In December 2018, we decided to walk the Camino Frances again in 2019. Based on our knowledge of weather, crowds and personal preferences, we decided to walk in late summer and early fall
To maintain a good level of physical conditioning year-round, we normally go together to the gym 2-3 days per week to do weights, swim or walk(treadmill or elliptical). On the non-gym days we leisurely walk 2-3 miles in our neighborhood…missing days for bad weather,sickness or travel and taking an occasional day or so off, just because we can.
By early April 2019, we began wearing our Camino footwear of choice (Lowa boots or Ecco fishing sandals for Jim, Quechua trekking sandals or HOVR Sonic running shoes for Linda) for our walks. We adjusted our routine by getting up and walking, without breakfast by 6:30-6:45 every day, regardless of the weather, etc. and walk at least 2.5 miles before returning home for breakfast. This training method conditions our feet, tests the comfort of our shoes, socks and walking habits (including waking up at the crack of dawn), giving us opportunities to optimize our methods/routines and equipment and shore-up deficiencies before we begin our Camino.
By the end of April we also started walking in the evening for another 1.5-2.0 miles with no days off. An occasional day we might walk with a full pack and/or walking poles for longer than 3 miles… only to validate our final conditioning and equipment for longer walks. This routine continued until a day or two before departing for Spain.
We purchased our plane tickets in Mid-April. Our flight dates were determined after estimating how far we felt comfortable walking each day, divided into the 500 miles of the Camino from St Jean Pied de Port (SJPDP), France to Santiago de Compostela, Spain. Then we added several days at the beginning to get over jet lag and travel from Madrid (MAD)to SJPDP. We also added an extra several days at the end to transition from pilgrim to tourist to civilian and to make our way back from Santiago to Madrid to home.
Knowing that over 50,000 pilgrims will start, many from SJPDP in late July/ early August, we made reservations for a place to stay in the small medieval town of SJPDP as well as other selected villages spaced along the Camino for the first 6-7 days of our walk. After that, we’ll generally wait until we get to our daily destination to find a place to stay that day. Depending on pilgrim traffic, we may also call a targeted location the night before to request a hold on a room for the next night.
By early May we began to finalize our lists of what to take and began gathering and weighing items to make a backpack as light as possible with only essentials (for 75 days away from home!).
Our knapsacks have been packed for over a week and ready to be put into dufflebags for checking. Hopefully the duffles will protect them from mishandling by airline/airport personnel and equipment. Linda’s weighs in at 16.5 lbs and Jim’s at 20.5lbs.
We board our flight out of Greenville(GSP) tomorrow afternoon on our way to Madrid(MAD) via Charlotte(CLT) to begin Camino 2019. Welcome aboard!