PC # 75 – Book update + sneak peak

If I’ve been missing in action on the blog, it’s because I’ve been working non-stop, ten hours a day, including weekends, since June 1st on this book.

What I thought would be a relatively easy write has turned out to be very demanding. I should be finished the final manuscript though at the end of this week.

Jennifer, a skilled script editor, is rigorous during this final editing/polishing process. She is my safety net. Thanks to her, I won’t look so much an ass when this book is released.

It will be published on Kindle, iBook, Nook etc first week of September. It is 72,000 words approx, and it will have two photos per chapter.

It’s called The Way, My Way. 

Here’s another excerpt – it’s when, because my pain was verging on intolerable, I checked into the Parador at Santo Domino. (The only time I had flash digs during my pilgrimage!)

The following day it rained heavily – the first day of solid rain since leaving St. Jean. Perfect timing really, because I was nicely ensconced in my Parador with my fluffy towels.

I went down to breakfast – a large sumptuous buffet catering to every guest’s preference: cold cuts of meat and cheese, eggs, cereals, fruit, yoghurt, breads and pastries of all kinds.

Why did I feel compelled to pocket some of these goodies for when I resumed my Camino? I thought. A few small rounds of cheese would fit nicely into my backpack. Oh, and that pear. A pear would be delicious for breakfast in two days time.

I noticed a hotel server looking at me suspiciously, and when she came over to my table to ask if I wanted coffee, she looked carefully at my room key. She was making sure I was in fact a hotel guest and not some miserable pilgrim who’d just stumbled in off the Camino to help himself to the buffet.

I then realised I looked out of place in the breakfast room.

Everyone else was nicely attired, and they were wearing shoes, not boots. Clean shoes, not muddy boots. And they had on expensive clothes and they looked groomed. As though fluffy towels were their norm, not a thing of joy and wonder.

I on the other hand looked like I’d just walked nearly 300kms.

I had on my pilgrim clothing of course, because I’d forgotten to pack a separate outfit for breakfasts in Paradors. I was also unshaven, unkempt, and I limped. And when I looked across at the buffet table, I sensed that the look contained the hollow-eyed desperation of a shipwreck survivor.

As I hobbled over to get seconds – hmmm, that Iberian ham looks like it could be yummy in two days time – I saw an elderly couple sitting at a nearby table, going through the Camino Michelin Guide.

They didn’t look like pilgrims. They were like the other clipped and coiffured tourists in the room, scattered amongst a smattering of suited-and-neck-tied businessmen.

But as I limped back to my table, barely able to hold my plate because it was so full of breakfasts from various countries, they stopped me.

Are you walking the Camino? the elderly lady asked sweetly.

How can you tell? I thought. The muddy boots? The Nike track pants? The dirty Goretex jacket? Or the limp?

Yes I am, I said politely.

Much as they seemed like a lovely couple, I didn’t really want to stand and talk. I’d piled the food high on my plate, like little Leaning Towers of Pisa, and I was embarrassed enough just being in the breakfast room – I didn’t want everyone staring at me when my pile of four mini croissants toppled to the floor.

So are we, the woman said, beaming.

She had an English accent, and she was dressed like she was about to meet the Queen. Her husband looked like he should be out hunting foxes with a pack of baying hounds. He looked at my plate like a school master looking at a boy caught with a slingshot.

Knowing that it would be rude to just walk off after the nice woman’s obvious invitation for a chat, I asked where they were heading to next.

She explained that they were doing the Camino in stages, and that they were partway through a stage to Burgos, and from there they’d return home. She proudly showed me her Michelin Guide, where they had each overnight stop marked in pen, including the price of the accommodation.

€65 – €72 – €60 – €85. Wow. These pilgrims are doing it in style.

We only stay in the best places, she said, a little coyly.

Why not? the fox hunter chimed in, and winked at me conspiratorially, as though by my mere presence in the breakfast room of this luxury hotel, I was complicit in the flouting of basic pilgrim principles.

The nice woman explained that they had all their hotels pre-booked, and they had their luggage (luggage, not backpacks) shipped ahead to the hotel each day, where they were unpacked and laid out in readiness for when they arrived.

We manage about 10-12kms a day, she explained, and every now and then we take taxis.

More NOW than THEN, the fox hunter chortled, giving me another mischievous wink.

The nice lady then asked about my Camino. With one eye on my Leaning Towers of Croissants, and the other on my stack of sliced chorizo that constituted half a side of pork, I explained that I’d started in St. Jean Pied de Port, and apart from this little sojourn in a Parador, principally because of medical issues I was quick to add, I’d stayed in albergues most of the way. 

The woman asked pointedly if I’d walked the whole way.

I have, I said, and added: Do you want to see my blister?

She graciously declined, not realising how lucky she was, but said in hushed tones to her husband: There you are! He’s a true pilgrim. Then she turned to me, and a little shamefully, she said: We’re not. We’re not true pilgrims.

I thought about this later as I stepped outside in the rain, and made my way to the Cathedral. What is a true pilgrim? I wondered. 


25 thoughts on “PC # 75 – Book update + sneak peak

    • Did you and jill stopover in Santo Domingo Steve?

      That albergue there looked a good one – i was just so knackered at that point I desperately needed a private room, plus I wanted to stay two nights, so the albergue wasn’t an option.

