Hero in a half-shell

Meet Ding-bat or Ding (as he will be known from now on).  He is my hiking mascot.  According to the tag that he came with his birthday is July 5th, 2 days before mine, his star sign is also Cancer and yes, he is a Bear in a Bat costume.  I’m not sure how a beanie baby bag tag has a birthday and a star sign or why a bear would be dressed up as a bat in the first place but there he is.  Ding will accompany me and protect me on my trip (actually I’m not too sure about the protecting bit but he’s pretty cute so we’ll let him think that) and make sure I don’t get too lonely.  I have a feeling he and I will have some very deep and meaningful conversations on the road.

This morning I tried out my pack.  Or should I say I tried packing my pack, I guess that’s a bit different!  It’s amazing, I managed to fit all of the things I had that are on my packing list and it not only weighs in at 6kg but also has spare room!  Yes that is a little dangerous for a notorious over-packer like myself (extra room means extra things can fit in) but I am managing to remember that I still have a couple more things to find/get from the packing list and I have to add 2kg to the final weight for water.  I know I posted a link to the type of pack I bought a few days ago but let me list a few of its more special features because it is just so totally awesome:

  • It is super-lightweight, yes, it’s so light you don’t even realise it’s there (when it’s empty)
  • It has 2 small zip-up pockets on the waist straps that have already been reserved for my camera, trail mix and blister kit
  • It has 2 smaller pockets on the shoulder straps – I’m thinking one for tissues and one for my iPod
  • It has a stretchy fabric outer pocket for my sandals
  • It has a big top pocket I can reach over my head (for useful and emergency stuff like electrolyte powder, spanish phrase book, travel cutlery and lunch)
  • Possibly the coolest thing my pack has is a special compartment and attachment for a 2-3L camel pack!  Yeah I know, how cool is that!!
  • ANd finally, it has loops and adjustable bungee straps so I can attach the hiking poles when I’m not using them – yes the lovely Cyndi Lawbreaker has encouraged me to embrace my inner dag so the poles are being packed.  From now on ‘daggy’ is the new ‘cool’, and they match my pack AND I could always pretend to be a Ninja Turtle when I get bored (Michelangelo was the orange one, right?), I wonder if they got Ninja Turtles in country Spain in the 80’s-90’s.  Well I guess they will now!

I now also have my rail ticket booked from Paris to Burgos and my plane ticket from Santiago de Compostela back to Paris – I’m getting organised!  I hope my ePassport will work at the airport – the middle bit with the chip in it says not to let it get wet but we got caught in the biggest down-poar of my life in Vanuatu in January and my passport got rather wet and now has that wrinkly wet book look…

On a different note; this afternoon I found out that my welcome home present will be another lot of surgery for endometriosis.  Ah well, I knew it would happen sooner or later and apparently it has been 6 years since the last lot so I suppose you could say it was due.  At least it’s a relatively simple keyhole procedure and the anaesthetist mainly does lists with cardiac issues so my low BP problems and subsequent medications will be well cared for.

Dilemma of the day – Silk sleeping bag liner and separate pillowcase or the standard YHA issue cotton sleeping bag liner (from the 70’s I think but hardly used) with built-in pillow cover?  Tough one!


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