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I am a Canadian who has been living in London UK for the last 14 years!! How did that happen?

Tuesday, 15 September 2009

You never know what is around the corner‏

Sent: Tuesday, September 15, 2009 9:28:23 PM
Subject: You never know what is around the corner

Hi All,

so this is my 3rd email to you all and its far different to the others. If you are missing the first 2 let me know and i´ll send it across.

So when I last wrote I was on the verge of giving up! Thank you for the lovely text messages and emails, they have gone a long way.

I am bed bug free and I feel a trillion times better!

let me tell you why.....

So as I mentioned earlier Verena ( my camino buddy for the first 10 days) told me about her friend Rebekah who recently bought a house in Spain along the camino and has decided to create a guest house of sorts. A day before I was in the area Verena sent me a text that she had emailed Rebekah that I might pop in.

So the following day I walked over 30 km to Moratinos and was going to pop in for a cup a tea. I had every intention of popping in but all I was hoping for was a cup a tea.... but as soon as I walked in Paddy said, "you are staying aren´t you?" How could I refuse!!!

Reheka, Paddy´s wife is not around as she is doing a week of the camino but they are expecting me and my beautiful room was ready for me!

Brian the American builder is also staying here. He has a bit of broken heart so I am giving him counseling. Its a bit of whirl wind romance, he has fallen for the Spanish girl next door. The whole thing feels like a movie. A movie with a good soundtrack! Paddy and Rebeka have a fantastic music collection so we are always listening to amazing stuff

I´ve walked the dogs today and gone out to the chickens and collected the freshest eggs I have ever eaten.

I jumping ahead so I have to tell you how I arrived.

On the evening of Sunday the 13th I stayed in convent Albergue in Carrion de los Condes. It felt like my old high school so I felt safe. It was also nice to not have to sleep on the top bunk. The problem with the top bunk is that you never sleep because you think you are going to fall off, and sometimes you don`t even have a ladder. Its a hard life when you are only 157 cm! Although the place was nice I didn't sleep a wink that night. It was day 3 of making sure the bugs were gone so I went to sleep with all this pressure of wondering if they would come back or not. I was up every hour going to the bathroom to check for new bites. Its almost like getting bit by a mosquito. You still itch even if you were bitten ages ago. The difference is the fresh bites are red and the older ones tend to fade. I still have loads of marks and it looks like I have had chicken pox! The mirror in the bathroom is really for you face so I had to stand on the chair. Luckily no body came in while I was stark. It was also so cold that night, I was in my silk liner and I had 3 blankets on top too! Finally is was time to get ready and leave so Dorothy and I, had breakfast, and got on the road. The first part of our walk was going to 17km with out a pit stop. We spoke for an hour or so and then parted as we walked at our own pace. ( I tell you about Dorothy later... really cool lady)

It was 2 I had to make a decision if I was going to check into the town where I was so if I was going to walk to Moratinos and see if they were home or not. At the time I had no clue if they were expecting me to really turn up or not. Nobody really makes plans on the Camino because things are always changing. I decided that I would make a go of it and see what happens.

As some of you know I am petrified of cats and I can be a bit iffy around dogs. Some dogs are different and for those of you that don`t already know I am the proud auntie of Dawson (Kirsten´s greyhound).

I approached the sleepy town and it was siesta time, 14:45. There was not a soul in sight and I was still along the yellow camino arrows. At first I thought I would knock on a door and say "American Rebekah" (Verena said that would be enough) The first few homes were abandoned and had no roofs, so I continued to walk a little and then I saw a farmer in the distance. I got his attention by waving my walking poles and running towards him. "American Rebekah" worked and I got directions, I was only 2 streets away. I approached a stunning yellow house that had building work done to it. The closer I got the barking began! I was really worried because prior to doing the camino I read so much on the dangers of Spanish dogs! 2 dogs came at me and I was armed with my poles. Within a few seconds Brian and Paddy greeted me. They told me that the dogs just bark and that they are harmless. He was absolutely right and now I have some more canine friends.

