Thursday, 3 June 2021

Sorry about that errant post!

Hi,

First and most importantly I hope that anyone reading this blog update is safe and healthy considering these difficult times for all!

Unfortunately...and I blame System Architects for this technical problem...you likely received a random email post recently...Camino Portuguese dated March 15, 2018. Why? I have no idea whatsoever! No I am not currently walking in Portugal...

However in a way it's a timely errant post in that the email service (Feedburner - also likely named by System Architects) will be discontinued sometime in July 2021. 

Now that isn't much of an issue these days however I do hope to walk again sometime (and perhaps blog)...whether it be the aborted 2020 Camino Primitivo in Spain...or a short walk in UK, Portugal, Switzerland, France, Antartica...anywhere in 2022 or 2023.

So I am exploring other options...one of which is the use of Mail Chimp which was used to send out this post.

If this option doesn't work out my short term plan...is to print out a listing of remaining subscriber email addresses at the end of June and take it from there. Now how's that for a detailed concrete plan of action!!!

Options at that point could be:

  - Send out an email to remaining subscribers providing info on how to follow a Blog...you can do this anytime (no more emails with Blog posts), or

  - Send a quick email to the subscriber listing as future Blog postings are made with a link to the Blog, or

  - Simply walk...take pictures and pause the Blog. To this end I have taken a few early steps in 2020 as I self published (not hard to do...hit a few buttons on PixxiBooks website, provide mailing address and credit card info) and voila...three books...700 pages! 

These books will become/are already classics...In the wise words of one of my daughters "Yes I am very interested in reading your books and will definitely read them once your youngest granddaughter (aged 2 at the time) has read them...!!!" 


I fully appreciate that many of you subscribed to the blog many years ago for different reasons and may not wish to keep receiving email notifications in the future. If this is your situation no problem and this would be a good time to change things...simply use the unsubscribe link at the bottom of this email. 

If you wish to leave a comment on the Blog click the "read on" link below which will take you to the Blog page where comments can be left.

Stay safe everyone!

Guy

Friday, 17 April 2020

Camino Primitivo Alternate Route (April 7, 2020) - Day 12 Pedrouzo to Santiago de Compostela

Well I did it...arrived in Santiago de Compostela around 11:30 am having walked 20 kms for a grand total of 310 kms over the past 12 days. Day started off great with a message from Paulo (Brazil) wishing me a strong finish...interesting that I received this message today...more on this later!

Weather was perfect and once again my special pilgrims were of real help coming down the stretch.

https://drive.google.com/uc?export=view&id=1N2RiC5LzvbLS5PPtnqyeSBJjn0ej8i4P
Pilgrims friends joined me for final stretch!!!
https://drive.google.com/uc?export=view&id=1ZE4TQ4vPLK4fyCSPrL07N5s80NvOIgdh
Of course the 3 of us needed an important pilgrim break 7 kms from Santiago de Compostela

Completing a Camino is a very special experience and countless pilgrims have done so for centuries. In recent years over 300,000 pilgrims have received their Compostela's having completed at least 100 kms of walking ending in Santiago de Compostela.

This was my 3rd time completing a Camino in Santiago de Compostela (7th Camino route) and I must say the experience has been a unique and unforgettable one!

https://drive.google.com/uc?export=view&id=1dFRKG_fTgismLoSeF_r8lFzNMXDKfuw3
I was overjoyed...here I am at the Cathedral in Santiago de Compostela!

However the biggest surprises were yet to come!!! As I was simply soaking in the atmosphere, out of the blue, I was joined by 3 former pilgrims friends!!! Incredible as they had journeyed from France, Canada and Brazil just to share this special moment with me. I will never forget that...I splurged and bought them all an ice cream, donut, a jamon bocadilla and a cerveza!

https://drive.google.com/uc?export=view&id=1KN8WI7aSIaRs1_5i7KvlpZc5iO4NWHZn
Cyrille (France), Marc (Canada - my brother), me (Canada), Paulo (Brazil)

As we reminisced about past Camino experiences someone mentioned the Botafumeiro...an incredible sight to see as part of a mass in the Cathedral. One has to be very fortunate to see the Botafumeiro swing as it only happens on religious days or when someone (or group) has paid a significant sum.

