I am in a rut – same tracks every day, same bumps, same pot holes. Rattle, rattle, rattle down the ruts. I need to break out and get on some fresh ground. Tomorrow, I break out.
Today, I am preparing my backpack for a 14 day tramp from Burgos to Santiago de Compostela. I am going to walk part of the French route of the Camino de Santiago.
The Camino de Santiago or Way of St. James, is the name given to many routes from various parts of Europe to the shrine of apostle St. James, where his bones are said to be buried. Over the centuries, pilgrims have made their way to the shrine to ask special favors of God. More recently, the path has been traveled for fun by many outdoor, biking and horseback enthusiasts.
So,…I guess I will be a pilgrim for the next two weeks. That’s hard for me to say. Where I grew up, getting called a “pilgrim” was fighting words. I think that goes back to John Wayne calling all the greenhorns “pilgrims” in his movies. Getting called a “pilgrim” or a “Drug Store Cowboy” were some of the lowest insults you could receive when I was young.
It is the dead of winter here in Spain, and it will be cold. I just checked and it looks like lows will be right around 0 Celsius. Not cold by Montana standards but still cold. The distance is approximately 500 km or 310 miles.
I haven’t made any plans or appointments. I don’t know how this trip will go. I am going to fly by the seat of my pants. I have downloaded pdfs to my Ipad of each section of the trail between the two points. The pdfs provide distances as well as tips about where there are hostals and albergues (bunkhouses). I am a little worried about how warm some of the bunkhouses will be, but I really believe I will be able to adjust and roll with the flow. I look forward to walking as far as I can each day and going to sleep tired.
I do know quite a bit about the trail. In the summer of 2012, Pia (my wife), along with my daughter (Matilde) and my son (Vincent) and I traveled the “north route” of the trail from Irun to Santiago by bicycle over 17 days. We had a wonderful time with many adventures. I probably will relate a few of those adventures in future posts.
The walk can be quite crowded during the nicer months and it can be hard to find lodging at times. The hostals and bunkhouses offer special rates for pilgrims, and some only ask for a donation. I called a place that has approximately 150 beds in Burgos, and they said there is lots of space and the cost is 3 euros. With the weather, I don’t think I will have to worry about finding places to put my sleeping bag.
My primary objectives for the walk are:
- I want to get tired. I want to physically exert myself for an extended period of time. My mind needs it, my body needs it and I am going to do it.
- I want to give thanks. I have been blessed. I want time to think about my wife, my two children, and family and friends and I want to give thanks for my blessings with an effort.
I am lucky in the sense that I can organize this time away from my job. I have an online store, I sell on amazon and I work at exporting from Spain for clients. For the past month, I have been working to get orders into factories, labels available, packaging organized, etc so that I can get this time and hopefully nobody will know I am gone on a walk-about. My lovely wife Pia is taking over the day to day management of online sales after a brief training period 🙂 and so, with a few days of postponement, I am finally ready to take to the trail.
I have several business objectives for this trip also.
- I want to improve my use of my smartphone and IPad. I rely on a computer too much. I want to explore more efficient ways of doing some of my chores.
- I want to improve my posting ability on my business social media sites. I want to learn how to post better content more efficiently.
- I want to explore the back-roads of Spain and share some of the findings with customers of Cactus Canyon Ceramics and GringoCool.
My wife Pia is a trooper for allowing me to disappear for a couple of the coldest weeks of the year. Two of my primary household responsibilities are to prepare meals and keep the wood stove going full blast. I hope I do not return to find my poor wife emaciated and frozen on the couch. But, I know I won’t. She has already scheduled all sorts of fun outings during my absence, starting with today where she is down at Granada for the Women’s March. Only the dogs and cats will miss me I am sure. Thanks Pia!
I plan to post regularly on this blog during the trip. And I plan to use Instagram to share photos. If you want to follow me on instagram, my handle is: cactuscanyonceramics
The blog posts will also be available http://www.facebook.com/CactusCanyonCeramicsLLC as well as google+ and linkedin.com
Well, I am finishing this first post. I have to wash clothes, raid closets and prepare my backpack. Tomorrow, I am on my way! Cheerio – Steve