Monday, July 30, 2007

My Treasure

My travel treasure for my Camino is awash with symbolism of my life. Let me tell you the story.

My forever friend Jules (seems like we've been friends forever) travels a lot. She visited Rome a few years back. Her comment the particular week they were there was "you couldn't have swung a cat without hitting a priest or a nun. Why? Here's the rest of the story...By accident (I kid you not) she ended up at/in the Beatification Mass for Mother Teresa. She and her husband took the shorter line to get into St. Peters and well people at the entry didn't "card her", ask for her invitation. Their packs got searched and they were ushered in to THE MASS. Did I mention, they're not Catholic. This lays the groundwork for what I'm taking.

I'll lay the groundwork for what I'm not taking. I have a rosary collection. I have one I always travel with too. But I can't decide which is "worthy" of this trip.

In addition to the silver rosary Jules brought back for me (unbeknownst that I had always wanted one, but never got one) she brought back a little commemorative chaplet...a mini rosary comprised of just one decade set and an addtional bead. This is going with me.

The chaplet is made of rosewood, which is what my first rosary was made of (which is my travel rosary is made off) - the scent reminds me of my mother and keeps the Holy Mother in my mind's presence. The crucifix is a replica of the crucifix Pope John Paul II had on his staff. I loved Pope John Paul dearly. The center piece has a picture of Mother Teresa. Not only did I admire her, I visited one of the Sisters Of Charity's (her Order) orphanages when I last built houses in Mexico. (I am signed up to go build again next year). I suspect, but do not know for sure that the chaplet was blessed by Pope John Paul II.

This little chaplet will have traveled from Rome, to Colorado, to Utah, to France, to Santiago de Compostela. The spirits (and I hope, the Faith) of Pope John Paul II, Mother Teresa, Charlemagne, San Guillén and Santa Felicia (the latter three in my bloodline), St. Francis of Assisi, St. James (who have all traveled this road except Mother Teresa)l and my friend, Jules will all be traveling with me. My merry band.

My pink Bronco hat is going too.

D's sending something special too - I can't wait to see what it will be. I have many special things he's picked out for me decorating my home. Having a bit of him on the trip is only natural.

Flights Out

My only "panic" left was figuring out how to get from SdC to Madrid. Do I book now, do I book when I get there? Do I want more time in SdC if I have it? Do I want to see Madrid if I can? What if I don't get to SDC when I think I will, etc., etc.

I posted once and was given an airline name that didn't do that route. Today I searched on my own and found some companies, but I was also going to be bopped aruond 3 stops in Spain. If I can walk it in a month, I'd think we could avoid a 3-hopper. I can do that in the states with a really obsure location and I couldn't do the AT in 6 months (2000 miles). A kind person on the board gave me the name of Spanair.

Bingo - you won't believe how much I have to pay though.... 4 Euro. That's right about $6. Now there is the $16 in taxes and $10 service fee - 30 Euro or about $45 isn't bad. And...I can book the flight when I get to SDC without worry...or for me too much worry!

Walking Is A Disease

One of my Camino groups had this posted:

"I believe you have mis-diagnosed your condition. Long-distance walkingis a disease. The sufferer is terminally infected with one exposure.For victims of this disease, the horizon is always there, quietlytaunting. [NAME], who participates here, is an admitted victim. Iam an old man with physical infirmities. I dream almost constantly of walking next year from Oslo to Santiago de Compostela. If I can find the money, I will do it. On the Via de la Plata, I met several victims who do nothing but walk. Walking became their lives."

I distinctly remember walking my first real mile and then two and I leave in 31 days to 500. As long as I can see the destination (even if it is futher than my vision), I can get there.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

El Cebrero / O Cebreiro

This is a place I will be visiting. The miracle that occured here is of great interest to me spiritually:

(My description is from The Pilgrimage, written by Paulo Coelho). Mass was being celebrated by a monk who was almost completely lacking in faith and who ridiculed a farmer for having made the effort he did in coming to Mass in such inclement weather (this is near the highest point of the Camino - weather is challenging year round). At the moment of consecration the host had actually been transformed into the body of Christ and the wine into His blood. The relics are displayed in the church. It is considered a treasure greater than all the riches of the Vatican. The author of the book was led to the church by a lamb and it moved me so much I planned to hunt the church down even if it meant going off the trail. But…..I don’t have to – it is in a hamlet I’ll be staying in.

This is how the Camino calls to me.

