Ten days and counting

Have you seen the countdown box at the side of this post? Yikes, only 10 days to go.

I seem to have been preparing for this camino forever, but I am feeling totally unprepared.
I have plotted my route, downloaded GPS tracks and investigated accommodation possibilities. An abundance of bits and bobs have been researched and purchased. New items have been made by my own fair hand. A complete day has been spent weighing gear, decanting products into small travel bottles, winding a supply of loo roll for those occasions when someone beat me to it. And many long training walks in the mountains have been taken, some happily alone and others in the company of very good friends.

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But I am still feeling slightly anxious, even as an ‘old hand’ at this lark (or should that be an ‘old foot’) – it should definitely be an ‘old’ something! I think the niggle of uncertainty is arising from my decision to walk a section of non-camino between the Camino del Norte at Ribadeo and the Camino Ingles at Ferrol, seven days of truly working it out for myself, when I might have to be creative in finding accommodation and where there are no low cost albergues.

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Also giving me cause for concern are ‘the boots that were meant to be’. I am discovering that perhaps they were not meant to be. This is such a disappointment. They are causing pain to my right foot at the point where I have a small ‘tailor’s bunion’ (named centuries ago when tailors sat cross-legged all day with the outside edge of their feet rubbing on the ground, and this constant rubbing led to a painful bump at the base of the little toe). This can be a hereditary condition and I have my dear old Dad to thank for the annoying bumps on my feet and also for the overgrown and sometimes uncomfortable joint at the base of my right thumb.

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Both feet are affected by this issue but the left foot seems not to give me too many problems. In the past with other boots, I have felt some discomfort at some point of most long walks, but with these boots I am getting pain after around 10 kms that comes and goes thereafter, but is present more often than not. I really can’t work out why it is and keep hoping that the more I wear the boots the easier it will get, but so far this is not happening and time is running out. I will probably decide to take the previous new boots which are comfortable but without so much room in the toe box. If en route I am getting problems with my toes hitting the end of the boot on downhill stretches I will have to replace them with trail runners that I can buy in one of the larger towns I will be passing through.

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I am taking a lot of tech gear this year. In addition to my normal bundle I am taking a remote keyboard to use with my iPad mini so that I don’t have to spend ages correcting all the many typos I make when using the on-screen keyboard. And I have bought a new USB hub with five outlets, so that I can share the electricity supply with others. Having taken a mifi (personal wifi) unit with me on my last two caminos, which never worked more than a handful of times, I have now purchased a secondhand iPad mini with cellular connection so that I am not totally dependant on wifi to keep my blog up to date. And I have purchased a new power bank (battery charger) that is very powerful and has a huge charging capacity, but it is also rather heavy.

Many people will scoff at me for taking so many gadgets, but they make me happy and they don’t impact on anyone else, so let them scoff – I will smile sweetly and carry on as I wish.

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I had originally thought I would walk this camino in the autumn. Although I love walking in Spring, I also miss my garden which is at its beautiful best at this time of year. But then my youngest daughter announced that she and her long term partner are getting married in July and vanity took hold. At the moment I am carrying way too much weight (on my body as well as my pack) and I know that after my camino I will have dropped by around 7 kilos, which will mean I can fit into an elegant mother-of-the-bride dress. So vanity won out and here I am, ten days away from day 1.

The photos included with this post are from my recent walks.

About magwood

Trepidatious Traveller - camino blog is about preparing for and walking the Camino de Santiago. Many future pilgrims have found the blog useful and inspiring, and many who have no plans to walk the camino have simply enjoyed the dialogue http://www.magwood.me
This entry was posted in Camino de Santiago de Compostela, Camino del Norte, Preparations and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

30 Responses to Ten days and counting

  1. Mrs Katherine A Paterson says:

    Good luck Maggie, we’ll be thinking of you all the way. Love your photos, especially the orchids.


  2. Julie Brooks says:

    Hi Magwood, I am 19 days away from my first Camino. I will start in SJPD and intend to walk as far as Muxia.(I am coming from Sydney Australia) I am a bit like you at the moment. I thought I had everything sorted but my boots are not filling me with confidence either. I have accepted that it is what it is and that I will deal with whatever comes up on the way. I felt some comfort in your comment re buying trail runners if necessary 🙂
    I love reading your posts and am looking forward to following your latest journey. Thankyou for sharing your stories and knowledge. I am extremely envious of your rain cape/poncho/backpack cover!
    Buen Camino


  3. OzAnnie says:

    Sounds like another wonderful walk to follow you on.
    Buen Camino


  4. Kieran O'Driscoll says:

    Maggie, we are ardent followers of your wonderful blogs. We walked Camino Portuguese last year (www.lisbonsantiago.blogspot.ie) and your blog was our ‘go to’ source of information each day before we set out – you have a great ability to entertain and inform at the same time, and your photos are very much part of that. We are planning to do Camino del Norte this, or next, autumn (depending on events) so we will be hanging on your every word. The very best of luck.
    Kieran and Mary


    • magwood says:

      Hello Kieran and Mary. Many thanks for your comment. I had better make sure I give plenty of information on my next camino. Is there anything that you would like to see that I don’t provide?


  5. Jenny Heesh says:

    Wow Maggie! These last ten days will be so exciting … and that last sleep! I hope that the ten days go supremely well for you and that you’re able to sort out the issue with your boots.

    Have you read Jean-Christophe Rufin’s book “El Camino Inmortal”? It’s the account of his 800 km walk on the Norte. It was a best-seller in France and has since been published in English. It looks to be a GREAT read. I haven’t read the book myself as yet but hope to buy it at the Sydney Writers Festival next month, when he appears in conversation with Ailsa Piper, the much-loved Australian author, whose book ‘Sinning Across Spain’ remains a Camino favourite of mine.

    Your Aussie Camino friends will be with you in spirit Maggie!

    Best, best wishes, and take joy in every step –

    Jenny xo xo


    • magwood says:

      Lovely to hear from you Jenny. I shall have to look into that book, I hadn’t heard of it previously. Really looking forward to hearing from you whilst I am caminoing xx

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Jenny Heesh says:

    PS – ‘forgot to mention that Jean-Christophe Rufin was a co-founding member of Medecins Sans Frontieres and is a member of the Academie Francais.


  7. Brian says:

    From a somewhat autumnal Darling Downs more good wishes for your imminent sojourn Maggie. I trust your foot issue is resolved with the right boot choice and every step is a comfortable one. Am really looking forward to following your daily recounts.


  8. Aurélio Simões says:

    Bom caminho.


  9. Buen Camino! Hope we can touch base when you pass through Bilbao. Next week looks rainy! I am looking forward to reading your entries once again!


  10. I’ll be thinking about you, Maggie and look forward to your photos and posts. You will never walk alone as we will all look out for you. Good luck and more happy trails. 🙂


  11. kay parkyn says:

    I am totally in awe of you and your achievements to date!!
    I love reading your updates and seeing your fab photographs as well.
    May the ‘Powers that Be’ bless you with their help and guidance and travel in the knowledge that we are all behind you and urging you ever onwards! 🙂
    Happy Camino!!


  12. Janice Tyler says:

    You will be fine Maggie, although the boots might be a small problem! We look forward to your wonderful blogs and photos xxx


  13. Bonnie says:

    Maggie, always remember the Camino truth, “What is Needed is Provided”! Really looking forward to your posts! Enjoy.


  14. Always enjoy reading your blog Maggie. A year ago I was on my first Camino and shortly before I left being a totally newbie to blogging, stumbled upon yours and proceeded to use your example as a foundation for my blog:)…


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