Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Camino - Rioja Country

JOur ninth day walking on the Camino. Today an old lady in her housedress saw me and made the sign of the cross ...is that a good thing?

Last couple of days have each been 30km, taking us 11 hours, crawling into town at 6pm. Despite the sweary soliloquys amongst the grapevines, there is something beautifully simple about waking up and strapping on your backpack; your only task to walk until the end of day, find a room, find a restaurant that does a pilgrim's menu and go to bed. 

This man did the Camino many times in full robes and now hands out food and water. 

Every day you follow the yellow arrows and the sign of the scallop shell on the road. All the pilgrims are given scallop shells in St jean in France as well as passports which are stamped by the hostels and hotels. In the olden days, pilgrims were allowed to scoop the scallop shells into whatever was cooking in the homes of the villagers. Some pilgrims were sentenced to do the Camino and died along the way. 

Sometimes we are so knackered we dont even get the arrows right. These lovely fellows had to whistle us into the right direction. 

We've been staying in private rooms in hostels and Albergues (between 35 to 40 euros) sometimes sharing bathrooms. The dorms are 10 to 15 euros. Last night we tried a dorm with three beds, but at the last minute i chickened out and paid for the third bed. I'm not sure anyone is ready for our disco travel sheets.

In oakland news, Friends went out to Bay Wolf restaurant for their special Camino menu. I didnt recognise anything on the menu from our Pilgrims Meals ( cost 7-12 euros for three courses including wine) but as they say here "everyone has their own camino" The best meal we've had here was this mixta salad and trout.

Our kids slept through the 6.0 earthquake, but bloggy friend in Napa Edgar of Simple Images says it made a real mess but his family is okay.

Thought I would do Monty Pythin-esque "what is your name and what is your quest" to a few of the people we meet.
Name: Eric, Australian, 80 years old, staying in dorms. Heart condition. Carrying 27 ibs!

Eric did the Camino five years ago with step-daughter. He has been carer for his wife for four years but after three Camino-related coincidences he decided he must do it again. He and his wife decided if something happens to him " carc it" he will be cremated here. " No one is flying home!"

What he's learned: "whatever you need, the Camino will provide. "

Just don't call him an inspiration: " I don't want to be anyone's role model " Eric told us over lentils, fish fingers and rioja (his dr told him to drink one glass a day)

Next day another new friend, Sonja from Brazil said: "Eric is the King of the Camino!" Ssh.... Just don't tell Eric that if you see him...


  1. Love everything about this! You both look great and this Eric is now up for an award at The Lion's Den (don't tell him). Apparently you aren't getting any bad heat with the jackets I see so the weather has been mostly cooperative??? Jody you are an inspiration!
    Carry on.

  2. Hello Jody,

    This is completely inspirational. We have such admiration for you. This is really quite a challenge and one in which you have given of yourself totally we really admire you for that.

    And, we are certain that Eric is but one amongst many incredible people whom you will encounter on your way. He has the most wonderful face, so open and kind. We should have loved to have chatted with him over a meal and a glass of wine or two.

    Keep up your spirits and take the greatest of care. This will, we are certain, be a life changing experience.

  3. Well you still have your sense of humor so hopefully your sanity too. Have a great week walking!

  4. I have been waiting for your updates and thank you so much for these posts. Like the disco bedsheets, Kevin looks swaddled up like he could sleep for a whole day. Eric, what an inspiration he is and I'm very happy to hear that those kids of yours slept through the quake.

  5. Of course the woman in the housedress was a good sign - I am surprised that the locals still pay attention to all the pilgrims. What an adventure!

  6. Glad everyone is safe at home. I'd take the cross sign lady as a good omen! I love your posts: what an incredible journey.

  7. I'm so grateful that you're taking time to update, and I love the pictures. My memories of Spain are much more sybaritic than your experience, so I won't share.

    I had thought of climbing Croagh Padraic in Ireland, but then learned that the done thing is to do the last portion on one's knees. No wonder the snakes didn't hang around.

  8. Thanks for continuing to post Jody...I love seeing your pics and hearing your tales. Those sheets are truly disco! Is there any item you wish you had packed or any item you did pack and then discarded?

  9. Thanks again for the photos! Hope your walk continues safely.

  10. Love the updates! Love the profile on Eric.. hope he makes it through. Being a carer for 4 years would be very hard work, I imagine it's prepared him well for the rigours of the trail. Love the photos, although the as the meals look fairly basic I guess the Californian (expensive) version is a little more luxe? x

  11. Fabulous you are dining with NEW FRIENDS!!!
    Love that pic of you laughing too!
    KEEP GOING!!!!

  12. I like that you have turquoise nail polish on your toes! I am not sure why, but after the pummelling your feet have taken it's nice to see happy toenails.

  13. This was absolutely lovely to read. I stumbled upon your blog in my searches for people who had met Eric on the Camino. I'm doing an English assignment on him at the moment - a testimonial - and I thought, who better to choose than my Poppy? He is truly inspirational, and he is far far too modest. He made it back safely, a few health issues, but otherwise, he's going strong. This was beautiful to read, and it makes me so much more proud, that I'm not the only one who thinks he is incredible.

    1. Thanks so much for writing in Amelia - good luck with your project. Eric was such a great guy to meet - give him our love. I am including his photo in my post today.


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