Saturday, April 29, 2006


have bed tummy today so will skip to the loo my darlin´

passed halfway point and will soon leave the meseta for some more mountains.
knee better, hip ok, blisters up again today but not painful.

more later - loo then bed!

Friday, April 28, 2006

Carrion de las Condes

Hola from Carrion

While I guessed that this was my halfway point it is actually a little way down the road and there is a sign to say you are half way - so thats exciting!

Today was a little dull in that it was a straight path alongside the road but it was also very easy (didnt have to look for arrows all day to find the way) and gave me time to enjoy the little things around me.

Became a little obsessed with snails today and took a dozen or so photos of the little fellas. Think I can actually relate to their pace a little better now. Sadly also saw a few crushed by passing pelegrino feet.....

The ipod has decided that it doesnt want to charge anymore and while that is a pain, it also means that I can walk and listen to the sounds of nature - which are many and varied. Simple pleasures on the camino!

However, I have found that to fill some time i sing to myself and the hit list at the monent is;
*Lucksmiths - Chapter in your life - thanks to Kristie i listened to this alot and now can sing it to myself without the ipod
* Simon and Garfunkles Cecilia - this is the song de jour for getting up hills and other hard bits. The beat gets me going when i otherwise want to stop
* Every $%&/$ city by Paul Kelly - dont know all the words but i can mix it up a bit.
* Only 19, Redgum - listened to this on anzac day and now its on repeat in my head. little depressing, but easy words to sing along to
* Freedom Calling - by Colin Hay on Seachange soundtrack has some lovelu words that repeat in my head:
"when i let go of the master plan
i could then hear freedom calling!"

like that one

going back to the albergue now for my "delicious" tuna and tomato roll then to bed. tomorrow will be another big day and need to rest the bung left knee and dicky right hip! feeling good though and enjoying the adventure!

love to all and a million thanks for the comments - love them!

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Pilgrims Progress

Hola all

Wow - this walk is going much quicker than I expected! I am almost halfway already and it feels like it has only just begun.

The stats to date:
27.0 St Jean Pied de Port - Roncesvalles
20.5 Roncesvalles - Zubiri
21.5 Zubiri - Pamplona
4.7 Pamplona - Cizor Minor
18.8 Cizor Minor - Puenta la Reina
22.0 Puenta la Reina - Estella
21.8 Estelle - Los Arcos
18.6 Los Arcos - Viana
9.4 Viana - Logroño
29.0 Logroño - Najera
21.0 Najera - Santo Domingo
22.9 Santo Domingo - Belorado
27.7 Belorado - Ages
23.3 Ages - Burgos
18.8 Burgos - Hornillos de Camino
20.3 Hornillos de Camino - Castrojeriz

TOTAL WALKED - 328.5km
KMs to Santiago - 456km

Now, if you use a calculator and find that these figures do not add up, dont be surprised. It seems that every source possible varies on the distances between these towns and the total distance from SJPP to SdC. You would think after thousands of years they would agree on that at least, but still...... the most important thing is getting to the end of each day! The rest is only for a bit of perspective.

Body check - the earler blisters have hardened into callouses (more or less) so they are no longer a problem. The sideof my feet are toughening but still have new blisters to treat each day on the sides and heels. Nothing too dramatic though and quite enjoy the process of draining them (sad but true)

My left knee has been sore the lst two days but hasnt really slowed me. Feels swollen but is fine as long as I dont go down hills or stairs too quickly. Hasnt got me down at all so that is good.

Mind check - feeling fantastic. LOVE the meseta, which I am told translates to "little table" and it is basically a high area that is very flat and occassionally undulating. Actually the hills reminded me alot of the Burren in west Ireland. It is very peaceful and very beautiful and I hope this landscape lasts a few more days. Lot{s of little birds flying around, hundreds of insects and crawlies criss crossing the path we are on, so lots to look at!

Am walking alone and intermittently catch up Marco, so have periodic company. Being alone again is great.

Not sure where I am off to tomorrow and will stick to me plan so far and that is to stop when tired or when a place seems worth visiting. It is a lot less stressful for me to walk this way. No maps = a happy kellie!

Must be off - the pilgrims are tucking into bed (at 9.30!!) and I get dirty looks if I go in after 10 ;)

Buenos noches amigos

Sunday, April 23, 2006

the Km´s fly by

Its amazing that time is going so fast. We have now walked within a day of the next big town and will arrive in Burgos tomorrow afternoon. On Tues we will have walked for 2 weeks and it is getting easier all the time. My body is getting stronger so the km´s pass a little easier. Tomorrow will be a comfortable 20km then will most likely take a rest day or half day to see the city.

