Walking Resources

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I thought I was too unfit... wrong

Walking is FREE! Walking is also flexible and scenic!  

There are no gym fees, no fancy clothes, no personal trainers are required except the ones on your feet AND, if we are within normal health ranges, then we can all do it NOW – there are no factors preventing us beyond our own attitude, self-discipline and motivation.

Sounds great doesn’t it?  Walking is straight out the front door and totally accessible right now.  I have a series of walks around my town – there’s the 10 k walk for when I’m feeling all of the above or even the 15 k walk, going via public amenities!  (Don’t forget to factor in your bladder 😀 ).

When I recently walked 850 ks (& taxied 150ks) in Spain late last year, I was one of the youngest pilgrims en route, at 56!  The oldest pilgrim I met was 86 – someone else met a 94 year old. Walking has no age limit.

So what’s stopping you from working that wonderful bod of yours and WALKING?!

 Mundo Camino

MundiCamino

MundiCamino is a complete guide to the Camino. I loved Mundicamino for overall planning. It covers everything about the different routes, places to stay, what to pack, and has a wonderful interactive map that shows all the routes across Spain.

.Camino Guides

Camino Guides

Camino Guides does exactly what it says! Gathers plenty of guides in the one place.

When I was preparing for my first Camino, it was the Via de la Plata, in Aug 2014. I got myself a couple of guide books for this route specifically. Camino Guides gives you a good choice of guides available for the route you choose – there are many routes, so be specific. There are a lot of routes!

.duolingo

Duolingo

Duolingo is a FREE website application that takes you step by step through a new language (like Spanish) like a game with points!

They will even nag you to do your daily workout session. There are written and speaking components which are non-threatening. I am the world’s worst foreign language learner and I adored this site.  But you have to work it!

.Total Spanish

Total Spanish

This is a slightly different way of learning Spanish. Movie stars use this method as it is a very quick way to get inside the language.

Total Spanish has 3 levels – Beginner up to Whizzo (my word). I bought the Beginner package, put it on my iPod and practised Spanish on my pre-pilgrim prep walks. It does away with the written word and focuses on speaking only – so it is especially good for auditory learners.  You will pick up phrases immediately.  But of course, it takes work and repetition (and self-discipline!).

 Skechers Women's Go Walk Slip-On - Walking Shoes

 Skechers Women’s Go Walk Slip On

I wore my Skechers for most of the walk – not exactly this type but I wholeheartedly recommend this brand.  The boots I wore saw me through around 200 kilometres of practice round my town before I went to Spain, and then another 700 or so over there.

They walked me on bitumen, stone, dirt, sand, through water and up hill and down dale.  My own pair of Skechers now live on a bridge as you enter Santiago de Compostela from the Via de la Plata route.  I wouldn’t mind a pair of these slip-ons myself.

Hi-Tec Lady Pernith Walking Boot Women Hiking Running Jogging Shoes

 Hi-Tec Penrith Ladies Walking/Hiking Boots

I recommend Hi-Tec because unlike my walking boots, these are so light-weight.  I took a pair of their hiking trainers as a back-up and I’m so glad I did!

Not only did they weigh nothing and believe me, weight in your rucksack is everything when you’re climbing altitude of 1000 feet that day, but they were a godsend when I was crippled with blisters on both heels (my own fault) and could no longer walk in my other boots.  After only 2 days’ recuperation I was able to continue my pilgrimage wearing my Hi-Tecs until the blisters were healed.  Go Hi-Tec!

 Berghaus Torridon 60 Womens Hiking Backpack

 Berghaus Torridon 60 Women’s Hiking Backpack

This was my rucksack!  I feel so sentimental about it now – I lugged this little mother for a few hundred kilometres loaded up to 14 kilograms (which is heavy especially up mountains) until veteran pilgrims persuaded me to start ditching stuff to bring the weight down to a more workable 10 kgs or so.

The beauty of this rucksack is that it has inner compartments of large, variable capacity and all the necessary outer compartments for snacks, easy access, your papers, and so on.  It can be a 14 kilogram monster or a lighter 10 kg darling. You can adjust your pack with all the straps.  It’s also got the straps across the chest which I heartily insist you look for in ANY rucksack.  They ease the load.

