Crossing Borders, Day 6 – O Cádavo to Lugo

The main impression is that the closer I come to Santiago de Compostela, the more they have paved the path with asphalt. If there is one thing I fear, then it is asphalt under my trail running shoes. The combination after a few hours is hurting my feet and cause burns and blisters.

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I tried to stay on the front foot and keep the technique, which worked quite well. Tired legs, but no pain in my back. So far no blisters, which is good! Funnily enough I feel my arms tired too. No poles today.

This day I covered 33 km and about 500 height meters uphill.

Warm weather and lots of sun, I was literally melting and drank all the time. It is important to have a lot of water and to plan where to fill up. I had checked where I could refill the Camelback and also where I could get hold of things to drink. I mixed in mineral and salt tablets in my water.

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There was one climb and then mostly soft down hill. Nice feeling when. I knew that this one was it for the day.

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The views on the way out were spectacular and boosted my energy. How can all be so green and the sky so blue!

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Following the shells is easy when you see them. However, more than one pilgrim has walked straight by without seeing them when they are really tired. This has happened to me more than once during my camino and. I know it will happen again. Good thing is to have a map and a compass. This way it is easy to navigate and get back on track.

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I kept a god pace and took the opportunity to stop for a proper lunch in order to fill up for the energy deficit I have been feeling building up. Slow pace and walking uphill is my thing.

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The hard surface under my feet started to push through the shoes. Kept my mind on positive thoughts and the cheering in from friends and family was really helpful.

I passed through many villages and the locals were so nice. Always with a ’buenas tardes’ or a ’buen camino!’. I wish we were more like this at home. Like the openness and happiness of this country.

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The path left the road to turn into tunnels of green forest with cool air. Every time i was grateful and enjoyed each step on the softer ground under my feet.

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Two villages had vending machines, very appreciated! I stopped at both places for a drink and something salty to eat. Perfect timing since it was almost 15km between the bars on this stretch.

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I passed fields of corn as I approached Lugo. Soon done for the day. Felt that the body needed to catch up on the rest from the tough effort since Friday, six days of continuous running does have an effect on my physique and the psyche.

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Arrived and happy as can be! It is the same feeling as after completing a long race. There is a joy mixed in with almost crying. A warm deep joy inside. Especially since I know that. I am not just doing this for myself. There is a higher cause to help,others in need.

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So after a much needed shower, washing of clothes, I got the biggest hamburger I could find. Then some blogging and catching up on Facebook before I turned off the lights.

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Crossing Borders, Day 5 – Castro (Grandas de Salime) to O Cádavo

The days are beginning to merge into one long journey and memory. Being in motion all day, eating, preparing the gear, sleeping, writing a report and then out again to the next destination. Thank you for all your engouraging messages, they are needed!!

And thank you for participating in the fundraiser! This is a pure boost of energy when I see the donations come in. Keep it coming and together we can help make a difference.

This day I covered 49km and about 1 500 height meters.

I was the last one out and Nicole at the Albergue in Castro made me breakfast and then saw me off. Such great people!

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As I set out the sky looked like there could be rain. Not a real problem, but it would slow me down.

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The rain never fell but I did get a nice and cool wind for a while. Very welcoming since this would be a long way. I started up again and the legs started to complain. Mostly the right ankle, but with care and some stretching I managed to keep it happy.

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On the other side of the hill, the sky started to turn real blue, azul! Path turning down the hill and I went down the path and ran into Patrick and Magda from Belgium.

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We walked to the next bar and stopped for a coffee and some pintxos. They had been out for more than two weeks and were still full of energy.

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I passed more people from the Albuerge where I slept and we cheered each other on. Everyone is so nice! I caught up with Beatrice, my room mate from the night before. Big smiles and a ’Buen camino!’.

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I continued on and the paths today had a mix of gravel, forest paths and some asphalt roads. Mostly soft ground though.

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After a lunch stop in La Fonsagrada I continued on and encountered a fountain where I refilled my Camelback pouch with fresh and cool water.

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More beautiful views. Bliss..

