WALKING FOR MOTOR NEURONE DISEASE (also known as ALS)

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Without You We Won’t Find A Cure – Help fight MND from Cure For MND Foundation

The above is Neale Daniher, please take a moment to watch the video.

MND please help us find a cure – Daniher’s Drive 2017 – DONATE NOW

I’m heading off in April from Australia, to walk the Portuguese Camino, in a bid to raise funds to help Fight the Beast that is Motor Neurone Disease (MND).

Later this year in October, I’ll be joining an all girl crew ‘Team Troupies’ in the annual Daniher’s Drive for Motor Neurone Disease, but I’m kicking off our fundraising efforts by walking 800 k from Lisbon Portugal to Santiago in Spain, then on to Finisterre, beginning 30 April.

Please click the link above to learn more about the amazing Neale Daniher who has committed to raise awareness and much needed funds to find a cure – every cent goes to MND and a tax deductible receipt will be forwarded upon donation on the link. Small or large donations, anything is greatly appreciated.

Every 12 hours someone is diagnosed with MND and every 12 hours someone dies.

Thank you very much, Robbyn 🌸

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THE END OF THE WORLD – FINISTERRE

OLVEIROA TO FINISTERRE – 41 ks 

The last day of my camino and as usual I left before daylight, and as usual I was the only pilgrim for quite some time.  I don’t know why, it’s such a long stage, and I expected to have company, but I only saw a handful of people all day. 

It’s been an incredible walk, beautiful and very challenging, and the last day to Finisterre is full of emotion and reflection on the past month, and elation that you’ve made it. 

I’m so tired sitting here writing this nearly falling asleep, so it will be hard to do this last day justice, suffice to say, it was brilliant. 

 Nothing can dim my love of the camino and this one has certainly had some very unexpected moments. 

There was the masterbating maniac on a moped, and I’m not trying to be funny because it was anything but that and in an isolated industrial area, very scary.  Reported to the police and I posted where it happened on the camino FB page. 

Then there was the taxi driver who was supposed to be driving me back to the camino, as my accommodation was a few kilometers off it, but instead of turning left, turned the meter off and turned right and took me to the top of a mountain to show me the view, because he liked me. I was lucky that I talked my way back down the mountain and that was a scary hour. 

But they are two instances that I hope are out of the ordinary, and I mention them because it’s easy to forget there are opportunists around and it’s better to know than not. 

Then there are the gorgeous folk you meet every day and the people you walk with and get to know. When you walk across a country you really get to see the essence of daily life, and meet the most beautiful people, it’s such a highlight. 

I might write more tomorrow, and photos of people I’ve met. 

There’s nothing like the camino and I’ll be back. 

So who’s coming?

 👣


The route to Finisterre, add 10 ks and its right 

41.5 according to Garmin and my feet

Old grain store just outside my pension this morning 


The first marker in the dark 


Views from the track


Beautiful sunrise


To Finisterre, the other way is Muxia


My Korean friend in the distance 


I have been bumping into a delightful Sth Korean man each day named Lee and he offered to take my photo, selfies get a bit, well, selfie. 



Some messages left at a church above in the alcove 


No wonder there’s no tread left on my boots 


Heading down to Cee


My Korean friend Lee 



A shrine for a pilgrim 


I have this thing with doors



Passing through Cee




Can’t miss this arrow 


Heading out of Cee


The outskirts of Finisterre/Fisterra

The hill with the fog is the ‘end of the world’ and the last camino marker – still a long way away


My Italian friend carrying a lot….and a cross


Then to the Finisterre beach and the Atlantic Ocean – brilliant feeling after such a long walk. There were no pilgrims when I was there other than a lady who had walked in the day before and offered to take photos. I’m really pleased as she captured exactly how I felt. Very lucky for me to have these photo memories that I otherwise wouldn’t have. 


Close up – Holding my hat on, it was blowing a gale. 


