dozen people. 

Jazebel from St. Louis, Missouri and Helga from Iceland. Jazebel had to be rescued on her first day on the Camino. She tried to walk from St. Jean Pied-de-Port to Roncevalle (through the Pyrenees) in one day. She was about 5K from the end and it was about 9pm. She decided to stay in a shelter on top of the Pyrenees overnight. A windstorm kicked in and it became very cold. At midnight she realized she would not make it through the night. The shelter had an emergency phone and she called the rescue crew. They came in a jeep and picked her up. There was no place available in Roncevalle for her to stay so they took her to the Fire Department in the next town, Burguette. One of the rescue people gave her his room and she stayed the night there. Terry and I could have easily made the same mistake of trying to go to through the Pyrenees in one day. The guidebooks are very misleading about distances. Fortunately we were so jet lagged and overwhelmed by the steep trail that we stopped at Orisson and they happened to have beds available. 

The comforts of home (ha ha).

Terry booked a room though “”. We made our way to the address. It seemed kind of odd. It was an apartment and we had to go up 5 flights of stairs. Zuelena would like to study to be a pharmacist and is earning a little extra money by renting out her apartment. She gave us the keys and left. It was nice to have a quiet place.

It cost about $10 each to stay in Zuelena’s apartment.

The apartment had a small living room and patio balcony.

We ate dinner at a nearby restaurant. A Spaniard asked me where I was from. After responding with Minnesota, he began to tell me that he was a Timberwolves fan and that he really liked basketball. His favorite team is Orlando.

Logrono to Naverette



It took forever to walk through Logrono which had a fairly good size downtown area. We stopped at a church that had an original Michael Angelo painting. It was sealed behind glass and vaulted doors. To view it cost .50 euro and it had to be a .50 euro coin. We walked all over trying to find someone who had proper change.

Downtown Logrono.

Michael Angelo original.

Exterior entrance to the church in Logrono.

This is an origami project using wood panels that are folded in precise places to hold itself up.

Ham shanks on display at a local meat market. Once again, the hoof is part of the deal.

At the edge of Logrono is a very large park system with a lake. 

We had lunch by the lake. What a pleasant way to spend an afternoon.

Another character doing his thing alongside the Camino.

At last, Naverette is in site. It was a long day of walking.

Another winery. Loved the giant bottle of wine on display.

This is the Albergue where we had a reservation. We were 40 minutes late and the guy sold our beds. We were lucky to get to beds in the Municipal Albergue. We were in one of the rooms with 12 bunks. The town was full. An older couple almost slept in the church but were able to get the last beds on the 4th floor of the Muni.

Nice assortment of tapas at a nearby bar.

Sansol to Logrono

DAY 11: FRIDAY, APRIL 27, 2017


Beautiful day and another adventure ahead.

Camino honor system. People were nice enough to leave out fruit and beverages for the early morning pilgrims. You would just take what you wanted and leave the payment in the shell.

On the way out of Sansol through Torres del Rio.

A charming Albergue nearby.

Hiking through very scenic hillside and vineyards..

Another fine dining opportunity in the middle of nowhere.

A little shelter on the Camino for stranded pilgrims.

Hippie entertainment at the top of a steep climb. Several people were camped here in tents.

Can’t get enough of the poppies.

This was our Albergue in Logrono. It is much nicer than the Municipal Albergues. 

We ate dinner at a nearby place. Many people were playing this game. We haven’t figured out what it is yet.

Villamayor de Montjardin to Sansol

DAY 10: THURSDAY, APRIL 26, 2017


Here’s a hold over photo from last night at the bar where we had dinner. It’s the popular beers!

Love that Sputnik logo.

This. is the 41 percent beer.  I can’t imagine what that tastes like.

Lots of vineyards and hills on the hike today.

Directional marker with someone’s nice hiking boot filled with flowers.

In the middle of nowhere was a food truck selling coffee, tea, fruit and other items. 

