I love my husband, I do. But Stretch challenges me in areas that I fear exceed my comfort zone. I’m talking about this Spanish pilgrimage hike, the Camino di Santiago that we’re about to do five weeks from now. It includes several days of strenuous walking, between 12-18 miles a day. And the worst of it, the part that I dread the most is not the extensive walking or the unstylish exercise gear or the Spanish food, but the accommodations along the way. They look grim. I can survive anything if I know there’s a steaming bath and a cosy bedroom at the end of the day. By cosy I mean ideally linen sheets, medium firm thick mattress, no possibility of bedbugs, pretty curtains and chaise longue and a picturesque view. Is that asking so much? This is where we’ll be staying.
I lie, this is only one of the places- as we’ll be changing hotels (‘hotel’ seems generous) every night.
Stretch peppers most mornings now with statements like-
You’ll need to get mountain gloves as the mornings will be quite chilly.’
Has anyone ever heard of mountain gloves? Or …
“We should pack rain ponchos.”
Sadly, I know what that is, and the visuals are making me weep. From liner socks to clothes that wick to heel balm, this trip is anything but sexy.
This morning, Easter Sunday, a day of celebration or at least relaxation, I was just pouring my first cup of coffee in the kitchen- planning on bringing it right back to bed to start my daily meditation and journaling ritual- when I got distracted by Stretch who was busy trying on his latest purchase- a complicated and ugly backpack.
“So, you see it has these belts in the front, one by your waist and another by your chest to distribute your weight evenly” he explains as he snaps various buckles like a flight attendant in my kitchen.
I nod sleepily. He’s kind of blocking my way to the stairs and thus my bed.
“And then…” (He’s now taking the backpack off, walking to the sink, turning on the tap and filling a huge aqua-colored sac within the backpack with tap water) “There’s this nifty section here where you can store water. And another here where you’ll keep your electrolyte cocktail.”
Generally, with Stretch when he’s on a nerdy roll like this, I nod a lot, don’t ask any questions and try to exit the space quickly and subtly.
“You’ll need to take your bathrobe off”
“What? I ask.
“It’s too thick. This is your backpack. You need to try it on.”
Readers, I am wearing a luxurious la Perla nightgown and a thick warm terrycloth bathrobe and Ugg slippers. Not a hiking outfit in any size, shape or form.
“I am not taking off my bathrobe,” I say imperiously, moving past him with speed, Josephine in tow.
My morning zen has been shaken by this man I married. We are in some ways very different people. Do opposites really attract? Some days I wonder.
I just came back from an Easter day hike. Stretch said we needed to train for Spain. He told me the hike was 4 miles with ‘some elevation.’ Dear readers, if there’s one take away from this blog, never ignore or underestimate the word ‘elevation.’ We just climbed gargantuan boulders, the size of meteorites. Maybe they were meteorites.
One of these rocks had a chain to help you pull yourself up. I kid you not. I would have turned around but that was even scarier. Have you ever tried sliding down a boulder? Stretch always does this- takes me on a loop hike where the only thing to do is move forward. On the way home I asked him how much ‘elevation’ we covered. “1200 feet, the same as climbing up the Empire State Building. You should be proud of yourself” I would be if I wasn’t so tired.
So, on this celebratory exhausted note, Happy Easter! I hope you all had a great Easter with zero elevation. And if you know of a nice hotel along this Camino thing, please email me pronto.