Berry & Rhubarb Gin anyone?

Berry and Rhubarb Gin – Pink Rhubarb Gin  

Inspired by my friend Sue’s dabbling in flavoured gins, (I had to sample a few to be sure), and my success with my sloe gin last winter, I decided to be adventurous and try out a few other varieties.

Sure what could go wrong?

So after a few chats and a bit of googling –  a couple of recipes were sorted and plans were put into practice to make two batches:

Pink Rhubarb Gin (with a little added ginger) &  Berry and Rhubarb Gin.

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Day 1: The method for both flavoured gins was the same.

The first step is to chop up the fruit into small chunks and mix in the sugar. Give a good stir to make sure the fruit is all covered in sugar.

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Put into your wide necked container and leave to macerate for 24 hours.

For the Pink Rhubarb Gin I used 400g rhubarb and 200g sugar & a good notch of grated ginger.

And for the Berry and Rhubarb Gin I used 300g each of strawberries, raspberries, & sugar.  You could add a few juniper berries, a vanilla pod or a few star anise. I didn’t have any to hand as I did this as a spur of the moment thing, but I think I will experiment with a few different bits at a further stage.

Day 2: Even by the next day you can see how much juice the sugar has drawn out of the fruit.

            

Time to add the gin.

I used a Gordons Gin from Aldi – €18 a bottle, it was the cheapest I could get that day.  From my experience last year with the Sloe Gin, any gin will do.   Fill your containers up to the top – mine took about 70cl each.  

Keep in a cool, darkish place, out of direct sunshine. And then wait, turning the jars upside down and giving it an occasional shake. I did this about once a week.

        

Day 5: You can see how the gin was already taking the colour from the fruit. At this point I remembered I had intended to add some ginger to the rhubarb mix, so decided to go for it. The ginger can be sliced or grated – I opted for grating a good notch and added.

Followed by a good shake to mix it through.

       

After 1 week:  See how the fruit has all risen and they are both colouring up nicely.

                

After 4 weeks: I strained and bottled it. I used a bit of muslin and some old bottles Sue had picked up on her walks (washed and sterilised obviously 😉 )

So this was the final haul.   The Berry one was a lovely red – the pic doesn’t really do it justice.  And the flavour! Yum, yum, yum!

So the verdict:  both were delicious – the Berry was a bit sweeter than the Rhubarb & Ginger one, more to my taste.

I would give the Pink Rhubarb Gin a solid 8/10 & the Berry and Rhubarb Gin –  9/10            (I would give 10/10 but like to leave a little wiggle room for improvement).

So now I shall have to try out different tonics & garnishes and let you know how they fare – please let me know in the comments if you make it and what way it turned out or what’s your favourite way to drink it.

So far I’ve sipped the Berry one neat and taken the Rhubarb with frozen lemon slices and Elderflower tonic. Both were lovely.

Here’s a few suggestions:

Mixers: Prosecco with strawberry, ginger ale, Fevertree elderflower tonic.

Garnishes: Ice, strawberry, cucumber, pear, a slice of orange, frozen lemon slices.

So, next up: Blackberry Gin, Elderflower Gin or a Cranberry / Orange mix for Christmas?

We’ll have to see.

Sláinte

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Camino- Day 9 – 25th May 2018 – And Cut!

We started the day with me grabbing a quick coffee and leaving Tom at breakfast while I went for my appointment for a leg and foot massage at 10am.

We had a car booked to drive to Finisterre and onto Portugal (to get our first cache there) but we had nothing concrete and no hotels booked for the two nights.

Well the place was still locked up when I arrived at 9.55 so I stood in the street and did what I do – I logged onto Facebook.02

And of course all the posts were about voting and coming home to vote etc etc and I looked at the pics of my lovely son and his girlfriend and their happy and proud pics on arriving into Dublin airport last night. And I read Eimear Morrissey’s post in particular and others and I started to cry.

I thought of my plan to walk the last few km to the “end of the world” and to leave the green stone I had picked up in Bray a few weeks ago and carried for 140k on the Camino. I was going to think of Irish women walking and traveling and voting and lay the stone for them.

And then I thought well deck that!!!!

That won’t help anyone!!!

I need to go home and vote!!!

So I walked away from my massage place (I’m glad she didn’t turn up) down to our hotel – met Tom in the foyer with tears streaming down my face and said I have to go home to vote- and of course my wonderful, supportive hubby said ok let’s do it.

