New Year Resolutions for 2016

Happy New Year!

Today is Wednesday, my girls are back to school. Some may think “Already?” Yes, it’s not Summer holidays here, as it is in the South Hemisphere (like in Brazil, where we come from.) The cold is coming, temperatures are dropping fast after the several tropical storms that we had in December. Most of the North hemisphere has only 2 weeks of holidays in the end of the year, so do we here in Ireland.

When I was in Brazil I used to write my goals for the next year in December (I later discovered that in English it’s called New Year Resolutions) I used to pray and think about what I wanted to achieve in each specific area of my life: personal, professional and ministry. Last time I did that was in 2010 I think, then my only goal was to survive through the early years of my kids (I was either pregnant or with a small baby). This year I decided to write again, and I want to share them here to have people holding me accountable of my “progress” :)

I have been reading loads of articles, both Christian and not, about defining goals and working hard towards them. But most of those encourage people to think big. I have a big difficulty in following my own plans, so I kept my Resolutions kind of low key :) Oh, and this list might grow during the month of January. December was a very busy month for us, the girls and I almost didn’t stay at home, so I had very little time to think and process what was going on. Now that we’re going back to “normal life” (if that even exists) I might be able to put myself together and plan some more stuff.

So, here they are.

  • Start the process for my Irish citizenship;
  • Translate the blog posts I promised in 2015;
  • Declutter my house (I couldn’t find a work in Portuguese for declutter!);
  • “be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, because human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires.”James 1:19,20;
  • Memorize 52 Bible verses with the kids (1 each week).

So, those are enough to keep me busy for the year, right? :) Bible verse for the week is:

“I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you.”

Salmos 119:11

We’re memorizing the verses in English, because that’s the language in which the girls use with their friends, it’s what we use in church and everywhere outside our house. And it’s surprising to see how fast they learn. We say it together when we wake up, having lunch and before bed, I read and they say it with me. We started Monday, it’s Wednesday and Evelyn already knows it by heart! She mixes up the numbers to say 119!

What about you? Do you have goals for 2016? Did you write them down? Do you need someone to hold you accountable? I was reading a research that says that we can read through the whole Bible in one year if we read as little as 10 minutes a day! Will you take the challenge?

Next week I’ll post the next Bible verse and maybe a picture of something that I’ve decluttered in the house.

May God give you wisdom and understanding to live another week for His honor and glory!

Mariana and The Force Awakens

If you’ve been following this blog, you know I’m no writer, and no critic. And also that I believe that the Bible is the primary source of teaching about God and everything He created. But as Jesus used to teach his disciples using things that were right there before their eyes, I believe that He still does it. After all, the Jesus that walked on this earth, teaching Peter, James, John, and the others, is the same who still lives and reigns, and teaches us through the Holy Spirit.

Last Thursday, Esdras and I watched StarWars – The Force Awakens. (NO spoilers here! Go ahead!)

Before I start, I want to leave my disclaimer: I’m not fanatic about Star Wars; I didn’t read or watch everything about George Lucas or the saga itself (and probably never will); what I write here is not the “absolute truth”,  it’s my impressions and what I feel I’ve been learning after watching The Force Awakens (and the older movies too), and you might disagree with me, which is OK.

For those who like action, adventure and special effects, Star Wars - The Force Awakens is great! Even if you didn’t watch the previous movies, this one is REALLY GOOD! But because of all the reference to the past relations between Darth Vader, Luke Skywalker, Princess Leia and Hans Solo you might fall into the temptation (like me) of wanting to know more about them. Nothing wrong with this. I know lots of fans of this (and other) series, or fans of a specific director or actor, who know everything about them without losing the focus in life.

I’m easily sidetracked, and I tend to fall into idolatry. That’s me. And in the last few days I’ve been spending hours watching the older Star Wars trilogies, other videos related (interviews, biographies etc). I didn’t remember the story in the first three movies (I was born after 1977, much after the first movie was released), so I watched them to catch up on Luke Starwalker’s story. And as I type this English version of the post I have also watched Episodes I and II as well (because I’ve watched them before but my memory is not the same after having kids).

