Author(s): Cilla Cole
In 1995, as part of an extended honeymoon, Cilla set off to walk 1500 kms across France and Spain on the Camino de Santiago with her new husband, his father and his father’s architect.
For those who don’t know him, her father-in-law Terry is a retired judge and led the Royal Commission into the building industry; the Royal Commission into the Australian Wheat Board’s dealings in Iraq; and the Commission of Inquiry into the sinking of the HMAS Sydney. He is decisive, routine-driven and likes to call the shots. He was the instigator of the trip and was well prepared, physically and mentally. By contrast Cilla was unfit, unprepared and had no idea what she was getting into, seeing it more as a sightseeing holiday than a pilgrimage trek. Tom, the fourth member of our group is a self-employed architect and long-legged avid bush walker who used to be in the Army Commando Regiment and saw walking 50kms a day as not a problem. Tom is indecisive, disorganised and on a limited budget.
In hindsight it is unsurprising that each had a very different experience of the walk and did not always see eye to eye.
The Camino Diaries is the compilation of the journals kept by Cilla, Terry and Tom and illustrated by Richard, aka Dikka, the silent fourth pilgrim (who kept a sketch book instead). The diaries are very funny when put alongside each other as we each respond in our own way to the physical and mental challenges of the Camino (me by crying mostly). Set in a time when the Camino was little heard of, it is also an interesting historical account of what has now become an international phenomenon.