mardi 9 juin 2009

Finisterre - End of the Voyage

We have been so incredibly lucky on this trip. As an example, we have had a total of less than one day's rain during the 31 days we walked, but it has been raining most of the time snce Saturday. We could have been walking soaked for several days.

Yesterday, we went to Finisterre (literally end of the earth) with Pierre and Lawrence. The 100km trip took 3 hours by bus each way along the coast, and as Nadine and I both tend to get motion sickness, it was not always pleasant. It rained most of the way there, and I did wonder why we were going. However, again, being incredibly lucky, the rain stopped while we were there, and we were able to walk the 2.5 km to the lighthouse and back. The wind was something else; it could almost knock you off your feet so no one was burning anything. We tied our items to the pole along with everyone else. It truly felt like the end of the camino, more than did the arrival in Santiago, and in the end we were vey glad we came, even though 6 hours by bus was more tiring than 6 hours of walkng with our backpacks. In the town of Finisterre, we stopped in a small museum, where a very enthusiastic guide spent one hour explaining to us about fishing and the 'Coast of Death'. He later told us he was the poet referred to on one of the exhibits.

Today, we are doing last minute errands before leaving for Paris. We are both looking forward to going home. Apart from the loss of a couple of toe nails on my pasrt, we have not suffered any injuries. Again, we have been very lucky. The modern Camino is safer than in medieval times, but it is no walk in the park. Three people died crossing the Pyrenees at the end of April when they got lost in the fog, and suffered hypothermia. We saw a few markers along the way of people who died in the past few years while making the trip. We heard of at least 2 attempted rapes in the past few weeks. People we met suffered sunstroke, as well as various injuries. Bedbugs have been a problem the past few years, but we did not encounter any.

The Camino is an interesting experience. In some ways, it is a microcosm of everyday life, but in some ways it is very different. Some people become 'Camino junkies' - we heard of one person who did it 11 times - they enjoy the camaraderie and the wonderful feeling of being with people from all over the world, in a setting where who you are and what you do is irrelevant. Others feel that the Camino is something you do once in your lifetime. I incline more towards the latter, although I do hope to take long walking trips again.

For me, the highlights of the trip, or those that come to mind at the moment, there were so many, include:

- the pleasure of walking beside Nadine in companiable silence
- communal meals
- the nuns in Carrion de los Condes who, with guitar and recorder accompaniment, led us in a Camino version of Beethoven's 'Ode to Joy' before bedtime
- storks and stork nests; poppies; the sound of cuckoos; snails on teh road; roosters crowing; the smell of eucalyptus;
- the mists of Galicia
- the Cathedral at Burgos; the small church in Fromista; the monastery at Samos
- Cafe con leche and Rioja wine
- celebrating Queen Victoria's birthday in Mansilla de los Mulas
- The Japanese man at the Melide albergue who made us paper cranes
- locals, particularly old people, smiling and wishing us 'buen camino' or 'buen viaje'
- albergues (the good ones)
- meeting people from all over the world; seeing people again after being separated for several days
- sunset in O Cebreiro
- walking in the early morning as the sun is rising

and I could go on and on. I have just read Nadine's last post. I have learned a lot about my youngest daughter on this journey, so I suppose it shouldn't surprise my that she wrote in it things she didn't tell me. I realized that Nadine and I are more alike than I had thought; we may have different interests, but our personalities are not that different. It has been a pleasure and a privilege to share this journey with her. J't'aime, Dine-Bine.

This is my last post. Looking forward to seeing you all,


dimanche 7 juin 2009

31 jours plus tard....SANTIAGO!

Après 31 jours de (d').....

*menu de pelegrino
*douches froides
*booze de vache
*cafe con leche
*chocolatines, croissant, bocadillos (sandwiches), cochonneries
*bottes de marches
*les mêmes 5 articles de vêtements
*africains du sud
*hommes tout nus
*femmes tout nues
*bruits et odeurs intéressants...(yeurk!)
*avec Maman!
DE MARCHE!!!.....

...nous sommes finalement arrivées à Santiago hier midi (6 juin!)!!!!
1...2...3...CRIER DE JOIE!!!!!!!!!! hihihi

Et tabarouette que ça fait du bien! Je suis aussi très fière d'annoncer que j'ai réellement marcher ces 800 km! Je n'ai pas pris d'autobus, taxi, auto, tracteur, cheval...j'ai transporté (maman aussi...) mon sac de 7.5kg tout le long du ne me suis pas PERDUE! Je ne crois pas qu'il y a beaucoup de gens qui peuvent dire la même chose....YESSSSSSSSS!

Et je suis aussi très fière de dire que j'ai fait le chemin avec Maman! Elle m'a surpris de plusieurs différentes faç c'est la seule personne avec qui j'aurais aimé partager cette aventure! Merci Maman! Ça n'a pas toujours été facile...mais je crois que nous avons eu la chance de mieux ce connaî avant tout, de partager cette aventure inoubliable ensemble! Plusieurs m'ont dit que je ne sentirais seulement les effets du camino plus tard dans ma vie...mais je pense que ça déjà commencer à prendre effet.

Merci à tous qui ont fait cette aventure j'ai hâte de partager tous les souvenirs, histoires avec vous! Seulement 4 dodos et je suis de retour!
On se voit bientôt!
Je vous aime fort!



We left yesterday morning in the pouring rain. About 45 minutes later, the sun came out, along with a double rainbow, which we all took as an auspicious sign. A few minutes later, we saw and heard low-flying planes, a reminder that we weren't far from Santiago airport. That was a sound we hadn't heard in over a month. However, this being Galicia, the sun didn't last, and it has been raining most of the time since yesterday.

We arrived at the Santiago cathedral just before noon. Since then, we have been running into people we hadn't seen for a while, including the Slovenian mother and daughter. We went to the compostella office, and received our certificate, with our names in Latin, attesting that we had completed the pilgrmage. At the pilgrim mass this morning, the priest announced the countries and numbers of pilrgirms from each, as well as where they started from. There were about a dozen from Canada.

Last night, we had a celebration dinner with a dozen other people, including the Yellowknife family. The Quebecois father and fdaughter arrived this am, and we are having dinner with them tonight. Tomorrow, we go to FInisterre. The tradition is that you burn something at Finnisterre, something that you brought along with you and want to get rid of, something symbolic. (one French woman told me that the old tradition was to buy new clothes in Santiago, burn your old clothes in Finnisterre, wash in the ocean as a symbol of purification, then put on your new clothes.) My problem is that I don't really want to burn any of the very small number of new clothes I brought for this trip. The only old and ratty items, that have gotten discolored when we put all our colthes in washing machines, are my bras. I could always burn one of those. Nadine says that would be a very feminist thing to do. I'll have to think about it. It could also symbolilze that I am hopelessly out of date...

Our friends are wiating, so more later.


vendredi 5 juin 2009


The last few days we have been in Galicia. The weather has been cooler and misty - a nice change. We have been walking along paths bordered by stone fences, lined with ferns, and flowers, or along wooded paths. There is a different tree with a strange, but familiar smell, that according to the guidebook is eucalyptus. I didn't know they had those in Spain. We have encountered many herd of cattle, farmers cutting their grass with scythes, woodland streams, horreias (I'm not sure of the spelling; they are raised rectangular stone structures that store corn away from rodents). There apparently is a celtic connection here, that I would like to read more about - the scenery does sometimes make you think that fairies and druids could live here. The smell of cow manure is also very strong here; the other night we stayed in a small town called Gonzar, and the smell permeated even the restaurant.

Tonight we are in Arco 0 Pino, just 20 km from Santiago. We are staying in a very nice pensione. Galicia's public albergues are all run by the province, not the municipalities and they are awful. I can handle dormitories, I can handle sleeping on an upper bunk in the middle of a room, I can handle cold showers, or even, like last night, having to walk past naked men in the open showers to get to the one private shower, but today was too much. There were no private showers. I don't get this - the Catholic church is so rigid about sexual matters, yet there are co-ed showers with no doors in the public albergue. Go figure! Anyhow, we have a beautiful room with twin beds and our own bathroom. Albergues can be fun (more than one person has commented that they can feel like summer camp for adults) but I can live without them for a while.

