Ups and Downs

28 September 2017BOOK: The Girl Who Gets an Eye for an Eye – the next in the series with Lisbeth Salander. A good read and the new author has taken over well for Stieg Larssen

SONG: This Could be The First Day (This could be the last day, Try my new day on for size…) by Ritchie Havens. I don’t wear my headset for mostly safety reasons. In the cities, getting lost or run over being in the top items of consideration; on any patch of hiking that is up or down…preventing disasters of all manner are paramount and need full focus so no tunes then either.  Really, it is only on a few flat spaces that I use it, but I am delighted with the recommendations people gave me (I did not download the soundtrack from Hamilton) and the variety of genres is always a very nice surprise.

THOUGHT: Re Ritchie’s, “Last Day…” they are all last ones since we never get to do one again in the same way at all…and first days are always an adventure!!!!

My days are averaging in the 30,000 to 35,000 step range which comes out as 12 to 14 miles…or walking to Bear Moon Bakery in Boerne from our house to get coffee and a croissant. I have just come back into the part of the Camino that is mountainous – after that first shot out and up the mountain on Day 1, from St Jean when the walk started. We have had some gradual inclines but the past 2 days have been rigorous ascent and descent. The loose rocks on the descents are particularly trying.  But the slippery-when-dry smooth ones are killers and I cannot imagine what they might be like in the rain!! And that little black thing nested between the rocks in the first photo is not a bomb…other than that I have no idea what it might be.

And it went on for almost 3 hours

Kind of like a new, emerging mountain range birthing itself


In this last stage I also had the arrival at Cruz de Ferro which was one of the highlights I had been anticipating. I was able to leave some mementos there and the pics are testimony to everyone who does the same thing and brings the sacredness to the site…with all different senses of “sacred” at play.  And for some reason these photos got placed in reverse order…go 3-2-1

Signaling my Photographer assistant that I am about to come back down…

Placing a star and a stone with the heart of my prayer


I journal at the end of each day, just to make sure I don’t lose track of each place I stayed in and what it meant, while it is fresh. In Rabanal, the draw to the Benedectine Monastery was strong because they are known for the beauty of their chanting. There are only 3 monks residing there and the town is very small. The chant was exquisite and I was enlisted to do the first psalm reading in English. I had asked about the possibility of taking them up on an offer for a 2 day retreat that was mentioned in the book, but due to lack of a secular liaison, they no longer provide it. The chant and the silence and work within the structure still draws something out in me. I think that has a lot to do with the fact that the only language in use when speaking time is on us is the Latin and so I do not have to be mindful of what is really being said.

In honor of the Texas part of my life, I did have to get a picture en route of the Cowboy Bar.

There is a Cowboy Bar at the very heart of our existence!


As an add on of the physical sort, I apparently have become an attractive draw for an insect somewhere between a no-see-um, a gnat, a chigger and the devil incarnate. My greatest relief was that they were not bedbugs which seem to have been following along for some reason with more than usual tenacity. The Australian girl who talked me through them said they are Midges and another local man confirmed that they come up in September and are all done by the end of October. The welts are big and red and itchy and they blister. I got something off the shelf that subdues the itching but the one over my eye is just ugly. There was another suspect who might have been the culprit…when I took my hat off coming into the hostel tonight a little spider came along out of the headband. I crushed the life out of him with pure pleasure.

Other than this bout, I have taken so little ibuprofen that I am actually in awe. While my body is tired at the end of the day, there is nothing inflamed, tender or in need of medication. Walking seems to suit me well. And there is much to be said for Forrest Gump holding on to his running for so long…it’s just something about the mechanics I guess…it is not something I can identify clearly at t his point. But I do love it.

Oh, and I did have pink-eye for the first 10 days…that was pretty. The Farmacia gave me some magical drops that kept the goo-eye at a minimum.

There is a washing machine at this hostel…washed everything I had and in the mountain air, it dried in about an hour. I was able to pass through 2 cities with no temptation to stop in either of them. Columbriano is a tiny village. I will stop in Villafrance del Bierza tomorrow and spend an extra day regrouping before I hit the entry into the pass that goes up to O Cebriero – our highest point. Because I am keeping a fairly good pace, I will be able to at least get a bus one way out to Fisterre and Muxia – the outermost points of the coast where James drifted back to Spain from Rome, miraculously, on his stone ship.

This most surely is an amazing journey. And now it is time for supper…I love you all.

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10 thoughts on “Ups and Downs

  1. Life is indeed like a box of chocolates, they just never told us that the box was also full of all manner of biting insects. Stay happy and come home safe. Nice photos and story!

  2. Beth says:

    Sounds like you’re holding up splendiforously, Kim! You’ve survived the geological upheaval creekbeds, it looks like. Where did you end up staying the night after Rabanal?

    Much that’s beautiful to come! Thanks for posting – it’s fun to take your journey with you…..except maybe that spider and midge part…..

    • kimfederici says:

      Ibañista I think was the name. Little places are becoming my favorites and I just buzzed right around the edges of Ponferrada with a lunch stop across from the Templar castle. I am in Villafranca right now and will have the day off to help psych me up for O Cebriero. Based on a few things, it actually seems like I might get to walk part of the Fisterre/Muxia leg with a bus coming back. I had chopped off some of the Meseta time just because I expected to take longer in general on these stages. Since I am seeming to do better, I look forward to this part too. I mostly do not want to miss the fumerio mass in Santiago

  3. Anne Gilhool says:

    We love you too, Kim. I wish I could have heard those three monks do their chanting, but I am glad we don’t share your bugs. You are remarkable with all those daily steps. Carry on. I enjoy sharing your journey, Bon Voyage. Annie G

  4. Julie says:

    Wow, 35,000 steps a day! I’m all excited if I do 10,000. Sounds like you’re doing great. Love reading your blog.

  5. Laurie Skillman says:

    Something worse than chiggers? Gah! Interesting geology. Keep on keeping on cousin : )!

  6. Sounds like your journey is everything you hoped it would be. Stay safe on the steep terrain. PS Brian/Chelsey had their baby this week – a little girl.

  7. We LOVE getting all your postcards 🙂

  8. Tony says:

    We love you too Momma! Thanks for sharing the journey with us.

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