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Reluctant Pilgrim Exhibition Opening

Exhibition Opening Notice: The Reluctant Pilgrim

Reluctant Pilgrim Exhibition OpeningTHE RELUCTANT PILGRIM

An exhibition inspired by a 65 day walk undertaken in 2015, when I walked 880 kilometres along the
Camino de Santiago, from St Jean Pied de Port, in France, over the Pyrannees to Finisterre, Spain.


At The Onkaparinga Arts Centre, 22 Gawler St, Port NoarlungaSA

Exhibition on display until Monday 6 November 2017


Twirling Dervish artwork

Twirling Dervishes currently on show at Yarta Purtli Art Gallery

IMAGE GATHERERS is a Group Exhibition that is currently on show at the Yarta Purtli Art Gallery, in Port Augusta

Had a lovely time at the opening on Saturday, meet some great people, and got such great feedback on the Twirling Dervishes, so thrilled that people are enjoying them as much as I enjoy painting them.

The Dervishes are inspired through my time watching this meditative dance in Turkey – which in turn was inspired by the poet ‘Rumi’.

Such flowing grace, robes and love of life – that made it watching them a most mesmerising to divine experience.

In the words of Rumi Daylight, full of small dancing particles and the one great turning, our souls are dancing with you, without feet, they dance. Can you see them when I whisper in your ear?”.

Curdnatta Art Gallery February 2017

My work will be hanging in Curdnatta Gallery in Port Augusta for the month of February, so be sure to pop in and have a look.

Current Exhibition at The Barn, McClaren Vale

Exhibition ‘In Shadow of the Clouds’, is currently hanging at:

The Barn,
252 Main Rd,
McLaren Vale SA 5171

Drop by and have a gander, while you sample some of South Australia’s finest Restaurant.

Onwards to Amasya end beyond

After Trabzon I had to return to Ordu, which was not too bad as I missed seeing the point where Jaons and his Argonauts had rested after they had captured the Golden Fleece. However I had so hoped to go further East! The troubles in the East of Turkey between the government and the Kurdish rebels is escalating and I was strongly advised NOT to go any further!  Shame! As two months ago lol was still well in that area. However I decided to go to Amasya instead. What a lovely, lovely surprise this little town was! Nestled between large sheer rock face mountains, with a river in between, lays this cute little Ottoman town, with lovely houses, Pontic rock caves and a great museum and lovely old mosques. I could have stayed forever! I found a gorgeous little hostel, with such friendly staff, I felt directly at home! I had a great view over the river and a private balcony! Life is just so good at times! The rock caves, bridge and old houses lit up in the evening in a most garish fashion, that appealed to the little child within! I walked around for hours, meeting people, enjoying myself. Even shouted myself a, very expensive, beer after finding out that Turnbull had taken over from Abbott!

All good things come to an end! I had planned to go to Sivas from here, but after several people told me it was much better to go directly to Corum(pronounce Chorum) I took the advice and indeed within an hour I was in the next town! Nobody spoke English here, and according to my book the hotel was just around the otogar(bus station) there was no mention of a NEW Otogar out of town! Oops! In the end this bus driver pushed me onto a dolmus, and dropped me off nearby a very LARGE hotel! Luckily the manager spoke a smithereen of English, enough to make him understand I didn’t want to stay at his  five star hotel but at the three star somewhere in the neighbourhood of his expensive hotel! Sweet as he was he walked me all the way to the hotel of my choice! Here I am for half the price in, for me, a luxury hotel! I took it easy, and relaxed. Made friends with the lovely manager in the eatery across the road, and had to try all his specialities! My gosh one meal was enough for three people! And all that for five dollars! Amazing!