It's hard to believe that our trip is almost over. In some ways, it feels like we started yesterday,in other ways it feels as if we have been on several different trips with different scenery and different travel companions. If all goes well, when we enter Santiago tomorrow, we will be able to say that we walked every step of the way and carried our packs always. We have been very lucky.

The last few days, everyone is tired. I overheard a young man say that 20 km this week feels like 30 did 10 days ago, so I don't feel so bad. We have done 30, 30, and 34 the past few days and are feeling it. My knees are sore for the first time. I had hoped to be faster up the hills by now, but I am still the slowest one (I suppose I could be faster, and everyone else has jsut correspondingly gotten faster too). My thigh muscles are awesome - I feel like the Audi billboard I saw in Montreal before I left: underneath the beautiful car was the caption '50 ans et cuisses de fer et fesses d'acier'. My pants are falling- the Spanish government could market the camino as the one sure way to eat all the chocolate and pastries you want while losing weight!

Tomorrow we reach Santiago, where we will stay for 3 nights. There is a whole ritual associated with arriving in Santiago, which I will write about later. For now, as I only has 4 hours of sleep last night, I am off to bed. I am looking forward to seeing people in Santiago that I met earlier on the trip.



Il ne reste que 18km avant l'arrivée à Santiago! Yaaaaaaaaaappiiii!!
Mercredi nous avons passer la borne de 100km et deux jours plus tard...nous sommes seulement presque là! On dirait que malgré les petites douleurs...j'aurais aimé continuer à Santiago aujourd'hui....pourquoi pas? C'est seulement un autre 18km....hihi c'est rien! Mais un total de 50km dans une journée...un peu douloureux! Donc...ça ira à demain.
Nous allons passer 3 nuits à faire un aller-retour à Finisterra (Fin de la Terre...) au bord de la mer! Mardi, retour à Paris et jeudi...à Montréal!
J'ai bien aimé notre ouii, une aventure et non des vacances...mais j'ai bien hâte d'être de retour chez moi. Ça commence à être un peu je suis un peu tanné d'être dans un camp de vacances de vieux...hihihi avec des vaches domestiquées et l'odeur de booze de vache! BEURK! hihi Une autre journée...une autre journée!

Gigi...bonnes nouvelles!! Nous allons avoir une machine pour faire des cafés con leche! Et vous êtes tous invités pour les déguster!
À bientôt!! J'ai hâte de vous montrer les photos!!!


mardi 2 juin 2009


Today was a great day. First of all, we had a good night's sleep in the albergue. Albergues vary a lot. Some are municipal, and some are private, but that does not seem to affect the price or the quality. Since next year is a holy year, and the last holy year there were 50% more pilgrims than usual, a lot of new albergues are springing up, and old ones being renovated. We have stayed in some pretty depressing places, but last night was not one of them. The bunk beds were new and comfortable, there was a washer and dryer, as well as a kitchen, and a roof-top patio, and best of all, all the bathrooms were private i.e. each had a shower, toilet and sink. The toilet paper didn't run out, and neither did the hot water. And all for only 7 Euros! [I'm getting pretty pathetic, aren't I? :)]

This morning, we had the choice of taking the short route to Sarria (18 km) or the scenic route through Samos (25km). We chose the latter. The first part of the route was along the road, and reminded me of the Canadian shield. Then we walked through shady woods, with ferns and moss, and fox-glove, and small streams, and a path that was mostly soft underfoot instead of rocky. We ran into a few herd of cattle along the path - an interesting experience. We arrived in Samos around 9:30. After breakfast of cafe con leche and toast (tostados have been available the last few days), we took the guided tour of the very large, very beautiful, and very old Benedictine monastery. There are currently 15 monks and 3 novices, but the place looks like it could accommodate several times that. The tour was in Spanish, but the guide spoke slowly and clearly, and I understood 95% of it. My spoken Spanish is atrocious, but I understand a fair bit.

After the visit to the monastery, everyone seemed to walk a bit more slowly and thoughtfully. The walk to Sarria was somewhat eventful in that Pierre, the Quebecois father, and one of the Brazilian boys, got lost. They eventually found their way, but were scratched with thorns.

Nadine and I are both looking forward to going home. The heat is tiring, and our energy is down. The one advantage to the heat is that our clothes dry quickly on the clothesline!

LAst night's dinner was unforgettable. I think Nadine described the menu on her blog. Afterwards, a young Austrian woman said that Felix (the 25 yo computer programmer/amateur chef) might make a great husband, but there were 3 things a husband should be able to do well: cook, dance, and make love. At that, the boys moved the tables, everyone started humming Strauss' Blue Danube Waltz' and Felix showed the young woman, and us all, that he could dance.(He declined to demonstrate his prowess on the 3rd requirement). It was an unforgettable moment.

There have been times on this trip that I have been near tears (generally in albergues taking yet another cold shower, or, since often there is only one small hook to put your stuff, a couple of times when my clean clothes fell on the wet floor), but there have been many more times when I have been very happy to be here. That said, I am looking forward to coming home!


lundi 1 juin 2009

Bienvenido en Galicia

Il nous reste moins que 150km!!!! YAAAAAAPPIII!! Je pense qu'on est environ à 130km de nous planifions d'arriver dimanche avant-midi! C'est bientôt la j'ai hâte d'y arriver! Ça été une excellente expérience...une superbe aventure...rempli de rires, sourires, larmes, et que de beaux souvenirs! Nous avons maintenant rencontrer une nouvelle gang d'amis....toujours avec mes frères brésiliens...mais maintenant avec Pierre et Laurence (père et fille de Lévi), Leroy (jeune portugais qui vient de l'Afrique du Sud) et Félix (jeune allemand qui nous a fait un excellent souper de poulet..pour moi non...avec coucous, salade, carottes et salade de fruit! C'était excellent et un autre souvenir du camino) avec quelques Autrichiens aussi!

Hier, nous avons subi la dernière montagne avant Santiago et c'était....CHAUD! Ça fait une semaine qu'il fait en moyenne 30 degrés à tout les jours...sans vent et nuages! Je suis maintenant bronzé plus que jamais...jalous?...mais marcher et monter des montagnes quand il fait 35 degrés le matin...ce n'est pas toujours agréable! ne me plein pas! C'est mieux que de la pluie...neige...ou froid! Nous avons été très très chanceuses de ne pas avoir eu des journées de tout le dirais qu'il a plu seulement 3-4 heures de pluie en 3 semaines!! MERCI DIEU! hihi

Bon, la connection d'internet est vraiment mauvaise...alors je ne veux pas risquer un trop long message. Pour l'instant...c'est trop lent pour ajouter des photos...mais dès mon arrivée je vais mettre nos 800 photos sur le web.

C'est bientôt la fin...mais la fin d'un excellent camino et le début de merveilles!
(Est-ce que ça fait du sens...? hihihi)
Je vous embrasse fort! Et on se revoit bientôt!! 10 jours!
Happy June!


Heat Wave

It's hard when we only have access to the Internet every few days to remember what to blog, as so much happens. The last few days have been amazing. Friday, we were walking through landscapes that the German girl accompanying us said reminded her of the alps - green mountains, flowers of all kinds, singing birds, etc. Saturday, we walked through the Bierza valley - small towns, a farmer plowing his fields with a donkey that his wife was guiding; fresh cherries (delicious) that we bought from a roadside stand. Yesterday, we climbed to O Cebreira. Apparently it snowed 10 days ago in O Cebreiro, and the pictures I have seen of it show a town shrouded in fog. I don't know what happened to the snow, but yesterday it was 26 BEFORE we started to climb. In fact, it has been 25-30 degrees the past three days, with blue skies and a blazing sun. We are usually soaking wet by the time we stop for the day; we are also walking more slowly and needing to rest more often so that the days are longer. By the time we got to Fava, about 5 km from our destination, we were hot and exhausted. I stuck my head and arms under the village fountain - I tell you, I can't remember the last time something felt that good! The view from O Cebreiro is like nothing I have ever seen ¡ it is truly like being on top of the world. The sunset was magnificent. We had pulpos galiano (octopus)wiht our cerveza - delicious.
In Canada, the scenery changes every few hundred km; here, we see different scenery every 20 or so km. We started this trip by going through mountains, then the plains, now more mountains, and soon a wet, temperate climate - almost like a miniature version of Canada - except you don't get eaten by mosquitoes when you walk!

