Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Pilgrim film Review: Pilgrimages of Europe- Santiago de Compestela

This past week or so has flown by, and it has been humid. I am not really used to humidity so it has been fairly hard for me. And it drives scorpions into my house, I am up to six killed in my house, and one at work.  Needless to say, I really haven't been on any interesting walks or purchased anything Camino-ish.   On to some thoughts on the film.

I streamed this courtesy of Amazon Prime but it appears to also be available for DVD purchase as well. Its about 30 mins. I found it as fascinating as it was dated. But that what was great about it. Especially the soundtrack. I find 1980's soundtracks amusing.  It really was quite the contrast to a modern day Camino. Most of the pilgrims they interviewed mentioned how alone with their thoughts they were and in the shots there was nary another pilgrim to be seen. And even more alarming, they wore jeans! Just like in the movie The Way.  (though on a side note I did meet a very fast walking pilgrim who swore by wearing jeans, giving more weight to the argument to do whatever works for you). The narrator did say that in Spain there was only one way to Santiago- the Frances route, which of course there are numerous. Based on the small sample size of pilgrims in the documentary I would say they had larger backpacks. They also used camping stoves, which I think would get tiring after a bit, but then again a hot drink when every you wanted one would be nice. I like to think I recognized some of the places, as I would nod an think to myself "Yes I too sat at the table next to the path for a break." I believe it mentioned that 8,000 people a year received a compestela, compared to the 250000 + now.  It was interesting to compare how some things changed a lot and others were surprisingly familiar.  I would  recommend this just to see how much the Way has grown.

Monday, August 17, 2015

A new Fanny Pack

It has been really hot this past week in Arizona. It is also the time of year that I feel summer should be over. Time for Fall! I didn't go on nearly as many walks as I like to. Hopefully the super hot hot heat is at an end. I did go on a nice walk about sunset.  I saw my first live Rattlesnake of the year, and boy did I regret not wearing my proper hiking boots instead of Teva Sandals. I saw him before I was close to it and clearly the path was big enough for both of us, but at least with boots I think a wee bit of protection could be had. Do they make rattlesnake proof shoes? 
A very nice sunset, and even though the walk was fairy short it was nice. hopefully I will be able to do some more this week. 

I came across a herd of javelinas, I was away a bit so they are a bit blurry 

Here is my new fanny pack. i found it at a thirt store for $2. It looks unuased or at least not used in the desert, as there was nary a bit of dirt in it. Its a bit heavy but fits my kindle and other things I like to have at hand on camino. I really should weigh it.  I keep hoping they will come back in style, ah to relive the nineties. 

Monday, August 10, 2015

Bad days

I woke up yesterday on Sunday and my inner Gremlin had taken over. I was in a grumpy mood. I am not sure why. It was Sunday and literally the only thing on my to do list was my weekly long-ish walk.  Sometimes its easy to identify why a bad mood strikes,  and others like yesterday just happen. I had debated going on my door but in the end, thought I really wouldn't be in a better mood sitting on my couch so I my as well go out. It was surprisingly hot and sunny for 6 am, and nary a cloud in the sky.  I had been spoiled by all of the cloudy days this summer so this not great.  Not 1/2 mile from my door I was bit by a dog. It was one of those little ratty fast kind, that had got out of his yard. I had my trekking poles and tried to put it between me and the little evil thing next to my right leg on the side he was coming up to me on.  (This is what I have read what to do if you surprise a rattlesnake in the hopes it will strike your pole and not your shin) Well the little thing just did a football move, and bit me on me left leg right on the tendon. (which puts doubt into me regarding tricking a snake) I felt like a really hard pinch, and barely broke the skin.The thing bit me  and turned tail to run down the road so I couldn't retaliate even if I wanted to.   I almost turned back.  A couple of miles later  my generic camelbak, kept giving me fits. Somehow the hose kept getting semi detached not enough to leak but enough to stop water. I had to stop and fix it every so often. It has worked fine before this. I had plenty of time to think in the very hot and dusty and shadeless path I had erroneously picked for that day. Did I intuitively know what I was going to be in for on my walk so my mood adjusted accordingly,  or did my bad mood attract the somewhat unpleasant things? In the end I decided that it wasn't important. I just need to focus on continuing on to reach my goal. The walk didn't miraculously cure my ill spirit, but it did give me the sense of accomplishment.  And I woke up today in fine spirits, glad of having done my walk and also glad that the pet owner was responsible enough to have had the little beast get his shots.

