Brian & Sarah's Camino Coddiwomple
Our Minister, Brian White, and his wife Sarah are currently undertaking a pilgrimage known as the Camino de Santiago. You can find lots of information about the walk on the web.
They left in the early hours of Wednesday 22nd May and are due to arrive back in the UK at the beginning of July.
This page will be regularly updated with posts shared on social media by Sarah, with the most recent first. All photos and information shared is being done so with permission from Sarah.
Brian and Sarah are also raising money for St Catherine's Hospice. To read their story, and to give some money, you can visit their JustGiving page.
Saturday 29th June
We did it!!!!
Day 39. Just over 10 km. Well today is what all that walking was for. I didn't know how I was going to feel and was actually choked up, (now literally, as someone has just used up all his spray deodorant, cough cough). It felt a very peaceful place even though there were loads of people. The cathedral improved during the day as the sun got stronger. We queued for over 2 hours to get our certificates but it was worth it. I have met some fabulous people along the way and proud to call them my friends. Thank you everyone for supporting us financially and kept us in your prayers. And thank you to all of those who donated to Catherine's Hospice. I know your money will go far. We've decided to stay here another day then pop to Finnistere then on to Porto for a few days’ rest.
Friday 28th June
We only did 17 km yesterday. It was a pleasant walk. A few hills but not on the scale we've been used to so, a doddle. We chilled most of the afternoon and enjoyed a good meal in the evening. But TODAY (29th) we're heading to SANTIAGO DE COMPESTELLA!!!!! It's hard to believe that this epic journey is coming to an end.
Thursday 27th June
Day 37. 25.97km/16 miles. 38,624 steps. Well what can I say about today? Basically, we did a lot of walking but also a lot of laughing. I'm so gonna miss Janet. She keeps us entertained. The last 4 km were a bit of a struggle because we found a beer place. You drink your beer, write your name etc. on the empty bottle and add it to all the others. Then wander aimlessly to your Albergue. ????
Wednesday 26th June
Day 36. Palas de rei to Melide. 15.1km/nearly 10 miles. 21,755 steps. We thought we'd do a short walk today so left at 8. It was relaxing and much less busy. The weather was slightly overcast but still very warm so within 10 mins of walking, off came the layers. We made it into Melide at 12.30 starving, so even before checking in, we ate. Janet had Pulpo (octopus) again and I had egg and chips. After a well-deserved rest and snooze, we met up with some old Camino buddies and enjoyed another meal. I should sleep well tonight.
Tuesday 25th June
Day 35. Portomarin to Palas de rei. 24 1/2 km/15 miles. It was a good walk today with the usual ups and downs (literally). I'm not enjoying walking with loads of others, so tomorrow we're staggering our journey by doing less miles then the next day another 25 km. I had octopus for the 1st time this evening. It was lovely.
Monday 24th June
Day 34. Sarria to Portomarin. 22 km -14 miles. 35,408 steps. We set off excited today knowing that somewhere along the journey we would catch up with Janet Williams. It was a steep climb out of Sarria and very much like Cornwall. At our second pit stop we found Janet. Yay! A team again. We walked the rest of the way passing the last 100km mark. The end is in sight. It's hard to believe that by the weekend, we'll be in Santiago.
Sunday 23rd June
Day 33. 28,499 steps. 18km. We set off at 7.15am at a good pace and reached our first pit stop (a donation cafe in a barn) after 5 km. And then the rains came down. This place had 2 loos outside in little huts. They were the best. We reached Sarria, after one more stop, at 12. It had stopped raining by now. The town is very busy and as usual, there's a festival going on. Tomorrow we plan to leave by 7 am so we can catch up with our friend Janet. She's been a friend I didn't want to leave.
Friday 21st/Saturday 22nd June
Day 31/32. I got my taxi to O'cebreiro and glad I had. Brian had left about 8 am so was nearly there when I got there. O'cebreiro is beautiful so once we checked in, we took a gentle walk around. Met some old friends. I was very delicate so sipped on flat coke most of the day. But I wasn't going to let this spoil my birthday. Brian had met a German guy and lad the night before who was in the navy and a chef. (What are the chances). We ended up eating with them again. I didn't. With medication, I had a good night's sleep and felt amazingly well to walk today. We decided to walk the 20 km (12 miles) to Triacastela. The views we had all day were magnificent. Our Albergue is plush. Real fresh sheets and blankets. Tomorrow we're walking to Sarria where people start to get their Compestella.
Thursday 20th June
Today didn't go quite as planned. We booked a hotel room in La Portela de Valcarce, and I was planning to bus there. But the buses only go 3 x's a week and today wasn't one of them. So I decided to walk it. It was a very hard 10 miles when you've got the Camino cleanse. And very few trees. But our room is just the best. Real towels and proper bedsheets. I've been asleep most of the afternoon. Tomorrow Brian will walk to O'cebreiro and I'm going to catch a taxi. ?? As it's my birthday this is a good treat. I also don't need to leave my room until 12 noon. ????
