Tag Archives: Camino de Santiago

Back in Business

Im back!  After months of technical difficulty, Mostly by Motorcycle is back.  Many, Many thanks to my friend Dean who has spent hours trying to unravel the mystery that was my hosting server.

We have been so busy, there hasn’t been time for many road trips yet.  Therefore not many pictures to show off but some pretty exciting things are coming down the road for us.  Stay tuned for more soon.  In the mean time I hope you enjoy a little collection of photos from my archives.

What I Learned on the Camino: Tech and Photography

This article is the last in my series “What I Learned on the Camino”  WARNING:  This is going to be a long post.  When I was doing research before my Camino, I really wanted someone to go through their gear “post” Camino and do what I am about to do now.  This is for those of you reading, that are about to do the Camino or just curious about what technology I carried All. That. Way.

Tech & Photography

There are those that are able to do the Camino with no technology at all.  I am not one of those people.  To start with John was at home anxiously following my progress.  It wouldn’t be fair if I did’t check in with him at least every other day or so and let him know survived another day.   Then, of course I had to post on Facebook and the MbM blog.  Then there are the photos.  I love taking photos.

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Bienvenidos a Villafranca | Villafrance del Bierzo . Spain

When I was getting ready for the Camino I didn’t know what to expect in the way of computer access.  I knew from reading the blogs of those who had done it before me, that wifi was widely available along the Camino (or so I thought).  But because so many people have smart phones, laptops and tablets, computers (available to the public) are becoming scarce.  So my weapon of choice was was the iphone.  I will have to say I am fairly impressed with it.  I am not going to do a review of the 5, you can google the reviews anywhere on the internet, besides, they already have come out with an newer version.  But I am going to say, smartphones in general are perfect for the Camino-ite.  They are lighter (smartphones, not the Camino-ite, although you certainly are lighter after walking 650kms) than a tablet or a laptop and they fit in your pocket.  The cameras on most newer smartphones are fairly good and if you are looking for a great point and shoot, they are comparable to a lot of the point and shoot cameras out there.  My iphone came through for me in some pretty low light conditions and takes some decent night shots as well.  The 5 is also great at taking video.  Although the microphone is sometimes too good at picking up sound.  I was videoing a group of dancers in Leon and I didn’t know, until I played the performance back, that the microphone was also picking up comments of the crowd behind me as well.  My only complaint is that the digital zoom just doesn’t compare (and never will) to the optical zoom on my DSLR.

Iphone Gallery

click on picture for larger view

The great thing about my iphone is that it also has icloud backup.  This means any pictures you take are automatically uploaded to the cloud and are safe if anything should happen to the phone.  I also had my phone synced with my flickr account (with the privacy setting set to “Private” so I have a chance to go through them before they are broadcast to all on the interwebs).  But of course all this “back-up” depends on wifi.

Impressed as I am with my 5, I was a little nervous about depending solely on it to document the trip of a lifetime.

I have been an amateur photographer since I picked up my Mom’s 35mm Pentax SLR when I was 10.  I don’t profess to be an expert but I don’t think I am too bad at it either.  When digital proved it’s staying power, I saved my pennies and purchased a Cannon Rebel XT-i with a 18-200mm sigma lens.  I loved it and took some great shots with it.  Nevertheless, I was planning for the Camino.  So everything needed to be lightweight and compact.  It didn’t help that my beloved 10 year old Cannon weighed about the same as an actual cannon!!  But, I am of the mind that a good photographer does not depend on equipment alone, skill also factors into the equation.  I reasoned that because my camera was getting old, and because it weighed a tonne AND it and the case took up a lot of space in my saddle bag causing me to leave it at home on motorcycle trips AND because I needed to brush up on my photography skills anyway, I took a deep breath, sold my DSLR and purchased an older Nikon CoolPix P7000 from a friend.

