On a 21st of April 2015…

I discovered that our Catherine and Dana were here… already baptised as pilgrims…!!!!

 

Dear Caminoheads,

Following Ryck’s, I closed my eyes and pointed to a year, and 2015 came up. I looked at the 21st post, and… here it was this lovely gift… A sweet memory is always a gift… and memories from the Camino, and especially when they come like images from the early foggy mornings, the shared meals, and the sounds of conversations we had, they are not just a gift, but the best gift ever!

This is what Catherine sent to Phil 7 years ago, and what Phil shared with us… I feel privileged to be able to repost it again!

Thank you Catherine and Dana!!! We LOVE you!!!

 

Pilgrims loves,

Cris

 

Posted by Phil/Felipe/The Boss/The General, reposted by Cris

 

Here are some Meseta pics fresh in from the gals:

Overcast.

Overcast.

Albergue.

Albergue.

Here's a pic!

Here’s a pic!

Even though I don't know these people this is my personal vision of heaven right here.

Even though I don’t know these people this is my personal vision of heaven right here.

The miles roll by. I write you every day as I walk but when we get somewhere with “wee fee” the vino comes out, conversations start, and well, you know how it is. All wonderous. Covered over 200 miles of amazing country and great souls. Good humans and one fine dog. Think of you every day. Buen Camino!
Dana and Catherine

On a 20th of April 2020…

Dear Caminoheads,

Phil/Felipe/The Boss/The General wrote the post below… (I have pictures from William also, sent on the same date he sent these ones to Phil 2 years ago and I was going to post them today… but then it got late here -just got off the phone for a work call- and Phil has been in my mind the whole day (Rebecca’s fault!!! She said Phil had a present for me and that is all I could think about!!!!) and so I went to see what Phil had posted on a day like today…

And it was a present…

I don’t know about you, but I needed to remind the below… Thank you Phil! You keep doing it!!!

 

Everywhere loves,

Cris

 

 

The below was written by Phil/Felipe/The Boss/The General; pictures by William, our Canadian Bureau Chief; reposted by Cris

One of my original nurses at the Institute whose idea it was for me to write a blog sent in a comment on yesterday’s post. It was calling for more moments of beauty in her life to push aside the “intrusion” even if just temporarily. And as synchronistically as possible William our CCBC picks today to send in a bunch of wildflower pics. I think I will just put them up and call things good.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Thank you Bonnie for expressing a need and thank you William for doing what you do just naturally. We can buoy each other.

happy Monday loves, Felipé.

The “Calima”

Granada, with an orange tan.

 

Dear Caminoheads,

Thank you all for the stoicism! What a cool thing to post after so long and get comments! You made my day!!!

I had something interesting to share with you from my vacation time; maybe you already knew it, but to me, it was an unknown fact although it is a pretty obvious thing when stopping a minute to think about it. There is a phenomenon called “Calima”, it is a meteorological phenomenon characterised by the presence of sand, dust and clay and at times also ashes in the atmosphere  and the environment becomes “opaque”.

Here in Spain, and mostly in the south, it is the product of a storm in the Sahara. When on vacation in Granada, in addition to experience rain to no end, we experienced a Calima. At first, I thought the soil in Granada was clay like and the red color everywhere was coming from it, but I had been in Granada before and the red clay soil was not a memory I had. We stayed in Granada 3 days and the 3 days we complained about the red-dirt in our shoes and trousers, but what was odd was that our jackets, raincoats and our hair too had red spots… Then, the last day, walking under the rain in search of a gluten-free bakery for my friend to get some goodies, the mystery was solved: we stopped in a newspaper shop to shelter from the rain and the cover of the newspaper was announcing: “El Sahara en España” (The Sahara in Spain) and I kept reading the news and then it was when I learned that with a dust storm in Africa and a Southern wind, the Sahara sky relocates to Spain.

