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LIVE from the Camino Phil and Janet on the Camino

J Willhaus

Veteran Member
Time of past OR future Camino
2016, 2022
Hola todos,
Phil and I leave Laramie, WY, tomorrow morning for our combined Camino-tourist-Hospitalero trip to Spain. We will fly into Madrid, then take the train to Canfranc Estacion to begin our Camino Aragones. With the fires causing evacuations on this route closer to Sanguesa, we'll see how it goes.

We do have to bus over to the CF on the 28th (Logrono) and will walk from there to Granon for the 25th anniversary celebration of the Hospital de Peregrinos San Juan Bautista on July 2. Then will decide if we are coming back to the Aragones or staying on the CF until Burgos. (We'll see what the fires are doing by then.)

We'll stop being pilgrims on July 8, do some tourist stuff, and then return to Canfranc Pueblo on July 15 so we can be hospitaleros at the albergue until the end of July. I'll start a hospitalero thread for that part of the adventure.
Janet
 
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CF; Le Puy; El Norte; Monastery Santo Toribio; Monasteries Yuso and Suso
!Buen camino! Sounds like a great trip. I’m hospitalera in Canfranc Aug 15 to 30. I also want to walk the Argones, perhaps from somewhere in France.
 

J Willhaus

Veteran Member
Time of past OR future Camino
2016, 2022
We are currently at the Denver International Airport awaiting our flight. We go first to Frankfurt and then on to Madrid. We will stay at the AC Hotel Atoche (staying on points from my Marriott/Bonvoy account) near Atoche station in Madrid and then catch a 6:30 am train to Canfranc Estacion via Zaragoza to begin our Camino. Plan to stay at the albergue and drop off our 'hospitalero" bag with our big rubber cleaning gloves and extra shirts that say American Pilgrims on the Camino for our later service.
 

donalomahony

Active Member
Time of past OR future Camino
"Camino from 2013 to 2019" paused for now...
Good luck in all your endeavours. Can you give a little more detail on the journey from

"Atoche station in Madrid and then catch a 6:30 am train to Canfranc Estacion via Zaragoza"

Thank you, no rush, when you have a moment.

Dónal
 

J Willhaus

Veteran Member
Time of past OR future Camino
2016, 2022
We catch a 6:30 am train on Friday morning at the Atocha station to Zaragoza. It is one of the AVE trains and arrives in Zaragoza at 7:52 am.

Then we transfer to a regional train that leaves Zaragoza at 8:43 and arrives at Canfranc Estacion at 12:29.

We could have made a later connection which would have arrived in Canfranc Est. Around 6 pm.

For these tickets I went through the Trainline App. It was fairly simple and I could buy the tickets and print them. I am sure I paid a bit more, but I could not get my US credit card to work with Renfe or the bus companies from the states.
 
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J Willhaus

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Time of past OR future Camino
2016, 2022
We catch a 6:30 am train on Friday morning at the Atoche station to Zaragoza. It is one of the AVE trains and arrives in Zaragoza at 7:52 am.

Then we transfer to a regional train that leaves Zaragoza at 8:43 and arrives at Canfranc Estacion at 12:29.

We could have made a later connection which would have arrived in Canfranc Est. Around 6 pm.

For these tickets I went through the Trainline App. It was fairly simple and I could buy the tickets and print them. I am sure I paid a bit more, but I could not get my US credit card to work with Renfe or the bus companies from the states.
I learned about the Trainline App here on the forum. I am also able to book and pay for advance bus tickets on it and we are taking a bus, train combo to Logrono later in the week so we can go to the party at Grañón on July 2.
 
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So happy you are finally on your way. I hope you enjoy your time as much as I did last month. I've been home for almost three weeks and I am already missing the Camino. I am looking forward to your Live from the Camino posts.

Safe travels....

Buen Camino
 
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06,CF;13,CP;17,SSal;19,Ingles
Hola todos,
Phil and I leave Laramie, WY, tomorrow morning for our combined Camino-tourist-Hospitalero trip to Spain. We will fly into Madrid, then take the train to Canfranc Estacion to begin our Camino Aragones. With the fires causing evacuations on this route closer to Sanguesa, we'll see how it goes.

We do have to bus over to the CF on the 28th (Logrono) and will walk from there to Granon for the 25th anniversary celebration of the Hospital de Peregrinos San Juan Bautista on July 2. Then will decide if we are coming back to the Aragones or staying on the CF until Burgos. (We'll see what the fires are doing by then.)

We'll stop being pilgrims on July 8, do some tourist stuff, and then return to Canfranc Pueblo on July 15 so we can be hospitaleros at the albergue until the end of July. I'll start a hospitalero thread for that part of the adventure.
Janet
Wishing you the best, as pilgrims and as hospitaleros, and I look forward to your updates.
 

J Willhaus

Veteran Member
Time of past OR future Camino
2016, 2022
Despite lots of apprehension about the state of airline flights in the news, we made it to Madrid with a minimum of fuss. We were an hour later than scheduled, but overall things went smoothly. Flight from Denver to Frankfurt were fully booked as was our Denver to Madrid flight. Employees seem stressed and passengers are impatient, but otherwise things went OK.

We took the Airport Express (yellow bus, 5 euros each) directly from the Madrid airport to Atoche Station. It took longer than 20 minutes due to Madrid rush hour traffic, but it is easy and popular. Our bus was full after a stop at T1 terminal. The bus runs regularly and you can pay with exact change or card/phone contactless.

Our hotel is about 3 blocks from the station. Although we were exhausted, I went to sleep at 8 pm and woke up at midnight so am up reading and will try to catch a few more winks before morning.

Our train leaves Atoche station at 6:30 am.
 

donalomahony

Active Member
Time of past OR future Camino
"Camino from 2013 to 2019" paused for now...
We catch a 6:30 am train on Friday morning at the Atocha station to Zaragoza. It is one of the AVE trains and arrives in Zaragoza at 7:52 am.

Then we transfer to a regional train that leaves Zaragoza at 8:43 and arrives at Canfranc Estacion at 12:29.

We could have made a later connection which would have arrived in Canfranc Est. Around 6 pm.

