1
Wake Forest University

Countdown less than 2 weeks until I leave for the Camino.

I’m wearing my new quick dry shirt today just to make sure it’s ready to go. I do love green...

2
Home

Harvey is not pleased that I’m packing up and getting ready for the big adventure!

3
Atlanta

Departing for Barcelona in about an hour. Part of me wonders what the hell im doing, which makes me laugh. 😂

4
Barcelona

First the planes, now the trains. Headed into Barcelona train station to catch a coach to Pamplona. I love this city!

5
Pamplona

A beautiful sunny afternoon in Pamplona. Sitting in the park while I wait for my bus to St Jean Pied de Port.

6
El Camino

The view from where to road ends on the way to Orisson. What a hike!

It’s gonna take me a while to get there if I stop at every patisserie!

Pain au chocolat. Mmmm.

Journaling time.

Stunning view from the hostel after a delicious common meal. All magical!

Walked from Orisson to Roncevalles today, crossing from France into Spain. About 17km through the Pyrenees which was spectacularly beautiful. Here are a few images of what I saw.

A great quote from Rumi, so appropriate for the beginning of the pilgrimage on the “way.”

As you start to walk out on the way, the way appears.

Walked 22km from the monastery in Roncesvalles to the small town of Zubiri. Even though it was theoretically a flatter walk, the last bit was steep and rocky - grateful for my trekking poles.

The monastery in Roncesvalles.

A long way to go!!!

Me in my gorgeous sun hat.

7
Pamplona

The walk from Zubiri to Pamplona was a bit muddy due to the rain we received last night. Fortunately by the time I started walking, the rain had stopped. It was interesting walking into a big city.

Today my theme turned out to be about listening. I recorded a number of sounds from the loud river I walked beside most of the day, to the birds, to the squishy mud. Amazing what I notice when I tune my ears to all the sounds.

Here are some images from the day:

Gray skies. It was a pretty cool 55 degrees.

The disadvantage of being tall when I had to hunch down on part of the path.

My river companion.

Blackberry bushes everywhere along the way. I can only imagine what it’s like in summer. 😋

One of the markers of the Camino in addition to the shell and the yellow arrow.

Yes!

The altar of a 12th century church taken through a cutout of the pew.

Marking the way.

The massive Pamplona city walls!

Running of the bulls.

8
Pamplona

A day to rest and slow down a bit. Lots of festivities in Pamplona today!

Some amazing pastry with chocolate filling. Wow!

Dancing, music, bands - all around the old city.

Great architecture.

9
Puente la Reina

Had a ful day today, waking about 27k from Pamplona to Puente la Reina. I took a side trek to a 13th century Romanesque church that was quit peaceful and beautiful in its own way.

When I arrived at my albergue, I was greeted by lovely José who had be draw a card (which each of the guests do). My card was “patience.” Hmm. Not sure why I got that one!

Met a lovely group traveling together and joined them for dinner at a local restaurant. Amazing local food.

On the walk, I was struck by the beautiful flowers, particularly the poppies, and the vast fields of wheat. So striking beautiful. Things I don’t see when I wiz by in a car. Here are some photos from the day:

10
Burgos

It’s been a while since I checked in. Sorry to take some time away. Amazing how the days get full and my energy for writing is limited.

It’s been a rough few days. I developed two significant blisters - one on each foot - and unfortunately pushed on ahead. This caused one of the blisters to grow to the size of a silver dollar on my heel, making walking difficult. And it got a little infected...

So I spent 2 days in Burgos - I was originally going to spend 1 day - to rest and recover a bit. It’s been good to rest, but I miss seeing my fellow pilgrims on the road.

Today John Senior arrives which is wonderful. I will meet him in Burgos and we will take a bus to Castrojeriz to get us back on schedule. Hopefully I’ll be able to walk tomorrow with little difficulty. I’ve decided to pay for a company to take my bag for the next few days, again so I can heal.

As easy as it is for me to tell others to walk their own Camino, it’s a little hard to not walk every km with my pack strapped to my back. I’ve given myself grace, but I’m still a little disappointed.

