I have some of the things from the equipment list.
I’ve picked up a pack, a towel, a headlamp, and I’ve bought some shoes that I’m testing over the summer. If they work well I’ll buy another pair a month or so before I leave. Oh, and Sandy bought me a right smashing Tilley for me to wear.
Well, the passport package is almost ready to be sent off, I’m slowly getting together my gear, and we hope to start booking tickets this month.
I still have to pin down my son, Kieran, as to whether he will be joining me on the camino. I’ve suggested that if he doesn’t want to do the entire walk, he could join me halfway in León.
Now, if only my ankle injury from last May would heal properly…
Only three months and four days, as of this post, until the Camino. It is kind of sneaking up on me.
Equipment is down to the last few items of clothing. I’m waffling on the shoes (do I really need ankle high or not) and the pants. I’m really liking the North Face Paramounts, but they are pricey… Regardless, I hope to have the clothes finished this week one way or another.
Kieran has decided not to walk with me, which is okay. If it is not his path he shouldn’t take it. But I have to admit I was hoping. He’s getting so much older and I’m sure that soon he will be spending more time away from us than with us.
The plane tickets have been bought for my trip as well as the tickets to Madrid for Sandy and the kids. I just have to book them the Vueling flight from Madrid to Santiago de Compestella. I also have my first and second night’s lodging booked in St. Jean at L’Esprit du Chemin. I wanted two nights to acclimatize to the region and time-zone.
I also have my mother’s flight to Germany and back booked. She will be attending a school reunion and then sight-seeing in Germany and showing us the area my family is from.
60 days to go…
I’ve started my training. My pack is all done up for the most part and weights in at 14 lbs. Last Sunday Sandy and I took a walk from home to the forks on the frozen Assiniboine River. I wore my pack and things went well. The Gregory really does a great job of transferring the weight to my hips and legs. We did 7.8 km and I felt good at the end.
Then I took the pack to work on Monday and walked home on the river for 6.7 km. I got home a bit tired with a little pain in my right foot. Tuesday I did it again, man I felt it then! My right foot is acting up and my back, just under the shoulder blades hurt quiet a bit.
I took Wednesday off to the give the body some healing time… My back feels much better today, but I still have some aching from my right foot. I’m hoping its just from strengthening the foot and ankle from the very bad sprain I suffered from last May. The sprain hurt off and on right up to this past January. I kind of worry about that on the walk, but as Sandy pointed out, what’s the worst that can happen, not matter what I’m spending 5 weeks in Spain. She’s a smart lady.
I’ve been losing sleep a lot lately. Partially, I’m sure, due to excitement and worry about my upcoming pilgrimage. It is making me a tad cranky and foggy, but I’ll muddle through. A friend, Rick, who is a trained hypnotist came over to help we ease off some of my worries and help me relax enough to sleep through hypnotism. We’ll see how it goes…
I still have so much to do in the next little bit as my family will be joining me in Spain after the walk and I have to organise all their paperwork and plans also as well as worry about lodgings. We are playing this trip by ear. We’ve never been big travelers, but in the past all of our small trips were minutely planned out and booked. For this trip we are trying to be more carefree. Carefree we are not normally, and it’s taking some effort to take a step back and take a breath.
A lot of small things have been swirling my mind too: find a stone, pack and re-pack, bring this or bring that, etc, etc…
Well, I finally have all the planes, trains, buses, and such figured out.
I know where to get the shuttle to get me from CdG airport to Orly airport. I also know where the train station is in Biarrtiz. It looks like a short walk from the airport. this will get me all the way to Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port. Then a short walk to the L’Esprit du Chemin.
Things are looking good. Forty days and counting…
I’ve been having some foot pain lately; the top of my right foot to be exact. Doesn’t matter which shoes I’m wearing either. It is thought to be tendonitis and it is suggested that I shouldn’t stress the foot for a week or so. Okie doke. One week of taking it easy for me. It still leaves me about two weeks of training before I catch leave fro St. Jean.
I did find that using a different lacing method has helped in minimizing the pain during the day at work. This is a good thing.
I’m down to the small little things of the preparation phase. Buying compression straps and such. Oh, I also bought some nice string from MEC to hang my shell from. Sandy and I made a couple of clay shells for the walk; one for my neck and one to tie to a walking stick. I should post pictures of the shells as they turned out rather nice.
We are hoping to have a nice dinner with some friends before I leave. I really hop that works out as La Fiesta Cafesito is an amazing local restaurant that specializes in Salvadoran food. The owner sings throughout the night, and he’s quiet good!
I wanted to take a moment to mention those around me that support me in my dream. I think sometimes these people are easy to forget in the excitement that is the mental and physical preparation for the Camino.
They are my family, friends, and even the company I work for (who thought it was so cool and even offered to change my pay over the past year so I don’t miss any pay cheques while on the Camino). They are the cheerleaders, ego-boosters, and confidants.
