25 things you should do to be a total pilgrim on the French Camino de Santiago
The Camino de Santiago is a place to meet yourself and get lost. It is a space to arrive alone and end up surrounded by friends for a lifetime. It is ideal to enjoy the landscapes, enjoy gastronomy and meet people from all over. Never a routine repeated every stage on the Camino de Santiago was so different every new day. Here we write down for you part of that blessed routine and you should tell us how many of these points you have completed or how many times you must return to the Camino to become a global pilgrim of the French Way:
1.- Get on the Artieda (bus) until Roncesvalles and share a taxi to SJPP.
2.- Cross the Pyrenees.
3.- Cross the bridge at Puente La Reina.
4.- Go for Pintxos in Pamplona and Tapas in Logroño, the Barrio Húmedo or El Franco.
5.- Climb the Sierra del Perdón and take a photo with the sculptures.
6.- Visit the great cathedrals of Burgos, León and Santiago de Compostela.
7.- Stroll through the vineyards of La Rioja and “steal” grapes if you go at the right time.
8.- Have you already exploited the blisters with needle and thread?
9.- Missing not hitchhiking on the N-120 as it passes through the looooooong Palencia area.
10.- To regret of having brought so much weight in the backpack.
11.- Visit the Gaudí Palace in Astorga.
12.- Enjoy a walk in flip flops after a good shower.
13.- Leave a stone in the Cruz de Ferro after carrying it during the entire climb from Foncebadón.
14.- Spread your feet in Vaseline and massage your legs with some miraculous cream.
15.- Find your city and how many kilometers are left until it in the Albergue de Manjarín.
16.- “Enjoy” the climb up from La Faba to O Cebreiro.
17.- Take a picture with a cow.
18.- Visit the palloza-museum in O Cebreiro and eat your first octopus “á feira”, which is why you are already in Galicia.
19.- Arrive in Portomarín through the staircase and leave the next day in the fog.
20.- Eat your second octopus “á feira”, that’s why you’re already in Melide.
21. – Enter the Obradoiro Sq. through the arch listening the bagpiper, get excited to see the cathedral almost without scaffolding and lie on the square to enjoy the facade and think about the kilometers and experiences.
22.- Go to the Pilgrim’s Mass, visit the rooftops and watch the Botafumeiro flying.
23.- See dawn on the Camino.
24.- See sunset in Finisterre.
25.- Arrive at your home to wash a shirt and a change of underwear as at the end of each stage, take a shandy or a wine as at the end of each stage, eat a sandwich of packed sausage or a can of tuna as end of each stage, … blessed routine.
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Where pilgrims start the Camino de Santiago?
We would like to think about an idea, taking the data of the year 2017, on the place that we choose the pilgrims to start walking. It is very nice that the Camino de Santiago starts at the door of your house but we really talk about the starting point of our walk.
In 2017, 301,036 Compostelas have been issued, which is not the same as pilgrims, right? Almost half, 47.9% have chosen to start walking from somewhere in Galicia. Sarria, in the French Way takes the palm with 26.48% of the total. Every 4 pilgrims at least 1 leaves a single point of the infinite places of departure that the Camino de Santiago has. It is followed quite differently by Tui with 6.69%, already on the Portuguese Way.
The 10 Galician localities in which more pilgrims begin their Camino contribute 135,440 people. In addition to Sarria and Tui we talk about Ferrol, Cebreiro, Lugo, Ourense, Triacastela. Ribadeo, Vigo and Samos. Some localities are already well-known but the rise of Ferrol stands out as the starting point of the English Way.
Our consideration is as follows, what is more important when choosing a starting point on the Camino de Santiago? in which Way is located? distance to Santiago de Compostela? Or do we choose our starting point according to days we have to walk?
If you want to contact us, we are located in Santiago de Compostela, to start your adventure on the Camino de Santiago, send us an email to email@example.com
How to wash your clothes on the Camino de Santiago?
When someone asks us when they walk the Camino for the first time how to manage with dirty clothes, we also remember our first time on the Camino. How many washing machines would there have in an Albergue to wash the clothes of the pilgrims in August? But the truth is that a lot of albergues had no washing machine and much less dryer.
I remember when we arrived at a modern hostel in Triacastela and saw the washing machine in which for 3 euros you could wash … 3 euros !! We thought it was a lot of money, but it was so comfortable and hygienic after spending days washing clothes by hand and, in any way, that we met the three, my friends and me, together to contemplate that miracle of whiteness and freshness in exchange for one euro per head.
Nowadays, washing machines and even dryers have already been included as part of the business as well as a service for pilgrims. But the memories and the special thing about the fact of washing by hand still survives in Albergues and although it is archaic and uncomfortable, it is something faster and “romantic”.
