- First day on the Camino we hiked 17k up and down the mountains between Irun and Pasajes de San Juan. Because of a pending storm and my concerns that my trained-at-sea-level legs wouldn’t cooperate, we decided on the lower elevation or the “non-Alpine route”. It was still a very tough walk with rocky paths and steep inclines. Regardless we were treated to some wonderful views and more than a few laughs along the way. Most importantly, we made it to Pasajes de San Juan just before the storm blew into this small harbor town with 40 knot winds. Phew!
After nine hours of traveling by car, jet and then two bus rides, we finally arrived at our destination to start our Camino. It’s a small costal town just outside of Irun where across the harbor sits France. Tired but hungry, we set off to see a bit of the harbor and to seek the wonderful Spanish cuisine.
Yesterday found us at a wine festival on the beautiful Rhine River. It was a fabulous day and a wonderful ending to our mini pre-Camino vacation. Besides the near perfect weather, we sat back, sipped our wine or beer, and watched the parade of people, dogs, and boats as they too enjoyed a Sunday on the Rhine.
Walk, eat, sleep, repeat. That, along with wonderful food and great wine, describes the life that I will share with two friends as we walk across Spain following the Camino de Santiago (The Way of St. James) from the city of Irun to Santiago de Compostela. We are allowing six weeks to complete the 500 mile journey and plan to travel the Camino Norte, the northern most route. I have set up this photo blog so that friends and family can follow our journey.
This journey actually began one evening in May 2015 over drinks with two friends, Denise and Judy. We were talking about where we would like to travel on our next vacation when Denise, our American friend residing in Germany, brought up the subject of the three of us walking the Camino de Santiago. I had never heard of this walk or understood what it entailed but fueled by wine and good friendship, I agreed with enthusiasm. The next morning I laid awake in bed thinking, “How do I get out of this?”. Just the same, I was intrigued and decided to pursue the idea. Over the weeks and then months that followed, I researched the Camino. Judy, who was somewhat familiar with the Camino, insisted we watch the movie “The Way”. That helped. Over the next several months we watched a documentary or two and Denise continued to coach us from the other side of the Atlantic. My enthusiasm was building but it was my first trip to REI with Judy that sealed the deal. We were going to do this. We had just spent hundreds of dollars on boots and backpacks–life changing in itself. I realized at that moment I had not just begun planning a long walk, I was starting a whole new chapter in my life. Walk, eat, sleep, repeat . . .