Vamos a Montserrat

20130921-164722.jpgOur last day in Barcelona takes us to Montserrat which is the home of an ancient monastery and holy shrine. After changing from the Metro to the train we arrive about an hour and a half later to breathtaking views..

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The monastery has a 35 minute walk around the monastery on the edge of the mountain, which we enjoy. There are also two additional trams to other locations. One above to Sant Joan which we take up to the top for more views of Spain. We find a trail back to the monastery and head back to the train for the ride back to Barcelona.

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Angelica and I have had a great time in Barcelona. A vacation I would recommend to all.

Although its been a great three weeks I am anxious to get back home to my loved ones.

I am currently in Miami waiting for my 6:05 flight to LAX. I have already talked to Gary, Anthony and my Mom. Glad to hear their voices.

See you all soon.

Scavenger Hunt – 091913

Let’s make today a relaxing day we decide.

20130919-164513.jpgThere just happens to be a Starbucks around the corner from our hotel … so we run out for some Chai and Earl Grey tea and bring it back to our room to drink it while we relax and eat some snacks we had in our room. Well Angelica ate those snacks and I saw and bought a nice croissant pastry on our way back from Starbucks.

We head out to buy some gifts for our loved ones today. Angelica has a laundry list from our friend Jodie so we start the hunt for those items at various stores. I had a list of my own which we also start to check off. It was quite fun. Relaxing afternoon not really. Did we have fun, oh yes.

Back to our room to relax before dinner.

20130919-165952.jpgOf course we always find time to appreciate the art of the City.

Beach Day in Barcelona – 091813

Today’s adventure took us to the beach, Olympic Village, Barri Gotic and back up Las Ramblas. We took the underground Metro because the clerk at the hotel said it was 15k to the beach.

20130918-211431.jpgThe metro was easy to maneuver. As you can see from the picture above it shows you exactly where the Metro is going.

20130918-212024.jpgThe weather was perfect for a day at the beach. We can now say we have been in the Mediterranean Sea.

20130918-212516.jpgAfter a nice break and a light snack we made our way to the Barri Gotic area and saw some beautiful architecture and another living statue. I just love them.

Still living with the high from the Camino and looking at our map we decided we would walk back to our hotel. Turns out it was only a mile and a half not 15 k. We stopped into the Farmers Market and picked up some candy, cheese and bacalao to bring home.

20130918-213040.jpgThe vendors at the market vacuum seal the cheese and bacalao to keep it fresh for traveling. That was a bonus.

We went to the Flamenco show tonight and it was a very nice evening with beautiful and amazing dancing and music. No picture taking allowed. You will have to taker word for it.

Barcelona – Day 3 – 091713 – Hoofin It Through the City

20130917-095133.jpgIn our room having a fresh breakfast of Mango, Strawberries, Melons, Coconut, and All Bran Cereal. No room service needed here.

20130917-201040.jpgIt takes us an hour to walk to our home for the rest of the trip. Another blessing for us today. We were originally only able to book 3 nights online. When we arrived there was an extra night available. The hotel is really nice and close to the center of town.

20130917-201303.jpgLittle did we know we would be right around the corner from all the high end shops. We thought we would wet your appetites with some photos of some of these stores. Our favorite store so far is Mango. Lots of cute vacation wear and reasonable prices.

20130917-201733.jpgSaw some more Gaudi today. Ahead of his time and ahead of mine. Not my type of art. It looks like it belongs in Alice of Wonderland.

20130917-202140.jpgAnother grand building, I prefer these beautiful buildings. I still can’t believe we are here walking the streets of Barcelona.

20130917-202355.jpgDo you think Gary would wear these shoes for men.

20130917-202536.jpgIf these little sandals would have fit me I may have bought them. Until I saw the price, 260 euros. They looked so cute on.
Enjoying this beautiful City.

Las Ramblas according to Susie and Angelica 091613

Well the day started with another walk to Las Ramblas for some breakfast, shopping, Starbucks, shopping, early dinner, Mani/Pedi’s. We left around 9 am and got back to the hotel 9 pm. We definitely made the most of our day.

20130916-222411.jpgWe also found the Mercat Boqueria(Farmers Market) where there was an abundance of fruits, vegetables, meats, cheeses,etc. I’ll be going back there for some cheese and bacalao for my Mom. This guy is making crepes to order. They looked and smelled delicious. We bought some fresh fruit for breakfast tomorrow.

20130916-222821.jpgWe also saw a cool exhibit and other places of interest. And another Gaudi Cathedral. See below.

20130916-223244.jpgThe weather was perfect today. We have been so blessed over the last 2 and a half weeks.

Barcelona-091513-Planes, trains and buses

Up at 5:15 am to the sound of the young adults making their way home. These young kids party until all hours of the morning. Angelica and I boarded a bus at 6 am to take us to the airport to board a plane at 8 am for our trip to Barcelona.

20130915-195918.jpgBarcelona has a huge airport and it was easy to find the Renfe(train) to the center of town. We found our way on foot to our hotel which was about a mile and a half away. We decided to sightsee on foot whenever possible.

20130915-200428.jpgOur hotel is right down the street from the famous unfinished La Sagrada Familia Temple by the architect Antoni Gaudi. It is an amazing sight but quite unfinished. We enjoyed a nice Italian lunch near the temple. We have had quite our fill of Spanish food and the Calzone and Caesar salad were a nice change.

20130915-201520.jpgWe spent the afternoon in another popular part of Barcelona called Las Ramblas enjoying the sights. No shopping as it is Sunday and all the high end, name brand stores are closed.

20130915-201830.jpgThey even have an Apple store.

