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Lost pilgrim interview



Hi friends. In this Spanish language article, the recently lost (& found) Italian pilgrim talks about his experience. The article's gist is that he had miscalculated weather conditions and had not taken climate-appropriate gear. Through his cell phone, which he credits for saving his life, he was able to guide his rescuers to his location. From this experience am re-thinking my position re: taking or not a cell phone for my next Camino. xm 8)

"Temí por mi vida pero por suerte llevaba el teléfono móvil"

En la noche del martes al miércoles, un grupo de bomberos rastreó Ibañeta y Ortzanzurieta en busca de un peregrino italiano que, a través de su móvil daba instrcciones sobre su situación. Sobre las ocho de la mañana lo encontarron, con hipotermia, pero fuera de peligro.

Alberto Pradilla.

Pamplona. Tras salir de observación en Urgencias, Carlo María Penzo, de 54 años, no podía ocultar su alegría. Tras varias horas perdido en la nieve se encuentra a salvo en el Hospital Virgen del Camino, aunque no olvidará la experiencia, ni el agradecieminto hacía los bomberos.

¿Qué tal se encuentra?
Si, me encuentro bien, contento.

¿Qué sintió al darse cuenta de que estaba perdidoen la nieve? ¿Cual fue su reacción?
El principal problema no fue el frío sino la noche, permanecer en dentro del saco en la nieve, sin saber si podrian rescatarme a causa de las malas condiciones del tiempo.

¿Pasó miedo? Las temperaturas eran muy frías y las condiciones meteorológicas dificultaban mucho que los servicios de emergencia llegasen en su ayuda...
Sí, por supuesto, pero busqué todos los medios para sobrevivir y las cosas que me diesen las mayores oportunidades.Además, tuve la suerte de que tenía encima el teléfono móvil y pude hablar con el salvamento e indicar mi posición.

¿Por qué cree que le ocurrió una situción así? ¿Sabía el tiempo que iba a encontrarse?
No pensaba que las condiciones del tiempo y del camino iban a ser tan malas. Esperaba mal tiempo pero no nieve, ese fue el problema.

¿Estaba sólo cuando sintió que se había perdido? si no esperaba que la meteorología fuese tan adversa no llevaría la equipación adecuada para soportar la noche...
Estaba solo. De todas formas, suelo hacer exucrsiones a la montaña, por lo que estaba preparado. Pero no había conocido condiciones meteorógicas parecidas en esta época del año, por lo que no llevaba medios adecuados. Para protegerme llevaba la ropa y el saco que no está diseñada para las condiciones en las que me encontraba. No está preparado para dormir en la nieve.

¿Dónde y cuando comenzo hacer el Camino?
Salí, en tren desde Italia y en Francia comencé el camino a pie un par de días atrás.

¿Cre que recordará este día durante el resto de su vida? Perderse en un monte es esas condiciones no tiene que ser una experiencia fácil de olvidar.
Creo que sí, lógicamente me acordaré de toda la vida (risas)

¿Tiene previsto continuar la marcha cuando salga del hospital o después de esta experiencia se le han quitado las ganas?
No, no tengo tiempo suficiente para seguir haciendo el camino ahora, pero espero volver a hacerlo el año próximo.

¿Ha logrado hablar con sus familia?
Si, ya he habaldo con ellos, y saben la situación.

¿Qué diría a las personas que le rescataron?
Tengo un gran agradecimiento a todos, especialmente a los bomberos.
Get a spanish phone number with Airalo. eSim, so no physical SIM card. Easy to use app to add more funds if needed.
?Yes xm,
A salutary tale which is a lesson to us all! For myself, I know I would be thinking twice of walking El Camino without a cell phone as I am vunerable walking on my own seeing that I am somewhat disabled. I am "feeling the fear but doing it anyway"!. Will be arriving at Somport on 23rd April. Hope the snow will be melted. Thank goodness I now have company for first 10 days - a last minute decision on friend's part.

Anyone else travelling this way at this time? I sympathise with the Italian pilgrim. Will I be prepared? How to juggle keeping the weight down and being prepared for every eventuality? Already pack is 10 kilo and I don't know what to do.

Un saludo
Hi Eleanor! What date do you think you'll arrive in SJPdP? I will be getting there on May 3 & departing from there on May 4. I plan to take 2 days to get to Roncesvalles. I hope we can meet up.

xm, I too am now seriously considering getting a cell phone. Telestial looks to have a good deal, since you can use your own sim cards & their rates are a lot better than I saw on Mobalphone.

