…aaand that’s about the extent of my Spanish. This next month should go well.
So some of you may have noticed that this blog’s undergone a name change! Trying to navigate the waters of independence while still very much being part of a family unit is hard. Which is to say that the famjamily weren’t terribly impressed by my summer plans.
I will admit that the trip I was planning on taking (and will do! someday!) was pretty ambitious. I’ve also been away from home for a long time and am getting to the point where I’m excited for this summer’s treks, but I’m equally excited about getting to laze around the house for a month AFTER these treks (especially now that we have a hot tub! My feet are excited). The culmination of these two factors is that rather than finding my own way through Iceland, I’m going to do slightly more well-established hikes in Spain, Norway, and Iceland.
My journey begins on El Camino. The St. Frances pilgrimage is one of the most well-known long distance treks in the world, stretching horizontally across Spain for hundreds of kilometers before arriving in Santiago de Compostela. It’s busy though — which is why I’m not going to do it! Instead I’ll be doing a lesser known Camino, El Camino del Norte, the North route. This trek has a number of advantages over its Southern counterpart. It’s less well-known, which means that fewer people will be doing it and it will be easier to find places to inconspicuously camp when the mood takes me. It’s also more challenging, which means that anyone doing it will be there for similar purposes as me. And, decisively, it winds it’s way primarily along/near the coast, unlike St. Frances which sticks to the interior. For being born far inland and having an intense fear of oceans, I definitely have water (coastlines?) in my blood. Being near the shore is invigorating. Technically in order to get your Pilgrim’s Passport you have to be doing the trek for spiritual/religious purposes. Obviously religion is out, but walking beside the sea is about as spiritual as I will ever get. So that’s the first part! I’m still undecided as to whether I will stop in Santiago or continue on to Finisterre (once believed to be ‘the end of the world’– which is funny and so wrong, it’s not even the point that’s furthest West in Spain) before doubling back to catch my flight. I’ll let you know! Either way this leg will be 3 1/2 weeks – 4 weeks.
After that I’ll be doing a little R&R in my home away from home, Belgium. I was thinking of throwing the TMB in Switzerland/France in here instead, but honestly after a month of walking in the Spanish heat it’s almost 100% guaranteed I’ll be burned out (literally). What better than some family, food, and fun (although french…merp) to bring up the spirits! .
Side note: Lien and Maya! My lovely roomies! Turns out I’ll be close to you after all – let’s catch-up and maybe go to that bar you were always talking about and try the gazillion beers and the gin that’s not actually gin!
The good thing about stopping in Belgium is that I’ll be able to stock up on trail food for the next leg, because I love Norway but it has one of the highest standards of living in the world which is reflected in their prices. After a week recuperating in Belgium then I’ll fly into Oslo, where I might chill for a day or two before working my way up to Jotunheimen national park (and wherever else I decide). There’s no definite plan here yet. I’m sure Norwegians themselves have a much better grasp on what’s worth doing/how it can be done, so I’ll just be taking things as they come. Norway has FANTASTIC wild camping laws. Norway, Sweden, Scotland, and with a few restrictions Iceland are essentially the only countries where it’s legal to camp wherever you want, provided you respect the land and respect people’s privacy. There’s a good chance I’ll just wind up wandering around a national park and camping wherever I see fit for a week or two (especially because I’ll have food supplies). Maybe if I get a chance I’ll be a typical tourist and go and tour some of their prisons (because I’m pretty much just always in awe of their prison system. It’s one of my favourite topics of conversation. Norway, man…they’ve got their shit together). After about two, two and a half weeks it will be on to the final (and most exciting) leg – Iceland!
Once again there’s very little plan for Iceland, because it’s something you kind of have to experience in the moment. I’ll be spending a few nights in or around Reykjavik (checking out the hot springs) before heading out onto the Laugavegur trail. This guy’s quite famous, so parents rest assured that I’ll be in good human company in case anything happens. In case you were wondering, this trail takes you right to the foot of that volcano that erupted in 2010 that no one can pronounce or spell and that I’m too lazy to google right now. Ahh, it’ll be glorious. Have a few links: http://www.adventure-journal.com/2011/11/made-in-iceland-chronicles-one-womans-beautiful-month-long-hike/ ; http://www.fi.is/en/hiking-trails/ ; http://www.alastairhumphreys.com/iceland-expedition-feet/ . The trek’s just under a week long, so I can either catch a ride back to Reykjavik and then decide on another hike to do, or, as will probably happen, I’ll double back and do the trail in reverse (so that I’m familiar with it and can really appreciate it). I definitely want to check out Reyk and the other towns as well. It’s pretty easy to catch a plane/train/automobile up north to near Akuryeri, so that might happen as well. The week in Belgium will be spent sorting this out, and most importantly how I’m going to get food up there without breaking the bank.
And then finally in late July I’ll be coming home for the first time in a year where I will proceed to buy out Timmies and then eat my weight’s worth of Gwenny-cooking just in one sitting. Pretty excited, won’t lie.
By the way, from tomorrow on I’ll be posting from my tablet which means no pictures:( I’ll try to find PCs to upload some along the way though.