Peregrina Preparatio 2

On Wednesday I set out with Tinka (our bonus dog) for a second preparatory walk. I had planned to walk from Turku to Naantali (or vice versa) getting a lift or bus one way. My family vetoed that and suggested I did something more local instead.

So I did!

Pilgrimage 2: Wednesday May 9th 2018

Route: Turku to Vanhalinna (via Littoinen lake) and back

Weather: Warm and Sunny, about 20C. I wore cotton trousers and changed into shorts, and needed sunscreen, a cap and sunglasses. My small fleece stayed in my napsack.

Distance: 33km; three stages of about 2 – 2 1/2 hours each …with a slightly longer break midday half way through stage 2. I left home at 8:30 and arrived home at about 5:30

The feeling was very different on this pilgrimage preparation walk because I had Tinka with me, and at first it was jolly frustrating as she stopped to sniff every fifty metres or so, but once we were past the urban sprawl we picked up pace especially when we got to Littoinen lake, where we stopped for our coffee break!

Tinka is fascinated by water!

Until this point the walk hadn’t felt like a pilgrimage at all. I reflected on that after, and I think it was because I wasn’t on my own, and more crucially I had to take Tinka’s needs into account in addition to my needs and desires, but after our first stop we walked on a trail and our pace and desires merged so we walked more as one, which was a real bonus.

I have to say, too, that she’s a real trooper, and even though it was hot, and she must have been weary too, she never complained. She took me by surprise too, at times, once plunging in a natural spring that was deeper than either of us anticipated. Luckily I narrowly avoided falling in!

The queen’s spring at Vanhalinna; a narrow escape.

One realisation i had on this walk, was that over the years I’ve got a lot braver walking in Finland. I still prefer well marked trails but I noticed I was more willing to use the sun and common sense to forge my way in the direction I wanted to go. That makes me glad and a bit relieved too!

I am deliberately trying to avoid using my phone or other electronic device on these preparatory pilgrimage walks (just have my phone as a back up) so that means studying google maps before I go and then trying to read the signs and recollect the way. It’s actually not quite as hard as I feared, so clearly I do have a sense of direction even if it’s a bit under utilised.

Tinka and I walked almost two-thirds of the way around the lake on a lovely peaceful trail, then headed northwest -ish as my plan was to go to Vanhalinna. That meant getting across a very busy highway and as I just couldn’t find a crossing or underpass we ended up dashing (when the road was clear) across and up a very steep bank to a weird huge flatlands area near an industrial site, that we plodded across. It wasn’t at all pretty or beautiful but at least I could see the way out and that there was no fence!

We stopped at a small lunchtime cafe which we stumbled across by chance (and I was glad to use their facilities) had some coffee /water and we shared ice-cream cone, and then carried on, slightly off track but soon bisecting the road I was looking for and onto vanhalinna where we sat in the shade and ate the banana/dog treat I’d been saving.

Wonder if Hansel and Gretel lived here?

From there it was a long, and slightly familiar trek across the fields, through a forest to the river Aura above Halinen, and home.

All in all Tinka and I walked 33 km, on our adventure : the most I’ve done. The weather was fabulous : more than 18C all the way, and I really did need sunscreen, a cap and sunglasses. I wore trousers for the beginning of my walk and changed to shorts in the cafe, but wore hiking shoes and good double layer socks the whole way.

No blisters, but my shoulders were a bit sore from where the day sack rubbed a bit. So that needs to be rethought a bit. I will be doing the Camino with a bigger rucksack which will probably be a couple of kilos heavier but does have a waist belt which will help. I think the problem was more to do with the way the napsack was packed rather than anything else! Let’s see!

I was so happy to shower, change my clothes and pop on sandals, when I got home, and eat dinner, only to be reminded I needed to help walk the big dogs, which added another 2km to today’s today: 34.7km! And I slept well in spite of tired limbs.

Oh one more excitement was our encounter with an angry hissing viper (an adder) – but we lived to tell the tale so no harm done, though my heart and the adrenaline were racing for a few minutes!

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