I am delighted to feature another post by the vivacious red-headed wanderluster from the UK, Sheree Hooker, author of Winging the World blog. She was one of 21 pilgrims interviewed about packing for the Camino by the Packing Goods website. You might remember Sheree from her guest post last month, Camino Reflections by an Awkward British Wanderluster. Read her tips below, one of which I disagree with (can you guess which one?). But this is a lesson about choice of gear—what works for some pilgrims, doesn’t necessarily work for others. When a pilgrim is planning what to pack for their first Camino, the options and advice can be overwhelming. In the end, it’s up to each pilgrim to decide what he or she will pack. Still, it’s good to take a sneak peak into the backpacks of other pilgrims!
I’m happy to feature a guest post by fellow travel blogger Sheree, who recently walked the Camino Francés with her partner Tim. The self-proclaimed “awkward British wanderluster” writes, “I don’t really know where I’m going, but that’s never stopped me before.” I can definitely relate to being awkward and having a serious case of wanderlust! It’s an interesting take on the pilgrimage, and even more evidence that the Camino provides.
When my boyfriend Tim first told me that he wanted to walk the French Way of the Camino de Santiago, I wasn’t really all that surprised. Eight years before this declaration, he had suffered a spinal cord injury during a motorcycle accident and had been told he would never walk again. Luckily, after several months he took his first steps (for the second time) and began a new chapter in his life.
When Tim asked me to partner him on his Camino journey, I instantly agreed. At the time, I knew only the bare bones of what the Camino was about but as I thought that the decision would probably never come to fruition, I thought very little about accepting the invite. After a few months, it became evident that Tim was serious about undertaking the journey.
Our Camino Love Story
by Michelle & Andreas
Most, if not all, of our friends know how our Camino Love Story came about. With that said, we absolutely love retelling it and reliving each and every mesmerizing step along the Way of St. James as it led us to this very beautiful moment of our becoming one on May 12, 2018.
Part five of a series, Weaving Words and Photos into the Tapestry of My Life
by Sister Anita Fearday, a.k.a Pilgrim Weaver
Continued from Part Four: Arrival
R.S. Thomas said, “The point of travelling is not to arrive, but to return home laden with pollen you shall work up into honey the mind feeds on.” Now I am working on the honey harvest of my Camino experience. Not a day has gone by since my return that I have not savored a pinch of the pollen. This will be my first attempt at weaving words around the pilgrimage, now that I have had two months to ruminate.
The experience was a leap of faith in many ways. I had doubts about my physical stamina; financial viability; ability to be away from my loved ones and to relate to people of different cultures, languages, and backgrounds; and my ability to sleep on bunkbeds in big dormitories for a month. That I was stretched and called out of my comfort zone is to put it mildly, but I am glad I took the leap of faith and had the grace to persevere until the end. This experience has strengthened my faith and trust in a God who takes such tender loving care of me. Continue reading
Part four of a series, Weaving Words and Photos into the Tapestry of My Life
by Sister Anita Fearday
Continued from Part Three: Finding Friends on the Way
Part Four: Arrival
Cuatro Parte: La Llegada
Twenty-Fourth Day: Filloval
It was a cold, blustery day on the Camino for me. I was glad most of the ascent was in the morning when I was fresh. Later, I ran out of energy and just had to eat. The nourishing soup, cheese sandwich, and plate of macaroni gave me the strength finally to continue. The rain permeated my shoes and clothes, and all I could think of was to find the hostel and crawl into bed. No pictures were taken because of the nasty weather.
Vigésimo cuarto Día: Filloval
Fue un día frío con el viento rugiendo. Yo estaba feliz de poder hacer la subida en la mañana cuando todavía tenía bastante energía. Luego me canse, y tenía que comer con urgencia. La sopa nutriente, el sándwich de queso, y el plato de macarrón me dieron la fuerza necesaria para seguir adelante. La lluvia penetraba en mis botas y en mi ropa y no podía pensar en nada más que en encontrar un refugio y meterme en la cama. No hay fotos hoy porque el clima ha sido demasiado feo.
Twenty-Fifth Day: Sarria
Last night, I was beat. If all my days had been like yesterday, I doubt I would have made it this far. The weather was abysmal, and some of my clothes are still soggy. One thing I have learned is how to dry out shoes after the water has been poured out of them. The trick is to stuff them with dry, crumpled-up newspaper. I will also put rubber bands around my rain pants to see if that might help keep my feet dry.