the next morning I went exploring! A great museum just around the corner. Fabulous statues and stone carvings. I never get enough to seeing a well presented museum!   Wandering the streets afterwards in search of the castle, I heard knocking sounds, and there they were, the copper pot makers! I stood in awe at their skills. Was offered chai, which I declined, I am drinking twenty cups of tea a day, and need to be near a tuvalet (toilet) at all times! Declining a cup is bad manners, but sometimes necessary. I watched some men playing rummy cup in the streets, and was told to sit down and have tea! One of the men spoke German and at least we could have a chat! I passed a lovely hour watching them play and moved on. The castle was closed for renovations, but the lovely little mosque was open. The young man let me have a sticky beak inside even though I didn’t have my scarf with me! Oops! Breaking all the rules! From there on I wandered through the lovely little streets in search of the clock tower. These were all the attractions in this town. Easy to do! Three places to visit! While sitting down relaxing watching the world go by I noticed the Hamam nearby, since 1573, I decided to visit an Hamam again! Nearly stepped into the men s entrance, oops, social faux pas. It was to be one of the best decisions I have ever made! My massage was utterly superb. The lady used to be a doctor, then after her husbands death retrained as a masseuse. She literally fixed my shoulder problem in two sessions! She had thumbs of steal, and was so strong she massaged the marrow inside my bones! My gosh, I was scrubbed, massaged, scrubbed again and washed. Was quite funny as nobody spoke English, the woman just grabbed my knicker elastic to swing me around, which cracked up all the women present! One of the women spoke German and became the translator to the thousands of questions these women wanted answered!  So funny they were! The main question

Trabzon and Yorma

After my lovely stay in Ordu, where I could have stayed on in my comfortable hotel room which such friendly staff, I moved on to Trabzon for my second couch surfing experience! The first one was hard to beat! Travelling along the Black Sea coast line was amazing. It is mountainous on one side and the other one the green blue sea. The weather was perfect. It was a short and pleasant drive. I rang my new host, Temel, and we agreed where I would be picked up. Apparently my confirmation which I wrote in Samsun had not gone through! Oops! May be switched the gadget off too quickly? Temel had just picked up Mina, from South Korea, who was also staying for three nights. Which was just great! She was funny and sweet and we had the best two days together. On the first day we visited the Sumela Monestary. About fifty kilometres out of Trabzon, high up in the mountains is a monastery cut out of the rocks. It is one of the most amazing places I have ever visited. The bus dropped us off as far as it could and would wait for our return at three o’ clock. There was a lovely girl from Hong Kong, an English teacher who had been a year in Turkey, teaching and her student, who was Turkish. Then there was Mahmood from Iraq,an engineering student, who spoke terrible English. The five of us had a lot of fun on the long walk up. Having a native Turkish speaker was also helpful as , when we reached the Monastery, we had to wait over twenty minutes. The museum only allows so many people at one time, which is a great idea as you can at least SEE the place!

The Greek Orthodox Sumela Monastery of the Virgin Mary, is one of the biggest highlights near Trabzon, and indeed, of the Black Sea coast! The Monastery was founded in the 4th century AD and abandoned in 1923 when the Turkish Republic wAs established. The best part was the main church with absolutely awesome frescos, most of them deliberately damaged in the past. One can just imagine what it must have looked liked when it was first created with the frescos inside and out! Sumela,whose name is derived from the nearby MT Melat, clings improbably to a sheer rock wall, high above the ever green forest below. It is an awesome, awe inspiring and mysterious place, especially as the mist was hanging low above the forests, I could hear the call of a mosque hidden out of sight. Shame it was so busy with tourists, not having my own transport I have to rely on public transport, and of course the buses provided only go on the busiest tourists viewing times!
I was mightily impressed and took hundreds of photos. On the slippery way down Miet, from Hong Kong and lovely Murat from Turkey took care of me! So sweet, little old lady needs looking after! But after two near falls, I was glad they stayed nearby! It was actually Murat who had the bad fall, showing off to his teacher, he jumped onto the low wall, which was slippery with wet leaves, and fell off! It was an absolutely magic day! Now I know much of my days are like magic, some some are even more than magic. Definitely a highlight of my Turkey trip so far.

The next day I had decided to go to the Aya Sophya, indeed, same name as the large mosque in Istanbul, this was a little church, which had been converted into a mosque and then became a bit of a museum although it still functions as a mosque! Which is a shame as the fabulous fresco inside the large dome is partly covered up, if they would only work out that if they uncovered it they could charge entrance fees! The guide was lovely and showed us around, he had taken photos of the dome before it was covered
Up and he offered for me to take photos of his photo. Was a good idea but didn’t really work well. Not to worry I used my imagination, which can work over time at places like this. From the Aya Sophya we caught a dolmus, mini bus, back to the otolaryngology, bus station, to see if we could find our way to the Trabzon museum. I don’t think Mina was I to musea, but hey, she didn’t have to come! As it was I saw the museum sign while the bus was driving, got exited and to,d the driver to drop us off at the museum? Confusion arose. Luckily a lot of Turkish people speak German, and although my speaking German is atrocious, I can understand everything. Unlike my Spanish, which I speak perfectly well, but I can’t understand a word when people talk to me! Anyway this Turkish German speaking woman helped me out, giving the bus driver directions and instructions how, what and where to drop us off. As it was they were both wrong, but where he dropped us off, we found a sign telling us where to go. The museum is I. A lovely statuesque house, with enormously high ceilings, which are lovely decorated and had huge chandeliers hanging fro them. Another very fruitful day!

