Sunday, August 21, 2011

Pilgrimage Coming Soon

Realizing that I won't be able to walk to Santiago de Compostela from Denver until the Atlantic Ocean either freezes or dries up, I've gone ahead and bought a plane ticket. The next winter pilgrimage is imminent. I'll begin to walk under the wings of St Michael the Archangel, the 29th of September. Depending on a myriad of unpredictable factors, I should be strolling into Jerusalem sometime in late spring. -ish.

Ticket in hand, boots are now on feet, too - heavy leather guide boots with the beefiest soles I could find, and I looked carefully and dutifully for months. I have no endorsements or product sponsorship, but for anyone else searching for boots ready to go the distance, I'll share that the selected boots are Italian-made Scarpa SL M3. I ordered my normal size of 38 but they were too small; the 39s that just arrived fit very comfortably. I'm hoping that the soles will get me through the three mountain ranges I'll cross in Spain and then through the Atlas Mountains of northern Morocco and Algeria. The soles of the three other boots I've gone through - Raichle, Meindl, and Zamberlan - all similar heavy leather guide boots, each lasted 'only' 1,200 miles/2,000 kms. I'm now hoping that these new ones will get me at least to Algiers, 2,500 kms, but more hopefully to Annaba (Hippo) where I'm thinking about spending (western) Christmas at 3,000 kms. After that, my soles are in the hands of fate. I'll be sure to report on their condition frequently, since footwear is paramount to any distance walker.

I'm rushing through my days reading about the diverse and fascinating histories of the all the areas I'll walk through, going through shifting checklists of equipment repairs and the gathering of odds and ends, learning enough Arabic to make a suitable cheat sheet, and interminably studying maps. I'll come up with a picture of my route soon and post it for all to follow. In general: Santiago de Compostela, Avila, Toledo, Cordoba, crossing the Straits of Gibraltar at Algeciras to Ceutas (a speck of Spain relic in Morocco), onward and eastward along the Mediterranean coast more or less along an old Roman Road through countless ancient cities, some thriving, some in ruins...Algiers, Tunis, lots of historical places in Libya (let's hope I can get through the border, sometime in mid January-ish), Alexandria, the monastery of St Anthony, across the Red Sea to the monastery of St Catherine below Mount Sinai, and then to wherever I'm able to walk in Israel. Long, sure, but fascinating, too. And it all begins in 4 weeks from today. :D !!

1 comment:

ksam said...

This is going to be truly epic! What are you thinking of doing in Libya if you can't enter...or don't feel you should? The rest of us will simply have to pray like mad for you! Buen Camino!!