Posted by: Shaul A | Thursday, October 11, 2007

It´s the end of the world

One month and two days later, almost 700 kilometers later, one rainy day and lots of sunny ones later, and here we are, at the end of the Camino, at the end of the world – Finisterre!

The last 4 days, after we left Santiago, were completely amazing. Suddenly there were only few people and not masses of pilgrims, and we could walk quietly, enjoying the beautiful scenery. We went through tiny villages, crossed peaceful rivers and met a lot of dogs. The atmosphere was great – very calm and relax, and it was a good time for us to lay back and think about the long way that we walked.

Today, around noon, we reached the ocean. We passed through the village of Finisterre and climbed to the point from which one cannot go any further. We got to the famous lighthouse which stands at the edge of a cliff, right above the water. According to the tradition, every one of us burnt something of his own, something that symbolizes the will to leave behind the bad things and to begin a new path. Then we had a nice little picnic, sang a few songs, and ran like crazy pilgrims right into the freezing ocean.

That was the end of our Camino. In behalf of the VAAD we wish to thank you for participating in our experiences and for commenting (especially Ahava…). Tomorrow, finally, we stop walking. We´ll take a bus back to Santiago, spend a few days in Barcelona, and from there – straight back to normal life. And as the (crazy) falks around here often say – the end of this Camino is the beginning of the real Camino.



A parish church along the way from Santiago


Walking on the roof of the world, next to this holy tree…


A waterfall


Reaching the lighthouse at the end of the Camino


The 0.0 kilometer stone at the end of the way – a small proof for getting there


A shoe at the end of the world


Burning our personal belongings (mom – don´t worry, we didn´t burn anything important)


Us, at the end of the world




Almost naked in the ocean


We made it!


Farewell from Team Camino 2007…

Posted by: Shaul A | Sunday, October 7, 2007

Welcome to Santiago

700 kilometers have passed so briefly, and here we are, at the final point of the main part of our journey – Santiago de Compostela! After 24 days of walking, climbing mountains and hills, crossing rivers and clouds, walking through rain and enjoying the sun, we are finally here. On the last kilometers we marched with hundreds of other pilgrims from all over Europe and entered the old city of Santiago through the Porta de Camino. We walked through the narrow alleys and all of a sudden found ourselves in the heart of the giant plaza in front of the main cathedral of the city.

After we found a place to sleep (we rented an apartment in the middle of the city just for us) and had a decent meal, we participated in the main ceremony for pilgrims in the cathedral and had tons of fun. In the evening we went bar hopping, celebrating our success with other pilgrims and enjoying the great tapas and the excellent local beer.

This morning Yonatan even spoke with Yael Dan on Galei Tzahal and told the entire state of Israel about our trip. Yay! You can even click on this link, and listen to the whole 8 minute interview.

But why should we bore you with such minor details when the real story is our next 4 days, in which we will continue walking to our real final destination – the all mighty ocean.

Posted by: Shaul A | Friday, October 5, 2007

Almost there

Ok, this is it. Believe it or not, but tomorrow, after more than 700 kilometers, we are reaching Santiago.

We are really thrilled, and probably will take tomorrow step by step, just to enjoy the last few meters. If you are wondering why aren´t we coming back home after that, well this is because we are continuing afterwards right to the ocean (100 kilometers more).

When we are in Santiago, we will participate in the main pilgrim mass in the main cathedral, and afterwards we will upload some photos from the last steps.

Can´t wait till then…  

Posted by: Shaul A | Monday, October 1, 2007

Rain drops are falling on our heads

The last few days have been the best days we had on the Camino so far, for a couple of reasons. First, we met Jenny (the Irish girl) again, and we´re traveling together and it´s wonderful. Second, the views in this area are just great. We had 2 difficult but very rewarding climbs, each to an altitude of 1400-1500 meters, but each climb was very different.

The second climb was to a tiny village called O Cebreiro, which is exactly on the very spot where the Camino enters the province of Galicia, which is known to be the most rainy one in Spain. Well, it´s not a lie – it is rainy. On this same day we got rain on our head for the very first time. The whole thing was quite fun. We put on our rain gear, which was really funny because it´s not worth anything, and went uphill. The secnery was excellent, because we were walking inside a cloud.

Today the skies cleared up, and we could see the amazing Irish-like area that we´re walking through. It´s just amazing. We pass through villages so small they hardly have a name, and everybody here speak a funny language which is not Spanish but rather Galician (it´s similar to Portugese). We arrived to a city called Sarria this afternoon, which leaves us only 120 kilometers to Santiago. We´ll probably be there this Saturday.

And now, we´ll let the photos speak for themselves…


getting ready for a rainy morning, with Jenny (the Irish girl that we met once again after we seperated from her a week ago) and with the Korean family that we like so much


The morning view from the top of the mountain


And now without the cloud


Here comes the rain



The (wet but happy) village people – don´t you ever buy cheap rain gear


Hiding from the rain inside a local pub


You won´t believe it, but this is how Swedish girls look like in the rain


Watching a Real Madrid football match in the local pub in Triacastela (in honor of Ariel. By the way, Real won)


A nice village before Samos this morning


and another one


A spooky cemetery near Samos


Having breakfast near the monestary in Samos


Only 142 km to go!!!


