Travel – Ain´t no mountain high enough!

Wednesday, April 28… Last night I had a dream with my dad in it. My dad was my best bud, I adored him. He always had the best advise! He died nearly 18 years ago, and twice since then I´ve felt him near me. Last night was the 3rd time. I dreamed that we were driving in a car on a rural highway and there was a tornado coming right for us. I kept telling him, “Daddy, you MUST go right!!!” He looked over at me and the message I got was, “Sandi, sometimes going right isn´t always the right way to go”. He then proceeded to drive straight through the tornado! When we came out the other side of the tornado, I was driving and my dad was gone. This left me incredibly sad, yet unafraid to tackle the road ahead. I feel so fortunate whenever my dad “visits” me.

A left groin sprain prevents me from continuing the walk up to Roncelvalles. Disappointing, but I would rather rest it and continue the Camino, than push past it and possibly have to quit. Guiermmo, the transporter takes me back down to St Jean, then up to Roncevalles, where we stayed in a room for four with Carole from England and Harriet from Sweden. A really nice room with two beds down and two beds up in a loft, very cool! Excellent pilgrim dinner and then a long hot bath and a beautiful, blessed, blissful sleep!

Thursday, April 29…

Walk from Roncevalles to Larrasoana. Up and down 4 mountains, 29 kms, rugged and steep declines, one was 10%grade! Exhausting, painful, AMAZING! I almost quit in Zibiri, but talked myself into doing the last 4.7 kms, worth the satisfaction of finishing! Stayed at the Refuge du Peregrinos in a 4 bedded room with Lucy, Carole and Harriet and across the hall from the 4 Irish sisters… they´re a hoot! Yummy pilgrims meal of asparagus, steak & fries and ice cream. Sore as hell… Slept like a log!

Friday, April 30…

Woke as sore as when I went to sleep, LOL!! Walking like an old lady, wondering how in the world I will be able to walk today! Had nuts, fruit & cafe con leche for brekkies and took 1000 mg of Acetominophen. I started the ascent up the mountain and within 20 minutes or so I was walking just fine. Some pain, but manageable… I think my muscles just gave in and humored me… LOL! Beautiful hike through the mountains. About 7 kms into the hike I had two choices, down (the easy route) or up where there was a beautiful church. The easy route is for sissies (I tell myself little fibs to get me moving!) and I took the ascent up to see this church. Carole & Harriet were there, and the nun, Maria, offered her bathroom to us. She had wonderful Gregorian chant music on, and the church and hospitality were worth the hike up! While up there, I opened up a saved email from my friend Alice Sanpere, and read it aloud to Carole. This is what it says: “I cannot wait to hear your impressions as you work through the physical pain, move into the mental challenges and swoon with spiritual growth. You´ll see what I mean. LOVE”. Alice… I am definitely seeing what you mean! Your words brought happy tears to me and Carole as we sat at this church listening to the chants and praying. Your words inspire me daily, bless you!

An interesting descent after the church and then lunch in Arre. We had a nice 30 minute break there before heading on to Pamplona. We are all walking like little old ladies, but delighted we´ve made it this far. I am ready for a blessed sleep tonite… and I got it!

Saturday, May 1, 2010

A holy day here in Spain. Everything is closed. Lucy and I are taking a rest day here because we want to explore Pamplona. We have been to a museum, and walked the route that the bulls take during the running of the bulls. That´s my update for now! Ciao!

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Travel – On our Way

Friday night, April 23… taxi to AD airport.

Saturday, April 24.. Flight from AD to Casablanca, Morocco. The landing was aborted just before we touched down!!! I laughed my ass off, which is what I do when I think I´m going to die! We had to circle because there was ground fog and they couldn´t see anything (this is what the pilot told us… LOL). Anyway, finally landed around 930 a.m. local time. Train to Tanger 6 long hours! We stayed the night in an Ibis Hotel and had a traditional teagine dinner… bed early… exhausted. Travel Day 1 is done.

