Just when…

…I was thinking how lucky I was to get into a super comfortable bed each night so far on the Camino, I came across a very uncomfortable one. Sometimes I end up in 3 or even 6 bed rooms and no one else is coming. Lucky me! I spread out. Yesterday however, the bed was more narrow than my yoga mat. I think the challenge for the day (and there is one every day) was to see if I can balance myself on this tiny bed and fall asleep at the same time. I failed miserably , and so it was another 13 miles on pretty much no sleep. Today’s challenge was the walk into Burgos. It started out so beautifully. Oh, I did take a wrong turn but a short walk through the wheat field got me back on track. I was passing olive groves and a sheep herder with at least 100 sheep, many with bells, it sounded so beautiful. I walked on soft ground for a while, which is so much nicer and easier on the joints than gravel or asphalt. Also makes me feel more connected to Mother Nature.

For about 11 miles I walked the pavement alongside industrial businesses, many of which were abandoned. Not even my music could cheer me. As I stopped to get a sip of water a man on a bicycle approached me, wanting to let me know that he has 3 hostels. 2 small ones and one big one, eying my backpack all the while. Yeah, I’m good ,thanks. WE have accommodations for the night already.

My big payoff for the day was the knowledge of having 2 days in Burgos. I needed a day where I didn’t have to getup at, 7 pack up and be on my way. So I booked myself in a little nice place, right in Old town. I also need a little fresh flavor for food so I went to this sushi place.

I meeeeeean, don’t get me wrong, the Spanish food is delicious, but these little hamlets I’m walking through have mostly 2 things. Bocadillos, which are sandwiches with ham, or cheese, or eggs, or something like that, or tortilla con patatas in various forms. I ended up buying a bottle of hot sauce to carry with me. Yeah yeah, first world problems, I know. But then look what I did find alongside the Camino a couple of days ago 🙂 Capresse

Burgos is a lively little town. It’s 10 at night and barely getting dark. The restaurants start serving dinner around 830 at night. The grocery stores open their doors at around 9 am, and closed on Sundays. I love how much time people have with their families. It was also 87 degrees today. Very unusual a local told me. Enjoy your weekend everyone❣️

The slow life

I must admit, I still feel guilty for spending the entire day either walking, eating, drinking, or otherwise taking in the sites and sounds of this beautiful country. It’s still new to me and I’m slooooowly adjusting to that kind of day. It’s day 9 on the Camino, and I find that I need different things at different times during the day. It’s not always the same, or at the same time, no rhyme or reason here. Sometimes I need the quietness or the sound of the wind to keep me company. Sometimes I chat with fellow peregrinos about where they are from, tell them where I am from, we chat about why we are doing this and for how long, and then wish each other Buen Camino, have a good walk. Sometimes I like to listen to a story. What better way to listen to “The Alchemist” than on the Camino. At times I turn inward and get angry, sad, happy, trying to find answers to my questions. Sometimes I sing, or listen to my “Camino playlist”. How about Adele’s “set fire to the rain” the techno version to keep me going, y’all?

You see, all sorts of stuff comes up, or creeps up, you’ll never know what you gonna get. I’m just letting thoughts arrive, saying hello, allowing and inviting in whatever comes up, without judgement or criticism. It’s beautiful but sometimes uncomfortable to have this time to just Be.

It’s so very interesting that, when you are allowing thoughts to unfold naturally, sometimes by the way a plant looks, or by a familiar smell, a song, or the way the sun shines through the trees, your perception of an entire story can change. A story you have been carrying around with you your entire life takes on a new meaning. It becomes softer, lighter and more forgiving. It’s as if I have been given permission to take time to relive or re-examine my life and my stories in slow motion. What a rollercoaster and what a blessing. Time to slow down.

Tonight I had a lovely dinner with a mother and daughter from South Africa. It is so interesting to hear stories from the people and their countries versus the media. They were talking about mass exodus happening of young white and black graduates not able to obtain good jobs, along with fear of increased crime and government corruption. They don’t really want to leave their country, but feel they have no choice. They have skills but no job prospects.

Tomorrow I’m heading into Burgos where I will stay for 2 days.

Night y’all. Leaving you with 2 more impressions from the Camino (check out the stork nests)❤️

The Camino

Started the Camino 5 days ago in Pamplona on a rainy Friday morning. It was perfect since I love the rain. I knew it would be all uphill half way, once outside the city, and downhill the rest of the day. Yeah, I’m not gonna lie, it was hard. I felt accomplished at the end of the day and utterly exhausted. Taking care of my gear first(scraping the mud off and washing the muddy pants and then hanging them to dry), I found out that the hostel had a bathtub. Scooooore!

