Colleen’s Strolling Through Spain – Part 6

Well today was our last day on the Camino Monument 2 - Blog 6and we walked about 5 hours to get to Santiago. The trail became very crowded and there were a lot of groups all heading into the city.  The mood became festive with singing and cheering. Everyone seemed eager to get to the end.  And then suddenly you could see the city and we stopped at the pilgrim monument just before the city to take it all in. We arrived at the square in front of the church and it was great to watch the people.  Some had walked 800km and were on the trail for over 30 days.  As for me, I am glad to finish our 113km but also a little sad to say goodbye to the people in our group. We are a group of 13 people that have bonded over the journey. You get the opportunity to walk and talk with everyone. We were usually out about 8 hours a day so there was plenty of time to get to know everyone. We took our pictures and then head back to the hotel for a shower.  Now we will do what all pilgrims do. We will get our Compostela (ours will be written in Latin), go to the pilgrims mass at the cathedral (this mass is all in Spanish), hug the statue of St James, buy our Camino trinkets have one last supper with the gang and then off to bed.  One more thing on our bucket list has been accomplished!

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If you are interested in experiencing the Camino de Santiago for yourself I would strongly recommend working with G Adventures.  Our agents would love to help you with all of your travel arrangements.

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Colleen’s Strolling Through Spain – Part 5

So we have been on Camino for a couple of days now and it is quite the experience. Training for the walk in Saskatoon is great for the mileage but you need to train for a lot of hills which in Saskatoon can be a challenge. The trail has just as many hills as flats and the hills are steep.  The good news is there always seems to be a small restaurant right before a climb so you can stop for treats and sweets for energy. Every restaurant has fresh baking so Jorgen, my husband, is very happy. Along the way there have been some great small churches that are really old. It’s great to just visit them and soak in the centuries of history and imagine all the pilgrims that have come before you. They smell of incense and candles.  We take a few moments at each to get our passports stamped and then we move on to the next stop. Since we are only walking the last 100km I can only comment on Galicia; but it is a beautiful walk through forests of eucalyptus trees and tunnels of green. The beauty around us helps to take your mind off the walking.  So far I have no blisters so my luck is holding! Our last two days have been shorter walks but the mileage will increase as we head for Santiago.

Here are some of the churches and restaurants we visited along the way.

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Colleen’s Strolling Through Spain – Part 4

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Our first day on the Camino was a bit of a learning curve but with a guide everything is taken care of.   Our guide, Mercedes, made sure we kept on the right trail and reminded us to pace ourselves. The thing about Camino is not to worry about getting to your next destination but to enjoy the journey.   There are small restaurants along the way, every 30 minutes or so, so you can always get something to drink and use the bathrooms.  I thought that the Camino would be so much busier but there are times when we are walking alone. We stopped at a beautiful restaurant for over an hour just enjoying the food and our new friends. That’s another great thing about traveling in a group!  You meet people from all over the world. We have people from South Africa, Ireland, London, Melbourne and Canada on our tour.  After 8 hours we arrive at our first destination the riverside city of Portomarin.  That’s 23km down and 90 more kilometres to go. Now it’s time for a cold beer.

Portomarín Church

Church in Portomarin

Colleen’s Strolling Through Spain – Part 3

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Our next adventure in Spain is to walk the Camino. The Camino de Santiago is an 800km walk that starts in France and ends up in Santiago de Compostela, Spain. We were interested in walking the Camino but not the full 800km. We opted to go with G Adventures and hike the last 100km. It starts in Sarria and ends in Santiago. Some of the advantages of travelling with G Adventures are that you do not have to carry a backpack; your luggage is moved between hotels for you. You stay in small hotels instead of dormitory style accommodations and you have a guide that takes care of everything.  Your only job is to just get up every day and walk.   At the beginning of the walk, you get a Credencial Del Peregeino that is like a passport and you have to get at least 2 Stamps a day to prove that you have walked the 100km.  You can get them stamped at churches or at one of the many small restaurants along the way. Most people get far more than 2 by the end of the day.  We leave tomorrow for our first 24km hike. Now we are off to see Sarria.

Colleen’s Strolling Through Spain – Part 2

We have left Barcelona behind and are spending a few days on the island of Majorca right off the coast of Spain. We are staying in the Old Town of Palma. This is such a great destination. There are lots of things to do and the beach is about a 15 minute walk away.