After 3 hot, relatively long(26, 32, and 27 km)days, we decided to do a short day today (21 km) and stop in Triacastella. We were walking with the 2 Brazilians and a German girl, then decided on Saturday that we needed to be alone for a day. That was nice. Today, we were 8 of us, the 2 Brazilians, a Quebecois father and daughter, a Portuguese South African,and a German. We are all in the same room in the albergue, and the German has offered to cook dinner for us all. I have noticed that in the cases where there are parent child pairs, (generally the child is a daughter) that other young people, generally young men, tend to join the group. I was glad to have the companionship of the Quebecois father today - I hadn't had a conversation with someone my age for a week. Nadine and the young girl really hit it off. They both noted that it was nice to talk with another girl for a change as young men really act like boys i.e. childish, sometimes!

We are on the home stretch. Less than 150 km to go! Barring unforeseen circumstances, we should be in Santiago by Sunday the latest.


jeudi 28 mai 2009

Why do people do this?

In medieval times, there were three pilgrimmages Chrstians were supposed to undertake - to Rome, Jerusalem, and to Santiago. Santiago was supposed to be the last pilgrimmage one undertook. It was a dangerous one, with thieves, wolves, and wild boars. Today's pilgrimmage is much tamer. The Spanish governmnet, aware that religious fervor is diminishing, but wanting to encourage this camino that brings much-needed money, now promotes it as a 'European cultural itinerary' and in their promotional literature gives the following 5 reasons to do it:

1. To see World Heritage sites
2. For the variety of outdoor activities.
3. To enjoy extraoerdinary food and wine
4. For the chance ot stay in restored historic buildings, rural houses, modern hotels, etc.
5. To meet people from different creeds and gain personal enlightenment along hte way.

The people I have met who told me their reasons included: a United Church Minister who needed to figure out how to stop saying yes to every opportunity and overcommitting herself; an 18 yo who saw this as a rite of passage to manhood; a family who had lost a father; a young German investment banker who needs to destress from her very streesful job in a male dominated environment; people seeking to understand why relationships failed, etc.

Originally, this would have been the last few months before moving to BC, and was planned as a time to think about what I wanted to do with the rest of my life. As you know, things worked out differently, and this has become more a camino of gratitude, of just being happy and grateful for my life and my work where they are right now. A lot of it has been the pure pleasure of walking, and of spending time with Nadine. I think some of the reason for going this may have been finally putting to rest the memory of the nerdy kid who got D's in PhysEd and was always picked last for games. It feels good to know that I can do this on a physical level. Some of it was also wanting to believe that I have not grown entirely soft in my comfortable life, and that I can deal with things like dormitories and cold showers.

I had brought a list of things to think about work, but until day 17, I was just busy walking and watching where I was going (that is very inportant- I did not watch where I was going in Pamploma, nad stubbed my toe not once, not twice, but three times, whihc is why I almost lost the toenail..). The time is now passing very quickly; we will be in Santiago in 10 or 11 days. The snow-capped mountains we have been seeing in the distance are now up close, and we are climbing again. The scenery is amazing. Life is good...


lundi 25 mai 2009

Jour 19...León!

Alors nous sommes déjà rendu à notre 19e journée de marche! Et présentement à León! Une belle grande ville espagnole remplie de belle architecture et d'histoire! Je dirais beaucoup plus belle que Burgos...cependant il n'y a aucune cathédrale aussi belle que celui de Burgos! Je n'ai pas grand chose à vous raconter...on dirait que c'est la même chose à chaque fois!! hihi Il nous reste environ seulement 350km à dans deux semaines...nous serons en chemin vers Paris! Puisque nous sommes de retour dans une grande ville...nous avons pris l'occasion du gros luxe! Une chambre d'hôtel avec salle de bain privée (pas de vieux monsieurs tout nus!) et de l'eau caliente! Et une petite télé pour écouter Family Guy et Los Simpsons en espagnol! Pour moi...le camino est devenu une routine alors je vous présente comment se déroule une journée typique sur le camino!

On se réveille environ vers 6h à chaque matin....malgré le bruit des lèves-tôt (grr...) vers 5h! Je prends mon temps pour sortir du lit (normalement un en haut, maman en bas) puisque je suis beaucoup plus rapide pour me préparer le matin! On se brosse les temps, on se change et nous utilisons les servicios (salles de bain) avant de commencer à marcher! Parfois nous prenons le temps de manger un petit quelque chose, sinon nous atttendions au premier village puisque par le temps qu'on arrive, une des deux doit aller au toilette (normalement Maman...encore une fois hihi)! Donc par le temps que nous mettons notre application de Vaseline sur les pieds, faire nos baggages et tout le est environ 7h! On s'arrête toujours au moins une fois en matinée pour une chocolatine et un cafe con leche pour bénéficer des salles de bains! hihi Nous marchons en moyenne 25km par dépendant du relief et la fréquence des stops de pipi ou pour manger...on arrive à la destination quotidienne vers 13h-14h...tout dépendant de la journée! Après....on trouve l'auberge municiaple ou une auberge privée..trouvons notre lit, et prenons notre douche! De toute façon....tout est fermé entre 14h et 17h pour la siesta! Nous prenons le temps de se reposer...planifier la prochaine journée...laver notre trouver une place pour souper! Dans les petits a seulement une c'est le menu du pelerin! (Ouf....j'suis tannée!) Pour environ 9 euros...ils t'offrent une entrée...choix de salade, spaghetti, soupe et comme plat principal..porc ou poisson! Desserts inclus avec eau, vin et des fois une liqueur)! Mais c'est toujours la même chose...servis exactement pareil....vite les SUSHIS à mon retour!! Le souper n'est jamais servit avant 19h....alors par le temps que nous avons fini de est environ 20h30! Nous retournons à l'auberge....on jase un peu avec les on se prépare à se coucher pour être en forme pour le lendemain! Je dirais que par 22h nous sommse déjà entrain de ronfler! Et le lendemain...ça recommence!

Voilà une journée typique (pour nous en tout cas...) sur le camino!
À la prochaine!


Victoria Day in Mansilla de las Mulas

Yesterday, May 24th, was Queen Victoria's birthday (versus the national holiday that does not always fall on her birthday). Several Canadians, including yours truly, celebrated by having cervezas and vina tinto. (As an aside, a bottle of reasonable vino tinto in the bar cost us 2.35 Euros, versus 1.5 Euros each had we had a coke. The choice was obvious) Queen Victoria was toasted several times, as was the present queen and her dysfunctional brood. We had a great time. I met a few more Canadians yesterday, including a couple from Oakville who had known each other peripherally for years, met on the camino last year, and are now married; a woman from Toronto who has been working in Korea for 2 years, and another Ontario woman now living in Australia. The man from Victoria, Brian, lives in Fairfield, or 10 minutes from us. Small world!

One of the pleasures of the Camino is running into people you haven't seen for a while. Yesterday, we ran into the Yellowknife mom and 2 daughters we hadn't seen since day 2. It was neat.

Today, we are in Leon and splurging by staying at the Paris Hotel. It is wonderful! We couldn't do that every day, though, or we would miss out on one of the best parts of the camino, which is meeting and mixing with people in the evening. We arrived around noon, and have visited the cathedral (medieval and dark with stained glass windows, versus Burgos which is delicate and light), the church of San Isidor, and a bank that was designed by Gaudi and looks like it could be Hogwarts school. Our plans were initially to spend two days in Leon, but we now think that if we spend only one night, we can get to Santiago in time to take a day trip by bus to Finisterre. The walk into Leon was pretty nice, versus the industrial zone of Burgos. You do get a different view of big cities when you have to walk through them.

We have had a bit of rain, nothing to complain about. The snails all came out, and we saw people collecting them in plastic bags. The snails are beautiful; I will never eat escargots again! I am not being vegetarian on this trip; I figure I need the energy. I met an Austrian vegetarian who has been living on salads, chips, and chocolate. Not good...