The one from Galicia (the round) and the one from Castilla & Leon. Individually numbered and made by the same people that make the ones you see on your walk.
dg, a friend just told me that the best known cellular-related companies in Spain are called: Orange, Movistar, and Vodafone. A good deal may be to have a cell + a pre-paid card. Having the cell off as much as poss during the Camino should be a $ saver. While on the one hand I concur with the importance of carrying a cell (I've already decided to take one), particularly with the Italian pilgrim's experience, I miss the days when walking the Roads without it increased the notion of being disconnected from the rest of the world. Ah, progress... Buen Camino :arrow: xm 8)
Hi xm, I think I got the best deal. I have a friend who has such a phone, so all I need to do is get a Spanish SIM card for it. But I will be looking for my own, since I travel to Europe every couple of years or so & will be making 2 more trips to finish my Camino. ;)

But my attitude on cell phones remain the same: the phone is for my convenience not anyone else's, so if I want to keep it off, I'll keep it off. Only a few people will have that number (family, work) anyway, so I won't be wandering the Camino yakking away like a Chatty Cathy doll.

dg :arrow:
Hi dg, congrats on the deal, sounds good. I did get an Amena (understand it was bought out by another company) cell last year. Am "dittoing" ur plan.

On the other hand, I wonder if u could just take ur cell from here, buy a SIMS card, and use it there, can u?

I share ur attitude re: cells. With me it's more a "state of mind" than anything else, having it on my person. Disconnecting with my "everyday reality" has been paramount to previous Caminos. Guess I'm gonna have to "get over myself," huh, and "deal" with it.


Buen Camino :arrow: xm 8)
The focus is on reducing the risk of failure through being well prepared. 2nd ed.
I have a cellphone (a 'mobile' on this side of the pond) and we coexist happily because I have eliminated all its beeps, bells and whistles, and leave it on vibrate only. I am taking mine, but plan to only switch it on at a set time each day, so those at home know when they can contact me, or that I will pick up a voicemail. Even if there is an emergency at home, there will not be much I can do in a hurry, so a delay of a few hours can hardly make a difference (what the hell did we do when such messages could only travel as fast as a galloping horse?!). For me, the main thing is not to be oppressed by useful things, but to keep them in their place. By conserving battery power, you also eliminate the need to take a charger - I just take a spare charged battery on trips, and a simple no-frills phone (mine is a pay-as-you-go Motorola that cost £20 - the spare battery and £10 credit was part of the deal), doesn't use up the battery powering fancy screens and tones, or a camera. I have managed a month easily on two fully charged batteries. I have travelled all over Europe with it, and it automatically picks up the local equivalent of the pay-as-you-go provider (I use Orange).

I'm not wedded to my phone, but on my last trip, I made a few calls home, and some texts, and it hardly made a dent in my credit.

I agree that a phone is a useful safety feature - or to call help for others.

WolverineDG said:
Hi Eleanor! What date do you think you'll arrive in SJPdP? I will be getting there on May 3 & departing from there on May 4. I plan to take 2 days to get to Roncesvalles. I hope we can meet up.

Hi WolverineDG,
No, I won't be in SJPdeP at all. Leaving from col. de Somport near Jaca on the Aragonés route. Don't expect to be in Puente la Reine de Navarra until at least 3rd May - maybe even later. (Have to visit Spanish in-laws on way), but yes, if you are coming down from Roncesvalles after 6th May we may meet up. I shall be going slow. It would be nice to meet.
Buen Camino,
Cell phones

A fully charged cell phone battery will last several weeks if the phone is switched off most of the time. The Italian was lucky to get a signal in the mountains I guess he was at Col de Lepoeder. I checked the signal several times over the Orrison to Roncevalles section as I was alone and night was coming on. I rarely got a signal so the life saver may not be have been useful if I had been unable to move.

It is very annoying to be walking along and hear the constant chatter of trivial conversations of the cell phone user. Only use it sparingly and think of others who may be seeking peace and escape from consumerism and noise.
3rd Edition. More content, training & pack guides avoid common mistakes, bed bugs etc
Eleanor, according to my "schedule" I'll be walking through Puente La Reina on May 9, overnighting at Eunate the night before. I'm only doing about 20 kms per day, so I'll be moving slowly as well. :) I hope to meet up with you between there & Burgos.

I'm of Irish descent, so perhaps we're distant cousins. ;)

xm, it's my understanding that you have to make sure you buy the correct type of cell phone (of course the US uses a different kind of cell than the rest of the planet :? ), AND it needs to be unlocked so that it will accept European SIM cards. I don't know how my friend got hers & can keep her US # as well. Since I'm making several trips over (plus another family member will be going to the UK in June), I'll look for a phone I can buy & load up in Spain.

dg, thanks, food for thought re: taking a mobile (yes, as they say in the rest of the World...except in Italy, where it's "celulare" & "telefonino" :!: Ah well, what's in a word...didn't someone say that :? :?: ). Might be best to get it in las Españas. Am curious, why Eunate :?: Buen Camino :arrow: xm 8)
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Why Eunate? I've read it has a nice, "special" refugio there, plus I'm attracted to the mysterious "Templar" church. Who knows? I might get there & not like it, so continue on to Puente La Reina anyway. :)

A selection of Camino Jewellery
A selection of Camino Jewellery
Eunate was one of the highlights of my journey. I have never experienced such peace before. I never wanted to leave. I just sat inside for a long, long time.
Lucky Artemis, you too got to experience this most precious jewel of the Caminos. I've had similar yet very distinct peaceful experiences in my visits to this very holy place. Time for another. BC :arrow: xm 8)
I was just thinking about Eunate today and wondering if I dare go back there. If I didn't feel the same way I would hate to lose the experience. But then again if I did I would get to experience it all over again.
Technical backpack for day trips with backpack cover and internal compartment for the hydration bladder. Ideal daypack for excursions where we need a medium capacity backpack. The back with Air Flow System creates large air channels that will keep our back as cool as possible.


