Monday, August 30, 2010

Greeting from Pampalona!

Today I finished the 3rd day of my pilgrimage actually standing and not thinking I was going to fall! I have really pushed myself because I have not done any walking more than 3 hours due to my surgery and my first day I did 12 hours! Yesterday was shorter and easier but still long -9 hours, Today was the shortest at 8 hours. I have decided that the more you use your legs or muscles the better they get.

It is hard to put into words my feelings on doing this pilgrimage. And it is a pilgrimage to me. The first time I did any of this, the last 100 miles back in 2008, I did not realize the spiritual part of it. I was just doing it as one of my Southern Treks trips, But about half way I realized that St. James was not only a saint of the Catholic faith but was my Lord´s own. Totally changed how I looked at it and made me determined to come back and do it totally as a pilgrimage.

I have already seen evidence of our God in so many of the people. In kindness in taking care of blisters on others to a kind word of direction when my new friend from Finland and I were on the wrong path. A man got out of his car to point us to the right road. And the miracle of seeing the cow and the horse together cleaning up the new baby calf was beyond amazing to me. I did not know how to get to my hotel today in Pampalona and a group of Germans walked me to it. Time and time again I am seeing wonders and one of the wonders I am seeing is that I am healthy and can do this. Have a long, long way to go but plan to see the field of stars over Santiago on October 2nd and then see my special star, Steve on Oct 4th! I so appreciate him keeping all of you up to date on me, You might be tired of hearing about the Camino de Santiago by the time I get home!

Friday, August 27, 2010

I am here!

Folks, this girl from Rome, GA is about to put her footprients along with the millions of others who have trod this path for the last 1250 years. I start in the morning and can`t believe that this time has come, I have been in tears, or near tears, since Tuesday when some friends gathered to pray for me. There there were the tears in the airport after Steve dropped me off, then I am sure the tears last night were of fatique but after a 4-hour nap today I am packed and ready to head out at 7:00 in the morning. Have seen people come in all day so hope some of the same will be heading out the same time as I do tomorrow. I have talked to some, tried to anyway as not one has spoken English but I gather that those here this afternoon came from further in France and are going on to Santiago. People start all ovee Europe on this, so do as many as 700 miles but most begin here in this lettle French village. It is within an old castle wall and is charming. Although only 30 or some miles from Spain you never forget that you are in France! The shops, restaurants and flowers could be any little town in France. And the Pyrenees I will go over tomorrow are lovely from the ramparts.

It is hot here, today was nearly as hot as when we have had in Rome, Very surprised.
It is overcast now so it might rain. If it is rainy we are advised to take the lower route over the mountains but I hope for the higher one as the views are supposed to be spectacular.

Thank you all for continuing to love and pray for me. My precious husband will update my FB status when I call him every day. Steve is the greatest!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

The Night before I leave

Today has been a very emotional one for me because a group of friends got together at my church this afternoon and had a wonderful prayer service for me for safety, health, secuity, joy and peace on this Comino. I have never felt so humbled nor so elated at the same time. Plus, so many others have sent cards and called to wish me well that I am really a basket case but weeping is second nature to me, wether I am sad or if I am happy. One special friend sent me a little angel to take with me to be reminded that I am being watched over. I am so very blessed.

I think back to the two years I have been planning this pilgrimage and can't believe that it is now about to begin. In fact, I leave tomorrow, arrive in Madrid at 9:30 Thursday morning, have a 6 hour wait for my Iberia flight to Pomplona and then on to Saini-Jean-de-Port in France. I will get to my hotel in France around 7:30 Thursday night. I have Friday off to get over jet lag and then begin my pilgrimage around 7:30 on Saturday morning which will be 1:30am here at home. If you all are late sleepers by the time you are up and going, around 10:00 I should have my first day of 20 miles in the bag.

I will try to update this when I can get to a computer, whenever that is! Most of the places I stay will be small towns or villages and I have no idea if/when I get to a computer but be assured that I will do this blog whenever I can.

I so appreciate all of the good thoughts and prayers and wishes sent my way. I hope that all of you can have a similar dream to what I have had these past two years and that you can follow it as I am doing.

Until I am on my Camino, goodbye!

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Four Days to Go!

I am four days out of leaving and because of the weather and other things I did not get to do my long walks this week but I have decided that I am either ready for it or not! It is so very hot and humid here in Rome PLUS I have been working on my 2011
tours and so have not felt bad about not beating myself up in the heat and humidity.

I am still within the 10 days of advisement of not walking before the start PLUS I have to think that it is the years and years of walking that will work for me as opposed to these few days before. I know I will be tired at the end of the first day of nearly 20 miles but I will be fine!

I will not post anything until I get to the start, in France, at Saint-Jean_Pied-de-Port on the 26th. I arrive that day, have the next day off to get over jet lag and begin the morning of the 28th, about 8:00 French time and 2:00 EST time. If anyone believes in prayer, as I do, I will ask you to pray for me along this journey. Please pray for safety, for the ability to sleep at night when I am exhausted, for me not getting lost , and that I find someone who speaks English that I can walk with for awhile. I do not mind doing this by myself but would love SOME compant!

I so ppreciate those of you who are "following" me. It means a lot to me to know that you are thinking of me and offering prayers in my behalf. You are the best!!

Sunday, August 15, 2010

10 days to go!

I am 10 days out from leaving on this adventure. I am so excited but am already getting weepy over the thought of being gone from Steve so long. Because of my travel business I am used to being gone for 2-3 weeks but this 6 weeks is long even for me. I have the most wonderful husband, Steve, who does not believe that the word "let" has any part in a marriage. For instance "Steve let me go to Spain for 6 weeks." He will miss me but would never, by word or look or mood or whatever try to keep me from doing this. He is probably the only person who fully understands why I want to do this. I would hope that I would be the same if our situations were reversed but I doubt it! I am not as generous as he is!

I am backing off from my walking after this Thursday. I will walk about 12 miles on Tuesday and maybe 6 miles on Wednesday but that is all I will do. I had read that you should let your body rest for about 10 days before undertaking something like this. I plan to do lots of stretching though and on the 23rd, 2 days before I leave, I am going back to Advance Rehab, my physical therapists, to have them evaluate my knee. I know it is going to do fine. I still have some twinges but I might have had them for years but just had not been aware of them. Boy, am I aware now!

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Training in the heat of Florida

I have just finished a great week with Paige and the boys at the beach of SeaGrove, Florida. It was our 12th time to spend the hottest week of the year at the beach and this year it was no only hot but the humidity must hae been 85% every day. Paige and I would get up and walk from about 8:00 until 10:00 the last 4 mornings. The first morning we didn't start until 9:30 and I thought I would pass out before we got back. We measured it and it was about 6 miles. I also found out that we needed a bottle of water for every 2 miles, sometimes even more water. A sweet waiter at a restaurant gave us glasses of ice water and then gave us a "to go" glass! He was an angel in a white shirt! Would not let me pay him.

I have been checking on the temperatures of Spain and the highest I should confront would be about 80 and that would be perfect. After the 100s, 102s & etc of Rome and Seagrove this summer the 80s sounds like the South Pole.

I have read that about 90% of the people who do this Camino do very litte, if any, training so I am hoping that what I have done, in spite of taking the 2 months off with my knee, will hold me in good stead. It is 17 days away and I am counting the days. I know that if I can do the first 2 days, with its high milage, I will be fine the rest of the time.