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   The St Jean Pied de Port Team:
Camino de Trekfa
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The Journey:
The Way of St. James or St. James’ Way, often known by its Spanish name, el Camino de Santiago, is the pilgrimage to the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela in Galicia in northwestern Spain, where legend has it that the remains of the apostle, Saint James the Great, are buried.
The Way of St James has existed for over a thousand years. It was one of the most important Christian pilgrimages during medieval times. It was considered one of three pilgrimages on which all sins could be forgiven; the others are the Via Francigena to Rome and the pilgrimage to Jerusalem.
There is not a single route; the Way can take one of any number of pilgrimage routes to Santiago de Compostela. However a few of the routes are considered main ones. Santiago is such an important pilgrimage destination because it is considered the burial site of the apostle, James the Great. During the middle ages, the route was highly travelled. However, the Black Plague, the Protestant Reformation and political unrest in 16th– century Europe resulted in its decline. Until the 1980s, only a few pilgrims arrived in Santiago annually. However, since then, the route has attracted a growing number of modern–day pilgrims from around the globe. The route was declared the first European Cultural Route by the Council of Europe in October 1987; it was also named one of UNESCO’s World Heritage Sites in 1993.

07.05.13 - Note: The team will be outside of coverage area until Friday.

Messages: 06.05.13
From Carmel: Hi Everyone - just want you to know that for the next 2 days there will be no Internet so not able to communicate till Thursday, hence you wont hear from us for a while. The walks have been fantastic & quite diverse from the first 300+ks. The Spanish culture is very different from Australia and the people are generally friendly and helpful. Our great accommodation tonights isin a converted monastery.
Today we walked into
Lestedo which is one if the little known villages just short of Palas de Rei. I'm loving the fact that we are not staying in crowded hostels.
The weather has been a bit cloudy, light rain. Tomorrow is meant to be rainy but clearing after that. We've been lucky with the weather except for the snow & cold wind + 1 wet walking day!!!

Messages: 07.05.13
From Carmelita: A bit of a drizzly day!  However our tractor ride to our walk start proved 'interesting'.  (photos attached
From Michelita: Lots of hills Greg, think of u each time.
Robynita: Our transfer by buggy to our starting point was so much fun today - 11 people plus driver in vehicle with Carmel fearlessly hanging out the back with myself and Zoe hanging onto her.   Everyone is walking well and we thank Trekfa for providing us with the fitness and friends to be able to experience this wonderful adventure which would not have happened without Trekfa - YOU.
From Zoita: You will. be pleased to know that Blanquita and I followed the Trekfa tradition of running down the hill today just before lunch at least 1 km -…just loving the history, architecture, culture and trying to learn the language!
Hadishita: Could not have managed doing the Camino with out all your  advice and inspiration thank you.
From Adrianita: Greg, I am certain that you helped design this walk: after 24Km we had to climb these steps, God knows how many metres, then up hill to the church, then to top it up 800metres to the hotel, also up hill….. just as well it was after a beer…
From Blancita: The Camino experience has been so far  great to be able to share with this lovely group. Thanks to Adrianita who introduce me to Trekfa.
From Doriancito: A wonderful two days marked by the diversity of the landscape. Sundays 22km from Sarria to Portomarin was rural and rustic, seeing villagers at work on Sunday.  I love the way we walk through villages, peoples back yards.  In one place which tickled my fancy, the main Camino route went directly underneath somebodys washing line and there was no room to divert around this washing line.  Today's walk, Portomarin to Palas De Rei, was a faster pace with more inclement weather along minor roads.
Ed's Comment: I think they stayed up a little too late last night doing their elbow exercises.
From Nicole: Hi Ana from sunny Sydney!  What a wonderful inspiration you are Ana.  It is wonderful to read about your group’s adventures along the way.  The walk sounds and looks beautiful.  I want to see lots of photos when you come home!  Steph tells me that you have good strong Columbian feet so blisters shouldn’t be a problem for you.  Keep well and stay cheeky.  Thinking of you, love Nicole x
From Maxim: Looks amazing Tato! Keep up the good work you've got a long way to go, can't wait to hear the stories. Also Penrith lost against the roosters last week, hope that doesn't bring you down! Keep up the good work we are all proud, Love, Maxim.
From Kate: What an amazing time you are all having. Congratulations on making it this far.
Thought you might like to know that the trekfa baby arrived safely -19th April. Little girl Aoife (Ee-fa) Alison O'Brien.  She is gorgeous. Sister Eliza very happy and wanting to do everything.
From Greg: You all need to come home. Trekfa has just had a baby!

Messages: 08.05.13
From Dorian:19kms today  with Spanish omelette for lunch 1, squid with herbal grappa for lunch 2 and about to check into our pazo (mannor house), alias accommodation at 5:30pm.

Messages: 09.05.13
From Donna & Alan: Hi Ana, It’s Donna here from Riverview – what an amazing trek you are doing. Thinking of you and saying little prayers all is going well for you and your fellow travellers. So excited for you . All well here, May continues to be sunny and a little cool. Best wishes Donna and Alan.
From Greg: ¿Sigue doblando los codos en Palas De Rei?
From Carmel: We have spent the last 3 days in Galicua country. The route again followed the ancient path of many pilgrims before us. We continue to be surprised by what the countryside has to offer us around almost every corner. The main change for us has been the move, or focus from crop farming to animal (mainly cow) farming. It would also appear that the ways of the farmers have changed little as have the dwellings in which they live.
Everyone is travelling really well. Each morning, after we have checked with each other about how we slept and if the washing dried over night we quickly get onto the topic of the fee t- has the massage made a difference? Have you creamed your feet well? wrapped the wool around all the right places? How's it goin'?
Each day we head off with much energy & enthusiasm and we very much enjoy each other's company but also being mindful  and respectful of our need to be alone.
With sadness and joy we look forward to tomorrow - our last day of walking! We have approximately 20kms to do and will walk through theCathedral to have our credentials stamped - well earned privilege. As we don't expect to be in time for the12 O'clock midday Mas,s we will return to the Cathedral probably Sunday, for Mass and the swingng of the giant insence burner. Hopefully have a group photo to send which will mark the end of our Camino (but I expect we will be commencing our own personal Camino) and the beginning of the celebrations!!!