Well, time for dinner. Till next time.


vendredi 22 mai 2009


We've now been walking for over 2 weeks, and have covered just over 400 km. Today, we are staying at Terradillios de los Templaros.

Our days have quickly settled into a routine: Wake up around 5:30 to the rustling of plastic bags as the early risers get ready. By 6 am, there are enough people awake that someone turns on the lights or the music starts. Get ready, and start walking by about 7. Walk the day´s distance, stopping for a cafe au lait and bathroom break after about 2 hours, and a second shorter or longer break a couple of hours later, depending on the length of the day.

Arrive at destination. FInd a place to sleep. Take a shower. If we're not among the first, it is best to wait a couple of hours until the hot water tank fills again. (although cold showers do wonders for swollen feet). Handwash the day's clothes and hang to dry. Some places have washing machines, but there are usually long line-ups. In a couple of places, the hospitalero washed and dried all our clothes by machine for 6-7 Euros. It was worth it :). Hang out, write, go visit the town, etc. Supper around 7 (most places won´t serve supper before then). Most towns along the way have restaurants that offer a 'pilgrim's menu' for 9-11 Euros, which includes an appetizer, main course, and simple desert such as fruit or ice cream, as well as bread, and either bottled water or wine. Some people only stay in albergues where you can do your own cooking. We have done a bit of cooking, but it is just easier to go out. Start getting ready for bed and the next day by 9 or 9:30. Lights out at 10.

Today we did 27 km under a cloudless sky and a hot sun. Yesterday and today, we had to watch that flies didn't get into our noses or mouths. One of the Brazilians is a civil engineer who moonlights as a clown. He brought his clown nose with him. Yesterday, we came upon a group of schoolchildren on an outing and he put on his cape (i.e. the Brazilian flag) and his nose. The kids went wild. They chanted the names of Brazilian soccer stars. We took a video.

So far, we are on schedule. We are hoping to arrive in Santiago on Sunday the 7th, take the bus to Finnistere for the day on the 8th, and then fly to Paris on the 9th.
Home in 3 weeks!


Il nous reste q'à peine....400km!!

Bon! Alors...cette semaine j'ai réalisé que je ne suis vraiment pas faite pour blogger. Je ne suis pas une personne qui aime raconter sa vie de nature alors sur un blog..encore moins! Donc je m'excuse si je n'écris pas si souvent! ne vous oublie pas!

Alors..depuis mon dernier message...j'ai un peu perdu compte des kilomè du temps! Nous sommes présentement à...oh boy...long ne me rappelle plus...Tortillas de....? Tornillos....? Yo no sé! Entonces...en tout cas. Nous sommes seulement 80 km de Leó prochaine grande ville sur le camino! Yaaaapii! On planifie d'y être lundi...puisque dimanche tout est fermé de toute façon! Après Burgos...c'est la Maseta!! LES PLAINES DU CAMINO!! Yesssssss! Comme à Winnipeg!! hihi
Ah n'ai plus mal au pied...pas de d'ampoules!! FIESTA!! hihi Mai j'ai un peu mal à la hanche...mais solamente un poquito! (Je commence à non seulement parler franglais...mais c'est rendu franglanol!) Les derniers jours ont été pas mal relax...on marche plus vite parce que le relief est plat...mais on arrête de marcher assez tôt parce qu'il fait très chaud à partir de 11h. Alors je passe les après-midi à boire du Coke (oh non....) sous le soleil! Le grosl luxe! hihi On me dit qu'il fait froid au Canada....ici? Fait CHAUD! Combien? Aucune idée...j'ai perdu la notion du temps, température et pas mal tout les trucs quotidiens! Vive les vacances!!
En chemin...nous avons maintenant adoptés deux compagnons de voyage...deux Brésiliens...Thiago et Joao Paulo! Nous ne savons pas jusqu'à quel point qu'on va pouvoir voyager avec eux...puisque chacun à son propre camino/itinéraire...mais nous espèrons être à Santiago le 6 juin! Nous passons notre temps à d'essayer de communiquer en espagnol...puisque c'est la seule langue que nous avons en commun. Ils doivent traduire du portugès...en espagnol...y moi du français/anglais....en de l'espagnol au français pour maman! J'ai aucune idée comment on fait...mais on est capable de se comprendre et de bien s'amuser! Malheureusement, Joao Paulo à du prendre l'autobus ce matin pour León puisqu'il a le genoux selon les conseils du médecin....3 jours de repos! Donc, il va nous attendre (Maman, son amigo et moi) à León! Malgré le fait que nous avons pas revu nos fameux amis Français ni Québécois...nous en avons trouvé des nouveaux pour y compenser!

Sur vous souhaite tous une belle fin d'semaine! Nous sommes de retour au Canada dans 3 semaines!!! Au plaisir de vous voir!!!


PS...La situation des hommes tout s'est pas améliorer!! Je n'ai jamais entendu autant de variation de bruits de caca ni d'odeurs de ma vie!! DÉGEULASSE!!!!!!!!!! OUASH! J'ai hâte de seulement devoir partager une salle de bain avec ma soeur! Maintenant que j'y pense...c'est beaucoup moins pire! hihi

jeudi 21 mai 2009

The meseta

We are now on the meseta, a part of the camino that some people skip because 'there is nothing to see'. I think there is a lot to see; it reminds me of the Canadian prairie. I realized, though, that Nadine's education as a prairie girl was deficient when she wanted take a picture of wheat, and when she didn't know the difference between wheat and hay!

A lot of people have been injured and gone home. Tendonitis seems to be a big problem. We have been walking with the Brazilians the past couple of days; one of them saw 2 of his friends go home because of tendonitis, and the youngest one now has fluid in his knee, and will need to take the bus to Leon tomorrow. Touch wood, Nadine and I are ok for now. The blisters are healing nicely, and the backpacks feel as if they are getting lighter. We have also met quite a few people who have been walking for quite a while. Several French pilgrims started in Puy, so a month before us; today, we met 2 young Swiss girls who left their home on March 24th. Today, I met a man from Victoria. There are also a lot of people doing the camino by bicycle, but the trail is so rough, it is very difficult. I saw one perosn fall, and another with multiple scratches lacerations on his legs.

The churces here are incredible. Tiny villages have 3 and 4 medieval churches; in many instances, medieval pilgrims came back and built chirches. In some ways, they are more beautiful than the big cathedrals; even though simple in decoration, the lines and proportions are amazing.

The race for albergues has taken a lull. A lot of people have left (many Europeans do the camino in stages) and the next wave in Leon has not yet started. Apparently, a German comic writer wrote a book about the camino a couple of years ago, so there are a lot of German pilgirms and would-be pilgrims. The latter are on German bus tours that drive them and drop them off 3 or 4 km from the destination for the day. They arrive at the albergues earlier than the others, and take all the places. As you can imagine, they are not very popular. I figure that if the race to the albergues picks up again, we will just stay in pensiones or hotels (although that day in Vianna when we couldn't find a place, all of those were full too and I later heard that some people slept outside).

In spite of minor issues, we are having a grand time. I think I am now a walker for life.


mardi 19 mai 2009

Bits and pieces

Ah, to be young again. Nadine took a couple of my prescription anti-inflammatories, the ones for my shoulder tendonitis, and we took it easy for a couple of days (i.e. walked 20 km, not 30) and her pain is totally gone.

We are now on the meseta - the part that is supposed to be flat and boring. So far, it looks like the foothills of Alberta, except greener, and it reminds me of home - love it.

We haven´t seen any Canadians (or Quebecois) for the past couple of days,maybe they´ll catch up to us now that we are going slower. Last night, we had dinner with three Brazilians. One spoke a bit of French, we all spoke a bit of Spanish, and in between the Portuguese, Spanish and French, we were able to understand each other. The people we meet are one of the highlights of the trip.

Camino animals: on this trip so far, we have seen cows, donkeys, horses, sheep, roosters (heard a lot of early am roosters), a green snake slithering through the vines (which a Frenchman later told us was 'une vipere' i.e. a poisonous snake),large members of the beetle family, a long green lizard that scampered across the road and scared Nadine, and lots of dogs. Spanish dogs are the best behaved I have ever seen. They don't look so great; in one village in particular, the mutts looked part wolf; but they rarely bark, and will approach us in a friendly manner. I wish Canadian dogs were equally well behaved.

