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                  The Camino de Santiago or the Way of St. James

The Camino de Santiago or the Way of St. James is a spiritual journey that pilgrims of all faiths and backgrounds have traversed for over a thousand years. The pilgrimage originally began at one’s doorstep, though modern trekkers today would find that rather difficult, particularly American pilgrims needing to cross the Atlantic. While there are a number of established routes leading to Santiago from all directions, the most popular is the Camino Frances, which crosses the Pyrenees Mountains along the Spanish-French border starting in St. Jean Pied de Port.
This Camino route covers 800 kilometers that traverses an idyllic northern Spanish countryside. By following the yellow painted arrows marking the road, a pilgrim can expect to walk 16 to 23 kilometers a day to reach the next town for the night. At this pace, a pilgrim can reach the Cathedral de Santiago in 6 to 8 weeks time to attend the Pilgrim's Mass held at noon each day. Some take more time, others less. Some choose to travel by bike, and some have done the Camino on horseback. Along the way travelers encounter albergues, refugios and casa rurals that cater specifically to the thousands of pilgrims of all ages that take this journey each year, immersing themselves in the local food, culture and history dedicated to this experience.
Pilgrims walk the Camino for various reasons. Some to seek penance, others enlightenment, and still others for a sense of adventure, yet all progress toward the Cathedral in Santiago where it is believed the remains of the apostle St. James are held. Most pilgrims choose to carry a scallop shell with them to symbolize their journey in honor of St. James. According to legend, scallop shells are said to have covered St. James’ body after it was found on the shores of the Galician coast.

The Journey:

14.04.13 - Getting There: A 790 kilometer pilgrimage across spain. An epic route to true happiness!
Two of the Camino team
(Carmel & Robyn) left Australia on Sunday 14th April 2013 to travel to Spain to commence the Camino Trail, a journey that will take them from St Jean Pied de Port to meet up with the rest of their team in Leon then continue the journey through to Santiago de Compostella.
17.04.13 - Let the Journey Begin: Carmel and Robyn depart St Jean Pied de Port today. Destination Roncesvalles.
18.04.13 - Today they move on to the small town of Larrasoana. The weather is currently 14 degrees and presently sunny with some patchy rain on the way.
19.04.13 - This Friday we are expecting Carmel & Robyn to step the pace up to reach the required average distance of 33km per day which is needed to arrive on time to meet the other Camino team in Leon. Light rain is currently falling with temperatures around 10 degrees. Their trek today is expected to take them to the top of Alto del Perdon (a great hill dedicated to the Pilgrims who cross) where we find the Pilgrim Monument. A row of metal pilgrims adorns it on one of the most evocative images of the Camino de Santiago. On the opposite end a sign says:
Where it crosses the path of the wind with the stars.
19.04.13 - Update - Carmel and Robyn have arrived at Pamplona and are now well behind in their schedule. Robyn unfortunately has been dealing with an upset stomach since day one with Carmel suffering foot problems. It is obvious that the trip through the Pyrenese has takien its toll in the early stages of the trek.This section was a 9 hour journey with 1400 meters in ascents. There too, has been much scenery and history to absorb, not to mention those injuries, so the girls have cut back on the high kilometers for the time being. Pamplona also has the running of the bulls. I hope the girls don't get caught up in that!!! Thankfully, the bulls run in July.
20.04.13 - Today they are expected to set off to Puente la Reina, "the crossroads of the ways", is a medieval town where the two main routes on the Pilgrim's Way to Santiago de Compostela converge. It is one of the enclaves with the greatest affinity with Compostela in Navarre.
The constant transit of pilgrims, the scallop shells and the walking sticks all form part of the urban landscape of this town, a magnificent example of a "street-based" town just 24 kilometres south-west of Pamplona. Weather is expected to remain fine for the next four days.
Note - The current updated itinerary is expected to take them through to Estella (Sunday) then onto Los Arcos on Monday. Arriving at Los Arcos on day 6 of their trek will put them approximately 2 days behind the necessary schedule required to arrive in Leon on 1st May. It is obvious with the hardness of the track and road surface the walker can easily get fatigued joints that will often lead to the feet being susceptible to blisters if you haven’t trained for this type of walking before.
21.04.13 - Carmel & Robyn are approaching Villatuerta and are hoping to make Estella tonight.
22.04.13 - Today their plan is to make Los Arcos then the next day onto Logrono.
01.05.13 - Meet up with The Camino Team: Carmel and Robyn join the main team at Leon which consists of: Hadijah, Dorian, Anna Marie, Adrianna, Michele, Zoe, Paul, Blanca and Alex.
Continued Page 2.

