Camino de Santiago 2012
Welcome to this blog!
Home for me is Cape Town, South Africa. In 2010 the adventure bug bit me and I decided to climb Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania. In preparation for this journey I started hiking and have since discovered that Cape Town is blessed with some of the most beautiful hiking routes in South Africa. I found a very special hiking group and still try, whenever possible, to head out into the mountains with them. Climbing Kili opened a whole new world for me and when I heard of the existence of the Camino de Santiago pilgrimage in Spain, I was all ears!
I started doing my homework and even started blogging about the Camino – months before embarking on my own journey! I found that writing about it kept me motivated as I prepared myself physically and I through my research, I was also able to get to know the history of this ancient route that fascinated me so much. For more than a thousand years pilgrims have walked the Camino, starting from different places but all ending up in the city of Santiago de Compostela, the place where many believe the remains of St James lies buried.
There has been a major revival in the undertaking of this pilgrimage and hundreds of people set out yearly to walk the various Camino routes. The Camino Frances is the most popular and starts at the foot of the Pyrenees in France and ends 800km further in Santiago. I first completed this route in June/July 2012 and in 2013 I returned to lead a group of twelve pilgrims for three weeks across sections of the way. This year I am planning to tackle the route known as the Via de la Plata, a thousand kilometer walk that starts in Seville and ends in Santiago. I have given myself fifty days to complete the walk and will be starting my journey on the 23rd of May.
As these adventures of mine unfolded, I decided to use the opportunities to raise either money or awareness for causes that are close to my heart. I dedicated my Kilimanjaro climb to the Red Cross Children’s Hospital in Cape Town and the money raised was donated towards the building of a new burns unit. I cannot explain the joy I felt when I toured the completed unit for the first time! Knowing that I was able to contribute to something so needed, was very special! When I set out to walk in Spain, I decided to dedicate my walk to raising awareness of MSA, a neurological illness for which there is no cure. I have a friend who suffers from this illness and she blogs about her journey, raising awareness with the ultimate goal that a cure will be discovered. So as I walked, I spoke to people about MSA and my friend has been contacted by many of those I met along the way, all reaching out to her. I have made a commitment to her that on every walk that I undertake, I will continue to raise awareness wherever I can.
A couple of months ago I was fortunate enough to be taken on a tour of the Ark City of Refuge in Faure, Cape Town. I was really touched by the work done there and seeing so many people who would have been in dire straits, had they not had this place to turn to, was profound. When I became aware of the very real need that exists for funds for the daily running of the facility, I decided to dedicate my next walk to the Ark. I am honoured to be able to join forces with them and look forward to making a difference, with all who will join us in this journey, to the lives of those who depend on the Ark on a daily basis.