Marina Sums It Up

I don't know Marina, but she just finished the Camino and blogged her adventure. She wrapped up her account with this moving finish:

"All that I learned on this trip I value, but what I will never forget is how impossible the distance once seemed. With one glance at a map, I felt like I would never arrive.

"But I did arrive. With one foot in front of the other, one step at a time, I made it. Life often can be harsh, stubborn, or present us with difficult and challenging situations. The important thing to remember is that in all of us lies the power to overcome; no matter how scary or impossible something seems. Stop, breathe, rest for a minute, and take each hurdle at a time. Like this, you too will arrive to your Santiago."

Start with the last post and move backwards through the Previous Post links:

The Parties Are Starting

The group I work with travel a lot. We've learned to seize the moment and do what we have to when this or that person is in town. One dear friend of mine is in town this week - and the topic has already come up of a going away party.

I feel like I'm moving away or something.

And I'm flattered :)

Saturday, July 28, 2007

September Weather

Based on 30 year averages across the entire region - I'm looking at averages of 60-70 degrees (my favorite range!) and the coolest ever 47, and the warmest ever, 80. I've been training in 90. I wear shorts from 50 upwards.

Rain? High 9 days, low 4 and that depends again on the regions. I have my slicker and I did live in Washington State for over a decade and know that I will not melt.

I'm similing

2006 Pilgrim Stats

Below is a link to the 2006 Pilgrim Stats. I will be in the 2007 group :)

The site is in Spanish, but they have nicely included little animated graphics that will tell you all you need to know. (Personally, I like the amigo pulling the donkey the best).


Thursday, July 26, 2007

Well Wishers

More and more people are asking me about my trip. I think they are as incredulous as I am that it is actually going to happen. The questions vary. I think I get the mostly about the amount of time I spend walking. (When was the last time YOU walked to get 22 lbs of groceries?) (My mom and I used to always do it - we didn't have a car :=)

There's a lot of joy being shared about it - and for that I'm grateful. Every question means that someone cares. And there's a lot of caring people out there.

Funny - I have an extended family group - friends, husband's family, and cousins of in-laws that I have connected with. We've become a tight bunch. My own family though has actually used the word "crazy" and hasn't really given my plans much credence. On one hand I'm sad, but on the other - oh well. I am my mother's daughter and of my grandfather's and great aunt's gene pool. Glad they bunched up in me! And to my Native American Great Grandmother (I'm guessing where that line crossed) - thank you for infusing the love of nature and the guts to follow my heart. I wish I knew the "language" to thank you properly.

Thanks to you all - keep chanting "don't take it" and I'll actually get the pack down in weight. I'll thank you every step of the way - literally.

Love you all!

Wednesday, July 25, 2007


I practiced packing again tonight. I got everything in the pack - I'm only about 7-10 lbs over weight - that will be with water and electronics.

I look at a smaller pack and can't see how I could do it. I trimmed about 2.5 feet off my fleece. This will still give me plenty of length to snuggle down. The silk sleeping bag is going to be my savior - it is so comfortable that every time I test it out I want to go to sleep.

I'll try again in a couple of days to see if I can't get a few more ounces off.

Other than that - I'm rarin' to go!

Tuesday, July 24, 2007


My credential came yesterday!

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Frustration and Joy

I tested packing today. Arrrggghhh!!!!

I travel for my work and I have choices. Small suitcase, carry on, how much do I want to lift over my head for ten seconds each direction? Large suitcase, check, let someone else lift it? I have a luggage rack with a suitcase that has all my essentials ready to go. When I get home from a trip I refill it and I'm good to go next time. This is a whole new world for me.

First, there's all kinds of advice. It's all based on experience - other people's (like 1200 years' worth). I have this gene that always has to push its way out that insists that while "you" might have done this before, I'm pretty sure my idea will work too/instead/better, etc. (Please stop laughing D-you're going to hurt yourself). I'm having a hard time relinquishing the "think" on this and I'm sure I'm over engineering it.

I realized today that haven't a flipping clue on how to pack a backpack for more than an afternoon's excursion - which normally consists of water, food, a jacket, and something to deal with a headache and maybe blood.

I carefully bought fleece to be my blanket, instead of a sleeping bag. Now where in the heck does one store it or a sleeping bag for that matter? I have my backup stuff in a very small bag (meaning I'm not overpacking the "just in cases". I do want to take two spare pairs of shoes, but I'm beginning to think that one spare pair are going to have to do it - with some duck tape if I have a blow out).

