Sunday, May 31, 2015

Day 8 barefoot Picnic in Portomarine

Leaving that morning we decided to stop in the beautiful city of Portomarine to go grocery shopping and buy food for a picnic in the forest. One of our pilgrims had a lot of swelling in her feet and couldn't walk that day. She agreed to buy the food and have it all ready for us when we arrived there later that day. Out destination was Gonzar, a very small village with a municipal Albergue and a private one where we were staying. 

My feet were sore from walking 22kms barefoot the day before, so I wore my demi-soled Barebottom Shoes and Merryl minimalist shoes over them. When I wore the shoes without them, my feet slid around and it created friction. A perfect environment for blisters. Besides I was still experiencing some tenderness on the bottom my foot where I had the infection a few days ago. I used oil of Oregano to try and draw out whatever it was that seemed lodged on there. Then I covered it with Second Skin to keep other infection out!

A few kilometers before Portomarine we stopped at a shelter that provided benches, a fire pit and a roof for pilgrims who needed emergency cover. 

It was after we left there I told one if the pilgrims about the story of the walking stick that I had received from the old man. We came across a place that offered fruit and drinks, for a donation (or Donativo) and I bought a banana. I ate it while I walked. When we arrived in Portomarine, I discovered that I had lost my stick and through the process of elimination, concluded I left it at that place. I was so sad that I couldn't take it to Santiago and pray for him and his wife.  

wanted to run back and get it! To ease my disappointment, Katherine assured me that everything was perfect as it was. I didn't need the stick to pray for them, I could walk with the intention and pick up Stones for them along the way. Somehow I found peace in that idea. 

Lynn was having some trouble with her foot so she went ahead in a taxi and bought all the food for out picnic as a gift to our group. We sat on the ground, spread out some plastic bags for the good, and we had our picnic. It was so perfect!

The afternoon was long and my feet were sore. I wore my Barebottom shoes to protect the balls of my feet, and still felt the ground with my heels and toes. 

Gonzar seemed to take forever. Some days are slow and others go by so quickly even though the distance is the same. I wonder if my perception changes so easily in real life?


Sue Kenney

The next group Camino is in October 2015. We will offer backpack service and all accommodation is booked. Details will be on the website but feel free to email mycamino

Friday, May 29, 2015

Day 10 Octopus for Lunch - Pulpo

It was a gorgeous day so we stopped to pose for a pic and a Brazilian pilgrim photo bombed us! Gotta love pilgrims. 

We started walking around 8:00am from Casa Domingoon at Pointe Campana. Perfect weather. 
Each day the first stone I picked up was for me. Then I picked up stones for my 3 daughters, my son-in-laws and my 4 beautiful grandchildren. Then I picked up stones for other family and friends, and then I went to the list of intentions I had from people. It was a ritual I repeated every day. 
That afternoon there was a period of time when I felt really down I found myself getting sadder and sadder as the day went on. I decided I didn't want to hold onto that emotion anymore on this Camino and picked up a stone. I put the sadness into it and walked with it for a long time. When I set it down there was a shift. The sadness immediately left and I felt at peace. I left it all on the Camino. Gee, I hope no one picked up that stone after me!!!
I think my favourite terrain is rock. Whether it is in the forest or a stone road, it feels fantastic on my feet with or without Barebottom Shoes. 
Halfway through the day we stopped in Melide to try the famous Galician Pulpo at Exequiel's. We had some Rebiero wine although I never drink during lunch, I had to have some to compliment this delicacy. Not everyone in the group liked it, but they all tried it. As you can see, Jan and Katherine weren't impressed. 
The Octapus is boiled, cut with scissors, drizzled with olive oil and seasoned with paprika. Yummy 
Along the path there are often stalls with fruit, home baked goods and water/juice left for pilgrims. It is suggested that a Donativo be left, which everyone is happy to make. 
We had been walking in the forest for a long time and wondered if we missed the sign to Casa Garea. I happened to notice a wooden sign and turned into the forest to find we were on the right path. We enjoyed time together on the patio and then a pilgrim meal. We had lots of laughs and shared stories of our day. 
Santiago is getting closer. 

Sue Kenney

The next group Camino is in October 2015. We will offer backpack service and all accommodation is booked. Details will be on the website but feel free to email mycamino

Day 7 Thistles on the Side of the Path

Today was a relatively easy day with only 17 kilometers to walk and much of it in the forest where the terrain is perfect for Barefooting, my feet adapted quite well, I just kept going without having to put on and take off footwear. A totally freeing experience!  

People often asked me if I had hard callouses in my feet, as that is the assumption. I think I had more callouses when I wore shoes all the time!  The human body is much smarter than we think. The texture of the soles of my feet actually adapted to the terrain I was walking on almost instantaneously. 

