Vigo Day 8- more photos

Today was just one of those days where I did not feel like taking a lot of photos. But here are a few: we had a hard time staying on the Way in Vigo. But I am still amazed by the public art in Spain, be it on buildings:

or statues of the normal working guy at unexpected places:

Vigo surprised me. Where I expected a sleepy fishing village, we found a city of more than half a million people. It is huge!

But on our way to our hotel we found the city fathers (and mothers not to sound patronizing!) put a set of four elevators to the street where we live. Now that is thoughtfull!

We are on a month long journey in a country that is more expensive than ours. So we do cut our expenses where we can. As we are staying in a nice hotel for our rest, we are cutting on mealtimes again. We do not have kitchen facilities for the weekend. My wife said we should avoid another session of bread, cold meats and cheese. When we walked through the small supermarket that has no prepared foods, guess what we had for dinner?

But there is always a light shining in the darkest tunnel. My favorite energy source on the Camino comes at just 70 cents of a Euro for 6…

Today and tomorrow we are trying to rest and heal our feet. We are a little bit scared of the distances and topography of the final 5 days into Santiago, which we foolishly (me, I did that) booked on the John Brierley Scedule. We don’t know yet if we are tough enough for the 25 km days with some climbing involved. But we will soon find out!

Day 8 and 9: Vigo

We have nearly no wifi at our hotel, and I found out it is expensive to blog on mobile data.

We are staying over in Vigo for 2 days, good to rest a while.

So only one photo to sum up the day…

Lots of beach, beautiful country, but very hazy today.

We walked into a Pulperia just now at 17h30 to ask for their menu. (A place specializing in Calamari, but you knew that…) They chased us out and said they are closing, only opening at 21h00 (9 o’clock)… Like Obelix said: These Spanish are crazy. Will blog more when I do get wifi.

 

PS Obelix said that words in the academic work of ancient history: Asterix in Spain…. I think he did. Maybe..

Day 7: Baiona

I really had to think hard to get the days right… We left at 8 this morning at Casa Puertes in Oia, really a good experience to stay there last night!

We waited for the sun to set over the Atlantic last night, it obliged at 22h17! But before that, dear Kenneth, I watched it going down the correct and proper  way…DSC_0430.JPG

We were really hurting bad last night. This morning a new day dawned on our Camino.

When we started walking early it was way cooler, and we enjoyed most of the sights, except the walking alongside the main route… but that is life, you don’t always get to choose the route.

After Mougas Campsite the Camino veers off to the right to go across a mountain. (Ok, maybe not a mountain but remember I live in a flat part of the world…) Look out for this sign on the right and do close the gate!

While you are climbing, do take a moment to enjoy the view!DSC_0474.JPG

When you come down from the first mountain, you will pass through a town again but no open coffee shops! When you are about to expire from thirst, the Camino provides again… in the shade of a house, good water!

The second climb is no fun at all on the July mid day heat. But the good people of Galicea has provided shade and water and rest at the top.

At this park the route is not marked at all, turn downwards between the park and children’s playground across the road.

We were tired and hungry and gatvol. Then we came across this jewel of a restaurant.

We shared a menu of the day and a large beer, it was really good and prepared with love.

We were blown away by Baiona! We across the world has not even heard about it, but it is beautiful!

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We love the yaughts (how do you spell really big expensive boats?  and the castle and the small beach… But now we are really tired again and off to bed. Look at what my wife makes me eat tonight!

Today…

Today I am a tourist no more. I am not here to see, but to BE. I am no longer here for what I can gain, but for what I can give.

I will be thankful for each breath, and each step I take. I will accept what comes along the way, and not be angry when it is not my way.

I will be kind to all, taking only what I really need, (paying  a fair price) and leaving only footprints behind.

When the road gets hard I will walk on. When there is beauty I will stop and enjoy.

I will accept each sound, each smell, each taste, everything I see and touch as a blessing for this moment.

I am not here to buy, but to be…

From today I will be a Pilgrim on the journey of life… I shall not complain..

Bless that seagull whose delightful and volumous screeching has awaken me to my journey today… _20180622_063157.JPG

 

The light is coming, time to take a walk. The destination is of no importance  but each step of the journey matters.

For I am a Peregrino..

Ultreia! DSC_0158.JPG

Camino: One week to go…

After months of planning, dreaming, worrying, looking forwarding… it is the final week before we fly to Madrid.

My backpack is packed and ready. I just have to grab it and go on to the airport on Saturday.

As it usually goes in real life, I still have to work till Thursday. And as real life tends to go, a lot of things still have to get into place before I relax on the purple plane.

I have treated myself to a small neat journal to keep exceptional thoughts that may happen along the Way. I have also dreamed a long time about owning a Lamy Safari Fountain pen, and could not resist buying one on Saturday- a yellow one. Now the one fear is that the journal will remain empty on the journey.

Equipment wise we are sorted. I think my backpack weighs around 9.5 kg when there is a  1 1/2 litre of water on board.  Much less than we had to carry in the army anyway. What is going on in my wife’s backpack, I have not got a clue…

I do tend to overpack. But here is more or less what I do have packed:

We are flying out of a cold Johannesburg South Africa on Saturday. For flying I have a lightweight technical removable long sleeve pants (is that the right word? Remember English is a second language for me…)  I also have a long sleeve shirt, very lightweight that will help in the Portuguese sun. I have a fleece type softshell jacket, and will wear my hiking boots on the plane. Luggage tend to get lost in South Africa, all things else I can replace in Madrid but not my worn in boots.