Both previous times into Santiago de Compostela I have been fortunate to see the Botafumeiro swing. This time I would not as the Cathedral is essentially closed for restorations in 2020 in advance of the Holy Year in 2021 when a massive number of pilgrims is expected.

I was resigned to this...however to my absolute astonishment and delight we heard someone calling and surreptitiously wave our small group of 4 to a side door. You guessed it...we were going to see the Botafumeiro swing...3 for 3. Incredible!

I later found out that Paulo, a very astute lawyer, had negotiated this with the Church!!! Thank you Paulo...we must discuss this in more detail on our next Camino! Here is a short video...much appreciated Paulo.


Was it worth it you ask? After all I estimate I walked 32,184 lengths of a 29 ft. deck to complete the Camino Primitivo plus a number of kms being the wolf chasing the little pigs!

A resounding YES! In no particular order why...
  • It allowed my to share a very special (some may say ridiculous, frivolous, maybe even stupid) experience with my two special pilgrim friends Rose (5) and Elodie (2). They kept me going for sure!
  • It allowed me to reconnect with friends, many of which I had not communicated with in a number of years...great time to do so!
  • Blogging, while totally ridiculous is fun! One of my guiding principles is if I can say 10 things and only 1 of them brings a smile or stretching it a laugh then it is worth it. Ok maybe it's more like 100 to 1!
  • While I am not sure of the total numbers of people who actually read the Blog (imagination says in the millions...reality is likely 10 - 15 tops) I can say for sure the Blog was read in many areas of the world. I am aware of Winnipeg and Clandeboye (close enough) Manitoba, Toronto and Keswick Ontario, Brazil, New Zealand, United States and Barbados!!! Maybe there are more!
  • I needed something else to take my mind off current pandemic challenges
  • Got my fill of fresh air, exercise  and wild animals!
Would I do it again (on the deck that is...in exactly the same way)

Are you joking? Do you think I am crazy or something?

As I wrap this up I hope that in the future I have the chance to walk the Camino Primitivo and see how different this beautiful Camino differs from the route variant I walked.

Paulo and I had discussed back in March that perhaps Fall 2020 might be possible...however that is not going to be possible I believe due to the current COVID - 19 situation.  2021...maybe however it is a Holy Year and the number of pilgrims will likely be very very high. 2022...it has to happen by then! I will be 65...what better way to enter old age walking with a backpack 310 kms over mountain trails! 

Finally, please everyone stay safe and healthy in these very difficult times. Let's all do all part to lessen the impacts and help those who have been so significantly impacted.

Ultreia

Guy

Monday, 6 April 2020

Camino Primitivo Alternate Route (April 6, 2020) - Day 11 Melide to Pedrouzo

Well I am almost there...and feeling a little bit tired...so this day's blog will be a short one! Perfect walking conditions again as I walked 26.0 kms for a total of 290 kms...only 20 kms to go to Santiago de Compostela!!!

A quiet day as my special pilgrims joined us around 8:15 am or 3 hours after my 5:15 am start. I don't know how they have been able to walk the 290 kms with me and still have the energy they have! Sometimes it seems they go non stop until of course there is a bit of a crash...remember pilgrim meltdown of a few days ago.

My walking today was not 100% on the special Camino Primitivo path...I would expect 2 - 3 kms were walked/run chasing after the special pilgrims in the wolf/little pigs game. Guess who is the big bad wolf? Not Rose, not Elodie!

As I walked out this morning saw a couple of visitors rambling around just outside the path...two of the city's finest...racoons. Early morning so the pictures are of a little on the dark side!

https://drive.google.com/uc?export=view&id=1qDZaEOGEFWiCHaMT6Q2AK5V0TnfP_tn-
Early morning racoon
https://drive.google.com/uc?export=view&id=1V1w4J3Q7TilCccB8wKOlkA1940e00Il3
Early morning racoon

As this Camino Primitivo winds down one topic that I wanted to touch on briefly is the subject of Camino Beards. Yes I know may not seem a very important topic but it is one which has been a source of fun and frustration for me.

