Wednesday, January 30, 2013


I have a few extra things to share that never made it into my blog posts earlier for whatever reason. Karolina, if you’re curious, did hike back to Santiago, then traveled down to Lisbon and walked back to Santiago a third time. She told me it had a lot of road walking, and apparently a couple of people driving down the road tried to pick her up thinking she was a prostitute. (To which, I replied, OMG—I didn’t know Portugal also had an Alabama Trail!!!!) It was also a lot lonelier of a hike for her since not only does the Portugal route get a lot fewer pilgrims, but she also made the trip far into the off-season. Despite all that, however, she seemed to have enjoyed herself and thinks I should still do it someday. =) She arrived in Santiago in late November, checking a different option for the reason she did the pilgrimage so she’d get a different compostela. And last I heard, she’s back in Poland and in search of a job. She has at least one job offer going so far--which would take her to the Netherlands. She'd rather stay in Poland, but jobs for water technicians (or whatever official title she has) are apparently much easier to score in the Netherlands.

Vivian, after finishing the trail, headed off first to Greece for a couple of weeks (she was born there and lived there for the first few years of her life), then back home to Australia and seems a little disenchanted with having to work for a living again. Not surprising, really. I suspect most people would feel that way! Maybe that's why she posts to Facebook so often? =)

Hilary is still in Paris, learning French, I suppose. I see her post to Facebook occasionally, so I know she's still alive. =)

The Australian girls I had given my contact information to, and they all seemed interested in building their own soda can stoves, but so far, I haven’t heard from them again since we’ve finished the trail. I don’t actually have their contact information either. I figured I’d get it when they drop me a note to say hi! But since they haven’t done that, I have no idea what they’re up to nowadays.

As for me.... I've been keeping quite busy since I've finished the trail. Yep. *nodding* Been working on a TOP SECRET project for the last couple of months.... but I'll tell you about that in my next post.... =) 

Karolina pops Lady Gaga! This video is absolutely disgusting. ;o)

Next, a few photos that Karolina emailed to me after our hikes were done.
Karolina thought it would be amusing to take a photo of me taking a photo
of Lady Gaga. =)

At one of the sites where Karolina and I set up camp, I told her about my
tie. Figuring seeing is believing, I put it on to model it, and she
took this photo of the moment. It was actually the only
time I put on the tie until the day I left the trail to go back home.
I probably would have wore it more often if it wasn’t always at the
bottom of my clothes sack where I tended to forget about it.

I never saw this sign, much to my dismay when Karolina
showed me photos of it later. Apparently, though,
it was right there on the side of the trail in plain view.
I can’t help but wonder how big of a problem this must
have been to have had this sign created and posted!!!!

I can’t say I remember where this photo was taken. It looks like I’m headed to the water faucet.
I like the photo, though, because I really don’t have many photos of me carrying my pack.
It’s not the kind of photo I can take on my own! =) The fact that the trekking pole is
tucked under my arm like it is makes me think I have a water bottle in my hands,
perhaps taking off the lid to fill with water. I didn’t normally walk around with
my trekking pole tucked under my arm. Except, of course, if my hands were
occupied with something else! =)

I carved the sad little face into the sunflower… just before it tried
to eat my hand off!

Here’s another kind of photo I could never take myself—setting
up my tarp! =)

This is an interesting photo to me, since it was taken before
Karolina and I ever camped together and thus we didn’t really
know each other very well. I’m waiting for the running of the bulls
to start (the bulls would run down the street on the right side
of the fence). Us observers were on the left side. Vivian,
the Australian, is drinking a glass of something. And I appear
to be writing in my journal—so far as I know, it’s the only
photo anyone has ever taken of me writing in my journal. I never
really considered it a photogenic moment, but considering how much
time I did spend writing in that journal over two months, it somehow
seems right to have a photo of me doing it. =)

Karolina took this photo when we climbed the hill behind Fisterra
on our way to the End of the World!

Obviously, neither Karolina nor I took this photo since neither of us
are capable of flying without some help. So I ripped it off the Internet
to show the peninsula that marks Fisterra and the “End of the World.”
It’s as dramatic from 30,000 feet as it is from ground level! =)
The lighthouse is at the very tip of the peninsula. The town
of Fisterra is where the peninsula just starts to jut out into the ocean.

I wrote in this logbook the day I hiked into Fisterra. I wasn’t with Karolina
at the time, but I knew she planned to keep walking to Muxia and back
to Santiago and thus knew she’d probably read this logbook as
well, so I left the note saying, “Go, Karolina! Go! Go! Go!” =)
When we did meet up in Fisterra later in the day, I never mentioned
this particular note. It was for her to find if she found it, and
if she didn’t… oh well! =) Obviously, the next day, as I was
probably on a bus on my way to Santiago, she found my note
on her hike to Muxia and took a photo of her reply. =)
I can imagine that it had been a VERY wet day for her.
The weather in Fisterra the whole bus ride to Santiago was
miserably wet. *nodding*

Vivian took this photo of me resting somewhere along the trail. It was
obviously a lengthy rest since I had taken off my real shoes and put on
my Waldies. I don’t for for certain where this photo was taken, but
I think it might have been the day after I went over the Pyrenees
where I stopped for a four-hour rest break. If so, then it was
also, coincidentally, the first place I ever talked to Karolina. At the
time, though, I had no idea we’d end up becoming such good friends.

Vivian also took this photo, with me once again taking an extended
rest break. (Which is obvious since I had switched my hiking shoes
with my Waldies.) This photo was the taken late in the day
I left Burgos, and would be the last time I saw Vivian until we’d
meet up again in Santiago. (We’d swap emails for the duration of
our hikes, though. We just didn’t cross paths again until Santiago.)

My credentials are kind of long and don’t really photograph well—at least
not the entire length of it—but I figured some of you might want to see
what they looked like at the end of the trip. The one on the left
is the one I started with out of Le Puy. The one on the right was
used after I filled up the one on the left.

This is the other side of the credentials.


westmetromommy said...

Dude, you're on Facebook? I'll need to make another search for you....found you!

Did I tell you that I'm now an AtlasQuest account holder? Once the weather warms up/dries out/etc, we're going to try letterboxing with the kids.

I really enjoyed reading about your Spanish Adventure....what's next?

Michael Merino said...

Thanks for the extra info. You've shown quiet a dedication to expressing extra info to keep us informed.

Anonymous said...

I just read most of your blog and I realized I was within 4 days of you on the Spanish side of the Camino. I am planning to hike the Le Puy portion this fall and your blog was very helpful. I was one of the Americans, but I didn't decide to hike it because of "The Way" but it was useful in showing people what I was going to do.