Friday, 28 May 2010

The Walking Man

Just arrived in Villafranca with O Cebreiro to climb tomorrow or maybe the day after.
 can,t believe my knee is holding up, each night ice is applied and I keep going. It seems I have no choice I have been walking so long my legs seem to have a life of there own,I step out the door and off they go,as anyone who has walked the Camino knows that its hard to leave, because the Camino is the people on it,the ones you walk with eat with sing songs and drink wine with,no need for me to travel the World its right here walking this road to Santiago with me.My tan gets deeper and my beard gets longer and I am in a good place. (davidwho sang the blog title song?)

Saturday, 22 May 2010

The Real Camino

Just outside Sahagun the way divides in two,one is the Camino Real a 2m wide gravel path to Mansilla 27km long.
The alternative is the Calzada de los Peregrinos a mainly Roman road higher and longer at 31, that road was ment for you and me.
 I walked with Phil a man from Alberta Canada with an accent stright from the film "FARGO" we had the place to ourselves and truly felt the history and the vastness of the Meseta,for the first time I listned to music on phils mp3 while he went in search of Roman relics,I danced down the road to Van Morrison, my walkingstick as been lots of uses to me, today to the sound of "Baby Please Don,t Go" it became my air guitar and boy did I play it.
  so much fun was being had we decided to make a day of it and sleep out the night,a break for lunch then a nap under the trees where I took the lead part in the remake of the film "A Bugs Life" stocked up with food and wine and walked till 8pm a distance of 34k from Sahagun, made our beds beside a quite railway track watched the sun go down lay back and then watched the best star show I have ever seen interupted only by the quite railway track now turning into the main freight line into Leon, each train sounding like it was going right over us.
But nothing was going to spoil the show not even the forgotten fact that the Meseta is high and gets cold at night!!!.
 We woke with the dawn and walked like true Pilgrims into Mansilla drank coffee and hopped like sheep onto a bus into Leon.
 20k down the road finds me in one of my favorate Albergues the de Jesus in Villar Mazarife a welcome relief after the restrictions of Leon.
Thoughts of home intrude and new plans are made daily only to be changed by what the Camino brings,I may have not got what I want but as always the Camino brings you what you need.
Today the boots that have help me walked 2 Camino,s where left by the side of the road if you ever pass them please say Hi

A Man For All Seasons

my boots

Wednesday, 19 May 2010

Here comes the Sun + The Moveable Feast

Arrieved in Burgos in snow and rain, started the next day in -3 degrees passed the locals scraping ice from their windscreens and walked in search of the sun and slowly over the next few days I found it in abundence so here I sit in Sahagun burnt to a crisp,this trip is certainly a walk of extreams.
 One of the great things of a Camino is the evening meal,the best nights are when you have a kitchen and people share in the buying and the cooking of vast meals,not to be outdone most people buy far too much food and everybody buys too much wine.
 Such a night was had in Castrojeriz and we eat talked and drank the wine and fell into our beds,and for me slept right through to find a nearly empty Albergue and a bag of spare vedge and breakfast stuff,the rest of the mountain of unused food had been spread amongst the rest of the diners and was now being carried along the Camino.
 It took 3 days for the food to meet up in various places and rest stops and be consumed, The last item a head of lettice had been carried for two days in a carrier bag by Jenna the Jersey girl a new starter from Burgos and quickly adapting to being a Pilgrim,we told her that since she had had it for two days she must now carry it to Finnestere and burn it as the sun set,we got short shift and we eat it for lunch along with the last of the toms peppers ham onions and sweaty cheese plus 2 onions found in my bag, what to do with the jar of jam also carried by me was solved by the Jersey girl who developed a taste for jelly and lettice as she called it.
 The days become a moveable feast with breakfast in one town,you sit in a bar 6k down the road for a beer and your breakfast companions slowly join you and so it goes on through lunch and to tonights shared meal here in Sahagun.
 We lost Jenna today a victim of the coughing flu type epademic sweeping the Camino,each night the coughing and snezzing gets worse drowning out even the most noisiest of snorers.She stays back a day in an atempt to recover,its only a matter of time before I sucome!!
 We still are missing 4 oranges-bannanas and red peppers, they may turn up in the next few days or it maybe time to have a look at the bottom of my pack.

