Saturday, 30 April 2011

It´s Started

Pamplona, Saturday 30th April

It has begun. For so long I´ve dreamed of this walk. I´ve researched and scanned the guides. I´ve read of the happenings of others as they´ve progressed. but it was always their walk. Now it´s mine. This is my Camino, and the places I´ve read about for so long are now materialising, the friendships that others spoke so easily of are happening for me and, best of all, my hope and expectation of drawing closer to God is already underway.

I arrived in Pamplona on Thursday ( I think it was!) afternoon after a delightful train journey from Madrid. I was fortunate to locate and book the evening bus to Roncesvalles, from where I planned to start the walk.

The reports of fellowship and friendship flowing on the Camino are not mis-represented. In the two days of walking so far, and the afternoons of finding accommodation, settling in and washing as necessary, with the evenings of finding the evening meal of ¨menu del dia¨ (menu of the day, the most excellent value three course meal) interaction with others of so many nations is happening, and it´s wonderful.

But I sense God´s sense of humour very much at work. The very first person I spoke to on the Camino was a lady who spoke English with a charming Spanish accent, but who now lives on Bundanoon. Can you believe this? I traverse the globe, arriving at a village many haven´t heard of, to begin a walk which is also a mystery to many, hoping to meet and walk with new friends from many nations, and the first person I speak with lives about two hours drive from home. I see this as God´s sense of humour at work. I also sense Him speaking to me saying something like: ¨My boy, we are going to have fun on this walk. You have said you want to get closer to me, and that will happen. We are going to enjoy each other´s company. You will be delighted by events. Some will even surprise you. So, relax and enjoy our time together.¨ You know, I´m doing that already.

The sign post at Roncesvalles said: Santiago 790 Km. After two days, it´s down to about 750Km. But this isn´t important. What matters is to enjoy each day, and they´ve been most enjoyable. From the cool mountain start through delightful countryside of lush green vegetation, rippling streams  and gently flowing rivers, picturesque mountain villages, to the medieval wonder of the city of Pamplona, and the easy going nature of the Spanish people - I´m having a great time.

May it continue so. Adios for now.

Wednesday, 27 April 2011

Up and away

I'm writing this from the hotel in Madrid where I arrived about an hour ago after a straightforward journey from Sydney vía Dubai, and a successful circumnavigation of Madrid using public transport. One reason for this brief entry is to see that I can post an entry from "foreign parts". The Pilgrimage is now well and truly begun. I'm feeling eager to get further into Spain. I will probably write again when I've started walking.

Friday, 22 April 2011


Only a few days before departure. The last three weeks have been very different to how I might have expected them to be. The cough has improved greatly, but I really need it to go. While any walking training has come to a full stop, this time has brought rest, and enabled me to focus on the many final arrangements that needed to be made. I'm getting there.

A delightful part of recent times has been the many friends who have wanted to catch up before I head off. No man is an island to himself, and I appreciate and cherish the many, good friends that I have been blessed with. I have had a great time in these final weeks. I thank each and every one who has offered me their friendship.

To all who might read this, I pray a happy, peaceful and blessed Easter.

Saturday, 2 April 2011


These are interesting times. Just now I should be excited, enthusiastic and energetic about the forthcoming Pilgrimage. The reality is that I'm swamped with a severe throat infection with massive coughing attacks which leave me tired, frustrated and with about enough energy to travel a grand total of 100 metres.
BUT, I choose to look forward (have you noticed how life is all about choices?). Well, I do not choose to dwell on this present miserable state but, rather, to look ahead to health, fitness and a glorious time in God as I journey through Europe with Him.
Final arrangements before I leave Sydney are coming together. In fact, it just could be that this present "slow down" is to give me time to sort out the hundred and one things that I still need to do.
I have been greatly encouraged by the support and concern of friends. I thank you all.
It is yet to be seen if I can keep up some sort of reporting as I travel. Time alone will tell, but I'll give it my best shot. Meanwhile, back to the cough linctus!