Paris is amazing and walkable (if you don’t get lost!)

What??? I was shocked! I don’t ever walk that long on my camino days.

I ate escargot and saw the Eiffel Tower from the top and saw Notre Dame😢 and a thousand other things. I braved the Metro, did it correctly once and incorrectly the second time. I am exhausted. So enough for now dear readers!

Me and the Eiffel Tower
Sacre Coeur
I timed my visit to the Tower just to see this! Hope you love it!
Yummy escargot!
The decor in Bouillon Julien is such a throwback- reminds me of my friend Titi.

Time for bed!

Truly stunning art. And because I an early eater, I had the restaurant all to myself.

Paris- I am here🇫🇷🇫🇷🇫🇷

I am acclimating to being alone in this trip. Traveling in the plane and prior was challenging negotiating the backpacks and trying to use the toilet. It is beneficial to have a partner who can watch your items leaving one unfettered!

I just accidentally ordered too much wine.

So far I am feeling well and courageous. Walking through the streets is wonderful. Many colors of people and sights… lovely. Quiet. The Parisiennes are on holiday it seems. It is a good time to visit Paris.

Love Dealer
Haven’t a clue where this is exactly, my restaurant is down that way.

I fly out to Paris in 40 hours…

“What matters most are the simple pleasures so abundant that we can all enjoy them…Happiness doesn’t lie in the objects we gather around us. To find it, all we need to do is open our eyes.”

From “The Little Prince” by

Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

I love the book “The Little Prince” by Saint-Exupéry, as a children’s story and a spiritual/philosophical treatise on life.

What I have taken away from this lovely little book is that we have to invest time in that which we love, we have to keep our eyes and hearts open to the wonders of this wonderful life and the world we are given, and we have to take chances.

My Camino walking is a reflection of those precepts. I embrace this time as a chance for me to stretch my wings and step out of the daily grind. I don’t want to be like the businessman or the lamplighter—- I want to appreciate the time I have been given. I want to go back home and be renewed. I want to be in the moment when I am gone, appreciating that which is before me while away. I want to come home and do the same. I realized recently that in planning trips, I am not in the moment. It was a harsh realization. I pride myself on trying to stay present. But when I trip plan, I become obsessive a bit. Ask my dear husband. I spend hours devoting time to researching, reading, planning and this time around even learning some French. Is it an escape? Hmmmm… I am going to begin to do it more mindfully.

So, as this next day winds down, I invite you, dear reader, to join me and follow my Camino to Estella- for this first part of my journey. I hope to blog each night with highlights and insights from my day. I begin my walk on the 22nd of August (after a little fun in Paris.) Peace to all!

My calling card…😋

Have you read “The Little Prince”? If you have what is your favorite quote?

Walking and praying

My rosary from my sister💙

Walking the Camino is a time for me to center my prayer and be more present to God. And, in turn, to be more present for others in the form of prayer. Before my last Camino, I visited Fatima (by car) and although it was not my favorite place (I was overwhelmed by the commercialization) I was still moved by people’s devotion. I put out a call for people to provide me with written petitions which I placed in the fires of the candles at the Shrine. And I carried my own prayers for the people who shared their intentions with me. Some were sealed and some were shared with me. I figure I don’t need to know the request- by thinking and writing it down it has gone out into the Universe and God knows already.

I again am carrying intentions and this time around in my morning prayers and as I stop in churches along my path, I will lift those intentions to God. It is a way to carry the love of those who I care about and a way, I hope, to connect and help. Prayer changes things. You may not get your prayer “answered” in the way you anticipate but I do believe it helps to change how you receive the answer.

My main personal intention this time around is to offer my gratitude for some answered prayers. I have also some intercessions I need some help with and God knows what they are…

As I sit here at 3 a.m. —three days from flying out to Paris for a fun couple of days before walking, I hope you will lift me in prayer for a safe trip (with no anxiety attacks) and decent weather! Thank you dear readers!

Why am I obsessed with the Camino de Santiago?

It all began with the book “The Alchemist” by Paolo Coelho, a Brazilian author whose writing I fell in love with after reading said book. Sometime after “The Alchemist” I came across “The Pilgrimage,” my introduction to this Camino. A walking pilgrimage- through the north of Spain??? What??? I recall learning in European History Class in 10th grade about medieval pilgrimages but this was the 90’s- is this for real? Plenary indulgences? Huh? And so my questions about this walk started to fester and require tending. Shirley McLaine did it as well, and published a book about it in 2000.

