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Preparations & Palpitations....Prior to Portugal

gerardcarey

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
CFx2, CPx1
I am visiting a friend I’ve grown to know over my Caminoing years.
I’m getting my clothes sorted for Portugal.
She’s got the tape measure on me.
“Chest….forty two,” she says, “now keep your arms up. Waist....forty two. And lastly hips. No surprise there then....forty two.”
I, am horrified!
“That can’t be right!” I remonstrate, “do it again, and use proper measurements this time. We’ve been metric for decades!”
“Are you questioning my ability as a measurer?” she asks. “And anyway, that won’t change anything. It’ll just read one hundred and seven centimetres, three times. Would you rather be forty two or a hundred and seven?”
She shakes her head and looks at me in exasperation.
“But blimey,” I say, “you’re making me sound as tho I’m a tree trunk!”
“What’s wrong with that?” she replies. “Just think of yourself as a eucalyptus, or a redwood, standing strong and majestic on the land.”
It doesn’t sound quite so bad when she puts it like that.
But I’m a Kiwi, not an Aussie or an American.
The giant Kauri tree of my Kiwi homeland. The very largest kauri, the most noble, his name is Tane Mahuta, “Lord of the Forest.”
According to our Maori creation myth, Tāne is the son of Ranginui the sky father and Papatuanuku the earth mother.
Tane Mahuta, that’d be me.

But she disagrees with my choice of tree species.
“If you’d just relax and let your stomach out....now don’t get snotty with me….you would look more like that African tree. The Baobab.”
DON'T GET SNOTTY ???
DON’T GET SNOTTY !!!

The first of the goodies has arrived by post. Like Christmas but even better. A little fold up bluetooth keyboard to accompany my 8” tablet. I’ll only have to charge it up once a month via USB.
I connect it to my tablet, have a practice type. A little darling of a set-up it is.

I’m planning the leaving of Lisbon for early April.
I hope it’s not too wet or cold. I’m a bit of a pussy pilgrim.
That’s why I picked the Camino Portuguese. The starting point in Lisbon looks to be nearly the closest Camino departure point to the Equator. Gotta be warmer there doesn’t it?

I thought I was in reasonable shape.
Last November, here in OZ, I did the ‘Great Coastal Walk’. Nice walk, and not very demanding. Takes about a week. Starts north of Sydney. I followed the coast down to the northern heads of Sydney harbour. Then, after heading inland to round the northern edge of the harbour, I’d crossed the Harbour Bridge and walked the southern edge, past the Sydney Opera House.
It dragged a memory from a corner of my mind.
I stopped to look. Remembered how I’d climbed to the top of the highest sail, very early one Sunday morning. So many years ago. I was a young lad on the way home after a big night out. They were still building it then.

The walk now heads off, around the built up and busy bays, out to the ocean again. Then goes south, coastside, to Sydney’s second harbour. Botany Bay. That’s where the cargo ships dock these days.
This portion of the walk I’m told is the most popular walk in OZ.
Indeed, it is a lovely walk. Kept cool by a sea breeze. Along a high, attractive rocky surf coast. It dips down regularly to beautiful sandy beaches. The ones you see on TV. They are very popular on weekends with lots of families having fun. The OZ lifestyle epitomized here.
The walk drops now into Bondi Beach. I stop for a fish and chip lunch, watch folk enjoying themselves on the sand and in the water. Overseen by those ever watchful lifeguards. Those of the bronzed, rippling, muscled bodies.
"I could do that," I was thinking as I stood there watching. "Be a lifeguard. Fit now aren’t I? In good shape. I wouldn’t feel embarrassed or ashamed in their company would I?"
42,42,42. When I look back, I can’t believe what a twat I am sometimes.

More goodies! Brierley’s “Camino Portugues”. The maps only edition, because I dislike his spiritual waffle. Good night-time reading for me while I’m snuggled up in bed. Keep me fizzing.
And another guidebook. Leigh Hatts “Walking. The Pilgrims’ Way. To Canterbury - from Winchester and London.”

I’m a great fan of Geoffrey Chaucer. After Portugal I’m going to England to follow the path Geoffrey’s pilgrims took from Southwark Cathedral in London over the South Downs to Canterbury Cathedral. They were heading for the tomb of Saint Thomas a Becket, which Canterbury Cathedral formerly held. Gone now it is. Just a spot marked on the floor to show where he was so brutally murdered by the King's knights.
Take me about a week I reckon. I figure to stay in country pubs along the way, eat good solid English food, sink a few pints.
I’ll also of course be again reading portions of Geoffrey's ‘Canterbury Tales’ as I proceed. I never tire of it.
How good is this little pilgrimage going to be!
I have a niece, Trisha, she lives on the south coast, in Brighton. She’s a dear friend and has invited me to go stay. Be a good base for my Canterbury adventures.