For example, if I was walking on pavement,, the skin on my feet became more tough and slightly calloused. On gravel the layer of fat on my sole hardened and sometimes the gravel would stick into it and is have to stop and pull it off.  I love sand and mud. My feet soften in this environment and the fat becomes mushy. 

That day I walked on stone, sand, gravel, dirt and a bit of mud. It was sunny and about 22C so even the weather was perfect. 
The biggest problem I encountered were the thistles on the side of the path. They wound lodge in my foot and is have to stop and pull them out right away as they are too painful. Last year a thorn got stick in the centre of the ball of my right foot when I was walking the Camino. I had nothing to remove it and had to walk about a Kilometer on it till I got to a bar where they had a safety pin that I used to remove it! Yikes. Don't want to do that again. 

I found that I needed to take numerous rests along the way. I would put my NEW Demi-soled Barebottom Shoes that I've been wear testing) on to give my feet a break or when the gravel was large and sharp. They are so comfortable and the leather sole is still perfect for Earthing! I think runners will like them too. 

The best part if the day was having Lynn and Jan barefooting too! They danced and giggled. It brings out the inner child in each if us. 

By the end if the day I was tired and sore. Carrying an extra 15 lbs on my back puts more pressure on my feet. 

I felt calm, at peace with myself, more energized and happy. 


Sue Kenney

The next group Camino is in October 2015. We will offer backpack service and all accommodation is booked. Details will be on the website but feel free to email mycamino

Day 9 Queimada at Casa Domingo Albergue

That day walked most of the 23 kilometers barefoot as we were often on trails. Unfortunately, one of the guys had a bad blister and couldn't walk the whole way. They say, "You don't walk the Camino, the Camino walks you!" I se this happening time and time again and the best advice is to just go with it. 

We ended the day with my dear friends Anna and Gonsalves' beautiful Albergue in the small village of Ponte Campana. I have been going there since 2005, when we filmed a scene from the documentary Las Peregrinas. They keep a copy of My Camino book on display in a cabinet. And a bookmark hanging on the wall. So sweet of them. 

We arrived tired and hungry. After getting settled in our bunks, we did our laundry and hung it on the line. Them Anna made us a plate of Jamon and queso to snack on with a beer or glass of vino tinto.

We celebrated dinner in the dinning room with about 30 other pilgrims. We sat with Misha from Germany whom we had shared a bunk room with a couple of nights before. 
We also met a man named John, who was leading a group of 5 others on a marriage retreat. They were all from Georgia and Tennessee and had all been sponsored by a restaurant chain to do the Camino. Al the love they shared  and the fun they had was so inspiring to witness. 

After dinner Gonsalves surprised us with an ancient pagan ritual, a Queimada ceremony. He and his brother dressed up in costume and they called men up to the front to stir the concoction of a local liquor Hierbos, coffee beans, orange and lemon, sugar and maybe a few more ingredients. It was lot with a match so it burned a bright flame. 
Gonsalves asked a pilgrim to read to the audience while I stirred and stirred. 
Gonsalves dressed up in a costume with a hat. Once it had cooked long enough we all had a taste. It was very sweet!
It was an early night as we were all very tired. 

We enjoyed a lovely breakfast together and set out to walk 24 kilometers in the sunny and comfortably warm 23 C weather!



Next Camino walk with Sue is in October 2015. Pack pack service is included and all accommodation is booked in rural pensions, hotels and private Albergues.

Day 6 28 Kilometer Day

The weather has been incredible. Around 10 Celcius in the morning and 22 C in the afternoon. Sunny every day and dry.

Everyone is always happy when the weather is good! We sang and laughed together and at the same time embraced the beauty of nature all around us. We talked about the idea of "forest bathing". If you are under trees there is a natural healing benefit. How perfect that we would be walking in the forest that day. 

In the rural villages of Spain, each day the cows are herded to the fields in the morning and back home to the village at night. One of the highlights of our day was stopping for the cows to wanly through the villages. 

We left Samos early to get a head start on our 28 Kilometer day. We broke the day into 2 parts. Since we walk faster and further in the morning, we did the slightly longer stretch to walk 15 kilometers to Sarria. The afternoon was another 13 kilometers to Morgade. The weather forcast was perfect for us. 
As usual, I tried to be barefoot as much as possible. My foot was now perfectly healed and I was in good physical shape. My backpack was a little more than 15 lbs but it fit well it is a Deuter which is  designed for a woman's build. I love it!


