Aloha France

by - May 26, 2017


Aloha France - Day 43

Saint Jean Pied De Port, France to Milan, Italy

Statistics
Official distance: 739 km
Days 42
Rest days: 14
Walking days: 28
Steps 944,892
Average daily steps: 22,497 steps/day
Miles 433.3
Average daily miles: 10 miles/day
Kilometers 693.3
Average daily kilometers: 19 km/day
Reflections
Today we leave France after having finished the Le Puy to Saint Jean Pied De Port pilgrimage route.

A pilgrimage is a very personal experience. And when it takes 42 days you might have a few! People typically do pilgrimages to answer a key question in life or for religious reasons or just having an vacation.

So why did i do it?
I did it to give myself hope. Hope that I can still do things that exceed my expectations and limitations. To not let that inner voice, tell you that you can't do it. To really believe that my best days are still ahead of me. To be a source to inspire me to remain positive about my future and to keep dreaming big!

What metrics did I have?

  • The most important metric was i going to be able to walk the whole distance or was I going to have to bicycle to finish it?

  • Could I do it with the normal medications my doctor prescribed or I would I have to exceed the daily dosage ?.

  • Will my body hold up to the every day grind of walking with a 20 pound backpack?

Did I meet or exceed my expectations?
The short answer is ….yes I definitely exceeded my expectations.

  • I walked every day and I never bicycled. That was huge.

  • I never exceeded my medications, In fact, a third of the days, I used less medication. I did take a double dose to start every day but that was within the number of doses prescribed.

  • My body held up wells considering my injuries. The reason my right knee got hurt was because I tried to walk faster than I normally do. Lesson learned - walk my own pace. In the last 10 days, I walked my pace and I was able to walk 88 km in two days with 56 km the first day and 32 km the second day. My knees never had any pain or swelling . A great way to end the Pilgrimage.

Thoughts on the Le Puy Route
The paths.Hands down the paths are incredible in so many ways. Walking along a road with cars is a very limited. Usually walking on a foot path or farm road with incredible vistas. The towns along the way are well persevere historic villages. The way is well marked as the GR65.

The Gîtes. Gite is the French word for hostel. The Gîte's were well done. They were mostly individually owned and operated. The owners had personally done the Camino and took great pride in their Gite. The dinners were exceptional. You definitely need to reserve a day or two events in advance. In general, the tourist information office in the bigger towns will help me make arrangements.

The French People. I did not find the French people to be rude at all. I did find that there was an expectation that you should be able to speak French or at least attempt to be conversational. This was definitely true for group dinners. It also generally assumed that Americans only speak English. If I do it again I will definitely take a French course.

The Food. I lost considerable amount of weight from walking, which was great because I ate a lot of great French food. The food was exceptionally good. To me the amazing foods included the wine, bread, chocolate, and cheeses. They were all very affordable. You could buy the cheapest and it was still really excellent. I have like I love affair with the bread. I just love the taste of it and the textures. And the cheeses...OMG. There are over 1000 cheeses. Try them all!

The scenery. Scenery of the Le Puy path is incredible. The agricultural landscapes of the southern France are stunning. The little towns the path goes to our incredible. Plan on taking a lot of pictures

The Weather. The weather was variable. Could be 70 one day and 40 next day. It's essential to be able to layer your clothes. Bring some warm clothes.

Summary
You can't go wrong with walking this route. every facet is well done. Plan on spending 50 a day if you just want to relax and have a great time.
Today's travel
Waking up at 4:00 am to catch a 6:00 am train from Saint Jean Pied De Port to Bayonne switch traina Au Revoir and go to Bordeaux. Then bus to the Bordeaux airport. Fly to Milan. Catch the commuter train to Milan. Then walk a couple kilometers. Then dinner, laundry and answer emails..,.

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