Background to the Foreground

A moment of madness… We are all guilty of it, a brash decision, enhanced by a mid-day wine over lunch and next thing- Bingo! we think we’ll do this walk across Spain which until 2 hours ago neither of us had heard of before!

For the next two weeks we grabbed every spare moment we could to gaze at our respective navels and reach to the depth of our souls – did we really want to walk across Spain?

Research to this point had by now uncovered The Camino , a mere 780 kms from France through the Pyrenees and walk west until you get to Santiago de Compostela. How hard could that be? Did we want to spend that amount of money on what was quite possibly not the most relaxing holiday on the planet?

Martin Sheen appeared at the local movie theatre starring in “The Way” , all based on the Camino walk. We viewed it independently, compared notes and undeterred thought this might be worth exploring further still, but we would not be staying in those horrendous hostels depicted in the movie and surely not every 21st century Pilgrim had to be a ‘fruit loop’?

We covered our bases and jointly made a deadline. Two weeks from inception flights and accommodation were being booked and departure date was just three short weeks away.

The telling moment was when we settled into our first flight and I turned to Gwyneth asking “Did you ever think of pulling out of this?” “Heck yeah! But I was waiting for you to raise it first “. Snap! So neither of us wanted to be the one to let the other down and on this rather flimsy strength of desire here we were winging it over some 40 hours to Singapore, Milan, Barcelona, Pamplona and on to St Jean Pied de Port in France.

Gwyneth and I both, are on the ‘not so shiny’ side of 50 but reasonably fit. I was still feeling confident with a couple of recent half marathons under my belt and Gwyn is a regular sports player and 10km event runner. With a couple of hill climbs up Rapaki track and a round of our inner city Hagley Park wearing backpacks – we thought we were as ready as anyone could be!


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