This is a great little camera.  Light, compact and has some manual features to satisfy my creative side and a great optical zoom that would allow me to take some close-ups of whatever I felt it necessary to take close-ups of.  It also takes great landscapes, of which clarity was sort of lacking in my iphone.  Since I had visions of epic landscapes and capturing Don Quixote galloping across the massetta chasing windmills, I wanted to make sure I had the ability to capture him in all his glory.

Nikon Gallery

click on picture for larger view

The Nikon, though, didn’t have cloud backup available.  I could have purchased a wifi SD card but they were super expensive and some of the reviews I had read on them said they were slow and sometimes didn’t work at all.  I was worried that if, after a few days, I had a lot of photos to upload, it might take more time than I was allowed on borrowed wifi.  That and the largest card I could find was a 16 gig.  If I filled it up, I couldn’t transfer to a regular SD card and I couldn’t afford to buy several 16 gig cards.  In our present day digital paranoia, we have everything backed up 3 ways from Sunday but when I used 35mm there was no backup.  I took two 32 gig cards with me, carried the phone, camera and cards all in a waterproof stuff sack in my “pack pocket” and hoped for the best.

Wifi in Spain is abundant.  Most bars and restaurants have it.  It’s usually password protected and all you have to do is buy something and they will give you the password.  BUT, having said that, sometimes the signal is crap, its restricted or like often happens in small villages, not available at all.  In my experience, more often than not, trying to make skype calls can be an exercise in frustration.  Other times, like in Ponferrada, the hostel had wifi for the hospitaleros but wanted the pilgrims to pay exorbitant fees to use their computers.

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12th Century Templar Castle | Ponferrada . Spain

We eventually picked up a Spanish SIM card.  There are many different companies that sell them.  We got ours from Vodafone because, well, that’s what was available at the time.  It was 10 euros that included some minutes but we ended up adding some for (I think) 10 euros.  The card is not a necessity for the most part, but it became a necessity in our case, when wifi kept dropping the call.  The problem with a Spanish SIM is it has to be set up and if your Spanish is limited, like mine, this can become an issue.  While we were on the Camino my brother got very, very sick.  Between the small villages, bad wifi and messing with the Spanish SIM card, it took us a few days to be able to get the full story from home.

Ultimately, the tech you take is whatever you feel comfortable with and are willing to carry.  The “willing to carry” part is important.  I saw some lugging gigantic cameras with big lenses and others who carried laptops and tablets in 40 lb packs.  If you want to carry it, bring whatever you want.  I realized that carrying the pack, using hiking poles and gawking at all the beauty that is Spain, then trying to capture it in a picture just wouldn’t do it justice.  Spending all the time worrying about all the technology just detracts from this experience.  Don’t get me wrong.  I took plenty of photos (almost 3000), spent time on the internet and phoned home regularly.  But I think by keeping everything simple, and knowing that it was simple, allowed me to enjoy the experience all the more.  

Thanks for reading my series, What I Learned on the Camino.  Check out my previous posts in this series, What I Learned on the Camino:  Gear and Footwear.  You can also read my other posts about the Camino here.  And don’t forget to subscribe so all of my new posts will land directly in your in-box.

Until next time

Please Enjoy Responsibly,

Andrea

 

What I Learned From the Camino: Footwear

This article is the second in my series “What I Learned on the Camino”  WARNING:  This is going to be a long post.  When I was doing research before my Camino, I really wanted someone to go through their gear “post” Camino and do what I am about to do now.  This is for those of you reading, that are about to do the Camino or just curious about what I wore on my feet. All. That. Way.

My Footwear

This is me just before arriving at the Monastery at Roncesvalles, before my feet became the bane of my Camino existence.

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Shortly after this the weather got warmer and that is where the trouble began.

For weeks I battled blisters.  I tried treatment after treatment and just when one blister would start to heal, another one took it’s place.  I became an expert in blister treatment.  Even counselling others on how to make their feet more comfortable.  “You have to know the cause before you can treat the blister.”  I would tell people.  The truth was, I didn’t really know the cause of my own.  All I could do was guess at what was causing the problem: socks too thick or not thick enough, grit, poorly fitting insoles, laces too tight or not tight enough, too much friction or improper application of the many types of dressings, I didn’t know for sure.

