Okay okay. In my mind, when I booked up this walk, I was basically embarking on the equivalent of a warm trek to Everest base camp. My anxiety (about walking, and my previously injured Achilles tendon) obviously transmitted to Caroline, the lovely lady at Walk the Camino, (http://walkthecamino.com/ ) who pre-booked my accommodation so I didn’t have to rush and scrabble with the youngsters for a bed in an albergue (B&B/hostel). As a result I have had a most enjoyable slow start to my Camino…in a gorgeous hotel and former monastery (Hospederia de San Martin Pinario) right next to the Cathedral in Santiago de Compostela (confusingly, where I catch the bus to the starting point of my walk…and also where I finish it about 9 days later). I have walked round the largely pedestrianised centre mostly because I got off at the wrong stop on the bus from the airport…and was therefore the only peregrino (pilgrim) dragging 17kg of suitcase behind her in the middle of town. I looked on it as training.
When I told Sam the manager at the Age Exchange cafe in Blackheath that I would be ‘doing the Camino’…and doing it alone..she said Ah! you’re having an adventure. She hit the nail on the head. You must go and find some treasure then, she said. Sam is young and wise. So as soon as I got to the Cathedral I looked for somewhere to bury some treasure…in order to find it on my return. It was difficult. Peregrinos everywhere celebrating their arrival in Santiago and queuing for the celebratory mass. But I found a spot in the Cathedral stonework to squirrel away a spanking new golden £1 coin. It will be a triumph if I manage to get back to Santiago at the end of my 160 km section of the Camino (being as I’m a novice walker with dubious map skills)…and it will be more so if the treasure is still there. And if it’s not there, I hope it will have helped the person who obviously needed it.
I still don’t quite know what I hope to gain from this walk…but I do hope it isn’t weight…cos the food is good homely cooking…and surprisingly cheap.