Two New Hampshire girls hike the 500-mile Camino de Santiago to raise money for women around the world.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Life Post-Camino (Eight Months Later...)

We've been back from Spain for eight months.  The Camino continues to influence me...I expect it always will.  Visit our main website to read about my personal Post-Camino Lows, Highs, and Changes.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

John Muir Trail 2014

Our next fundraiser will be for Feeding America.  We plan on hiking the John Muir Trail during the summer of 2014.  Join us as we plan, prepare, and then post our progress -- GIRLS ON THE WAY - JMT 2014.

You can also join us at our main site,

Ultreia, perigrinas!

Monday, May 13, 2013


Our Camino is over.  Kind of.  Though we are no longer in Spain, we walk on.  In mind, body, and spirit, we walk on.  Ultreia.

Thank you for following and supporting our journey.  Our adventures will continue in New Hampshire...and soon they'll continue in other parts of the world (stay tuned).

Please join us over at our main blog, Trish, Alex, and Sage

Buen Camino, peregrinas.

Friday, May 10, 2013

Alex and Sage's Videos, and Walkin' It Off

I recently had the pleasure of being interviewed by Walkin' It Off's Jennifer Miller.  Jenn's an adventurous and inspirational "gypsy mom" who travels the world with her four homeschooled kids.  We are honored to be included in her blog!  Read the interview here.

Alex and Sage took a ton of photos while walking the Camino.  Without any prompting or input from me, they each made video compilations of their footage.  They chose the music and made all the edits, they figured out how to work the applications, they did...well, I as said before, everything.

Here's Alex's video.  This is the first time Alex has ever put together something like this; it turned out quite well.

Here's Sage's.   Hers gives an excellent feel for the terrain we covered and all the different weather events we experienced during our Camino.

I'll be back late Tuesday evening (EST) with announcements regarding our long- and short-term hiking plans, potential future charity fundraisers, and the imminent revamping of our main blog, Trish, Alex, and Sage

Have a great weekend, everyone.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Over $10,000 Raised for Global Fund for Women and GirlVentures!


You folks are responsible for our success.  Yes, the girls and I did the hiking, but we would have done that anyway, with or without a noble cause to spur us onward.

One can't hike for charity unless people actually care about you, your trip, and/or the cause.  It's noble to put forth the effort, but if the endeavor is financially fruitless then nothing much has been accomplished.  Fundraisers depend on people actually giving funds.

That's where you came in.  In spades.  We are so, so grateful.  Thank you.  Can't say it enough.  Thank you.

We raised a total of $5009 for GirlVentures and we raised at least $5050 for Global Fund for Women.  (New Hampshire's Portsmouth Brewery will soon make a donation to Global Fund for Women; I will announce Global Fund for Women's grand total after that check has been received.)

I'd like to publicly thank the following people and organizations for their generous donations of money, time, space, and/or services.  Global Fund for Women and GirlVentures are wonderful nonprofits that champion equal and human rights for girls and women.  By donating, you supported females all over the world.  Again, with all our hearts, thank you.

Aubuchon Hardware Store (Moultonborough)
Jennifer Bauer
Jane Blanchard
Michael Boyle
Samantha Brady
Brooklyn Boulders
Mike Carrafiello
Stephanie Chan
Tim and Valerie Charboneau
Candace Cheatham
Sandy Dimick
Clay Dingman
Don Eidam
Robert and Janice Ellis
Joni Esser
Jessica Fuller
Sarah Garlick
Russell Gilbert
Caroline Griswold
Nancy Griswold
Tracy Haskell
Sandra Heaney
Henry Whipple House Bed and Breakfast
Ellen Hoffman
Pamela Ireland
Eunji Kim
Hyo Kim
Minna Kim
Richard and Susan Kipphut
Kristina Kirkham
Alejandra Krogh-Winkler
Lahouts (Lincoln)
Beth Lampron
Denise Langlois
Laure Latham
Marcy Light
Stephen Maguire
Karen Maineri
Marianne McCall
Erin McKittrick
Christian Meyer
Bridget Mooney
Mount Washington Observatory, The
Mountain Wanderer, The
Mark Newman
Leslie Nicola
Mark Nunan
Lance Pinn
Portsmouth Brewery, The
Melissa Quinn
Mike Robertson
Peter Rombult
Brian Rosenfeld
Michelle Roseto
Margaret Salt
Kelly Scott
Shaws Supermarket (Littleton)
Rick Sladewski
Steve and Carol Smith
Cynthia Spring
Sarah Stewart
Kerri Still
Styx Restaurant, The
Karine Thate
Emily Thompson
Martina Tibell
Elizabeth Trought
Mark and Natalie Truman
Mark Tuckerman
Neal Brian Uy
Gayleen Vanderkamp
Bethany Walker
Jeremy Ward
Don Whitworth
Mara Yale

