We had problems posting using the app for this website. Therefore, we switched to a different app while on the trail. All our Camino 2019 posts after September 29, 2019 are found by clicking the button below.
We drove from Florida to Lexington VA Friday . Stela is very happy to be staying there with Meg and Steve. No more travel for her for weeks!
Yesterday we drove to Pam and James’ in Fredericksburg Va. We packed, repacked, repacked again. It was such fun!
We flew from Richmond earlier today and will leave Atlanta for Madrid shortly. Yes!
Thursday was a beautiful travel day. We left at 6:00 and had daylight by 7:00. The sun was shining all the way to Lexington. We arrived right on time at 6:00.
Stela, whose full name is Princesa Compostela, behaved so well on the ride that we hated to leave her behind. On the other hand, she was so happy to be sitting on the sofa with Steve and Meg when we left, that we were a bit nostalgic for the evenings in Gainesville when she helps Russ play the piano :)
On this equally gorgeous Friday morning, we drove a short 3 hours to Pam and James' in Fredericksburg. The drive brought us over a mountain and along a winding blue highway. Nice!
Now! The four of us are going to pack, unpack, and repack for the last time. The most fun of all!
Russ and Stela opted for a final 5-mile walk. Russ carried his backpack with 17 pounds of weight. For training, we load our packs with bottles of water to reach our desired weight.
I opted for a final day at the Devil’s Millhopper. Picture 1 is my pile of "counting rocks." My selfie was taken while I rested partway up on about climb #6. Picture 3 is my rocks all lined up after Climb #10.
As usual, it was crowded on Saturday at the Millhopper. Lots of weekend exercisers were there. The Ranger was giving a guided walk. Four or five families were in awe of the place and taking tons of photos. Two exercising moms were there with three girls. One was running the steps, trying to "beat mom's best record".
The other two were playing at the top and eyeing my rocks. Hmmm, thought I. I decided to try a strategic move. I asked them to move a rock for me each time I came back up . . . and not to let anybody else move them, which might make me lose count. Ha! I won. They did not randomly move my rocks around.
Also, with some considerable effort involving getting pre-approval from our credit card company for an Internet purchase on a foreign website, we bought our bus tickets to get from Madrid airport to Pamplona. We start on a jet plane, move down the travel chain to a bus, and finally arrive in Pamplona to walk to our hotel. From the modern world to the pilgrim world!
Our final preparations are in full swing. We are maintaining our morning walking schedule and wearing our backpacks most days. We notified the bank and credit cards of travel plans.
In Cedar Key we closed up the house and put the garden to bed for a month.
(I am finding the Weebly app very hard to use on my phone and will try to find an easier program because I know this will take too long on the trail.)
We ordered an international travel plan for our phones. Silly expensive at $70 per phone for a month, but that was the best Verizon had to offer us. It gives us each 100 minutes of voice, 100 incoming texts, unlimited outgoing texts, and .5Gb of data.
Our packing lists are almost complete. We are weighing every item on a kitchen scale and making choices with weight as a primary factor.
Russ is spraying our backpacks, sleeping bags, and a few other items with Permethrin to discourage bedbugs. Our entomologist neighbor told us it does not kill them, but makes their little feet burn so they go away. We are hoping that it is not needed!
I tried to buy bus tickets today to go from the Madrid airport to Pamplona. The bus is almost full and we would each have to ride with a stranger for the 5 hour trip. Hmmm, probably that is the spirit of the Camino, but I’ll try the train first before I go for it :) Onward!
Our decision to walk this year was slow in coming. After taking 2018 off from walking in order for Peg to be co-chair of the American Pilgrims on the Camino's Annual Gathering, we thought perhaps it was time for a different type of adventure. In July, we realized that was wrong. Why stop walking the Camino when it still is calling us to come! We just could not stay away.
We mentioned to Pam and James that we thought we would go in October. Pam said Ola! Buen Camino! James said "cafe con leche"! Pam said "cerveza y vino tinto"! James said "We're in!" Decision made. The four of us will walk.
Russ and I have walked only a tiny bit of the Camino Frances in Spain since 2013. Instead we have been walking the sections in France and Portugal. We are eager to be in Spain again. Our goal this year will be to walk from Pamplona to Burgos in about 14 days. Pamplona is at the start of the first elevation below, at 460 meters. Burgos is at the end of the second one, at 864m.
It is hard to train in Florida in the summer because of the heat. Luckily, we had planned to spend several weeks in Star Lake, NY in August. We could walk three to five hilly miles a day there. Sweet! September, since coming back to Florida, has been harder but we have done pretty well. We are walking at least 20 training miles a week, including a 5-mile and a 7-mile, with our backpacks, during these last few weeks. I, Peg, have also been working to overcome "flatlander legs" by climbing the 132 steps at the Devil's Millhopper State Park each week, increasing my number of times down and up each time. I also try to get to yoga at least once a week to stretch out those leg muscles.
We didn't really need to, but we bought new backpacks . . . in pursuit of the hikers holy grail -- the perfect pack. Other new gear also twisted our arms. We will soon determine our packing list and share it and the weights.
The planning is a serious part of the adventure for me. We have selected a small "pilgrim" hotel for our stay in Pamplona . . . Hotel Eslava. We also selected albergues for our first two nights on the trail. We reserved at the Camino del Pardon and Casa Maralotz, each of which has a small number of dorm-style accommodations and a couple of private rooms, as well (we hear) as great food and hospitality.
The Camino is on. It will be a slow and easy pace. Already, I wish it could be longer.
Reading from the Beginning to the End
If you'd prefer to read about our Camino trips from their beginning points to our return, rather than blog-style . . . from the most recent post backwards in time . . . go to the section labeled Our Caminos.
Peg and Russ Hall
- Second Wind
- Why Walk It?
- Step 1. Planning Your Camino -- What kind, Where, When, How far, Alone, Getting there . . .
- Step 2. Getting Ready -- Training, Packing, Gear, Clothes, Electronics, Passports, TSA . . .
- Step 3. Being There -- Money, Lodgings, Food, Language . . .
- Step 4. Adapting -- Guidebooks, Websites, Trail conditions, Schedule, Water, Weather, Pain, Hazards, Phones . . .
- Step 5. Being a Pilgrim and a Tourist -- Types of pilgrimmage, Roman roads, Medieval life, Wonders . . .
- Step 6. Living the Lessons of the Camino -- Once or again, Connecting at home, Being hospitaleros . . .
- Who Are We?
- All of Our Caminos
- Camino 2019 Blog