You see I would like to grow a beard however as soon as I get a ways into it (in this case all of 12 days or so) it get's quite itchy and doesn't look anything like the perfect beards one sees on tv etc etc.

Even my brother Marc, who walked with me on the Camino Frances, has a way better beard than mine and he is 16 months younger than me! Not fair! Also I just found out that Marc took an Ancestry test similar to the one I took a couple of years ago...and I am not happy!

Now the most interesting thing covered in the test was the % of Neanderthal remnants that one possesses. I had no idea that this could be tracked...the % is always very small however once I found out Marc took the test I was super interested in knowing his %.

I was sure Marc was way more Neanderthal than I am however not so... My test result indicated that I had more Neanderthal remnants than 91% of people tested by this company...Marc 25%!!! That was a big surprise...how could that be? Me more neanderthal?

Anyway here are beard pictures of various pilgrims I have walked with...just for fun...as I am exhausted and almost done my Camino!

Don’t miss the last picture...my ALL TIME favourite Camino picture!


https://drive.google.com/uc?export=view&id=1NrEteaZVE2StUW1yEdkmDUZ0sV2NrtZn
Current Camino Primitivo
https://drive.google.com/uc?export=view&id=1xQazu6Ln0iCLPsgchPXCqxICYRvlBY2s
Current Camino Primitivo

https://drive.google.com/uc?export=view&id=1XsjGtwIqKA-LhfN_FKM67LSnlqRVETn8
Marc (Brother) - Camino Frances, Camino Finisterre

https://drive.google.com/uc?export=view&id=19y8KuhdQWVCGolTlvPNEI1tMV8N_S1Up
Paulo (Brazil) - Camino Frances, Camino Portugues

https://drive.google.com/uc?export=view&id=1Z7aV2z0Z2Ins_RYsHg01uzMHVzYzQjD9
Georges (aka Moses from Belgium) - Via Podiensis Camino

https://drive.google.com/uc?export=view&id=1Uln5sF9Xfq56E_AvUZv95uMUE6c3WkKK
Cyrille (France) - Via Podiensis Camino, part ot Camino Frances, Camino Finisterre


One morning on the Camino Frances, without the benefit of a mirror, and knowing it would be a really hot day I applied sunscreen lotion...Marc and Paulo let me go out ion the trail looking like this!!! Really quite the look Guy!

https://drive.google.com/uc?export=view&id=1hib_0Klahp29bgbOg5DA5eDZY-5tcwn3
Sunscreen morning!

Sunday, 5 April 2020

Camino Primitivo Alternate Route (April 5, 2020) - Day 10 Lugo to Ferreira (Melide)

A very good friend mentioned that recent email blog notification emails were missing pictures/videos. I am not sure why this would have happened however if it does two options 1) go to bottom of the email and click on the website link or 2) use the website link www.caminolongwalk.blogspot.com. Pictures/videos are there.

Another great day of walking today, with the exception of an early morning incident, the day was a quiet reflective one. Loooooooong at 33.0 kms I walked and now total 264 kms. 46 kms to go... I think I am a couple of days walk from Santiago de Compostela...so could finish a day ahead of my 13 day schedule.

Having just passed Melide by a few kms I am now back on the Camino Frances route...and the number of pilgrims will increase exponentially!

While in Melide I stopped and had a Galician delicacy pulpo (octopus)!

https://drive.google.com/uc?export=view&id=1MMey1AVGF6lBcbp8B1GObfiQLTEV1RNs
Pulpo!

The day started at 5:10 am...8C...superb walking weather! Some time around 6 am I had a real shock...an unwelcome visitor was moving around within maybe 15 meters from me. A skunk! While a fence was supposedly protecting me I was terrified nonetheless...Can skunks climb fences? Chew their way through? Leap the fence? Getting sprayed in the COVID - 19 time period did not seem like a good idea.

I kept walking with a major crouch hoping the skunk would not see me...thought that my smell should be ok and certainly not worse than the skunk. Thankfully after 10 minutes or so he/she went on to terrorize someone else!

A perceptive reader of the blog published this comment recently

I notice that you're walking the Camino with no pack, relying on a spirit of generosity in the people you meet. I admire your courage. 

