Planning for the Big Walk

by Annalise on March 16, 2010

Three years ago we took a sailing trip from Sydney, BC across the Juan de Fuca Strait to near Port Townsend, Washington. There we spent some time catching up with Wayne and Nicole Chimenti, our old friends from our time aboard Tole Mour, the tall ship we worked on when we were first married in 1991. Wayne, or Wayno as he was referred to, was the Captain of that 156′ tall ship. Just prior to that visit I’d heard about Wayne’s book; an account of he, Nicole and their then 12 year old daughter Najia’s walking of the Camino de Santiago de Compostella – the ancient pilgrimage that leads from the Pyrenees in France to Santiago de Compostella on the West Coast of Spain; a walk of about 800 km. This involved walking about 23 km per day for 4-5 weeks. Around the same time we heard the Camino CD of the now late, great Oliver Schroer which he recorded on his pilgrimage playing his violin on the same route. It was in talking to Wayne and Nicole that I became convinced we should do this walk and it became one of the focal points of this year’s travel for our family.

Plougasnou
As this year has progressed, things have evolved somewhat as they do. We learned that this is a Holy Year and that traffic along the Spanish Camino route (the one described above) is anticipated to be quite heavy. This presents a potential problem in getting to the ‘refugios’ or hostels ahead of others to secure a bed. Also, we were concerned that Robin needed some more time in a French speaking area to keep his French current and assist him as he prepares to re-enter his French-Immersion studies back at home for grade 9. Both of these considerations in addition to total lack of Spanish all combined to shift our plans from Spain to a French feeder route to that same Camino. So after much research, we’ve decided to do the route from Le Puy de Valez to Saint-Jean-Pied-De-Port with a side stop at Lourdes. The distance will be just over 750 km and our travels will be en francais! And if I’m lucky, perhaps there will be another opportunity, in some year to come to complete the final journey all the way to Santiago de Compostella.

It is Tuesday as I type and I’m becoming both excited and just a little bit anxious of our walk on ‘the Way of Saint James’ as it is referred to. Next week Monday we set out on our drive to Le Puy where we’ll start the Way. It is one thing to say you going to do nothing but walk 23 km per day for 4.5 weeks; another thing altogether to actually get up each morning and make it happen. We’re all in though and our planning has cleared the time in every way including Robin’s school responsibilities. We’ve enjoyed this pre-walk respite in Brittany to do our final preparations and to pare those packs down to the absolute essentials… well, plus the bagpipes. And our first post-walk plans involve a relaxed week on-board a canal boat in Holland which will certainly provide our feet and legs the rest we anticipate they’ll need and more importantly allow us each to reflect on our experiences of our individual and collective pilgrimages. What an opportunity. I’m so very grateful!

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{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

carla March 16, 2010 at 7:33 pm

Sounds like you’ll be busy this week training for your pilgrimage next week. Enjoy every moment! We are all with you in spirit :)

Karen Smith March 17, 2010 at 9:53 am

Have truly enjoyed reading about your adventures. The closest I will ever get to any of those distinations. Great that Robin is playing up a storm and learning as well. Good Luck in the Big Walk.
God Bless.
Karen

LeeAnne March 20, 2010 at 6:34 pm

Ditto on Carla’s comment – we are all with you in spirit. I will be thinking of your 23 km per day. I am certain you will enjoy beautiful scenery all along the way to distract you from the sore legs. I look forward to hearing all about it!

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