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The Camino Journal

Chapter 1: May 2, 2004

Here we are in the South of France, recuperating from the long flight and getting ready for the big walk. We arrived in one piece, sort of, and my fiddle is fine, which is a great relief to me. We are staying with friends about a half hour from Marseille, in a beautiful and quiet little town. Yesterday we went for a sightseeing jaunt - drove to Monaco for coffee and then on to San Remo in Italy for an Italian lunch and a bit of window shopping. Today we went to the farmers market; otherwise, we are repacking and laying low, to try to beat Elena’s horrible sinus infection that made the plane trip so hellish.

Tomorrow we are off to Entrayques sure Truyere ­ that is where we will meet our friends Peter and Diane to start the walk. We have talked to so many people and it seems that blisters are the big enemy. We certainly hope that our shoes are sufficiently broken in. We have also heard that tape is a good thing to bind your feet with in case of forming blisters. I am sure we will develop a whole new and profound understanding of how to make our feet happy.

The walk we are undertaking is called the Camino de Santiago. It is an old medieval pilgrim trail that takes us right across southern France and Northern Spain, ending up in a town called Santiago de Compostela. We are walking for 7 weeks and though I have brought my fiddle and a bit of recording gear, the main plan is really to walk a huge amount and to concentrate on that. I may do some playing or some recording of things along the way, but the focus is most definitely the walk.

So here we are on a rainy day, getting ready. It seems strange that in a few weeks we will be immersed in a whole different way of life and the culture of the road. Elena and I are both looking forward to this tremendously. I will try to keep up with reports from the road whenever I can. I am sure the first few weeks will see us sorting out the fine points of routine on the road and exactly how to pack things in the most efficient way, and how to keep our feet the happiest they can be.