Sue Kenney

The next group Camino is in October 2015. We will offer backpack service and all accommodation is booked. Details will be on the website but feel free to email mycamino

Day 5 Barefooting to Samos

This is the first time in 10 group trips that I have led,that I didn't go to the Monastary in Samos. In fact I don't even have a pic of it as some of them are on my IPad, which I can't download to my phone right now. Trust me when I say it is incredibly beautiful though. 
We walked very quickly in the morning and I got to be barefoot most if the way. We arrived in the old town of Triacastella and ate lunch in a typical taberna. The entire group seems to like Ensalada Mixta. Salad with tuna, asparagus, hard boiled egg and corn niblets. 

We started walking again and spent a lot of time in the forest, or on dirt paths, so itcwas perfect for Barefooting. I had a sore toe, as I stubbed it, so I wrapped or with tape for the day. 
The terrain was so natural a couple of the pilgrims tried batefooting. Jan, who is 70 years old, was the first to take off hers and join in. I talked to her about the shift that takes place in the alignment of her entire body to make it more efficient. We talked about some is the benefits it has on her physical body and the freedom that is experienced

She said as she ages she becomes more fearful of falling. Going barefoot can help to strengthen the feet, ankles, legs and the core body to help overcome that fear. The feedback from the sensory nerve endings in the soles of your feet work quickly to message the brain/central nervous system to adapt to shifts in the terrain so the body stays upright. Jan felt that what I was saying made "common sence" and that made her want to do it!
The more we walked, the closer our group became. We travelled together most of the time or at least within site of each other, although we had agreed before leaving that everyone should walk their own Camino. There was no expectation that we had to stay together but the group wanted to. It was quite lovely. 

One of our pilgrims, Lynn, was having trouble with her one foot swelling up so much it was hard to walk. We agreed to keep a close watch on it to see if she should see a doctor or not. 
One thing I don't like about walking in the country, especially in Spain is the fact that the animals are herded back to the village at night and in the morning, so there is a lot of cow dung visible. I found myself taking my shoes odd and the. Pitting them back on again. :)

We arrived quite late in the day. It was great that we had a hotel room rather than an Albergue. The group went on the tour of the Monastary and then most of them went to Vespers. We had a late dinner and everyone was in bed by 10pm. 

That morning we had breakfast at the hotel (cafe cin leche, fresh squeezed orange juice, a buffet of eggs, bacon and sausages, and some sweets too. We left around 7:30 am knowing that we had our longest day ahead if us. 28 kilometers!!

My foot infection was clearing up thanks to Jan's oil of Oregano. Even still, I was a bit concerned as I seemed to favour that foot and that meant I wasn't walking evenly. A sure-fire way to develop an injury. 

By now several of the pilgrims had been shipping their backpacks and had decided to complete the journey that way. I still had mine and so did Katherine. She had set a goal to walk with it and that motivated her to keep it, though it was decided without any attachment to suffering. Once you've had a backpack on for a few days it becomes a part of you and she didn't want to give it up. 

We arrived tired and hungry. 

Next Camino walk with Sue is October 2015. Backpack service will be available to all. You just have to walk. 

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Day 4 Love on Cebreiro

One of my favourite places to stay on the Camino is Fonfria. Angela, the owner is in my documentary film, Las Peregrinas. She was a brand new business women at that time and has just opened her Albergue Reboleira. 
Cebreiro is very special to me. It was on this mountain that I experienced a profound shift in my ability to connect with universal love. I tell the story of My Miracle on Cebreiro in the book My Camino. I especially love walking this mountain barefoot which I did most of the day. 
For several years I have brought sacred sage with me so that I can offer to do a smudge on the mountain for the pilgrims in my group. This day, the group gathered in a circle to protect me as I struggled a bit trying to light the safe in the wind. Once we got it lot, I blew the flame out so the smoke could be used to smudge. 

I explained that the group should face the east, just as the sun was rising, and once they had been smudged it would be a good time to thank the Creator by saying Miigwech Creator. This was taught to me my Sherry Lawson, a dear friend who is from an Ojibway First Nations Tribe in Camada. The ritual was truly a precious moment for all. Miigwech Creator.  
Today I met a pilgrim on her second Camino, named Inge from Belgium. She found my bookmark for My Camino at an Albergue last year. She contacted me to find out how to lead a group and asked if I could agree with her. She has a beautiful group of women walking with her. What a delight it was to meer her at the Albergue in Fronfria that day. 
Throughout the day i walked barefoot as much as I could. I was feeling a lot of pain from a split in my skin that had got infected. One of the pilgrims Jan suggested I try her Oil of Oregano and I did. That day I placed Sorrow Stones for my family and friends. I also left 5 intentions from the list of requests I had. 
The weather was warm and the smell of cow dung permeated everything. Fortunately, I no longer find it to be repulsive. Instead the smell brings back good memories of walking the Camino. And following yellow arrows reminds me of my first Camino in the winter of 2001. 


My Camino Book