And...the hundreds of people who bought raffle tickets last November and December!

This was our first time hiking for a cause -- but it will not be our last.

Coming even sooner (as in, tomorrow) -- Alex and Sage's Camino videos.


Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Gear List and Post-Camino Review

Our Gear List Page (see the above tab) now includes my Post-Camino review.  Here's the direct link.

Great news -- we have exceeded our $5000 fundraising goal for Global Fund for Women and we are extremely close to meeting our $5000 fundraising goal for GirlVentures!  Thank you all for your contributions and support!!

If you would like to help us reach our overall fundraising goal of $10,000 ($5000 for Global Fund for Women and $5000 for GirlVentures), then please donate whatever you can spare to GirlVentures in honor of Girls on the Way.  Use this link and scroll down.  We are only $131 away from reaching our goal!  (Note: there's a $1500 donation on the way to GirlVentures that has not yet been included in their online tally).

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Ten Truths of El Camino de Santiago

May 2, 2013

Now that our journey is over, I realize the enormity of El Camino. While my daughters and I were hiking across Spain, we lived in the moment, taking each kilometer as it came. Now that we have completed our 46-day pilgrimage and returned to the United States, I remember our time on the trail as one huge experience as opposed to a collection of solitary hiking days.

What El Camino is, what it means to the pilgrim who hikes it...the deep meaning and the teachings one unintentionally receives along The Way are profound for each and every person who receives that Compostela. It doesn't matter if you're male or female, Catholic or agnostic, young or old, rich or poor....a peregrina following those yellow arrows kilometer after kilometer, day after day, and region through region will find herself blessed.

I'd like to share with you ten truths the Camino revealed to me. If and when you walk the Camino, you will find your own truths -- the Camino is one is walking those steps for you, you do it on your own two feet and therefore your realizations will be specific to you and your life experiences. I'd like to share my own truths, however, in the event they might resonate with and/or be useful to others.

Ten Truths of El Camino de Santiago

1. You are stronger than you think you are.

There will be days when your feet feel like someone went at them with a hammer. There will be times when the rain pelts you for hours on end. There will be moments when your back aches and your shoulders hurt and your neck wants to fall off. During each and every one of those times, you'll go deep within yourself and you'll find the strength to keep going. Every time you tough it out makes the next difficult time that much easier.

2. There are beautiful, beautiful people in this world.

Peregrinos come from all different backgrounds, faiths, and traditions. One thing they all have in common is that they are beautiful. Each and every person on that trail is taking on something challenging, and therefore each and every person is in the spirit of being kind and helpful to everyone else. Generally speaking, you see the best parts of people on the Camino. Also, peregrinos are constantly discovering their strengths; such discoveries build confidence and banish insecurities (only people unhappy with themselves seek to cause unnecessary strife and problems for others). The Camino therefore acts as a polishing tool...those who are on it have many of their fears, prejudices, and insecurities rubbed out of them by the time they've mastered a few consecutive hard days' walks.

3. Material goods don't matter. At all.

Besides the basic necessities of adequate clothing, food, and shelter, "things" aren't important. Actually, I'll go one step further and say that the acquisition of things is detrimental to one's well-being. You don't need all the stuff you possess, and having all that stuff only leads you to believe you need even more stuff. Before you know it, you're spending money to maintain the piles of stuff you don't need, and then you're spending energy coveting the shinier stuff your neighbors own (but don't need). My advice - get rid of it. All of it. Anything you don't use on a near-daily basis can be given to the poor. The less you own, the richer you are. Money spent on cable television can be spent traveling. Money spent on gasoline can be spent on airplane tickets. Etc. Going light unburdens the body and soul.

