When we went last year, people asked where will you stay? what will you eat? how far will you go each day? how will you know where to go?
And we would answer, “Well, we’ve heard there are inexpensive places pilgrims can stay, food is plentiful, and there are markers all along the way. As for how far, we know the kids can walk 20km, so we’ll see how we go…..”
This time we know.
There *are* frequent places to stay – they can be municipal dormitories with fifty people to a room, they can be smaller parochial guesthouses, they can be private pensions. There are supermercados and panaderias, bars and restaurants with meals especially for pilgrims for all your foodie needs. For the more remote stretches that we will be doing where there is no food available we will be taking a small supply of dehydrated porridge for the mornings and homemade dehydrated curry and potato flakes to enjoy at the end of the day.
Remote stretches? Yes, we will be walking through the mountains on some of the less travelled trails. The routes are marked so we shouldn’t get lost. We feel well prepared having studied closely websites such as gronze, mundicamino and eroski, as well as asked lots of questions from experienced pilgrims on the Camino Forum. If you are thinking of walking, I highly recommend these resources. The gronze site is the least fancy to look at and perhaps the most difficult to navigate, but its claim to fame (and the reason it’s my fave) is that the distances and elevations given on the maps are the most accurate)
Distances. We know that everyone, including the youngest, managed 20+ km. In fact, the day I took the two girls off to the hospital and we travelled by bus and taxi, the rest of the group walked almost 30km. Micaiah, who was ten at the time, survived, but had painfully aching legs that evening, so we will be avoiding such distances. Walking a marathon as a one-off is one thing; doing it day after day after day is quite another. We have time to go as little as 15km every day if necessary, but we’ll see how we go. If we can cover 20km or more comfortably, we’ll do it. Everyone will be two years older than last time, so it might make a difference.
And then there’s Martin Luther King’s question. He suggested, “Life’s most persistent and urgent question is this: what are you doing for others?”
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