Day 23 – Carrion de los Condos to Terradillos de los Templarios

It was probably one of the tougher days today. The first 17+km had nowhere to stop or refuel! We needed to be super prepared with our supplies! Water and food bought and packed 🙂

We find that on our longer days, when they are broken up into smaller bite sizes because of the towns… it makes the day more manageable. So hence the difference today, made it a little tougher, probably mentally more than physically.

The path was straight and flat with nothing more than just fields on either side. Guess we could call it boring but we would be insulting it. The scenery once again was beautiful and we chose to look around rather than just at our path ahead…. This helped us to push on as we usually would.

The feeling of absolute relief and bliss rushes over us, the minute we lay eyes on a town of any sort as this means we are not far from civilisation.

To help us throughout the day, we decided to go for the distraction tactic once again. This time we revisited memories of our travels. Not necessarily good memories but funnily enough, we recalled a lot of random moments. Moments that were not captured in photographs or diaries, but moments that obviously added to our fond memories of our trips.

It is important for the mind to reignite those happy memories so that they can stay current in the memory bank. It is easy for us to sometimes dwell on the negatives and for our own inner health, we should keep the positives fresh!

Why do we even retain any negative memories? Especially when all they do is make our blood boil, cause us to relive things we would rather forget or make us upset. What does that achieve? Absolutely nothing. We should wash them down the drain when we shower! Rid ourselves of the negative energies.

Treat each day as a new day and although we revisit the good memories sometimes, likewise, we shouldn’t dwell on them! We should invest our time in making more great memories 🙂

There is so much more to live for when we live for the present. The past makes us who we are but it shouldn’t define what our now should be.


Day 18 – Burgos to Hornillos

(playing catch ups because wifi was not very good at the place we stayed yesterday)

We have arrived into Hornillos and are staying about 6 km out of town in a lovely guesthouse. It is on a beautiful farm and so peaceful especially after the mayhem and bustle of Burgos!

We are now on the part that they call the “Meseta” which we have heard people speaking about in the lead up – sounded rather daunting, unnerving and a mental challenge. So what is it about this section? Well, from what we gather it is flat, isolating and just open plains with little shade and shelter – which is a stark contrast to the ups and downs and dense surroundings we have been use to.

It has only been one day for us, but apparently it goes on like this for several more! It possibly is the time when the body and mind becomes fatigued and we start questioning our motives for walking. We will see how we manage these stages ahead! Today seemed ok… but it is hard to say when the weather was forecasted to be rain and storm and we managed to get an overcast day!

Seems like we have learnt not just from the walking and solitude and silence. We have certainly learnt a great deal from those around us too! Some of the things we have learnt are practical things that have helped us with foot care on the walk – but a few other things that we have discovered are not practical as such but have made us more reflective and inspire us in different ways.

One of the things is that this year, we can get TWO certificates for finishing the Camino de Santiago. It is exactly 800 years since St Francis of Assisi completed this pilgrimage. And so only once every hundred years is this certificate issued as well as the usual Compostela. Yes, ONE in every 100 hundred years and it happens to be this year. Apparently this year is called the Year of the Pilgrims. We had NO idea about any of this when we decided to do it this year, we just felt compelled to do it.

Which leads us to a conversation we had with an Italian young lady just the other day and as we talked, she said, “They say you don’t choose to do the Camino, it chooses you!”

And it was then the penny dropped and the puzzle was slowly beginning to piece itself together.

So why did we choose to do the Camino this year? We are doing the Camino to raise funds and awareness for Angelman Syndrome but we are also doing it for ourselves.

Last year sometime, we spoke to several people who had done the Camino recently and it started us thinking that it was something we wanted to do one day. It sounded like it was a great opportunity to do some soul searching and bring our life back to basics – escape the run-of-the-mill life that we had gotten so used to. So we made a pact – that we would do it before we turned 40: almost like a “bucket list” type of thing.

Then after barely any deliberation we spontaneously decided that 2014 was the year to do it! It was on a whim & we just committed to it. There was no backing out now…. And so here we are!

After what the Italian lady had said to us about the Camino calling us – we realise that is what happened to us because we cannot truly explain why we changed our mind from giving ourselves 8 years to do it – to deciding that it would be within the year! And then to learn that we get 2 certificates – one of which is only issued every hundred years! To us seems like a blessing and a true calling especially as we were totally oblivious to the timing of our walk.

Things in life happen for a reason, don’t resist it! If it’s meant to be, it is meant to be! We need to learn to listen to our intuition and instincts more – sometimes our rational minds have been brainwashed by the routine of society! Take a moment and let your soul be free and see where it takes you!

Day 16 – Atapuerca to Burgos

Happy anniversary to us!! Six years ago, Le was walking down the aisle. Six years on, we are walking 19 km!

It was another early start, and it was pitch black once again. We covered quite a bit of ground before the sun came up! We just wanted to get to Burgos! We just wanted to get there so we have at least a full day and a half break!

We did stop, take some photos, enjoy the scenery. But with storm clouds also looming, we paced on!

And guess what?? Our body is paying for it now! Or maybe it is our minds and bodies playing tricks on us… knowing that it can rest, it is deciding to milk our energy even more!

Anyway, we had another pleasant day on the road and we managed to find an owner for the hat. Not the original owner but another owner! Once again, we were asking around if anyone had lost a hat – and no one was claiming it. Then we asked this man at our morning stop, and he said, he did lose a hat a few days ago but it wasn’t that one. Feeling like that was the reason that we had carried it all this way we passed it onto him. He looked quite relieved to be back with a hat…

It was an interesting route to Burgos, there were many alternative options to choose from. All with yellow arrows, some more distinct than others.

It reminded us of when we were coming into Roncesvalles how we chose the longer, deserted yet easy and safe path, while most people we spoke to took the more difficult/dangerous path because it was (1) well-marked and (2) that was the way everyone else was going.

Today was quite similar, we hit a fork in the road, one was well-marked and the other wasn’t. Guess which one we chose! Yep the one NOT well-marked. The well-marked path was along the main highway with trucks and cars constantly trundling past. The way we went was more parklands.

Both of the routes we chose, although were not well-marked and less conventional, turned out to be the more scenic and pleasant paths. Both times we weren’t entirely sure that the way we were going was right because we seemed to be on our own for the most part…

There may be a “general” path through life but it doesn’t mean we have to follow the exact same “conventional” route. Sometimes we chose to do things differently because it feels right to us. At the end, we achieve the same thing… and that is LIVING. Some people prefer to follow the norm in life, while others chose to be unconventional and do their own things. It doesn’t mean we are LOST, it just means we like to do it differently.

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!