One year Sabbitical and a Camino starting from Saint Jean Pied du Poort in September. Training time begins and a reassurance that one step at a time is the way to go. I'm, however, committing to 50 steps.. and another perhaps....and another
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  • Day109

    Day one and no more sleeps

    September 18, 2017 in New Zealand ⋅ ⛅ 12 °C

    All the months and weeks of planning and preparation; now as the Anglican prayer book says " What has been done, has been done, and what has not been done, has not been done."

    Later this afternoon I start the long relatively passive stages of my journey. My flights are about 26 hours from Wellington to Auckland to San Francisco to Paris with several hours transitioning in both places. My arrival time in Paris is about 11 am Tuesday local time (and 9pm Tuesday NZ time) and I have a hostel booked for two nights before heading to the foot of the Pyrennees. There should be time to recover from jet-lag. Maybe time to enjoy a cafe solo in view of the Eiffel Tower. Here I go, dreaming ahead again! So my gear is packed with a thermal layer added given reports of unseasonal cold weather. I've scanned the weather forecasts and there are suggestions that it may be clearing by the time I approach my literal mountain on Saturday morning. With apologies to John Bunyan ..distant memories from reading PILGRIM'S PROGRESS "...as 'Much Afraid'.... approached the River....., ( she fussed an awful lot but got there in the end with much grace) it...that river... was never known to be so low.....and the sound of her singing was heard."Read more

  • Day106

    Two more days, three sleeps...

    September 15, 2017 in New Zealand ⋅ ⛅ 14 °C

    So just two days until pre-camino preparation ends and Europe here I come. I had great intentions to finalise my packing earlier this week noting that little additions kept creeping into my backpack!! I realised I needed to shed another kilo. Decisions about carrying a smarter outfit for Paris, extra socks etc. In the end with a minor tweak or two and my weight goal was achieved. an extra bonus was that now the pack fits into the drysac that will become it's waterproof liner once the international flight is over. I've decided to checkin my pack, taking the risk on lost luggage. I'm wearing my hiking shoes so anything else is replaceable. I just hope I'm not tested on that.

    So final list...a point of obsession with potential pilgrims that I vowed not to develop.....fail!

    Note: clean alternative hiking clothes donned after day's walk and showering is both dinnerwear and Pjs

    Wearing for travel
    - lightweight, quick-drying trousers
    - merino T-shirt
    - merino link zip jacket
    - merino buff
    Compression hose ...24 hours flight time
    Underwear
    Large light scarf....use as sarong, sheet, privacy screen....dress up0

    Light weight shoulder bag that will function as front pack with essentials at hand and look presentable in the cities

    Packed:
    -Convertible hiking trousers
    -Merino T-shirt
    -Long sleeved ultra light icebreaker top
    -ultra light down vest

    Two merino knickers
    Two pairs merino sox
    Two sock liners
    Nylon kneehiis
    Spare bra
    Light weight buff

    One pair merino long leggings

    Rain/windproof jacket
    ALTUS poncho
    Wool fingerless gloves

    Crocs: for shower and non-walk relief
    Peak hat

    Sleeping bag

    Money belt

    8 kilt pins....clothes pegs and to pin wet clothes to backpack
    Mini shampoo/conditioner
    Small soap
    Piece block deodorant
    Sunblock

    Tinted face block
    Lip balm
    Comb

    Mini first aid... blister prevention
    Foot balm

    Camino guide
    Smartphone, charger, powerboost
    Transition lens glasses
    Doglette mascot
    Items to carry to Cruz de Ferro

    Waterproof bag and hook for shower

    To buy in France:
    two walking poles
    Sim card
    Small knife

    Euros
    Money card
    Passport
    Pilgrim passport

    Great to have that sorted finally!!

    There's just the farewell dinner tomorrow night with family....then what? No more training ...goodbye to the comforts of home for two months. ... mi perra poco...Mi pequeño perro pobre..😢

    "What has been done has been done, what has not been done, has not been done."
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  • Day99

    One week and two days....

