Saturday, 30 April 2011

Memento

Sorry dad and grandma...I know you don't like these...but I had to get a reminder of my journey to keep with me!!

This is the yellow arrow I have been following for 500 miles! Now I will always remember to keep going forward!!!!!

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Another Plea - Breast Cancer Research Sponsorship

HI ALL!!  I am doing a charity walk for breast cancer research in May.  Its called the Moonwalk - its a marathon length (26.2 miles or 42.2km for those of you that need reminding) walk around the streets of London - OVERNIGHT!

I have to raise £200, which is a big goal considering I am out of the country for most of the time up until then.  I would be very appreciative of all of your donations - as would the "Walk the Walk" charity who hosts the event.

Please use the following link to sponsor me:  http://www.walkthewalkfundraising.org/Jacquelyn_Edwards

Thank you!!

The End!!

I have reached the end of my camino!! I have arrived in Santiago de Compostela in one piece (mostly).

I woke up and left early this morning (about 7:15) so I could beat the masses of people that had to leave at 8 from my last Albergue. I had a peaceful walk through the city before most people were awake. The birds were singing and everything was happy. It was a much more peaceful walk than I imagined. I am so happy I left early!!

There were 3 other pilgrims arriving when I did. Two was the super crabby couple (British I think) that I have seen along the way. They never smile...luckily another smiling man was with them and he took some pictures for me!! :)

Now it is too early to get my compostela (certificate)...so after standing outside the cathedral contemplating my hotel situation...I decided to treat myself! I am going to stay in the Parador!! This is one of the most expensive hotels in Santiago! Its a converted 15th century building on the same square as the cathedral! Wow I am going to be posh now!!!! After spending more than a month sharing rooms and toilets and sleeping in bunk beds - I am going to be a real person and have my own room! With a bathtub!!! Its cheaper than I expected too!! So I have taken it for 2 nights!! And it includes breakfast!!! I am so excited :). But of course because it is only 8:30 - my room isn't ready yet!! So she has my mobile number and will call me when its available! They have taken y bag and my stick so I can walk around freely!! Wow!! That's what I wanted! I would never have done that if I arrived yesterday!!

So now I sit behind the cathedral eating a waffle and drinking hot chocolate! Smiling because I just walked 800km!!!! It feels good!!!! I am a happy pilgrim - but wait...I am not a pilgrim anymore!!! Soon I will be clean and fresh! Hopefully my room will be ready by 10:00 and I will have a bath!! What luxury! And clean blankets!! I love my credit card!!! The one thing I have learned about myself on this journey...I can rough it with everyone else, but I prefer to just pay someone else to do it for me :p. Lesson learned!! It was fun being a dirty pilgrim - now I look forward to being a clean Jacquie!!!

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Friday, 29 April 2011

First views of Santiago!

Ok...I found the viewing point for Santiago! There is a second monument with 2 peregrino statues! We got there as the sun was going down! Perfect!! So here are a few pictures (kinda dark and blurry on my BB) of my first views of Santiago and the cathedral!!

Now to sleep so I can get up and walk the last 5km bright and happy!!!

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Not the last day!!

So-even though I only had 20km to go to Santiago...I have decided to stay on the camino on more day!

I have stopped in Monte del Gozo - which is about 5km from Santiago. I was going to take a lovely picture for everyone of Santiago because this is the first place you are supposed to be able to see the city and cathedral from - but the trees are all grown and you can't see anything now :p

I walked with some of my old companions today. They were a few km ahead of me so they waited this morning. They went on the Santiago. But I stopped here to be able to arrive fresh in the morning. Plus its one last cheap bed before I get into the city and pay for a hotel (what a luxury...maybe I'll even get a bath)!! I'll have 2 nights in Santiago anyways since my flight isn't til Monday so that's enough! Today was a nice relaxing 15km and now I am showered and relaxed and reading my book.

Seems like a lot of the people I was with last night are staying here tonight. Actually - just in general a lot of people are staying here tonight! This might not be the relaxing peaceful walk into Santiago that I was picturing as apparently everyone has the same idea as me. Hhmmmm...oh well! This should let me find a hotel room in town tomorrow as I'll arrive early. Although it is the weekend and apparently you are supposed to book ahead. Well, if I can't find a hotel there is always another night in the Albergue. I have a feeling tomorrow night will be a bit of a celebration so I don't need a nice bed anyways.

So that's it. Tomorrow hopefully I'll be up early for a nice stroll into town (preferably before all the traffic starts so I might have to leave super early...) And then I'll visit the cathedral, get my compostela, find a bed, maybe go to mass (although might save that for Sunday) and oh!! Some shopping! Hopefully I can find a new outfit so I can stop wearing the same ratty clothes!!!

