Monday, May 13, 2013

ULTREIA!!!

So, it looks like I will be going on my Camino earlier than I thought I would....In fact, I will be leaving on August 29th in the afternoon, arriving in the afternoon on August 30th, and then returning on September 23rd.  So, I will be in the below picture in 108 days!
I'm not sure where  on the Camino this picture was taken, but I loved the way the clouds look--A lot like rainy season here at home!
I won't be going the whole 500 miles from St. Jean Pied-de-Port (SJPDP), either, but I will be starting my Camino in Burgos, which is just a little less than 300 miles from Santiago de Compostela.  Including rest days, I will be on the Camino for about 21 days, and I'm starting to get really excited, especially since I'm not going to have to deal with the awful weather that I was expecting in December.  Besides, going a shorter distance means that I have an excuse to come back at a later date!

It also means that I won't need near the amount of gear that I thought I would.  In fact, I have pretty much gotten all of my gear at this point.  I am still debating about whether I need to buy a poncho, since northern Spain stays pretty wet year round.  In fact, there is a member on the Camino forum whose signature says,
There are Liars, Damn Liars, and there is My Fair Lady--The rain in Spain falls mainly in Galicia!
So, I'm thinking that getting a poncho is still a good idea, but will likely pick that up once I'm in Spain unless I can find a really good deal online.  Rather than take an extra device, I'm getting a Skype account that I can use on my tablet in order to stay in contact with people back at home.  This lowers my costs, and it will allow me to be able to talk to family/friends for free. Please e-mail me with your Skype account if you want me to contact you while on the Camino.  I will be buying my ticket first thing in June, so that is the next major purchase, and I got my passport photos taken last night.  I will be sending in my application at the end of the week.

It is still too early to get my pilgrim's credential, but have it on my calendar so that I remember to order it from the American Camino de Santiago Pilgirms office at the end of this month...I can't request one until I am under 3 months from going.
This is a picture of a filled pilgrim's credential.  It will be my proof that I have walked as far as I say I've walked...They will look at this when I get to Santiago and won't give me my Compostela unless I have the right amount of stamps--specifically from Sarria onward.  
Once I knew that I would be leaving sooner than I originally planned, I bought a book that tells of some of this history of the Camino, as well as important points of interest along the way, but I already know about a couple of places that I plan to visit for sure.  The first is the Cruz de Ferro.  It is a big cross that is along the trail that was erected in order to mark the Rabanal pass, which is also the highest point on the Camino.  It is close to the 2/3 mark from SJPDP, and it has become a place where you let go of your worries, sins, etc. on the trail, usually represented by a memento or pebble that you have carried with you from home.  I still haven't found the rock that I'm going to take, but will pick one up in the next few months on one of my hikes.  Anyone who wants to give me a pebble with your name or other message on it, I will pray for you along the way and leave your worries at the foot of the Cross as well (both figuratively and physically!).  Please just keep it small, as I have to carry that weight with me for most of my trip!

This is a picture of Cruz de Ferro.  
The other place that I know that I'm going to stop at is O Cebriero.  This is the spot of a Eucharistic Miracle, so it is a priority for me to go there.  It is because of the doctrine of the Eucharist  and John 6 that I am Catholic, so Eucharistic miracles hold a very special place in my heart.  Visiting Lanciano, Italy is on my bucket list of pilgrimage sites, so being able to go to the site of another Eucharistic miracle is very important to me.  It was one of my greatest concerns about going in the winter, as O Cebriero is near the top of a mountain pass and is often snowed in in winter.  I'm really glad that this is no longer an issue, and that I can safely expect to be able to visit there.

This will probably screw up the training for my Marathon in October, but in the end, it is totally worth it.  I can always try again at the next El Paso Marathon if I end up not being able to finish the one in Albuquerque.    Besides, even if I'm not running, I will be walking between 20 and 32 km per day with about 15 lbs on my back, which translates to between 12 and 20 miles a day.  If that doesn't help my endurance, I don't know what will!!!

I don't know why anyone would want to abandon their boots while still walking the Camino, even if they ARE incredibly uncomfortable...it makes for an interesting picture, though! This is one of the many trail markers on the Camino.
P.S.--In case you are wondering, Ultreia is one of the traditional greetings given to pilgrims while on the trail...from what I understand, it means something like "further," and is an encouragement to keep going.  Really, that is what a pilgrimage is about--moving further in your journey to your destination, physically, emotionally, and spiritually.