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LIVE from the Camino Camino home to home, 2019-2021

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J Willhaus

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Year of past OR future Camino
2016 CF;
Hospitalera, Zamora 2017, Hospitalera Grañón 2018, Hospitalera Estella 2019
Hope you are having a joyous holiday season.
 

JabbaPapa

"True Pilgrim"
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This French train strike is messing many things up in terms of delays.

It remains impossible for me to do the Marseilles round-trip to get my army boots re-soled.

And 'til this week, it's been dubious that I might be able at least get this cycle of my administrative rubbish done either.

And in the meantime, my muscles are shrinking from being stuck in and not much hiking, and it's all turning into a great big mess of not completely ready -- regardless the FACT that as Pilgrims we are always ready.

But a part of me and a part of my head has been in Lleida since the start of June, and simply will not leave, at least not 'til I get there in person and kick it down the Way !!!!
 

JabbaPapa

"True Pilgrim"
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A 15cm baby step -- but I finally managed to hook up with the nice seamstress lady (Portuguese) and my new big black cape is getting itself shortened into reasonableness. Or at least to what passes for that virtue in me ...
 
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JabbaPapa

"True Pilgrim"
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I have understood that this confinement and the troubles associated with the lockdown are part and parcel of my current Camino.
 

JabbaPapa

"True Pilgrim"
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I find myself realising that in 18 days time, no legal nor practical impediment would remain to stop me making a 2020 pilgrimage to Rome from my front door, en attendant the capability to continue the current Home to Home via Fatima, Compostela, and Lourdes.

It's an unexpected and slightly scary notion !!

It's just 800K or so, and TBH I've recently been starting to get a bit homesick for Italy, even though I can see that silly & beautifully magnificent country from my bedroom window, and two local buses can take me there (where I can purchase some alternate sorts of booze than usual ; but I can also call some family and friends for free on the Italian network, not free from France).

Can't even ask for advice in this, as it's almost by definition something that only another "True Pilgrim" could help me with, and then only face to face, and if he/she were on the Pilgrim Way. My Godfather (he's a year younger than me, bless) is often very helpful by default, but not this time.

But your random personal commentary would help, which I guess is the point of this post.

What do you think about this crazy notion ?
 

J Willhaus

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
2016 CF;
Hospitalera, Zamora 2017, Hospitalera Grañón 2018, Hospitalera Estella 2019
I am thinking you need to be prepared for camping? Don't know the status of Albergues in Italy or of food vendors. But you are an experienced pilgrim and if you have a way to contact friends who could help in an emergency it seems like a plausible Camino. Certainly seems a good time of year for it and pray for us all when you get to Rome.
 
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Portuguese/FishermanTr. 2019
You will know when to go when it finally "feels right" to you.
 

JabbaPapa

"True Pilgrim"
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OK I'm finally getting back into it.

I'll be off to Marseilles, again, to fix up my size 14½ army boots, again.

Probably re-sole my current pair, and get a second pair. Probably walk with the new pair rather than the old.

Probably going there week after next, will be some kind of ghastly 3:30AM start out from home and then a train day there and back.

It seems that my man at that French Army base in Marseilles is the last one in the whole country to be making the traditional French army boot, and that there's a serious risk that the Government will shut him down -- so that's an extra reason to get a spare pair, as all other alternatives my size are prohibitively expensive.

--

As for restarting at Lleida, well, I'm no longer worried about Covid19 lockdown hassle etc -- the best analysis I've seen suggests that it's following standard viral epidemic patterns, which in Spain have an Autumn to Winter reflux, so that whenever I restart, December to February or whenever, it will be dying.

OK so my current training regimen is dodgy, but more and more I think I just have to get up and go.

I did finally work out that the worst of my recent physical problems came from too many potatoes.

Otherwise, that first stretch out from Lleida is dire for 2-3 days, but there are (I believe) a couple of good restaurants on the Way I could sleep near to outdoors (and of course eat at !! yummy !!), to break that stretch up into hobbling bite-size bits.