We sat in the front garden underneath the umbrella and Paddy offered me a cup of tea. I had not had tea since leaving England as tea anywhere else in the world is not tea. Guess what Paddy had..... PG tips. A real cup of tea. He soon offered to make me an omelet and it was divine. I told him it was the best food I have had since I left England and I was not exaggerating on bit. Shortly after lunch Brian brought me a tub of warm water for my feet to soak. That was the first time my feet had had a soak since I began the camino. The only buckets you find are full of dirty mop water or you will find tubs that are used for hand laundry.

After a few hours chatting outside, we made our way inside and it is such an homely inviting house. After a short while I thought I cant enjoy this amazing place on my own and not let the others know. The others are my Camino family. Kim, Australian nurse 24 and Juliane, German University pharmacy student 21. ( I made sure first that Paddy was ok with a few more strays- us!)

I texted the girls and Kim texted back that she was ill, vomiting and had a fever. She was only 15 km behind and I just couldn't leave my fellow pilgrim be ill in a albergue. I spoke to paddy and and asked how much a cab would be. He said around 8 euro which was nothing so I texted Kim with the info and she replied that she was too unwell to even find out about a cab. She would try and make her way here the following day. I explained this to paddy and we started to think about who could drive Rebekah´s car. Paddy cant drive anymore due to his eyes. I suggested Brian´s love interest and was told that was a bad idea. Paddy then asked me if I can drive a stick shift and I before I knew it I was in the car with him and dogs and we were on a mission to go and save Kim from her misery. I went in the albergue and she was on the bottom bunk in her sleeping bag. We collected her things and made our way to back to the Peacable Kingdom - the house´s name.

Kim was so pleased once she got here and things have been great. I had a bath today and also did a load of laundry too. I´m already sooooo sad that I will have to leave tomorrow but this place has done the world of good for me. I am so rested and chilled. Everything will be ok!

This email has taken me ages to write and I have had loads of time. I´m not sure when I will send another one again but once again thanks for the texts and emails

Love ya


PS there is blog about this place

Sunday, 13 September 2009

September 9th & 13th 2009

Have a look at this youtube video keep in mind that camino clothing is not that flattering LOL

Sept 9th:

Hi All,

So here is my next update.

Today has been interesting as we walked 30km but it was not planned. We arrived in what we thought would be our destination but the Albergue was full so we had to walk back. Luckily it was only 2.5 km so not really a big deal.

Tomorrow I will be in Burgos so I might check into a hotel and have a swim in the tub!

I have met so many people and I don't know where to begin.

Verena ( an Austrian high school teacher) spent the vast majority of my first 10 days with me but sadly she has returned to Austria because she has to go back to school.

I didn't realize how many people actually do parts of the Camino and not necessarily the entire thing in one go!

My Spanish is horrible but my broken french has come in useful and I often speaking in french. There is also an handful of people from Quebec so I often talk to them as well.

I thought would be on my own more but I seem to attract people that want a bit a of chat. (Verena is an exception as we had fantastic chats)

I thinking that my quite time will soon begin in a day or 2 when I am walking in the Mesta, its about 4 days in the flat plains and I been told that many people have there light bulb moments.

All in all this trip has been great and its just a confirmation that you cant control things in life. What ever will be will be. Sometimes shit happens.... and sometimes wonderful things happen. Either way I know that I can and will always be able to handle both!

The first few days were hard for numerous reasons... I have already explained my toe but my heavy bag is another contributing factor.

I left Stanstead with a bag that weighed 11.5 kg and that was not including food and water. After walking up and down the mountain in the rain i decided it was time to part with unnecessary things. I left a compass, socks, a belt, bungee cords to fasten extra things to my bag etc.

That still was not enough so a few days later in Pamplona I sent back 2.5kg

and a few fays after that in Logrono I decided that I needed a new bag and a new sleeping bag. Both items had to be significantly lighter.

I now have a bag that is less that 1 kg and my sleeping bag is 65 g. I have posted the rest on.