So, to my wife Sandy who will have to deal with house and home for 5 weeks without a partner and still encourages and cajoles; thank you!
To my sons Kieran and Aleksander who are indulgent of the time I spend on this; thank you!
To my friends, Rick, Chris, Michelle, Kelly, Jennifer, Penny, Clint, Johnny, Gord, Marg, and others, who have for the past two years put up with my fluctuations from enthusiasm to “What the hell am I thinking?”; thank you!
To my workplace co-workers, HR, and owners for all the support and well wishes; thank you!
To all the people everywhere that support these mad and wonderful endeavours; thank you!
Eight more sleeps before I leave for Europe; eleven more until I start my real journey.
I’m starting to hit my stride, less worried and more excited and eager about the trip. Not an hour goes by with some of my thoughts travelling to Spain. I feel more together and more self-assured. I had been worried to late as to whether I would be able to complete the Camino. But now, I’ve got my confidence back and feel good. I’ve concluded that if for some reason I can’t finish, it just means that I have a new starting point next time. Either way, I’m good with it.
I’ve done a lot more walking lately, with full pack, satchel and water bottle (although I have yet to find a comfortable way of carrying it). It feels good. The pack, a Gregory z55, feels very comfortable with almost all of the weight transferred to my hips and the spine of the pack is designed with a gap so most of my back gets air. Also, now that I’ve changed the lacing style on my shoes I’m feeling significantly less discomfort. This is a good thing.
Friday night I’m having dinner with some friends at my favourite restaurant (Salvadoran), and this weekend I intend to spend with my Sandy and the kids as it’s my last before I leave.
I thought people would be interested in the shells Sandy helped me make. I’ve always liked working with clay and enjoying throwing a pot when I have the opportunity. Sandy likes the more hands on work. We work very well together. I think these shells turned out very nice and I will be carrying them on my Camino. Once I finish my walk I’ll wear one and the second is destined to be thrown into the ocean at Finisterre.
As for snow, it seems that it really likes me. It is snowing today in Winnipeg and we are expecting 5 to 10 centimeters of the stuff. It is also, apparently, waiting for me in the Pyrenees…
One more sleep.
Well, no kicking and screaming, or crying, or nervous shakes – Michael’s on the plane. He has my lady for luck, and hugs and kisses from me and the boys. We will miss him so, but I hope the Camino is everything he wants it to be.
I’m sitting in an airport restaurant drinking a ten-dollar Heineken waiting for a meal.
My head is still stuffed with constant noise from the flight from Winnipeg. Too much sensory input, I think. I was stuck beside a fairly hirsute guy with repeated loud belches, sneezes, and coughs who would break into song as well as other minor social infractions. At least he didn’t try to speak to me, he just sang along with XM radio. I miss Sandy and the kids already. On top of that, the travel makes it hard to focus on why I’m doing this; what the goal and destination is. Now though, I am thinking of the quiet of the Camino..
Although I did get the chance to see Juno and the Last Samurai on the flight from Montreal to Paris, I didn’t sleep…
I am so tired, the best I can do is a series of observations:
- There are a lot of smokers over here. They seem to be everywhere. I’m kind of surprised.
- The drivers seem to be insane; I did anticipate this as the stories of European drivers are fairly common.
- It is strange to see so few recognizable cars. Not only are the models different, the common manufacturers are different. Mostly Renault and Citroën it seems.
- I’m sitting on the shuttle bus and the woman beside me has a lovely little boy that reminds me of Kieran. He just fell asleep and looks like an angel.
- As we drove over some train tracks I saw a few police officers and a dead body under a tarp.
- I’ve been awake now for over 25 hours.
I sat in Orly for bit and watched the other travellers until my plan boarded.
The flight from Paris to Biarritz was nice and short, thankfully as there were a lot of unhappy children on the plane. The food on Air France is quite different from Air Canada. I had a lovely Greek pita with lox and a nice little peach cake.
Once I landed I quickly found my luggage and caught a cab, whose driver drove like a demon. He made the trip from airport to train station in about six minutes.
From what I saw of Biarritz it look like a beautiful, if tourist, place.
Then after a quick hour-long flight and a zany 6 minute cab ride from the airport to the train station, I was on a train to Bayonne.
I haven’t had the chance to confirm my reservation at the hostel as I was supposed to, hopefully it’ll be okay. There I switched trains and noticed that like me, everyone had a backpack. There is even a man in the next car that is blind. Next stop, St. Jean Pied de Port.
And I lost it. Too long without sleep and I missed my family so much, it was hard. I got freaked and panicked over the upcoming Endeavour. Eh, I worked it out for the most part and after a really good dinner and after 30 or so hours of movement, I got some sleep.
I stayed at: L’Esprit du Chemin