Weekend Watch: Beyond The Way

Before the New Year, I wrote about Andrew’s Suzuki’s “Don’t Stop Walking” series on YouTube. It is a 6 part prequel to his upcoming documentary about his 2014 Camino. You can view this series on YouTube here. I found it to the point and entertaining at the same time. His documentary “Beyond The Way” is nearly complete but before uploading this to YouTube, he has released a prologue. Watch this below.

So I’ve Been Asked To Talk About The Camino…

Before my previous Camino in May, I met up with some friends and took in one stage of the Lough Derg Way. It was a fab day, and we were treated with great weather, even though my calves were giving out to me for a few days. When we finished, we had a few cervezas and we were told that a group of people in Tipperary (where one of my friends is from) would like to know and learn about the Camino de Santiago. Now we all have walked the Camino Frances so we thought that we would have no problem. We just need to meet and sort out who will be talking about what.

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We have a storyteller on board who has walked from St Jean Pied de Port three times and has walked in France also. He loves to talk about the funny side of life and his storytelling nights can be pretty entertaining. I’m hoping to talk about facts and figures; for example, the best time to go; how to get there; the weather; the costs; how many people have collected their compostelas and at what time of the year. All this information is freely available online but the most important thing about this is we would like to leave an impression. We hope to have people talking about this trip to Spain so their next step is booking flights.

At this stage, the talk is planned for September which leaves me with plenty of time to put something together. Speaking to a group is slightly intimidating however, but I can worry about that when I get there.

So, if you wanted to walk the Camino and had little information, what would you like to hear about in this talk?

Good News!!!

Nothing like good news to brighten up a dreary Tuesday morning. Just after 10am this morning, I received a tweet from @blogawardsireland saying that I had been nominated for an Irish Blog Award. It went on to say that I would receive an email with the next steps in the coming week. Being quite honest, this is a huge deal to me and not entirely sure what happens now. You can find more details on www.blogawardsireland.com with details of each of the categories. I can only assume I will be placed in the Travel category…not bad for someone who takes leaves these shores once a year! If you have some time, you can even offer to judge some of the entrants. I’m not expecting anything, to be honest, but if anything, it gives the motivation to put more effort into this blog. I have a few more ideas also that I will expand on later.

More to follow.

Post Camino Blues


I can definitely relate to this. I’m sure there are some of you who feel the same way after a walk along the Camino.

Originally posted on Somewhere Slowly:

The PCB is a serious, dreaded and sometimes oddly cherished pilgrim affliction with no known cure. It tends to hit people who have walked one or a combination of caminos in Spain for anything between a week and several months. The severity of the condition does not seem to increase with the time spent walking or planning, but will strike unexpectedly and unpredictably after the person has returned home and is settled in his or her ‘old life’ again. It has also been known to start on the flight home in some extreme cases, though this is rare. It often seems to be triggered by the subject trying to explain his or her experience to friends and family after the fact and finding that words will not sufficiently cover the matter.

The symptoms are many and varied, but will often include vacant staring whilst wallowing in memories of roadside poppies…

View original 363 more words

What about next year?

It’s now two months since I arrived in Molinaseca battered after the steep descent from the Cruz de Ferro. Last May was by far my favourite time and I met some great people. However most evenings since I returned home, I pick up either the Rother or Brierley guides and read through them. Next year constantly springs to mind. Do I go back next year and continue on? Or do I take a few years out and do something else? I am still in the middle of house-hunting also, so I have other things in the back of my mind. I’ve also being toying with the idea of walking the full Camino Frances but my job doesn’t allow for a full 35 days leave unfortunately. So I’ve accepted that any Camino walk will be two weeks more or less…unless I reach the age of retirement or win the lottery!!

Some of my Camino buddies are either in Spain walking at present or have made plans to return this or next year. So I feel a little bit left out. I’ve more or decided that “if” I do return that I will continue to the coast which works out at roughly two weeks. It is perfect. But I have “Santiago-phobia”. I haven’t been in Galicia since 2011 for a reason and I would much prefer to be strolling through the vast open plains of the Meseta instead. The Camino as a whole is a challenge and Galicia would be the toughest for me, mentally not physically.

Anyway, I hope to make a decision closer to the end of the year. My pack is at the end of my bed more or less full and any arranging will be minimal.

2015..Places I’ve stayed

Well it took me a while to finish off my day-to-day diary. Life kind of gets in the way when I am not in Spain. I am hoping to get away for a few days but in Ireland, at the start of August. More on that later.

I just want to give you some information on where I stayed on this camino. Some of the albergues I have stayed in on previous Caminos while some are new.

