Sahagun Spain

Sahagun

The Camino Madrid joins the Camino Frances from the south in Sahagun. Today Sahagun is a small dusty market centre on the Meseta, with a …

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Navarrete Spain

Navarrete

Navarrete is a municipality in the Autonomous Community of La Rioja ( Spain ). It lies on the Camino Frances route. Because of the culture …

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Najera Spain

Najera

Najera contains a population of 8,400 in a bustling market town that is increasing in size each year. The name is derived from the Arabic …

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Los Arcos Spain

Los Arcos

Like many small rural towns, the population has nearly halved since 1960; from 2,057 to 1,182 in 2013. However, the town has all the facilities …

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Leon Spain

Leon

Leon’s status as a country town was cemented by the definitive settlement of Legio VII Gemina in the year 74, but it began as a …

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Fromista Spain

Fromista

Fromista, population circa 800, comes at the end of the sixth stage in Picaud’s original pilgrims’s guide. It is believed the town was first inhabited …

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Hontanas Spain

Hontanas

Another small village that owes it continued existence to the Camino Frances, population 68. In 1999, Hontanas was declared an “Asset of Cultural Interest.” Its …

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Villalbilla de Burgos Spain

Burgos

Burgos was founded in 884 by Count Diego Rodriguez Porcelos and now has a population of approx 200,000. The city was the seat of Franco’s …

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Astorga Spain

Astorga

Due to its location, Astorga has been an important crossroad and city since Roman times. It sat at the junction of two main Roman roads, …

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Villafranca del Bierzo Spain

Villafranca del Bierzo

Villafranca, with a population of just over 5,300, has all you expect of a modern town, (website – http://www.villafrancadelbierzo.org). There are many restaurants, cafes, bars, …

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Triacastela Spain

Triacastela

This small town, founded in the 9th century, (about 700 inhabitants), has the slightly grandiose name of the Three Castles – none of which still …

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Saint James the Great the Patron Saint of Spain

St James is the main reason that so many people travel to Santiago de Compostela in Spain each year. His remains are said to have sailed to Santiago in a stone…

Rabanal del Camino Spain

Rabanal del Camino

Rabanal, (pop 60), is a good resting place before making your way over the mountain, Monte Irago, in the morning. When I first passed here …

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O Cebreiro on the Camino

O Cebreiro

O Cebreiro is the first village in Galicia, it has just over 1,200 inhabitants and sits at 1,293 meters (4242 ft). Due to the location, …

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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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Pilgrim Hostels

An albergue is a hostel for pilgrims walking or cycling the Camino de Santiago. The straight translation of albergue is hostel.

Cycling the Camino

Cycling the Camino de Santiago

This is one of the best Camino videos I have seen, although I have not cycled the Camino de Santiago I would love to and as life has become busier it seems like this mode of travel will be used on my next Camino. 

Bikes on the Camino

Cycling the Camino Frances

I first considered walking the Camino, but that was never really an option. I’m physically challenged, there was no way that I was able to hike the Camino with a backpack.

Canon camera

Best Camera for Hiking and the Camino de Santiago?

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.

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.

Camino route

The Days before arriving at Santiago de Compostela

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.

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 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.

Oviedo

Oviedo to Santiago de Compostela on the Camino Primitivo

Yes, our feet still hurt and at the end of the longest day of the whole trip, (41km, a choice so I didn’t have to stay in a dormitory…), I thought I would die. But the next day our bodies were as good as new. I was the fittest I had ever been, no knees problems, bunion issues or back complaints.

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.

Sunset on el Camino

Camino de Santiago Poem

We trained for months to walk the trail
Got all the guide books in the mail
We knew that we would never fail
el Camino de Santiago.

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.

Train station house

First Fears at St Jean Pied de Port

This is the view that most pilgrims first get of St Jean Pied de Port as they get off the train. I remember it quite clearly, I was wondering what was ahead of me. I had not read much about the Camino before heading off there for a month, my flat mate and college friend had been my sole source of information.

St Jacques

The Compostela Trail in Brittany

Brittany formed an important stage on the journey to Compostela for medieval pilgrims travelling from Ireland and southern England or even further afield. The main points of entry were Le Conquet on the Atlantic coast in the west, and on the Channel coast, St-Pol-de-Léon and Locquirec in Finistere, Paimpol in Côtes d’Armor and Mont St-Michel, which is now in Normandy but was once within the Breton boundary before the course of the river Couesnon changed.

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.

Scenery

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.

backpack

Dara Haskins

Dara Haskins was my friend. He died, on the 18th Aug 2005 aged just 30, while I was walking the Camino in 2005. It was due to him that I found out about the Camino. He used to go on about this bloody walk in northern Spain. To me it did not sound like fun, but hell. The idea of walking every day for weeks, no room to myself, sharing in hostels with many others – not a way I thought to spend a precious summer. Eventually he convinced me. I had many misgivings about the whole idea, but I set off to start from St Jean in southern France. My life has changed as the result of this and, I suppose therefore, because of Dara. It does sound strong to say life changing, but for a cynic like me it has been.

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