But before I lost my focus, and started to “search my feelings”, I prayed and asked God to teach me something with all this Star Wars fever. As he used fish, nets, and seeds to teach his disciples and the multitudes, I asked him to use the Empire, the Jedi, the First Order and even the Force to teach me about God’s Kingdom and my life as a disciple.

Look, you’ll probably not going to read or hear me say “God said this”, because I take His name seriously, and it’s a big responsibility to say he spoke something. But I’ve been learning. Like Luke and Anakin (in the old movies), Rey, Finn (?), and Kylo Ren learn about the Force and how to use it, I learn about my role in the Kingdom and about staying in tune with the Holy Spirit. If you’re not a Christian, this will probably not make any difference in your life, but if you are, I hope my experience helps you too. If you’re grounded in the Truth of God’s Word you don’t need to be afraid of the Force :)

Everyone has a very strong sense of purpose in this saga (even the droids!) and I think that it is one of the things that hooked me the most (and the family relations too.) Even some characters that, for a moment, seem to have lost their goal in life find their place again. I had a time when I lost my purpose. Coming from such a disciple-making-oriented background, it was very difficult to attribute importance to my role as a mother (I was stuck in the house with small kids.) Skywalker and crew traveled solar systems saving the universe, and I was here folding my kids laundry and saving dinner. But the time I spent with my children has more eternal value than destroying the Death Star.

Luke Skywalker didn’t have a lot of patience when he went to meet Master Yoda and receive his Jedi training. And he used to put his own decisions and feelings over important decisions. I don’t know if he has acquired more patience in this new trilogy, but I keep repeating the same lesson every single day…

Obi Wan Kenobi felt like a failure for not being able to train Anakin to control his feelings. But he played a key role in awakening the Force in Luke and in his training. I have to keep this in my heart too, in case my kids decide not to follow God…

There’s a huge difference in self-control between Darth Vader and Kylo Ren. Vader simply turns back and retreats into his quarters when his plans fail. I react more like Kylo Ren… (you’ll have to watch The Force Awakens to know.)

It’s interesting how the Jedi close their eyes and focus on the Force, even in the middle of the most chaotic situations! That reminded me of Nehemiah, praying as he was going to meet with the King of Persia. I need to use this resource more often, to concentrate in God and make the right decision, or say the right thing (at the right tone).

God is not the Force. God doesn’t have a a Dark side. God is LIGHT! The Bible says that Jesus is the light of the world, and that He is the only way to God. The dark path is a path WITHOUT God. The things He created are never more powerful than the Creator!

Power corrupts. That’s no news. Anakin Skywalker had all the potential to be the best Jedi and was corrupted by the dark side, the promise of being more powerful. In Christian churches today, many people come thinking about following Jesus, but are corrupted by the power of influence they gain, or the position they’re given, or even by money. That’s why we need to keep the Word of God as our mirror. Are we really living (or trying to live) what’s written, or are we seeking power to put our plans into practice like Anakin?

And there’s a sentence that doesn’t leave my mind, spoken by Luke about Vader, and by Leia in the new movie: “There’s still good in him, I feel it!” Darth Vader thought it was too late to leave the dark side, but Luke believed (and insisted) until the end, proving that it was possible even for Vader to come back to the light. I know so many people who think it’s too late to come to God, or that what they’ve done is unforgivable. But it’s NEVER too late to come back to God. He’s always forgiving because Jesus paid the price for ALL sins, and God ALWAYS gives us opportunities to repent.

Luke insiste para Vader resistir à vontade do Imperador

There’s a lot much more going on in my mind now, but I don’t want to spoil the movie for those who didn’t watch it yet. Maybe I’ll talk about that again when more people have watched #TheForceAwakens :)

Happy Christmas! The reason we Alves Passos celebrate it is that our God, the God of the Bible, loved us all (the whole world) so much that He sent His only Son to be born as a man, live without sin, and pay for our sins on the cross. Salvation is the best present that we can ever receive, because it’s the only one that lasts forever!