I love European bathtubs as they are so much deeper than the ones we have at home. I was thinking of going to the store to get some bubble bath and a candle, but just couldn’t bring myself to walk one more step. What a luxury. I didn’t eat that night, although protein is so very important for muscle recovery as well, I didn’t care. I walked 17 miles or 42000 steps and burned 1300 calories. I also lived on my little homeopathic remedy that day. Arnica is working wonders.

The countryside is so familiar to me. It looked a lot like my grandmas countryside in my childhood. Green fields of wheat and oats, not ready for harvest just yet. At times it looks a lot like California. Brush and Spanish broom plants everywhere. They were just in bloom before I left California.

…..and wine and olive trees everywhere.

I have been walking through the Rioja wine region, and the wines are spectacular. I will be back one day to spend more time here and enjoy the wines and foods that go along with it.

I have been walking around 16 miles per day, with the exception of yesterday. My feet didn’t want to walk anymore, and so I walked 9 miles and then took the bus to the hostel. Maybe it was because I walked a lot on pavement exploring Logroño. My feet are holding up great. I had one blister on the ball of my right foot big toe that I sliced open, drained and applied coconut oil for antibiotic after the first day. It hasn’t bothered me since.

I’ll write again soon.

Buenas noches mis amigos💜

I’m in love….

Everyone who knows me, knows I love languages. It’s raining in Pamplona, so I decided to sit downstairs at my hostel with a tinto de verano just waiting out the rain. Looking at the local newspaper I am trying to understand what is written. I pick up a few words but can’t really string them together. I remembered I set up google translator on my moms phone (my kids would be so proud of me) I have it on my phone in 5 languages, including bask. One of the features of the translator is a camera. If you hover over the print to be translated and then take a picture it will translate it for you. I love love love love google❣️The horoscope caught my eye (see below) It has shrunk the world to a very small and functional university, on the go! I have used the translator in the pharmacy, at restaurants and various other places in various countries. You can type and then have it spoken in the language you want translated. I always try my very best to speak the language of the country I’m in. This is a very handy tool, and you don’t need another gadget. I remember I was walking around with a translator device years ago, and it neeeeever worked when I needed it to.

Let me know if you have it, and what your experience is. My favorite language is Italian. It just melts on your tongue. I don’t care what is said, is all sounds like love

Auf Wiedersehen

I’m off to see the wizard …….

I’m on a bus to Pamplona. It’s a 2 hour ride nonstop through beautiful lush green hillsides.

The bus ticket was €15.20 for those of us that like to attach numbers to stories. Sometimes I read blogs and really wish they would have included that. So I downloaded the bus app and booked it from home, as I didn’t want to wait until the last minute only to find there are 2 soccer teams needing to go to Pamplona at the same time as I’m trying to go.

Waiting there with the other passengers that needed to chain smoke before getting on the bus, I realized that I got ill last time I was here as well. I have this lingering cough that started when I arrived in Bilbao. There is this white fluff that looks like tiny cotton pillow flying around everywhere. I brought some of my homeopathic remedies with me, bought some chamomile tea and will go to the grocery store to buy lemon. It’ll be fine.

So I was trying to put my suitcase in the luggage compartment under the bus and attempted to move this 12×12 little bag that was in my way. I mean, I saw the guy put it there without a struggle, but it was so so super heavy when I tried moving it. What on earth is he carrying in that thing? Gold bars? My son, who worked at TSA for a while did tell me you can travel with gold bars on the airplane. And apparently it’s not that uncommon. I don’t know about you, but I think it’s heavy enough to consider it a weapon, no? Sorry, overthinking. I was just ever so curious to know what was in that bag.

My hostel is only a 5 minute walk from the bus terminal. Thank god for wheels. I will use a luggage service from town to town as I do not want to carry 17 kilos (38 lbs) on my back. The service cost $5 per day to transport, well worth it.

