As part of El Camino for the Kids, you will join a group of inspiring individuals dedicated to supporting the Ronald McDonald Houses in Victoria provide a home away from home for seriously ill children and their families.
On arrival in Madrid, Spain’s bustling capital city, you will set off on a guided tour, exploring the city’s highlights from past to present.
You’ll also have a special opportunity to meet the families staying at RMH Madrid, before embarking on the Camino de Santiago.
From Sarria to Santiago, you will trek under the shade of old oak trees into peaceful hamlets set against the rolling green backdrop of Galicia. At night, you will experience Spain’s colourful culture and cuisine.
On what other adventure can you follow in the footsteps of the Romans, the Knights Templar, pilgrims and modern day adventurers to Santiago de Compostela?
Best of all, every step you take helps raise vital funds for the Ronald McDonald Houses at Monash and Parkville to provide basic essentials to families caring for seriously ill children: somewhere safe and affordable to stay, close to their sick child.
No one should have to choose between paying the bills or caring for their sick child. We receive no government funding and need to raise over $3 million a year to keep both Victorian houses operating. “El Camino” is Spanish for “The Journey” and your fundraising will help make the journey our families are on that much easier.
By fundraising for RMH Monash and Parkville, you will be providing comfort, support and some of the most basic essentials to families caring for seriously ill children.
• $10 provides a child with a bedtime story book
• $20 funds 20 loads of washing
• $50 buys a set of pillows
• $130 provides accommodation for one family for one night
• $500 helps train a volunteer
• $1,000 provides a home-cooked meal for one night for everyone staying at RMH Monash and Parkville
• $5,000 helps renovate a playroom
Welcome to Madrid! At the team arrived in Madrid, they had the day to explore (or sleep off their jetlag!) before meeting at the hotel for their first team briefing.
This evening some of the team enjoyed a flamenco dance performance in the heart of Madrid.
Today the team had the opportunity to explore Madrid on a guided tour, including a visit to the stunning Royal Palace.
After the tour, we headed back to the hotel to freshen up before our project visit to the Ronald McDonald House Family Room and Madrid House in the afternoon.
At the visit, we were welcomed with open arms by the staff, volunteers and families currently staying at the house.
Our tour around the house showed us the facilities that make the house a home away from home for those who really need the support. They house families not only from Spain but from countries around the world.
We were able to use the kitchen at the house to make some Aussie goodies such as damper, Anzac biscuits, pikelets and fruit salad for the staff and families that we met. To our surprise, they had also arranged an afternoon tea for us ( including Sangria!) which we all enjoyed together. We met such lovely people and it was great to see the fantastic work the charity is doing. It truly was a moving experience.
After our project visit, our group split up to do what we wished to make the most of our last night in Madrid. Some went shopping and others to dinner. It’s Friday night and the streets were filled with people, there was a huge buzz in the air!
Tomorrow morning we leave Madrid and drive to Sarria where we will overnight before starting our Camino journey.
Today was an early morning rise for our transfer to Sarria. Although this was a long drive, the scenery was incredible!
Once we arrived, the team was able to explore the area, which is dotted with churches and monasteries.
It’s an early night tonight, as tomorrow if our first day of trekking!.
Today we enjoyed a group breakfast at our hotel before set off for our first day of walking.
We departed at 8.30am and we definitely felt the difference in temperature from our time in Madrid. It was a chilly and overcast morning but our spirits were high and we were excited to start our trek.
The path was quite busy with other pilgrims but we found moments when it was just our group and we enjoyed the beautiful scenery.
After our first rest stop ( two hours into the trek ) it started sprinkling but we were equipped with our wet weather gear and continued on. We were on a mission
We stopped for lunch at a stunning old farmhouse that had been converted into a restaurant. Luckily we had our guide Gabi to interpret for us as we had one waiter who just couldn’t understand our orders for coffee with milk, after several attempts he finally got our orders right and we all had a laugh about it.
We trekked on through the rain and mud and arrived at our accommodation in Portomarin at around 4.20pm. A long day and 25kms in total but we felt proud of our achievements. Some parts of the trek were more challenging then others not only due to the mud but the steady incline.