Said this we will give you some practical tips to wash clothes on the Camino de Santiago in case you want to do it by hand:
- Soap: It is always advisable to carry a small amount of soap powder or a portion of Lagarto soap (brand name). In addition, the Lagarto soap is highly recommended to heal wounds (advice from a coach of a cycling team). Within this tip, another tip for lazy people is included: start showering with your clothes on and take the chance to “wash” it.
- Clothesline: The most normal thing is that the shelters have places to hang clothes, but you have to be careful in case they are full. That’s why we recommend a simple and practical solution that also does not add much weight or takes much space: add a piece of thin rope 2 or 3 meters long to make an improvised tent.
- Clothespins: In the Albergues, there are almost never any clothespins because many pilgrims take them as “souvenirs” to be used on another occasion so if you do not want your clothes fallen to the ground take half a dozen clothespins or a few safety pins You can place on the line or in your backpack in case you need to take something drying.
- Our main tip: When you reach the end of your Camino, whether it’s Santiago or if you go through stretches in another place, we recommend that you give an homage to your clothes and your backpack, in order to avoid possible surprises, of bugs. Go to a laundromat and put all the clothes and even the backpack to wash and dry. Today for 4-6 € it is possible to wash and dry in a self-service laundry and there are more and more laundry services. In fact, we have our service to pilgrims in which for 8 € we pick you up and return your 5 kilos laundry in your accommodation.
If you have other tips on how to wash clothes or want to know more, send us an email to firstname.lastname@example.org
As we have already discussed in previous blog post, the approximate daily budget for the Camino de Santiago is around € 30 per person. We have found a post that tells us how we can do the Camino de Santiago for € 9 a day per person. Yes, € 9. In the post they comment that they have acted in this way and that they have verified it in the first person.
We agree with certain practices of collaborative economy as local economies are strengthened and priority is given to the product of proximity, as producers and consumers win, but some of the tips proposed already border on begging. Each one is free to do the Camino de Santiago as he wants to propose, but on a level of equality, not only one that wins (and this goes for pilgrims and professionals of the Camino de Santiago).
On this occasion we will give you some valuable recommendations to reduce costs to the maximum. Here we tell you how to do it:
- First of all, and knowing that camping is not allowed outside the authorized spaces in Spain, get yourself a tent. You will have to deal with the owners of a private inhabited land to allow you to camp for free in it. Also, if you get a good mat and a good sleeping bag you could sleep outdoors or sheltered by the eaves of some construction, but only in the middle of summer and not in all the sections of the Camino de Santiago.
- Use collaborative hosting networks, couchsurfing type. Not only will you save on accommodation costs, but sometimes the host can indulge you with a frugal dinner or show you the best places to dine or go for tapas (free if possible). This system does not work in all the places of the Camino, but in the main cities of the Camino de Santiago such as Pamplona, Burgos, León or Santiago de Compostela itself.
- Buy the next day’s meal the night before at a supermarket. You’ll have to carry some weight, but you save going through small towns where you can only buy food at the bar at a higher price.
- Buy fresh local and seasonal fruit. It’s cheaper and tasty. We also recommend cans of fish and artisanal bread.
- Knock on the door of the houses and ask them if you can buy them some of the food they have at home. With a little luck, they will give you some or invite you to a coffee and a cake in exchange for a conversation.
- Share washing machine expenses by washing your clothes with other pilgrims. If you would normally spend € 5 on a wash, if you share with another pilgrim we already talked about half the price.
- Do not spend on guides superfluously. The Camino is perfectly indicated with yellow arrows and shells. Most of the hostels have information through guides that provide or you can always borrow from other pilgrims.
- The same goes for medicines and foot care items. You will always find other pilgrims who can give you ibuprofen or bandages. In addition, you will make them happy to help you.
As we have said before, these words have been taken from another blog and do not represent our philosophy. Each one must examine their conscience and decide how they want to live the Camino de Santiago.
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Most of us have occasionally opted for a backpack that did not fit well with our Camino de Santiago. We must take into account several important points when choosing it and one of them is not to choose the backpack for the price. Choosing a backpack for the price is an incorrect choice. If you do not want to have problems with weight, the arrangement of the load or with the anchors, … do not look at the price of your backpack. It pays to spend it right on a good backpack.
The capacity of the backpack ideal for any time of the year should be between 30 and 45 liters. If it is cold or rainy you will wear your clothes on, so you should not obsess over a wider backpack. Every time we go better equipped to the Road with clothes less voluminous and with better capacity of protection.
The larger the backpack, the heavier it will be and the more we will fill it. Do not think that as it is bigger you will carry the same things, but more comfortable (in fact, you will carry more things as they fit you.) Once you have made your luggage, you have to check that it does not exceed 10% of your weight , including the backpack.
