Written by 4:52 pm Our adventures

Walking the Camino – Takes courage – Bon Camino

After a number of postponements, courtesy of the COVID lockdowns, we finally were able to perform our first pilgrimage. 

The Camino de Santiago or the Way of St. James is famous the world over, this sacred Pilgrimage walk has been undertaken by millions of people, over 1000s of years. A journey that would take them to the final resting place of St. James the apostle.

Our Camino

We did way too much research, spent too many hours watching YouTube contradictory opinions, and wasted money on must have purchases recommended by “experts”.  Yeah, and we trained a bit.

We did it on our own without guide, group, or companions.  Our plan included taking the road less traveled, opting for the least traveled route along the coast.  It is also one of the easiest.  Ha!  This is a tough undertaking, mind, body, and soul.  We witnessed people along the way who just weren’t up for the challenge and others who demonstrated extreme will and determination like we’ve never seen before.

Example.  One woman in her twenties gave up and turned back before her third day because she was hurting and tired.  Conversely we were passed on the toughest climb by a one legged man carrying his bicycle!

It was difficult, some days were grueling, and there were lessons learned along the way.  It wasn’t fashionable, it didn’t smell nice, and there wasn’t time for tourist excursions.  It was simply you – walking.  Up before daybreak, pack on your back, you alone.  You with your thoughts, your feet on the trail, and the miles to go before you rest.  It was dirty, hot, and tested you in ways other people who haven’t committed to a pilgrimage cannot understand.  It was a walk of passion.  We survived to tell about it.  And yes, we will do it again!

Our FindPenguins book includes our musing as we made our walk from Porto, Portugal, to Santiago, Spain, and the transatlantic cruise home covering a taste of five countries and 120 pictures.

Camino general information including what we would do differently next time.

General information & Reference
Should you use a Tour agency? If yes, must consider how you feel about: Level of service (guided or on
your own?), support (luggage transfer? Unforeseen circumstances?), and comfort (accommodations,
private bathroom?).
Botafumeiro. A must do/see. Botafumeiro is the Galician “censer”. Most tour companies do NOT offer or
guarantee that it will fly.

Web pages:

Caminodesantiago.me
This message board is fantastic and has all the answers to all questions regarding all topics in real time.
Pilgrims share, and future pilgrims learn. Suggest you subscribe to weekly updates; useful tips about packing,
transportation, hotels, etc.

FindPenguins.com
Travel/Tracker Journal app. Free. Once turned on, it will automatically follow your itinerary. Keeps
information including, number of days in travel, number of countries, elevation, temperature, date. Captures
your text and any comments made on your page(s). At the conclusion on your travel, it will allow you to
download your trip in a .pdf file without charge. Or, they will assemble in a book and ship to you for a Fee.

Luggage/bag transport

caminobound.com/camino-bag-transport/
caminoways.com/camino-luggage-transfers

Training Plan for the Camino de Santiago

caminoadventures.com/blog/getting-walking-fit-camino/

Biclas & Triclas – Porto rent a bike and tours

Bike to Santiago
https://www.tricla.pt/en/travel-bikes

What we would do differently?
1. We would walk a different route. Frances has the well-established infrastructure providing the
Pilgrim experience that is best known from message boards, YouTube, etc. That said, I would
recommend the Coastal Portuguese to someone who had already experienced the Camino. It was
beautiful. Not the optimum choice for a first, possibly only, Camino.
2. We wouldn’t carry the standard pack or equipment. No need to carry baggage extraneous stuff.
As I hobbled into Santiago I understood that the walking ITSELF was a challenge for my body.
Could have easily sent much of what I carried with a transfer service. Additionally, we could have
taken something very light and small and shared the burden of the carry.
3. We would have used a transfer service and shipped a bag of tourist/regular clothes to Santiago for use after our walk was completed.
What we did correctly.
We added extra days before and after our actual walk
We selected private rooms with private bathing
We purchased foot repair items
We purchased Expensive Quality socks! Highly recommend Injinji. Yes, they are strange but so wonderful.
We purchased Expensive Quality Merino Wool Long Sleeve Shirts. Worth every $$ penny!

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