On my way to the airport to start a two week walk along the northern Spanish coast, the first section of the Camino del Norte.
Leaving England seems like a great idea this rainy morning, and it's all thanks to the initiative of the lovely Gary, the Irish friend I ended up walking the whole of last year's camino with. Testament to his charm, Gary a couple of months ago spontaneously booked himself on flights into and out of Spain, and subsequently persuaded 7 people to come along for various parts. Me plus seven, eek.
A different route, a very different time in my life, and a different weight of expectations for what the experience will bring. On the plus side, I am reasonably fit and I know I will enjoy the walking and the coastal terrain. On the minus, I have an acute lower back problem which I'm not sure will enjoy the walking or the bunks, and the forecast, as ever on the northern Spanish coast, is looking decidedly mixed. One joy already: I have turned my work email off for the duration.
Today's itinerary is a train to Stansted, a flight to Biarritz, a taxi to Irun (just inside the Spanish border), and hopefully a back-soothing night's sleep in the first pilgrim's hostel. Earplugs and anti-inflammatories at the ready!