The hostess of the Albergue “El Olivo de Sansol” greeted us at the door. It was her parent’s weekend home when she was a child and she turned it into an Albergue. We loved this place.

Yay! No bunk beds.

Nice sun porch to relax in.

They really liked holy water fonts. There was a whole wall full of them.

Cozy dining room. Another fabulous Basque dinner. They served a soup called Pistl along with pork and potatoes. On the left is John from Argentina who now lives in North Carolina. He was walking with his daughter Victoria from England. On the right of Terry (in red) is Louis from Venezuela who is walking with his wife Sara who is sitting on the other side of the table. Very interesting conversations. Whenever the Trump subject comes up, we just say were from Southern Canada.

Charming little kitchen for those who wanted to prepare their own meals.

From the Albergue you could see the next town which is Torres Del Rio.

Shout Out To The Amazing Kids at Meadowbrook.


Hi there! Hope you all are eating your corn and minding your manners — no pirate (elbows on the table), no spin cycle (eating with your mouth open) and stay in your seats (hahah).

I was at a small restaurant in Naverette, Spain. I asked the waitress what the most popular item on the menu was. She said it was a specialty of Navarrete, so I ordered it. See photo below. 

It was a sandwich with bacon, cheese and smothered in fried green peppers. I gave it the “5 bite” test and I really liked it a lot. So, what do you think??

Estella to Villamayor

Day 9, WEDNESDAY, APRIL 25, 2017


Our good weather luck changed. This morning it’s chilly and we’re ready for rain.

Enroute to Villamayor.

My lovely hunchback rain pancho.

We wandered into a blacksmith shop. Jesus had a show room full of artwork he has made.

I really liked this floor lamp that looks like a glass of wine. It stands about 5′ high.

Down the road, we saw a sign promoting our blacksmith.

Just up the road from blacksmith shop is the Bodega Winery free wine Spigot.

A little wine and I’m behind bars!

Next was a beautiful old church. 

And then the wine museum.

Back on the trail again.

This looks like it might be a chapel or church but it is a cistern. It’s full of water.

We finally reached Villamayor. We got the last double room in a brand new Alburgue. Even though it was a private room, it still had bunk beds but we didn’t care — we had our own bathroom. The view from my window was great. We saw many pilgrims who did not get a bed and had to take a cab to the next town. 

We found a cute little bar down the street that had a huge beer collection including vodka flavored beer and tequila flavored beer. Strange … I always thought vodka was flavorless so would the vodka flavored beer taste like beer? He also had a 41 proof beer that was in a paperbag wrapper. 

We came back later to the little bar for a “pilgrim’s dinner”. We were at a table with an Italian woman who was alone and didn’t speak English. Some more Italians came and we pushed the tables together so she’d have somebody to talk to during dinner. A couple more Italians came so Terry and I gave up our places so they could all sit together and we joined English speakers who had also pushed tables together. The burgundy haired waitress did not like this. She pushed all the tables back as they were and we all scrambled for seats again. I sat with John and Jillian from wine country in California. We had a very nice basque dinner with a hearty stew, roasted chicken and flan for dessert.


Lorca to Estella

DAY 8: TUESDAY, APRIL 25, 2017


By this time, we’re starting to wonder about the mileage. We took a second look at the guide book and it defined the way they counted miles. It was a straight line beginning and ending at the most popular Albuergue. That would be “as the crow flies” and it does not take the vertical incline or descent into account. Now we understand why it took us so long to get to Pamplona and how 12K can be more like 20 miles. We are feeling very tired and worn out so we decided to shorten our days. We plan to stop around 3pm no matter where we are. It gets tricky trying to reserve an Albuergue when you don’t know where it is you will be stopping.

We have passed many beautiful old churches. Most of them are locked.

Estella is a charming medieval village. The population is about 13,600.

We stayed at the Capuchinos Albergue de Peregrinos Rocamador in Estella. Very quiet and restful.