So I’m writing this as the plane comes into land in Dublin – it’s 19.56. We flew to Madrid and now home – Cara was a great support looking for flights – Kate Cowan helped us on a page for flight info and more.

Wheels have just touched down in Dublin.

I’m crying again.

I’m home to vote YES – Tá for Mná09

This is the best thing that’s has come from my Camino – Repeal the 8th – save Irish women.

We arrived home to a great welcome. Straight to vote in one of the proudest moments of my life #proudtobeIrish. #proudtobeanIrishwoman

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The rest is history! We won and it’s still one of my proudest moments that I came home to vote Yes! And stood with Irish women to Repeal the 8th, and give Irish women the right to choose and to have dignity and support when and WHERE they need it – in their own country!  #hometovoteyes  😍 😍 👍 💪

 

One year ago. One of the best decisions I ever made. Still proud to have come home to vote Tá for Mná – with the Repeal Shields – plus we had a great weekend together.

Thanks for reading my blog.

Camino- Day 8 – 24th May 2018 – Santiago

Today was the easiest day of all
Meeting other perigrionos in the morning to group apply for our Compostelas.

We went to Mass in the Cathedral and were delighted when the botafumerio was swung by the cloaked monks at the end of Mass. this only done on Holy Days or if it is paid for (€400  😳) I believe large groups often pay for it and if you’re lucky like us you happen to be there. It was something I really wanted to see so I was delighted.

We had a perfect spot with no one in front of us to see the whole performance. A priest sings, the incense is Lit in the 50kg botafumerio and they give it a bit of a shove to get it going.

6 priests (or whatever the cloaked guys are) then each have a rope end and they pull like hell  👍 💪 💪 and boy does that thing swing – all cameras and phones are following it too. It swings so high – like to within inches of the ceiling and back across the altar to the other side. Fabulous! It’s only fallen twice in all the years it’s been swinging and I was glad I didn’t witness the third time.

We met with our ‘group’ and all received our Compostela’s. When you fill out the form you can chose/tick on the form if you walked for religious, spiritual or touristic reasons. Tom & I chose the latter, the others picking religious, but they were all the same  🤷‍♀️

For the afternoon we stopped for a glass of vino and a bocadillo while caching around the centre.

We met up with John & Linda and had dinner and a lovely chat – and the heavens opened. It was the first rain we saw all week – our ponchos never leaving our bags. Boy did it pour !!! Nothing for it but a few vinos out of the rain.

We finished the evening with a few more Vino and a few more caches and hit the sack, tired after another great day.

Camino- Day 7 – 23rd May 2018 – O Pedroza to Santiago – last day walking.

We arrived  👍 💪 🚶‍♀️ 🚶🏻‍♂️

Day 7 arrival in Santiago

Our last day of walking. We Started 8am. We had a very light breakfast at the pension of coffee and a slice of toast. €3.50 each extra & not worth it. The guy did put on bagpipes for us – blaring!! “Ireland yea!!” Yea sure  😂 The next bagpipes we were to hear were as we entered the main square in front of the Cathedral in Santiago- now that was a welcome!

Hit 10k steps 9.35am – still think that’s mental.  😂 😂

Our first break was at 10.30am. Coffee and sambo. 10k done. We motored on and had more coffee: 13.9k & 11.50am- push on.

It was a nice sunny day and we made good headway. It was funny walking right under the runway lights at the airport. Thankfully no planes flew over us. (Didn’t find the cache here either Niall Moore).

Most of the walk today was along forest trails and quiet country roads. Very nice.

We went a bit off track to climb up to the Monument to the peregrinos. Monte do Gozo was at the highest point of our day and we could glimpse the spires of the Cathedral in Santiago way below us. This monument was erected for the visit of Pope John Paul 2.

It was hard going the last bit in the heat but we persevered and even stopped for a beer and a loo break when we crossed the bridge over the motorway into the city. Well, you’d have to, would be rude not to.

It’s a great feeling entering the square- a real feeling of accomplishment and achievement. Yea! Go us!

We checked into our hotel – rested, showered and out for dinner and a walk around.

We checked out the pilgrims’ office that evening about 7- the queues for the Compostela were over two hours long  😳 we left it!

