Saturday, May 23, 2009

Day 1 on the Camino

Yesterday, I read a the final draft of the screenplay version of My Camino that I´ve co-written with another special pilgrim in my life, Bruce Pirrie, so it´s fitting that I find myself on the path again. This time I´m travelling with a group of ´virgin´pilgrims who truly amazing individuals who have no idea what they´ve got themselves into!

Linda, the person who got me started on taking another group to Spain, is from a small town near London called Mitchell and has left Janet at home to fill her days playing golf. Wendy and Paul are a couple from Toronto. At this moment they are driving a rental car from Madrid to meet us in time for dinner. Paul was feeling a little anxious about driving in Europe. Hope they make it safely. Vanda, our Portuguese pilgrim has also left her hubby at home in Toronto. Finally we have an American pilgrim walking with us and her name is Sarah from Colorado.

There is one other pilgrim walking virtually. She is one of the stars of the documentary film Las Peregrinas and her name is Anita Shuper. She´s going to try to walk the same distances we walk everyday on the Camino, only she´ll be trekking around her neighbourhood in Toronto. Buen Camino, Anita!

We are staying at the Hostal Boccalino. Vanda and Linda have gone out walking..already. We are waiting for Sarah to arrive by train and of course the happy couple who are driving. Later will be joined at dinner by another one of my favourite pilgrims, Cathy Gower who´s visiting friends in Spain. Can´t wait to have a real cafe con leche! I´m doing a Vipassan meditation course called a Satipattana after the Camino and I have agreed to the precept to have no alchohol from the date of registration, so I won´t be sampling the Spanish wine. Oh well.
Till later my friends.


  1. How exciting for all of you ... the start of a journey is always such a thrill !

    I've been gearing up all week for my Toronto Camino, walking several kilometres on most days. Today I stepped it up to 12.5km, walking from Harbourfront, through Cabbagetown, to Todmorden Mills in the Don Valley, over to Greek Town on the Danforth, to the Royal Ontario Museum at Bloor & University. Joining me was my dear friend Kerry and borrowed pooch Pina. I even hauled around a heavy backpack.

    My official start is tomorrow, along with you guys! I'm ditching my sneakers for the week and hauling out the hiking shoes. That'll make it really feel like the Camino. Pardon me, though, if I leave the backpack behind :)

    Buen Camino !

  2. Last night I decided to top up my distance with another 2.5km, walking from St. Clair and Bathurst to Bloor St. in the Annex.

    Today was the official Urban Pilgrim kick off! I didn't plan my route...I just kind of went. By total fluke I ended up walking 12km ... the very distance I intended to cover to match your distance on the Camino.

    I must admit I almost bailed today... I was very close to not walking. At all. But how could I back out on Day 1? So I pushed myself to do it. I didn't start walking till after 8pm! But I did it :)

    Looking forward to tomorrow's walk!

  3. Did another 12km today ... in 3 installments. I have a thing about tracking my routes so please indulge me as I document the details!

    First installment: 5km.
    This morning I walked along the Nordheimer ravine near Bathurst & St. Clair ... it gave me the Camino feeling! Zipped over to Avenue Road, Dupont, Davenport and up Spadina to Casa Loma. I walked up the Baldwin Stairs - one of my all-time favourite exercises. It's 110 steps and sometimes I have it in me to go up and down a number of, I just went up once!

    Second Installment: 5km
    This afternoon I met up with my friend Mel at the Eaton Centre and we walked down Yonge St. and along front, stopping for refreshments. I made my way up Sherbourne, through Allen Gardens, up Jarvis to Bloor St. and back over to Yonge St.

    Third Installment: 2km
    This evening I simply walked along St. Clair Ave, west of Bathurst.

    My feet are a bit tender, but no blisters. My hamstrings are aching! I took a nice warm bath and I'm sure by tomorrow morning I'll be as good as new. I always am!

    Can't wait to hear more about your adventures.

  4. This message is to Linda specifically although we are thinking of all of you....wishing you all the very best Linda and thinking of you as you pursue your dream and your Camino! See you back in Mitchell soon!! Can't wait to hear about your adventures!!

    Love Kathy & Greg

  5. D'oh!

    I was THRILLED to have completed my 17km today (also in 3 installments) ... only to realize at 10:30pm that I was actually supposed to have covered 21km.


    I'll have to make up those 4km in subsequent walks ... maybe adding 1km a day for the next 4 days. It takes roughly 12 - 15 minutes to walk 1km ... not a huge deal!

    My shins are burning today, BURNING! But the rest of me seems okay. I wonder if the cumulative effect of all this walking will have me sore later this week? Or maybe I'm just more fit these days and able to handle these intense walks better than I was able to in the past.

    Tomorrow's another big day, I should get some zzzzzz....

  6. Sore soles. Blisters even ... but not serious. Shins still sore but not burning like yesterday.


    It rained for much of the day, and I got caught in a few luscious downpours.

    Over 22 kilometers behind me today, maybe half of that walked in the rain. Another 8 I actually did on a treadmill - but not because I was scared of the rain! I wanted to get some incline training in there and happened to be near a gym between meetings. The remaining few kilometres were done in the overcast.

    22 kilometres! Tomorrow I'm scheduled for only 15km, according to Sue's itinerary. 15km suddenly seems like child's play ... though only a few days ago a mere 12km was a challenge. Amazing how one's perspective can change so readily.

    I'm curious to know how things are unfolding on the Camino... !!!

  7. 17.5km today.

    This evening I had an acupuncture appointment at the Institute of Traditional Medicine on Queen Stteet. I asked them to focus on my shins and feet as they have been working hard the past few days and are quite sore.

    One of the needle insertion points they decided to use is called Zusanli, which translates to "Leg Three Miles." It's thought that stimulation of this point would help a traveller or soldier press on for 3 more miles. Here's an article about it

    I was so pooped tonight... and during the treatment I was fantasizing about taking the streetcar home. However, I still needed to get a few more kilometres in today, so I pressed on and walked home instead.

    Funny, door to door from the Institute to my place is... you guessed it... exactly 3 Miles.

    Crazy cosmic coincidence.

  8. It was a great day with weather all over the place, from hot muggy and sunny to thundershowers easing into a cool night.

    12.5km a bit short of my goal of 15 for the day but I think I'm still ahead overall.

    Tomorrow is the Big I don't feel tooooo bad about being a bit lazy today :)

    Very much ready for sleep now...