Now I had been wondering when someone would notice that I was not walking with a backpack...why have I done this? Simple. Can you imagine seeing someone walking back and forth on a deck 29 ft wide for 5-6 hours per day...WITH A BACKPACK? Wouldn't they think that was weird? So I didn't do it...thinking that people would simply not notice what I was doing :).

The reader is correct...people have been very kind to me...providing shelter and food as needed. Considering I only have a single set of clothes for the entire Camino Primitivo that may also explain why I have been sleeping exclusively outside! Here is what a very kind person, Dawn, prepared as a delicious breakfast after 4 hours of walking this morning! Omelette with salmon!

https://drive.google.com/uc?export=view&id=1YoRQCevqD_GZFiTV3jem7jusvNRlI2K_
Dawn prepared an omelette and salmon! Delicious!!!

This morning the special Camino Primitivo path was gone however it had been replaced by a number of signs warning me about Dangerous Animals. These signs are shown below...created by my special pilgrims Rose & Elodie with help from mom Lise.

They apparently went out last evening, in the darkness, to place the various signs. As I was walking I reflected on something that I have always deeply felt...I am a very very fortunate person...so many wonderful people young and a bit older in my life! I am so thankful for that!


Sometime around 8:00 am or so Rose joined me...she was so very excited to tell me which pictures she had drawn...which Elodie had done...Rose could not contain herself. This also got me thinking...Rose is 5...COVID - 19 has impacted her as well in that her outside activities have all stopped...she isn't seeing her kindergarten friends...her teacher etc. etc.


Maybe she will remember some bits and pieces of the time Papi did this crazy Camino Walk and how she helped...well I am hoping some memory of this special time will remain and that makes every step worthwhile!

https://drive.google.com/uc?export=view&id=1u_uW1Bzcz7Gv2YNV5FU3jTXZI6UZHeS9
Rose joining me

Here is a short video of the message I received 



https://drive.google.com/uc?export=view&id=1dI-GTGYgPZOQwpyI1NGXhw77W3CGQHnP
Roses Mickey Mouse

https://drive.google.com/uc?export=view&id=1dys7PK7kgtkbUtZAPFF-P9EU_gEAV9p_
Dangerous Animal Sign
https://drive.google.com/uc?export=view&id=1WHMhPIKeNNvSz6qAsZTMUwHw3vXPfGF-
Dangerous Animal Sign
https://drive.google.com/uc?export=view&id=1O0-pNmrlQljGkfS446r40lExtz-Xk9Fv
Dangerous Animal Sign
https://drive.google.com/uc?export=view&id=1xg2NAUcqu3Mo6GfxZgwD_kfqTNnr-7G7
Dangerous Animal Sign
https://drive.google.com/uc?export=view&id=1VHtjeY_vysWpHrdTxlG_i54Mdi10Qr9l
Dangerous Animal Sign
https://drive.google.com/uc?export=view&id=1e0sQDiV3yNbCluzBoCjTTeX0qYAb1Nb_
Dangerous Animal Sign
https://drive.google.com/uc?export=view&id=10TlJ-ZQe4nssquhOr10J1GKed-q1ZEZ_
Dangerous Animal Sign
https://drive.google.com/uc?export=view&id=1KuT9uHlX6QHe5DKiWRe9qVegrx0i9laa
Dangerous Animal Sign
https://drive.google.com/uc?export=view&id=16JD7F9KbuSls2GxVLkLuKtJJJQeEEX0x
Dangerous Animal Sign
https://drive.google.com/uc?export=view&id=1WNoGF6myGC8y9qm-jxwR5DKsEIlfSE-B
Dangerous Animal Sign
https://drive.google.com/uc?export=view&id=1ImQfpUTa5bxq9zhmB3a4For0NThzg84B
Dangerous Animal Sign


Saturday, 4 April 2020

Camino Primitivo Alternate Route (April 4, 2020) - Day 9 O Cadavo to Lugo

Well today was quite the day...a great walking day! It was 7C this morning at 5:00 am and to be honest I was not quite feeling charged up for the day's walk...I knew it was going to be a long day and yesterday was a tough one.

