Wow what a great day! Today was a day of practical information. How much will this pilgrimage cost ? What type of backpack to use? Do we need a sleeping bag? What clothes should we bring? There were lots of personal anecdotes from those who have walked the Camino but it was a day to help us prepare.
A young couple who walked the Camino Francès (St. Jean-Pied-de-Port to Santiago) last summer showed us what they had in their backpacks, what clothes they brought, what else was in their pack. Everything from shorts, pants, coat to how many pairs of underwear, socks, rubber sandals for the shower, toothbrush and soap, what guide they used and how much money they brought. They also described a typical day, what time they left in the morning, how many kilometres they walked and at what time they stopped. They also talked about their activities once arrived at the hostel. The only surprise or revelation for me was that they brought no books to read! They talked together, talked with other pilgrims. Afternoon siestas were frequent. Thinking about food and preparing their simple meals took a lot of time. Taking care of their feet and keeping their backpack in order took time. For me being without a book to read seems unthinkable. However, they may be right. I will have to think about it carefully; a pocketbook is extra weight and my pack is at its limit now!
Of the about 30 people at today’s session who will be walking in 2008 or 2009, Arlette and I will be the first to begin and we were of that small group, the only ones leaving from Puy-en-Velay in France with a goal to walk all the way to Santiago de Compostella, all 1,522 km! Is there a message there? Are we taking on too much? I believe we can do it that we will end up in front the Santiago de Compostella cathedral sometime at the beginning of July!
Below, you can view a map of the path we will be walking in France. We expect it will take us probably between 35 and 40 days to walk this part of our trip. The map comes from this web site. At another time I will add the map for the Spanish part of our trip.