25 may – Leon

Leon – may 25, 2013

Let me begin by saying we made it to a most beautiful city, Burgois several days ago. We had taken the bus about 22 kilometers into town- about a days walk for us. Daisy had terrible shin splints and I took her pack weight to relieve her. It had been raining. Ok, hailing and rain hard all day. Ok. Pouring. And hail and snow. All this wet stuff mixed together with a country trail creates mud. We had walked 8 miles in mud and my Achilles, ( still bruised) tired from the slipping, the extra mud weight on my shoes and wetness, Daisy and I walked into the first bar we could find. Bars are all purpose locations here in Spain, especially in the countryside. You can get wine, hard alcoholic drinks, cafe con leche’s, hot cocoa, and food. We walked in for our routine second breakfast ( first breakfast is usually dry leftover baguette and hopefully a bit of cheese. energy) of hot cocoa and torta’s. ( egg and potato pie). The last kilometer was the worst kilometer I had ever walked. We were along the highway with truck after truck zipping by sometimes only feet away from us. We would get blown over from the updrafts of the vehicles and washed by road rain. I kept Daisy in front of me and we walked as quickly as our wet mud soaked and at this point injured bodies could. We earned that hot cocoa.

In the pub we dropped our packs by the local lottery machine sat down and devoured what ever was put infront of us. I had not said bus to daisy. I was thinking bus to Burgois. I was thinking where, how? And Yes! At that moment our friends Michael and Anne walked in to the pub, similar condition and asked, are you taking the bus? Yes! Daisy’s eyes lit up! Somehow about an hour later the bus came through town and picked up loads and loads of walkers- from previous towns. We went over the pass of hard snow. Truthfully I was sad to miss out on snow. We came into Burgois, made it to the tourist office before siesta. Spain closes down between the hours of one to five o’clock every day. We landed in a very nice hotel for 42 euros because a group of us bartered with the front desk person and I checked us in for three days. It was here I went to sports stores and bought new 30 liter packs and sleeping bag sheets. We sent our sleeping bags and old packs and other gear, not needed to Santiago. Our gear will be held until we arrive.

Night and day in terms of weight. Lightness is so much more fun. Learning how to go with less is mind blowing. We are down to exactly what is needed. Wiki pants (2) shirts (2) undies (4) socks(3) long sleeve (1) coat, hat, waterbottle(1) first aid kit, rain gear, journal, iPad, and guide. Purse for money and passports. Sleeping sack, Brush rubber bands, smallest shampoo we can find. Scarf. The heaviest thing I carry is food- when we have to. Daisy’s pack I think is maybe 8 pounds. Mine with the extras is heavier maybe 12 + pounds.

Besides being in a beautiful midevil city of Burgois, with a river running through and fly fishing, we had a great bath tub. We visited an amaizing Cathederal for hours and the humanoid museum. I loved them both! The humanoid museum was my favorite. Very well done. I learned a tremendous amount about our history as humans quite amaizing. And. I learned about the area we are walking through. Evidently, a very important location for archaeological information and the dating back of humans, animals, hunter gatherer history at large. We spent 4 easy hours in the museum.

I also ate my favorite meal in Burgois. Garlic soup, lamb cooked in wine, potatoes, tiramisu for desert for 12 euro. Here they set the “pilgrim” menu and you choose from different options. 1st course, main course, desert.

We left Burgois on a beautiful cool cloudy day and walked about 11 miles, 17 kilometers to the next Alburgee. The rain began after we arrived and continued for days. Mud and more mud cold overflowing alburgees. No wifi, called weefee, cold showers, daisy’ s little blister in Burgois turned into a monster of a blister. The wet shoes and socks did not help. Pop! Fill. Pop! Fill pop! And string we began threading the one now three layers of blister on one toe and I don’t know how many layers on the other toe. Cotton thread wicks fluid out of the blister creating less pressure when walking and with antiseptic can help them heal. Daisy hobbled 8 miles, 11 miles, 11 miles and 13 miles and I said no more. Time for another bus to Leon. The brave girl who had to hobble was now having hurting ankles, calves from having to walk funny as a way to avoid pressure on the blisters.

