A Travellerspoint blog

March 2018

Surfliner train to San Luis Obispo and car to San Simeon

View California & Panama Canal on Deb Godley's travel map.

Stayed at the Dunes Inn Sunset blvd last night. The flights were late so we only had a few hours sleep before walking to the metro station - very convenient to the motel - and taking the metro to Union Station. Since we paid the $10 or so more per person we have business class tickets and are sitting in the lounge having breakfast.

Attached a couple of pics from Union Station. Very nice 1/2 dome ceiling and some artwork. When it was time to go to the train the lounge passengers hitched a ride on a golf Hart right to the platform next to the boarding spot. Great service - feeling pampered.

Posted by Deb Godley 09:13 Archived in USA Comments (0)

Airport lounge in YYZ

View California & Panama Canal on Deb Godley's travel map.

Steve says everyone knows YYZ from the Rush song. I wouldn’t know, being musically challenged.

Last year during the United way silent auction (or it must have been the year before because last year we were in South America during last year’s campaign, I think), I bid on and won 10 WestJet lounge passes. They expire in Oct this year and we’ve been slowly using them.

Have to say, we do love hanging out in a lounge with free food and beer/wine (probably water and pop too ?). So much more relaxing than the gate area and cheaper than the bar.

Here we are in the lounge. 180_7DEF8D62-C..B98C20A6950.jpeg

We have a little longer lounge time than planned because our flight to LAX is 30 or so minute late - so far.

We had lunch - linguini with Italian chicken. Tasty but not fully hot. And shared some desserts. Might have another bite before we leave for dinner. And some more wine. I’d prefer beer, but all they have is lager, which I see as a waste of calories. No problem, though we had full Easter turkey dinner with Mary and Colin last night including a Guinness or two. Fantastic!

Also enjoyed a dark chocolate Easter bunny -thanks Diny!

Looks like time to go. More later...

Posted by Deb Godley 15:01 Archived in Canada Comments (0)

Luggage tags

Celebrity cruise

View California & Panama Canal on Deb Godley's travel map.

We just received the luggage tags for the cruise. ?

So almost three months ago, after making the final payment for the Panama Canal cruise, we noticed that the street address on our profile with Celebrity was correct, but there was still an apartment number from the last place we lived.

So we phoned them to ask that they take out the house number.

They appear to have misunderstood us as you can see from the photo. Luggage tags

Luggage tags

They seem to think I have no last name and I live in the outhouse. ?‍♀️

Luckily they do have the stateroom number and the sailing date correct so we are good to go. ?

Posted by Deb Godley 13:04 Archived in Canada Comments (1)

Lucky so far...

Planning for California & Panama Canal

View California & Panama Canal on Deb Godley's travel map.

We're not sure if we should feel lucky or worried...We have three weeks planned in California followed by a Celebrity Infinity cruise from San Diego to Fort Lauderdale.
The cruise right before ours, sailing from Fort Lauderdale to San Diego has been cancelled due to propulsion issues and it is going into dry dock for repairs. Ours is still scheduled.
We also have tickets for The Price Is Right (TPIR) taping. The other taping on the same day was cancelled or, rather, moved to the prior afternoon. Our taping still appears to be on.
That's two near misses. Since I do not believe that "things come in threes", I'm not expecting any further close calls.
We have a jam-packed trip planned, with three baseball games (Angels, Dodgers Padres), a hockey game (Kings), Universal, Disneyland - including the Food and Wine Festival (YES!), Griffith Observatory, Angels Flight, Hearst Castle, the Surfliner and the Coast Starlight, La Brae Tar Pits, Air & Space Museum and the USS Midway, elephant seals, Venice Beach and Santa Monica Pier, TPIR. And, on a quick jaunt to New Mexico, the Trinity Site Museum, musical highway, Very Large Array and Pietown. Then we'll rest on the cruise to Ft Lauderdale
More to come...

Posted by Deb Godley 18:51 Archived in USA Comments (0)

Lessons learned on the Camino de Santiago de Compostela

Ok, I've had lots of questions and requests for tips, so I thought I should put together a lessons learned entry. These will, of course, be based on my experience, so your mileage may vary.


  • Healthy and happy feet will make or break your experience. I met many walkers with feet issues - usually blisters or black/missing toenails. Some were not able to continue or had to take several days of doctor-prescribed rest due to their feet. The common causes appeared to be 1) shoes that were too small; and/or 2) shoes that were not broken in.

Here's what I did to avoid feet problems:


  • good quality hiking shoes with a large toe box (lots of room wide and in front of my toes). I chose Keen lightweight hiking shoes.
  • good quality hiking sandals. I have Teva leather sandals, which doubled as alternate walking footwear
  • shoes 1.5 sizes larger than my normal footwear. I wore thick socks to start and then thinner later as my feet flattened and expanded. My feet are now starting to go back to normal.
  • Superfeet blueberry insoles. I tried another style and found they were not comfortable in my testing. I need insoles because I have flat feet and need a bit of support and because the insoles that come with shoes tend to be lower quality and often (so I was told) don't last through the whole trip.
  • double socks - I used Wright brand, which are built-in double socks, starting with thicker socks at the beginning and thinner later as my feet swelled
  • foot cream - I have dry feet, prone to cracking, so I used foot cream to keep them soft
  • blister bandaids - I used thick good-sticking bandaids to cover the small blister (caused because I didn't use the foot cream at the beginning). I used medical tape to cover any spots that felt "hot" or likely to develop blisters

