Did you hear the one about the travel writer who trekked the Camino with a personal trainer, a nurse and a doctor? Short story: she was very well looked after! The long story is still to come over the next few days…..
Together we’re tackling the first 112km of the St James Way from St Jean Pied de Port in the Pyrenees to Estella in Spain, the beginning of the ancient pilgrim route to the cathedral in Santiago de Compostela.
Since we hatched the plan in 2017 we’ve been doing some research and what we’ve learned so far is that “Walking the Camino” means different things to different people.
For a start there are more than five routes making their way through different parts of Spain and Portugal. There are those who walk an entire route, which can take 4-5 weeks and those who walk a small section. There are those who join an organised tour with daily luggage transfers and hotels, and those who carry a backpack and depend on being able to drop into traditional pilgrim boarding houses. And finally, there are those who cycle rather than walk.
However, the common thread is that everyone seems to be looking for challenge – whether it’s a challenge of their faith, a challenge of their mind, or a challenge of their endurance. Hopefully we’ll meet people along the way who will tell us more about their motivation to walk the Camino.
We’re walking a small section and, although we’ve booked accommodation and luggage transfers in advance, we’re not on an organised tour. Unfortunately, I managed to injure my foot during training walks (plantar fasciitis for the initiated) so, to prevent further damage, I’ve hired a bike.
Each day, I’ll probably ride ahead of Amanda, Deb and Julia to suss out lunch stops and check in to our accommodation and then double back to freewheel beside them for the last few kilometres. I’ll be posting our pilgrim’s progress story every day – watch this space.