Ok, so it’s just after 11pm here on a Saturday night in Dublin and I realised that I haven’t written in a while. While I am awake, I may as well put finger to keyboard and update you on how my preparation is going.
With the days and weeks flying by, it has been difficult to schedule practice walks. Work has been hectic of late and I typically finish up my day with little or no energy to either write or walk. I wish I could as I do think of my upcoming Camino alot. Maybe a video would do instead? What do you guys think? Anyway, I was in Bray (South Dublin) last Saturday with my pilgrim friend Wallace. He will be joining myself and my brother on our Camino Portugués. We walked a coastal cliff path from Bray to Greystones and back which was about 12km altogether. It’s a fairly popular trail, and people from near and far come to walk it. With the day itself being sunny, it was perfect to test the gear that I had and get used to the off-road terrain. It was also good to see Wallace again as I hadn’t walked with him since March 2020.
One thing I have noticed, over the last few years, is that my balance is not what it once was going down steps or hills. I find that I need to hold on to something for fear of falling. It’s funny how these things just develop over time. I remember having no problems with descents but on this upcoming Camino, I will be bringing a pair of walking poles to give me some comfort. I first noticed this a few years back and it really hit me when I was in Spain last September on the Camino Francés. I’m sure I’m not the only one who has difficulties going downhill. I will just need to take my time I guess.
Meeting more pilgrims today & Pilgrim Blessing
Earlier today, I was back in St James Church in Dublin meeting pilgrims. The Camino Society here in Ireland was open for day however I attended to receive a pilgrim blessing. A pilgrim blessing is provided on the 1st Saturday of each month for those who are travelling to the Camino. As I will be in Portugal when the next blessing is on, I decided to attend this one – as I did before my last Camino. The blessing was in St James’ chapel which is filled with photos from the Camino. There are shells and it is a great place to be by yourself for while. I’m not necessarily spiritual, but I like my Caminos to have a meaning behind them. Fr Eugene gives his time every month and I always appreciate how that offer of a blessing is there. I would recommend dropping in. It’s where your Camino starts. Information here.
I always enjoy giving information to pilgrims who are looking for just that – information. I was in their shoes once before and I remember desperately wanting to speak to someone who had some experience in walking some of these routes. Luckily I had met Garry and he was able to answer any questions I had. If you are considering walking the Camino and you have questions, pick up the phone or email someone who has been in Spain or Portugal. Honestly, it helps.
I generally talk about the below if a future pilgrim asks for information:
- Is arriving in Santiago important to you? If not, how much time do you have available?
- What Camino appeals to you? Portugués v Francés v Norte?
- Direct to Useful Planning Links – Gronze.com / Transport Links / Rome2Rio / AlertCops / Booking
- Importance of the Credencial and arrival in Santiago.
Home and a short walk
So after a day with pilgrims, I was energised and went for another short walk around my locality. Much of the walks around my area are on footpath and are flat, BUT, it can be easy to hit 10 kms without sweat. There are some good looped walks and I am lucky to live close to the sea. Unfortunately, the only way to the sea is along a busy road so you do need to be careful. The plan is to walk 7 kms each weekday evening until I leave for Portugal. The walks around here are not very challenging but it sure beats sitting at home.
I have an idea for my next long walk – next Saturday. Stay tuned!
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