I am still travelling with our little band of walkers but I think I need a few days away from the company. It gets to a point with all groups that a "group mentality" kicks in and suddenly we need consensus for every little decision. I have to remind myself that I chose to travel alone so that I wouldnt have to sit outside in a gutter waiting for everyone to agree rather than booking into an albergue when I arrive. I appreciate that everyone has different needs and I would like to be more patient but after 2 weeks I am ready to make my own decisions and not feel that I am letting others down by doing my own thing. We are all on a similart time frame so I know we will meet again - Id rather still enjoy everyones company rather than get tired of the dramas now.

On the up side the scenery is stunning. The endless rolling hills make me want to roll down them all day. There are amazing windmills lining every ridge - the fancy new white ones that are so much a part of the landscape now. Saw a mole crossing our path today which was very cute and passed very close to some unfenced cows and bulls who look like they have watched more "pilgrims" pass than they can count.

Each little town is a postcard as it appears in the valley below - ofetn less attractive when you get in amongst its old delapidated streets. The hospialeros (volunteer albergue managers) have been wonderful - some of them outstanding in their helpfulness. The albergues have been far nicer than I expected - clean and modern, as new facilities open up each year to cope with the increase in walkers. The taller men have trouble with the short beds but ive found it fine ;)

Its anzac day on tues (my favourite aus holiday) so am trying to recruit some 2-up players to join me in a game. Not too optimistic for that but will try to get up for my own little dawn service to keep up part of the tradition.

Ok, best get off to bed - sleep is the best thing after a day of walking - that and a glass of local wine to celebrate another day on the road.

Hope everyone is well is Aus and thinking of your all.

take care


Thursday, April 20, 2006

Its the 20th and I cant seem to figure out if it is Thursday or Friday!!  It doesnt really matter much out here.
Today was a great day and thought I should share it a little.
I have taken it easy the last few days with two shorter walks (18km and 9.5 km) so felt rested and the feet are recovering.  I met a lovely girl last night and she said some things to me that made sense.
She walked the Camino 4 years ago and is walking for 2 weeks now as a bit of therapy after a relationship breakup. I was telling her that I find the pressure to walk fast and keep up with the passing crowd annoying and I dont want to feel pressured by it.  My plan was always to find my own rhythm and take my time.  When you meet great people there is also pressure because you want to keep up with them and enjoy their company for longer.  I now have a group of people that I know one day and two days ahead of me and I need to learn to let them go and walk my own camino.
She said that reaching Santiago last time was great but she really felt that she got there too soon........ and there is no need to rush because this is a time to savour.  Im glad we had that chat because it reminded me to take my time and to stop "marching".
Last Monday - the day of horrors - in the rain, I saw a Japanese man and he amazed me.  We were all in ponchos or rain jackets with our heads down and we wrere all powering to Los Arcos and a place out of the rain.  He was walking very slowly and carried an umbrella and I saw him almost tip toeing around the puddles and seemed completely serene.
While walking I thought he was mad and kept striding on.  He arrived into Los Arcos only a short time after me, which was amazing b/c he appeared to be so slow.  Next I saw him lying on his bunk and softly singing to himself.  He was very calm and seemed very relaxed while I felt shattered.
I thought about him this morning and decided to try to find some of that serenity today.  I left Logroño and walked easily to Naverette and had an early lunch.  A little boy and girl came past and the boy gave me a flower he had picked and kissed me on the cheek!  Very cute.  I planned to stop after 20km and sleep in a small town for the night but I felt so good when i got there that I decided to go on and ended up walking 30km! the longest day so far and at the end I felt great.
At no stage did I rush and I felt calm and relaxed all day.  What a difference. 
The Camino is a great teacher and I seem to meet alñl the right people at all the right times.  My japanese amigo doesnt even know that he helped me but I have a new plan - keep the peace inside.
Ive still got 6 blisters on each foot but thankfully the treatment is kind of fun! Ill try to get a photo as its a little gruesome to explain - involves needle and  thread and looks likt Im sewing myself together ;)
Apparently a storm is coming tonight so I may get to test my serenity in the rain tomorrow
Adios for now

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Tuesday, April 18, 2006


today i have been walking for one week and one day and it feels like a year! so much has happened and so many km´s have been covered, so many conversations, so many faces and so many thoughts.