Does this mean I'm about to sell my house and give away all my belongings? Yes and no. No, I won't sell my house, since I promised my daughters the house will be theirs after I leave this earth. The interior of my house, however, will be thoroughly weeded. There's an awful lot of clutter taking up mental and physical space, and most of it needs to go. The girls will go through their own purging process as well (it will be up to them what stays and what goes when it comes to their own belongings).

4. Only the insecure and deeply unhappy people attempt to cause trouble for others.

On the bus coming back from Fisterre, a peregrina shared her worries about how she was going to carry the beauty and truth of her Camino into her normal, everyday life. Se said she worked with people who were competitive and not-so-nice. I responded with advice I intend to follow myself. There will always be unhappy and insecure people who try to create mischief and stress. Such people spread gossip, they throw tantrums when others share positive personal news, they make negative comments in vain attempts to make themselves look clever at the expense of others, etc. Unfortunately, such people are common...but at least they are easily identifiable by their behavior. There's nothing one can do to prevent such people from wagging their tongues or flapping their fingers over their keyboards. One can, however, choose to ignore such behavior and recognize it for what it is - an indication that the person has deep-rooted insecurities and is incredibly unhappy with his/her own life.

Ignore the immaturity and take the high road. Every single time. Continue along your own path and befriend those who also follow the yellow arrows. Stick with those who are pure at heart and pity the ones who have not found the Way. The Way is simple, pure, straightforward, and not necessarily religious -- just live in the moment, do what you need to do to help yourself and others, appreciate what you already have, and remember where you want to go. Don't get derailed by unnecessary things or negative people.

5. Your body needs and deserves the utmost respect.

Before the Camino, I was reasonably fit. I hiked New Hampshire trails and mountains once or twice a week and I had a reasonably healthy diet. However, I still had a problem with eating when I wasn't hungry. If it was sweet and sitting in front of me, I'd eat it. My meals were based around the time of day instead of hunger pangs. I drank cups of coffee every morning out of habit instead of any real desire for the taste. Etc.

On the Camino, I was hungry - really hungry - almost all of the time. I rarely felt full no matter how much I consumed...but I did make an effort to eat a variety of foods and the ingredients were almost always locally grown. I lost two trouser sizes in forty-six days.

Many thru-hikers gain back the weight they lost on the Camino...they get home and continue to eat all they want. In my case, however, I suspect I will be able to keep most of that weight off. Why? I have a new respect for my body. I see it now for what it is - a complex machine that takes my spirit where it wants to go. That machine needs to be well-cared for, which means fueling it when and only when it actually needs the fuel. The fuel should be the best I can find - locally and responsibly grown and free of unnecessary chemicals. I plan on listening to my body and only fueling it when it truly needs the energy. I'll also keep up an exercise regime, though it will no longer be as intensive as walking 10-20 miles each day.

6. Women and girls need to see other women and girls walking across countries, taking on trails, etc.

Alex and Sage received countless thumbs-up, smiles, and cheers while on the Camino. The praise came from men and women, locals and peregrinos, the young and the old, Europeans and non-Europeans. Online and in person, people were extremely supportive and cheerful, and we appreciated all that good will more than I can properly express.

The biggest cheers and smiles came from women walking along the Spanish streets with their young daughters. A mother would point to us, explain to her daughter what we were doing, and then woman and child together would give us huge grins and hearty shouts of Buen Camino. Yes - that's it. That's exactly why I keep up my blog and write. We're successful every time we offer a mother or young girl even an ounce of encouragement.

