It’s amazing how quick a week goes by…

Well it’s Friday again…where did that week go? I’m still trying to figure that out. Not that I’m complaining or anything! We have a Bank Holiday on Monday here in Ireland so that means an extra day rest and possibly a day’s walking with a full pack. I now have 30 days until I return to Madrid and on to Burgos.

This day last week I was chilling in Limerick on the west coast of Ireland with C & J whom I met on my 2013 Camino. I feel honoured to be still in contact with them and to have them part of my life. They very much live the peregrino way and every time we meet, we talk about our previous Caminos. There are so many good memories. We live in the moment, just like everyone does while walking on the trail. On the Saturday and Sunday, we walked a total of 45 kms despite downpours of rain. They weren’t a pleasent 2 days, but  I’m really happy with my rain gear. However, if the weather in Spain remains the same as it is now, I don’t think I will need them!

C & J are returning to walk the full Camino Frances the day I return to Ireland…so I can vicariously follow them as they walk to Santiago and on to the sea. My Camino looks like ending in Astorga but if I feel good and feet hold up, I may make it further..possibly to the Cruz de Ferro. But who’s rushing?! 🙂

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Ireland? Or Galicia?

Last weekend I took a trip westward to meet my good friends C and J. I have written a number of times about them after we met in 2013 outside a wet and windy Santo Domingo de la Calzada. Whenever we can we all meet up to reminisce, have a few cervezas and of course, talk about our respective future Caminos.

I hadn’t told them that I had postponed my April Camino to September so their response to that was along the lines of “Oh, so we will have plenty of time for more walks”

Excellent!

So after a pilgrim meal and a few cervezas on Friday night, we woke up bright and early and headed off to our starting point. I brought a full pack and my Pacerpoles in the attempt to make this walk as realistic as possible. I had a Helly Hansen rain jacket as I am eager to leave my Altus at home. So I was wishing for a little bit of rain to test it out. On arriving at the start point outside the village of Doon in Limerick, the clouds were grey and full so I was optimistic! We set out just before 9am and immediately started to climb. The legs started to pain me before I reached the top. I thought to myself “Hmm, I am nowhere near Camino-fit”. But these types of walks are ideal if I am to conquer the Leon hills and O Cebreiro again.

The majority of the walk was along back roads close to the villages of Hollyford and Lackcomer in Tipperary, and Doon in Limerick. The trail followed the River Multeen for most of the day so it was great to have the sound of running water beside us at all times. In fact, there is a waymarked trail called the Multeen Way, which is part of the Ireland Way, but we decided not to follow it and we went about our own way. We had great craic talking about past Caminos and our plans for the next. C & J are walking from St Jean to Santiago in September just after I return from my 2 weeks. So I will be vicariously walking with them. My Pacerpoles were fantastic. It took me a while to get used to them and how to use them right, but once I did, I had a much quicker stride and there were no pains in the legs. I had no problems with the Osprey pack either. C told me she always gets by with a 28 litre pack, much to my surprise!!

Our day ended with a huge hill to climb; a little like the climb to Alto del Perdon! I powered ahead in the hope of reaching the top quicker. At this stage, we were in the clouds and, in fact, close to a wind-power plant. Alto del Perdon is definitely right!! We finished off with a nice descent back to the car and short drive back to base.

Whenever I am in the Limerick area, I do my best to visit Glenstal Abbey to go to Vespers. I couldn’t pass the chance again. I have been to Vespers twice in Rabanal del Camino and have been in love with their sound and harmonies since that first time in 2012. I arrived back to base close to 10pm when we watched a number of Camino related videos from YouTube.

Addicted isn’t the word!

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Turning 40…

Since my last post, I moved from the world of the thirty-something to the realm of the 4os. I feel like I’ve turned a new leaf, however people were quick to dismiss age as nothing but a number. I agree with their sentiments. It has been a good few days. I took some leave from work on Tuesday and Wednesday and while I was unable to get out walking (rain put paid to that), I was able to get the last few pieces ready for the Christmas period. The jigsaw is complete.

On the subject of birthdays, I’ve noticed a change in the type of presents I have been receiving over the years. In my twenties, the fashionable gifts were cassette tapes or VHS videos…maybe a voucher for pair of denim jeans. In my thirties, CDs were all the rage, before quickly being taken over by vouchers for online shopping. Towards the end of my thirties, I became more and more interested in outdoor gear, especially when I discovered the Camino. I have received a number of vouchers for a store in Dublin (which will remain nameless!), and already have a number of ideas for my next purchase when I visit town during the sales. I have been thinking of hiking poles, but the jury is out on them.

However, my favourite gift that I have received is not the obvious one. It is a dvd, entitled “The Monks of Glenstal Abbey”. Why? Well, I have a keen interest in the Benedictine monks ever since I stayed in Rabanal del Camino in 2012 and witnessed vespers being sung by the monks. It was only in 2013 after my 3rd Camino and after I met C and J that I learned that there is a Benedictine monastery in Ireland, in Limerick to be precise.

And when I was invited to visit Glenstal Abbey, I decided to go and listen to their vespers, which is usually sung at 9pm. Now, I am not a religious person, I’m not even a Sunday Catholic. But you don’t need to be to appreciate this music. I can’t wait to make the trip to Glenstal again, but this dvd will fill the gap in the meantime. I made a trip to the church in Rabanal this May and did the same as back in 2012.

I will write again before Christmas Eve.