It’s always interesting to check out the mercado’s. This is a wall of salted ham. I wonder what they do with the little hoof at the end? Maybe use it for soup??

Lots of fresh seafood but some pretty ugly looking fish.

Uterga to Lorca

DAY 7: MONDAY, APRIL 24, 2017


We were all gung-ho to make some good mileage. We had planned to make it to Villatuerta. For the most part it was a wonderful walk. Unfortunately, I don’t have many photos because I was having memory issues with my phone. 

The trail is accented with red poppies. They randomly appear and are such a welcome burst of color.

Love seeing the horses wandering around the trail.

Even though this was suppose to be a flat day of hiking, there were plenty of steep hills. Mid afternoon the sun and heat got to us. We through off the backpacks and boots and sat in the shade for awhile. We abandoned the idea of going to Villatuerta and switched the Albuergue  reservation to Lorca. We eventually started walking again and it was a horrible hike back and forth under a freeway and up a steep hill. The reward was finding a really cool Albuergue and we were able to get a double room for $4 more than beds in a dorm. 

Pamplona to Uterga

DAY 6: SUNDAY, APRIL 23, 2017


Fortunately, our hotel was on the outward bound side of Pamplona. We were heading uphill through three small towns and then to Alto del Perdon. Off in the distance we could see the wind turbines. They looked so far away. It was a very steep climb.

It was hot dusty, steep and long.

Getting closer.

We were so happy to find this little bit of shade on our way up the hill.

This is Alto Del Perdon, “Mount of Forgiveness”. The climb up is an arduous one. This iconic sculpture is dedicated to all the pilgrims who walk the Camino. The long metal sculpture representing pilgrims on foot and on horse reflects the historic and eternal nature of the walk. There is a Spanish inscription on it, “donde de cruza el camino del viento con el de las estrellas” meaning “where the path of the wind crosses that of the stars.”

Going downhill was quite treacherous. It was steep and rocky. Many injuries happen on this hill. We ended the day at the next village which was so small but welcoming. They had a lovely outdoor patio. We grabbed a couple beds, did laundry and sat outside and drank beer. We were delighted to see our friend Marina from Southern England. She saw us drinking beer and couldn’t pass it up. She stayed for the night too.


DAY 5: APRIL 22, 2017


This was our first rest day and it was much needed. Yesterday’s 20 mile hike into Pamplona was a killer. I could hardly walk today. One toe was bruised and purple. It looked like it was ready to explode. The other foot had some major blister action going. We hobbled over to the Pharmacia. I showed the pharmacist my toe and he asked me the pain level from 0-10. I told him 8. He gave me a tube of “radio salil” and said to apply 3x a day and wrap it. It’s miraculous how fast my feet started feeling better. I love the Pharmacia!

Life on the Camino is not always pretty.

Next we hobbled over to the lavanderia and dropped off all of our clothes to be washed. We were actually wearing our pajamas — nike shorts & t-shirts. Next stop was the “Eat & Drink” which was international fast food. We had doner kebab which I was introduced to in Istanbul many years ago.  The meat is grilled on a vertical spit and sliced off — kind of like gyros. It was fabulous. Came with fries and a coke which they were more than happy to substitute a beer for the coke. All for about $6.

The “Eat & Drink” was right around the corner from our hotel. 

We were starting to feel human again after the feet, laundry and lunch was taken care of so we headed back for a lazy afternoon nap before hitting the town.

It was another warm day. We walked to the area where the running of the bulls take place. We happened to stop at a church on the way. To our delight, it was the church of San Fermin — the patron saint of the running of the bulls.

This is San Fermin (I like to call him San Fermentation), patron St. Of the running of the bulls.


These fences are along the street where the running of the bulls takes place.

We wandered to a bar for a beer. Minutes later there was a big hubub going on in the street. It was a loud marching band playing    what I was told was ‘typical Navarre music.’ People were dancing, cheering and having a great time and it was only about 7pm. I asked someone if it was about a soccer game. No, they were warming up for the running of the bulls which doesn’t start until July 7th.  That is a long time to warm up.


