Blog

Catherine on the French Way

CAMINO Day1- French Route Counting my Blessings!

  1. The Camino was on my bucket list- but because of work- my friends +I planned for a short 1wk trip. I discovered Gregory’s book in Audio form on ‘Audible’... it was so practical and enjoyable to listen to- it really got me excited +psyched for the trip
  2. Because I enjoyed the book, I signed up for the Walk Quietly Forum and Gregory emailed me the next day... I was so impressed by his dedication. I was just at the point of booking the flights +thanks to his advice... I booked1 extra day 🙏🏻
  3. We’re cheating big time!!! We’re traveling with Mac Adventures- all accommodation is booked in advance,+ our big bags are brought ahead for us... when the day job is hectic... we can focus on the walk+ de-stressing😉
  4. First night was in La Posada De la Casona, in Sarria- really nice accomadation+ breakfast. The Landlady is a self confessed ‘Feeder’ and encouraged all the guests to sit at the same table, with mountains of fruit+ an endless supply of pancakes+ eggs, cheese +Salami.., a lovely start to the trip
  5. I’m loving Spain- this is my first trip here! OMG the value for money is astounding... 3course meals with a drink - 8e!!! The Spanish work hard, but are so welcoming. The country side+ farm houses are so simple+ traditional. There are loads of nice cafes along the Camino Route- making The Pitstops really enjoyable... it’s a great escape.
  6. Final blessing of the day was Casa Cruz in Portmarino... all the charm mentioned above there in plenty- we were made feel so welcome+ at home🙏🏻

CAMINO DAY2

  1. Chorus of Grasshoppers- there’s lots of walkers... but as day goes on the crowd thins, and my comrades +I get a little more weary- the ‘walk quietly’ advice came to mind. It gets soooo peaceful -only the chorus of grasshoppers, breeze+ birds. 
  2. No watching the clock- I think of everyone working at home+ am so glad I’m away to unwind. The more breaks/pit stops ennroute the merrier.
  3. Foot checks- one of my party of four developed a monster blister yesterday + had to take a taxi half way through the walk today. She bought her boots last year+ wore them for a 6day bike in Scotland with no problems?!?! We’re taking off our socks now on breaks +ones of the gals found a Blister starting unexpectedly- Have blister plasters at the ready+ lots of them. 
  4. I’m feeling young! I’m about to turn 40... my hip +shoulders are aching a little at the end of the walks like never before! But there are a huge number of walkers+ cyclers in their 60sPlus... even a young lady travelling alone with 10month old baby... soooo inspirational.

DAY3-

  1. We only had a 17km walk today- so we started a little later at 9am... it’s actually really nice to walk off peak away from the crowds.
  2. The mornings and evenings are actually quite cool- we had a little rain shower yesterday... not really expected based on my ‘Yahoo Forecast’- v glad I brought a few extra layers!
  3. My friend wore her good ol runners today+ found it much easier on her feet- good to have them on board as a planB!

[Posted with permission of the author.]

Hydration

Staying hydrated is important. Especially when hiking and walking long distances. In general, a person should consume about 2 liters of water a day. During a 15-20 kilometer hike, that requirement increases. And, if it's a hot day or the terrain is steep or difficult, the number goes up even more.

It's also worth noting that by the time you're actually thirsty, you're already dehydrated. So, getting in the habit of drinking water while walking is incredibly important. (Perhaps I stress this a bit heavy because I live in the desert and water truly is life when out in the wild here!)

The availability of fresh, clean drinking water along the Camino ways is one of the big reasons they are safe to travel throughout the year. You will find water sources easily on most of your walking days. (There are several days along the Via de La Plata where you have to carry a bit more water because there isn't any available.)

While water is heavy (one liter weighs one kilogram), it's essential to carry enough to keep yourself hydrated, healthy, and safe. And, there are two ways most pilgrims carry water: bottles and bladders.

Camelbak

My personal choice were bottles. I love Camelbak water bottles. I had two, 1 liter bottles. They fit perfectly in the outside, side pockets of my Osprey backpack, so I had easy access all the time to them. The ring on the top also allowed me to use a carabiner clip and attach an "in use" bottle to the front straps of my packpack, making for even easier access.

Why did I prefer bottles? They're easy to refill throughout the day and they're easy to keep clean inside and out.

The second choice is a bladder. Most of my fellow walkers chose bladders. Why? They hold more water than a bottle and they attach inside the backpack, allowing them to stay cooler and allowing for their weight to be more evenly distributed via the backpacks basic structure. Of course, they aren't easy to refill during your hiking day and they can be difficult to clean.

As with all Camino gear, the choice is yours. This is one of those items that you should definitely practice with before hitting your Camino. Perhaps that's why I like the bottles so much. During my weekly hiking adventures, I fill the bottles and tuck them into the pockets of my backpack. I use them all the time. If I had started with bladders, they might be my favorite now.

Jacket

The type of jacket you'll possibly need depends on the time of year you walk your Camino. If you walk in the Summer, you might not require a jacket at all (but you should probably carry something lightweight that will keep you dry if it rains). In the spring or fall, it might still be cold in the elevations, and there's always the possibility of rain. Of course, winter provides it's own issues with cold, snow, rain, and sleet.

When I walked it was Spring into early summer. We only had one day of rain over about 7 weeks. While we were walking north on the Via de La Plata, a friend of some pilgrims I was traveling with who was on the France Way experienced 30 straight days of rain. One truly doesn't know what's going to happen.

I carried a raincoat that tucked into it's own pocket. Convenient and light from a packing standpoint, but boy was it uncomfortable to wear. The Spaniards I met were wearing coats made out of Gortex. Lightweight and the fabric kept them very dry.

In preparation for life (I spend some time in the elements even when I'm not on a Camino), I purchased a Mammut rain jacket. It's Gortex, so it keeps me very dry, and it has an adjustable hood that allows me to keep the thing up and away from my eyes so I can see while walking and hiking. While not cheap, I found it well worth the investment.

Walk Quietly

Walk Quietly: 58 Tips to Help You Prepare to Walk the Camino de Santiago is now available.

Planning to walk a Camino de Santiago pilgrimage in Spain? This is the book for you. A collection of tips to help you plan, prepare, train, shop for, and walk the famous Camino de Santiago written by someone who spent 7 weeks walking the Via de La Plata route of the Camino de Santiago. You’ll learn what gear you’ll need, how to choose the right boots and break them in properly. You’ll discover the best ways to Condition yourself to walk the Camino de Santiago. You’ll discover what to wear on the plane and then to have in your pockets when you arrive in Spain. You’ll be ready for a “typical” day on the Camino and you’ll also be prepared for some of the changes that are coming your way, too. Plus, there are dozens of gorgeous photos taken in Spain by the author during his Camino de Santiago pilgrimage. Buon Camino!

Download Your Copy Today!