Saturday, 9 June 2012

El Camino - beckons

In a couple of days we, a group of friends and I, will embark on a walk of some 110 Km which forms the last section of the bigger Camino de Santiago. This is the minimum that one needs to do in order to obtain the certificate known as the 'compostela' which needs to be stamped in numerous places on the way to ensure you actually did the walk. This last section consists of five stages which we will try and walk in six days.
Why are we doing this? Each member of the group has his or her reasons, mine are:
  • Discover the psyche of the culture of Christian peregrination
  • Improve my own spiritual karma
  • Learn to be for a long period in a group and also on my own
and confront my destiny..what is the meaning of the rest of my life..

I had read many books on the subject and talked to many people who had done it, and recently also saw the Holywood version, so I guess it was inevitable that one of these days I would get to do some portion of the Camino, and with the support of a large group, it seems possible.

What should we carry? As with any project of this nature the goods you carry with you are as important as the walk itself. Having read Bill Bryson's 'Walk in the woods' about his adventures with the Appalachian Trail on the east coast of the US, where he starts off with a pack of about 50 Kilos and by the third day has thrown most of the contents of his backpack away (including that most essential of items - chocolate!), I decided on the light rucksack.
  • Three pairs of socks
  • equal number of underpants
  • teeshirts - three again
Maybe there is a theme building around the number three here
  • One extra pair of shorts
  • A rain cape (sort of tent that covers you entirely) - the heaviest item at about half kilo
  • slippers
  • one light jacket (for the early morning starts)
  • a few toiletries (all small)
  • Tissues - (this also useful for toilet emergencies on the Camino!)
  • Wallet with CC, cash, and some ID - not forgetting the compostela!
  • Pair of walking sticks - these are still debatably optional - might leave these out..
  • Foot creams and some medicines
  • Plastic bags, safety pins and clips to hang various items from the rucksack or clothes lines or whatever.
It s almost certain that we will have forgotten to take something or the other along, that we will only discover when we need it. A long bus/train journey takes us to Sarria in Galicia where we start. Then follow six days of walking and resting at various hostels along the way which we have reservations for already.
People tend to start early, some as early as 5am, but I have a feeling our group will redefine early to around 8am.

For the last few days the bigger outdoor sport shops have been doing a roaring trade with our group, who have mostly never done anything like this so have to buy all new kit. Hopefully most of the things are a good investment, but I cant help thinking of all those medieval walkers many of whom were convicts doing this as a punishment, and who never had access to the big stores selling all kind of stuff to make their journeys comfortable.

I am sure we will be missing all that hardship..I will report from the walk itself next week..and send out positive energies to all of you as I build my spiritual Karma..

Wish us luck and make a prayer to help us along if you can..

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