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Linda Sep 7th, 1999 06:34 PM

Has anyone walked the Camino de Santiago?
I am planning to walk the Camino de Santiago across northern Spain next year. I plan on a 5-6 week trip. Any information, suggestions or recommendations would be greatly appreciated.

Maira Sep 8th, 1999 05:08 AM

The amount of time you are allocating sounds about right. We picked up the route at Leon and continued driving parallel to it (at some points this is not possible). We saw many pilgrims walking, some alone, some couples, some groups. Some stretches of the way are gruesome; specially the mountain trail (after Ponferrada; very rainy region). The towns along the route are very well preserved and the route is definitely a historical treasure (UNESCO Patrimony to Humanity). Read as much as you can about the towns on the route. There are a number of organizations that will provide you with valuable information and support. Please e-mail me and I will send you websites, names of people that can help you and other info. My best advice is that you prepare yourself physically as well as mentally for the route; it did looked very nice walk most of the time, but some portions were if not tedious, demanding. There are a lot of people that do this route every year, the best months seem to be Sept., Oct., May and June. The most popular is <BR>July. One thing is certain; it'll be an experience you'll probably never forget.

MarkJ Sep 8th, 1999 09:28 AM

I highly recommend you learn as much Spanish as possible. My wife and I were in Santiago in July and had a wonderful time but English is not as widely spoken as it is in other parts of Europe or Spain. So a working knowledge of Spainish will make your stay even more enjoyable. <BR> <BR>We spoke to many Pilgrams and they all said it was a wonderful experience. <BR>MJ

topper Feb 19th, 2002 07:26 AM


wow Feb 19th, 2002 07:51 AM

I had a friend stay with me after walking the camino last summer. She spent about 6 weeks going from near St Jean de Luz I think. She and a friend walked it and the thing I most remember her telling me was about spending lots of time searching for bandaids for their feet. Both of them were in great shape (she is a marathoner) but she said that first her friend's feet were blistered because her boots weren't well broken in and that she was feeling smug and comfy. But then she said in week 3 her feet "exploded" in blisters partly from heat, partly from constant use. She lost a toenail-her skin peeled off, etc. So that's one thing to make sure of-tha your boots are well walked in and you have lots of foot padding.<BR><BR>The other thing that she said was that they got up most days at 4:30 or 5AM to start walking with a miner's cap so that they could see. The route in many places is not well marked so it seems and she said it is kind of like walking across someone's backyard at times. They started early because of the heat and if they didn't start early, all the beds at the refugios would be filled by the time they reached the next stop. <BR><BR>So it was pretty "dog-eat-dog" in terms of getting a spot-otherwise you sleep on the floor. SO I don't know if I would consider it a vacation.........on the other hand she loved it and said it was an experience of a lifetime-even though it is tough and you can be bored a lot of the time.

Maribel Feb 19th, 2002 10:07 AM

Linda,<BR>I've only done a teeny stretch of the 800+ km. Camino, starting at Roncesvalles, Navarra, but I'd like to do more, starting on the "home stretch" from O Cebreiro, Galicia. To receive your official pilgrim's certificate you need only to have walked 100 km., but I'll probably do this the "wimpy" way, with a walking tour, so it won't really count. We've also spoken to many pilgrims along the way during our travels in northern Spain, some who were doing it in about 6 weeks the *real* (authentic & hard) way, and some whom we met walking but staying in comfy if not plush lodgings and eating in fine restaurants along the route. It was particularly moving last summer to attend the pilgrims' noon mass in the Santiago Cathedral when the huge "botafumeiro" was put into flight and to hear read aloud the groups that had arrived that day, their nationalities and points of origen. <BR>Here are a few urls to get you started:<BR><BR><BR><BR><BR><BR><BR><BR><BR><BR>(series of articles-1 Scotsman's personal journey)<BR> <BR><BR>(The American Road to Santiago)<BR><BR><BR>(The Cofraternity of St. James-UK)<BR> <BR>Books: Millan Bravo Lozano’s "A Practical Guide for Pilgrims" <BR>Alison Raju’s<BR>"The Way of St. James: Le Puy to Santiago, A walker’s Guide" <BR>"Off the Road" by Jack Hilt <BR>"The Pilgrimage Guide to Santiago" by Davidson and Gitlitz)<BR><BR>I've also read Shirley Maclaine's rather "out there" sage of her own journey, but I didn't find it very helpful, other than her descriptions of the very basic, rudimentary, quite spartan accomodations at the "albergues".<BR><BR>Hope this helps get you started.<BR>

Maribel Feb 19th, 2002 03:33 PM

Linda,<BR>Forgot to post this url, the personal saga and diary of Charlie, from the UK, in his quest to walk the Camino:<BR><BR><BR><B R>Correction: I meant "refugios", as wow indicated, rather than "albergues"-and they're very, very bare bones and not known for their cleanliness, but it's part of the experience of doing it the authentic way. We met up with a pilgrim traveling alone from Valencia at the Hospederia de Leyre, above the Yesa reservoir in Navarra who decided after one night in a refugio that he would use hotels along the road whenever possible. We took him (by car!) to the nearby refugio in Sanguesa to get his passport stamped, but he spent the night at the Hospederia up at Leyre with us! <BR>

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