It was a cool thing to see, and to think about; it made me realize how close I am from places I was so far away before, and it also makes me think how interconnected we are, how true it is that the minimal event in one place affects all the rest of the world… People in Granada were not happy… the owners of white cars and houses painted in white were the most unhappiest of all! In my case, it was helpful to make the decision that my Nike shoes needed a replacement. And definitely, it made me realize that nature is way more smart than any filters…

 

Orange loves,

Cris

There is a time for every thing under the sun…

Busy Spanish night (Ph by me)

 

Dear Caminoheads,

Thank you all for your patience while this blog has been literally unattended by this Caminoheads Bureau Chief… I feel terrible for not posting as Phil used to, but also, I feel I am not betraying his trust because Phil knew about my move to Spain, he was so happy when I told him, and he was the one suggesting me to take a “Sprain break” (not sure if that is what he thought the word should be written, but makes sense as it was all about a “Spring break as I moved to Spain” despite the medical meaning!)

 

The reality also is that I needed time for myself; I stayed away from social media, have stayed away from the phone for instant messengers and chats as much as I could, and have tried to focus on exploring how is that I feel doing this transition… With a very busy job (and some changes that have made things more complicated than what they already were), I have not been successful at exploring that question… yet, there are a few things that I can already tell: life has a different pace here, it is slower, maybe it is slower because Spain has mostly aged population and low birth rate, whatever is the reason, this pace goes more with my personality… I cannot do things fast; I am a walker, not a runner. And talking about walking, here all is walking distance if you have the time. It is lovely to see the older people walking at “their” pace… which not only is the result of “physical limitations”… it is who they are too…

 

But, there is a time for everything under the sun, and today sounded like a good time to resume my duties here as the working week starts after the Easter extended Bank Holiday (we have had off Thursday, Friday and Monday) and after these, there are no more BH until June, and let me tell you: if I should grade Spanish people attitude to have fun and make the most of the days off work, 95% of them got a 10/10 (or A+++++++)… there are certainly lots of tradition around the religious celebration, but also, there is a sense of family and friends gathering that I love… like being back in time when my grandparents, my uncle and aunt, some of those distant relatives they were friends with, would come for Easter and the days used to be like this: religious, tradition and gathering around the table… Likely, it is also true that there was a moment for that under the sun and these days, it is time for something else…

Well, I guess I will figure as I go, right? Just have to follow the yellow arrows!

Hope you had a nice Easter wherever you are and plans were! Thank you for being here!

Buen Camino loves (in Spanish!)

Cris

 

 

 

 

and going a bit more south…

The Camino is everywhere

 

Dear Caminoheads,

 

Today, the trip continued to Lorca, Murcia. The only reason we stopped here is because we are trying not to drive a lot, and while our destination for tomorrow is Granada, we didn’t want to get there on a Sunday. Lorca however, had a lovely surprise hidden for us: the whole town is dedicated to Santiago: the Camino (“Camino de Levante”) passes by this town, and there is a whole church dedicated to Santiago, there are associations of pilgrims, homages to different pilgrims and others who have supported the Camino, spread all around the town. Pretty cool. And such a feeling of nostalgia… the place indeed seems like one of those towns we walked by when walking the Camino… (nevertheless, we have not yet seen any pilgrim).

 

Like almost any town in Spain it has its old center, but sadly lots has been destroyed in an earthquake that happened in 2011. Today there was a procession and the streets where crowded (not crowded really, but crowded in a “post pandemic” use of the word), there was a band playing music all around following the procession, people all dressed up with typical band suits, and there was a cheerful spirits in the people in the streets.

 

Today we are in a fancy hotel outside the city, a last minute booking that ended in this place way too much out of the standards for pilgrims, but let me tell you: I will enjoy a wonderful hot shower and a lovely bed.

 

I trust all of you are doing good!

Vacational loves,

Cris

Going south

Blue sea in Torrevieja, Spain.

Dear Caminoheads,

 

Thank you all for staying around, commenting and sending such generous thoughts and good wishes to me, it means a lot when my mind goes into the mood: “This is crazy!” In any case, as of yet, I am still on “vacation mode” and the idea that I am not going back to Argentina “once my vacation ends” has not kicked in… I will see what happens once I am back to Valencia, settle in the apartment and start working… but for that, I still have a number of days.

