The Rocks In Our Pockets

The boys each have a rock from home in their pockets (OK, yes I do too) representing “burdens” and meant to be left at an iron cross somewhere on the road. Symbolically preparing a pilgrim for the final phase of the walk – the joyful approach to Santiago.

20130730-123146 AM.jpg
It’s midnight in Folkestone, and we’re occupying ourselves. To be fair it’s midnight other places too but we’re here, between sleep and anticipation. Harry is writing about a rock.

The boys each have a rock from home in their pockets (OK, yes I do too) representing “burdens” and meant to be left at an iron cross somewhere on the road. Symbolically preparing a pilgrim for the final phase of the walk – the joyful approach to Santiago.

That’s what Harry has written about his rock

Harry is 12. These are his thoughts about going on The Merry Road To Santiago

20130730-123324 AM.jpg

Only one tunnel and two trains away from three new pilgrims arriving on The Camino

Cinderella Is Proof That Shoes Can Change A Woman’s Life

I had to have THE conversation with my sons, explaining that they can really get into trouble with a woman for ever saying “don’t you have enough shoes?”

Walking shoe on The Merry Road to Santiago

I had to have THE conversation with my sons yesterday, explaining that they can really get into trouble with a woman for ever saying something like “Don’t you have enough shoes?”

It is the best advice I can give them, probably. I tried to explain. Shoes never let a woman down, they are never too small suddenly or have a bad shoe day. In fact, the opposite is true, they help you stride through life, they uplift you,. They always fit your mood, and you are better together.
I have had some for so long I’ve dated men younger than a few of my shoes, it’s true.

But, I’m an inches girl, and I have one kind of shoe I’ve never even considered. Walking shoes. I believe you should just say no, walking shoes are a gateway experimentation that can lead to a wardrobe full of fugly, flat shoes. Next I’ll be lusting after moccasins.

And Yet.

Here I am, breaking type, with a pair of walking shoes … on The Merry Road to Santiago

Two weeks to go

Pilgrims’ Passports Are In

Our Pilgrims’ Passport arrived. The really important ones, not just the common-or-garden ones that let you cross borders, proof of bona-fide pilgrim status

Pilgrims Passports, The Camino, The Merry Road to Santiago

 

We have our passports!

The really important ones, not just the common-or-garden ones that let you cross borders.

The Credencial, or Pilgrim Record, is accepted as proof of bona-fide pilgrim status. It’s a distant successor to the ‘safe-conducts’ issued to medieval pilgrims who, as aliens, would not ordinarily enjoy the full protection of the host-country’s law.

We need it to be able to take part in The Walk and, to prevent abuse of the 1000-year old spirit of hospitality of the pilgrimage, access to the “refugios” is restricted to those carrying this evidence of their pilgrim status.

Refugio, or Albergues, are hostels only for pilgrims. Back in the Middle Ages they were anything from churches to homes that welcomed pilgrims as they crossed foreign lands. They are meant to be affordable accommodation, often basic and some serve a communal evening meal, for a donation and washing dishes.

I am packing my marigolds!

And we should have our credencial stamped daily either at the Refugio, or a church, ayuntamiento or the local office – cuartel – of the Guardia Civil, to make a record of our pilgrimage.

Then when we arrive at the Cathedral in Santiago we are meant to present them at the Pilgrim Office and I’m hoping we will be given a Compostela certificate a traditional document – in Latin no less – confirming the completion of the pilgrimage.

You can pick one up at issuing offices en-route but I was online and found The Confraternity of St James, to be specific the Peterborough Pilgrims who are approved by the Arch Confraternity (The Cathedral authorities in Santiago) and the Anglican Diocese of Peterborough to issue them.

I loved their philosophy whether you choose to walk with them or not they offer them free to anyone who is planning to walk the Camino de Santiago.

I love the “pay it forward”  spirit, it creates a sense of luck and good will that changes the world.

The Reverend Ian Holdsworth wrote something so sweet at the end of his email telling me they were in the post that I slightly teared up, but then I’m easily touched by kindness – it’s a terrible weakness.

Anyway we have our official Pilgrims’ Passports printed and issued by the cathedral authorities in Santiago, that “presupposes the bearer is making the pilgrimage for spiritual reasons.” or at least making the pilgrimage in a frame of mind that is open and searching.

Deep down underneath it all that’s true, but don’t tell anyone about my mushy spot.

 

PS I donated to the Peterborough Brothers in respect of their trust and blessing, of course.

The Merry Road to Santiago Itinerary

We’re walking The Camino, 476miles, 31 days, 2 sons and their mum on The Merry Road To Santiago de Compostela.

The Merry Road to Santiago

This was the Itinerary we imagined before we left: the walk was actually 33 days over 800km and we made the route our own.

We are going out for a walk. It’s quite a long walk, we may be gone sometime.

It’s really a ‘rite of passage’. Time for me to spend with my sons before I become too uncool.

We’re walking The Camino, 476miles, 31 days, 2 sons and their mum on The Merry Road To Santiago. It seems just as easy to keep the itinerary on this website as anywhere else.

We are not going at the cheapest time, nor have we booked months in advance, which for poor pilgrims is bad planning – but that’s life.

The Eurostar to Paris appeared to be convenient, and the expected solution, for the first leg until the £112 each, one way, price tag and the famously efficient travel time making an overnight hotel necessary forced me to look at alternatives.

I dug deep into my student travel days to find “roughing-it” muscles that have been dormant pretty much since I got a mortgage, and entered different search terms in the browser.

Now we set off on the 29th July from Windsor to Victoria Station for an overnight Bus to Paris Bercy and onwards

OUTBOUND JOURNEY

Windsor 3 changes to Victoria Coach Station,
164 Buckingham Palace Road London SW1W 9TP  19:23- 20:26

London to Paris

Leaving from : London On 07/29/2013 at 21:00
Arrival at : Paris Bercy estimated at 06:05, 30/07/13

Paris Bercy to Montparnasse

Départ : 06h44
Etape 1 – Direction; Charles de Gaulle Etoile
13mn De la station de métro: Bercy Jusqu’à la station de métro: Montparnasse-Bienvenue

Montparnasse to Bayonne

mardi 30 juillet 2013 Paris Montparnasse – Bayonne 07:23
1 ET 2 12:32

Bayonne to St Jean Port de Pied

leaves at 14:55 30/07/13
Arr: St Jean Pied De Port, 16:18 30/07/13

That all cost a little more than two of those train tickets on Eurostar just from London to Paris, and there are three of us getting all the way from the shadow of Windsor Castle to Jean Pied de Port at the foot of the Pyrenees.

We haven’t even begun walking … but the 7 stages seem fitting for the trail.

 FYI

Windsor to London Victoria £28.50
London to Paris £147
Paris Bercy to Montparnasse – €15 approx
Montparnasse  to Bayonne  €46
Bayonne to SJPP £24.25 inc. postage of tickets

For all three of us