Wednesday 19th June
Yesterday (18th) was probably the worst day. I woke up achey but put it down all the ups and downs from the day before. After 15 1/2 miles, (I don't know how I did it), we finally reached our Albergue where I laid down and stayed there. I have a temperature and generally feel yuk! It's a sad day today as everyone else is carrying on. But I need a rest. Not many photos today.
Monday 17th June
Day 27. 16 miles. 40,422 steps. We woke early this morning and left at 6am to walk up a big hill to a la Cruz de Ferro. The moon was still out and the sunrise was just coming up. It was a very peaceful setting. I placed my ribbon that Lisa gave us in church to remind us of something good. The next 14 miles were up and down ones. But we're now settled in Ponferrada.
Sunday 16th June
Day 26. 13 1/2 miles. 31,568 steps. Today we left earlier so as to not to walk in the heat of the day, (which surprisingly is nearer 4pm). The walk, views, birdsong and did I say views were amazing. Even the hill, (mountain) was lovely. What I forgot to tell you was that about 3-4 days ago, my boots got left somewhere, so I'm now walking in my freebie trainers or my new walking sandals. As I have a very swollen big toe, (I'm a walking disaster or as Janet put it, a delicate flower), the sandals have been very comfy. Tomorrow we set off about 6.15 to watch the sunrise at Cruz de Ferro. My ribbon will be laid here.
Saturday 15th June
Day 25. Can you believe we've been away 25 days? Today was a nice easy 13 1/2 mile walk with a couple of pit stops. You realise you get very excited about when the next one comes along. There was a lovely self-serve place at the top of a hill and the only negative was the lack of bathroom. But hallelujah for some pine trees. We're now in Murias de Rechivaldo. We've had our meal and now catching up with Facebook and diaries before bed. It's only nearly 8pm.
Friday 14th June
Day 24. We're not quite sticking to the book as some days there's too much to walk and sometimes you want to see a bit of the towns. Today we walked 15 1/2 miles and are now in Hospital (a town). ?? The walk was not very interesting but the birds and frogs kept us amused. Our Albergue this evening is a bit new age. Yoga, I went for the stretching but after an hour, I had to leave. Feet and bladder were a distraction. We had another home cooked meal and it was absolutely yummy! Vegetarian Moroccan meal.
Thursday 13th June
So today felt tough. I was feeling very down as my feet are still sore. I was having a bit of a meltdown when 3 monks, who we've met all along the way, asked how we were. I cried and said could you pray for my feet. He did and it was so special. He marked my forehead with the sign of the cross then kissed it. Not long after this I was able to go into the cathedral and look around. It's stunning. Then I caught a bus for about 7 km then met up with the rest, who had walked. I was able to walk the last 3.4 km to our next Albergue. What a beautiful little Albergue. It sleeps 8. We all shared a meal cooked by our host. Perfect! Pray for more healing on the feet please.
Wednesday 12th June
Day 22 ish. Losing all track of time. Today we set off on a 15 mile walk to Leon. Most of it was fairly pleasant. I'm coming to the conclusion that 10 miles is my preferred distance. After that, everything starts to hurt. But with great friends to keep you company all the way, what could be better. Nearly 40,000 steps done today.
Tuesday 11th June
Day 21. Calzada de coto-Reliegos. 16 odd miles. My feet are still not 100% but was able to do this stretch. To be honest, it was rather boring. What with chilly winds again, (and yes, yet again I was wearing shorts) lots of cobbles and no comfort stops, (apart from the occasional tree) it made the journey tough. But by 2.30pm we were settled into our next Albergue. This evening was the first time we ate a home cooked meal by Brian. Tomorrow we walk another 15 miles and should reach Leon. We're over half way now. ??
Sunday 9th June
Well another 2 days have gone. At the moment I'm in Sahagun with Brenda. She has a bad hip and my feet are still giving me jip, so we taxied here. Yesterday we travelled the Camino a different way. We went by horse and cart. It was lovely and the best thing was passing the boys. We also met up with Jackie and Ian Hutchinson in Ledigos.
Friday 7th June
2 more days done. 12.5 & 15 miles. Yesterday after our short walk we met up with Doug and David McIlroy. They fitted straight in with our gang and we had such a laugh. Today was much harder. It was freezing and very windy, so Martin Jesty lent me his fleece as I had on all the layers I possessed. Brenda and I were flagging towards the end but by 2.15, we made it to our Albergue.
Wednesday 5th June
I'm one tired bunny. Only 13 miles (21 km) done today. At least half in the pouring rain. The getting up early, packing all your stuff back in its bag(usually in the dark), and getting on the road by 6.30-7.30am, in order to get to the next Albergue in time, takes its toll on you. But today we met up with our old Camino buddies and we also made contact with the boys and families. This certainly lifts your spirits. Also we went into a tiny chapel today and the nuns (I think), gave us a prayer and necklace. It was very touching. I'm starting to miss family hugs.
