November 3, 2022. At Valencia, Spain.

Dear Christine. The end is in sight… and so is the beginning.

In many ways this has been a very unique and complex journey for me. Actually, I have been on a number of separate journeys that are tightly woven together. There was my time in Lisbon and Porto. There was the Camino that I walked with Kris, and the Camino without her. There was meeting attorney and mediator Ken and his wife Bambi. I hope that they are well.

There was my time with Lynn who plans to move from New Mexico to Portugal. I continue to wear as an earring the little silver Camino shell that she gave me. There was also my time with Tina who forced me to speak German and to discover that I could.

There were the days in Santiago trying to figure out what to do next: continue to the coast and endure the monsoons, or choose not to be a prisoner to a plan. The example set by a German woman prevailed. There was the down day that I saw myself as alone and invisible. The wisdom of a Belgian woman taught me, “…it’s the adjusting to the feeling which is the most uncomfortable, not the feeling itself.” She was right, and my discomfort was short-lived.

Of course I can’t forget the evening in Santiago with Tom’s friends and their Camino friends.

Throughout it all you and I maintained daily contact, however even that came with a twist. Most of those days found us separated not only by distance, but by time.

Of course, there was “The Decision”. Today I told you of another decision, that I will return for another Camino. When, where, with or without you, children, or grandchildren, all to be decided, fate willing.

My time in Leon, Burgos, Madrid, Toledo, and now Valencia has been another phase to this journey. It ends in two days and another journey begins in Barcelona, shared with you, Wendy, and our Norwegian daughter Hege. Then comes sailing 22 days across the Atlantic.

I freely admit that I do beginnings much better than I do endings. Yesterday, today, and (likely) tomorrow are examples. I am weary of the present “tour”. I could not force myself to visit any museums, churches, or tourist sites. Instead I walked and just enjoyed being. However it appears that for a few coins one can climb to the top of the cathedral tower. That calls to me.

I engaged in some risky behavior today. I saw a barbershop and on an impulse walked in for a haircut.

I pantomimed my instructions to the barber who nodded his understanding, but his eyes said otherwise. Fortunately, his considerable skills prevailed and I walked out with a great haircut that only cost €13.

We and his partner shared a picture and smiles.

Paul the barber (R.I.P.) from Smith Center, Kansas would not have called it risky. I still remember him saying in 2010, “Don’t worry, if I make a mistake, it’ll grow back.“

How could there not be pictures for me to share?…

Not only is my hotel room incredible, but it is located in the heart of the old city within two blocks of the cathedral and main square. It’s a wonderful area.

The old city of Valencia was once surrounded by fortress walls and huge towers that protected the city gates. At least 2 of the towers remain standing.

It’s a tower, there are stairs, and so I climbed it.

Even in November the beach front is beautiful and inviting. I imagine it must be crowded with tanned bodies in the summer.

The temperature hit 76 today and some heartier souls shed most of their clothes to play in the water and on the sand.

Also, this is a cruise destination.

One vendor near the main square has created an interesting twist on ice cream waffle cones. Strange that his customers were only young females.

Sleep well… two nights to go! Love, from Me to You.

PS. Remember I commented that you can no longer tell Americans from Europeans by their shoes and clothing? The same goes for verbal exclamations. It’s common to hear, “Oh my God!“, “Wow!”, or the like, immediately followed by the local language. I’ve done more than a few double takes on hearing such expressions.

11 thoughts on “Valencia, Endings and Beginnings

  1. Ah … Good morning Pete!! So nice to have a view of your world today. My favorite bit – “it’s a tower, there are stairs and so I climbed it”. Perfect – we do the same! Why take the easy way when there are stairs to be climbed. I also have to say – the beach looks beautiful, the remnants of the castle are so interesting. We will have to put Valencia on our bucket list. We too seem to never finish our Camino’s … there always seems to be another looming. Though on my first one in 2013 – I swore I would not go back due to all the injuries I had. I think 6 is the number so that would mean that I have been back 5 times. Go figure! With each ending comes a new beginning!! It is lovely how that works!

    • Hi Liz! I just got down from the cathedral tower a bit ago. Just shy of 450 steps round-trip. The staircase is one of those medieval circular stone things that gets narrower as you get to the top. I had been scheduled for knee surgery in mid December, but canceled it as I have not had any problems. Yesterday I would’ve sworn that I wouldn’t have done another self-guided cathedral tour, today made me a liar. It was quite interesting and will show up in my “letter” tomorrow.
      Have you and Frank ever considered doing a Viking ocean or river cruise?

      • We did one cruise (Frank has done a number pre:Liz) which was on the Azamara – a small ship that was able to cruise up some rivers. Our ship was the first to arrive in Flanders for – gee a long time – the whole town turned out in their native dress with music and dancing! Our intention was to do a small ship Baltic Cruise this fall – oops – maybe not! I would LOVE to do another cruise and am looking forward to hearing your stories about yours! I too have a knee replacement in my future but I have come up with some creative avoidance and (knocking on wood) so far so good! I would like to complete the 48 highest peaks in NH on my original equipment. Soooo close – only 6 to go!

        • Liz, we haven’t considered ourselves “cruise people“, but the difference has been Viking. Small ship, no children, no casino, no dress up night, no nickel and dime-ing. What is coming up will be our third ocean cruise, and I’m looking forward to it.
          The downside, even with Viking, is you don’t get to dig deep into individual ports of call. It’s more like a sampling.

  2. I loved your journey’s review, recalling every one! And if you can go up snd down those many steps, you do not need knee surgery anytime soon!!
    Camino on!

  3. Hallo Pete, was für ein wundervoller Abschluss deiner Reise durch Spanien. Jetzt wird es Zeit Segel zu setzen und dich zu erholen! Ich wünsche euch eine wunderschöne Zeit! Alles Liebe und Gute für euch, Tina

    • Lieber Tina. Vielen Dank für deine gedachte was Ich habe geschriebt. Meine Worte kommt nicht von meinem Kopf aber wirklich von mein Herz. Alles Liebe und Gute für euch auch! Pete

  4. Pete! I am catching up with your posts! Valencia sounds wonderful! You have reminded me about my 2012 trip to Italy. 28 days of pure bliss and constant learning. John and I toured Spain together. Again agreed trip that left me wanting more. Portugal is on my list but not on the calender yet! You have inspired me. And, I have nothing to add about how wonderful Viking cruises are! My best to you and Christine! Thank you for sharing

    • Hi Susan (and John!). Your comment has made my day. Especially the part about inspiring you to visit Portugal. Definitely put it on your calendar as soon as you can. It’s a beautiful country, beautiful people, and very inexpensive. Take care and we look forward to the day that our paths again cross.

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