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In Galicia the symbols of the shells are turned in the opposite direction that in Asturias. Had to pay attention when I got tired.

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Last 5km under way and it took me along these hills, up a ridge and then a downhill stretch into the pueblo. I was tired and wanted to reach my place of rest so much.

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I met a boy and his dog on the camino. In my tired state I associated to the post apocalyptic movie from the eighties with Don Johnson. We walked a bit and talked before I pushed on.

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From the top of the slope I could see the village and after a last push I arrived. Another day completed and still smiling.

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Crossing the border to pass it forward!

I do this adventure as a part of my final training at Haglöfs Adventure Academy. It is my own expedition, my design and my choice to dedicate it to raise funds and awareness for the work of Doctors Without Borders. I have good instructors at the academy and great class mates, who have all chipped in with directions, knowledge,advice and good ideas.

Many of you are involved in helping others and that is great! My journey here ends in a few days, but those that are in disaster areas cannot go away when they would like.

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I have covered 189km and climbed 5 100 height meters from Oviedo to O Cádavo in 5 days. I consume more than twice my daily requirement for energy and can not keep up the intake of energy.

Still it is worth it as long as I listen to the body and stick to my project plan and risk analysis for the expedition. As my principal at the academy, Ola Skinnarmo, put it, ”Push yourself, but do it safe!!’.

Last night. I had no hunger and had a hard time sleeping. This morning I had a good breakfast and feel the energy coming back. I have a good and fortunate life. There are many people out there in more need of direct help than this swede running the Camino Primitivo.

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My challenge is for you to set aside a small amount to their excellent work. By doing so we all help in making it possible for other great individuals grow up and reach their full potential.

If you donate SEK 100 you can help 14 kids receive malaria treatment. If you donate SEK 200 you can finance 100 doses of measles vaccinations. All the donations are sent to the emergency fund and will be put to direct use where it is most needed.

Join in and share our fortune with those who need a helping hand!

Use this link to be part of the Crossing Borders fund raiser!

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I am off again and today it is 30km to Lugo. Next report from there.

Crossing Borders, Day 4 – Pola de Allende to Castro (Grandas de Salime)

I woke up feeling good! Legs were awake and I looked forward to head out again. Breakfast early and then getting ready before heading out. I noticed that most of the pilgrims left early to enjoy the cool air. Not uncommon to see them leave before 8am. Well I left a few hours later at around 11am.

This day I did 45km and 1 700 height meters. It was a hard but good day.

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I followed the street onto a road and then it took a turn into a forest to head towards the mountain I was going to climb up to Puerto de Palo at 1 146m. That meant a 600m climb and the last 400m in about 3km! What a way to start the day. Poles at the ready!

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The path windled up through the forest and then turned almost straight up. After a hard march up I reached the top and it felt like being on top of the world. Amazing views!

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The path then went straight down on the other side before it turned up on another mountain ridge. The running up here was amazing. I ran on ridges, along the sides and onwards. Bliss.

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I continued and the path went through a forest before opening up and turning downhill. The landscape shifted to rolling hills and fields.

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Passed through a small forest and the path joined the normal road all the way down to La Meza. Here on this road I met a group from my hotel. They had a hard time believing that I did the camino running and that I was going all they way to Grandas de Salime in one day. I stayed with them for a while walking before continuing. Lovely people!

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After reaching the bottom of the valley it was time to go up yet another hill. There is something futuristic about windmills in the middle of beautiful nature. Somehow they fit in, even if they do not belong. Will take more photos of them.

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On the other side I took a wrong turn and had to backtrack to reach the path. Again A friendly local let me walk through her farm and then onto the camino again. Another long descent, I was headed to the river.

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I went down, along the mountain side towards the river. There was a dam, Embalse de Salime, where it was possible to cross, but first I had to get down to cross the river.

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Crossing the dam and then climbing up again on the other side was tedious and hard work. Being on the the main road is dangerous and when going uphill it feels like it will never end. But as a reward I could look back at where I had been. This is the same river as in the previous pictures, and I was up in the ridge on the other side. Up, down and up again.