On the move again!

Amasra is a gorgeous seaside town, with an old history. It has a ruin of an old castle on the top of the hill. A small Christian church with frescos, which I couldn’t see as the church was locked for renovations! Lots of markets, and local Turkish tourists! The two harbours are interesting. Their is a small harbour, with less people, and boatbuilders right along the black sandy beach. The large harbour was crowded, over priced and unattractive, but it is where the yachts were, the expensive hotels and the great restaurants. I spend the first day relaxing on the beach. Swimming, although very tempting in the warm waters, was impossible for me. There were so many jelly fish floating about. Since my full facial attack by a Portugese man of war jelly fish, while holidaying in Tonga, I decline, thank you! I rather stay on the beach in my comfortable chair. The centre of Amasra is not very big, and all the narrow streets are filled with markets, selling kitch to tourists. Nothing fabulous was found, and no money was spend by me. However the Turkish tourists were determined not to take any money home with them. Fascinating to watch, shame there was no space anywhere to allow for people watching. The second day I climbed he hill, played in the castle remains, and looked for the Christian church. The narrow alleyways were reminding me of a past long gone, but still traces to be seen every where. The third day I took a boat trip around the harbours, which in high season is a six hour trip. This includes stops and swimming, but due to it being low season the trip was only five dollars and forty five minutes! If this is the low season, I would not like to be here in the high season! The place was absolutely packed.
Three days did me fine, and I moved on to Inebolu, where I was going to have my very first couch surfing experience! Being new to couchsurfing, having tried this in Ireland, very unsuccessfully, I decided to try again, after the young man in Safranbolu suggested it!

Istanbul, Turkey

The dormitory had only three beds, and no bunks! For ten euros a night it was an absolute bargain, especially since I had two nights by myself. The first night was spend with Rachel, a lovely girl from South Korea, and the last night with Candy, from China. Candy, whose real name is unpronounceable, was a Chinese version of myself! Artistic, talkative and one big ball of energy! I finally got it! Why people get tired of me! It is lovely to be with somebody with such enthusiasm, but totally exhausting. candy was on the Silk Road and had just arrived from Iran! She had no problems what so ever and found the people friendly and hospitable. She also told me that if she has nasty experiences, she forgets about them! Could lead to follow! She had travelled through Africa with a tent for six months, and turned her blog into a book! Now she is a published author in China and writes a travel blog, takes photographs and gets paid to travel! This young woman has it made! What about a travel log for the oldies? The grey nomads? Outside their comfort zones? Hm! Worth thinking about! Anyway I came to Safranbolu for one night and I ended up staying for four. Could have stayed longer but I feel rested now so I can move on. I visited every attraction in the little town, spoke to all the people several times, made friends drank tea, and saw everything worth seeing. Didn’t do any of the tours as I find them expensive and often not worth the money spend. Amass is the next place I am going to and this is on the beach of the Black Sea!

Day 60, Camino de Santiago

Day sixty, 29 June 2015,
Santiago de Compostella to Castelo
12 kilometre~three hours

Left Santiago early about 8.00 am, but had breakfast around the corner! So really I started at about nine o’clock! It was only a 12 kilometres walk! Three hours only! No big deal!
The Albergue was still closed when I arrived! I had booked ahead, which wasn’t really necessary. However, I am glad I did. I was still not feeling a hundred percent. I was so fed up still not being well. Over it not feeling a hundred percent.

