So, we're finally doing it. After twenty years of dreaming about it, Charlie and I are going to walk the trail to Santiago de Compostela. We will do the Spanish portion, also known as the Camino Frances (because in the tenth century the Spanish kings were encouraging Franks to move into new towns they were founding along the trail). We start at Puente de la Reina, the place where the trails from various countries meet and become one, and walk to Santiago over the course of thirty-five days, staying in hostel-style "albergues" or "refugios" set up for pilgrims along the way.
There are lots of reasons for doing a trip like this. As one pilgrim said, to leave the 55 mph life and live the 5mph life -- at least for a while. To get into shape. To admire the wealth of medieval, Renaissance and Baroque art along the way. To admire some of Spain's most beautiful countryside and savor its Rioja wines at the same time. And of course, it's a religious journey, especially for Catholics, a journey that forces confrontation with Spain's religious single-mindedness and the Jewish and especially Moorish influences of the past.
It's mostly the latter that inspired me to start write a novel, working title "On the Road to Santiago," set in medieval Spain at the time of the First Crusade. Our walk overlaps as much as possible the trip that my characters took in 1097 and I plan to rewrite relevant sections as we go along. You can read more about the inception of the novel here.
We will do our best to keep up reports here on this blog for those of you who want to follow us from your armchair, both on our personal progress as well as the progress of Teresa and Joaquin, the fraternal twins that make the journey in the book.
Schedules are made to be departed from, but one must start with a plan, so ours is posted below.
OVERVIEW OF OUR JOURNEY:
Total distance: 682.6 km.
Average: 19.5 km per walking day.
Departure: Saturday, 30 April 2011.
Arrival: Friday, 3 June 2011.
DAY BY DAY STAGES:
Day Stage (km)
1)Sa, 30-Apr-2011 Puente la Reina - Lorca 13.5
2)Su, 1-May-2011 Lorca - Estella 8.5
3)Mo, 2-May-2011 Estella - Los Arcos 21
4)Tu, 3-May-2011 Los Arcos - Viana 18
5)We, 4-May-2011 Viana - Navarrete 22.2
6)Th, 5-May-2011 Navarrete - Nájera 16.2
7)Fr, 6-May-2011 Nájera - Santo Domingo de la Calzada 20.9
8)Sa, 7-May-2011 Santo Domingo de la Calzada - Belorado 23.4
9)Su, 8-May-2011 Belorado - San Juan de Ortega 23.7
10)Mo, 9-May-2011 San Juan de Ortega - Burgos 25.6
11)Tu, 10-May-2011 Burgos - Castrojeriz 40.5
12)We, 11-May-2011 Castrojeriz - Frómista 24.6
13)Th, 12-May-2011 Frómista - Carrión de los Condes 18.6
14)Fr, 13-May-2011 Carrión de los Condes - Lédigos 23.3
15)Sa, 14-May-2011 Lédigos - Sahagún 15.6
16)Su, 15-May-2011 Sahagún - El Burgo Ranero 17.7
17)Mo, 16-May-2011El Burgo Ranero - Mansilla de las Mulas 19
18)Tu, 17-May-2011 Mansilla de las Mulas - León 18.2
19)We, 18-May-2011León - Villadangos del Páramo 20.1
20)Th, 19-May-2011 Villadangos del Páramo - Hospital de Órbigo 11.9
21)Fr, 20-May-2011 Hospital de Órbigo - Astorga 16.1
22)Sa, 21-May-2011 Astorga - Rabanal del Camino 20.4
23)Su, 22-May-2011 Rabanal del Camino - El Acebo 16.7
24) Mo, 23-May-2011 El Acebo - Ponferrada 16
25)Tu, 24-May-2011 Ponferrada - Villafranca del Bierzo 22.4
26)We, 25-May-2011 Villafranca del Bierzo - Vega de Valcarce 16.7
27)Th, 26-May-2011 Vega de Valcarce - Hospital de la Condesa 17.5
28)Fr, 27-May-2011 Hospital de la Condesa - Triacastela 15.1
29)Sa, 28-May-2011 Triacastela - Sarria 24.6
30)Su, 29-May-2011 Sarria - Portomarín 22.4
31)Mo, 30-May-2011 Portomarín - Palas de Rei 24.9
32)Tu, 31-May-2011 Palas de Rei - Melide 14.5
33)We, 1-Jun-2011 Melide - Arzúa 14.3
34) Th, 2-Jun-2011 Arzúa - O Pedrouzo (FR 500 m) 18.4
35) Fr, 3-Jun-2011O Pedrouzo (FR 500 m) - Santiago de Compostela 20.1