But now it’s two months after my Sydney seaside expedition. Two months of Christmas and New Year festivities. Two months of little exercise.
I’ve shifted house since my last Camino and my friend Michael had amused himself by sorting out a new ‘Get fit again for the Camino’ training route for me. He takes me on a five block walk from my new home to the cliffs on the edge of the Brisbane river.
There are 106 steps down the cliff face to the river bank.
“Go up and down those three times. After all that good muscle strengthening step climbing, you walk home again,” he says, “the round trip will be all over and done in about an hour. Do that every morning. That’ll knock you into shape.”
Sounds good to me. I figure the steps will mean less time spent on long training plods.

The next morning I’m outta bed early. I’m in celebratory mode as I head off, commencing my Camino training.
Trouble is, the following day arrives and I can’t get out of bed.
Legs all cramped up and hurting.
Stupid galoot I am. Overdoing things. Brainless twit.
Took a week until my legs loosened up enough for me to start training properly again. Up and down the steps, but only once, slowly. Then, after a month, twice, that’s where I’m up to now. After two months it’ll be thrice.

More goodies! A powerbank...so I can charge up my electronics at will. Capacity of 10,000 milli Ampere hours. I don't know what that means. I charge it up til it’s chocker, then find that it will fill my tablet, from empty, 2.3 times.

I’m on track with exercise now, five weeks away from leaving for Portugal.
In a week's time, I’ll add to my morning step walk routine.
In the evening I’ll do some flat walking along the river bank. The late summer evenings are perfect for a walk. I’ll wear my pack as well.
What I do know is that if the exercise is not enjoyable, I won’t do it. Too lazy. I’ll find any reason not to leave the house. Never going to be a proper hiker am I? But I think I’m sorted now for Portugal.

More goodies!
A Euroschirm 'telescope handsfree' umbrella. It's handle fastens to your pack's waistbelt, then the stalk engages a clip you attach to your shoulder strap. Hands are free for walking poles! I’m a brolly convert.
And an ultra-light Frogg Toggs rain suit. Basic, no pockets, but talk about cheap! Although the freight to Oz from the US really cranks the price up.
I figure that with the brolly up I can keep the rain jacket hood down, and the front open for ventilation.

So yesterday morning I'm wearing my pack and climbing the narrow cliff steps during my exercise routine. Past me push a line of women joggers, eagerly pursued by their obviously fit, yet abusively loud, ‘personal trainer’.
From a nearby tree an alarmed pair of finches take flight out over the river. Do personal trainers have to yell and scream at their charges so?
Do they not realise how disturbing of the peace they are?
I mean I’ve been loudly abused by women on a few occasions over the years and it is rather hard on one’s ear drums.
Most unpleasant.
“Should be a law against women like you!” I advise pointedly as she bounds up alongside. “Keep the noise level down a bit will you, you’re frightening the wildlife!”
She pauses a few steps above me, considers, then formulates her reply. She turns.
“If, as it appears," she replies, "you are classifying yourself as being part of the local ‘wildlife’, then I would consider that in frightening you away, I am performing a valuable public service.”
She bounds off again, onwards and upwards.

Now this morning, there’s a sergeant major type personal trainer in a muscle shirt doing the exercise thing with a scrawny looking bunch of blokes on a flat grassy area. Ranting and raving, disturbing the peace also he is. So, in the interests of fairness between the sexes, I give him a piece of my mind also. He doesn't have the turn of phrase of his female counterpart. He leans forward over his puffed up muscles, glares and tells me to “bugger off.”

Ha ha. Well met...the both of them.

Another treat arrives. A 120 weight Icebreaker woolen long-sleeved half-zip. A warmish top for bed if it’s cold at night, or as a jersey during the day. It adds to my choice of layers, which is currently four including the rainwear.
Gotta get a backpack cover too. The Decathlon website says I can get a cheap one in their Lisbon shop. That’ll do me cobber. Cheap windbreakers there too.

It’s into March now. Just under four weeks to go. The evening walks are very pleasant.
I now have that nervous tingly feeling, permanently, in the pit of my stomach.
Still, after all these years.

The last of the goodies arrive, from Rick Steves.
A money-belt….deep storage for cash reserves, tickets, credit cards, and my two passports. I slept with it on last night. So comfy I forgot it was there til I climbed into the shower this morning.
And a pocket journal for on-trail notes. I’ve got a propelling pencil to use with that.
And a special treat. A lovely little soft lambskin zip purse, to keep my daily cash in. It has a small front pocket containing a card on which is printed the following message in five languages.

DEAR THIEF
Sorry this contains so little money.
Consider changing your profession.

