Writing from Castrojeriz – Day 13

There are many things in life that no matter what you read nothing can prepare you for the reality. You have to live the experience. Of course being prepared is beneficial. Like if you’re walking a camino that an 8 kg pack is going to be far kinder to your body than a 15 kg pack, or that trail shoes are less weightier and provided your ankles are ok are fine for this type of trail. But … your rhythm, what your body likes, what you personally like, what your capabilities and tolerances are that’s unknown. You need to play around and adjust a little (or a lot) to get your groove.

Days on the Camino – 13

Kms – Today kms. Our total is now around 356’ish kms it’s hard to know the maps are all over the place. But we are already or nearly half way!

Starting point today – Rabé de las Calzadas, Spain.

End of the day – Castrojeriz, Spain.

Number of girls in Africa educated – 20

Total funds raised so far $6,205.00. 

If you’d like to contribute you can do so here.

Frances Antonia – Do it in a dress.

Thanks for the help Kimmy from the Women Who Hike team.

Today was dedicated to – Dear Lizzy! Mother to the glorious Maya who fits like an extra daughter/sister when she’s at ours. Who had me pegged early on. Who knows I can’t commit to plans to far ahead (unless it’s a holiday) who reads every morning, who makes me feel safe to share my words and thoughts and who I reckon I could walk a camino with one day! Thanks Liz for being a friend when I’m near and also far. Yes, you could run a brilliant Albergue … perhaps there’s something in that for you in Aussie?! I thought a lot about your kindness and daily comments today.

Accommodation – We have arrived at the Albergue Rosalie and it’s AWESOME (obvs. I’ve been hanging with Americans). It’s a dorm ;) but after last night in a dorm I’ve worked out there are some albergue dorm rooms I can manage and some that are too much.

I need a little space, I need to be able lay out my pack. I can’t have a stranger 1/2 a meter away from me and I certainly can’t stay where the facilities don’t match the number of guests. I personally prefer a place that has a dinner available and these family run albergue’s tend to provide a home cooked meal. Tonight’s was cooked right in front of us in the kitchen. It’s a stocked honesty kitchen, you can help yourself and donate what you wish.

I don’t like to go to far from my Albergue once we arrive. Today we put our clothes and socks through and actual washer and dryer – new women.

Food highlight – It has been an excellent food day! This morning we set out at 6.30am and thought we’d nearly missed the 10km coffee as we entered the sleepy town of Hornillos del Camino (pop. 60). Right at the end of town we found Christmas! We wandered into The Green Tree and received a beautiful warm Irish welcome from Emma the owner. We ordered free range local organic eggs on toast and blissed out on our excitement of finding this little gem open … the luxury of that first coffee is indescribable.

We followed up with a local lunch once we arrived at our Albergue of stuffed peppers and salad. Ok, I also had a bean stew starter … 30kms days are needing more fueling.

To top it off the pilgrim community dinner at the Albergue. The €9 meal. All home made from real ingredients. Salad, bread, hummus, paella … the leftover over paella has been put in a takeaway tub for us to have for lunch tomorrow. Winning.

In a word(s) – privileged.

Maybe I’ll tell you about some of the things I love about this hike! Yes it’s a hike to us. I know it’s called a walk but we’re not walking it. We are well and truly hiking our way across Spain. Exploring, eating, meeting and feeling this beautiful part of the world. I love that!

I adore the early morning starts, the excitement of the new day. They mostly start the same. We wake with our natural body clocks, usually around six. Today the church bells outside our window rang to wake us. We get up and pack our sleeping bags, sort our packs, brush our teeth and step back on the camino with a banana in hand. I usually fill my water badder and bottle at night so the mornings are smoother.

Morning starts are the quietest. Generally we have the world to ourselves. The air is often crisper which lends itself to nice hiking weather. The birds are singing and the hues are quite spectacular. We wake up and soften the stiffness in our legs over those first kms.

The coffee and breakfast break is my next favourite part of the day. When we’re lucky it’s around 8-12kms, 2-3 hours in. Sometimes not so lucky and at 15-20kms, by this stage we’re desperate. We try to plan to carry some extra fruit in case this happens. An orange is such a sweet treat.

The coffee and morning tapa is well earnt as is the utter joy of getting off our feet. Man we need it by then. It’s incredible what that break will do. It’s so reviving and I love that renewed feeling of being able to step onward.

Side note: the coffee’s here are so much smaller and with much less milk than we normally drink. I want to be more mindful about that when I’m home.

Then it’s back to the hours of walking across a country. Enjoying the landscape. Watching the change in regions. Feeling part of an old and new world. The time lost in your head, a very clear head. Some days there are fellow pilgrims, some days not so many. Some days we nod our heads as we pass, others we speak pleasant greetings.

Slowly the path begins to lead us home to where our hiking day will end. Is as exciting as the morning. This is where we take the time to care for our feet and our bodies, to rest, to refuel and sometimes to socialize and sometimes to introvert.

Each afternoon is different and yet the same. We hike no later than 1 to 2 pm because the afternoons are just as valuable to us as the walking. I love this time, the arrival, the shower, the unpacking, the settling in. Time to prepare for tomorrow as we reminisce and laugh about today. My sister, my hiking buddy. There aren’t many you could do this with but she and I – we gel.

It’s routined, yet present and it’s full of surprises … just how I like life. I’d like to take a little lesson in routine home with me from my camino to play around with and adjust in my days.

Buen Camino,

Fran x

5 thoughts on “Writing from Castrojeriz – Day 13”

  1. A wonderful post Fran. Yes routine, but present, and open to the unexpected, sounds just the way to do a Camino; and life!
    You may become a piccolo latte drinker like me yet; it’s all about that shot of coffee :)
    Janet xx

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  2. I read your blog everyday Fran, mentally it takes me on a pilgrimage of my own, a journey of my own thoughts and dreams. You are making a difference and not just to the girls who will now be educated because of your steps and your dreams. Love that I know you and get to follow along.
    Oh and it’s Lix by the way. ;)

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  3. Awww thanks Fran. That is so lovely and yes i would happily walk a Camino with you. Hoping to do the Larapinta trail next April. Come join us. 😉
    Can you imagine life without fabulous food? And when you’re hungry it tastes soooo good. The simple joys are so very good. Well done on nearly half way mark. You’ve got this … in a dress. Xxx

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