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Last climb and last stretch to Grandas de Salime. I got away from the road and followed it on the camino through a forest all the way into town.

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Guess who I met there? The group I met on the other side of the river of course. Now they were showered and in clean clothes. I was longing to be in that position. I stopped and talked to them while having something to drink. This is really part of the camino, having time for the people you meet.

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They waved me off with the ’buen camino ,’, and I set out of town to reach Castro where i would stay the night. Started to rain a little so I picked up the pace. I was tired, but soon I would be there. At this ooint I just wanted to be there.

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I arrived late after a long day on the camino. The people there were really nice and got me food and showed me to my room. My roommate was almost asleep so we said ’hola!’ In the dark and introduced ourselves. I tried to sort all the impressions from the day while falling asleep, so many. I did know though that it was another good day.

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Crossing Borders, Day 3 – Tineo to Pola de Allende

What strikes me is that all the people I meet are so friendly and helpful. Yesterday I had many good talks and received help where I did not expect it. I was invited to try fresh hazelnuts while talking about Sweden and Spain. This is all part of the experience on the camino.

I covered 25km and about 800 height meters. Very hot day and lots of sun.

As I left the Tineo I entered into a steep climb which quickly took me out of the town into rural areas. The views were spectacular. So hard not to stop.
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In order to keep the momentum up. I decided to have one photo shoot every km, but this proved hard to keep. Good rule of thumb. Let’s see how it will work out the following days.

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At the highest peak, Piedratecha, I started the unexpected journey. The combination of arrows pointing in different directions and me looking at the views, took me down the hill in the wrong direction. So down I went through small villages until I reached the pueblo of Peligro.

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A stop at a local bar (one of two). While having a coffee the people there got involved in how to get me back on track. I was a long way from the path..

The owner told me to drink up and come with him. ’I want you to have a good camino.’ He said smiling. Without expecting anything, he drove me to the path. With a ’Buen camino!’, he smiled and waved before leaving. Lovely man and I was so grateful.

As I continued I met Nicolas and Niklas from Denmark. Niclas had hurt his knee and needed a supporting bandage. Now it was my turn to help out. I gave him mine and then walked with them the 2km until their stop for the day. Great guys!

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I then continued into the forest again passing camino markers as I went along.Nice and cool under the trees.

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There is something about running in and out of forests along the hill side. Then suddenly a gravel road, village or passing the main road. I started to feel my legs, so stretching and squats became part of the routine as I continued. It helped, but I wonder what the locals thought, most likely, ’Sueco loco!’. Maybe I am, but then a happy one.

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Coming close to my destination I passed this lovely valley and I just had to stop. Not visible in this picture, but an eagle was soaring right above it all. Bliss..

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Finally hit the main road into Pola de Allende. A little more following the asphalt and I was done for the day.

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Good day and a well deserved dinner before preparing for the next day and resting. The Asturian Fabada is a must. Yum!

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MJ Training Club -Supporting Sponsor till Crossing Borders

Även ute på äventyr kommer det glada nyheter hemifrån! MJ Training Club som jag känner sen starten är med som supporting sponsor till Crossing Borders. Nu blir det extra skjuts i stegen idag!

MJTC
En helt fantastisk utmaning som vi direkt kände att vi ville vara med och stötta. Fredrik vill med sitt äventyr öka medvetenheten kring möjligheten att vi alla kan sträcka ut en hand och hjälpa de behövande. Alla insamlade pengar går oavkortat till Läkare Utan Gränser.

Att jobba med en tydlig målbild, alltid ha kul och att förbereda sig väl är något Fredrik är en mästare på. Det är något som vi på MJ Training Club verkligen kan stå bakom och jobbar med dagligen. Därför går vi nu in som supporting sponsor till Crossing Borders och önskar honom lycka till på sitt äventyr.

MJ Training Club är ett företag inom hälsobranschen som erbjuder träningsrelaterade tjänster till företag och privatpersoner i Stockholmsområdet. Exempel på tjänster är personlig och gruppbaserad träning, coachning, föreläsningar och kursupplägg.

