Cheaper Than Jenny Craig
Trip Start Nov 13, 2010
91Trip End Jul 20, 2011
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Where I stayed
ChillHouse Buenos Aires
Read my review - 5/5 stars
Read my review - 5/5 stars
So, two realities…..South America has made me very fat and to top it off, I am very unfit. I have lots and lots of excuses but I will give you just the top five.
1. No fruits and veggies in South America – only 300 or 3000 kinds of Potatoes. (depends on the tour guide) and bbq'd chicken….lots of delicious bbq'd chicken.
2. Potatoes can be made into French fries.
3. I am an addict.
4. There seem to be no FFA meetings, or 'Friends of Deb" clubs.
5. Cakes and cookies…..everywhere.
So that is about it. Add to the fact that really I have had no beach time, no staying in one place, no playing tennis or even actually do anything physical at all except get in and out of vans and buses…….ergo – more calories in then calories out…….equals….fat.
So…..in my quest to leave the ever increasing chill from the onset of winter here in the southern hemisphere….duh….poor planning on my part – could have started in Chile and worked north but apparently didn't even think about the hemisphere thing……..I searched for cheap flights to warm places. First on the list was to return to Central America – Guatemala – missed it and could visit a friend who has just moved back there…..or to Columbia as it seems to have been everybody’s favourite and I missed it by flying from Panama to Ecuador. Checked for bargains to either/both from here. Nada. That is one really annoying thing about South America…ok – two. First it is huge and second there are no flight deals to be had, for foreigners. Residents of countries generally can fly for pretty cheaply in their own country but not us gringos. I don’t like that about here. I want Air Asia to come here and kick some butt.
So no deals to be had …except to Spain. Because half this country came from Spain – the other half from Italy…..both really loud talkers……there are lots of deals back and forth to Europe, even now in European high season. So, the next chapter was going to be Spain and what else to do in Spain but…..yup….walk across it. Seems like a plan – surely I will lose weight if I am walking and busy and at the same time I will get fit. So that’s it folks – heading to Madrid on Wednesday and going to attempt the 800 km Camino de Santiago. From France, over the Pyrenees mountains and across northern Spain to the coast. Go big or stay home.
Ten years ago I was driving around Calgary listening to the radio – a woman was being interviewed on CBC about this big walk she and her friends did across Spain. It turned into a nightmare – friend wise and she wrote a book about it. She was really funny and I thought – hmmm….I think I would like to walk across Spain. Fast forward to the chemo days….staring at the ceiling – staring at my pretty chandelier on my cracked plaster ceiling and thought….oh no….now I can’t walk across Spain either…or see Buenos Aires…..or Machu Picchu…..ok – it was a whiny day……
Then, last month in Peru, in Lake Titicaca, I met a kindred spirit (Amanda) from Vancouver – a professional photographer who travels a lot and she told me about her experience on the Camino. I grilled her for details and it sounded good – really good. Then in Bolivia I met two girls from the Basque region of Spain. I asked them about it and the weather and best time of year to go. They told me it was for tourists but they thought May/June was best. OK, , wait a year till next May, have lots of time to plan and train or…..Well…..Madrid – could get there this June…..I have time and need – fat and unfit…….so, off I will go. My Vancouver friend Amanda has been coaching me online…tips and stuff. Apparently most people train and plan…a lot….there are spreadsheets about every elevation and distance and well, just about everything – but that is just not my style. I am showing up in Madrid next week – buying stuff…..sleeping bag, clothes, bought some boots today and wore them for about 10 km around the city... hmmmm, not sure how sore my feet will be with a loaded pack and heat but……they have taxis?. In Madrid I have to figure out how to get to the north of Spain but with my incredible Spanish language skills I picked up in Ecuador…..every day I wished I had concentrated a little more…. Once a dropout……
The Caminos – a group of walks that end in Santiago de Compestalo Spain are pilgrimages – ancient routes that religious types took in the dark ages…that is my lack of history gene kicking in again…..anyway, they were very religious, still are for many folks, but also they have become a very popular venue for long walkers – people come from all over the world to walk the hundreds of kilometers through rural Spain and France and Portugal. You carry everything on your back, sleep in little places (churches? church halls? doorways? Somewhere..) See – my lack of research and planning is apparent – there have been too many other things to do here in Buenos Aires….thought I would have time to figure out those details….all I remember is Amanda saying it is cheap and there are a lot of snorers……ok Nina, I know I it will be retributiont….. apparently I have been known to snore....
I am adding a link – http://www.caminodesantiago.me.uk/camino-frances/ if you want to know more, read a bit and you will already be ahead of me. There are ton of books and guides written about the Caminost but…….not that helpful for me because I am in Spanish only land so I am winging it as always. My plan??? Is to fly into Madrid and get sorted on how to get to the starting point, or at least to some easy point and start walking. How hard can it be??? 800 kms…… I am kidding of course – I know it will be very hard, especially for someone completely undisciplined as me. I didn`t even make it through a week of Spanish school….but that is part of the point – a challenge: physically, mentally, spiritually? Wait and see. The easy life has made me bloated so it is time to pare down again and see what’s inside.
I have a ticket from Madrid to Toronto on July 19 so…….at 3kms a day……..ok, maybe I will just see a couple of towns…….and I hope to God they don`t have one of those French Fry stands……...
My Review Of The Place I Stayed