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September 6th 2016
Published: October 22nd 2017
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Geo: 42.9831, -71.4545

We are checked in and about to board our flight from JFK to Madrid, no turning back now.
Our first day of this 38-day adventure may be the hardest. If all goes as planned, we fly from Baltimore to New York; to Madrid, Spain; to Bayonne, France, bus to the train station and arrive in St. Jean Pied de Port by train on the evening of September 7th; more than 17 hours of travel.
There are dozens of pilgrim routes throughout Europe which lead to Santiago de Compostela. Some 200,000 make these treks each year. Like us, the largest percentage of those will take the Camino Frances, originating in St. Jean. We'll pass through over a hundred  towns and villages; Pamplona is the largest. There won't be a need to carry food, other than a few snacks, or more than a liter of water.
That thought leads to a top discussion topic among pilgrims - the weight of your backpack.  Combined, we weighed in at 40 lbs. (our goal) without water. We each have: boots,casual shoes, two hiking pants, two short-sleeve tech shirts, two long-sleeve tech shirts, lite jacket, rain jacket, gloves, warm hat, three socks and one dress shirt/skirt.  There will be a daily routine of washing clothes in a sink. The largest items are our sleeping bags. Toiletries, basic first aid, sunscreen, phone, cameras, journal, water bottle, flashlight, guide book and, hopefully, not too many more etc.'s! There are two rather unique items that are going with our packs, a scallop sea shell (pic) and a small stone.  The shell represents the fingers of an open hand, symbolizing the good deeds of pilgrims OR the lines of the shell all converge at a point representing all the routes to Santiago.  About 300 miles into the Camino, there is a place called Cruz Ferro (the highest point of the Camino Frances) where all the pilgrims leave their stones and the burdens they represent. We each picked a special stone from Glacier NP to leave at Cruz Ferro.


8th September 2016

Lookin' good getting ready for that second plane!

Tot: 2.367s; Tpl: 0.041s; cc: 13; qc: 52; dbt: 0.0396s; 2; m:saturn w:www (; sld: 1; ; mem: 1.4mb