We had walked through the Meseta’s. The high altitude fields of wheat. Mono cropping at its best. But beautiful. The rain and mud was extremely hard on our systems. I met folks who had slipped and were covered in mud or seriously injured knees and ankles. We were lucky. We sang rubber ducky a lot and began to imagine. Rubber ducky boats across the worst of the mud ponds. And when we looked up the wheat went on for miles and miles and miles of wheat. I kept thinking this sure ain’t Kansas, I know that because the towns are made of stone and are hundreds of years old. The age of archecture just does not compare. Foundations of buildings can date back to roman times over 2000 years. Eventually mud lessened and we came to a new surface for walking. Roads. Paved and unpaved. There was a point when we walked about 17 kilometers no town just road and walkers infront in back there are so many pilgrims we were on a pilgrim highway. The mental thought chatter was so loud I thought people’s minds were hooked up to microphones. But when people walked by it would be that simple “Buen Camino” (good walking). None the less, psychically noisy. I’m talking huge numbers of walkers…. Surrounded by wheat. Nothing else. There’re came a time when a mirage appeared on the landscape. Trees with a white shed, tables. No really? As we came closer I accepted it as real. Ok! We pulled in and had second breakfast. On the side of the road local folks were selling torta sandwiches, coffee and soda from a tiny shed and put out tables and chairs. What a blessing! Turned out the next town pub, and only pub was way overpriced and no supermarcados. We ate simple until the next day when first breakfast was our second breakfast and then dinner. Again no supermarcados. By then we were well out of the Mesetas as a new landscape was beginning. Transition. I suspect that sheep herds come through but I did not see any. This is when we took the bus. Transition land, again walking by a highway and why suffer on blisters and now a bad cough…..

Bus to Leon which is where we are now. Found a very simple slightly disappointing hostel and put ourselves to bed. Here we are in a historically beautiful and rich city, we are both sick and have no energy to take in the beauty. I fell asleep in a bathtub the size of a large plastic tub! I dream about brothy soup, huge piles of salad and fruit. Yet I shall never complain about a good baguette. We have walked through the wheat fields from which the baguette has evolved. Life blood of this land along with the olive and the grape. Food is indeed an art form here, evolved with time. The meats, sausages, hanging delights that must be admired. Sadly I don’t relate to. But Alan if you were here, I am convinced there would always be a sausage or salami of some kind in our food bag. They hang in bundles in every pub along wirth the back leg of a cured pig. Jammon(sp?) thin cut meat for the sandwich. Oh! Yesterday I had a torta sandwich. Baguette torta egg and potato pie cut in half with tuna fish light mayo mixed in. Like this: bread, torta, tuna, torta, bread. Interesting. A vegetable would have been nice. Back to bed. Dream about soup….

Here we are. 11:30 the next day and have yet to leave the room. I’m hungry and Daisy just climbed back into bed after a bath. Back to her electronic devise. She hungers for connection from friends and family. I have yet to meet any one Daisy’s age. The youngest was a baby but they could only walk a few kilometers then take a bus. We met a 16 year old with both mom and dad for two weeks. Only her. No other youth at this time. When looking at the charts of who walks this entire trail daisy is in the less than one percent bracket for her age. She afraid of ” failing” is the bravest young person I have ever met. I can say that though cause I’m her proud mom. The word, “failure”, has claimed to much power and charge, I think for all of us. My hope, is that Daisy walks through all her stuff to eventually drop into something consistently new and shiny peaceful or happy. She has had lots of fun but the mind is a tricky place and it does not help to encounter shin splints, blisters, mud and wet cold, cough…. Check out her instagramming ( and mine). She is the photo show.