After checking into our accommodation we had free time to explore the village which only has a few shops and cafes and of course the impressive Saint Nicholas church.
We had a dinner cooked for us at our accommodation which by this stage we were getting tired and ready for bed.
An early night tonight to prepare us for our 25km trek tomorrow. All in all a good day and we are psyched for tomorrow!
Day 5: Portomarin to Palas Do Rei
Blog coming soon!
Day 6: Palais de Rei to Aruza trek
Today has been our most challenging trekking day so far.
We set off at 8.30am with a chilly morning but again our spirits were high and we were up for the challenge.
The path, to begin with, was relatively flat and we were surrounded by beautiful green pastures (at one point we even came across eucalyptus trees!). Pilgrims we’ve met along the way recognised us and we briefly swapped tales of our adventures since we last met.
We were lucky enough to have clear skies and sunshine, a big difference to our last two days of walking in the rain and wind. For the first time since we left Sarria, we were able to wear t-shirts and not the layers and wet weather gear we’ve had to wear so far.
We stopped for lunch to get our strength before we had to tackle the many hills that stood before us. We all had moments where we were tired and our feet/knees/shins were starting to hurt. Not once did we think giving up was an option!
By early evening we reached our accommodation which is a further 15-minute walk from the town of Azura. After a quick shower, we regrouped to enjoy a group dinner before we retired to bed for a good night’s rest to start our journey tomorrow.
Day 7: Arzua to Amenal
We set off from our hotel at 8.30am to start our 23km trek. Again we were greeted with a chilly morning but with no forecast of rain, time to put on the sunscreen!
The terrain today mainly consisted of forests and highways. The incline hasn’t been as tough as the last couple of days but still no walk in the park.
The last couple of days have definitely taken a toll on our bodies. We’ve got pilgrims in our group with blisters, headaches, aching knees and tendonitis. Not forgetting the reason why they are here trekking for the kids of RMH, there has been no complaining but support from all.
After freshening up at the hotel we sat in the courtyard to recharge our batteries in the evening sun (yes evening sun! It hasn’t been setting here until around 9pm) our lovely charity representative, Beth, got into conversation with another pilgrim at the next table explaining why the group was here and how much has been fundraised for the charity. The pilgrim then told her friend who came over and donated EUR20.00 towards RMH, she wanted to contribute as her friend’s family have been helped by the charity. It was a very lovely gesture and moving experience.
Tomorrow is our final day of trekking where we walk the 14kms from Amenal to Santiago. We are all so excited, this is what we’ve been working towards over the last 12 months.
Day 8: Amenal to Santiago
Today was our last day of trekking where all our hard work paid off! As with every morning, we enjoyed a group breakfast with our daily affirmations and letters of support by families of the RMH given by our lovely Beth. A daily reminder of why this beautiful group of people were committed to this adventure challenge.
The shortest trek of our trip with 16kms from Amenal into Santiago. The terrain to start off with off with was similar to what the group had seen so far but coming into Santiago was more of an industrial scene.
Our absolute trooper Ashleigh ( with the amazing support of her husband and the group ) made it into the square of the cathedral with the aid of crutches. We all arrived together as a strong unit.
The main square was filled with other pilgrims who had also just arrived along with locals playing traditional music and singing celebration songs. Today was a public holiday being the Galician Literature festival.
After a brief rest at our hotel, we attended a mass service at the Cathedral. The service was in Spanish but still an experience for us. The swinging incense was the highlight for us and something we were looking forward to experience after our fantastic guide Gabi had told us about.
After mass we found a local restaurant to enjoy a meal of Spanish cuisine with a modern twist. All of our plates were almost licked clean and we enjoyed our conversations over dinner as we’ve done throughout the trip.
As the trekking portion of our adventure comes to an end, we want to thank one of our wonderful sponsor Hocking Stuart Dromana/Rosebud
One last day to go tomorrow, we can’t believe the trip is going to be over. We have a day of free time to explore this beautiful city and the UNESCO listed site of the Cathedral before our adventure as a group sadly comes to an end.