Wait. Starting the Camino where?
Every pilgrim “starts” their journey somewhere. Up until my trip to Ireland, my Camino journey had been more abstract than literal. However, once I got to Dublin, I took the first steps that made it – finally – feel real.
For Irish pilgrims intending to walk the Camino, St. James’ Gate in Dublin was their traditional starting point, as many took the direct route from Dublin to A Coruña (La Coruña) across the water. In modern times, random Canadian peregrinas found it a similarly great place to get started.
Camino stops in Dublin are conveniently located next to each other, concentrated near the Guinness Brewery’s iconic St. James’s Gate. It’s a 20-30 minute walk from the central part of Dublin, but the route takes you past some lovely Dublin stops and through busy neighbourhoods.
At this point in our training, my #CaminoTwits pal Lori and I consider ourselves advanced amateur walkers. After the previous week’s 32km effort, we decided we needed to stretch ourselves further and sought recommendations from our hiking friends at AvoidingChores.com for a shorter, yet hillier route. That’s what brought us to the Admiral Lake Loop on the Musquodoboit Trailway.
For those unfamiliar with Nova Scotia place names, “Musquodoboit” is pronounced “Musk-uh-dob-it.”
We are not gluttons for punishment, except when we are. My #CaminoTwits buddy Lori and I had a pretty simple rationale for this adventure: we have a couple of days on the Camino where the walks could be 30+ kilometres and we thought it might be a good idea to see what that feels like.
Short version: looks good, feels terrible. It was a good test for what a long, long day of walking on easy terrain may feel like – for better or for worse – and we saw a porcupine in a tree.
As part of our efforts to get lots and lots of kilometres on our legs and be Camino-ready by September, my friend Lori and I are quickly burning though our 20-kilometre walking route options in Halifax and Dartmouth. So, we started looking for new trail ideas a short drive from Halifax in the 10-kilometre range or a 20-kilometre loop/return. One that jumped out connects two of my favourite spots on Nova Scotia’s South Shore, the Bay to Bay Trail connecting the towns of Mahone Bay and Lunenburg on an abandoned rail line.
As planning for my September Camino de Santiago progresses, I’m ticking off the to-do items on my ever-shortening packing list.*
In addition to a government-issued passport to enter Spain, pilgrims require a credencial that gets stamped at every stop on their Camino with sellos and serves as proof they walked, cycled or rode the required distances to earn the compostela upon arrival in Santiago de Compostela. There are lots of ways to obtain one, with many pilgrims purchasing their credencial in Spain when they are setting off on their journey. Continue reading