Camino del Norte: A New Adventure
15 months ago, when Mike retired from Directv, we began a new chapter of our life together. We started taking road trips, visiting National Parks, hiking, spending more time on Camano Island, and taking extended “vacations” to places that we’ve always wanted to visit. We checked off the last 2 US states on our lists, including a blended family cruise to Alaska with my sister, brother-in-law, niece and nephew, Mike’s daughter, her then-fiance (now her husband), Mike’s son, and our grandson.
During our adventures Mike came up with the brilliant (she says sarcastically) idea to walk the Camino de Santiago, a 500-mile journey across Spain. I told him he was a lunatic. And then I started doing some research on my own, reading some blogs, talking to some friends who had done the last 100 miles of the Camino, looking at options, and making some decisions about my stipulations (really as a way to hopefully discourage Mike):
- We will do the Northern Route (Camino del Norte)
- We will visit my Spanish Basque relatives during our journey
- We will skip the major cities and concentrate on communing with nature
- We will make reservations ahead at Pensiones, Inns, and/or Hotels along the Camino
- We will utilize a service that takes our luggage ahead to each next night’s stop
- We will go to Italy on our belated joint 60th birthday trip, delayed due to Mike’s daughter’s wedding
Mike was determined to do this walk, so he agreed to everything! My goal is to meet the challenge of walking and to enjoy the experience. Our thousands of miles of training, the blisters, the sprained ankle, injured knee and subsequent physical therapy, the planning, the trials with footwear, socks, equipment, and clothing, are finally going to pay off.
We leave for Seattle and Camano Island 2 weeks from today, and for Spain a few days after that. I’ve mapped out our route, including our jump-ahead days and multi-night stays in anticipation of needing longer breaks in between long stretches on the Camino. We’ll “only” walk 400 miles vs the 500 on the more popular and more well-traveled Camino Francés.
I so appreciate what my Aunt’s sister (and my life-long friend) Grace had to say when I mentioned that we were doing the “luxury” route:
“You’re going to have a great experience… and knowing where you’re going to sleep each night and sending your luggage won’t distract from the experience. Your Camino is personal! So please don’t be intimated if someone tries to tell you otherwise. Unfortunately there are those out there that believe if you’re not carrying everything and staying in a dorm you’re not a real peregrino…. not sure they had Merrell, Osprey and Smartwool back in the day. J”
Side note: Grace did the entire Camino Francés and then continued to Fisterra, walking a total of 575 miles! With everything in her backpack ~ on her back. And staying at dorm-style hostals. She loved it so much that 3 months later she’s doing another Camino, the Camino Portugués starting in Lisbon and walking north to Santiago de Compostela. She will turn 70 on her upcoming journey. I can’t tell you how much admiration I have for this amazing woman! We will be on our journeys at the same time, but unfortunately our paths won’t cross. We wish her Buen Camino. We will see each other on Instagram, Facebook, and Blogs.
Grace’s next adventure:
I will post more information about the Way of Saint James before we leave for Spain. In the meantime, if you wish to “follow” us on our journey, you can sign up to receive each blog update on email. Each entry will also post automatically on Facebook. Please feel free to comment!! I’m hoping to post updates every few days, and possibly to post pics on Instagram (@souperpower) more often.