Saturday, March 28, 2009

The Devil is in the Details

"Let your Camino unfold. Let it happen". Such calm and comforting words. How could anyone be intimidated by something that........unfolds. Walk 900km - no problem, no fear - it just unfolds. It doesn't erupt, attack or burst onto you. It unfolds.

"Let the Camino happen", may be words to live by but I think they mean after you start following those yellow arrows along the yellow brick road. Until then, the devil is in the details. You don't start out on a 900km backpacking adventure without some attention to gear and supplies, travel arrangements and training. Yes, training. This is not a walk in the park.

We do intend to let our Camino happen but, nonetheless, we have detailed the travel arrangements for the first three days of our trip. We leave from Toronto the evening of April 23, 2009, arrive in Paris the next morning and, after collecting our checked bags (which by the kindness of the baggage carrier gods or the patron saint of pilgrims )will have arrived undamaged on the same plane. We will make our way to the Montparnasse train station to catch the high speed train to Bayonne. We are booked into a hotel in Bayonne for that night and on Saturday morning, April 25th, we have tickets on an early morning train to St. Jean Pied-de-Port where our pilgrimage really and finally begins. We have to find the office where we register as pilgrims, pick up our pilgrims' passport or credenciales and then we head into and up the Pyrenees. Sounds innocuous enough but I do recall from reading Jane Christmas' book, What the Psychic told the Pilgrim, that one of her group, after doing a scouting prehike to St. Jean, messaged her group questioning "have any of you actually seen the Pyrenees?" and then cautioned them to start in Roncesvalles on the other side of the Pyrenees. They didn't heed her advice and we don't intend to either.

Undaunted, we are still planning on taking the Napoleon Route through the Pyrenees. It can't be any worse than the first day of our Wainwright Coast to Coast walk across England last September when we endured a torrential downpour and hurricane force winds all day as we struggled up and across the treacherous terrain of the fell for 23km. And too, whether we're regarded as wise or just wimps, we have booked into the refugio in Orisson just 10km into the Pyrenees. Not a particularly daunting day in terms of hiking but seems like a smart move after two days of planes and trains and travelling. The next day should be an easy 17km into Roncesvalles and after that - we let it happen.

1 comment:

  1. Karen - the crossing on the route Napoleon IS different to the CtC!! If the locals tell you not to cross, don't. And if they predict bad weather, take the road route via Val Varlos - even if you do have a booking at Orisson. That is the 'authentic' route anyway so you won't be depriving yourselves of an authentic first day.
    Have a wonderful walk you three ... er...Muskateers!