So now I am in the planning stage… The bike route, is actually the less travelled pilgrimage route on my trip, and for me the most daunting part. My bike is my car, but I only ride the streets and back lanes of Bali. Okay, in the crazy traffic of Bali, but I’m generally the fastest moving vehicle. I’ve never had a puncture, and don’t know how to change a tyre. I am however used to riding 70 or so kilometres a day… sometimes. I own a mountain bike, it’s the only kind I’ve ridden since I had my Malvern Star Dragster when I was ten. My bike can’t fit racks for touring, and probably is too much of an inconvenience to take to France anyway (well to get it back again). I don’t need the latest fanciest bike, I don’t need to go that fast, but I would like to be able to carry my stuff comfortably. I’ve tossed this back and forth, and It seems buying a bike in Paris (secondhand?), then hopefully selling it at St Jean, looks a less expensive option than hiring one. I am hoping there are people wishing to buy a bike to travel the Camino Frances to Santiago, as for that part of my journey I would like to walk. Anyone reading this around the third or fourth week of October 2014, want to buy a bike in Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port?
There is a Camino that starts in Paris ‘The Tours Route’. This is the path I wish to take. I like the idea of following a medieval pilgrimage, and feasibly my course can replicate that path. Unfortunately there isn’t a lot of information in English about this particular way. The main source seems to be out of print and, at least on my searches, unattainable. However I have managed to scrounge from the web, a list of towns that the Tours Way follows, so will probably rely mostly on Google Maps to get me there. I have ordered a French street atlas online, but that was months ago, and I’m still waiting for delivery. Everything takes longer than anticipated in Indonesia. Hopefully it will arrive with time for me to plan.
Luckily my guidebook for the Camino Frances has already arrived, ‘The Brierley’, as it gets reverently referred to in Camino circles. I’m told it’s good, but I’ll probably just walk until I get tired or hungry. I believe it’s good for spotting English speaking pilgrims. I wish more were available as ebooks, as for me it’s not just a stroll to the local bookstore. I did find and read a recent account on foot by a South African Pilgrim who follows the Tours way, but it’s not a guidebook as such.
For me, Europe will probably seem incredibly expensive as I work in South East Asia. When I return to Australia I constantly annoy my friends and family by exclaiming in shock “You want how much for that?”. Ok, I do it here too, but it’s part of the regular bargaining process. I have saved some cash, and hopefully will be enough, as I’ve booked and paid for my flight. I found this handy Camino Calculator If I sleep under a bridge, eat sunshine and moonlight and don’t wash, it will cost me nothing! It seems that the Camino Frances can be done on as little as €25-35 a day, as there are pilgrims hostels (albergues), and set menú del día, available for very low prices. However, France will be a lot more expensive. I was rather shocked to see hostel beds for €50 – that’s a 3 star hotel here! I am taking my tent. I love camping, so that’s a good option for me. I will also take advantage of CouchSurfing.org I’ve been a member for a while, and actually love playing host, so hopefully I may get to be hosted along the way. I think it’s a great way to find the secret locations of an area, and truly hang out with the locals.
Once complete, I’ll share my planned route.