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Markus Buréus, Jörgen Aldén från MJ Training Club och Fredrik Hjorth

Crossing Borders, Day 2 – Cornellana to Tineo

Second day I set out to Tineo. I had 32km in front of me with 1 100 height meters covered mostly in some excruciating ascents. Weather was warm, very warm, hazy and humid.
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Not long until I felt the effect of running in the heat. I Stuck to my plan. Walking uphill and maintaining a very slow pace. 24 degrees Centigrades is warm for a runner.

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There is something special about having a whole gravel road for myself. The only sound was the birds, wind and that from my steps as I moved along.

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I reached Salas and decided to have a quick lunch stop. Was I wrong! The owner of this small place decided that I should try all seven dishes he had prepared for lunch. So the lunch stop took the time it needed and I started out again with a big smile and new friends.

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After Salas the ascents started. First slow and then with more inclination. The path took me into a forest on the hill where it was cooler. Ihad the poles ready so I could use my arms while climbing.

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The reward was to reach the top and look out over the landscape with the windmills through the mist. All very quiet. Bliss.

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Then through some villages and into the forest again. The contrast between the dark forests and the white light of Asturias is amazing. Like being in a story book.

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’Why are you doing the camino?’, said the old man I met. This led to a talk about life, goals and what is important. We said good bye and he waved me off as I continued up the hill leaving his village behind.

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The views approaching St Eulalia are spectacular. Dense forests and up in the hills.

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Downhill, finally! I had a long stretch and loved it! Skipping, serpentining (made up verb) and enjoying.

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I got to Tineo and the town was covered in mist as I approached. Lovely people and so welcoming.

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Late dinner at Palacio De Merás where I happened upon the director of the hotel. We talked about the Camino and compared notes. Their services for the pilgrims are excellent. Recommend to come here when in Tineo.

Crossing Borders, Day 1 – Oviedo to Cornellana

First day started with getting my credentials at the cathedral in Oviedo. These are essential to get the certificate of completing the camino in Santiago de Compostela.

To Cornellana I had 38km and 1000 height meters in front of me.

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Finding my way out of Oviedo was tricky, but with a map and indications from friendly locals, I made the 4km to where the city ended and the Asturian landscape took over.

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Lots of up and down, different terrain and more pilgrims than anticipated. I must have met at least ten during the day. They all shook their heads when they saw me running past with a ”Buen Camino!”. I used my cup to fill up with water at the water fountains I passed, very refreshing!,

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There were so many lovely views on the way. I stopped to take photos and enjoyed the whole journey. Counted smiles along the way. Lunch and two coffee stops.

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The path crosses into forests and it is almost like Gandalf or Legolas could pop out around the corner. Truly magical. Good shoes, poles and extra energy (fruit, nuts etc) is recommended. Water is essential! I started the day with 1,5 liters in my camelback.

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The landscape took me across some rivers and through some lovely small villages. Then the path quickly turned away into the wilderness and I was alone again. True bliss!

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As I came to the highest point of the trail the views changed and on the way down to Cornellana i passed along the side of the hill as well as into the forest again.

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Finally arrived and had a late dinner, some yoga, looking at pictures and the fell asleep. Today I will continue to Tineo and am expecting even more fantastic views.

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Follow me as I go – Satellite tracking!

This is available in the main menu bar under ’My Adventure’ select ’Satellite Tracking!!’.

Using the service Mapongram and my Spot Gen 3 (satellite tracker, which I carry with me), it will be possible to follow my progress on the Camino Primitivo here on this map. Modern technology put to good use! 

The satellite tracker also allows me to let my family and contacts know that I am well. In case of an emergency I can send a distress message to the national rescue service for immediate assistance. Good to be safe.

Spanish tourist bureau in Sweden promotes Crossing Borders

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The Spanish tourist bureau in Sweden is following the adventure and writes about the project and my experiences on the camino on their Facebook page. I am excited since this will also help further the project’s fundraiser for Doctors Without Borders. Muy bien!!

Heres the link to their Facebook page where they will cover Crossing Borders: Spanien i Sverige.

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