All for now,
Xo,
Kelley

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23 may- El Burgo Ranero

What a wonderful evening after a very long day walking in the sunshine (yeah for sun!). Daisy is one hard cookie to get out of bed, and slow to start. Her blisters slow her down a lot. Yet we made it today. We also Made new friends in the bar at the edge of town. The bar woman was playing Nora Jones. I was so happy to hear a musician that I love….. We began talking. This lovely young woman from south Spain has walked the Camino two times. she met her husband from Croatia the first time walking and the second time they walked they chose this town which is actually off the Camino path to create a restaurant and eventually an Alburgee. They have an 8 month old baby one of two baby’s in town. For now they are happy. The town full of older folks gush over the babies. They are welcomed warmly. This old midevil town like many grew up around the Camino. At one point a large population of folks. Looking at the buildings post and beam and mudd filled then cobbcovered walls I would guess a couple of hundred years ago. Since the town has shrunk. Young people have moved to the cities. Most buildings are empty. Yet on a beautiful sunny day the old guys are out playing bot hie ball having a good ol time, and the women sit in their chairs out in the sun filled streets in groups chatting and laughing. There is a simple spark in this town. I would call it a happy spark based on connection.

Back at the Alburgee we sat in the sun and as we were on our way to the 24 hour vending machine we were called in by the old kind men to eat dinner. Everyone was herded into the front of the Alburgee and sung to and bells rang. We then sat down to a simple meal of paella bread and wine. The best part was that everyone had to recite a prayer in the languages represented this evening. After dinner everyone was to sing a song in their own language. It was really silly and fun. I sang row row row your boat.

We had very nice conversation with a couple who began their walk in Belgium. They created a fundraiser, for every kilometer each a dog food company gives them a euro which supports purchasing and training dogs to assist handicapped people. If you go to their link on facebook and press like they raise another Euro ( for each like). I want to help. Unfortunately my Facebook is blocked because I use it so little I guess… Apparently the link is this: Versele.Laga. Go to op web naar Santiago voor hachiko ( Dutch). Good luck for those who try! We are going to try it through Daisy’s Facebook. A wonderful and creative idea.

Santo Domingo

May 18, 2013 this happened a few days ago…..
Ok,
I actually felt afraid of a town we would be hiking thru. I spent two days planning how to pass through this town but not have to stop and stay the night at the Alburgee. My fear? Slightly illogical and somehow grounded in old story, old wounds.

The town called Santo Domingo, named after Saint Dominic (a saint who now I have great respect for). This town has a story that dates back centuries. According to my pilgrim’s guide by John Brierly (I found a similar story in the Church) it is told like this: Legend has it that a pilgrim couple and their son stopped at an Inn here (Santo Domingo) on their way to Santiago. The pretty innkeepers daughter had an eye on the handsome lad, but the devout young fellow thwarted her advances. Incensed by his refusal she hid a silver goblet in his backpack and reported him for stealing it. The innocent lad was caught and condemned to hang. Some accounts suggest that the parents continued on their way, oblivious of the fate of their son and on their return from Santiago they found him still hanging in the gallows but miraculously still alive thanks to the intervention of Santo Domingo. They rushed to the Sheriffs house and found him just about to tuck into dinner. Upon hearing the news, he retorted that their son was no more alive than the cock and hen he was about to eat, whereupon the fowl stood up on the dish and crowed loudly. The miracle was not lost to the sheriff who rushed back to the gallows and cut down the poor lad, who was given a full pardon.

This story is so popular, a cock and hen live inside the church to this day…..

So why the fear? I was literally afraid of being jinxed in some way. I was afraid the young girl who made the advances would put a silver cup in my pack. I was afraid of the abandonment of my parents or is it community? I was afraid of deep hurts that if I could put one word to it, I would perhaps call it………..maybe, betrayal? I the boy hanging in the gallows, but really the felling is more like a person who has somehow fallen from grace. A person who has fallen and has yet to experience redemption. I am not alone in this kind of pain but my hope is to release it before this life time.

