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Camino de Santiago blog - Summer 2004

Camino de Santiago blog - Summer 2004

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Published by NathanielWhittemore
A download of a blog my friend Christina and I kept while hiking across Spain in 2004 on the 1200 year old Pilgrim trail the Camino de Santaigo. So long ago we wrote it on Boots n All (pre Wordpress).
A download of a blog my friend Christina and I kept while hiking across Spain in 2004 on the 1200 year old Pilgrim trail the Camino de Santaigo. So long ago we wrote it on Boots n All (pre Wordpress).

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Published by: NathanielWhittemore on Jun 17, 2011
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10/04/2014

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June 07, 2004
The Plan
So here's the status:Between June 9th and June 11th Christina and I (that'sNathaniel), soon-to-be juniors at Northwestern University, willmake our way from Chicago to Connecticut to London toParis. We'll spend our first French night at the 
hotel/hostel, which, according to their website, has anabsolutely dazzling view of the St. Martin Canal, and is mostconveniently situated just a short walk away from all themajor attractions. Fifty-five days later we fly out of Milan,Italy.In between, we'll walk 400 miles through Spain, beg for ridesfrom town to town in Liguria, swim in an ocean or two, consume copious numbers of baguettes andbocadillos, and probably lose something extremely important. If all goes to plan, the plan will changecompletely.Instead of emailing everyone, this website is our way of uber-vogue communication. We'll probably updateevery three or four days, and we'll be sure to include all the details that make mothers cringe and fathershigh-five younger brothers (or vice versa). Just kidding...We won't include those details.
See you in August.Love Christina and Nathaniel
Posted by
Nathaniel
on June 7, 2004 04:02 AM
June 10, 2004
We've gone European
So, here we are. London itself! Well, not London exactly so much as Heathrow airport. Our flight to Parisleaves in the morning and not wanting to shell out the pound for a hotel we had planned to just sleep here.At first, we were a little worried about security (read: us getting tossed out), but a nice airport official assuredus, in his wonderfully thick (or, perfectly normal) accent that we would have no problem. He even suggestedwhich terminal might have the best benches.
 
Time is short on these wall machines, but a few first thoughts:1. If Austin Powers were really real, he would fly Virgin Atlantic.2. Its funny that the first 'cultural differences' you notice are marketing and product based.3. My hiking clothes make me look like Steve Irwin, Crocodile Hunter.Cheers from the UK!
Posted by
Nathaniel
on June 10, 2004 05:42 PM
June 10, 2004
cheers!
The very first thing I heard when I got on the plane was the new Justin Timberlake hit blaring over the loudspeakers- virgin Atlantic is actually the most entertaining airline i have ever been on.It hasn't completly hit me that where in London, maybe because we aren't going to leave the airport.We ere a little concerned about spending the night here, but a we were kindly instructrd by a security guardto 'get a drink at the bar and find a bench.'Other than the elevated price of airport muffins, andthe fact that theflight supervisor, who is supposedlytrying out for Duran Duran, kind of sounded like Brad Pittin Snatch, London- or at least the airport- seemslike a sweet place.Despitelooking like a 2 year old when trying tocount out the exact change in pounds to pay for my coffee, ithas only taken a few hours for me to go from saying 'bathroom' to 'toilet.Conclusion: virgin atlantic and the airport are awesome,and nathaniel would like everyone to know that weactually heard someon say ''wot! wot are you dewin with irish pikies!?!' -- it's true, pikies do exist.cheers!christina
Posted by
Christina in Europe
on June 10, 2004 06:50 PM
June 12, 2004
Vive la France
Bonjour!Paris is absoultely beautiful. Every street is different from the one before it. We woke up a little bit later thanexpected but everything worked out. Breakfast at the hostel was great and for lunch we bought a bread at abakery with tomatoes and fresh cheese. The Eiffel Tower almost seems fake because of how many times Ihave seen it in pictures.I half expected to encounter some sort of hostility from the people in Paris, mostly because of all the talk
 
about how much they hate americans, but other than the anti-Bush sentiment, i can honestly say i haveseen little proof of this supposed hatred.We have been walking all day and it is wonderful. There are leashless dogs running around everywhere andpeople wandering the parks right by the eiffel tower as if they have seen it so many times, they don't evennotice it's there.The little french that i know has proven fairly useful, but for the most part people speak pretty good english.Twelve hours of sleep certainly helped me get re-energized; it feels great having the freedom, to just walkwherever we want and, as nathaniel said, not have to meet up with a group at a specific time and place.I had some sort of false impression that we would meet a lot of people doing something similar to us- thepilgrimage, or a different walk oriented trip- for the most part, though, we have met numerous people whoare staying in paris or taking the rail to get to various countries. Our two roommates last night were collegestudents from PA and they had visited 12 countries and 18 cities in 30 days.While Paris is great, i am very excited to leave for spain tomorrow. I cannot wait to experience the Caminoafter months of planning and thinking about it.That is all for now.Au'revoir,Christina
Posted by
Christina in Europe
on June 12, 2004 08:39 AM
June 12, 2004
Je Ne Parle Pas Francais...
And then, there was Paris...Almost immediately after landing at CDG, I aquired the insecure awkward stare of a person totally thrownout of their linguistic comfort zone for the first time. Christina had taught me a few essentials ("I don't speakFrench" "Do you speak English?" and most importantly "I'm sorry!") but they did little to alleviate this weirdnew self-conciousness. I tried to tell myself that it was good for me, and that I sure as hell needed to getover it before leaving for 
Egypt 
in the Fall, but still...ugh.This wasn't my only first impression though. To get to the hotel we had to walk for about 45 minutes. Thepath took us through the winding streets of Northern Paris, overflowing with Cafes,
brasseries
Arab
butcheries
and more. Beautfiul balconies seem to poke lazily out of every building. Throughout the dayyesterday, extreme language-lacking awkwardity and visual extasy competed for control of my brain.Perhaps it was the 12-hour nap, or the late-night converstion with the kids from Philly who had to pound onthe door so we would wake up to let them in to our shared dorm-room, or maybe the free croissants andcoffee at the hostel this morning, but today has been a different story entirely. The extasy and excitementhas cast the discomfort aside in an epic fashion, appropriate for the history and beauty that surrounds us.

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