Best feeling


So now across the beach and through town to the lighthouse 


To the tourist office to get my certificate for walking from Santiago to Finisterre 


These are the certificates of official distance from Lisbon to Santiago and my Compostela 


Then only 3 kilometres to the Lighthouse and the ‘end of the world’, then 2


The last marker, no more ks, among the fog. Always a crowd at this marker. 


No more ks  for CURE MND


And no more tread on my boots 


The Korean lads enjoying the moment


The lighthouse 


Marker madness.  We all love it. 

Beautiful Finisterre





 Back in the cool Atlantic water




PUNCH IT OUT MUM, PUSH PUSH PUSH 

NEGREIRA TO OLVEIROA – 36 KS

I left Negreira at 5.30 am and arrived in Olveiroa at 3.30 pm, and after a shower and a collapse on my blue chintz bed, could barely eat my pilgrim meal at 5pm, but I was gratrful it wasn’t served at 8pm, or would have gone without. 

Today was a massive walk with long stages between cafes, which is always hard as it means no chance to discard a heavy backpack and rest the body.  

But it’s a beautiful walk over several mountains, through farming regions and quaint villages. 

I didn’t see another pilgrim for 12 kilometres, apart from another early riser with his head torch on, but he scuttled off into the dark never to be seen again. 

Tomorrow is my last day walking when I arrive in Finisterre and I’m ready to stop. My body is screaming and I need a sleep in. 

As I was venturing out of the dark this morning I received a message from home. I told them I was 8 ks into a 36 k day and the reply I got as follows –


And my reply – a selfie of me punching it out maaaaate


Map for today – but 36.4 k to my pension


No one as usual leaving Negreira 


Through the ancient arch out of the town


There’s something very eerie about a church in the still early morning 



Very eerie 


Off into the dark…….again. 


Out the other side


Into a sleepy village 


Galicia is famous for their grain stores


Get me a full bottle of these stat



Up with the wind turbines 


Some hat decorating to pass the time and early morning sun


Crosses left on a mossy rock – a common sight on the camino, and often woven into fences 


Gum leaves 


Across a brook 


Almost at alto 


Into another village and more alto 


With cute cows


Gathering some produce – ❤ – beautiful 


Found a spot to rest




My hat gets around 


Those dreaded spraying cylinders Alison, exactly the same spot as 2013 but luckily for me, not in my path 


Interesting beetles


More inquisitive cute cows


Hola


Teasingly on every tree…..wonder why….and with a photo of a hobbling pilgrim…..the Spanish can be very mean 


Venus navel growing out of the stones


The long long long long walk into Olveiroa at the end 


On an Albergue wall 


Home at last 

Love my garmin 

After shower ritual

Seriously shocking pilgrim meal but I’ve stayed here before and the people are beautiful….who needs food anyway.  

All those thousands of green vegetable laden fields I’ve walked past and never one on a plate, j😳.  But the people are gorgeous and there’s wine

FINISTERRE FOR ME AND MND

SANTIAGO DE COMPOSTELA TO NEGREIRA- 22KS 

The pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela reached its peak in the Middle Ages when medieval pilgrims travelled there, then walked on to Finisterre, believing it to be the end of the earth. 

Today only 10% of pilgrims walk on to Finisterre, most finishing their journey in Santiago and the tomb of Saint James, believing his bones are laid there in the Cathedral. 

Somehow stopping in Santiago doesn’t feel complete for me, maybe because I walked to Finisterre on my first camino, so finishing at the ‘end of the earth’ and the Atlantic Ocean is where I’m heading. 

It’s also part of the camino where you can just really relax and enjoy three days walking through beautiful Galician hills, knowing you’ve already finished what you started. 

There has been a noticeable buzz in the coffee shops today, after I left Santiago, and I just found out why. 

Real Madrid versus Juventus tonight and the Spanish go loud and loco for soccer….and they’ve just trucked into my hostel, a swad of new seats and tables in preparation for a big night….setting them up as I sit here……right outside my bedroom window……and I have to get up at 5. 

Por favor no!!