Blister Preparation/Prevention

  • I tested and practiced with my shoe-sock combo and my pack for over 300 km before leaving, including 250 k in 17 consecutive days.
  • I stopped 1-2 times each walking day at a bar/cafe, where I took off my shoes and socks to 1) dry my feet & socks; 2) wiggle my toes; 3) check for hotspots; 4) massage my feet
  • At the end of the walking day, I always soaked my feet in cold water or ran the shower cold over my feet for 5 minutes. Where available, I used swimming pools, rivers, or foot pools for longer soaks.
  • Switching over to sandals from the hiking shoes at the end of the walking day, gives the feet a good rest, while still providing good foot support (as opposed to flip-flops or crocs)


  • I bought an ultra lightweight sleeping bag (450g), which was very pricey, but worth it to keep the weight down (about $400). I also used a silk liner, which was light weight and protected the sleeping bag from my sweat, etc.
  • I sprayed both with Permethryn insect repellent before leaving to deter bedbugs and other insects.
  • Every albergue where I stayed provided a pillow and a mattress. Only occasionally were there sheets. Often blankets were available. In a couple of places, when the mattress was uncomfortable, I used blankets under my sleeping bag to provide protection from the mattress springs.
  • I slept in the silk liner and was warm enough most nights with just my feet in the sleeping bag (where I also tucked my waist pouch with my passport/money/etc. while I slept). When it turned cold, I pulled the sleeping bag over me. It worked well, and I never needed anything else.

Clothes & other gear

  • However much other gear you take, keep the pack weight down as low as possible. I had an 18lb pack, not including water. During my practice walking, I often had the weight at over 20lbs, so the 18lbs didn't seem heavy.
  • For walking, I ended up wearing the same roll-up Columbia light-weight pants and shirt every day, washing and hanging to dry every day. It was just the most comfortable combination. The shirt was a mesh material that allowed the air to flow, but provided protection from sun and insects.
  • For evenings, I wore shorts and t-shirts. It was good to have two pairs of shorts and two shirts so I could wear one, while washing the other along with the walking clothes. One of the shorts/shirt sets was also for sleeping
  • I didn't take a bathing suit. There was only one actual swimming pool (that I found) and I wore a sports bra and shorts, which worked out fine.
  • My headlamp had a red light for using in the albergue so you don't wake up the other sleepers with the harsh white light. Much more courteous that way.
  • I stopped wearing my hat after Burgos because I found the bugs loved to hang out in the dark shade of my hat brim. Very annoying. I switched to a buff around my forehead, ears and neck for sun protection.
  • The safety pins and fold-back clips were very useful - I used the clips instead of clothes pegs and the pins for fixing things and for attaching stuff to my pack (e.g. socks that didn't quite dry)
  • I also used carabiners to attach stuff to my pack - e.g. my buff, emergency whistle (which I thankfully didn't need, but figured it should be handy in case I did), garbage bag, food bag, etc.

Other tips

  • I'm really happy I chose to stay in Orisson albergue the first night. It meant I only had to walk 8k the first day, which was a good start and the people I met that first night became good friends and I saw them again and again throughout the journey. It was great starting out with an immediate Camino "family".
  • It's really easy to lose stuff, especially when packing up and leaving in the dark. I lost a bra and the bottoms to my zip-off pants, the former by leaving it on the floor next to my pack and the latter by forgetting to take it off a clothes line.
  • Don't hesitate to talk to a pharmacist if you have any foot or other problems. Farmacias are able to prescribe antibiotics and other medication that you wouldn't be able to get in Canada without seeing a doctor. I found most were able to communicate in English, especially with hand gestures, such as pointing to the allergic reaction I was having to the insect bites
  • Walk only as far as you want to walk and take breaks whenever you need to. There are lots of options for staying and resting. If you give yourself a reasonable amount of time to complete the distance, you won't have to rush and can enjoy yourself. I took 5.5 weeks for the 775 k, with 2 rest days and walking 20-25k per day. I had three days where I walked longer, with the longest day being 34k.
  • Walking a shorter distance allowed me to finish early in the afternoon, which has many advantages: 1) I was less tired and could walk around and enjoy the town, the fellow pilgrims and the beer; 2) I arrived early enough to generally have my pick of accommodation (often first to arrive and could pick a bottom bunk in a corner); 3) I finished walking before the hottest part of the day; 4) I was showered and my clothes washed & hanging before most other pilgrims arrived - so no wait for the shower or the washing (machine or sink) and the sunniest place for my clothes to dry quickly
  • If you need to, take advantage of the services available. You can have your backpack sent ahead by taxi or take a bus/taxi yourself if the distances are too long or the hills too steep. I didn't have to do this, but many of my fellow pilgrims did this one or more times. This is especially useful if you are traveling with people (e.g. parents) who have a lower fitness level - you can send them and/or their gear on ahead. Make sure you walk the full last 100k to qualify for the compostela.
  • Only carry as much food as you need for the day - it's too heavy to carry much, but nice to have a ready fruit or other snack in case the store or the bar aren't open or don't have healthy food
  • Take a small rock from home to lay at the cross
  • Meet new people and share the experience, but also take some time to walk alone
  • Make note of names and share email addresses or phone numbers - you'll wish you had them later
  • Try the fresh orange juice (zumo naranja naturel)
  • Collaborate with other pilgrims to make a communal meal in an albergue kitchen. Make extra so you can invite others to join!
  • Go to a pilgrim's mass and get a blessing. It is unexpectedly moving.
  • Don't expect the distance markers to make any sense until you get to Galicia
  • Don't go too far without seeing a yellow arrow. They are frequent enough that if you haven't seen one for a while, you may be on the wrong path.
  • Try to see the butafumeiro at the Cathedral in Santiago. The large incense burner is worth the effort to see. Check the cathedral's website to be sure, but it was schedule to be used at every Friday evening mass; although we heard it was at a few of the midday masses, as well.

Posted by Deb Godley 18:33 Archived in Spain Comments (0)

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