7. Travel is vital for a healthy sense of perspective.

I don't mean tourist-type travel...the kind where you stay at a fancy hotel, meet and speak with only the waiters and guides, eat only at the trendy restaurants, etc. That doesn't count. You need to get into the real heart of the land and spend time speaking with the people who live there (and who are not currently employed to serve the tourists). You need to speak with people from all different countries and get their take on American culture and politics. You need to see how the families treat their spouses, children, and elders. You need appreciate their take on keeping pets, farms, and businesses. This world is shrinking; there's no longer any excuse for xenophobia or "my culture's way is THE right way" thinking. We all have to live together on this planet. Understanding and respect for differing viewpoints, traditions, and lifestyles is the only way we will all get along and, ultimately, survive.

8. Sometimes you just have to get through the day with your underwear pinned to the outside of your pack.

Sucks when your washed undies don't dry overnight.

9. You are in control of your day.

Things might happen that you don't expect or appreciate - it might rain, you might get injured, your best friend might decide to yell at you for seemingly no reason. Still, you are in control. You decide how you will react. You decide how much to care. You decide whether or not to continue as planned or take a different route. You decide how much to emotionally and physically carry, you decide how to best care for your body, and you decide where and for how long you will rest. Things around and about you are not within your control, but you are always in control of your own choices and your own attitude.

10. Ultreia.

This is a peregrina's mantra; it means Onward. Forward. Ahead. You can't go back. "Ultreia" applies to every aspect of my life. Whatever has happened in the past, it doesn't matter. I can only take action in the here-and-now and I can only look ahead to the future. Keep moving. Keep growing as a person. Keep trimming the unwanted fat (in terms of both diet and negative people) from my life. Keep doing the best I can, keep learning, keep celebrating the moment and keep cherishing my loved ones. Keep hiking, keep planning for the future, keep true to myself and my family.

Again, these are my truths. You'll discover/reinforce your own.

Thanks for your time, your well-wishes, and your kind spirits.


- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Day Forty-Six: Cee to Fisterra. April 27, 2013

Distance: 16 kilometers (10 miles) with around 150 meters (500-ish feet) of elevation gain.

We're here, at the end of the world. It's been a long and rewarding journey.

The route from Cee to Fisterra follows the curve of the land as it bends around the cape. The Atlantic is almost always in sight, though the sea remains to the south until you reach the end of Fisterra's peninsula. At that point, the sea surrounds you and there is ocean to the east, south, and west.

The Camino is not well-marked through Cee...when in doubt, follow the street signs to Corcubion.

The Way isn't well-marked in Corcubion, either. Generally speaking, if you lose the arrows while walking through a Camino town, as we did once or twice, then find the nearest ancient iglesia. The Way almost always leads a pilgrim past the town's medieval church.

We saw another horreo -- we've seen probably over a hundred of these things while walking from France through Spain.  It's used to store potatoes and other veggies - the holes provide air flow while the elevation keeps the mice away. (photo was deleted).
We left Corcubion and took a brief jaunt into some woods. 

Those fuzzy white things are sleeping lambs!

From there, we could see our first glimpse of the end of the was a jutting peninsula in the distance.

We entered the municipality of Fisterra...

entered Sardineiro...

and walked through some more woods.

The trees thin as one nears Fisterra, then coming out of the thinning trees, you can see it! The town, Langosteira beach, and the lighthouse.

We walked along Langosteira Beach, followed the boardwalk and pavement around the beach, up a short hill, and into the town of Fisterra.  We walked up another hill and found our hotel.

We checked in to our hotel, A Langosteira, and began our own personal ceremony of taking certain things out of our backpacks. All three of us wanted our packs with us when we reached the official end of our journey, but we each had our own opinion of what should and shouldn't be in our packs during our final steps. For example, though I'm glad Sage wore her Sorels when she walked through the Pyrenees, she hadn't worn them in a month and I saw no need to lug them any farther. The girls took out their sleeping bags, which they'd only used four or five times (most albergues have blankets). I removed my hat, my balaclava, and my heavy winter gloves, which I'd never used, not even when hiking through the snow or cold rain. What came with us to the end of the world were the things we had needed the most throughout our Camino.

Our packs thus lightened, we continued onward, through the town and up the paved road toward the lighthouse.  It was an easy walk, with beautiful wildflowers alongside the road.