My soft little daily cash purse will live in a zippered pants pocket.
Am I allowed to recommend Rick’s accessories? Really good quality/price. I have never availed myself of any of his services before, altho I did meet him in Europe twenty-ish years ago. Seemed a nice bloke.

Sunday now. Nearly there.
This coming Wednesday, it’s Brisbane to Abu Dhabi. 14hrs 10min.
Now that's what you call a flight.
A 2hr 25min stopover and then it’s Abu Dhabi to CDG Paris.
7hrs 25min is not so bad.

I’m staying one night in Paris at the Hotel Fauconnier. It's a hostel really but also has private rooms, in ‘Notre Dame’ territory, close to north bank of the Seine. It’s one of three jointly run and closely sited MIJE Youth Hostels. They are delightfully old but well reconditioned buildings of character.
https://www.mije.com/en/auberge-jeunesse-paris
I’ll get the RER B train from CDG airport to Chatelet-les-Halles. Change to metro line 1 and it's just two stops to St-Paul station. Hotel Fauconnier is just 2 or 3 minutes walk. Easy as.
(Metro line 1 offers more connections to other metro and RER lines than any other metro line in Paris)
The MIJE hostels are within 15 mins walk of Notre Dame and the two Paris attractions I am determined not to miss this time.

The afternoon I arrive I’ll do the 10 minute walk to Saint-Jacques Tower. It's from here that pilgrims from, or travelling thru Paris, set off on their way to Santiago. The tower is in a park and is all that's left of a church that was destroyed during the French revolution. You can climb the tower, and also get a stamp for your credential. No use to a Camino Portugeezer like me tho.

The next morning it’s another short walk to Sainte-Chapelle, over on the ‘Ile de la Cite’ close to Notre Dame. Construction of this Royal Chapel, within the residence of the kings of France, started about 1240. It has the most fabulous array of 13th Century stained glass. It is one of “the” sights of Paris I'm told by knowledgeable friends. They didn’t do things by halves those kings of France did they?

So, after a stained glass morning I have an afternoon flight from Orly airport to Lisbon. Never been to Orly airport.
I'll take that same RER B train I got from CDG into Paris. It continues on thru the city and out to Antony Station where a change is required to the little Orlyval shuttle train that services Orly airport. Orly has two stations, at Orly West (Ouest) and Orly South (Sud) terminals. I'll need to figure out what terminal I'm leaving from.

On March 30th, one of our Portugal experts, a forum moderator and pilgrim friend known here as peregrina2000, is kindly meeting with two parties of forum pilgrims at Lisbon Cathedral. She is going to welcome and introduce them to Lisbon.
My accommodation is only two blocks away, but I’m one day late.
Grrrrrrrrr.
Not fair.

Regards
Gerard

PS
I'm a Portugeezer.
I think I just invented a cool new word.
I think we should save that for blokes who start from Lisbon.
You gals can be Portugaliers.
Hooray for us!
 
Last edited:

VNwalking

Wandering in big circles
Camino(s) past & future
Francés ('14/'15)
San Olav/CF ('16)
Baztanés/CF ('17)
Ingles ('18)
Vasco/CF/Invierno ('19)
Tane Mahuta, yeah that'll be you, Gerard.;)
Portugeezer? That's kind of funny, and if it fits hopefully it's as comfortable as that merino.
Too bad you'll be missing the meet-up with @peregrina2000...
But I bet you'll have a bom caminho anyway!
Look forward to reading the stories from that.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances 2015
VDLP 2016
Portuguese March 2017
Sanabres September 2017
Madrid September 2018
Bom Caminho Gerard. I'm in Lisbon today - walking tomorrow. It's teeming with rain at the moment but the forecast tells me that things will improve...
 

gerardcarey

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
CFx2, CPx1
@gerardcarey you tell a great yarn. Have a wonderful camino!
I'm sure I will Kanga. Thank you.
Tane Mahuta, yeah that'll be you, Gerard.;)
Portugeezer? That's kind of funny, and if it fits hopefully it's as comfortable as that merino.
Too bad you'll be missing the meet-up with @peregrina2000...
But I bet you'll have a bom caminho anyway!
Look forward to reading the stories from that.
I've always felt the 'pricklieness' and therefore been adverse to utilising wool clothing. Hopefully this time eh? Regards
Gerard, hope you'll be blogging your tales as you make your way!
I'll be following you from Lisbon in June.
Buen Camino
Davie
That's why this time I have Rick Steves' well priced journals, and a little fold up keyboard. Should be more accurate than my memory. Regards
Bom Caminho Gerard. I'm in Lisbon today - walking tomorrow. It's teeming with rain at the moment but the forecast tells me that things will improve...
Looked at Lisbon weather today and noted the rain. I'm told the 'Tile Museum' on the way out of town is worth a visit. Stay dry, and well, and enjoy yourself you, the first of the Portugeezers. Bom Caminho.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances 2015
VDLP 2016
Portuguese March 2017
Sanabres September 2017
Madrid September 2018
Looked at Lisbon weather today and noted the rain. I'm told the 'Tile Museum' on the way out of town is worth a visit. Stay dry, and well, and enjoy yourself you, the first of the Portugeezers. Bom Caminho.[/QUOTE]

