Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Still thinking about the walking

this time last year ....Guemes - a fantatstic albergue run by Papa Ernesto.



It was quite a spectacular place to stay overnight - a community built around providing hosting for pilgrims and supporting the local community.

Here  also met Joel, a kiwi based in London who wanted a cheap holiday ! It was nice hearing a kiwi accent again.
My post from last year...

Guemes. ..258km so far

What a day! It was 23.5km with the last 6km in high heat..upper 20 degrees. .quite a difference from the last 4 or 5 at 14 or 15 degrees.
The first part was from Sontana to Nojo. After a couple  of kms we hit the beach..went over a hill and onto a 5km beach...it was so good to be walking on the hard sand after days and days on the highway. A coffee in Nojo and we headed inland, sort of doubling back on ourselves.
It was very nice to be walking thru more rural land on rural paths and roads, but the temperature rose dramatically. Trying to maintain the 5km per hour was much harder today but I was very pleased with my bladder pack in the pack..having water on tap as it were certainly made it easier for me.
I don't know if I have mentioned my food bag- forgive me if I am repeating myself. I have a macpac drybag clipped to my pack's waist belt. In it I put bread, snickers bars, kiwifruit etc... and I just snack as I go. It means that I can keep going but more importantly I have energy when I arrive at places.
Arriving at this albergue was a surprise... greeted with a glass of cold water and food. It is run by a community that supports peregrinos ad well as missions in South America.  They have a real gift for hospitality that is way above any thing else I have seen so far. The albergue is set in huge groups with lots of quiet places...plugs to charge phones etc... shady verandas...lovely art work. It is a real refuge.
Dinner tonight promises to be great.
Tomorrow will see me head into Santander where some of our group will leave the camino.
My guide book is split into 31 stages and up to now I have completed 10 of them. One third of the way thru... it still can't believe the distance done so far.  I don't think I had really believed that I could have done this much.
No photos in this blog..having to conserve my data a bit.
Adios amigos

Thursday, June 5, 2014

5th of June 2013 saw me walk from Merkina through to Gernika.It was such a good day to walk.

I am certainly thinking a lot of the people I met, the conversations I had and the time I had to unwind. By now I was into my walking rythmn and was able to speed up or slow down with people as needed.

Today was the last day that was able to walk with ??? a yound guy from Germany - I missed his company after today - he stopped in a little village we passed through to rest his feet.

Medieval road that we followed.

Inside the monastry

Great rocks on the enrty to the village

The village square where I had lunch, watching the kids
from the school playing while the staff were at the bar.

My diary from a year ago said...

Breakfast in Markina. Got 2 coffees again..bother. sitting at a cafe called Kai. Hmm...maybe the basque descended from maori.
What to do today. There a monastery 8km away..1000 yrs of hosting pilgrims. But I want to visit some caves after Bilboa (2 days away) which will take a whole day. I can't afford to take 2 days out of my camino this early...one easier day per week is what I have planned for distance wise.
I have just had a thought about the coffee...maybe I don't need to add the con leche...americano coffee is already half milk...ok next time I'll do better!
Breakfast finished..time to walk...

Food is a bit of an issue, not in a bad way but I am careful to carry about 3 meals in my pack.
Breakfast. ...
There are a couple of options.  If I am lucky I get breakfast free with my nights accommodation.  This morning was like this. Cornflakes..coffee. .orange juice...bread sticks. I manage to eat well and take a bread piece with me. The bread stick holds together very well in the pack to munch later on.
These are on the route  from my pack...see below.
This is trickier than it seems.  Usually this is at a small bar or restaurant.  The trouble is working around the funny work times. You can't buy anything during the sieta in the places we have been to. But to complicate things...after siesta from 4 until 7 or 730 or even 8..you can't order meals...just drinks and barfood..tapas.
Add to this a group of people all wanting differ ent things-it can be fun....not. I now look at the bar and restaurant boards as I arrive in a town looking for the 'menu peregrino' for €8 to €11 you can get a 3 course meal with bread and wine. You always have a choice of 4 or 5 things for each course. ..its great.
The first couple of nights a group of us would wander around ooking for the best deal and then discuss...it was hard for me...I just wanted to eat! By the time I have checked in I know where I am going and this has worked well...no fuss from me if people join me or not but it saves another 2km of shopping around!
I also ask the bar owner on my way in when we can eat and this info helps too. The smaller the place the less waiting for meals to be served. The last 3 nights most of the group I am walking with turn up where I am (if they haven't walked down with me). Very stress less.
Last night was typical at Gernika..french italian american english kiwi around the table and our host could talk to all of us.
After the days walk there isn't a lot of spare time before 2200 lights out ...this has been everywhere so far... so I appreciate ding the dinner research on my way in.
The other dinner option is kebabs or pizza..the bigger places have at least one...and you eat there anytime. .no waiting until 730. That's what I did this evening..a great lamb kebab..the restaurants are still only open for drinks at the moment.
Eating from my pack
When I'm walking I try not to stop too long. The long distances need a determined effort and so for me I try to make sure my breaks are 10ins tops. That way the rythmn doesn't stop and the kms click by quickly.
So I graze from my pack. At each small stop I pop the next section's food into my guidebook bag that I carry off my pack belt. So into that might go moro bars, apples, bread. That way I eat when I want. This keeps me going very well indeed and lets me do 5kms per hour..
Finding these is tricky in the places we have been through. ..they usually have a small sign and a small road frontage. Apart from Eroski I have seen no other chains...mainly small locally owned shops.
I cruise the shelf for easy to eat and easy to handle food and try to buy something different each time. Successful foods include fish and salad meals for one in a tuff plastic container and lid with fork included.  4 flavours and all great cold.
Kiwifruit is easy to locate...thanks Zespri...and these cope well in the pack.
Bananas and apples are good if you are eating them  within tbe hour because they bruise too easily.
A small cheese was great..slices cut and cheese re wrapped.  Orange juice in foil sachets are very strong..4 days in the pack with no leaks.
You can buy small containers of fish..olives..nuts etc but they aren't appealing to me.

