Adventures beyond time

Adventures beyond time

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Counting Down to Camino 2009

Two weeks from tomorrow it begins. A friend will dog and house sit. We will be ready!

We have hiked a bit more than 11 miles, with our backpacks, three times in the past week. We are getting stronger each time.

Our planning for likely places to stop each day is progressing. We are posting the maps showing where we think we’ll stay during Week 2 and Week 3.

A few days ago we did a presentation for the Prime Time program at Santa Fe College here in town about the Camino, our experiences last year, and our plans for this year. We talked about Why we did it, Who went with us (just us), How we prepared, Where we stayed, What kinds of people we met along the way, What were the biggest challenges, What we most enjoyed, and Whether the Camino is for everyone.

Part of the fun was doing a show-and-tell of what went into our packs, and having the packs with us for folks to try on. The photos show some Prime Time members trying them.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Planning our Route

We missed an opportunity this morning. It rained hard, but too briefly. We had just returned from Cedar Key…

(Where, by the way, we had a beautiful, breezy, sunny afternoon yesterday volunteering at the Friends of the Lower Suwannee Wildlife Refuge booth at the Cedar Key Arts Festival, followed by a great couple of hours of beer, wine, and conversation with some of the other volunteers…)

and we didn’t get into our hiking gear in time, before the storminess ended. We still need to test our rain gear in real weather. Maybe The Universe is telling us that we will have a dry month for our walk this year, unlike last year’s very rainy, muddy one.

We have been pouring over the guidebooks and websites, thinking about how far we may want to walk each day and which of the many recommended albergues we’d like to stay in, if we have our choice. There are lots of types of places to stay along the route. Three categories frame the choices: (1) small hotels, when the route occasionally passes through a big town (2) casas rurales, which are akin to boarding houses (3) albergues, which are akin to hostels. Advice abounds on the web and in books about which ones have ambiance, clean bathrooms, more than 100 or fewer than 6 people in each room, lively dining rooms, lounges, bars, etc..

We are posting a map that shows the part of the route we are thinking of walking our first week, with possible towns to stay in. Of course, we’ll go farther or less far depending on how we feel each day, the weather, and lots of other factors as yet unseen. The photos enlarge if they are double-clicked.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

El Camino de Santiago de Compostela -- Redux

We are going back to the Camino de Santiago de Compostela, the 1000-year-old, 1000-mile-long pilgrimage and hiking trail in France and Spain. Despite the French rain and mud, our experience last year was great. If you click on the "Camino Project" label at the end of this post, you will see all the posts we did last year along the route.

The map shows the main route in France and Spain in yellow. I colored over the yellow with blue in indicate approximately where we walked last year and with pink to show where we plan to walk this year. We will start in Leon and walk to Santiago. It is about 190 miles…assuming we don’t get lost and have to retrace any steps.

According to the Lonely Planet and The Pilgrimage Road to Santiago, there will be four types of landscape:

1. The Meseta…a high tableland called paramos with wheat, scrubby oaks, heather, broom, and sheep. There is clay soil and brick-making, sparsely shaded plains,and widely spaced hamlets. Here we are supposed to find a stone to represent life's burdens, carry it to the mountains, and then leave it behind. I think I will decide that my burdens can be represented by a very light-weight stone.

2. Montes de Leon…higher than the Pyrenees that we climbed last year. This area has fields of Mediterranean aromatic thyme, lavender, rockrose, and sage growing along the trails.

3. El Bierzo…a valley area nestled between two mountain systems. Here we’ll have cherry trees, red pepper plants, and red wine grapes growing along the trail. The mountains near this region had gold that was mined by the Romans.

4. Galacia…more mountains to start this section, but not quite as high. We’ll expect chestnuts and oaks, then pines and eucalyptuses as the trail undulates down to Compostela…a rich dairy and farming region with an inheritance practice that leads to continual division of the lands and unending stone walls. Abundant villages should provide lots of opportunity for stopping in cafes.

We leave in mid May and plan to walk for a month. We are heavy into our training routine now, walking 4 to 10 miles daily and carrying our packs to get used to them. We are ordering cool gear and surfing for the places we want to stay. We’ll try to share the experience.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Cedar Key, Dallas, and Birthdays

Spring is lovely in Cedar Key and along the Suwannee River and we have been taking full advantage of the nice, bug-free weather.

While visiting Aunt Pat in Dallas recently, Peg explored some cheese shops and interviewed some cheese enthusiasts.

And, we celebrated a birthday!