T-100. That’s only three months.

Amongst others I have been reading the book Pray for Me in Santiago by Theresa Burkhardt-Felder, an autobiographical story of a walk along the Camino de Santiago given to Janet as a gift.  The author and her husband used to live in WA, and the book was published by Fremantle Press (they now live in Switzerland).  It is a useful and interesting but not particularly enjoyable book.  It’s not “enjoyable” for two reasons.  The author seems particularly miserable; there is always something bad happening, be that fatigue, the weather, the blisters, the accommodation, the food – in reading this I am not inspired by someone with a particular joie de vivre.   I am only part-way through, so maybe she will discover some of that joy by the end.  And the book is a bit too overtly religious for me.  I think I am a spiritual person – although that is certainly hard to define – and yet I find it difficult to escape the author’s own biases in certain aspects of her writing.

That said, the book is very informative.  The author and her husband are following the same route as we will be in now just 100 days, walking through and staying in the same towns and villages.  Her description and overview of the history of these places is fascinating, and is adding to the anticipation I am feeling.  She brings a real sense of history to the places she visits – for example stories of the Moors and the Knights Templar and a time in Spanish history called the reconquista; stories which date back 1000 years and sometimes more, all set in towns and villages whose walls were part of those stories. So much to learn. This is the Spain which I am so looking forward to experiencing.  Her journey was in 1999, and I am wondering how much has changed since then.  Certainly I think the pre-GFC España which she describes will be very different in 2015.

We (well, I) have opted not to stay in the albergues, the pilgrims’ hostels/dormitories which are scatted along the whole Camino.  Instead I have booked a series of small hotels and pensions, where we can have the privacy of our own room and, on all bar one occasion, a private bathroom.  I think I might be a bit old for sharing a dormitory with up to 40 other snoring smelly-footed walkers.  And the advantage of this is that we no longer will need to carry our sleeping bags.  One of our challenges is to get our backpacks down to no more than 7/8 kilograms … I think the success or otherwise of that task may be the subject of my next pre-departure blog.

Shortly I will also be able to book our train travel within Spain and France.  So far that’s been a really challenging part of the planning – what seems simple on the surface, or at least seems like it ought to simple, in truth is not so.  Stand by for an update …

Until next time …

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