To make something right is to acknowledge our wrongs from both parties. Peacemaking is not a one way path. So how do we transform pain that we cannot expect another party who has done serious damage in this case myself and family to own up to their stuff enough to realize that an apology would be nice? (Is this the redemption I would like? Do I really need to be seen with “clear eyes”? I think a few years ago this is what I needed. I needed lots of help to transform anger that sometimes still lingers like a few coals in a fire.

So…….here in Santo Domingo we had planned to hike through quickly. Daisy was exhausted and her foot hurting and wanted to stay at the Alburgue We passed our friends who were camped out at the door of the Alburgue waiting for it to open, and we stopped briefly as I told Daisy we were going to push on to the next Alburgue 4.5 kilometers away. She got an ice cream cone and I a juice and we parked on a bench in the sun to enjoy our treats that would get us a bit further down the road. Suddenly a puppet show begins in the town square, a brass band marches by wearing cream orange colored shirts with flowers all over it and I realized I was defeated. When in Spain would you pass up festivities and a marching band? Ok! ok! Ok! We will stay. We went back to the Alburgue. Daisy got in the shower and I took myself to the church. A ritual I thought I might do…… The church is busy and so I begin to write in my journal at the feet of Saint Dominic’s tomb. Dear Saint Dominic I write to you asking for help in dealing with an old festering wound that in some way has taken a piece of my life, a piece of soul life of my family in a way that the feeling is that I have fallen from grace. I am tired of swimming upstream and I grieve the lack of vision as to how to abundantly and clearly move forward inside our family lives, our communities and ………..I write for two hours alone with people passing by, my heart in my hands (writing) and tears on my sleeves. Done, I close my book. Not to be read, but to be left alone and to move forward as I/ we/ our family has through these years.

“The holiest of all spots on earth is where an ancient hatred has become a present love….” A course in Miracles

My question as a pilgrim is will I walk with a forgiving heart or will I walk holding on to the hurts that keep me separated from my fellow pilgrims? What is the sacred symbol of healing? If presented, will I receive it and use it?

I remember when I first learned about The Camino de Santiago pilgrimage about four years ago. I wanted to be here as a way to heal but my pilgrimage began by staying put. We chose not to run or hide but to deal with the pain day by day until we could find what I would call family renewal at least to a degree… When the time came to walk this most amaizing pilgrim walk with Daisy, this wound was not exactly on the main thought. I came with the prayer of how to step into flow. Financial flow, life/ social flow, bring our gifts back into the world and having them be received flow. Health, children emotional well being. Allowing Daisy to find herself and birth herself in an environment that supports Daisy to think for herself rather than the power of her school, teacher, peer scene who may only see a part of who Daisy is and yet seams to wield a lot of power in the lives and spiritual lives of our children in ways that I strongly question.

……so here we are in Santo Domingo. I continue to learn more and more about this Saint who was not allowed to be part of the catholic church because he could not read. Yet Saint Dominic had apprentices, built churches, supported the pilgrim path as did most saints who could not read. In fact the Catholic Church adopted the pilgrimage because they began to see the lucrative nature of the Camino de Santiago. Pilgrims traveled on the easiest northern route across Spain ( the route we are on) and connected with places in Portugal, France England, Germany, Holland, Belgium etc. a pilgrim highway essentially established by amaizing healers, miracle workers, stone masons, spiritual leaders, but who could not read. Later they were all sainted.

I have come to like Saint Dominic. A healer, spiritual leader, strategist, teacher, a devout protector of the Santiago de compestella a pilgrimage. (There is more- but I will leave it at this).
I stayed in Santo Domingo and I was not betrayed. Instead, I prayed, enjoyed the Morris dancing, maypoles, brass bands, holiday festivities as the entire first two weeks of may are ” May Day” in these midevil towns across northern Spain.