I tested my fleece today with my silk sleeping bag - fell right asleep on the floor. This is good news - I know I'll sleep well - wherever.

I was having a hard time finding the last few things I needed this weekend. But then they started presenting themselves. I needed a bandana, some handkerchiefs (so I'm environmentally conscious), some rope, etc. I have this most wonderfully soft black long-sleeved t-shirt. I want a white one to take with me. I cannot find anything that even remotely resembles its fit nor comfort. I even checked on line at the yoga studio, in Minneapolis, where I bought it. All they have is black.

Some great news, my credential for my alberque stamps was mailed Friday :) This is my pilgrim's passport so I can get my compostela at the end.

OK - enough ranting. I do have 39 days to figure this out. Maybe I'll hike naked and know that my blankie will fit. ;)

Postscript....I decided to stuff everything I could into the pack - at least see if I could get it to fit and how much "it weighed". I got most of the stuff in that I have rounded up so far), but it is already 10 pounds over weight. Which means with the stuff that I didn't have in the room - I'm about double what I can take in weight. Either that or I need to hit the Krispie Kremes and double my weight and well...that won't work either. I did however, take some time tonight to learn how to pack the pack. So....once I trim my load - at least I'll know how to load it up. Wish me luck.


As I logged into my blog just now I noticed my counter. I'm at 39 days and less than 1000 hours. Holy cow.

I didn't walk this weekend. I meant to start early yesterday and slept until 9:30 - meaning I needed the rest more than I needed the walk. I spent the night at a friend's last night (bear country) so I didn't feel like wandering around there this morning.

Because of my work travel in August, I won't be seeing my wine club pals until probably October, maybe November!! We've all become very close. They're a very diverse group and all very interested in my journey, so I have them on my blog address list. Since we only meet once a month, not seeing them for a few months is rather disconcerting!

I'm off now to get the last few things I need. Later this afternoon, I'll pack everything up and see how much I need to primitive I'll let myself be.

Thanks to everyone for all your suggestions, concerns and support. I'm getting nervous now - I would say this is so not like me to do a trip like this - but the mere fact I'm doing it is saying that this IS me. And me can do anything she sets her mind to - I've done that a thousand times. This is just one more flower in the vase!


Tuesday, July 17, 2007


I sat in the park across the street from my house last night and worked on adding notes in my guide and on my maps of which little hamlet to plan to stay in on this night or next. I have collected "must sees" ffrom other peregrinos/peregrinas for about eight months now. I'm going town by town and making notes. (All the sites I mentioned a few posts before have this information).

The last few days have been interesting - I've met up with a 62 or so year old woman from South Africa who will be starting her 3rd 500 mile Camino about the same time as I will - I hope to meet up with her along the way - she's been very helpful.

In my heart I'm so ready to go. I have things still to tend to at home and at work before I leave and that is carrying me forward to the date.

I am still very overwhelmed about actually having this come together. I still remember thinking how anyone could "get away from work" to do this. I thought all either had to be retired, unemployed and/or independently wealthy.

I am proof that with hope in your heart, saving just a few dollars a week, patience and faith that it IS POSSIBLE that it can come to pass.

I suppose that having a strong support team helps, but even if I didn't, I don't see how I would have let this pass me by. The warm fuzzies and patient listening while I work all the things out, out loud (after they've rattled around in my head), has been very helpful. My family? Well - the kids are strong supporters (following in Mom's steps could be fun)! The rest? They think I'm nuts.

It's a pilgrimage - it's a faith venture! Before I take a single step in France or Spain - it has already proven itself. It has all come together. What more could you ask?

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Tomas The Knight

I have heard tales of Tomas the Knight (Templar). I asked on line where I could find him and his hospitalidad. The best advice I got about "where" was from a gal on the board: approximately 25 days from Ronscevalles or 4 days after Leon. This is meaningful! I pulled out my set of maps which are essentially in 32 parts and voila' there it is on map #24!

Another gal supplied me with pictures of him and his refugio as she has stayed with him before.