Aurora Hunting with the Kids

We’ve been in Iceland for 6 nights.

The months of October and November are a bit slow over here, thinking about activities. Most of the exhibitions, parks, farms and other touristic stuff open only for the Summer months (that ends in September 30th.) So we drove to places to find a locked door. The weather hasn’t been good for outdoor activities as well. It’d be nice to do some hikes and get closer to nature. We came prepared for the cold (around 4 Celsius usually, so not too bad compared to Ireland) but the winds are crazy! Around 30-40km/h.

Even then, we managed to do some nice stuff. Earlier this week we went to the Zoo, it has a great playground! But it’s probably nicer in the Summer. Yesterday, we visited the Viking World, it’s a museum that tells the story about the viking settlements in Iceland (which started in 874 A.D.) with some nice artifacts in display. You can dress up in viking hats and gowns, and they have a replica of a viking ship that was dug up in the island. This replica has sailed from Iceland to New York in the year 2000 (if I remember correctly)! The girls had loads of fun with the viking costumes and in the interactive exhibition that explained the History and Fate of their gods.

Today the plan was to stay at home because Esdras got a cold. But the sun was so beautiful that we decided to drive through the Reykjanesbaer Peninsula and look for a lake that we didn’t find last time. The sun was shining but the wind was furious! The lake is called Kleifarvatn and it’s in the middle of the mountains! The landscape we drove through to get there is breathtaking (and part of the road was a bit scary.) And for those who didn’t know, Iceland is actually very green :) The Southwest part of the island (where we are now) is actually more green than ice!

But as we are a bit North, this trip had to involve the Northern Lights (or Aurora Borealis). Or at least plans to see it. As I said, it’s been 6 nights that we are here and so far we saw nothing. To be able to see the Aurora we need to have 3 things: clear skies (no clouds), high aurora activity (read more about how this is measured in this link) and lots of patience. When Esdras travels alone to do Aurora Hunting, he spends nights awake, driving around to find a spot with no clouds, but he can sleep the whole day if he wants to. We have the kids this time, so NO WAY we’re gonna sleep during the day! You might want to read Esdras’s old post about Aurora Hunting to get a glimpse of what it’s like to do it without the kids.

We had some nights with open skies, but the activity was really low. Today we have clear skies and a forecast for stronger Aurora activity. So we had dinner, put the kids in their pajamas, snowsuits over their pajamas, and put everyone in the car. It was around 8pm when we left the cabin to drive around. Esdras loves taking pictures of the Northern Lights, so we need to find a place where there’s low light pollution (a.k.a. no artificial lights.) We drove, we waited, we drove, we waited… the kids fell asleep in the car… no sign of Ms. Aurora. Then around 10pm we decided to go back to the cabin. After that, the clouds gathered and it started raining really heavily, with super strong winds (50km/h).

To sum up: we drove back to the cabin, put the kids in their beds, Esdras is asleep, and I’m still here looking out the window hoping that between the showers I can see some green dancing lights. Who knows if God will still take his magnetic paints out for us tonight? :)

Holidays again

Hi, this post is just to say the Alves Passos are in Iceland. I pr9mise I’ll translate it when I get home. You may try to use some machine translation in the mean time :)

God bless!


Muitas coisas aconteceram desde o último post. A Andrea já fez 1 ano, a Melissa começou a ir pra pré escola, e a Evelyn pra escola de verdade (ela já sabe escrever algumas letras!).

Tive sim oportunidades de sentar e escrever um post antes, mas entre gastar tempo escrevendo ou ir pra cama mais cedo,o sono venceu!

Mas agora estamos aqui, de férias de novo. Alguns meses atrás achamos vôos baratos de Belfast (Irlanda do Norte) pra Reykjavik  (Islândia) e compramos. Depois nos demos conta que as coisas na Islândia são tão caras que talvez temha sido burrice “aproveitar” o vôo barato.