      They looked like lovely people though that ran that place.


      • Yes, Bill, we stayed in the Municipal Albergue in Santo Domingo. Jill had her feet worked on there. As I recall, you walked back to the albergue and had yours sorted out as well.


        • Hi Steve –

          yes, the woman at the front desk – Estrella I think her name was, helped me with her blister.

          She was truly a Camino angel.

          The bloke who worked there wasn’t in when I came to get treatment, but I heard he was also pretty amazing.

          From memory, they help Jill a lot.



  1. Bill,

    You have whet my appetite!

    Both for your book and for the food on the Camino.

    I remember so well the jamon or chorizo and cheese on the baguette (not sure what it was called in Spain). I never tired of it either. I probably ate it every day – simply wonderful!

    And the book, oh it surely will be on my kindle (readable on my tablet) for reading while I’m on Camino!



    • Arlene –

      you’re right about the food!

      I look through my photos each day, when I’m about to post a new blog – and I see some of the photos of the food – and it just makes me curse my knee that I can;t get out there again!

      And thank you for your thoughts on the book! Hopefully others will respond too – I’m just on the final polishes.



  2. Hi Bill, I believe there are two paraders in Santo Domingo de la Calzada. Which one did you stay in, just in case we also feel a need to splurge, but only for similar health reasons of course! Peter


    • Hi Peter –

      I stayed in the one virtually opposite the municipal albergue – the one in the big square.

      I had to beg and whimper for that room rate – and it was mid April – not sure if you’ll get the same. And I was also staying for two nights.

      It is very nice digs though – and at the time I was so so glad of that bath! (I’m not usually a bath person, I’m a shower person, but on that occasion I just lay there and enjoyed it.)



      • Sometimes your body says “I need this” and you just have to listen. Thanks for the information. Look forward to reading your book while we are on the Camino. Regards, Peter


        • Thanks Peter –

          and yes, that Parador was truly needed at that point in my walk.

          I know a lot of people stayed in the parador in Santiago when they got there. I had no desire to do that. It just seemed hugely overpriced for what you got.

          I know getting to Santiago requires something of a splurge, but I found a really beautiful little hotel just around the corner for about 60 a night. That was splurge enough for me!



  3. Hi Bill

    I can’t wait for your book. I have just re-read The Year We Seized the Day and I must say it was much rawer than I remembered.

    Can you do more than two photos per chapter?



    • Donna –

      so so sweet of you!

      The amazing thing about e-publishing is that once the manuscript is formatted and everything is ready, publishing is very fast.

      There’s just a huge onus on the author to make sure the manuscript is absolutely ready – typos fixed, grammar and spelling all correct, fact checking completed.

      That’s the stage that jennifer and I are going through right now, along with a final polish.

      There’s always the temptation to keep writing, keep polishing, finding new ways to express an idea – but once this book is done and out there I want to swing into raising money for PGS the film!



  4. Ok, for me it was not a Parador of any kind, I blew that budget on my one way trip from Orly to Biarritz (all those plans for naught – like they say – the Camino does not accept plans). I stayed in a lovely hotel in Viana… just walked in and asked for a room and the senorita must have known, I needed a good one. I wasn’t even that beat, but as soon as I walked into my hotel room, and took my mochilla off, all the energy that had held me together just trained out of me. I walk into the bathroom… oh heaven… thank you Universe… a bathtub with bubble bath, YES! I draw a bath… bubbles and all… and 2 hours later I wake up, inside the bath with my clothes on.
    Am clueless, how that happened, thank goodness I had taken off my walkers.

    There wasnt a pilgrim on the road that smelled as great as I and my bubble bathed pilgrims garb.

    😉 Ingrid


  5. Oh, Ingrid, I LOVE that picture you painted. Just glad to hear you had no health issues being submerged for that long!! At least you would have had very clean, lovely smelling clothes by the time you woke up 🙂

    PS – Bill, that’s a very generous offer to give us your book. I’d certainly be happy to pay, or you could start a fundraiser for your film ‘Doing the Camino MY PGS WAY’ for us to contribute to? Worth a thought?

    For your next project, or possibly one running parallel with ‘PGS – the FILM’ (I’ll be interested to see the title you come up with for the film!), how about you and Jennifer becoming a publishing house, encouraging Sister Clare, Steve, Julian, et al to publish their life and/or Camino stories. You can have the idea for free!! 🙂


    • Britta –

      you’re a clever thing, aren’t you!

      A publishing house, just for Camino books. That’s interesting!

      The title of the film is going to be:

      PGS – Intuition is your Personal Guidance System.

      As soon as I finish the book, which will be at the end of this week the way it’s going, I’ll start money raising seriously.

      I’ve never wanted to commercialise this blog – re money raising for the film – but giving the book away to PGS family is the least I can do for you all.



  6. Oh, I am so excited to see the book! What a blessing you are going to be to the community of pilgrims worldwide with this, Bill. We shall all promote the book heartily for you! and PS to Ingrid: Love the story of bathing in your clothes!


    • Dear Julie –

      aren’t you gorgeous! Thank you!

      Yes, I have my head down at the moment trying to finish it by the weekend – on the final polishes.

      that’s why I’ve been inactive on the blog. It’s all consuming.

      Fingers cross it finds an audience!



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