Julian the owner was a bit full on, pushy really. I was in the dormitorio and he is telling me which bed to take! Anyway went to sleep and relax, until these Italians came in and talked on the top of their voice So! I really don’t understand people any more! It was obvious I was sleeping and this man is talking on the top of his voice on his smart phone! Well,go outside! Or sit on the road or what ever but respect other people’s right to privacy! Unbelievable! Anyway Julian was going to take me to the river when two very hot and bothered young people walked in! The Albergue only had one bed left! I suggested that I take a private room which gave these young people a room in the dormitorio, as one of the people was my Camino grand daughter, Vita!
It was a BIG mistake! The lovely looking bed was invested with bed bugs and I never slept the whole night!

Anyway he took us to the river we swam and returned to the Albergue. The pilgrim’s dinner was pitiful. Very small uneventful AND he was the first person to charge us for the wine by the GLASS! Unheard of on the Camino!
After the sleepless night I told him about the bed bugs and he basically told that I had brought them in! What an arsehole! I never ever even unpacked my bags!

Today’s lesson: not everything that glitters is gold
Today’s gift: the swim in the river

Day 59, of the Camino

Day fifty nine, 28 June 2015,
Santiago de Compostela

It was such an anti climax to be in Santiago de Compostela! In the middle of a fiesta! It was crowded with people, touristic and expensive! People came out of the pilgrims office crying when they got their certificate! I felt nothing at all! Certainly not like crying at all. Yesterday there was a big queue at this office so today we went here early, picked up our certificate and went and had a look around! The pilgrim’s mass was at 12.00 o’clock so we had some time to look around.
Pepe and Maria had to leave early today, back to Valencia.

The pilgrim’s mass was very impressive, especially the blessing of the pilgrims, with the I sense at the end! I forgot to ask for something’s! Oops! This was my change and I didn’t ask or what I wanted! This is the moment that people have told me, where a voice speaks to them and they get their gift or “boon” as Joseph Campbell called it. I didn’t hear any voices nor did I feel I received a gift! Oops! Didn’t I walk hard enough? Need I have suffered more? I am not really into suffering! But may be I should have?

Libby and I lost Reme and Anatolia when we came out of the church and after we waited for a while, we went to the artisans a market. I bought some nice smelling stuff for my back pack as all my clothes are smelling mouldy and wet. Later on that afternoon we finally found Vita, and spend the rest of the day with her. We all felt different. I had to say good bye to Reme and Natalia, and it all felt very surreal! I am not very good at the saying good bye part!

Today’s lesson: glory lies in the attempt to reach one’s goal; not in reaching it!
Today’s gift: Pilgrim’s blessing

Day 58, on the camino and almost there

Day fifty eight, 27 June 2015,
O Pedrouzo to San Lazaro
20 kilometres~5.00am till 12.00pm

I had it all planned! I was going to walk early, and stop about five kilometres outside of Santiago, then on Sunday morning I would walk into the town! Romantic idea of arriving on my own, sort of, contemplating the beauty of life and the Camino! Of course life is what is happening when you are busy making other plans! And indeed this is what happened!

I was up early as I thought Andreas had woken me up! This was not at all the case, but since I was awake anyway I decided to get up and move. I had planned just a short fifteen kilometres walk, only about three to four hours worth. The forest was pitch and pitch black. I had forgotten to buy new batteries for the torch so it was very hard to see and find the arrows. I would have liked to have had more daylight as this felt rather threatening. Especially when one dork rain from Brasil found it necessary to scream on the top of his voice as if he was in the middle of a horror movie.

The walk was easy and went well. The morning was pleasant filled with the usual honeysuckle smells, varied bird life and water trickling along in the small creek. I love these mornings in the forests, especially when I am alone. The way went through many small villages and as per usual I had my breakfast in the first cafe that was open. People were excited as we were so close! I had on purpose decided to stop before Santiago, but had booked a place, which I thought was out of the town! Imagine my confusion when we kept walking and walking and suddenly we saw the sign of Santiago de Compostela! At the top of the mountain, Monte do Gozo, I met up with Remy and Natalia, who were walking with Peppe and Maria Jose. We all set down for brunch and laughed a lot! My Spanish is getting rather good again, should really go and study it now, while it all has come back. Anyway the five of us walked the rest of the way together.