However as I went out on the trail I noticed something that was really mysterious and that raised my spirits immediately. On the lower level of the Camino walking trail there were white luminous looking blotches here and there. I was really intrigued and that always gets me going...more on this later.

In total I walked 30.5 kms...my longest day yet for a total of 231kms in total...79 kms and I will enter Santiago de Compostela for the 3rd time! I am now 19.7 kms past Lugo...my intended stop for the night!

Around 7:00 am I became aware of two mysteries unfolding one of which involves the fellow with the orange ball and his dog. To recap Days 1-4 he had a big orange ball, Days 5 - 6 no orange ball (remember I felt very badly that he thought I was laughing at him and he chose to leave the ball at home...embarrassed!), Days 7 - 8 big orange ball is back (I am relieved!)

Imagine my dismay when this morning Day 9 again NO ORANGE BALL! Why? Then in my peripheral vision I noticed a bit of orange tucked under his arm...clearly a squished ball! So that explains Days 5 - 6 this fellow, while embarrassed, deflates the ball some days and inflates it later when playing with his dog. I did not see the pump however I am sure he had it on him...very clever...if he feels good the Orange Ball is in full display...if not he tucks the deflated ball under his arm and walks past me!

Mystery #1 for the day solved!!! I was feeling good and walking strongly down the Camino Primitivo path!

However Mystery # 2 very slowly revealed itself to me as the sunlight flooded the path below...
https://drive.google.com/uc?export=view&id=1Vdg1VHJaQy7m7nrkNDO_KF4XnTyZgb83
Mystery # 2 - What are cones for? Who placed them?
https://drive.google.com/uc?export=view&id=1QtBTCXP0Xx3AriY5gDsyOIkETJPksLCp
Writing refers to Bon Camino Papi!
https://drive.google.com/uc?export=view&id=18DmNzUDqDHKkhZE2so8a6Tg8F_Sh_Edj

Who created this circular path? I was absolutely mystified and in awe of the precision and amount of effort involved in it's creation.

First thought was...should I submit it as a potential UNESCO World Heritage site. According to the www.who.unesco.org website there are a grand total of 1,121 recognized UNESCO World Heritage sites...could this be number 1,122? I resolved to dig into this further after my completing my walk today.

I then decided to compare walking on the current Camino path to the newly created mysterious Camino path. Here are two short videos.


Current Camino Path


Mysterious New Camino


My thoughts were all over the place as to who/what might have created the mysterious path. I am sometimes accused of having an overactive imagination and have read many articles on events/things that are not understood...I am fascinated by mysteries!!!! A small sample of what intrigues me...I likely believe in all of them at some level...



https://drive.google.com/uc?export=view&id=19C_P39wE4ikqaSybKmsbEOwg6D-k1oqa
Ghosts 

https://drive.google.com/uc?export=view&id=1BdhOtHQiwngsxRy5HIO_zsL9vjl1tvPY
Bigfoot 

https://drive.google.com/uc?export=view&id=1ZvzPalM8IkkaZIm0BWkiw5BdReL86iZ9
Loch Ness Monster

https://drive.google.com/uc?export=view&id=1Cy17rZ6XKl3GnaefFnuSakQ06QkmFUFw
Bermuda Triangle

https://drive.google.com/uc?export=view&id=16ue1iSLC5DWRuZ2Eie1Tfw7oXxZ7wAz6
Camino Symbol - First clue to Mystery # 2
Take a look at this short video...

 



Mystery #2 Solved


Shortly thereafter as my imagination was running wild and I was trying to determine my next step in resolving this mystery my two favourite pilgrims arrived 

https://drive.google.com/uc?export=view&id=16IGyJmzf-zu1WgH7B337pirZeDD4t7j_
Two favourite Pilgrims arrived!

And Rose in a super excited manner starts talking..."Did you see my heart? Elodie also drew things! I wrote Papi! My mom made the path!!!!"Mystery solved!


Ah that was fun...thanks Rose & Elodie and supporting cast member Lise!!! On to tomorrow!