For these tickets I went through the Trainline App. It was fairly simple and I could buy the tickets and print them. I am sure I paid a bit more, but I could not get my US credit card to work with Renfe or the bus companies from the states.
Some friends mentioned the Carta Dorada to me



I turned 60 since the pandemic, you may be young ones!
 
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J Willhaus

Veteran Member
Time of past OR future Camino
2016, 2022
We just bought new Tarjeta Dorada cards in Zaragoza this morning. Phil had one a couple of years ago. They are 6 euros and must be purchased in person. You must be 60 or older so it is the first year I can get one. They are good for one year from date of purchase and give the holder a discount on train tickets (40% I think). We will use them enough this summer to cover the costs and Phil may be back again this fall. You can enter the card code in the App for online discounts on tickets or show them in person.
 

J Willhaus

Veteran Member
Time of past OR future Camino
2016, 2022
We took the AVE train to Zaragoza
I did not realize when I bought the tickets that I also paid for a hot breakfast! It was a welcome surprise after a short night! In Zaragoza we changed to the regional train which serves Canfranc Estacion.

A train car of high school students on some kind of class outing went with us as far as Santoniago. We arrived to find the Canfranc Estacion (the old station) still under construction. Men were actively working on the site. The worst part is you have to walk clear around and through a busy work area to get to the Camino and town.

We stopped at the first restaurant, but should have walked a few blocks further to get to what looked like better food options. The city office was closed so had to wait until the albergue for our first stamp. 20220624_124910.jpg 20220624_124930.jpg
 

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J Willhaus

Veteran Member
Time of past OR future Camino
2016, 2022
The initial path out of town is a little dangerous as you walk on the edge of the road against traffic until you pass through a tunnel where the Camino turns off to a wooded hiking path.

The path goes down steps and across the river. Many rocks, pine cones and other trip hazards so go carefully. The path itself also has loose stones and other points where you must watch your footing so we were glad to have hiking poles.

Phil is Uber slow and careful. He has fallen several times with serious injury the past 5 or six years. I didn't feel I could get too far ahead on case of a fall. The walk was only about 4.5 km but with the jet lag and extra stuff we were carrying it made the trip a challenging one. The hike is pretty and we saw a waterfall.

Reached the albergue about 3:30. There is a French couple here as volunteers right now. We will leave a separate bag here with our hospitalero cleaning stuff and shirts for our return. As mentioned by others it is a lovely new facility. Beds have separate pods with electricity. There is a closet for each pilgrim to store backpacks, etc.
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J Willhaus

Veteran Member
Time of past OR future Camino
2016, 2022
The albergue provides breakfast and has two lovely kitchens. No store in town although you can buy a few things like eggs and bread at one of the bars. There is a supermarcado in Canfranc Estacion so stock up if you want to prepare your own meal. There are two bars here now. Both have only rations and tapas. I had a beer and then ate some cheese and a trail mix bar we brought along for supper. I had a killer headache so went to bed early. I think Phil ate some fried food and came to bed later.

There will be breakfast and we are only walking to Villanua tomorrow which is a short 5 km or so. Trying to kick the jet lag and we want to see more of the area we'll be working in in late July.

The weather was cool and overcast and I was glad for a long sleeved shirt while walking today. Anyway, back to bed again to try to get a few more hours of sleep. Still a nagging headache, which makes my stomach churn a little, but I'll be alright if I can get on the right schedule soon.
 
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Flog

Active Member
Time of past OR future Camino
2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020, 2021, 2022
Enjoy your few days on the Aragoñes. If trip hazards are a concern, slow is the way! It's a spectacularly beautiful but not well surfaced route for much of it, the short walk to Villanua is a typical example.

A shame you didn't take a bus up to Somport to begin, the walk down into the valley is stunning!

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Phil W

Active Member
Time of past OR future Camino
CF 2016; Hospitalero 2017, 2018, 2019, 2021
This is Phil of the J Willhaus duo. Got to let you know of my traveling escapade while flying. I had my eye glasses perched on my head and went to sleep. I woke up and couldn't find my glasses. They had fallen off and I ended up sitting on them. They are a bit bent. So I'm now the cockeyed glasses guy!
 

J Willhaus

Veteran Member
Time of past OR future Camino
2016, 2022
The walk to Villanua was much less hazardous. The path surface was smoother with fewer large loose stones. We left the albergue at 8 am after breakfast with the hospitalero. It is his first albergue and he is eager to do this again with more pilgrims. Last night he had 7 pilgrims which is a record day for his time so far. We spoke a lot and he asked many questions as he considered us 'seasoned' after our other albergue service times.

As we were preparing to leave a family came in thinking it was a bar, followed by a 'herpatologist' who was giving a talk later in the area. After use of the bathroom and a cup of coffee all left again. I would say there is room for more services in this community! The Guardia Civil is also doing some kind of operation on the main road and are also using the bathroom facility this week. 20220625_081326.jpg 20220625_090133.jpg 20220625_100200.jpg 20220625_102634.jpg

Phil and I had a nice morning. It was perfect walking weather. We met a school group on their way up to Canfranc and beyond. We watched some painters working on one of the huge electrical line towers. Not sure how they got up there!

We stopped and peeked in the Cave of Witches just outside of town. We got our credential stamped and used the bathroom at the tourist office on the edge of town before the bridge into Villanua. It is a good stop. They are open 9:30 to 1:30 and 4 to 7 pm.
 
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J Willhaus

Veteran Member
Time of past OR future Camino
2016, 2022
Staying at the resort property Rocca Nevada tonight. It is a bit expensive, (74 euros) but is a full apartment with room for 4. Washer and dryer, dishwasher, towels, sheets, cookware, refrigerator, etc.

Amazingly after 2 cafe con leches, my headache disappeared! I have some instant coffee in my pack for tomorrow. We went to the store and had a lunch of bacon and eggs (Phil's favorite!) I got some stuff for supper and to make breakfast and our bocadillo lunch tomorrow. We got a couple of cans of beer and some wine so no need to go out to eat later. We will walk to Jaca tomorrow. It is a longer day. Gronze says 16 km and Buen Camino App says 21 km so not sure which is right. We will know when we get there. Phil's phone said we walked 4 miles today and it was only supposed to be 4.8 km per Gronze.

It is supposed to rain so we'll see how the @davebugg recommended Frog Togg ponchos hold up.
 

