The following traditional Camino de Santiago guidebooks offer route direction and allow you to reconnect with these historical and spiritual routes. Packed with information, guidebooks …
Camino de Santiago Blog
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.
For most people walking the Camino de Santiago means a month walking across northern Spain covering about 800 km, (500 miles). So it is not surprising that most of us plan on a few rest days along the Camino.
Below are some of the towns and villages that I suggest are good places to stop for a day and be a tourist instead of a pilgrim.
For all those that reside within the twenty-eight countries of the EU taking the E111 card is a must, the card is also known as the European Health Card. The card is issued from your own country of residence and entitles the holder to free emergency treatment. If you are from outside of the EU I strongly suggest you have some travel insurance, often your healthcare provider can provide this at a lower cost than elsewhere.
‘Many people avoid the Meseta, catching the bus from Burgos to Leon’, I heard on my first day on the Camino de Santiago. I was shocked. I thought most people were keen to walk the full route, either in stages or as a single pilgrimage. Whilst setting out to walk and enjoy the whole 800km, the Meseta was the section I was looking forward to with anticipation. I became curious as to what my experience would be.
To be honest, I wanted to get your attention with the title of this blog post. I guess it worked if you are reading this now 🙂
Great. Now that we are here I would like to clear something up which is of high importance to me.
The word “mistake” in the blog title is not really right. I rather try to see things as experiences and experiments instead of mistakes. This gives more space and helps us to go out and try more things because we are not so afraid of failure.
I retired on the 1st of September 2008 and I wanted to celebrate my new life and new freedom. The Camino de Santiago was the challenge and adventure I needed. So in late September, like children going on a school tour, myself and my fellow retiree Pat McEvoy arrived in Dublin Airport with our rucksacks packed. We flew to Biarritz and two hours later were in the beautiful village of St. Jean Pied de Port on the French side of the Pyrenees. Our adventure had begun.
It’s easy to find out how to start off on the trek along the pilgrimage route to Santiago de Compostela in Spain. There are lots of inspiring pictures showing happy pilgrims making those final steps toward the Cathedral’s double stairway at the end of their pilgrimage. What happens between those two milestones? I’d like to tell you how to handle that intermediary period, the days when you are working toward your physical, mental, and spiritual goals.
What’s the most common injury experienced on the Camino de Santiago? Without a doubt, foot blisters!
They take precious time, effort and skill to look after.
They make you walk differently and that can stir up other aches and pains.
They can get infected, and wind you up in the hospital!
Blisters have the potential to spoil your Camino experience!
My typical day on the Camino de Santiago started about 6am. I was a mature student before hiking the on the Camino de Santiago for the first time; at that time I would have been doing well if I was awake before 9am, (I had got into student life and loved it). So six in the morning was initially shocking, however, I easily got used to the early morning.
A quick trip is not something you can expect from Camino de Santiago. With routes going up to several hundred kilometers, a pilgrimage typically lasts 4 to 6 weeks on foot.
If you don’t have the luxury to travel for extended periods, or if you’re unable (or don’t want) to walk long distances, you can still do the Camino.
I think I am a terrible example of getting fit before walking the Camino de Santiago. I walked only once for about 3 hours, with a rucksack, to see how I would be walking before going to Spain. I did have some hill walking experience, though not a lot. I would have walked in the Wicklow hills about twice per month in the two years previous to my first Camino, that was it in total.
With a population of just over 13,000, Sarria can feel very busy and noisy after the last few days in the remote countryside, though minor …
Semana Santa (which translates to Holy Week) is a Spanish festival that takes place in the days immediately preceding Easter. The final day of Semana …
Walking the Camino is without a doubt an extraordinary experience – but what about walking the Camino de Santiago with children?
An escape, an adventure in time where too many things are planned out and controlled. But it’s not always easy to get away, especially if you are taking care of more than yourself. Perhaps you have been dreaming about this.
A pilgrim’s passport is a must on any of the Camino de Santiago routes, (also known as a credential), you must have one to stay in the municipal and parish Albergues, some of the private albergues do not require one.
The passport will have spaces for sellos, (stamps), this proves that you have walked that day and are entitled to stay in an Albergue, (pilgrims only hostels), if there is space, they are valid for walkers and cyclist.
The Camino to Santiago might be a spiritual journey, but it’s not exempt from common earthly troubles like bed bugs. Who would have thought that such little creatures could be such a huge pain in the neck? In the past decade, bed bugs have infested some albergues along the Camino causing trouble not only to pilgrims but also hospitaleros.
Although bed bugs on the Camino de Santiago are inconvenient, the problem is being handled and should not be a reason to give this one-of-a-kind journey. In fact, bed bugs are not exclusive to the Camino or the cheap albergues. You can equally come across them in a five-star hotel. Their widespread reign was not brought about by uncleanliness as much as by the massive increase in international travel.
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.
The first thing that comes to mind when I ask myself what is a pilgrim is Canterbury Tales and Chaucer’s partying crowd, or of Homer in the Odyssey.
I associate the words pilgrim and pilgrimages as belonging to a bygone era.
Going on a pilgrimage in the middle ages was often the only form of travel that was acceptable, therefore, those seeking adventure could legitimately travel across countries.
The pilgrimage to Santiago is an adventure rich in breathtaking views and unforgettable moments. Still, some travellers prefer to completely unplug from the noise of civilization and leave all the tech gadgets behind. Others, like me, can’t resist documenting whenever possible, and because of that finding the best camera is important.
Whether or not you decide to disconnect completely and leave the camera behind is a matter of personal preference. I didn’t find it technology that distracting. In fact, I am glad I captured the special moments. You see, memories tend to fade and the Camino is definitely not short on capture-worthy moments.