Monday, May 12, 2014

'Complete Your Camino' recce walk

amaWalkers Camino offer 22-day walks on three sections of the Camino Frances.  When we first planned the sections in 2010, most people wanted to start in St Jean and finish in Santiago so that they could earn a Compostela.  This meant splitting the 775km route into three sections.  We decided on walking 9 days from St Jean to Logrono, getting a bus to Burgos, Leon and Astorga then walking in the Irago Mountains and Bierzo Valley to Villafranca del Bierzo or Ambasmestas before being taxied over the Cebreiro hill to Samos and walking the last 130km to Santiago. This means walking almost half of the Camino Frances.

Over the last 3 years, many of those who have walked the amaWalkers Camino 22-day walk have asked if we could offer them a walk to 'Complete' their Camino by walking the sections they missed.  When I sent a suggested route to them - from Logrono to Astorga and Ambasmestas to Sarria - many asked if they could either continue walking to Santiago on a different route or walk to Finisterre from Santiago.  We agreed to offer both short routes as possible endings to their 'Complete Your Camino' walks in 2015.

Although I have walked the Camino Frances a few times, and have done the Camino Ingles and Finisterre route, I didn't stay in hotels and walked as little or for as long as I felt like doing each day.  When you plan for a group walk, you need consistent daily distances of about 20km and accommodation in pensions, hostales, hotels etc.  So, we need to walk the route again and check out the accommodation along the way.

From 25th May my friend Kathy and I  will do a reconnaissance walk of the new routes.  We will both walk the section from Logrono to Astorga, crossing the beautiful meseta.   Kathy will then get a bus to Villafranca del Bierzo and walk from there to Sarria.  I will get a bus to Ferrol and walk the Camino Ingles to Santiago. 

When I put this plan on Facebook, a few people asked if they could join me on the Camino Ingles walk, so now there are 6 of us, including 90 year-old 'Uncle Bob' from California, my husband, cousin, sister-in-law and Penelope from Oregon.  We will walk ± 10km per day from Ferrol to Santiago in 11 days.  Accommodation has been booked ahead and we will use luggage transfers.

In September, amaWalkers co-director and Group Leader Jenny Rooks, will do a 4 day recce walk from Santiago to Finisterre.   Once we have walked all of these sections, estimated daily stages, transport possibilities and checked the accommodations we will offer the walks in May 2015.

I am leaving in 8 days time and will arrive in Spain on 21st May. Before Kathy arrives I will be visiting friends we have made of hotel, pension, B&B and Gite owners in St Jean, Viscarret, Zubiri, Estella and Logroño. 

I am not well prepared for this walk.  A month ago I got Shingles on my face and scalp which knocked the stuffing out of me. Then I had to go on a diabolical drug to reduce a swelling in my right retina.  The side effects include dizziness, nausea and reflux, diarrhea and pins and needles in the tongue and fingers.  I haven't been able to do any long walks for over 5 weeks.  I will finish this medication 3 days before I fly from Durban and I'm hoping and praying that most of it will be out of my system before I go. 

1 comment:

  1. If it makes you feel any better...I haven't been able to train these past 6 weeks (family member in hospital), and I leave on the 25th. I guess we will be suffering together.