May - June 2019
  • Day0

    St Jean Pied de Port, Basque Pays France

    May 7, 2019 in France ⋅ ⛅ 20 °C

    I start out from here tomorrow morning, but have not decided which route yet: Valcarlos or Napoleon. I’m sending my pack ahead for this segment so I can enjoy it rather than suffer this time. Been there, done that.

    Though it took me as long to take the milk train from Connecticut to JFK airport as it did to then fly across the Atlantic to Paris (6 hours to JFK😮), I had a smooth trip. From my door step to St. Jean: about 18 hours. No hurry!

    Lots of nervous pilgrims here, girding themselves for the first leg, straight up to the Leopeder Pass about 1400 ft.! If you make it up there, you know you can make the whole 500 miles. The most difficult part first—trial by fire—until you get your Camino legs about a week in. I got my baston (walking staff) at the pilgrim shop and am ready to roll.
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  • Day1

    Roncevalles Monastery- Cafe Sabina

    May 8, 2019 in Spain ⋅ ⛅ 13 °C

    Carbo-loading at Cafe Sabina after a grueling passage over the Pyrenees in wind and rain all day. I can barely walk!

    Up through the Lepoeder Pass to Roncevalles today. Big climb from just above Orisson over the border into Spain. 60+mph wind gusts, rain, hail and sleet. Still snow remnants in the Pyrenees. Today was trial-by-wind, not fire!Read more

  • Day2

    Way to Zubiri

    May 9, 2019 in Spain ⋅ ⛅ 13 °C

    I’m in Zubiri this evening after 8 leisurely hours of hiking up and down, carrying my pack and feeling stronger today in spite of an almost sleepless night next to an Olympic snorer in last night’s shelter. No hard feelings—sweet guy greeted me with a cheery “Bonjour!” in the morning. How could I hold a grudge? I was in a dorm room with ten men and myself the only female. Such is life on the Camino.

    Tonight I’m staying in one of my favorite albergues—was here seven years ago with Stuart and it has not changed: communal French cooked meal with very civilized pilgrims, all quiet as church mice, organizing their bags perfectly in the twilight to be ready to leave at dawn. Sigh...simple pleasures of the ultra-disciplined. I am not one of them, still unshowered here at 9:30 pm hanging at the local bar writing this. I’ll creep guiltily into my sack later tonight and hope not to wake the others.
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  • Day3

    At Zuriain, a pilgrim rescue

    May 10, 2019 in Spain ⋅ ⛅ 16 °C

    Wild day on the Camino with a helicopter rescue of an injured pilgrim who broke his leg on a downhill muddy descent. I was right there when it happened. Quick response and lots of pilgrims helping each other.

    Today is the day before the 2nd anniversary of my mother’s death, so I am glad I had some quiet country walking to spend some time reflecting on her. She passed away while I was walking on the Portuguese Camino in 2017.
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  • Day3

    Zabaldika

    May 10, 2019 in Spain ⋅ ⛅ 18 °C

    San Estaban parochial albergue on the old Camino. Rest for the weary spirit.

    A last minute climb up to a sweet albergue with about 12 other pilgrims—communal dinner, time in the chapel with the sisters, singing pilgrim songs, Taize chants and Camino talkRead more

  • Day4

    Pamplona breather

    May 11, 2019 in Spain ⋅ ⛅ 13 °C

    Taking half day’s rest—much needed today.
    Will press on tomorrow.
    So great to have some good tapas on Calle San Nicholas. Fun to people watch when you are solo!

    I checked into a place here in downtown Pamplona. Crazy scene!
    Another pilgrim came in as I was checking in—an older man from Brazil who was searching for a room and had walked all the way from Zubiri, a freaking long way!! The hotel was full so I asked him to share my room. He agreed and is happily sleeping now. We are glad, because we split the cost in half. Nice hotel and I went to the spa and had a massage—so needed as I could barely walk.

    Tomorrow we ascend the Alto del Perdon, a grueling stage, and I am staying in Urtega at a hostel. Neii will probably stay there too. That is as far as I can make it I think, knowing myself.
    I wanted to ship a half kilo of stuff but the correo in Pamplona is closed the weekend. So I will carry the damn Altus poncho a little longer!
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  • Day5

    Uterga, Alto del Perdon

    May 12, 2019 in Spain ⋅ ⛅ 14 °C

    Staying the night, exhausted. No energy or words. Neii is still walking with me on this part of the journey, but I am not as fast paced as he, so am trying to express to him that he should move on and leave me behind. He feels beholden to me for helping him out in Pamplona, and that is very sweet, but we must each walk our own Camino. This is his first.Read more

  • Day6

    Puente la Reine (Gares)

    May 13, 2019 in Spain ⋅ 🌙 17 °C

    One of my favorite churches on the camino is here, so I paid a visit and sang in the spectacular acoustic of this Templar built church, Eglesia de Crucifixo.