My daily routine goes something like this: wake up around 6 or 7am, hit the bathroom (just for basics, as I’ve showered the night before), slather on sunscreen, get dressed, fill the water bladder and bottles (I’ve been using tap water and have purification tablets although I must admit I’ve only used them once) – includes a smaller .5L with electrolyte powder for a total of 3L of water, eat breaky (I’m staying in
Hotels the first two weeks, and usually it’s a buffet), spend 20 minutes dressing my blisters and getting them boot-ready, toss the final few things into the pack (including a bag of fruit for lunch), do 20 minutes of stretching, and check out of the Hotel – the tour I booked drives my main bag to the next town, so I leave that at reception.
Then I walk.
The first 45mins of walking seems to be my warm up, as it’s often accompanied with minor pain (glucose wearing off the muscles), lots of checking the map and adjusting straps, etc. Then I usually get a good 10km in before I need to sit awhile. I really don’t like to stop, as it takes another 20mins to get back in the swing of things, but I’m forcing myself to stop and sit. If there is a cafe, I’ll sit with a coffee for awhile, although the first 8 days or so on the Camino, there have been minimal resources, so sometimes a nice rock is my friend to pause on, for a rest.
I keep running into a woman from Norway with whom I’ve shared a few cafe stops with. She is also a solo pilgrim, but staying in the Albergues/Hostels where she has her human interaction with other pilgrims in the evening, but during the day she strictly walks on her own. I hope to run into her again so I can get her name.
After I rest I keep going. Often there are hills – those very steep roads associated with windy sections of villages and small towns. I must say that I hate hills, but I seem to be able to go up them now with little or no stopping. For my close friends whom I’ve hiked with, this will come as a shock of course – your caboose is killing these hills!
Of course what goes up must come down, so the thighs burn going downhill, but I hear my Dad screaming ‘bend your knees’, so I do bend them and it helps. My 4km/hr only held up the first few days, now my true speed is more like 3.25km/hr including a few breaks. In the guidebook I use, the formula for elevation says that for every 60m gain in elevation, we add another .5km for overall speed/length of daily walk. This has been a very helpful tip in calculating my distance. No wonder a 30km day isn’t appealing to me – that’s 9 or 9.5 hr of walking at my pace.
After about 20(ish)kms, my legs are jelly, feet are numb and I feel so grateful that I’ve made it to that point. This is the time of day I sometimes pop a few Tylenol to keep things in check, or I take some naturopathic energy pills. I also carry Himalayan sea salt which I put on my tongue and let it absorb naturally, then I drink a big bunch of water. This helps with hydration, a tip from my close friend – thanks Dan!
When I finally arrive at my destination, it’s usually another 1-2km to find within the town (thank God for a data plan on my phone re: ability to use Google maps).
I check into the Hotel, get onto wifi and call Michael on Skype to let him know I’m still on this earth. At this point it’s anywhere from 2pm – 4pm Portuguese time. We usually chat for an hour, then I nap for an hour and take a soak in the tub – yes, my accommodations for these first few weeks have been well worth the expense.
After an evening meal in the Hotel, I stretch, I edit photos (deleting the bad ones from my phone, as well as sending them all to Michael as a back up – did you know if you receive images on What’s App, they go directly into your iPhoto?), I lay out all my things for the morning so I can do it all over again tomorrow.