Travels with Friends

By Resident Barbara Brown


The three of us, Barbara Brown, Evelyn Gilbert and Olive Hutton, left on our three-week adventure with high hopes. We eventually joined 10 others forming a great group that we really enjoyed. The trip officially began in Carcassonne, France, where we stayed in a nice little hotel just outside the city walls.

We enjoyed lots of hiking which included Black Mountain where our guide brought along fresh strawberries and whipped cream. We continued through France with a stay in Bayonne, eventually getting to Bilbao, Spain. Exploring the Guggenheim Museum was one of the highlights. We learned a lot  about the Basque country and its struggle for independence.

Our next stay was in Pamplona where we walked the path of the bulls, from the pens to the bullfighting arena. We hiked portions of the Camino de Santiago, a pilgrim trail that has been followed for 2,000 years. When not hiking on it, we rode in the bus parallel to the trail. It begins in France, crosses the Pyrenees, and continues west through Spain. We stayed a few nights in Leon on our way to Santiago de Compostela, the end of the trail. There we encountered many pilgrims finishing their long journey at the cathedral. If you are not familiar with the trail, you might like to see the movie, The Way, with Martin Sheen.

One day we ate lunch at a local resident’s home, enjoying homemade alcoholic drinks with lots of local favorite foods. We spent two nights in the beautiful Douro Valley, staying in a hotel right on the river. The trip ended in Porto, Portugal. The journey was very successful with lots of new learnings,  discoveries and friendships. We were tired when we got home, but so happy we’d had the opportunity for this excellent trip.