My shoes were the most important part to get right. It really doesn’t matter where I go, I need the right shoes. At home I have at least 3 pairs in my car all the time. Here I have 3 pairs with me for the Camino. A light pair of low hiking shoes from Keen, a pair of waterproof ankle high hiking boots from Oboz, and a pair of sandals from Keen. Yeah, ok I will tell you, they totaled about $400. 😳

Oh yeah, maybe I should mention that my phone almost got stolen in Bilbao. We were in Casco Viejo, the old part of town and I know better than to have my phone in my coat pocket. It was in my hand, I put it in my pocket to itch my nose. For what, maybe 2 seconds. I reached back into my pocket to pull it out and put it in its rightful place only to find another hand in it already. WTF? I turned around and saw this tall dark haired dude with a baseball cap and sunglasses looking very surprised at me. We had some choice words and he took off.

Someone saw this and said I should call the police so he won’t attempt this with another person. Yeah, ok, did you want me to pull him by his ears over to the next police offer? Oh, wait, maybe you wanted to run after him to ask him to turn himself in?

Anyway, lesson learned! 2 seconds is long enough, and it could have been gone.

Really looking forward to starting my walk tomorrow.

Saying good bye also means letting go

The week before my flight I repacked my 2 suitcases (one for the Camino, and the other for everywhere else) 3 times. I thought for sure they would be super overweight. In the end they were only 12 and 14 kilos. It was a very different experience than last time I flew to Europe with only a rolling backpack. It seriously caused me some grief. Once those suitcases were checked though, I had this feeling of finality. There was nothing left to do, to look after, no time left to say good bye to anyone else. Whatever didn’t get done has to wait until I get back. Those past 6 weeks leading up to my departure were incredibly busy. There were so many little things that added up to mountains of work, and well, being honest here, were a little overwhelming. The room got done and rented in time, the fence got done, the garage got organized, and of course I HAD to plant 7 more plants literally just minutes before I left for the airport, lol.

Saying good bye to so many of my friends, clients and of course my family made me a little sad and also a little anxious. At the same time I was also letting go, creating room for what is yet to come. Creating space to think about what I still need to let go of that I am holding on to from a past that seems like 2 lifetimes ago. This whole adventure has taken me out of my routines and familiar surroundings. I have always been comfortable with the unknown, at least as far back as I can remember. I can make a home anywhere and feel at home anywhere. I visited with my mom and her boyfriend in Mil Palmeras for a week. It was nice to connect and just talk. I had many German breakfasts (my favorite food) that was always lovingly prepared.

Presently, I am still in Bilbao with one of my American friends who met me here. I love Bilbao, the people, it’s very walkable city, and it’s pintxos bars.

I’m leaving for Pamplona on Thursday. I saw some Pereginos walking in San Sebastián. There are many different Camino walks leading to Santiago de Compostela.

For now I’m off to get some cafe con leche🙂

Inspired thoughts from my yoga retreat

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I recently had the privilege to lead my first yoga retreat deep in the Palomar mountains of San Diego County. I will admit that I have never looked at a weather app as much as I did leading up to the retreat. We have experienced a lot of rain in the past few weeks and that meant lots of snow in the mountains as well. As it turned out it was a glorious sunny weekend with snow melting on the roof tops and full streams flowing down from the mountain tops. We had a warm fire going all weekend and plenty of herbal teas to sip to keep us cozy and warm.

It was a small and intimate circle. My intention was to allow a surrender and a turning inward to each woman’s own thoughts and needs.  With gentle yoga and spiritual healing practices,  guided meditation and breathwork, healthful meals and beautiful surroundings that was exactly what transpired. Everyone gave the other space to talk, journal, walk, nap, serve each other teas, read, or be alone with their thoughts, and in turn each one became aware of and sensitive to their own feelings and needs.

Each one of them is a caretaker by nature, and each recognized the need to invest this time in themselves. Rest and self care are so very important.

“Self-care means giving yourself permission to pause”               Emma Kate Dawson

It was truly wonderful to watch what that meant to everyone individually. Maybe we need to remember, we are longing for some of the same things, but yet our journey is highly individual, our needs and ways of achieving these longings can vary.  If we give each other the space needed to explore, own our voice, and ultimately feel safe enough to be our true self, maybe we can better understand and help others achieving this as well. That is my intention not only with this retreat, but in all of my holistic healing practices. Taking a break from all of this won’t come easy to me.  When I come back from Europe it is my deepest desire to further build up my holistic healing practice and offer more retreats, workshops , women’s circles and bodywork therapies. For now I am looking forward to new adventures❤︎

I would love to read your thoughts on this post.   

Namaste, Claudia

relaxation sitting reflection statue
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