How to Prepare

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Domestic Airfare is Your Responsibility

Please do not neglect to make your own domestic travel arrangements from your home city to JFK International Airport, where you will be connecting with our charter flight to Paris on June 5, 2019. (VERY IMPORTANT: Please arrange domestic airfare with a time buffer of at least 3 hours’ layover, both before and after the charter flights arranged by Remnant Tours.)

Shoes and Getting Ready

We highly recommend that pilgrims purchase either a pair of good walking shoes or quality hiking boots very soon. It is essential that, whichever you choose—walkers or hikers— they be well broken in by the time of the Pilgrimage.  Some people prefer walking shoes because they are light and keep the feet cooler during this difficult walk. Others prefer hiking boots, which are water resistant, have better ankle and knee support, and are much better in mud.  I have tried both and have concluded that the hiking boots are vastly superior since they help prevent total body fatigue. Either way, footwear should be purchased soon. Hint—veteran pilgrims are already walking each day.  Don’t be discouraged!  The Pilgrimage van service is available in the afternoons on the three days of the Pilgrimage. So, if you can walk all morning (with two 5-minute breaks) you should be fine.

 

Spending Money, Credit Cards and a Money Belt

 How much money should you bring?  You will need adequate funds for the one meal per day which is not included in our package.  Breakfast and evening meals are included. Some money for the metro and incidentals will be needed, as well as a bit for packable food for the Pilgrimage walk itself. We recommend that all purchases in Europe be made with a credit card as this ensures the best rate of exchange. But for metro tickets and sidewalk cafes you’ll want cash. Do not forget to take along a reliable money belt so that you can hide the majority of your money, an extra credit card, passport and return air ticket.  In addition, you’ll need a color photocopy of your passport in the event that your actual passport should be stolen or lost. This copy should be stored in a separate location on your person or in your luggage. 

What Does the Tour Package Include?

 The Remnant Tours package includes airfare to and from Europe, all meals on the Pilgrimage itself (the Pilgrimage organization—Notre Dame de Chrétienté—provides bread, water, apples, hot soup and hot chocolate, but we strongly encourage pilgrims to bring along a few snacks, candy bars, canned meat and a water bottle—all of which can be purchased in Paris), two meals per day on the entire tour, all hotel accommodations,  travel expenses (except domestic airfare and whatever metro tickets are needed for personal use), and personal luggage transportation.  And daily Tridentine Masses, of course.

 

The Essentials

  1. Sleeping Bag. It’s a must, but it will be transported by truck to the overnight camps, so you will not have to carry it on the walk.  Also, bring along a plastic ground liner for underneath your sleeping bag.  6X10 blue tarps work great.
  2. Passport
  3. Rain Coat or Poncho
  4. Airfare Arrangements from your city to New Jersey. 

 

