As 2015 draws to a close and I cast an eye back over the year the highlight will always be the Camino de Santiago we did in July/August. There were some regrets, not going over the Napoleon Route when I had the opportunity in July, not making it to Finesterre and of course, Clarisa having to ditch the last 20kms thanks to that horrendous (and gross) blister.
Hardly a day goes by where we don’t talk about the Camino in our house, whether it’s the exhaustion we faced on some 12 hour days, some of the cool and crazy (weird) people we met or the number of times we stepped in human waste, sometimes barefoot. However, 99% of the memories are fond memories.
On camino, on this very blog, I promised myself i’d do several important things in my life, namely, take greater care of myself (OK, that partly worked), to get a dog (we now have a cute 6 month old Yorkshire Terrier named Muffin), to launch an App, City Swag, (currently awaiting review in the Apple Store) and lastly to try to curb some of my general anxiety about life, love and the universe and develop a closer relationship with God.
In October we joined a church here in Barcelona and I will be confirmed in 2016 which is very exciting. For someone who had never read the Bible or taken any real interest in religion (or walking for that matter), the events of 2015 will have surprised a great many people, but for those who really know me and how events in my life had unfolded in 2014, they’d be less surprised. I can wholeheartedly recommend the Camino to anyone who is suffering mentally for any reason, at a crossroads in their life or feeling lost, you will gain perspective and renewed sense of hope & aliveness. Maybe the ‘camino effect’ comes just from being outside for 30+ days straight, maybe it’s the exercise, maybe it’s the Milky Way.. but it’s something.
It’s something that is calling us again.
No two Caminos are the same as no two days on the Camino are the same (with the exception of Burgos-Leon). We have a block of free time, likely the only block of free time in 2016 to do the first part of the Camino, the part Clarisa missed, St Jean Pied de Port to Burgos in 12 days. That’s pretty quick in good conditions, but in winter, it’s a supreme effort, but with a favourable wind; it’s possible. We would be on Camino over the New Year and Three Kings period in Spain, which will present many challenges simply with obtaining resources, we’ll need to carry more food and water, and, as its winter, our gear will be heavier and probably wetter, adding even more weight. We’ll need boots as well as the new heavy Goretex trainers we got in Sarria in August, as well as lots of layers to fight cold and rain (but please no snow!) The below is what can happen in Roncesvalles in January.
So, we’re making a list, and checking it twice, for windproofs, waterproofs, snowproofs, mittens, bus timetables, albergue opening dates and loose screws. Will we?