A Busy Week…and some Spanish lessons

If you live in Ireland, or even in Europe, you will know of the weather we have had over the last week. As I type, Storm Brian is passing over this part of the world blowing winds and delivering rain to parts of southern Ireland.

However, Storm Brian’s predecessor, Ex-Hurricane Ophelia was far more destructive. Parts of Cork and Kerry are still without power and water and trees have fallen in almost every county in Ireland. You can read more about the damage here and here. But perhaps the worst news to come from Ophelia on Monday was news of three deaths as a result of the winds. This is something you don’t hear about in Ireland. Transport throughout the country was severely affected and most companies closed before the storm hit on Monday morning.

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credit – rte.ie

Now, where do I come into it?

I work for a property claims company and have been here since 2012. Since the start of the year, we have been very quiet and I have actually moved roles away from claims notifications as for that reason. I have enjoyed my new role and have been learning as I go. However, as the calls came in on Tuesday morning notifying us of damage, my services were needed and we, as a team, have been non-stop since then. The weekend came at the right time. I have put everything, including the over-seeing off the renovation of my apartment, on the back burner since Monday. It has also been frustrating as I am still in training mode in my new role. Ophelia and Brian has put paid to that until mid-week I gather.

Today was also an early start as I restarted Spanish language lessons. It’s been so long since I took classes. I stopped because the last class I took was through Spanish, which frightened me a little. Camino Society Ireland have organised classes for its members. Once I overcome this fear and learn to use the vocabulary that I know I have, I should be driving in the right direction. Espero que si!

New – Camino Society Ireland Photo Contest

Today, Camino Society Ireland launched its inaugural Photo Contest. It is open to all people who have walked the Camino, including the Celtic Camino. Those of you who read my blog would have taken many a photo while on Camino so now is your chance to submit a photo or two if you feel they are worthy.

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There are a number of criteria that the picture must meet before you enter. There are 5 categories to choose from before entering 1) Landscape / sights 2) Traditional Food and Drinks 3) Camino marking 4) Culture and 5) Buildings & Architecture and each entry will be judged by 3 highly respected photographers from Dublin.

Winners will have their entries held on display in an exhibition and there are a number of prizes to be awarded for each category.

The great thing about this is pilgrims from outside of Ireland can enter so why not root through your Camino photo collection and consider entering.

Keep an eye on Camino Society Ireland on instagram for further information. Full terms and conditions and how you can enter can be found at www.caminosociety.com/photo-contest.

It’s Been Quite a While…

Apologies are in order I guess. I haven’t posted for close on a month now. I have been in hospital since the 9th of March undergoing tests. Nothing of a serious nature I may add. Since I was a child, I have had epilepsy and it has been more or less controlled with medication. However, the last two years has seen it getting progressively worse, to the point where my quality of life has been diminished. I wanted to get to the source of the problem. So, I asked to be admitted to the Epilepsy Monitoring Unit in Dublin’s Beaumont Hospital. It is a state of the art 4-bed facility with round-the-clock care. The aim while there is to provoke or induce seizures by reducing medication and depriving sleep while being video-monitored. Twenty days later, enough information was gathered and I was discharged yesterday with a plan, hopefully making life a bit easier for me. I can’t thank the technicians and nurses enough for their dedication and care.

The Camino was as far from my mind as it could be, but can now focus on my upcoming return to Spain in September, ¡gracias a Dios! I am already looking for yellow arrows!

The Best of 2016

Hi folks! An apology is in order for the lack of posts here. A certain wrist is making that a little difficult, but I hope to be on the mend this side of Christmas. I am able to type with the cast on however, but I hope you don’t mention that to my doctor. The words “cast” “rest” and “upright position” were mentioned by him to me when I last visited him on the 28th. I return to him on the 19th of December to hopefully have the cast removed and physio can begin after Christmas. I write this with a positive tone however. I’d love to be able to eat Christmas dinner with both hands!

However, I have been keeping myself occupied over the last month and I have a number of things in the pipeline. I plan on writing a number of articles on “the best of 2016” Camino sites. I realise that it is impossible to give a top 5 or a top 10 as everyone’s opinion is different and there will be a number of websites I will leave out. However, it’s just my opinion. I hope to cover blogs (including forums), twitter, instagram, and youtube accounts. So I have a number of weeks to work on this which is plenty of time. However, I need your opinions, and I’m sure you have plenty! If there is a website / twitter account / instagram account that you feel does a great job promoting the Camino, please comment below.