Tonight we are staying at a lovely hostel in downtown Sarria for ten euros. The lodging in most hostels on the Camino costs between five and ten euros. Some offer an evening meal and breakfast for an additional cost—a wonderful service to pilgrims.
Vigésimo quinto Día: Sarria
Anoche yo estaba agotada. Si todos mis días hubieran sido como ayer, dudo que hubiera llegado hasta acá. El clima estaba abismal y parte de mi ropa todavía está húmeda. Algo que aprendí, es la manera de secar mis botas después de sacar el agua de adentro. El truco es llenarlas con periódico seco y encogido y dejarlas así durante la noche. También puse ligas alrededor de la parte inferior de mis pantalones de lluvia para evitar que la lluvia entre en mis botas. Sueño con tener los pies secos hoy.
Esta noche estamos en un refugio en el centro de Sarria pagando 10 euros. Algunos refugios ofrecen una cena y desayuno con un costo extra–un servicio maravillo para los peregrinos.
Part three of a series, Weaving Words and Photos into the Tapestry of My Life
by Sister Anita Fearday
Continued from Part Two: On the Way
Part Three: Finding Friends on the Way
La tercera parte: Encontrándome con amigos en el camino
Sixteenth Day: Mansilla de las Mulas
I left the hostel early and enjoyed a lemon beer in Sahagún, population twenty-eight hundred. I found a hostel in Bercianos, thinking I would stay, and by chance, I asked the Italian receptionist, Rosa, whether a Cecilia Jacques from Australia had spent last night there. She assured me she had and told me she was spending tonight in Mansilla de las Mulas. Rosa then offered to take me there after she got off work, so I could meet up with my friend. I was so touched by her offer and I did accept. On the way, she told me her story. Nine years ago, she had cancer and was given two months to live. She made the Camino and was cured. She said this is her way of thanking God—by helping other pilgrims. Camino stories like this are not uncommon and are so touching. I enjoyed an affectionate reunion with Cecilia and other friends from the Camino.
Día Decimosexto: Mansilla de las Mulas
Yo salí del albergue temprano y goce de una cerveza con limón en Sahagún, población de 2.800. Encontré un refugio en Bercianos, pensando que iba a pasar la noche allá, pero por casualidad pregunté a la recepcionista voluntaria, Rosa, si por si acaso mi amiga, Cecilia de Australia pasó la noche acá. Ella me afirmó que de verdad pasó la noche y me hizo el favor de llamar varios albergues buscándola. Cuando la encontró registrada en un refugio en Mansilla de las Mulas, ella ofreció llevarme en su auto allá después de su trabajo. Yo estaba muy feliz de que ella me llevaría y además sin cobrarme nada. En el camino Rosa me contó su testimonio. Hace nueve años ella fue diagnosticada con cáncer y le dieron dos meses de vida. Ella me dijo que fue completamente sanada haciendo el Camino. Me dijo que ahora ayudando a otros peregrinos, es su manera de agradecer a Dios. Testimonios de esta naturaleza son comunes en el Camino. Cuando me encontré con Cecilia y otros amigos me sentí muy feliz. Ahora Cecilia y yo podríamos caminar juntas otra vez.
Seventeenth Day: Virgen del Camino Outside of León
What a fantastic day! By 6 a.m., I was on the Camino. About 5 km down the road, I had cafe con leche (coffee with milk) along with a chicken sandwich I had made the night before. I was psyching myself up to walk the eleven more kilometers into León, when I noticed people waiting for a bus. I then thought what a marvelous idea it would be to take a bus over the final part of the Meseta and avoid walking through the industrial part of León. Thanks to the bus, in less than a half hour, I was within a couple of blocks from this important reference point in the city.
Día Decimoséptimo: Virgen del Camino afuera de León
¡Qué día más fantástico! A las 6 a.m. ya estaba en camino. Después de 5 km. tomé café con el sándwich de pollo que hice anoche. Yo estaba preparándome psicológicamente para caminar 11 km. a León cuando vi gente esperando un bus. Sin pensar mucho yo me puse en la fila para evitar caminar por la parte industrial de León. En menos que media hora y pagando unos poco euros, estaba a dos cuadras de la catedral.