Actually, I'm a Portugaller. Although Portugeezer has a nicer ring to it...
 

gittiharre

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF Austria Czech Le Puy Geneva RLS V. Jacobi V. Regia V. Baltica/Scandinavica Porto Muxia
I am visiting a friend I’ve grown to know over my Caminoing years.
I’m getting my clothes sorted for Portugal.
She’s got the tape measure on me.
“Chest….forty two,” she says, “now keep your arms up. Waist....forty two. And lastly hips. No surprise there then....forty two.”
I, am horrified!
“That can’t be right!” I remonstrate, “do it again, and use proper measurements this time. We’ve been metric for decades!”
“Are you questioning my ability as a measurer?” she asks. “And anyway, that won’t change anything. It’ll just read one hundred and seven centimetres, three times. Would you rather be forty two or a hundred and seven?”
She shakes her head and looks at me in exasperation.
“But blimey,” I say, “you’re making me sound as tho I’m a tree trunk!”
“What’s wrong with that?” she replies. “Just think of yourself as a eucalyptus, or a redwood, standing strong and majestic on the land.”
It doesn’t sound quite so bad when she puts it like that.
But I’m a Kiwi, not an Aussie or an American.
The giant Kauri tree of my Kiwi homeland. The very largest kauri, the most noble, his name is Tane Mahuta, “Lord of the Forest.”
According to our Maori creation myth, Tāne is the son of Ranginui the sky father and Papatuanuku the earth mother.
Tane Mahuta, that’d be me.

But she disagrees with my choice of tree species.
“If you’d just relax and let your stomach out....now don’t get snotty with me….you would look more like that African tree. The Baobab.”
DON'T GET SNOTTY ???
DON’T GET SNOTTY !!!

The first of the goodies has arrived by post. Like Christmas but even better. A little fold up bluetooth keyboard to accompany my 8” tablet. I’ll only have to charge it up once a month via USB.
I connect it to my tablet, have a practice type. A little darling of a set-up it is.

I’m planning the leaving of Lisbon for early April.
I hope it’s not too wet or cold. I’m a bit of a pussy pilgrim.
That’s why I picked the Camino Portuguese. The starting point in Lisbon looks to be nearly the closest Camino departure point to the Equator. Gotta be warmer there doesn’t it?
Live in hope I do.

I thought I was in reasonable shape.
Last November, here in OZ, I did the ‘Great Coastal Walk’. Nice walk if not very demanding. Takes about a week. Starts north of Sydney. Follows the coast down to Sydney harbour. Then, after heading inland to round the northern side of the harbour, I’d crossed the Harbour Bridge and walked the southern harbour side. Past the Sydney Opera House.
Memories.
I stopped to look at it. Remembered how I’d climbed to the top of the highest sail, very early one Sunday morning during a misspent youth. So many years ago. I was on the way home after a big night out. They were still building it then.

The walk then heads off, around the bays, out to the ocean again. Then goes south, coastside, to Sydney’s second harbour, Botany bay. That’s where the cargo ships dock these days.
This portion of the walk I’m told is the most popular walk in OZ.
Indeed, it is a lovely walk. Kept cool by a sea breeze. Along a high, attractive rocky surf coast. It dips down regularly to beautiful sandy beaches. The ones you see on TV. They are very popular on weekends with lots of families having fun. The OZ lifestyle epitomized here.
The walk drops now into Bondi Beach. I stop for a fish and chip lunch, watch folk enjoying themselves on the sand and in the water. Overseen by those ever watchful lifeguards. Those of the bronzed, rippling, muscled bodies.
I could do that. Be a lifeguard. Fit now aren’t I? In good shape. I wouldn’t feel embarrassed or ashamed in their company would I?
42,42,42. When I look back, I can’t believe what a twat I am sometimes.

More goodies! Brierley’s “Camino Portugues”. The maps only edition, because I dislike his spiritual waffle. Good night-time reading for me while I’m snuggled up in bed. Keep me fizzing.
And another guidebook. Leigh Hatts “Walking. The Pilgrims’ Way. To Canterbury - from Winchester and London.”