We rounded the bend and saw the parking lot for the hotel and lighthouse. I asked the girls if they wanted to hold hands so we could symbolically and literally finish together, at the exact same time. Alex and Sage readily agreed, though at first there was some confusion since everyone wanted to hold everyone else's hand...that resulted in us trying to hike forward as a circle, which didn't work out so well. I then clasped the left hand of Alex and the right hand of Sage in front of my body so the girls' hands were touching each other as well as being enveloped in my own grasp. That did the trick. Together, we strode past the tourist booth selling shells, past the sidewalk leading to the hotel, straight on, directly to the finish line. I placed all our hands on that 0.0 kilometer mark and we finished together.

Katherine, a kind pilgrim from Armenia, took our picture...

We did it. 540 miles (870 kilometers) from Saint Jean Pied de Port, France through the entire country of Spain to Finisterre, the end of the world. Forty-one hiking days, five rest days, four small blisters, countless ancient villages, an abundance of glorious scenery and a wealth of newfound friends.

To Alex and Sage, this felt like the end of their pilgrimage. For me, it wasn't yet over. I wanted to see that sun set over the Atlantic. Nine hours to go.

Counting down the hours was easy. First, we explored the museum at the lighthouse...(photo was deleted)...and signed the guest book.

Next, we explored the rocks and enjoyed the view toward our homeland (New Hampshire's over there somewhere).

We hadn't eaten anything since we left Cee, so we clambered over the rocks toward the hotel/café (the restaurant at the end of the world) and had some sandwiches.  Once properly sated, we headed back to the town so we could receive our Santiago-to-Fisterra Compostelas at the municipal albergue.

Mar de Fora was next. We returned to our hotel, took off our packs, changed into our sandals/Crocs,and set out in search of western sands.

We found a beach, bared our feet and allowed the great waves to crash and approach. The cold salt water rushed toward us and enveloped our soles, over and over and over again. It was glorious.

Our feet thus cleansed and our spirits lightened, we watched as the sea extinguished the sun.

Our Camino is now over.

It's 8:25 Sunday morning and the girls still snooze. There's no reason to wake them; we've nothing to pack and nowhere to walk. Alex and Sage want to spend the day walking along Langosteire beach. Apart from that, we have no plans.

It's back to Santiago tomorrow, though this time it will be by bus and not on foot. All three of us are now nervous about riding in motorized vehicles. For the past forty-six days, we have walked to get to where we wanted to go. We have not been in a car, taxi, bus, train, or plane since March 12. We have not moved more than three and a half miles an hour since we left France. Riding on the bus might therefore feel frightening.

Our flight to the States leaves Santiago the day after tomorrow, April 30. Home. I'm ready to be there. There are a few personal loose ends I plan to immediately tie up. I've also got some writing to do.

Misc notes -

Alex made a habit of turning our paper tablecloths into pieces of art during every one of our pilgrim's menus, from SJPP to Fisterra...(the Blogger App deleted the photo).

From Santiago, the rays of the shells point the way to Fisterra. This is not the case from SJPP to Santiago...the rays of those Camino shells point up, down, and all around...follow the yellow arrows instead.

And now, if you'll be so kind as to indulge me in a slight rant -

A number of people have recently attempted to convert me to Christianity via written personal Facebook and email messages. Thanks, but no thanks. I've read and studied the Bible, and I spent years of my younger life reaching out to the Christian God and Jesus. All that ever came of it was a feeling of deep dissatisfaction and a sense of being conned. The best thing I ever did was come to the realization that you don't have to believe something just because someone else tells you to. And...well...isn't it a wee bit arrogant of you to think your belief system is THE right one for everybody (and not just yourself), and that anyone who doesn't share your belief system is missing a deep sense of love in their life and/or destined for hell? That's exactly the kind of insecure and illogical thinking I do not want to instill in my children. Rant over.

Thank you for following us on our journey. I'm pleased this blog was useful to pilgrims and I'm happy so many people have enjoyed my posts.