Friday, 3 April 2020

Camino Primitivo Alternate Route (April 3, 2020) - Day 8 A Consagrada to O Cadavo

Todays walking was a little more difficult...this has happened on every Camino after a number of days where the excitement level is high. I walked 27.7 kms for a grand total of 200.5 kms so definite progress is being made. Santiago de Compostela is in sight...109.5 kms to go. 

Essentially todays walking is what I have called in the past Point A to Point B walking...scenery was not spectacular, no pilgrims on the trail...this pilgrim was feeling somewhat tired. 

It happens! On a positive note the fellow with the dog and big orange ball made his appearance shortly around 7:00 am so all is good!

Perhaps the day got off to a rocky start listening to a CBC Frontburner podcast talking about COVID - 19 and how Toronto is not doing well in this battle! 

Ok Guy give your head a shake and get back to the walking at hand on the Camino Primitivo!

Some of you have asked if I have been lost over to date...well I have been extra careful over the past 8 days...walking along the same 7 or 8 planks on the deck...in a careful rectangle at lower elevations and even venturing in the wild behind the structure in the picture below.

https://drive.google.com/uc?export=view&id=15YhNmFqCfHJnllt5FuGksUypzsp4rn8q
Structure in the wild

It has been difficult to follow the Camino Primitivo trail at times however so far so good! I think I am getting better at this than in my previous 6 Camino walks. To give you a sense of some of the challenges I have faced AND overcome I am including a few descriptions below of previous experiences.

But please do not for a second think I am the type of person who gets lost easily! I follow the signs religiously!!! Typical signs that cause problems.
https://drive.google.com/uc?export=view&id=1wtrdQf6GTmcrn03zhNEeuwJ4xk7M-q4f
Difficult sign
https://drive.google.com/uc?export=view&id=1_G0q5F1aco94uNXJgW4rjFsu4CWMG5T-
Another Difficult sign
https://drive.google.com/uc?export=view&id=1W9YjyqV6wb79N1ISqqbSNQlpHNQleGz_
Impossible sign
https://drive.google.com/uc?export=view&id=18E6aPFdfL4NCa_G3rWf_w8D94zqdyxYZ
No sign at all!

A sampling of being lost on Camino Paths - NONE are my fault!

Camino Portuguese New Day 12 - Caldas de Reis to Padron

Paulo and I had chosen Os Lambruns as our last night’s accommodation prior to our final day...a luxury which turns out is 3 kms out the Camino way.

After a long day we decided to take a taxi from a specific Camino point to Os Lambruns and the next morning return to the same specific point and resume our walk. Totally kosher.

Seemed logical however hopping into a taxi might be misinterpreted by fellow pilgrims so I was determined to be careful.

What followed in my recollection of events. We wanted a taxi...none to be found. We start walking in circles asking people. At one point we are directed to the following booth to phone in front of a million pilgrims for a taxi!!!!

https://drive.google.com/uc?export=view&id=1ihgj-OMFUgLEWVeEM6HJpiLUIuI2SQM0
Pilgrim phone booth

While walking around helplessly... estimate 2 kms, Paulo thinks 500 meters, so let’s say 1.75 kms we turn the corner and see Steffan and Allan wave to us from a bar. Panic sets in...if they see us entering a taxi we will NEVER hear the end of it no matter how logical our reasoning is!

During the walk which I estimate would be 30 to 45 minutes...Paulo might say 15 - 20 so let’s settle on 40 minutes it starts to rain!!! Monsoon like rain, Paulo might say light rain so let’s settle on a heavy downpour.

Finally a nice lady in a supermarket provides Paulo with a phone number and a taxi is there in a few minutes. At this point I gave Paulo some very specific pilgrim avoidance instructions for the taxi...remove hats and slouch in our seats as low as possible...who cares what the taxi driver thinks! We must not get people who do not understand our logical plan providing FAKE NEWS to others!

Day 38 (Oct 16) Saint Come d'Olt to Golinhac

At last night's supper the Urseline nun very clearly and emphatically said we should bypass the GR65 after Saint Come d'Olt and just follow the road to Espalion for a few kilometres. The GR65 was simply a torture test I was told.

I had heard from fellow Camino Forum members that sometimes the GR65 goes way up and down for no particular reason other than to get a specific vantage point for a view. I later heard from other pelerins that this was a terrible section!