E cada vez que a viagem vai chegando perto eu me lembro que apesar de gostar de viajar eu odeio fazer malas. A experiência do Camino já nos mostrou que precisamos de poucas roupas,mas viajar com bebê e criança com alergia alimentar sempre requer um pouco mais de preparação (ainda mais agora que eu parei de amamentar). As nossas viagens são sempre o mais barato possível, então viajamos só com as malas da cabine (uma mala pequena, de 10kg, pra cada passageiro).

Será que vai caber tudo?

Mas bem, fizemos as malas, diriginos quase 4h pra chegar da nossa casa até o aeroporto de Belfast, voamos 2h e chegamos!

Alugamos uma casinha de madeira a 15 minutos do aeroporto pelas primeiras 5 noites. Foi uma ótima ideia, já que chegamos bem cansados do trajeto todo. Agora estamos verificando a previsão do tempo (e cobertura de nuvens) para ver onde teremos maior chance de ver a Aurora Boreal.

Ontem à noite parecia que tínhamos as condições perfeitas para ver a Aurora, nenhuma nuvem no céu, noite linda com uma lua cheia enorme. Mas a atividade da aurora foi tão fraca que não chegou até aqui…

Fomos ao zoológico durante o dia, e agora as crianças estão dormindo, e o Esdras saiu para ver se consegue alguma foto boa. Estamos aguardando!

Stationary holidays

Hello dear reader that enjoyed our Camino.

I’m here today to talk about the latest trip. We’re just back from another holidays, this time we didn’t walk. This post will be especially interesting for people living in Ireland, or in the UK. (I promise to edit with pictures later!)

We live in the midlands, in Ireland, and we got a good deal for ferry and accommodation a campsite in the North of France. We have already used the ferry to cross to Scotland, so we know how expensive it can be. The ferry to Scotland is only 2h, to France it takes the whole night. But it has restaurants, cinema, kids play area, lounges, cafés, and cabins to sleep. The deal we got was REALLY good, if we think about all those attractions.

And it was my idea this time. I thought that after  a whole winter cooped up with sick kids, and after the adventure in the Camino, and after another adventure that we had recently (in an Island, close to the Atlantic, in a wind storm!), we deserved to have a more calm trip, relaxing trip.

There were actually no guarantee that we wouldn’t have unpredicted events. We actually had a number of them, like the two younger kids having chickenpox 2 days before we take the ferry But we were able to enjoy the trip.

The itinerary: driving from home to Rosslare, in the South of Ireland (3h); take the ferry to cross to the north of France (overnight); drive to our destination, which was around a town called Bénodet, in the Northwest coast of France (1.5h).

The destination was a campsite, where people can go with their own tents, or rent a tent there, or rent a mobile home (like we did). There are all sizes and types of mobile homes, ours had 2 bedrooms, a kitchen with sitting room, and a bathroom with shower and all. This campsite had also a complex with swimming pools, water slides, a wet playground and a schedule with kids clubs. So from Andrea (10 months old) to Evelyn (4 years and 9 months) there would be stuff to do.

This time we didn’t have to be so picky with what to bring, because we were not going to carry anything on our backs. We had our car (it’s big!) this time. But even having the car, after having 3 changes of clothes for 3 weeks in the Camino, I just couldn’t pack a lot of clothes… I think we took more food than clothes ;)

So I packed a bag for the 4 girls (me included) and Esdras packed his backpack. I also separated a handbag to take in the ferry (because we can’t be coming back to the car all the time while sailing, unless it’s something super important or an emergency) with a pajama, a change of clothes for each, and some food. And when I’m packing this type of stuff that breastfeeding makes my life a lot easier: I don’t have to pack bottles, formula, sterilizer and all that stuff! My milk is enough :)

In the ferry, Evelyn went to play in the kids area, she had a ice cream with daddy, then we had some food together in the cabin. I had to keep Melissa and Andrea in the cabin because of the chickenpox. When we come into the cabin, all you see is a couch, a table, and the door to the bathroom. Then you realize the beds are folded on the wall. So we pulled them down and they are like bunkbeds. We didn’t sleep much going to France, because Melissa and Andrea woke a lot with the itching, but on the way back it was kinda ok, even thou the sea was rough and it was waving a lot.