There will be three more entries to this blog, and each will be posted after we return to the States. The first will announce the total funds raised for GirlVentures and Global Fund for Women. To everyone who donated - thank you!!! To those who have not yet donated, please click on the appropriate links at the top of this blog and contribute what you can. 100 percent of your money will go directly to the female-empowering organizations (not to us), and it's all tax-deductible. The second post will be a gear review - the girls and I will go through our gear and comment on what worked and what didn't work, and why. The third post will contain two video compilations, one from Alex and one from Sage. Both girls have taken hundreds of photos and videos with their iPods, and both have compiled their own three minute videos using their own footage. They have done this on their own with zero input from me, so what you will see will be one hundred percent their creative efforts.

The girls are now awake...time for breakfast.

Signing off now from Spain - thank you once again for all your well-wishes and support! The world is full of beautiful people.


- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Friday, April 26, 2013

Day Forty-Five: Maronas to Cee. April 26, 2013

Distance: 33 kilometers (20.5 miles) with around 200 meters (650-ish feet) of elevation gain.

Morning, while the girls sleep -

Two more days of hiking. I'm ready to be done now, though for me, the Camino won't feel over 'till I've seen the sun sink into the Atlantic.

I'm going to make some changes when I get home. There is so much in our house we don't want or need - time to simplify. Also, loose ends abound - time to tie them up. The Camino has shown me exactly what I do and do not want in my life, and I plan to react accordingly once we return to New Hampshire.

Later, after having arrived in Cee -

What a perfect hiking day! Overcast skies, stiff and cold wind, very light rain - this was exactly what we needed; all three of us feel our best in such weather, it keeps us cool and motivates us to move quickly. The girls practically ran the entire 33 kilometers. We left Casa Pepa at 8:15 and arrived in Cee at 3pm...that's a pace of 3 miles an hour...Alex and Sage stayed ahead of me the whole day and at times it was difficult for me to keep up.

The scenery was GORGEOUS! The stretch between Olveiroa and Cee was one of my favorite parts of our entire Camino.


By the way, there's a nice bar/restaurant in Olveiroa called Loncho.  It has excellent prices and there's a convenience store inside...and it's attached to a nice-looking two-star Pension.

We left Olveiroa and found it hard to believe we were only 18 miles from the end of the earth!

When you get to Hospital, there is one last bar before you reach the split between Finisterre and Muxia...if you need anything before you walk another long stretch, get it here.

Once you reach the split, you'll go left for Finisterre, and right for Muxia.

After walking walking walking, you might that...ocean..?

Yes, it is!

Cee is a good-sized ocean-front town. Doesn't feel much like a pilgrim stop...more like a Spanish vacation area.

Decided I wanted to grab a hotel - guess we are now finished with the albergues on this trip, and I have both good and bad feelings about that -- so we are now happily lounging at Hotel La Marina. We have a huge, clean triple for fifty Euros. The folks at the reception area are kind and straightforward. No restaurant on the premises but there's a fantastic place to eat just across the street. Can't remember the name but the receptionist will tell you about it...literally across the street and under an overhang. That restaurant has great food, cheap prices, and fantastic service.

We are excited to be near the end of our journey. I am thankful the girls have done so well and enjoyed this trip so much. I've had the time of my life, though I think the big toe on my right foot has paid the price. Once upon a time, both my toes pointed straight, after 530 Camino miles, the big toe on my right foot points outward. Methinks I now have a bunion...hopefully, it won't require surgery.

The girls are grossed out and worried about my deformed toe, but I can't help laughing when I look at it. The thing is so silly-looking, pointing starboard. I probably won't laugh if/when medical attention is required, but for right now, I'll choose to see the humor.

We will be at the end of the earth tomorrow!!

Misc. notes - We met a friendly German man just outside of Cee today - he recognized us from this blog. I was tired and out of it and may have come across as dazed at first (I WAS dazed, actually...fatigue!). I hope you made it to Finisterre today, kind German fellow (if you are reading this). I hope I didn't come across as less than amiable when we met. I was so tired...and barely coherent...much as I am now. It was a pleasure to meet you.

The girls were so fast today! I'm thinking they both might be ready for a single-day Bonds traverse when we get home. Maybe even a Presi Traverse...we'll see.

