31 August: Puenta Del Raine to Estelle

This is the terrain. Some times worse. 3 Pilgrims have had their Camino ended because of sprains and breaks. It is like walking over cobblestones on steroids. Try doing that for 20 kilometers. Not fun but then again Pilgrims cannot have fun. They must suffer.

But we are rewarded with views like this:

Or meet interesting people:

Andy and Susie from Canberra Aussie

Nice French couple from….France. I traded bunks with this guy on the first night because the totally efficient but anal  Dutch lady refused to accommodate them. “You were assigned these beds so you have to take them” she said Of course the couple could not understand her and were very upset so me being me waited till the Dutch lady disappeared and then I gave him my bunk. They were happy and that is how I came to meet Jerry from Northern Ireland who has been my walking partner ever since. Buen Camino.

We did 22 kilometere today. The front end was pleasant but then the temperature reached into the low 80s for the last half which were tough. Lots of hills. One hill in particular was very steep and about a half a kilometer long. That almost did me in but after a banana at the village cafe I felt better and continued on. The last few kilometers are the hardest of course.

At the end and relaxing thinking…John? Are you insane?

Ok Dot, which drink is mine?

And looking at this:

Caught up. Read ya tomorrow.

30 August: Pamplona to Puente del Reine

This will be short as the internet is poor.

Did 24 km today” left Pamplona early and walked some 15 km 10 of which took us up a ridge of windmills and an iron figures call “Wind Across the Way.” Prëtty cool.

It took us almost all morning to get up the ridge where these figure are located. The walk down was no walk in the park. It took a long time to do it.

This is sad:

During the Spanish civil war in 1936-7 Franco massacred hundreds of men,women and  children in this area. This monument honors them.

This is me.

Cool huh.

The rest of the walk that day was uneventful but the sun finally came out and you could feel the heat. That is why I feel (and look) so cool. Call me Nomad of the Camino. I did the same thing on my French walk 5 years ago when it was so hot. Soak the towel in cold water and fling it over your head. It is very lush here but I am told that will soon change.

I trained a lot for this but the training has not prepared  me for the rough terrain here. Not nice.

I would tell people to focus on hill climbing and thighs and calfs. Walk yes but walking alone will not do it for you.

That’s it. Read ya later.

Hi Dot


29 August: Zubiri to Pamplona q

Better day today. No rain but steep hills. Right off the bat we had a steep climb but we are still in the Spanish Pyrenees s that is to be expected. We passed through some small quaint villages as well. Stopped for our morning coffee and bun. Not as nice as the French bread with chocolate but ok.  The countryside here when you can see it is spectacular. Houses scattered about will nilly it seems on the hills, clean sparkling white walls of concrete, maybe stucco with red tiled roofs and matching shutters that actually work like shutter should. The hills and the landscapes are amazingly green and lush. God’s natural pallette of various shades of green.we also walked past the Argo river ( go Argos go),a river in Spain that was actually named after the Toronto Argos. I kid you not.

yGetting to Pamplona was a stretch. Again the sign posts seem out of whack or my walking partner Gerry is out to lunch. He thinks in miles while I think in kilometer. We reach the outskirts of Pamplona and he tells me we have a mile to our hostel, but after walking one hour it is nowhere to be seen. In  fact showing up after a very long walk, This can be extremely frustrating when you are tired and hungry, your legs are screaming with lactid acid and you are thirsty for a cold beer. Finally we arrive at our hostel to sleep with 250 of our closest friends. Some scenery:

My walking partnër Gerry from northern Ireland. Good guy and he likes beer and he laughs at my stupid jokes. He also helped me a great deäl during yesterdays brutal walk in the monsoon.

Hi there.

Pamplona is a beautiful city. Our hostel is located in the centre of a walled town, over a thousand years old. Unbelievable history. They have had the Romans here, the muslims, catholic, facsists and now democracy. But they have thrown off the yoke of catholicism for a more secular society.You can say whatever but catholocism and protestantism  has given the world fantastic architecture, music, art and literature.