Monday, June 2, 2014

Zarautz to Deba. ..day 3

The walk a year ago was from Zarautz to Deba.. A great 22 km walk from memory that turned into 22 km. ..9 hours of walking.
It was a fantastic walk and Deba was beautiful.

I am amazed at how vivid my memories are of these early Camino days. Thumbing through my guide book shows me how clear my memory is.

Deba had an old school turned into the allergies on the outskirts of town, but you had to walk into the Centre of town to get the key and pay your money.

I'm still sorting out what I want to say one year on...but I still can't believe that I have been across the top of Spain.

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Uh oh...I forgot. ...

I had forgotten that some people might be still linked to this blog...embarrassing.

Still, if you are bored, the next few weeks will tip you over the edge of sleepiness...totally.

My 2nd day of the walk went from San Sebastian to Zarautz.  Only 22 km on this stage but I do remember the feet feeling it.

I arrived in Zarautz during siesta time and understood that Turkish kebab and pizza places will be great during the rest of the trip.

I do remember that great conversations held today  as well as some of the views.

On a completely different point..have a look at this photo I took the other evening. .Thursday I think. .look at the shadows cast by the mountains in the sky.

Saturday, May 31, 2014

Was It Really One Year Ago?

Today is the 31 May, 2014. Dad's birthday...he would have been 83 today.

What I can't belieive is that one year ago I left Brighton, Sussex in the morning and ended in Irun, Spain - ready to start my Camino del Norte.

Walking from David's place to the train station in Brighton was quite nice - cool weather but nice - about 2,5 km.

Then the train ride into London, changing to a special train to Stansted - and then waiting for my flight.

This was my first Albergue, and my first Pilgrim's Dinner in Spain was spent with Christine from Arizona, Hugh  and Rob from Southern England and Akio from Osaka, Japan.

My original blog had these entries for today...

I am in spain

Walked into a vodafone shop  with me carefully worded request for an  unlimted data sim..and the bloke spoje beautiful english.
So I am here in ìrun about to find the hostel.

Thank you Mr Fletcher and Mr Whitehead

My schoolboy french got me out of the airport at Biarritz, onto the correct bus, down to the railway station, purchased my ticket to Hendaye. The train..a TGV... has just left and I am really pleased that I got on the correct one. The plane only landed 35mins ago. My flight over was with Ryanair...all blue and yellow like St Matt's school. 2 hrs from Stanstead. ..I'm quite pleased so far. 

A break in transmission

I'll use my Spot device on Facebook for the next couple of days until I have got data sorted in Spain. 
Flying from Stanstead to Biarritz and then bus to where I am  staying tonight..Irun.
The Camino starts in the morning.
The nerves are there.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

A month on from Santiago

It has been a month since I walked into Santiago.  I can't quite believe how much has happened in that month.

The key focus has been working hard on making those changes to my life work back in the real world.

Great being back at school. ..I really missed the child contact over the 3 months.

Funny also that today I have just visited St James Church in Kerikeri. .a beautiful little wooden church dating back to the early missionaries. So.  different to the magnificent cathedral of St James back in Santiago. .just 1 month ago.

I am on pilgrimage again..that is a surprise.  The biennial Anglican Schools conference is based in Waitangi..Northland.  The birthplace of NZ.
The pilgrimage is focusing on the 1st Christian preaching in NZ, back in 1814..Christmas Day.

The photo shows the Waiapu delegates to the pilgrimage in front of the Marsden cross..which commerates the bringing of Christianity to these islands.

The two days so far have been very special..the welcome onto Te Tii Marae at Waitangi..where Te Tiriti was signed in 1840 and then our trip to Oihi to see Marsden's site. 

I am in Kerikeri right now, on the verandah of Kemp's house typing this, realising that my life now is so different. .post camino.

It' s early days...but they are good days.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Please pray for the train accident victims

You may have heard about the awful accident in Santiago today. It occurred 4km from the railway station in Santiago, a station I know quite well.

Please pray for the people involved in this accident,the dead,  the victims, the injured, the locals who helped straight away, the emergency workers.

Today (this evening) is the annual feast day of St James...Sant Yago... and the city is packed with pilgrims arriving especially for the festivities.. Many pilgrims time their walks to arrive in time for this feast day.

This train line is just an ordinary line - very similar to our lines - but for  the fast trains.

This could have be any number of my pilgrim friends - just ordinary folks who are traveling to Santiago just like I did.

It just serves to remind me how important it is that we live each day to it's fullest and that we need to expect the unexpected.