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  1. John Crawford Howell

    How busy will it be in April 2023?

    Yes, when I went in mid-April, 2017, I booked first two nights (Orrison and Roncesvalles). Thereafter, a combination of "winging" it and calling ahead to secure a room when Pilgrim traffic (in my mind) warranted. I was going to go in 2022, but figured there would be more folks walking because it...
  2. John Crawford Howell

    Where to stay the night before Santiago....?

    I stayed at the Hotel Platas at the far end of O Pedrouzo on my penultimate evening. It was a pleasant experience. Among the pilgrims, anticipation and optimism were in the air as we felt we could crawl to Santiago from here if we needed to. Everyone seemed pretty chill. We were going to make...
  3. John Crawford Howell

    Camino awesome, Santiago not so much

    Our experiences with time, place, and circumstance are bound to be different. I loved Santiago. Part relief at accomplishing my goal, part the return of my appetite for food (seems I could not get enough Pulpo and Pimientos), and part the ability to consume more than a half Caña of beer. In...
  4. John Crawford Howell

    Camino legs

    Hi delaplana: To all the wonderful comments and advice above, I'll just add this to, hopefully, make you feel even more confident about your journey. I was 75 when I hiked the CF out of SJPdP starting on Earth Day 2017. I was suffering from food poisoning I contracted in Bayonne (my own fault)...
  5. John Crawford Howell

    Surprising background of the Alto del Perdon

    I appreciate your sentiment, Alwyn. Thank you for that. I can picture you sitting at that same table. We may yet meet at that bar/tavern/restaurant in Pictin just off to the right and slightly uphill as one gets off the ferry. Or you might come to Anacortes where we also have many ferries and...
  6. John Crawford Howell

    Camino Frances in May or June - which would you prefer?

    Jack: I'm just down the road from you in Anacortes, so we share the same climate. I started from SJPdP in late April, 2017. This turned out to be a "Goldilocks" time frame for me. I appreciate the sun if I don't have to carry a pack. Though I was comfortable overall with the weather, there were...
  7. John Crawford Howell

    LIVE from the Camino Update from the Nájera municipal albergue

    That's important. In the same way the Japanese were able to record (in written language) the "Orphan Tsunami" that originated along the Cascadia Subduction Zone off the present day coast of Washington State, but there was no written record on this side of the Pacific Ocean as the local First...
  8. John Crawford Howell

    LIVE from the Camino Update from the Nájera municipal albergue

    Hi Rebekah. Thank you very much for this information. I wanted to include in my manuscript (working title: Cuckoo Me), something about the origins of the Spanish language as I thought it might be of interest to my readers—all 3 of them. :cool:
  9. John Crawford Howell

    LIVE from the Camino Update from the Nájera municipal albergue

    Bruce, I can picture you in my mind's eye outside reading. I enjoyed Nájera and sense you are pleased to be in this historic town. Do you know if it is true that Nájera—or a place nearby—is the birthplace of the Spanish language? Salud! John
  10. John Crawford Howell

    LIVE from the Camino Update from the Nájera municipal albergue

    Thanks to you, Bruce, and by extension, to all Hospitaleros/Hospitaleras who selflessly ensure our brief stays are comfortable, clean, and safe.
  11. John Crawford Howell

    Surprising background of the Alto del Perdon

    Lo, though I want to share my experiences, I appreciate this is not the forum for talking about matters related to the Spanish Civil War. That's not a tease so much as plaintive recollection of my tangency with that period and what happened to me in 1975 in a remote corner of Cataluña. I paused...
  12. John Crawford Howell

    Don’t underestimate cold in Pyrenees

    Here, in the Cascade Mountain Range, a warm sunny day can quickly darken and bring on a deadly snow storm. The same is true in Spain. I was rucksacking in the Pyrenees (not Camino) on July 4, 1997, when it started snowing. We descended rather than push our luck.
  13. John Crawford Howell

    Refuge Orisson most unresponsive!

    My experience with Orisson mirrors your own, Domigee. I e-mailed them with my details then phoned a few days later from my home in Washington State. The person with whom I spoke was friendly, and when I arrived on April 22, 2017, I was shown to my quarters and made to feel welcome. A great first...
  14. John Crawford Howell

    Status of the Cowboy Bar

    Excellent photo of you and Julie, JillGat! And such a thoughtful gift of your artistry to your friend, Lindsay. Thank you for sharing.
  15. John Crawford Howell

    Status of the Cowboy Bar

    On May 23, 2017, curiosity brought me into the Cowboy Bar for an orange juice, banana, and bocadillo. It was around 10:00 a.m. and I was alone. The "owner" served me at the bar. I can't say he was friendly, but courteous. He thanked me when I brought my empty glass back from my table and placed...
  16. John Crawford Howell

    Places to stay in Zariquiegui

    On a cold late April morning in 2017, I stopped in "Z" town for a Café con Leche at the old restaurant adjacent to the Camino. I sat next to the crackling fireplace in the corner until I was warm enough to continue on up to the Alto del Perdón thence down and eventually to the day's destination...
  17. John Crawford Howell

    COVID Trouble contacting Orisson.

    "Patience, grasshopper, patience," advised a friend when I was initiating the reservation process with Orisson in 2017. Breathe deep. Relax. Drink wine. You will hear from them in due course. You will be confirmed. You will be happy. You will celebrate this small victory. Drink wine. Toast to...
  18. John Crawford Howell

    Suggestions for a week long stay on the CF Route

    Concrete goals like yours, urbanmamma, can focus the mind and strengthen your resolve to heal. Good fortune to you!
  19. John Crawford Howell

    Suggestions for a week long stay on the CF Route

    Divergent from the subject thread, but I'll venture out anyway to say, Happy Earth Day! It was on this date in 2017 that I exited the gates of St. Jean Pied de Port and up the Route Napoleon to Orisson and Roncesvalle. Such grand memories. Sigh.
  20. John Crawford Howell

    Suggestions for a week long stay on the CF Route

    Logroño is a beautiful city. Coursing through it is the famed Rio Ebro (think Hemingway). It's green, lively, and inviting. Easy to spend time here.
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