Thursday, 23 December 2010

Year Endings and Future Plans

So here we are at the end of another year,A cold England with snow and ice not seen before Christmas for years. the weight creeps back on slowly but the tanned legs still remain a reminder of warmer days in Spain. this Norfolk village  creeps along slowly as I try to get my affairs in order,utility bills house cleaning. Came back to a full pantry and fridge thanks to daughter number 2 who had used the house for a short holiday with her boyfriend  and managed to roll my car into a farmers field less than one mile from the house,thankfully both were fine,just bruised and shaken, the full larder came with apologies. So now I catch the bus to the larger towns in the area,the overheard bus conversations tend to follow the same pattern, who's missing, ill or has died recently I tend to feel very old by the time I get home.
 So I make plans for the new year in a attempt to slow down "times winged chariot" in April I drive down through France and Spain with my Brother (in his car) hopefully with me driving :-}he loves Roman remains so we return to Salamanca and the surrounding area for Easter.
 then in an attempt to get out of my comfort zone,if you can call walking 5 months this year on the Camino comfortable!! I'm stirred to go for a bigger challenge so in another rush of blood to the head I have booked flights to Calgary Alberta in Canada (out May back??? July) a low deposit and 10 weeks to come up with the rest hopefully-and I don't say this lightly I,m going to have to pull my finger out in order to meet the deadline plus money for the stay-The realisation of what I've taken on woke me up early this morning with a nice feeling of nervousness which rose to stark fear when I googled Banff  National park near to the Rockies,the planned area of the backpacking treks and looked at the advice on how to deal with the Mountain lions Grizzly bears and Cougars, now the last cougar I met was on the Camino just outside Pamplona,thankfully I was too old for her, but I think  these may be differant  cougars ones with a taste for prime English beef. The bears will not be long out of hibernation the Female on heat for just a sort time and the growing female not on heat for 5 years, no wonder they are flipping Grizzly!!!
 there are also the weele disease carrying tics the later stages of which consist I kid you not of " arthritic pain or swelling, disorientation,short term memory loss,the inability to concentrate- and mental fog" my God I've got the lot !! how am I'm going to tell if I've got it ??? But I have battled the bed bugs of the Camino and will go prepared. plus  the Mountain passes will still be full of snow, This trip will be as far out of my comfort zone as I can get, I obviously have to get a bit real for this trip.
 So the year ends, I have met so many good people this year I was truly blessed plus I'm a more chilled relaxed and happy person going out than I was coming in.
 So for anyone reading this I wish them the same for the New Year, have a good one

