Ready, Set, Vamos

To say I am fired up (but equally nervous) for Friday’s Spain departure is an understatement. While I’ve done a fair amount of traveling, I’ve never totally flown by the seat of my pants like this. Really, the only part of the trip that is planned is my train ticket to the little village of St. Jean Pied de Port which is the starting point of El Camino de Santiago (the Frances Way).

After paying 62€, my one-way ticket goes like this: Orléans, Tours, Bordeaux (via the TGV which I’ve never taken before), Bayonne and finally St. Jean Pied de Port. I leave at 7am and should arrive around 4pm if all goes as planned. Yes, know it’s a long day, but I’ve never really traveled by train and I felt like this was just another part of the Camino experience.

I have spent all week preparing my backpack so it’s under the 6kg (about 13lbs) recommended for my body size.

First test run: 7.8kg (17lbs)
Second test run – 7.4kg (16lbs.)
Third test run – 6.1kg (13lbs.), which will just have to do because I’m not sure I could walk naked.

So, here’s what I got: 2 pairs of pants, 2 dry fit t-shirts, 1 tank top, 1 rain/polar jacket combo, 1 poncho, 1 pair of walking shoes, 1 pair of hiking sandals, 3 pairs of socks, 2 sports bras, 4 pairs of underwear, camera, iPod, cell phone, Kindle, 1 towel, 1 fancy sleeping bag, 1 hotel size shampoo, soap, conditioner, small flashlight, sleeping mask and ear plugs for my fellow pilgrim snorers, spanish phrase book, few first aid supplies, 3 individual packs of emergency instant coffee, mascara, bug spray and mace (a little gift from Corinne).

One big question mark is the weather. For the past few weeks, it’s been nothing but rain. The reason I am worried about this is the whole fact that I’ve never actually climbed a mountain before, which is what you do the first day from St. Jean Pied de Port to Roncesvalles (about 25km or 15 miles). This part is known as the most dangerous section should it be snowy (unlikely) or foggy (maybe). So, if that is the case, I will forgo the experience of crossing the Pyrenees and take a bus to Roncesvalles.  As of now, it looks like the rain will continue through the weekend, but after that, it’s clear and sunny skies for a couple of days. So, what I’m hoping and praying for is that the weeks of rain will turn the Spanish country side into a beautiful shade of green, like this:

A little taste of what my first day of hiking will look like.

Other than everything above, I have a guide-book and money, which I’ve found speaks wonders in tricky situations. Otherwise, I’ll just have to have faith that St. James will take care of the rest and lead me in the right direction.

Until my next internet connection, Adios!

If you’d like to read more about the Camino, check out this site: http://www.caminosantiagodecompostela.com/

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