Blessings and Aloha- the breath of spirit in us all,
Kelley

Cloudy day in Logrono

We left Logrono with a crowd. Kind of felt like a hiking herd of folks at the race line and….go! There we were in the herd steadily falling behind the people while the city and its 5 kilometers of suburbs fell away from us. Things began to quiet down except for Daisy and I. Grumpy mama that I can be. I wanted her moving faster! The poor thing was doing her best and having to deal with me too…Darn. I had to change my ways. Two days was not enough rest. Daisy’s knee out of whack and swollen now, and exceptionally cold weather I believe surprised us both. I apologized and changed. Daisy changed herself upon meeting a woman from Argentina. This woman was walking with a day pack while her husband to weak to walk drove from one town to the next supporting her on her pilgrimage quest. She had surgery and could not carry any weight and so for her in her life her husband was a kind of angel. He found places to sleep and food and everything. All she had to do was walk.

This woman began asking Daisy lots of questions and commented, yes you are going to slow but how old are you? she had said, there are no twelve year olds or thirteen to even eighteen year olds. You – so far you are the only one I have met. This is a very hard thing but now that I know your age, you are not going to slow. You are going just right. But be careful! It isn’t the body that surrenders. Look at me. Look at these old people walking. It is the mind that surrenders. Don’t let your mind surrender. In fact, embrace your mind as a tool. A lovely tool that can help you get to where you joyfully want to go. This pilgrimage is hard. But you will make it. Do not fear or wonder about not making it. That is a waste of time. Daisy listened to this very soft spoken woman. Not a lecture of any kind but a kind voice of added strength to her journey.

Hours later, while walking, Daisy said, you know there really is nothing for me to go back to. All the fun things at school happened. I miss my friends and actually wish they were here with me – not the other way around-I with them back on Maui. And Daddy and Linden oh I miss them so much! But really they should join us. But really they should start in St. Jean. So perhaps I will have to wait—–but, but, but daddy! I miss daddy! He makes everything funner! And Linden he is so funny I would have to laugh down the trail.

Silence…..I’m glad I’m with you mama. Me too Daisy.

By the way, Daisy’ s knee/foot issue is a bit better. We hiked 13 miles into a beautiful hill town full of local activity and are surrounded by grape orchards. Today we walked by folks tip pruning the vines. Row after row after row…. Xo

Logonoro

May 10, 2013 Logonoro, Spain big city #2

(Ok I’ve. Lost 4 writings to you all so sorry I’m learning)

We walked into town in the rain exhausted, happy (goofy actually) and overwhelmed. By farthest the hardest part of these walks is walking into a city. Many people call ahead for spaces but our phone does not work here and do not have that option at least yet…. Yesterday was a miracle. Our friend copper was on the street and could guide us to her hotel/ hostel. This morning we had hoped to stay another day but by 10:00 am they were already full. STRESS. Now we need to check into the municipal hostel and I worry about room. We are tired. Daisy is still sick and what I am learning is that this trail cannot hold the numbers of people walking it. This is a growing activity to walk this trail. What seams like 100’s of people were actually over 175,000 people last year especially during the months of June, July and August. Apparently it is even more crowded, it is May and everything is always full and overflowing. We are part of the crowd.

We lined up in front of the Alburge an hour before it opened at 13:00. It is now 14:30 and I believe all the spaces are full. I have parked myself in the kitchen to write to all of you. Thank you for your friendship and support! Wow! It is an online party and yes we will have a slide show when we are back.. I will do my best at posting pictures. But I spend hours sometimes just getting something posted. I am trying this app called pages to copy and paste into the blog……meanwhile, Daisy is posting pictures on Instagram. Search her name and you will find her. She is my tech support.

Today is a rest day.
We have walked 97 miles so far under sun, rain and clouds. We made it over the Pyrenees mountains, a gorgeous wild and rugged landscape that I have fallen in love with. It is truly wild and I could easily return to explore…. We have eaten nettles, and wild onions in my sandwiches and Daisy’s in Daisy’s hair along with Hawthorne flowers and the yellow flowers, descendants of wild lettuce..
We have walked into hill country which has meandered into open spaces at times. We have walked by acres and acres of wheat fields. We have watched the wind tickle the fruiting tops of wheat and I Kelley have spent hours wondering about the agricultural practices that I see. We have walked by what I believe to be ancient olive trees that in the states one would consider “old growth” as well as wine grape orchards with stumps so thick you can also only guess that they are hundreds of years old- no exaggeration- because when you see the younger vines the older vines, there is just nothing to compare to….

