Camino: Porto to Santiago, Uncategorized

A giddy collision of excesses, Santiago is no haven for reflection — that’s what the Camino was about

 

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Of all the incredible, awe-inspiring art and architecture in Santiago, this sculpture spoke loudest to me. It is a powerful reflection of how our soggy feet felt at this moment. The translation is something like “Walk straight, walk upright,” as if we need that advice now.

A Coruña to Santiago de Compostela (7 km — felt wet and like it would take forever but, suddenly, it is over)

We have reached the end of our journey. We have arrived in Santiago de Compostela after walking more than 150 miles over 13 days through Portugal and Spain.

Words fail me.

No they don’t. Just kidding.  Continue reading

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Camino: Porto to Santiago, Uncategorized

Feeling like hell, ending up in heaven: Casa Fernanda

IMG_6044Day 3: Barcelinhos to Lugar do Coro (22 km, feels like 22 until the last 5 km …)

According to the Camino guidebook, the next destination is supposed to be Ponte de Lima, about 22 miles from Barcelhinos.

After two grueling days, my first thought was “No way in hell.”

There were plenty of smaller towns between Barcelos and Ponte de Lima.  “Less walking, more enjoying,” was to be our new mantra. Continue reading

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Camino: Porto to Santiago, Uncategorized

The Camino is never over, until it is over in your head

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It was a chilly morning in Porto when we stepped out of our flat on Rue das Flores and headed for the Rio Douro. Thirteen days later, in pouring rain, we would walk tentatively but proudly into the expansive Obradorio Square, the end-goal of thousands of Camino pilgrims each year, in Santiago de Compostela, Spain.

The batteries in my Kindle and iPhone are dead. The list of inflight movies sucks. And this is a very long flight, from Madrid to Cancun. Dinner, such as it was, if over. Blessedly. The duty-free trolly has passed by. I gave away my only two New Yorkers to friends in Porto.

The only thing left to do is write.

And the only thing to write about is the Camino walk we just finished between Porto and Santiago de Compostela in Spain. We finished several days ago but in my dreams, I am still walking. The landscapes are more surreal and with an unlikely set of companions. Most ridiculous of all, I am involved in adventures more fit for blockbuster action movies than a pilgrimage.

I can not explain my dreams.  Continue reading

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San Miguel de Allende, Uncategorized

The fairy’s teacup

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Since finding the teacup, the cobblestones have yielded other treasures — an anchor from a small fairy boat, a tiny pawn which may have been used as a coat rack, and the remnant of a fairy’s full-length mirror. They all stay in my change purse, should their owners ever wish to reclaim them.

There is an old tradition, which I am just now making up, that says when you find a fairy’s unbroken teacup on a cobblestone street, good luck will follow you around — as long as the cup remains intact. 

For you see, anything that survives unbroken on a cobblestone street must be very, very lucky, indeed.

The fairies live in the oldest trees of San Miguel de Allende. When the trees are cut down to make way for more buildings, the fairies must flee and take with them the good luck, kind feelings, and benevolent outlook which they share with the city. 

And the few possessions they can salvage ahead of the developers.

Continue reading

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San Miguel de Allende, Uncategorized

Help! I’ve fallen into reality and I can’t get up

 

 

“Have I tumbled out of reality or into it?” — Robert Cooksey, on Facebook.

Great question, Bob.

I think I know where he is coming from. My friend Bob lives here in San Miguel de Allende. Like him, I can not believe our good fortune to be living in such a place.

The flip side of that expression of gratitude is that we’ve both very happy to no longer be living in the United States. (I speak for Bob — up to a point — because he is so outspoken on Facebook about his dismay over the direction the country has taken since, oh, since November 2016 at least.)

But now I’m getting off-topic.

Well, OK, I’m going to say it: This is a magical city.

Continue reading

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San Miguel de Allende, Uncategorized

Hiking the Rio Laja to Antotonilco

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All it takes is to miss a turn and you end up on a quiet country road like this one, which leads to the long-ago abandoned hacienda Las Trancas, about midway into the first section of the trail and a fabulous spot from which to engage the river.

We did it! We found the off-road, Rio Laja trail from San Miguel de Allende to Antotonilco. Several weeks ago, when we walked to Antotonilco along the old highway it was pleasant enough but the road is narrow and pretty busy.

Here and there we’d catch glimpses of the chalky gray Rio Laja which flows south into the sprawling reservoir called La Pressa Allende. And here and there was evidence of a trail!

We’re still new at this hiking/walking thing and lacked the confidence to jump off the road and into the brush along a river we hardly knew. Who knew where we might end up? Continue reading

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San Miguel de Allende, Uncategorized

The randomness of beauty in San Miguel

IMG_4863Beside the Parroquia de San Miguel Arcangel today, a stunning Mexican senorita stood regally, poised between a mule skinner and a cowboy. Her flowing crimson gown was equally a match to her own beauty and that of the Parroquia.

Had we stepped back in time? Was there a movie being shot?

A fashion shoot, at the least. Maybe the cover of a glossy magazine extolling tourists to visit old Mexico, through magical San Miguel de Allende. Continue reading

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