A local church.


Dot eat your heart Dot.

They have the running of the bulls here during St Fermin  day festival in July. Earnest Hemingway made that event famous with his first novel The Sun  Rises. They have a bar here named after him.kinda empty. Perhaps they are looking for some bulls.

That is all. Read ya larer.

Oh yeah and someone stole my poncho in Zubiri. Bien Camino!





28 August: Roncesvalles to Zubiri

One word to describe today: Brutal

It was 21 km of pure tortúre. It rained like a monsoon all day long. The rain gear and poncho coverage was like a sieve. Soaked through to the bone. On top of that the terrain resembled a surface of loose rocks, granite crevices , and gooey mud. I fell many times. And on top of that there were many hills. One hill went up about 4 kilometers. The down hill parts were equally treacherous. And on top of that and that and that the kilometer markings were off. That is the worst part as you see a sign that says Zubiri 4.9km. after walking for an hour you would expect to arrive only to read Zubiri 3.9 km. Brutal. I was piss……ed.s of people doing this. Buen Comino. Are you kidding me ?

And speaking of the Camino. Why doing this? They would ask. Well I dont really know. Religious? Physical?  Dont know. What can I say that wouldn’t up set  people. I don,t know. It is as simple as that.

One woman whom  I met during dinner last night told me she broke off with her boyfriend, lost her job and was evicted from her apartment. So that is why she doing the Camino . Wow I thought. Many people do this for various reason’s, it is an existential issue. Really?

Really.? Yes really. I would have thought many other thoughts about this but I would be labelled  according to whatever perceived injury. Just a thought. I thought.

All the best.

Happy anniversary Dot. Two years of undetected crime.it has been great.

Oh and it is raining.


27 August: Lourdes to Roncesvalles Spain

What a day. No sleep last night. Tossed and turned all night. Probably worried about my train connection after my Dutch fiasco. No worries though as I made it fine. Except for the weather. Believe it or not it is 8 C here in Roncesvalles, high winds and pouring rain. In fact it has been raining now for 4 days. And it is a hard rain, and wet and cold.

“Come to Spain” they said.

“You will love it” they said.

“ I came, I saw and I am drenched….” I said.

I feel like this guy.

Lourdes was very nice. Beautiful in fact. But they do have homeless there. But they are more refined I think. Take this guy. He was hanging outside the train station. He was listening to some tunes on his iPhone and doing yoga. He was prepping himself before heading out to rip people off. Oh well.

The trip down from Lourdes was uneventful. When the sun did shine the countryside was beautiful. Green and very lush. Small towns and villages were nestled among the rolling hills of the Pyrenees. A beautiful part of  France. But somewhat affluent. In other areas of France buildings and houses appear dirty, old and tired. But not here. Clean and refined with a Spanish influence. This is also Basque country. Fiercely independent. Freedom signs dot the landscape on the Spanish side of the Pyrenees.

I arrived safely in Roncesvalles but very tired. I am sitting  in a cafe (bar) writing this. Spanish beer is very sweet. But good. I haven’t met a beer yet that wasn,t. And I need the carbs. That is my excuse anyway.

I bet you didn’t know that Roncesvalles has a storied past. When Charlemaigne came from Aachen Germany to kick moorish butt in Spain he promised the locals in Pamplona that he wouldn,t damage the ramparts. He lied. So the Spanish residents were angry and they attacked Charlamaigne,s rearguard when he was leaving Spain via the Ronceau pass. The locals attacked him at Roncesvalles. Charlies’s fav general, Roland, was killed and he is buried here. Check out the song of Roland. It is famous. Now all of this occurred in 778 ad. Interesting? You bet.

So I am here now with 280 other pilgrims. I am not sure I am going to like this. Too many people. And we all emit that green hueish aura that comes with being a pilgrim. Yes we stink. But when everyone stinks nobody stinks. Ah, the life of a pilgrim. Try it and come to Spain….I said.

Read ya tomorrow.

Shakeyjay is out.