    September 8, 2017 in New Zealand ⋅ ☀️ 12 °C

    My serious pre-Camino preparation has been interrupted by a luxury city break piggybacking on my lovely colleague and friend's work conference. An opportunity to say "good-bye", enjoy some rest time and reflect on some of the luxuries that will be absent on Camino. The luxurious 5 star surroundings amplify the probable contrasts....EL Baño, champú, lociones, sábanas, la tocará....a toilet, shampoo, lotions, sheets, soft towels... Mostly "la intimidad"....my personal privacy....🤤🤤👉. Funny thing is...I'm looking forward to the simplicity....and so pleased it is not me attending this professional conference.....oh, oh, oh....so, so pleased. Give me the exquisite pain and challenge of my mountains.....

    AND backtracking...early in the week I had an unexpected change of plans....noted elsewhere but certainly part of my preparation and there's photos too: " Lovely Hemi Matenga Mountain on a Tuesday....the luxury of a trail nearly all mine. I parked on the street and approached the Parata track after a km trek through the bush. The Parata track is a steady 2 km climb, quite steep but doable with stops to catch my breath....no real strain on my muscles though. I loved it. Bush, mud, green lushness....Doglette and me 💃🐕 her patiently waiting where necessary....no pressure🐶💕🙆. Actually saw two guys who recognised us and remembered we were in training. "Hola. Buenos Días, mis amigos"

    It was so thoroughly enjoyable. Once we had reached the lookout and had lunch it seemed appropriate to the occasion to continue on to the more challenging Te Au Track rather than returning down to the car. Again I found it really pleasant and it seemed easy than the early hike up to the lookout although there were both scents and descents though mud. It became more challenging when we reached the REAL descent which was very steep and slippery.

    Picture this: me, NOT an elegant sight....more of a downhill climb than walk...walking poles less helpful than swinging off tree branches and slidiing on my bottom. No trouble to Dogette...no decisions for her about over or under fallen trees....as I said...not a pretty sight but such fun.💃💃💃

    After four hours or so we reached the end of the loop....my car was parked two kms beyond the start of this loop! We spent another hour climbing hills in the suburbs, hunting for our 🚗 📌".

    I'm thinking this may be the last biggish walk before the Pyrennes and it's It's getting closeI In the last two days I had numerous emails Camino-related including people wanting to follow my travels ...so exciting.
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  • Day86

    Three weeks, two days to go....

    August 26, 2017 in New Zealand ⋅ ⛅ 13 °C

    Sobering thought triggered this morning by waves of dizziness and nor feeling very well...this amidst the excitement and plotting and planning for the Camino. How precarious it all is.... no matter how well we plan or train...how little it takes for all our agenda to be swept aside. Guess it helps to recognise that there is a difference between a long walk and a pilgrimage....hopefully I am a pilgrim. The difference?....everything that happens or doesn't seem to happen is part of the happening...the process of pilgrimage. Not just a destination but a process of being.

    Anyway, a lovely walk up a local hill yesterday with full backpack and poles. Not so long....just about seven kms....so less than half a short Camino day. It was steep though and there were detours around mud and tree roots. An important lesson learnt when I was toppled by the unaccustomed pack weight attempting to scramble up a small ridge.

    I'm loving the walking poles...certainly they help with stability. And the hills and my fitness level?? Slowly, slowly. I am no more tired climbing the hills with the pack than I was without....and I haven't lost the 5kg as intended to help compensate for the weight of the pack on my knees.

    A small change from the Camino ten years ago. Last time mountains were approached in increments of fifty steps: "ONE, two, three....fifty! One, two...". This time they will be approached thus: " ¡Uno, dos, tres....cincienta. Uno...."

    Today a rest day and hydration.
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  • Day65

    Six weeks to go.

