FAQs

Countryside Cizur Minor

Planning Rest Days on the Camino de Santiago

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.

sunrise on the camino de santiago

A Typical Day on the Camino

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.

Pilgrims on the Way of St James

How Fit do You have to be to Walk 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.

First aid kit

What About Medical Help & Health Care?

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.

Pilgrims passport

Where Can I Get a Pilgrims Passport?

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.

Camino in winter

What is Best Time to Walk the Camino de Santiago?

This is one of the questions I get asked most frequently, what is the best time of year to walk the Camino de Santiago. Usually, though people are asking about the Camino Frances to Santiago, and for that reason that is the route this post refers to.

Le Puy Camino

Women Walking Alone on the Camino de Santiago

I have written before about walking the Camino de Santiago alone, but I didn’t specifically address the topic of being a woman and walking alone.  This topic has become news after an American woman, Denise Thiem, went missing in April of 2015.  She apparently left Astorga and was never seen again.  There are no actual sightings of her having left Astorga, and I truly hope that she turns up alive and well at some point.

Santiago arrow

Is It Safe Walking the Camino de Santiago Alone?

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.

Camino Albergue

Bed Bugs on the Camino de Santiago

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.

Camino with children

Walking the Camino de Santiago with Children

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.

The Pilgrims

Camino de Santiago Statistics (2004 – 2016)

Every person walking the Caminos has a different story. When walking it is enchanting to listen to the tangled, exciting or boring stories of other people. In fact, there is no usual story.  Equally interesting it is to have a look at the Camino de Santiago statistics.

Who is actually walking the route? Has it changed over the years? Why are people walking?

Statistics used are from the Pilgrim’s Reception Office in Santiago. It doesn’t include people who did not register and people who did not collect the Compostela after arriving in Santiago de Compostela.

Sculpture of Santiago

What is a Pilgrim?

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.

Finisterre

Westward, to the World’s End

We have come to the end of the world, my shadow, my backpack, my blisters and I.

For here at Cape Finisterre, this wind-whipped westernmost spit of Spain, European travellers once came timidly to stand at the end of all known lands and gaze at a horizon that held behind it horrors and mysteries beyond imagining. Here, in the Middle Ages, before the great Discoverers set sail into the unknown, their world ended.

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