Messages: 10.05.13
Anonymous: Breaking News - It has been reported on World News that 10 bushwalkers from Australia plus one Spanish walker have been apprehended briefly by the Spaniban for bending their elbows in the middle of their walk (better known as elbow exercising). During their apprehension they negotiated a deal with the Spaniban for their release that they would scurry on down to Santiago and go to the the Church Santiago de Compestela to have their sins forgiven for their naughty elbowing behaviour while traveling the World renowned Camino Trail. Please note that these walkers definitely have no relationship with an Australin group known as Trekfa Adventure who have a strict membership of ONLY tea totalers. Our reporters wait in anticipation for an inclusive interview of this unfolding story....
Weather: Santiago is sunny with a high of 17 degrees, wind is in front of their nose at 17km/hr, low humidity with expected light rain on Saturday.
From the Diaz's Family: We are so proud of you Anita!! This is an amazing experience for you and your friends. Enjoy it a lot! We can't wait to see you again and we will be just ears and eyes to listen and see all that you have to tell us!!
Te Queremos Mucho! Dios los bendiga a todos. Big Hug from Diaz's family.
From Carmel: We arrived at the Cathedral around 5.00pm today, with the walk taking several hours. On arrival we queued to have our credentials and our certificate stamped. We got into hotel around 7.00pm and then out to dinner at 8:30pm - have just got back, it's 11.10pm - We are all exhausted!!!!
Will have to sleep before giving you an end note to this amazing journey.

Messages: 11.05.13
From Carmel: The last few days have been both exciting & challenging.
We averaged 18-20kms each day Covering ground which not only takes us through many ancient villages and towns but also a variety of forests including a number of eucalypt forests. Each day brings new surprises including our accommodation which was an old monestery, a manor house and our last night was spent in Paxo de Andeade which is a property that has been in the family for 300 years. Here we were privileged to be able to walk through the magnitude of icNt grounds, visit their family chapel and take in the history of the place. The opportunity to learn the Spanish way of preparing a meal was taken up by the group (with a few exceptions) and we were reward with a delicious evening meal. However, our chefs were upstaged by a Spanish trio who arrived to entertain us with their music, dancing and humour. It was a memorable evening which filled us with much joy (with
Grappa to help out).
We rose early in the morning to clear blue skies and a touch of frost on the grass for our final leg into Santiago de Compostela. Everyone has their own quiet moment on the track through the day but it is the one day we make sure we all meet up for regular stops. It would seem that we all wish the journey to continue 'forever'. It was a gentle day of waking with gentle hills, gentle sound of surrounding forests, gentle thoughts both silent and expressed all in the company of great friendship.
Our final entry into the square in front of the Cathedral was both euphoric and grounding: we made it: we are at our destination. After much hugs, kisses and photos, Ricardo ushered us through the west door of the Cathedral - the door through which pilgrims must enter as their journey has seen them walk west. After a quiet time in the Cathedral we walk out the south door and straight to the pilgrims office to have our credentials stamped and our certificate issued. I think Ricardo is related to Greg somehow as we are quickly ushered then to a nearby bar (aca Pub) for a celebratory drink. This was about 7 0'clock and we were still yet to shower and head off to dinner. It's traditional in Spain to eat late and us Aussies have really struggled with this concept! Soooooo. we head off for dinner at 9pm.
Needless to say today (Saturday) has been a bit quiet!!! We've had a tour of the ancient city of Santiago, some headed off by bus to Fisterra while others stayed around and soaked in the atmosphere in the streets, shopped and relaxed. Tomorrow we head off to Mass where we also expect to see the swinging of the giant incense burner - originally used to fumigate the sweaty (& possibly disease-ridden) pilgrims. The ritual requires half a dozen attendants to swing the burner and so has become an event which is difficult to predict if it will happen. However our guide this morning sort out a reliable source so, fingers crossed.
In closing this chapter of our journey we all are grateful to our family and friends who have supported us along the way. While you have been thousands of kilometers away you have not been that far from our thoughts.
A special thanks to Hadijah (our regular
Saturday Sunrise walker) who has been instrumental in not only getting started with the idea but also making sure that all bases are covered and nothing left to chance.
Thanks to Greg TREKFA!!!! It goes without saying that in so many ways we wouldn't be here without TREKFA. Our regular walks and experience of the bush. The advice on caring for our feet has been invaluable, as you can only imagine. The
walkers wool - like gold!! Even our intrepid leader needed some in the last day to attend to the beginnings of a blister. But particularly, a special thanks for the website. It's opened our journey up to many friends & family who may not otherwise have been so informed of our movements. As pilgrims, we all anticipated with interest and excitement what photos would be put up and comments made!! Although we did think at times the editor took a few liberties with his editorial rights!!!
All in all we have had a wonderful experience and we warn everyone that on our return, should you dare to ask about The Camino, you are at risk of being told!!
God bless you all! Take care and looking forward to a safe return home!
Cheers! TREKFA Camino!!!
From Australia: Congratulations to all for an amazing journey. You should all be very proud! Read more.

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