 

Later while looking for a cache we met the couple – John &Linda – from Minnesota that we had walked with a few days earlier. Well, they had been told if they had a group of minimum 6, you can fill out your forms and just return at a specified time later to collect your Compostela. We were now 4  👍 A few minutes later we met some others from the walk and our “group” swelled to 7 – so we planned to meet the next morning at 9.30 to do just that. We called our group the ‘pilgrim geocachers’.

We finished our evening with a couple of beers & lovely cocktails in a bar just next to our hotel. Heaven.  👍 🍺 🥤 🍯 🍹 🍸

So our last day walking – 23.52k. 33,053 steps 271 floors.

Hotel. Lovely. Brilliant location just off the main square. Hotel: €97 per night. All day buffet breakfast included. Tablet & minibar with free water in the rooms.

Dinner in Tamara just across from the Compostela office. €10 pilgrims menu – 3 courses with wine. Mussels for starter yum yum

So we that was it – we had arrived.

Did I have any epiphanies on the road? No.

Did I have any major spiritual moments? No.

What I had was a very enjoyable 6 days walking, in sunny weather through mostly smashing countryside with my lovely hubby.

I got a great sense of achievement at completing it, and was well impressed with myself at the end of each weary day. I think I can say that a lot of walkers feel tested on the way – what will you do when you think you can’t go on? It’s like childbirth you just carry on  😂 😂 😂 I remember Shauna, a young woman who struggled terribly the first day – she got very sunburned too. She said she walked for at least a full kilometre just crying and crying- but she still walked on.

And I will always remember my friendly fellow Pelegrinos and the “Buen Camino” greetings along The Way.

One more day to blog about – our full day in Santiago and then the surprise ending to it all.

Walked:
Day 1: 25.74k
Day 2: 28.34k
Day 3: 16.33k
Day 4: 20.54k
Day 5: 25.49k
Day 6: 23.52k
Total: 139.96k

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Camino – Supplement blog post for Day 6.

I pondered whether to post this or not, I didn’t want to get political with this blog but I feel it’s only fair to share my thoughts on today as I did about other days.

So I decided to record it but post separately.

Today I thought a lot about the referendum facing my country in a few days. I am very upset that I can’t vote having organised this trip last December, before the date for the vote was decided or announced. I’m upset that so many people think this is a referendum for or against abortion, when it’s not. Irish women are having abortions- whether you or I or anyone else agrees or disagrees with abortion, & they will continue to do so regardless of the result of the vote. A no vote will not change that. It will however let our women down again – and continue to endanger their lives. I won’t go on and on about my views on it here, but I will say that I thought and thought of those Irish women today as I walked.

I thought of them walking out of doctors offices and hospitals having received terrible news, the worst news about their babies, I thought of them walking out shocked and alone, with neither help or advice offered. I thought of them, as I walked, walking into airports in Ireland and out of airports in England. I thought, as I walked, of them walking scared, alone and abandoned by their country, into foreign hospitals and walking out again – still alone. If the no vote wins, they will still walk this walk, it won’t save Irish babies (as they are saying & calling it) it will just continue to mistreat half our population and not support them in illness and at times of need. They were my thoughts as I walked today, hoping and wishing that my walking could somehow support those women.

I will walk and think of them and you all on Friday at Finistere, as you go to the polls in Ireland, and hope that you will think of them too.

Shell

 

On to Santiago ……

 

Camino- Day 6 – 22nd May 2018 – Arzúa to Arca / O Pedroza

The penultimate day dawned and it was very misty. We had vouchers for breakfast in the restaurant belonging to the hotel, which was on the way and about a three-minute walk. We arrived around 8 having packed up and leaving our bags in the room as instructed (and once again hoping to see them later  👍) breakfast was lovely (French omelette yum) and we were off 8.20 am on the trail.

The first part of the day had quite a few hills – So much for the “flat” day, we had been promised! But in fairness, once we got the first bit over it was quite flat. It was also mostly in forest or trails and very pleasant.

By the time of our first coffee stop at 10am – Calzada – 7k it was still a bit hazy but brighter – (this place was a disaster with a big queue for the only & loo no paper  😱)

Our next stop again for coffee was at Bar Brea. 2 x coffee plus 2 x banana’s: €3. 11.35am – 11.6k gone. We were doing well.

We ploughed on, having not decided fully about when or where or whether to stop and in the end we arrived at O Pedrouzo at around 3pm having not stopped for lunch today either. (B&B details: Pension Codesal – €45 bed only. Basic pension -ensuite. Optional breakfast €3.50 extra. )

It was great to get the walk today over. One day left – whoop whoop!!