I have no pics on here from today! It was kind of an ugly walk. And there were so many people! Absolute hordes! If I ever did this again I would stop in Sarria. After that there were too many people and its just not as nice as the rest of the route.

I'll write more tomorrow from santiago with hopefully a couple nice pictures!
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The last 20km begin!!

And I'm off...only gonna do about 15km today! Can't believe its almost over!!!

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Thursday, 28 April 2011

31 days of walking!!

I just finished day 31!!! Hurray!! And I finished 30km in record time! After yesterdays fiasco in the crappy municipal albergue I practically ran to Santa Irene so I could get a bed in the small private albergue!! Turns out I didn't need to run as it is no where near full-but I didn't want to take any chances!!!

This place is lovely! She even gave me a towel to use!!! Wow!! I think its a bit pricey and I seem to pay everything at the end (she is keeping a tab for me). This could end up expensive as I am having the lady do my laundry for me too (€12! What robbery!) But now I will have clean clothes to last the rest of the trip! I'll eat dinner here too to save walking the however far to find a bar to eat at! I hope its good!

So tomorrow - according to the signs - I have about 21km to Santiago!!! I could do it all in one day and arrive friday night, or I could just walk like 16km to Monte del Gozo and walk the final 5km all fresh and relaxed on Saturday morning. I think I like the second option. But I bet a lot of people have that idea and maybe it will be really crowded Saturday morning for the last 5km. Hmmmm...we'll see how I feel tomorrow I guess. I have some friends finishing tomorrow and some finishing on Saturday. I'll see who I run into and how I feel about walking tomorrow. But after so many long days in a row a couple short ones sound nice. But it would also be nice to wake up Saturday and not have to walk anywhere!!! I must say walking is getting a bit old now and I wouldn't mind being done!

But its kinda strange to think of finishing! I feel like I have been doing this forever. I can't imagine getting up and not walking. What will it feel like to get to Santiago after walking towards it for over 30 days?! And not meeting all the new people everyday...and seeing the old ones! Every day I know someone its like I have known them a year! And yesterday I saw a guy I haven't seen since just after Pamplona! I don't even remember how long ago that was but it felt like we were long lost friends! I met him twice weeks ago and we met last night and hugged (he was the old man I walked into Pamplona with and who gave me a foot massage when I was sick in Puente de la Reina). Really I know nothing about any of these people except we are walking across Spain together which makes a huge bond. And its funny to see the difference between talking to someone that started later to those of us that started in St. Jean. There is definitely some snobbery there! Soon I'll be able to say I walked 800km (500 miles) in a row!!! But then it will be done and the adventure will be over and I'll need to find something else to do! Hmmmm...I can see why some people do the camino over and over!

Ok...enough talking! I am going to enjoy the rest of the afternoon and read my book!!
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Trashiest place on the camino!!

If I wasn't so thirsty I would never have stopped here with the half dressed dirty locals and the rubbish covering ALL of the tables!! Blah! Good thing its only 4.5km to my stopping place! I am quite early today...although I suppose I am not there yet...anything could still happen!
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Getting closer!!

As I take a quick siesta under a pretty flowering tree...I just wanted to upload my pics from this morning!!

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Wednesday, 27 April 2011

All better!

Ok! I just needed a drink and some food! This place isn't too bad...had a great dinner of pulpo (octopus) and now am ready for bed! Tomorrow 30km more to st. Irene! Then only 20km to santiago. Bit I think I arrive on saturday morning not friday night. Friday night I will stay 5km from santiago on monte de gozo (mount joy) and then just walk 5km on Saturdy and celebrate. Ok! Need to turn phone off because no where to charge it here!! Hope it doesn't die tomorrow!!

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Most horrible place on earth!!!

I just spent all damn day walking 33km to get to the biggest shithole of an Albergue that I've stayed in yet!! And I was too tired to turn around and go to the hotel! I just showered in an open shower! And I am sleeping in a giant dorm with bugs flying around!! I hate this!!! I wish I hadn't come this far! How come my damn guide book doesn't say how much this place sucks?!? It might only be €5 but I have paid less for way nicer places! And I am surrounded by people that just started within the last like 5 days and are all keen and happy!!! I hate them!! Everyone except the Aussie father and son next to me! They started ages ago and the son is walking in flipflops because his feet are so bad! I could talk civilly to them! The south african ladies below me seem nice enough (grrr...I am on the top bunk) but they started 2 days ago and are super happy!

So I'll stop whining. I am at the 50km mark. So not much father!!

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Tuesday, 26 April 2011

Tired...

