El sincero testimonio de una peregrina neozelandesa (y III)

15/06/2020 6:17

foto camino de santiago

Some Camino purists might say that this is «cheating», but with one hip replaced and one repaired, it is simply not an option for me to carry too many kilos on my back.

I am opting for a «day» hiking pack that will carry my essentials and which I have spent the last few months trying to decide what is, in fact, an «essential» and what is not. I think my day pack may be too small, but perhaps that is not a bad thing.

I will have detailed maps and instructions, a mobile phone on roaming and there are even AP’s that will help me, but even with all of those, I will, at some stage, get hopelessly lost. As I said, I have no sense of direction, and there will likely be tears and tantrums though without the benefit of an audience, I will have to work it out myself.

After nearly 2 1/2 weeks walking from Lisbon to Porto my husband will be joining me for the Coastal Camino from Porto to Santiago. It will be nice to have some company, and share in part of my journey, although I am also looking forward to the initial solitary journey and walking alone.

Some say you are never truly alone on the Camino as there are always other pilgrims to greet and walk with you, or to swap stories of the road with at the end of the day. But it is still a ‘lone’ journey as no one can take those steps for you. Yes, it is likely to be hard, but I am hoping one of my most memorable travel experiences.

Many pilgrims walk with the recognised sign of the Camino – a scallop shell the grooves of which represents all the Camino’ ways’ or trails finishing at the same point, the Cathedral in Santiago de Compostela.

It is a way of identifying your fellow pilgrims on the road. With plentiful scallop shells on many of our beaches, I am taking a few, hand-painted in yellow – the colour of many of the arrows pointing directions on the various ways to Santiago – and embellishing them with little black kiwis with a yellow eye.

 I will carry one on my backpack to identify myself as a pilgrim but also a ‘Kiwi’ pilgrim. I hope to have enough of these made and varnished to protect them from the elements, so that I may give away one each day to someone I meet who helps make my Camino a more memorable journey.

I am in countdown mode now with just a matter of weeks to go. I have been studying maps and routes, working out the technology of a newly purchased mobile phone and linked watch with GPS and making my «list» which is being revised almost daily.

I recently got so see the NZ movie Camino Skies and had I not already booked to walk my own Camino this would have sent me straight into planning mode.

I especially like the advice given by pilgrim and walker Terry Wilson at the question and answer at the end of the viewing:

1. Never walk by anyone without asking if they need help.

2. Never walk by anyone who asks if you need help. Reason being if someone is asking you then you have probably missed something in yourself and likely do require the assistance of some sort.

3. Never walk past a toilet.

I intend to walk my Camino employing this advice.

It is also apparently one of the only places in the world where you can get hugged from a stranger and indeed give a hug, without being arrested.

I will reserve judgement on this one – I am not fond of my personal space being invaded.

I am, in equal parts excited and a bit scared but ready to tackle ‘My Way’ to Santiago de Compostela.

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