So many castles, so many ruins,, so many stone- Roman made bridges and this Camino road winds its way across this landscape in and out of towns and it has been this way for hundreds of years. It is my understanding that historically, more people walked this pilgrimage than people do now…… I don’t know where they stayed or if the standard was differentfor sleeping or what.

A few tidbits.. I met a family with an 8 month baby on the trail. They are taking it a day at a time. I believe the oldest person I have met is 80 years old. Steady. Perhaps walking 2.5 kilometers an hour…. The fast walker is 7 kilometers an hour. The steady “fast pace seams to be 5 kilometers an hour. They have very light packs. Daisy and I are moving up from two miles and hour to 2.5 miles and even 3 miles an hour about 4 kilometers an hour. We continue to lighten our load. Sometimes accidentally. We have both lost our only long sleeve shirts. Daisy a sock. I am learning to carry less food which is very heavy and to drink more water in general. We are trying to drink 5 quarts a day each. We continue to meet people from different parts of the world a seventy year old Korean woman danced for us in an Alburgee. Beautiful! She is traveling with her husband and children in there late 20’s and early 30’s. we have met two father/son groups. We continue to meet lots of travelers from Brazil. Recently I met a woman from Iceland and one from Youglaslavia. More people from different places in the world all the time…. Lastly I have learned that a few convicts in Spain may walk the Camino (with police) arrive Finesterra go in and out of the water 7 times, have their clothes burned and then walk back and are give a kind of pardon. This is an active tradition with a few of the lucky chosen. Another interesting thing. In Spain you may walk the Camino for extra credit in School and if there are two people applying for the same job with very similar credentials, but- one of those people have walked the Camino, that person gets the job. In fact I have met people on the Camino now who are only walking this trail because it will help them get a job. (They are from Spain)

So why are we all doing this? Another question or is it the same question? another time…..xo, Kelley

Pamplona

We made it this far!
We  have walked 44.5 miles. And today we walked 3 miles of the total quoted.  Last night we stayed in a Church built in the 12 century.  I felt it as a holy place before I even walked in…..
 
Ok, I am crazy, but I had an experience.  Kind of funny,….. I will swear and cross my heart to the truth of what I herd…. Goes like this….

I’m walking or shall I say limp or stumble down the trail. (My foot injury is bad and yes I will make it.). The land scape is both wild and historically domesticated.  Old apple trees along grown over edges of fields, a forest of Beech, chestnut, maple, alder. Older.  Lots of early wild flowers, violet, Lilly of the valley dandelion,nettle, dock (oh I could go off on the plants….I love them so much) old stone structures….any way were walking slowly when I hear a bird say, “we have a problemo they are moving to slow- o.”  There is a conversation with the birds and something else, a nature being perhaps.  I here the birds say “we will go ahead and clear the way but if they can, speed them (us) up!”  I sped us up and soon then Daisy sped us up even more….  About an hour and a half later we arrive into the town of Arres.  We had just crossed this vey long old stone, Roman made bridge, set our packs in front of the Alburgee (a pilgrims hostel) when the door automatically opens.  A monk greets us and right then a bird bursts out this amaizing song and it begins to rain, again. I felt as if our arrival was announced.  I thanked the birds and other nature beings for what ever guidance we might be receiving. Mucho Grasias!

This old Alburgee has been the first place I have felt this sense of holy connection to place, land, soul and guardianship.  I can appreciate Christianity and my practice is different.  But this place….I can pray here.  I can resonate to this old church and little town landscape.  It installs this wordless feeling that I associate with reverence.  

