Provisions

So I made the decision to walk the Camino Frances in Spain from Leon to Santiago de Compostela.  The hike is approximately 200 miles.  We will walk about 15 miles a day in about 2 weeks time.  We will stay in Albergues (hostels) most of the time and may also stay in hotels on occasion.  We will carry our backpacks with an extra set of clothes, toiletries, and anything we may need for the two weeks we will be traveling on foot.  We have been told we should carry no more than 20 pds including our packs.  It will be a challenge to keep our packs light and take the minimum.  Whenever I pack for a vacation I always take too many clothes and shoes, etc.  It will be interesting to see what I can live without for two weeks.

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I have decided after much research to take a pair of hiking sandals.  I had the opportunity to wear them while hiking in Sedona, AZ.  They seemed to work well for me, no blisters and very comfortable.  I will continue to hike with them before I depart for Spain to make sure they will suit my needs.

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My backpack is about 3.5 pds which leaves me less than 17 pds of items to fill the pack.  I have begun carrying the pack on my hikes to get used to it.  I need to make sure it fits right before I leave.  I am testing all of my gear ahead of time to ensure there are no surprises on the walk.

I still have a few other purchases to make for the trip. I need to find a sleeping bag or bed sheet and hiking poles.  I have gone from a shoe fetish to a hiking supplies fetish.  My new favorite store is REI.  Anything you need for a hiking trip can be found at REI.

I purchased the recommended guide book for the walk.  It has a great deal of information including the alburgues in each town, the mileage from town to town and the recommended route for each day.  Angelica, Mark, Nilda and I have decided we will take each day at a time and go with the flow.  We have been told that the first few days we will be filled with adrenaline and that we should not let that dictate how fast we walk.  We need to take our time the first few days so we don’t over do it.  We don’t want to run out of gas and end up with blisters because we let our excitement get the better of us.

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I previously mentioned that we have to pack light. So one of my first challenges was to take my guide book and cut it in half.  I only need to take the portion of the book from Leon to Santiago.  That was pretty hard as I love books and to tear it in two was difficult.  The book originally weighed 10 oz and now weighs only 4 oz.  I will appreciate that savings in Spain.

BED BUGS

(Information from Annie’s Simple Life Blog)

"Don't let the Bed Bugs Bite"

Today, I found a website about Bed Bugs.  There was a lot of great information.  Nilda’s friend Bobbie walked the “Camino” last year and encountered some Bed Bugs.  She did not realize until after she had been bitten that she was allergic.  She had a few bad days from the reaction.  So I decided I would learn what I could about how to take care of them.

1. LEARN TO SPOT BEDBUG SIGN

The first thing I do when I go into a place is look on the wall above and around the bed. If there are bedbugs, you may see tiny dot dot dots, like someone took a black sharpie pen and made dots on the wall. This is their feces.

You should also pull back the sheet and check the mattress. Often, in the rolled seam, if you pull it back, you’ll see these dots.

If there are holes in the mattress, sometimes the bugs hide in the holes. They’re nocturnal so they hide from the light. Check around holes for sign.

Sometimes you’ll see the bugs themselves, hiding in the mattress seams or in the seams of the bedframe.

Pull the mattress up and check the bed frame. On wooden beds, I look in the little recessed holes where the hardware that holds it all together resides. I check around the bed slats and even around the wheels.

If I see ANY signs like these, I ask if they know they’ve had bedbugs.

If they say, “We sprayed, they’re gone” then I go to Step 2.
If I see NO sign, then I also go to Step 2.

2. SPRAY THE BED. When you get to the Camino, stop at a Farmacia and buy a mosquito repellant spray meant to spray on the skin to repel mosquitos. This is a pump spray and isn’t expensive, maybe 6 or 7 euro. It allows you to spray a fine mist.

Spray about 12 inches above the bed, 4 or 5 pumps, a fine mist. Mist then entire length of the bed. Then step back and watch for about 5 minutes.

If there are bugs, they will run out to escape the spray and you will see them.

If you see them, I would not stay there, period.

If you do not see them, there’s a good chance you won’t get bit.

If you can stand to spray yourself, then do it. I am not able to spray myself without getting sick so I never did use the spray on my skin. I was never bitten.

This worked quite well for me.

Some people on the forum were concerned that the spray would make others sick. I suggest you do this early on in the day. The smell dissipates quite quickly.

In the winter, the bedbugs are not as much of a problem. They die off and are dormant until the heat of Spring, when they begin hatching again. Here are photos of the bugs in different stages of their lives.

IF  YOU DO GET BITTEN
If you DO get bitten you must ASSUME your entire backpack is compromised.
You must follow certain rules to be sure you do not spread these bugs along the Camino
everyplace you stop and sleep.
Method One
1. Take EVERYTHING out of your pack
2. Turn all pockets inside out
3. Lay it all out on the grass or dirt
4. Spray it ALL with insecticide
5. Let the sun bake it a while
6. Wash EVERYTHING (including your backpack) in HOT WATER
7. Dry in a hot dryer
Method Two
1. If it is impossible to wash everything, then you must take everything to a dry cleaners.
2. This includes your backpack!
Method Three
1. If it is summer you can take EVERYTHING out of your pack
2. Turn all pockets inside out.
3. Put everything in a BLACK garbage bag, loosely
4. Tightly close it
5. Leave it in the hot sun for several hours
6. Wash everything in hot water and dry in a dryer if possible.
You will need to examine all the SEAMS of your clothing, including inside pockets.
Examine all the seams of your backpack and of your sleeping bag also.
If you do not do this, not only will you spread bedbugs along the Camino,
you take the chance of carrying them home to YOUR HOUSE !

Did you know that I-5 in California has reports all up and down the I-5 corridor of Bed Bugs in our own hotels.  A quick Google search on Bedbugs along I-5 will give you a list of the California hotels that are housing the little buggers.

Bed Bugs in the seam of the mattress

Bed Bugs in the seam of the mattress

If you would like to read more about Bed Bugs, copy and paste this link on your internet page and read on.

http://caminosantiago2.blogspot.com/2011/06/dont-let-bedbugs-bite.html

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