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.

IMG_5130 IMG_5166 IMG_5039 IMG_5022 IMG_4879 IMG_5948 IMG_4813

**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 3 – Akerreta to Pamplona

 We stayed in a beautifully restored Basque house in Akerreta overnight. But the night sleep wasn’t as fantastic as we hoped. Purely because a huge electric storm blew through about midnight and with the howling winds, forceful raindrops hitting the window panes, the thunder and the every-second lighting flashes….. sleep was going to be for deep sleepers only!

 This may have affected some of our bodies recovering time because 15km (which was about HALF of each of the past two days), honestly felt like 1000 km. Each hiking boot felt like we had filled it with lead and we felt like we were carrying bricks in our backpacks.

These past three diary entries have been David and Le whinge, whinge and more whinge. And we apologise for that. We want to be able to document our rawest emotions as we don’t want us to get to the end and be so elated about reaching Santiago, that our daily emotions are long forgotten! But on the flip side, we are really loving every other aspect of this experience. Each day, the minute we hit our destination we feel so accomplished!! We feel so proud of ourselves.

There have been moments where we are getting overtaken by everyone (or so it seems) – we thought the Camino wasn’t a race. And it isn’t! We just feel so slow and sluggish and unfit compared to everyone. Doesn’t matter the age of who is passing us by, we feel inadequate.

But after three days, we have learnt our next lesson. Something we are obviously aware of but on the road to Pamplona it dawns on us: we have no idea why these people are walking faster. They could naturally be fast walkers, they may have done this road before and so are trying to make more ground then they did last time, they might only have a few weeks to achieve the entire thing, they may not want cold showers at the next albergue…. everyone has their own reason why they are walking faster than us. And we should remember there are probably plenty others behind us that we don’t know about!

Extend this to our everyday lives off the Camino: That we can’t compare ourselves to other people. Why do we feel that there even needs to be a “benchmark”. We are all individuals and we should not be living to “keep up with others”. Take life at our own pace because everyone has different goals, don’t get distracted by what others are doing!

And today, what are we grateful for? The beauty of the earth! Over the last three days, we have seen the landscape change so much! We live on such an incredible planet, let’s look after it 🙂 

We have a rest day tomorrow!! The plan is to explore Pamplona! Thanks for reading 🙂 

Day 2 – Roncesvalles to Akerreta

When we arrived last night to Roncesvalles, our bodies ached in the most unimaginable ways. We had the quickest pilgrim dinner ever and wanted to hit the hay straight away. It was a soreness that we cannot describe – we felt like we had our energy sucked out of us, our limbs didn’t want to cooperate with us and we felt bruised and battered.

So we woke this morning expecting to feel sore and sorry for ourselves. But we didn’t. We were on the road by 7.15 knowing that today was meant to be another tough day.

We had a great start, motoring along with only slight ascents and just feeling like we were powering through the day until…. we were about 7km or so out.

Frustration, exhaustion, anger began to set in. Normally 7km back home would take us about 1.5 hours to walk but for some reason.. it felt like time was getting on but we weren’t covering any distance. The sun was unforgiving today. And there was little shade towards the end. Each step drained a little more water and energy from us.

To be fair, it probably was our bodies coping with so much walking in just two days. And the biggest tease is ALWAYS thinking that we are getting closer, but we just never seem to get there. There are occasional road signs telling us how much further we have to go and these signs don’t come often but when they do, they always give us a glimmer of hope. False HOPE every time today.

So what did we learn today? We found the secret to walking up those hills…. If we looked at just ahead of our feet, rather than up to the peak, we were able to power up those hills and before we knew it, we were there – at the top! We think the life lesson from that is: we should stop looking so much at the future and fearing or worrying about what is there – don’t let our minds predict or dictate how we should feel now about what we don’t know lies ahead. We need to look at where we are going now and in due course, what lies ahead will arrive when it does! We could really compare the difference between climbing hills yesterday (without this mentality) VS today (with this mentality). Every hill yesterday looked daunting because we kept looking up at how much further… yet today, we were just so surprised to have conquered those hills so easily in comparison. Our first reminder, to live in the NOW!

After today, we are grateful to have human contact in our lives. Just being able to speak and communicate and befriend people… whether it be our families, friends or complete strangers. We should reach out to people, if they need our help, they can take it. If they don’t need our help, it was good for them to know we care!