A community band playing in the old part of Pamplona where the bulls run.


This banner preceded the marching band.



Were not sure what this was but it was some kind of bacon and ham thing​​.


Zubiri to Pamplona

DAY 4: FRIDAY, APRIL 21, 2017


This was a very long day. Beautiful hiking trails and we wandered to an Abbey church and monastery from the 1300s that was being restored by a man from South Africa. He bought it from the bishop about 2-3 years ago and now lives there. He has excavated a lot of history and relics.

Remnants of an altar in the Abbey church.

The Abbey had some lovely gardens. I don’t know what type of cabbage or lettuce this is but I was intrigued by the alternating colors.

Marina from Southern England

We stopped for lunch at a delightful little pub with outdoor tables next to a stream that we had been following. Met up with a group of Irish people and our friend Marina from Southern England. It’s a party! Everyone took off their boots and packs and had a good long rest. Eventually we got moving again and hiked together for awhile.

In the middle is Ann from Derry, Northern Ireland with Marina standing behind her.

Appaloosa horses by the trail. There are a lot of horses everywhere. Many are unattended and not fenced in. They just wander.

They stopped before Pamplona and we kept going. We had a hotel reservation in Pamplona for the next two nights. We were really excited when we saw the city in the distance. Little did we know it was many miles away to reach our hotel. We walked along a river for a long way. Lots of beautiful parks and families out strolling. We were still in the suburbs. The locals would see us looking lost and would start directing us to the Camino trail. So helpful!

The Magdalena bridge leads to the city walls of Pamplona.

About 8pm we entered the city up a long stone ramp and through a medieval gate. It felt like we were entering a castle. We worked our way through the small cobblestone streets.

Entering the medieval gate to Pamplona.

There were lots of people coming out for the evening and the bars and restaurants were full.

Friday evening in the old part of Pamplona.

We found the city center which was a little more modern but didn’t know how to get to our hotel. We must have looked worn and pathetic by that point because people kept coming up to help us find out way.  My feet were killing me and I could hardly move.

The locals were very helpful and walked us to our hotel. By the end of the day my Fitbit was reading 49,937 steps. We did about 20 miles.

Roncevalle to Zubiri

Day 3: WEDNESDAY, APRIL 20, 2017


Loved the Albuergue at Roncevalle monastery. The lights went on at 6am. A man came through strumming his guitar and singing, “Morning Has Broken”. It was a sweet way to be awakened.

We walked to the nearest village. On our way we saw a bus load of Koreans who were loading their suitcases onto a tour bus. They rushed to a restaurant for breakfast which is were we wandered. Then they rushed down the Camino with their day packs on. We wondered why they were in such a big hurry.

We hiked in the foothills so there was still a lot of ups and downs. It took about 8 hours to reach Zubiri and we were totally exhausted. It was about 6pm and we didn’t have a reservation anywhere. All of the Albuergues and Pensions were full. We ended up in the Municipal Albuergue. Only 8 euros. There were several dorms. Ours was a big room with about 25 bunks. Unfortunately you had to go outside to find the restrooms and showers.

The Japanese people next to us were doing facials and wore their masks to bed.

This is the 3rd floor accommodations at the monastery — very nice. We’ve heard the other floors were not so nice and they had bunk beds. The late comers are rewarded with the best accommodations.

A nice quiet breakfast in Buergete. The bus load of Koreans just left.

They call this a tortilla. They are severed everywhere. They cost less than $4. We had a really good one today  … it was bacon, cheese and lots of garlic

Burguete boasts that it is the witch capitol of the world. Lots of enchanted forests nearby.

Another beautiful sunny day. Too sunny, were starting to get a little too much color. Using lots of sunscreen.

We ended the day at thMuni at Zubiri. Our Japanese neighbors slept with their facial masks on.