Saturday, 15 May 2010


My glasses are broken  my boots are ready for the bin,and I,m feeling ready for the knackers yard.
But a good hot shower food good company a glass of wine a good nights sleep and you hit the road if not running at least moving in a forward direction.
 the last few days have seen every type of weather going and as I sit here in the Casa Nostra in Castrojeriz the sun shines.
   a 30k walk into Logrono mostly in pouring rain, snowstorms from Ages through Atapuerca to a full house in Burgos, A-2 walk into Hornillos del Camino and the stickest mud I have ever walked through into Hontanas,I sat in the bar there with what looked like canoes attached to my feet.
But this is the Camino and every time I feel low it provides.
  when I left Los Arcos early after arguing with the rude owner of the Albergue the sun broke through and gave me the best early morning diserted walk into Sansol,there to share 2 coffees with Sandra from Canada who was also feeling low.and one hour later with spirits revied we hit the road.
 when I walked out of SJPP with my daughter Sally we met 2 Korean girls Hatchi and Kimi who were walking the full 28km.we enjoyed their company and worried about them in their lightweight plimsoles as they left us at Orrison,we never met them again.
 walking through Azofra feeling the pain in my knee and thinking that maybe I would finish in Burgos I was enveloped in a double hug from the two girls who had taken 12 hours to walk to Roncesvalles,their laughter and good humour was infectious and as I shared their bread and cheese my love for the way was restored.
 and so it goes on,you quickly become friends with so many people and we encourage each other on this road to Santiago, but the Knee may still do for me so maybe I finish in Leon ???

Tuesday, 11 May 2010

Thursday, 6 May 2010

The Man With the Tan

Now in Los Arcos,it has been a strange old week raining for most of it ,with strong winds and hailstones as we walked over Alto de Perdon.
I stand out for a change as one of the only North Europeans with a tan, any others have invairable also started their Camino in France, I am vain enough to take pride in telling people this when asked how come I have a tan or where did I start from,I also take great pride in the fact my passport has so many stamps but so far no one seems so impressed with the size of my passport.
 there are so many people now on the Camino some starting in SJPP others in Roncesvalles or Pamplona, my walking companion was in tears as she reached Estella,the large crowds had got to her,she had thought of this journey for 10 years and didn,t think she could continue,we walked a short 2k passed Estella to the sports hall and nearly had it all to ourselves,plus we heard that the 3 refuge were all filled by the end of the day.
 a good walk nearly all to ourselves to Los Arcos the last 7 km being realy beutifull and both she and me are ready for the rest still to come.
 I plan trying to get out of sinc with the crowds by staying at the small places.
 the main change for me is the "Ground Hog Day" effect its amazing how many memories flood back as I walk,I sit in bars expecting old friends to join me, they weather is so different too I now walk through mud where once my neck turned red with the heat.
 but I must walk this Camino and not last years.
  So many people walked down through the woods into Roncesvalles and for some their Camino is now over,
one young man 27 years of age Christian for germany joined me for a meal in Zubiri,his knee was bad and he planned to rest up for a few days,he had worked for 7 years as a chef in Magalulf a party town and now hoped to walk the Camino before returning to his home town to look after his ageing parents of 62, when he mentioned this to the table of 3 danish women and one from Italy including myself all older than his parents we all howled with laughter and regaled him with stories of our lives as we relived the 60,s
 one of the Danish women had been an au pair and then worked in bond street in London in the 1960,s She had had a great time, the italian had drove a truck in England when she was a student and was now carrying the ashes of her 25 years younger husband to Santiago,as we relived the times of the 60,s Christian vowed to view his parents in a diffent light.He left us reliving the 1960,s and as we started to sing the old songs we were asked to leave the table for being too loud,us baby boomers never forget how to party!!
 the other high note was when we diverted to Eunate a Knights Templar church where if you walk barefoot round the outside 3 times you will be filled with new vigor,Which we did much to the delight of the 2 tourist buses that took pictures,I don,t think I was filled with new strengh but who knows.
 a little of what my walking comanion feels came home to me today, In a place were I slept alone in a room ment for 4 last year the whole town is full, people had to keep walking for another 6 km, tomorrow we walk 29km to Logrono and have already booked our rooms,4 to a room at 20 euros each.
 we have to up our game.

Saturday, 1 May 2010

A Full House

Sat here in Roncesvalles under a full house of pilgrims. The town is packed, I met some who had to take 50 euro rooms. the Camino is so busy but so full of life and energy
 I was feeling realy tired as I walked into SJPP from Osbanot having met up with daughter number 1 (Sally) it felt like the end of the journey rather than the halfway stage, but being with my daughter and standing in the street in SJPP watching all the new Pilgrims looking and smelling really clean walk up the hill to the Pilgrim office and then meeting some of them at dinner in the L,Esprit du Chemin you could not help but be lifted by all the nervous energy as they prepared to start and I was filled with new resolve that has carried me over a misty and rainy route Napoleon to Roncesvalles.
 After the quite walk through France the noise and energy is a heady mix as new people are met from all corners of the globe.
 the town is so full,finding places to sleep is going to be interesting but hey I,m on the Camino and happy to be here