Day 8: We woke at 4:30 am and were out the door by 5:30 am. We walked by ourselves until we came across the first coffee bar then we meet all the others in our group. Made good time so we were not in a hurry. As we were leaving the coffee bar the Polish women asked if we were interested in praying a rosary together. We joyfully accepted and we all took out our rosaries from our packs. The rosary was multilingual: Polish, Slovak, English, Italian and German, while walking through Spain! It was great to pray together.

We walked as a group most of the morning together. The Polish sang songs and we shared stories. We arrived early in Caldas de Reis and had lunch while we waited for the hostel to open. We had a local sandwich that we called a “popeye” sandwich because the top piece of bread had a hole in it with an egg cooked in. Dad would make those when I was young, we called them Popeyes!

we got some rest in the afternoon and rose to the smell of pasta sause. Armando, from Italy made the group pasta for dinner. It was delicious! We also met a mother and daughter from Houston, Texas in the kitchen than night. After dinner I celebrated Mass for the group outside. A Portuguese family joined us, they had two boys with them, one in high school and one in college. Good young men.

After Mass we walked to the hot springs and soaked our feet for a while. Upon returning to the hostel a few of us played a game of keep-a-way soccer with a local boy playing in the street. He was pretty good, we may see him go pro someday!

Day 9: We woke at 5:30 am and were out the door at 6 am. The hostel we stayed at was not the best so we were itching to get up and on our way. It was very hot! We walked with the group out. Dad met 3 young men from Spain who were on Camino together. They had been friends since they were 5 years old. It was a tough few years of college and they needed to get away and spend time together. The Camino was a perfect fit.

Today we met many others and the trail began to be more crowded as we got closer to Santiago. We took a slight detour to a Franciscan Monastery about 5 km out of our way. It was well worth it. However, since we took the longer route, when we arrived at the albergue in Padron there was not enough room for our group of 10 to stay together. Desiring to stick together as a group this last night we walked into the city hoping to find accommodation. Not too long in our search we met a man who had an apartment for rent that could accommodate us. What a gift! It was a very nice apartment.

That evening we joined the local church for Mass and I concelebrated with two young Polish priests. After Mass several of the old women in the parish came up to my dad and I and shared how grateful they were to have us join them for Mass. they loved to see young priests!

We finished the day with a nice Romanian salad prepared by Adina and Alex. We were all exhausted. Tomorrow is another day on the Camino!