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On this date in November...

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Faye Walker

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
CF 2014, CF 2018, CP 2019 from Coimbra
On the morning of the 21st of Nov. 2019, I went to obtain my compostela and distancia certificates. I had my compostela made out in memory of my childhood friend's mother. Her mother had died rather suddenly the year before, and I arrived in SdC on the anniversary. My friend had thought perhaps to walk with me around the time of her grief, but had not been able to get away from work. The compostela now lives with my friend. My distancia now occupies pride of place in a set of frames that hold my original compostela from 2014, three distancias and a padronia.

After the certificates had been secured, I went to mass in the small chapel... and then joined the lunch at the Parador. *so much rain!*.

I wandered town and found the old Irish college. I spent time wandering around the university buildings, and considered some shopping at Massimo Dutti but then did not... (We do not have that store where I live and my son really likes their scarves, gloves etc). I found some trinkets for folks at home -- a favourite student was defending her PhD that week, and so I bought her a figa pendant... wondered if I could fit rueda cups in my pack to take home (no). Found some fine leather gloves for son's girlfriend (his request)....

...and generally wandered. I had churros in a cafe beside the Last Stamp, thanked my lucky stars for my good fortune, and decided that I would not try to walk on (nor even to bus) to Fisterra. I was starting to feel a bit run-down and figured down time would be quite OK.

I would stay until the 22nd in SdC and would leave very very early in the morning on the 23rd, taking the train back down into Portugal, to a little sea-side village, Salir do Porto, where I had booked into a B&B for a "do nothing but eat, read and stroll" rest before ending my sabbatical and heading back to prep classes through December.

No photos for now because Safari crashes on my old MB-Air so I will upload photos later from iPad.
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2005-2017 Delightful 346 days in Spain and France.
Past OR future Camino
2010: into Santiago and Albergue Fogar Teodoromiro from Outeiro Vedra on the VdlP/Sanabres. 2010 was one of my long caminos. Started in Vezelay 14 September, walked to Pamplona with my brother. (Our side-trip to d'oradour-sur-glane has to be one of the most heartbreaking memorials I have ever seen--right up there with Hiroshima and Dachau.)
After Pamplona, took a train to Seville for a solo VdlP starting 25 October. By far and away my most solitary walk in Spain; maybe 6 others in the 4 weeks. Downside was that the infrastructure was nil that time of year and my Spanish was also nil!! Settling in sometimes required knocking door-to-door by the albergue to ask for a key--and food was mostly GORP. I loved Sanabria--had to stay 3 days to rest a bad Achilles, and Ourense to SdC has to be the loveliest short route. And it was nice to be so well conditioned after Vezelay-long days were not a big problem. Last time I used Alison Raju guide. Great for the time but verbal descriptions of routes and outdated albergue info added to the struggle.
And "The Way" was opening in SdC--but I declined going as was all in Spanish.

Faye Walker

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
CF 2014, CF 2018, CP 2019 from Coimbra
OK.... I am in the end of term sprint, so I’m going to bundle a set of photos from Nov 24-Dec 1 together.

Here’s the narrative.

For 30-some years I’ve managed chronic tonsillitis with occasional flare-ups. I belong to the demographic in N. America who were denied tonsillectomies and sent to antibiotic treatment for flares. 3-4 cases of strep per year in my teens and early 20’s led to an antibiotic allergy. My last round of really bad tonsillitis was in my 40’s and I had to use a really obscure antibiotic that is normally used for “exotic” skin infections.

As I was saying a few days back, I was feeling pretty run-down in Santiago, and the damp weather and mould in many of the buildings of places where I stayed caused me to have what I thought was a bad cold starting in SdC. I was *really* looking forward to warmer weather and some sun down south of Coimbra. I live in a place where it starts to snow early, and continues to snow until May so my idea of “warm weather” is pretty generous. Salir do Porto, just below Nazaré was to be my perfect holiday spot. I arrived there on the 24th after taking things really easy in SdC for a few days.

By the 27th I was in ER in the middle of the night, unable to breathe, with cellulitis in my airway, heading for sepsis. 35 KM ambulance ride to Caldas da Reinha OESTE hospital. Overnight in the ER; IV antibiotic usually used for tropical infections, constant monitoring for any allergic reaction. 28th, morning: 2 emergency surgical drainages without any anaesthesia because I am allergic to so much stuff that the ENT was afraid to administer any potentially dangerous drug to me. Over night in a hotel around the corner and another drainage in the ENT’s surgery on the 29th... cleared to fly home with medical documentation to have tonsillectomy as soon as I arrived home.

I was driven, quite generously, to the airport by my B&B hosts. Prayed my way home.

Total bill (I received the record from my insurance company about 2 weeks ago: 134 euros).

Arrived to my doctor within two hours of landing, and still have to plead for surgery. Then a resident came in, fast-tracked me through the ER on-call ENT and I was seen, put “first” in line for a “hot tonsillectomy, and was back home in bed by December 2nd.

Word to the wise: recovery at 52 from tonsillectomy is way worse than when we are kids. It was 3 months before my voice was normal again, and it was 6 months before I regained all the feeling in my face.

I give you:
Salir do Porto; the IV PORT for my metrinodazol; a shot of the ER halway and the triage room sign that still cracks me up; and recovery at home.

I will be forever grateful to the miracles of my CP 2019, to the kindness of the ER ENT in Caldas da Rainha, and my good luck.


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Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
Frances, autumn/winter; 2004, 2005-2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015
November 25, 2011

Some miracles

Even today miracles can still occur on the Camino; it all depends on one's viewpoint. Tuesday while walking along the Valcarce River towards Ruitelan a car tooted; the driver was Carlos, the hospitalero who runs the delightful Pequeno Potala refuge. "Margaret!" he said; "I heard that you were coming back."
What a happy welcome!

Each time that I have stayed at this Buddhist place has been a true pleasure. Carlos is an outstanding host and chef who puts pilgrims at ease creating a special peaceful ambiance while he serves a copious dinner. We were eighteen unexpected drop-in guests at table yet the atmosphere was most serene. He answered questions, offered advice and quieted jitters while simultaneously from a few jars, bottles, cans and boxes created a modern day miracle of the "loaves and the fishes" to feed us all.

Next day after the steep climb up the mountain to the village of O Cebreiro traces of other miracles both past and recent could be felt. Arriving at last and entering the tiny Romanesque church is always memorable. The magnificent silver chalice commemorates the famous Medival miracle of faith when a parishioner saw the transformation of wine and bread into blood and flesh. Outside in the garden more contemporary panels commemorate the visionary work of the 20th century local priest Elias Valinas Sampiedro who recreated the idea of the camino with its network of supporting albergues and even painted the now famous first yellow arrows which mark our way. ...Never underestimate the strength of personal conviction!
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Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
2004 St Jean - Santiago, 2008 &18 Seville - Finesterre, 2010 Ferrol - Lisbon, 2012 from Cartehenga.
Must be something they do in First Class!
Ha, chance would be a fine thing, since giving up my brewery job I've have had to wave good bye to business class, pilgrim tips ae cattle class.... I really miss the extra keg room... Ops leg room
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Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
Except the Francés
2019, Santiago de Compostela
2018, Nosa Señora de Monte do Faro, Camino del Invierno
2017, Trancoso Castle, Camino Torres
2016, above Á Gudiña, Camino Sanabrés
2015, nearing Aciberos, Camino Sanabrés


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