Writing from Bercianos del Real Camino – Day 16

Halfway!!! Officially … even though my GPS had me there days ago and maybe also my achey feet. How does it feel to be halfway? Pretty amazing. I’m feeling restored and unequivocal about what matters moving forward. I’m no where near ready to be at the end so thankfully there’s 380 odd kms to go and a couple of weeks.

Oh and WOW thank you One Girl for writing such a kind blog post.

Days on the Camino – 16

Kms – Today 32 kms.

Starting point today – Calzadilla de la Cueza, Spain.

End of the day – Bercianos del Real Camino, 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 – My dear friend Sue. She started as my mentor when I was studying midwifery and coincidentally we had everything in common at that time. It was a friendship that bloomed. At that time of our lives were ‘all’ babies and if we didn’t see each other we’d debrief with at least a phone call a day. Now we struggle with a phone call a year! But no matter – it’s a friendship that endures and distance has brought us closer as we connect over things beyond parenting. I admire your passion and absolute dedication to making this world kinder, calmer and more honest Sue. I adore our friendship and I hope that one day we live in the same city again!

Accommodation – After a sluggish morning and let’s be honest a sluggish last 6kms we arrived at our pre-booked dorm room (€15 each) Bercianos1900 to find they’d overbooked! They were so apologetic and quickly found us a room at a hostel 100 meters down the road. Bonus – it’s a twin room! Zero complaints from us.

Food highlight – This was breakfast! Two rounds. Don’t worry I eat fruit before I stop at the 10km mark, but man the pain au chaocolat was unreal! I think on account of the sluggish start ;). Yesterday was big so when we noticed that peanut butter toast option – um YES please. A kind American girl offered me a banana after smelling my toast which would have been awesome but I couldn’t take her banana, they’re hiking gold! Dinner was also superb but out of respect for my dear friend Sue who is a vegetarian and who I’m dedicating today to I won’t post it.

In a word(s) – Strong.

A walking holiday lends itself to a more humble, sustainable existence.

We buy food, drinks and lodging. Small businesses in towns with declining populations exist because more people are walking the camino. I love this kind of economics. In one of early my posts I talked about the rising number of people walking a camino. It’s breathing life into towns that would otherwise be ghost towns.

In general it’s easy not to contribute to waste. The trails are not littered and most of us fill our own water bottles and bladders. Out of interest I carry a 2L water bladder and 1L flask. I refill them each night. Those bladders need good care after an adventure. If they’re not dried out properly before storing they’ll go mouldy.

All the food we’ve eaten is generally home cooked with real food in private albergue’s that feel like they are someone’s family home. I’ve seen the veggies get chopped and added to the pot. As we walk through towns we see the bread and pastries as they’re delivered by the baker to the restaurants and shops. When you eat home cooked it’s not only better for you but also the planet as food and plastic waste is reduced.

While people buy the essentials – food and shelter no one is buying plastic souvenirs… who wants (needs) to carry any extra weight! Nor is anyone using take away cups for coffee – it takes less than 10 mins to stop and enjoy a coffee.

Currently we’re excitedly planning our walk into León. Can you imagine how awesome it is to be planing a city stay based on walking into that city and calculating the days it will take to do that?

Everyday I wake up and put my uniform on. Layered by Wilderness Wear ethically made, supporting Aussie farmers. It makes life so simple, the same clothes each day! So many reduced decisions. Let’s be honest don’t we go for the same things at home most days?

Right from the beginning the 8kgs on my back felt significant. It felt exciting to live with all I need in my pack, except for food of course. It still does. I often question if there is something I could do without. I could you know … I think I could drop another kg.

As we walked ourselves into a new region today and over the halfway mark I feel a new mindset moving in. Even though we are focussed only on the day ahead we’re now walking towards Santiago, towards home. Soon it’ll be time to consider what comes next … what am I moving towards?

I think it’s the same thing I felt from the beginning. Taking sometime to refocus on building a more sustainable existence, one that’s kinder to the planet. Mostly in the kitchen, without excuses for ‘fast’ convenience. The difference is that after this phenomenal reset I feel stronger and less ready to compromise what’s important. I’m ready to source what I need in my new home away from Australia.

Sometimes a reset in life is required. Over the years I’ve had a few of those. They have come from different the challenges I’ve faced. The difference with this one is I stepped into it knowingly. I chose it. We can’t always choose the challenges we face but we can choose to step into them and accept what we need to do.

Buen Camino,

Fran xx

3 thoughts on “Writing from Bercianos del Real Camino – Day 16”

  1. Oh Fran , your words and dedication to me… I am so moved by this, it brought tears to my eyes because here is my beautiful friend walking close to 1000 kms to raise money for those less priveledged and still she is giving to those close to her as she does this . Thank you dear friend I too hope we live in the same place one day and although I wish you were close for coffees and chats … what your giving me with your adventures and spirit is a beautiful thing.
    Now just to let you know you’ve become part of my daily routine. Get up ( by 7am or earlier) walk the dogs ( with or without kids or a kid… today all 3) Home for making lunches , breakfast( misch usually has it all set to go for breaky.. that’s her chore) make a cup of tea and cereal and sit for 10 minutes to eat and read your blog! One of my favourite parts of the day! After that it’s you know schooldrop, work, walk, sport drops, walk dinner blah blah you know the rest! Anyway Holly has your blog on her email now too and is going to start reading so that’s so good. Beautiful inspiring reading for a 13 year old. Thank you x

    Your photos are beautiful… love those bridge ones. What a beautiful part of the world you’re exploring…. everything about the Camino I love…. the trail, villages, how your waste free , eating sustainably , travelling as a complete minimalist ! I really think I’d like to do it one day too if ever it was possible. I dont know I had this vision of rough mountain trekking ( you are going over mountains I know) but I’m not sure what the hell I was imagining.

    Finally ( sorry huge reply!) congrats to you two legends on reaching half way ( now beyond) !

    Much love
    Sue xx

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Maybe the summer frock could have stayed behind … but you never know what attire you might need in the city. Eating tapas in a frock sounds lovely as long as the weather is kind.
    Maybe i need to go on a long walk. Really struggling working through what I ‘want’ to do in our new surrounds. I know what i don’t want to do. Such a journey hey?
    Super stoked you are halfway. That is epic. Very inspiring Fran. Xxx

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ha ha the summer frock didn’t make the last pack! Sick, sandals and thermals … oh a slow shuffle. Starting fresh is hard, really hard. All of your identity is under question. Go slow, take your walks. Knowing what you don’t want is a good start. We’ll talk when I get home. x x

      Liked by 1 person

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