Then it's on to the latter more juicy bits to Zaragoza and my dear Logroño ; and then on the Francès to Astorga ; then complicated again LOL.

I hadn't originally planned to make this a Holy Year Pilgrimage, heh the Camino chooses us not the other way 'round ; but well, for the crazier part of it later in 2021 I'll be walking from Santiago to France which does make things easier.
 

JabbaPapa

"True Pilgrim"
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Probably going there week after next, will be some kind of ghastly 3:30AM start out from home and then a train day there and back.

Well, 3:30 AM now, and I'm heading there today, rather than sometime next week as I originally thought.

Backpack and big black pilgrim's cape are necessaries for the day trip.
 

JabbaPapa

"True Pilgrim"
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oh well, that only took 21 hours there and back, similar to last time ...

But -- second pair of size 14½ French Army boots :cool: , and the first pair is being re-soled 🤩 .

If they'd had their key this morning I'd have been asleep for hours by now -- OTOH they gave me a fantastic price on the new pair, 100€ which at that price and given the extremely good quality and given the whacking great big size 14½ is virtually el cheapo.
 
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JabbaPapa

"True Pilgrim"
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All in all, yesterday was a good Camino prep day, and the passing of an important test of readiness to get back on the Ways of Saint James.

I had been delaying that trip to Marseilles for, blimey, nearly a year -- because I just wasn't physically and mentally capable of it.

But then yesterday at about 2:30 AM, well, just went ahead and decided that was indeed the day.

It was undoubtedly an ordeal -- as I have a handicap. But I am recovering pleasantly quickly from it, and the day trip even yesterday felt mostly like one of those harder Pilgriming days that end in exhaustion and trigger a rest day.

I am gaining confidence that I shall be able to resume in Lleida in either December or January.
 

JabbaPapa

"True Pilgrim"
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At the latest, I think I will be back on the Way of Saint James in early 2021, I think January at latest, could be wrong -- though December remains possible hence the ¿2020? still in my siggie.

A Holy Year Camino ---still freaking me out a bit, but hey not my decision ; God and the Camino provide.

Diet "cheats" striked back hard this month, which ultimately is a good thing as my knees and ankles are now behaving with less unruliness after I eliminated those "cheats" again. Sigh. I really do like that food. Back on carnivore. Many people hate this, but so what.

My gut is hard rejecting vegetable fibre, so I guess that's the end of that particular conversation with it. (have some lovely larded steaks in the fridge, Italian origin I believe, from the local and amazing Portuguese butcher's shop)

The first condition for carrying on in the Way was being physically and mentally capable of that hard day trip to Marseilles, for Size 14½ French Army Boot purposes, which has now been done successfully ; as much footwear-wise as against the general endurance questions versus the bloody annoying handicap.

Meanwhile I am finally making good progress with the Greek, only took 20+ years, so that the books I will be taking with me onward into this Camino shall be a sensible Greek philological edition of The New Testament from the lovely Deutschen Bibelgesellschaft publisher (their editions of the Latin Vulgate are amazing) ; Protestants they may be but very excellent ones ; plus a lovely handy thin, light, flexible little Biblical Greek-French dictionary that I have.

If I also need to bring the Biblical Greek textbook with me too, so be it.

Bottom line -- the game is afoot.
 
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JabbaPapa

"True Pilgrim"
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Got my first pair of size 14½ French Army Boots back in the Post today, re-soled.

WP_20201026_19_43_33_Pro.jpg

The quality of these things is incredible.

And now I have two pairs ... :cool:

---

As to the Camino though, it is now quite clear that even very late 2020 is a bust ... :(😷:(🤒

Not because I suppose that risk outweighs possibility, but simply because I lack any influence nor control over administrative lockdowns.

It really does seem to conspire against my Winter Camino desires ...
 
