July 17, 2008

Appendix 2: odds and ends

Socks: No question in my mind - wear two pairs- a thin synthetic liner underneath and a light woollen sock on top. I only got blisters once, when my feet were saturated after three days of constant rain. No blisters the rest of the journey. I spent money on Bridgedales, and was very pleased with them. They were very comfortable, and lasted the distance. (Some others had 'thousand mile socks': they don't last 1000 miles, and they needed to replace them en route...)

Walking poles:
Controversial topic this ;-) I took one. Some swear by two (especially those who have knee problems), and some think you don't need them. I am glad I took one, especially for the first fortnight out from Le Puy when it was so wet, and the altitude was so variable. It was a lightweight women's one, with a spring in the end. I didn't use it much, but when I did, I really really needed it. I used it when the terrain was especially muddy or slippery, and it helped me to have a third point of balance. I also used it when the ascent or descent was tricky, where I found it relieved pressure on my knees or legs, and made the going a lot easier.

Mobile phone: I am not 'big' on mobiles at any time, but it would have made life easier from Le Puy to SJPP if I had got one with a French SIM card. It really is better to reserve gites in France, and I was reliant on phone cabins. Sometimes these didn't exist in the towns/villages I stayed in. And sometimes, especially in rural areas, there might be a gite a little way off the GR, with a phone number given that I couldn't ring, where they offered to pick you up and take you back to the GR the next morning. And often you reached an answerphone, but I was never able to leave a message to be rung back....


  1. Hi Kiwi

    I used an ipod touch in combination with a "dumb phone" It's ideal because the dumb phone's batteries will last for at least 8 days, so you don't have to worry about being without power. A french sim card is a must, preferably of a well known brand such as orange, because the lesser well known brand have no coverage in rural areas. The ipod touch is ideal, because is a very light weight camera, has no internet options, so does not generate cost like an iphone. great for jotting down notes, during the trip which you can upload when there is wi fi. And most of all:music, to keep you going during times when you run out of courage.

    Thanks for a helpful and informative blog..

  2. Gert, I walked again in 2012, and haven't updated here, but strangely enough what you suggest is exactly what I did- though my iPod Touch did have wifi capability (but not 3G.) I agree with you about the 'dumb' phone- batteries do go on forever! I think that next time, whenever that might be(!) I will take an iPad Mini- as the screen on the iPod Touch was a bit small for my older eyes. On my dumb phone I also used Orange. It was expensive for pre-pay- and the amount expired far too quickly- but I had excellent reception even on the more remote parts of the Cluny route. And it gave me great pleasure to ring someone up from the sunshine this time on the Aubrac Plateau.
    I love your comment about the music for the times when you run out of courage- yes, it was very comforting at times, especially on the Cluny route where I was mostly the only person sleeping in a gite.