We came across a huge monument celebrating the pope’s visit I believe,we took lots of photos and were joined by a group of youngsters who were collecting money for a dog shelter! All the dogs wore bandanas and were quite excited to be out I think! I called these dogs “perro~grinos”! This was my very first Spanish joke! A play on words, wow smart I am!
There were also a lot of “touri~grinos”! Big bus loads of tourists so they could walk these last. Twenty kilometres into the tourist office! Easily recognised by their clean clothes, lack of bedbug bites, and the ease they were walking with! It was obvious that they had had no blisters nor any other problems with their feet!

As it was San Lazaro was literally only ONE kilometre away from the cathedral! It was not at all a little village outside the city! As we had walked the whole way by surprise, we decided to just check in to our Albergue and have a rest first. Pepe and Maria were staying in the next Albergue, so we all showered, not me since there was no hot water left by the time I had my turn!


Day 57, on the camino

Day 57, Arzua To Pedrouzo,
started @ 5.15am arrived @11.00am~ 19kilometres

It all started, again, with three Italians swing light into my face at five o’clock in the morning! What is it with Italians and LIGHT? Are they THE light? Do I need to SEE the light? How come they are always MEN? Trying to pack their packs? Can’t they pack the night before? How come I can pack with NO light? How come they wake up so early and then they arrive AFTER me? I don’t get it! Anyway, I am working on tolerance, hard to achieve at five in the morning! But the up side of this is that I was in the forest on my own at six o’clock in the morning! Just for about five minutes there was a group of five Americans, in their latest “travel fashion”, obviously started in Sarria as they were clean, crisp and roaring to go! Also LOUD! Had I seen any arrows this woman asked me, while chewing loudly on her gum! Eh, if you stop shining your light in my face, I can actually see an arrow right behind you! Duh! Here they were in the forest, it is quarter to six in the morning, three of these women had music blaring on their gadgets, while the others were talking on the top of their voice! I waited until they were out of sight, as I prefer to listen to the sounds of nature! There was a small creek, babbling along side of me, the birds starting to wake up, frogs in the distance and a cookcook far away! The air was scented heavily with honeysuckle. Being in nature this early in the morning, and on my own, is like being one with god! Here and Now god IS! Well, it is to me!
It was an easy walk today, no strain what so ever I had my luggage send on, as the hair
Iine crack in my hip was playing up something chronic!
I am living on pain killers right now, shame really. Only one day of walking left, and that is an easy day as well. I hope to be in Santiago on Sunday morning, after only about four kilometres walking, I should be at the cathedral, early and fresh! Libby arrived yesterday, by bus, and I hope she has an hotel booking for Sunday. I will stay the one day and then go onto Finisterra on Monday. To atone for all my sins omitted on the Camino! Such as catching a taxi, when I pulled a muscle in my foot, was sick with my stomach cramps, and when Lucia and I went to Pondeferra. By walking the extra 90 kilometres I should have made up for my “failings”! What to do AFTER the walk? Jose has booked my flight to Ireland as I couldn’t pay for the trip on my gadget WHY is this so? Hm! Apple?
Anyway I am going to walk the Wild Atlantic Way, at least part there off! Better book my flight to either Zagreb or Istanbul as well! The earlier, the cheaper it is!

Day 56, on the camino

Day 56, Melide to Arzua,
Started late, didn’t want to leave the comfort of the hotel!
Had a delicious breakfast and started at
8.30am arrived in Arzua, by 2.00pm

It was hard slog today! After my thirty three kilometres yesterday, the body just ached. No matter that had three very hot baths, two hot showers! My whole body was complaining. My legs, hips and back were all incredibly sore. I couldn’t get into the “Zen” of walking, into the “zone”! Some days are like that. Some days one just flows, the walking seems effortless, one is and stays one with the nature around, other days it is just hard slog! And today was award slog day!

Day 54, on the camino

Day fifty four, Ferreios to Gonzar,
Started @6.30am till 12.00pm~17 kilometres

Had an early start today. Felt good. Had a restful sleep, and the pain in my knees had sort of gone. Not all the way but much less than yesterday. The dormitorio was rather quiet. The place was brand new. Shame they put in these crummy showers! Ah well, not necessary to complain!

