The Camino forum was an amazing resource for me when researching the Camino de Santiago. I did the full Camino Frances as well as the Camino del Norte in 2013 with my guitar. In May of 2014, I did 4 days of the Camino de Madrid to Segovia and I’ll be doing the Camino Primitivo route this July.
The other pilgrims I met is my number one on the Camino, all Camino routes. I feel I was blessed. I don’t like crowds, however, I do in general like talking, and listening to other people. I, being an English speaker, was amazed at the number of people that spoke English when it was their second and third language – I felt quite ignorant as the result of this – I can get a coffee in a few languages – but cannot communicate in any bar English.
People who’ve already walked the Camino de Santiago know that there’s one thing that should absolutely not be missed — the Cruz de Ferro. Also known as the Iron Cross, it is set on a gently sloping hill that also happens to be the highest point of the French Way.
The views offered from up top are incredible indeed, and the legends behind it are enough to spark the imagination of any history buff who’s looking for their next adventure. But most of all, the respectful peace of this spot is spiritually uplifting even for the non-religious, and travelers who long to see something unique that reflects much of the Camino spirit should definitely make a stop here.
Love was the last thing I expected to find on the Camino de Santiago. But I did and twelve years later our son is nearly three years old. Therefore I thought this would be a good time for this post.
I set out expecting a journey with few people, and I expected those few to be a bit odd, or older religious types – well it was a pilgrimage, not your usual holiday. Expectations are interesting phenomena, I don’t know about you, but my expectations of future events are usually completely wrong.
Since completing the Camino de Santiago I have read 2 books by individuals who have described their inner and outer experiences, their trials, their triumphs and their fellow pilgrims along the way. Although fairly interesting and at times amusing they write about their unique journey and whilst there are certain shared experiences, they are still their experiences and not mine.
I decided to go ahead and walk the Camino de Santiago for many reasons, not for a particular one. Like in life you do things not for one single reason, all the facts are interconnected, you can’t divide them and put them under the microscope for better understanding. They are all part of one and unique and inexplicable system of energies that we sometimes think we have under control, but in reality, they control us.
I first walked the Camino de Santiago in 2004 on the Camino Frances route. I found it quite difficult back then to find information before I went so I had little idea what lay ahead. In hindsight that was maybe good for me, if I had seen some of the images of where people sleep at night and the stories about sharing I would likely have chosen something else that summer.
I reflected in a previous story, that the Camino is a place where magic happens, something I have not experienced anywhere else, there is strange ‘need’ to return that I cannot explain, a longing for something … the places, the experiences, and the people. You have no doubt read about pilgrims who return again and again, to walk their previous route or other routes on the Camino – why do we return, what is it that we seek?
Unlike many outdoor activities, in most places, you can camp all year round – as long as you have the right winter backpacking gear.
If you don’t want to read all my reviews or if you are just in a hurry, the best cold weather sleeping bag on this list is undoubtedly the Outdoor Vitals Summit Sleeping Bag.
While many enjoy camping in the summer, heading out hiking during the cooler months can be just as rewarding. With winter camping there are fewer bugs; you won’t get overheated while hiking and nothing beats waking up to gorgeous autumn leaves and a warm cup of coffee. If camping in the cold sounds like your thing, don’t head out without the proper gear. Here’s a round-up of the best cold weather sleeping bags on the market to stop you freezing at night.
I have been thinking, dreaming, and planning for this for nearly 20 years. I first read about the pilgrimage to Santiago Compostela in a 14th century biography, The Book of Margery Kempe. Margery, a quirky English mystic, took several pilgrimages over the years, including Rome, and Jerusalem. The medieval and ancient concept of pilgrimage fascinated me.
Blisters are every hiker’s worst nightmare, and not just because they can be very painful. If you roll your ankle or your back gives out, it feels like a proper injury, and you’re more than justified in packing up and going home. Blisters on the other hand always feel like something that you can walk just one more mile with.
The problem with this way of thinking is that all it does is make the issue worse. by never addressing the root causes, and ploughing on regardless. If you want to be able to get the most out of your walking holiday, you’re going to need to give some serious thought to how you plan to protect your feet. A little time and effort now could save you miles of walking in pain. Certainly worth it when you think about it, isn’t it?
When you’re enjoying a great walk in the hills or countryside, it probably feels like nothing can bring down your mood. The sun is shining, your legs are feeling great, and those new hiking boots have certainly cured your blisters. But then you notice a sharp pain in your leg, you look down, and see that you’ve fallen victim to a tick bite. They might seem like tiny innocuous little pests, but they certainly pack a punch. The venom they boast can cause all sorts of nasty complications (including partial paralysis and life-threatening fever), so you need to make sure you know what to do. Take a look at the following wise words and you’ll be well prepared should the worst happen.
One of the most common questions I am asked – is it safe to walk the Camino de Santiago alone? This became a question being asked more again recently when someone went missing on the Camino. However my opinion remains unchanged – yes, it is safe to walk the Camino de Santiago alone. I would think it safer than most local walking routes in most countries; safer than walking home from Dublin or any large city on a Friday or Saturday night.
Have you thought about it?
I know there are many pilgrims or future pilgrims out there that have had this idea.
Is it possible?
Is it easy?
I’ve done it and I want to share my experience with you. All the in’s and out’s. All the up’s and down’s. All the pro’s and con’s. And my strategy to raise money also. I hope this will help those who are thinking about walking the Camino for charity, because I know there are a lot of you out there, and I know that it is worth it.
You have to be fairly motivated to walk the Camino de Santiago from St Jean Pied de Port in France to Santiago de Compostela in North West Spain – as it is 800km. Usually 800km with your rucksack on your back containing everything you need for a month. Sleeping in hostels with strangers, communal showers, and no privacy.
11th August 2017 – The title of this blog post came about as one of us, whom shall remain nameless, wore ill-fitting shorts which became very uncomfortable as the kilometers clocked up. Today the only comfort gained would be from wearing a skirt and going commando. So for any ladies reading this a walking skirt could be a useful addition to your Camino attire. Your dignity will be kept intact while your nether regions can breathe. However, just be careful the skirt is of a decent length, as you don’t want to be arrested for flashing.
If I could for a moment, bring you on a journey to Santa Catalina de Samoza. It is on the French Way of the Camino de Santiago in Northern Spain to the body of St. James. It is Monday, June 16th, 2014. It is hot; while I walk carefully along the dusty trail with tensor bands on my knees and walking sticks in my hands I spy with my little eye a church steeple.
It was where I was heading, as was everyone else on this pilgrimage across northern Spain. Each city was different, Leon is a pleasure, Burgos has a dreadful 9km walk through the industrial part of the city. Pamplona was too early to take much notice of, I was only walking a few days and my legs were sore, my feet had blisters, and my rucksack was far too heavy. Before leaving Pamplona I made sure my backpack was lighter.