J Willhaus

Veteran Member
Time of past OR future Camino
2016, 2022
All the laundry done and hanging on the patio to dry. A few tense moments in the saga of Janet vs the Spanish washing machine this afternoon. We had two small loads. I put the first on some kind of long cycle by mistake and could not get the washer open so washed them twice more on the 30 minute cycle. We'll have the cleanest clothes ever! Finally figured out the Trick to open the machine was to press the key button while simultaneously pushing in on the door. Not intuitive for me.

Some of you may remember a 2019 incident we had at Estella in the albergue when the latch to the washing machine door broke and I had to get a Toutube video lesson on opening it with big wire loop. The latch took more than a week to replace so we had a lot of dirty albergue cleaning rags to wash when it was finally fixed.
 
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Buen camino, you two!
And may you have a happy time as hospis later.
Are you going up to San Juan de la Peña?
 
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CF; Le Puy; El Norte; Monastery Santo Toribio; Monasteries Yuso and Suso
Hola todos,
Phil and I leave Laramie, WY, tomorrow morning for our combined Camino-tourist-Hospitalero trip to Spain. We will fly into Madrid, then take the train to Canfranc Estacion to begin our Camino Aragones. With the fires causing evacuations on this route closer to Sanguesa, we'll see how it goes.

We do have to bus over to the CF on the 28th (Logrono) and will walk from there to Granon for the 25th anniversary celebration of the Hospital de Peregrinos San Juan Bautista on July 2. Then will decide if we are coming back to the Aragones or staying on the CF until Burgos. (We'll see what the fires are doing by then.)

We'll stop being pilgrims on July 8, do some tourist stuff, and then return to Canfranc Pueblo on July 15 so we can be hospitaleros at the albergue until the end of July. I'll start a hospitalero thread for that part of the adventure.
Janet
Hi Janet and Phil, I'm coming to Spain on TAP Portuguese airline, via Lisbon from San Francisco. Its the cheapest I could find for direct. I'll do a two day lay over in Lisbon to get over jet lag. Its offered as a perk. ( I mean the lay over, not the jet lag.) Then I'll train from Madrid to Zaragoza for an over night to be a tourist, get a credencial, walking poles and an Altus rain poncho. Next day I'll go to Somport to walk down to Canfranc to be the hospitalera August 15 to 31.

Thanks for posting your adventures and experiences.

Phil, as a glasses wearer myself I'm glad your glasses are ok, (more or less).
 

peregrina2000

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Staff member
I put the first on some kind of long cycle by mistake and could not get the washer open so washed them twice more on the 30 minute cycle.
I am so glad there are other competent people from the US who can’t figure out Spanish washing machines. My most embarrassing moment was in the albergue in Potes when I wound up somehow getting it open and then flooding the albergue with soapy water. Luckily, the only other peregrino there, a Spanish man, was very understanding, though somewhat infuriatingly condescending. But he did help clean it up!

Sounds like you are off to a great start, enjoying your posts! Buen camino, Laurie
 
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J Willhaus

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Time of past OR future Camino
2016, 2022
Hi Janet and Phil, I'm coming to Spain on TAP Portuguese airline, via Lisbon from San Francisco. Its the cheapest I could find for direct. I'll do a two day lay over in Lisbon to get over jet lag. Its offered as a perk. ( I mean the lay over, not the jet lag.) Then I'll train from Madrid to Zaragoza for an over night to be a tourist, get a credencial, walking poles and an Altus rain poncho. Next day I'll go to Somport to walk down to Canfranc to be the hospitalera August 15 to 31.

Thanks for posting your adventures and experiences.

Phil, as a glasses wearer myself I'm glad your glasses are ok, (more or less).
@konnie, You will have to take a taxi to Somport. The train does not go that far although there may be a bus. I can let you know more when we go back in late July.
 

J Willhaus

Veteran Member
Time of past OR future Camino
2016, 2022
I am so glad there are other competent people from the US who can’t figure out Spanish washing machines. My most embarrassing moment was in the albergue in Potes when I wound up somehow getting it open and then flooding the albergue with soapy water. Luckily, the only other peregrino there, a Spanish man, was very understanding, though somewhat infuriatingly condescending. But he did help clean it up!

Sounds like you are off to a great start, enjoying your posts! Buen camino, Laurie
I should have let Phil do the washing machine. He always does the laundry at the albergue and when we are Spain. Heck, he does it at home. I don't know what possessed me to presume I could understand the hieroglyphics on the front. The first thing he asked me was "Did you put it on the regular super long cycle or the short one?" Then I could not bear to admit he might be able to fix it so I was looking at YouTube videos again and trying to find the lady at the checkin desk to help me. She was not available and it was only by chance that I happened upon the open sesame combination. By then on course I could not pretend to Phil that I knew was I was doing all along... he let me do the second load under gentle supervision and it only took 30 minutes and not 3 hours.
 
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peregrina2000

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Thanks, maybe I'll just go to Canfranc Estacion.
I remembered from years ago when I walked the Catalán and Aragonés, that the Eroski site had good info on buses from Jaca to Somport. Lo and behold, it is still there. There are five daily buses up to Somport every day from Jaca, and they all stop at the train station. So if the timing is right, you could just hop on the bus up to the pass and walk back down. It’s a really pretty walk, and it was still totally snow covered in June, though that might not be the case anymore.
 

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Flog

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2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020, 2021, 2022
Thanks, maybe I'll just go to Canfranc Estacion

If you take the early morning train from Zaragoza, it will get you to Estacion for about 12:30. You have a choice of grabbing a taxi up to Somport, or waiting 2 hours for the next bus up, or you can walk up (which also takes about 2 hours and it's what I did first time). It's a beautiful walk back down.
 
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J Willhaus

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Time of past OR future Camino
2016, 2022
I don't know if the bus goes right to the train station. I will scope it out later this month or early July. There is a lot of construction right now around the station and access on foot or by vehicle is limited . You may have to walk around and into town to catch a bus.
 

