Saturday, 3 January 2015

A taste of things to come.

This will be my third camino starting on the 15 April 2015. I walk to collect money for charity. You can read  my travails on the Camino Frances Camino Portuguese and other routes by clicking    here.

The anticipation of waking on the morning at the start of a new trek, and the anticipation of days to come and what they might hold when the first few steps are taken over the starting line, never leave no matter how many miles I get under my belt. I walk alone. I prefer to set my own pace and stop when I want. To dawdle or race along as I see fit and to take the diversions I choose. I would be the first to admit this is a selfish view and indeed, I think trekking is by its nature is best experienced by it being a solitary pastime. One does meet fellow walkers on the trail but I eschew the forming of walking friendships in favour of the delights to be found in drinking in the scenery and occasional visit to the local cafe. Hostels are places to wash oneself and one's clothes and then sleep. I appreciate others would find this too lonely a life but like salt on food one seasons to suit.

Some train very hard before setting out on their treks but my bones only have so many miles left in them and I would rather spend them on the actual trail than pounding around my home countryside. It has been my experience that no matter how many training days I undertake before I leave home I only truly walk into peak fitness about a week after starting my trek. I also keep the the weight of my rucksack and content to around 8 kilograms.

One important item I would not be without are contact lenses. On the first day walking over the Pyrenees on the Camino Frances my glasses pooled with sweat, were always falling down my nose and once taken off and put down I had the deviil's own job finding them again. I have a distance contact lens for my left eye and and a reading lens for the other. I know if they are in the wrong eyes as I walk round in circles and can read backwards.

So, flights are booked and so is my first night in Seville. I have my list of hostels and a daily walking schedule prepared, the latter will no doubt be discarded after the first week when the real distances I walk will take the place of those I decided in the comfort of my living room. On leaving home I will kiss my wife goodbye and refuse to look back at my dogs as they gaze enquiringly at me through the garden gate, their faces turned sideways, They are asking if they can come too. It will be another five weeks before I can take them onto the moors behind my house.

When I set off from Seville I will have a long list of names of those who wish me light a candle for them or a loved one when I arrive at the cathedral at Santiago de Compostela. When I stood in a side chapel last year to perform these dedications I thought what a shame it was that the candles are now of the electric variety. But, that said, I was reading a long list of names from an Ipad so that's progress, I suppose.

As I start each day I will recite the words of the poet Robert Frost as the journey unfolds and I follow the spring days to the north.

....but I have promises to keep,
and miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep

I can think of no more appropriate mantra to spur me on my way.

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