Friday, July 13, 2007

The Top Ten Things To Learn In Spanish Class Before The Camino

The Top Ten Things To Learn In Spanish Class Before The Camino
10. I need batteries.
9. Ten bucks for a Gatorade!? Gimme a beer.
8. Has the mud ever been this deep?
7. I don’t shower with men.
6. No, I’m sitting here waiting for the ice cream truck.
5. I didn’t know people drank from this fountain. It sure looked like a foot-soak to me.
4. Do you have earplugs? The Italian guy in the next bunk is snoring.
3. Touch my boobs or butt [edited] again and I SWEAR I’ll slay you in the Name of Jesus.
2. That smell isn’t the pasture, it’s the socks dangling from my pack.
And the number one phrase to learn in Spanish:
1. Give me all the M&M’s in the store or your children will go blind and get leprosy.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Internet Groups

Use the groups - they are your friends.

I've saved, for nearly nine months, all the posts from the Yahoo group. Recently I've started working my way back through them all, capturing notes about packing, communication, blogging, and all the little treasures found along the way to see. Now I'm taking all the notes and making notations in my books - so I, too, can find the treasures of the Camino.

The groups you'll want to be a part of:

American Pilgrims on the Camino:

I am always on the move. Tonight was different. I worked through several months of emails, sitting on my patio. I "worked" until the last rays of daylight were fading. I finished my review and am ready to put all those precious notes into my travel books.

Heartfelt hanks to all the "posters" who have been kind enough to share their thoughts and experiences.

Buen Camino!

Sunday, July 08, 2007

And 6 more today!

18 miles this weekend. No real aches or pains. I can do this - I can, I can!!!

Saturday, July 07, 2007

12 Miles Today

I walked from 800 N in Orem up Provo Canyon to Vivian Park. Pretty, basic, and I did it with relatively little discomfort. :) And my ankle didn't let out a peep.

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

The Music Story

I said awhile back that I would recount the Music of Santiago story. Another moment in time that pushed me along this trail.

I read on one of the boards about the Codex Calixtinus. One descriptor lists it this way: "One example of this cultural communication is the use of the style of polyphony popularized in Notre Dame in the pilgrim hymns of the early twelfth century. The Codex Calixtinus is a collection of such songs recounting histories and legends of Compostela and the apostle Santiago. According to José Subirá, many of these songs, written in Latin, employ discant organum with two or three voices. (Organum is the addition of new melodic lines above the original chant. Discant refers to the use of measured rhythm in all of the voices.)" There is a Codex Calixtinus that were documents. I've looked into purchasing them (published photocopies) but it's too pricey for me to do before I go. Something I'll see about when I return.

I was working on a project in Minneapolis and we were given the day off. I was wandering around the city (met Davey Jones from the Monkees that day) and found a used/antique book store. I LOVE used bookstores and antique books. You never know what you'll find in there. I walked past a counter (not a bookshelf) and there was the Codex Calixtinus on CD. I turned it over in my hands for a few minutes. I hadn't researched how to find it, I hadn't done anything about what I'd read. There it was in my hands. I took it and my other treasures to the cash register. The guy rang up the books and looked at the CD set. "Where'd you get this?" he asked. I pointed to where I found it, knowing that if he said it wasn't for sale, I would have taken him out. There was no way that I wasn't leaving with that in my possession. He didn't know where it had come from, or why, even where it had been sitting, it wasn't priced. He popped out an exorbitant price and waited with a smirk on his face. No contest.

That was the day I KNEW I was going - it was just a matter of when. When is in 1381 hours.

Things Find Me - II

I decided that if I was going to carry fleece, I was going to have it in a size that worked for me. I bought 3 yards today. That's 9 feet of yummy. I can wrap my toes double and I can double up on my shoulders or hide my head. When I feel vulnerable I wrap up in fleece. This will truly be a comfort and a necessity.

While I was snuggling my acquisition in the cutting line, a light bulb went off. The posting boards all complain about the crackling of zip locks in the early morning hours. How else would one separate, but contain everything in this day and age? I've looked and looked for bags that would keep my things sorted - I found a few, but.....I can make fleece draw string bags in the sizes that I need very easily. So....I swung by Walmart and found fleece remnants. With ribbon for the draw string and a teeny amount of cutting and sewing, I'll have about 8-10 fleece bags for about $3.00. I can write on them or using some duck tape or medical tape label them with the contents. vitamins and calcium are the chewy kind...A month's worth would be weighty and take up a lot of space and...possibly melt. I was thinking I needed to change brands now to make sure I didn't encounter any allergies with the switch. But the company that makes what I take now, just came out with tablets, in a small jar, with almost exactly the right count of both, that I need for the trip. I won't not take them - I'm sure that the bruise that lingers on my leg would have been a break had I not been doing the calcium thing.

D's sending me a "something" to carry.