OzAnnie

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Time of past OR future Camino
2020
I remembered from years ago when I walked the Catalán and Aragonés, that the Eroski site had good info on buses from Jaca to Somport. Lo and behold, it is still there. There are five daily buses up to Somport every day from Jaca, and they all stop at the train station. So if the timing is right, you could just hop on the bus up to the pass and walk back down. It’s a really pretty walk, and it was still totally snow covered in June, though that might not be the case anymore.
@peregrina2000 you are such a font of knowledge ! Your seemingly instant recall amazes me (no matter which route or corner of the camino). 🙏😘

I am so glad there are other competent people from the US who can’t figure out Spanish washing machines. My most embarrassing moment was in the albergue in Potes when I wound up somehow getting it open and then flooding the albergue with soapy water
Great to hear that I’m not the only one too !! The apartment I had for 3 nights in muxia recently in late May had a washing machine (I’ve vowed never to use one again if it doesn’t have instructions ).
The cycle had finished and I waited 20 minutes and opened the door to ‘whoosh’ of water. I quickly closed the door but my socks were wet . There was a mop there. I selected another cycle and ran it again but this all took a looong time. The apartment had a contact number for everything - I called them and they sent someone out but I’d sorted by then. They told me on their app that they would include an instruction sheet in future but no one had actually used it before. I was the first.
 

Flog

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Time of past OR future Camino
2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020, 2021, 2022
I'm thinking of walking the Arles from Oloron-Sainte-Marie to continue onto the Aragón.
That's my plan too, to walk a few days from Oloron into Canfranc Pueblo in mid October for my second stint there.
If you do need the bus, it's on the main street and the stop is right at the entrance to the station..
 
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J Willhaus

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Time of past OR future Camino
2016, 2022
Question: those of you who have visited the monasteries at San Juan de Pena-- how long did it take you? We want to hire a taxi to take us up and wait and then take us to our hotel at Santa Cruz de los Sereos. We want to check into the hotel at 3 pm. How long do you think I should allow for?
 

Flog

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Ideally about 90 minutes at the 'new' monastery and interpretive centre and a half hour for the old one would be enough, to get some photos and stuff.. Depending on your level of interest, of course. I would allow 2 hrs or so.
 

J Willhaus

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Time of past OR future Camino
2016, 2022
Ideally about 90 minutes at the 'new' monastery and interpretive centre and a half hour for the old one would be enough, to get some photos and stuff.. Depending on your level of interest, of course. I would allow 2 hrs or so.
Thanks, that is a big help.
 

mspath

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Time of past OR future Camino
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Question: those of you who have visited the monasteries at San Juan de Pena-- how long did it take you? We want to hire a taxi to take us up and wait and then take us to our hotel at Santa Cruz de los Sereos. We want to check into the hotel at 3 pm. How long do you think I should allow for?
The site is unforgettable. I have not walked there, but driving up the mountain road was steep!

As an architectural historian it was my professional privilege/ personal pleasure to visit many special places in this world, but the old monastery of San Juan de la Pena belongs in that unique category of sublime timeless perfection....Please do not rush.
 

J Willhaus

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Time of past OR future Camino
2016, 2022
Still working on the sleep thing...Phil was up today by 4:30 am and we had set an alarm for 5:30. It was raining when we woke up, but stopped before we set out at 6:30.

The first 3km are flat and follow along the highway. I saw a fox hunting in one of the hay fields in this stretch. The Camino crosses the highway and then takes an up and down approach into Castillo de Jaca. Straight down hill in C de J to the river.

Not a thing was open. The bars and restaurants had signs that they were closed for vacation this week. We sat by the river and ate some bocadillos that I made with ham, cheese, butter and bread from the Panaderia. The next 7 to 8 km into Jaca is next to the river and pretty flat until you get just outside Jaca. The path is relative hazard free.

It was a great day to walk. It was cool and no rain. Saw lots of birds and a rabbit today. Lots of people hiking and biking today. We saw no other pilgrims.
 
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J Willhaus

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Time of past OR future Camino
2016, 2022
It was a difficult day for Phil. I have mentioned elsewhere that he is a slow walker, but today he had a lot of unspecified aches and pains. I found myself waiting for him more often and trying to cheer him on.

At one point we got to Hotel Charle a bit more than 3/4 to Jaca and had hoped the bar would be open. It was not, but the sign said "Amigos de Camino". I went into the hotel side to ask if we might use the restroom and was told the bathrooms were closed!!! They are not MY amigos!

Once we got to Jaca there was a huge fiesta going on with kids screaming as the 'giants' chased them. They were not the real giants from the parade, but people dressed up in costumes with heads like the devil or the Guardia Civil teasing and chasing kids. I nearly lost Phil in the shuffle.

Found our hotel (Hotel Jaques) and I had 2 Cafe con leches while Phil had a beer and we waited on our room. Resting now and will go out to walk around this evening. It is Sunday so we may be eating bocadillos again for supper if nothing is open.
 
Time of past OR future Camino
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It was a difficult day for Phil. I have mentioned elsewhere that he is a slow walker, but today he had a lot of unspecified aches and pains. I found myself waiting for him more often and trying to cheer him on.

At one point we got to Hotel Charle a bit more than 3/4 to Jaca and had hoped the bar would be open. It was not, but the sign said "Amigos de Camino". I went into the hotel side to ask if we might use the restroom and was told the bathrooms were closed!!! They are not MY amigos!

Once we got to Jaca there was a huge fiesta going on with kids screaming as the 'giants' chased them. They were not the real giants from the parade, but people dressed up in costumes with heads like the devil or the Guardia Civil teasing and chasing kids. I nearly lost Phil in the shuffle.

Found our hotel (Hotel Jaques) and I had 2 Cafe con leches while Phil had a beer and we waited on our room. Resting now and will go out to walk around this evening. It is Sunday so we may be eating bocadillos again for supper if nothing is open.
Sorry it has not been a good day for Phil. By now you will be settled in your room. Best to have upsets over and done now - I once sat on my lovely prescription specs, and thought they had been left on the ground by someone else... and picked them up to place on a wall! Later, a kind optician in Pamplona agreed to re-twist them into shape, on the understanding it was my risk!
 

J Willhaus

Veteran Member
Time of past OR future Camino
2016, 2022
Last night we went for a walk, took some photos of the fortress, had a drink and a piece of tortilla, and were asleep by 6:30 pm. I slept 12 hours and Phil slightly longer. We felt extremely refreshed and had a breakfast at the Hotel Jacque's where we stayed.

