Monday, September 1, 2014

Camino - The Road To Leon

Thank you for all your kind words and encouragement and kicks up the bum. It meant the world to me. I hit the road this morning with a song in my heart. Funnily enough it was my old high school song - Kia Whakatane Ahau. Whakatane was the big smoke over the hill from Ohope Beach. The correct Maori pronunciation is Fakatane. Yes, like that. 

My friend Steph sent me a note saying You can do this, you're from Whakatane. Our role model was Wairaka.  We were told she was in the canoe when the Maori discovered Whakatane. The men put down their oars because they were terrified of a huge rock shaped like a monster. They would go no further. Wairaka grabbed a tapa (sacred) oar, forbidden for women to touch, and called: " Kia Whakatane ahau!!" (I will be a man!" ) And rowed them all safely to shore. 

Well anyway, it was great to hear from you- Some people get angsty about social media but after all its just newfangled penfriends and all the Greats had pen-friends didn't they? Some Italians cyclists call our Quebec friend "Pilgrim 3.0" because he facebooks and he facetimes his new wife at every break. 

By the way, I'm writing this on a blogger app on my i-phone, Naomi told me about it. Apologies if I haven't returned bloggy comments, I've tried with minimal success, the comment boxes shut on me very quickly. Any app for this?

Today we walked 35km, the last 17km were a straight dirt road with no shade. Kevin spent the day trying to remember the words to "My Way" Kevin is what Sister Bernadette at my primary school, St Joseph's, Whakatane would call a droner (tone deaf). Its a testament to Kevin's parents and church choir mistess that he was not appraised of this fact until he met moi.

I hung back ...out of earshot. It was a good time to think about people we've met. Salvatore who is Italian but lives in Germany and his 14 year old son Julan who had always wanted to do the Camino and persauded his father to undertake it for two weeks. Julan was wearing an Icebreaker t-shirt. Its a kiwi no-stink brand. Julan is not washing his shirt for that whole two weeks! He bet his mother it would not stink! 

We ate a real Gout- arama of a meal together -  fried eggs, fries and veal.

The chef kept slicing more and more cured meats wanting us to taste. Veges look away as FF would say, the jambon is still wearing his hooves

He then bought us plums...

I noticed Anka, also from Germany, because she walked so fast without any breaks ( she eats one banana an hour) and she was so cheerful, laughing all the time. We caught up with her for dinner. 

Anka has a sign-making business with her husband and they have three children, the two eldest were foster children. Two of her children have disabilities - her nine year old  son is in a wheelchair. She is such a strong walker because they hike all through the mountains in the weekends. She carries her son on her back. "C'mon Mama"  he'll say to her as she hits the steeper bits "c'mon mama!" She laughs at the thought of him saying that.

Why is she walking the Camino? "My husband says I give 150 percent all the time. For me that is becoming a problem."

I point out she is giving 150 percent to the camino. "But now I am sitting down enjoying talking to you. " she said "I would never be doing that at home. I do not sit down, I am looking after the children."

We set out early the next morning, I was hoping we would see Anka so we could talk more. But she was well ahead of us. 


  1. Following your footsteps by facebook is rewarding but your pics have convinced me to finally do the trip myself when sprogs are old enough.

  2. What interesting people you are meeting. I think you are all made of tough stuff and I am so enjoying these posts Jody!

  3. Love hearing your spirits have lifted Jody!!! and I guess meeting Anka would do that...for what's it's worth every post is uplifting and I know that many others feel the same way so you sharing is also helpful to the rest of us who gain strength when we see others face these challenges, overcome adversity, and reach your goals.

  4. What wonderful memories...and hopefully are creating. Love it!

  5. love these hiking posts! cannot believe how far you are walking!

  6. I love reading these. Very interesting times ahead!!!! Chocolate in Astorga! The best paella in Foncebadon! Rabanal!

  7. Glad you got reenergized. Thanks for that interesting legend about the Maori - fascinating people.
    I didn't realize that Icebreaker was a New Zealand brand. I bought some items at their Portland, Oregon store. Their sport socks are the ones I take travelling, because you can wear them everyday for a week or more and they really don't smell. You only need to wash them when they get too stiff to put on. I talked my husband into one of the long sleeved t-shirts for the two weeks we were in Ireland and he never had to wash it either. (And he worked up quite a sweat driving on the other side of the road.)
    At one point I was between computers and used my phone to do all my blogging which was OK, but when commenting that darn auto-correct let me leave comments that were decided peculiar. Not even trying that again.

  8. i'm so jealous…this looks like an amazing journey - physically and spiritually- and the cast of characters you meet sound so interesting.
    also, i bet your kids will completely appreciate you when you return (if they didn't miss you at all, then you can just keep traveling! your job is done)

  9. Fascinating - love the stories of the people on the trail with you.
    The blogger app is terrible. I wrote one post with it once and all the photos are very poor quality, and it all shut down when I tried to comment back on other's comments.
    I'm so enjoying my armchair Pilgrim walk!

  10. I think you're experiencing the magic of the trip....x

  11. I hope all this walking is keeping things moving down below. :)

  12. I guess it wouldn't be a spiritual journey if it was easy, huh? I love these stories of connection and inspiration; you are on this journey at exactly the right time for you and they are on it at exactly the right time for them and so your meetings are very potent and meaningful. Every interaction is a gift. As are those posts for us!

  13. WOW walking 35KM in one day??? That's incredible. You are inspiring me :)

  14. So, wonderful all these people you are meeting and their stories.........
    Can you tell me why you all have "THE STICK"I realize its to help you walk, but why and how did you know to take one?As you probably already know I am NOT a walker!!Do answer my question upon your return!Keep the photos!

  15. As I've gone through my morning I've thought to myself how I'd rather be walking the Camino than doing this. Everything is relative. You've got a hard pace covering so many kilometers in a day. Maybe take a bus so you can minimize the number of hours you need to walk a day to finish in time. Why not?​

    My morning (while not bad, not interesting):

    -made Mitch lunch
    -drove Mitch to the bus stop at 7 AM
    -started the laundry
    -updated my frickin TO DO list
    -called the guys who made the loft ladders to figure out how to get off the black and rust
    -called them again
    -sent email to handyman
    -called gardener
    -showed gardener what to do
    -texted mom about Friday birthday outing Mitch will go to
    -called doctor to cancel Mitch's Friday doctor appointment
    -called high school to get car stickers

    Yes, I have a lot of household maintenance to do, as I deferred it all summer. And, somehow, I've once again avoided exercise and putting together the spreadsheet of dates for the college application process.

    Carry on!

  16. Meeting these folks and hearing their stories is probably not something you's expect from this journey. I bet you will remember that the most. Sounds like some amazing people! So want to do this Jody. xx


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