Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Day 571 - Less than 5 months to go!

Headless in Spain...

Even though I took this picture, I could very well have been the one posing for it instead. I'm feeling a little headless myself at this stage of the game! Somehow the months have managed to fly away from me and now I have less than five months to go before I start walking.

There seems to be a million things to organise and plan and for the very first time I'm starting to feel a little nervous. I'm hoping it's sheer excitement rather than nerves, but I will admit, that lady in red on the pic feels a lot like me looking in the mirror right now! Dressed up for Spain but without a plan to match and definitely wearing the wrong shoes! The missing head is probably up in the clouds somewhere - well, I can't say that's far from the truth either!

Two evenings ago we had a planning get together at our house and in keeping with the event, I opened a bottle of  'Barefoot' Merlot from California. How on earth that arrives on a shelf in Cape Town, South Africa for under R30, I don't know! I bought it for three reasons - it had won a medal in the States, I loved the label for the occasion and I found the price hard to resist. (Plan B was to cook with it if it really tasted like bare feet...) I can however report that it wasn't half bad!

So that's how Eddie, Oscar and I came to share our first glass of red whilst planning our camino! (Up to now it's only ever been discussed over cups of coffee or Energade in the mountains!)

How apt is that!

Initially we thought we would be flying Cape Town - London - Biarritz. After looking at all the options available to us regarding airlines, frequent flyer miles in the bank etc., we have decided to fly Cape Town - Paris - Bordeaux. From Bordeaux we'll take the train to St Jean Pied de Port. We'll start walking from here on.

Our barging trip in Burgundy post Camino was confirmed today as well.

Hang on.

Writing all of this down makes me realise that perhaps I'm not AS headless at this stage as it feels - it actually sounds like the plan is somehow coming together. So it must be nerves - drat. Maybe it's time to sign up for that Yoga class I've been meaning to do. Someone needs to teach me how to breathe...

So these are the questions I have to deal with right now:

1)  I know where to store my luggage that I will need for the barging trip after the Camino, the question is HOW do I get it to Santiago from Bordeaux without paying a fortune? I know that posting it is an option and that it would be best to post it from within Spain but that would mean that I would have to schlep it with me over the Pyrenees and that aint happening...

As we will be barging in Burgundy and we fly back home from Paris, it might be worth finding out if the boating company has some system in place whereby I can forward the bag from Paris to the town where we collect the boat.

2)  As I'm working on the budget (well just roughly anyway) I need to figure out what the approximate daily cost is for an albergue and three meals. As we have decided on the dates, I now know more or less how many days we've given ourselves, so that will help with that calculation.

3)  We plan to arrive in Santiago on the 12th of July - the day of my birthday. So I'm thinking that we'll pay a visit to the church that day and then attend mass the next morning before going to the pilgrims' office to collect our 'Compostella's' - proof that we completed the Camino. SO - I need to find out what time mass is and what the hours of the pilgrims' office are.

From here on we could hire a car and drive to Burgundy to board our boat at 16h00 the next afternoon. Google map tells me this is a journey of about 16-17 hours by car, so now I have to look at the cost of this and the time it is going to take as opposed to perhaps flying to Paris and then going to Migennes by train.

Those are a few of the most important questions I have right now, as the sooner some of these things are booked, the better the prices are going to be. (And I don't think finalizing this will harm my breathing either...)

So if you are a Camino graduate and you have been through any of this or have answers or suggestions regarding any of these arrangements - I would love to hear from you!

In the meantime - 'Barefoot in California' it is for me! Oh, and I'll post some of our holiday pics in the next post - funny how Spain keeps featuring in my life...


  1. wow there is a lot of preparation involved for sure. I can feel the butterflies in your stomach...all the way from here.
    I'd like to be Barefoot in California about now...sun and sand sounds kinda nice.

  2. It's pretty nice on this side of the world as well right now Wendy - sun and sand abounds here at the moment, in fact we've had a heatwave in our city this past week! As for all the preparation - I think once the plane tickets have been booked I'll feel a bit more relaxed about it all - it's like drawing the outline of a picture and then colouring in the rest!

  3. Hi Emilene
    your boat trip does seems to complicate things I suppose posting is your only option-unless you can post to Migennes? do you know about the trick of posting it to yourself at a post office?
    the cost of the Camino is about 1 euro per km-a light breakfast-3 euro's light midday snack 4 euro(menu del day with wine 9 euro)a evening pilgrim menu also 9 euro.most aubergues have cooking facilities and shared meals are very tend to eat a lot less-pasta fruit ect.
    the pilgrim office is open 10am to 6pm,its better to get your Compostella late afternoon,long cues in a morning!!
    the pilgrim mass is 12 or 1pm.
    no planes fly to Paris from Santiago (small airport)2 flights a day from Porto to small airports outside Paris (21 euros bus to Porto)
    or you can catch a flight to Frankfurt hann all flights are the budget airline Ryanair (40 euros to Paris or Frankfurt)its a lot more if you book too far ahead-best prices 3-4 weeks before departure-I only ever book flights when I'm on the Camino.
    Ryanair also have a link to car hire Heartz,at the moment if you book one month in advance online the price for small car is about 50 euros per day-pickup Santiago airport drop-off any airport in France or Paris central
    there are lots of toll roads in France-can be thought when my brother came back to England from SA his driving License was not valid-but that was 15 years ago maybe different now.
    The Camino is the most people friendly place you have ever seen-no problems only solutions. Ian

  4. the Sa expert on the Camino is Sylvia Nilson kwazulu-natel
    she would love it if you contacted her

  5. Thanks a mil Ian - funny, just today my friend Eddie mentioned the possibility of traveling via Porto. You've certainly given us some great tips. I have chatted to Sil about some of the other issues, will definitely gey hold of her again.

    Thanks again!


Thank you so much for taking the time to leave a comment, I welcome your input!