The first 2 days we were a bit stuck at home because the girls still had lots of fresh spots (we had to wait until they dried so they were not contagious.) Evelyn has had it before (during the storm trip) but the other two were still fresh. So Esdras and I were taking turns in going with Evelyn to the swimming pool and the playground, while the other stayed in the mobile home with the two littlings.

We had trouble in the mobile home as well. The fridge didn’t work, they changed it for another that didn’t work as well. The problem was the electric cables. The technician could only come next day. That night we had an infestation of ants (both with and without wings) probably because of all the fridge movement. Well, both problems were solved at once. Apparently the electric plug wasn’t working due to the ants in (yes! IN!) the cables.

Honestly, it was really cool! The girls loved everything! The ferry boat, the swimming pools, the water slides, the kids clubs, the playground, the bike lessons, and having an ice cream watching the sunset. (Sun sets at 10pm in Ireland right now, so they never get to see it!) It was nice for us too, even with all the overtired tantrums from the kids, and the chickenpox, and the baby sleeping (kicking us) in our bed. It was great to see the girls having loads of fun, and Esdras could even sneak in some snorkeling! (Praise the Lord for the kids club! :D )

The only thing I regret is not staying longer. I mean, it is a long trip to get there, and we “lost” some days with sickness. But if we could have extended for another week, it’d have been great! (it was a package, we couldn’t just decide to stay longer)

So, if you’re in Ireland, or UK, this type of trip is possible and really nice to do with kids. Just pay attention where is the campsite. Some are further down into France. Ours was only 1.5h drive from Rosslare, but a friend of mine had to drive 4h to get to hers (from the same company, but in a different place). And it’s worth staying longer than 1 week!

Next trip is already booked: we’ll be in Iceland in October! Another adventure.

Keep an eye on this space! :)

We praise the Lord for His creation, the sea, the sky, and for all the people who we met there.

Camino – Why Did We Do It With the Kids?

Everyone was saying: It’s crazy to take the girls! Three small kids! Are you sure?

Today’s post is based on comments of this type, if you didn’t follow us during the trip, go back and read it from Day 1 (Not all posts are available in English yet, sorry for that!). I’m gonna list here some reasons why we took the kids to the Camino, but I start saying that the question shouldn’t be “Why taking the kids to the Camino?”, but indeed “WHY NOT?”

  • We like to travel

Before having kids, Esdras and I used to make the most of bankholidays and longer work holidays to travel and visit new places. When we moved to Ireland we did the same as well. And we’re not the type of people who like museums, we love to see landscapes and natural phenomena. We prefer to see God’s creation, or some place with a meaning (like visiting friends or family, or where our families came from.) And we want our daughters to share in our passion. This wasn’t the same trip that we did. Esdraseven goes camping with the two older since Melissa was 2. I don’t fancy camping so much, because I have trouble sleeping in my own bed,imagine in a tent! But the girls LOVE it!

  • Children are not an obstacle for what we like to do (they are more flexible than adults!)

Won’t parents who enjoy football/soccer take their kids to a stadium? Or “teach” them to support their team? So we are teaching our girls to enjoy travelling in the best way: travelling! Of course that when we plan a family trip we have to consider the interests and limitations of everyone, not just the adults’. We don’t expect them to be able to do everything we do, and that’s why we avoided the mountain parts in the Camino (it’s not wise to push a double buggy up the moutain, and they wouldn’t walk the whole way.) But it is possibly to travel and have fun! Each trip we learn how to deal better, which activities to choose, where to stay etc. The more we travel, the less stressful it i, because we’re better prepared and our expectations are more realistic. Honestly, doing the Camino with 3 small kids was less stressful than our trip to Iceland in 2014 with 2 small kids, staying in one place and having a car to go around. And in this type of trip that we like (nature rather than museums) there’s loads of room for the kids to use their imagination. Kids don’t need a resort with a water park to have fun, my girls had tons of fun picking dandelions along the Camino.