Today the weather had changed. It was much cooler, with rain even, albeit not much. It was too hot wearing my jumper AND raincoat. So I had to change a few times, before it felt right! Most of today’s walk was up hill. I had promised myself to do better than yesterday! It felt good and I set an easy rhythm for the day. The landscape again was stunningly beautiful, it was a pleasure walking through the forest, listening to the creek below. Lots of birds singing away, glad that the heat was gone for a day! Met some lovely people on the way. Walked a while with an American lady who lives in Andalucia. Her mother had only joined her in Sarria, she was 68 years old, but when her daughter told her that I was nearly 65 she was not at all impressed! I was much fitter and younger than her! Made me feel good though!

I was glad when I reached Gonzar, although I had planned to climb the big hill this afternoon, as it was cool, I decided to have an early start tomorrow, and tackle the hill when rested and fresh! I hope to be in Santiago on Sunday so I can at least catch up with Libby before she flies out on Monday morning!

Today’s lesson: Listen to yourself
Today’s gift: No back ache

Day 53, on the Camino

Day fifty three, Samos to Ferreiros,
Started @ 6.30am till 1.00pm
Had my luggage send onwards, much too far
Ended up having to take a taxi

One of the most beautiful walks. After walking along the road for a while, the Camino turned into a forest. Along a small creek, bright green bracken and dappled sunlight coming through the leave trees. I lost most of the other peregrinos quickly and walked mainly alone. Most of the walk was going up and down but there were no deep ascends or descents.

After about three hours I reached a small cafe where many other pilgrims were sitting down. I decided to have breakfast here. I met up with Marius and his. Father Gregor again. Also this strange Dutch woman, who constantly wants to know where I am going next, who constantly refuses to speak English, or who thinks I understand Dutch! Weird! (Which of course I do, but how would she know?)
Just before I reached Sarria I met up with Remy and Natalia. I met both of them on the monastery tour in Samos.

Today’s lesson: stop having expectations
Today’s gift: unexpected visit to the monasterio de Magdalena

Day 52, on the Camino

Day fifty two, la Faba to Samos,
One of the most beautiful walks yet!
Woke up early and decided not to have breakfast! The walk was stunningly beautiful. Through forests, creeks running, birds singing, tranquillity, peaceful and totally alone.
Today was one of my best days. I was happy and content to be on the Camino, there was no problems in my mind, my body was holding out, and although my knees decided to play up, all was good. Slowly, slowly got me to Samos. A very small and tiny village with an enormously BIG monestario. I stayed in a private Albergue rather then at the Monastery. Mainly because this Dutch woman I keep bumping into, wanted to know if I was going to stay there! She drives me crazy, one of these clinging people, who cannot be alone! Great! But I am NOT one of these people, so leave me alone! Some people just NEED to be with somebody ALL the time! Pete was like that! Driving people crazy and away in the process. Or may be it is me who is the one who is strange, wanting to be alone all the time! I like my own company, my own thoughts. I don’t need to constantly tell people how far I have come, how many kilometres I have done or want to do. She asked me every time she sees me, where am I going to? Where am I staying? As answer I just shrug my shoulders and don’t even answer her any more!

Samos was absolutely gorgeous! When finally got there’s! There were several villages I came through that were not at all on my map! I actually got lost , for the first time! There were several ways to go to Sarria, I ended up in a three house village where there was something going on, a fiesta? A funeral? The three people standing next to a table with candles, told me it was only one, three and five kilometres to Samos! Shame there was not a Albergue here! I could have joined them in their wake, fiesta or what ever they were having!

Day 51, on the camino

Day fifty one, La Faba to Biduedo
Started @5.30am till 12.30pm~21kilometres
4 kilometres straight up to O Ceibrero

It was not a peaceful night. Martha, the Austrian girl, had nightmares all night long. The overweight German lad snored his head off. Nina tossed and turned above my head! And at five o’clock, the Canadian put his headlight on, right into my face! Great! He needed top pack his whole backpack, most of it in plastic bags! Do you know how much noise these bags can make? Unbelievable! Then the two Dutch women joined in! I tried very hard to bury my head into my pillow, and by a quarter past five I realised I wasn’t going to get any more sleep. I was up and gone within ten minutes? It is then that I realised that I am highly organised! All I needed to do was put my sleeping bag away, nighty and brush my teeth, which I did outside at the town Fuente, the town pump!

