Observations, Surprises and Tiny Miracles on El Camino

imageEl Camino Scorecard.

In Logroño. 9th day of walking. 103 miles covered. No sunburn. No blisters. 1 scraped knee. (Note to self. Double knot your shoelaces.) Heat rash on legs now a nonissue. Cortisone cream helps.

I had this plan of walking 7 or 8 hours per day, snapping pictures and communing with the planet. Then, once I reached that day’s destination, I imagined settling into a nearby cafe, sipping a glass of red wine and writing reams of words on my journey that would delight and amaze you all. I imagined incorrectly. I get to town, find an Albergue, pensión or hotel, flop on my bed and put up my feet, shower, do hand wash and hang to dry, eat dinner and go to sleep. Apparently, I have sweated out all of the creative juices. I am so tired. Happy, delighted, awe-filled…and tired.

Should have called this blog “Sauntering to Santiago”.

I’m braver and stronger than I thought.

Spaniards and Italians – the most patient with my bastardization of Spanish. (Note to self: Learn Spanish immediately upon reentry.) Also the most generous with directional help.

French – The most abrupt.

Australians – The funniest.

Germans – Speak the best English.

Americans – The most grateful.

After 10 days, I think in km, liters and Euros. And I can almost tell the difference between the coins.

Learning “focus”.  A well marked trail is in the eye of the beholder. Re-learning “patience”.

In case you were wondering, American idioms do not play here. I am reminded of Jorge’s story of seeing AIRPLANE for the first time in a giant cinema in Guadalajara.  When Robert Hays & Leslie Nielsen do that bit: “Surely you can’t be serious?! I am serious and quit calling me Shirley!”, the Mexican audience went stone cold silent while Jorge and his Engligh-speaking buddies were laughing their heads off. Same difference in Spain. I am NOT funny here.

I like wearing my little house on my back. I suppose it is not the same.  I expect a mattress at every stop I make. But it is comforting to know that everything I really need, I am carrying. Now, if I can just ignore those who tell me that I don’t need all that which I am carrying.

Songs I have sung on The Way. Every GS song I ever knew. Everything from Sound of Music. Most of Godspell. A great deal of The King and I. Amazing Grace.

No one takes VISA…or AmEx. Cash is king. Which leads to…

The plural usage of ATM machine is nonexistent. Actually, any cash machine anywhere is merely a  concept.

How many baguettes and croissants and potatoes have I eaten?  How much jamon & queso can I  eat?   How much red wine (agua de Santiago) has this chardonnay drinker consumed?                                                  Where on earth are the vegetables? I pass fields of green beans and corn. Cannot seem to purchase them in a grocery or at a restaurant.

A great day CAN start without a Starbucks grande vanilla latte!

The most glorious views are revealed following the most arduous climbs.

Lord in your mercy, hear my prayer. 






By Heidi

I am Heidi. And couldn't be happier about that. I live in only mostly sunny climes after a nine-year stint in frequently grey Seattle. I love my lattes and wine. Lest I sound consumed with liquids, I also love my Babycakes, my family, my girlfriends, art museums, walking, the theatre, reading, movies, writing and finding things people and events to organize. I am a practicing Catholic and the happy mother of the amazing Olivia and a reluctant mother to the wonder doodle – Daisy.


  1. Oh, Heidi! So good to hear from you! Thanks for posting!! You paint a very vivid picture, however, I have trouble imagining you not being funny no matter your location! Sending so many prayers and so much love! xoxo K


    1. Oh Kimberly. Thank you! I so wish that you could do some portion of this trip with me. I wanted to ask you. But I knew that with Ethank leaving home soon that this was not your year. I pray for you all of the time on the Camino. I think of how different life will be for you. I am confident that you will soon adjust – but I know that this may be a challenge. Santiago, pray for us. oxoxoxo


  2. You’re a rock star!! I look forward to reading about your adventures but take each day as it comes and give up those expectations you have for yourself. Flow with the rhythm of your journey and it will all fall into place. Sending love😘


    1. Thanks, Michelle. You are right! Hoping that the rhythm of the journey is forthcoming soon. Each day feels so very different. Not a bad thing. Just a thing.


  3. Thinking about you everyday. You are doing so well! Love the post. You delight and amaze us all in spite of what you might believe!


    1. Barbara – you are way too generous with your praise. But I am too tired to protest. Will simply thank you and ask you to continue to keep me in your prayers.


  4. Heidi, so glad to know that you are human! I was feeling like you were Superwoman–way out of my league–but this post makes me feel better! You’re stiil incredibly brave and ambitious, and I can’t wait to hear your next entry on this incredible journey!


  5. I love following you on your journey.
    You are too funny and now I get to read your blog. How amazing. Love all your photos too.
    Big hug from California.


  6. You are the bravest and luckiest woman I know…you really make me want to do this!!! It’s breathe taking!!! Love and miss you!!!


  7. We are with you each day..love the photos and really devoured this blog. You are so brave and strong. Giving me new inspiration. Sending lots of love and hugs, Joanne


    1. Joanne – you are braver and stronger AND funnier than I. You can totally do this. Heat seems to be a factor for most pilgrims on the trail at this time of year. I don’t tell them – but clearly, they have never lived through a July or August in Texas. By comparison, ain’t no thang. 😉


  8. Hi Heidi,
    I was so happy to read your post and see the photos. I’ve been checking your itinerary each day. Prayers and love being sent each day…you sound wonderful! So very proud of you! Love, Eileen


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