28th May - Day 1 … So the adventure (finally) begins
I am now in the air flying from Hamburg to Bordeaux, on the way to walk the Camino de Santiago / St. James Way / Jakobsweg.
The 1000km walking trip/pilgrimage is intended to be part pleasure, part challenge and part time to reflect & decide about my future.
I would be remiss if I didn’t thank Roberta for allowing me to go off and do this, for taking on the kids while still working and putting up with my brokenness the last few weeks as I struggled to get ready (more below), and thanks to my kids (Toby & Mareike) for accepting & supporting my going and not having a strop about it. Oh & Toby not being upset that I’m missing his birthday. (Also missing Robertas & my own)
I should have left already on the 21st, but I felt I had to push the date back because I was struggling to find the “right” footwear for the trip. My first attempt was some boots, but my feet didn’t get on with them & they had an annoying Stich that went right over my ankle. Since then I’ve tried on a boat load of walking shoes, trail runners and other boots in Hamburg, Buchholz and Bremen.
I have some trail runners with me, and a pair of barefoot water shoes for puttering about in after I arrive each day. Neither of which I’m 100% certain about, and it doesn’t help that at this point my feet are moaning at me about all the walking in quite different footwear.
What’s really funny, is that till now my everyday shoe is a pair of Asics indoor sports hall trainers (intended for badminton), and I’ve easily walked 1200km in them. But the sole was dying, and they weren’t really grippy enough for big hills / mountains.
I intend to seek out sandals somewhere along the route. I ran out of time to really consider them, and I kept getting mixed advice about their suitability.
Why’s it so important? Well, the Camino Frances is basically 800km from Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port (SJPdP) to Santiago de Compostela (SdC), then another 90km out to Finisterre, 30km to Muxia and 90km back to Santiago de Compostela. Never mind any additional walking in the towns & villages along the way.
I should be away for roughly 2 months, maybe less, maybe more.
35 days for walking SJPdP to SdC 5 rest days (maybe) 3 days from SdC to Finisterre 1 day Finisterre to Muxia 3 days Muxia to SdC. 7 days to spend extra time along the route in any interesting places 2 days travelling home (no idea how yet, could fly from SdC, Bordeaux, Bilbao, Madrid …)
What my itinerary look like? Well outside of the following, it’s “I’ll see what the moment presents”
Tuesday 28th: Fly to Bordeaux, spend the night there Wednesday 29th: Train from Bordeaux to SJPdP around 1pm, spend night there Thursday 30th: Either begin walking to Roncesvalles or spend extra day in SJPdP Friday 31st: ¯_(ツ)_/¯
I don’t have a lot with me (about 6kg. Without water), and could have been lighter still had I not brought the rain mac (I also have poncho for walking, Mac intended for dandering around town), iPad (804g with case) , kindle (I’d intended to not take both) and a heavy battery pack (500g) … the battery pack was also something I was debating about right up to the last minute … it will be useful as my phones battery dies quickly, but it isn’t a sling it in your pocket and forget about it thing.
I have, of course, realised I’ve forgotten a couple of things. Namely some clothes pegs and a headlamp.
I dearly wish I had managed to sort out a new phone before I left for the combination of Storage (put music on my phone for the walking, space to record videos), better camera to capture what I see along the way, and most critical a better & higher capacity battery. My iPhone 6S blows through it with really even using the phone … just the other day I managed 2h 34 minutes of usage before the battery was empty. Yikes!
I very nearly brought my iPod as it has 60gb of my fav music on it, but it was then another device & a different cable required.
Backpack was too big to come in the plane, so it’s in the hold, hopefully not crushed, inside an Ikea blue bag to protect the straps.
I & my brain have been frazzled the last 2 and a bit weeks. I’m not really managed to stay on top of anything else, nor really done anything fun (like game playing) in that time. The one exception was this last Saturday night where Roberta and I binge watched Season/Series 1 of Wolf Blood, and last Thursday when I managed to have lunch with friends in Bremen.
One of the biggest things I’m going to miss over the coming months is watching Critical Role & it’s companion show Talks Machina. They have been a large part of my weekly existence for the last few years, and has helped keep me relatively sane & amused especially on dark days. There is a podcast form of the show, but the cast interaction is part of what makes it gel.
Speaking of Critical Role, I would have loved a “The Traveler is my copilot” patch for the backpack. Instead I’m making do with a CR key ring attached to my backpack :)
When in France 🇫🇷 … eat Indian and drink White Wine. I’m surely doing this right :o)
Anyway, “forget about the past, don’t worry about the future, enjoy this moment in time”, or “leave the past behind, you cannot change it. Don’t stress over what comes ahead, embrace it. Live in this moment, it will never come again.”, or to use a word a friend coined 25 years ago … Yipnargardibbylix.