Sabbatical Pilgrimage

On May 27, 2011, we will lock our front door and set off on a pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela, in northwestern Spain. We'll fly to Paris... Take a high speed train (TGV) to Bayonne, France... Change to a slower train that will take us to St. Jean Pied de Port, in the foothills of the Pyrenees -- where our walk begins. On May 29, Sunday, we will set out on foot for our 500-mile walk across Northern Spain.

The Camino de Santiago is a centuries-old pilgrimage trail. We join millions of pilgrims who have walked this path over the years.

Journey with us, as we post pictures and highlights of our adventure.

Sunday, July 17, 2011


We've been home for almost 2 weeks and are still reflecting daily on our amazing journey across northern Spain. Thank you for reading this blog and supporting us through your prayers and encouragement. Here are just a few images of the trip. 

Friday, July 1, 2011

We're here!!!

We walked into Santiago today, arriving at the cathedral, the official end of the Camino, at 12:40 pm. Yay!!!! Walking through the arch and taking those last 100 steps was deeply moving. We were on the Camino for 34 days. The last 13 days we walked every day. We are very happy to be here and will rest for a few days, making the transition from pilgrims to tourists and enjoying this beautiful city.

Reflecting over the last 5 weeks we remember beautiful and varied scenery, many old churches and other buildings and monuments, and most of all the people we have met, other pilgrims and also many Spanish people who have reached out to us with assistance and kindness. We have been changed and enriched by it all.

We are disappointed that we were not able to add photos as we went along. We'll post a few when we get back home.

Thursday, June 30, 2011

The finish line is in sight

We are in Rua, a tiny village near Arca, and just 22 kilometers from the Cathedral in Santiago. We expect to arrive in the early afternoon. It will be our 34th day on the Camino. As we washed out our clothes this afternoon we laughed about that daily ritual being one thing we well not miss about this adventure!

The number of pilgrims has increased dramatically, so that at times it feels like we are part of a crowd streaming toward a sports stadium. By afternoon the crowds had thinned out and we enjoyed walking through eucalyptus groves and through tiny farming villages. More cows, no more storks. It has been interesting to see how the types of scenery and architecture and even language have changed as we have moved across Spain.

More tomorrow...

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Getting close

We walked in cool mist most of today, about 26 kilometers from Portomarin to Palas do Rei. The path and all the daily destinations have gotten a lot more crowded since Sarria, where a lot of pilgrims begin so they can earn the Compostela by walking 100 kilometers to Santiago. After 3 days of high heat today's cool rain was welcome.

Portomarin, where we were last night, was moved to higher ground in the 1960s when a hydroelectric dam flooded the old city. They moved the centuries old church block by block and rebuilt it. The reservoir was low as we came into town and we could see ancient walls and small buildings.

Today we walked with Denise from Guadalajara, Mexico and Elizabeth from Brazil.

We're less than 50 miles from Santiago! 3 days to go ...

Sunday, June 26, 2011


Wow! So great to hear from so many who are reading this blog. We were excited to read the Pioneer Press article online and know how much St. Anne's has done. We can't wait to see the path, and are encouraged by all the support of those who are walking with us and praying for us.

We have been without Internet access for most of the past week. We moved into a much more rural area, and the last few days especially have been walking through farmland and tiny farm villages. Cow pies everywhere (watch your step!) the older buildings are all made of stone with slate roofs or thatched roofs. We climbed to O Cebreiro and the down to Triacastela yesterday, over 31 kilometers. Today was just 19K into Sarria. But it's very hot--mid 90s.

Last night we attended the Pilgrims' Mass at Santiago Church in Triacastela. About 50 pilgrims crowded into the ancient stone church, and the priest welcomed us all. Prayers and scriptures were read in many languages. At the Lord's Prayer we all prayed in our own languages. Very moving.

We are 5 day's walk from Santiago now.

Monday, June 20, 2011


Since our last update we arrived in Leon, a major city in the Castilla y Leon region. We arrived Friday to find the city very busy as a two week long music festival was under way. We had some difficulty finding lodging, especially for Saturday night. Once settled we explored this beautiful city and its enormous cathedral. So much stained glass! Saturday, we met our friend and Lydia's colleague, Janet Wheelock, arriving to begin her Camino. The days have been hot and sunny and Sunday was no exception. We had ambitious plans to walk about 26 km, but we got a late start and with the heat we were praying that we could find a place several km short of our goal even though none were listed in our guide. We experienced yet another Camino moment when we found an ad scrawled on a wall for El Molino Galochas just 2 km ahead. I called the phone number and requested a room as Janet and Lydia trudged ahead. We scored a room at a very charming casa rural with hostess Mercedes and spent a wonderful evening and breakfast with a German couple, a Frenchman, two Italians and a Danish woman. Such a wonderful mix of cultures and languages. Lydia is having opportunity to exercise her language skills in German, French and Spanish. The hot sun today was our adversary. Few stops were available and we arrived hot and tired in Astorga, an ancient Roman city known for its chocolate. About 6 km before the end of our walk we came to an oasis. A young man had set up a stand with juices, fruit, nuts all free or for a donation. It was lovely.