I see it just like returning to the Caminos. Each experience is different, pretty much related to what's going on in my life at the time.

When I first visited Eunate I was going through major personal turmoil. That visit marked me, spiritually, profoundly.

By the second visit things had quieted down somewhat but was still going through stuff. My stay was likewise spiritually significant.

Last year things had quieted down a lot. All was going well for me in Eunate, except that a grastroenteritis (USE ONLY BOTTLED WATER EVEN WHEN CLEANING UR TEETH!!!) that I had been dealing with for a few days reached its climax and with pain and cramps I was taken by ambulance to the Hospital de Navarra, in Pamplona, my first stay in a Spanish hospital-excellent care, BTW. That time in Eunate had its own lessons too.

I know by now not to condition or have clear expectations re: future Caminos, including Eunate.

May be, in any case, a question of: el peregrino propone, Santiago dispone ("the pilgrim proposes, Santiago decides"). .

There are things I look forward to when I think of my next Camino, like walking in solitude embraced by beautiful landscapes. But that may not be a condition, rather a given!

Sometimes I can't help missing friends I had met and spent great times with in past Caminos. This is not easy to deal with because then I get into wanting to go the easy way, replicating instead of living things anew. This is particularly hard-hitting when am not in situations as ideal as the previous ones now seem to have been.

I get into living the rituals in Eunate along with my own. I love to go inside the temple, lie down on that cold stone floor, close my eyes, and fly. Each one of those flights has so far had their own peaceful, energizing, intensities.

Just being in Eunate, like on the Caminos, does it for me.



Very well said.
I have only done one Camino so far. I wondered why people would do it again and again until I did it once and now I know why. I have only been home 5 months and have been yearning to do it again. I was thinking I would take a different route next time so I wouldn't have expectations. That is what brought my experience at Eunate to mind. Do I go there again or just keep the memory of it? I have often wondered what makes it such a special place. Is it the shape of the building? The people who built it? A thousand years of prayers?

Transport luggage-passengers.
From airports to SJPP
Luggage from SJPP to Roncevalles
Artemis, your question implies wanting to go. Otherwise u wouldn’t contemplate it. I say follow “ur bliss,” go. The angels flying around may not be there. But the sense of peace u experienced is wondering what’s taking u so long! That alone is quite an invite. Did u stay at the albergue next to the temple? I'd say vary the experience & take another route, like the Camino Aragones or the CF, depending on which one u took. I believe it’s a special place because of what u mentioned, and because it is located on a magnetic field. But more importantly because we make it so. Best, xm PS: : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wm4tOnJHm1I
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Thanks for the link. I am always looking for new youtube videos.
No I didn't stay there. Sadly I am one of those horrible snorers that everyone talks about so I always tried to stay places where I was able to sleep away from other pilgrims so as not to disturb them and so they wouldn't wake me up mad. You can't imagine how many times I begged to be able to sleep in the kitchen on the floor.

Albergues are public accomodations, when not private. It's whoever that can't handle "snopring" that needs to find private/special/other, quarters.

Is this issue any diff from early a.m. plastic bags' noise and overall noise that forces one to wake up when one doesn't want to bec. u can't go back to sleep?

No. It's already been talked about.

I say nay, don't let urself be intimidated or feel that u have to sleep anywhere other than where the same people that make noise and play with plastic bags, sleep.

Allow urself to experience the magic of the albergue at Eunate.

If u watch the video, it's the old rectangular building next to it.


I know they are public and everyday when walking I would be telling myself that but then when it came to night time I found myself trying to stay awake so I wouldn't keep other people awake. I came across one albergue that had a snoring room and a couple that had small cubicles, sometimes they would open another room for us and many times they would let us put a mat on the kitchen floor. That was the ONLY problem I had on my whole 2 month walk. Next time I am thinking of taking a tent. I was really hoping there would be more snorers that I could surround myself with but every night it was completely quiet. One night I was at an albergue with lots of Spanish pilgrims and they all snored very loud. It was the best nights sleep I had. :)
€2,-/day will present your project to thousands of visitors each day. All interested in the Camino de Santiago.
I wish that people that make all the a.m. noise we know so well will be 1/2 as conscientious as u r, Artemis. Best, xm 8)

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