May - June 2017
  • Day21

    Burgos

    May 23, 2017 in Spain ⋅ ☀️ 20 °C

    On Sunday I walked about 25 miles so I could have an extra day in Burgos. I've enjoyed it so much, I added another.

    The city sits on two rivers, and is a lovely mix of modern and traditional. The gothic cathedral-- with El Cíd buried at its heart-- is one of the loveliest in the world. (Tell me if you'd like a link to the album of pictures I took there.)

    On my first evening here, two locals spotted me finishing dinner, and invited me to their table for a beer. That gesture, and the conversation that followed about my Camino, will stay with me long after I leave tomorrow.
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  • Day17

    Finding Dad

    May 19, 2017 in Spain ⋅ 🌙 6 °C

    He died when I was 10 years old. It's a wound that's never stopped hurting. Touching it almost always leaves me feeling angry...ripped off...sad.

    Last night, when I remembered that today's the anniversary of when he left, I expected the day would be a sad one. But somehow, when I put my foot on the path this morning, I found space for a new thought-- gratitude-- and the ability to decide "No, this *won't* be a sad day!"

    And so I walked, 30km through the Spanish countryside-- along rich fields, over rolling hills, through centuries-old villages-- and I felt thankful.

    Thankful I had eyes to see the amazing greens and blues and browns and whites surrounding me.

    Thankful for my body, moving me through space and able to enjoy cool morning breezes and the warm afternoon sun.

    Thankful for a heart that lets me appreciate the beauty I see, and form connections with the people I meet.

    Thankful for the curious mind that led me to choose this adventure, and squeeze all I can from it.

    And Thankful to my Dad for everything he did to give me this.

    I don't know how long this will last. I don't know how often I'll find the grace to say "No, this *won't* be a sad day!"

    But I had today, sore feet and all, and I'm good with that. Thanks Dad. I love you.
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  • Day15

    Najera

    May 17, 2017 in Spain ⋅ 🌬 20 °C

    I *really* didn't feel like walking today. Tired, achy, pissed off that my alarm didn't work. My pack felt heavier than it had been. And after two days broiling, it looked like we'd get hit with rain midday. No, the high thread count hotel bed definately seemed like a much better alternative.

    But...I coffee'd up and dragged myself outdoors, resigned to completing the short (18km) day ahead. And things worked out. The storm held off, the hills were quite mild, and I ended up in the lovely town of Najera by 3:00. Now it's evening and I'm in a comfy room, showered and fed and listening to raindrops hit the courtyard outside.

    A bunch of people have told me that The Camino is much like Life, the journey to Santiago one extended metaphor. I've certainly discovered the truth of the saying "Wherever you go, there you are!"

    So when mornings like this one happen again after Santiago; when I find myself slowed either by "what is" or "what I fear," I pray I'll remember how today worked out, and find whatever I need to just walk on.
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  • Day14

    Too darn hot

    May 16, 2017 in Spain ⋅ ⛅ 20 °C

    It's been a hot couple of days, especially the afternoons on unshaded roads. Still, I covered another 40km, passing through the capital of Spain's wine region, Logroño. The place I stayed there was unlike any I've ever been in.

    Picture an apartment in a dingy residential high-rise, dimly lit, smelling strongly of disinfectant. The sounds of other people staying there, heard but never seen. A poorly repaired lamp, whose wires came apart in my hand as I plugged it in.

    I survived the night, while relearning the "cheap ain't always best" lesson. And while this walk is still young, I do have to dub this place the odds-on favorite to take "Location most likely to host a drug overdose or electrocution" award.

    Tonight I treated myself to a nice hotel. Wish I could sleep in, but I'll be out by 7am to beat the heat.
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  • Day12

    10 days in

    May 14, 2017 in Spain ⋅ ⛅ 24 °C

    I'm approaching 100 miles of walking, about 20% of the way to Santiago. I think of myself as a sprinter by nature, so it's been interesting to observe my thoughts and actions on what is clearly a marathon.

    After two days pushing for distance, I cut today short. There are a couple big hills coming up. I decided they could wait for the cool of morning. And it's nice arriving somewhere early in the afternoon-- plenty of time to read, do laundry, and relax.
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  • Day10

    Stretching out

    May 12, 2017 in Spain ⋅ ⛅ 12 °C

    It's the top of my second week, and I turned it up a bit. Got out the door early, and notched almost 30km by evening. (In all of week one I did 90km)

    I walked under threatening skies much of the day, and through a few brief showers. Crossed the famous bridge at Puente la Reina, met some interesting cats, and drank from a clown fountain.

    Though my feet are a bit sore, I can tell I'm getting stronger. The next few days are fairly flat, so I should be able to cover a good bit of ground toward Santiago.
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  • Day9

    Alta del Perdón

    May 11, 2017 in Spain ⋅ ⛅ 11 °C

    I was dreading today. Not the climb, but the prospect of a six-hour hike in the rain. I woke at 3AM to a raging storm, and thought about staying indoors today.

    So glad I didn't! The reward for dragging myself out the door was a stunning morning, and a terrific hike past one of the Camino's best known icons. Early tomorrow I'll pass yet another.Read more

  • Day8

    To Pamplona

    May 10, 2017 in Spain ⋅ ⛅ 14 °C

    Great walk yesterday-- a mix of hills and flat ground, country and suburb, grand vistas and quiet creek pathway. Had plenty of time to think, and met many neat people-- including a woman who started in Belgium and has been walking since Feb!

    Got to Pamplona early enough to explore the city, run errands, and people watch. Enjoyed a glass of wine on the street where the bulls run.

    Today the weather's turned to rain. I'll get out into it soon enough...but for now, I'm lingering over my coffee.
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  • Day8

    Larrasoaña

    May 10, 2017 in Spain ⋅ ⛅ 12 °C
  • Day6

    Taking it easy

    May 8, 2017 in Spain ⋅ ⛅ 18 °C

    After the Pyrenees, I've decided to walk shorter distances the past couple days-- 15km yesterday, and about 5km today. That's less than many folks do in one day, but so what? It's not a race, I'm enjoying the ride-- and getting stronger!

    No major mountains, but days filled with constant climbs working my lungs and heart, and descents beating up legs and feet. No complaints though-- this is beautiful countryside, and I couldn't have asked for better weather.

    Tonight I'm staying in a cute pensión run by a young Italian and Polish couple (who met in Denmark and moved to Spain!) Tomorrow I head into Pamplona, about 15km away. I'll miss running with the bulls, but will enjoy seeing the city-- maybe even stay an extra day.
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