We had a full and fruitful day and even some rain. After the last two weeks of all kinds of weather nothing can stop us from enjoying another day.

Taking a Day Off

Today I woke up with nowhere to go. We had decided to rent a car and drive to Finisterra but after a good nights rest we decided to take the day and relax.
We enjoyed a nice breakfast and then went for a walk. There was a beautiful park with a place to take photos of the Cathedral from another vantage point.

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I think it’s more dramatic from a distance. What do you think?

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We saw their version of a Farmers Market, much nicer than ours.

I found a salon to wash, dry and straighten my hair. I feel like a new person. We had lunch at a place with Thai and Lebanese food. It was a nice change from our food on the Camino. We enjoyed a game of cards.

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We were also able to experience the end of the Galacia cyclists race. It was pretty exciting.

Mark leaves tonight for Madrid and then tomorrow he is off for California. Angelica and I leave on a plane for Barcelona in the morning.

Dia Catorce – Lavacolla a Santiago de Compostela – 091313 – My Spiritual Journey – El Fin y El Futuro

I have been awake since at least 5 am. So excited about my last day on the Camino. I have made plans to meet Nilda in San Marcos for breakfast. I start at my usual 7:30 am and I get to Nilda’s Alburgue by 9 am, we have breakfast and she explains she will be walking the last 2+ miles with me. I am so excited she will walk in with me as she has walked over 120 miles before she had to rest the leg. She feels she has rested plenty and so we get started.

20130913-173337.jpgWe get to Santiago about 10ish. The last 2+ miles was pretty much city streets all the way to the Cathedral. We are here and it’s beautiful.

20130913-174541.jpgWe go to the Pilgrim’s Office with our Credencial del Peregrino and we are given our Compestela. It’s official we are now peregrino’s of the Camino.

20130913-210728.jpgI collected a total of 37 stamps along the Camino from various places – Alburgues, Cafe/Bars, Chuches, etc. The stamps are proof that you passed through all the cities along the way.

20130913-212555.jpgWe proceed to the Cathedral for the Pilgrims mass at 12 pm. There is standing room only and they are running tours through the church during mass. It was a bit distracting. The sermon was great, what I heard of it. I kept seeing squirrels. Haha. (For those of you who do not know me well, that means I kept getting distracted)

20130913-214108.jpgAfter mass we meet up with Angelica and Mark for a photo. Then it’s off to see the inside of the Cathedral …. after most of the visitors leave.

20130913-214826.jpgThe inside of the Cathedral is also amazing and very ornate.

20130913-223553.jpgSaw some cool living statues.

I have been feeling a bit strange today. I can’t really put my finger on it. It’s kind of like … It’s over. I had all this energy and adrenaline. It was bittersweet getting here.

The great news is the “Spiritual Journey” was so what I have been missing in my life.
– All the preparation before I arrived really made this trip easier than expected. The walks with my sister Patty, my friends, I even got to spend time with my sister in law Gina.
– My shoes and backpack never failed me.
– There was water when I needed it, shade and cool breezes just at the right time, enough food along the way, nice comfortable beds and warm showers.
– My roommate and cousin Nilda was encouraging and gracious even through her own adversity.
– I was able to do more with less. It was actually easy.
Most of all I really felt my trusted companion all along the way. My faith has grown more than I could have ever imagined. I let myself be open to whatever His plan was for me on this journey and I was not disappointed.

“El futuro tiene un Camino” I saw this somewhere on the Camino. It means “The future has a Camino.”

20130913-222544.jpgI also saw this in one of the Pilgrim’s offices. It means loosely translated “The end of the Camino is the beginning of a new life.” I am looking forward to going home and putting into practice everything I have gained from my experiences.

But for now …. I will be enjoying Spain as a tourist. I will continue to post pictures from the rest of my trip. I hope you will join Angelica and I.

My deepest love to all of you especially my dearest husband Gary who is holding down the home front so I could be here.

20130913-224453.jpgAnother statue from the Cathedral.

Dia Trece – Arzua a San Payo/Paio – 091213 – Trust

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Today was going to be a 16 to 17 mile day so tomorrow would be a short day to Santiago. This morning plans changed and I am willing to be flexible as I am now wanting to drag out our last two days. So 16 miles turns into 11 miles. It’s a beautiful morning before we stop for breakfast.

20130912-154459.jpgMy breakfast of choice = Colacao and a Napolitana (Hot Chocolate and Chocolate Filled Pastry). I am going to miss eating what I want. I can do that with all the miles we are walking.

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Two hours down and two to go. I am feeling great again today and keeping up with the Deaners. As we get closer to our destination O’Pedrouzo I realize if I don’t do the extra miles today I may not get to Santiago tomorrow by 12 pm for the special Pilgrims mass. There is a concern if we keep going we may not find a room. As we get closer to the end there are more Pilgrims and rooms are harder to find.

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Here is where I decide to put my trust in Him. He has been with me all the way and has provided everything I have needed so far. I leave the Deaners in O’Pedrouzo and continue walking. My pace is pretty good today and there are a few more towns along the Camino to find a place to stay. I will have to walk between 3-5 more miles. I get to the next town, take a quick break and decide I will go a bit farther. My trust is that strong and I have faith I will find a room. I reach San Payo around 2 pm about 2 hours after I left the Deaners. There is a nice hotel and a room waiting for me. Trust in Him as he will provide.

20130912-164039.jpgI saw the cutest little man today walking with his dog. He gets to walk in this beautiful forest everyday.

By the way I didn’t see too many pilgrims in those last two hours. 🙂 16 miles in 6.5 hours.

20130912-165118.jpgRuta Jacobea Hotel