© Sophie Breese

Dr Sophie Breese, Online English Tutor
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Literary Adventures in France - a blog

In May 2013, my partner and I moved to France to continue the restoration of a farmhouse in the Lot-et-Garonne. Alex is French himself and his family live only 40 km away in the Dordogne so I have been lucky enough to become part of the traditional local community from the start. My French was only O level standard when I arrived but I have been having lessons and listening and speaking as much as possible.
Meanwhile, we have just got back from our long adventure walking the Camino de Santiago de Compostela. You can read about the walk in my blog below.  One of the reasons I did this walk was because back in 2003 I couldn't walk at all - I was ill with ME/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (see earlier blog entry about this). So to celebrate my being able to walk now, I raised over £5000 for the ME Association!
I am now settling back into every day life and have resumed my teaching. Have also decided to ensure  I write more. See my first published post since being back from the Camino on the amazing new website called 'bind', which uses creativity to engage with the issues surrounding climate change.
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3 Oct 2017

This 'week' has been slightly shorter and we arrived in the stunning city of Burgos yesterday where we are having our rest day. Today is Day 36 and we have now walked a total of 760km. We are more than half way to our destination of Fisterra, about 100km beyond Santiago, at the edge of the world according to the Spaniards in the Middle Ages. 

Burgos is the home of El Cid and the most spectacular cathedral I have ever seen - a...

29 Sep 2017

That's it. It's Day 32 of our pilgrimage and we are half way there. Not to Santiago but half way to Fisterra, 100 km beyond. 

28 Sep 2017

Here are a few more photos from our adventures so far. 

28 Sep 2017

I have discovered how to blog from my phone! So here are my last two posts from Facebook. One was posted just over a week ago; the second  yesterday. From now on, during our rest day, I will post on this blog as well as Facebook.

Rainy day in France 

Very sunny day when crossing the Pyrenees 

18 September 

So we have completed the first stage of our adventure - 462 km in 21 days. We arrived in St Jean Pied de Port half an hour a...

11 Sep 2017

We are having a rest day in a rather bizarre late-nineteenth century hotel in a town called Aire sur L'Adour and since we have no intention of walking anywhere today and I have found a nineteenth-century computer, I have decided to write a shortish post about our adventures so far...

Being a pilgrim, walking the Chemin, is a truly extraordinary experience. It is not easy: at 20 km my rucksack seems to double in weight and my f...

26 Aug 2017

So, we are off on our pilgrimage to Santiago on Tuesday. At about 8am we will close our door in Villereal and head off via Biron Castle to our first destination. It will take four days and then we will reach the pilgrim path (one of four in France). We have a tough few days to start since finding places to stay on our route was tricky so think of me this first week.

On Monday night, I am deleting all my social media apps, my e...

11 Aug 2017

While I have been doing my training walks for the Camino de Santiago (remember to donate!), I have been thinking about the things that are most important to me, partly because of a limited weight allowance for my rucksack. But it seems to have prompted other reflections around the same theme including reading. Luckily, I don’t need to decide on books to take for this trip since I have a Kindle and subscribe to audio books, bu...

6 Aug 2017

We have now done 12 days of training, 3 in a row just now. We pushed ourselves over the last few days covering more ground in total than before, reaching 30km on Thursday, 27 on Friday and 23 on Saturday. It was also extremely hot for the first two days and I found that quite tough, especially on the feet which heat up fast. Yesterday went well, probably because the temperature was so much lower.

Here are a few photos of our t...

30 Jul 2017

Nothing beats doing an actual walk with a loaded rucksack on your back as a training exercise for the Camino. So, while we have been doing various other forms of training, both cardio and strength-building, our main focus as the walk approaches is doing exactly what we will be doing when we leave our house on 29th August.

So far, in nine walks, we have done about 220km. I could tell you the exact figure because I am using an a...

13 Jul 2017

I spent a long time yesterday writing a piece for this blog about the process of packing a rucksack which will contain everything I need bar food for two months. In the end, it was not remotely interesting and all pretty self-evident. I was thinking a bit existentially about how one really doesn't need much in the end, but once again it's been said already. Instead I offer you an article I wrote for Slightly Foxed a few years...

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Autumn Adventures

July 8, 2017

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