    August 5, 2017 in New Zealand ⋅ 🌙 5 °C

    Departure feels both too soon and too far away ..how can that be? A blink away there was nine weeks!! I haven't even posted over the last few weeks. .Oh that I could just get started. It feels as if there are too many uncertainties....the weather September to November...hot early on? ...cold? Since I can't carry much, I want to get it right. Lots of self-doubt operating here and questions too. Am I fit enough? Certain about that...I'm not!

    I was somewhat reassured, recently reading about a woman who has been training for a year walking 20 plus kilometres six days a week. And a couple who rise at 6am every day and walk until 4pm with breakfast and lunch breaks and have been doing this for several months. Both of these first time pilgrims are starting their Camino like me in September! 🤤🤤🤤 That just seems ridiculous to me and I know that's not the way I want to approach my Camino.

    So me? Well I know I have reasonable functional fitness for my age. I regularly spend hours in the garden...heavy gardening toil. I do enjoy walking and walk regularly with my dog. Hills?? Hills are not my strong point. I get there slowly. I cut back on too much walking and climbing some months back because sciatic pain suggested overuse. I've started yoga stretches and aqua aerobics to keep that balance.

    Psychologically, I am able to persevere until a task is completed....with short rest spells and stern self talk. I'm excited...nervous...committed to this special time for me

    My gear? My pack feels comfortable....haven't trained much with it yet but the fit is good and I will manage a longish weekly walk over the next six week. I reckon I can keep the pack under 5kg and the new shoes seem good too.

    Enough already...It will be fine on the day...step-by-step.

    Six weeks and two days I am on the plane to Paris...just me!! Ready or not.
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  • Day40

    Counting down: Nine more Mondays

    July 11, 2017 in New Zealand ⋅ 🌙 8 °C

    Counting down....calmly counting down....just nine more Mondays until I board my flight for....🗼

    Last week I prepared by:

    Ordering new hiking shoes
    Starting aquafit
    Starting yoga
    Lots of squats
    Moderate walking and "play-play" short very steep climbs AND a brillant challenging climb and descent with half a pack that restored my confidence. It was exhilarating!!
    Also booked a flight from Santiago de Compostela back to Paris on 12 November. Planned a budget that allows me to survive in Europe from 24 September to 14 November as a pilgrim not a tourist! 💃✔👠✖ Four days in Paris and home...YOU MEETUP in Paris on the 14 November, anyone??

    This week:
    Hopefully my shoes arrive 🚶🚶🚶
    Encourage any visiting grandbabies to climb at least one hill with me 💃👬
    Follow @ctiaa on the via de plata camino👏👏
    Yoga and Aquafit classes focused on balance and flexibility....and communal change rooms at Aquatic Centre....good practice 😨

    Be realistic....it is school holidays....little boys overnight Tuesday....:Movie outing to"Cars 3" Wednesday 🤔🤔 perhaps a bonding session with Grandad? Fetch bigger boys when I drop off little boys or overnight or two and movie outing....🤔🤔perhaps another bonding session with Grandad. Our twins 13th birthday Sunday 🎉🎊🎁🎁🎂🍰 Must talk to @kjhappy. Dig and prep garden for potatoes at least.....maybe B would like....🤔

    Give some time to cultivating a palate for nice Spanish reds....well...continue to develop....nice Spanish reds....I know for sure that B will enjoy that 🙋🍷🍷🙆
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  • Day39

    Counting down...and panicking!!

    July 10, 2017 in New Zealand ⋅ 🌙 9 °C

    I wasn't sleeping well last night feeling the pressure of time so it was a relief when morning finally arrived. Except it wasn't . "Good night" said my phone...2am 😨

    Now I know it's not NEW news that I'm going to Paris. However, did you know I'm ON the plane in 10 more Mondays...just ten more Mondays! Easy PEASY...✈🛬🗼

    What may be news is that I'm just popping into Paris before and after the main action.....sort of granny running away from home for 60 days....OE...whatever...