Arriving to Sarria this afternoon


*** without words ***

Posted by: Shaul A | Saturday, September 29, 2007

The Camino Routine

In order to let you feel something of the Camino life, we decided to describe our daily routine.

 1. Waking up. The time is usually 06:15, which is insanely early, especially since it´s egyptian dark outside. It´s really cold during the mornings, so we try to make ourselves enough tea as we can until we begin walking. The whole waking up part is really amusing since you do it with at least another 30-40 guys, most of them old french guys, who are doing exactly the same things (besides making tea).

2. Walking. The walking part devides into several different parts. There´s the morning part, in which we are still fresh and excited, so the walking pace is quite high. In this part we usually pass lots and lots of old french men who are doing the Camino as well. The sunrises are really great and everything is very peaceful. Most of the towns and villages that we pass in this time are still closed, since nobody in Spain wakes up before 10:00. After this part comes the afternoon part. By this time the sun is high and we get really hungry. But in Spain, nothing is open or serves food during the Siesta, so we need to find different solutions. And then comes the last part of the walking, which is the last part – the part in which we really want to get to the final point of the day, find our hostel (they are called Albergue de Peregrinos), pray it´s free (Donativo), throw ourselves into the showers, hoping there´s hot water and getting some real food finally.

3. Collecting stamps. We know, it sounds a bit strange, but we collect stamps, exactly as if we were 9 year old girls. We get a stamp in our Pilgrim Passport from each and every place we arrive to at the end of the day, and sometimes from unique places we pass thorugh. As soon as we can we´ll upload a photo of our passports so you could all see and laugh real hard.

4. Beating the old people. Everyday is a little bit like a race on its own. Everyday everybody, more or less, are doing the same part of the Camino. This is why everybody feel the undying urge to beat everybody else and reach the hostel before the rest do, to catch the best bed in it. Until you´ve seen old German ladies run, you haven´t seen running in your life. Ben Johnson – look out!

5. Snoring. Here´s an interesting fact that you probably didn´t know about old German men – they snore. Oh man, they snore like hell. Usually it starts very quitely, but very systematically, since this is they way the German do things. Little by little every  other German man in the room joins the first who snores, and soon there´s a harmonic concerto of snoring. Noam finds it particulary funny, and this makes him laugh like a mad man on drugs until he falls asleep and join the whole snoring thing by himself.

6. Hunting beautiful girls (less than 65 years old). Well, there aren´t enough of them, but eventually we find them, and the rest is history.

7. Carrying backpacks. There´s nothing we can do but hate our backpacks. In spite all our afforts, they are still too heavy (between 12-14 kgs). This is frustrating since all the other people we see on the Camino somehow manage to get by with really really tiny backpacks, between 5-10 kgs on avaerage. But hey, what are 12 kilos in comparison to the horrible 15-30 kilos Yonatan & Shaul carried during Shvil Israel.

8. Missing home. Walking long distances make you figure out exactly what are the most important things that you have in your life, and that is exactly what you miss during the days, and during the nights.

9. Finding new stories. One of the most interesting thing in the Camino experience is meeting new people from over the whole globe and hearing their stories. Finding out why did they go on the Camino from the first place, and what they try to acomplish. Most of them, as it seems, want to start a new chapter of their lives and hope that doing the Camino will give them the oppertunity to do so. We collect their stories, and the interesting ones – like the story about the blind man who´s doing the Camino with his wife, the girl without a leg who´s doing the Camino day by day, the 73 year-old man who´s doing the Camino for the 17th time, and many more – will find their way to the Hebrew guide we plan on writing when we go back home.

10. Waiting for the next day. By the end of each day, after walking 22 km or so, while the body is resting, the mind wants more. At the end of each day we read in our guide and talk to people about the things that awaits us in the following days. We´re constantly looking forwards to climb the next mountain, come up the next hill, to be amazed by the next amazing view or person, and most important – we´re looking forward to getting to Santiago de Compostela and beyond, to the ocean, to Finisterra – ¨The End of the World¨

Posted by: Shaul A | Thursday, September 27, 2007

The Hi-Tech Camino

Ladies and Gentelmen,

After walking almost 400 km (we are currently in a city called Ponferrada, just before entering Galicia), we are more than proud to present you a small collection of bizzare video moments from the road. Enjoy.

This is Terrese, the chica from New-Zealand that we traveled with for the first 2 weeks, demonstrating the most important sentence in Hebrew (if you didn´t understand, she´s saying: ANI ROTZA HAMBURGER)

This is the town hall at Astorga. These little dudes are punching the bell every hour. Years of Joy.

Walking the Camino de Santiago, on a beautiful day, from Astorga to a silly and quite little village by the name of Rabanal de Camino. We think this speaks for itself.

A Korean girl is reading Yonatan Hakatan in Hebrew. This is actually even more funny than it seems at first, because apperantly Yonatan Hakatan is a well know children song in Korea (something about butterflies). It was all found out by accident when we just played the song on the guitar and the Korean girls started singing it in their own language.

