Digging in… The camping Queen!

Meeting Kevin, an Irish American from Chicago has given me the impulse to camp out for a few nights and save a little money (the story of my life).

Morning campers! Awaking to the dawn outside the village of

Morning campers! Awaking to the dawn outside the village of Torres del Rio.

Kevin has been walking for months and has crossed the Alps, camping all the way. He is the perfect person to kick my complacent arse out of the comfort zone of cosy albergues and into my tent!

The first night after Estrella we camped on top of a moutain next to an old castle.

Kevin and I standing on top of the castle where we camped.

Kevin and I standing on top of the castle where we camped.

I’d almost forgotten how wonderful it was to sleep out under the stars and it certainly liberates one to stop where and when one likes rather than following a crowd of peregrinos to the first available auberge. In the worst case scenario, a full auberge, camping can save one ending up in an expensive hotel.

Progressing along the Camino brings a natural fusion of folk into groups. Even for a solo individual, it is almost impossible to walk alone for long before merging into a little group. It is an easy process, for most folk are friendly and highly empathetic.

Camino 'chill crew' in Los Arcos. We have fused together over the past few days.

Camino ‘chill crew’ in Los Arcos. We have fused together over the past few days.

Today the rain has finally arrived, just as Kevin and I reached Viana, a small town on the border of Navarra and the Rioja (pronounced ‘Reeocca’) country. Tomorrow we shall hopefully make Logroño the largest town before Burgos.

Rioja is well known for its beautiful wine. Both Kevin and I have been gorging ourselves on succulent, juicy,  deep purple grapes during our walking day! They are magnificent, better than anything I have ever tasted in the shops before. Unfortunately Rioja is also known as a walkers’ nightmare in the wet, as its distinctive red soil turns into sticky unconfrontable mess, caking one’s boots. Although the rain has bought some relief from the burning sun, I find myself hoping that my progress will continue in fair weather!

It's hardly Starbucks, but it'll do!

It’s hardly Starbucks, but it’ll do!

I am trying to go as slowly as possible, due to being homeless until the middle of November. This is quite a discipline for a strong walker such as myself. Having a very heavy pack helps to reduce my speed but it is interesting meeting peregrinos who are coming from behind. Occasionally I meet folk from earlier, but this is mainly because they have injured themselves by going too fast. New is good… but to see an old friend again is glorious!

There’s still a long way to go but as Bunyan wrote:

He who would valiant be, ‘gainst all disaster.

Let him in constancy, follow the master.

There’s no discouragement, shall make him once relent.

His first avowed intent, to be a pilgrim!’


About Viking Queen

I am a sailor and I live on my boat 'Free'. I have no home but originate from Tyneside. I have no allegiance, just a desire to do no harm and live with courage and an open heart.
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30 Responses to Digging in… The camping Queen!

  1. Lynda Hulme says:

    Well done you Sailor/Walker/Camper//Writer/All-round Adventurer You! We love receiving your postings sweetheart. Keep ’em coming! xxx

  2. christian says:

    boys send u hugs back, glad that you are using tent -dont eat too many grapes dont want to light headed or have the trots

    • Viking Queen says:

      That’s what I told Kevin! No, tonight I cooked pasta, olives and tomato sauce! Is that ok Aunty Chris? ;0)

      • christian says:

        enjoy, still under the stars in the tent tonight. don’t be in such a rush step back and slow down enjoy the little villages and people and sights, have another cup of coffee wish i could send you some dutch apple cake to go with it. will get some when back

      • Viking Queen says:

        I’ll have one for you Chris! You may get a virtual cup today if there’s wifi at the cafe! Px

  3. Good to get your latest bulletin and pictures. As I said before,take it easy and SIP your coffee
    to get full flavour of every wonderful aspect around you! I almost feel I’m there too!
    Here’s to every inch of the way being “out of this world”,aren’t you lucky?
    Cheers to all the folk you meet too, and now to the next intrepid sfeps!


    • Viking Queen says:

      Yes Ruth… I can feel you too! And I promise to sip my coffee! However, if I go any slower, I’ll change into a snail!

  4. Viking Queen says:

    General apology.

    Spelling ‘valiant’ incorrectly… As you know the spell checker on iPads can run riot and decide to give an alternative of a word please bear with me on this as my spelling is usually fine. Quite often I am rushing to send out the post before losing the Internet connection so the first draft may have some small errors.

