Picture the scene.
I had walked 25km on a super-hot day from O Cebreiro to Triacastela. It was June 2012 and it was my penultimate day before I made my way home. Myself and my German friend, Sabine, arrived in Triacastela pretty late and most of the albergues were full up. We were walking in busy season. I managed to find a great albergue that I continue to recommend to future pilgrims, Albergue A Horta de Abel (information here). That day’s walking was mostly downhill…the type of walking I am least fond of. Ask me to walk uphill for 35km and I can do that all day, but downhill and I will have problems. And I did.
After I slowly took off my shoes, I was greeted by:
“Oh…that looks nasty”
“Here, I have what you need for that!”
“Why don’t you take the day off tomorrow and not walk?”
Two almighty blisters had formed on the base of my right foot and I was reaching for the ibuprofen before I even had a chance to breathe. It was painful. I don’t have many good memories from that day. I didn’t write about it and I didn’t take many photos that day. But I did enjoy my stay in the albergue and the pilgrims I met there. They were instantly helpful and kind.
It is also a good thing that I did get some blisters that year. The socks I brought along were far from adequate. They were cotton and were actually not yet dry from washing the evening before. A recipe for disaster. I would never consider bringing those kind of socks now. However, if I did not get those same blisters, would I have changed my gear? I have no way of knowing. I use technical socks now and it’s been a while since I got a blister. If you are first-timer, make sure the sock is double layered. Brands like 1000 Mile are recommended, If blisters break out, they have the potential to curtail or even cancel someone’s trip.
I am a little over 100 days away from returning to Spain and while I won’t be walking this same stage, I will have that day etched into my mind.
This will be a quick post but one I felt I needed to make. I don’t know many people who have the same interest in the Camino de Santiago. I know a lot through the Camino forum who talk about it on a daily basis; I also have a number of friends on twitter who have walked it and of course I have my two good friends whom I met in 2013 between Azofra and Santo Domingo. We meet when we can and discuss the Camino over Spanish food and wine.
Until last year, I didn’t realise I have a family friend who is a Camino veteran. Whenever she paid a visit to the family house, we ended up talking about her plans or if she has any hints. She has walked the Camino Frances a number of times, and is currently walking the Le Puy route in France, in stages. The hope is there for her to walk from Austria to France in the near future and this really intrigues me. This is something I hope to do in the future. The Camino Frances is getting a little too crowded for my liking, but that is another story for another day!!
Anyway…before Christmas, she dropped over to the house and asked for a favour. A friend of hers is walking the Camino Frances and has no reading material. At that point I gave her my Brierley and Michelin guides leaving me with little to read up on for my forthcoming Camino. She thanked me and off she went.
Fast forward to last Friday..I return home from a busy day at the office and find the books in a package. Along with the books is a card and a €20 gift voucher for The Great Outdoors. This was totally unexpected and shows that generosity is alive and well. Her friend had a ball and the reading material helped. I was just glad to be of assistance.
Well 2015 is only a few days old but I’m well into my preparation for my 2015 Camino Frances. On Monday last, I booked my flights to and from Spain for May 5th to May 19th, while today I bought a new backpack after a quick visit to the city centre.
I paid a visit to Great Outdoors again (great store!!) in Chatham Street in Dublin. I chose Lowe Alpine this time around after a few tips from the store staff. First impressions are positive but I need to take it out for some test walks in the coming months. The video below gives you a little information about it.
Just to remind you, I am starting from Belorado on May 6th and walking for just shy of two weeks. I hope to reach Ponferrada, which is around 320km. No Compostela for me this time but that doesn’t worry me one bit! I will then catch a bus to Santiago and fly home the next day. I have walked much of this section in 2013 and enjoyed it thoroughly. I met some great people also. I hope to stay in towns I passed last time. That’s the plan anyway. :)
The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2014 annual report for this blog.
Here’s an excerpt:
A New York City subway train holds 1,200 people. This blog was viewed about 3,700 times in 2014. If it were a NYC subway train, it would take about 3 trips to carry that many people.
Click here to see the complete report.
As I write, we are just under two days shy of Christmas Day, and I suppose now is as good a time as ever to wish one and all a Happy Christmas. Whether you are a daily reader, or drop by occasionally, I get a great thrill knowing people read my blog.
I hope you all have a peaceful few days and that 2015 starts off just as you would like it to.
I finish up in the office tomorrow for the holidays, and have 6/7 days with the family. It’s going to be a good few days. I may even do some planning for my upcoming trip to Spain.
While I think of it, I want to wish “Feliz Navidad y Feliz ano nuevo” to those who are walking the Camino de Santiago at this moment in time and who plan to reach Santiago over the Christmas period. That’s one for the future in my books!
Nollaig Shona agus Bhliain nua sasta daoibh (Happy Christmas and New Year to you all….in Irish!)
Let’s call this a Christmas present to myself!!
I own a few guides to the Camino de Santiago. You can read about them in a previous post here. The most well-known of these is the John Brierley guide. Some people swear by it, others don’t. I’m in the latter category. I brought it along with me in 2011 and in 2012 and read it once or twice a day while on the trail. It can be useful to get information on albergues, but I can find that information on my phone through apps. In 2013 and this year, I brought along the maps-only Brierley guide which again was rarely used. It is ultra-light but it was in my bag the majority of the time. Must be the reason why I got lost so many times :) If you are a Brierley fan, I would encourage you to buy this book, and not the full guide.
Fast forward to now, I have just bought the Rother guide. I’ve been told the majority of German pilgrims use this. It is very compact and small and yet still holds alot of information…in 226 pages. At the same time, you don’t get the “words of wisdom” that Brierley likes to quote in his guide. Information on albergues is summed up in one line. The maps are well detailed. As well as the book, you get a set of GPS coordinates from the author’s website to use on smartphones. I’m going to like this I feel.
So do you use this book as a guide? Or are you happy to “wing it” and let the arrows guide you?