We went to the tourist office and got information on the area and the Monesterios San Juan de la Pena. We tried to get money from the cash machine, but were denied. Phil called the US and they said it was just this machine and to try another bank. I did with the same result so we will call again tomorrow.

At 11 am the lady at the tourist office called us a cab. It was 32 euros to ride up to the monasteries with Luis. 629 688 466. With fuel rising it may be more in the future.

We got the pilgrim discount for the entry fee by showing our credentials and got stamped. I enjoyed both monasteries. The new one gave more idea of what monastery life might be like, but the old one is far more interesting from an age and building perspective. I will let Phil weigh in here.

The hotel/hospederia is closed there because they cant get enough help. Luis said that was a pre-pandemic issue
 
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Phil W

Active Member
Time of past OR future Camino
CF 2016; Hospitalero 2017, 2018, 2019, 2021
We visited both the old and new monastery. I liked them both although the new one is really quite new compared to the old one. Ancient history was evident in the old one. The mozaraby gates, old places of worship built in the 900's. I can imagine how difficult life was then. I whine going downhill on steep rocky slopes. They had to carry everything up and down the mountain.

A word of advice. Take a cab up and down if possible. If walking, choose the road over the path, it safer!
 

J Willhaus

Veteran Member
Time of past OR future Camino
2016, 2022
Ok, the Camino parts...
We walked down from the new to the old monastery on the path. The woman at the ticket office said to take the road, but we did not listen and slid and stumbled our way down the shortcut.

Feeling quite proud of ourselves, we also decided to take the 4 km Camino route down to Santa Cruz de los Seros instead of the longer road route. What dummies we were! Glad we did it once, but would not recommend it to anyone else. It took us 3 hours.

The first stretch from the old monastery is relatively flat and you are confidently thinking you have it mastered. Then a stretch of switchbacks takes you up before beginning the neverending rocky down part! There are rocks of all shapes and sizes and very steep going down even until the very last steps into town.

I was thinking like a Zubiri, Alto de Perdon, and down from Cruz de Fero to Ponferada combined with harrowing dropoffs. At one point there is a cable attached to the cliff face for you to clutch as you slide across the fist sized rocks for about 100 feet or so. My phone said I walked 7 miles today so I feel certain this path is longer than 4 km and we would have walked the road in half the time.

Still Phil had a better day and we are both now in our luxury room at Mirador de los Pyrenees. We are cleaned up and ready for an adult beverage and light supper.
 
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peregrina2000

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Unfortunately, you can now join the chorus when people ask about steep descents. I think that descent from San Juan to Santa Cruz de los Serós is one of the two or three most difficult I have done on a camino, and my knees were not the same for the rest of my camino.

But the luxury of the hotel there is a definite plus! I have never stayed there but it did look very inviting. And you can visit two more ancient churches in your relaxation time, too!

So glad that Phil is doing better and that you both were able to get such great long sleeps. Buen camino!
 

J Willhaus

Veteran Member
Time of past OR future Camino
2016, 2022
Unfortunately, you can now join the chorus when people ask about steep descents. I think that descent from San Juan to Santa Cruz de los Serós is one of the two or three most difficult I have done on a camino, and my knees were not the same for the rest of my camino.

But the luxury of the hotel there is a definite plus! I have never stayed there but it did look very inviting. And you can visit two more ancient churches in your relaxation time, too!

So glad that Phil is doing better and that you both were able to get such great long sleeps. Buen camino!
Even our young host who is fit, has done two Caminos and teaches skiing round the world in the winter said this downhill stretch is the roughest and that he would not want to do it ever again. I can't imagine what it would have been like if it was wet or a very hot day. DON'T DO IT, PEOPLE!!!

As for the hotel it is lovely. The host and hostess, Alberto and Angela, are two young people who work hard in the summer so they can travel in the winter. They prepared us a salad and cheese/meat tray this evening even though I had not asked in advance. In the morning, either Alberto or the community taxi driver will take us to Jaca at 9 am. To catch our bus/train combo for Logono.

Tomorrow we begin our transition to walk the CF for 3 days so we can get to the party at Grañón on July 2. Then we'll come back to Jaca and walk further on this route.
 

J Willhaus

Veteran Member
Time of past OR future Camino
2016, 2022
Even our young host who is fit, has done two Caminos and teaches skiing round the world in the winter said this downhill stretch is the roughest and that he would not want to do it ever again. I can't imagine what it would have been like if it was wet or a very hot day. DON'T DO IT, PEOPLE!!!

As for the hotel it is lovely. The host and hostess, Alberto and Angela, are two young people who work hard in the summer so they can travel in the winter. They prepared us a salad and cheese/meat tray this evening even though I had not asked in advance. In the morning, either Alberto or the community taxi driver will take us to Jaca at 9 am. To catch our bus/train combo for Logono.

Tomorrow we begin our transition to walk the CF for 3 days so we can get to the party at Grañón on July 2. Then we'll come back to Jaca and walk further on this route.
Waiting for a ride into Jaca to catch our bus. We counted up and between us have not quite 200 euros cash. Phil will continue to work on the bank problem today. We are here in Spain for more than another month and 200 euros won't last so it is good we encountered this issue before we are down to zero.

I am amazed though by the increase in places that accept cards. This may be a sign of the pandemic moving us to contactless or a sign that it is really a high tourist area. We've seen a few British tourists and yesterday I heard the distinct accent of an American couple. Mostly a Spanish tourism area and very beautiful.
 

J Willhaus

Veteran Member
Time of past OR future Camino
2016, 2022
Hi everyone,
We are going over to the CF for a few days to attend a special celebration of the 25th anniversary of the parochial albergue at Grañón. We'll be back
On the Aragones July 4. You can follow us here on the CF.
Thread 'Phil and Janet brief diversion to CF to attend a party' https://www.caminodesantiago.me/com...rief-diversion-to-cf-to-attend-a-party.75708/

We got a ride into Jaca from Alberto. We had coffee and Phil spent 30 minutes on the phone with our US Bank. I tried yet again to get cash from the ATM in Jaca (a third different bank). Our bank said to try again in Logrono and don't use the contactless feature. We were finally successful (spoiler).

