Early morning in Timaru while waiting for the hospital to be ready for me to visit Clemency. 
Nikon D7100 set to Sunset Scene mode; 18-200 Nikkor VR zoom @95mm. f5.6 1/125 @ iso 250 

A package arrived for me this week. It was a pair of Salomon Cosmic 4D 2 GTX walking boots. They are the shoes I will wear when Clemency and I walk El Camino Santiago del Norte in about 6 weeks time. A pair of boots like this will last about 1000 km on hard surfaces. My current ones were bought halfway through last year's Hikoi and while they are still in pretty good nick (my guess, about 250 km of wear left in 'em) they won't carry me the almost 900 km from Irun on the French border to Finisterre on the Atlantic coast. Just to make sure they were OK, I wore them for a stroll around the block, about 6.5 km, and put them back in the box.
What with one thing and another, I don't feel nearly ready, this time around. Clemency has been assured her sternum should mend in time, and she's nothing if not determined, but obviously she's not going to get a lot of preparatory kilometres done. This trip is all part of my sabbatical, which will be about pilgrimage and holy places. I'll also be doing some diocesan business while I have the opportunity. We will be flying to Barcelona on July 4 and taking a train northwards the day after we arrive. We intend to walk the Northern route, along the coast of  El Golfo de Vizcaya through Gernika, Bilbao and  Santander before turning inland, probably at Ribadeo and walking through the Galician mountains to Santiago. This time, I'm pretty keen to carry on to the coast. The Coastal route is slightly longer than the Camino Frances and is reputedly a little harder. The photos of the scenery look stunning. We are hoping that the rumours are true, and that the crowds will be lighter, at least until we join the hordes on the Camino Frances at Arzua. We won't be going fast and our timetable will be a little open ended, so we can stop and admire the views for a day or two if the going gets too tough. The path of miracles calls us. It has its own wisdom and will take care of us.

After the Camino we will go to the UK where I have a few specific things to do, in Wye, Oxford and Edinburgh, but I want to fulfil the call of many years and go to Poland and visit Auschwitz. Why exactly, I think I'll only truly know when I get there. I have a brother in Sweden, a daughter in London and we have good friends in Switzerland, so our route will sort of take care of itself. So, Nick, Louise, Guhyavajra, Cat, if you are reading this, expect an email sometime soon.


Brian R said…
I thought of you 2 weeks ago when I toured the Basilica at Vezelay in Burgundy and was told it was one of the starting points for the Camino pilgrims. I do not think you went there but have not had time to read back in your blog. I am afraid I am not such a keen walker. I have planned many day walks in Bavaria and Austria but most was cancelled due to bad weather in Garmisch last week and now I am sitting in Berchtesgaden watching the rain come down. There is not much point for me to climb hills only to look at cloud