I’m a great fan of Geoffrey Chaucer. After Portugal I’m going to England to follow the path Geoffrey’s pilgrims took from Southwark Cathedral in London over the South Downs to Canterbury Cathedral. They were heading off to the tomb of Saint Thomas a Becket which Canterbury Cathedral formerly held. Gone now it is. Just a spot marked on the floor to show where he was so brutally murdered by the King's knights.
Take me about a week I reckon. I figure to stay in country pubs along the way, eat good solid English food, sink a few pints.
I’ll also of course be again reading portions of a favourite book as I proceed. Geoffrey’s ‘Canterbury Tales’. I never tire of it.
How good is this little pilgrimage going to be!
I have a niece, Trisha, she lives on the south coast, in Brighton. She’s invited me to go stay. Be a good base for my Canterbury adventures.

But now it’s two months after my Sydney seaside expedition. Two months of Christmas and New Year festivities. Two months of little exercise.
I’ve shifted house since my last Camino and my friend Michael had amused himself by sorting out a new ‘Get fit again for the Camino’ training route for me. He takes me on a five block walk from my new home to the cliffs on the edge of the Brisbane river.
There are 106 steps down the cliff face to the river bank.
“Go up and down those three times. After all that good muscle strengthening step climbing, you walk home again,” he says, “the round trip will be all over and done in about an hour. Do that every morning. That’ll knock you into shape.”
Sounds good to me. I figure the steps will mean less time spent on long training plods.

The next morning I’m outta bed early. I’m in celebratory mode as I head off, commencing the start of my Camino training.
Trouble is, the following day arrives and I can’t get out of bed.
Legs all cramped up and hurting.
Stupid galoot I am. Overdoing things. Brainless twit.
Took a week until my legs loosened up enough for me to start training properly again. Up and down the steps, but only once, slowly, then after a month, twice, that’s where I’m up to now. After two months it’ll be thrice.

More goodies! A powerbank...so I can charge up my electronics at will. Capacity of 10,000 milli Ampere hours. I don't know what that means. I charge it up til it’s chocker, then find that it will fill my tablet, from empty, 2.3 times.

I’m on track with exercise now, five weeks away from leaving for Portugal.
In a week's time, I’ll add to my morning step walk routine.
In the evening I’ll do some flat walking along the river bank. The late summer evenings are perfect for a walk. I’ll wear my pack as well.
What I do know is that if the exercise is not enjoyable, I won’t do it. Too lazy. I’ll find any reason not to leave the house. Never going to be a proper hiker am I? But I think I’m sorted now for Portugal.

More goodies!
A Euroschirm hands-free telescope umbrella. I’m a brolly convert.
And an ultra-light Frogg Toggs rain suit. Basic, but talk about cheap! Although the freight to Oz from the US really cranks the price up. With the brolly up I can keep the rain jacket hood down, and the front open for ventilation.

So yesterday, I’m going up the steps during my morning exercise when past me push a line of women joggers being eagerly pursued by their abusively loud, if obviously fit, ‘personal trainer’.
Do they have to yell and scream at their charges so?
Do they not realise how disturbing of the peace they are?
I mean I’ve been loudly abused by women on a few occasions over the years and it is indeed rather hard on one’s ear drums.
Most unpleasant.
“Should be a law against women like you!” I advise pointedly as she bounds up alongside. “Keep the noise level down a bit will you, you’re scaring the wildlife!”
She pauses a few steps above me, thinks for a few seconds then turns.
“If, as it appears," she replies," you are classifying yourself as being ‘wildlife’, then I would consider that I am performing a valuable public service.”
She bounds off again, onwards and upwards.
Now this morning, there’s a sergeant major type personal trainer in a muscle shirt doing the exercise thing with a scrawny looking bunch of blokes on a flat grassy area. Disturbing the peace also he is. So in the interests of fairness to the sexes I give him a piece of my mind also. He just glares and tells me to “bugger off.”

Another treat arrives. A 120 weight Icebreaker woolen long-sleeved half-zip. A warmish top for bed if it’s cold at night, or as a jersey during the day. It adds to my choice of layers, which is currently four including the rainwear.
Gotta get a backpack cover too. The Decathlon website says I can get a cheap one in their Lisbon shop. That’ll do me cobber. Cheap windbreakers there too.

It’s into March now. Just under four weeks to go. The evening walks are very pleasant.
I now have that nervous tingly feeling, permanently, in the pit of my stomach.
Still, after all these years.

The last of the goodies arrive, from Rick Steves.
A money-belt….deep storage for cash reserves, tickets, credit cards, and my two passports. I slept with it on last night. So comfy I forgot it was there til I climbed into the shower this morning. And a pocket journal for on-trail notes. I’ve got a propelling pencil to use with that. And a special treat. A lovely little soft lambskin zip purse, to keep my daily cash in. It has a small front pocket containing a card on which is printed the following message in five languages.

