Well, it’s that time of year again. The summer has flown by, as it always seems to, and we find ourselves packing up our bins and getting to work on our annual carpet vacuuming. It’s been a great summer, as usual, with plenty of time spent up at Waskesiu, plenty of sports and, for me, a couple weeks spent in Montana just to mix things up and get a bit of a mountain fix. So this quick update is just to give those of you who follow our travels a bit of a heads-up as to where we’re headed this fall (i.e. Camino del Norte), not to mention which unwise endeavours we are going to subject our bodies to.
It all starts out tamely enough, on September 6th with a few different flights ending in Toulouse, France, known as “The Pink City” for reasons I can’t begin to guess, which comes highly recommended by some of our more well-travelled friends. There we will spend three days and four nights seeing the sights, maybe doing a little wandering along the Garonne River, but mainly just doing our desperate best to get onto a normal sleeping schedule in order to shake off jet lag in time for us to start the main event a few days later.
That main event being hiking a second Camino de Santiago. Our first was the Camino Francés back in 2012, and it turned out to be so inspirational and memorable that I couldn’t resist writing an entire book about that 5-week stretch of scenery, soreness and salami sandwiches. All the many different Caminos end in Santiago de Compostela, Spain, but there are many different starting points. This time we will be starting with a few nights in San Sebastian on the Atlantic Coast of Spain and, after being joined by Leigh, a British friend from Guatemala, we will be following the spectacular northern coast along the Camino Del Norte. At least that is the plan for the first three weeks or so, at which point we are planning to branch off onto another variation, the Camino Primitivo. This will take us through more mountainous, rural scenery that should contrast nicely with the reputedly beautiful, but often quite touristy, beach towns along the coast. All told, we will be hiking about 800 kilometres to Santiago, almost identical to the Francés, which should take us somewhere between 4 and 5 weeks. Which also means 4 to 5 weeks of dorm living and shared bathrooms. Then we may tack on another 100 km walking to Fisterra, which is right on the ocean and apparently the most westerly point of mainland Europe. Why not, right? I mean, we’ll already be carrying all those Band-Aids and Ibuprofen, may as well use them.
After that, depending on exactly how long the hike ends up taking us, we’ll spend a week or so checking out some new Spanish towns, mainly resting our feet and luxuriating in some private bathrooms, then make our way to Madrid (which will be our first visit where we actually leave the airport) and eventually fly from there to Tenerife, in the Canary Islands, on November 1st for six weeks of letting our bodies recover in the supposedly “eternal spring weather” of the Canaries.
Then we’ll be home for Christmas, as usual and, also as usual, Guatemala will be looming in the New Year. As for updates, I’ll probably send something from San Sebastian before we fully embark on our Camino, but after that things will be pretty sporadic for a while since one of the most important factors of an enjoyable Camino is packing as light as possible so, needless to say, laptops, or even tiny netbooks, need not apply.
Wish us luck, and we’ll try to stay in touch.