Category Archives: Camino

Walk to Sahagun – part 2

I have discovered that after so many pictures my app crawls trying to finish the blog. Rather than spend hours, I am testing to see if breaking it into smaller blog helps. Sorry for spamming you!

Anyway, it’s amazing how beautiful every thing looks early in the morning. The walk itself become a meditation with little mindfulness and the Meseta comes alive with beauty.

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Breakfast once again consisted of coffee, croissants, and orange juice. We continued to make good progress toward Sahagun.

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Sahagun has some of the structure that date back to 8th century. We made it here at around 1 pm. We found a nice room at an old monastery and had a nice lunch at the plaza.

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Unbelievable but true

This rag tag team has made it half way through our Camino journey of approximately 500 miles. Three weeks and 2 days (including 3 days of rest) into our walk, we have made it past the halfway point. Although, in the path there is no point, it is a journey that goes on. We celebrated this by taking this selfie.

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Our goal today was simply to go to the next village. The trick, it was 17 km with no water or food along the way.
Since we had done over 27 yesterday, this was considered short and easy day. We left the alberge around 6:45 in the morning.

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Morning was crisp and cool and full of quite sweetness as we moved through the town and onto country road.

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When the sun finally started to emerge it bathed the world in soft glow without any harshness to it.

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When the rays finally grazed the fields , it was the grace dancing with field and creating a soft and gentle feeling of nurturing and healing.

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It was peaceful and quite. Every one walking in their own rhythm dealing with their aches and pains as well as joy and bliss. Unexpected surprise was finding of picnic area and food where there was none thought to be available. Most every one was prepared for solitary journey but welcomed the pleasant surprise.

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We ran into our German friends again today and enjoyed the travel back and forth.

We made it to Calzadilla, our destination just before noon. This was our semi rest day as we continue to move toward Leon. Every one was marveling at what we have accomplished so far and energized to tackle the next half of our journey.

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An oasis in the Meseta

We decided to keep our day short and just planned to walk a mere 19 km. you know the team is stronger if they think 19 km is a short day. After two plus week of walking, every one is feeling stronger. We are beginning to understand the rhythm of the Camino.

We left at 6:30 in the morning again to avoid the intense heat of the afternoon.

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We had a steep early climb but after Pyrenees and early in the morning nobody was bent out of shape about it. As we were climbing it one could see the sun begging to emerge.

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Once again at the top we found an enterprising young man selling the basic necessities.

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We felt like we were back in Meseta with nothing but vast open expanse.

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We made great progress and stopped for breakfast after we had covered 11 km.

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Next part was probably the best part for me. There was nothing remarkable except the quite silence and straight road. It was peaceful and meditative. I walked alone for an hour on a slight incline oblivious to the world. There was no sound or wind. It was simply blissful. At the top under shade of the tree, I waited for the rest of the team.

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We could see the town of Poadilla Del Camino 4 km down the road where we planned to spend the afternoon/night. On the way down to the town we witnessed a shepherd moving his flock along with the help of his two dogs.

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We arrived at the town about 1 pm. Earliest we have ever stopped. The alberge that we found was the most pleasant surprise of the day. For 7 euro per bed, this is the best alberge we have encountered so far. The title represent how it feels here. I understand that this place is run by a family and dinner is supposed to be very nice. Here is the glimpse of the town and the resort, um alberge.

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P.S. Note the stork on top of his nest.

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A day in a Spanish village- aka a rest day in Belarado

We completed 2 weeks of walking with one rest day in Pamplona. In that two weeks we traveled from St Jean Pied De Port to Belardo, a total of approximately 240 km (150 miles).. We have seen some beautiful country side of Spain and couple of laerger cities (Pamplona and Logrono). We are in love with Spain. The country side is beautiful and peaceful. The larger cities are exotic and vibrant with life especially after Siesta time.

While the scenery is beautiful, and this journey has been an adventure of a life time, what you don’t get to see is all the blisters, backaches, bug bites and exhaustion. None of us have been immune to any of this, yet none of us is deterred and are fully committed to the journey (yes we need our break day to store up some energy for the next stages).

We have 2 days of long stretches to complete our next stage by getting in to Burgos, but I am getting ahead of myself.

So let’s talk about a day in a village. It was nice to have a private room where the noise was minimized. We still heard the 6 am church bell. We could still hear the pilgrims filling out the street and their click click of the staff as they went on the journey, while we lay in bed and enjoyed our precious sleep.

Here is the view from our alberege at 8 in the morning (no sunrise pictures today).

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At 9, we went to the restaurant and had our usual (cafe con lechwe, cafe Americana, or orange juice – you can guess who had what) along with chocolate croissant, tortilla de patata (our savior most morning – this is Spanish omelet and something we all can eat – as most other choices are ham) , and pastries. After that some shopping for few necessities. Center of all of this is typically a plaza where you sit and watch the life unfold.

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As we sat we saw this man saying hello to every one by name sitting and talking and singing his best imitation of Pavarati. Pretty soon he was serenading Sitara and us and showing his toe injury caused by a bull in Pamplona.

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From there we decided to walk to the river and soak our feet in the cold water (very therapeutic as cold water seems to reduce inflammation and freshens the leg).

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We ran into the boy named Arun who had brought his two pet turtles to the river with his dad.