We must think if we carry the same bag if we walk from Sarria or if we make the Camino from France, Irún, Seville, … Our answer is yes. We should always use the same backpack, familiarize ourselves with it and make the backpack part of us. If we have chosen a backpack with the appropriate capacity we will use it for 5 days or for 30 days. Remember that the number of changes should not be increased to be more days (for that we recommend you buy some new seedlings halfway).
What characteristics should we look for in our backpack on the Way?
Padded shoulder straps and adjustable shoulder, waist and chest straps.
Lumbar reinforcement and weight compensation system to distribute between shoulders and back.
Aeration system in contact with the back.
Belts that allow the backpack to be compacted.
Easy accessibility to the main space.
The quality of a backpack is measured largely by the seams.
It is best to have outside fasteners for a jacket or sleeping bag (you do not have to carry them inside the backpack)
What are you looking for in a backpack? Do you tell us at firstname.lastname@example.org?
Many times you ask us which Way of Santiago is most suitable for each one of you, which you should choose, which is better … better for what? It is a question that depends a lot on different factors.
1.French Way: We all know that the French Way is the busiest, even crowded in certain parts of the year. However, it is the best services offered to pilgrims. That is why if we choose the right time is the most suitable way for any pilgrim who tries to enter the Camino de Santiago. In addition, if we travel a minimum distance enough to know the essence of the Way is the most recommend for new pilgrims. If you have the possibility of walking the whole from Saint Jean, it will be the best experience of your life.
2. Portuguese way: little by little it is eating terrain to the French Way and this returns to be for the beauty of its landscapes and the improved variety of services that are appearing next to the Way. The Portuguese Way offers an inland route, along the coast or even the Spiritual Variant that we recommend especially for those who can not do more than the minimum 100 km essential to get the Compostela.
3. Camino del Norte: recognized not long ago as a World Heritage Site, it has begun to attract specially experienced foreign pilgrims or nationals. It is the most recommended for its landscapes (without doubt), its renowned gastronomy and for the milder climate for the summer season.
4. Primitivo Way: as you know, part of Oviedo and during 13 stages copies Alfonso ll el Casto’s path when he visited Compostela after the discovery of the remains of the Apostle. Equally recognized as a World Heritage Site along with the Northern Way, it is an Inner Trail through forests and mountains that shows one of the hardest routes of all the Roads of Santiago.
5. English Way: it is increasing in number of pilgrims and has recognized the Compostela of special form when mixing nautical miles (in Boat) and kilometers on foot. From Ferrol we have the necessary kilometers to get the Compostela on foot and, honestly, this first stretch is the most attractive in landscapes of this Way.
6. Road to Fisterra and Muxía: it is our special recommendation for this year. We can make a stretch of the Camino de Santiago, any of them, and complete it with the pilgrimage to Fisterra (3-4 stages) and continue to Muxía (2 more stages). A Costa da Morte has a magical and unique energy. No one regrets to approach a few more days until the zone to recharge of force through its landscapes and sunsets.
There are more Caminos, but this is our recommendation for this year. If you need the best travel services and experiences to make your Camino something unique do not hesitate to contact us at email@example.com
Tricks against rain on the Camino de Santiago
We want to make you participate in some advice and recommendations to fight the rain and prevent it from hardening our adventure on the Camino de Santiago. Some of these tips are basic and others for less common will be very, but very effective:
1. Poncho or jacket? We undoubtedly opted for a waterproof and light jacket. The poncho has the disadvantage that with the wind is a little ineffective. There are technical jackets that are known as Three Quarters, which are very advisable to avoid water in the upper area of the pants. Clearly it is necessary to opt for the jackets with hood (better if it is of the rollers in the neck)
2. Waterproof pants. We have several types, although the essence is the same: protect us from water and allow perspiration. We recommend to look in the hunting section of some commercial surface a trousers that are used so that the hunters do not get wet. We have full-leg or mid-leg and usually have the waterproofing applied at the front in the direction of the road.
3. Shorts of technical fabric and fast drying. On the one hand, they have the discomfort of going with their legs to the rain, but depending on the temperature is a really practical option, in addition to having the ease of drying them right away.
4. Gaiters. They are very comfortable to avoid the dust of the Camino in summer, but when it rains they still become better allies by avoiding wetting the boots, socks, trousers or our own legs.
5. Boots with any type of waterproof or moisture repellent system. Little can be said about this point, right?
6. Cap with visor: again another element of basic protection in summer and in this case helps to avoid the annoying rain by slipping on our face or hindering the vision (important ally for pilgrims with glasses) The idea is to help the hood to protect us better.