  • Family time

Hey, time is a very precious thing nowadays. We are expected to do so much! I don’t work outside the house but I’m never idle. And even when Esdras is working from home, we only sit and have lunch all together on rare ocasions. So holidays are this precious family time that we try to spend together, the 5 of us. Before we went to the Camino we prepared the kids. At home we sleep in our own rooms and beds, and eat in different times, and each do a different activity. But we told them that in the Camino we would sleep together, eat together, walk together, and would talk to others about Jesus together. That was great to strengthen our bond, to have time to listen to each other and talk, and play together. That also strengthen the trust the kids have in us. Not that they didn’t trust before, but they learned seeing that we were trying to protect them and prevent obvius accidents along the road, they understood that we wanted the best for them, They also learned to trust that we would meet their needs (food, bathroom, water, sleep) as we could and as it was best for all f us. Those things had an impact in our relationship at home too.

  • Learning to adapt to the circumstances

As I said, we are not the type of family who travel to Resorts, or expensive trips to closed places. We do “budget” trips, with some comfort, to enjoy beautiful landscapes. In the beginning of the trip we heard “oh, I don’t want to eat that.” Of course we hear that at home, but we have some flexibility when we have access to our own fridge (parents know this well.) But we didn’t have much option there, we’d either eat what was available, or wait for the next meal, and we’d very likely have to walk a lot in between. So they quickly learned to be content with whatever was on the table (most bars don’t really have a lot of options (and of course we respected Evelyn’s allergy limitations) Each had to mind their backpacks, and they had the priviledge to nap while we walked sometimes, but we knew that the time for rest would be mostly in the hotel. If the hotel had 3 beds, fine, they could sleep each in their own bed. If it had only 2, they shared the bed. If there was a cot, the baby slept in the cot, if there wasn’t, we arranged a place for the baby to sleep. If the heating was on, great! If it wasn’t on, we put more clothes on to sleep. If there was soy milk to drink before bed, nice! If there wasn’t, they drank juice, or water. And on we went, they adapted better than I did.

  • Why the Camino, and not another trip?
In fact, it could have been any other trip, but we decided to do the Camino. And, again, the question should be the opposite: Why not the Camino? There is a lot of mysticism surrounding the Camino, but the original idea was to seek God. The Camino started with people seeking as a pilgrimage, as penitence, people seeking God’s forgiveness for sins. We, the Alves Passos, believe in what the Bible says, therefore we don’t believe that walking the Camino will make us worthy of forgiveness or Salvation. The only thing we have to do to receive Salvation (forgiveness of our sins) is to believe that Jesus died to pay for all our sins (Acts 2:38 / 1 Peter 3:18). We also don’t believe that Saint James can bless, protect or forgive us. When we arrived in Ligonde, an old lady told us “Are you walking the Camino with three kids? That’s a lot of love for Saint James!” But no, our love is for Jesus (as we told her), because the Bible says that only Jesus can mediate the relationship between men and God, that has been broken by sin (1 Timothy 2:5,6).
Jesus paid our ransom, and as it happened in this conversation with this lady, we took every opportunity to share the truth with the people we met along the Camino. That’s the other passion we have: to share the message of Salvation in Jesus Christ with people, anywhere, everywhere.  We wanour daughters to learn to love that too, so we’re giving them the example. I wrote a bit more about the other passion in the preparation post.

No trip with children will be worry and stress free. There’s always some. But, honestly, if this is not your type of trip, don’t do it, even without the kids. But if that’s what you like, and you want to share it with your family, put the little ones in your plan!

Do you have questions? Maybe we can answer something more directly based on our experience. Leave a comment! If the comments on this post have already been closed, look for the newest post and get in touch! We want to share what we’ve learned with people who are planning to do the same :)

On the next post about trips, I’ll share some practical stuff for the Camino with kids.


“For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God..” 1 Peter 3:18

“Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.” Acts 2:38

“For there is one God and one mediator between God and mankind, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom for all people.” 1 Timothy 2:5,6

Happy Birthday Melissa!

