Walk, stretch and smile! A week-end celebration!

You would like to exercise a bit more? You don’t want it to hurt? You’re exactly like me. And I found what I like last week-end with the Walking program “A Step Towards Compostelle”. It is a hymn to walking, and a celebration of the beauty of Quebec’s forests.

I was there with my friend Lyne. Last spring, one of her friend did a six-week pilgrimage to Compostelle, also known as The Camino francés, covering 800 km (some 480 miles) from south-western France to western Spain. Lyne needed to make a pause but had only a few days. I had suggested her this week-end dedicated to walk, promising that she would be surprised of the benefits of such a short package. For me, always looking for motivation to train a bit more seriously, it was an occasion to try to fall in love with walking again. 

It officially started at dinner, on Friday night. Luc Desbiens, our guide for this special self-discovery week-end, welcomed us and introduced us to the other participants. For the first time since he offers this program (it was the 5th edition), we were only women this time. Besides Luc, there was Linda, from New-Jersey; Christine, who participated to this Compostelle week-end last May; Eugénie, also offering week-end workshops at Eastman; Dominique, who decided to prolong her stay to participate to this week-end; Lyne, who was at Spa Eastman for the first time; and I. Linda told me that when she was reading this blog, before making her reservation for her week at Spa Eastman, she was thinking to her self : “well, if this Lucie really exists, she must really love Spa Eastman”. Meeting her there was pretty funny. (And now Linda, you know that I really am a real Spa Eastman lover!)

For the first evening workshop, Luc -who walked it twice- introduced us to the spirits and values of The Camino Francés, also giving informations on how to prepare for such a voyage.

On Saturday morning, we were out there warming up at 8:30. We started walking through the paths, then around Lake d’Argent (silver lake) and stopped in a park in the village for a little snack. Then we went around the lake to start our way up to the Spa through some of its numerous and beautiful hiking trails. We arrived at 1:15 PM, 10 km (6 miles) later. We were all a bit tired but also real proud of our performance and, more than anything, still smiling.

That afternoon was dedicated to relaxation and spa treatments included in our packages: massage, jet massage in the Watsu pool and pressotherapy, the perfect treatment for our legs after our morning effort. We then had a great dinner, sharing laughs and confidences over a glass of organic wine. Then… we all slept like logs!

Suprisingly, on Sunday morning, we were all bright eyed and bushy tailed, ready for another adventure. But instead of going for a long walk again, Luc offered us to visit “his friends, the trees from Quebec’s forest”. The engineer in forestry (that’s what he does for living) had suddenly reappeared.

So we got to share a fabulous moment of total relaxation, if not contemplation, meeting with maple tree, birch, beech, hemlock, walnut and a few others. We were surrounded by their force, their energy, their wisdom and their amazing beauty while Luc was telling us about their story, the uses of their wood and the properties of their essential oils.

We came back to the Spa around 11:30, just on time to enjoy a hammam-and-swim-in-the-pond before lunch. We all meet for a last time at lunch. Some were staying for another day or more, some were leaving. Linda was to be the only one left of us on her birthday, on Wednesday. We all would have wanted it to last a little longer.

How long? At least another 10 km!

Christine, Dominique, Eugénie, Linda, Lyne: take care. And Luc, thank you for sharing your passions with us.


p.s.: If you’re interested in giving it a try, there is only one week-end “A step to Compostelle” left this fall. It’s on September 26 to 28, 2008. 2 to 5 days packages are available. Click here for more information.

p.p.s.: I went out and walked for 45 minutes this morning, all by my-self! And I was able to give a name to many trees I had never even noticed in my neighbourhood. Thanks Luc!