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In order to get familiar with Old Town we decided to take a bike tour. I find this much more interesting and the groups are usually small. It’s a good thing that we decided to look for the bike shop the night before as Old Town is made up of narrow windy roads that lead from one square to the next. Thank goodness for Google maps or we would never have found it!  We get there about 15 mins early to pick up a bike and get sorted. We are a group of 6 and so we head off. The nice thing about Palma is that there are a lot of bike lanes so we don’t have to navigate traffic. We see the highlights – the Cathedral, the Royal Palace, fish market, the old city walls and lots of little things along the way. What I like is that you have a local guide with lots of knowledge and with a small group you can ask a ton of questions and they are happy to give you shopping and restaurant tips. The bikes can go so many places that a bus can’t  reach so you see much more.   We are in Palma just one more day. I would recommend going out to an island if you are in Spain. It’s nice to get a break from the big cities.

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Colleen’s Strolling Through Spain – Part 1

Our 3 days in Barcelona has gone by very quickly. It is definitely a city not to miss. Whether you are coming for the 2000 year old history, the shopping, the food, the churches or the beach; Barcelona will not disappoint!  We are staying in the Gothic quarter of Barcelona just off Las Rambla and it is exactly where you want to be.  The side streets can be narrow and a little bit like a maze filled with shopping and restaurants. It was great just to wander around.

Spain 2018 - July 15 2I would definitely recommend a tour of the Gothic area as there are so many things that you will miss without one. The part that I enjoyed the most was the ancient Roman forum that was discovered when they were renovating an old building. There is only a small piece left but it gives you some idea of how it must have looked and it is exciting to touch something that was built before the birth of Christ. I can tell you that without the guide we would never have found it. And then there is the Sagrada Familia. It is one of the largest churches I have ever seen and the most beautiful. It is a must to go inside the church and so you need to buy your tickets before you arrive as it can sell out very quickly in the summer.   We wish we had more time here in Barcelona but we are now off to Palma a small island off the coast of Spain.

Spain 2018 - July 15

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Casie recently vacationed at the luxurious Royalton Negril.  She stayed in the adults only Hideaway section.   Here is her hotel review.

Location: Directly on the beach about 1.5/2 hours from Montego Bay airport. We didn’t go into town so I’m not sure how long it would take. There is a little market across the street we walked too which was very convenient!

Beach: I found the beach at the Hideaway pretty small and secluded but not as nice as the amazing beach on the Royalton side. There was a bit of seaweed but nothing too bad and nothing more than expected travelling to the Caribbean in the summer.

Pool Areas: There are three pools throughout the resort, all infinity pools with swim up bars and a kids pool.

  1. The Hideaway one was nice since it was adults only but busy.  They did bring a couple options for lunch over to the bar. The day we were there they had chicken wings and jerk chicken wraps. They had water aerobics daily.
  2. Main Pool at Royalton was the biggest. They had lounge chairs in the pool. Right beside the bar is a grill. We only spent an hour at this pool because it was too busy for us.
  3. Diamond Club Pool in the Royalton section is where we went every day. They also had the lounge chairs in the pool and a couple fountains. There was a Diamond Club Beach Bar beside it. You could order food off the menu with good selection. They also had entertainment everyday here; trivia, dancers, steel drum band, dance lessons and water aerobics.
  4. Kids Pool had a waterpark with a bucket that dumps on you when it gets full.  It looked like a lot of fun.

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Restaurants: At the Hideaway there are two a la cartes, Ocean Bistro and Dorado. We went to Dorado a few times for breakfast and supper once. The food and service was great!

Royalton had the buffet. We ate breakfast here the first couple days. Food was as expected for a buffet.

We did two a la carte’s on the Royalton side, Hunter Steakhouse and the Italian. Both were really good! Service at the steakhouse was good but we did have to wait a while for a Mojitio.  The Italian also offered take away pizza throughout the day. The best pizza I have had at an all-inclusive!

Royalton had a cafe in their lobby. My friend got Gelato our first night. I had the soft ice cream and it was really good!

There was also a Sports Bar on the Royalton side. We went a couple nights.  This is also where the disco is but I don’t think it’s open every night. We only saw a DJ there once. There was food here too.

Room Service: We ordered room service a few times which was super easy! You can do it off the TV then they will call to reconfirm your order. Besides the long wait the food was good! My favorite was their chicken noodle soup. I ordered it every time! Their options were; fruit platter, shrimp, chicken noodle soup, wrap and sandwiches, Caesar salad and chicken fingers.

Room: We were in the Diamond Club Luxury Junior Suite Ocean View which was super nice!! The toilet and shower are separate with the double sink and bathtub in the open. We had two queen beds. Our wrist band was our room key which was very handy!

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I absolutely loved my first visit to Jamaica and staying in Negril.  If you are interested in the Royalton Negril or would like some help planning your next Jamaican vacation please don’t hesitate to reach out to me.  You can email me at or 306-955-1449.

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