I’ve always loved walking and, for many years, belonged to a couple of bushwalking groups. However, the Camino taught me that, while I enjoy it, I’m not actually a day-walker. I’m a distance walker. It’s the simplicity of walking day after day that makes my heart sing and my spirit soar.
What to do to satisfy the itch in this COVID-19 world in which we live? A search of multi-day walks in the Sydney area led me to the Bondi to Manly foreshore walk. Though it is only 20km by road, the walking route is 80km as it goes in and out of all the bays around the Harbour.
I booked two nights in a hotel in the city and spent three days walking around our beautiful city. Just like on the Camino, I tended to walk long days and would probably do it over four days next time. Ensuring that I had a true Camino experience, the weather was variable – one day I walked in glorious sunshine, the next in rain and the following in sunshine once more.
Interestingly, it never dawned on me that I didn’t have to spend the whole day walking in the rain. I had a whole city of options but, just like on the Camino, I accepted the weather for what it was and set off on the day’s walk.
Third Quarantine Cemetery at North Head
I miss going into churches steeped in the fears, loves and prayers of centuries of parishioners. I miss meeting pilgrims from different cultures and I miss not knowing where I am or where I’m going to sleep that night.
However, I realised on this walk just how much I had taken for granted the city in which I had lived all my life. I just needed to open my eyes and my heart to fully appreciate the historical sites (e.g. Aboriginal, military and quarantine), and the beauty of the Harbour, beaches and bushland.
Just like on the Camino, I said hello to everyone I passed, chatted with a couple of strangers and gave a few pages of my guide to another who was walking the route in reverse. My mini
holiday was only a few days but it was enough to remind me of my blessings, fill me with gratitude and calm the desire to be on the Camino.
Would I do the walk again? Absolutely!
Details of the walk including maps and an excellent guide can be found on: bonditomanly.com