My carefully researched and rigorously tested shoes of choice were Keen Targhee II.  I didn’t enter into this decision lightly.  During my research phase, I remember reading a post on one of the Camino forums, something about taking two pairs of running shoes and just switching them out so you always had a dry pair to put on.  But, most of the forum participants, ones that had actually done the Camino, advised against it.  They advocated that a good pair of waterproof, breathable hiking shoes was the way to go.  So I stuck with my Keens.  I had had several pairs of these in the past.  They were waterproof enough to keep my feet dry trudging over the sodden moors of Scotland and England and comfortable enough to walk the hundreds of kms I put on them on the trails and pavements of China, Hong Kong and Taiwan as well as Mexico and British Columbia.  The toebox is wide enough to accommodate the swelling of my well used feet and breathable enough to keep them happy.  I NEVER got blisters.  NEVER.

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My backups were a pair of lightweight Sketchers walking shoes.  I thought they would be a good alternative to wear while exploring cities and good to have in case my Keens got wet.  I did try using them in place of my Keens for a few days when the blisters were really bad, but they are Sketchers and not really designed for serious use.  I also had a pair of flip flops.  Great for sketchy showers and were a lifesaver when my poor blistered, swollen feet did not want to be shoved into another pair of shoes.

I took several pairs of socks.  None of which (I don’t think), had any major bearing on the blisters.  The most comfortable for me was a type call Wright Socks.  I brought 2 pair with me.  They are double layered and supposed to help wick moisture away from your skin.  The only drawback is that they don’t dry that quickly after being washed and hung on a line.  The double layer system is effective and I met many people who used, and swore by, a layer system of some type.  Whether it is a two in one sock or a liner and an outer, just be sure to thoroughly test the socks before you leave.  Early on I tested a silk liner that worked great but practically disintegrated after a dozen or so uses.  I also had a pair of marino wool socks with a separate synthetic liner (that are supposed to do the same thing as the Wright Socks) and a pair of single layer toe socks.  I didn’t really like the marino/synthetic combo.  I can’t really say why, personal preference I guess.  The toe socks I found too bulky in my shoes but combined with the flip flops they were just fine for chilly evenings.  They were stripy and fun and they made me smile.

One other thing I want to mention, briefly, is the application of cream or lotion on your feet.  Whether it is “bag balm”, hand lotion or marathoners chafe guard, it is all meant to reduce friction.  Again, several people swore by this method of blister prevention.  I have to say in all my years of hiking and tour guiding, I have never used anything on my feet and again, never had a problem.  But I was willing to try anything to stop the blisters so I tried the chafe guard and then a homemade concoction of beeswax and coconut oil.   They both seemed to make the situation worse for me.  So I abandoned the rather weighty chafe guard container at one of the hostels.

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After I returned to Canada a marathoner friend of mine suggested I go down to the local running store and ask their advice.  So I did.  I found out that my feet just got too hot.  It is a common problem with marathoners.  When I look back at some of the pictures I took of my feet (Yes, I took pictures of my feet!  I spent enough time dealing with them.  I might as well take pictures of them too.)  I can see how swollen they were.  So much so, that even after I got home, it was a good week before the swelling went away completely.  My Keens were not breathable enough and the waterproofing kept the heat from escaping.  My feet were fine when the weather was cooler but once it started to heat up, so did my feet. Unfortunately this was a problem that probably couldn’t have been avoided unless I could have put my feet and my Keens through the same abuse I would later put them through on the Camino.