The weather has been beautiful - it rained only twice, and was cold one day. We are very lucky. As Nadine said today - some moments you wonder why the $%%&/ you came on this %/&(% trip, but overall, it´s pretty neat.

It would be perfect if our sweethearts were with us. Fortunately, Randy will be taking three weeks holidays when I return, and we will arrive in Victoria on the same day. I'm pretty lucky to have such a supportive partner, and I really miss him.


dimanche 17 mai 2009


J'ai quasiment oublié un mis à jour de nos ampoules....hihi

Nadine: Que 2...celui entre mes orteils...(désavantage d'avoir un gros gap entre tes orteils...) est devenu gigantesque alors je l'ai crevé...ooops! Et l'autre en-dessus du pied s'améliore très bien! Bonne nouvelles...elles ne font plus mal et je n'ai pas trouvé des nouvelles! YAAAAAAAAPIII!!

Gisèle: Moins chanceuse...elle en a découvert un nouveau cet aprè celui qu'elle a crevé s'est re-rempli de liquide...ewww...hihi! Elle en a plus que quand je lui demande combien? Elle me dit qu'elle a aucune idée....oops! Mais...bonne nouvelles...l'ongle de son grand orteil s'est beaucoup amélioré et il ne devrait pas tomber!! YESSSSSSSSSSSSS!!! hihi

C'est tout!
J'ai déjà très hâte de vous revoir sin ampollos (sans ampoules!)


Sunday,lovely Sunday

This Internetterminal has a spacebar that requires a goodwhack to work,so some of the wordsmay run together.

We are now on day 11. The euphoria of the first week has worn off. Mornings are the worst. Yesterday, I was ready to come home. The rustling of people getting up an an ungodly hour; packing the packsack in the dark, having to have a BM in a communal bathroom, day-old bread and jam for breakfast because the stores had been closed for a feast day the night before. I thought of my beautiful place in VIctoria,and had a fleeting moment of regret hatI had madeall the return arrangemnets so thatitwould be complicated to leave now.

Then we went outside and it was a beautiful morning. Nadine stopped twice in the first 15 minutes to take pictures, of snow'covered mountains and of the sun rise over the bridge.I realized at one point that for some reason I was having trouble keeping up with her; I started to cough and realized I had forgotten to take my puffer.As I stopped, Nadine glanced behind at me,and stared. There behind us,carved out of the rock, was an ancient monastery. Nadine took a picture and smiled. We continued on.By the time we got past the next village,Nadine was singing... At that moment, I didn´t care that later I would be hot and tired,and rushing to find an albuergue without the dreaded´completo´. At that moment,there was no other place in the world I wanted to be.

Highlights of thepast couple of days: stork nests on church roofs; folk dancing in the village square in Bellorado,the girls with their castanets,accompanied only by some sort of wind instrument and a drum; the 900thbirthday of Santo Domingo de la Calzada, and the fiesta outside the albergue door; the climb yesterday to San Juan de Ortega with the bluest sky, bushes of purple flowers that a French person told me he hadn´t seen before,hanging around with a Slovenian girl and her mother yesterday afternoon and evening, the cathedral at Burgos today, hearing Nadine sing a Montreal Canadiens song...

Since today is Sunday, we have splurged and are staying in a hotel (one star). COmmunal life gets to you sometime. Last night, Nadine and I walked into the bathroom,and there was an older gentleman with his pants down, smearing cream on his thighs,etc. Nadine says she is scarred for life:)

I think Nadine is starting to have some tendonitis.I am trying to persuade her that we should stay in Burgos one more night and rest, but she is even more stubborn than I am....

Talk to you soon,


¡¡Viva ABBA!!

Bon...alors...nous sommes présentement à plus grande ville sur le camino, en passant par Belorado et Agès! Et...nous avons terminer 1/3 du camino!!! Yaaaaappiiii!!! Finalement...hihi! nous reste qu'à peine 500 km!! Yessssssss!! hihi Il n'y a pas eu grand chose les deux dernières journées...elles étaient pas mal molo...pas plus que 30km les deux jours! Ces temps-ci il fait un peu plus frais alors c'est très agréable pour la marche!! Je dirais qu'il fait même un peu froid!! Un espagnol m'a dit que c'était ridicule que des canadiennes aient froid en Espagne...hihi mais bon! On a eu froid! Aujourd'hui il faisait tellement froid...que j'étais très contente d'avoir ma tuque des Canadiens et les ptits gants gris! Avant que j'oublie....

**Pierre!! Mes choix!!**
Chicago en...7
Pittsburgh en...6

Oki...alors les espagnols me trouvait un peu weird une fois à Burgos...tuque? Too bad...j'étais très fière! hihi Puisque c'est dimanche..nous avons pris une petite chambre d'hôtel pour avoir l'opportunité de se reposer un NE PAS VOIR DES PTITS VIEUX EN BOBS!!! OUASH! Je suis tellement écoeurée des albergues (auberges)! Hier...y'avait un moins 65 ans et plus...qui se mettait la crème ou je sais pas trop quoi, dans la fourche...sans bobs...RIEN! NADA! NIENTE! NOTHING! ZIP! Ewwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww! hihihi DEVANT L'ÉVIER EN PLUS!! Je lava mes petites mains dans ses éviers...ARGH!
Je suis tellement contente d'habiter au Canada!

Bon..désolé...un peu graphique...mais je continue!
Cette après-midi nous sommes aller voir la Cathédrale de Burgos! WOW! Je ne suis pas trop trop église...mais c'était quelque chose à voir! Je dirais que c'est même LA plus belle que j'ai jamais vu de ma vie!! Et ouii! Si jamais vous avez la chance...aller à Burgos juste pour ça!
Nous avons revu Alain (lui que je trouve qui a les même mimiques que Bruno...) pour la dernière fois...pour maintenant! Il marchait seulement jusqu'à Burgos pour ensuite faire un arrêt à Marseilles, et ensuite de retour à St-Rémi sur la Rive-Sud! On s'est déjà donné rendez-vous cette automne au marché Jean-Talon où il vend des légumes la fin de semaine pour son cousin! J'ai déjà hâte d'entendre la suite de sa nouvelle romance (dans son lieu de bureau...qui se donne à être dans une compagnie d'assurance...à Ville St-Laurent...comme le monde est petit! Et comme les histoires d'amour se répète...hihihi Si jamais vous êtes célibataire...ça l'air que les compagnies d'assurances sont LA place de bonne relations! hihi)

Demain nous ne savons pas encore ce que nous allons faire...on avait prévu de prendre une journée de repos...ensuite on avait dit que c'était un peu trop tôt...qu'on allait attendre à Leó là on n'est plus certain! Ce matin j'ai commencer à avoir mal à la cheville droite sur le pied jusqu'à mes là j'ai mal à la même place sur la jambe gauche. Ma mère pense peut-être qu'il y a possibilité de tendinite...on s'est pas pourquoi! Des fois ça va mieux que d' il y a des moments où ça fait mal en criss..tobál Huet! N'inquièter vous pas! Demain ça ira mieux..sinon peut-être une journée de repos avant que les choses se rempirent!

Bon! Là pour quelque chose de plus intéressant!! Lors du dernier message de ma mère, elle vous a écrit que j'étais un "trooper"! Depuis...nous ne pouvons pas arrêter de chanter du ABBA!!! "Super la la la la...."!! Je vous jure...c'est la chanson idéale de marche!! On la chante à tous les jours...en marchant! Et en plus elle a vraiment le rhythme parfait pour la vitesse qu'on marche!! On a tellement essayé de trouver une autre toune...mais on n'y arrive pas! J'ai chanter un peu de la toune du Canadiens avec ma tuque...mais elle a vite viré en Super Trooper! hihi On siffle...on chante...on fait un humdinger (Cranium..)! On s'amuse.

Donc, la prochaine fois que vous aller faire une petite promenade...chanter Super Trooper de ABBA (si vous ne connaissez pas...aller sur iTunes!) et pensez à nous!