Messages: 14.04.13
From Greg: It seems my ankle has gone out in sympathy of your journey. Start short, end long. I know you can both make the finish. Good luck. PS. Have made the bed, done the dishes, put the garbage and the cat out and have now gone to the neighbours for drinks to celebrate your journey. :)
From Freja: Hey Mama, don't forget to eat lots of pastries in France, and in Spain. you must try lots of exotic foods. Love and miss you, Freja. :)
From Harriet: Hi Mama, you are awesome! Nutsy say's skee. I love you very much. Heart from Harriet.
From Greg: Don't forget, goals are attainable if you follow the one you love.
From Jacqui: Go Carmel and Robyn, I have just read what you are doing and am awestruck. Lots of love and hugs, stay safe and have a fantastic journey. Smiles from Jacqui R.
From Karayna: One important  step for you, the first step towards the completion of your journey. Walk strong as you always do.
From Rebecca: She’s an amazing woman my Mum.  So proud of her!

Messages: 15.04.13
From Carmel: Sitting at Changi airport, Robyn and I found free internet access - so this is your first email!!! Not much to tell you - flew over in an air bus - wow!!! lots of room + lots 'n lots of people....
From Hedy: May the Lord walk with you and keep you both well and safe.
From Carmel: We are now on train. We stay at St Jean Pied de Port tonight and start walk from there.
From Cassie: Hi Carmel and Robyn, Good luck for your great adventure, looking forward to hearing some wonderful tales about your journey when you return.
Best Wishes, Cass

Messages: 17.04.13
From Greg: How to guarantee a successful journey: Fall down seven times, get up eight! Best wishes for a safe, happy and inspirational journey. Love to you both :)

Messages: 19.04.13

From Greg: Quote of The Day - Perseverance is not a long journey; it is many short journeys one after another.

Messages: 20.04.13
From Greg: My feet solution - Paste the ball of your foot with minimal coat of Vaseline (or mineral base moisturiser or zinc cream if Vaseline not available) then layer up coating with a wide fine layer of my hikers wool.
From Dorian: Good luck Carmel and Robyn on this next stage of your trek.  May you feel like queens as you cross Puente la Reina.
We will toast your health and happiness tomorrow as we prepare to leave Australia to meet you in Leon. You are both amazing ladies.
From Zoe: Hi Robyn and Carmel, I am green with envy...., but looking forward to catching up with you both later. Hope the tummies and toes are recuperating. Thinking of you both...and sending good vibes!
From Adrianna: Hi Greg, I am so impressed with this account of the trip, very clever, very informative and very touching! I hope you are coping well with all the sympathy pains you are feeling! A big hug.... Adriana.

Messages: 21.04.13
From Katrina: Go Carmel and Robyn. What truly inspirational ladies. Guts and determination will get you to Leon. For various reasons I haven’t been walking but your efforts are inspiring me to get to Saturday sunrise next week. Enjoy this unforgettable experience.
From Terry: Hope by now that Carmel & Robin’s health is improving. Isn’t this called the “settling in time” in trekking parlance? Watch out for Paul when he arrives or you’ll never get past the coffee and pastry shops! The red glow at night isn’t the sunset – it is envy from the Australian Continent. Y’all enjoy your trip.
From Greg: The Camino Team had their last brief today before flying out of Australia this Wednesday. It also sounds like Hadijah has been elevated to the rank of 'Tour Guide', obviously that is a title much higher than mine. :(

Messages: 22.04.12
From Carmel: We are travelling well at the moment but are both challenged by this concept of siesta. just about everything shuts down for a few hours in the afternoon only to open up again at around 5 O'clock untill late.  Read More.
t r e k f a . o r g
Last Updated: 20th May 2013 at 0805hrs AEST       Camino Home 1.
Camino Time: AEST minus 8 hours  -  (UTC +2 hours)
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