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Walking the Camino de Santiago

Old Jun 22nd, 2003, 07:11 AM
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Walking the Camino de Santiago

I am planning to walk the camino de Santiago during September. I usually no not participate in organized tours but I am not looking forward to carrying all of my travel stuff on a backpack for 100km! Has anyone done this trip with a tour? Is it better to do the "hiking highligths" from Roncesvalles to Santiago or just start at a third of the way in Leon? Is September better than May?
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Old Jun 22nd, 2003, 10:35 AM
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Marigross,
I haven't walked the Camino but I do know someone who has done it many times. I'm an anthropologist and when working on my PhD there was another student (Nancy Frey) who was completing her study of the Camino which was later published by UC Press, "Pilgrim Stories. On and Off the Road to Santiago. Modern Journeys Along an Ancient Way in Spain", she also went on to co-write the Lonely Planet guide Walking in Spain. Nancy is very personable, passionate about the Camino and now runs walking tours. She and her partner have a helpful website listing resources like reading list and details on their trips. The website is
www.onfootinspain.com
Hope this helps!
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Old Jun 22nd, 2003, 11:57 AM
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Marigross, back in May 1999 we picked and followed the Way of St. James in Leon by car (we were challenged by time; I have not given up the idea of walking The Way someday). Often times the road was the same as the walking pilgrims and often times was paralell. We saw many, many pilgrims even in May (the height of the pilgrimage is June-July). Sincerely, the route between Leon and Santiago was gruesome; mountains, rainy, cold at night, but since the Route is designated as a UNESCO Patrimony to Humanity the towns, churches, shelters and markers along the route are very well preserved and are a quite the experience on its own. I would recommend that you think very carefully if this the kind of undertaking you might want to do a check first (hence, take the organized tour), versus walk the third of the way. Either way, you will have an amazing experience. So glad to see travelers undertaking this type of travel. Best wishes! Suerte!
 
Old Jun 24th, 2003, 04:52 PM
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Thanks for the advice! I had already found the website Welltravelledbrit suggested and indeed it was very helpfull. I am still tempted to go on my own but the baggage issue still bothers me! I usually try to take three weeks vacation so, if I walk for fourteen days I still have another week to leisurely enjoy beautiful Spain in a more relaxing way (therefore some luggage is needed). Does anybody know if I can stash away luggage in Madrid or Barcelona for two-weeks?
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Old Jun 24th, 2003, 07:18 PM
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Is this the same walk that Shirley McClaine did several years ago?
 
Old Jun 24th, 2003, 09:56 PM
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You may want to contact Sara or Jan at Saranjan Tours, (http://saranjan.com/). They should be able to answer all of your questions regarding Camino de Santiago tours.

You'll find that the weather during the spring and early fall to be a lot more confortable than during the middle of the summer.
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Old Jun 25th, 2003, 03:40 AM
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Yes, this is the path that S. Mc. followed. There are many many authors that have written about this pilgrimage, some from a spiritual standpoint and others from just the travel/challenge perspective.
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Old Jun 25th, 2003, 03:51 AM
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My cousin did this last year. She went alone and found people to walk with the entire trek. Also, there are inns and B&Bs that cater specifically to the walkers. Of course, as with any solo journey, you have to listen to your instinct and not put yourself in uncomfortable situations.
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Old Jun 28th, 2003, 07:14 AM
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Maira: 1999 was a Jubilee year for Santiago (Anho Jubilar Xacobeo). That year I visited Santiago first in February and again for the Apostle's Feast Day in July. You can see some of my photos at http://groups.msn.com/gettoknowalittlefromspain
You'll see that the king and Queen were there to celebrate that fest.

In February I coincided with a group of Bavarian Tour Guides: Big, strong people - both the men and the women. They are based in Pamplona and they wscort walking tours from there. Sorry, I don't know the name of the Company.

Curiously, on my return visit in July I encountered and exchanged greetings with one of the same people buying film at a shop just off the Plaza de Platerias.
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Old Jun 28th, 2003, 08:15 AM
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Check tomorrows NYX travel section.it is available online now..for an article on this subject
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Old Jun 28th, 2003, 11:16 AM
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NEDSIRELAND---YES, you are right about the 1999 Jubilee Year! I even recalled how difficult it was to find accomodations in May. Great memories, though. santiago is a fascinating place, with even more captivating history.
 
Old Jun 29th, 2003, 08:28 AM
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Jody-Thanks for the tip, the article was great!

I think I will need at least three weeks to tackle this trip and I don't have enough vacation to go this year...On top of that I might need some foot surgery before going on extended hiking so I will have to postpone the trip untitl next year. 2004 will be another Jubilee year for Santiago and I guess that it will be high season througout the year...we'll see how it goes.