So today I passed the 100km mark (see previous post). Now I am in Gonzar, which according to my book I have 90km left but according to the km markers I have 82km left! I'll believe the markers as its shorter :)

Its very possible I will arrive on Friday!! That's 2 days earlier than originally planned. A 30km day is no problem now. Today I did 31km and tomorrow I am planning 32km. Today was a super slow day though. I fell in with some people I haven't seen in ages! If you thought I walked slow and took lots of break - then I don't know how these people made it this far!!! I haven't walked that slow in at least 2 weeks!! And we had so many breaks! It might be because we all hadn't seen each other in a while and everyone was chatting - but still. Then the guys wanted another break so me and one of the girls walked on. But we walked so slowly I can't believe the guys didn't catch up! But then we waited in Portomarin for them for over an hour and they never arrived. But some how we missed them. Anyways - we went to walk on to the next town and luckily she saw someone else she wanted to walk with so I was able to say "well, I'll just walk ahead a bit" so that I could walk a nice fast speed for the last 8km!! When she arrived at the Albergue I was already showered and visiting with the people I know! Lol!! But dinner was amazing and now its bedtime! Buenas noches!!

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100km left!!

Only 100 left!!


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Monday, 25 April 2011

Another day!!

So I walked again today...surprise surprise! :p

So today I made it to Sarria - and...I took the shorter way. So I did only about 18.5km. Amazing that 18.5km has an only in front of it! When else in my life would I ever say that is a short distance to walk in a day?! But yes - I was lazy and decided that I didn't want to walk 25.5km and see the monastery. Seeing stuff is way too hard. I will only see what is on the shortest route to Santiago!

So - I have arrived in Sarria early. My clothes are in the washing machine. It was kind of expensive but I started to wash them in the sink and then thought...what the hell am I doing?!? So I paid the €5 so my clothes can actually be clean! There is no dryer though...so hopefully everything will dry outside! It is a gorgeous sunny afternoon! I am sitting in a lounge chair on the roof terrace of my Albergue now! Its drying me quite well after my shower so it should dry my clothes!

What else...today was a pretty walk. I thought I was done with the big hills but for the first hour today all I did was walk uphill!! Grrrr!! Then, of course, the next hour was all downhill! And we may have had a bit too much to drink last night...oops! But it was easter and we had a steak dinner...and I walked a ton yesterday so I deserved it. But it did make today a bit tougher. I didn't look as rough as the guys though. They seemed a bit grumpy when they caught up with me! LOL! But they are off to find the massage place in town and then head out to the next town! Wow they are ambitious!! I'll probably catch them tomorrow...especially as I have to be out of my Albergue by 8am!! So if they only go 5km more I would be there by 9 and they usually don't leave til after that. I might have a chance of getting to Santiago by Friday night now. Sarria is about 120km from Santiago. But other stuff says 100km. 100km is 4 days...which is Friday arrival! Wouldn't that be something. So from now on I'll just walk to wherever I get tired and see how far I can make it! It would be nice to have a bit of down time at the end. And maybe take the bus to Finisterre. Anyways- we'll see how it goes.

But the next part of the walk might be a lot more crowded. Sarria is the last place people can start walking from and still get credit for doing the camino. So a lot of people start here. But I think because its the week after Easter - not a lot of people will start here this week. If people were going to do it they would have done it last week. I hope there aren't a lot of fresh clean new people starting now! They piss me off!!

So anyways - here's the pictures I took. My laundry needs to get hung up now and then I am going to read my book and try to get a nice tan!!

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Sunday, 24 April 2011

Another 30km day!!!

Yea!! I am amazing!! I climbed over a mountain and walked 30km!!! I included a picture (blurry) of the walk I did today! It covers 1.5 days of my guide!!! See the big hill!!!! Yea-I am amazing!!

Ok-thats it! Also included are the rest of my pictures! It was cow country today so I shared the road a bit with some cows :) Now to find my Easter dinner!!! I bloody earned it!

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Top of the top

Now I made it to the real top!! I lied before when I said it wasn't steep after the first "top"!! Wow that almost killed me! But now I have a bocadillo and a lemonade!!! MMMMM!!! I only have to go 12km more! If I make Triacastela tonight then I can take the long route to Sarria tomorrow!! Look at me-planning to do bonus miles :p

Ok-here are some more pictures that I took. The sun came out a bit again!!!

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Happy Easter!!!

So - I made it to the top of the mountain!!! (Well, not the top top but the steepest bit is over so this is considered the top). Its not even 11:00 yet!!! Where is my Easter basket?! I thought I would find it up here :( I deserve it after my big climb...oh well-i think I'll walk another 20km and maybe it will be there :p Good thing I got lots of sleep last nighht!!

Attached are the pictures from this morning. It got foggy at the top of the hill so no more nice views.

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