Saturday, August 8, 2015

Learning Spanish

I was pretty down that I wasn't able to go on Camino this year. But I did make a list of silver linings of good things I could do in the meantime, and be grateful that I have ever been able to go at all. One of the items was to learn Spanish.

I have been listening to these for awhile and highly recommend them. The best thing is I find them easy to stick with as I am able to do them while doing something else - folding laundry, walking etc. I started at the very beginning as I think my college Spanish was too long ago.  I am surprised how much I have learned.

Since it is just digital and not written I was also looking for a way to increase my reading ability. I found a copy of Tom Sawyer in Spanish but it was way above my pay grade. 

Luckily I found the following books at our library sale.
Kids books in both English and Spanish!

Here is a page on one side is the Spanish and the other is the english. Way better than trying to learn by using the google translate button on things!

This one has the story twice, once in each language. I am now keeping my eye out for more!

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Pilgrim Book Review: A Million Steps by Koontz

I was quite happy to have been able to get this when Amazon had it on sale for quite cheap in e book form. When I first saw it, the font reminded of well known Author Dean Koontz, but it is not written by him. It is by Kurt Koontz who is a 40 something American who walked the Camino in October 2012.  (The same year I walked my first Camino) I really enjoyed this book. So much so that I read it much to quickly. I am planning on re-reading it shortly.  He did a very fine job writing about the practical journey as well as his emotional one.  He touched quite a bit on the subject of being non -judgmental both of himself and others as well, which helped him meet people and have experiences he may not have otherwise.  A good lesson to emulate in my own life. He seemed to have had such joy on his Camino. It is very helpful in showcasing the day to day of a being a pilgrim. Especially how you seem to run into the same people over and over, even when you are sure you said your last goodbye. Iloved that he not only named his walking stick, but was very attached to it.  It was neat to read descriptions of both places I had been, and those that I have yet to see.  He also included pictures-  of other pilgrims he met along the way, buildings, scenery.  So far it is my favorite book that I have read on the pilgrimage, and would highly recommend it.

Monday, August 3, 2015

New Kit: Socks!

Is there anything better than getting a package in the mail? Normally its just bills and all that jazz so to get something you want is a real treat. A sure sign of a long distance walker/trekker/peregrino is a fascination with socks I think. I am not sure if I have a funny gait, but I tend to get blisters on the bottom of my left foot I guess it would be called the ball. I am much too lazy to go with the whole two sock system, that's twice the laundry in the Albergue. So I have been on a search for new socks. I was looking for Coolmax socks, with extra padding and lo an behold found just what I was looking for at my guilty pleasure Sierra trading post. They were on a good discount, as it says comestic 2nd but I didn't see anything wrong with them. They wore great on my weekend long walk of 14k.  Though I think if I kept going I may have developed a hot spot, but that could be do to the fact I haven't walked that far in quite a while.  I love when

Also got a strip of duct tape! Can't go anywhere without it and it was like 70 cents. 
Where I walked on Sunday Another weirdly cool cloudy day. 

Sunflowers are out

As are falcons

It was sunny for like 15 minutes but I was able to get this hummingbird

Saturday, August 1, 2015

Keep on Walking

I really wasn't having the best of days, and decided to walk home from work.  I was treated to the following view. Its Monsoon season here, so it wasn't too hot and one of those weird sunshiny yet rainy days and it lifted my mood. It reminded me of the following quote I came across once on a pilgrim forum. 

"Above all, do not lose your desire to walk. Everyday, I walk myself into a state of well-being & walk away from every illness. I have walked myself into my best thoughts, and I know of no thought so burdensome that one cannot walk away from it."