I am leaving for the Way of St. James on Monday. So today I went on a 30 km test hike through Brussels on the hiking trail GR 579. If found anything wrong with the equipment, I could make some last minute adjustments. On a side note, the looks of confusion and snickers I received from urban dwellers while trekking with stupid red walking poles and full hiking gear in the middle of the city, made my hike much more entertaining.
After searching for the trail for an hour, and after taking off my gear at a quiet church 5 km down on the supposed trail and after getting shit on by a bird, I decided the hell with the 579 route, I would make my own. I found an Abbey on Google maps and I beelined the 5 km in 40 minutes.
Abbaye rouge du cloitre has a smattering of white washed dormitories and enclaves, surrounded by 2 vast lakes, 4 horses with pen (the kind with furry feet) and two jackasses. Apart from the indistinct calls of small birds and the intermittent splash of geese as they jumped into the lake to avoid the vicisous clutches of yet another small dog, the grounds were quite calm. Its early spring; the ground was a dull green and hadn’t really opened up to the idea of summer yet. The geese didn’t seem to mind as I banged away at my keyboard connected via bluetooth to my IPad; at least not as much as they minded the dogs. (I wrote this post using the Ipad – I scratched the idea of carrying a Macbook with me because it weighed 4.5 pounds and I am only suppose to carry 19 pounds in total on The Way.)
All of the gear was holding up well; nothing was pokey or scratchy. The boots weren’t causing blisters.
The fleece had kept me warm while I was walking and even at breaks I didn’t need to put on another layer. The bag was fantastic, other than the placement of the walking poles, which if I turned my face to the left, would bump my bulbous nose.
I headed the 15 kms back to my house, stopping to take pictures along the way. Around km 25, my left knee began to weaken when I put weight on it the wrong way. I put on the ace knee support and it, well, worked like an ace. All in all, a successful test hike. Even this post didn’t turn out too bad!