Sunday, April 25… HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO MY BIG GIRL CELESTE ALENA THE BALLERINA!!! Took the ferry from Tanger, Morocco to Algecerias, Spain… 35 minutes, but time difference is 2 hours! Talk about being confused! Taxi to Malaga, Spain and we can´t get a train, bus is out because I´ll puke, so we go to the airport and rent a car. a cute little Peugeot. Stop at 10 pm in La Guardia, Spain, about an hour south of Madrid. It´s a truck stop-hotel. Bacon & Cheese sandwiches for dinner & breakfast the next morning… I´m a happy hiker 🙂 Day 2 of travel done and over…

Monday, April 26.. taking us FOREVER to get to SJPdP!!! On road by 900 am. Spanish countryside is amazing! Arrive at Pamplona airport to drop off the rental at 400 pm, taxi to St Jean Pied de Port 1.5 hours… We´re FINALLY at the start of our walk… 6 days behind, but here! Went wrong way up the steep road and ended up at a wonderful hostel, hosted by Jaques & Francois. I THOUGHT they said dinner was bread pudding, and it was delicious. Lucy informed me after the fact that it was traditional Basque BLOOD PUDDING. LOL!!! Good thing thing I didn´t know in advance. Met some really wonderful people at the hostel, John, a journalist from Argentina and Henri, an Irish/Spanish bloke for Madrid who has taken a year off to travel and the loudest snorer in the world, Pierre, who has horrible sleep apnea, but a lovely smile. Can´t wait to get started in the morning.

Tuesday, April 27… after drinking cafe latte from a bowl for brekkies, Lucy and I laced up our boots, grabbed our walking sticks, strapped our backpacks to our backs and set off with Henri & John. After half hour of climbing up, up, up John & Henri went ahead and Lucy and I continued on the hardest walk of my life! 9 kms, mostly at an incline, climbing to 1000 meters. It took me 5 hours to do it, but I DID IT! At times I would take 70-100 steps and rest for a minute, then do it again. Lucy was amazingly patient, I am so grateful for her. I mostly listened to the soundtrack from G I Jane… quitting IS NOT an option 🙂 Just when I honestly thought I couldn´t go another step, Orrison appeared around the bend, al humdilalah! This is our stop for the night and I am so happy! No inside beds, we are in a tent tonite, and Lucy has invited a lovely Japanese girl, Mika, to stay in our tent, since there was nothing available for her… the more the warmer, is what I say!!! More tomorrow!

Travel – Everything you need in a ruck sack weighing 6.25 kg

Well… after not being able to get on the flight Tuesday night because of the volcano that no one can pronounce the name of, we’ve rebooked to fly to Casablanca, train to Tangiers, ferry to Spain, and hopefully catch a flight to northern Spain. We’re literally flying by the seat of our pants, but dammit… WE’RE GOING TO WALK THE CAMINO… 😀

The bag is packed, and weighs 6.25 kg, that’s 13.77 lbs. I’m proud that this is what I’ve whittled a 5 week walking holiday down to. Just the essentials… everything I need for my holiday is here:

The only extra thing that is packed is Oreo, a class project for a cool kid I’ve never met in Connecticut. Doing a favor for my school chum, Teri. Oreo will fly back to the U.S. from Pamplona after my 3rd day of walking… I’m happy to have the extra 200 grams of weight. Here’s a pic of Oreo, just before I put him to bed in my pack:

And here he is all snuggled in for the long plane ride to Casablanca:

So, off I go! I will miss my daily chats with a lot of you on facebook, and interacting on Mafia Wars, but it will be a nice break! I will try to send updates from the trail, when internet is available. I hope all of you have as marvelous and adventurous 5 weeks, as I will!

Love, love….

Sandi

Travel – All Booked!!

So… after TONS of research, months of playing around on airline websites, dozens of hours up late reading Camino forums for advise… we’ve got all of our transportation from Abu Dhabi to SJPP (St Jean Pied de Port) and back finally booked! 😀

I could not be happier. I was able to book the last tickets this afternoon after Lucy found a better way back to London from Spain! Here’s the itinerary:

21 April
Abu Dhabi to London Heathrow LV 0235 arrive 0720 on Etihad Airways
Bus to London Stanstead airport
London Stanstead to Biarritz LV 1215 arrive 1505 on RyanAir
Caroline taxi service will pick us up at Biarritz and drive us to SJPP (thanks to the http://www.albergue.caminodesantiago.me forum for that recommendation!!)
Where we will check into L’Esprit du Chemin (http://www.espritduchemin.org/EC/LEsprit_du_Chemin.html) for a good meal and hopefully a restful sleep… we start our journey after breakfast early morning on the 22nd!

22 April to 25 May walk to Santiago approximately 22-25 km per day

26 May
Santiago to London Stanstead LV 1135 arrive 1240 on RyanAir
Overnight at Lucy’s mom’s house

27 May
Bus to London Heathrow from Stanstead airport
LHR to Abu Dhabi LV 1445 arrive 0050 (28 May) on Etihad Airways

There is something energizing about having it all booked. All I have to think about now is continuing my condition training… all the supplies are bought, all the transportation booked… WOO HOO!

5 weeks 0 days… but who’s counting?

Buen Camino!

Sandi