Saturday, October 26, 2013


After the wonderful day yesterday morning, and because I had taken my time, darkness caught me 5km away from the nearest albergue or hotel or hostel. I was not equipped to sleep outside, so, the only option I ha was to take the taxi to the next town where I originally intended to go. I felt real bad, but, I was determined to make it right. I did not come to cheat, to cut corners, to not walk. So, in the morning the next day, I took the cab back and walked those 5km, passed the albergue where I stayed and continued on. I'm very glad i did that. I would have felt guilty about it for the rest of the journey.

You have to choose what you value and then stick to it.

Friday, October 25, 2013

Peaceful Moment

I have learned that I can't trust technology. I already wrote 3 beautiful and very detailed and inspired entries, and they all got lost because of one thing or another. So, I am resorting to writing it first on paper, and then writing it here so that if I do lose it again, it's not lost forever. 

Today's walk has been marvelous so far. Compared with yesterday, everything is different. I woke up late, left when it was light, walked alone, walked slowly, stopped to admire the beautiful surroundings, it was not raining, it was not cold, I was not soaked, and the path was pretty easy and mud/water free. 

I found a beautiful edge to sit on as I was walking down between the killer mountains I had climbed yesterday. There was a little river I could hear down below, I saw some deer earlier on, and the birds were singing all around. The Sun was shining and I felt so grateful. 

In those quiet moments, it just strikes me how crazy this is, how amazing this experience is, and how lucky I am to be able to do this. 

Monday, October 21, 2013

Lost posts

I wrote two great posts the other day, and my blogger app managed to loose both of them.

It's really hard to recapture the feeling, flow and essence of an inspired message.

I tried to rewrite the second lost post, but it sounds forced and disconnected...

Such a sad shame.

Thursday, October 17, 2013


I realised that most of the day is spent in pretty mundane thought. Even though I have a lot of time during the day, I don't do very deep or productive thinking. It's focused mainly on the walking tasks.

Don't step on the snail, slug, bug, caterpillar, ants, worms and centipedes.

Watch out for the big rocks and the puddles.

I need to drink more water.

I need to pee. I don't see a big bush or tree anywhere. Is anyone coming?
I'm hungry. I can wait till the next town and get a sandwich.

How much longer to the next town? Check gps and map. How much have I walked? How much do I still need to walk? What time will I be at the destination? Can I make it all the way or will I have to stop before.

I wonder what (insert name) is doing and how far they got?

I hope I get a bottom bunk tonight.

I hope that snorer is not there tonight.

I hope there will be some great food somewhere.

My feet hurt. My heels hurt. My arms hurt.

I'm tired.

Practical stuff

So, here is some info that will help understand the logistics and details of my journey.

Before I started the walk, I had to get a pilgrims passport, which is just a paper with space for stamps on it. I stay at the Albergues, which are a cheaper version of the hostels and which are only for pilgrims, so people who have the pilgrim passport.

In order to finish the Camino, you must have walked at least 100km and have the stamps to prove it.

Each Albergue you stay at will stamp your passport, and so you can only stay one night at each Albergue.

You can also get a stamp from the cathedrals and churches.

I don't have as much space in mine, so I'm only getting stamps from the Albergues.

Here is a photo of my pilgrim passport.

Early Morning

Yesterday I walked only 20km. I was planning to walk 26km, but when I got to the 2nd last stop, I took a break and well, just could not keep going.

I had a very nice break, with good wifi and a decent dinner.

Today, waking up was very fast. I got up and ready in 20 minutes and was out the door by 7:30am. I was very impressed.

It wasn´t cold outside, it wasn´t raining either, but it was still dark. Completely dark.

I stopped by the local bar and had a coffee, and now it´s 8:30am and I´m almost ready to leave. Not fully awake yet, but almost.

I don´t know if it´s really getting easier, or I´m just getting used to feeling pain somewhere.

It´s either my toes, my heels, my knees, my hips, my arms... something hurts at one time or another.

At least I haven´t had a headache, and my back is ok.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Walking sticks

I picked up another walking stick. This one was just a branch, nothing special. It's helped with walking much better.

But now I'm thinking of giving away my beautifully carved wood walking stick, and getting some proper light and smaller walking sticks that will really help.

But today I used them properly, and because they are wood and heavier, my arms got really sore. Which made me think of my arm flabs, and how I'm trying to get rid of them, and this hard work with heavy sticks will probably be better for my muscles and flabbiness.

So, I've decided to keep them.