Sur ce, je vous remercie pour tout vos messages! Ils sont très bien appréciés et encourageants!!
À la prochaine.


jeudi 14 mai 2009


There was no Internet for 2 days, and yesterday, there were too many people wanting to use it. There are a LOT of people on this trip. Nadine and I have been trying to get away from the crowds by traveling further - we did two 30-km days. The first night, In Villamejor de Monjardin, was great - we stayed in a Dutch private albuergue where meals were served family-style at a long wooden table, the beds were comfortable, adn we had a real breakfast of muesli and yoghurt. The second night, we were not so lucky. We arrived at Viana, and there was not a bed to be found in town. At 4:40 pm, we were sitting dejectedly, trying to decide whether to walk another 10 km to the next town and hope there was a bed, or take a taxi, when a slim middle-aged Spanish woman talking a mile a minute came and insisted we follow her. THere were three of us so we felt relatively safe. She charged us 12 Euros each to share a room in her house, and we got to sleep in sheets, and have our own bathroom, albeit with a cold shower.And we didn´t have to walk another 10 km....

In order to avoid a repeat of the previous night, yesterday we stopped early ( ie we did 23 km by 11:30, then sat for 3 hours waiting for the albuergue to open, and sat around til supper.) 10 of us (6 Canadians and 4 French) shared a meal in the albuergue kitchen, made by one of the French men (I watched - he put a whole pound of butter in the sauce, but it was delicious) washed down wiht 3 bottles of VERY good Rioja (the French guy said the bottles, which cost 5 Euros here, aare 15 Euroos in France). We needed that. As I said, there are too many people, and it is becoming a race to the albuergues to ensure a bed.

Today we had a choice of doing 21 km and stopping by noon, or going on to the next town, for a total of 37 km. We chose the latter. There is only so much sitting around drinking cerveza and cafe con leche that two gals can take!

The first 35 km were fine, but the last two were hell.It was worth it, though. The afternoon walking alone was great (some of the signs were hard to find, sort of like on Amazing Race)and this albuergue is great. It sleeps 200, but in dormitories of 20, and havaing arrived late, ours is half empty. THere are 6 (!!) showers for women, and 4 Internet stations. It looks very new. Heaven!

Good things: Spanish countryside, lush and green, black and white butterflies, pale blue butterflies, cuckoo birds, cafe con leche, snails on the road (I may never eat escargots again), poppies and wild thyme, the fountain at Irachi that pours wine instead of water, (a tour was just leaving as we trudged up and the guide was happy to explain that here were real peregrinos), meeting people from everywhere, the Spanish towns and villages that literally have no garbage on the street as there are compost bins and garbages everywhere.

Downers:mainly too many people. Nadine and I have managed to avoid a lot of people on the road by walking further and faster (one of the Quebeckers gave us a Camino name: ´"the roadrunner ladies...", but at night it is packed.

We are lucky. One Irish woman did not practice with her pack first, and developed blisters on her back the first day. After the second day´s downhill slog, some people developed blisters on the tips of all their toes. One very nice Quebecois woman has such bad Achilles tendonitis, she had to take a bus yesterday. I was sure I was going to lose the toenail of my right big toe a couple of days ago, (I´ll spare you the gory details) but with good local care, it now looks as if it will be ok.I tried to walk normally inspite of it, but I must have compensated as I have developed a couple of blisters on that foot. Oh well, part of the journey...

I am so proud of Nadine. She is a real trouper. I agree with her - walking is the easy part; the hard part is the rest of the day.

That´s it for now. A lot of people waiting to use the Internet.


Aprés une grande semaine sur le camino...

Ouf! Désolé pour ne pas avoir pu vous donner des nouvelles plus tôt!!
Il n'y avait pas d'Internet les dernières nuits. Depuis mon dernier message..nous avons finalement complèter une grande semaine de marche!! Déjà! Ça n'a pas été facile mais j'espère d'ici la fin ça va s'améliorer!

Après avoir quitté Puenta la Reina lundi matin, nous avons marché notre premier gros 32km lundi jusqu'à Villamayor de Montjardín! De ce que je me souviens...(ça fait déjà loin...) le paysage était très beau. En chemin, nous avons arrêtés à la Fuenta de Vino de Irache! Et ouii Monsieurs, Dames...une fontaine de vin!! Gratuite en plus!! Et...pour quelqu'un qui n'aime vraiment pas beaucoup le vin...c'était délicieux! Ils disent que si tu bois du vin de la fontaine...ça donnera force jusqu'à Santiago! Esperons que ce sera le cas...! En soirée, nous avons dormis dans une belle auberge hollandaise où la hospitalera nous a fait un délicieux souper de chili! Miiiiam! C'était très agréable comme village.

Mardi matin, la destination pour la journée...Vienna! Un autre gros 32km! La matinée c'est très très bien passé puisqu'on est maintenant capable de marcher en moyenne entre 5-6km/heure selon le relief! Pas pire après seulement une semaine. Puisque nous avions décidés de surpasser la norme et d'aller plus n'y avait pas beaucoup de monde sur le chemin!! (Depuis le début..on trouve qu'il y a beaucoup de gens alors on essaie de prendre un peu d'avance quand nous avons la chance...cependant on rattrape tout le temps une autre vague de pelegrinos)
Quand nous sommes arrivés à Vienna...on s'est fait dire que tout les auberges étaient COMPLETO! Merde! La prochaine ville était un autre 11km et on venait d'en marcher 32. Pendant qu'on réfléchissait à ce qu'on allait faire avec Vincent (jeune québécois que nous avons rencontré en chemin...) une bonne femme est sortie de chez elle en courant, nous pris pas les bras, et nous a invité à dormir chez elle....tout ça dans un espagnol beaucoup trop rapide pour les 3! Elle nous a même donner des bises avant de se coucher! hihi On a bien ri!

Hier matin, nous sommes parties de Vienna un peu plus tôt que d'habitude...vers 6h30 pour essayer de surpasser encore une fois le rush de pelerins! Nous sommes arrivées à Navarette vers 11h30...(normalement c'est un peu tôt pour terminer sa journée de marche puisque normalement les auberges n'ouvrent pas avant 14h au minimum) mais nous étions tout les deux tellement fatigué des deux dernières journées qu'on a décider de se reposer les pieds pour une journée et passer une journée avec nos nouveaux amis sous le soleil! Ah ouii, depuis mon dernier message nous avons aussi tout les deux découvertes des ampoules...(Maman pire que moi...) sur nos pied! Donc, un petit repos était très nécessaire!

Tout au long du chemin, on croise les même gens ici et là...chacun son itinéraire, chacun son histoire. Après une semaine, nous avons rencontrer une vingtaine de personnes...certains que nous avons revus, d'autres non. Hier a été une des soirée les plus agréable depuis notre arrivé sur le camino. Notre nouveau chef adopté Emanuel (jeune papa français très sympathique!) a fait un souper de calmars et de riz pour une dizaine d'entre nous! C'était un souper exclusivement québécois (plus Maman) et français! Emanuel, nous, Vincent (jeune québécois qui marche depuis Puy...35 jours!), Jean et France (couple de Trois-Rivières très sympathique), Alain (mon ami québécois qui fait trop penser à Bruno! Bruno je t'ai trouvé en espagne!! Et qui a un frère qui habite à St-Hyacinthe....bizarre!), Alain (un vieux français comique) et un autre couple français...(je connais pas leur nom mais on les croise assez souvent!). On dirait une grande gang d'amis qui se réunissait pour un bon souper! Donc malgré la y a d'autres beaux souvenirs à acquérir!

Aujourd'hui...encore une autre journée difficile...notre plus grande journée à date...38km! WOW! Et on a mal! hihi Là on le sens! Ouf! n'ai pas eu plus d' reste toujours à 3! On pourrait toujours arrêter plus tôt dans la journée...mais on trouve ça un peu ennuyant rester assise toute l'après-midi...en entendant que les gites (nouveau mot que j'ai appris...) ouvrent...dans un petit village où il n'y a pas grand chose! On dort beaucoup mieux quand nous sommes fatiguées...on entend pu les roncadoros (?) hihihi (ronfleurs)!! Les prochains jours vont être plus facile...puisque nous sommes maintenant une journée complète d'avance sur notre itinéraire...deux si on considère que nous sommes parties de St-Jean-Pied-de-Port une journée plus tôt que prévue!