Today I’m taking time off the Camino posts to thank God for this precious girl that He gave us.
She always has a hug and kisses, she’s smiley and also very determined. Melissa just turned 3!

Happy bday

Camino – Mission Accomplished

Dear English speaking reader,
I promise all the texts about the Camino will be available in English soon, but today I wrote in Portuguese again.
Hope you come back to reaad them when they’re done!
God bless


Olá! Estou escrevendo do conforto do meu sofá.
Desculpem não ter atualizado o blog, mas depois que chegamos em Santiago foi tudo uma grande correria. Pra vocês terem uma ideia, chegamos na Irlanda na sexta feira, e ainda hoje estávamos correndo (a Evelyn nem voltou pra escola ainda!)

Bom, no dia 7 de abril, saímos de Lavacolla (na verdade, a acomodação era 4km depois de Lacavolla) encaramos mais umas subidas, tomamos um lanche em Monte do Gozo e depois de uma descida enoooorme podíamos já ver a cidade de Santiago de Compostela. Que surpresa, ver uma escadaria para chegar na cidade… Tínhamos uma decisão a fazer: ou pegar o caminho das bicicletas (pés doendo, desta vez não enviamos a mochila então tínhamos mais peso para carregar) ou carregar o carrinho escada abaixo.

Decidimos tirar as crianças do carrinho e carregá-lo pela escada. Nessa hora apareceu um homem que tínhamos encontrado na saída de León! Ele se ofereceu para ajudar e carregou com o Esdras o carrinho até lá embaixo. Que alegria ver rostos conhecidos! E pensar que esse cara fez a pé todo o caminho que nós “pulamos” com trem, taxi, e ônibus, e ainda assim chegamos ao mesmo tempo!

E dessa escadaria até chegar na catedral, creio que andamos uns outros 4km! Se não é tudo isso, é o que pareceu. Meus pés e costas doíam tanto (cansaço acumulado, bebê no canguru, mais mochila = argh!) que foi um alívio chegar ao centro histórico de Santiago de Compostela. Ah! Uma dica importante que muitas pessoas esquecem: é proibido entrar na catedral com mochila! Sim, existem procedimentos de segurança, e os guardas dentro da catedral mandam você sair se você entrar com ela.
Mas se você chega em Santiago e vai pegar o carimbo de chegada e a Compostela (certificado de conclusão da peregrinação), você tem que ir à Oficina do Peregrino, e lá existe um serviço que guarda a sua mochila.

Eu me arrependo de não ter passado mais tempo em Santiago. Que lugar lindo! Eu gostaria de ter ido a museus e exposições sobre Tiago, o discípulo de Jesus. Mas com crianças fica difícil. E nós tínhamos que pegar o trem para ir a Portugal (de onde saiu o nosso vôo de volta pra casa).

Quando cheguei, as perguntas mais frequentes foram:
Você gostou da viagem?
Sim, apesar de que eu acho que gosto mais dela agora que meus pés não estão mais doendo! Mas foi interessante, nós aprendemos muito sobre como lidar com muitas coisas em família, vimos paisagens maravilhosas, conversamos com pessoas de lugares diferentes e tivemos oportunidades de compartilhar o nosso Jesus com outros. Não foi fácil, meu pé ainda não está 100% recuperado, mas eu gostei sim.

E as crianças? Como elas viram essa viagem louca?
Elas curtiram MUITO! Elas gostavam de andar, andavam cantando, fingindo que eram princesas e que todas aquelas terras eram o reino delas, cantavam no carrinho, dormiam enquanto nós empurrávamos o carrinho delas, acharam o maior barato pedir carimbo nos lugares e procurar as setas do caminho.