I was on the steep high road at exactly five thirty. It was a cool and crisp morning. Barely needed my light. The ascend was steep. The woman at the drink stand told me yesterday it was only one kilometre of steep ascend and then it was all flat and downhill from then on. She lied! It was a steep ascend for over four kilometres. However the stunning landscape made up for the hard slog I had to do! It was stunning, green mountains, wild flowers galore and such a variety of birdsong that it was just amazing. I walked on my own for about two hours, when finally the Canadian and the two Dutch women caught up with me! They barely said hello, which was fine by me. I am working on being tolerant and kind, but shit it is hard to do when it is five o’clock in the morning!

I took awhile to do the steep ascend, but as soon as the ground levelled out, my speed increased and I was walking in a wonderful and easy pace. I reached Fondria at about twelve o’clock , but the casa rural was booked out, and the man asked if I could wait awhile before his sister had time to ring a casa in the next village. I couldn’t do another eight kilometres, but three was all right. His sister booked a room for me, and off I went on my merry way! It was lovely and warm. I know all the perigrinos call it HOT, but it isn’t it is about twenty five degrees and absolutely wonderful. I rather walk early and in the sunshine then in the rain, thunder and lightning.

Arrived in Biduedo at about one o’clock. The lady of the house Cecilia, is gorgeous, and my room, with private bathroom is delightful! Albeit it could do with a good clean though. Everything is a tad greasy, the friendliness and helpfulness made up for it. Had a lovely hot bath, shaved my legs and just indulged in the luxury of being able to walk around naked in my own space! hallelujah for the simple things in life! the bath water looked like mud by the time I finished my luxury indulgent past time. Unbelievable rich I felt!

Today’s lesson: I am highly organised!
Today’s gift: Casa Xato in Biduedo

Day 50, and still walking the camino

Day fifty, Trabadelo to La Faba,
Started @ 7.00am till 11.30am~14 kilometres

Although the Albergue Camino y Leyenda, was wonderful, quiet and friendly, the four Italians I shared the dorm with had other ideas! At five o’clock the first alarm clock went off, and then the three other clocks went off at different times. Within five minutes they were talking and laughing, with NO consideration of the other person still in bed asleep! Sometimes I just can’t believe how incredibly rude people can be! Before my eyes were open, they turned on the light and that was the end of me starting any later than five thirty in the morning! Unbelievable! Hell really IS other people! Jean Paul was so incredibly right about that!

I was grumpy and. In a foul mood. I stormed downstairs, complained to Pio, and grumbled about the coffee he offered! He laughed and thought it was very cute to see me in a bad mood! Of course it didn’t last long! As soon as Pio laughed there was not much I could do but laugh with him! I was out and on the road at seven o’clock! I stomped my feet so fast that I made an incredibly good time, I did over eight kilometres within an hour and a half! It was quiet, not many pilgrims were out as yet, all was still closed, so before I knew it I had reached the BIG HILL part! This is was I had been concerned about. I am not good at going up hills. It hurts my knees, hips and my total body. Never mind the hill was here, and I had to get up there, not much I could do about this! So I just got on with the task ahead and step by step, slowly ever so slowly I made it up the steep hill. It took me over two and a half hours to climb up for nearly five kilometres!

The thing is, although I am slow, I DO get there in the end! I have to be honest, I was very glad to get to La Faba, and seeing the Refugio ?…………..was amazing! My foot had swollen to twice the size, was throbbing and complaining. I booked myself a bed, tried to ring Nina to let her know that I had reserved a bed for her and Martha, but was out of credit. this lovely woman send an sums message on my behalf. I was the first peregrino there, so I made my bed and laid in it!

Just when I was about to fall asleep I heard The owner come in, the women’s voices sounded familiar and there were Nina and Martha. Nina never got my message! So very funny, they had chosen the same Albergue as myself!
I had a small nap, until a very rude Canadian talked on the top of his voice to these two Dutch women. Why he couldn’t whisper like they did is beyond me, especially since I was on the bed next to him, and he could see I was trying to sleep! Later Nina encountered the same problem with the German guy, fond of his own voice talking full volume to Martha right outside the dormitory door! Man, I am so over other people! I always thought I liked people! Well, it is official, I don’t ! I like children, but NOT adults and certainly NOT peregrinos! I am also over the conversations they have, HOW many kilometres did you do today? Where did you start? Hey are you doing the Camino? After fifty days of these conversations I am over it! I lighten things up by saying things like, do you know the first rule of the Camino? Don’t talk about the Camino! This often shut people up, and you can go on to other topics! It is all so competitive and as if it is a race! A little bit like I am more enlightened than you! Ah, you have days off? Well, then you are NOT a serious pilgrim! You only walk twenty kilometres a day? Well, you are NOT a serious pilgrim! And so forth and so forth! You feel like asking, and WHO set up all these so called rules?
Mind you you also meet lovely people, such as the Brasilian girl who gaveme a fabulous massage and was shocked I gave her twenty euro! And the lovely German gentleman, who is walking the Camino , when he recovered from a tumor last year. Of course meeting Nina and Martha has been delightful as well, but to be honest, I need to walk the rest of this Camino ALONE, I have been thinking. If I should just act as if I can’t speak at all! Hm! Good idea!

Today’s lesson: develop more tolerance
Today’s gift: Brasilian massage

Day 49, on the Camino

Day forty nine, Villafranca deal Bierzo to Trabadelo
Started at 8.30am till 1.00pm~12 kilometres
Took the Camino Dura,
the high road in the mountains

The best day on the Camino, four hours of absolute solitude!

Had an early start ! Was stunningly beautiful! NO other pilgrims on this road! I walked, played, created, and sang on the top of my voice! There was literally no body else on the path, for over four hours! Unbelievable! I loved every minute of it! I sat down amidst the wild flowers. Left little notes on stones! This is how I had imagined that I would be able to walk the Camino! Yeah I know! A bit naive really. However, when I get glimpses like HOW it could be, I get all tears eyed. To walk the Camino without other people! Of course totally impossible, but a woman can dream!

It was without a doubt the best day yet!

Today’s lesson: smile, and the whole world smiles with you
Today’s gift: Solitude

Day 48, Camino de Santiago

Day forty eight ,Ponferrada to Villafranca del Bierzo,
Started @ 6.30am till 2.30 pm~23 kilometres
(Should have stopped in Cacabellos)

Had a very early start. The American women got up and started to pack their bags. Okay. I can do this too, much faster than anybody else. I was out by six thirty. The morning air was crisp, I walked fast. Warming up as I went. My notes had said that it was very difficult to get out of Ponferrada, but I had no difficulties what so ever. There were two peregrinos in front of me, who set a good and fast pace. The weather was gorgeous and it soon warmed up. The walk went through all kinds of small villages and, although one had to walk along the road, it was pleasant enough.

I arrived in Cacabelos, around ten o’clock. I had planned to stop here for the day, but as I was doing so well, and it was still so very early I decided to go on. While having a drink, a Spanish woman came up to me, telling me something, I had no idea what she was trying to tell me. The young woman at the next table told me, I was not allowed to sit at that table as it belonged to a different cafe. So be it! I was not at all concerned. The young woman was from Germany, and obviously eager to talk. We chatted for awhile and I made up my mind to go on. She asked if she could walk with me for a while. This is not what I had in mind, but as I had walked for over three hours by myself without speaking anything more than “buen Camino”, I was ready for a chat. At least we didn’t do the how many kilometres or what ever boring Camino talk consists off. We talked about life, relationships and self confidence. Suddenly I seem to be an expert in young women’s eyes! And I suppose looking back indeed, I have come an enormously far way when you think of it. Wisdom eh, comes with the years! Hallelujah! Nina and I got into an easy rhythm, and soon we were talking and walking rather fast. Before we knew it we were in Villafranca del Bierzo.

You enter the village past an old Roman church. This church has a door of forgiveness! (Only Santiago has one too) I didn’t take any photos. Thinking I would come back later. I had booked a bed at this lovely Albergue Leo! Very reasonable, and there was room for Nina as well. Hot shower, washing, sleep! My gosh, life is full of routines! Scary, must watch this!

While checking in Nina met Martha, from Austria, who had been at the Hostal for over two days now. she had been walking over thirty kilometres a day, and after three weeks her leg had given up. Just like that! Young over achievers, trying to get to the end stop as fast as possible. Nina and Martha went off together, and I was so happy that they had made friends their own age.
After my nap I explored the town, took photos of the” Door of Forgiveness”, and let it all go!
Life is good and God is great!

Today’s lesson: don’t overdo things! (Cacabelos was far enough!)
Today’s gift: Photographic exhibition in Cacabelos

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