Tuesday, July 19, 2016
Sunday, July 26, 2015
Thursday, July 16, 2015
Thursday, May 21, 2015
I wanted to make one last post, at least for now, to thank all of you who made comments on the blog, in e-mails and on Facebook. I meant a lot to me that you would take the time to do so. Words of encouragement were especially appreciated. I've probably said it before, but deciding to walk the Camino de Santiago was the best decision I have made in my entire life when it came to wanting to take a hard look at myself. Besides the personal nature of my Camino, I met people from all over the world and from different walks of life and some will friends forever.
Cathie arrived in Madrid safely, although a bit late, and we have started our 3 week trip to Northern Spain, France and the Black Forest in Germany. So I will put this blog to rest for the time being and I will be switching to www.gassawaysadventures.blogspot.com if you care to follow along.
I will keep www.walkingmycamino.blogspot.com alive as you just never know, there might me another Camino in the works.
Sunday, May 17, 2015
Ursula is from Germany and I met her in Orrison on the first day of the Camino. The alburgue was in the shade of the mountain and it was cold, so Ursula and I took a walk down the road to a sunny spot to warm up. Ursula doesn't speak much English, but she spoke more English than I do German. This was her 4th time walking the Camino, once being on a folding bicycle. On the Camino, I kept finding Ursula ahead of me and as it turned out she sometimes took the bus, jumping ahead. I don't know how old Ursula is, but I hope I can walk as far as she can.
Lee and I were in the same room on that 1st night. In the morning we crossed the Pyrenees together and walked together off and one the 1st couple of days. Lee is from Singapore and told me that last year only three people from his country walked the Camino. He is the 1st person to do so this year. Pretty much from the start, Lee has had issues with his feet and blisters. It has been said by other pilgrims who have seen it, that Lee's blister on the bottom of his foot is the worlds largest. He also damaged his toes walking down hill so he has resorted to going down hills backwards. He fell way behind me, but we stay in touch. He has had to bus ahead for medical treatment for his feet and now his knee. Lee arrived in Santiago today and after two days of rest he plans on walking another 90 km to the end of the earth at Finisterre.
Charlotte, from Denmark, walked with me for several days. The Camino being a new experience for both of us, we learned from each other. Charlotte recently lost her job and was walking the Camino to help sort out a new direction in life for her. We had some great conversations as we walked along. After a couple of days of walking together, Charlotte told me she wanted to walk alone. This is understood among pilgrims and there is never any hard feelings because of one's decision. I saw Charlotte a couple of more times, but I ended up several days ahead of her. She arrived in Santiago on the day I left the city.
Kevin is from the United Kingdom. I've been told that he is an Irishmen with a British accent. Kevin and I walk the last bit up and over the Pyrenees and down the other side. We didn't talk much then, but later about five days before arriving in Santiago, I heard someone behind me call my name. It was Kevin and we walked together the better part of two days. I was great talking with him, and as a former military helicopter pilot he had some storied to tell. We shared a great, and the most expensive of my Camino I might add, meal together.
Kelly is from Taiwan and we walked together for 5 days or so. She was a pleasure to be with as she is always smiling and laughing. She has one of the most positive attitudes that I have ever encountered. If you recall, it was Kelly who had to go to hospital adding another dimension to my Camino. Kelly had taken a leave from her job and was trying to figure out what route to take forward in her life. We separated in Burgos and I never saw her again as she had to arrive in Santiago several days before I did. When I talked to other pilgrims, everyone seemed to know Kelly, she was so outgoing.
Nina, also from Taiwan is Kelly's friend and she came all the way to Spain just to walk with Kelly for 3 days. It helps of course if you work for an airline. She arrived the evening the Kelly was taken to the hospital, so I met her and we took a taxi to the hospital the following morning. Although somewhat slower than Kelly and I she walked those 3 days with gusto. One evening in our albergue, she and Kelly fixed us dinner, not allowing me to help as thanks for helping Kelly when she became sick. It was a pleasure to have met and walked with her.
Ülle, from Estonia, owns her own business designing log homes. She is walking the Camino in sections, taking time from work, two weeks here and there. She said she recently checked her in box and realized that she had two weeks free so off she went. I only walked with her a short distance, but we would end up in the same town at night and we and others would get together for dinner. Though very athletic and walking fast, in the middle of the day, she would go off the trail a bit and lay down and take a 2 hour nap. I caught up with her one day at a bar and she told me that she had seen the highway sign giving the kilometers to Santiago as 460 Km. She said she had 10 days left and was going to try to walk 46 km a day and reach Santiago. Although she didn't make it, she did walk three consecutive days of 46 km or more.
Len is from Canada and everyone knows it. That's because if you meet Len your are going to get a small Canadian flag lapel pin. I don't know how many pins he had but just about everyone he met got one. You could always tell if a pilgrim had met him, because, usually on their hat was a Canadian flag. When he reached Santiago, he was still giving them out. Len gave his life to Christ long ago and is walking for his beliefs and having recently retired to get closer to his God. Len and I became close to the point where I had no reservation in confiding in him. He was a tremendous benefit to me. We didn't ofter walk together as he was a lot faster than me and there was no way I could keep up. I credit him with some of my blisters when I tired to walk as fast. I believe that someday, Len and I will see one another again.
Alex is from Brazil and he and Len walk almost the entire Camino together. He was actually faster than Len, but not by much. Trained as a chemical engineer, Alex is currently out of work and is walking the Camino because now being out of work he has the time. Although Alex and I never really discussed his reasons for walking, he was a great listener. You could alway count on him for some words of wisdom. His way of explaining things about life always made sense. In true pilgrim style Alex got down on his knees and bandaged the blisters on my foot. I will never forget the kindness he showed. In the morning, I would usually start walking around 7 am. Alex and Len would leave around 8 am and would catch up to me around lunch time. Then they pulled ahead of me after lunch and I would find them at the end of the day sitting in the town square enjoying a beer. Oh, and Alex is a three ice cream a day man, weather permitting.
HOWARD AND JOY
Howard and Joy, from the central coast in California are walking together along with their adult son Eliad. We rarely walked together, but often finished our day with dinner together. Howard recently retired as a lawyer, but we won't hold that against him. Both Howard and Joy had a sympathetic ear and Howard told me he was working on some of the same issues as I was. If you were walking behind them you would often see them holding hands or stopping for a kiss. As for Eliad, he met a girl from Austria and hasn't been seen much, except when mom and dad were buying dinner. Actually a bright young man.
Ruth from Tasmania, is the bravest woman on the Camino. I was introduced to Ruth by Howard and Joy, and we all shared dinner several nights in a row. Ruth was mentioned in a previous post about crime on the Camino. I won't repeat the story here, but if you missed it, go back and take a look. I only walked with Ruth the day after her court appearance as I believe she may have been worried that the bad guys might still be around and asked me to walk with her.
There were many others that I walked with for short distances or shared a meal. I remember them all and will always have a place in my heart for my Camino Family.