For our challenge, we had planned to take part in a 118km hike in Spain using the path set out for the Camino de Santiago. This hike would span over 5 days, starting in Sarría and ending in Santiago de Compostela. This meant that each day would consist of a hike of around 20-25km. We had heard that this path was challenging for beginners like us which was one of the main reasons we had chosen this path. Another reason was that the accommodation would be extremely cheap in comparison to other places as special hostels were available for people who were taking part in the Camino de Santiago.
Did it go to plan?
To start our challenge in Sarría, we had to take a flight to Madrid followed by a local train to the main train station in Madrid and then finally taking a 6 hour train to Sarría, all of which was booked in advance by us. We made this journey on the 22nd of August, arriving at our destination late in the evening. We spent the night in Sarría and started our journey in the following morning. The next day we hiked for approximately 20km to a place called Portomarín. The hike consisted of different terrains and relentless inclines. The next day’s hike headed towards Palas de Rei – around 25km away and full of challenging trails. The day after, we went to Arzúa which had the longest hike – almost 30km long. Fortunately, the next 2 days consisted of around 20km hikes where we first went to O Pedrouzo and then finally to Santiago. We had given ourselves one extra day just in case we had any injuries and needed to rest for one of the days but fortunately we didn’t need it so we spent the last day in Santiago before taking a train to Madrid and the Flying back to England.
Now that we’ve had some time to reflect back at this challenge, we can see that we’ve learnt some valuable skills, even before we left for our journey. We booked the flights and train tickets together without the assistance of anyone else which neither of us had done before and now we are confident in doing such things as well as knowing how to manage our time and making a daily itinerary. The language barrier in Spain was an obstacle we had never encountered before so we left Spain with some experience with it which will be useful in the future whenever we travel abroad. The hike itself was a physical challenge which we overcame, despite having no prior experience. We are more confident now and feel as though we can do more in life than we previously thought, which we are very appreciative of. Overall, this was an amazing and greatly beneficial opportunity for us which we are thankful to the Mark Evison Foundation for.