DEAR THIEF
Sorry this contains so little money.
Consider changing your profession.

My little daily cash purse will live in a zippered pants pocket.
Am I allowed to recommend Rick’s accessories? Really good quality/price. I have never availed myself of any of his services before, altho I did meet him in Europe twenty-ish years ago. Seemed a nice bloke.

Sunday now. Nearly there.
Next Wednesday, the 29th, it’s Brisbane to Abu Dhabi. 14hr 10min. Now that's what you call a flight. A 2hr 25min stopover and then it’s Abu Dhabi to CDG Paris. 7hr 25min is not so bad.

I’m staying one night in Paris at the Hotel Fauconnier, in ‘Notre Dame’ territory, close to north bank of the Seine. It’s one of three jointly run and closely sited MIJE Youth Hostels that have private rooms. They are old but very well reconditioned buildings of character.
https://www.mije.com/en/auberge-jeunesse-paris
I’ll get the RER B train from CDG airport to Chatelet-les-Halles. Change to metro line 1 and it’s just two stops to St-Paul station. Hotel Fauconnier is just 2 or 3 minutes walk. Easy peasy.
It’s within 15 mins walk of Notre Dame and the two Paris attractions I am determined not to miss this time.

The afternoon I arrive I’ll hurriedly off to Saint-Jacques Tower.
It's from here that pilgrims from, or travelling through Paris, set off on their way to Santiago. The tower is all that's left of the church which was destroyed during the revolution. You can climb the tower, and also get a stamp for your credential. No use to a Camino Portugeezer like me tho.

The next morning it’s Sainte-Chapelle, over on the ‘Ile de la Cite’ close to Notre Dame. Construction of this Royal Chapel within the residence of the kings of France started about 1240. It has one of the most fabulous and extensive 13th-century stained glass collection anywhere in the world. It is, I'm told, one of “the” sights of Paris. They didn’t do things by halves those kings of France did they?

That same afternoon of the 31st of March, I fly from Orly airport to Lisbon.
One of our Portugal experts, a mod and pilgrim friend known on the forum as peregrina2000, is having a meetup with two parties of our own forum pilgrims, at Lisbon Cathedral on March 30th.
My accommodation is only two blocks away, and I’m one day late.
Grrrrrrrrr.
Not fair.

Regards
Gerard
I'm a Portugeezer.
I think I just invented a cool new word.
I think we should save that for blokes who start from Lisbon.
You gals can be Portugaliers.
How good is that?
So entertaining. Love your writing style.
Enjoy your walk!
 

Camino Chrissy

Take one step forward...then keep on walking..
Camino(s) past & future
Frances 2015;
Norte/Primitivo 2016;
Frances 2017;
Le Puy 2018;
Portuguese/FishermanTr. 2019
I am visiting a friend I’ve grown to know over my Caminoing years.
I’m getting my clothes sorted for Portugal.
She’s got the tape measure on me.
“Chest….forty two,” she says, “now keep your arms up. Waist....forty two. And lastly hips. No surprise there then....forty two.”
I, am horrified!
“That can’t be right!” I remonstrate, “do it again, and use proper measurements this time. We’ve been metric for decades!”
“Are you questioning my ability as a measurer?” she asks. “And anyway, that won’t change anything. It’ll just read one hundred and seven centimetres, three times. Would you rather be forty two or a hundred and seven?”
She shakes her head and looks at me in exasperation.
“But blimey,” I say, “you’re making me sound as tho I’m a tree trunk!”
“What’s wrong with that?” she replies. “Just think of yourself as a eucalyptus, or a redwood, standing strong and majestic on the land.”
It doesn’t sound quite so bad when she puts it like that.
But I’m a Kiwi, not an Aussie or an American.
The giant Kauri tree of my Kiwi homeland. The very largest kauri, the most noble, his name is Tane Mahuta, “Lord of the Forest.”
According to our Maori creation myth, Tāne is the son of Ranginui the sky father and Papatuanuku the earth mother.
Tane Mahuta, that’d be me.

But she disagrees with my choice of tree species.
“If you’d just relax and let your stomach out....now don’t get snotty with me….you would look more like that African tree. The Baobab.”
DON'T GET SNOTTY ???
DON’T GET SNOTTY !!!

The first of the goodies has arrived by post. Like Christmas but even better. A little fold up bluetooth keyboard to accompany my 8” tablet. I’ll only have to charge it up once a month via USB.
I connect it to my tablet, have a practice type. A little darling of a set-up it is.

I’m planning the leaving of Lisbon for early April.
I hope it’s not too wet or cold. I’m a bit of a pussy pilgrim.
That’s why I picked the Camino Portuguese. The starting point in Lisbon looks to be nearly the closest Camino departure point to the Equator. Gotta be warmer there doesn’t it?
Live in hope I do.

