Camino de Santiago Blog

gift ideas for Camino de Santiago pilgrims

13 Gifts Ideas for Camino de Santiago Pilgrims

Beautiful and unique gifts for pilgrims-to-be and memorabilia for pilgrims already finished with the Camino.

Buying presents can be hard especially for pilgrims. Many peregrinos while walking realise that they need very little in life. They live off a backpack for several weeks and stick to a routine of the Camino — wake up, eat, walk, sleep.

Thus material things are no longer as important as before.

Camino family

What is a Camino Family?

I reflected in a previous story, that the Camino is a place where the magic happens, something I have not experienced anywhere else, there is a strange ‘need’ to return that I cannot explain, a longing for something…

The Meseta on the Camino de Santiago

Reasons to Walk the Camino de Santiago

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.

bridge puente la reina

Puente la Reina

The main Albergue in Puente la Reina is at the start of the town on the left-hand side, the Camino passes the front door. There …

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Cirauqui Villamajor de Monjardin 26 Fuente de Irache

Transitioning from Camino Life to Real Life

After a couple Camino’s and seeing dozens of pilgrims having a hard time with the Camino Blues, I think it is worth a writing an article about.  I am certainly no professional, but someone who has experienced the transition back to “The Real World” after the Camino twice.

Inspirational Walking Quotes

My 65 Favorite Inspirational Walking & Hiking Quotes

If you lack the inspiration to start walking or hiking, these inspirational hiking and walking quotes will get you from the couch and motivate you to be active.

Portomarin Spain

Portomarin

Portomarin developed along both sides of the River Mino, the town was of strategic importance and always garrisoned first by the Order of Santiago, then …

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Palas de Rei Spain

Palas de Rei

Palas de Rei was referred to as the Royal Palace in the first pilgrims’ guide from the 12th century, however, there is little in the …

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Sunset finesterre

Top Ten Things About Camino de Santiago

There are so many things that are great about the Camino de Santiago makes it difficult to reduce to my list of the top ten things to do and see.

Ponferrada on the Camino

Ponferrada

Ponferrada became a city in 1908 with a population of only 3,000 at that time. Today the population has grown to over 67,000 making it …

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Arzua Spain

Arzua

Arzua is the last large town you will pass through before Santiago, (pop circa 7,000). Historically there is little to see apart from the local …

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Cruz de Ferro 

Cruz de Ferro: A Spiritual Experience

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.

Snow on the Camino

Hiking the Camino de Santiago in Winter & Spring

The “Napoleon Way” from St. Jean was closed due to deep snow accumulation and continued snowing, so initially, we had to take the path that followed along the road all the way to Roncesvalles.

Belorado Spain

Belorado

Belorado with a population of just over 2,000 was a welcome resting place for me in 2004. I only walked 12km this day and rested …

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Camino Frances

Hiking the Camino Frances Again

I first heard about the Camino de Santiago from a friend whom I went on a yearly trek with. We had climbed the peaks Mt. Chirropo in Costa Rica, went to the depths of the earth together to the bottom of the Grand Canyon and hiked the ancient Inca Trail to Machu Picchu.

sunflowers field in spain

A Pilgrims View of Santiago de Compostela

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.

Sunset Muxia

Camino Finisterre Walking Towards the End of the World

Since the Middle Ages, the roads that lead to Santiago de Compostela in Northern Spain have sustained their popularity.

I undertook this journey in July 2015 setting out from St Jean Pied du Port in France. After four weeks, I arrived into Santiago to a glorious fanfare.

Santiago is a city steeped in history and beauty. The buzz here is infectious. Pilgrims are in a high state of elation having completed their Camino. It is easy to lose oneself here for a few days among the meandering old streets, outdoor restaurants and simply soaking in the atmosphere of this beautiful city.

It is easy to lose oneself in Santiago for a few days among the meandering old streets, outdoor restaurants and simply soaking in the atmosphere of this beautiful city.