We met a few people along the road that we chatted to, including an American couple – we walked with them for the last hour or so and enjoyed their company. They even helped us search for a cache. Although he doesn’t think he’ll take it up as he prefers real hunting – with guns. 😳 Well ok then.  👍 We also met another American man who was really struggling in the heat this afternoon- he planned on reaching his alburgue and sleeping till 3am and then walking to Santiago to arrive for the pilgrims mass in the morning – we wished him well.

I forgot to mention a funny moment yesterday when we reached one of the philosophy notices. The American woman was coming just behind me reading them, and I heard her say “oh my, that describes us! “ I knew which one she meant it was about arrogance and ignorance- don’t blame me! She owned it!

This is a sleepy place. Basically just a main busy road with shops etc either side. Not much character. We walked around and found a little place with a Peregrino menu dinner. The starter was lovely, main was just ok. But great value for money with 3 courses, bread, a glass of wine and coffee for €10.

We stopped in another bar for a couple of g&t’s for me & a few beers for Tom, & then back to the b&b to chill.33186813_10160667401390436_582992199264763904_n View from our room

So onto tomorrow and Santiago.

 

Camino- Day 5 – 21st May 2018 -Melide to Arzúa

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Early start: 8.33am, after breakfast in hotel. €5

We met the Irish sisters again as we walked up the town and went with them into the ”Cathedral San Pedro” – we had a quick look and left them there. Nice stained glass in the door. We had also stopped at a little church  ⛪ in the countryside yesterday and got a stamp for our passports- it was very pretty with loads of candles and flowers and a little old guy sitting stamping the passports (with his donation box beside him)

We got our one cache for the day as we left Melide at a little church on the outskirts. After that we put our heads down and got some mileage under our belts.

First Coffee stop was 10.20am. At a place called Boente – 7.27k & 10,368steps & 47 stairs done. We had some fabulous homemade cakes here – zero guilt  😂 😂

I think it’s ironic or amusing (not sure which) that I can get my target 10k steps done so early when I struggle at home to do them in the day.  😂 😂

The terrain for the day proved to be quite hilly but pleasant – leafy lanes through forests.

In the late morning, we met up some American grandparents and their two grandchildren. A girl Rita (15 yrs) and boy Austin (14 yrs) we walked with them and chatted back and forth for an hour or more. The kids are homeschooled and this trip is a pilgrimage for Rita, who is making her confirmation later this year. They were sweet and innocent kids and very enthusiastic about their Camino and also their first time abroad. They were looking forward to the upcoming birth of their 10th sibling.  😳 They had heard about the Camino from Martin Sheens film “The Way”. We bade them goodbye when they stopped for lunch and we decided to move on after a coffee at Ribadiso, but we would meet them later that night in the square when we were having dinner. (Coffee stop: 12.10pm – 19,714 steps. 13.8k)

We pushed on deciding not to stop for lunch at all – seeing as I had struggled the other days after lunch, and as this was a short day. This worked out well.

So we arrived at our Hotel- La Casana de Nené – €79 b&b – at 1.35pm. After 24,756k steps & 17.3k. This place was a joy. Beautifully decorated- I loved it. It was recommended by a friend (thanks Gerry). Our bags were waiting in our room too. It’s a pity their restaurant was closed on Mondays or we would have eaten there, but we did see it at breakfast and enjoyed lovely omelettes. (Btw they are building a new hotel so expect to have the restaurant open every night by next year)

After a short rest, we went to the small, but lovely pool area & had a restful and relaxing time. I sat with my feet dangling in the pool for quite a while and it was heaven.

We strolled down the town for dinner and met up with the two Irish sisters and one of their daughters, we had helped the sisters at the airport and met them again that morning. Turns out Tom knows one of them from work and she lives in Carpenterstown – could go nowhere with that fella! They had come out to meet up with Catriona – daughter of one of them – who was walking. We had actually met Catriona separately at a coffee stop one of the first days and chatted with her. Lovely people. We had a few beers and much chat and banter with the 3 of them. They were supposed to be walking on another 13k to their booked hotel, but at that stage taxis were being mentioned  😂 😂

We finished the day with a lovely paella dinner at the square. The first time on the trip that we felt we didn’t get exceptional value: €37 – 2 paella, a bottle of not wonderful wine, bread, 2 coffees and one piece of Santiago cake.

