Sunday, April 10, 2011

Le Chemin le Puy - Part II April 10, 2011

Last October 13th, when Dayton and I, after walking 17 days and about 420kms along the pilgrim route, Le Chemin le Puy, arrived at Ultreia, our gite in the city of Moissac, we were so ready and so thankful to be done walking. The Chemin le Puy is a spectacular walk but it is also spectacularly challenging. We may both have released a sigh of relief but it was not necessarily a sigh of accomplishment or, more specifically, of completion. I think there was definitely a mutual, if unspoken, consent that we still had unfinished business, and that before long we would return to finish the second half of this pilgrimage. Well that 'before long' is now less than two weeks away. We are returning to Moissac, France to continue and to complete our Le Chemin le Puy. As obsessively as we planned our first Camino journey, we have casually and somewhat haphazardly booked this one. The process this time seemed to be as mindless or instinctive as our first was mindful. Where before nothing was taken for granted or left to chance, this time the entire plan was basically left to chance. A couple of months ago, as we were heading into another weekend blizzard, our winter-wearied brains motivated us to plan our next trip. It says something about this past Canadian winter that walking 450kms over rugged terrain carrying a backpack started to seem like a good idea. After returning last fall, Dayton took the hospitalero training course and was looking forward to putting this training to use. We decided we would send off an application for the year 2011 and just see what would come of it. Dayton filled out the application form, I translated it into Spanish, my Spanish teacher edited it (and by editing I mean she re-translated the entire thing), and we emailed it off. I anticipated a rather lengthly impatient wait. Surprisingly, the next morning we received a placement at the parochial Alberque San Miguel in Estella from May 15-31. We decided to allot ourselves three weeks to complete our Chemin le Puy first. The next day we booked our flights and it was a done deal. With flights booked and our placement set, we really need to get obsessive with our research and planning, only this time it isn't about what to take (less!), it's about what to cook. The Alberque San Miquel accommodates about 32 pilgrims (16 sets of bunk beds) and offers a communal evening meal and breakfast. We need to perfect some 'one pot dinners' to make in the 'one butt kitchen'.


  1. Buen Camino! - I took the training a while ago and am booked to work at Refugio Gaulcelmo in Rabanal from Sept 15 - Oct 1 2012. I will follow your blog with great interest. Did you train with Mary and Tom?Have a great time -
    Here is a suggestion for a one pot meal:
    chicken, potatoes, grape tomatoes and pesto - cook in a covered pot for 45 minutes. You could use other meat, other veg, chopped tomatoes - I think the key is the 1/2 c pesto for each 2 lb of chicken.
    Darlene in toronto ON

  2. Thanks Darlene, I will put that recipe in my journal. Dayton took the hospitalero training with Mary and Tom last November in London. Tom generously gave me my own private hospitalero course just last month. Rabanal in September sounds wonderful too.