No easy days: the Camino de Santiago de Compostela

Trip Start Nov 12, 2013
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Trip End Mar 01, 2014


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Flag of United Kingdom  , England,
Tuesday, April 23, 2013

In a week's time I leave the U.K. to return to France to begin the trek from St.Jean Pied de Port to Compostela. We are planning to leave St.Jean on the morning of May10. and hopefully, we shall be able to take the Route Napoleon to Roncesvalles, if it is now open after the late winter snows.
 In the last week or so the reality of what Rich and I are about to undertake has begun to sink in. I wake up in the middle of the night thinking about logistical problems- the optimum weight for a backpack,how many layers I shall need to take with me to suit all the weather extremes we shall encounter en route or whether my 650 gm sleeping bag will be warm enough.Can I carry the down filled bag at 1kg60 or will it be too heavy in all respects?
I have been back and forth to Mountain Warehouse to pick up that 'last minute' item at least four times. I have read three accounts of peoples' camino treks on Kindle and feel as if  know the trail intimately already. What I don't know and what I can't even imagine is how sore I will be, how tired I will be in two weeks time?
 I have embarked on a training programme, walking 7 or 8 miles with my fully packed backpack on my back and pushing my three year old granddaughter in her buggy. I've slogged up the Devon hills,down them and then back up the other side in an attempt to prepare for the Pyrenees and the other mountain ranges we will cross in the next six weeks. I am always walking and walk several miles a day most days of the week .In Central America, Jeff and I walked quite a bit and did several slogs in the heat and humidity and so I feel that I know what I'm going into but there remains that nagging doubt; will I manage the whole Camino? Will I fall foul of bursitis, tendonitis or shin splints? No one underrates the camino. Unless you are humble, the Camino will humble you! As someone who has walked it several times has said,  '  'There are no easy days on the Camino; there are hard days and easier days but no easy days.'
  As well as walking the Camino as a personal challenge, I am doing it to raise money for Force Cancer Support and in memory of my late wife, Sandy, who died of cancer 18 months ago.With that degree of motivation it's not going to be easy to give up,even if I'm forced to.
Today I'm going to do a long up and downer to get used to my new pack and a pair of new boots I bought this week.They look just right for the rockier stretches of the Camino of which there are apparently quite a few.But new boots have to be tested and worn in and so I embark upon a long and demanding hike,across Exeter and up Stoke Hill once more.This is a pretty walk since, once you reach the top, there are lovely views over Devon to the east and Exmoor to the north west. But the climb is a stiff one and nearly a mile long.
  l'm quicker today than I was last week with Martha in the buggy and so I decide to walk on through the village of Stoke Cannon towards Crediton and then loop back along the Exe towards Exeter. I pass a lovely little pub selling real ale but I don't have a penny on me having forgotten to visit an ATM before I left town. Lesson learned, don't walk with empty pockets because you may find yourself without food or drink for a long time.
 By the time I reach Exeter again I have covered almost 13 miles. A good training walk for the Camino since all of it has been on hard surfaces and my legs and feet remind me of this.
It will be like this everyday on the Camino and so I shall have to get used to it,quickly.
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