July 18, 2008

Setting the scene.....

From mid-April until early July 2008, I walked the way of St James. I began in Le-Puy-en-Velay in France, and finished in Santiago de Compostela in Spain, nearly three months later. --> At the start there were days when it snowed a little, as I climbed above Le Puy then onto the Aubrac Plateau. By the time I finished it was clearly summer, though fortunately for me as a walker, not as hot as it can get in northern Spain.
When I began, I was surrounded by others mostly walking for one or two weeks during their vacation, but gradually I met more who were intending to go further. At this stage of the journey though, people tended to be very humble about their chances of going 'all the way' to "St Jacques". People would always add "si on peut...' (if I am able...) to their response.
At the beginning it often seemed to me that I was the 'slowest' walker around. But the French had what I found to be two very helpful attitudes to walking. They would often say - "each one has their own rhythm". And with respect to long distance walking, I heard repeatedly..."Il faut aller doucement, doucement, pour aller a St Jacques." - It is necessary to go gently, gently to get to St James.
Hence...the title of this blog.......

2012 Addendum: In 2012 I re-walked several sections of this route- from Le Puy to Conques; Pamplona to Santo Domingo; and Hospital de Orbigo to Santiago. I have added a few photos and some info where relevant. You can find all the new bits by using the 2012 labels, at the end of each relevant old post...


  1. Hi Kiwi! This looks so interesting. I will take my time looking through it. I have got to day 2, but will read a bit more each day.
    I so admire what you have done.
    Clever girl!

  2. You won't have to hurry with the reading.... I am unlikely to post a day per day... it may take me quite a while to get it all posted!! Though you could keep me on my toes....
    There were not a lot of English people on the Camino... you could start a trend!

  3. Dear Kiwi Nomad,
    Yesterday, I left a comment re your walk at ConcordPastor.blogspot.com (under his post with photo from your trip - Peter with keys.)CP has suggested that I leave something similar here. I refer you to his blog for my comment. But I will say I congratulate you mightily! An awesome accomplishment!

  4. Thank you anon! I have left you a comment on Concord's blog.

  5. Bravo for this beautiful blog about your way to Santiago !
    And thank you for the mention you made of the blog of Annie and Jean-Marc : http://randonnees-pedestres.fr/ajm/ . As webmaster of the site, I add in a link to your. During the next weeks, they will add in their blog pictures for the spanish part of the way too.
    Have good time on the paths of life(world).

  6. Thank you luc for your kind comments. I loved reading Annie and Jean-Marc's blog, knowing we were so close together on the path, even though we never met. In their photos though, I saw Liliane and Robert, who I did meet up with when we were getting close to the Pyrenees.

  7. Hi Margaret,
    yes its actually fun that you never met them ! But you started a week before them and followed almost the same rythm... I still didn't walk this path myself and don't specailly feel as a possible "pilgrim"... So I imagine a special way to practice it (according with my interest for "being different" and often searching special angle of vision and feeling...) : backward from Santiago to Le Puy, so everyday crossing the way of people full of hope and questions... certainly a great lesson about people and life ??! Just like a spiral not going to the center (pilgrimage) but opening to the all (fusion to that, entropism)?
    Regards, Luc
    PS: also possible to write me here : http://www.sanssat.net/contact@

  8. Dear Margaret

    THis is truly inspiring. I followed the lead here after our meeting at Mark, and it is so gentle and uplifting. It is a gentle walk, and so is the Way He asks us to live, and the way of dealing with the idiosyncracies of our fellow followers. My burden is light.. ONy one question."what is the music on the youtube shots, wonderful?" Many thanks Mark

  9. The walk was gentle if you let it be.... I was a 'tortoise', and I think many a tortoise completed the walk with joy.
    I am not sure about the light burden Mark.... 'many questions' is my middle name! But I did like the Bartimaus reference in your blog name. Recently started I see, and hopefully with more to come!

    The music was something I cooked up in Garageband on my Mac- I am a Mac girl. Musically, it is a shocking hodge-podge really, but we all have to start somewhere!

  10. I'm impressed! That's wonderful, Margaret. And what an adventure, I would think. Day after day. Very nice.

    I am a walker myself--definitely not a runner. My days of playing whatever ball game are over. So I love walking. So Deb and I will walk for coffee or whatever. Of course not right now when it is cold, which is especially disagreeable to her.

    We'd like to visit Europe someday, but so many great places to see, NZ being one of the most beautiful to be sure. I imagine you might like to walk quite a bit there, though I know you're also into bicycling.

  11. It was definitely an adventure Ted, and a very special experience. I have a few other routes in mind once I save some more money ;-)

  12. Thank you. We are four woman from Norway and we have also walked this way. It is so nice to se and read and recognice the hole trip in your blog.

  13. Inger Marie, I'm glsd the blog brought back memories for you. I met several women from Norway in both France and Spain. I remember sharing lunch with two one very cold day in Les Faux when it snowed!