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 !!!!
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 ...
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.
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.
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.
oh well, that only took 21 hours there and back, similar to last time ...
But -- second pair of size 14½ French Army boots , 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.
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.
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.