Walking Hat with Neck Protecter

Walking Hat with Neck Sunshade

There is no way I would have walked without a neck-protecting hat.  If, like me, you are prone to sunstroke, then you will need a cool-looking hat with veil.  Spain’s plains aren’t easy on the brains!  (Just made that up! 😀 )

This little number looks far better than my tanami hat so if I’m lucky enough to go on another Camino, I’ll get this and be protected AND cool-looking too!

 Convertable Zip Off Walking Pants

 Convertible Walking Pants that Zip Off

While it’s great to feel cool in the hot weather over in Spain if you go at the end of summer or the beginning of it, wearing long pants is a must.  And wearing long pants that convert to shorts is a better must.

When walking, that’s the morning part, the length of the pants will keep annoying gravel or prickles out of your boots.  There’s nothing worse than walking 20 kilometres with pebbles in your boots.  Having to stop and empty them is a huge hassle if weighed down with rucksack and all that boot-lacing.  Long pants also protect against the sun which bangs down in Spain.

Being able to unzip the bottom half of the pants for the afternoon/evening part of your day, when you’re relaxed and eating and drinking with fellow pilgrims, has two-fold benefits.  You feel very cool and airy AND it’s a bit of a fashion-change, which is also good for the soul when your whole wardrobe consists of hiking clothes.

 Folding Ultralight Travel Hiking Walking Stick

Folding Ultralight Hiking/Walking Sticks

To be totally honest with y’all, I could NOT have completed the walk in Spain without a pair of walking sticks.  They kept me balanced on rough terrain and hauled me up mountains AND alleviated stress on my knees going down the mothers.

They told me how deep little creeks were when I had to use stepping stones, helped flush out non-existent monsters in long grass I had to walk through and they ultimately became my best friends.  I recommend you walk with sticks, full-stop.  (Clearly not around the suburbs!  But certainly if you’re bush-bashing, like I was.)

Poor Man's Wealth

Poor Man’s Wealth

If you are thinking about walking in Spain and want to get a feel for the pueblos/villages you’ll be walking through, or want to experience from your armchair, then this novel is just the ticket. Written by an Aussie male who now lives in Extremadura with his Madridlenos wife, Angela, it offers a view from the inside of a village – in this case, Higot.

The village is slowly dying – indeed, I walked through a couple of pueblos on the Via de la Plata whose cottages were falling down and empty. Our hero, El Gordo, the Fat One, devises a plan to revive the local economy.
He also struggles with depression, which is not so much the reason for this book but an essential ingredient to the story. It’s a delight, whether you’re walking or not!

Just note that if you click through on the image, it will take you to another book of Rod Usher’s – from there you will need to type this title in the search – apologies, but there is no direct link.

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 Grandma Gatewood’s Walk

Emma Gatewood told her family she was going on a walk and left her small Ohio hometown with a change of clothes and less than two hundred dollars. The next anybody heard from her, this genteel, farm-reared, 67-year-old great-grandmother had walked 800 miles along the 2,050-mile Appalachian Trail.

In September 1955, having survived a rattlesnake strike, two hurricanes, and a run-in with gangsters from Harlem, she stood atop Maine’s Mount Katahdin. There she sang the first verse of “America, the Beautiful” and proclaimed, “I said I’ll do it, and I’ve done it.” <<Read More>>

 Merrel Shoe

 Merrell Women’s Hiking Shoe

I recently bought a pair of these at our one sport shoe shop in town, and they felt springy and light.  Then I went off meditating for 10 days, as a server in the kitchen.  Well, these little beauties kept me on my feet for around 13 hours a day without a single ache!  How good is that?  They are my latest pair of walking shoes as my Hi-Tecs died on me.  Highly recommended.  Try them yourself and let us know.

ViaPlata_Cover_App Melanie’s Via de La Plata App

http://www.melaniemcmanus.com/apps/

This app became a rock.  Only a few dollars to buy, well worth having it along for the walk.