Hooked on the Camino

I wonder if there if something that for many of us we do not get from our daily life.  I have met and talked to many people who have walked the Camino Frances more than once.  Walking the Camino Frances is a fairly big commitment in the way of time and money.

I got thinking on this yesterday while out hill walking in the Wicklow Hills.  I notice a Santiago de Compostela badge attached to one of the walkers back packs.  I asked, as I have a tendency to do.

They were telling me that they had just come back last week from walking the last 112km from Sarria to Santiago – they really enjoyed it and are now planning on the full Camino Frances next year from St Jean.  This is easy to understand, you get a taste of something, you like it and you want the full three course meal.

But the others like me who want to go back time and again…

The last time I walked the Camino people would ask why, why again?  And do you know I had no real answer, I just wanted to.  I am still not sure myself, I just had that yearning inside me to go walking again.

That yearning is once again growing inside of me.  But I now find myself in quite a different position in life.  It has become much harder to take one month off and just disappear, leave the phone and email behind for a whole month – very appealing but somewhat impractical now.

To get over this problem I have started considering cycling the Camino Frances next year – 2010.  From what I have read cycling the Camino is much more solitary experience than walking, less companionship of the same group a you travel along.  I wonder how I would be with this as I really like people and good conversations.

This helps me understand how people end up doing the same things over and over – if you like something why change it?  However earlier this year I decided to change the way I did a lot of things.  A small example:  I would go to the same restaurants all the time and eat the same food over and over – I knew what I liked.  So I stoped doing that and started eating in new places and when I was in the old places I would have something different from the menu – I found lots more that I liked.

Change can be good, sometimes I just get into those habits because I know what I like – but I have only one life and I often think that doing more might be better for me.  This reminds me of a quote I have sitting above my desk

Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did – Mark Twain.

Enough said.

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  1. Fergal Grogan on July 6, 2009 at 11:24 am

    The peace of the road and the people that I met on the Camino again and again. Each trip is subtly different because differnet places become more memorable. The city of Santiago is often an anticlimax as friendships fostered in communal activity; walking, coffee, alcohol and sleep forge such strong bonds. I’m still in contact with people who I made the trip with in ’96. And so I’m gonna do it again in about two weeks. I only have 3 weeks as my sister is getting married in the middle of august but I think starting from burgos is do-able.
    regards F

    • Leslie on July 6, 2009 at 3:55 pm

      Wow, 1996, I expect you will find a great diference between then and now, some good and others… well you’ll see.

      I would agree on reaching Santiago, I found it deflating both times.

      As for getting there from Burgos in three weeks I think you will do fine.

      Buen Camino and all the best.

  2. beth on July 29, 2009 at 12:50 am

    I have never done this route, but am getting very excited. I only have two weeks, would you recommend the beginning, the middle or the end?

    Many thanks,

  3. Fergal Grogan on August 8, 2009 at 3:50 pm

    Hey Just finished yesterday. We did 40km and got to the catherdral at about 5 ish. There where two crazy Austrailians outside in the square drinking Coke and brandy who I met a lot along the way. There are a lot of tourists on the camino for the last 100km or so so it is hard to get a bed after Port marine the Queue to get the compostella today was 300m long so it took a while. I met this old guy and his wife who have walked from Krakow…but it starts getting busy after you climb Oceibrero. Its been a beautiful trip and the people who you meet are awsome. Am pretty fit now but I spotted a kebab house ten minutes ago so …it cant last long

  4. Leslie on August 9, 2009 at 12:03 pm

    Hi Fergal,

    Yeah, my fitness has gone down hill since the last time I walked this route. Enjoy it while you can.

  5. lizzie mcgovern on August 24, 2009 at 11:31 pm

    Does anyone have any current info on the northern coastal route to Santiago.
    – Is it constant going up and down hills with very little amount of flat walking ?
    – Does it actually go along the beaches and coastline or are you led away inland.
    – Is it true that there are fewer Albergue and they cost more.
    – It is not well sign posted and easy to get lost.
    I would greatly appreciate any firsthand information from any one who has walked this route. I am traveling on my own and maybe it is better for me to stick to the french Way ?

  6. Collette on August 25, 2009 at 11:13 pm


    Any one got any suggestions for resaonalbe but nice places to stay in St Jean Pied de Port in early September.

    Thanks a million


  7. Jo of the 'Australian Foursome' on September 7, 2009 at 7:27 am

    We start walking to Santiago from St Jean Pierre du Port on Sunday 4th October.
    If you will be heading off at the same time please let us know.
    Mark, Jo, Liz and Henry

  8. Fergal Grogan on September 20, 2009 at 7:09 pm

    hey guys and girls.
    In answer to those questions posed; There are a lot of small hotels in St.jean pied du porte and I suppose they should haver links to the french tourist board which is somewhere in Dublin ot the Aliance Francais which is on Kildare street, September is at the end of the tourist season so I suspect that you will have no probs in getting a room at a reasonable rate if yo ubook or if you arrive on spec. Alternatively there are private and municipal alberges in the town which are always available.
    the northern route…Ok there are a few variations of this. I think that this website provides maps, but basically there is the Primitaive route that starts from near Ovieda, It is up and down a lot but its good craic. Alberges; There aren’t so many, every 30km or so but its possible to find pensions (small b&b’s), Casa Rural’s or sports halls to stay in most towns and villages

    Good luck on your trip, I wish that I was going again
    Buen camino

  9. Janice on November 23, 2009 at 1:38 am

    I have recently learned of the walking routes and am seeking information. I am a senior in good health. I wonder if there are any organized groups I could join to walk in Europe?

  10. retha on February 7, 2014 at 5:42 am

    I am looking forward to my trip this year. Walked the Spanish Way in 2012 and I am doing the Protuguese Way this year in July. Will do a Camino every year if I can. The peace and solitude that you meet along the way is just so awesome

    • Leslie on February 7, 2014 at 8:27 am

      While sitting here in front of my computer working away, I know where I would rather be. It would be great to walk every year. All the best.

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