As I mentioned in my last post, I had an amazing day on monday in that I was completely miserable all day but had the most amazing time (in hindsight of course). I actually woke up angry and couldnt understand why we were getting up in the dark and walking all day on blistered feet. I set off alone as I needed some time out and then was hit by an unnamed sadness and had a little cry. It rained all day and the going was miserable. It was long and boring and wet and cold. THere was nowhere to stop and I walked for 5 hours not saying a word to anyone all day - mainly b/c i didnt pass an English speaker but after a while i didnt care - I needed to be alone.

And after awhile my thoughts became incredibly fluid and I came up with some mini epiphanies. I hope i can write them all down before I forget about them....... One thing I didn realise in that walking makes your body stonger and your mind looser - thoughts flow with ease and you do not feel alone beacuse there is so much happening in your own head if you let it. Walking with others just doesnt give you that luxury!

At one stage all of my energy and mind was in my boots and on my left shin. I was sore and it was really uncomfortable. I was limping and miserable. After about an hour i was pissed off that I was having to walk all day and all i could think about was my pain. I was then aware of the direct connection between the body and the mind and all day I was able to experience the cliche of "mind over matter"....... and found that there was a direct effect of my mind focussing on my body. The minute I thought about my feet I could think of nothing but my pain. When I saw a sign that said 10km to Los Arcos the road seemed longer than ever and unbearable. I had to make a really conscious decision to move away from the physical for the rest of the day. And what happened was bizarre. I became seperated from the lower half of my body. It actually went numb and I was able to continue despite my limping. Towards the end of the day I had this clear impression that I was marching on confidently like a fantasticly pious pilgrim. After I saw people passing me at a casual stroll, I realised that my feet were actually dragging through the puddles and i wasnt " striding" at all. And even when I realised this my mind still registered that I was marching confidently and i could continue on. The minute I got the alburgue I could do no more than shuffle and limp painfully with ice on my shin. (I was lucky to have a massage therapist there that night and booked in. TUrns out he does kinesiology and reiki and he fixed me completely. I walked with renewed energy today and it was as if yesterday didnt exist.)

There were so many experiences in one day that I cant even describe it. A different emotion each hour, a new challenge to work through as my legs just kept moving, moving, moving towards our next stop. LIke I said yesterday, I did ask WHY and there is no answer to that, but today felt like the first day again and I could barely relate to mondays challenges.

Tomorrow is yet another day on the road and we have thankfully agreed to a shorter day and half day rest in Logroño where I can pick up my mail.

Mum is concerned that I am having a hard time and I guess i need to explain that while this is hard I certainly am so grateful to be here. I am logging the good and the bad here beause I want to make sure I can read all sides in the future too. I will try to make my next post more positive..... I can describe some of the characters Ive met or some funnier stories.

When it doesnt rain there is nothing better than to walk through the fields of miaze with the great expanse of sky overhead, the rolling hills and the distance ancient cities ahead, somewhere along this road we are following.

I now have walked and farewelled some new friends who have invited me to stay in touch - a few girls from Madrid who walked for the easter week, the lovely 20yo lucia from italy who wants me to pick fruit with her somewhere and her friend Innazio who said if I visit, his mum will cook pasta for me. I am still walking with Becky & Robin and Marco. We may seperate before Santiago but know we will stay friends and catch each other somewhere along the walk. We all want to continue on to Finisterre if we are able so you never know.

Thats all for now - thanks for reading and sorry for those who I havent been able to reply to yet! I do love reading your comments though - makes my day


ps: as an aside, mum told me that she won her grade 4 comp in QLD this weekend and came 3rd in the opens, so a big achievement - very proud of you mum. Also Jonathan clapped for the first time last week - what a clevr kid! Actually at one point I thought about him and how I could do that hours walk for him (you need incentives at times) and I immediately accelerated through the pain! So thanks you JS for your moral support!

PSS: Jo - my blisters are on both feet sadly - so my prediction remains unsubstantiated - excpet that it was my left shin - so that might be somethoing ;)

Monday, April 17, 2006

....and then she asked "why"

Ive learnt many things on the path today. I walked alone for 5 hours and didnt speak to anyone else in that time. It was mediatative and slightly annoying.