Life with a bag that is under 6 kg is a real treat and I am able to get through the day with our being in so much pain.

The food has been ok but i need to be more careful. I had a single calamari and well its safe to say it was a very bad move on my part. Its been 2 days now but hopefully I will be felling better tomorrow. None the less it has not stopped me one bit!

I not sure what else to say other that all is well

speak soon

Sept: 13th

So since the 9th I have had my most difficult days and I was very very very close to returning to the UK.

I caught bedbugs and people were treating me like I was a leper. It was awful but in time people also helped me. I spent the day in Burgos getting everything cleaned at the dry cleaners. the 2 ladies there were so nice, they bought me a hot chocolate and even brought me to the bus stop. I was going to sports store out of town to get a silk liner. Since then I have not had any bites but it was so so horrible. It was worse than all the other physical pain I have gone through. The bugs are gone and I have had 2 nights bite free. I need to get 3 nights free and then i should be in the all clear. I also now have a rep of being the Canadian with bed bugs.

Also some stupid french woman started yelling at me last night for no reason. Its sad how people just take out there problems or issues on innocent bystander's.

Every second here is a learning lesson. I said I was sorry but I should have just told her that she has no right letting it rip. I was a clear case of her having a very very bad day... but its still no excuse

This trip is so strange and great, its difficult to put into words, but everyone you meet has an amazing story. Its like life but so much more intense.

I will be nice to see you all and tell you about it in person.

Although I want to get to Santiago I still don't know if I will, All I can do is take one day at a time and go form there. Guess that another life lesson.

it is, what it is.

And as cervantes said, All in good time

Oh and when I was going to give up yesterday this Irish lady, Imelda told me what her mother dad told her her whole life.

You are, where you are meant to be.

Imelda said that once I accept this everything else in my life will come together. I have always known that everything happens for a reason and I am a lucky person, but now I know that I am where I am meant to be.

Anyhow guess i should get on with it, need to but water for the long haul in the morning

be well and send texts



Monday, 7 September 2009

Big Toe 07/09/2009

Subject: big toe
Date: Mon, 7 Sep 2009 10:04:06 +0000

Hope you are all doing well.

I have now walked over 180 odd km towards Santiago and only another 4 weeks to go!Its been an adventure so far.The first day through the mountains was very difficult and also very dangerous. Its advised that people should not walk it in rainy or foggy conditions.....its also 18 km without passing another town, house etc. many people have died at some point along the camino and one year 3 woman broke their nose as they were approaching Roncesvalles from st jean pied de port.

As I'm sure you have guessed..... I walked it in the rain. Its was horrible but quite an accomplishment! I could only see 5 meters ahead and it was difficult seeing the yellows arrows etc but I made it in the end.

Today I am in Santo Domingo de la Calzada, I have met so many lovely people and every day I have learnt something else about my self. Some days are bigger than others but its all good. 

easy lesson: I have never bought delicate fabric clothing because I thought hand washing wasn't really washing but I seem to be quite good at washing my laundry in a sink and well when I return to London I might start buying dedicates

bigger lesson: I have also realized that my body is much stronger than I thought. I can walk over 33 km a day with a bag on my shoulders and still not collapse!I also thought that if I get injured It might be a bit problematic.... but its not so bad!

Kill Bill moment.... Think back to the film when Uma Thurman is in the pussy wagan talking to her toe

Its now been 5 days and I have no feeling in my left big toe. Its actually a little scary as the other 4 toes are lugging the dead weight along. I have also decided that my big toe is a male so I talk to him. after day 3 I thought I should see a doctor as its not getting better. My the nice Spanish doctor in the Emergency room in Logrono said that its just a bad case of tendinitis and when I'm back to London it will get better. As I am walking so much daily I wont really feel it while I am here. She has given me a prescription of ibuprofen so that helps a little.

I have so much more to say but I have to go but please send me texts and emails if you have time. I would love to hear how you are all doing

Be wellLeenaxxPS sorry about the spelling mistakes