Pilgrim’s Checklist

  • Passport:  Pilgrims must have a current valid passport in order to come on this tour. The parents of minors traveling alone will also need to supply a notarized permission slip authorizing minors to travel with “Michael J. Matt/The Remnant Tours”.
  • Walking Shoes and Foot Care: Start breaking in your new shoes.  Many pilgrims also bring along walking socks (Smart Wool are the best) and medicated foot powders such as Gold Bond Medicated Powder.  Another good product to bring along for chaffing is Desitin ointment (it’s a MUST for men and is located in baby diaper sections). Take along a bottle of Aspirin just in case.
  • Sleeping Bag:  Pilgrims must bring along their own sleeping bags.  You may check it on the airplane if you like.  It may be placed in a small box or a plastic bag, and you may wish to use a strap or cloth handle to facilitate carrying it through the airports. Some people also use a sleeping bag compressor (available at REI or similar outdoor outfitters) and then pack the bag in their luggage.
  • Luggage Limit:  Pilgrims must not pack more pieces of luggage than they personally can carry at one time.  Although there are busses and trucks to carry luggage over all long distances, you will have to transport it short distances to the trucks. Too much luggage is a nightmare! Many pilgrims carry a small backpack on the Pilgrimage itself – this is highly recommended.  We will be sending the new TSA luggage restrictions in a subsequent letter, but please be aware that the airlines are now charging additional fees for luggage. It’s absolutely essential to pack very light.
  • Small Bowl, Personal Water Bottle, Spoon, and Small Flashlight – a must!
  • Head Covering:  Hats must offer adequate protection from sun and rain.
  • Raincoat and Clothing:  We recommend that pilgrims bring along a light poncho or raincoat.  Generally, the weather in France at that time of year is pleasant (not hot).  High temperatures range from 55 degrees to 75 degrees during the day and from 40 to 60 degrees at night.  (Hint: The walking maintains body heat, so don’t dress too warmly. However, the early mornings before the walk begins can be quite chilly and you will definitely want a light jacket or heavy wool—NOT cotton—sweater.  We do not recommend wearing jeans.  Jeans don’t dry quickly, causing terrible chaffing and fatigue during the walk if it should rain.  Light, minimal-cotton pants are best.  They dry fast, are warm in the mornings, and protect the legs from underbrush. 
  • A Rosary:  Since the Pilgrimage is dedicated to Our Lady, pilgrims will be lost without their rosaries.
  • Modesty:  During the tour itself jackets and ties are not required for men nor are formal dresses for women, but we do ask that appropriate clothing be worn so as to offer proper respect for the daily Masses on our tour.  While we don’t wish to offend women who do not wear pants on principle we believe it’s only fair to point out that the Pilgrimage to Chartres is exceedingly difficult and that there are no chairs to sit on; exhaustion sometimes causes pilgrims to lie down in ditches and embankments during the breaks.  On the other hand, many ladies do wear skirts throughout the Pilgrimage and have no trouble, while at the same time preserving a distinctly Catholic image for the American chapter. I’m sure there’s room for debate on this but we do wish to provide all the information that ladies will need in order to make up their own minds. 
  • Call The Remnant Tours.  If you have any questions, do not hesitate to call us any time during the week, at (651) 433-3228 or email us at Editor@RemnantNewspaper.com

  

An Old (But Useful) Email from a Veteran Female Pilgrim to a Rookie Female Pilgrim

Hi, …….

It's nice to meet you!  Having gone on the pilgrimage several times, I promise you, it will be a wonderful experience for you!   But to make the best of it, it's important to be prepared not only physically but mentally.  It's no easy thing to walk for 3 days in all types of weather and terrain so you won't want to be taken off guard. 

As far as physical preparation, I've never done anything to prepare, because I'm just lucky that way.  I'm a sedentary person but for some reason I did ok (until last year when I pulled a muscle in my ankle on the 2nd day and had a very rough time!)  Many people though do prepare a lot by walking a number of miles a day for a month or so prior to the pilgrimage.   I would recommend getting into some sort of walking routine in the weeks before if you can and do it while wearing whatever footwear you intend to wear on the trip.  If they are new, you want to be sure they are "broken in" properly.  

You'll do fine!   If you haven't already received a packet in the mail, you  will in the next few weeks or so.  Check with Mr. Matt on when the mailing is set to go out.  In that package is a list of what to take on the 3-day walk.   It's a complete list, but I will try in the following to lay out some tips on how to pack, so that you can get a head start on preparing.  

TIPS FOR 3 DAY WALK (DAYTIME)

- Pack light - only what's necessary.

- Think in terms of LAYERING your clothes.  It will be early in May, the weather can be quite warm in the daytime, but it's an unpredictable time of year, so be prepared for anything.   I suggest 2 t-short sleeved t-shirts which you can alternate during the 3 day period.  If it's warm, they will do fine worn alone.  For myself, I always wear a t-shirt with a Spring jacket.   In the mornings it can be very chilly when you set out, so I almost always wear the jacket and by noon it warms up and I then tie the jacket around my waist.  That works great!   If you want you can wear a light weight sweater over the t-shirt instead of a jacket, but I find the jacket more practical. 

