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2008-11-13 04:25 pm
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Just about home

In four and a half hours I should be on an aeroplane bound for Auckland by 2pm Saturday I should be in Wellington and steeling myself to start work again on Monday.


Looking forward to being home very much though
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2008-11-06 09:18 am
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Rome days 3 and 4

So yesterday despite being kind of tired I walked out to the Spanish steps and then over to the Vatican to look round the museum, I saw a mere fraction of what they've got but I did manage to fit in the Sistine chapel and the Raphael rooms.

I'm walking everywhere I can in Rome because I have a slightly bad reaction to wheat ( to the gluten in it I think). On the Camino the stomach aches that I usually get went away almost completely, I was walking with two people who are a lot more sensitive to gluten than I am and they found exactly the same thing, huge hunks of bread at every meal didn't seem to do us much harm at all. The only problem was when we stopped or slowed down all of the affects came back full force. In cacabelos where I stopped for a couple of days I found it very hard to leave because I had a stomach ache and really didn't feel like walking.

In Rome where there's a pizzaria around every corner I'm trying to keep the walking up as much as possible to stop the stomach aches.

Today I have a flight in the afternoon so I will be going nowhere more exciting than the laundrette.

Paris tonight!
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2008-11-05 09:48 am
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Rome is Amazing!!!

I've mostly just been walking around because the crowds kind of scare me right now.

On the first day I threw a couple of coins into the Trevi fountain, walked round the outside of the coloseum, walked over to Travastere to buy some books ( any books...god it feels good to read English language books). I also walked round the ruins by the coloseum, saw the circus maximus and the smallest inhabited island in the world.

On the second day I walked out to the New Zealand embassy, found that the Canadian embassy had moved in and spend the next 2 hours walking round the same few streets looking for the street where they'd moved to. I finally found them, voted (lovely experience, embassy staff are awesome) and then walked back and saw the Pantheon, after that I kind of got a bit lost, found pizza (actually pizza is everywhere) and a gelateria with a huge selection of flavours, two gelatis later the heavens opened and a spectacular thunderstorm started.
I walked back to the pantheon to watch the rain falling down through the dome and then got pretty soaked as I walked back to the hostel marveling at the lightening.

I don't know what I'll do today, I honestly don't feel like I've got the energy for the Vatican so the Sistine chapel might have to wait for the next time I'm here, I might go and wend my way through the capotoline museums.
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2008-11-01 02:42 pm
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Anna in Santiago (again)

So anyhow I fly out to Rome tomorrow night, has anyone got any requests for souveneirs?

I can do you yellow arrow things, scallop things and even witch things. I could even do you a skeleton pilgrim tee-shirt.

Hope everyone else is ok.


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2008-10-30 11:48 am
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Anna in Finisterre

Ok so we cheated a little and caught a taxi for the last 30k, I just got so very sick of the rain out here, it tended to mix with the cow muck and and the mud and form horrific puddles which we had to wade through.

The weather in Finisterre was absolutely lovely and we got to watch a sunset at the end of the world.

Now I´m at loose ends for a day and catching a bus back to Santiago tommorow. I fly to Rome on Sunday the 2nd and then on to Paris on the 6th where I´ll stay for 4 days. Still have to find accomodation in London and Paris but that shouldn´t be too hard.

It feels so strange not to be walking and to be able to buy heavier things.
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2008-10-25 05:29 pm
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Anna in Santiago!!!!

And feeling just a little dazed by it all. I stayed in Lavacolla again because I just couldn´t face the walk up to Mount Joy last night.

I walked slowly in this morning with some friends and felt just very very weird.

I´ve walked about 900k and I´m starting to feel it but I would also quite like to start on to Finisterre on Monday, I´ve got the time and honestly I think I would rather not hang around Santiago, it feels so busy and rushed and I´m really only moving and thinking slowly right now.

I´m staying in the Hotel Suso which is quite nice (if small).

I have my compostella but I haven´t done any of the cathedral things yet because I want to wait until late tonight when it´s quiet.

Love you all and hope all is well!
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2008-10-23 09:11 pm
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Anna n Arzua

And yes I know it´s only 14 k but I was walking with someone who stopped at a quite nice albergue here and I decided that a good albergue experience was worth a short day (and I was so suprised to find a nice albergue out here). I made myself a huge fruit salad and had vegetable stew for lunch at a wonderful restaraunt.

