Tuesday, June 19, 2007


I arrived back home Sunday morning, 34 hours after leaving Madrid. I had good flights and caught up on some movies.
It was wonderful to be met by Cristina, Callum & Riley at the airport.
Got home, sort of unpacked then Corinne arrived. Went with the boys to a birthday party, but was near asleep on my feet. Crashed when I got back home. It is now Wednesday and I am still on a different time zone. Up and wide awake at 4:00am.
For those interested, the weight loss was 10kg. Walking 750kms in 35 days with a 12kg pack is a tough way to achieve it.
I have emailed photos to some of the fellow pilgrims I met along the way. I miss the routine of the wandering tribe, and the people, and find myself longing to be there again: the unknown day ahead with some destination kms away. This is to be expected I have read - the post Camino blues, in may ways, this is where the Camino starts.
Feet are well towards healed, and the left shin slowly recovers.
This little video somes up a lot of my feelings: http://video.google.com.au/videoplay?docid=4626203027063195198

Some photos of the folk I shared journeys with:

Wolf, Roland, Ashley, Rolf, Martin, Steve, Maureen and Luiza. I taught Roland (German) how to say 'Fair suck of the sauce bottle'. Sounded really good with his accent, In return, I got 'Das is mi wurst' (my spelling).

Ruud from Holland

Ashley, Hyejeong and Steve

Jean-Pierre (from Germany)

Anna from Hungary

Anne-Marie from Austria with Steve and I

Uta and Simone (rear), Steve and I (front)

The drinking team, Ashley, Steve (UK), Miloc (Croatia), Jean-Luc (Canada) & James (US).


I stayed in Santiago until lunchtime Wednesday before flying to Madrid with Chris, staying at a nice hotel near the airport.

Thursday we took a train to Toledo, south of Madrid, for the day. It is a wonderfully historic and atmospheric feeling city. Saw the sites, and had a spin on a Segway (awesome).

Friday morning took the Metro to the Sofia museum in Madrid and saw El Guernica amongst other art (I visited this museum 13 years ago).

Friday afternoon to the airport, said farewell to Chris, and flew to frankfurt and homewards.

Monday, June 11, 2007

Day 35 Made it! Yee ha. Santiago de Compostela

Walked the last 4.5 kms this morning, and arrived shortly after 9.

I went to the Pilgrims Office, and got my Compostela.

Attended the Pilgrim Mass at mid-day, and heard in Spanish ¨ Roncesvalles Una Australiano¨. That was me guys. Looking back, it feels like that was not so hard was it. But I remember the first morning at Roncesvalles thinking what have I got myself into, and the the despair I felt at Ponferrada with tendonitis. Still have it, and blisters to match.

Did the pilgrim things of hand on the Mateo Column, hug the statue, and saw the relics.

It was great ringing home telling Cristina I am there.

In a rambling order:
I thank everyone for their support and comments along the way, that helped heaps.
Steve K, I hope the beer was good, it sure was here, thanks for the prodding.
To Vicki Mc, your help has been wonderful, you are a big part.
Jason, thanks mate.
Jennifer, that book started it.
Steve S, thanks for the wishes.
To the work folk who followed me, I thank you.
And Steve O´Shea for your company on this journey and catalysts for thought, thanks mate.
Those I have not mentioned I thank you.
And especially Mirabel, Carlos and the nameless Shoeman, you got your thoughts at Santiago.
To the boys, love you and see you soon. To Corinne, the nail is still there. To Brady, Roos V Carlton, you were lucky I was away, but I still think you owe me 20.
But most of all, to ´Tina, thanks for the support of my wild dreams, you are such a part of this. Have I told you, I have another idea... Love you heaps.

Now, I would like to just go home. Adios amigos. Dreams can come true.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Day 34 Arzue to Arca.. woops Monte do Gozo

Sunday night. Now just 4.5 kms from Santiago Cathedral at Monte do Gozo (Mount of Joy) a 500+ bed albergue. Made a wrong turn today, and overshot our destination, by 15kms. Well there was no point going backwards, so ended up doing 35kms.
Hot and tired, but tomorrow about 0900-1000 will close out the journey.
Will be mixed emotion.
El Peregrino

Saturday, June 9, 2007

Day 33 Melide to Arzua

Stayed last night at the alberque in Melide. A bit of a shocker. Short walk today to Arzua, and have gone for a hostal. Lovely, leisurely and short walk. Few more blisters and shin was a shocker last night, but not long now. A depressing and lifting thought.
Will catch up with a friend from home Monday night. Also looking forward to seeing all the wandering tribe as they arrive.. Hope to do Compostela formalities Monday, and mid-day Mass Tuesday. Off to Madrid Wednesday. My mate Steve will push on to Finistere. Jo, from the early days had an accident, and hurt herself, and is now with her sister in Germany. The tales people have/will have.
Around 40kms to go.

