After the incident with the dogs in El Acerbo I set off for Ponferrada. It was mainly downhill and the terrain was either scree-like or huge fissured boulders. Tough going. I spotted a woman ahead in the distance. She was moving very slowly, unsure of her footing. I could see that she was struggling from a mile away. Even from that distance I could also see that she could never be described as a small eater, adding to her problems. She had my sympathy, I had been a little overweight myself a few years ago. Mine had been a medical condition though. I suffered from an overactive knife and fork. Continue reading “Camino 10: Downhill Racer”
As we had arrived fairly late into Santander our first morning was spent getting our bearings. I photographed the hotel as we left, a habit I’ve developed since my futile attempts to pronounce the name of a Delhi hotel to about 70 taxi drivers. So. Why Santander. Well, the Little Nurse and I love Spain but not so much the resorts. We are going to visit all the cities and all the large towns. As soon as we see cheap flights we’re off. STN-SDR was £40 return. Continue reading “Santander 1: Shellfish from Space”
The Don Suero Hotel Leon, my home for the last two nights is right on the Camino route, so I sat outside with my morning coffee watching dozens of pilgrims continuing on their way. As I had taken the extra day in Leon I didn’t recognise many of them. People I had met earlier had mostly rolled out the day before. Continue reading “Camino 8: Ghost Town.”
Only one snorer in my room of six last night. Me. Or so a scowly German woman told me over breakfast.
Well. ‘Good morning to you too’ I said.
Even at home I routinely go to bed wired to my Ipod. That along with some wine and beer has made snoring and other erm… noises in the albergues a non issue for me. Listen if you want to stay in albergues that’s the way it is. Stop complaining and get some earplugs. Or an Ipod.
I came across the scowly woman later on that same day and she sped away from me. Needlessly, as I had stopped snoring by then. No-one snores when they are awake and walking along. She should have known that. Continue reading “Camino 7: Leon, The Lost Day and The Detroit Rule”
It was raining when I set off this morning. Unnecessary I thought. John the Dublin lawyer from last night caught up with me. He was really moving which spurred me on in the rain. We went quickly through the next 3 villages and soon arrived in Sagahun over 19 klicks from Ledigos. John was on a mission and we covered it in a little over 3 hours. Had it been a race we would have come a close second and third to olympian Haile Gebrselassie, had he been on the Camino instead of winning the Berlin Marathon. Continue reading “Camino 6: Unnecessary Weather and the Headmistress of Mansilla.”
The next day I walked to Ledigos. This is a notoriously long straight flat and boring stretch. There is 17km before the first village, Calzadilla. Just outside of Carrion there was a guy with a horse and cart. The cart had seats and the guy was touting for pilgrims to ride. I declined, not wanting my Camino de Santiago to become a Paseo de Santiago, That’s not the same thing at all. Oh no, not for me it isn’t. Later the cart passed me with more than a dozen passengers. At 15 Euros a pop. That’s €180 a trip. Two trips a day nets €2520 a week. Just a little bit more than a High Court Judge. So, law school students, have a little think about that. Continue reading “Camino 5: The Long and Boring Road.”
After the previous nights’ shenanigans I was pleased no one was around when I woke up. After a quick shower I snuck out, stealthily, like a ninja, and got back on the road. More walking. I always thought that the thing I would hate most, if I ever turned into a Zombie, would be all the walking. But it’s not too bad.
To be honest this is not the best I’ve ever felt. I couldn’t find coffee and the next village was 8km away. It took me two hours to get there, Boadilla del Camino. The coffee hit the spot. I filled up my water bottles and marched on. Continue reading “Camino 4: The Kid Reed and the Walking Competition”
The original plan called for Castrojeriz as my next overnight destination. Yesterdays destination had been changed to Hotanas from Hornillos so I was out of sync already. No bad thing on the Camino. Looking back, no plan is the best plan. I stopped for breakfast at San Anton and was joined by a fellow peregrino, Nathan. He was a young guy and widely travelled and, although a scientist by profession, he told me that when he ran out of money Continue reading “Camino 3: Party Town”
The Camino de Santiago has a few different routes. El Camino Frances (the French Way) is considered the classic route. It starts in St Jean Pied De Port on the French side of the Pyrenees. It takes 30 to 32 walking days and covers 780km to Santiago de Compostella. I had decided, due to time constraints to start at Burgos, a few days in, leaving me with 500km to cover over about 22 days.
I had obtained a Credencial on an earlier trip to Santiago. Continue reading “Camino 2: Burgos, The Start”
You Can’t Take That.
I finally decided to walk the Camino de Santiago this year. It’s been on my radar for several years now and I’m getting older. There were two things to sort out after the usual travel arrangements.
The training would consist of three elements.
1) Walking long distances with a fully loaded pack.
2) Brushing up my not-so-bad Spanish.
3) Drinking a lot of red wine and a bit less white.
I would get my equipment appraised by my sister and brother in law. They spend their lives outdoors. They trek through the Alps for months on end. They fight bears just for fun. They can suck venom from people’s snake bites. Even Ray Mears rings them up for advice.
I, on the other hand, am more at home in the cocktail bars, restaurants, and nightclubs of trendy Harrogate and have never even seen an Alp. So I went to see them… Continue reading “Camino de Santiago: Preparation”