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I saw many people walking in hiking sandals.  Sandals and socks in some cases and I ended up buying a pair of fairly expensive Ecco hiking sandals in Leon (definitely not the Spanish shoes I had thought I would buy).  After a few days of socks and sandals or just bare feet in sandals.  The problem with my blisters went away.  Socks and sandals may not be fashionable but they saved my Camino.  Next time (Yes, there will be a next time.  I never made as far as Santiago but I got to within 130 kms of it.  Due to unforeseen circumstances I had to return home without finishing.  I need to finish!), I will take my sandals, a pair of good, breathable, not waterproof trail runners and three pairs of Wright socks.  I had talked to a lot of people during the Camino, that said that with either the trail runners or the sandals, their feet never really got soaked.  I might be carrying slightly more weight with an extra pair of good shoes in my pack but the trade-off will be worth it.

The main thing I learned that through all my research and preparation is that some things just don’t go as planned.  I thought that the miles and miles I walked in my job as a tour guide would prepare my feet for the abuse I was about to put them through.  In reality I don’t think anything would have prepared them for the Camino.  I had thought that just talking to my local outdoor store and on-line Camino experts was enough.  I wished that I would have gotten the suggestion to go down to the local marathon/running shop before embarking on the Camino.  In my mind I never really equated the Camino with a marathon.  (It’s not, it’s way harder.) But Marathoners know how to take care of their feet.  It really should have been my first stop.

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Now, after saying all that, do what is right for you.  Everyone is different.  People and “experts” will advocate all sorts of preventives and solutions.  You really don’t know what you are dealing with until you are in that moment.  Just because something worked at home, doesn’t mean the same thing will work on the Camino.  All I’m saying is just do the best you can with what you have, it will all work out in the end.

I have had people ask me, with all the trouble I had, would I do the entire Camino again?  While I was doing it, my answer would have been no!  In fact I think my exact words were, “People that have done this more than once are crazy!”.  But now, if you asked me the same question my answer would be, “In a heartbeat”.

Stay tuned for the last post in this series, What I Learned on the Camino: Tech and Photography and you can read my previous post about the gear I used in, What I Learned on the Camino:  Gear.  You can also read my other posts about the Camino here.  And don’t forget to subscribe so all of my new posts will land directly in your in-box.

Until next time

Please Enjoy Responsibly,

Andrea

What I Learned From the Camino: Gear

First off.  This series is not about the spirituality of the Camino de Santiago.  That is something that has been written about many times and I believe that is an experience best left to the individual walker.  Everyone will get something different out of the journey and I feel that that is something you do not need to prepare for.  No, I am talking about all the stuff I took with me.  Was it worth it?  Would I take that particular item if I were to do it again?  You know?  That kind of stuff.  

I have been thinking of doing a series like this for some time.  I just haven’t gotten around to it till now.   WARNING:  This is going to be a long post.  When I was doing research before my Camino, I really wanted someone to go through their gear “post” Camino and do what I am about to do now.  So this is for those of you reading, that are about to do the Camino or just curious about what I carried. All. That. Way.

My Gear

I walked a long way.  650ish kms in 36 days.  It makes everything a lot easier the lighter the load. So let’s go through the list from my original “Gear Post“:

Camino Gear
All my gear.

1st row:  Hiking poles, 2L Platypus, 1L wine Platypus (very important), Osprey Talon 44 Pack, Osprey pack pocket (on the pack), Keen hiking shoes, flip flops, rain jacket, light jacket, down vest, hat, gloves, 2pr quick-dry capris.

Hiking Poles:  Essential!  Some days they were the only things keeping me upright!  They are great for ascending and descending mountains though.  Don’t leave home without them.

2L Platypus:  Essential!  You don’t realize how quickly you can get dehydrated.  Even in the rain.  Just be sure to double check that the valve doesn’t leak.  I checked before I left.  Apparently, I didn’t check thoroughly enough.

1L Wine Platypus:  Leave it at home.  I thought I needed it.  Turns out I really liked Spanish wine.  There was never any left overs to carry.  Just drink it.  Don’t carry it.

Osprey Talon 44 Pack:  Essential.  This was a great pack!  It is lightweight and with it’s suspended mesh panel in the back, it kept my back from getting to hot.  Not sweaty mind you, just cooler.  The only thing I wished it had was separate compartment for your sleeping bag (or dirty shoes).  After I was all packed, I still had some extra space, but who knows when you are going to have to carry, say, an extra pair of shoes because you had to buy sandals.