 

These past two days we drove by Alicante and decided to be away of the big city and went on to Torrevieja. Torrevieja seems like a coastal summer location from the 60/70ies in Argentina, the housing mainly is big apartment buildings inside a gated small community, all painted in between a yellowish and a tan color, lots of ceramics in different shades of blue, lots of lemons and oranges in the trees, and lots and lots and lots of palm trees. These palms trees are called “Palmeras Levantinas”, because this area is called “Levante” https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Levante,_Spain … should we weren’t in Spain, I would say you could be in an all inclusive hotel in Cuba (and interestingly enough, the main street of Torrevieja is called “Las Habaneras”…)

 

This location though, has nothing to do with Cuba, in fact, you could say it has nothing to do with Spain as most of the people are British, German, Danish or from any other of those countries. I think the only Spanish speaker was me!!!

 

We had a great lunch, and we also had a great sleep… so I will consider another day of vacation accomplished!!!

 

More tomorrow!

Levantino love,

Cris

 

The Camino is all around…

Camino sign in Xativa.

Dear Caminoheads,

Thank you for all the messages and the confirmation that you are still around the neighborhood!

I need to tell you about yesterday, but today let me share that I am in a place called Xativa, 45 mins south from Valencia. I could say that it is one small city but at the same time that it is one of those tiny towns that we walked through  when walking the Camino… lovely people, everyone in the streets having coffee, or beers, or just reading the newspapers, greeting each other and talking loud from table to table, I saw lots of smiling faces… and you surely can picture the location:  small houses painted with different vibrant colors and balconies with flowers, super narrow streets, kind of hilly, the best “cafe con leche”, and as you can imagine… CAMINO SHELLS!!!!!!

 

How can the day be other than great?

Smily Spanish loves,

Cris

A new beginning

The first sunrise in my new homeland.

 

Dear Caminoheads,

I hope everyone is doing well, I know it has been quite a while since I last posted but I trust that some of you are still around.

I feel I consistently apologize for being too busy, but I do not know how else to describe what life has been like lately, and “lately” means “for years”. “Being too busy” has been a reason often used as explanation and justification, but not so much explored on its “why” but a pretty obvious one is that I am “the only man here”  (actually, in this case, “the only woman”!!!)

I mean to say with this that I am the only one working an extra full-time job, doing the groceries and cooking, cleaning and doing the laundry (ironing included), and since August 2021, doing all the paperwork needed for a working visa and organizing a permanent move to Spain.

Right now, I am writing this post in an Iberia plane to Madrid -stop on the way to my new destination: Valencia, that I boarded this Tuesday 08March at 1:55 PM with my life until now packed in 2 large bags, 1 medium bag and 1 carry-on. I left 5 filing boxes -with books,  pictures, small pieces of decoration, 6 pairs of shoes and 2 coats at my friends’s house. And all else is gone to a new life elsewhere, somehow, like I am doing: my furniture and appliances have gone to the houses of two of my friends, I sold my car yesterday, and my apartment is on its way to becoming a dermatology practice. 

And most of this happened in the last 3 days. I moved the cloths and other bags on Saturday, moved the apartment on Sunday, sold the car on Monday and boarded this flight on Tuesday. 

I wasn’t really expecting all of this to be so last minute, but “timing” is definitely not a gift my life has been blessed with. I had planned to do most of this along 3 or 4 weeks, but my brother was here and had to aligned to his schedule as he needed my car, work has been… -you know, there is always a lot going on- but since last Sunday we added the management of clinical trials in the context of a war, and the extreme desolation of having work colleagues, people with whom we talk daily and exchange mails daily, experiencing what we watch in the news. I had planned to be out of work last week, but it ended being “one of the busiest” weeks at work,

And it is also said that moving is one of the most stressful situations in life, and I am doing it on my own, to another country, in a continent with a war just started next door. 

(Timing will be another topic of discussion here soon). 