Ribadiso de Baixo looks absolutely lovely in the sunshine and the rolling hills and valleys would be absolutely beautiful if I didn´t keep having to walk accross them.

It´s only 37k to Santiago now and I can sort of feel everything beginning to wind down.

Still not sure about Finisterre, will see how I feel when I´ve had a days rest in Santiago.
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2008-10-19 04:19 pm
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Anna in Sarria

And I found my spiting frog fountain. I couldn´t remember the name of the albergue but when I saw the fountain and the deck chairs I knew I had found the right place.

The scenery today was amazing, we´re still quite high up so the views over the hills were stunning.

I took the short way and skipped Samos this time and quite liked the route. I´m planning to buy supermarket stuff and sit out in a deck
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2008-10-18 03:41 pm
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Anna in Triacastela

And still no sign of the three castles. Do you think they move them when the pilgrims aren´t around?

The scenery on O Cebreiro this morning was breath taking. I met the crepe woman again and decided I didn´t really need a crepe.

I´m planning on washing almost everything I own and eating supermarket food for dinner, to me this sounds like a perfect evening.

I think I shall take the next few days slowly as I get nearer to the 800 kilometre mark.

Hope everything is going ok.

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2008-10-10 10:25 pm
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Anna In Astorga

And pretty beat after a 33k day. There was jousting over the Hospital de Orbigo bridge, the occasional singing of wizard of Oz songs and general craziness. We are all sore and tired and we made up for it by going out to Restaraunt Gaudi and having a meal where the table cloths were made of something other than paper.

The scenery has changed to greenery and we´re finally off the meseta!

The Cathedral looks wonderful lit up at night
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2008-10-09 11:49 am
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Anna in Leòn

And heading out.

I made my 12k walk in, admired the Cathedral and then found that almost everyone I knew was in Leòn and staying the night. So I decided it was fate and got a hotel room, the first I´ve had so far.

The Cathedral was all restrained elegance and the city centre had a much more liveable feel than Burgos (as well as having kebabs!).

I´ve now been walking for 4 weeks and I´ve covered over 500k. I´m well past the point where I got sick last time which feels oddly triumphal.

I didn´t hate the meseta this time although I could have done without the rain.

Looking forward to the crazy castle in Astorga.
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2008-10-04 05:20 pm
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In Terradillos

And still not sick.

Today I was expecting awfulness, there´s a 17.5 k stretch of nothing...lots of rocks, the saving factor was the fact that it was cold this time around. I decided I had a little more in me and then when I heard there were single rooms going here I decided that I had another 9k in me. I shelled out 25€ (more than I´ve paid for any other bed on the Camino so far).

I´ve got my own bathroom!!!
There is no snoring!!!!!!!!

I need the sleep.

I´d love to give an interesting description of the scenery but rocks,the occasional tree, fields and sky pretty much cover it.
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2008-10-01 08:24 pm
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In Itero

And having done 30 kilometers today...feeling pretty smug.

First Burgos, the Cathedral is beyond wonderful, I think people are right and that it does top Notre Dame in Paris. The albergue was fantastic and the walk out of Burgos was so much nicer than the walk in (it reminds me a little of Christchurch with all of the tree lined avenues).

There was a stork on top of an arch near the cathedral so I went photo crazy.

The Camino is possibly the only place where construction workers yelling at you from scaffolding is a good thing (an arrow had rubbed off of a tree and I was about to miss a turnoff).

I stayed that night in Hornillos which has improved markedly over the last time I stayed there.

Today I was planning to stay in Castorojeriz but I found that the albergue I stayed in last time was closed and that I didn´t like the look of the others at all (they even banned charging things off of their power supply) so I walked in a sulk. I stopped for a sit down in San Nicholas but unfortunately they´re conducting repairs so I couldn´t stay. I did get an apple from them though and some water which was lovely.

I walked on for another kilometer over the Meseta to Itero where I found a wonderful nearly empty albergue with the best menu del dia that I´ve had on the Camino so far.

I hope 30k doesn´t knock me out as badly this time but even if it does I´m glad I did it once.

I´m not hating the Meseta quite so much this time but it´s early days yet.

Oooh and also today I ran accross some proto pilgrims who were let off their bus near Hontanas and then scooped up again in the ruins of San Anton after a hearty lunch of sausages from their personal chef. I can´t help but think that they´re missing some of the best parts of the camino by only doing tiny pieces of it. Still I hope they get something out of it. It certainly felt surreal to be flooded with new faces attached to cameras.
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2008-09-25 04:49 pm
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In Azofra

And I honetly forgot that I´d stayed at this refugio before.

