On the walk

Madrid and Seville are behind me now. I've stopped being a tourist. I'm a traveler now. Where am I going? Where are any of us going? I could say I am walking to Santiago de Compostela but that seems too difficult. My journey is 1000 kilometres. It sounds an impossibly long way to walk and there's little consolation from the words of Lao Tsu that " a journey of a thousand miles......" Life is simpler now. All I have to do is put one foot in front of another. Walking is straightforward. If it weren't for internet, I would have no idea that Trump had ordered a bombing raid over Syria.  Holy Week Parade Although newsworthy, if not downright scary, it's not in my immediate world. I'm at a local level able to experience how others celebrate events [...]

By | April 9th, 2017|0 Comments

A day in Seville

My second day in Madrid was spent with two hours of the early afternoon at the Prado Museum. There's a limit to how much one can absorb in one visit, especially if one is also feeling a little jet lagged.  I spent the remainder of the day walking to north, south, east and west of the City so have completed my daily quota in distance if one were to regard this as some sort of a competition. I must have been at one moment in the wrong area of town because I'm still trying to understand why a twenty-three year old Spanish woman with excellent English is trying to interest me in spending time with her. I have never had as much difficulty telling someone that she is wasting her time.  I have been enjoying the tapas in Madrid but, [...]

By | April 6th, 2017|0 Comments

First day in Madrid

My next door neighbour here in Madrid seems to live in a gated community. I had to forgo any formal wear on this trip so it's unlikely I'll get an invite from King Felipe V1 It's been a long day of travel - Toronto to Amsterdam, a four-hour stop and then a connecting flight.  With such a brilliant location for accommodation, I have been vegging out during the day on tapas. Perhaps veg isn't the appropriate word. Jamon Iberico at 19 Euros for 100 g. It's all a bit of sensory overload - visual, salivary. I'm enjoying walking around the city. I have another day in Madrid and look forward to all that the City has to offer.

By | April 4th, 2017|0 Comments

Five days to go

I decided to make a trial 15 kilometre walk through the Don Valley in Toronto with backpack. The night before, I threw into it what I thought were the necessities of a seven-week walk and weighed it: twenty-two pounds. The rule-of-thumb is 10% of body weight. Eating ten loaves of bread for the next five days is apparently not a viable option. Walking group of Camino aficionados I  admit the pack was a little on the heavy side. But for some reason I didn't want to take the train. No train anytime soon So, the answer is to lose six pounds of unnecessary baggage. Out goes the large bottle of painkillers. After all, I didn't need them on my last Camino walk. Out goes the large tube of toothpaste, the extra pair of...everything. Two sets is [...]

By | March 28th, 2017|0 Comments

What is walking the Camino?

When I mention that I'm walking the Camino, people sometimes will ask me whether that is the pilgrimage route that passes from the French side of the Pyrenees across into Spain and then westward to Santiago de Compostela. That is not incorrect. This is the route that now upward of 300,000 walk every year and, included in that number, have been such well-known people as Shirley McLaine and Anthony Quinn. The number has grown immensely since the release of the movie, the Way, starring Martin Sheen. I walked that 800-kilometer route in both 2010 and 2015.  However, people would have walked this 1200-year old pilgrimage from wherever they lived. If they lived in Paris they would have walked southward through the centre of France connecting eventually with the route that starts in St Jean. The whole distance would take about [...]

By | March 21st, 2017|0 Comments

Training for the Camino

People have always asked me whether I have trained in advance of walking the Camino. It has always sounded like a good idea to gradually build up to walking up to between twenty-five to thirty-five kilometers in a day. My reality is that circumstances have got in the way that prevented me from doing that. After booking my transatlantic ticket the first time, I started to experience knee problems that made it inadvisable, according to my podiatrist, to do any other preparation than increase cardiovascular capability.   I will admit that I am not very disciplined when it comes to physical activity. That is partly because I look in the mirror and see reflected back a smiling seventeen-year-old. Why should a teenager have to practice? At that age, I was a competitive cross-country runner and achieved adequate results without practice. That was [...]

By | March 11th, 2017|0 Comments

To Logrono

I'm continuing on with the account of the journey of my first Camino as this is the setting for my book entitled "My Camino Walk - a Way to Healing." It is available as an eBook with Kindle, Kobo and iTunes and will be available as a print book later this year, accompanied with some of my many photos. Although the setting or backdrop is on the Camino, my book is really about an inner journey - a review of my life to date - the bitter along with the sweet. I also feel that the journey is a celebration because it has brought me at age 67 to a place of healing - hence the second part of the book title. My work back in Toronto is as a massage and shiatsu therapist, adding into my skill-set other appropriate [...]

By | March 6th, 2017|0 Comments

Estella to Los Arcos and onwards

Extracts from my book:  "My Camino Walk - A Way to Healing" available on Kindle, Kobo and iTunes. Soon to be released as a print book. "Estella is a city of narrow streets and ornate five-story buildings decorated with wrought iron railings adorned with round shiny brass handles that seem freshly polished. I love the second-floor balconies overhanging the cobbled roads and, at any moment, expect some tall Carmenesque flamenco dancers with fans aflutter to appear. This fantasy is especially unlikely to happen because flamenco is from the south of Spain. But it's a strong noble image in my mind that causes me to glance upward." "It's an interesting paradox. I welcome the company of others and the opportunity to share the stories of our lives, each story with its accompanying joy, passion, pain or disappointment. Thoughtful interaction with other human beings is [...]

By | February 18th, 2017|0 Comments

Preparing to walk the Camino – again!

In less than two months, at the beginning of April, I will be walking the Camino for my third time. This is old hat for me, or so you might think. The variation this time is that I am walking an unfamiliar route from Seville. I will admit to feeling apprehensive and, as I mentioned in my last post, am wondering whether I am up to the task. It's my insecurity that is raising its head. At the same time, I understand that it is the facing of the unknown in both the physical and spiritual journey that provides the most personal growth. I have booked a hotel in Madrid for the first two nights in Spain and then will make my way by train to Seville for the start of this journey. That much is planned. I have been [...]

By | February 10th, 2017|0 Comments

Facing one’s fears

As I prepare to walk my third Camino, this time a longer route from Seville in the south of Spain to Santiago de Compostela in the north, a funny thing has happened. Well, it’s not really funny, it’s more noteworthy than anything. The first time that I walked the Camino in 2010, no sooner had I bought my non-refundable air ticket across the Atlantic than I started to experience discomfort in the knees. Walking was painful, especially going both upstairs and downstairs. I tried a test walk of a mere 16 kilometers back in Toronto and the following day I was in spasm. A podiatrist friend advised me against doing long treks for now but to concentrate on cardiovascular training. The prognosis was not good because I would be walking an average of 25 kilometers every day for a month. However, [...]

By | February 2nd, 2017|0 Comments