Bitter Sweet

It’s winter in the Dordogne and time to head south for a tiny bit of winter sun.  A few years ago Gerry decided that we should escape the cold and the grey and head to Portugal; we do love Portugal but this year decided that we would wander elsewhere  and try Estepona in the south of Spain.

We left home in the rain and drove down to the Spanish border under a very grey sky.  As we crossed the border at Irun we had sleet that stayed with us as we drove on towards Burgos; which didn’t make for a pleasant drive.  I sent the Gazelles a photo as we passed Belorado and my thoughts wandered back to the warm sunny days 10 months ago when me, Jaqui and Sarah had giggled our way across that path.  However, my navigation duties forced me back to the motorway, the sleet and today’s destination.

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We left Lisbon on Wednesday morning. We took the 25 de Abril bridge back over the Tagus River and as we drove by the huge statue of Christ, Gerry noticed a couple of figures high up on one of the outstretched arms.  He thought they were workers checking or repairing Lisbon’s giant landmark but I like to think they were there to wave us goodbye…  and wishing us well! Goodbye Lisbon, see you in October!


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Looking For Arrows

Mother earth, my dear old friend
I yearn to be with you again
Away from the city
Away from the crowds
Away from the noisy buses that come around

To run faster than the wind and feel it combing my hair
To climb your tallest trees that you have shared
To scream at the top of my longs in the middle of the woods
I never want to do what I should…

I found this poem by Jennica Figueroa… It’s not that I don’t want to be at home with the people that I love the most in the world… it’s just that I want to be there too.

I’ve been home for 7 weeks and the Via feels so long ago and so far away.  A few days after my return I had a simple pre-planned operation to remove a rather large and ugly varicose vein.

I’ve had this vein for years and years and assumed, as it never hurt, that it wasn’t a problem… so I ignored it.  Apparently this wasn’t a good idea and my surgeon said that it should be removed as soon as I finished my walk (I think I might have been the only pilgrim walking with a compression stocking under my kit).

15095544_10154818437717472_321082554006774889_nAnyway… we drove home from Muxia and a few days later I had the op.  In my head I thought I would be off my feet for a day or two but in reality I was off my feet for a few weeks.  Indeed it’s Boxing Day now and I still have the remnants of swelling and bruising.  To make matters worse, just as it was starting to feel better, I picked up some kind of cold/flu virus and both me and Matt have spent the last week or so coughing and spluttering.

Why am I telling you this?  Because I feel lost.  I went from walking to watching repeats on day-time television.  I think I have a case of post-camino blues.  It was only a few days ago that I even bothered to sort through my photos… but sort them I did and I made a little slideshow.  I’m not sure that it has made me feel any less lost… but I have enjoyed reliving my grand adventure and I am wondering when and where I will walk next… and I’m taking this as a good sign.. I’m looking for arrows again. Continue reading

50. The Real End…

Walking is the perfect way of moving if you want to see into the life of things.

It is the one way of freedom.

If you go to a place on anything but your own feet you are taken there too fast, and miss a thousand delicate joys that were waiting for you by the wayside.

Today was  better than yesterday.  We set the alarm for 7.00 but woke at 6.30.  We were going back to Fisterra to catch a sunrise.

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49. There and Back Again

Roads go ever ever on,
Over rock and under tree,
By caves where never sun has shone,
By streams that never find the sea;
Over snow by winter sown,
And through the merry flowers of June,
Over grass and over stone,
And under mountains in the moon.
Roads go ever ever on,
Under cloud and under star.
Yet feet that wandering have gone
Turn at last to home afar.

Last night we stayed in the Hospederia San Martin Pinario.  This place is enormous.   It may not be a luxury hotel but for less than 50 euros we had a comfortable warm private room for two, a piping hot shower, crisp cotton sheets and towels and as much as you could eat buffet breakfast too.  The building and it’s interior would compare well to any Parador and it’s right beside the Cathedral… a great place to stay and we’d thoroughly recommend it.


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48. We Were Pilgrims

Journey’s End by J. R. R. Tolkien
(Adapted by me)
In western lands beneath the Sun
The flowers may rise in Spring,
The trees may bud, the waters run,
The merry finches sing.
Or there maybe ’tis cloudless night,
And swaying branches bear
The Elven-stars as jewels white
Amid their branching hair.

Here at journey’s end I am,
With memories I shall keep,
Beyond all towers strong and high,
Beyond all mountains steep,
Above all shadows rides the Sun
And Stars for ever dwell:
I will not say the Day is done,
Nor bid the Stars farewell.

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47. The Eve

We wanderers, ever seeking the lonelier way,
begin no day where we have ended another day;
and no sunrise finds us where sunset left us.
Even while the earth sleeps we travel.
We are the seeds of the tenacious plant,
And it is in our ripeness and our fullness of heart
That we are given to the wind and are scattered

I can’t believe that this is the eve of the end. Was it really one thousand kilometres ago that we stepped out onto this path from Seville… naive and fresh footed and with no idea of what lie ahead of us.

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46. Little Jewels 


I want you to know one thing.
You know how this is:
if I look at the crystal moon,
At the red branch of the slow autumn at my window,
If I touch near the fire
the impalpable ash
or the wrinkled body of the log,
everything carries me to you,
as if everything that exists,
aromas, light, metals,
were little boats
that sail
toward those isles of yours that wait for me

Our dinner last night was perfect. The bar was warm and comfortable… the food was delicious and all clearly homemade… senora was as jolly as could be… and the wine flowed.

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