Saturday, 30 May 2009

Still going strong!

Well, left Fromista today, can`t remember where I am now! Shows what a state you are in at the end of a long hot walk. I`ve found it is too difficult to keep posting regularly, there are always people waiting to use the computer and you don`t get much time. I shall post a proper full account of my trials and tribulations (and triumphs) step by step when I get home, in the meantime it will be just random thoughts and impressions as and when I get the opportunity.

So, one thing that strikes me is the fluctuation in weather and temperature. When I left Burgos a few days ago it was 5C early in the morning. Today I was struggling along under a roasting sun with no shade.

I am using all the things I brought with me, except the 1st aid kit (wow!), so I think my packing list was fairly complete. The only suggestion I would make is that 6 nappy pins aren`t enough, I could do with a few more as I have to wash clothes every day.

One of the great parts of the Camino is getting up in the morning with no idea what the day will bring, where you will eat, sleep, who you will bump into again. We all have routines in our lives and it is strange not to know what is going to happen from one minute to the next, who you will meet and what life stories you will hear. It is truly an international community of friendly people all with same goal.

I appear to have partially tamed The Beast. A fellow pilgrim suggested I try to put the hip belt even higher than I was, practically on my waist, and that seems to have helped. I always understood it should rest lower down, just above the hips, but there you go. I think part of the problem also was posture, and I am trying to walk more upright, which also seems to help. Anything that makes a difference is good. The pain is still there, but nothing like as bad as it was. I also find if I hook my thumbs through the support loops, and (when I`m not using it) carry my stick sideways balanced on my thumbs that helps too. I can only do that when I am alone or on a wide path, though, or else I might skewer a passing pilgrim!

So, I toddle on, day by day, and should reach the halfway mark in a couple more days. In some ways it is going too fast, I think I may have to come back and do some more some day...

Monday, 25 May 2009

Burgos soon

Well, I`m still going fairly strong, should be in Burgos in a couple of days, about one third of the way. Somehow it seems as if I started walking only a couple of days ago, and other times that I have been walking for months. It is quite strange, and very easy to lose track of the days. Not a good idea when everything is shut on a Sunday and you want to buy some food.

I´m still enjoying my Camino very much, even though I haven´t managed to sort out the back pain. If I stop for about 10 minutes every couple of hours it helps, so that is what I`m doing. I got caught in a heavy thunderstorm yesterday, while walking over a high exposed track in the middle of nowhere. No shelter and lightening flashing overhead every couple of minutes. Not my happiest hour. I must confess I was quite frightened, but just kept going because there was really no other option apart from lying down on the muddy track - and I didn`t feel like doing that as the rain was pouring down.

I did 24km yesterday, which really was my limit. Today I only did about 12 as the next albergue is a further 12km away, and it would mean going up and down three high steep hills. I`d rather face them in the morning when I`m fresh.

Said goodby to some nice friends, Mick, Yvonne and Robin, for the third time today. They are finishing in Burgos and set off at least a day ahead of me. Somehow they kept slowing down and I kept speeding up, so every day or so we would bump into each other again and have another farewell dinner. Last night I was really surprised to see them as I thought they were a couple of days ahead of me but they walked into the small albergue I was staying in while I was lying relaxing on my bunk. A lovely surprise and another last dinner, really the last this time as they caught a bus to Burgos today. I started my first day with them from Roncesvalles. Such is life on the Camino...

Friday, 22 May 2009

Still alive and kicking - just!

I meant to try and keep up my posts, but there is usually a queue for the internet and I am using my 20 minutes for emailing family and friends. This is just a quick post to say all is going well, I have done about 160km so far, averaging about 20km a day. I am keeping loads of notes and will have to post it all properly later on. No problems with the legs or feet, although some peoples` feet are absolutely raw from blisters. My only problem is my rucksack. For some reason I can´t get it adjusted properly and after a couple of hours I start getting a sharp pain under my right shoulder blade. It wears off once I`ve finished for the day so hopefully I´m not doing any damage to myself. The Camino is amazing, everything I hoped it would be. You meet up with some really nice people and form a large loose group, bumping into each other every day or so. It is wonderful to get up in the morning not knowing what the day will bring. The weather started off cold and pouring with rain, but after a couple of days it cleared up and now it is very hot after mid-morning. I will try and put an occasional post up, just to say I am still going strong!