Day 1 – St Jean Pied de Port to Roncesvalles

How can we describe today? One of the most physically challenging things we’ve ever experienced but at the same time, getting the most stunning view as a reward! 

We knew that the first day was meant to be tough. But no words could’ve prepared us for what we endured!

We left St Jean Pied de Port at 7am while it was still dark and the church bell chimed as we left the gates. What a fitting send off! But that was as “fuzzy-wuzzy” as we would feel for the rest of the day.

We were climbing and climbing and climbing hill after hill after hill – every muscle from our waist down was screaming to rest every few steps. Our shoulders and backs were weakening and our arms were getting sore by the minute. Thank goodness for walking poles! Those poles saved us and we were so glad to have invested in them.

But honestly, the scenery was spectacular. As the sun rose behind the mountains, there was this most majestic view across the Pyrenees. Photos would be so much better to share but the internet connections are not great, we will get them on FB when we can find faster internet (this post is being uploaded on Day 2 of the walk).

As we got higher and higher, to about 1000+ metres, we were basically walking through clouds. The visibility was so low, we could only just make out the people up ahead, or the posts marked with the Camino “Clam” shell. We walked past roaming horses and sheep. It felt a little enchanting and eerie at the same time being surrounded by grey clouds, every which way.

We have met so many lovely people. As any other pilgrims bypass, everyone says Bonjour, Hello, Ola, Buen Camino – there is a wonderful sense of camaraderie knowing that we are all embarking on this mammoth pilgrimage. All conversations don’t even need introduction of names, most are about where you are from and why you are here. It has never been so natural talking to so many strangers every day.

We had read that “the Camino provides” & we did wonder what it would provide for us. And we found out today. We walked up to Orisson which is about 8-10 km from St Jean Pied de Port. And Le didn’t want to wear her hat prior to this and so it was clipped on the backpack. As we were leaving Orisson and walked about 100 metres, Le turns to David and says, “Can you get my hat?” thinking that it was visible, being clipped to the outside. David replies with, “Where is it?” It was at this point, we realized that the hat had fallen off. Somewhere. We went back and to search for it, when two Frenchmen walking towards us had picked it up and was carrying it forth….. For the rest of the day, Le needed that hat due t the fierceness of the sun– and if you know Le, she HATES wearing hats so it was so bizarre she even wanted it when she did.

Anyway, what did we learn today? We learnt about perseverance. We were so mentally and physically challenged but in the end because we stuck it out, we got to where we needed! Guess that can apply to life in general and we don’t need to know where we are going all the time because sometimes we just need to read the signs (either literally or metaphorically). After today, we know what we are grateful for. We take for granted our legs and the ability to be able to walk! Today, we felt so blessed that we were able to climb those horrendously steep hills, as much pain as we were in… we did it!!

Introducing Our Year-Long Project

This will also act as our “About” page but we felt this was also a fitting first post to introduce our idea. We officially won’t be starting the daily posting until 2015 but in the meantime, we might post and share uplifting or insightful things we find. 


How often do we really stop, think and talk to ourselves about what was good about each day?

We are currently in Switzerland and we were having dinner one night when we contemplated how we can really change the way we look at things especially after returning home from our Europe trip. That we should reinvent each day and not let them be “just another day”. We so easily let days roll into one and lose ourselves with routine.

Often we get to the end of another year and realise how it has gotten away yet again. We want to be sure that we don’t let our time pass us by, we are choosing to be in the moment and truly be present, not only in body but also in mind.  

This is our project:

Post every day for the year 2015, seeing and sharing only the “brighter” perspective  of something (anything) that happened that day! It’s about focusing on the good and less on the not-so-good. Not letting the good be overshadowed by those things that “ruined” our day. Not any more!!

And at the end, we will look back and see how much of the year we actually remembered because we stopped to think and talk! Depending on the success and our commitment, it may be a project we can continue. 

Life isn’t just about the milestones and big events – it’s about every day! So here is how Le and David “SEES THE DAY” for what it really is.

Here are the simple rules:

1) We post every day about our day from a brighter perspective – there are no limits on what might be posted. 

2) Embrace and capture all those little goodies that sometimes pass us by – there are times when we may get a compliment from a work colleague and we just thank them and that’s the end of it. These are the moments we want to remember rather than the fact that we had a terrible phone call 10 minutes later that “ruined” our day.