No one at the cathedral when I left this morning 


I love this arrow, the first one to Finisterre 


Alison and I stood here in 2013 on our first camino from St Jean Pied de Port, the last 100 ks of a 900 k walk 


Empty streets out



Often people live on the camino putting a tin out for a donativo 


The Santiago Cathedral in the distance 


❤ 


Solo again so some more sheep talking 


There are some other pilgrims walking my way


Pretty cafe


Washing line art




This bridge would have been built for the influx of medieval pilgrims to cross…and the rest of us


Mill house 







These mill clogs and hand printed fabric belonged to the great grandmother of an Albergue owner I called into for coffee 


I walked some of today with David from America. He has done many caminos but once had a stroke on one and is lucky to be alive. 


No sleep tonight, setting up in the street outside my bedroom window


SANTIAGO SMILES

You can’t stop smiling in Santiago, just try.

But Santiago is all about goodbyes.

All pilgrims head here to show their pilgrim passport and receive a Compostela. If you’re not religious, you can request a different certificate.


The queue at the Compostela office, it just keeps getting longer every year. This was a two hour wait, but the Belgian boys kept me company, and 200 other pilgrims.

The Spanish army lads receiving their official commendations in the square 
Coffee and farewell to Dominique


Liz and Dominique

Pilgrims arrive in all manner of ways

Adios to the bike crew from Germany


Adios to Lizzy



It’s Tradition



The music men perform in this area every other night


Good spot to watch the music men.



Cathedral selfie


Adios Santiago…..until Tuesday 🙂👣

TO BE A PILGRIM

To be a pilgrim you don’t need anything, except your heart……your mind……your dream. 

Getting profound in my old age. It’s just an amazing walk and when you undertake a long one, it is life changing. It’s why I meet more and more people who have walked caminos numerous times and have no plans of stopping. 

Most of the people I met from Lisbon to Porto were repeat offenders, and we belong to a club that’s hard to explain, but if you’ve been inspired to walk a camino….and from the emails and messages I’ve been getting, I know you have….take time to walk a long one.

Go expecting nothing with an open mind and you will receive everything. 

It’s a beautiful obsession, and that’s a fact ❤




AND NOW TO SANTIAGO

PADRÓN TO SANTIAGO DE COMPOSTELA – 29 Ks

One thing’s for certain on the camino, the final day into Santiago, you feel no pain. 

Met up with the boys early at their Albergue in the beautiful cool morning fog, with adrenaline pumping.  The boys were going to break the day in two and stay half way to Santiago, and I would continue on and meet up with Liz who had very sore feet. 

There’s just nothing like the last day walking into Santiago; so many pilgrims; seeing people you haven’t seen for a while, and everyone just excited and happy to now know they’ve made it. There’s just a buzz all the way and everyone’s relaxed. 

After several coffee stops with the lads, I left them and continued on to find Liz. 

Along the way were several groups of Spanish army guys walking to Santiago and doing drills along the way –  it’s not often you see sub machine guns being bandied around in front of you. 

Then I caught up with Liz and we made our way into town. 

It’s impossible to put into words the feeling of walking into Santiago de Compostela to the square, and standing in front of the magnificent Santiago Cathedral, after a 700 kilometre walk. 

There just are no words. 

Liz and I sat up against the ancient stone wall at the edge of the square for hours, just soaking in the atmosphere, and for me, letting the last few tough and brilliant weeks sink in. 
Leaving Padrón very early 


Met up with the boys, our morning selfie 




Craig posing 



Jacob, was so good to see him after so long. He had taken some alternate routes along the way extending his camino. 


The Army lads look a bit scary in this photo but they were friendly, charming and even smiling 


Liz and my mate Dominique 


This Spanish man rides around the globe, wherever life takes him 


He has clocked up a lot of ks 


Don from Western Australia. He’s done a few Camino’s too. 


And then this trio from Shangai 


Many rivers to cross – over another medieval bridge 

It doesn’t matter, they both take you to the same destination 

No place like this. after an epic journey getting here – this city, this cathedral, this camino 

Liz and I sat here looking at the Cathedral, and the pilgrims walking in, for hours. 

