Day by Day: The Camino Aragones

Preface This walk was overshadowed by the death of my brother in law, Marcio in Brasil and I nearly abandoned the walk in favour of going to the Funeral in Brasilia. After a long deliberation at home I decided at the last minute that I would go on the Camino with my friend Alan as planned but that it would be dedicated to my sister, Connie. and her late husband.
Day 1 Belfast to Oleron
4.30am start from Belfast - it was cold hanging around for the bus in the city centre bus station in Belfast - I met a young woman from Derry that we were chatting to. The airport was busy, we had some breakfast & onto the plane, another siesta and woke to see the sparkling Atlantic underneath the wing. 
Then things got complicated in a Camino sort of way- we missed a bus then took the wrong bus to Bayonne but figured we’d get a train from there, but it detoured via Dax where we had an hour wait then onto another train for Pau! Once there the local trains for Oloron-Ste-Marie were suspended and we f…
Camino de Santiago by Diego
The Camino. Why did I do it? It was an idea that I had in my mind for some time. But I had no specific reason, I just knew I needed to do it. So, I took the chance: being unemployed was the right time to do it, the whole of it, from Somport in the Pyrenees to Santiago de Compostela. 858 Kilometres. I began on the Camino Aragones which is where I met the other pilgrims in this blog.

I also needed to think about my life. I needed to spend time with myself to meditate about several things. And here’s the funny thing about the Camino: I thought about nothing!!! I had no serious thinking about anything on the road. Funny thing because a friend of mine that started the Camino a few days after me returned with so many doubts. He spent most of the time consciously thinking about almost everything in his life. Me? I just felt so great, so relaxed, so calm, so much at peace with myself. I think this is one of the first lessons I learned about the Camino: everyone has t…

Reigniting the Fire: The Camino Aragones (alternative start point for the French route)

It is barely light and I am struggling along a narrow mud track in northern Spain. All around the impervious Pyrenees, impossibly high peaks straining for the sky. Sleep was patchy in the hostel and I’m bleary eyed and stumbling along, waking up to the dawn. The hand-painted yellow arrows point the way to Santiago, 800km away, but I won’t get there this time only having 10 days. The spiders’ webs brush off my face and arms and it thrills to know that I am the first one on the trail. My muscles are a bit sore from the previous day’s walking but I know that this will wear off. I am on the Camino and it is utterly thrilling and enveloping, an unexpected joy overtakes me and I rejoice in being alive, being able to walk and watching the world wake up. 

The morning sun flares behind the Pyrenees, a reminder of the heat that will soon overtake me. Surrounded by mountains, they rear up into the sky on all sides. Far from claustrophobic it is freeing to see the blue sky framed by ragged peaks. …