Osprey Pack Pocket:  Essential.  I debated about this one when I bought it.  I wasn’t sure the extra weight was worth it.  I kept my pilgrim credential, passport, money, camera and iphone in here.  I modified it (using mini carabiners) so it would easily detach from the pack and I could carry it around like a cross-body bag while we were exploring without the pack.  It was worth it’s weight in gold.

Keen Hiking shoes:  I will say “essential” BUT stay tuned for my special post on this subject.

Flip flops:  Essential.  These were great for using in sketchy showers and just general walking about.  The ones I had had a bit of a lip around the edges of the footbed.  The blisters on my little toes were a little irritated by this.  I would suggest just taking cheap, flat, flip flops.

Rain Jacket:  Essential.  Not only was this good for light rain but it was great for layering.  If it was a little chilly starting out in the morning I would wear it and I would be toasty in no time.

Light Jacket:  Essential.  Again, great for layering.  It was a yoga jacket I had purchased at Costco.  I mainly reserved this as “clean clothes” for post shower, after the days walking was finished.  But I did use it as an extra layer on a few occasions.

Down Vest:  Leave it at home.  I only wore this once.  It didn’t weigh anything but it was not worth carrying for 36 days.

Hat:  Essential, for bad hair days, hot sunny days or cool rainy ones.  I took a ball cap and later bought a floppy hat that would cover my ears.

Gloves:  Essential.  I didn’t use them that often, but when I did, I was glad I had them.  The ones I brought were a pair that were water resistant.  From my experience I probably could have gotten away with those little cheap stretchy gloves.  I probably would have used them more the closer I got to Santiago.  The weather was wetter and cooler (I’m told) but I didn’t get the chance to get that far.

Capris:  Essential.  Wear pr1 while walking.  Pr2, wear post shower, wash and hang-to-dry pr1.  Wear pr2 the next morning for the walk.  This (almost) always guaranteed a clean pair for the evening.

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2nd row:  Long sleeve Marino wool shirt, short sleeve quick-dry T, short sleeve Marino wool T, quick-dry tank top, Bamboo Tencel Sarong (can be used as a towel, sunshade, picnic mat, skirt, pillow case, ect.), 2 bras, 4pr underwear, various toiletries (see list below), sunglasses, lightweight day pack, sunglasses, iphone (for blogging, messaging J, music and photos), earphones and charger.

Long Sleeve Marino Wool Shirt:  Essential.  It was a life saver.  I wore it almost every day.   Some days I wore it all day over my t-shirt for warmth or just in the mornings when it was cooler.

Short Sleeve Shirt:  Essential.  Wore it almost every day.

Tank Top:  Essential.  Sometimes I wore it under my t-shirt and Marino when it was cool but most times I wore it under my light jacket after my evening shower.

Sarong:  Essential.  BUT I would take a different one.  This one, I ended up cutting up and using part of it as a towel for my hair.  For most trips in the past, I have used a rayon sarong (I bought it in Mexico years ago) but this trip decided against it in favour of the bamboo (it was supposed to suck up more water).  It didn’t dry as fast as the rayon and because of the stretch in the bamboo material, it limited its uses.  So I would take a rayon or even silk sarong and a smaller microfiber hair towel (like the ones you find in the dollar store).  I think the weight would be about the same.

Bras & underwear:  For obvious reasons essential.  My unders were Exofficio brand and I would highly recommend them.  In a pinch you could wash them, wring them, and wear them and they would be almost dry when you put them on.  I only ended up bringing 3pr though.  I didn’t take sports bras.  I don’t like them.  I’m a busty girl and they flatten, squish and push the girls up, so when it’s hot, I feel like I am being suffocated.  AND sports bras are hard to put on when you are wet (or sweaty).  So I took two cheap underwired ones, without any padding in them, they dried quickly and worked just fine.  Oh and I would recommend dark colours.

