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Archive for June, 2013

I turned 50 years old this year and one of my goals was to read 50 books.

This is an abbreviated summary of the books I’ve been reading while walking the Camino de Santiago.

Book 15 was John Brierley’s A Pilgrim’s Guide to the Camino de Santiago. The book has suggested distances for daily walks, as well as maps and information about the places one walks past/through. Brierley also includes inspirational quotes and suggested topics to ponder each day.

I’m glad I had the guidebook since, at times, I was unsure where to go. Though many times, I misinterpreted what was in the book, and was still unsure of the correct next steps. Part of my problem is that, despite training with a Runkeeper app in kilometers, I still have no earthly idea what a kilometer feels like. So telling me to walk 3.4 kilometers then turn left isn’t exactly helpful!

Luckily in most places there were the ubiquitous yellow arrows pointing me in the right direction. (People planning to do the Camino might note that some albergues off the Camino will put arrows leading to their establishments. Be careful or you could end up walking a few extra km!)

Book 16 was Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen. Believe it or not, I had never read this book. For various reasons, I could never get into it. But it was free to download on my phone, so what better reason to try again?

This time, I did finish the book, and enjoyed it, though my tired brain kept getting some of the characters confused. I am happy that I don’t live in Austen’s time and don’t have to worry so much about making the “right” match based on societal pressure.

Book 17 was a more modern-day chick lit book: Bridesmaid Lotto by Rachel Astor. Also free to download, this book was light, predictable, and unrealistic, but perfect if that’s what you want to read.

The book is about Josephine McMaster, whose mother enters her into a contest to be a bridesmaid for a rich socialite. Many women entered the contest because one of the groomsmen is a famous, hot, single actor. Of course, Josephine is one of the winners. And, even though things aren’t always rosy, the book does have a happy ending.

Book 18, also free to download, was too much Harlequin Romance for my taste. Shoe Strings by Christy Hayes is about an Atlanta shoe designer, Angelita Barros, who goes to the North Carolina mountains to escape dealing with her troublesome father. Yes, she finds love; yes, there’s a happy ending. Just not my cup of tea.
Now I know: Bridget Jones-type books: yes; strictly romance genres: not so much.

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I made it into Santiago on Sunday!

Here’s a few more photos along the way. The one below is from a path on the way to O Cebriero:

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Walking amidst the clouds in the way down from O Cebriero:

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I made a little friend at a wonderful casa rural:

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This puppy was very cute, but mouthy. He decided to use me as a teething toy. And yes, he bit my already injured right foot!

Somewhere along this stretch, I decided to make friends with the pavement. I figured my resistance to walking on pavement was symbolic of my resistance to the hard parts of life. Maybe I don’t have to resist so much, but it’s also alright to choose an easier option. No more needless suffering in my life!

I arrived in Sarria at the tail end of a festival. Some friends who got there the day before watched the artists make these beautiful flower pictures the day before:

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The Camino starts getting really crowded at Sarria. Lots of people start here since it’s the last place one can start and still get the compostela (a certificate of completion).

This area of Spain reminds a lot of folks of Ireland. Some people I met said it looked like Washington State. The wooded area reminded me of an area in upstate Connecticut.

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So, now I’m done with time to waste. No more walking; my poor foot and tendons are done! Plans are to take a bus to Finisterre and then Muxia, and hang out there until it’s time to go home.

The Camino has been the most intensely wonderful, emotional and challenging experience of my life. Call me naive, but I always thought that chubby, out-of-shape me could do the distance. What I never imagined was getting injured!!! Walking (or should I say limping?) in pain for the last 200 miles definitely added to the experience.

So I’ll sit by the beach, weather permitting, and try to integrate all I’ve learned. I don’t know that I can put it in words at this point. Plus, even though I came to do some life-transforming work, I think I got more than I bargained for!

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