HELP FIND A CURE FOR MND

I’ve been walking the camino with Dean below, from Melbourne, who I found out, lost his mum to MND.  Sadly Dean’s mum lived only 18 months after diagnosis. 

The MND Foundation has 3 main aims : 

To Cure, To Care, To Make Aware.

92 cents in every dollar donated goes directly to their cause.

With the money Fight MND have raised so far, they are delving into the latest research and funding Australia’s brightest Researchers to explore potential new therapies and clinical trials.

They are determined to find a cure.

They have become Australia’s largest independent funder of assistive equipment for MND patients.

Last year they were able to spend $1.25 million dollars to purchase wheelchairs, commodes and assistive communication devices to aid patients.

They continue to raise much needed funds until they beat this beast of a disease.

Please donate to help find a cure. 

Dean from Melbourne lost his mum to MND

HARK, I SEE A VILLAGE

CALDAS DE REIS TO PADRÒN – 23 ks 

Walking the last few days with Dean, Craig and Liz has been a hoot and I feel like I’ve known them for years. 

We all met at the Caldas church this morning and headed off into the morning fog.  I was somewhat saturated, having wandered onto the manicured church lawn for yet another photo, when the sprinklers went off…..was bound to happen sooner or later. 

Pretty much my main priority of a morning is finding a cafe for a coffee and my buddies are exactly the same.   

Walking through leafy tracks in the hills for most of the cool morning was beautiful, and when we spied the outskirts of a village we knew coffee was imminent. 

The path is busy with pilgrims now all excitedly making their way to Santiago, and a coffee stop is a certainty for seeing many you’ve met along the way, who you haven’t seen for some time. 

It’s just one big friendly love fest, hugging, chatting, recounting stories from the way, everyone relaxed in the thought that their hard slog of many days and weeks is about to end, and Santiago is just out of reach until tomorrow. 

We are all off to find the best Padròn peppers we can. 

So until tomorrow. 
The path is littered with beautiful and varied water fonts, most of them potable

Caldas church


Got a bit wet in the middle of these and had to run the gauntlet 


The colours of Caldas, rustic 


Another water font 


Oh yes, just around the corner


Today’s selfie


Backpacks patiently waiting 


Camino Graffiti in the cafe


We had the cafe window to see all our buddies coming in for coffee


Miracles happen on the camino 


Safety in numbers – letting the pilgrims know who’s boss









The army boys were great sports



@simply.wines




Street appeal



Our Belgian friends caught up with us having a drink in Padron. The chap on the left is lucky to be alive. He was hit by a truck walking the camino 5 years ago and his friend was killed. It is a miracle he survived, he spent months and months in hospital.  He was told he would never walk again.  His best friend promised to bring him on another camino, and now he has. 


Padron 


My sweet pilgrim hotel – can you spot my room there is a clue 


ONLY 40 KILOMETRES TO SANTIAGO

PONTEVEDRA TO CALDAS DE REIS – 22 ks

It’s hard to believe after nearly a month and 700 kilometres I’ll be walking into Santiago in two days. 

Tonight I’m just posting photos from today’s walk, another fantastic day walking with great people, laughing and talking all the way. 

I need some sleep. 

Leaving Pontevedra 


7.30 am meet up at the Pontevedra bridge. The gorgeous boys Craig and Dean from Melbourne and beautiful Lizzy from Sydney. 


We couldn’t resist seeing what was inside the open door. It would have been spectacular in its heyday but now totally derelict. 


The sign and the smiles says it all



Morning coffee spot and our mate Dominique 


The terrific Belgian mates


Noone cares anyway so just stop


Hole in the wall coffee.  Tasted great funnily enough


Then there was an enterprising van man


Thermal Springs in Caldas de Reis. Bliss


Testing the water while a local uses it for a pit stop sit


Church in Caldas de Reis


My accommodation has a river running through the swimming pool


Another cute camino bedroom


Torre do Rio, historic lodgings for the night with a torrent running through it



The spectacular pool at night