Fri 28 Aug - Training in Warrandyte State Park

Training day. Full backpack on. Off to the woods. 

Today's weather forecast had been alternating between all day rain and a few early morning showers. As I woke up, there was no rain but the horizon looked a bit threatening.  

I wanted to do a hike in Warrandyte State Park some 30km northeast of downtown Melbourne. 

I decided to go.

Besides, once I'm on the Camino, I would just have to accept that I will get caught out in wet weather. Particularly in Galicia towards the Atlantic coast known for being wet. 

A final selfie before heading out.
The bus ride to Warrandyte village and its adjacent State Park took almost an hour but here I am, ready to hike. 
The weather started off overcast but no rain. Nobody around as soon as I left the Warrandyte village. 

It is a beautiful part of outer Melbourne here. With some hills which is rare close to flat Melbourne. Not exactly like crossing the Pyrenees but at least there is something. 

Good old Yarra River also flows past here. 
Soon enough though, drizzle and then light rain. Oh well. A good test of my equipment. 

Something did spook me though. A couple of years ago after a hike in wet conditions, I attracted leeches. One of the leech bites later contracted cellulitis. And that is not something I would like to get again. I had high fever, nausea followed by 5 days of intravenous antibiotics. 

No thank you. Not 1 1/2 week before leaving for Europe. 
Spoiler alert. I managed to stay leech free and yes, I did check very regularly. 

I'm still all by myself and parts of Warrandyte State Park and the trail is just beautiful. 
I passed the same picnic area 3 times in my attempt to get the kilometers up. 

At one stage, I had a visitor. 
I ate an apple at this particular break and threw away the core afterwards. The core returned almost immediately. In the mouth of this kookaburra. As far as I can tell, I think that he swallowed the leftover core whole. 

The hike through Warrandyte State Park clocked up 15+km in the end. Nor a long or a particularly exhausting hike but very pleasant nevertheless. 
The verdict on myself and my gear was that all was fine and acceptable except that my boots got a bit moist inside. 

The Mammut Basefit boots are supposedly waterproof and Gore-Tex enhanced and I have applied waterproofing once but I will do so a few more times before I go. 

I really like these boots. They are light and very comfy and have given me zero blisters so far (I hope I'm not invoking a curse here...). So I really hope that it will work out with them. 

No problems with the right arm nor the right shoulder. Instead, I do occasionally get sore on top of my left shoulder but stretching and pulling back the shoulders seems to help. 

Another most satisfying day in my Camino preparations. 

And yes, once I got home, I went directly to the gym to exercise my ex broken arm as instructed by my Chiropractor. He suggested hitting the gym every single day to build up as much strength as possible. 

One day closer to departure... I feel ready. 

Sat 22 Aug - The Camino Credencial

I could not help myself but ordering a copy of the "Credencial del Peregrino" pamphlet from the Camino office in Santiago de Compostela. The "Credencial" arrived in the mail yesterday.

The purpose of the "Credencial" is twofold:
- Permission to sleep in albergues (hostels) during the pilgrimage 
- Verification via stamps along the way that one has walked, cycled or been riding on horseback the required distance. The completion of stamps entitles the owner to receive a "Compostela", a diploma of sorts, once arrived in Santiago de Compostela. 

I wanted to have a look at the "Credencial", see its size and format and have a read of what is in there. 

Of course, the "Credencial" is written in Spanish as you would expect. I think that I interpreted most of it pretty well, confirmed after translating key sections online. 

The front cover of the "Credencial del Peregrino" looks like this:

Page 2 has space for entering the pilgrim's details and page 3 sort of "terms of conditions":

There are 48 boxes for stamps and dates over 6 pages. 

Interesting enough, the "Credencial" states a requirement of minimum 2 stamps per day. 

The standard length of time to walk Camino Frances is roughly 35 days. That means more than 1 stamp in some of the boxes. 

Of course, if you start your Camino even further away from Santiago de Compostela...

On the flip side of the "Credencial", there are maps of the different routes to Santiago. 

I will walk Camino Frances from St Jean Pied de Port which interestingly is not marked on the map. 

SJPdP in France is the major starting point for pilgrims doing Camino Frances and is located one to two days of walking before Roncesvalles in Spain. 

The back page shows a picture of where your journey will end. It will finish with a mass at the lovely cathedral in Santiago de Compostela and, as noted earlier, accepting the "Compostela" as proof that you have completed the pilgrimage. 

I aim to get to Santiago de Compostela some time mid to end October... 

Well, that's the broad plan... 

Thu 20 Aug - Camino is ON... Again :-)

20 days to go before I depart towards Europe. Although I have now caught a cold and therefore decided to have a Camino planning free day today.

I suspect that I may have overextended my planning and preparation. I suppose that would be normal for anybody doing something like this for the first time. 

So, today is a Camino free day. Except that I set up this blog and played with the format. Doing it all comfortably sleuthing in bed. 

A bit of recap here...
I was originally going to leave for Europe on the 23rd of August, in 3 days time. 
The bicycle accident and my broken right ulna put a stop to all that on 30 April. 
The rehab after the operation took a very long time were I felt that I did very little progress. 

So in the beginning of July I cancelled everything. I could just not give myself a fighting chance of completing the Camino. Only to then improve very quickly. 

So I rebooked everything again. With a scheduled departure date 2 1/2 weeks later from the original date. 

So now I am in training. The arm is still not brilliant and I will have the 3 sets of wires taken out once I return from this trip. But it definitely feels good enough. I just have to be a little bit careful. 

I have the gear that I need for the walk bar a few minor alterations. I walked 16km yesterday with a full pack and all good apart from the cold. 

I finish off with a few pictures of how I used to look 3 1/2 months ago. 

And if you are squirmish, stop today's reading here.