Então se você gosta de passeios com caminhadas, e quer envolver a sua família, saiba que é possível fazer. É difícil para os pais, que tem que “carregar” as crianças, e aguentar as manhas de cansaço (sim, tivemos muitas), mas não é impossível. Mas o meu conselho é: faça uma trilha mais fácil, ou mais curta com eles primeiro.
Se nós formos novamente fazer algo desse tipo, a Evelyn com certeza não estará mais no carrinho, então termos que andar no passo dela, e andar somente o que ela aguentar. No carrinho a gente simplesmente empurra e vai no nosso ritmo, mas se eles são grandes demais pra pegar uma carona, as coisas mudam um pouco.

Nós fomos com 3, se você tem 2 com certeza vai ser menos trabalho (e menos peso!). Planejar bem as paradas pra descanso (ou pra deixar que eles corram um pouco, se ficaram muito tempo no carrinho) é sempre uma boa pedida, e seja flexível: os imprevistos virão.

Nos próximos posts eu vou colocar algumas coisas pontuais que nós aprendemos, desde a nossa motivação para ir, bagagem, equipamentos, medicamentos, até acomodação pro Camino com crianças pequenas. Se você começou a ler só hoje, dê uma espiada em como foi o Camino desde o 1o. dia!

Que a Paz do Senhor Jesus seja com você!

Camino – Day 12

We’re here!
You can’t see it in the picture but our pilgrim’s passport is all full of stamos. We didn’t get the certificate (called Compostela), I’ll explain why in another post.

We took pictures, visited the Cathedral but they didn’t use the incense this time. I’ll write another post later talking about the last day and giving some useful tips.
For the kids, the “reward” for walking was what they called the best playground in the world!

Thank you Jesus for bringing us safely to our destination, and for everything we learned on the way.

Camino – Day 11

Tomorrow is the last day of our walk in the Camino.

After stopping to rest yesterday, our feet and legs were good enough to walk again until our next accommodation. We sent the bigger backpack again and proceeded to walk from Brea (o Pino) to Lavacolla. Most of our way for today wasn’t difficult,  there were not as many hills as the days before and most of the day we walked under the cool shadow of the woods. We stopped in a bar to eat and I found this sign there:

It’s written “we don’t have wi-fi. (Talk to each other)” I thought it was worth the picture :) you really find a lot of people sitting at the same table in the bars, each one looking at their own phones. Even at my house things are like this. It kinds reinforced my desire to put a box in the entrance of my house with the sign “Leave your phone/tablet here.”

More than half of our Camino today was smooth, then came the long and steep hills. There’s a big one right before we reach the airport of Santiago de Compostela (the Camino goes around the airport. ) we stopped again to rest and have some ice lollies and I’m glad we did because after that came hill after hill. Endless steep hills until we’ve reached our destination.

We knew our accommodation was in Lavacolla, and a pilgrim we met today told us that this was the place where the pilgrims used to wash themselves before arriving in Santiago,  so they were not so stinky. And the incense in Santiago’s Cathedral was lit with the purpose of masking the pilgrims smell, otherwise nobody would bear to stay in the church to attend the mass. (Now someone has to pay for the incense to be lit.)

Before we left this morning I asked Esdras what type of accomodation we had today and he said it was a pension. I think we only didn’t stay in public albergues in this trip. We stayed in private albergue, hostal, pension, apartment (in Madrid), and in hotels.

When he told me it was a pension, I thought it was like the other pensions we had during the trip: a room with shared bathroom and we’d have to est out because they didn’t have license to serve food.

But I got a surprise! It is a hotel and there’s even a kitchen inside the room! We ended up eating here because we didn’t want to walk (no more hills today, please!) Surprise again! It was the best dinner we had so far! Yummy home made food!

We found here as well a lot of coins on the stone walls, like we’ve seen in many accomodations and restaurants on the way, so we decided to ask why they were there.

The girls already learned that they can’t touch those coins. The owner of the hotel told us that it’s like people are leaving part of them behind, like a memory or a charm to give the place good luck. He also told us that the luck part doesn’t work lol!

We’re going to bed. See you tomorrow at Santiago de Compostela!

Near Vilamaior in Lavacolla: “The only way to God is through Jesus. Make this way!” (We didn’t write it on the wall, but that’s exactly our message :D )