Questions and Answers

QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS updated October 26

Thanks for sending in your questions.  Keep asking.  Meanwhile, here are some more:

Q.  What are you eating for supper?

A.  I heated up a can of beans with chorizo and a can of tuna in the microwave. Also bought 4 croissants on sale for 1.30 . Two of which I am saving for tomorrow. Also had some red wine. 

Q. Is it at or below freezing each morning now for you? 

A. It has been around freezing for each of the last three days. 


Q. When is the latest you can leave the Albergue?

A. They state 0800 but there are very few peregrinos and it doesnt get light enough to walk until 8:20 or so. I wont leave until at least 8:30 and it will get later each day (shorter days and heading north). 


Q. When does it get light enough for you to leave, and when does the temperature become a bit warmer so you aren't so cold in the mornings?

A. I can always go to a bar and have a coffee or two while it warms up a bit.   Am thinking of buying a pair of gloves. 
In a pinch I will use my socks.  As long as it doesnt get any colder I should be OK. Hopefully I can make it over the mountains in a few days without it being too cold.


Q. Are there many peregrinos in the Albergues with you?

A. A young lady from Germany arrived shortly after me.  Iin fact she is on the terminal next to me. And, since then another fellow on a bicycle has arrived. So it looks as if there are three of us.

Q.  Do you have to go far from where you are on the internet to where you can sleep? 

A.  Albergue is 5 minutes walk from here. 

Q.  Have any of the albergues ever had internet access?

A.  No

Q. When the albergues are locked as you arrive into town, is there a caretaker who stays there also at night or are you alone for the duration?  Do you have to lock up when you leave?

A. You are alone unless it is an albergue with a hospitalero. None to date.

 Previous Questions and Answers:

Q:  Someone asked, Have you found the meaning of life?

A:  No! But I may have found the meaning of life after retirement (and Im not talking about making urine out of alcohol) which I think is to do the things that you want to them well...and dont worry too much about the outcome. 

Questions from another reader.  I certainly couldnt say it as well so with his permission, Im printing his questions/comments below:

Q:  You are travelling, again, on an ancient route that has seen the feet of millions of pilgrims over hundreds of years.  You may not have the fervent religious passion that motivated those men and women from centuries past.  Do you feel their ghostly presence dogging your every step toward an intercession of the Saint at the end of your journey? 

A:  Thanks for your ask difficult questions and then you expect me to wax eloquent as well!!!!

Anyway, I have tried my best to respond NOT using a one-word answer.

Not really, although I must admit that I frequently think about the millions of feet that have gone before me and the trials and tribulations that they had to go through to achieve their goals. I complain about how difficult the walk has been to this point; however, I also think about how much more difficult it was in the past, when pilgrims did not have the modern tools that we have....good shoes, drugs, well-fitted backpacks, quick drying and light clothes, etc.  Keep in mind that not only did they walk to Santiago de Compostela but they also had to return the same way they came....usually on foot. Ill be flying home. In fact, many of them never made it home much less to Santiago de Compostela falling victim to illness, bandits and other hazards.

I am also moved by the many Roman remains that I have viewed and walked through. Every time I am walking on the vestiges of an old Roman road I think about those who have worn down the stones over two millenia. Similarly, when I viewed the forums in Italica and Merida it brought to mind those who died there and those who sat in the stands encouraging the mayhem. Sort of an ancient WWF. Things dont seem to have changed much in 2000 years! 

Perhaps not every day but perhaps when the spirit is still willing  but the flesh has weakened.  Perhaps at the moment when a long vista opens to your wondering and  maybe tearful gaze.  Perhaps as your daily destination approaches and the mind sees and even savors that first long draft from your glass.

And a one word reply will not suffice.

We want to hear the anguish, the longing, your spiritual side. Feel free to wax eloquent.

1. What are you thinking about when you walk?

Lots of things.....How far is it to the next place that you can get water and food?  How far is to the end of the walk?  Is that new ache a lasting problem or just a momentary thing?  Will there be a bed at the next albergue?  Most of the albergues in the south of Spain are very small with only  4-10 beds.

2.  What do you think of the Via de la Plata and how does it compare it to the Camino France?

The major difference is the long distance between towns and hamlets as compared to the Camino France. Typically you would have 5 to 8 km between facilities in the north, whereas here you are walking 20-30 km.  So, you have to plan your day well. In addition you have to deal with the fact that in the south they follow the "siesta" more vigorously.  Stores are closed at 2:00 and may or may not open at 5, 6 or 7. Typically you arrive during siesta and then have to try to find someplace that is open later in the day for a meal or to get water.  It can be very awkward and frustrating.

3.  Are your legs okay?

When I looked they were still attached to the rest of me.  Lots of aches and pains and for the first time I have some minor blisters on and between my toes.


4.  Have you got friends?

I walked with Franck, in the sense that we stayed at the same albergues and hostals for the first couple of weeks.  Then we lost touch for a couple of days and then surprisingly, we met again a couple of days ago. Im sure that we will meet again on the way to Santiago de Compostela.

5.  One reader was concerned that due to the distances and the relatively few pilgrims, he asks Are you lonely?

Im not lonely.......there is a difference between being lonely and being alone.  


 And on a lighter note, a final reply:

I've often been asked, 'What do you old folks do now that you're retired?' Well...I'm fortunate to have a few friends who have chemical engineering backgrounds, and one of the things we enjoy most is turning beer, wine, bourbon, and martinis into urine. And, we're pretty damn good at it too!!   I have been doing my best to meet the requirements.