Two days and counting! Backpack is almost sorted, most items on the packing list are ticked off. Rather than show you the standard series of photos of folded clothes that will accompany me on my camino, I thought I would provide a 3D-ish version.
Many items on my packing list remain the same as last year, but I have been busy with my sewing machine again. Home made items from last year include walking shorts, skirt and top, visor and pack cover This year I have made a pair of walking/relaxing trousers, and a new pair of gaiters.
So, whilst I was home alone one morning I had a dressing up session. These clothes are totally interchangeable between walking and resting. Last year, in quite cool weather I walked every day in either shorts or skirt, sometimes with leggings under the skirt. The leggings were also worn in the evenings and if very cold for sleeping. I had a shemagh amongst my scarf collection, but it was not a useful shape, they seem to only be made square. So I cut it in half and sewed the two ends together so that I have a wrap for warmth or shade and also a sarong (I am definitely past the point of being comfortable popping to the bathroom in my sleep wear of vest & pants)
So, I have showerproof shorts with perfectly placed pockets – just the right size for my phone, merino wool sleeveless T-shirt, merino wool leggings, homemade showerproof trousers again with perfect pockets, short sleeve merino T-shirt, rain jacket and crocs sandals for relaxing and wriggling my toes.
Here we have home made skirt (with, you’ve guessed it – perfect pockets) & top, long sleeve top, fleece and down jacket. I also have a vest top for evening/sleep wear.
This year I am trying toe socks, which many pilgrims swear by. Rest assured, I am sparing you the photos of the under layers, but I can share that I have dumped the big woolly slow-drying knickers for ultra lightweight Exofficio briefs.
The new Asolo Thyrus boots seem to be comfy enough and have caused no problems over 100 or so km. But I am rather disappointed with the upgraded Osprey backpack – it’s the same model as my old one, Exos 38 litre and has much improved waist and shoulder straps, but despite it supposedly being 4 litres larger than its predecessor, it seems to have less capacity, it is missing a very useful external zipped pocket and the lid pockets have smaller zip openings than previously which means that I can’t fit in the items that usually reside there. So overall, more comfortable but less convenient.
I will be carrying a sun/rain hiking umbrella for the first time, silver coated to give SPF 50 protection. I’ve always thought they look rather silly in the sunshine, but I hate wearing a hat to protect my scalp and ears from the sun, and it must be time that I place common sense above vanity – there’s not much use for vanity on the camino.
I’m carrying around an extra kilo of weight due my diet (plant based – no animal products) which isn’t great, but it will reduce during the walk as I consume my supplies. I’m thinking chickpeas will feature large on this camino – I’m certainly not expecting any gourmet meals, but I’m hopeful that I can stick with my diet and keep up energy levels. And I can always fall back on Oreos, an accidentally vegan product that is widely available in Spain.
A large group of us are meeting in Almería on Friday evening and we will be joined by a couple of members from the Mozárabe Association of Amigos who will provide credenciales for those who need them, and our first stamp. And then we will be off. Some are planning to walk a double stage the first day so we will spread out along the route and be more manageable for the albergue facilities along the way.
Just keep your fingers crossed for us that this awful weather which has emptied untold litres of water upon us seemingly for weeks, will finally be at an end and the only use for my new umbrella will be to protect me from the sun.