...stars will lead the way...how fantastic?! At this point in time I am still hobbling around on walking aids so as my thoughts drift to 8 months down the track (with my new toes) I can dream aplenty of watching the sun drop into the Atlantic, and my pilgrim toes digging into squeaky white sand with a feeling of incredible achievement of having walked almost 1000kms from the French Pyrenees across the Spanish plains to the Atlantic coast. I am not sure who will be radiating more brightness this night, me or estrelldo (starry) night. Buen Camino, and thanks to all my friends and family, and my new pilgrim Facebook mates, for supporting me through my past few months.
The Camino de Santiago known in English as The Way of Saint James facilitates pilgrimage to the shrine of the apostle Saint James the Great in the cathedral of Santiago de Compostela in Galicia in northwestern Spain. As my preparation ramps up physically so does my spiritual journey with a return to my faith, and a historical learning of the history of the Camino Frances (the French Way).
Each day as I get stronger, physically and mentally, in preparation for this amazing life long dream I count my blessings that I am able to participate in this pilgrimage and get the chance to meet other pilgrims from all over the world, enjoy tapas, tinto vino and the camaraderie which is Buen Camino (good walk). I invite guests of the B&B to join me for early morning or late evening walks.
Judy and her husband Noel are long time guests of La Maison St Arnaud B&B. They make their annual pilgrimage to Rutherglen for the Lake Moodemere Rutherglen Regatta which is Australia's oldest rowing regatta and features rowing over two days. Judy has joined me each morning of their recent stay for a walk to enjoy our cool mornings, local bird life and scenic views.
My daughter and her partner (and Santa of course) gifted me with a Fitbit Charge 2 for Christmas. It is terrific! As well as giving you performance stats it sends little messages affirming your progress, which I love! Here is one from a couple of days ago.
'You've earned the Penguin March badge!
With 112 lifetime kilometers, you just matched the distance of the March of the Penguins—the annual trip emperor penguins make to their breeding grounds. You're doing swimmingly well!'
Way back in September 1998 whilst touring through France with my mum Patricia and friends I came across some little shell shaped bronze plaques embedded in the footpath outside of a cathedral. Not thinking too much about it I continued on with my touring....a few days later our little group decided to drive down to view a grotto near Vezelay. Once again I noticed the little scallop shell insignia. My mum thought they had something to do with pilgrim walking paths. Thinking she was mad, I thought who would walk all the way out here and beyond?
Some years later whilst reading a weekend travel section in the newspaper I saw this little shell again, and a story about the ancient pilgrim trails that all diverged on Santiago de Compostela in Spain. Incredulous as I was of the idea of people walking so far I became intrigued and began my own research.
The Way of St James is today, as it has been for hundreds of years, a path across the Castilian plain to the tomb of St James in Santiago de Compostela in NW Spain.
Now, I am not going to delve into and bang on about the historic importance of these pilgrim paths as my belief is you should research this for yourself. The reason for my blog is I have a commercial business, a little boutique B&B in Rutherglen, Victoria (Australia) and for some time now between running my business, greeting guests and hosting their stays, I have been out and about training for my Camino Frances (The Way of St James) which will see me walk no less than 800kms across the northern reaches of Spain and onwards to the End of the World! Also known as Finisterre. My extended camino will take me all the way to the Atlantic Coast of Spain, then along the coastal camino route to Muxia. By the end of my camino I will have walked about 900? Maybe a little more! Exhausted just thinking about it!
Some guests of the B&B have consulted me about where do I walk to do this training? How long do I walk for? How do we get to where you go to train? So, I got thinking....hey why not take the guests with me? Then thinking further ahead, I should invite past, present and future pilgrims to come to the B&B and join me for a few days of hiking, walking and exploring all the natural beauty of our area.
So this blog will, for the next 10 months, document my Camino training, my equipment purchases, findings on socks, yes socks! They play a most crucial role in the prevention of blisters apparently.....as does vaseline, paw paw ointment and moleskin blister pads...whaaaaaaa! Where will it end? Headlamps, walking poles, water bladders, trail shoes, toe socks....Injinji what!?
All new, strange sounding but incredibly exciting....enjoy my pics, my blog posts and please feel free to comment...I hope you find it of interest and help, and that it will inspire you to plan your own Camino!
My blog recollections and posts will eventually include my very personal, spiritual journey in the European autumn of 2018.
The Callitris hike was my first roughy! On what was to be a hot day, and albeit I headed off earlier than usual, there was a lesson learned? Go even earlier! The total distance of 16kms belied the rugged tracks with many ruts, loose stone and steep incline/declines.
Overall it was quiet with just bird song and calls to accompany me through the Ironbark forest of the Chiltern-Mt Pilot NP in NE Victoria. The Spring wild flowers were prolific and colourful, and added a welcome distraction from my new heel blister!
Mining of the Magenta Reef commenced in 1860. Earth, rock and quartz were excavated and carted out by horse and dray. The open cut was worked to a depth of 15 metres and later partially filled with mullock. Two shafts were sunk to access gold bearing ore. Today, you can view one of these from the eastern side of the open cut. The other shaft has since been filled in for safety. Further along the track there is a viewing platform to view the enlarged tunnel or drive, which was worked to a depth of 30 metres. The quartz was crushed at the nearby stamper batteries and the timber foundations can still be seen today.
The mine closed around 1910, but was revived during the 1930s Depression. Published figures report a total of 21,665 tons of material was crushed, yielding 9900 ounces of gold. It is thought 13,000 ounces of gold is more accurate. In its heyday, Magenta was a significant residential area. Now the tall Ironbark trees with their black, deeply furrowed bark, are a spectacular backdrop to the red soils of the area.
This gentle undulating track walk is 15 kms and also takes in the original Goldfields Cemetery. Albeit I was not quick enough to photograph them, I did see many Regent Honeyeaters and Swift Parrots. Once again the wildflowers did not disappoint.
Rutherglen is blessed with relatively flat roads, and a gorgeous section of the Murray to Mountains Rail Trail which winds itself throughout our famous wine region. Now, as we know trains don't often travel uphill so these rail trails are great for endurance riding, and training. Today I did a 25km return training ride, as fast as I can there and back with a 20 minute rest and stretch at Cornishtown.
Well its official, I have a way out of the country next year..Ive booked my frequent flyer seat to Paris!
So what does the girl do? Go for a bike ride and enjoy a terrine and rose lunch of course!