On Halloween I’m flying to Spain to walk part of the Camino de Santiago with my husband’s sister, N. Both of our husbands think we are crazy. But she’s been married 38 years and I’ve been married 31 years, so this misguided perception is not news to anyone. Suffice it to say that the secret to long marriages is tolerance of the spouse’s eccentricities.
Why? you ask. Why November, you ask next? Because it is there waiting to be walked. Because I like an adventure that doesn’t involve cliffs or speed, or compulsory dorms. Because I love to pack minimally. Because I get great satisfaction from practising my almost-fluency in Spanish. Because in November (for good reason, I expect) there are not 1000 pilgrims arriving in Santiago every day, as there can be in August or September. Because it will be rainy and chilly in Vancouver anyway, so I might as well be rained upon and chilled in Spain.
In 2005 N and I travelled by train in Europe, and stopped for a few hours in Santiago. In another city nearby we were intrigued by the waymarkers to Santiago.
I feel a tiny bit guilty – son recovering from surgery, mother busy being old, husband taking care of the house. (But he did not plead with me to stay home, and besides, he’ll enjoy not turning on the furnace for the whole month!)
I will attempt to keep you informed of our progress, even if it ends up being by train and comfy pensiones. If we are trudging faithfully along on foot, you will probably hear less from me. The tentative plan is to spend about 3 weeks in Spain, walking from Astorga to Santiago (260 km) and perhaps onward to Finisterre, and then a week in the Czech Republic where N will visit her parents. I will fly home from Prague at the end of November. Dunno yet how we’ll get from Spain to Prague – it’s a bit far to walk in the time available.
By the way, I’ll admit that I hope this trip will be just the first of many long distance walks. Maybe next year I’ll walk the entire route from the Pyrenees (800 km). Or better still, from Seville (1000 km). Or maybe I’ll walk across Australia like these people have done.