The locals call us swallows. We fly down south in winter and then head north again in spring; I think it’s a fair description. As with other years we’ve spent the last few weeks enjoying the glorious winter sun of southern Spain. We’re in Axarquia, east of Malaga, in the hills above Frigiliana.
We’ve rented a little villa which is nestled at the foothills of the Sierras de Tejeda, Almijara y Alhama natural parks and from our terrace we can look down over the village and beyond to the blue, blue Mediterranean sea.
Frigiliana is one of Spains more famous pueblos blancos and is by many considered the pueblo más bonito de España… the most beautiful village in Spain. The entire old town is now a UNESCO world heritage site with good reason. Imagine in your minds eye a typical white Andalusian village tumbling down the side of a hill and you will imagine Frigiliana. It’s visited by tourists around the globe but in winter the roads are quieter and come late afternoon we feel like we have the place to ourselves.
We’ve spent our time here enjoying the company of friends and family and simply exploring the area. And of course, because it’s me, we’ve also spent a fair amount of time walking these glorious hills; just like today with our walk to Acebuchal.
I’ve been asked so many times to organise a group walk. I worry that taking this route is a path fraught with difficulties but after an amazing week on the Camino Frances last year, with a group of wonderful wonderful pilgrims, I decided that it wasn’t such a bad idea after all.
This year I have two planned escorted walks. The first is a Camino Frances taster in the Pyrenees, walking from St Jean Pied de Port to Estella in May; and this group is full already!
The second is an escorted camino in Portugal. Covering a few days of the Coastal route, then moving across to the Central route and also including the Spiritual Variente. This walk will be different in that we will be staying only in hotels.
This video shows the amazing coastal section of this camino along with the variente… the inland section is just as fabulous!
I’m so excited about this walk; I think it pulls together some of the very best sections of the Camino Portuguese! You can find out more here on my Walking website. (feel free to share – although I am only taking 8 pilgrims and 3 places have already gone!)
Walk with me in Portugal : https://thenwewalked.com/camino-portuguese-escorted/
I have so many other plans for 2020 and 2021… I can’t wait to share them but… that’s for another time!
Happy New Year Pilgrims… and Buen Camino xx
I think I have to accept that I’m a camino addict; certainly walking has become my passion!
This year I plan to walk Madrid to Santiago. Not satisfied with that, I decided I would start a little walking group at home (https://walkingbuddies.home.blog/) and as expected there are a lot of happy hikers in SW France! I’ve planned a few walks and I’m looking forward to spending a few hours in the company of like minded folk.
You’d think that would be enough? mmm…
I was asked if I would arrange a ‘mini-camino’… just a few days for folks to find out what it’s all about. So, glutton for punishment that I am, I’ve arranged a week on the Camino Frances for 6, in the first week of September! I’m going to call it training for the Madrid!
It’s only a tentative plan at the moment but I have booked accommodation. I decided Pamplona to Logrono was a good section. It offers beauty and history, some important landmarks and a mix of terrain and both cities are easy to travel to and from. If my little group do decide they’d like to walk more, they can return and still have the excitement of starting in St Jean.
And me… well if I have the time I might as well bolt on a few extra days at the start and walk to Pamplona. Gerry will walk St Jean to Roncesvalles but leave me there whilst I walk on to meet my group. We’ll definitely call that weekend training for the walk into Segovia!
And if that’s not enough I’m already planning for 2020 and I really need to do my hospitalero training so that I can help out and I’d like to be able to volunteer at the Pilgrim’s office.
I don’t think my passion is going to dampen down for a while!? Am I alone? Are there other seriously addicted pilgrims out there?
No blog today folks. We’re both a bit under weather. We walked to Laredo and caught the ferry to Santoña. The rain started and the wind howled and then it poured so we caught the bus to Noja. Inevitably we got absolutely soaked trying to find our hotel.
We’re tucked up in bed with coke and a croissant… More rain tomorrow so these two coughing poorly tourists are catching the bus… And I plan to spend as much of the day in bed as possible… Crikey this man-flu is pants!
See you all in Santander… Hopefully we’ll have the spring back in our step by then!
Day 1. Hendaye – Hondarribia
So much has been happening this summer that I’ve not given too much thought to this walk. I walked with Jaqui in May on the Camino Frances but gosh it seems so long ago now that we arrived in Santiago. Then in June I was meandering around Le Puy with Maggie and then POW… It was high season in France for the band and I end up forgetting what day of the week it is!
In that time my amazing son passed his Bac and was offered a place in Bordeaux but decided on a different path and is now studying Politics at Herts University in the UK. And suddenly it’s September and we’re driving back to Spain to find those yellow arrows. Continue reading
Can someone tell me where we put June, July and August? I must have mislaid them somewhere because I just don’t believe it’s September already?!
I’m as ready as I can be. I weighed my rucksack and I’m down to 5.6kg!!!! But I have a confession. There’s no towel and no sleeping bag and the first aid kit has been split between me and Mr Sims. I could get used to this light pack! Continue reading
Maggie was in France! That could only mean one thing… we had to go and find a camino adventure together 🙂 She flew in from Spain last week and we collected her from Bordeaux airport. After a few days showing her the sights in my corner of the Dordogne (and my corner of the Vezeley camino) we set off in search of the Le Puy route.
We drove to Conques, spent the night and meandered our way around this fabulous old village. We found the GR65 and followed the markers for a wee while before heading off to Figeac. Again we meandered around the town and picked up the GR markers… and spent an hour or two pilgrim spotting over a plat du jour.
So many times since I started this journey I’ve been told I should do more with my walking. “You should write a book” is a common refrain (watch this space on that one!) “You should offer escorted camino trips” is another. My usual response is to laugh and brush it off but I guess if something is said often enough then it plants a seed… the shadow of an idea… a whisper that sits with you and slowly takes form.
Over the last few months I’ve been thinking. I live in a beautiful corner of South West France. I’ve lived here for over a decade, I speak French, I’ve raised a family here and gone from being a stranger on foreign shores to thinking that this is my home. So I thought, why not use my love of France, my knowledge of this region and my passion for walking and merge them all together… And Then We Walked was born.
My plan is to find a beautiful French holiday home to rent for a week. I’ll plan daily walks and visits to some of the many iconic sites in this region, maybe we’ll spend a few hours at the local market, maybe we’ll visit a boutique vineyard for a private wine tasting? Or maybe we’ll visit one of the 1001 chateaux that adorn the Perigord? And of course there will be food and wine and fresh croissants and french coffee… well… you get the idea!
For a week I’ll show you my France. Beautiful. Surprising. Enchanting… and after all of this we’ll also walk!
Watch this space… I’m only going to offer a maximum of 6 places each trip.
Ok so I have to admit I’ve been a bit remise on the blog front. I could make a list of excuses… But…well there are none really. I’ve just not felt that I had much to say 😀
The first few days from Burgos were a bit frantic… Lots and lots of pilgrims and albergues full to bursting with pilgrims sleeping on mattresses on the floor. The weather has changed for the better and with our mini bed race and the hot spring sun we both had a few blisters… and sun burn. Nothing terrible and we’ve been dealing with them without issue… But the first few days were not quite as expected. Continue reading