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As we came back, our friend was making the round around the town and happen to be passing by the alberge. He entertained us with couple of more songs from his child hood days. Daniel is a very good singer and was willing to record his singing and the watching it as we replayed it for him (unfortunately I can’t upload the movie but here are some shots).

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We enjoyed our first sit down lunch of the trip. We started our lunch at 1 and by the time we finished it was little past 3. Since we bought our grocery this morning, we plan to cook our dinner tonight (we did that last night also). Tomorrow will be an early morning start again as we plan to cover 24 km.

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VillaMayor to Torres Del Rio

Dutch alberge turned out be special with wonderful meditation at night. The morning view from the balcony was wonderful.

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Our goal for the day was about 20K.
Morning view of the town was beautiful.

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The next town was 12km away with no water or food. At least, according to all the sources. Half way down the road to our surprise we discover a food truck middle of nowhere. Wow

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We made it to the first village, Los Arcos around noon for lunch.

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At 12:30 as we were leaving for the next stop it started to pour. This time it was full fledged rain for almost 45 minutes walking through rocks and mud. With the rain and wind no one took break and we just kept walking.

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It was a good day for Vandana. Sakkar had a rough day with multiple blisters. Sitara’s heal was sore but she was again our leader and made it to Torres Del Rio as we were leaving Los Arcos. Pat enjoyed the rain and kept her steady pace. I was oblivious to every thing and being in the moment having a grand day. The Camino finds a way to test us all every day and yet it carries us through for another day stronger and more resilient.

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Happy birthday to my wonderful sister

I am happy Sakkar was able to join us on this great journey to celebrate her birthday.

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Celebrating her birthday on top of the Pyrenees.

We started 8 am from our alberge in Orisson.

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We started with breakfast in Orisson at the alberge.

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The view outside our alberg.

It was cool, misting, and foggy. Perfect weather for a grueling day of hiking. We started with a climb over the Pyrenees.

The views were spectacular and the climb was long.

Will add rest of the pictures as another post.

We arrived at sjpdp, the gateway to the Pyrenees just in time for dinner with other pilgrims. This morning we had the opportunity to explore this beautiful city

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Tomorrow we begin our walk up the Napoleon route to climb into Spain through the Pyrenees.

Feeling of Gratitude

2012-01-14 10.43.04All the work responsibility and loose ends are taken care of as we pack our backpacks for the final time.  I have had a chance to mediate for over an hour the last two days and I feel this overwhelming sense of gratitude toward so many people and the divine.

Usually I take vacation and never think twice about it, but this is the first time in my career that I have taken a two-month vacation.  I have had to structure and organize the teams so that they can operate effectively and successfully without my interference for next two months.  Everyone at work has been so supportive and  gone out of their way to make me feel comfortable about the time off.  I am so grateful to all my co-workers and teams for allowing me this luxury to go on this dream pilgrimage.

I am so grateful to the universe for conspiring to make it possible for me to experience this upcoming journey. I feel so blessed with a wonderful family, great friends, great relatives, wonderful co-workers, a great job and an absolutely wonderful life.  I am not sure I can wish for anything more and am in an state of awe and wonder at how life can be so beautiful and simple if we choose to embrace things as they are presented to us without judgement and bias.

 

The Camino – a journey of the body, nah – of the mind really … actually of the soul!

I have been wondering if everything I have done in my life up until now has been leading up to this adventure. But no, that cant’ be – I doubt there is anything in life (at least not in mine) that can have prepared me for what I am about to undertake – a 12 to 20 mile per day walk for a total of more than 500 miles over 45 days – with no material possessions except what can fit in a small backpack (hopefully no more than 12 lbs). I cannot recall anything that I have done that can have prepared me for this – not even in the past year and a half that I have had the Fitbit to keep track of my steps – I think there was only one single day (in Japan) where I even managed to walk 12 miles. I cannot even imagine walking this distance for so many consecutive days.

Not sure what I am thinking but there is no backing out now. the airline tickets are confirmed and today I even bought some pants and shirts that supposedly will make my walk comfortable- that is, if there is anything that can make walking such distances comfortable – let alone pleasurable – but we will see once we are on the Camino. I am sure there will be surprises, pleasant as well as unpleasant but in undertaking this, we have all agreed to complete surrender to whatever will be – there is really no other way to undertake a journey like this. There is consolation of course – in the bus rides that might be available and tempting – wonder if that will feel like cheating and take away from the glorious feeling of achievement that hopefully will come with completion of this journey.

I remember as a kid when my dad used to make us walk the 10~ miles to Patanga beach in Chittagong and we would be so worn out and unable to take another step and he would say, ‘oh it’s right there – we are almost there. I can even see the ocean’ and we would trudge along – what other choice was there. Years later, this training would help me complete the marathon and I am hopeful will keep me going on the Camino.

I started to read Enayet’s write-up about the camino and he talks about the 3 sections – first with the body, then the mind and then the soul. I think it is funny that my title of this post also refers to the same – I started out thinking this was a challenge for my body, then realized my mind had to be the driver if I was going to make it; but as we get closer, I think ultimately, it will be my soul that benefits – at least that is what I can hope and pray for, the rest will be up to God’s Grace. Since this past weekend, I do already feel detached from my worldly possessions – maybe I am ready for the Camino?