I've also decided to write a love story about the two sticks. It will be available as soon as I finish it, or get bore with writing it, and then I'll just write a dramatic and/or tragic ending of some sort.

You will just have to wait.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Lovely smell

After a day of rest, we walked a long road on hard ground and gravel.

My feet were killing me and my stomach was growling for some food.

We stopped at the Albergue and when I signed in, the lady saw my name in my passport and was immediately happy and surprised and started speaking in Romanian with me. She was Romanian too, somewhere from the Sibiu area, and had been living and working here in this little village with her husband and daughter for 5 years. It was nice to talk to her for a bit.

At 6pm, when the bar/restaurant opened, Hildegard, Dan and me went over to get our pilgrim meal.

It was fantastic. I had the bean soup and a great beef stew with mashed potatoes. A Spanish pilgrim joined our table and we had lots of red win and great conversations until about 9pm when we were tired and walked back to our albergue.

That's when I noticed the smell.

It smelled like a wood burning stove everywhere. It was fantastic. If it weren't so cold and I weren't so tired, I would have stayed out longer just to smell the air.

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Camino family

After my nice rest at that Albergue, and the nice massage, I had renewed energy and better feeling legs.

The walk over these 3 peaks through a forest was a great change from the endless fields of this and that. I ended up walking a bit more after I met up with the Canadian couple from Kitchener who I had left behind a few days ago.

When we got to this nice little village, we came across the young German couple who I'd met earlier in this journey. It was a brand new Albergue and being a bit after the designated end point for the day, there were not so many people.

The Germans, Claudia and Eiko suggested we stay in and cook dinner for the 6 of us. Them two, the Canadian couple Hildegard and Dan, this other German guy Peter and me.
It was great. We went grocery shopping at this little local store, got stuff for a soup, a salad and some tasty meaty pasta. Then we headed  ask and started cooking. It just happened that the we, the 3 women started preparing and cooking, but then we made it clear that the 2 men had to clean up after.

We finished everything really quickly. It was very nice to all sit together and after preparing the food to eat together. We had lots of delicious Spanish red wine and some pastries for desert.

The leftover pasta we gave to a dog, and we ladies relaxed while the men cleaned up, did the dishes and put things away.

Now, Claudia and Eiko have taken the bus ahead because they were running out of time, and who knows when I'll see them again.

That's what happens. You meet with people, and then spend some time together, and then they go off or you go off, and maybe you meet again in a few days, or maybe not.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Break time

Today was gonna be an easy 12km day.

It was fine in the morning. Rather chilly but that kept me going. I walked half way, 6km on, and then I took a break.

Again, after that break, my right calf was in so much pain I didn't know what to do with it.

Luckily, I only had 6 more km to go, my feet didn't hurt, my backpack was light, and it wasn't very hot outside.

I eventually got to Villafranca and decided to opt for the 18 euro private room with queen sized bed, instead of the Albergue Municipal with 50 bunk beds for 5 euros. I took a shower, and went to bed to sleep off my pain.

I had booked a massage for 7pm and was waiting for the lady to come by and pick me up.

When she gave me a massage (which ended up being almost 2 hours instead of just 1), she said that my hips were misaligned, and one leg was shorter than the other, which she fixed through some magical stretching voodoo, and then when I showed her the problem right leg, she said it's not the muscle, but some vericose veins that were to blame for my pain.

Thank you useless body!

Somewhere, sometime, I was standing for too long, and got some vericose veins, and now were hurting like hell.

My immediate conclusion was to not stop at all along my daily walk, which was just not going to be possible.

The massage lady told me to stretch a lot before I start and when I take a break, and to put cold water on the affected area.

Well, that hasn't really helped because I have been stretching every morning and break time.

So, I'm going to check online and see what the internet has to say about vericose veins.

Again, thanks body!

In the meantime, I'm enjoying some lamb stew and delicious red wine. Take that evil vericose veins!

Monday, October 7, 2013

Pushing through

Today was the most difficult day so far.

The morning was incredibly beauful. I slept well, went to the post office and sent off another 1.5kg of stuff, making it a total of 7.5kg lighter. It was a cool morning and my legs felt ok.

I walked for a good 6km, and then I stopped.

That's when it changed and my right leg started to hurt. The day also changed.

My legs started to remember the hurt from the days before, the sun was strong, there was no shade, the walk was along the highway, it was straight and monotonous.

I was going to stop after 15km, 5km short of Belorado, the days destination. When I got into that little village, it was all quiet, and no Albergue in sight. I had to walk on, another 5km to Belorado. My feet and right leg hurt so badly I started crying.

