Camino, but not really

We were vastly underprepared. But we managed.

Here is what we walked:

A bit under 120 kilometres in a little over 25 hours during 5 days of actual walking.

We walked less than initially planned. Due to an incident on day one and a lack of time (or bad planning?), we had to change the route along the way and skip two stops.

Day One — So much rain

Distance: 14,7 kilometres
Time: 3 hours 10 minutes
Uphill: 180 meters
Downhill: 220 meters

We planned to walk 40 kilometres on the first day, and it was supposed to be the longest route to get from Lieler to Vianden.

My two walking companions arrived early on Monday morning, unable to come a day earlier due to some appointments. But the mood was good, and we were hyped for the walk, a little naive but motivated to do this.

But we didn't get as far as we planned. First, it started pouring so much. If you tell me it was the wettest day, I'd believe you.

Also, after 10 kilometres, one of my friend's shoes broke, the sole detached, and he had to keep walking like this — in the middle of the forest — until we could reach civilization nearly 5 kilometres later.

We called it quits early.

Day Two — New shoes, first pain

Distance: 26,3 kilometres
Time: 5 hours 18 minutes
Uphill: 270 meters
Downhill: 340 meters

We started the day by going shopping. The shoes were unfixable, my friend needed new ones, so we got him some.

Then we walked from Dasbourg to Vianden, my old hometown we were expected to reach the day before.

We started doing the math and realized we had to walk more every day or we wouldn't be able to walk the Camino. So we went further than Vianden, though not by much, and reached Bettel.

We only had one break for lunch and decided we needed more the following days.

Day Three — Always go straight

Distance: 24,5 kilometres
Time: 5 hours 6 minutes
Uphill: 100 meters
Downhill: 150 meters

From Bettel to Echternach, with a little (planned) detour via Germany.

This might have been the most boring day. We just walked in a straight line beside a busy road for most of the path. The course took us to Germany for a kilometre or two, then back to Luxembourg, and this was all the excitement we had that day.

Two breaks this time and a massive amount of blister tape everywhere. I wasn't aware how much my Achilles heels were able to hurt.

Also, we've started running out of time. As my friends had to leave on Sunday, and so far, it looked like we had to walk that day, we started realizing we had to change things around.

Either we go from Grevenmacher to Schengen or straight to Luxembourg-City first, then to Schengen, skipping Dudelange (and walking on Sunday).

Day Four — The hardest one

Distance: 22,6 kilometres
Time: 5 hours 14 minutes
Uphill: 440 meters
Downhill: 460 meters

From Echternach to Grevenmacher, joined by my fiancée.

The hardest day. So much variance in the terrain, and we were just going up and down.

Morale was low as it hit us, we were unable to walk on Sundays, and we were in dire need of a rest day. It started to feel like we failed, as we thought we could not finish the Camino.

At least we had found a cherry tree along the way and had a little snack.

Day Five — A needed rest day

And one day five, we rested. We needed it. We were tired, the previous day completely wrecked us, and we ran out of food (we slept at my place and prepared lunch boxes for our walks, but the fridge was empty).

So instead, we went grocery shopping and decided to skip two stops on the path and go from Grevenmacher straight to Schengen.

After all, our goal was to reach Schengen, not strictly follow the Camino. (Or at least, that's the story we told ourselves, to not despair.)

Day Six — The final day

Distance: 30,4 kilometres
Time: 6 hours 23 minutes
Uphill: 140 meters
Downhill: 140 meters

You'd think the last day would be the hardest one, but morale was so high, and we nearly wholly recovered during the rest day that the final 30ish kilometres were a piece of cake.

We decided not to pack any food, so we had less to carry but instead picked up food along the way and just carried a protein shake and bar. (During the whole week, I ate close to no carbs as per the recommendation of my personal trainer. It's as hard as it sounds!)

The path was great, next to the Mosel —the biggest river in the country — and a shit ton of vineyards. Also, I was surprised to see how many fancy houses are in this area.

We arrived in Schengen an hour earlier than we anticipated, wholly wrecked but happy as fuck. We took our obligatory selfie and got into the car, as my fiancée was waiting for us.

We all slept like babies.

This was hard. I don't think I've ever walked this much in my life in such a short time frame. It was tiring, both mentally and physically.

And yet, I loved it. It is an interesting challenge to see what the body is capable of, despite the pain and the motivation constantly fighting you. Giving up and not going the next day would have been easier.

But you have to persevere, keep walking and walking and walking some more, and continue putting one foot in front of the other, several thousands of times (on the longest day, I walked 44.000 steps) per day.

So would I do it again? Absolutely! But please don't ask me to walk anywhere for the next six months.