So I Stopped that and Started Walking my Own, and Boy am I Glad I Did

After the first day of walking, I met up with four lovely people from Ireland, and we walked together and bunked together the second day. One fellow named Barry is hell bent on getting to Santiago in 32 days, so the whole group began to walk fast and see very little because he was in such a hurry. The breaks were short and time spent picture taking had to be ‘made up for’.  

At the beginning of the 3rd day walking into Pamplona, I realized I had been sucked into walking Barry’s Camino, as opposed to walking my own. Additionally, he had plans to walk around Pamplona as quickly as possible because ‘it’s just like any other big city and not worth the time’.  At this particular moment, I decided that the benefits of hanging with this group did not outweigh the cost, and I slowed down and let them go. They are far ahead of me now, and I am not likely to see them again.  They were all wonderful and I am better for having met them. Their Irish humor and good company will be missed. I wish them Godspeed and I hope Barry makes his time table if that is the Camino that he wants. 

As for me, I spent today in Pamplona, and I am so glad I did. I went to the Pilgrims Mass this morning at the Cathedral and walked up to the top of the bell tower afterwards. To be honest, I didn’t understand much of what was said, but it still had a comforting familiarity.

After that I walked around the city, took a nap, read, and enjoyed the company of my fellow albergue dwellers. I feel my leg and back muscles restored. Tomorrow I will head out early.

Please enjoy below what I got to see today, walking my own Camino:


The oldest operating bell in Spain. It is rung 40 times per year on special occasions.
View from the bell tower
Another view from the bell tower
Cathedral in Pamplona

So I ask you, whose Camino are you walking?  Yours, or someone else’s?




Fruit and vegetables which are in short supply on the Camino.  

The Mayo Clinic Healthy Living Program who helped me train for this walk. Thanks Karin, Thom, and Heather!!!

Warmth and sunshine – have had nothing but that since I’ve been here.





One of the hardest days of the Camino-COMPLETE!!!

I had a great day in St Jean-de-pied-de-Port with John, buying a few last minute things and working off some jet lag. The next day I took off early in the morning to take the 15 mile trek across the Pyrenees.  

“You don’t walk the Camino, the Camino walks you.  You talk to who you are supposed to talk to, you room with who you are supposed to room with, and you feel the pain you are supposed to feel.”  -my new friend from Ireland, John. He is walking the Camino for the second time!

After the first day, and possibly the hardest day of the Camino, I think John is right about this.  I’d be a liar liar pants on fire if I didn’t say it was hard. It was. The climb was strenuous through the mountains under the punishing sun. People were dragging and walking at a snail’s pace uphill. 


It’s a long way up, and then back down.

However, the scenery was beautiful and new friends were made that make it worth it.  Just like in life itself, things don’t always go according to plan.  The hostel where we were supposed to stay was full,  but it took them two hours to tell us that, so it was a late night after an exhausting day trying to find a place to stay.  But all is well that ends well.  We ultimately found another hostel that suited our needs just fine.  

I took in the Mountain Views and the sounds of the bells on the herds of sheep  and horses.  It was really magical up there.  I hope I get to see it again someday. But until then, we will head through flatter land and head to Pamplona over the next couple of days.

Sheep Everywhere!
The horses are beautiful!

Next blog will be from Pamplona where the conduct running of the bulls every July, and where I plan to take my first rest day.

Until then, Adios.




Trekking poles – they are a life saver

Friends with really dry humor from Ireland

Private rooms – because honestly most people snore.  There was a real chorus going on last night in our little room for eight.  More on that later!