I was hobbling along, crying and breathing heavily, but through my nose (like my sis taught me).

Then I stopped for a bit and collected myself. I had only hobbled 1.5km and still had at least another hour and a half at this pace.

I plugged in my headphones, cranked them up, and put some heart pumping dance music on.

That kept me going, until a silly ballad came up and I swore and then quickly changed the song, so as not to slow my momentum.

I saw the town of Belorado in the distance, and then saw the first Albergue, 1km outside of the town. I nearly started crying again.

I stopped there. At that point I didn't care about going all the way into town and being closer to shops, the cathedral or the restaurants.

That was a hard day, and I was glad it was over.

I arrived at 6:30pm.

It took me 2.5 hours to walk the last 5km.

The day after

Today I walked 21km.

After I finished 15km, it seemed like nothing, and 6 more km was not going to be a big deal either. It wasn't. Once I got going, it was slow, and painful, but it was completely manageable.

I got at the Albergue at 5pm, with so much free day time I didn't know what to do with myself.

Luckily, the Korean ladies and the German couple were preparing to go out for dinner, so I joined them right away. I didn't even stop to rest my legs.

We had the pilgrim menu, and we also had 4 bottles of wine between the 5 of us, after which we went to mass at the nearby cathedral. It was beautiful but I was a bit too wined up for it. I didn't get a samp, so I'll go again in the morning to get a stamp for it.

I don't have a lot of space on my pilgrim passport, unlike people who started at St. Jean, so I've decided to get stamps from the Albergues and the chuched/cathedrals I visit.

I'm in the laundromat waiting for my laundry to be finished. I hope it will be done before 22:00 when the Albergue closes.

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Longest trek

So, today, I walked 30km.

With my new sandals and 6kg less on my back, the first 19km were a breeze.

Then, Susan the Australian lady caught up with me and we walked together. Time and distance went by quicker, but my feet were starting to complain. We were walking much slower and once we got into the town we were walking slower still.

Wow, was it ever difficult.

But the day was perfect for such a long walk. It wasn't hot, it wasn't raining, it wasn't too sunny and the road was pretty even and straight.

Now, we arrived, and the thought of getting up to shower, was my clothes and get something to eat is sending shivers up my spine.

Friday, October 4, 2013

My sister

Well, we were together for just 1 week, and we had a bit of head butting at the begining because we have such different styles and rythms. 

But after a few days, close to her going back to Canada, we finally worked out a pretty good system in dealing with her going faster, and me going slower, and finding a place to eat, and finding a place to sleep, and getting ready in the morning, and washing our clothes, and taking pictures, and buying snacks for the road, and just dealing with each others differences.

I really wish we could have spend more time together, talking more, getting to see each others way of doing things, and understanding each other more.

This was a hard start, not only because of the Camino and my lack of fitness, but because we hadn´t spent any time together for over 3 years, and our sole relationship was over the phone.

I am sad to see her go back and having to continue this journey alone.

I hope we can do this again sometime.

Love you sis!

Thursday, October 3, 2013

4th Evening

We are in Viana now, 11km away from Logroño.

It's been tough, and it will continue to be tough.

After the first day, I sent on to Santiago 4kg of things. Tomorrow morning I'm planning on sending maybe 1 more kilo.

I need to lighten my pack so I don't have so much pressure on my feet.

Today I bought some new shoes. More like sandals really, but still for hiking. The ones I had before were ok, but there were 4 pressure points that have ended up in giant blisters. 2 on each foot.

Left foot: Pinky blister and heel blister.

Right foot: Pad blister and heel blister.

I had to get new socks, new shoes, am wearing shorts the whole time. You get really hot walking all day.

You learn so many things from walking so much.

I've also learned that any (deep) fried food is terrible for energy and endurance. Something to be completely avoided while doing such physical activities. Also, very sweet thing are not good either.

What I did enjoy, was some sausage, a steak, some canned lentiles, lots of apples, and olives. Nothing too overpowering in the flavour department.

The people have been really nice. Met an older couple from Kitchener Canada, Dan(iel) and Hildegard. Met some really nice Korean ladies who made dinner for me and my sister tonight. Met a few more nice people...  Richard from Austria, Thomas from Germany (with whom I shared a funny yet odd mixed dorm experience), Bill from Canada who joined us for the Korean dinner. I'm sure there is more but my brain is no working right now...

To leave you with an idea of foot pain management, after pills and massage failed to relieve any of it...