Tuesday 4th June
Sorry there haven't been any updates for a while. My phone charger lead died and I had to walk for 2 days until I could get a new one. We've arrived in Burgos. It's a busy but beautiful city. Plenty of eateries but tonight we decided to have burger king. We went to mass but it turned out to be a bell ringing concert. (But last Saturday our friend went to mass and realised she was at a funeral. ????). Tomorrow we walk 13miles so off to bed now.
Just thought I'd remind everybody of our Just giving page. Every step is still painful and today I've done 43,000 of them. So far I've managed about 120 miles. (192 km)
Sunday 2nd June
That moment when a pair of worn out second hand shoes are soooo comfy. Today is Martin's birthday and as we're all suffering a bit have decided to have a rest day. The Albergue we stayed in last night has let us keep our rucksacks there and he has booked us in for tonight. Also there is medieval festival here and it's beautiful.
Saturday 1st June
Today we walked from Santo Domingo to Belorado. That's 14 miles in 28°c. Hallelujah for our Tilley hats. It was hot, hot, hot. Blisters are slowly healing but that's boring so I'll try not to mention then again. Belorado is a lovely little village.
Friday 31st May
Day 10. Nothing prepared me for how I'd feel about doing the Camino. On paper, it's 33 days of walking. In practice, it's days of waking up early (5.30 this morning) walking through painful blisters, achey knees because of the blisters, but amazingly, you still want to carry on because your new friends are, the scenery is out of this world and you quite like walking.
Thursday 30 May
Day 9. Today was yet another cheat day but listening to the men when they got back, I'm glad it was. The scenery from the bus was beautiful. We travelled from Logrono to Najera. 29 something km. Najera is beautiful. It has a river running through it. The temperature has finally gone up too. 16°c on Tuesday and at least 27°c today. The men were very hot and tired. Tomorrow will only be a 13mile walk. I shall be doing it slowly.
Wednesday 29 May
Day 8 (I think). We've all discovered that we haven't the foggiest what day it is, date or even where we were yesterday. It's a constant walk to your next destination; find a bed, shower, rest for a bit, then go into town to find food. Today we walked from Los Arcos to Logrono consisting of 28km. I walked 18 of them but had to catch the bus from Viana. Hallelujah for Marilis who kept me going, oh and listening to the soundtrack of "The Way". The blisters are still not my friend. For those that pray, I need mended feet. Tomorrow is going to be a 29 km (18.2 miles) so unless my feet are perfect, I believe the bus will be on the cards again.
Tuesday 28 May
Just when you're feeling down because you had to catch the bus to the next destination on your own in a foreign country, does God send you little miracles. Meet Marilis. She decided to stay on in Los Arcos, so we've spent the whole day together while the boys were walking.
Monday 27th May
Ouch, ouch, ouch was every 33,000 steps. The blisters have developed nicely. Tomorrow might be a bus journey instead. But I managed to walk for another 13 miles today. Fab views though.
Sunday 26th May
I wasn't feeling it today. It was like baby blues. Disturbed nights, early mornings and knowing there's 25 gruelling kms ahead of you says it all. There were some beautiful sites though. But my feet have a few sore spots so having to walk through the pain. Tomorrow I am having my pack taken on to our next destination. Once we got to the municipal albergue (€5), we showered, rested and met some new friends. Kent from Vancouver and Peter from Germany. We all ate out together(less than €10 each for a 3 course meal). Amazing!!! Now at 10pm we're ready for sleep.
Saturday 25th May
Wow! What a day! Total exhaustion, feet are starting to hurt, shins and thighs are aching but the people we've met,(including Sarah who Peter knows) have totally blessed us on the way. Zoe and dad Jerry Hendricks caught up with us again today. Zoe wanted to be baptised, so once we got to Pamplona, we did it, by the river using her Camino shell. Then they treated us all to a meal. Such kind, loving, generous people. A new daughter. We did over 21km today.
Friday 24th May
Today's walk was from Roncesvalle to Zuribi. It consisted of 21.9 km in drizzle on and off, just like our ponchos. There weren't many photos taken but the company of other pilgrims were a blessing.
Thursday 23rd May
We got up at 5.30 and set off at 6.40am. We climbed 8 km up before having a much needed break at Orrison. Then a further 18 km onto Ronscavalle. We survived!!! We have met some lovely people along the way. 3 course meal with red wine later. Fatal. No blisters yet either. Basque cake. My new favourite. We've got over £1,200 in donations. Thank you. One of our new friends who took the picture (holding the St Catherine's banner) donated €50. Bless him!
Wednesday 22nd May
Haven't done much today except travel, queue for a room (We got a lovely bunk each with another 15 Pellegrinos). See the stunning views of St Jean pied de port. Went to a service, (interesting!) And now tucked up in bed. Tomorrow we do probably the hardest bit.