Homer's Travels: May 2023

Tuesday, May 30, 2023

Happy Birthday Mom!!!

 Happy Birthday Mom!

Sorry I'm not there to celebrate.  I'll make it up when we get back from the Camino.

Monday, May 29, 2023

Remembering The Sacrifices

Today is Memorial Day when we remember those who gave their lives to support the greater good.

May they always live in our memories.

Monday, May 15, 2023

Happy Twelfth Caminoversary

Twelve years ago I started my first Camino, hiking from St Jean Pied de Port to Roncesvalles.  This year the Wife and I left the Refuge of Orrison and arrived at Roncesvalles.

The albergue at Roncesvalles.
(Picture taken in 2011)
During my first Camino that first night in Roncesvalles was cold and lonely.  I was uncertain of myself and had my doubts that I would be able to finish.  This time, my third Camino and the Wife's first, I will not be alone and, I suspect, better prepared for the chill in the air.

I'm looking forward to seeing the Camino through the Wife's eyes.

Sunday, May 14, 2023

Camino 2023 - Onward To Santiago De Compostella ... And Happy Mother's Day!

We're off!  Today the Wife and I left St Jean Pied de Port, France hiking up the Pyrenees on the Camino de Santiago.  The plan is for me to walk behind the Wife so that she can set the pace.  By this afternoon we will arrive at the Refuge of Orisson where we have our one and only reservation on the Camino (most pilgrim hostels do not accept reservations and are first come first served).

The refuge is the first pilgrim's hostel - referred to as albergues in Spain - you reach in the mountains.  We are stopping here to break up the crossing of the Pyrenees which is considered one of the hardest parts of the Camino due to the elevation climb and it being at the beginning of Camino when most people haven't had time to develop their trail legs.

On my first Camino I stopped at Orisson for a snack (a ham sandwich and a soda) and to sit out the light rain that had started just as I arrived.  It's located in a place with mountain views ... assuming the weather cooperates.

P.S. Happy Mother's Day!!!

Sunday, May 07, 2023

Weekly Ephemera #55

  • To my surprise the painters/drywallers showed up on Wednesday.  The hole in the living room ceiling has been fixed and several water spots (caused by the condensation issues we had) were touched up.  On Monday they will finish the job when they paint the living room ceiling.  I wish this had been finished two weeks ago.
  • I had my semi-annual blood draw this week.  Setting it up was a bit strange.  I called to make an appointment and I was told I couldn't get the blood drawn until I met with the Doctor.  I asked the person what I would have to talk about with the Doctor if we didn't have blood test results.  She consulted the Doctor and ... they authorized me to get my blood drawn.

    After my blood draw I checked the results on the health app our doctor's office uses.  All results were there except for my blood sugar numbers (A1C and Glucose) and my PSA.  I met with the doctor the next day and she said "oh yeah ... I should have asked for those."  Fortunately the blood drawn a couple days earlier was still 'good' and they could do the additional tests she had omitted.

    The results, by the way, were pretty good.  My lipid numbers (cholesterol, triglycerides, LDL, HDL, etc) were all in the normal range with a few of the numbers being the best I've ever had.  My A1C was 5.7 ... at the bottom of the prediabetic range.  I was hoping it would be in the normal range ... so close.  My glucose number was 100 ... the high end of the normal range and better than last time.

    Overall my numbers are moving in the correct direction.  Yay me!
  • As for our Camino planning, the one thing I hadn't figured out was how to get from the Paris airport to the train station.  A little search came up with a couple options - The metro train or a taxi.  The metro was by far cheaper than the taxi option but it would take twice as long.  Also, as I was trying to figure out which metro trains I needed to take and where to change trains, I became more and more confused.  Not a good feeling when we will be in a strange new city.

    I am slightly concerned about how much time it will take to get off the plane, pick up our checked bag (containing our poles, pocket knife, liquids, and other items forbidden in your carry on bag), and go through immigration.  If it takes too long and we use the slower transportation method to get to the train station we risk missing the earlier train.  If we miss it, it would delay us by a couple hours and possibly arrive in St Jean Pied de Port in the dark.  I decided that the faster and less confusing, but more expensive, solution would be to take a taxi.
  • I walked once last week.  I walked 11.9 miles (19.2 km) the day before my blood test hoping to burn off some of my blood sugar.  The painters showing up stopped me from walking any more this week.

    I usually don't walk the week before I start a long hike so I will not be walking this week.  This will give me more time to pack, worry, and battle my pre-travel anxiety.
  • To distract myself a little I've been binging "Columbo" reruns and I went to the new "Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3" movie this morning - a very good end to the GotG series though I found the comedy a bit too heavy handed at times.

Friday, May 05, 2023

Camino 2023 - Photographs And Blog Posts

I have been asked if I will be posting on Homer's Travels while the Wife and I are on the Camino.  If you are expecting me to post almost every day like I did on our Key West roadtrip earlier this year, you will probably be disappointed.  If you are happy with the occasional picture then you should be fine.  While I will have everything I'll need to post - my tablet, phone, and camera - the one thing I may not have is the will to post.

At the end of the walking day I know I will be tired.  After doing our chores (washing clothes, showering, etc.) and getting something to eat, the only thing I will want to do is take a nap.  Also, the afternoon is time to meet people and socialize.  All this happens before nine o'clock (known as Hiker's Midnight) when everyone goes to bed.

I am thinking about posting pictures like I did during last fall's world travels.  There is an issue though.  I have walked most of our route twice and it can be hard to find things I haven't already photographed.  We will have to see.  I fully expect the Wife to take more pictures than I do this time.  I will try to post pictures every few days when I have pictures to post, the time to post them, and the energy to do it.

Monday, May 01, 2023

Camino 2023 - Planning ???

I meticulously planned my first two Camino de Santiago hikes.  I had a good idea where I would stop each day - though those plans never played out as I anticipated.  I could do this because for the first Camino I knew what I was capable of and for my second Camino I knew what I and GV were capable of.  For my third Camino - and the Wife's first - I really don't know what we are capable of.

The Wife has never done a multi-day hike like the Camino.  She has been preparing for the past few months, and is doing well, but you really don't know how it will go until you are out on the trail.  As for me, it has been ten years since my second Camino.  Over those years I have felt my capabilities decline.  I think the Appalachian Trail marked the turning point for me physically - the first half I was strong and the back half I was weak.  I think the Wife and I will both be discovering what we are capable of on this Camino.

Since we will both be learning as we go I intend to plan the Camino stops on the fly as well.  There are lots of options for how far you want to walk each day but, looking at the towns along the way, they are not as evenly distributed as I remember so longer days may be inevitable.  We will see how we feel at the end/beginning of each day and then decide where we will stop.  We didn't purchase return tickets so we could have more flexibility and less pressure.  My first Camino was thirty-six days.  My second was forty-two.  My third, and the Wife's first, will likely be somewhere in between.  I'm not sure how long it will take but I do know it will not be a race.