In the backpack:

  • two pairs of hiking shorts,
  • two shirts,
  • three sets of underwear,
  • three pairs of socks,
  • a pair of Crocs for the evenings in the albergues,
  • a single duvet cover to sleep in, I hate sleeping bags. A single fitted sheet, and cushion sleeve in which I will use my inflateable cushion.
  • A head lamp,
  • a sea to summit plate and a spork, with a swiss army knife
  • an aluminium cup
  •  a 1.5 l water bladder
  • a 700 ml Atlasware hot water flask, no idea what it weighs but it keeps water boiling hot for nearly 23 hours.
  • some plasters and pain pills and sunscreen lotion
  •  a lightweight battery pack for extra juice for my phone
  •  a bandanna for walking through the cattle farms in Galicia (yes, it is my second Camino, remember…)
  • My single walking pole, usually used in South Africa to fend off black Mambas and small dogs along the way.
  • My John Brierley guide

Undecided:

  •  a pair of long johns underwear for flying
  •  And that is about it…

We are doing the Portuguese Camino, starting in Porto on 21 June. Before that we will be playing tourist in Madrid and Lisbon. We will be going by train to Porto, and after a good night’s rest start walking the Coastal Route, drifting off to the coast as far as possible. We live a long way from the ocean, and so any walking involving a sea view has our full attention.

You might come across us… this is our emblem on our backpacks and some of our clothing. My design…DSC_0321.JPG

We are quite shy and not always so sure of our English use, but be friendly and so will we…

Buen Camino!

 

Singing in the Rain…

Our region is very hard hit by one of the most severe droughts ever.

I am aiming to reach 150 km of hiking in March, and needed my last 8 km to reach my goal. So on this Good Friday my wife, my dog and I went for a walk. It seemed a little bit cloudy, but I could not lay my hands on my daypack with my raingear. So we started walking. Just outside town, before the 1 km mark, the raindrops started falling. But we decided to press on. At the 2 km mark I was already drenched, and then it started pouring down hard. But we pressed on towards our turning point at 4.25 km.

It is uphill all the way out, and downhill back home. I was soaked through, and my dog too, my wife came prepared for rain.

When it is so dry I really like walking in the rain. The raindrops became puddles, and the puddles became a stream flowing down towards the nearly dry river.

It was such fun, walking with my wife and my dog, soaking wet.

And when we came back into town: a glorious rainbow against the setting sun shining through the clouds.

Life is good! And tomorrow is my 28th wedding anniversary. I am blessed!

Pack up your trouble… or not?

In the first World War a marching song from George Henry Powell became famous. “Pack up your trouble in your old kitbag, and smile, smile, smile…”

Well, maybe you needed a good rousing song to march of to the trenches at Ypres, and you definitely needed all the ammo and gear you could carry. Usually it was just a one way trip anyway for most…

These were some darker thoughts as I had a full kit hiking session in training for our upcoming Camino. There is a long uphill road out of our town, and I slogged it up with everything I plan to carry on the Camino. At the turning point at 5.5 km I stopped at the Wildevy Farmstall. They have a butchery there, and I asked them to weigh my backpack on their hanging scale. Including 1.5 l water in the hydration bag it came to 8.4 kg. Not bad! In 2011 I tried it with 14 kg, and that really got heavy after 25 km every day.

I remembered the one piece of wisdom of the Camino that I usually forget in real life. If you want to travel happy, travel light. I have the bad habit of overthinking everything, and buying extra stuff to cope with all possible eventualities.

But you can’t plan everything in life. And you don’t have to take every possible piece of equipment with on your journey.  And this is much more wisdom to live by than just planning to walk the Camino. It applies to everyday life.

Which brings me to my point: I tend to gather too much stuff along the journey of life. Not just things. Emotional baggage. Useless social media relationships.  One of the joys of walking is the time to reflect on my life.  Yesterday I decided my life needs some serious decluttering. It is time to get rid of things, and bad memories, and people wearing me down on my journey of life.

One of my first steps will be to use the unfriend and unfollow button on facebook mercilessly. I do not need all the drama of 1100 people every single day in my life.

I am also going to seriously unfollow some people on Twitter. I am sick and tired of South African racial politics and the endless blamegame.

Then I seriously need to start throwing old magazines away, and selling or donating some books.

So, troops of World War 1, I do not wish to pack my troubles in my old kit bag. I wish to unpack them, and throw them away, so that I am travelling light, with people adding joy and meaning to my life. Then I will smile, smile, smile some more…

 

Finding rest in Nature…

Our region is going through one of the toughest droughts in memory. Our town’s dam, the one we rely on for our drinking water, is at a level of 14%, with water already unreachable for use, and mostly unusable due to silt levels.

So when we heard that a little bit of rain was predicted for Friday night, we decided to go camping in the rain.

Sunset over the water of Donkerpoort Dam was spectacular through the clouds…

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As the weaterman predicted, the rain started at exactly 20h00, with a majestic show of lightning and thunder included in the deal. The tents kept us dry, and I had a good sleep with the sound of raindrops hitting the canvas.

On Saturday morning it was time for a hike even though it was drizzling softly.  We saw some hikers was on the road before us…

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I love the South African Bushveld, even in times of drought there are still beautiful scenery.

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One of the joys of walking is the unexpected beauty you tend to find when you just open your eyes to it…

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And so the journey continues… onwards to Santiago,

Ultreia!