Well, the countdown has begun! Only five weeks until the new adventure starts. I have decided to travel to Madrid by train, which is a little more expensive than flying, but with much less hanging around. I am taking the AVE (Alta Velocidad Española), the super-fast train that will take me from Málaga to Madrid in just 2 hours and 45 minutes and deposit me right in the centre of the city. I have booked accommodation in Madrid for our merry band of pilgrims and we will set off on 23 April to find our way to the first stop at Tres Cantos, a mere 22 km for an easy start.
New boots have been purchased (Merrell Accentor Mid Vent WP). Not what I was hoping to buy, but after spending way too long researching and trying on over a period of months, I ended up determined not to leave the Go Outdoors shop without a pair of boots, and as there were no women’s styles that I liked in my size, I settled for this men’s style, which are very comfortable. I have worn them for around 100 kms with no sign of discomfort, so I have now put them to one side until I set out from Madrid. I’m not sure that the tread will be ‘man enough’ for the job, but there will be opportunities to buy replacements along the way if necessary.
I have been taking some fairly long and arduous walks here in the mountains to build my stamina and am definitely feeling improvement in my performance. But I am not stressing too much about this camino (famous last words!) because the first couple of weeks on the Camino de Madrid is relatively flat with only one significant climb, so by the time I hit the more challenging Camino del Salvador I should be ready for it.
Spring has most definitely sprung here in Andalucia and I have been snapping away on my walks. We have experienced a lot of rain so far this year and the hillsides and terraces are looking ridiculously green and the early spring flowers are stunning, as always.
And with the green hillsides comes the garden full of very healthy weeds that I am forever battling. But nevertheless, the garden is a riot of colour and the bees are busy at work – particularly around the wisteria.
I am continuing with my plant-based alcohol free diet when at home, and eating and drinking what I am given when out with friends. This is working well for me and I have lost another few pounds over the last several weeks. I am hoping to start this camino at the weight I normally drop to after walking for five or six weeks. It will be interesting to see what I weigh when I return this year. Amongst our group is a vegan and a vegetarian, so I am hoping their influence will help me stay focussed on eating well. However, I expect I may well be imbibing the odd glass of wine en route!
So, only 35 days to go…it will fly by. I really need to knuckle down and do some planning of my expected stages. I normally make a spreadsheet of where I expect reach each day with accommodation contact information, so that I have a rough idea of the progress I am likely to make. But it is just a plan and can be changed for any reason along the way. I have thus far planned days 1 and 2, so have a way to go.