Thursday, July 30, 2015

Pilgrim Book Review: The Best Way by Bill Walker

I like reading about other peoples experience on the Camino, and guessing by the sheer number of books available, I am not alone. Or mabye  just a lot of many people like to write about the Camino. Hmmm Maybe I should wirte one. Thanks to e books I don't believe it is hard as it once was to get published. Of course that would mean that I would actually need to write in the journal I like to take around with me.  Another problem altogether.  Any way on to the book.

This is the third book I have read by Bill Walker, the other two being about the Appalachian and Pacific Crest trails.  I liked both of those books quite a bit more than this one. In those he seemed to have more charm and humbleness in his tone. Gone was that. I felt he was a bit proud of himself in this memoir and a bit judgmental as well.  There is one place in the book, he gives out to a female pilgrim for not walking with his group but going off for younger better looking guys and what a great chance she missed, and went on to go as far as comparing her choice of companions, as being lazy somehow getting to comparisons with Hitler ?! Mean while all the time he seems a bit obessed with younger women. That was the worst part of the book to me. He has some good history throughout as well.

He is a good writer and the book isn't terrible. its available as both an E book and in print.  He does have a some untranslated Spanish throught out the book, I guess to remind you he is in Spain and can speak Spanish. I would recommend his other two books  before this one.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Happy St James Day!

St James was this past Saturday. One day I would love to visit Santiago for the celebrations, but really crowds that large are hard for me to take.   I recently had decided to try and keep up  Camino habits in my day to day life and went on a couple of walks, only about 12k each as it really gets pretty hot quiet quickly. I really want to toughen up my feet, as the only niggle injury I have had on camino is a couple of blisters. So it was hot which was hard, but also good to really work on my choice of footwear/ sock combination. This time of year I like to stick to roads, as I am terrifed of snakes that can be lurking under bushes. Luckily I live near some roads that I never see traffic on.  I also made a version of Santiago Cake for my family and I took a photo, but it looked terrible  in the picture.  I can easily see why there are jobs such as a food stylists.

I love this catherdral. I wish I was there, but its fun to look at old photos. THis was from Late May 2014. I am hoping that when I return, the much needed repairs will be finished, so the scaffolding can come down.

It is a nice wide road, easy to see rattlers. Though, I have only seen one dead one this whole summer. 

I love the desert. Its easy to see where the water runs during monsoons, as it will be a darker green.  
Some Night Shade Silverleaf are still hanging on.

As are the desert Marigold, its a bit late for them too. 

Turkey buzzard doing his thng. 

ugh, obligatory selfie. I really like to wear long sleeves with the added Uv protection, so I don't have to mess with sunblock as much. i am sporting my camino buff, which I love.

Sunday, July 26, 2015


I just love backpacks! and next to shoes, probably the biggest expense and most important peice of Camino Kit.  They are arranged from Biggest to littlest from Left-Right.  34 L Deuter,  30 L High Sierra, 24 Mountain Hardwear Wandra, 22 L Camelbak, and 22 L Gregory. All have hydration ports, and the three largerst came with rain covers. (i hate rain  Ponchos with a passion so I need the rain cover) The smallest two I use as day packs. The bright yellow one is great for the AZ desert as it came with a 3L hydration pack, most of the hiking I do where I live there is no water to be found.

 I have used the Black High Sierra on the Camino Francis from SJPP to Santiago, and the Gray Wandra on the Via de La Plata from Seville to Santiago.  I felt the High Sierra was to heavy for its volume, it didn't have enough pockets, nor a sleeping bag compartment, and it also didn't seem to take the wear and tear of a camino all that well really. The straps are pretty worn. If I can bear to part with it, I think I shall give it to my nephew for boy scouts.   I was really pleased with the wandra, I just needed a bit more space. It was like doing a puzzle to get everything in, and there was no space for food and extra bits, which was needed on some of the long stretches of the Via de La Plata.  I think they also made it in a 28L which would have been  perfect, but I wasn't able to ever find it.

I was on the look out for a new pack when I came across the Dueter Futura Pro for a great price at It looks like it has gone back up in price, but they will probably have sales again. It is a little more volume then I really needed but the weight of the pack was fine, I think it is 3 lb 6 oz and has tons of space. It looks so much bigger than the rest as it packed right now (I am always packed/packing for Camino  ;). It also has the frame where the backpack is away from your back to try and keep you cool. So far I love it though I haven't yet put it thru its paces fully. I have high hopes this will be the one for the next few years.  It came with a yellow flower, I suppose to signify it was a women's pack, and I left it.

One caveat is there is no pouches on the hip belt, which means I will have the fun of finding a new waist  pack. I had to throw away the last one as it fell apart, but what do you expect for $6? It did make it to Santiago with the help of Duct tape.

Friday, July 24, 2015

Vanity thy name is woman

Each and every item a person carries has passed through a test on whether or not it is worth it to be carried on your back for over how ever long your Camino will last. The first couple of Albergues always have take em/leave em  places. In fact I bet you could probably bring an empty backpack and fill it with enough stuff on the tables to get you to Santiago.  On my first Camino, I left a handbag, pair of shoes, and a heavy scarf. One thing I didn't leave was my makeup. I'm a vain soul. I probably only used it every 5th day or so, but I found it nice and comforting to have when in larger cities. I suppose it is a bit of a crutch. I don't take very much - mascara,  one eye shadow, one eye liner, coverup. for my lips I just use the same Burt's bees as I do everyday on the camino. Many pilgrims don't take any at all and I first I felt a teeny bit ashamed for some reason. Granted its not a necessity, its definitely in the luxury column of things I take. But I believe in being whatever sort of pilgrim you want to be whether its wearing a reproduction medieval garment or mascara. I have decided to own who I am at this time in my life- a Make up wearer. Maybe some day in the future I will be comfortable enough in my own skin I won't need it, but I'm not going to rush or make myself feel bad about it. There are plenty of other things I already worry about. together these item wiegh not too much, but it is fun to feel dressed up in the cities. I know "its not a fashion show" but its a nice change of pace as it were to get spiffed up a bit and days of dust and sweat.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Blogging is harder than walking across Spain

So It has been a year since I went on my last Camino, Via de La Plata From Seville to Santiago. and I have never even blogged it.  I loved it and am itching to do another. Its funny because I used to never want to go back to the same country while traveling but keep crossing them off the list as it were. But now I seem to be addicted to Spain. I was planning to go again this September but Life happened and now I am planning on next year, I think still in Sept. My previous other two Camino's where in May-ish and I think I would like to experience another season.  While I am/was a bit sad I was delaying my next Camino it will give me time to get in better shape, lose the ever present lbs, and really work hard on my Spanish, and maybe even blog about it some. I shall endevour to blog at  least once a week, to keep focused on a far oft goal.