Sunglasses:  Essential.  The trick is to find a way not to mash them or scratch them up.  I scratched the heck out of mine on the plane on the way over and just never got around to replacing them the entire trip.

Day Pack:  Leave it at home.  The pocket pack I mentioned above, carried all my essentials and I really didn’t need any more than that.  It’s not like you are doing a tonne of shopping.  You don’t want to carry it!

iphone & stuff: I upgraded to the 5 just before leaving.  Best thing I ever did.  The camera was perfect for most lighting situations, I could get my email, blog (and by blog, I also mean posting pics on Facebook to make my friends jealous), listen to music and phone home all in one handy little package.  But beware.  Wifi in the mountains is unreliable at best.  If you have planned to call someone (or you HAVE to call someone) you might be disappointed.  Stay tuned for a special post on tech on the Camino for more info on the photographic/tech side.

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Dormitory & drying gear at Roncesvalles, Spain

3rd row:  water resistant stuff sacks for stuff, 1pr wright socks (anti-blister socks), 1 pr marino wool socks and liner socks, 1pr toe socks, light weight sleeping bag, silk sleeping bag liner, waterproof bag (to make sure my sleeping bag stays dry)

Stuff Sacks:  Essential.  Better than plastic bags, how else are you going to organize your stuff?

Socks:  Of course these are essential.  I will explain more in my special footwear post.  Stay tuned.

Sleeping Bag & Liner & Waterproof bag:  Essential.  I am a cold sleeper so I took both the bag and the liner.  Sometimes I used just the liner and sometimes I used them both with the extra blankets provided by the hostels.  My bag is a tropical weight so it has a loose weave cotton side and a light quilted side.  It is pretty versatile and comfortable.  I got mine on clearance so I only paid $20 for it but you could get away with the silk liner and a fleece blanket as a cheaper alternative.  The waterproof bag is pretty self explanatory.  I wanted to make sure I had a warm dry place to sleep.

Toiletries:  Sunblock (vital for a pasty redhead like me), chaff guard, baggie with 4 hair elastics and 4 bobby pins, mascara & eyeliner (my luxury items), earplugs, toothbrush, toothpaste, soap (body and hair), coconut oil (moisturizer and hair conditioner) scrubbie (will be used for storing soap too),  safety pins, 2 suction cups (for hanging toiletry bag and towel in shower), 2ft of shock chord and toggle (can be used as clothes line and/or belt) swiss army knife, Diva cup & wipes, Naproxen (for pain) Ibuprofen (for inflammation) 2 green toiletry bags.

Sunblock & anti-chafe:  The sunblock was essential.  As stated, I am a pasty redhead, but (PSA moment) you should always use sunblock.  I use it religiously as don’t want chernobyl freckles or look like a leather couch when I’m 80.  The anti-chafe, leave at home.  I ended up bringing my own concoction of beeswax and coconut oil at the last minute and it worked better.

Hair elastics & bobby pins, mascara & liner:  the hair elastics were essential (but I have long hair).  Bobby pins not so much.  I brought them to appease my vanity.  I thought I might do my hair from time to time….nope.  Didn’t happen.  Same goes for the make up.  I put it on the first morning and it quickly melted off my face.  I did use it when we stayed in some of the larger cities though.  It made me feel a little better about mixing with all the stylish Spanish women in my shabby pilgrim garb.

Earplugs:  Essential.  Some people snore.  Suck it up and wear earplugs.  If you don’t, you don’t sleep.  It’s as simple as that.

Toothbrush, toothpaste, solid body/hair soap & scrubbie, coconut oil:  Well unless you want to drive everyone away from you I’d suggest you use the toothbrush and toothpaste.  Same goes for the solid soap & scrubbie.  I lost both almost immediately but I suspect they would have been fine.  I just bought travel size travel shampoo and used that as soap as well.  There are plenty of places to buy toiletries (and foot supplies).  If you run out buy more.  Don’t carry extra because you are cheap.  It’s not worth the extra weight.  The coconut oil I used as moisturizer/lip balm and leave in conditioner.  I brought about 2 tbsp with me in a watertight container and it lasted the entire trip.  I didn’t need anything else.