I thought I was in reasonable shape.
Last November, here in OZ, I did the ‘Great Coastal Walk’. Nice walk if not very demanding. Takes about a week. Starts north of Sydney. Follows the coast down to Sydney harbour. Then, after heading inland to round the northern side of the harbour, I’d crossed the Harbour Bridge and walked the southern harbour side. Past the Sydney Opera House.
Memories.
I stopped to look at it. Remembered how I’d climbed to the top of the highest sail, very early one Sunday morning during a misspent youth. So many years ago. I was on the way home after a big night out. They were still building it then.

The walk then heads off, around the bays, out to the ocean again. Then goes south, coastside, to Sydney’s second harbour, Botany bay. That’s where the cargo ships dock these days.
This portion of the walk I’m told is the most popular walk in OZ.
Indeed, it is a lovely walk. Kept cool by a sea breeze. Along a high, attractive rocky surf coast. It dips down regularly to beautiful sandy beaches. The ones you see on TV. They are very popular on weekends with lots of families having fun. The OZ lifestyle epitomized here.
The walk drops now into Bondi Beach. I stop for a fish and chip lunch, watch folk enjoying themselves on the sand and in the water. Overseen by those ever watchful lifeguards. Those of the bronzed, rippling, muscled bodies.
I could do that. Be a lifeguard. Fit now aren’t I? In good shape. I wouldn’t feel embarrassed or ashamed in their company would I?
42,42,42. When I look back, I can’t believe what a twat I am sometimes.

More goodies! Brierley’s “Camino Portugues”. The maps only edition, because I dislike his spiritual waffle. Good night-time reading for me while I’m snuggled up in bed. Keep me fizzing.
And another guidebook. Leigh Hatts “Walking. The Pilgrims’ Way. To Canterbury - from Winchester and London.”

I’m a great fan of Geoffrey Chaucer. After Portugal I’m going to England to follow the path Geoffrey’s pilgrims took from Southwark Cathedral in London over the South Downs to Canterbury Cathedral. They were heading for the tomb of Saint Thomas a Becket, which Canterbury Cathedral formerly held. Gone now it is. Just a spot marked on the floor to show where he was so brutally murdered by the King's knights.
Take me about a week I reckon. I figure to stay in country pubs along the way, eat good solid English food, sink a few pints.
I’ll also of course be again reading portions of a favourite book as I proceed. Geoffrey’s ‘Canterbury Tales’. I never tire of it.
How good is this little pilgrimage going to be!
I have a niece, Trisha, she lives on the south coast, in Brighton. She’s invited me to go stay. Be a good base for my Canterbury adventures.

But now it’s two months after my Sydney seaside expedition. Two months of Christmas and New Year festivities. Two months of little exercise.
I’ve shifted house since my last Camino and my friend Michael had amused himself by sorting out a new ‘Get fit again for the Camino’ training route for me. He takes me on a five block walk from my new home to the cliffs on the edge of the Brisbane river.
There are 106 steps down the cliff face to the river bank.
“Go up and down those three times. After all that good muscle strengthening step climbing, you walk home again,” he says, “the round trip will be all over and done in about an hour. Do that every morning. That’ll knock you into shape.”
Sounds good to me. I figure the steps will mean less time spent on long training plods.

The next morning I’m outta bed early. I’m in celebratory mode as I head off, commencing the start of my Camino training.
Trouble is, the following day arrives and I can’t get out of bed.
Legs all cramped up and hurting.
Stupid galoot I am. Overdoing things. Brainless twit.
Took a week until my legs loosened up enough for me to start training properly again. Up and down the steps, but only once, slowly, then after a month, twice, that’s where I’m up to now. After two months it’ll be thrice.

More goodies! A powerbank...so I can charge up my electronics at will. Capacity of 10,000 milli Ampere hours. I don't know what that means. I charge it up til it’s chocker, then find that it will fill my tablet, from empty, 2.3 times.

I’m on track with exercise now, five weeks away from leaving for Portugal.
In a week's time, I’ll add to my morning step walk routine.
In the evening I’ll do some flat walking along the river bank. The late summer evenings are perfect for a walk. I’ll wear my pack as well.
What I do know is that if the exercise is not enjoyable, I won’t do it. Too lazy. I’ll find any reason not to leave the house. Never going to be a proper hiker am I? But I think I’m sorted now for Portugal.

More goodies!
A Euroschirm hands-free telescope umbrella. I’m a brolly convert.
And an ultra-light Frogg Toggs rain suit. Basic, but talk about cheap! Although the freight to Oz from the US really cranks the price up. With the brolly up I can keep the rain jacket hood down, and the front open for ventilation.

