Thursday, 29 January 2009

Gearing Up


We have been reading up about the Camino, looking through our tramping gear, and thinking about what we can make do with and what we will need to buy. It will be a different sort of walking than we re used to: mainly hard surfaces, and with small towns every few miles along the route. There are pilgrims' hostels and restaurants and shops. There will be no need for a tent, a stove or much food. It will be May, and, although the guide books tell us there is still the possibility of snow at the start of the Camino, we will be more likely to encounter some rain, and as the month draws on, quite warm weather. So, it will be small packs, light weight boots, 1 season sleeping bags. One thing all commentators agree on, is the fact that the local people speak no English. Or French or German for that matter. So, today I started to see how much rudimentary Spanish I could cram into my head between now and April. Given today's effort with Spanish In 30 Days, my guess is: not much. I'll have to rely on sign language and hope that a few of them speak Classical Hebrew, Maori or New Testament Greek.

Preparation is part of it all. Scrabbling through the racks at Kathmandu's sale or struggling with Soy Kelvin. Soy clerigo y estudio espanol. Que interestante! builds a sense of anticipation. Forking out the readies for a pair of quick drying shorts and a lightweight polar fleece tells us we really are serious about this. Pilgrimage actually begins here and now. Which realisation is possibly the whole point of the exercise.

8 comments:

Katherine said...

I feel your anticipation! Lovely to read this post. ¡Goce!

Alden said...

I feel decidedly jealous of your tootling off to Europe to saunter around relaxing and having a good time - but jealously will not stop me wishing that you both have the very, very, very, best trip imaginable - have a fine old time and come back and regale us with tales of your explorations told in your inimitale style and adorned with your wonderful photography :-)

VenDr said...

It's all at a fun stage right now. Planning. It's a case of what you leave out. We're planning a brief 10 day whizz through Italy. It seems monasteries are a good place to stay: large, ancient buildings often in the centres of cities, often with great views. Clean, cheap (30 euros a night!),usually rooms with en suite bathrooms, safe, friendly, and with cafes that serve good plain food very inexpensively. So, 2 nights in Assisi or 3? Milan or Genoa? Rental car or train? Then some time at the Taize community. Then the Camino. Then a few nights in Paris. Then on to England. Maybe home via North America.

Alden said...

Sounds absolutely fantastic. If you want to see anything, stay off the toll roads in Europe and remember most of Europe drive on the other side of the road. In some of these countries they drive like we do in NZ - like bloody maniacs, so be careful. I liked travelling in the UK by train, and friends and siblings who have traveled by train in Europe seemed to really like it - but these were people who like cities rather than the countryside so it depends on what sort of traveller you are and what you are looking for.
From what I have heard about the pilgrimage trail you are contemplating, the idea is to travel as light as you can, And to remember that during the time you will be there it can get very hot -but all say it is an incredible and sometimes life changing experience - Give my regards to Murray if you get to Norwich and my congratulations to Nick on his engagement when you see him in London.
Wish I was going with you old friend but there is time enough for many more journeys within this great big one we are all on.

Katherine said...

Florence. And Siena. Lovely. But don't get on the Train to Bologna when you meant to go to Roma. Have fun planning!

Janice said...

El Dios le vendiga, mi amigo!
Recuerda estos palabras:
Donde is el bano?
Donde es mi esposa?
Tengo dolor de cabeza, da mi un aspirina, por favor.
Ayuda me, por favor.
Su pais es tan bonita.
Ay, mis pies son duelen, da mi un silla, por favor!
Now this isn't perfect, there should be a tilde over the n in bano, and I'm not sure of some of the spellings either, but I was hoping it would help you get around. When all else fails, just smile a lot, and look confused!

Anonymous said...

Janice: muy bueno - algunas ortografias son un poco italianas; sin embargo, se entiende completamente en espanol.

Kelvin - glad to come across your blog via some idle surfing and to hear of your intended trip - after you've mastered the fundaments of Spanish, you might find the Espanol-Ingles Nuevo Testamento con Salmos y Proverbios Parelelo (zondervan.com) useful.

As for Italy on the cheap: the youth hostel in Verona is very good value. Rome is pretty scruffy but you can't pass up The Vatican. Any number of places in Tuscany are superb.

If you have a fit of Anglicanism and want to look around Canterbury, Kent, we'd be pleased to show you around.

Every blessing,
Brian

kay and graham said...

And don't miss my favourite..Donde esta el camino? (used heavily through every city!) and when desperate "puedo dormir en el suelo?". Although the weather is a little more unpredictable, April and May will give you wild flowers and storks (one of my few regrets is that I have still not seen a stork, only empty nests) And as you will only be doing the first weeks this time you should miss the mad rush through Galicia.