The Road Winds Ever On and On

It's a little over a month until we leave for Spain to complete the Camino Santiago de Compostela. Our diocesan synod finishes on September 16 and at 6:50 am on September 17 Clemency and I board a plane. We'll be flying Auckland - Singapore - Paris - Madrid, then catching a train for Sahagun which is where we left off last time around.

All the gear is bought. Our bags are all but packed. This time we know exactly what we need for the walk, so instead of the 15kg I carried over the Pyrenees in 2009, my pack will weigh 6.6 kg without water. The big decisions in buying gear are pack and shoes. My pack is an Osprey Talon 44, which is robust enough, quite comfortable, and weighs about 1 kg. Clemency has a Vaude Tour 50 which is slightly heavier but has a trampoline type harness and suits her better. Both packs, though compact and light are a bit larger than they need to be. We could have got away with 35 litre ones, but these allow enough extra space to carry lunch without the annoyance of bags dangling from the sides. I have chosen Asics Gel Arata shoes, which have so far proven comfortable, and which I hope will be as good as the Salomons I wore last time. Clemency has a pair of very light but very robust Adidas walkers.

It will be autumn in Spain in mid September. The first few days will be continuing across the Meseta, with flat trails, overhead sun and little shade; but once we get to Astorga we will be into the hill country and the weather promises to be a bit less predictable. There is the likelihood of rain and the possibility of frost. The middle hours of the day will be very warm. So, as far as  clothing goes, the idea is to wear lots of very light layers. We will board the plane in walking gear and carry one change of clothes, with perhaps one additional set of socks and underwear. The packs are small enough to just sneak in as hand luggage, but the large folding knife in mine will mean it will have to be checked in.

So, my gear list for the Camino is as follows:

1 Osprey Talon 44 pack, with hydration bladder, pack liner and pack cover
1 pair Asics Gel Arata shoes.
1 pair Teva sandals
3 pair socks
2 pairs lightweight hiking pants with zip off legs.
3 T shirts (1x merino, 2x polypropylene)
3 pairs underpants (polypropylene)
1 lightweight merino pullover
1 lightweight polarfleece jacket
Waterproof jacket (lightweight Macpac Goretex )
Waterproof overtrousers
1 season sleeping bag (packs down REALLY small)
2 neck scarves
Large enamel mug
Folding cutlery set
Lightweight hiking towel
Cell phone and charger
Camera and charger
1 well worn copy of John Brierley's Camino de Santiago Maps
Various documents
Small medical kit to treat blisters, headaches and other ailments I might be prone to.

The sandals act as casual footwear when exploring in the afternoons, but are robust enough to walk in if necessary. The enamel mug acts as plate, bowl and cup though usually not simultaneously. Clemency will take a journal, but otherwise we won't carry any books. The camino will be a fast from reading.

The other preparations are coming along just fine and dandy. My fitness level will be adequate and I'm passably confident my knees will be up to the task. I know enough Spanish to get by. All the tickets are booked except for the return train (Santiago - Madrid) and the only major things  I have to do now are to buy the Spanish sim cards and make sure the cat's medicals are sufficient to put her in the cat home for a month. I don't think she is as overjoyed at the prospect as we are.


Elaine Dent said…
Sounds wonderful and I am trying not to be envious :-) Looking forward to the photos. Thinking about doing a hunk of the AT in a few years for sabbatical and have been browsing thru Ray Jardin's book on backpacking. He is a creative genius and a bit crazy about going light and sounds like you have planned carefully to go light as well. God's blessings, good health, and good sabbath on your journey. BTW, I was absolutely delighted to meet J. at the Shalem program a few weeks ago!
gabriel said…
Congratulations on continuing the Camino - you'll enjoy every step as you walk in that beautiful country and come closer to meeting St John in Santiago. May you meet some wonderful people who will enrich your lives. God's blessings upon you both. Gabriel Jens
VenDr said…
Elaine, your own pilgrimage sounds like it was a wonderful adventure, with many of the same lessons learned. But the Appalachian Trail? There's BEARS on that one, right?
VenDr said…
...and the Camino is an easy one to go light. In fact, it's the only way to go. No need to carry food, no need for tent or cooking gear, only a light sleeping bag needed, always a village handy. And no bears.
Elaine Dent said…
Black bears, yes, who would rather avoid humans but definitely aren't above raiding a sleeping hiker's food. Hence special poles or tree branches to hang the food out of art I would have to learn. I like the idea of a trail where you're more likely to see sheep,chickens and vineyards.
Elaine Dent said…
You have previously blogged about your commitment to daily silent listening prayer (and inspired me). Do see that as a discipline to continue on the Camino, and if so how will it need to adapt to a pilgrimage? Just curious.
Katherine said…
What a useful list. I'll bookmark it in case I ever get to do something similar.
Wishing you both an even more wonderful experience than last time!
VenDr said…
My daily regime of silence won't be possible on the camino. Days start at 6 am, and there is a sort of hushed busy ness in the Albergue as people pack and leave in the semi dark. There's no space in most of them to find a quiet corner. At the end of the day I am too tired and there is, again, a lack of quiet space. There are a zillion old churches of course, and shady groves and so forth, but they come along at irregular intervals, and building the routine that is necessary for serious silence isn't possible.

So I will switch disciplines slightly. I will practice a form of mindfulness that can be done while walking. It works fairly well, though there are lots of interesting distractions on the path, and interesting people walking with me, and tomorrow's schedule to be planned and ... which means I will require more than the usual discipline to keep present and keep in my body.
VenDr said…
The only thing I have not included here is shirts. A couple of lightweight, quick dry tramping shirts might be a useful addition and would add only a couple of hundred grammes. They would give a snazzy alternative to the t shirts on those evenings spent sampling tapas in the local village hostelry, and give more possibilities for variations of layers in the unpredictable climate.

And of course you will get to do it, or something similar. Straight after the caravan tour of NZ. And the motorcycle ride from Tierra del Fuego to Panama. And the small sailboat from Vancouver Island to Alaska. And...
Mary said…
Can you tell me where you bought your 1 season sleeping bag. My husband and I are going to do the last half of the Camino in April. Do you think a 1 season sleeping bag is enough?
VenDr said…
Ours are Kathmandu. We did the first half of the Camino in April and our bags were plenty warm enough. Some people take only a silk sleeping bag liner, but that might be a bit risky in April. Ours are good medium range ones. You can get the down filled ones which pack down ridiculously small but you will need another mortgage.
Anonymous said…
No walking poles, Kelvin? I find they do take some weight off my feet.
How about pb Espanol/Ingles Nuevo Testamento Paralelo (Zondervan)? My Spanish really took off when I read this daily.
If you get to England, do drop in on Canterbury. They'll be looking for a new Archbishop then!
VenDr said…
No walking poles, Brian. Never could quite see the value in them but I may buy a staff which will help chase off dogs and get some use as a pastoral staff afterwards
Anonymous said…
My wife and I (in our mid-50s) did some hillwalking recently in Ireland (Ben Bulben of Yeats fame & Knocknarea in Sligo) and the walking poles did our legs good. Maybe not so vital when walking on the flat (I assume the Camino is on the flat?) but they do help to 'push' us along.
A propos of la idioma espanola, I've also just discovered that on the Google Translate site not only can you type in a sentence for translation but it will - for some languages, anyway - speak it out, & the machine-generated Castilian accent on the Spanish program is pretty good, for straightforward sentences.
Blessings on your preparations - & for contributing to the Spanish economy!