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JabbaPapa

"True Pilgrim"
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Plus now I'm actually wearing them again for the first time, they're amazingly comfortable !!
 
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JabbaPapa

"True Pilgrim"
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Well -- this morning I received an e-mail from the Préfecture on the final steps to obtain my French "Brexit" Residency card for Brit expats, and once that's done, despite having returned to being "out of training", only the most basic reopening of Portugal's and Spain's Regional borders would be needed, plus the beginning of a calendar month, and a few more meds, to get back onto this current Camino. (I'll be crossing all international borders on foot)

It's incoming !! :cool: 👉
 
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J Willhaus

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
2016 CF;
Hospitalera, Zamora 2017, Hospitalera Grañón 2018, Hospitalera Estella 2019
Wishing you safe passage. Loved the photo of your boots and of the blue sky last fall. We are still waiting for borders to reopen to Americans (which may be never if people here don't wise up!)
 

JabbaPapa

"True Pilgrim"
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Thinking it'll be April, unless Spain continues restrictions beyond the end of the respiratory diseases season.
Wishing you safe passage. Loved the photo of your boots and of the blue sky last fall. We are still waiting for borders to reopen to Americans (which may be never if people here don't wise up!)
Thanks !!

And the boots are lovely, but I'll be walking on the new pair. 👉
 

JabbaPapa

"True Pilgrim"
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Well !!

It was a bit of a surprise, but today I actually managed to walk the full length of my basic training hike. :cool:

Rather hard and painful, and it took me six hours or so (instead of the 4 hours or less that would be par for the course), but the pain was manageable, and I managed to get past it ; even though it required some extra doses of my non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug.

It was also a surprise from the fact that my legs had been feeling weaker than usual in recent weeks.

Also because last time I managed the full hike was I think in 2019, and since my forced return from the 77 days of this Camino so far, I had been struggling to a degree with consequences from injury.

So this is great news -- including in the perspective that Spain may be reopening in early April, though Catalonia where I must restart perhaps not until May.

The various threads seem finally to be gathering back together again, and it looks more and more to be incoming 👉
 
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lovingkindness

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
.
Bonjour @JabbaPapa, the other day as I was walking by La cathédrale Saint-Caprais in Agen I saw something that reminded me of you...

Pélerin St Jacques. Agen .JPG . Agen r.JPG
Pèlerin astride a coquille St Jacques, the swirl of a cape, angel rejoicing... (15/03/2021)
 

JabbaPapa

"True Pilgrim"
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My new French Residency card (Brexit special, 10 years, Permanent Resident) just arrived in the Post, so apart from a few new t-shirts needed, I'm all set up for a restart just as soon as Spain opens up enough to make it possible legally -- except the negative PCR test if Spain continues that measure for incoming land travel from France.
 
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JabbaPapa

"True Pilgrim"
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Yep, I'm definitely getting back onto the Camino some short while after May 9th -- France is opening up again on the 3rd, and whilst even in lockdown I'm one of the few lucky ones still able to travel, this reopening will still make the other end of my return journey to Lleida somewhat less complicated.
 

lovingkindness

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
.
Yep, I'm definitely getting back onto the Camino some short while after May 9th -- France is opening up again on the 3rd, and whilst even in lockdown I'm one of the few lucky ones still able to travel, this reopening will still make the other end of my return journey to Lleida somewhat less complicated.
That sounds exciting!
 

JabbaPapa

"True Pilgrim"
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I'm getting more and more of those crazy Pilgrim "signs" that this is now finally going ahead again.

Unexpected greetings in church from absent friends, pilgrim jokes from complete strangers, odd knowing smiles from passers-by seeing my great big yellow arrow.

You can always of course "force" your Way into a Camino, and that's perfectly fine -- but seeing that you are being called into it is always the better situation.
 