Saturday, 9 May 2009

Last post from Brazil

Today I took my five kilo bag of rice for its last walk - 8km - I wish I´d kept track of how many kms it´s done just for the fun of it. Never mind, I´m just really glad it´s over. I wonder how much difference this training will have made for my Camino? I feel a bit fitter, but not all that much to say I have completed a sixteen week course. I´m hoping that at least my stamina will have improved.

On the home front... the larder is full, the bills are paid and there are enough lists, documents and instructions to cover any eventuality except the outbreak of World War III. My father´s three carers are fully briefed, the only one who doesn´t know what is going on is young Toby. How I wish I could explain to him that I haven´t gone forever. I know I´m going to really miss him.

Now that I have got rid of the rice, I can start trial runs packing my ruck sack to see how everything fits in. I´ve decided to check it in at the airport instead of taking it as hand baggage. This is partly because I think it may be a bit large to be classed as hand baggage, but also because with the new regulations I wouldn´t be able to take scissors, nail clippers, penknife. corkscrew etc on board with me, I´d have to buy them all in Spain, and I´d also have to separate out the shampoo and other liquids. The down side of this is if The Beast goes astray with all my stuff in it I shall be up the creek without a paddle for sure. I can have it wrapped in heavy-duty polythene at the airport, so there shouldn´t be a problem with straps catching on anything and this should help to protect it too. After that I shall just have to cross my fingers and hope it appears at the other end!

So, all being well this should be my last post from Brazil until I get home again beginning of July. The next one will be from "somewhere in Spain". I am excited, nervous, happy, apprehensive and lots more, it is hard to believe the time has finally come.

Buen Camino to all of us about to set off.

Wednesday, 6 May 2009

The Countdown continues... now it´s four...

Did my last long walk on Sunday. I went to Ibirapuera Park and managed to put in the required six hours with The Beast. I´m glad that´s over, anyway. This week I haven´t managed to get out once so far, there seem to be so many things to do that there hasn´t been time. I wonder how long the beneficial effects of all this training last? I´d hate to think they have worn off before I even get started! I´m going to try and get out for two hours on Friday and Saturday, and then that is really it.

Sunday, my last day, is Mothers Day here and we are having a family "do" at my daughter´s for all the mums in the family. A nice big noisy lunch that is going to last all day. I know it is going to be lovely, and also an ideal opportunity to say my farewells all at once.

ve had to cart my father off to the dentist this week, his carer is getting married tomorrow and the toilet cistern has sprung a leak. And it´s only Wednesday! Roll on Monday, that´s all I can say.

Friday, 1 May 2009

Ten days to go...

Lunch last Sunday with my walking pals was very nice, much nonsense was talked and much fun made of the contents of The Beast. One or two of them may decide to do the Camino in the future, I think they are reserving judgement to see if I survive mine first.

I´m on the final countdown now, I can´t believe how fast time has flown since I decided to do the Camino and started my preparations. I shall continue doing two eight km walks followed by one hour´s exercise and stretches next week, but this weekend will be my last twenty km walk. I believe you are supposed to ease up training towards the end, and I am certainly happy to do so. I must confess I´m bored to tears trudging endlessly around the same circuit all the time, I´m sure I know every crack in the pavements around here!

Trying to leave everything properly organized at home is a major undertaking, like planning a military campaign, but I think I can see some light at the end of the tunnel. Thank goodness my daughter Tania is taking over the reins for me, otherwise such a long absence on my part would be out of the question. She is a treasure.