Flag of Spain…made by sister of dear friend H.
On Wednesday, July 6, ZomppaB and ZomppaKat along with their friend Z will embark on a rather long walk from the French Pyrenees across the northwest of Spain. This isn’t your average walk in the park so to speak, as this walk clocks in at 780km, just short of 500 miles, and should take us about 30 to 35 days to walk. We will be walking pilgrimage route of El Camino de Santiago to the city of Santiago de Compostela. The walk is also known as The Way of St. James and Le Chemin de St. Jacques. There are a number “caminos: that take you to Santiago, but the most well known of these and the one we are doing is the Camino Frances that starts in the French town of St. Jean Pied de Port in the Pyrenees.
This is one of the most important Christian pilgrimages in the world along with the one to Rome and one to Jerusalem, but its origin pre-dates the discovery of St. James’s remains in Santiago. The route to Santiago de Compostela was a Roman trade route, nicknamed the Milky Way by travelers, as it followed the Milky Way to the Atlantic Ocean.
People walk the Camino for many reasons – religious, spiritual, personal. In addition to a personal and physical challenge, we recognize how fortunate we are to have the opportunity and ability to do this – including trusting that we will have access to and ability to eat food and water along the Way. We have set up a separate site for our journey where we will put up photos and stories of our experiences along the Way when possible, www.elcaminoylacomida.com. Our access to the internet is a Big Unknown, like most of this trip (ZomppaB knows there are yellow arrows and plans to follow where the crowd is going – let’s hope she doesn’t end up in Portugal), and we do want to take in the whole experience without being bound to staying “connected” 24/7.
We decided to do this about 6 weeks ago, when ZomppaKat just bit the bullet and decided she wanted to do this after hearing such terrific stories about the walk through the years. She then shared her decision with ZomppaB who in the space of about 24 hours decided she wanted to do it too, and bought her tickets. Not having husbands and children along with being self-employed plays a huge role in our flexibility to make such a snap decision. The fact that we can’t really afford it should be a huge factor, but hey, you only live once! Kat’s friend Z from DC came into the picture about 2 weeks later, and so this fabulous trio was formed.
In the space of 6 weeks, we have become experts in selecting lightweight expedition equipment! We are going to have to carry everything we bring so weight is crucial, 10 to 15lbs max! We have never packed this light for anything. Well, Kat hasn’t! Clothingwise we are bringing 3 of everything essentially: you wear one set, have one set to wash, and one set for the next day, and that’s it!
Yes, that includes: 3 shirts, 3 pairs of socks, and 3 pairs of underwear. Let’s take a peak into ZomppaB’s gear. First and foremost, is the pack. It’s critical to size it and fit it to your body. (ZomppaB swears she did NOT mean to match these items – they just happened to be the same color!) REI often has some great sales and we lucked out in that it was their annual sale.
The hat: Sunday Afternoon hat (has wide brim and a hole for the ponytail – very important feature); the clothing: Lucy (ZomppaB would live in Lucy if possible) and REI lightweight, quick dry, and stylish, and SmartWool hiking socks (best socks winter or summer); the trekking shoes: Merrell (another ZomppaB favorite – this one breathes in the heat); the sandals: Teva.
The cleaner: Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soap (serves as shampoo, soap, and laundry detergent); the other necessities: Tiger Balm (for those sore muscles), California Baby sunscreen (organic, natural, good for baby, good for me), and Jason all-natural toothpaste.
Kat ended up going the online route and ordered most of her gear on Amazon after much research. She was particularly excited about the shoes she got which have so much technology in them that practically came with a manual. They also look cool! Which was crucial requirement! Kat also pulled the short straw on the checking luggage front so she got the 3 sets of walking poles for the trek. Our knees are going to be most appreciative of this purchase.
Our guide along the way is going to be “Walking the Camino de Santiago“, a day by day guide that outlines everything we need to know.
Alright then, so keep an eye out for our first post about the Camino on Wednesday to follow us and learn more about the activities of certain organization we want to raise awareness about. We will tell you all about this organization and the fantastic work they do worldwide on Wednesday!
If you want to see photos of the Camino and see how we are getting on, follow us on the blog we have set up by clicking on the button to the right here. This is the symbol of the Camino that will be leading our way.