  5. Lynda Hulme says:

    Hey, Poppy in the whole scheme of things, what’s a little spelling mistake amongst friends? xxx

  6. Another day, another town, another step along the pilgrim’s journey. I wonder what you mean by going ‘slow’? Is that lots of long breaks, or a slow pace? The Camino sounds like a very social experience.

    • Viking Queen says:

      The latter sums it up, Amanda. One meets so many folk and I am fascinated as to the ‘why’. Also, I am lazy by nature and love cafes and watching the world go by! My pack is way above average weight too, thus I must be careful not to strain myself.

  7. Simona says:

    “I DO not look for holy saints to guide me on my way,
    Or male and female devilkins to lead my feet astray.
    If these are added, I rejoice—if not, I shall not mind,
    So long as I have leave and choice to meet my fellow-kind.
    For as we come and as we go (and deadly-soon go we!)
    The people, Lord, Thy people, are good enough for me!” R. Kipling

    Simona x

  8. I second that! Great quote, Simona! And Poppy, there is sometimes nothing better than people-watching. Everyone will have a story as to why, and each one: something fascinating to tell. I am enjoying this journey almost as much as you, from the comfort of my deskchair.

    • Viking Queen says:

      That’s wonderful Amanda! How amazing is technology! I feel as if I’ve been on the Camino all my life. It’s as if time has fused into one and the modern world has faded from my attention, despite the IT. Folk come and go, but last night was very special in a donativo church in Logroño. I wonder if I’ll rediscover my faith… The pilgrim’s mass is very powerful and one feels the pull of ages.

  9. Sarah Noss says:

    Now I am behind you, Poppy. This cold of mine grounded me in Logroño for one more day. My sister has left, so will rest for the day and head for Navarrette tomorrow. Will keep an eye peeled for you.

    • Viking Queen says:

      Hi Sarah with the ‘H’ ! Great to keep in touch! Hope it’s not too hard alone… I am in Najera, but it’s raining… It will be a late start. It’ll be great to meet up again and it’s possible because I am the official Camino ‘snail’! Buen Camino!

  10. Do you think the atmosphere that I imagine you find in those medieval villages and churches helps to bring the history alive? I imagine those historic times were ones where religion was a much more dominant force than it might be, in some countries, today. Thus, it might be natural to feel closer to one’s spiritual belief on the Camino.

    • Viking Queen says:

      Oh yes, I find it a little oppressive because I am ‘place sensitive’. I find the churches hard to enter because they have a history that is linked to cruelty and oppression. This has always been a problem with me as I was raised in the Irish catholic tradition. Marrying spirituality with cruel history is a major stumbling block.

  11. I can see that you have thought lots about religion. It is refreshing to see that someone will acknowledge this dark side of religious history, as opposed to looking through rose coloured glasses. Often it is overlooked, by clergy and the congregation, and it was this kind of hypocrisy that put me traditional churches. However, I am still fascinated with church architecture, of all religious persuasions, so still like to visit churches, but not necessarily to pray! Hope the sun has re-appeared!

    • Viking Queen says:

      Exactly how I feel… I love the Latin Mass especially when it’s sung, but always in the background are the dark thoughts of the inquisition.

      • Yes, It is a dark blemish on the church’s story. I am impressed by the level of internet coverage you have there on the Camino. It is so nice to hear from you so often.

      • Viking Queen says:

        Yes, it’s everywhere, although not always good quality! The worst country I’ve been to for free Internet by a million miles has been Germany!
        Glad you’re enjoying it Amanda, and its good to see your contributions!

      • I noticed the bigger hotels in Germany did charge a fortune for wi-fi connection. There is good coverage in the cities in Australia, but that is where it ends…. as the country is so large and the population sparse. And we still have the archaic copper networks in place. Ugh!

      • Viking Queen says:

        Yes, I heard Australia is heavily city based.. So I suppose is the Internet. It’s one of the best modern phenomena as far as I’m concerned. The whole blog concept is amazing!

      • There was a chance to change things, but then the country elected a government not interested in rolling out a fibre network 😦

      • Viking Queen says:


  12. oops: meant put me *off* traditional churches.

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