I have mentioned also in the past of Andrew Suzuki’s project “Beyond The Way“. He has created 10 amazing videos after his time on the Camino in 2014. There isn’t a day that passes that I return to his website and watch one of his videos. Everything is independently produced which is pretty impressive. However, it’s not a series that discusses the sights and cities. Andrew talks to pilgrims and we hear their personal stories. It’s not often you get that in a Camino video. Anyway, after the last episode was released (so to speak), he put a call out that he was to make a second series. An Indiegogo campaign was started with a promise of goodies once a certain amount was contributed. To cut a long story short, Andrew completed the Camino Portuguese a number of weeks ago and I received a package of goodies via email and post. It certainly picked me up while in healing mode. I’d encourage you to “like” Beyond The Way’s page on Facebook as Andrew is in the process of creating a 2nd series for his most recent Camino.

 

And finally, the gears are well and truly in motion for a return to Spain in 2017. More news on that in the future!

 

It’s been a quiet week..

Hi folks. I am home from Santiago just over a week now and I have been hit with a bad dose of the Post Camino BluesI find myself waking up earlier than normal and also wondering what I was doing this time last week. My backpack is never far just in case I need to throw it on. I guess the only way to counter-act this dreaded condition is to meet with people who feel the same and keep writing.

In other news:

My 2016 Camino Finisterre in one page: I have just finished writing about my times on the Camino Finisterre. The link to each day can be found in the Camino Finisterre 2016 at the top of the page. I will be posting a more general post about that route in the coming days.

The LWIBloggies: The Littlewoods Blog Awards were held last night and the travel award was won by a smashing travel blog called WanderingOn.com. Check out their site if you can. Congratulations to all winners on the night, they can be viewed hereI have quite bit of work to do to reach their level but I am happy plugging away here, doing what I love. And I’m delighted to have reached the final with all your votes.

A little look into the future: I have started browsing through the Brierley’s booklet for the Camino Portuguese. I really want to walk the Coastal route from Porto to Santiago, and then on to Muxia. This should take up to 18 days. Plans are afoot! It is meant to be a beautiful trail with very few peregrinos. That said, I missed the social aspect of the Camino Frances on the Camino Fisterra. Hmm…lots of decisions to make before the start of the New Year.

Dublin Festival of History: And finally, Dublin City Council are holding a number of free events from September 23rd to October 8th during the Dublin Festival of History. One such talk is “The Irish and the Camino de Santiago: 800 years of history” and is being held in Cabra Library on the Navan Road on October 6th. You must book in advance. Full details can be found here. So if you are from the area, it would be great to attend.

Distractions…can be brushed aside.

I keep meaning to finish writing about the final few days of my last Camino in September. But life gets in the way and it gets put on the long finger. I will finish it by tomorrow. I have some further news though. I met with two friends last weekend. They are also from Ireland and I met them originally somewhere between Azofra and Santo Domingo in 2013. It was raining heavily and my feet were covered in mud. I wasn’t getting very far so it was great to meet some Irish folk who were on the same level as me. Anyway, I have been in contact with them since then and have met them a number of times since I got back. Last weekend we met, drank Riojan wine and brought back memories. We are serial Caminoists and are making plans to return in May next. For me, I hope to start in Belorado towards the start of May. For my friends, they are a little undecided on where to start…or when to start! I, for one, won’t be returning in September. I found it too busy so I’m sticking to May going forward. I choose Belorado as I finished there and I promised the hospitalera I would return. It seems a part of me has been left there.

We also walked around Lough Gur in Limerick, which is an ancient settlement site..stone-age I think. There are a number of buildings with thatched roofs which harked me back to my trip up to O Cebreiro in 2012. The winter solstice approaches in December and there are plans for a big gathering on the grounds beside the settlement. If I lived closer, I would consider going.

Anyway, I better finish off what remains of my previous Camino before the memories fade 🙂

Something to keep an eye on in Iceland…

Iceland raises Bardarbunga volcano alert to orange

At the time of writing, I have 15 days or so before I head back to Spain and the natural feeling one has is “Ah sure, it will fly in, nothing will go wrong..you’ll be on the trail before you know it!” But I’m keeping my eye on this piece of news that cropped up on the radar on Monday. If you cast your mind back to 2010, the Eyjafjallajokull volcano erupted causing a massive ashcloud to hover over Europe for over 2 weeks. This caused the groundings of many flights and caused delays to thousands of tourists not only in Europe but in the US. I have all my fingers crossed that something like this doesn’t happen again, but hey! if it does, I just have to go with it.

We’ll hear lots more about the Bardarbunga volcano in the near future. One thing is it flows off the tongue a little easier than it’s predecessor! 🙂