Monday, May 29, 2006

camino santiago de compostela

It is a 500 mile pilgrimage from St Jean pied de port in France to Santiago de compostela in Northern Spain; one can walk, ride a mule, a horse or a bike. I was going to walk the last 60 miles but changed my mind. I trained for it though. For 5 months I walked for 8 hours, 3 days a week. I started walking 2 hours a day the first few days and by the second month I was walking 6 hours and over the next week' was walking 8 hours, sometimes 2 days in a row. I didn't get any blisters on my feet but I remember my calf muscles took a beating. They were so tense that at a slightest misstep I would feel tremendous pain, so much pain that I limp some days. I just walked and walked, some days with a packed backpack just to simulate the actual pilgrimage. I went to a walking store and got a pair of cute hiking boots that set me back $200 and a cool backpack that cost another $200. I bought a plane ticket and was ready to embark on the adventure when my sister called and changed my mind for me. She was afraid I wouldn't come back. The Tsunami in Asia had just happened and lots of Americans didn't come back from their vacation in Asia. I had to make changes to my itinerary. Since I was booked to fly to Santiago de Compostela, I did and stayed 2 days, visiting the cathedral and watched the pilgrims come in. Then I took the train to Bayone, France and onward to St Jean pied de port from where most pilgrims start their 500 mile walk up the Pyrenees to Spain and across Northern Spain to Santiago de Compostela. I was on the train with about 2 dozen pilgrims. I went to the pilgrim office and saw them get instructions and off they went. That was last year. I still get pilgrim news from the British Confraternity of St James and American pilgrims on the road. Would I attempt it again? I doubt it. I don't have the patience to train again. Looking back I don't know how I mustered the patience to train. But I need to find another use for my boots and backpack. I need to go on a trek, maybe to Tibet or China or Nepal.

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