For me the enjoyment of this trip is quality time with Tom – we have walked every day together – but also the enjoyment is in the other people we’ve met – only a few of which I’ve mentioned here.

Some side notes:
Every house seems to have chickens.
A lot of houses have at least one cow.
Galacia is quite famous for its creamy cheese which is quite gorgeous.
The roosters seem very confused – cock-a-doodle-doing at all times of the day.
Eggs are on the menu in all guises everywhere and are clearly free range and very lovely.
I have never heard so many cuckoos.
The houses types and style have changed the further we have gone – from quite rural and poor the first day or two, to fancier and appearing more affluent.
Old Spanish ladies with syths cutting ditches won’t pose for photos- they just laugh at you.  😂 😂 😂17

Stats for the day – steps:29,260- stairs:219 – 20.54 k – only 1 cache.

 

 

Camino- Day 4 – 20th May 2018 – Palais do Rei to Melide

As we had a shorter day today we allowed ourselves a bit of a lazy start. After a continental breakfast, we were on the road at 9.45am. Another lovely morning. We have been so lucky, so far, with the weather, I imagine this would be a very, very different experience in the rain.

We had a lovely morning strolling in leafy lanes through farmland in shady conditions. There weren’t too many others on the paths and it was very peaceful.

Coffee called when we reached Ponte Campaña after 5.36k & 7647 steps.

It’s amazing the things you think about when strolling along. A chap I had met the night before told me he found himself reciting the rosary as he walked along, he was walking for his mother, whom he has lost last December, she was very religious and he had been reared on a steady diet of such prayers.

I found myself thinking of my father and what he’d make of this.

I also spent some time going over various songs from years ago to see if I could sing them right though (in my head) 😂 Different strokes for different folks I guess.  👍

We stopped for lunch and decided to go for the pilgrim menu. €13 for 3 courses. Great value with good wholesome food. This was 12.45 – 14.149 steps – 9.93 k of our daily walk done.

It’s interesting but I again found the last few km difficult. Is it physiological???? It was once again hot and sunny with little shade- was it the heat? Not sure.

We finally arrived at our hotel at 3.45pm. We had been 6 hours on the road. 15.9k in total for the day & 22,978 steps.

Our hotel was Hotel Carlos 96. €50 Bed only. A bit dated but large rooms – both bed and bathroom- a balcony and a bath !!! Oh joy of joys!!! A soak for weary limbs. But first things first – there was a bidet !!!

Now don’t get worried  😟 I won’t shock you all with funny descriptions but when your feet are aching the quickest thing in the world is to get a chair from the balcony and steep your feet in the bidet!!!! Heaven  😍 😍 😍 😍34

Well, I was just shattered. I thought I’ll just lie down for a little nap for a half hour ….. 2.5 hrs of sleep later, I felt refreshed enough to get up from the bed, have a soak in the bath, shower to wash the hair (really getting good use of all the facilities  😂 😂 😂) and go for dinner. I think the 4 long days so far and not sleeping great had caught up with me.

The owner of the hotel is an English guy. Very helpful & friendly. His parents originated from there and they all returned around ‘96 when he was early 20’s.

Dinner was great value too, and both filling and delicious. I had burger & chips: €6. Tom had a huge tuna salad starter, followed by cod, potatoes & onions- his menu was €10. We had a bottle of red wine and a large bottle of sparkling water. We finished with two Hierbas: Yellow camomile digestive drink. This is made from the leftovers from making wine, various flavours added (coffee, chamomile etc) in a copper vat.

The full dinner and all drinks were €20!! Great value. The red wine was included with the food. I think Irish restaurants should learn from this and throw the wine in with the food.  👍 👍

I topped off the evening by splurging €2 on the leg massage machine in the foyer.  😍 😍37

And another day was done

Stats: 16.33 k. 23,264 steps. 256 floors. 4 caches. Only about 6 cycling peregrinos passed us.

Camino- Day 3 – 19th May 2018 – Portomarin to Palas de Rei.

So today was always going to be the hardest day, and I really hope that was it  😱32948312_10160658030680436_6447484452397383680_n

We started off 8.10am after a good breakfast. The climb up out of the valley through the woods was steep and rough, and certainly warmed us up. There was a low lying fog or haze which had the effect of blocking the sun for the first few hours. There was a steady stream of peregrinos stretching in front and behind us.