But the instant I saw the double rooms I remembered.

Looking forward to the lack of a room full of people getting up in the morning, this morning I swear I let off a death glare at the couple who switched on the lights at 6:30 (not that I wasn´t already awake but still I was enjoying a lie in and we didn´t have to leave until 8).

Najera was lovely except I didn´t see any storks this time.

Planning for Grañon tomorrow`possibly.
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2008-09-24 03:27 pm
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In Navarette

And feeling a little low on energy. I´m not a huge fan of logroño ( despite the amazing church) and a lot of today was spent either walking into or out of that city.

I did see a squirrel jumping through the trees though, that was pretty cool (too quick to photograph though).

There were also sleeping swans and the occasional duck.
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2008-09-22 03:07 pm
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In Los Arcos

And doing ok. 20 k days seem to be about my limit.

I got lucky with this stretch and it´s very very overcast so none of the horrendous heat I experienced last time I did this stretch.

Nothing much scenery wise ( I took a small drop of Irache wine but honestly didn´t want any more).

Looking forward to an 18K day tomorrow to Viana.
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2008-09-20 01:20 pm
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In Puente La Reina!!!

And the Aragonese part of my Camino is over. I haven´t met a single native English speaker since Canfranc and it´s weird to hear people start conversations with Hello.

The Foz De Lumbier was absolutely gorgeous, there were at least five vultures lazily gliding on the air currents, unfortunately it meant that I wound up doing a 30 - 31k day, something that I really wasn´t ready for.

It was worth it for a chance to say goodbye to all of the people who were done walking the Aragonese way ( which was pretty much all of them really) but I´m still feeling it even today. Yesterday was a gentle 14k jaunt into Tiebas ( well ok not so gnetle what with the horrendous mud and the equally horrendous track) and today was a much more gentle 19 k stroll into Puente La Reina via Eunate ( I could find no sign of the albergue in Eunate being open but that´s ok because all I really want right now is a decent washing machine)!

I miss everyone and my cat ( and oddly my job) and I hope you´re all doing ok.
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2008-09-17 05:34 pm
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In Saguesa

And a little exhausted, I´ve run into a festival here which may make my run into town for fruit a little hard.

St Juan de la peña was absolutely amazing (indescribably so really), and it gave me a short day walking into Arres which was ridiculously overcrowded but very friendly (it was set up by the same person who set up Grañon and it shows in the friendliness of everyone there).

The next day I walked on to Ruesta which is a very clean, modern albergue set amongst the ruins of a town. Very atmospheric!

The scenery here is like walking on the moon, all grey granite mounds of odd shapes.

The weather is perfect, hot but with enough breeze not to drive me crazy.

In two or three days I will hit the Camino Frances and I´m sort of afraid of the crowds, I´ve gotten used to the occasional empty room in a Refugio.

Hope everyone at home is doing ok.

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2008-09-14 02:25 pm
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(no subject)

I´m in St Cilia de Jaca which is a very pretty town that looks half finished, sheep seem to be everywhere and you can always hear the sound of their bells.

Today was beautiful, blue sky no clouds and enough of a breeze not to be stiffling. the only slight blot is that my ankle keeps buckling at inconvenient moments (only a little painful but every time it happens I worry that I´ve actually twisted it). I might keep to short days for a little while to baby it along.

I´m still not quite in the camino vibe but I´m getting closer to it.

I´m enjoying the first few days of this walk far more than the last one though.

I haven´t eaten nearly as much flan as I expected, still there´s always time...

I´m hoping to find some way up to St Juan de la peña, either today or tommorow
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2008-09-13 06:29 pm
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In Jaca

And still terribly awed by the scenery.

I didn´t mention earlier but the fort du portalet on the way up to Col du Somport was absolutely amazing. It´s an old prison cut into a sheer cliff face, you could see little windows all the way down the side.

One minor gripe, not too impressed with the CSJ guidebook for Aragon, I´m sitting in the municipal alburgue for pilgrims and it´s fantastic, and not in my book at all (and it´s been around for at least two years because one of the other pilgrims stayed here two years ago.

P.S. my tiny bits of high school French came in terribly handy and I even got to use ferme la porte.
Unfortunately I seem to have lost my Spanish again but i´m sure it will come back.