Friday, June 8, 2007

Day 32 Hospital de la Cruz to Melide I hope

Pushing along strongly, with more blisters . Weather very hot. Still expect to make Santiago Monday morning. Gorgeous countryside and views with morning mist. Great photos. Dinner last night, had a pie made with mussels.. not sure if it was 4-ply or a light truck tyre.
Feeling good.

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

Day 30 Samos to Sarria to TBA

I s now mid-morning in Sarria. Nice meal with 2 Dutch ladies last night. Poor night in albergue at Samos, snoring you would not believe. Anyway, pushed on this morning in very thick fog to Sarria, and will punch on again towards Portomarin, probably make Ferrerios or maybe a bit more. ETA Santiago Monday Spanish time. This is a really tough week. Physically and emotionally very tired, I find that very surprising considering less than 115 kms to go.
I appreciate the comments, and encouragement, thanks folks.
May post later if internet is available.

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Day 29 Fonfria to Samos

Have put in the hard yards in the last few days. Sunday, I WALKED from Ponferrada to Perenje (30kms). Monday, Perenje to Fonfria (over O´Cebreiro) (36kms), and today Fonfria to Samos (21kms). Shin is sore but manageable, some blisters and I have a loose nail on my 2nd toe (loose bigtime). About 135kms to go, and probably 6 days. Hope to arrive Santiago Monday my time.
Will add some details later, this is a shop internet, so must be brief.
Hope to get to Barbadelo tomorrow.
Fighting back...

Monday, June 4, 2007

Entry by proxy- an update

Having no internet available Ashley has asked me to update you all. After much soul searching, some panadol, anti-inflammatories tabs, ice packs to shin, a big long rest and many phone call to wife, he made his decision. Yesterday he got up and headed off on his own two legs and made it to his destination about half an hour later than the bus arrival time. Not bad for an old man (I didnt just write that, it was a gremlin). Ive just had a phone call from him and he has made it over O'Cebreiro, great beautiful views he tells me. Has made it down to Hopital and is walking towards Padomelo. Im not sure of his final destination for today but I am sure he will update us all if he get get on the internet. Thanking you all for your support. Can't wait till he get home. Cristina

Saturday, June 2, 2007

Day 26 Still at Ponferrada

Today is a tough day emotionally.
I have to spend at least a day to give my tendonitis a chance to get better.
It was really difficult hearing the rhythm of the day opening. The first rustles, the toilets flushing, the bags being packed, the doors banging as people get ready and head off for the day´s journey, as I sit there with an ice pack on the shin.
I have arranged to catch up with Steve probably at the top of O´Cebreiro on Monday night. I am probably going to bus 1 and half legs to the base of O´Cebreiro Sunday, and it feels a real sell out. Along the way people takes buses for various sections, often for ugly city entries or exits, and I have resisted, but now schedule and fitness require a compromise. It does not sit well, and requires common sense to overrule emotion, and analysis of what I am trying to achieve. This has been my biggest challenge.


Friday, June 1, 2007

Day 25 El Acebo to Ponferrada

Updated. A tough climb down the mountains. Glorious scenery on a cool but fine day. My shin gave me heaps of trouble, hence a short day today, and probably tomorrow. Will try to manage O´Cebreiro in the early part of day, hence the staggering of destinations. This is a very pretty town, and will check out the Knights Templar contribution this arvo.
The photo above is of the Iron Cross from yesterday, it is difficult for me to edit the entry, so the problem is yours the reader.
Postscript.: I will be in Ponferrada for 2 days. Went to the hospital today, and I have tendonitis. I suspect it was the descent from the mountains that really tipped it. I had been trying to manage it by stretches and shorter stages, With rest, ice & drugs this should clear. Not sure if I am going to bus a stage (grrr), to give myself some margin for a reoccurence. Not happy, especially given the next 2 stages are 30 kms with the 2nd up the mountain.

Day 24 Rabanal del Camino to El Acebo

Had an informal, international mass at the monastery in Rabanal. The monastery is half excavated internally, and was something very special. Exposed sarcofaghi dating back probably a thousand years, complete with bones.
A very cold, wet and windy day for the climb to the highest point on the Camino at the Cruz de Ferro. We were generally walking directly into the oncoming weather. Had a long stay at a small village on the way up waiting for the weather to clear. It did not. Pushed on to the Iron Cross, and left a small stone from Bird Island South Australia, in memory of K, B & D. Also left a small cockle shell with wishes for some other people special to me.
Not quite what I expected, but completed a major part of the journey for me.
Pushed on with weather clearing to El Acebo, having to stop there because my left shin is giving me a lot of grief.
Nice albergue, where the exit does not open until 0645. That stops the boofheads departing in the dark. Magic mountain views, and I have some great photos.
Had a lovely dinner with 2 German ladies. My comment that Germans did not have a sense humour went down a treat. Pea and Ham, followed by Grilled Lomo (Pork) and Fruit Salad, swilled down with Vino Tinto.