Once we got up and out of the forest the way was mostly along by the side of the road on a dirt track or sometimes just divided with a small hedge from the road. This was to follow on for the day, with about 80% alongside the road. Not the most exciting landscape and not as pleasant as yesterday.

My Fitbit buzzed at 9.50am to tell me I had my first 10,000 steps of the day done.  😱 😂 💪 💪 Jeepers I normally struggle to reach it, and I had it done by 10am! I wasn’t sure that was a good thing 😂

The first place to stop for a coffee was at Gonzar, which was 8.5k into our day at 10.15am. This place was hopping and doing a roaring trade. They had an eager and captive audience.

We sat with a guy from Armagh and he told us about a small detour ahead to see some Roman ruins. We were glad he did, as they were fab and well worth the small detour. One of the gems you could miss, if too focused on the mileage and not enough on smelling the roses.

The haze had lifted at this time and the sun was out.

We trekked on, and man was it a slog over hills, but mostly up and up and up. We had the next Coffee at Hospital when we were almost at the highest point of the day. A place called Hospital da Cruz, at 687m from 387m that morning – 300m overall gain, but many ups and downs along the way. It was noon now and getting hotter, and 18,065 steps down.

We plodded on, and I was glad when we stopped for lunch. We had decided to reach Lagonda as we’d have about 18k under our belts. We strolled through the hamlet and were beginning to panic – well I was- Was there no-where here we could eat and rest? – then we were directed to Marie Luiz’s place, 500m past the village/hamlet, by a lovely American woman at a bar (with very appealing hammocks).  👍

So we stopped for lunch at 1.45pm – 5.5 hours on the road – 26,114 steps and 18.3k down. I had Galician pie (tuna) – Tom had tortilla -Spanish omelette- we both had a large plate of salad. One beer & one Water. €20. Lovely to sit and let your feet breath for an hour.

Well I’m afraid I suffered after this. It was a long, long slog from there to our hotel in Palas del Rei. Not really much consolation, but everyone we spoke to felt the same.  😭

The bonus was when we got the town we first met a mother & daughter from Bray, whom we had had breakfast with, they directed us to our hotel, with the words: “you’ll hear all the Irish, they’re having a few pints out front”. Well it would be rude not to join in.  😂 😂 😂

Checked into Hotel Casa Camino. Very small room (sliding door- normal one wouldn’t have room to open in) €60. Bed only. (Breakfast coffee orange juice, toast €5each) – and went straight back down to join in the craic. Several pints and dinner went down well too. The banter was flowing – 2 brothers from Raheny, 5 women from Malahide, the guy from Armagh, a father & daughter from Rathfarnham, a German girl & ourselves. Sure you couldn’t beat it with a stick  😂 😂 😂

We had a few pints under our belts when we went wearily to bed.

Also, I’m sorry to report that the dreaded blisters have appeared. I am disappointed, as I thought I was being so careful. I think it was the few hours in the sandals yesterday that did the damage,as I’ve been wearing my magic socks the rest of the time.  😱 😭 😭 Anyhow I have two blisters – in the strangest place on each foot-underneath, in the little spot at the base of the toes where they meet the foot -sore sore sore.  😭 😭

Onwards tomorrow to Melide.

Stats: steps:40,374. 28.34k ( 😭) 520 floors. Cycling peregrinos that passed us about 20. 3 caches. 2 blisters & several beers.

Buen Camino to me  😂 💪 💪 🚶‍♀️ 🚶‍♀️ 🚶‍♀️ 🚶‍♀️

Camino Day 2 – 18th May 2018

 

Well, we started the morning with a fab breakfast at Dawns. Highly recommend this Airbnb for value for money, (no charge for the pick up/ drop off or the lovely tapas and wine last night) – they were lovely and couldn’t do enough for us. Steve brought us to drop our bags this morning (we said goodbye to them a little anxiously as I had booked online to leave them for pickup at a cafe, where the girl just beckoned over her shoulder to leave them in the next room. I was also a little concerned when I was able to go back in. Open and rifle through my bag for something I’d forgotten, and no-one either saw me or paid any attention. However, the bags were thankfully sitting at our hotel this evening waiting for us. Steve then drove us to the steps and pointed us in the direction to start our Camino.

We started at nine after a quick coffee at the top of the steps.

