Subject: Next Trip?
Hi Ziners

Just wondering what you have all planned for your next trip - after all that's half the pleasure isn't it - dreaming about it on the way to work etc?

Here's what Bronwyn and I have been dreaming about...most of it (but by no means all) is walking sections of the Chemin St Jacques (France) and Camino de Santiago (Spain). They are pilgrimage routes as you may know. However like many modern pilgrims we have met there before we're not religous. The best part of these routes in some ways is the enormous and interesting variety of people you meet - all sorts of nationalities and backgounds and and a lot in the 50+ age group. Everyone has their own reason for doing the pilgrimage of course and most are very happy to tell why they are there and the story leading up to it.

Anyway in May we're off for 6 weeks. First a week in Luang Prabang and Vientiane in Laos. Does anyone have any advice or suggestions about Laos?

Next France. At first 2 nights in Lyon where we have a friend. After Lyon a week in a house belonging to an English cousin near Clermont Ferrand. Does anyone know this area and have suggestions for things to do? We'll be staying near a little place called Brousse, about 40 km SE of Clermont Ferrand. We'll have a car although at the current price of petrol we might just sit and look at it most of the time...

After that we start walking, to fill in a section of the Chemin St Jacques we couldn't do last time (2004). That's the Aubrac plateau, between Aumont Aubrac (W of Le Puy en Velay) and Conques (has anyone been to Conques - lovely place - glorious old abbey). That walk will take about 10 days. Then train to St Jean Pied de Port (on the Spanish border near Bayonne) and walk the Camino de Santiago, struggling up across the Pyrenees to Roncesvalles (Spain) and then on to Pamplona, finishing at Burgos. Bronwyn has done the whole walk across Spain before (in 2002) but I haven't done the bit I've just described - last time I started at Burgos and we both finished at Santiago de Compostella.

After Burgos we are going to Bilbao to have a look at the Guggenheim (any comments advice about this Guggenheim?) and then home to Sydney towards the end of June. We're really looking forward to our trip as we both need a break badly. The walking is good mental relaxation, although the night time arrangements, particularly in the Spanish refugios, are sometimes a bit too reminiscent of boarding school and every 3 or 4 nights we cheat on the pilgrimage ideal by staying in a hotel!

Here are a few links to the associations which support the Camino de Santiago in some English speaking countries: is the (British) Confraternity of St James which has a lot of information and sells guide books etc. If you live in UK it's probably worth joining.

Canadians can also find info at If you are in the US try For South Africans there is and for Irish people

What plans do other Ziners have for their next trip? - lots of us would be really interested to know.

Best wishes, Michael in Sydney