So I followed the advice and sailed smoothly into Espalion...well almost! 

I saw the GR65 red & white ballisage and went left...asking 2 elderly folks if I was on le Chemin St. Jacques. Oui both times...big mistake not indicating which direction I wanted to go..dah! I passed the chapelle and started going up a very steep path. After about 10 minutes or so it dawned on me...Guy you DUMMY you are walking back to Saint Come d'Olt! I was doing the path I had averted in reverse!

Back down I came, handed out 2 Canadian lapel pins to people who helped me and after spending an hour or so in Espalion I was on my way finally!

Day 29 (Oct 6) - Bourg Argental to Les Chomats

About two hours from Les Chomats there was a trail section which for close to half an hour was the worst trail I have walked on since the start of my Camino journey. I have walked on a fair number of mountain trails in Canada and this one may take the prize.

It was straight up, very rocky, rutted, full of leaves in places and very wet. You almost feel like you are crawling to get through this section...really have to be careful not to hurt yourself. A few pictures which do not really do justice....actually much worse than the pictures show!

https://drive.google.com/uc?export=view&id=1uh_R_Qybx0KqB5v-fYcdtzNZ8AZ5Sn5W
Terribly difficult trail section!!!

I am staying at the Gite Plein Sud outside of Les Chomats. My instructions for finding it were to follow the signs posted prior to coming into Les Chomats....did not see a sign...have since been told it may have fallen.

The backup instructions were to enter Les Chomats and there would be a sign...gite 15 minutes from the sign. I found the sign but it was not very descriptive...walked back and forth a few hundred meters...once after asking a very very very elderly gentlemen about the gite. He told to go back to the village and the gite was there...I did that...no gite...turns out that gite was closed in the early 1900's I think!

So I then went for it and kept walking past the sign..oh first managed to phone the Gite and left a message that I was lost and wandering around aimlessly...first time in days that I have been able to successfully use my phone...cell service in these parts is not too good!

After 10 to 15 minutes and having to dodge a vociferous dog...I phoned again...this time I spoke to someone. By now I was really tired and told the owner I was lost in the wilderness and was about to sit on the road...he asked me questions like which farm I just passed...HOW do I know.

Somehow I must have said something that clicked and Vincent was kind enough to come and pick me up...no way I would have found it!

Day 18 (Sep 25) - Nyons to Geneva

And then I was in Coppet...30 minutes earlier than the average Swiss walker as per time estimates or around 10:15. Here the fun started...followed the signs down Ave de la Gare right to the lake's edge...then the trail petered out as I can't walk on water! (Can think a few people reading this who think they can!)

A lady wished me a Buen Camino so I asked her where the trail went...she did not know. I wandered around for 5 minutes or so and then asked a few guys working. The young guy had no idea however the older gentlemen said I had to go back up Ave de la Gare and take the road which ran parallel to Ave de la Suisse ( this road was a few feet from where I received the directions). So back I went for 5 minutes or so...however I stopped at the train station and asked someone...he was new to Coppet however he asked the bus driver.

The bus driver said to go back down Ave de la Gare and take Ave de la Suisse...straight to Geneva...15 kms. Ok off I went back down to where I was earlier at the lake...walked up Ave. de la Suisse for 5 minutes or so however I knew it wasn't right...no Via Jacobi signs! I was about to turn back when I saw a police station...why not stop as this is an Emergency! The police officer was talking to someone about some burglary of some description and didn't seem to share my sense of emergency so I stared at a wall map of Coppet.

There was the parallel road Ave de Tanney...I had to go past the Gare...so off I went back up Ave. de la Gare. This time I was very sure...until I walked 5 to 10 minutes on Ave.de Tanney and again no stupid signs! I was about to scribble a sign "Pilgrim lost - please help" and sit down at a street corner when I came upon an elderly gentlemen...he told me I was on the right path and to keep going to Tanney...I could have hugged him...but I gave him a Canadian lapel pin instead.

