What we know for sure that just ain’t so. 

Planning in earnest to map out route from Irun to Santiago. I have had a straw man since last fall where I pencilled in first 10 days and last 10 days but wanted to start booking accommodation en route. The whole letting go and trusting thing does not play well with me – maybe I will have it beaten into me by circumstances – you can take the maritime surface officer out of the Navy but….something like that.  Add in the logistician wife and the appeal of a framework is obvious. 

Planning is essential but the plan is meaningless. There are many things that can and likely will obstruct the execution of the plane  but have learned a lot through the exercise that will be handy when we have to improvise. 

We have a general principle of longer days walking so that we can have rest days to rest and explore some of the cities along the way including San Sebastien, Bilbao, Santander, Llanes, Oviedo and Lugo. There is a long stretch along the Primitivo of 6 days of walking that will be longest stretch without a rest. 

“It ain’t what you don’t know that gets you into trouble. It’s what you know for sure that just ain’t so”. Mark Twain



Training and gatherings with 1 month to go!

We have been out hiking with our trekking poles this and last weekend. I had convinced myself that this was some dark art that would be hard to master – it just pretty much seems like walking. Walking but better!  Great for speeding us up on flats and easing strain on descents. Di has really take to them and speed her up over all terrain as well as easing concerns on straining joints on descents.

We had our local gathering of pilgrims today. Full day event with about 250 seasoned pilgrims and aspirants. Now that we have chosen the Norte we had some good conversations on the breaks with people who have done that route. Really informative day – my gear list gets bigger evertime I hear a good idea. Packing will be hard although Di assures me that she will sort me out. Here’s hoping.

We are on verge of getting overexcited. We have to step in off the ledge and stay focused on what’s going on now rather than be to fixated on what’s happening a month today.

Found rubber Birkenstock’s online today for both of us. This counts as very exciting as I think they can sub for flip fops and evening pilgrim footwear. In a 38 litre bag double tasking is very important. I was a little concerned my Keen sandals were a bit heavy and not good shower wear. Here’s hoping that these work – will leave room for a heavy battery to keep my precious iPhone charged as a map and guidebook substitute as well as a means to keep work email tamed.


6 weeks to go

Some sewing today after some shopping at MEC yesterday. Water bladders, carabiners, camp suds etc etc. Every time we visit MEC we hemeorage money. Have gathered half my gear and filled my 38 liter pack. So some editing to come. It’s actually not that bad – I think Di will be able to help me shrink my stuff to fit.  

Weather was howling and rainy today. We got out for a couple of hour walk. We will try to get out with trekking poles next week so that the first time we use we are not a hazard to ourselves or each other. Have found a good looking pixtno bar about 50 m from our apartment in San Sebastien – suitable for first jet lagged evening. By my estimation that means it’s all coming together. 


Getting Ready to Start


In three weeks our local cofraternity of St James is hosting a Pilgrim’s gathering and we are pretty excited to participate in this event again. Last year we got great packing and gear advice. We also heard a talk about the Camino Norte and Primitivo combo that helped confirm our choice of taking that route.

“We” are me, Graham, and my wife Diana. We both turn 50 in the fall and have planned to walk the Camino to mark the event for about 20 years – since reading David Lodge’s “Therapy”. The book introduced me to the Camino for the first time although it is more about mid life crisis than Caminos. We decided on the Camino with a confidence that it was eternity away. Here we are.

Most of the gear is bought so the bigger job will be shrinking the pile of gear rather than adding to it. We went for a big shop after the last Camino gathering and have packs and sleeping bags and merino aplenty strewn about. At the top of my list is to bring everything back together and packed up in next couple of weeks so we can get a few walks in with all our gear. We have done a lot of walking but none with bags yet.

Never blogged and not sure whether I want to blog the Camino as we go. But we’ll see.