Monday, October 25, 2010

Day 16 - Contemplating blue skies,whistles and umbrellas...

One of the perks of this season of my life is the fact that I can go for lunch in the middle (or the start, or the end for that matter...) of the week. Today was one of those lucky days for me.

Blue Monday nowadays refers more to the colour of the sky on the first day of my week than my state of mind...

Not a bad feeling, I tell you!

Today the blue sky was admired from Moyo, the spot my husband and I chose for lunch. We felt a bit like tourists in our own city as we opted for the whole hand washing/face painting deal.

I felt like all I needed to complete the picture after my painting session was a teepee! Here I am then - painted face and all...

There is just something about washing your hands this way before starting a meal - I think it should be a standard option at all restaurants!

And then there was the bread - served with olive oil and dhukka -delicious!

Just to prove that I was actually doing something constructive yesterday - here is our team of eager beavers waiting for the stream of cyclists to arrive, VERY EARLY in the morning. I'm beaver no. 5 at the far end - what a great excuse not to get on a bike and cycle 85km!

I'm done making excuses though - I climb mountains once a week and slowly (admittedly SLOWLY), I am starting to fit in a few early morning runs. I haven't been running for three months now, my running partner is so far ahead of me at this stage, I don't know if I'm ever going to catch up with her again.

I do miss our running sessions though, that really should be more than enough to get me motivated!!

So back to the Camino.

What to take along. That, after the bedbug issue, is probably the next big question. I have a pretty good idea of the basics but I thought finding out from people who have actually walked one or more of the camino's, is the best way to go about it. Straight from the horse's mouth as it where.

I have joined a 'virtual albergue' that I found during one of my surfing sessions and the following advise is what I found on the forum.

I've copied the comments as they appeared and will compile a more official looking, organised list at a later stage.

Here goes!

- A spiral immersion heater to make tea, coffee, cup-of-soup etc. Never travel without it.

- In my pocket: a whistle. Weighs nearly nothing, hopefully will never be used. On the day my rucksack snapped, I needed to use it. Why? To scare off a herd of very inquisitive, even aggressively inquisitive, bullocks who were only a couple of metres from me as I crossed a field, even by keeping close to the hedge. Waving arms, stick, shouting did nothing - but on the first short blast of the whistle they flinched, the second longer blast, they bolted.

(Note from me: And I was worried about bedbugs?!)

If you fall down a ravine, you might be able to shout for an hour or so, leaving you without a voice. A whistle goes on and on. It is also useful to attract attention in other nasty situations.

- For me, a needle, polyester thread, and a thimble, all in an old film canister - total weight about 20g. Saved my pilgrimage to St Davids (SW Wales) when the strap over my left shoulder snapped on my rucksack.

- An umbrella! My poncho ripped open in many places in a storm. I already had a mini super lightweight umbrella with me, but my husband decided that we needed something a bit bigger. It proved to be a god-send - both against the rain and against the sun over a couple of long treeless stretches

- Twisted elastic clothes line. No clips are necessary; clothes are slipped into the line gaps for drying. There is a lot of competition for drying lines at albergues, and the clothes clips provided are used up fast (and if you supply your own, they will be gone by the end of the trip).

- A sink stopper would have been handy in all the places where they were gone. It is hard to wash clothes in running water.

- My 2 "must" items that some folks might consider the basics were my Spork and my trusty Swiss Army knife. I learned about the Spork just before I left on my Camino and I had planned to take my basic Swiss Army knife but I upgraded it just before I left with several more accessories (that corkscrew on the new one came in handy many times along the way). These are 2 items were very useful.

- Well, if we're talking luxury: a small tube of eye cream. On every camino it has soothed me morning and night and made me think/hope that I wasn't turning into a hag from the ravages of daily sun and wind.

This last suggestion sounds like it should be number one on my list, unless some clever entrepreneur has latched on and has set up a mobile botox clinic along the way! :)


  1. That pic from the cycling event left me ready to pack up my bike and head down your way. When the option is house cleaning or riding 100 miles...the 100 miles wins every time!! Looks like your cyclists had a fabulous day to ride!

  2. It was a glorious day!I'll be posting more pic's in some of the future posts...

    I'd like to ask you - are you aware of a site where one could see all the major bicycle races (road bike, not mountain)in the States? My husband would love to do a race there next year sometime.

    He's raced in Australia, New Zealand and Austria and it would be amazing to combine a holiday with a race in the States.

  3. I think it's really cool that you're doing this pilgrimage thing! It seems like a really long distance but such an amazing opportunity!

    Stopping in from the SITS photography blog to say hi! :)


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