"Things, which don't actually kill you outright, tend to make you stronger." Oh, would that that were so! Walking the Camino Frances de Santiago last year may not have killed us outright as we did survive and arrive alive but we were more than a little beat up by the end. Now does that make us stronger for our next one? You know........ I'm just going to go with it because we are now about to go on our second pilgrimage and I'd like to take some comfort from that premise.
We have been more than a little less obsessive about the planning and training for this second camino. I'm not sure we even 'planned' for it. It just happened. We booked into a one week Hfholiday Bike and Barge trip, biking from Ghent in Belgium to Amsterdam and then had to come up with something else to do for a couple of weeks. It just doesn't make sense to fly over to Europe for only one week. It was never our intention to hit the Camino trails in 2010, a Jubilee Year, because the number of pilgrims is overwhelming. However, throwing good sense to the wind, we decided that by heading out in late September and choosing, what we think is a less travelled route, we'd avoid the crowds. Let's hope this proves to be true. So we're going to walk three weeks in France along the Chemin Le Puy, starting in Le Puy en Velay and heading southwest towards St. Jean Pied de Port, where we started our Camino Frances last year. We will not be able to complete this entire section in just three weeks so we'll just see how far we get in the time available.
In preparation for the Camino Frances I took 18 months of Spanish lessons. For the Camino Le Puy - six French lessons total. For the Camino Frances, I walked at least 20 kms a day for months; for the Camino Le Puy - 8 kms around Springbank Park once in a while. For the Camino Frances, we went to meeting after meeting, read every book we could find from Shirley MacLaine's other-worldly mystic ramblings to Jane Christmas' witty and whiney book, 'What the Psychic told the Pilgrim'. For the Camino Le Puy, we have 'Miam, Miam, Dodo' a guide book published in France that we can't read - it's in French! I guess we will definitely embrace the concept of 'letting the camino unfold' as I sure don't feel like I have a handle on what's in store for us this time. One thing won't be any different: gites or alberques, it's still communal living, shared bathroom facilities and snorers. For the Camino Frances, I was packed months in advance, for Le Puy......well, it's now Friday, we leave on Monday....time to pack.