In the morning, Daisy and I walk into Pampalona.  Walking slowly. Only 3 easy miles.  We find a cafe with wifi.  Only the wifi does not work…again… I have my first coffee, delicious and Daisy has a cup of cocoa that looks like hot chocolate pudding.  She loves it! We then get in line to sign into the Santa Maria Auburgee located in the heart of Pampalona.  A day of rest…perhaps…or taking care of things.  Washing laundry, mailing back to Maui layers we do not need, therefore significantly lightening our packs.  Finding the post office which was a huge learning curve, going to the pharmacy and buying….drugs! I am the owner of ibprophen, some kind of leg salve for shin splints and blister salve.  Daisy is much to tired to explore this historic city.  She just needs “homey” time. We return to the Auburgee and Daisy cooks for us chicken soup with beans and potatoes.  I do the dishes.  It is here in the kitchen in the Auburgee  of 110 bed that we run into an older Brazilian couple who informed us that the woman who was annoyed with us for not pushing into Pamplona ( she did not like that we did not go the distance from larasona and stopped In Arres) developed terrible shin splints and had to take the bus home (only 3 mile difference but a tired body and 3 additional miles can be hard on ones body)  I met a young woman today who also has to go home from an injury and I say to Daisy, see how good your doing?  This Camino is a demanding teacher and so far you have made it this far.  There is no such thing as perfect.  We don’t know if we are going to make it, but let us hold the intention that we will.  There are so many  walkers and most are in pain.  Most are hobbling like ourselves.  Yet there is this special commitment to move forward and everyone is supportive no matter their temperament.  Our newly made friends Michael and Anne may also have to stop.  Tomarrow Anne goes to the doctor.  I pray for good sound healing acceptance for what ever the outcome might be and optimism for possibility – what ever that could look like even if the Camino is not part of it.  As an industrialized culture we set our “eyes on the prize” rather than the process.  There are those things that “teach”  by not making it. A much harder lesson sometimes. 

We have made it this far and will walk at least 5 kilometers Tomarrow or onward.  Tomarrow is supposed to be sunny!  Hurray!  Perhaps that will lift us. I have come to realize through all of this that we are on the Camino.  A kind of flowing energetic river.  Though we will see many sights we are in a flow that will guide our experience not the “sight seeing” as a could or a should but a part of what will at times be part of the adventure and other times not part of the adventure.  Pamplona was one of these places.  I was excited to walk into this city and see the sights of this amaizing place.  We have walked the winding streets but that is all and Tomarrow we move onward with what I feel to be relief.  There’s this song:

“the river is flowing, flowing and growing, the river is flowing down to the sea.  Mother carry me a child I will always be, mother carry me down to the sea”

Help us to stay in the flow of the Camino.  We need all the help we can get.  Why this is such hard work I do not understand especially as an accomplished hiker/backpacker, but it is.  My prayer is to lighten Daisy’s spirit.  Light her up, get her strong and help her find that sweet rugged macho quality that can be so helpful in these kinds of situations.  Give her confidence. Help her to look forward rather than to spend so much time missing all her friends and family.  Missing people makes your energy sticky.  Help her cleanse gently.  Help her to see that her growing into this experience is a gift to all her friends and family.

Ashe. Xoxo,
Kelley

We’re Crazy!

Daisy and I are beat up bruised and exhausted.  I’m quite happy to be out of Paris, a beautiful, busy and very expensive .  Whew!

Arriving in St Jean had its own challenges and excitement.  We met so many people pumped and excited on the train.  People coalescing from all over the world to walk this trail.  From the St jean train station we were like herding cattle to the pilgrim office.  There we wait meeting new friendly people, snap photos, and thewhen it is our turn receive individual attention and are gracefully welcomed.  Unfortunately the auberges were all filled up by the time it was Daisy and my turn for this kind welcome and we had no real place to go unless we wanted to spend $50.00 on a private pension.  No not the first night. No we need food and we arrive late and then suddenly the expensive places were taken.  Gulp.  “Kelley, you fool, so I thought”.

