Today was O Cebreiro. We left in the dark. I was a bit cold and eerie in the dark hiking up the mountain. The moon was bright and the stars were clear. We got to the first town and I had the most delicious crepe with hummus and tomatoes. Wow! I couldn’t get over it. Then it was light out and up up up! It was beautiful walking through the countryside and up the mountain. Everything is green with sweeping vistas. So incredible. We walked into O Cebreiro where there was a lot of tourists. It was cute but I was happy we weren’t staying here for the night. Then up some more (I swear I thought the up was done when I got to O Cebreiro but nooooooooo……) the day was wonderful. Up and around these beautiful vistas. I so enjoyed being with Luc and listening to his stories. I also thoroughly enjoyed making new memories with him. I know how much he appreciates going to new places and experiencing new things. I’m honored I get to do this with him. And now we’re in Galicia. The food, views and trail are much better in Galicia. Then there was this HELL hill. Omg. Right before some place called A Puerto (which was not a door or a port). Then into Fonfria to an albergue where we got a bottom double bunk (I’ve only seen these in Australia). We had an amazing dinner with a lot of people and the food and the wine kept coming. Lots of connection and sharing. I so enjoy listening to Luc speak all the languages he knows, even if I don’t understand them. I knew he would love this place – everything about it. I had a terrible sleep. But they say “all you need to do is walk the next day so who needs sleep?” ? the best part about tomorrow is we’ve rented a private room so I can sleep without 30 other strangers.
Day 36 – Fonfria to San Mamed
We started out around 6:40am. Still dark. We could hear a dog barking for at least a km away. We turned off the headlamp and enjoyed the moon light to guide our steps. Eventually the sun began to rise and it was a beautiful sun rise full of warm colors. Galicia is incredibly beautiful. I couldn’t stop oooohing and ahhhhing at alll the beauty. More up and a lot of down. The down is just murder on my metatarsals. Then we came upon this little oasis in a small village. Fruit, juice, coffee, cookies, nuts, while people played guitar. Beautiful quotes written everywhere and a calming energy. The guy that ran it came from Australia ?? he had been there for 4 years. We pressed on hoping the wild boar, wolves and bears didn’t jump us. Ok it’s a bit of a joke but true that they live in the forest. I will tread more aware when I’m hiking through the forests in Spain in the dark. We rented a private room with bath in this great albergue. We did laundry, chatted with Vivi and relaxed before dinner. We planned the next two days and where we’re staying. We’ve got 5 days to go. I can’t believe it’s less than a week until we’re finished. Tonight we went around the table, introduced ourselves and said what we were grateful for. I was surprised when a young girl who looked familiar, said she was grateful for me. She said 3 weeks ago me and Sherri and Leena invited her to the top of the mountain where the statues are and will mills for sunrise. She said since then, she’s tried to be near the top of mountains for sunrise as she enjoyed it so much with us and she’s passed this onto other people she’s met. It was so moving to hear the positive impact that this small gesture has had on her and others. Every day I’m met by people who share themselves with me and I gain something from them. Tonight I was touched by a beautiful soul and so happy our paths crossed again here and now after 3 weeks and the last time seeing her up on a mountain.
Day 37 – San Mamed to Puertomarin
Wow what a day. Furthest distance I’ve walked in one day. We started in the dark and had our first coffee in Sarria. And then some friends I haven’t seen since the meseta walked by. I love it when that happens. Wow. The amount of newbies on the trail. I’ve got some feelings about that. Luc and I spent a lot of time talking about all the new people who joined today and who send their packs forward. Weirdly, even though we were looking for it, I missed the 100km marker (sigh and foot stomp) but got the 99km marker. I have less than 100km to go!! We walked and walked and walked. I’ve been having some pain in my metatarsal on the right foot. Walking on pavement starts to really irritate it. After a little cry going down a massive hill, and then over a bridge and up so many steps and a few more hills, we made it to the albergue where we had another private room booked. And thank goodness because I started to feel some pain in my bladder area. I started thinking maybe I had a UTI. I discussed with Luc if I should go to a doctor. Eventually, Luc asked the albergue owner if there was a doctor we could visit. She said in the next town was a clinic. So we took a taxi to the clinic at about 5pm. I’m so thankful Luc is here. He was able to speak and understand what the doctors and nurses were saying. They think that the kidney stone might still be in but moved down. I’m still not drinking enough water ?. So Luc is on me now to drink more water and evidently I need to drink bottled water from here on out in Spain. I got a shot in my ass for the pain and was sent back home in the same taxi ?. Luc was a sweetie and bought a pizza for us to eat in our room. I’ve been laying in my bed the rest of the night with some pain and discomfort. I’m ready to be done this walk. 4 More days until Santiago. 6 more days until we’re back in Switzerland ??
Started our day at 6:15am an took off directly up hill for the sun rise. 2.4km. A beautiful sunrise. And then down down down on a river of balls as my mother describes this part (she’s not wrong). Then a nice easy walk. We stopped in a town for 2 tinto des verano (my new fave drink). And the carried on 2.6 km to this wonderful place. It was flat then up and so steep I wasn’t sure if I would fall backwards. I’m still with the lovely Sherri and Leena for another day. So incredibly grateful for them. I have 6 blisters that I drain at the end of the day with thread. I like this technique. I’m surprised actually how far you can walk with blisters on your feet. The pilgrims dinner was the BEST YET. lentil soup, a big green salad from the hosts garden and the a cod dish (see photo) that is a speciality in the area. I’m feeling good mentally and spiritually. Physically my toes and parts of my feet are hurting but otherwise all is good. The hardest part by far is the uphill in the hot afternoon Spanish sun. Tomorrow Azqueta.
Day 8 – Cirauqui/Zirauki to Estella:
Today was about self love and slowing down. We got up early and started walking. It was clear to me from the get go my feet were not happy. I remember Eric in SJPDP say “listen to your body”, Michael in Puenta De Reina say “take care of your feet” and Iona say “take it easy the first 10 days. After that you’ll be able to walk more”. So I told Sherri and Leena (who clearly could walk faster than I as they would wait for me) to go and I’ll meet up with them later. If I didn’t then Buen Camino. And then I was alone again. And it was ok. I talked with Luc and Violette for about an hour while I walked and listened to an audiobook. Then I decided, it’s day 7, I’m going to practice fierce self love and get my own room in Estella. Which is where I sit now. I’m so grateful to be able to splurge and look after my body and soul.
Day 9 – Estella to Los Arcos:
I chose to leave a bit later today (8am) which had some significant consequences (walking in the heat of the day). I immediately forgot my walking sticks (walk back 200m). My toes are not happy. So it was slow going. I walked alone and up to villa mayor. Not before stoping in at the wine fountain! We Stopped for some breakfast at 10am with some awesome people who I saw in Orisson. Then it was 12.4km until I saw another town. And down. You would think that it would have been easy. But no, it was 12:30 and we walked until 5pm. It was as HOT. My toes were killing. But I had Alan, a 72 year old Brit who told me fascinating stories of his life when he was younger. Very occasionally there was a breeze and I was so grateful for this small mercy on the blazing Spanish sun. Every little piece of shade we saw from the trees we hunkered under until we finally made it to this albergue. I peeled off my socks and bandages, popped my blisters, and the Camino provided to me tape to deal with my blisters. We headed out for dinner to the square. Right now there seems to be a lot of German’s in my company. They are all so happy, pleasant and kind. I love to hear about all the journeys why people are walking the Camino. Tomorrow will be a rest day for me. I need to heal my toes and blisters a bit more. My feet are more important than doing the distance. It pains me to say that but I need to look after my little digits. ♥️
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.
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.