Wow, I AM exhausted. This was our longest day yet and every part of my body is trying to shut down as I type. Have no idea whether or not I'm making sense. Must get to sleep. More tomorrow, after a good night's rest and a short day's walk to Finisterre, the end of the world.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Day Forty-Four: Negreira to Maronas/Santa Marinas. April 25, 2013.

Distance: 19 kilometers (11.8 miles) with 180(?) meters (600-ish feet) of elevation gain.

Have to say that I wasn't a big fan of Abergue Lua. Yes, the folks who run it are kind and the cost per bed is only eight Euros. However, the quiet hours are from 11pm to 9am. This presents a problem in the morning when the peregrinos who are just coming off the Camino Frances or other Santiago routes want to get up and go at 7 (which is standard for Camino albergues) and the folks who are in Spain simply to go from Santiago to Finisterre want to sleep late. We weren't told of the extended quiet hours...we found out from a sign on the wall, which we read after we had paid and settled in. Though the hospitaleros assured us we could leave at seven if we wanted, the lights in the common room were off when we tried to pack our things this morning. No one could find the switch, so the girls and I packed up in the tiny (but lit) laundry area. Awkward.

Dark common room

A Camino friend, Ildefonso, has kept in touch with us since he and his wife Rosa returned home from Burgos. Ildefonso wrote and suggested we do a short hike today and endure a long one tomorrow or Saturday, since the temperatures are supposed to decrease through the next several days. That was a smart suggestion and we're listening to his advice. (Psst...Ildefonso...don't forget about my email address - :)

To the many who wrote and suggested we stay in Santa Marina tonight - thank you. We knew there are two private albergues at the 49 km mark (to Finisterre) - the problem is, we want to get to Finisterre by Sat evening, so that means we have to do a 30 km day at some point. The albergues aren't neatly spaced out like they are on the Camino Frances, so we couldn't divy up the days into four nice 22.5 km sections. We wanted to get the big bad miles out of the way sooner rather than later...but Ildefonso has an excellent point. The temperatures are about to drop 15 degrees (F) and there might even be a bit of rain...tomorrow, or even Sat, is a much better day to take on 30 kilometers. All three of us hike our best in cooler weather.

We are therefore happily lounging at Casa Pepa in Santa Marina this evening. We have a cute, bright, and clean room with our own bathroom for forty Euros (twenty Euros a bed...the girls are sharing so I don't have to pay for a third person). The nice fellow at the adjoining bar told me we could have dinner whenever we wanted and he can be available for breakfast at 8am. Perfect.

Photos from today's hike, which took us through tiny (but not-so-ancient) towns, along country roads, and through delightfully shaded woods.

Leaving Negreira early in the morning...

Roads and towns and dirt paths...

Home-sweet-home for the evening...

Notes: We missed a turn walking through Zas, two km past Negreira. Don't know exactly where we went wrong, but we ended up walking the road instead of the Camino. Ended up in Camino Real regardless, thank goodness...a kind farmer showed us how to get back on the Camino proper.

The hand-out we were given in Galicia states there's a fountain in A Pena. We never found it...make sure your water bottles are full before leaving Negreira.

Tomorrow's destination is Cee, which, from what I read, is a town close to the ocean. Might we see the Atlantic tomorrow? That would be fantastic. We'll still have ten miles to go before Fisterre, but it would be WONDERFUL to see a coastline tomorrow evening.

Casa Pepa in Maronas/Santa Marina is wonderful. One family runs it...we just sat in the bar and watched them handle a huge rush of pilgrims...the owners were all smiles, efficient, and they served tasty food. I noticed their breakfast menu is quite reasonable - 3.50 for coffee/ColaCao, tostadas and zumo (juice). Price for their pilgrim's menu is ten Euros. Thankfully, nothing seems marked up here like it did in Negreira. So - good people, comfy accommodations, yummy and well-priced food...two thumbs up for Casa Pepa.

We can hear cows a-mooin' from our open window. I'll miss that sound.

'Til'll be a long day, so the post might come late,

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