Some time, way back, probably in 2011, my eldest daughter Ella proposed two exciting projects. She had been living in Sydney, Australia since November 2009 and was planning her return to the UK in early summer 2012. Her first suggestion was that I meet her somewhere midway and spend a few weeks travelling together. The second was that I join her in her quest to walk part of the Camino de Santiago de Compostela during her thirtieth year, in 2013.
Ella did lots of research relating to the first expedition and we duly met in Bangkok on 9 July 2012, where we spent four days before travelling to Sri Lanka for ten days and finally to India, taking in the ‘golden triangle’ and travelling between Delhi, Jaipur and Agra over seven days. I shall post my journal and some photos from this fabulous experience in a separate blog.
I was tasked with doing the research on the camino trip and started by searching amazon for reference material. I first read “Horseshoes and Holy Water” by Mefo Phillips, which attracted my attention as I own a horse and thought it would make an interesting read, as it did. I also came across the film “The Way”, which gave a very different view of the Camino with lots of inspiring images and not so inspiring living conditions en route.
More recently I found the book “Buen Camino!” By Natasha and Peter Murtagh, which seemed quite appropriate, being written by father and daughter who give their separate daily accounts of the walk that they took in 2010.
Our original, very loose, plan had been to walk perhaps the minimum necessary in order to be granted a ‘compostela’, the certificate given to pilgrims who have walked at least 100 kilometres to reach Santiago de Compostela, and have an appropriately stamped pilgrim’s passport showing starting point and places visited en route.
However, having been inspired by the accounts of pilgrims who have walked the entire Camino Frances, commencing their journey in St Jean Pied de Port on the French side of the Pyrenees, crossing into Spain on the first day of their pilgrimage, and taking approximately 30 – 35 days to complete their trek, I now feel it would be cheating to claim a ‘compostela’ without walking the full Camino. As I am currently not employed and Ella will be between commitments at our proposed start date in mid April, we both feel we should fully face the challenge and walk the full 780 km.