Saturday, April 23, 2016

Camino de Santiago: Preparation

I am planning to walk the Camino the Santiago next month, in may 2016. I am going to take the French route. I am going to walk 750 km from Roncesvalles to Santiago de Compostela in 29 days. It gives me 26 km per day on average.
De Manfred Zentgraf, Volkach, Germany - Manfred Zentgraf, Volkach, Germany, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=748316

Why do I want to do that? I am learning Spanish for over a year see How I have learned 2000 Spanish words in 10 months if you want to read more about that. It seems like a good idea to go to Spain to test my Spanish language skills in a real world. I like to do crazy things like that to see where my limits are. Three years ago I did something similar I went 3 000 km in 30 days on a recumbent bike from Czech republic to Romania and back. The physical demands will be similar, the main difference is that Camino de Santiago will be much more social event for me. I am going alone and I will meet people there on the road.

How do you prepare for a trip like that? It was recommended to me that the best first thing to do is to buy a flight ticket so you can't change your mind on going and you can only focus on the practical stuff. I knew that I want to go Spain and walk to Santiago the Compostela and that I want the trip to take around 1 month. I read some websites and discovered that there are many routes to Santiago de Compostela. I decided to take the most favorite one the French route, because it was highly recommended to me independently by two my friends which already walked it. About month ago I bought a flight ticket to Madrid. Which later turned out not to be the cheapest way because apparently flight from Bratislava to Madrid is cheaper than the Spanish train from Madrid to Pamplona which I need to take to get to the start of the route but I am going to spend one day in Madrid and so I am happy about that in the end. The way back from the end of the Camino is much easier I will take a flight from Santiago de Compostela to London and then directly to my city, Brno, Czechia (-: my first use of new official one word name of my country :-)

Day -1 of the trip will consists of taking train from Brno to Bratislava then plane from Bratislava to Madrid, then spending the evening and night in Madrid I want to see as much as possible of Madrid so I will postpone the necessary shopping for Pamplona next day. 

On day 0 I will take morning train from Madrid to Pamplona before I take the only bus to Roncesvalles at 3 pm I will do some shopping I will buy a Spanish SIM card to for mobile internet. You can get 2 GiB for one month for 10 € and sunscreen because I can't take bottle bigger then 100 ml to plane in cabin luggage. Then I will take the bus to Roncesvalles and sleep in hostel Albergue de peregrinos where I will get The Pilgrim Passport into which I will collect stamps every day to prove I walked the whole route.

Back to present. Now I am fighting the battle of deciding what not to take with me. The recommended backpack weight is less then 10 % of your body weight. I weigh 70 kg so I can take 7 kg back pack. 1 kg weighs the backpack itself, 2 kg of water, 1 kg sleeping bag which leaves me with 3 kg for everything else, clothes for one month, hygiene stuff and some snack food. The weather forecast says that it will 3 °C in Roncesvalles in the morning of my start of the walk so it looks like I need some warm clothes with me. Fortunately tomorrow here in Brno will be exactly the same weather so I can test what clothes do I need. I will use our tomorrow  9th Call of the Woods: Around Tisnov hike as a training I will pack all my stuff which I am going to carry on the Camino and see what happens.

I am going to end this blog post with picture of me in my new walking hat.