Walking the Camino

 

Walking the Camino

Oh dear, it is ages since I posted here, and I have lots to catch up on.  On the first leg of my round the world trip that started in May, I got to do something I have always dreamed of doing.  I walked the Camino with my daughter and her husband.  

Since we cannot bring scallop shells back into Australia, my daughter printed our scallop shells on her 3 D printer!





After trying on multiple pairs of shoes, in the end I purchased my favourite kind, Orthoheel, that I often buy from the pharmacy. I packed silicone sleeves for my hammer toes, and soft woolen roving, to add extra cushioning. We bought special socks that have a ribbed area around the instep, packed and re-packed, and weighed our backpacks.  I took two sets of thin lycra capri pants, one long pair, and two short sleeved tops, plus one long sleeved one. Socks and undies, 3 sets, one small microfiber towel, and a small bar of shampoo/soap, toothbrush and toothpaste.  This was what daily foot preparation looked like.


 Excited and a little nervous, we set out for the airport.   We flew out from Europort, an airport that intersects 3 countries.   Parked the car in Germany, had a croissant in France, and walked into Switzerland!  We flew into Santiago airport and then caught a bus to Sarria, which is just over 100km from Santiago, it was pouring with rain, so we donned our yellow ponchos, and set off on our pilgrimage.  Our first steps were very pretty, and we were excited to at last call ourselves pilgrims, and learn to greet other pilgrims with "Buen Camino"!, 


Day 1. As we had arrived in the afternoon, we walked just 4km to our first Alberge, which is a hostel. This was great, because we got to chat to other pilgrims, a lot of them having been on the road for many days or weeks. That night we experienced our first pilgrims' meal, sitting on the verandah overlooking the beautiful countryside. Normally 10 Euros, it is great deal, and includes a starter, main and a desert.  The following morning, we left at 6.30 am because everyone was up and moving around, but soon found a lovely old couple (in their 80's!) who had the most beautiful garden and a buffet, for a donation. She told me I was very blessed to be walking the camino with my daughter, and I agreed.  
This was a small section of their garden.




The first church we found was just big enough for the three of us, so special! The one we were headed to was to be very different.  We actually found a lot of the churches along the way were locked, which was a bit sad.




Day 2. 18.5km later we stopped for the night at Portomarin, it was quite chilly but there were cuddly woolen blankets, and Susan woke me at 7am from a deep comfy sleep! I set out that day thinking of and praying for people who sleep rough, and don’t have the benefit of a nice warm blanket.  I did not have any pressing issues that I wanted answers for, and so would just set out walking, and soon found that there would be something I could meditate on during that days walk.   Once we got moving that fresh morning air was very invigorating.


 Day 3. The next morning started with a big long hill, drizzly weather, and wearing our yellow ponchos, I just put one foot in front of the other and eventually reached the top.  17long km later we reached Ligonde.  There we stayed at a mission, run by the agape group from America.  There was a communal meal, and games, and talking about what the Camino meant to everyone, which was nice.  



This lady was selling her home made cheese from her front window!

The entire communities are involved with the thousands of pilgrims that wander through their villages. This barn has a shop selling painted scallop shells and other souvenirs.

There is also fresh water on tap to fill your water bottles.




 Day 4. The following day we walked 25km, just about all of it in the rain.  Everything was soaked when we arrived and checked in, but luckily we had the whole dorm to ourselves, and everything was hung out to dry, as much as it could overnight.  This cold and dreary stop was where I discovered spanish hot chocolate and churros.  Oh my!   the hot chocolate was rich and thick and was either scooped up with churros, a type of doughnut, or eaten with a spoon. 



I loved these rustic gates, and their wonkiness reminded me of what was the "rule" on the Camino.  everyone's walk is different, and personal.  
It is your Pilgimage - there is no right or wrong way to walk the Camino.
"Your Camino" - your way, is a saying that you often hear repeated. 

                                                         

I also loved the stone walls, overgrown with so many different plants, flowers and ferns....I loved walking with walls on either side - in effect, being hugged by nature. 

                                       

Day 5. The next day we walked 23km, in a steady drizzle and some of the paths were very muddy. My reflection that I wrote down for this day says. “Life is a bit like todays walk.  Intense beauty, interspersed with pain, and fatigue, mired in mud, but following the path leads to respite and welcome sustenance.  Happy to arrive in Lavacolla where we had a huge room with an ensuite, and we sent all our clothes off to the laundry.  It came back clean, dry and folded.  We were happy pilgrims! 




Kale is grown as a perennial crop, and the leaves are stripped from the bottom as the plant grows higher.  



There are always arrows to show the way of St James, the Camino.









Day 6. The following day we just walked 10.9km arriving into the City of Santiago at 9am!  We got our certificates, and then went into the pilgrims mass at noon.  Sometimes they swing that botafumerio that is hanging above the altar.   It is filled with incense and was important to clear the air once the filthy pilgrims flooded in!  We didn't really need it since we had just showered, but it would have been a wonderful experience to see.
We stayed in the seminary up on top of the hill and explored the city for 2 days, and then we flew back to our car and drove to France. 


I have finished my Camino, and it will always now be a part of my soul!  





 




 


Comments

  1. Lovely! What a grand journey!

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    1. It was wonderful, and especially doing it with Susan and Christophe. You too have done some amazing pilgrimages!

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  2. I had 2 friends who did this about 4 years ago and funny enough my friend from Perth and her daughter from Perth [we are from Brisbane] was over there at the same time as my friend but started at opposite ends. Prior to this I had never heard of it. Sounds like a wonderful trip.

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    Replies
    1. It really was, and made me realize how much we limit ourselves!

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  3. Of course, once you start researching something like this, you realize how many more walks like this there are, and then you start dreaming...

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  4. Thanks for stopping by my blog...I thought I would reply to your comment here so you see it. Check out Mel Robbins, her podcasts and books [her brand colours are black and yellow] so you can't miss them. The High Five Habit - Book etc.

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  5. Fabulous! Thrilled for you to have done it. How were your feet at the end of the walk?

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    1. They felt fine, no obvious damage, but two months later, both of the big toe nails fell off.

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  6. Wow I am impressed that you can walk that far and with a back pack too. You obviously had a wonderful time.

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  7. Amazing walk. Did you have much preparation before hand? I'm not sure I would be able to walk so many kms every day! Welcome back to blog land :)

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