A moment of musical acrobatics.

Ok, this is a little bit hard to explain. Let us just say that if you were living in an isolated mountain shelter called Manjarin for 14 years, there´s a chance that you would have ended the same. Or not… The man´s name is Tomas, and he´s been holding this ritual everyday at 11 o´clock since he found out that the Women in Black (from Israel) are meeting in Jerusalem at the same time. The ritual is a strange little thing about world-peace and divine supervision, and lots of mambo jumbo.

Posted by: Shaul A | Sunday, September 23, 2007

New Beginnings

After 12 days of walking along (and sleeping in the same pilgrim´s hostels) with Teresse (from New Zealand), Jenny (Ireland), Maggie (USA), Matt (Ireland), Grahm (UK), Julia (Australia) and a couple of other pilgrims, it was time to say goodbye.

We reached the city of Burgos the day before yesterday, and had a big feast to celebrate the big split-up. We visited the beautiful cathedral of the city, got completely soaked in the sudden rain, and afterwards sat in a resturant to party (not to mention the Irish pub we went afterwards to see a rugby match between Ireland and France).

The day after we took the bus to Leon (how amazing it is to go through 172 km in just 3 hours…). The landscape changed and became much more flat – endless corn fields untill the horizon. Leon was beautiful, though it was really strange to arrive to a new place by bus and not on the camino, but quickly we met two other Israeli guys and made our way through the old town´s alleys to the hostel (which used to be a monestary in the old days).

Today we marched about 32 km (!) in about 8 hours, which wasn´t that hard at all, just a little bit boring since there were no interesting views or places that the camino went through. At the end of this day we arrived to the picturesque little town of Hospital de Orbigo, and we are staying in a wonderfull hostel.

In the next couple of days the Camino is supposed to be much more interesting, with lots of climbing on mountains, walking through forests, visiting interesting villages and monuments, and not eating any shawarma. This means that our next post will be less boring than this one.

And now for some pics:


A beautiful sunrise while exiting Grañon


The three stooges next to a weird curch in Tosantos


An ancient pilgrims´ hostel on the road


The long and winding (and sometimes endless) road


Someone decided to leave his shoes behind


Addicted to Coca Cola


The place we call home – the pilgrims´ hostel in San Juan de Ortega


All the gang (from left to right – Julia, Maggie, Matt, Jenny, Noam, Shaul, Tereese and Yonatan)


A beautiful sunset on the Camino

Posted by: Shaul A | Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Moving on

It´s really hard to find places you can upload pics, so forgive us that we upload so rarely and so little…


Just before the lovely city of Najera – Water!!!


Celebrating Rosh Hashana with some friends


River in Estella


Drinking red wine from a free fountain on the road


Finally found some real food – Hamburgers (very not kosher)


Casting shadows on a Camino waymark (just before Azofra)


Crazy Christian sign on the road, on our way to spending the night in a church in Grañon


We already walked more than 200 kilometers on the Camino, and the atmosphere is just getting warmer (actually the weather is getting colder, but that´s another story). Good freindships have been made by now, and every night we sit in the local bar, drink beer and red wine (Noam drinks Coca Cola) and sing songs. Last night we got to a village of 350 people and spent the night in an attic of the local church. The people in charge arranged a big (free) dinner for every one, and afterwards held some christian services in the chapel, where we sang Halleluya (in hebrew) like true NAAREI MAKHELA. Funny stuff.

We have just 3 more days left before we get to Burgos, from which we´ll take a bus (!) to Leon and continue our journey from there.

Any Questions?


Team Camino

Posted by: Shaul A | Saturday, September 15, 2007

Time for Fiesta

After 28 km today we´ve reached the lovely city of Lagroño. We found out that there is a festival going on in town (it´s quite a big town – 130,000 people live here) but we´re not sure what´s it all about. The Important thing is that we can drink and eat and watch the spaniards stroll in the streets while completely drunk.

We´ve walked more than 170 km untill now, and it feels great. It´s true that we rub stinky lotions on our knees and heels, but hey – those just minor problems.

On Rosh Hashana evening the people we met during the road threw a party for us, and we ate apples in honey, drank a lot of good wine and played the guitar and explained everybody about the holiday and how to sing hebrew songs. On that night we met an Israeli girl named Shlomit, who knows Yonatan in a bizzare way from back home. We´ve been walking with her (sort of) since than which makes this trip even more… colourfull.
Have a great week everybody. Promise to upload some new pictures soon.

Posted by: Shaul A | Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Pictures and a Special Video

Finally, we reached a semi-modern town. Here, in Pamplona, that has the same population of Petah Tikva, we found a good internet place, between the beautiful cathedral and the lovely old streets. Enjoy the pictures and the Shana Tova video.


The first town, Saint Jean (France)

The first town, Saint Jean (France)


Starting the Camino


On the slopes of the Pyrenees


On the first evening


Going up (and up, and up…)


In the huge sleeping hall (100 beds!)


Having fun in a pub with other pilgrims


Next to an offial sign of the camino


Next to a river in the middle of the forest

And the main feature – the movie:

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