Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Day 38 - Of talks, pilgrims, hikes and pictures!

This is my friend Christi - photographed earlier this year on her camino in Spain. If Christi hadn't made a decision four years ago to walk the camino, I might still not have known that there was such a thing as the Camino de Santiago!

My sister mentioned a couple of weeks ago that her friend, Christi, has just walked the Camino de Santiago.

The whole 780km journey. On foot. 

She immediately had all my attention. I had never heard of the Camino de Santiago and had only met Christi very briefly on a previous occasion.

I knew I had to meet her again and a couple of days later we met for lunch and I was privileged to be introduced to the camino in the most perfect way. From the mouth (and heart) of a true pilgrim. Someone who has actually walked it herself and came back blessed in so many ways.

I bombarded her with questions and again, I am just so amazed at how people who have followed this journey are so generous with sharing their experiences. Christi clearly had a very spiritual journey and has started presenting talks on her experience.

So this Saturday, twenty odd women will be coming to my home to hear her talk. To say I am excited and filled with expectation is putting it mildly. I have secured a screen as she will be showing us some of her pictures and on Friday evening you'll find me in my kitchen, preparing those yummy Portuguese Pasteis de Nata tartlets that I'm famous for. (Thanks to the 'Cooking the Portuguese Way in South Africa' cookbook that my mom gave me 30 years ago!)

I'm hoping that everyone will be intrigued by this pilgrimage as much as I am and who knows, some of them might even end up walking with me in 2012!

On another note... I posed a question on the forum of the 'virtual algergue' that I belong to and it has been quite interesting to read the replies. The question was 'Has your camino experience changed who you are as a person?'

The answers made me realise again how different we all are. And thank goodness for that! Here is one of the replies that was posted:

'That's a really good question, and something I've been thinking a lot, especially since talking to a student who is writing her thesis on a related topic.

The Camino has changed my life in that I want to go back. Any extra money goes into my Camino fund. It's had enough of an effect on my life that I started a Camino blog, partly to process the experience--almost two years after my walk. And I've never been athletic, so it's amazing to know that my body is capable of astounding things like walking 1500km.

But I suspect I'm not particularly more spiritual, or necessarily nicer, or (much) better at dealing with life than I was pre-Camino. When I got home, I wasn't any closer to knowing what I really wanted to do with my life. But then again walking the Camino has made me look at these things more, and maybe to some extent in a different way.

So it continues to affect my life, I suspect often in ways I don't realize. Judging by myself and my Camino friends (although we could be abnormal), a lot of people don't have huge epiphanies on the Camino. But I think the experience can keep working away in our lives if we let it.

Walking the Camino for almost three months was an incredible experience for me. I went through some miserable times, physically and emotionally, but the whole time I had this feeling of rightness--that this was where I was meant to be. But it's hard to bring that back into regular life.'


There was also a very short and sweet 'No'. That one really made me smile.

Thank goodness we're not all the same!

I guess walking for kilometers on end with all your belongings on your back and not always knowing exactly where you're going to sleep, in a strange country, with a strange language and surrounded by strangers, is certainly going to take you to places you've never been to in more ways that one! 

It seems that one should have an open mind and certainly an open heart when embarking on this experience. I for one can't wait to answer my own question at the end of my own walk!

I promised earlier that I will quote pieces from Tony Kevin's wonderful book, 'Walking the Camino' and this is what he says about pilgrimage:

'The idea of pilgrimage, the dream of 'an arduous journey far from home undertaken for sacred reasons', is embedded deep in our culture and history. It is part of us, part of what inspires our urge to travel,to experience foreign places. We may not know it, but each time we leave our homeland to travel the world, we are looking for something more than just 'holidays', fun, and sex in the sun. I think we are seeking, whether we recognise it or not, spiritual enlightment, wisdom, and the revelation of God in the richness of the great world that lies out there beyond our home town.

Every traveller, especially every young traveller, is a pilgrim: whether they go consciously to seek spiritual rebirth, to escape from oppression or grief or boredom at home, to seek interesting or spiritually rewarding work experience abroad, or simply to enjoy the thrill of unfamiliar places and customs. The desire to go a-pilgriming, it seems, is part of our human condition.' 

I just love this book!

 And then on a final note...

Tomorrow is hiking day!! The weather looks good, so we are going to head out of Cape Town on about an hour's drive and we'll be spending the day hiking in the mountains just outside of our Winelands region. I am taking my camera along - so watch this space!

I thought I'd leave you with a picture of the beautiful Blue Disa we found on our last hike. As far as I'm concerned, there's only one way to describe this little flower - perfect!

Until the next post - cheers!


  1. This morning, I woke up with your blog. The energy and excitement in your writing goes well with my morning coffee. Your fellow pilgrims will be fortunate to have you and your personality walking along with them.

  2. What a kind thing to say Bruce - thank you!

  3. May I second Bruces comment!!! Hours later and oceans apart, coffee in hand, you've got me smiling! Well done peregrina! 2 comments don't post yummy sounding food with out the recipe!! Pour favor!! :-)
    Secondly, I think perhaps the Camino experience is rather like an ingredient that gets mixed into a cake batter. Not always obvious, but essential, and once mixed in, totally inextricable. I know it's that way for me. Rather like a yeast, working quietly in tiny ways. It was what made it possible to walk out on a job of 10 years, without a backward glance. The realization that I could live happily for weeks with the contents of my backpack as my "home" is remarkably freeing.

    Enjoy your soiree, sounds delightful, and I hope they catch your energy!
    Buen Camino, Karin

    PS..just had a thought, perhaps others might consider it (caminoing) to be an infection! If that's the case, no cure please!

  4. I'm glad you liked my comment! I love Karin's cake batter analogy--that makes a lot of sense.

    Now I'm going to have to track down Walking the Camino. It sounds like a great book.

    Buen Camino!

  5. Karin - that is powerful stuff! I love your cake batter analogy, as Anna-Marie says, makes a lot of sense!

    Told you this is a good book! I'll have to browse both your sites to get all your favourite books as well...

    As for the pasteis de nata recipe - that will definitely follow - I've promised Annie that one as well...

    Enjoy reading all your blogs as well by the way!

  6. Great Photos! Hike! Hike! Hike! and before you know it you'll reach your destination! :-)

  7. Welcome Mr Geezer! Spent a lovely day hiking, will post some pictures soon...

  8. New follower from Friday blog hop. Looks amazing! Lovely blog and can't wait to read more.

  9. I loved Tony Kevin's book as well. Another book you might enjoy reading is "To the Field of Stars" by Kevin A Codd, written by an American priest who walked from SJPP.

  10. Hi! New follower from the blog hop!

    Kristin :)
    Keenly Kristin

  11. Welcome to the three new members on the blog - lovely to have you and I enjoy your blogs as well!

  12. Hey Emilene, well done on getting Kili done and dusted. I look fwd to reading about your next experience. My downfall on blogging is that I dont comment on other blogs often. pls remember that I love reading your stories, so send updates if you can, will also always look out for them.

    kind regards, Juanita. PS: (from your daily lens) Looks like we live v near each other :)

  13. Hi Juanita! Welcome! Yep, I thought the same when I looked at some of your pics. I even wondered if we go to the same vet?? My little Abigail also has her say every now and then at :)

    I suppose that's what happens when the kids leave the house...

  14. I'm looking forward to reading about your travels!
    I'm your newest follower from the Where in the World Are You blog hop...come follow me too! :) Sara


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