The Way My Way book

The Way, My Way by Bill Bennett Book Review

I asked for book suggestions a few weeks back on the Camino Facebook page and on the weekly newsletter and The Way, My Way by Bill Bennett was suggested in both, so I bought it and read.

Viana

After the ravine known as “Barranco Mataburros” – the mule killer, you reach the plain where Viana can be seen in front of you. Viana …

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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.

Charlemagne set

The Charlemagne Chess Set

Charlemagne was King of the Franks and the first Holy Roman Emperor. Born in 742 AD, he was a medieval king renowned for his accomplishments and charisma. For forty-seven years, King Charlemagne ruled most of western and central Europe.

Atop Dun Iona Scotland

Making Time for the Camino de Santiago

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.

Pyrenees near St Jean

Walking the Camino Frances in Our Retirement

If you can afford and plan to use hotel accommodation, restaurant meals, and luggage carried then this route report is not for you. In our five Caminos between 2006 and 2015, we stayed in albergues, cooked our own or shared meals and carried our own backpacks. Our last Camino we were 72 and 77 years old and it took us 44 days of walking compared with between 30 and 33 days earlier.

El Burgo Ranero

The earliest references to El Burgo Ranero is from 1126, there are a few interpretations of the town’s name: one is the town of frogs, …

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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.

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.

Aubrac

Le Puy to Saint Jean Pied de Port

This section, on the Le Puy Camino, took us to the wind swept plains of the Aubrac. Cold, I got frostbite on my nose which took weeks to heal but no snow and so we were able to cross through one of the worst marked sections. Thankfully we had a GPS and a thermos.

Le Puy Camino

Le Chemin de St Jacques – Cluny to Le Puy

It seemed we were destined to walk the Camino. Well, in retrospect. I had six months long service leave and we had a house in France. Okay we could have stayed and enjoyed the local food, wine and terroire but from the first time we saw the scallop shell on a lamp post in Tramayes, which our house is on the outskirts of, we were hooked. Enough to do a one day course back home that told us the dos and don’ts of the Camino, to buy some books and watch a video or two.

Tortilla

I Walked the Camino de Santiago as a Vegan and you can too

In May and June, (2012), I walked along with my husband, the Camino de Santiago as a vegan as well as sugar and gluten free. I spent a good amount of time before leaving on the internet looking for information about being vegan on the Camino…but to no avail. So, I decided to keep notes of what I ate during our trip to help others with this challenge. Because I have a minor problem with wheat and other gluten products, I was also very conscious of the details of how I remained this way for 99% of my Camino. I have been a vegan for about 15 years.

Woman walking the Camino

Buen Camino‏ to the Camino Frances

The hotel attendant walked me down a very long, wide, immense stone hallway and showed me to my room. It was just what I needed! A small, cell-like room with a small bed, nightstand with no lamp, simple desk with a simple chair, high ceilings and a huge window on one of the stone walls. The bathroom had an old fashioned toilet with the water tank hanging from the ceiling with a chain to pull for flushing. The door was old and worn and shower curtain was flimsy, but I was grateful to have my own room and I was glad to have a refuge away from the teeming crowds on the streets outside.

Landscape in Spain on Camino

17 Best Camino de Santiago Blogs

There are many hundreds of Camino blogs started every year as pilgrims keep a diary of their planning, travel, and journey. This is the best of all these many blogs.

Santiago Spain

Who was Santiago? Santiago Matamoros

Santiago is the patron saint of Spain and the reason for the pilgrimage routes to Santiago de Compostela.

Castrojeriz in the way of Saint James at Castilla

Inner and Outer Experiences of the Camino de Santiago

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.

Camino stone

Camino de Santiago Frances Last Section – Part 3

This is the third post of three and it cover the last section of the French Way, the first is Walking the Camino Frances, and the second is the middle part of the Camino Frances. These are the last of the email compilations from Douglas and Christine Ball’s journey on the Camino Frances during 2015. The text below cover the last section of about 155 miles.

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