JabbaPapa

"True Pilgrim"
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It's still coming together beautifully :cool: 👉

Got the info today about a PCR test I'll probably need to cross the French/Spanish border even on foot, as I plan to do (between buses and between Bourg-Madame and Puigcerdà, from the bus up from Perpignan to a bus down to Lleida) -- though there's still some chance they may revise that requirement for land travel within the next two weeks ; we'll see.

But I do want to go back up that route on my way back as it's more or less the reverse of my way back when the ghastly 2019 heat wave forced me to stop ; though I returned via Andorra instead. And it's beautiful up there too, and seems much better than a more "sensible" route via Barcelona.

And I also called the Perpignan Pilgrim Office, and they kindly reassured me of Pilgrim accommodation in the pleasant Refugio there (not an Albergue, it's too ad hoc to be described so).

Just need some new t-shirts, not that many, a gizmo, one extra month of my medicines, and it's hard to think of anything else -- except of course the apprehension of a PCR false positive.

I have been wearing my new pair of UK size 14½ French Army Boots, US size 15½-16, for a couple of days instead of my comfy re-soled home pair, all good, and I anticipate no problems.

Catalonia is threatening to try and impose continuing regional travel restrictions after the end of the State of Alarm on the 9th, but frankly enough is enough -- it's illegal, and I'll treat it as such. NOT to say that Pilgrims from those countries whence it shall still be illegal after May 9th to travel to Spain should violate that, including because by air travel they could be refused entry and sent back home, just that simpler hiker/pilgrim matters are less complex for those of us going home to home, outside of international public transport requirements and rules.

Taking my Greek New Testament with me this time. Still need to learn a little more to begin reading it normally, so the Koine textbook is coming in the backpack too, and I really do also need to have my copy of it blessed by my Confessor.

All of this, well, I'm very close to being back on my Way. And that's amazing !! :cool:👉
 
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JabbaPapa

"True Pilgrim"
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And I'm just now gluing the two new Crediencial booklets into my already massive one.
 

JabbaPapa

"True Pilgrim"
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Going on foot pilgrimage tomorrow -- 1st May is the Diocesan Pilgrimage to the local Marian Shrine.

Had been forgetting it, but my godfather reminded me !!
 

JabbaPapa

"True Pilgrim"
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Going on foot pilgrimage tomorrow -- 1st May is the Diocesan Pilgrimage to the local Marian Shrine.
Well, that was ... interesting.

I need cheap beer as supplemental pain management (less important after a few weeks on a Camino), and this morning I had none as I set out up the mountain rather than my usual down ; and I was tired this morning, almost cancelled the attempt, but I didn't.

Pain got pretty bad, but I could still carry on ; just way too slowly, and having to stop every few hundred metres, so that I realised there was no way I would reach the target on time for the pilgrimming stuff. So I decided (or realised) I couldn't go further than La Turbie, and I eventually made it through determination ; just about an hour or so later than normal.

Then hooray !! Shops are open despite Labour Day !! Beers !! (I always get cheap low alcohol % lagers or pilseners, except on the VERY rare occasions when I come across a British shop with lovely canned widget Bitter 🍺 )

Three cans of beer later, pain is down again, so I start heading home : much better !!

The steeper downhill tarmac bits are still more difficult than usual, but I make it ; and I don't need to stop or rest any pains or anything 'til my usual 1st rest point. More beer stops. And then so on, much better all the way home.

Oh, except it starts really p-ing down with rain, not full-on Galicia style, but definitely as much as a "normal" Galician rainy day. Bad enough that even the inside of my cape started feeling wet.

Feet and socks though inside the (UK) size 14½ French army boots ?
Not just dry, but warm and toasty. :cool:

So all in all, despite the negatives, and despite not reaching the intended destination, it ended up as a good training day in the face of adverse conditions. Tiring and painful, but good enough for a complicated day without the safety net of the bus service.
 

JabbaPapa

"True Pilgrim"
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My restart date may be delayed slightly by a delivery delay for an article I have ordered online -- we'll see.
 
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