Day 0: Belorado – Casa Waslala – google maps / link
Day 1: Atapuerca – Albergue El Peregrino – google maps / link
Day 2: Burgos – Casa de Cubos Albergue – google maps / link
Day 3: Hontanas – Albergue de peregrinos Antiguo Hospital de San Juan – google maps / link
Day 4: Boadilla del Camino – En El Camino – google maps / link
Day 5: Villalcazar de Sirga – Albergue Don Camino – google maps / link
Day 6: Ledigos – El Palomar – google maps / link
Day 7: Sahagun – La Bastide du Chemin – google maps / link
Day 8: Reliegos – Albergue la Parada – google maps / link
Day 9: Leon – Hostal San Martin – google maps / link
Day 10: Villavante – Albergue Santa Lucia – google maps / link
Day 11: Astorga – Association de Amigos de Camino de Santiago – google maps / link
Day 12: Rabanal de Camino – Refugio Guacelmo – google maps / link
Day 13: Molinaseca – Albergue Santamarina – google maps / link

Camino 2015 – Day 13 – Rabanal del Camino to Molinaseca….and home

May 18th 2015 – Day 13
Rabanal del Camino to Molinaseca – 25km

I had already walked 260km over 12 days but this day was my last day. I dislike last days on any trip. I had already thought about going back to work and that brings stresses in itself. However, starting out, I had a choice. Take it handy and walk 25km to Molinaseca, or walk to Ponferrada, which is approximately 30km walk. It all depended on how I felt on reaching Molinaseca. .. I was going to soak up the atmosphere and meet some more people. I may even meet Tom and the guys before I finish up.

It was just after 6am when I departed Rabanal del Camino and it was still dark. The albergue was serving breakfast at 7am but I didn’t avail of it choosing to wait until my arrival at the next town, Foncebadon. I remember my time here in 2012, I left with a German, Sabine however I walked out alone this time. It didn’t bother me however. The climb up to Foncebadon is tough, and starts as soon as you leave the hamet. You venture off road and you walk up, up, and further up until you reach a main road. I meet the two Irish women whom I last saw in El Burgo Ranero and chat to them for a while while I catch my breath. From there, there is another steep climb before you see the cross at the entrance of Foncebadon.

The popularity of the Camino seems to have given life to this little part of Spain since I last visited in 2012. Instantly, I could see two new albergues and one other hostal. I stopped at one of the new places “Albergue Roger de Lauria” which serves breakfast. It was bustling even at this time..7am. I suppose a lot of people choose this village as their stop point. John Brierley doesn’t recommend it as an end stage, but a lot of people chose to stay here so they can witness daybreak from the highest point. I ordered my usual breakfast and sat down. The climb took a bit out of me but I had quite a bit more to go yet.

I started to think about the Cruz de Ferro, which was another 2 kms or so from here. On reaching the Cruz, most pilgrims bring along a stone as a symbol of a weight that is on their shoulders. They place the stone by the cross so the weight is no longer with them. Instead of a stone, I brought a small metal shell that was given to me by my friend Anna who I met on my last Camino. I spent twenty minutes or so here and took in the atmosphere. The sun was out and it was beginning to warm up. The arrival of a tourist bus was good reason for me to move on also. From Rabanal, I had climbed 400 metres to the highest point on the Camino so it was all downhill from now. The trail is along a road but the traffic is so quiet that I find myself walking on the road itself.

Another 2 kms or so further on I reach Manjarin, with a population of just one..Tomas. I didn’t stop this time around but took a photo of the many destination signs at the front of his house. I wondered if many stayed in his albergue the previous night. I must try it sometime. From now until the next town, El Acebo which is roughly 7 kms, it is all descent. At first. the Camino stays on the main road but it takes you off road for a while before reaching El Acebo. It is quite tough at times, especially as I don’t like descents. I stop at every opportunity I can. There was one guy selling freshly squeezed orange juice and I jumped at the chance to take a rest. I reach El Acebo at about 11am. The climb down took alot from me and I was ready for a cafe con leche and something to eat with it. Just as I entered the first cafe in the village, I see Tom and the gang. I was delighted to see them. It now meant I had someone to walk with on my final day. I took it easy for a while we gathered our things and set off. I learnt that they had stayed in Orbigo and in the albergue further on in Astorga. They chose to stay in Foncebadon also, which explained how I had missed them for so long.

Once we left, we discussed where we would stay for the night. I told them that I had been to Molinaseca in 2012 and it is beside a river. I think they had been thinking of staying in Ponferrada but the mentioning of a river sort of changed their minds. It is a beautiful town and wins over Ponferrada on all counts. Plus the albergue in Ponferrada is too large. The albergue in Molinaseca is run by Alfredo who is another legend of the Camino. We checked in and decided that rather than have dinner there, we would take a visit to the tienda, buy some food and wine and take a trip down to the river. We had a great time and it was a perfect final day..even though my leg took a battering. I was back hobbling again but I did my best to shake it off. I saw Michael from Cork again who would be flying home the next day, but from Madrid.

Saying goodbyes are hard but saying goodbyes on the Camino are harder. I should be used to it at this stage.

I woke up the next day after 7am and the last of the stragglers were moving out. I, on the other hand, didn’t need to go. I packed up and wandered down to the taxi rank in Molinaseca town. After a badly improvised phone call in Spanish to a taxi company, I was picked up and brought to Ponferrada bus station. The next four hours were spent looking out the window at passing cars and pilgrims as they make their way to Santiago. In typical Galician style, the heavens opened on arriving in Santiago. After another taxi ride to the aeropuerto, I waited for my flight home. While waiting, I met a friend who was also walking another portion of the Camino and was coming home.

So that’s my 2015 Camino over..I suffered, to the extent of damaging some ligaments in my leg. But was it worth it? Oh yes! Here’s to 2016.

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