I will be on vacation -although “on call”- until the 28th of March. My Camino friend Pat will be landing some hours after I arrive and we will head south, to spend some days away from Valencia before settling… a first step towards a less busy life… I have always said that the Camino taught me to recognize myself as a walker on the side paths, and acknowledge that the highways aren’t my thing, and this is why I am moving…  

Buen Camino for us all.

But most of all: Peace for Ukraine. 

Cris

A reflection about friendships in the Camino

At point Robinson Lighthouse – Veranda 2019
~~A bunch of pilgrims trying to be more awesome~~

 

Dear Caminoheads,

I am not going to say anything new in this post to be honest with you, this blog is the vivid example of what friendships made in the Camino are: Mary Margaret&Phil&Kelly is just one of the examples, but I am sure each of us have our own.

I have a number of friendships made in the Camino, each of them very special. I find myself at times, trying to explain to others who have not gone to the Camino, even more don’t know about the Camino, how is that these people became so important to me, so close to my heart, and so close to my daily life. Maybe, I can say this because I also have a family that has nothing of conventional and different people from different places have taken over roles as fathers, mothers, sisters, brothers, uncles, aunts, cousins, etc. But I believe there has to be something else, some sort of “global soul” or “clay DNA” that makes us all recognize each other as “a part of the other”, this term MWE =ME + WE that Dr. Siegel describes, this fact that each of us is oneself but a large part of who we are, is who we are because of the others.  There is also a line on the word “Friendship” by David Whyte that says “… through the eyes of another we receive a greater sense of our own personhood, one we can aspire to, the one in whom they have most faith.”

Since I have gone to the Camino for the first time, in 2011 (when I walked from Leon to Santiago), I have been increasing my knowledge of who I am. Maybe, for the first time in my life -with the exception of the man who became my husband- that I met people outside my circle or through others -like the friends of my husband, for example-. When I went to the Camino, all the people I met and the friendships we established, were “my own”. And believe me: at 36 years of age, it was a life changing experience: these people I met walking “liked me” for who they felt I was when we interacted. And I know that happened too because in the Camino, I had the opportunity to be vulnerable, and I was so tired (not for the walking but for the experiences that pushed me to the Camino) that it was almost impossible to keep my guard up, I had no left energies for that.

Phil was a fan of brainstorming about “what we have figured out” in this blog and in this experience of walking the Camino, and I have always thought about the goodness of people, the beauty in others’s hearts, and this experience that everything starts with a first step, but I believe this discovering of who we are through the eyes of the others is a whole another topic.

A few days ago, talking with my Camino friend from Boise, ID, she said to me that besides her daughter, the only other person with whom she could let her guard down completely was me.  Lately, I have felt so loved, so supported, so accompanied by the others, that to hear this statement on return has a value that I cannot expressed with words, this is why it is great to have you here reading, because I know you, fellow pilgrims, understand what I am talking about.

 

How did we get so lucky? Loves,

Cris

A.L.I.V.E.

Checking out the roses.
(photo K Burke)

 

Dear Caminoheads,

Apologies for the lack of posting these past days; life has been eventful lately. There is a lot going on at work in general, lots going on in my own projects, and because that is not enough, I was offered to apply to a new position at work, actually I applied to two, so there have been lots of meetings to prepare for the selection process, in addition to my regular work, and in addition to getting things ready in advance because… I am leaving on vacation in less than 3 weeks… and for 3 weeks!!!!!

 

It sounds so odd… not to actually be on vacation, but having a plan, an international flight ticket, real luggage, etc… The last time I was out of the country was late October 2019 and it was just 3 days, visiting Brazilian friends before that, that year I had gone to Boston, Chicago, Boise, Vashon Island, and Warsaw…

 

I truly wonder how it would be to be in an airport and inside a plan after so long, but I am so excited that I feel it will be perfect!

 

There are some other things going on here: fixing things at home, organizing from booking a plumber to the reception of the groceries when they arrive, fixing the car,  and I have a full time job… oh, and I missed to say that my brother (who went to leave in the USA in April last year is here visiting.

 

More tomorrow, promised!

By for now, loves,

Cris