Wednesday, 30 July 2008

Off to Hospital

Thanks to 'amawalker'. All options are open at the moment.

All the prayers have produced 'guardian angels' absolutely out of the blue when we were really down. First, the English lad,'Fish' in Toulouse, then a lady stopping the bus for us, getting us to hospital today, insisted on paying even though I had 80euros in my hand.
Kaz named ger rucksac 'illegitimi bag'! The 1,300' Alto de Vivero proved Kaz's undoing. Her knee ligament has gone. In a nutshell. she's battled but the doctor gave her an injection and said 'no walking'. My joints are very dodgy too.

Had a very restful day in Castro-urdiales.

Keep prayers up. We very much need them. Will bus/walk (Kaz/Paul) to Laredo on 31st.

Updated on behalf of Karen and paul by Paul's sister, Fiona.

Sunday, 27 July 2008

The 'flat' Coastal Route!

The 24th July was a short day from Getaria, only 10 miles but then hills to Deba.
This was the first day the pack 'felt' heavy when I put it on.

On 25th we had to do our first long day, 19 miles. Maybe we are not fit but the hills are just desperate. We have been told the coastal route is far more hilly than the 'French Way' - my strategic error! After 10 hours on the road we stayed at Centaruzza Monastery - great views and the pilgrm soup given by the monks was very good.

On the 26th we set a 20 mile target. It was the easiest day except we got lost twice and it turned into a 10 hour epic! All the prayers must be working as when we were totally knackered, a car stopped and the driver told us, in perfect English, that we were only 1km away from the hostel in Morga. Cue choirs of angels! Somehow we resisted a lift!

Updated on behalf of Karen and Paul by Paul's sister, Fiona.

Wednesday, 23 July 2008

On Spanish soil

Well, we've made it to Spain, and two days into the walking, we're absolutely knackered!
Karen and I flew out on Saturday and made our way to Lourdes - a suitable starting point for our pilgrimage - by hitch-hiking and train. We got a lift with a young ex-pat Englishman from Carcassonne to Toulouse train station.
Time just for a brief prayer in Lourdes, then onwards by train to Irun, the last town in France before crossing the border. We tried to find a church so we could get a priest to stamp our pilgrim passports, but in the end settled for the local police station, where we collected the first stamp of hopefully many!
So on Monday, we took our first steps into Spain. We were led to a pilgrim hostel by a very helpful bloke on a bicycle, who spoke no English. No matter - with his daughter translating on the other end of the phone, he got us to the hostel and a free night's bed and board.
The next morning the walking started in earnest. Where on earth I got the idea that the coast route would be less hillly I don't know - the hills are immense! At least there is a bit of a breeze on the coast, and the scenery is absolutely beautiful.
I'm not sure how much my knees and ankles can take, though. We've got the poles out whenever the hills have got steep - the last thing we need is for one of us to do a knee!
We managed 13 or 14 miles on Tuesday - not bad in temperatures of 31 degrees - having left the hostel at 7am and got in a good 8 hours walking.
Whoever wrote the guidebook really must have been a mountain goat, because there was no mention of the two massive hills we had to overcome!
Today, Wednesday, we've managed another 16 miles through some incredible hills, from San Sebastien to Getaria. But after two nights in pilgrim hostels (last night's was a school commandeered for the Summer - the snoring was unbelievable!) we're in a demi-pension tonight. We felt we needed a good night's sleep to rest some aching joints.
So 30 miles down, some 470-odd to go! We're off for some rest and 'refreshments', but I'll keep you posted on our progress through this page - on that, internet cafes have been fairly non-existent so far, so I'm writing this with the help of the mobile and my very own ghost-writer!
Say a prayer for us!

Wednesday, 9 July 2008


10 days until Karen & I set off on our 'Way'.Maps have been checked (& cut down to size to save weight).Tonight we make plans in a local hostelry with friends who intend to join us for part of the Way.So an even more thorough check of the maps to make sure we actually meet.
Weather not been good to do enough practise walks...excuses...
I have to try out my old rucksack out as I'm not convinced by the new one - must do a longish walk.
Got a surprise gift in the post from Fi (sister).2 lightweight knife/fork/spoon combos - only 9grams each.v thoughtful - thanks.
there should be a photo of me poring over maps to go with this my first ever blog entry.But have not been unable to upload it from camera (thanks for trying to help -Red Dave & Terry.)
Spent ages on phone with Terry from ACN (the excellent charity who channel the sponsor money where it's needed).Already planning another Goodwill Walk but to an even 'more interesting' place.Trying to engage with some 'high profile' people to make the sponsorship side grow from family,friends & parishioners -won't say who yet.
That's it for now.Cheers,Paul

Tuesday, 8 July 2008

Counting down the days

Right now we're less than two weeks from departure. I'll be letting you know how all the plans are going in the next day or two - once we've mastered all these technical gadgets!

Please sponsor us!