Feedback on whether I should do the "highlights" tour or fully walk a portion of the camino, is most welcome!
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Old Jun 29th, 2003, 04:53 PM
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I was curious about this subject also and picked up at the used bookstore "The Pilgrimage Road to Santiago - The Complete Cultural Handbook" by David Gitlitz & Linda Davidson. It's not a routebook (no hotel & restaurant reviews) but a guide to all the sights and monuments on the way along with a complete history of them and the pilgrimage itself. It's been going on since the 8th century or so but kind of died out after the 1500's; however, there has been a big increase in interest from the late 1970's on. Very interesting even if you are not Catholic but just interested in Spanish culture & history.
Good luck no matter which way you go!
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Old Jun 30th, 2003, 10:35 AM
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For anyone else interested in "The Pilgrimage Road to Santiago - The Complete Cultural Handbook" by David Gitlitz & Linda Davidson, it is available for $6.99 at www.BookCloseOuts.com.
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Old Aug 9th, 2003, 04:19 PM
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You may want to look into Walks Worldwide a UK company that does guided and self guided tours of Camino de Santiago from Leon to Santiago. Their tours include meals and lodging and since they transport your luggage ahead to each inn you'll be staying at all you need is a day pack.

The website is: walksworldwide.com

Happy Trails!
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Old Aug 9th, 2003, 06:34 PM
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Found this website - has a great map
http://www.humnet.ucla.edu/santiago/iagohome.html

Jody mentioned it already - but go to nytimes.com/trave/europe/spain there is an article entitled "A Pilgrim, but a Tourist, Too"
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Old Mar 24th, 2004, 01:18 AM
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Hi marigross, are you still planing to do this walk. I have just startet to collect the info and planing to do this in fall. would yuo please mail me in usefull info that you have. I am not sure to do it with a toure or just by myself but I know that I will walk this road this fall!

nadre
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Old Mar 29th, 2004, 02:30 PM
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I have walked the Camino twice from Roncesvalles to Santiago. I would be happy to answer questions and give opinions to those who are planning a trip. It's a wonderful experience. A few bits of practical advice -- first, there are two listservs, one is a yahoo group, santiagobis, the other is run out of the University of Rhode Island and is called "gocamino". Both have many members happy to share tips. There are also several routes in France of about the same length that connect with the Spanish Camino, the GR 65 from Le Puy to Roncesvalles is the one I've walked. In France, there is a company, www.transbagages.com that will transport your bags for you every day. In Spain, I am only familiar with a similar service for one segment that has a steep ascent, up to O'Cebreiro. Otherwise, you're on your own.
For English speakers, the Confraternity of St. James (www.csj.org.uk) sells several invaluable little books -- updated every year, the guide lists all the facilities on the Camino, distances, a few recommendations on things to see, etc. When I last walked, I sent a package ahead to the hotel in Santiago and asked them to hold it for my arrival (you can also use General Delivery at the post office). I carried about 13 pounds on my back, just a change of clothes really with foot care products (for the inevitable foot problems) and rain gear. Be ruthless with your packing -- get a small pack (mountainsmith ghost is what I used), consider hiking poles (great for the knees) and practice doing long walks of 20 miles or more. To complete the Camino in a month will require about 15 miles a day, which will also include a rest day or two. This year is a holy year and the crowds will be enormous. I've seen figures just for the first few months of this year, and they are three and four times the numbers of previous years. Getting places to stay will definitely be a problem all year, and impossible in July and August. And one last thing -- two very helpful websites, in Spanish are http://caminodesantiago.consumer.es/ and http://www.mundicamino.com/. Sorry, I know this message is long, rambling, and disjointed, but I'd be happy to respond to specific questions and I promise it'll be in a more organized fashion!
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Old Apr 27th, 2004, 08:50 PM
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Ireynold1
I will be leaving to Spain to walkk Camino de Santiago in 10 days. please contact me at [email protected] I would like to ask some questions

nadre
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Old Jun 3rd, 2004, 03:49 AM
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Nadre, I had lost sight of this post, so I missed your request! I am absolutely jealous!!! I have delayed my trip until May 05 because of the Año Santo and the crowds. I saw yesterday in the newspaper that Jenna Bush is doing it...just think about the poor Secret Service guys trailing along! Please post when you come back.

I have mostly given up on doing the entire Camino; due to lack of vacation days not of enthusiasm, of course. So I'm currently planning to do the last 100+km independently but with bagagge transfers.

Please post a trip report when you came back. Buen Camino. Ultreia

Maristella
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