So yesterday, I’m going up the steps during my morning exercise when past me push a line of women joggers being eagerly pursued by their abusively loud, if obviously fit, ‘personal trainer’.
Do they have to yell and scream at their charges so?
Do they not realise how disturbing of the peace they are?
I mean I’ve been loudly abused by women on a few occasions over the years and it is indeed rather hard on one’s ear drums.
Most unpleasant.
“Should be a law against women like you!” I advise pointedly as she bounds up alongside. “Keep the noise level down a bit will you, you’re scaring the wildlife away!”
She pauses a few steps above me, thinks for a few seconds then turns.
“If, as it appears," she replies," you are classifying yourself as being ‘wildlife’, then I would consider that I am performing a valuable public service.”
She bounds off again, onwards and upwards.
Now this morning, there’s a sergeant major type personal trainer in a muscle shirt doing the exercise thing with a scrawny looking bunch of blokes on a flat grassy area. Disturbing the peace also he is. So in the interests of fairness to the sexes I give him a piece of my mind also. He just glares and tells me to “bugger off.”

Another treat arrives. A 120 weight Icebreaker woolen long-sleeved half-zip. A warmish top for bed if it’s cold at night, or as a jersey during the day. It adds to my choice of layers, which is currently four including the rainwear.
Gotta get a backpack cover too. The Decathlon website says I can get a cheap one in their Lisbon shop. That’ll do me cobber. Cheap windbreakers there too.

It’s into March now. Just under four weeks to go. The evening walks are very pleasant.
I now have that nervous tingly feeling, permanently, in the pit of my stomach.
Still, after all these years.

The last of the goodies arrive, from Rick Steves.
A money-belt….deep storage for cash reserves, tickets, credit cards, and my two passports. I slept with it on last night. So comfy I forgot it was there til I climbed into the shower this morning. And a pocket journal for on-trail notes. I’ve got a propelling pencil to use with that. And a special treat. A lovely little soft lambskin zip purse, to keep my daily cash in. It has a small front pocket containing a card on which is printed the following message in five languages.

DEAR THIEF
Sorry this contains so little money.
Consider changing your profession.

My little daily cash purse will live in a zippered pants pocket.
Am I allowed to recommend Rick’s accessories? Really good quality/price. I have never availed myself of any of his services before, altho I did meet him in Europe twenty-ish years ago. Seemed a nice bloke.

Sunday now. Nearly there.
This coming Wednesday, the 29th, it’s Brisbane to Abu Dhabi. 14hr 10min. Now that's what you call a flight. A 2hr 25min stopover and then it’s Abu Dhabi to CDG Paris. 7hr 25min is not so bad.

I’m staying one night in Paris at the Hotel Fauconnier, in ‘Notre Dame’ territory, close to north bank of the Seine. It’s one of three jointly run and closely sited MIJE Youth Hostels that have private rooms. They are old but very well reconditioned buildings of character.
https://www.mije.com/en/auberge-jeunesse-paris
I’ll get the RER B train from CDG airport to Chatelet-les-Halles. Change to metro line 1 and it’s just two stops to St-Paul station. Hotel Fauconnier is just 2 or 3 minutes walk. Easy peasy.
It’s within 15 mins walk of Notre Dame and the two Paris attractions I am determined not to miss this time.

The afternoon I arrive I’ll hurriedly off to Saint-Jacques Tower.
It's from here that pilgrims from, or travelling through Paris, set off on their way to Santiago. The tower is all that's left of the church which was destroyed during the revolution. You can climb the tower, and also get a stamp for your credential. No use to a Camino Portugeezer like me tho.

The next morning it’s Sainte-Chapelle, over on the ‘Ile de la Cite’ close to Notre Dame. Construction of this Royal Chapel within the residence of the kings of France started about 1240. It has one of the most fabulous and extensive 13th-century stained glass collection anywhere in the world. It is, I'm told, one of “the” sights of Paris. They didn’t do things by halves those kings of France did they?

That same afternoon of the 31st of March, I fly from Orly airport to Lisbon.
One of our Portugal experts, a mod and pilgrim friend known on the forum as peregrina2000, is having a meetup with two parties of our own forum pilgrims, at Lisbon Cathedral on March 30th.
My accommodation is only two blocks away, and I’m one day late.
Grrrrrrrrr.
Not fair.

Regards
Gerard
I'm a Portugeezer.
I think I just invented a cool new word.
I think we should save that for blokes who start from Lisbon.
You gals can be Portugaliers.
How good is that?
I loved reading your cleverly written little "book". Very entertaining and provided me with a few laughs, to be sure! I head out on April 10th myself for my 3rd Camino. Then in September I am meeting up with several Camino friends, all from midwestern USA, and peregrina2000 is hoping to join us! She lives a mere 3+ hour drive from my home!
 
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