Part two of a series, Weaving Words and Photos into the Tapestry of My Life
by Sister Anita Fearday
Continued from Part One: Starting Out
Pilgrim Weaver Part Two: On the Way
Ninth Day: Burgos
It was freezing when I started out this morning, and it snowed lightly most of the morning as I walked to Castañares. Goita, a friend of mine who had visited me in Bolivia, picked me up and took me to her house, where I will be staying for the next two days. I do miss Tim and Cecilia, with whom I have traveled since day one. We have gotten to be great friends and I am not sure when, or if, I will ever see them again. Perhaps I am meant to meet new pilgrims and go where the Camino takes me, but right now I will focus on Goita, my friend of seventeen years, and get to know the great city of Burgos.
Estaba congelándome cuando yo empecé esta mañana y estuvo nevando ligeramente casi toda la mañana mientras caminaba a Castañares. Goíta, una amiga mía, originaria de Burgos, quien me visitó en Bolivia, me recogió y me llevó a su casa donde voy a alojarme por las próximas dos noches. Aunque extrañaré a Tim y a Cecilia, pues hemos llegado a ser grandes amigos y no sé si voy a encontrarme con ellos otra vez. Quizás con este acontecimiento estaré haciendo amigos nuevos con otros peregrinos e iré hacía donde el Camino me lleve. Sin embargo, ahora voy a dar mi atención a Goíta, mi amiga hace diecisiete años, y llegaré a conocer la gran ciudad de Burgos.
Tenth Day: Burgos
Here I am in Burgos, a city of 180,000 people. Goita must have thought I looked a bit scruffy from the Camino yesterday because she sent me to shower and then decked me out in lovely clothes. Fortunately, we seem to be the same size. We went to an art museum and then to Casa Cordon for a special exposition. We visited a number of churches, but the jewel was the cathedral. About 8:30 p.m., we tasted the rich cuisine of Burgos—spicy potatoes, sausage with red peppers, and clams served with wine, of course.
Aquí estoy en Burgos, una ciudad de180,000 habitantes. Goíta probablemente pensaba que yo parecía un poco andrajosa (desastrosa) y por eso me ofreció ropa de su propiedad. Gracias a Dios, somos casi de la misma talla. Fuimos a un museo de arte y después a una exposición en la Casa Cordón. Visitamos varias iglesias pero la joya de todas es la Catedral. Alrededor de 8:30 p.m. hemos saboreado el arte culinario de Burgos—papas con bastante condimento, salchichas con ají y ostras, todo servido con un rico vino.
I am pleased to feature a Camino reflection written by a woman who completed the Camino Francés in May 2017. Sister Anita Fearday from Teutopolis, Illinois, made the pilgrimage to Santiago to celebrate three events in her life—her seventieth birthday, fiftieth anniversary of vowed religious life, and fortieth anniversary of missionary work in Bolivia.
Estoy complacida de difundir una reflexión, escrita por una mujer que acaba de hacer el Camino Francés en mayo de 2017. Hna. Anita Fearday de Teutopolis, Illinois, hizo la peregrinación a Santiago para celebrar tres eventos importantes en su vida: el haber cumplido setenta años de vida; sus bodas de oro como religiosa Adoratriz de la Sangre de Cristo; y, el aniversario de cuarenta años como misionera en Bolivia.
Weaving Words and Photos into the Tapestry of My Life
by Sister Anita Fearday
Pilgrimage to Santiago—April 16, 2017 to May 18, 2017
Part One: Starting Out
Yikes! What did I get myself into? A symphony of strangers snoring in this dorm of 114 beds, coed toilets, showers, and bunk beds for the next month.
My friend Cathy Seitchik Diaz alerted me to a new docu-show that aired on Spanish television in July. The ¡Buen Camino! series followed pilgrims from more than 100 countries who were walking, biking, and even horseback riding on the Camino in spring 2017. Cathy was one of the pilgrims that was interviewed by host Marta Márquez. I remember when Cathy emailed me route reports on the Camino Francés, she mentioned a TV show and that a drone camera was following her overhead. She said she was a little nervous about being interviewed on camera, but because she is so passionate about the Camino, she was excited to spread the word.
Happy Friday! This morning I received an email from a couple who is walking the Camino Francés right now.