We are knee deep in planning

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Here it is, the beginning of summer and only three and a half months from our departure. Where? We will get to that in a moment. We have decided to have a great adventure (for us!). Jim is already asking “Are we there yet?”  He has been given instruction that that question can only be asked once after we get underway. Hopefully, he will use that question wisely.

Jim has been trying to retire for about three years and continues to work for past clients on a greatly reduced schedule. Will he ever retire? Probably not. So, friends and clients, he will still be around to help–after this trip.

Beth has decided that life is short and it is time to go explore and have fun while both of us are ready for adventure. As a result, she is retiring from real estate after 30 years in the business. It has been a fun and rewarding lifestyle but it is time to move on.

Enough of that, back to the trip. For those who know Beth, you understand she likes to hike long distances, Jim, not so much as he would rather be near town in the evenings. What to do? When Jim suggested hiking the El Camino de Santiago in Northern Spain Beth jumped on board that train! Look for the description of the Camino a bit later.

We are planning to begin our trip with Beth’s sister and brother-in-law in Florida. We are driving there and will visit overnight then be driven to Miami to catch a flight to Paris for the first leg of our journey. (Thanks Micki and Chris) Not only were the tickets a fabulous price, but neither of us have been to Paris. We plan to spend 6 days there taking in the sights we have only seen in photos and heard about. It should be fun to see and taste our way around Paris.

From Paris we will take the high speed train (if they are not on strike) to Bayonne then a second train to St. Jean Pied de Port in Southern France where we will stay overnight and check in with the Pilgrim’s Office before starting our real journey.

The Camino de Santaigo  (The Way of St. James) is a footpath, actually many, that leads to Santiago de Compostela, the accepted final resting place of St. James the apostle. Many thousands have made a pilgrimage to the Cathedral over the past 1100 or so years. We have elected to hike the Camino Frances, the  French Way. It begins in St. John Pied de Port in France and we will walk over the Pyrenees, through Basque country and into Spain. The Camino Frances journey is 826 km or 513 miles. We will be staying in hostels (Albergues) nightly and in towns daily allowing us to only carry snacks and not much water. Think light packs! There is no set schedule for us to take, we will just walk as much or as little as we decide each day. We hope, and plan, to complete this segment in under 30 days which would allow us the option of going on to Finisterre, known in olden times as the end of the world.

After completion, we will head to Barcelona for a couple of days of sightseeing there before catching a cruise ship home.

We know this first post is quite lengthy, so thanks for bearing with us. Our packs and most of our gear is set aside and, if we are good, our packs will weigh between 10 and 12 pounds. There is much to be done between now and then so time will pass quickly.