J'espère que tout va bien chez vous! Je pense fort à tous!


*Aujourd'hui j'ai dédié la journée à mon frisé et sa grand-maman...
Et j'ai vu un arc-en-ciel! Tout va bien aller!! xx*

dimanche 10 mai 2009

Reality check

Yesterday was great. We walked first to Pamploma, where we visited the church, then had a wonderful lunch ( salad with the region´s white asparagus and tuna, then kebabs of shrimp, fish , and the tenderest squid ever) on the plaza. It was a lovely walk through the Spanish countryside, the only downside was making sure we didnt step on cowpies or the 10-15 cm slugs. We motored at first, so that soon we were in front of everyone and felt as if we were alone for the next few hours.

We slept at Cezur Minor, where the wonderful hospitelara tended to people´s blisters. Fortunately, neither Nadine nor I were in need of her tender ministrations, a situation which I attribute to the Vaseline we slather on our feet three times a day. The albergue was divided into small rooms, about 5 bunks per room, and there were blankets. I slept like a log all night.

This morning, people were upset as apparently someone snored very loudly all night. At first I was worried it might be me, but Nadine assured me that a) it was definitely the man in the next bunk and b) no woman can snore that loudly. I never thought I would be grateful for Randy´s snoring, but that is why I can now sleep through it all!

Today started with pouring rain, walking through mud, then across an open field where the rain ran into our boots, and soaked us. I was reminded of what one German pilgrim said this morning i.e. that this was just like the army. I think I could pass basic training right now! I´m still slower on the hills than Nadine but I don´t stop half-way up, and my thighs don´t burn (my adductors were screaming on the downhill portion, though)

Tonight, the albergue had private rooms for 32 Euros, so I decided to splurge. It even has a TV. To my surprise, Nadine has not touched the Tv. She just said; All I want is hot water, toilet paper, and to know that the hair on the shower floor is mine! Our priorities are changing....

Till next time,



Voici des photos de notre voyage jusqu'à date!
Here are some pictures from our trip so far!

Jour 3 et 4

Jour 3 - Larasoaña à Cizur Mayor

La journée de hier c'est quand même très bien passé comme d'habitude. Comparer aux deux premères...elle était beaucoup moins longue! Seulement environ 20 km!! Nous sommes arrivées à première grande ville du voyage vers 11h...alors on a décidé d'en profiter et d'explorer un peu! On est allée avoir la Cathédrale et nous avons passer du temps dans une plaza où nous avons eu la chance de profiter du soleil, des gens et d'un très bon repas!!! Au menu...une salade typique de la région...une brochette de langoustines, calmares et une tarte au citron!
Gigi - M'man est tombée amoureuse des cafés con leche donc à chaque fois qu'elle en prend une...on pense à toi!! Et hier...petit déjeuner à ton honneur...café con leche y pan chocolate! Miam!!
Bon, ça l'air que hier on a que mangé!! hihi

Jour 4 - Cizur Mayor à Puenta la Reina
Bon...alors aujourd' journée a commencé avec une GROSSE pluie....MAIS GROSSE!! On était dans une vallée...avec la pluie, bouette...les souliers imbibés d'eau et de bouette...les pantalons...les fesses et bobettes toutes mouillées! Et ça fait du bien!! haha L'eau dans les bottes fait comme un beau petit lit d'eau dans les souliers! Gigi...t'aurais aimé ça....un ruisseau de cafe con leche!! haha
Encore une marche n'était vraiment pas longue aujourd'hui. Environ un autre 20 km...haha je ne trouve pu ça long 20 km. La vue comme d'habitude est exceptionnelle!!

Josée - J'ai pensé à toi toute la journé y avait plein de petits oiseaux qui me parlait!! Et à chaque fois que je mange des pense à toi! Tu diras à Mario que j'ai aussi pensé à lui aujourd'hui...on commence le chemin des vins et j'ai vu plein d'architecture intéressantes!! Je suis sur qu'il aurait trouvé plein d'idées pour son fameux chalet!!

Pierre - Inquiète toi pas!! Je n'ai pas encore d'ampoules!! :) Je te le jure!!

Alors après toute cette pluie...Maman nous a payé un cadeau de fète des mères!! Oui...NOUS! Et non je ne suis pas mère. Mais bon. Ce soir nous allons rester dans une auberge un peu plus fancy! Chambre privée...avec salle de bain privée...pas de ronfleurs!!...une télé...connection WiFi...un sechoir... et le plus grand luxe??? DE L'EAU CHAUDE!! Et le fait que je n'ai pas besoin de mettre des sandales dans la douche et que je sais que les cheveux à terre sont les miennes!! ÇA FAIT DU BIEN!! J'espère finalement pouvoir dormir ce soir!

Sur ce...à la prochaine!!


vendredi 8 mai 2009

Fellow travellers

The Camino is a UNesco World Heritage site, so there are many travellers. In fact, the past couple of days haev felt like a big group tour.

There are a lot of Europeans, of course, mainly Spanish, French, German, and Brits; a smattering of people from around the world (a couple of Koreans, Japanese, a few Brazilians, some Aussies via Scotland), and a LOT of Canadians. Quebeckers, of course, but also Canadians from sea to sea to sea. Last night we had dinner with a couple from NFld, There are a mother and 2 daughters from Yellowknife, and people from Toronto, Vancouver, and of course, VIctoria. And that´s just the ones we´ve met! Everyone is here for a different reason, and it is interesting to hear their stories.

Today, we did 27 km, most of it downhill. While that might sound a lot easier than yesterday´s trek, in some ways it was harder. It took as long! Most of that downhill was rocky, reminding us of a dried up river bed, and a lot of it was very muddy. There was a stretch of about a km that was very steep, muddy, and rocky - so imagine trying to keep your balance with a pack on your back, your toes painfully being pushed to the front of your shoes, while trying not to fall as you slip slide your way down the rocks.

We arrived at Zubiri around 1:30, tired and hungry. After lunch, Nadine`persuaded me that we should do the extra 1.5 hours to Larrasoaña. Am I glad she did! For one thing, we were alone that whole time, jsut the two of us walking in the woods, so nice to get away from the crowds. FOr another, the road turned out to have quite a few gentle climbs, so that we were actually stretching muscles that had been cramped all morning. I arrived at Larrasoaña feeling much less sore than when I left Zubiri.

I think we are both in pretty good shape, as evidenced by the fact neither of us was sore this morning after yesterday´s climb. That was a good thing, because in between the snorers, the jet lag, and the fact we were cold, neither of us slept very much. Tomorrow will be an easy day, just 19.5 km.

Till next itme.


jeudi 7 mai 2009

Day 1

We decided not to take a day of rest and instead we took the Napoleon route to Roncevalles. I almost think I would make it up the first hill...but it got much better after that! There was a donkey at the top of the hill brayed his encouragement and pushed me to the top!...JUST FOR ME!! Special donkey!!

We went through the four seasons...saw snow,rain,fallen leaves and sunburn! A couple of rainstorms so we didnt get to enjoy much of the view at first...but soon afterwards it was magnificant! Worth every ache and pain.

Tonight we are staying in a hostel with over a 100 people in one giant room. There are only 2 showers so there was a little lineup. Nadine got nice hot water...I got cold and hot water from time to time. The people here have a sense of humour!! They served bean soup for supper.....100 people...bean soup....FART FART FART!!

I thank Nadine for typing this quickly for me. And addind her own comments...(fart fart fart). Tomorrow...were are heading another 27kms to Larasoana. Hopefully we will still be in shape and hoping it will be a little easier on the legs (MAs THIGHS!!! YOU SHOULD HAVE SEEN HER FACE, PAPA, ON THAT FIRST HILL...OH BOY!! I THOUGHT SHE WAS GOING TO COLLAPSE AFTER ONLY 2 MINUTES INTO THE CAMINO!)

Till next time,

Jour 1 St-Jean-Pied-de Port a Roncevalles!

Je m`excuse d avance pour la ponctuation...cest un clavier un peu special et je nai pas beaucoup de temps!

Notre voyage de Montreal a St-Jean-Pied-de Port sest tres bien passer! On a eu la chance de passer par la plage a Biarritz en chemin et ensuite nous avons terminer notre voyage a St-Jean vers 19h30 mercredi soir (heure locale).