    However the main action is my proposed 1000km walk "solo y a pied"!

    Breathe....breathe...one breath...one step..by step by step 👣👣👣👣👣👣....no Doglette 😢😢😢

    😲😲😲And there's just 10 more Mondays to get myself in shape and sort my gear and climb on that plane with a little bag that will feel like a very big bag after an hour or two of walking and there are major considerations like the weight of my spare pair of knickers and what hiking gear covers temperatures from -1 to 30 C and "the rain in Spain falls mainly on the Plain" so rain gear is necessary and there's bunks to sleep in and wide open spaces without portaloos or even trees and I have a mature bladder....and I'm sort of modest and toileting, showering, dressing and sleeping within inches of strange men creates an interesting mix of emotions.😎😉😆😶😲😩

    AND PEOPLE SNORE AND I'M A PEOPLE AND IF I HAVE A COLD I SNORE AND A SNORE IS A SNORE AND PEOPLE ON THE CAMINO HATE SNORERS EVEN IF B SAYS IT IS MORE LIKE A PURR.....HE ISN'T THERE TO EXPLAIN.....

    And I thought I would be lean and fit by now and I'm not.✖ And I thought I would be caught up with life...garden done ✔✖, house done✔✖, social life done✔✖, children and children's children done ✔✖ ( I let myself off the hook with the children's children's four children).

    So in the early hours of the morning, this 10 week countdown materialised into consciousness (I had wondered why I overreacted yesterday to a reasonable request to have two lovely teenage granddaughters for a week in the holidays.... I wasn't excited and there is a flock/ herd/ gaggle/ bunch of birthdays in the next 10 weeks....

    To get a grip on this I'm planning a Monday-by-Monday Camino countdown.

    💃Buy 10 session tickets for both an Aquafit and a Yoga weekly class to ensure more balance to my fitness training
    💃Order new Salamon shoes....decided not to ignore niggles about present shoes...they should arrive by next week ready to walk with pack
    💃Assemble clothes and gear for backpack - max at 10lb ( "Spare knickers? What spare knickers?")
    💃Just usual Doglette walking this week waiting on shoes
    💃Squats, squats and more swats...tired-squat, happy -.squat 🙈🙉🙊

    Ten more Mondays...whose counting?
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  • Day1

    Training: Paekakariki return test walk

    June 2, 2017 in New Zealand ⋅ ☀️ 13 °C

    This morning I donned my potential Camino gear including half my expected weight in the backpack. I said "YES, LET'S" to an appealing, pleading Doglette. I'm not sure if she realises that she and I have nearly ALWAYS to hangout together now .....oh, barring that two months of desertion while I am in Europe. How will i manage? Her? She's just a dog! 😍😍😍

    We headed along the beach with walking poles, walking pilgrim-style to the next seaside town Paekakariki - in Maori "perching place of the kakariki (green parrot)".

    A glorious walking day with a delighted canine companion who was appropriately attentive when she needed to be.

    After our two and a half hour walk, we wandered into the quirky little cafe in the village and ordered coffee and their crusty ham roll ( ...so yummy)...perfect Camino timing and " comida para desayuno"

    Then I texted D who drove down the highway to join us briefly. He inquired if either of us needed a ride home or whether he could transport my backpack??? Thank you, but no thank you 😶😶👉🐕💃

    After gathering up both backpack and Doglette, and kissing the man, we retraced our steps with the wind at our backs this time.

    We watched a hardy soul having a midwinter swim, chatted to someone who was also intrigued by his madness....she had found a perfect scallop shell on the beach...a Camino symbol...we don't have scallops locally...note to self "must look out for one for my pack".

    I shed my shoes part-way home and paddled...noticed a minor blister that is good to know about....wore those wonderful ugly crocs down the hill to home. I loved having all I needed on my back... my backpack and choice of gear performed admirably.

    Just a five hour round trip without any hills but it felt like an invigorating good day. DONE 🤗🤗🤗
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