I was hooked. And I knew that if I put it out into the Universe, the Universe could make it happen! I believe in God and that my wishes when aligned with good can be made manifest.

I learned that there are many roads to Santiago. And some people walk out there front doors and just keep walking- I couldn’t do that- the pesky Atlantic Ocean is in the way… but many people walk out their front doors in Germany, Poland, France etc. and just walk on and on til they reach Santiago in the area known as Galicia in the Northwest part of Spain. Hmmm… Impressive to say the least.

In 2010, a movie about the Camino became a bit of a hit, “The Way” with Martin Sheen and his real life son Emilio Estevez introduced (in a fictional movie) the Camino to a wider audience. That further enticed me! It came to be that in 2012 I would make the decision to walk in 2013. I researched different ways (more about that at another time) and decided that the Camino Portuguese was my path of choice. And so the planning began. And much to my surprise, my husband decided he would join me! It was wonderful but at one point on the first day I was ready to quit! Eddie helped to ground me and encourage me. I developed severe blisters after soaking my feet and not drying them thoroughly! Lesson learned!

So I have already received one COMPOSTELA, the “diploma” for walking at least the last 100 km to Santiago de Compostela. I eventually want to receive one for walking the 500 mile Camino Frances. This upcoming walk will get my first 70 miles in!

I will revisit Spain until I complete the CF (Camino Frances). My next trek will take place I hope in the spring. We shall see. I would like to walk in all four seasons. The Camino and its magic draws me in… It is hard to explain. Maybe as I walk I will find words to describe it to you.

Peace for now, dear readers! Please like and share should you feel so inclined. 🙏🏼♥️

So about this Camino de Santiago trip…

I am scheduled to leave on Aug. 18. And of course, Auntie’s crisis is a monkey wrench of sorts but no, I am not stressing about it. I always feel like things work out. And should it not be in the cards for me to go, well I always prepare and buy trip insurance (which I highly recommend whenever you travel.)

My mother was a worrier. Of epic proportions. I did not inherit or learn that behavioral response. And I have no clue why- how did it come to pass that I can take most things in stride? You got me! Wish I could bottle it up and sell it! Who am I kidding? I would give it to free to some individuals with whom I have to deal- on a subscription basis! Free home delivery!

Worry does not serve us well. It robs you of the present moment and taints your future. Wish I had some sage advice how to not worry but I don’t. What will be, will be.

I am all ready for my travels. It’s off to Paris first for some sightseeing and yummy food. On to Biarritz then St. Jean Pied de Port nestled in the foothills of the Pyrenees mountains. It is my first and second days that will present the greatest challenge on this first part of my Camino (I will be walking for seven days during this stage) as it is an ascent and descent which will be worthy of your admiration (haha! when I complete it.)

So, dear reader, if you would put out into the Universe some good intentions that this comes to fruition for me, I would greatly appreciate it! But for now, it is time to be present for my sweet Aunt and my children in school and my family. My time is coming!

Hospital meanderings

Here I am at almost 3 a.m. pondering mortality… not mine, mind you, but my dear auntie. She had a fall and some other things going on so we are here awaiting testings and questions and results… waiting sucks. At 90, I am awaiting THE call especially when I see changes in my dear aunt. I am wondering about her heart and what else may be lurking inside her that may be a reason for the impending end of life. Each day is precious. Isn’t it?

I began this post on Monday- did not finish. Spoke to Auntie last night as she lay in the hospital bed in a hallway of the ER And she lamented that she didn’t understand what God was waiting for- she is ready. I reminded her that all happens in God’s time. At 90, her closest friends are all gone and her life has been disrupted having to give up her freedom and independence. She sits and waits for her days to pass and for her next chapter to begin. Her desire to be gone from her physical body, which has betrayed her by becoming old and frail and pain-filled, is stronger than living. And I can’t blame her. She knows she is well loved by her family but… it is a difficult journey right now just to walk to her meals. Or to use the bathroom. Life, for someone who has been so good to so many in her life’s journey, should not be so difficult. She is a gem, a rare woman who is maternal and kind and wise. I will miss her when she does finally get called home by God but she has earned her rest… and she deserves to be at peace and whole and reunited with those with whom she dearly misses…