Monday, 8 November 2010

a few last pics

All Worn Out

So here I am back in Santiago,waiting for my flight tomorrow having been out to Finnisterra for a few days-walking to Muxia and then back here to Santiago. maybe its the end of my walking for this year or the hills of Galicia have done for me but I found it hard-long 28km days over hills that in my experiance are a lot harder than anything the Camino from st John can throw at you. First there is the 30km walk to Muxia not too bad but you have to ford a river which at this time of year is in full flow with water up to mid thigh,they have started to build a bridge with the pillars in place but this only serves to channel the water into a faster flow,you have to aim your feet a good foot to the right of were you want to plant it,I did it quite gingerly not helped by 3 young Americans skipping across like it was nothing-they even offered to help  the old man with his bag. a new rule evendently means you can not book into the Aubergue without one stamp from some cafe half way to Muxia. strong words were spoken as the guy was not going to let me stay-I told him I had forded a chuffing river and had pictures to prove it-he finally relented but said it would not be allowed in the busy summer.I wanted to walk back from Muxia as last year I had walked to finnisterra and wanted to dot the eyes and cross the t,s. I have done this so much across Spain that my way looks like a giant game of noughts and crosses ( tic tac toe). on my walk into Negaria I got lost for the first time this year with nothing left to do but walk the last 8km on a busy main road-walking on the edge of a road facing the speeding traffic is not my idea of fun and not something a sane grown man should be doing and I questioned what the heck I was doing. Stopping at a roadside cafe I watched the pope on the tv just 20km away but I was glad to be where I was,the waitress must have taken pity on this poor pilgrim as I was treated to the largest plate of tapas ever.filled with new energy I made it to Negaria but could not face the last uphill climb out to the Abergue and booked into a hostel in town-I was done for,so much so that I caught a 2 euro bus into Santiago the next morning (Sunday) the best value bus ride ever, exchange a days walk for 2 euros!!
 I walked into the Cathedral square whiched still had the remnents of the el papa.s visit,it did nothing for me untill I saw a young woman sat on the floor her head bowed in tears,I asked her if she was ok-she answered yes she was just filled with emotion at what she had done in getting there,she stood up and walked away, her pack nearly as big as herself. this cynical old man sat in her place and reflected at what he himself had achieved in 5 months of walking this year and felt proud and even a little moved myself.
 So here I sit,one more night then good old Rynair takes me home and I am ready for a rest and a chance to lick my wounds.I intend to hibernate for the winter,take stock and decide what to do next-something with a little less walking maybe. I have invitations to visit Extreamadurous in the spring-even an invitation to go to Canada and ride on the back of an Harley through Alberta ( giving it serious thought Phil who knows) for the moment I,m happy just to take it easy for a while visit with my 5 children and 4 grandchildren and show off my tan and new lean if not a little stiff body.
 Thanks to all who have followed this blog and left such encouraging comments,they gave me strengh when I needed it

Friday, 29 October 2010

Stormy Weather

today the rain came as only it can in Galicia and found me poorly equiped to cope,I had plans to make Pedrozo but fell 3km short and now stay in Santa Irena a place with no food and no kitchen but hot showers and very hot heaters ideal to dry all my gear, I made the mistake of hand washing most of my stuff back in Ribadiso do Baixo and it didn,t dry so poorly equiped I faced the day and what a day it was-I was soaked to the bone and on my last legs my fingers did not work and I was questioning the meaning of it all if not life itself,the bar I now sit in I passed 1km before the albergue too wet and cold to stop- the only way to keep warm was to keep walking,now I sit here well feed Germans and Dutch to the left of me and Lee from Korea to my right,a great bar great food (10euro,s) plus when you eat on your own a full botle of wine to yourself-today I have gone from the depths of dispair to one well fed happy pilgrim-only on the Camino.
 now I sit 22km short of Santiago and a promised party to finish off this 1000km walk.Still have not worked out what to do for the last 10days of my trip-I will let the weather and my purse decide

Wednesday, 27 October 2010

Palas de Rei

3 good days short of Santiago,the way has been good with just a little rain,I find myself getting there with a week to spare,what to do with that week is giving me a few problems making a choice is difficult when all you do is walk-I may catch a bus back one week on the via de la plata or go to porto or somewhere near and walk up from through Portugal or walk to Finnisterra I will decide later or the Camino will decide for me.
 This time of year the Camino is not so crowded and even the extra pilgrims that have started in Sarria are causing me no problems I am so chilled,but for Sandy my Yorkshire walking companion it is too much and she goes ahead catching the odd bus,plus her feet are still giving her problems.
 I am feeling a little tired,this will be the 5th month I have walked this year-a bit much I think but when ever I sit and reflect I don,t regret anything its been a great year where else would you want to be?.but maybe next year something a little less tiring I think "I will comb my hair or maybe eat a peach and wear white flannel trousers and walk along a beach.

Monday, 18 October 2010

Welcome to the Camino Frances

Walking slowly from Astorga,now 21km short of Ponferrada,my walking companion Sandy also from Yorkshire has a bad foot and is taking it slowly-an ideal situation for both of us,its good to slow down and take in the sights and a vista I will never tire of.

already met so many people, it feels good to be back on the madhouse.

PICS from the end