Sunday, 20 September 2015

El Camino: Surviving Day 1

Walking The Camino 
Walking the Camino is just the best thing ever. A few years ago one of my high school teachers showed my class a film called The Way. I liked it enough to add El Camino De Santiago to my todo list. 

Day one - After backpacking Europe for a few months, I flew to La Rochelle on the West Coast of France. I nearly got mugged catching a bus to Bordeaux, and then hopped on a train that would take me to St Jean Pied de Port. I arrived early in the morning with a friend I had made on the train, named Pablo, who was also walking the camino. We walked to the Pilgrim's office to pick up a pilgrim's passport. You need these to stay in the alburgues (hiking hostels) along the way. We made a quick stop in a hiking store to purchase rain ponchos and a guidebook before we began to hike west where we met our new friend Austria. We later met 2 German girls named Kadda and Janey. The rest of the day was a weird combination of thrilling, terrifying, and hilarious. I recorded the whole thing!

Tips for Day 1

  1. You fool! You don't need 12kg worth of gear and water on your back. Pack light. I had to send gear forward to Santiago to get my backpack down to a weight of 7kg.
  2. Bring a rain jacket. The Pyrenees are wet, windy, and foggy. 
  3. Don't take it too seriously. Just smile and talk to the people around you and try to enjoy the fact that you don't have blisters yet.
  4. Embrace the friends you make on day one. They will likely stay with you until the day you walk into Santiago. 
Austria, Pablo, Janey, Kadda, and I

Click here to see my Camino packing list.

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  1. HI Pete, I'm a blogger and writer.. Nice start, only 35 days to go! :) . I suggest you add a comma to the sentence about friend Pete...the way it is now, it reads like the train is named Pete!

    Off to start the Camino in 5 days. Buen Camino to you.

  2. Well, my first day will be next Sunday, so this was fun to watch. I am hiking with my wife (age 68), and son and daughter (28 and 24), so we will only go to Orisson on the first day. But I am going to show them your blog today, so everyone knows what we are getting into! Thanks

    1. Good luck Josh! I think it's great that you're walking the Camino as a family. Make sure you have a look at my packing list before you hit the road :)

  3. Brought back good memories. Those dorms were not there in 2010.

    1. Those were the nicest beds on the whole Camino! After that night I thought they would always be like that and then I just got slowly more disappointed. Are you planning to walk the Camino again?

  4. I so enjoyed your video...thanks for sharing. Curious, which month were you there? I'm doing my 1st Camino this summer beginning July 4. I didn't think it would be so chilly.

  5. Hi Denise! Thanks so much for reading the blog. I really appreciate it. I was there for the entire month of August. While it was a bit chilly on the first day, it became very hot very soon. I think July would be the perfect month to walk the Camino. Have a fantastic time and remember to bring a rock from home to leave at Cruz de Fierro :)