The terrain was quite hilly today. The countryside is actually quite like Ireland and everyone is friendly and smiling – fellow peregrinos and locals alike.

We soon shed a layer as the sun was out and the skies blue. It got up to 22 but felt more as mostly there was neither shade nor breeze.

We stopped for another coffee and a breather for about a half-hour , after 9k & 3 hours, at Peruscallo – and stopped again for about an hour for a bocadillo (sandwich /roll with cheese and ham) and a pint when we had covered 18.5k at Mercadoiro. I changed into my Teva walking sandals for the last 6k and that worked fine.

At times there was a continuous stream of people walking along and at times there was no-one else around. Tom & I mostly walked together today – except for a half hour or so where Tom stopped to change into shorts and I kept walking. And then he caught up with me again. We’ll see what happens tomorrow. We have no real plan to stick together or to walk separately, so we’ll see what happens on the way. I quite liked the company but enjoyed the bit on my own too.

We walked mostly on roughish lanes – very rough at times- for very short periods maybe 4 or 5 times we walked on roads. Mostly it was country lanes that meandered through hamlets and farming areas. Saw several farmers driving their long-horned cows on the roads. Most farms had chickens running around. The houses were stone built and mostly looked very old with small windows, keeping the heat out in summer and in, in winter.

They all had little thin out houses near the main house – up on stilts, most with crosses on top – I couldn’t figure out all day what they were. Took a few pics of them. Thought maybe chicken houses? I discovered this evening they are hórreos- used to dry and store corn. They are up on stilts to deter rodents. Everyday‘s a school day  😂

We loved counting down the km on the stone pillars along the way. Sarria at 118km to Santiago – very excited to see the 100km one and get it down to double figures too.

Oh and we found 6 caches too.  👍

The countryside looked splendid in the sunshine, with several farmers cutting hay (?) which led to lovely newly mown smells. The orchards were splendid with their trees in full bloom too.

The last 3/4K were a bit tough. It was a very steep road down the valley to the river at Portamarin. I had also thought today was about 20k and it was actually nearly 26 so
I flagged a bit towards the end.

However, we arrived and so did our bags. Our hotel in Portomarin is Casa do Maestro- €70 b&b. Right in the centre with a wrap around balcony (see pics) it’s lovely.

Tired but happy this evening – our first full day behind us – fed and showered and preparing for tomorrow.

Looking forward to it.

 

Stats. 40, 374 steps. 520 floors. 28.34 km. 6 caches.

­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­I feel so sad as I walk the Camino with the plight of Irish women foremost in my mind. Maybe that’s my reason for walking this path this week. To hope and walk and hope and walk and hope that my country will not forsake their women any longer, but show them compassion and love and support. Please vote yes for support and choice.  Tá for Mná ❤

 

Camino- Day 1 – 17th May 2018

Well we’re off. Not half the training done that I had planned and hoped but sure how hard can it be?

I’ve been talking about this for years so at last I’m attempting it. It’ll be an awesome experience for sure.

It’s only 6 days walking right? It’s only average of 20k a day and 120k
Altogether? A doddle- a dander -right?  😳 😳 😳

Anyhow bags are packed and Santiago here we come.  😂 😂 😂
……..

Arrived in Santiago a bit late but still with time to get a beer before our bus.

Nice coach to Lugo (Empressa Freire)- 2 hours approx – €9.45. We had pre-booked online but ticket machine was available outside the airport door. Off one bus and literally onto the Monobus which was parked beside it – €2.55 to Sarria. So far so good  👍. Already everyone is friendly and chatting in line – all of heading the one way ….. with 80,000 Irish Pilgrims arriving in Santiago in 2017 there was bound to be a few on our flight and bus.

Short spin and we arrived in Sarria. A quick goodbye to our fellow perrigrinos and hope to see them on the way tomorrow and we were off to our Airbnb for the night.

Steve picked us up and drive us into the countryside of Galicia to where Dawn was waiting at the 250 year old farmhouse. They gave us a lovely welcome and we feasted on tapas, homemade biscuits and lemon drizzle cake & red wine. We had a great chat with this lovely couple, about moving here from the UK to renovate this old house and start a new adventure when their kids were reared and left home. (Airbnb -€37 bnb for the two of us including pick up and drop off in Sarria)

So backpack sorted I’m going to try to get some sleep as I have a little walking to do on the morrow.

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