Bretaye, Switzerland

November 3-4, 2018

Kidney Stone Watch:  The day after returning to Switzerland from Turkey I went to a Swiss hospital to figure out what is going on. After running some tests, they say my kidneys are functioning well, there was a small infection, but no blockage. They ordered an CAT scan. I got back the results from that scan and the stone was still inside about 70% of the way down my ureter. I spoke with the urologist and he said that the only option left was for us to blast the stone apart with surgery.

We spoke with our travel insurance and because the stone was deemed “finished” in Spain by a doctor, they wouldn’t pay for the surgery in Switzerland. The only option would be to pass it naturally or for us all to go back to Canada to have the surgery. I argued that it wasn’t “finished” but once a hospital discharges you, then it’s marked complete. You can’t go back to the hospital for the same thing twice.

Now we were waiting to find out how much the surgery was going to be. Luc had a wonderful idea: In Switzerland it is mandatory to get insurance. So we opted for insurance for me so if I needed the surgery, I would be covered with the Swiss insurance. No need to go back to Canada (although I was a little excited about that).

Bretaye, Switzerland

Our wonderful friends have a Swiss Chalet high in the mountains of Switzerland called Bretaye. We went to this little chalet 8 years ago when Vivi was 10 months old with Jaedyn. Bretaye is a tiny little village that only approved cars can go to. The houses are all the same make and style and you just feel so back to nature and back to yourself up there.

I have such warm and fond memories of this place. We celebrated Luc and Jaedyn’s birthday up there and ate the most amazing raclette. We did a hike up to the top of the mountain to take in the breath taking views.

This time things were a bit different emotionally for me but it was such an amazing place to return to with such special friends.

The week leading up to our trip was probably one of the worst weeks I’ve had in a long time. It had been an emotional roller coaster with pain and uncomfortableness in my lower abdomen and bladder. Luc and I were really not doing well relationship wise, and Vivi really wanted to go home.

But once I got to the mountain and took in the breathtaking views, it helped to wash away all the bad feelings. We ate a most delicious raclette again around the fire and then took to outside to take in the crisp mountain air and the sparkling stunning stars (no light pollution).

Violette played with the kids in the family and it’s so nice to watch her playing and speaking in French with other kids.

That morning the adults (minus me) headed up to the top of the mountain. I decided to take some time for myself and look after myself by doing some meditation and writing.

We had a delicious breakfast outside on the table and then packed up and me and the ladies walked down while Luc and the fellas drove to get the car. The walk was absolutely breathtaking. If there’s anything you can say about Switzerland – it’s one of the most beautiful places on earth.

So many thanks to our friends for taking us up here again. This place holds a special place in my heart and I can’t thank them enough for sharing their space with them.

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Camino: Day 1-3

France, Cannes to Saint Jean Pied-de-Port, Orisson, and Roncesvalles

Day 1 – France, Cannes to Saint Jean Pied-de-Port:

First day on my own. It was an early wake up call. We cleaned the studio and left for the airport. I cried. We got to the airport. I cried. Vivi cried. It was hard to say goodbye to her and Luc. Then through security where I sat and wondered what the hell I was doing. Onto the plane. Then into the airport in SJPDP. I waited for Express Bouricot to find me. Then Linda from California found me. Then Lori and Jeff. And two people from Australia. Then our driver. Into the van and off to SJPDP. Linda, Lori and I visited the pilgrims office, our places we are staying, the citadelle, an ATM and then we parted ways. And then I was alone. I checked into my alberge where Eric the host was talking. See below for his words of wisdom. It’s absolutely perfect for my first moment alone on my first day. I put the covers on my bed and pillow case and then I was alone. Like really alone. What was I feeling: nervous, afraid, weird, excited. I’m here. I’m sleeping in a room with 4 bunk beds. I’m really here. Tomorrow I walk to Orrison.

“The more you love yourself the more you will love the other person. 
It’s not Important to get to Santiago, what’s important is your journey. 
Listen to your body and stop when it tell you too. 
You will stop at the right moment and get exactly what you need not what you want. 
Just be humble. The first gift on the way. 
You do not have any control. Leave it to the way. The way will tell you something important. 
Live intensely each moment. 
You have the right to choose to be happy. 
Walk with your heart not with your head. 
It’s magic. 
1. Stop when your body tells you to stop
2. Drink. All the time.”

Day 2 – Saint Jean Pied-de-Port to Orisson

Wow what am amazing day climbing up up up. I understand that this first day can be quite foggy… definitely not for me. The views were stunning. Walked from Saint Jean Pied de Port to Orisson. It was a hard quick walk. Stopped at a lovely little place along the way for a coffee and rest. I’m meeting so many new people and learning about why they are doing the Camino. Today I even met a new friend from Victoria. Wow small world. Every person I meet I’m learning something from. Cheryl taught me about bed bugs and being “home free”. Tomorrow Roncesvalles.

Day 3 – Orisson, and Roncesvalles:

Epic day. Over the Pyrenees and down to Roncesvalles. Not gonna lie… it was hard. But I did it and I’m super proud of myself. I also understand that I’m pretty lucky as the weather can be pretty shitty doing up and over. It was simply amazing today. I woke up to the most incredible sunrise. Then breakfast and we hit the road. I walked with Leena and Sherri today. The sun was incredible in the morning. There was a truck selling fruit, drinks and snacks. So we grabbed something and took a break before a massive hill. We left the road and walked through beautiful shaded trail until we hit a super cold fountain where I changed my socks. Then a little further and another break for our prepacked sandwich. Then the last killer hill and a stop at the top. You could go the straight down route or a milder meandering route. I chose the latter to save my knees. We found our albergue and did some laundry. Vivis first day of school today. She did great!! Then a pilgrim dinner (meh) and off to mass at the church for a pilgrim blessing. Tomorrow Zubiri.

Reflection:

They say the first 2 days of the walk are the hardest. It’s the first 3 days (tomorrow as well) that make you wonder why you’re doing what you’re doing.

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