The week leading up to leaving for the Camino was one of anxiety and planning. How does one prepare to be gone for 45 days?
The short answer. You don’t. You just hope for the best!
An overview of my travel itinerary.
I took the red eye out of San Diego on Monday leaving at 8:40PM. Landed in London around 2pm Tuesday. After a 4 hour layover, I traveled on to Barcelona.
Arriving at 10:00 PM, collecting my bags, and clearing Customs, I arrived at my hotel around 11:15. Only to get a few hours sleep and head back to the airport at 5:15AM for a 6:45AM flight to San Sebastián. Unbeknownst to me, the San Sebastián Airport is only a few kilometers from Irun. I was under the assumption it was significantly further.
I arrived at my hotel around 9AM and promptly allowed to check in.
Since then, I have been organizing my back pack and getting ready to start the Camino Norte tomorrow. After reading more about the northern route, it was an easy decision. It is a little more physically demanding, but the scenery and the food more than make up for the added physical challenge.
My pack. Oh my pack. You would think I have no experience with the Camino. The phrase over prepared comes to mind. In reality, my pack weight will be right around 25 pounds.
My starting pack weight for the Camino Frances was around 23 pounds. I culled that down to 18 pounds within the first week.
This time around, I brought a few more luxuries, all with a purpose of course.
Luxury items this time around include. Instant coffee. Ice tea bags, a small collapsible tea kettle. And additional clothes. I’m sure you are thinking, “Ice tea and coffee are luxury items?”
Yes, as a matter of fact they are! I couldn’t find a glass of ice tea in Spain to save my life last time I was hear. Occasionally a little bit of home goes a long way. And for me, that’s ice tea. I drink ice tea every day. It was something I missed, EVERY. SINGLE. DAY!
Coffee. The coffee in Spain is as good as any coffee I have ever had. However, I generally start hiking between 6 and 7 am. And you simply cant find anything open at that hour.
Fortunately both of those items are consumable, so the weight of them will diminish over my trek.
As for additional clothing. Previously, I had literally only the clothes I wore to hike in every day, and a pair of basketball shorts and T-shirt for the evening. While it worked well. I occasionally felt under dressed when going out for dinner. Additionally, on the Northern route the opportunity to swim in the ocean presents itself frequently. I can think of nothing better than a dip in the sea as a refreshing break.
My additional clothing items this trip are a pair of jeans (which I’m already planning to ditch. They are heavy!), a pair of swimming shorts, a polo shirt and a nicer pair of shorts. I also brought along a pair of light tennis shoes instead of flip flops. In theory, flip flops are great. But after walking all day, day after day, your feet become extremely fatigued. In the evening, while walking around town, the simple act of keeping them on your feet is a chore.
The remaining additional weight in my pack, are the cremated remains of my Father. Part of my pilgrimage is bringing him along on my adventure, and spreading his ashes across Spain.
Over the years, he shared with many people, reading and hearing about my adventures always brought a smile to his face. We never experienced one of my longer trek adventures together, although we talked about it on occasion. I thought he would enjoy coming along for the ride, posthumously, as it might be. It will also allow me time to make peace with his passing.
Tomorrow begins my newest Camino. The remainder of today will be spent catching up on sleep, as I am running on 8 hours in the last 48 hours.
*For photos of my adventure, please visit instagram. @diverja