Bonne nouvelles!! Je suis beaucoup plus en forme que je pensais!! Yaaapiii!! Nous avons marchés 27 km dans les Pyrenés pour se rentre a Roncevalles! Ce netait pas facile...surtout pour deux femmes des plaines. Mais la vue etait spectaculaire et nous avons passer par les 4 saisons (neige, pluie, soleil, brume) dans une journée! Jusqua date...nos pieds vont bien et aucun ampoule! Ce matin...lorsque nous avons passer par la premiere cote de la journé je croyais que ma mere allait tomber a terre....haha un ane lui a lancer des mots dencouragements et depuis....tout sest bien passé!! Je ne peux pas trop aller en détails maintenant. EN suis plus en forme que je pensais....moins pire a ce que je mattendais...un ane nous a donner des mots nous sommes arriver a notre destination dans seulement 7h! 27km en 7h...incluant les stops...pas si pire! Nous sommes tout les deux en forme...a part peut-etre maman quand elle monte les cotes...oh boy! Mais cest vraiment pas si grave que ca!!
Demain....un autre 27km a Larasoana! En esperant que nous resteront en forme....hihi

Bonne nuit!
A la prochaine!


samedi 2 mai 2009

Traveling light

To say that Nadine and I are not known for packing light is an understatement, sort of like saying that Winnipeg sometimes gets mosquitoes in the summer. Nadine likes to bring a variety of clothes for every possible occasion, and I like to bring a large enough number and variety of books for various moods. The question of what to pack therefore looms large. Since every Camino blog I’ve ever seen outlines its owner’s packing list, here is mine. Nadine’s, I believe, is fairly similar, but she may wish to comment. One advantage of traveling together is that some items can be shared.

A back pack. Since Nadine and I both have shoulder problems, we decided to go light for once, and we both chose the same pack: a Deuter 28 litre daypack.
A water bladder (the backpack has a nifty opening so that the hose comes through and we can just sip water without opening the pack)
2 pairs pants, 1 to wear, 1 to carry. One pair can zip off to shorts.
2 long-sleeved shirts with roll-up tab sleeves
1 tank top
For pyjamas: silk long johns and Randy’s polartec long-sleeved top that
a) covers my butt and
b) fits under the shirts as an extra layer for those really cold mornings
3 pairs underwear
2 pairs wool hiking socks; 2 pairs liners
Fleece jacket
Rain jacket
Walking shoes
Sandals for evenings in town
Small MEC shoulder bag for evenings in town (stores toiletries when in the pack)
Length of fabric that can function as sarong, pillow case, privacy screen if one of us has to answer nature’s call on the road, etc.

Silk sleeping bag liner
Microfiber towel
Freshette (nifty little device to permit women to void standing up without pulling down pants; useful for emergencies on the road)
Laundry soap; a few clothes pins -shared
Small LED flashlight
Sunscreen – shared
Moleskin, blister pads, first aid kit – shared
Prescription meds
Motrin, Imodium, Gravol – shared
Vaseline (to slather on feet every morning before putting on sock liners)
Shampoo, soap, deodorant, toothbrush and paste
Hand sanitizer

Passport, money belt
Camera and charger; extra memory card – shared
Guidebook – shared
Spanish phrasebook – shared
Extra pair of glasses
Ear plugs to drown out the roncaderos (snorers)
Notebook and pen
Crossword puzzle magazine and pencil
Novel for plane trip, to be conveniently forgotten somewhere after arrival
Plastic bags

This may be the start of traveling light for us – or by the end of the trip we may be so sick and tired of having to wash clothes every day that in the future we bring everything we could possibly need.

Il ne reste plus que 72 heures avant le début du voyage. Nadine et moi vivons à plus de 4800 km l’une de l’autre, donc la plupart de nos préparatifs ont ete effectués seules. Maintenant, on peut finalement se montrer nos achats. J’avoue que je préfère ses souliers aux miens!

La grande question est: iPod ou non? Pour Nadine, pas de question. Elle emmène son iPod. Moi, je n’ai pas l’habitude d’écouter un iPod, mais Randy a offert de me prêter le sien. J’avais plutôt pensé emmener une liste de questions et de dilemmes auxquels je veux réfléchir, dont certains au sujet du travail, d’autres au sujet de la vie en général. Nadine me dit qu’elle ne veut pas entendre un seul mot au sujet du travail. Selon elle, je suis “workaholic”. Mais si les meilleures idées nous viennent souvent dans la douche, ou lorsqu’on est autrement occupés, ne pourrais-je pas croire que peut-être des idées géniales me viendront le long du chemin? Ce serait dommage de ne pas être prête à les capter. Et puis, traditionellement, le Camino est un pélerinage, une occasion de réfléchir à sa vie. Puisque mon travail fait partie de ma vie, est-ce-que je ne pourrais pas y consacrer un peu de temps sur la route sans être accusée d”être un “bourreau de travail”???


jeudi 30 avril 2009

À quoi s'attendre...

Voici à quoi on pourra s'attendre lors de notre première journée sur le camino. Ça ne ressemble pas vraiment au plaines...on a un bon petit défi je crois! J'espère que la vue sera aussi belle!!

Here's what we can expect on the first day of the camino. A little more hilly compared to the prairies but we can tough it. Right?!


Photo prise par ma cousine Lola lors de son aventure sur le camino.

mercredi 29 avril 2009

Last minute preparations/derniers préparatifs

As a teen-ager, I fantasized about walking across Canada. I even went so far as to order the Bruce Trail guidebook, to my mother’s great amusement. I never imagined that one day I would walk across Spain with my daughter.

We are now 6 days to departure. Being an obsessive-compulsive planner/worrier (one of the traits that might have Nadine reconsidering spending those millions of seconds in her mother’s company), I am prepared for this trip. I have read books and blogs, grilled people who have been on the trail (thanks Lola and Ingrid!) and tried to prepare for every eventuality. Somehow, I forgot to consider the possibility of a flu pandemic….

So far, the trip is on. No physician I have mentioned this to has suggested otherwise. We will bring a course of Tamiflu each and a couple of N-95 masks. And if by next Monday it appears that traveling is not wise, then, being the obsessive-compulsive planner/worrier that I am, I have a plan B. (no, it doesn’t involve walking across Canada).

Il ya deux ans, mes filles m’ont offert pour mon anniversaire le livre de Simone Bettinger L’escargot du chemin: 42 jours sur le chemin de compostelle.” paru en 2007. Dans l’une des premières pages, l’auteure québecoise constate qu’elle est “une personne assez en forme malgré mes 56 ans, mon soufflé au coeur, ma scoliose, et mes pieds plats.” Hé! J’ai presque le même âge! J’ai une scoliose! J’ai les pieds plats! Cette idée de marcher le Camino n’est pas si bête après tout.

Je crois que je suis en forme. Il y a 10 jours, j’ai marché 21 km et je n’ai ressenti le moindre mal le lendemain. Evidemment, 21 km sur les collines douces de Victoria, ce n’est pas tout à fait la meme chose que 25 km à travers les Pyrenées, mais ce n’est pas si mal non plus. Ces derniers jours, toutes sortes de vieilles chansons françaises de marche me viennent à l’esprit: “Marche en avant…la vie est la plus belle aventure” “Sur la route, il faut marcher, aléaléo”. Hmmm… je pense que Nadine va être contente qu’elle a emporté son iPod!


lundi 13 avril 2009

Let the countdown begin...

Bonjour à tous!!

Dans seulement 22 jours, ma mère et moi partons pour une aventure de 40 jours au Camino de Santiago en Espagne!
Sommes-nous prêtes à affronter plus de 800km à pied et 960 heures - 57 600 minutes - 3 456 000 secondes ENSEMBLE?!?
J'espère que oui! Sinon...ça va être vraiment long!

In only 22 days, my mom and I will be leaving on an adventure of a liftetime to the Camino de Santiago where we will walk over 800km in the beautiful country of Spain. 
Are we really ready to walk the whole way....and spend 960 hours - 57 600 minutes - 3 456 000 seconds TOGETHER?!? STRAIGHT?!?
I hope so.


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