I just love how this journey to Santiago is developing! It started out as a dream a couple of months ago that I thought I might just be able to turn into reality. I was pretty convinced that I was going to have to walk all 780km on my own with my old faithful backpack and walking stick being my only familiar travelling companions for more than a month.
Who would have thought that by September this year I would have been able to convince my husband to start joining me every now and then on one of my weekly hikes...This is a man who has cycled thousands of kilometers and until recently had less than zero interest in hiking or climbing mountains! Well, he now has his own pair of Merrells and a brand new backpack and we have even notched up an overnight hike together. I am ecstatic about this new found love of hiking that he is developing and I am hoping that just as we have explored wonderful parts of the world through his biking adventures, our boots will take us to many new destinations that we might not previously have considered exploring!
The photograph above was taken on our recent hike in the Southern Cederberg, my husband is the one on my left here - clearly not missing his beloved bike too much!
At one stage I was considering trying to make the Camino experience work for us with me walking and him cycling, but I'm not sure how one would bring the two together as we would never get to the same places at the same time. So I guess that plan that still needs some working on! Now that the hiking bug is starting to bite I have noticed that he is not totally disinterested in listening to my tales of people who have walked the Camino, so who knows, he might even end up walking part of the way with me.
Speaking of 'the way' - tomorrow afternoon a group of us will be making our way to the Labia theatre here in Cape Town for a special showing of the movie 'The Way', starring Martin Sheen. The movie was released last year and deals with a father whose son dies tragically in a freak accident whilst walking the Camino de Santiago pilgrimage. The father, (Sheen), then undertakes the journey himself, carrying his son's ashes with him.
He walks the Camino Frances, which is the exact route I will be walking. So as you can imagine, I am really looking forward to seeing this movie. Even if the story ends up not being that great, the scenery is definitely going to be of interest. A number of people who are considering walking with me at this stage are also going, so I can't wait!
For more information on the 'The Way', click here.
Finally - in the photo below we are with my Thursday hiking group, enjoying the wonderful West Coast spring flowers now in bloom in our part of the world. At this stage at least four of them are thinking of joining me in Spain next year - what a ball that will be! This day was planned to see how we would cope on a long walk that was not too different from some of the terrain that we would encounter on the Camino. We covered 15 kilometers in total and everyone was still very sure that walking the daily maximum of 25 kilometers on certain days would be within our reach.
I guess tomorrow's movie is going to make it all seem a little more real for all of us - one thing we couldn't
reenact was what it would be like to stay in the the albergues. That might be a little more difficult for some of us to get our heads around so lets hope those with doubts about sleeping in dorms with a bunch of strangers will have a better picture of that particular challenge by tomorrow evening! (I'm not sure if Mr Sheen actually went all the way and became a true pilgrim, or if he stayed in five star rooms along the way...)
I can't resist sharing this little piece from Ermanno Aiello's book, 'Forever a Pilgrim', where he relates an evening at one of the albergues where he found himself embroiled in a war of sorts...
He describes how he enjoys a wonderful meal with some of his fellow pilgrims and then continues: 'The evening passed all too quickly and we went too bed very late. I made the mistake of not taking my regular sleeping pill although, in my defence, it hadn't been necessary the previous two nights and I had not thought of it. What a night!! In spite of the four of us each having a bed in a section of the albergue and were thus pretty far apart, the snoring that emanated from Giorgio's and Jacques' sections rivalled and surpassed that of my first night at Hornillos. I was convinced that those two were having their own private Third World War, with their vocal chords as weapons of mass destruction.'
A couple of years ago that paragraph would have been enough to make me pass on this adventure without reading any further. Nowadays however, it doesn't seem like enough to put me off. It only serves to remind me to google the best quality earplugs, oh, and a good supply of sleeping tablets might be worth investing in after all!