7. Backpack cover: it is the most comfortable for any pilgrim, but in terms of efficiency has its weaknesses as it does not really prevent it from getting a little wet when the rain falls between our back and the backpack. There are several ways to supplement the case: 1. With modern backpacks that already have waterproof back contact points. 2. With modern sprays that allow waterproofing the backpack in its entirety. 3. With the bags of all the life to protect the interior of the backpack and of the elements that contains. (effective but cumbersome when it comes to packaging and unpacking)
Little more should be on hand to fight against the discomfort of the rain, but if you have a trick do not hesitate to comment below.
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Is it your first time on the Camino de Santiago? Would you recommend the French Way for the first time of a novice pilgrim?
It is clear that the French Way, between Roncesvalles, or even Saint Jean, and Santiago de Compostela, is the most famous and busy route, the reference for the other routes of the Way, including the first Primitive walk and the main pilgrim transit route of the European roads of all time.
The magic of the Pyrenees or the ascent to Cebreiro or Cruz de Fierro, the harsh Castilian plateau, the most important Romanesque monuments and temples, the most beautiful cathedrals, the medieval bridges, the mythical stages, the historical roads and the main Jacobean institutions are in the French Way.
In addition, the French Way has the largest number of public and private hostels, as well as the best and most diverse services for pilgrims. And French is also the busiest itinerary, with more possibilities to start your adventure alone and end up surrounded by all kinds of people. The French Way is a path full of life that concentrates the traveling essence of the great pilgrims adventures and where every day is a unique experience. It is not essential to do the French Way the first time you take contact with the Jacobean route, but it is certainly the most advisable option to know one of the most important social and tourist phenomena of recent times.
If you want to have that first contact with the Camino de Santiago and need help, contact us at email@example.com
Training to do the Camino de Santiago?
The Camino de Santiago does not arise as a sporting challenge, although we are increasingly thinking about it in this way, but it needs to be in good shape. Would you dare to do the Way without being trained?
If you answer yes it is perhaps that you do not know the effort that requires mainly two daily actions in the Way to Santiago:
- Carry the weight of the backpack
- Walk sometimes for about 8 hours a day
You should at least train a few weeks before with a backpack with weight for 2 hours at the beginning and gradually increase the walking time. The goal is to prepare to walk for several days in a row with weight on the back and during days of 7-8 hours of activity.
If you want to running (without backpack) will help improve your chances of better withstand the effort. In addition, we recommend that you prepare some exercise that helps reinforce the lower back, to support the weight of the backpack and the walk itself.
If you still answer that you would dare to do the Camino de Santiago without training, we assume that you are thinking that it will be hard at the beginning and then your body will become used to, or that you think of only walking for the last 100 km … it is possible that you are able as it depends a lot on your condition, complexion, or how loaded you carry the backpack.
Our recommendation is that you need training at least a couple of weeks before, being the first week on alternate days and the following week either on consecutive days or with a rest day in the middle of the week. It is necessary to prepare the feet, legs and joints for the effort that we are going to carry out. You should take care about your back a lot and think while walking if you are carrying a good posture. Finally try to follow your steps to the rhythm of your breathing and even try to make it sound and harmonious.
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4 ways to get to Finisterre from Santiago de Compostela
Many of you ask us how to get to Finisterre once you finish the Camino de Santiago in Compostela. In this article we explain the 4 most common ways to reach the End of the Earth.
- By bus with the company Monbus: The most convenient is to get it in the Bus Station (about 20 minutes walking from the Cathedral). Keep in mind that the fastest route lasts 2 hours, but some bus spend 3 hours to get to Fisterra or Santiago back). The price of the ticket is a bit more than 13 euros. From the stop in Fisterra to the Lighthouse you still have about 4 kilometers. The bad thing about the bus is that if you go and come in the same day you can stay 6 hours inside the bus.
- By foot walking the Camino de Santiago to Fisterra: it is 89 kilometers and most of the pilgrims do it in 3-4 days. In our Way to Fisterra we dedicate 4 stages and we offer the best services to the pilgrims from 269 €. If you want information click here.
- With our full-day guided tours: It leaves at 9 in the morning and returns at 17:30 or 18:00. There are several options: with or without lunch. Always accompanied by a guide who will show you the hidden secrets of the area. We visited Pontemaceira, the viewpoint of Paxareiras, Carnota, the waterfall of Ézaro, Fisterra and Muxía, as main points. It cost from € 35 without lunch up to € 50 with lunch included. Find more information in the section of SERVICES
- Private transfer to Finisterre: With a knowledgeable chauffeur of the area and for only € 30 per person if you are 4 passengers. In our website you have the option to launch the service to get more fellow travelers or you can hire it for who you want for 120 € (minimum 1 person and maximum 4, please ask for a budget if you are more travelers)
We have listed the 4 main options, although you could also approach Fisterra by bike with our bike rental service, do you dare?
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