Wow, where has the time gone? I have been planning this trip for over two years – it seemed SO far away! Now it is about to happen. I’m excited, nervous, deliriously happy, anxious… all at once.
Physically I am well prepared, having just completed a 50km charity walk in 13.5 hours, for which I have been training for 6 months. Mentally I am actually pretty laid back about the whole process – after all, Spain is a densely populated, well organised country and it is not as if I have to pre-plan for every eventuality. What will be, will be…
This trip is a celebration of my 50th birthday. It is a chance for me to indulge my passion for the Spanish language, tradition, culture and food. I will be on a constant lookout for local regional arts and crafts. I plan to spend as much time as possible with local Spaniards, rather than limiting my interaction to other foreign walkers.
Why am I walking? It is not a ‘pilgrimage’ as such for me – not in the religious sense – but rather a way to get to see the country at a pace that is slow enough to take it all in, travelling through rural villages and towns rather than being confined to the ‘tourist’ coastal areas. I love walking. I relish being able to do as I please – stopping, starting, looking, resting, rushing – when and how I want to.
The plan is to walk from Cádiz in the south, through Santiago de Compostela and on the Finisterre in the north west – basically a coast to coast – over a three month period during the Spanish spring. There will be no rushing from accommodation to accommodation just to make sure I get a bed – I’m happy to use private hostals, casa rurals and hotels were necessary. I am not in a mission of any kind, so if I find a particular section is not working for me, I’m happy to take a bus to a point further along the route. I’ll be doing a few side trips – definitely to Madrid, maybe to Granada and possibly even over to visit a friend in Lisbon. The main goal during these three months is to enjoy Spain in any and every way that I can.
In Australia, I live less than 150m from the beach; I am going to miss the beautiful sunrises over the water, the moderating effect of that great chunk of ocean on the climate, and the refreshing sea breezes. Being away from the coast for so long will no doubt make me appreciate it all the more once I return. In the meantime, I will embrace the hills and valleys of the Spanish countryside as I travel from south to north with the march of spring.
Join me on my journey!