Why I’m voluntarily walking 800km across Spain…

Why I’m voluntarily walking 800km across Spain…

Last year I made the bold decision that 2017 needed something epic. Something big, something new and challenging, something so gigantic it’s going to leave a substantial imprint in my life forever. And so, I decided that this year, I would voluntarily walk 800kms across northern Spain… for fun!

For some of you, this will come as no shock, this epic adventure has actually been done countless times before. In fact millions of people make this commitment annually. It’s just that no-one I know is crazy enough to actually attempt it. This epic adventure also has a name: The Camino de Santiago aka The Way. The Camino is a religious pilgrimage route whereby pilgrim’s from all over the world walk from varying starting points that all lead to the same destination: Santiago de Compostela.

I can hear your questions already! Are you looking to find yourself? But you’re not religious, or are you? Are you seeking a spiritual reawakening? I thought you had to be Catholic to do that. What the hell are you thinking? (that last one I’m sure will come from quite a few of you!)

Legend states that the remains of apostle St James are within a shrine inside the cathedral of Santiago de Compostela (field of the stars) and walking all the way to witness this means a lot of stuff to a lot of people and no, you don’t have to be religious to walk it.

Some people walk as penance, some for enlightenment and others like me for the physical and mental challenge. They say that the Camino is a concoction of thirds. The first third is for the body, the second third for the mind and the final third for the soul. I can’t say what I believe in just yet – all I know is Spain is calling and this is something I NEED to do.

So! When am I going? I leave in early June and I’ll have 5 weeks to reach Santiago de Compostela. I can see you doing the math in your head as you read, so let me help you out: that equates to 22km per day, every day.

How did you find out about it? Back in 2013 I spent a month in Spain. I went there with an aim to practice my Spanish, learn about the art of siesta and learn some history along the way. During my time I had the opportunity to visit Barcelona (where the feature image came from, although my friend Jess is the true owner of this one), San Sebastian, Granada, Seville, Tarifa, Cadiz & Madrid.

I didn’t get to meet any pilgrims back in 2013, but I read this book: Sinning Across Spain by Ailsa Piper. It was then that my mind tolerated the idea, but promptly parked it for another day to dream about. Instead of starting down south like Ailsa I’ll begin in San Sebastian, my favourite place in Spain and will walk the Northern route (Camino de Norte) until it tears off and the original way commences (the Primitive Way) which is the oldest route, first taken in the 9th century. In Spain alone there are approximately 9 pilgrimage routes, but anyone who knows me will vouch for my love of the ocean and so walking along the cliff edges of Spain’s most northern coast line was too tempting to pass up.

Follow my journey from Sydney to Santiago over the next few months and please, please leave some tips if you’ve walked the way yourself.

From here, wish me luck!

Top 5 things to do in Barcelona, Spain

Top 5 things to do in Barcelona, Spain

Having recently discovered a mild (O.K definitely NOT mild) obsession with Spanish culture I decided to invest a month exploring all things Spain and it ended in one pretty sensational city, Barcelona. I met up with a long lost flat mate from Melbourne and we decided to tackle the city in 10 days, with a beach trip up north to Tossa De Mar just for good measure. Read on for some hot tips of where to go, see and eat!

Hire a bicycle

Barcelona is riddled with eye catching architecture, beaches oozing oily limbs and tapas restaurants that could fill you up with scent alone. And all of this can be viewed on two wheels. The city is very cycle friendly – although you won’t see much lyrca here moreover; frilly dresses, red lipstick and straw hats as people get from A to B. Getting lost really is the best way to see the city.

Check out the brilliance that is: Antoni Gaudi

A Neo-Gothic enthusiast from Catalian Spain in 1852-1926, Gaudi’s architecture is incredible individualised and distinctive. He’s most famous for his masterpiece Sagrada Familia, which started construction in the early 1900’s and to this day is unfinished. You could stare at it for hours and still find new things to look at. The story goes that all of the donations used to fund the construction must come from the people of Spain (La Familia) and not from overseas investors or NGO’s which is why it has taken so long. You’d be silly to miss: Park Guell, Casa Batillo and La Pedrera.

The La Boqueria food market, just off La Rambla

Fruits, nougat, nuts, tapas, meats, seafood, olives, cheese, you want it, they got it! You’re destined to be hungry just walking inside but even if your not it’s a must see for everyone! Stock up on some snacks, grab a coconut smoothie or simply take it all in.

Tibidabo

Just a short 15kms from the city centre consists of a big church on top of a mountain surrounded by an amusement park. And let me tell you, it’s much less cringe worthy than it sounds. The view of the city alone is well worth the trip, that combined with fresh air and silence from all that hustle and bustle is priceless.

La Playa (Beach)

Over here in Bondi it can feel quite comforting to know you are about 30 minutes from the city (workplace for many.) Well here, it’s more like 10 minutes. While i use the term beach loosely (zero waves for this keen surfer) the water is perfect for Stand Up Paddle boarding, sitting in blow up devices and frolicking along the shoreline. You will definitely see; topless women, sangria on the beach, volleyball and oily limbs!

So there you have it, my top 5 things to do in Barcelona. The place where sea meets city and all in all i think a city that can come to a halt just so people can sleep, rest or recuperate, i really think they know exactly HOW to live.

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