I was able to buy return tickets at both Jaca and Zaragoza stations so we are set to be back on the Aragones the morning of July 4. See you then or follow us live on the Camino Frances thread in the meantime. FYI, no bathroom at The Jaca bus station and it is NOT colocated with the bus station.
 

RJM

Veteran Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Camino's Frances, Fisterre, Portuges. Over 180 day
I enjoy reading the various hospitalero diaries on this forum, especially when there's the occasional encounter with a flaky pilgrim. :D
 
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WalkerForever

Member
Time of past OR future Camino
2021
Just for anyone wondering, I checked the prices of trains on RENFE and TheTraineLine App and they were almost identical!
 

J Willhaus

Veteran Member
Time of past OR future Camino
2016, 2022
Yes, unfortunately I could not get Trainline to work while in Spain on my last attempt. I did love it at home, and not sure what is different now. In any case, I can usually check availability, but have had to buy tickets in person this week.
 
Time of past OR future Camino
Frances (2013), Primitivo (2015), Muxia/Fisterra (2015), Haervejen (2017)
I have just been catching up with your posts. Fun! And OMG can I relate to the problems of steep down hill slopes! Especially on loose, rocky surfaces! Here's hoping you avoid them from here on!
 

J Willhaus

Veteran Member
Time of past OR future Camino
2016, 2022
The bus left Zaragoza on time and got into Jaca early. We could have probably taken the only bus of the day to Puente la Reina de Jaca of I had known. We needed coffee and to go to the grocery store so opted for a taxi instead.

It was 25 euros for a cab to Puente la Reina de Jaca. We had another coffee and used the bathrooms at popular bar just across the river from the Camino.We walked to Arres with Phil carrying his pack.

Note, we did not take the path (see photo below) but went the paved bike route which was longer and at the end very steep. We were the first pilgrims here at about 1:30, but there are 11 here tonight already. If you walk, the trail/path is an easier climb and also a little shorter. Phil is napping. I am trying to arrange his pack transfer tomorrow and he will try to walk to Artiede with me. He also picked up a sugar packet in Puente la Reina that has a taxi number as a backup.

This is a cute, but cramped albergue in a super scenic spot. The schedule is to see the church at 7 pm, eat at 8 pm,maybe watch the sunset and then sleep with an early wake-up tomorrow for the 18 km walk. This is a donativo staffed by hosvol volunteers our hospis are Spanish. Supper and breakfast are provided for all.

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J Willhaus

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Time of past OR future Camino
2016, 2022
Some notes about the walk first. It is a steep down from Arres over a rocky path. The first section after was mostly flat and straight until about 5 miles out from Artieda. The only fountain we saw was at a resting area just past large casa rural about 5 or 6 km into the hike. It was not working.

Lots of farmland and not much shade. Towards the second half of the walk, several arroyo/creek crossings with steep in and out. About 5 km from Artieda there is a Fuente of untreated water. We did dip our hats here.

You go through none of the villages and they are far off the Camino. After the long walk the town is on a steep hill.

The albergue is kind of a cool hippy place using young people as volunteers. They also have camping. We have a 4 bunk room that I reserved a day or two ago. You need to reserve supper.

So far we are the only pilgrims. Everyone else went on to Ruesta. I will make a separate post about our personal experience.
 
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J Willhaus

Veteran Member
Time of past OR future Camino
2016, 2022
I tried to ship Phil's bag with Correos. They do ship on this Camino, but the route is not in the portal. You must email. I started working on this 2 days before. Multiiple unhelpful emails and 6 phone calls later right at supperlast night, I got a link to pay. My phone showed an error message on the payment and since it was after Correos working hours, I asked Jose, one of the hospitaleros to help me get a taxi transfer to Artieda for the bag (35 euros). I sent an email canceling the bag request. This afternoon Phil said the credit card did go through, but we did not get a confirmation from Correos with a shipping number or label.. Correos sent me a note that they won't refund my money... I won't be recommending them for this route except with caution to pilgrims. It may work fine if you have an account. One of the Spanish pilgrims told it took him a weekk of back and forth to get his bag shipped on this route.

It took us 8 hours to walk 18 kms even without a pack for Phil. This is a Camino for fit people, not two hospitaleros on an advance party fact finding mission or recon as Phil and I would have called it in the Army.

About 2 km out of Artieda per my phone, I started to feel a heat injury coming on. i am prone to them. We were nearly out of water. I dropped my pack and took off my overshirt and hat and laid down In the weeds in a tiny bit of shade. Phil sat by me and was ready to call 112. I rested a bit and then tried to call Taxi Artieda who carried the pack forward. She was an hour away in Pamplona. I called the albergue and they gave me the same taxi number which I called again.

My addled brain finally realized she was an hour away. I tried to stand up and had to lay back down. I rested an unknown amount of time, felt a little better so picked up the pack and resumed.

I just stumbled my way to the foot of the hill of the town. There was a cemetery next to the road, but no water there so I curled up between the cemetery wall and the road in a tiny bit of shade with all manner of weeds and stickers. I drank the final swallow of water and when Phil caught up, I checked my phone to see that it had been an hour since I called the Taxi. I called again and She answered that she was back in Artieda. I told here where we were and she came immediately. It was the best 3 euros we have spent on the Camino to ride up the hill.

At the albergue they took us straight to out room to rest and let us check in later. Phil's bag was here. Yay! We each drank a big bottle of water.

Tomorrow's plan was to walk to Ruesta and ship Phil's bag. We are re-evaluating. It is 10 km and supposed to be cooler.
Plan A: walk as planned shipping Phil's pack.
PlanB: Phil and the bags go ina Taxi to Ruesta and I walk alone .
Plan C: Scrap A & B. Take a cab to Javier and stay two nights before we head to San Sebastion on the 8th (tickets already bought for bus from Javier).

Phil is voting for C. I am a nurse and know what a heat injury feels like, I do I think I can walk faster and earlier for 10 km
If it is a cooler day so I am leaning towards an B. We'll talk more about it after the laundry is done and over supper.
 
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Flog

Active Member
Time of past OR future Camino
2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020, 2021, 2022
Given the day you've both had, perhaps you should take the last option. The rest of the way, from Artieda to Ruesta, though short, is a lonely stretch with little shade until you reach the bit of woodland and the maze of arrows a couple of km before Ruesta.