The safety pins were essential.  Useful for hanging clothing on lines or pinning clothing to the outside of your pack to dry (it happened on more than a few occasions).  The suction cups I “left behind”, I never used them.  The shock cord I used, the toggles got left behind somewhere too, never used them either.

Swiss Army Knife:  Essential!  It has scissors and a cork screw as well as two knife blades.  It was used every day.  My knife was given to me by my parents as a graduation gift.  At one point I had thought I lost it.  It was devastating!!  No cork screw!!  I usually kept it in the top pocket of my pack and I thought it had fallen out.  Next time I would put it on a lanyard so I could clip it into the little clip that Osprey has so conveniently provided in said top pocket.

For the Chicas of the Camino:  The Diva Cup, alcohol wipes and pain killers were essentials as well.  I am not going to go into details here but if you want more info contact me.

At the last minute I also added a enamel cup, an extra pair of really lightweight shoes and some lavender essential oil.  The enamel cup I would leave at home.   I didn’t use it enough to justify carrying it.  The extra pair of shoes, essential.  I will explain why in my next post.  The lavender was useful in covering up smells (notice I do not have deodorant in my toiletries) as a mild antiseptic, as a sleep aide and as perfume.

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The border. France into Spain.

So that was the stuff I started out with.

What did I pick up along the way?… The first thing I did even before we left St. Jean was buy a rain poncho.  (see photo above)  It was a pretty useful thing.  I did have a pack cover and I did use it quite a bit as well.  Because the poncho did a really good job of keeping me warm and dry, if it was just a little wet out, I would wear the marino and cover the pack.  Usually because I was working up a sweat, it was hard to tell the difference between that and the water.  The only time my pack ever got wet was when I sat it down in water that was leaking from my platypus.  My sleeping bag was in the bottom.  The waterproof bag protected it.  Nuff said.

I also picked up a lightweight scarf in Paris that I ended up using quite a bit.  My intention was to use the sarong as a scarf but it was usually drying out after my shower while I was wearing the other one.

Unfortunately it was necessary for me to pick up all manner of foot care products.  The biggest problem I had, was with my feet.  It sucked!  I later found out it had a lot to do with the type of shoe I was wearing.  Stayed tuned for more info on that.

Some places got a little cool.  The lightweight capris didn’t do a whole lot for keeping me warm.  So I picked up a pair of running tights in Burgos and they saved my life a few times.  Although I would make sure they were quick-dry next time.

I would also add another t-shirt and another long sleeve marino.  I usually ended up wearing my tank top to bed.  Sometimes I really wished I had a t-shirt instead.  The extra long sleeve would have been useful on chilly evenings and chilly nights.  I would also make sure they were crew neck.  This would be in addition to the v-neck ones I took with me.  Variety would have been useful.

Lastly, I would have added one of those little bottles of water flavouring and a little cooler bag. They don’t take up much space and wouldn’t have added a whole lot of weight.  Some days, hot days, plain water tasted really good but sometimes, hot day or not, the water just didn’t taste that great.  We started adding gatorade (or the the Spanish equivalent there of) to the water but it wasn’t always available. The little cooler bag would have been useful for keeping lunch cooler on the hotter days.

So there you have it.  A complete (maybe not complete, I may have forgotten something) list of what I took, what I used and what I would have left behind.  My advice would be to think carefully about what you are going to take.  You will be surprised how well you can manage with so little.  You will be surprised with how little you actually need!  And remember, Marino Wool is your friend.  If you have any questions, feel free to leave a comment or contact me.  You can check out previous Camino Posts here and please stay tuned for my posts on Camino Footwear and Tech on the Camino.

Until then,

Please Enjoy Responsibly,

Andrea