This feels like a hard part of the walk. Two weeks in and my body is showing some signs of challenges - foot, digestion, sleep, and more. It’s amazing how much I take my body for granted, assuming that it will always work optimally and knowing that I have all available resources to help if needed. Here, my body invites me to more humility and deep listening. This is not easy for me.

Thanks to all of you who’ve been walking with me, praying for me, and reaching out to me. It’s been a gift to know if your presence.

Onward...

Two of my fellow pilgrims in Burgos with me - Laura and Diego. Beautiful souls.

11
Frómista

Had a good day back on the Camino today. Walked for 25k in my Tevas and did surprisingly well. Thanks to my friend John Senior who joined me yesterday, we had a nice walk into the Palencia province in the region of Castile and León.

Blisters are not fully healed, but they’re definitely better. I’ll probably walk another day in my sandals to give my blisters a break. It felt good to be walking again and to see the beautiful Meseta part of Spain.

Tonight we’re in the town of Fromista, population 770. We head out early tomorrow for a little shorter day to Carrión de los Condes.

Here are a few photos from the day:

John and I are a good climb!

Encouragement for the pilgrims.

The gorgeous morning walk.

O Death - on the side of a church.

Wheat and poppies - so beautiful.

12
León

Made it to Leon yesterday, the last of the big cities on the Camino before Santiago. Taking a rest day here before walking the last 300km. It’s hard to believe that I’ve already walked 500 of the 800 total. Feels good.

Yesterday I said goodbye to John Senior after a week of walking the Meseta. It was such a gift to spend that time together. What a dear beloved friend he is.

I also welcomed Renée Rosario to Leon - she will be walking with me on the last leg of the journey. We’ve already had a good morning eating breakfast and taking care of details before we walk tomorrow.

I’m already feeling amazed and a little sad that it’s going to be over sooner rather than later. But, my spiritual work is to accept what is and be present to what is in front of me.

Some recent photos:

John leaving his walking shoes at the cathedral.

Carolina motors?

Obligatory selfie.

Some of the amazing art everywhere we go.

13
Foncebadón

It’s been a great couple of days traveling with Renee. We’ve seen lots of scenery change from the last km of the flat Meseta to now the highest point on the Camino.

Today we did 26km and about a 500km climb, which has been beautiful. We’re laughing a lot and enjoying cafe con leche very much!

Yesterday we went to Astorga and visited the chocolate museum - and yes, we bought some chocolate. But our eyes were bigger than our mindfulness about the weight we’re carrying!

The beauty and extravagance of nature strikes me daily. Purple and yellow flowers and breathtaking vistas. As we walked through a thick area of woods, Renee called it forest bathing. Indeed.

I’m grateful for my body, this time, my friend Renee, and this stunning country.

Renee’s a great hiker!

Pride among the way.

The local dish - we call is mucho grasa - a whole lot of animal fat!

Early morning walk.

Arrow always points the way.

14
Barbadelo

Renée and I’ve had a great week of walking and seen some of the most beautiful countryside.

Tonight we’re in Barbadelo, just outside of Sarria, which is the starting point for many new pilgrims. We had a lovely walk from Triacastela, though all the downhills were hard on our calves! Foot rubs tonight.

Two days ago we walked through O Cebrerio, and stopped in a beautiful and powerful Franciscan church. There was a pilgrims prayer there that was very moving, putting the pilgrimage in some perspective.

We have 5 more days of walking 110km - so hard to believe my 5 weeks are coming to a close soon. Bernie will join us on Saturday which is very exciting!

Here are a few good photos:

15
Palas de Rei

We made it to Palas de Rei today. Renée has had a bad leg, so she wisely took the day off from walking.

I’m excited that Bernie will be here any minute. It’s been more than 4 weeks since we’ve seen each other - so excited!

It was good to walk alone today - I needed the contemplative space. I’m aware that the end is coming soon and I was struck with grief. Already. It’s hard to explain, but the end of this journey feels like loss. It is, of course, all also gift.

Some pictures from the day: