Trying to keep the Camino alive

Right! So it’s been one month since we arrived back home to Sydney after our adventure abroad.

It was time to live our “normal” lives again ad try to put a bit of what we learned into practise. And have we? Yeaaahhhh….. of course!

Every day, we seem to experience a little something that reminds us of the Camino; a snail, a butterfly, a story about a Templar Knight, an email from one of our Camino pals. Nothing is “just” what it is anymore.And yes, we do want to relive the Camino moments again. Will it ever be out of our blood and bones? We hope not!

Yesterday, we picked up our framed passports and certificates and now it is hanging proudly on our wall. We can relive those moments daily now!


But before we had this on our wall, in an attempt one weekend to take us back to those days, we watched the movie “The Way” starring Martin Sheen.

Before we had even left for Europe, everyone was raving about how we should watch the movie before we go. And then on the Camino, people talked about the movie so fondly. But we didn’t want to see it until after our Camino. We wanted the Camino to be an experience without any preconceptions. We were SO glad we didn’t watch the movie before we left.

Were we disappointed? Most definitely. We felt it was rather an inaccurate portrayal of the experience. Maybe we were fortunate but we never met a single pilgrim that was so negative, cynical, rude and disrespectful as the ones portrayed in the movie. With all due respect, we get that the movie needed to have some sort of “drama” but we felt it was too over the top.

We don’t even want to go into detail about the other inaccuracies of the movie. The characters were enough to make us cringe. Maybe we should’ve watched the movie before we left after, we would’ve been pleasantly surprised.

BUT we will admit that the scenery was accurate. It did make us nostalgic.

Looking back at some of our photos, it still takes our breath away. These are some of the photos we shared on our travel blog.

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**A big sigh**

Eventually we need to let go of our Camino feelings. Why did it feel so good?

We’ve got to keep the momentum going with maintaining those positive feeling and energies in our every day!

So far … so good 🙂


Day 41 – Palas de Rei to Arzua

If there was any day that would’ve brought us to tears, it should’ve been today.

For the record, of the 41 days on the Camino so far, today was by far the toughest in every way possible or so it seemed.

The weather forecast was for rain and rain, it did! It might have let up for only minutes at a time before it would come down again. It would be really heavy at times and then really light in parts.

We also had to contend with crazy winds, muddy and slippery paths and inclines and declines, crossing highways as well. The rain and the mud seeped into our shoes and soaked our socks and feet so when we finally got our boots off, the soles of our feet were wrinkly – our feet had aged about 50 years! We both also got stuck in the mud, trying to navigate our way through the safest and driest passage on the path.

What added to our grief was our sore legs. David was getting shin pain and Le was getting pain in her left foot – so we were both a walking mess in horrendous agony. But we soldiered on as best we could. And it proved that today was a test of our endurance, patience and tolerance. And if it was a test, well we both failed slightly because we had individual dummy spits over stupid things. Not at each other but at the situation at the time.

We got over the mini tantrum pretty quickly and stopped feeling sorry for ourselves pretty quickly too.

We comforted ourselves by saying that we were so lucky to have gotten this far with only 3-4 days of rain …. So we had been spoilt until now. Guess we needed to have the momentous day and character building day at some point.

And the biggest take away message was that when we are living our life outside the Camino and we are having a rough day at work or the weather is crappy – we will remember this day! The day we had to walk 28km or so in pain, with driving rain and we did it VOLUNTARILY on our holiday! So at least we will remember what having a tough day truly means!

The bar has been raised to what that actually entails to us. It certainly puts our lives of comfort into perspective.






Day 6 – Puente de la Reina to Estella

We left this morning with the sky still dark and the moon looking pretty full to us. As we headed out of Puente de la Reina, we saw many other pilgrims heading off too so it is always comforting to know we are not alone. 

We had a few hills to climb today and the day seemed a little longer than we had hoped for but our spirits remained high.

We can see that the enthusiasm is waning or the fatigue is setting in for others because the chirpy “Olas” and “Buen Caminos” are faint or unenthusiastic or simply non-existent. We are hoping to keep up the positive energy and greet as many people as we can along the way or who pass us.

One thing we are struggling A LOT with is the late dinner. We arrive somewhere mid afternoon and dinner is usually not until after 7.30pm. Firstly, that is really late for us normally but even later because after a day of burning tons and tons of calories, all we want is a good hearty meal. So after a shower, giving our feet a massage, watching TV, catching up on the blog… we end up wandering the streets, which means more walking. It is true what people say, walking is addictive!!

Today, we thought we may have lost our “guidebook” for the walk when we couldn’t find it in the “usual” spots of our backpack. Instead of panicking or becoming upset or frustrated, we just shrugged our shoulders and figured we would survive without it. Similarly, Le lost her sunglasses on Day 3 and it didn’t affect us in any way then either. It dawned on us today that we are “letting go” of possessions. Those things are replaceable. The lesson for life is to have no attachment to material items. Things break, things go missing…. So what?!

It reminds us of the quote:

Attachment is the root of suffering – Buddha

Day 5 – Pamplona to Puente de la Reina

Our bodies rewarded us today as the 24 km or so to Puente de la Reina was much easier than we expected.

We had such varying terrains… starting with flat, then uphill, then more uphill before going really downhill and then easy-ish paths to our “stop” town!

We were in good spirits for most of today and had thought because of our rest day we may have “lost” a few of our friends who we had started the Camino on the same day as us but it turns out we are still seeing a few familiar faces which is really lovely! Seems like others thought Pamplona was a good place to stop. But either way, we are meeting many more!

We also gave away some food again to other pilgrims. On the first day, we ran into a pilgrim from Norway who hadn’t managed to pick up any food before leaving St Jean Pied de Port and because our hotel was insistent on us taking our baguette with us, we gave him our spare one. Today our hotel packed us an enormous picnic for the road and after running into some Canadian pilgrims, we offered them part of our picnic. As we mentioned in an earlier post, there is such a sense of camaraderie. We look out for one another, it’s really pleasant which makes us think about why our usual environments can’t naturally and always be like that!

Maybe all pilgrims should bring a bit of the Camino spirit home and maybe it will spread and be the norm everywhere. 

Anyway, on the way to the summit, Le was graced with the guidance of a butterfly. It was the most unusual thing. Let us share the experience: David was a little further ahead of her and she was looking at stones only a few steps ahead (as per our Day 2 lesson when climbing hills) and the searing heat of the sun was just engulfing us. And Le could feel that her focus was waning on getting to the top, and right on cue, a butterfly flew into view and caught her eye. It landed on a stone not far from where she was looking, then as she approached it, it flew to another stone a few steps ahead …. It continued this way for another 6 or so times, then fluttered off. And would you believe, when Le looked up, she was at the summit!! It was the motivation and distraction she needed. How wonderful 🙂 

Our lesson today, after resting yesterday, it showed us how important it is to sometimes take a break and this gave us a new lease on how we tackle things. It is the healthy balance that we need in life sometimes, to not constantly be pounding ourselves with things. Downtime is good not only for the brain, the body but also the soul!