I was tempted to stay at Artieda last year, nice friendly albergue, but it was a little early in the day. I did have a lovely lunch there though..
 
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Time of past OR future Camino
cycled from Pamplona Sep 2015;Frances, walked from St Jean May/June 2017. Plans to walk Porto 2020
An injury or illness in a foreign country can be daunting, even if you can speak the language. So with my own experiences in mind I too vote whole heartedly for C. Buen Camino!
 
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J Willhaus

Veteran Member
Time of past OR future Camino
2016, 2022
Ok, we made the decision to go to Leyre by cab later today and stay at the Hospedaria in the monastery July 6, then to Javier for July 7. I will report from those locations since they are locations on variants of this Camino.

Phil told me at supper that if I was determined to walk to Ruesta that he planned to walk with me to make sure I didn't die. That will double the time needed to walk due to his pace. Also the albergue helpers say there is no store either here in Artieda or in Ruesta so our food supply of a couple of Baby Bell cheeses, a bag of olives, half a bag of frito bar mix, and our remaining two nutra grain bars would have to do although they do have a community dinner at Ruesta.

The albergue here at Artieda charged us 53 Euros for a private room with shared bath, dinner, breakfast, use of the washer and dryer, 4 agua con gas, and two gin tonics. I think that is pretty reasonable.. the supper was good (3 courses), and they have vegetarian and vegan options. Check out is at 10 an so we can walk around town a bit this morning now that I am not so wobbly.

Thanks all for weighing in on our options. I am awake early treating some fly bites around my ankle. The benadryl cream I put on before bedtime has worn off. Hope to sleep a little more now before dawn.

One more bit of news, our friend Marina from Grañón checked in on us today. Apparently there were some Covid cases after the party last week on Saturday. Glad we did not stay at the albergue and other than being in the church for the movie and mass we were outside. We are feeling well at this point. I have test kits with me if this changes.
 
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J Willhaus

Veteran Member
Time of past OR future Camino
2016, 2022
The hospideria at Leyre is wonderful. We have invested quite a lot of cash now with the driver at Taxi Artiede. She transported Phil's bag from Arres, saved us the walk up the hill at Artiede, and today drove us to Leyre. She has a 9 person cab and is a very smooth and careful driver. Her English is very good and she told me we should just speak in English. Her number is +34 649 81 35 52.

She pointed out several features on the trip. The highway is not completed part of the journey, because it is more expensive to make the tunnels and bridges needed for that stretch so we took the old road for about half of the drive.

She pointed out Ruesta which she described as a castle ruin with only a nice albergue. She said it looks good from here, but is not in good shape up close.

She also pointed out the fire locations from a few weeks ago. One was started accidently by a pilgrim on this variant and the other started by a storm. The Leyre monks had to be evacuated due to the fire and it was on steep cliffs so difficult to fight on the ground.

The monastery is off limits as that is where the monks live, but we toured the crypt and the church and will attend vespers at 7 pm. There is no pilgrim discount, but they have a stamp (and a different one at the hospederia so get both if you can). You get a key (5 euro deposit) and use that to enter the areas that can be visited. The admission is 4 euros each.

There is a nice bar. Bathrooms are excellent with soap AND paper towels in the bar and restaurant. Great views all around. Phil and I had menu del dia for lunch in the restaurant. He had lamb and I had rabbit. I also had migas which I had heard about, but not tried before.

It has rained all day, pouring at times, so probably a blessing in more ways than one that we are not walking. The rooms are spacious and ours looks out onto the courtyard of the church which was first noted in written correspondence in the early 800's. 20220706_134257.jpg 20220706_134247.jpg 20220706_132213.jpg 20220706_110036.jpg
 
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peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
but we toured the crypt and the church and will attend vespers at 7 pm.
I loved the crypt, but the vespers in the church was an experience I cannot describe. My vivid memory (and this is from 1994 by the way!) is sitting in the church, with its central arch flanked by two smaller arches, which were not symmetrical, but each one shaped slightly differently. It just hit me that here I was sitting in a place where people built such a beautiful building at a time when they didn’t have the equipment to build perfectly equal arches, but perservered and created an amazing place of beauty and calm.

I think you made a great decision to visit the monastery! And I too am glad you took Option C!
 

J Willhaus

Veteran Member
Time of past OR future Camino
2016, 2022
I loved the crypt, but the vespers in the church was an experience I cannot describe. My vivid memory (and this is from 1994 by the way!) is sitting in the church, with its central arch flanked by two smaller arches, which were not symmetrical, but each one shaped slightly differently. It just hit me that here I was sitting in a place where people built such a beautiful building at a time when they didn’t have the equipment to build perfectly equal arches, but perservered and created an amazing place of beauty and calm.

I think you made a great decision to visit the monastery! And I too am glad you took Option C!
Attended vespers and took a photo of what @peregrina2000 was talking about. The church has had many revisions. This was a pretty thriving monastery until a law in 1836 did away with monastic life. In 1954, the community of Benedictine monks arrived from Santo Domingo de Silos. For sale here at the monastery is a special liquor and goat cheese as well as other specialties of the region. They are building a new visitors center so money is being invested.

Good news, our trusty cab driver, Elena, will be back tomorrow to take us to Javier. The desk clerk spoke to her on my phone and asked if she could take down the number for hotel use! I gave her a recommendation as a safe driver with a big taxi.

Vespers was nice. The monks sang with the organ most of it and finished a capella. There were some younger monks and we think some men in the front row of the church who might be "trying it out". I am not catholic and other than a few words, I understood little of the service, but I enjoyed the music.

Attaching also a photo of how close the fire came just over the next cliff and a photo of Phil in front of the church 20220706_174725.jpg 20220706_175916.jpg 20220706_175916.jpg 20220706_174725.jpg
 

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J Willhaus

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Time of past OR future Camino
2016, 2022
Working on one of my favorite puzzles this morning of what is the best train-bus connections in Spain. I have tickets for Javier to San Sabastian on Alsa July 8.

