Tools of the trade! Guide book, pilgrim passport which we will get stamped along the way as proof of our journey and the scallop shell, a sign of the Camino and a pilgrim’s badge down through the ages.
It is almost 1:30am and I’m too excited to sleep. We are in Stuttgart for a couple of days to visit family and to make our final preparations before our departure on Tuesday morning. Having had a lovely weekend with family and friends at my nephew’s First Holy Communion in Ireland, our full attention is now turned toward packing. We leave by train on Tuesday morning first to Paris and then onward to Bayonne in southwest France, where we will spend the night before taking the mountain train up to St. Jean Pied de Port our start point.
‘To bring or not to bring, that is the question’! For the next 6 plus weeks we will carry everything we need on our backs, so believe me every ounce counts. I want to keep my backpack weight under 15lbs, almost 7kg, the reason I’ve set this figure so low is there will be additional water and food weight on top of that. Items are now strewn all over the bedroom and various categories are emerging; there is the must go pile, a change of clothes and shoes, rain gear a sleeping bag. Then there is the should go pile, first aid, toiletries, phone, journal and a rapidly growing pile I’m calling the ‘that would be great to have, but over my dead body will I be carrying that extra weight up mountain and down dale’ pile; which mostly consists of luxuries like, face cream, larger tubes of toiletries, (we are making do with sample sizes, additional clothes and the back ups for everything I usually throw in. It’s amazing how quickly the decision is made when you know you will be adding to an already difficult challenge if you put anything extra in your backpack. I hear lots of stories about people discarding or posting half the contents of their luggage home after a few days on the Camino and I’d rather not fall foul of that.
It’s way past my time to sleep so I will say good night to you all and the next time I write I will probably be on a train somewhere in the French countryside. Sweet dreams!