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My background is in financial information systems.  I have worked on applications that analyze equities and equity derivatives as well as credit derivatives and structured products. I also have an unusual fascination with financial market regulation and market structure.
My two active hobbies are long distance hiking and programming. In an effort to bring those two things together I’ve done a lot of noodling around with the Google Maps Api. It’s a hobby I go into more detail about in the “hiking” and “programming” sections.

Steven Raaen

Steven Raaen

Roger That!


Santiago runway is in sight. 

Last Full Day

I’m about 35km outside of Santiago, which is less than two regular days of walking. I’ll try and leave pretty early this morning to try & give myself a shot if getting there later today. Chances are that I’ll end up short of Santiago and leave myself ten more km on Friday am. 

The pilgrim mass is at noon and its famous for the huge bale if incense (botafumiero) swinging from the rafters. Since its purpose is to fumigate smelly pilgrims, it seems appropriate to walk in right off the trail, but we’ll see. 

Weather: Crappy to Mostly Crappy


The bad news is that it rained all day again today but the good news is that it didn’t pour all day. 

My biggest surprise of this trip is how few things I’ve lost. Up until this morning the only thing that went missing was a long sleeve cotton pullover, which I replaced with a wool sweater in Pamplona. This morning I lost my duct tape!  
To those if you whose morning routine does not include duct taping plastic bags  around your feet before putting them in your shoes, this may not sound like such a big deal. But to me, in the last week or so the image that defines “cozy” to me is this one right here. 

Luckily I still have some fancy tape that I bought back in Puente la Reina to pimp out my walking stick. Actually it was to cover the duct tape I used to stabilize the crack in the stick. Anyway I think it’ll do for the next couple of days. That’s actually a sticker covering most of the blingy tape. 

I Might Make It!

Once the Camino enters Galicia, there are these markers every half km. All of a sudden I’m less than 100 km from Santiago. 
There’s a whole new batch of pilgrims today – the group that started this morning in Sarria. They’re mostly Spanish and their enthusiasm is nice to have around. We weren’t a single km out of Sarria this morning before the groups were posing in front of the first wilderness they could find for pictures in their rain gear. At the end of the day they had their turn hobbling into town after their first 25km carrying a pack. It’s amazing how day 1 makes everyone equal; we’ve all been there, walking up the stairs sideways at the end of day 1. 
Today’s stop is Portomarin, and its just across the Rio Mino to the west. Back in the day there was a well known Galician seafood restaurant in Madrid called Rio Mino. It’s a beautiful spot (the town on the river). 

Today’s weather was a relief. It rained pretty much all day, but not hard. It’s supposed to rain again tomorrow but we’ll see. 



Are We There Yet?


When people say that the weather in a specific area is unpredictable, what they really mean is that the weather is usually crappy there. The weather app on my phone has a big yellow sun on it for this morning but all I see out the window is gray. 

My stuff is mostly dry now, which I’m thankful for. I wasn’t able to take much in the way of pictures yesterday, as it was pouring all day long. A lot of people I spoke with thought it was the most miserable day on the Camino so far. This is around the point where I gave in to the realization that my feet couldn’t get any wetter and started walking right down the middle of the stream that the path had become. 

After today’s stage there will be 115 km left to go which should take 5 days. The day ends in Sarria, where the route promises to get much more crowded because it only takes 100km to officially complete the Camino. 

Pouring All Day

I’m glad this is almost over!

Practically A Day Off


I barely budged today. My route was less than 10 km, from Cacabelos to Villafranca del Bierzo. This may be the most beautiful part of the route so far and if I’ve been through big Agro, big timber, and big wine, I guess I’d call Bierzo “big electricity”. There are wind farms and high voltage lines everywhere, and even a nuke plant but it doesn’t detract too much from the scenery. If you look closely you should be able to see the steam from the power plant. 

Tomorrow I’ll officially be in Galicia, home of queimada. It’s known as one of the more challenging stages of the Camino, 30+ km with a 700 meter climb at the end. I’ll spend it thinking, hoping, praying for E&J in WH. 



Terry from Wisconsin and Kirsten from Canada planted this song in my head three days ago (they have kids)  and I can’t shake it out.