- Some gals wear skirts on the pilgrimage.   I don't since I happen to believe that there's a time and a place for pants, this is one of those times.   You may feel differently, but if you wear a skirt, it can be difficult dealing with mud and rocky hills, etc.  You tend to slip and lose your footing a lot, esp if it's wet and muddy!   I wear nylon, water resistant running type pants - go to REI store or someplace like that.  They may be expensive, but the material is great if you sweat a lot or if it's rainy, as it dries rapidly and you'll be a lot less uncomfortable.  Regular, minimal-cotton pants could be ok too if you don't want to go the more expensive route.

- Get GOOD walking boots, or running shoes.  You will have to decide what's best by trying high quality footwear at REI.   I myself need ankle support more than anything, so I have ankle length hiking boots and they've done pretty well for me.   Again, you need to look into this as everyone has different needs.  Talk to a good salesperson and explain what you're going to be doing and ask for a recommendation.   Also, get good sports socks (2 pair should be fine - again, alternate them throughout the 3 days).   "Smartwool" is a good brand.   Get sock liners too if you think your feet will sweat.   Blisters can be a terrible problem - so make sure you invest in good boots/shoes, socks and liners to prevent blistering.   Also, buy a tube of Desatin - if you rub it all over your feet it also helps A LOT with blister prevention.

- Pack a rain slicker that can be folded up small and tucked into your backpack.  If it rains, you will be miserable if you don't have a slicker to throw on!  It's VERY important!   You can get cheap ones at Kmart !  Get a long one!

- If you're prone to sun sickness, pack a brimmed hat of some kind.  Also nice if it rains.

- Bring a medium, light weight back pack.  This is where you will keep your slicker, food snacks, (protein bars, candy bars, nuts, beef jerky are all good) water bottle, and any other small items you want to have on your person as you walk. 

- Sunscreen is a must if you burn easily.   The walk is often routed through wide-open shadeless fields - if it's hot - you need to take precautions!

NIGHTIME on the WALK

- It gets VERY COLD at night in the tents.  I would bring warm sweats to sleep in.  Or sleep in your daytime clothes, jacket and all.  I sometimes am too tired to change into sleepwear at night, so I wear what I wore that day to bed!   Trust me, you're so grubby and tired - you don't much care about anything at that point!  

- You'll need a WARM sleeping bag.  Don't go too cheap on quality - you need to be warm if you're going to sleep at all, and you need sleep if you’re going to make the next day’s walk.  

- Small flashlight for trips to the “outhouse”.

- Whatever few toiletries you may need - toothbrush, paste, face cleansing wipes (Oil of Olay wipes are handy!!), some feminine products (This is important, as often I have gotten my period totally off schedule because your system gets very mixed up due to exhaustion and whatever else.  This has happened to a lot of other girls as well.  And you don't want to be unprepared for that!).

- Bring a soup bowl and spoon for dinner at the camp.

- Advil is a must also in case you get achy and sore, which most of us do!   Most people go through the Advil like crazy. 

- A pair of flip-flops or comfy shoes is nice, but not a must.   After a long day of walking it's nice to walk around camp in something comfortable.  Again, it's not essential. 

I think that's about it for the walk itself!   Refer to the packet of info when you get it, to ensure I haven't forgotten anything.  

For the tour part of the trip, that's easy!   Just bring shoes that don't bug you when walking a lot.   I don't recommend heels.  Just nice shoes for tooling around the sites.   I usually bring 3-4 outfits that can be interchanged, etc.  Again, there's no way of telling what the weather will be like - probably fairly warm, but think about layering for this part of the trip too, in case it's chilly at night or whatever.   I usually wear pretty light-weight clothes and then a jacket that can be thrown on if you need it.   Mass is offered daily and you'll also be seeing the inside of a lot of churches and holy places, so skirts are a good idea for the most part.   Any type of skirt is fine - as long as it's modest (to the knee or below) and pretty!!

Sometimes it's fun to dress up a little more for dinners at the hotel.   Most people don't, but sometimes I like to!   It's up to you!  

I hope this helps!  It's a lot to think about but you have plenty of time to pull together what you'll need.  Have a great time and let me know if you have any more questions.   I'm happy to help. 

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