It looks pretty easy to get to Bilbao July 10 from San Sabastian. Now puzzling through the best connections from Bilbao to Avila. Lots of little scribbles on scratch paper. Easiest is a 3 train hop where don't have to change stations for any of them, but takes longer so I will keep working on it.

The Renfe app is not all that helpful and Alsa does not show Avila as an option so they probably have service through Jimenez or one of the other regional companies. I use a combination of Rome to Rio, Google Maps, and trainline. If we go throygh Madrid, I have to look at the hassel of whether we have change stations.

In any case, I love the planning.
 
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J Willhaus

Veteran Member
Time of past OR future Camino
2016, 2022
Ok, everyone, last post on this thread. I will start a new one for the hosputalero gig in a few weeks.

After my little over-heating fiasco we really turned into touragrinos. Today we are in Javier which is a slight variation in the walk from Undeis and Sanguesa. Elena our trusty cab driver picked up at the monastery at 11 am and brought us over. Turns out she was married here in Javier and it is a really beautiful place.

She also filled us in a bit on life in Artiede in the hilltop town. There is no store, but she explained they don't need one. Everyone helps each other with errands and shopping, especially since the pandemic. The bread truck comes 3 times a week. Another truck brings meats and cold foods. The pharmacy truck and the doctor come twice a week. She said the bank even comes to you. She said there is also a program where the albergue cooks and delivers to the older village residents. She did qualify that a car was pretty essential though, but everything is being done to encourage people to stay in their communities. During the worst of the pandemic they had no illnesses due to their isolation. People with vacation homes from the city stayed away to protect the community.

Javier is the home of a Saint who traveled to the east in the 1500's as a missionary. The castle tower dates from the 10th century and was added onto over the years to protect the border of Navarre against Aragon which is extremely close by. We toured the castle and got a credential stamp. Then came back and had a menu del dia and took a nap.

I included one photo of the burn area again. It was very close and many people were temporarily displaced. It would have been terrible to lose such historic treasures as the monastery and this castle.

Tomorrow Phil and I have bus tickets to San Sebastion via Pamplona (wish us luck, we probably won't leave the bus station). We go on to Bilbao for a couple of days, then to Avila (I did get train tickets sorted out) and then will spend a day in Zaragoza before returning to Canfranc. Getting excited about the service to pilgrims after we have received so many kindnesses ourselves the past weeks.

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Time of past OR future Camino
06,CF;13,CP;17,SSal;19,Ingles
Ok, everyone, last post on this thread. I will start a new one for the hosputalero gig in a few weeks.

After my little over-heating fiasco we really turned into touragrinos. Today we are in Javier which is a slight variation in the walk from Undeis and Sanguesa. Elena out trusty cab driver picked up at the monastery at 11 am and brought us over. Turns out she was married here in Javier and it is a really beautiful place.

She also filled us in a bit on life in Artiede in the hilltop town. There is no store, but she explained they don't need one. Everyone helps each other with errands and shopping, especially since the pandemic. The bread truck comes 3 times a week. Another truck brings meats and cold foods. The pharmacy truck and the doctor come twice a week. She said the bank even comes to you. She said there is also a program where the albergue cooks and delivers to the older village residents. She did qualify that a car was pretty essential though, but everything is being done to encourage people to stay in their communities. During the worst of the pandemic they had no illnesses due to their isolation. People with vacation homes from the city stayed away to protect the community.

Javier is the home of a Saint who traveled to the east in the 1500's as a missionary. The castle tower dates from the 10th century and was added onto over the years to protect the border of Navarre against Aragon which is extremely close by. We toured the castle and got a credential stamp. Then came back and had a menu del dia and took a nap.

I included one photo of the burn area again. It was very close and many people were temporarily displaced. It would have been terrible to lose such historic treasures as the monastery and this castle.

Tomorrow Phil and I have bus tickets to San Sebastion via Pamplona (wish us luck, we probably won't leave the bus station). We go on to Bilbao for a couple of days, then to Avila (I did get train tickets sorted out) and then will spend a day in Zaragoza before returning to Canfranc. Getting excited about the service to pilgrims after we have received so many kindnesses ourselves the past weeks.

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Very happy to see how things are progressing, Janet. Please do not stay down in the dungeons of the bus station. Have a look at the escalator. When you exit from there, look behind to your right, and you will see an extensive grassy area. Each evening, during San Fermin celebrations, there are fireworks there. You can at least surface and breathe fresh air. It will depress you no end to stay underground if you do not need to!
 
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CF; Le Puy; El Norte; Monastery Santo Toribio; Monasteries Yuso and Suso
Ok, everyone, last post on this thread. I will start a new one for the hosputalero gig in a few weeks.

After my little over-heating fiasco we really turned into touragrinos. Today we are in Javier which is a slight variation in the walk from Undeis and Sanguesa. Elena out trusty cab driver picked up at the monastery at 11 am and brought us over. Turns out she was married here in Javier and it is a really beautiful place.

She also filled us in a bit on life in Artiede in the hilltop town. There is no store, but she explained they don't need one. Everyone helps each other with errands and shopping, especially since the pandemic. The bread truck comes 3 times a week. Another truck brings meats and cold foods. The pharmacy truck and the doctor come twice a week. She said the bank even comes to you. She said there is also a program where the albergue cooks and delivers to the older village residents. She did qualify that a car was pretty essential though, but everything is being done to encourage people to stay in their communities. During the worst of the pandemic they had no illnesses due to their isolation. People with vacation homes from the city stayed away to protect the community.

Javier is the home of a Saint who traveled to the east in the 1500's as a missionary. The castle tower dates from the 10th century and was added onto over the years to protect the border of Navarre against Aragon which is extremely close by. We toured the castle and got a credential stamp. Then came back and had a menu del dia and took a nap.

I included one photo of the burn area again. It was very close and many people were temporarily displaced. It would have been terrible to lose such historic treasures as the monastery and this castle.

Tomorrow Phil and I have bus tickets to San Sebastion via Pamplona (wish us luck, we probably won't leave the bus station). We go on to Bilbao for a couple of days, then to Avila (I did get train tickets sorted out) and then will spend a day in Zaragoza before returning to Canfranc. Getting excited about the service to pilgrims after we have received so many kindnesses ourselves the past weeks.

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Nice to see your smiling faces. I’m glad things are going smoothly now.
 

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