I kept walking however it still didn't seem right...no signs again...until I came upon a fork in the road...left/straight/right...take your pick. I decided to go left as it was going towards the lake. After another 5 to 10 minutes minutes or so I was getting ready to lie down in the middle of the road in the hope that I would be sent to the police or something...until I saw a big Tanney sign...I was there...well not quite!

The sign turned out to be an unmanned railway crossing...however there was another elderly gentlemen who was talking on the phone...so I raised my arms and poles to ensure he saw me and waited and waited...seemed like forever however he was kind enough to recognize someone in desperate need. I explained that I had lost my way (didn't tell him I was totally clueless at that point and on the verge of a hissy fit) and wanted to walk le Chemin St. Jacques to Geneva. 

Easy he said take the next left...walk until you hit a road and follow it in to Geneva. I was so relieved ...he got a Canadian lapel pin big time. So...a few minutes later my prayers were answered and I was on...Ave de la Suisse...YES the same one where all this started about an hour ago.

So I resigned myself to walking it...knowing that I was carving new pilgrim territory coming in to Geneva. It was actually a fairly pleasant walk all the way in (about 12 or 13  kms at that point)...

https://drive.google.com/uc?export=view&id=1kUrm74aT3NmrNZCACkS50cNUfoX7BWU1
Pleasant walk to Geneva


Day 13 (Aug 13) - Fribourg to Billens

A good start however things soon were not very good. Christine explained that instead of going back 2.5 kms to Riggisberg (extra distance I walked yesterday) I could go forward and hook up with the Via Jacobi using an alternate route. We looked at maps together...she said she had placed a marker at the only junction and off I went.

Marker was no where to be found yet the surroundings were as described...soon I found the Wanderweg signs and I thought I was good. I even stopped someone and he confirmed it as well. I kept walking and seeing Wanderweg signs, which I often follow, however had an overwhelming feeling that I was off path...by 9:30 I had yet to see a Via Jacobi sign.

Shortly thereafter I came to a yellow sign which indicated directions to various towns...NONE of which were mine! I walked back to a farm and said I was lost. Two people just spoke German...third one spoke some English. He looked at where I wanted to go on my iPad PDF map and showed me where I was. Way off...likely 5 kms or so off.

I asked if he could just point out the road to backtrack and he said sure...wait a minute. Next thing I knew my backpack was in his car...he was a veterinarian and he drove me back over the roads I had just come for the past hour...then a little zag and I saw the Via Jacobi sign. In total he only drove for maybe less than 10 minutes...but it really saved me. 

In hindsight I was at some point very close to where I should be however veered off at that point...there are so many walking paths! I tried to save 2.5 kms but in the end walked at least double that!

I could have given him a hug (note not a big hugger therefore I didn't)...offered him some money to which he said no...then dug up 10 or so Canadian lapel pins and gave them to him...he seemed happy.

A short while later I stood by the side of the path quietly and acknowledged the Direction that I had been provided and gave thanks. That event was a lot more than luck...

Thursday, 2 April 2020

Camino Primitivo Alternate Route (April 2, 2020) - Day 7 SPECIAL EDITION *** READ ONLY AFTER DAY 7 BLOG ENTRY***

Unbelievable!!!

After posting the Day 7 blog...Steven my son-in-law who deserves full credit for letting  me know about the Wildlife scary incident recounted in today's blog...provided me with the following chilling video!

Please, please, please do not watch this just before going to bed...here it is!




I feel this video deserves more recognition therefore further review of the qualification requirements for two very prestigious rewards will be completed very shortly. Hopefully something big may come from Steven's amazing photography and investigative skills.

Here are the potential awards! Good luck Steven...I think at least one of the awards is a sure thing!

The Pulitzer Prize The Pulitzer Prize for Investigative Reporting has been awarded since 1953, under one name or another, for a distinguished example of investigative reporting by an individual or team, presented as a single article or series in print journalism.

Wildlife Photographer of the Year

The dream of most wildlife photographers is to one day win the title of Wildlife Photographer of the Year. The competition receives over 40,000 entries each year from some of the biggest names in the world of wildlife photography. The competition is extremely tough to place in, so being shortlisted in itself is an achievement. The overall winner nets £10,000.
Tomorrow I will feel much safer walking on the Camino Primitivo and will sleep much better tonight as well!