I dont have time to tell you all that I learnt today but the summary is that you should not ask WHY we are doing this. Its day 7 and it feels like we have been walking for a year and I started to wonder why i was doing this.....

and there is no answer to that when the road is long and the rain is falling

Off to treat my new blisters and shin splint! ;)

More soon


Saturday, April 15, 2006

.... and then it rained

what a day we have had today.

after staying in pamplona for a rest day on Friday we had a bit of a problem findinag a bed as many new Peregrina´s had arrived in town and the beds filled up. The "rules" say that we cant stay more than one night in a refugio without a medical certificate and rather than 5 of us faking an injury, we decided to try elsewhere. THe holiday thwarted our plans and the short story is that after the 3rd refugio denied us a bed we slept under the stars outside. What should have been idyllic and adventurous turned annoying as the rain started to fall, then the wind started to blow and the dew started to settle...... .Good thing we had all become friends as we were all sandwhiched together in our sleeping bags trying to stay warm. (sounds suspiciously like my last stay in pamplona!!)

We creaked and groaned as we got up and set off our days walk with no food and hardly any sleep.

Then it started to rain..... lovely Irish rain that fell softly on our fields. It was beautiful and green and perfect. I felt strong and alive.

Then it got harder, and harder and then we started climbing a hill and then a mountain.......... in the mud.

We charged up the path and made it to the top where, according to the sign, the way of the wind meets the way of the stars. The enormous windmills whooshed and the mist closed in and the rain kept on falling...... but it was wonderful.

The rest of teh walk went quite quickly and I met a Sth African lady to walk the last leg with. You kind of pass people and sometimes fall into step and then part company a few hours later. When I arrived at the refugio I met up with my little band of friends, plus many of the others who I had talked to, or passed or sharded a room with earlier. Its incredibly easy to make friends and I am naturally in heaven!

Treated my first two blisters today - not painful - just a little annoying. With so much mud and rain today we have all been madly washing the cacked on mud from our clothes and boots and the rooms all look like laundry´s.

Tomorrow is Easter Sunday so we need to stock up on food now. Not sure where we are walking to tomorrow and find that I prefer it that way. Better to let the day throw up what it will and enjoy what comes.

So, basically having a ball and cant see why I was worried....... after all....... its JUST walking!

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

She went up.... she came down

This will be a quick one but after reading my messages I felt so grateful that so many people were thinking of me on the 11th.

I was feeling very nervous as I packed in Paris and came ny train but St Jean Pied de Port was such a lovely town and I met people straight away that Ifelt better.

I woke this morning to a very misty and cold morning. I mailed some things ahead to lighten my load and then started walking around 9.15 - which is alitle late to start.

I planned to stay in Orisson, 10km up the hill and made it there by midday. Jacques informed me that it does not open for 2 more days - even though I had made a reservation....... seems i had to face the next 17.5 kms!!

<Jacques very kindly drove me up the road for 3km to catch up with the next group of people as I was the last to come up the mountain (due to post office duties etc) and I rec´d some dirty looks for taking a car!! as it was the safer thing to do I decided to not feel guilty!

Then met up with a really lovely bunch of people who I stayed with all day - 2 from Scotland, one form Italy, 1 from Amsterdam, one from Holand and one from Poland! A funny little mix.

We pushed on and after 10 hours !!! finished the pass and came into Roncesvalles at 6.30pm!!

My feet hurt and I am very tired but I am also very proud f us for mak8ing that pass. IT was 1350m at the highest point and covered 27.5km. It was breathtakingly beautiful and we had lots of stops to admire the view.

Now that the hardest part is over I feel more calm and more capable.ç

I feel very lucky that I have such support from my friends and family and I thank you - I think all of those good wishes carried me up that hill today. I found it much easier than I should have - considering my fitness :-)

Love to all and onwards to Santiago!!

Love kellie

Thursday, April 06, 2006

THis is quick one from Paris again.
Day three now and feeling much better after sleep.  LOVING walking around the city and that is building up my legs a little.  The people at the hostel have been very nice but they have no more room at the inn, so I am off in search of new digs.
Mum forwarded my a number of an old friend who lives in Paris so will call her today.  Walking aimlessly has been fun but going somewhere thats for "locals" will be fun too and have more hope of that when actually with a local.
I will go to book in my hammam today and get around the shopping districts.  If its not too cold I might even get a bike for a few hours.  The weather is lovely and sunny but terribly cold still.  Have JUST enough warm clothes and way too many misc items in my pack.  Looking forward to a big cull before the walk.  REalising how little I need.
Still police everwhere to keep an eye on the general "unrest" that seems to pop up on street corners spontaneously.  All harmless by the looks. 
All for now - I best get out there and enjoy this lovely day!
Au Revoir

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