Daisy w patient attitude followed me around and suggested we walk the streets and knock on pension doors to inquire.  I insisted that we return to the pilgrim office and plant ourselves till we get help.  The same friendly man completely overwhelmed by the amount of walkers arriving each day, a record month’ walked Daisy and I to a tucked in little place not actually advertised.  We paid 12 euros vs. the 22 Euros the woman on the street was advertising and trying to pull us in. This woman reminded me of the creepy woman in the scary district in the movie Marry Poppins.  I still see her eager greedy face and feel relief to be in our little bunkbed space, now walking the streets in search of a grocery store for dinner, breakfast and lunch the following day.

The next day our first day on the trail a total of 25.1km (15.5 miles) the alternate route.  The mountain passes were snowy.  Thank god because it is also longer….  Rain is pouring down and there we are with a few walkers.  We stop for a snack and the walkers disappear.  Where did they go?  Something felt wrong.  We walked on in the rain along the road.  Time passed.  I wondered.  Soon,  I noticed through the trees many walkers off on the right on the beautiful pastoral hillside.  Ahha!  I refused to turn around.  Daisy I said there will be a point further ahead where we can cross to the hillside but I do not think we want the extra kilometers. We don’t.  Already the rainy walk feels long and we have just begun.

Eventually a small town merged with the Camino and we joined the other walkers.  Shortly after, we are ascending crazy steep hillsides.  The good thing is that the rain has ended. But the walking continues over steep and climbing elevation.  Everything is wet and the hard part is having walkers buzz right by us like friendly and encouraging race cars.  Then there are the men of steel.  Young guys plugged in oblivious to the bird sound, the sound of the wind, or drips of rain while walking their steeley not so friendly pace.

Our first day ended at an Alburgee in Ronceresvilles, Spain.  We had hiked over a Forested mountainous border into Spain.  We negioate 3 languages Basque, French and Spanish and inevitably mix them all up.  it is good to have a sense of humour and recognize that we humans know how to commnicate regardless of oul language skills.  However it does require a willingness to try to communicate.  At any rate, Ronceresvill is a town of around 100 folks a bar and an Alburgee.  The first Alburgee was filled with 300 people.  Daisy and I had to move in to the old hostel holding 150 people in the same room.  Bunk beds in lines down an ancient stone building.  The housekeeper welcoming pilgrims.  Daisy and I could barely walk. Daisy is in soo much pain.  I forced her to eat layed her down on her cot and together we rubbed each others feet.  There in her own pain was her ability to see my pain. The limp from my dance injury last fall showing up like firecrackers there on the hill side and nothing to do but walk which turned into limping and later a good hobble.

The next day was similar some rain, less elevation and one kilometer less. However the decrease in elevation left us a tiny bit stronger.  Still together we hobbled into the next town.  Daisy practically in tears, feeling like her “feet are breaking”.  I don’t like those words but say nothing.  I keep pushing her toward the Alburgee.  I am amazed by her strength and wonder how many children her age and older teens would be able to endure this.  I believe a certain jewel inside in our children as well as the strength and will and belief of the parent.  This is tough business.  Daisy just wants to go home.  I cannot blame her.  I rub my Daisy’s feet feed her pasta again) and send her to bed.  Again she sleeps with out moving and I hate to wake her for another day of trekking.  The alburgee’s require that you are out by 8:00 am.  I pack daisy’ s pack and allow her to do the minimum just to get her out the door into the morning rain again.

So much has happened between day 1 and day 3.  I only touch on how we are doing but there is so much more to share.  New friends, some walkers who feel like guardian angels, some folks who feel obliged to impart their adult parental philosophy on our child, a father son drunkard scenario, people from all over the world: Brazil, Norway, France, Spain, Portugal, Britain, Italy, turkey, Mexico, Germany,Australia and many other places.  Mind blowing actually.  And the felling for me is curiosity (if that is a feeling).  Sometimes I have hope in the world.  Sometimes it is the recognition that we are intimately connected more than I realize and to place ourselves in a situation like walking a pilgrim trail exposes us to that sense of connection to all over the world.