I made the decision to do (as often as I can) one longer walk, usually solo, in the summer months: May -August in preparation for the Camino in September. The idea is to build up my stamina for longer walks, practise carrying a load and test out boots and other kit.
Pilgrimage 1: Monday 7th May
Route : home yo Auvaisberg (via Piispanristi) and from there to Tuorla Inn
Weather: Fine spring day, warm but not hot. Needed sunscreen, sunglasses, cap but no jacket!
Distance 20km in total (about 4 1/2 hours of walking, in two main strings)
This really felt like a pilgrimage. I loved the walking, was content in my own space, and while most of the route wasn’t familiar to me, I’d studied the map before hand and so knew more or less where I was going. At a couple of points in Piispanristi and later on in Karins i checked the maps at a bus mostly to reassure myself.
It felt like a pilgrimage because I accepted hospitality (lunch and coffee) at my friend’s place in the countryside …he ‘gets’ the walking, the concept of pilgrimage, and we had great conversations over lunch! En route I’d also stopped at the well in Piispanristi and while I drank water I’d carried it felt symbolic that I was being refreshed in my weariness!
At the well in Piispanristi
The second part of the journey was to attend an AGM (of a society which I’d just resigned from as a board member, which also felt significant as this pilgrimage is -in part -about embracing the new! What I also especially enjoyed about this part of the day was walking along long country lanes and paths in a wonderful landscape.
I ached when I got home of course, but not especially so, which suggests the walking I’ve done for the past eighteen months has paid off, and most important no blisters, which is one of my biggest fears!