My last post until Santiago?

My bag is packed and I’m ready to go..

Ok ok, I’ll stop there before I’m charged with plagiarism🙂

But seriously, I’m all ready. I’m just waiting to finish up in work on Tuesday and to arrive at Dublin Airport on Thursday afternoon. I don’t think there is much left to say or post until I arrive in Santiago and check into Hostal San Martin Pinario. The rucksack  is full and I’m as ready as I’m going to be.

August 28, 2016 at 1144AMI had a third patch sewn on my rucksack last evening. I was given it (the middle one) by the Camino Society of Ireland and I will wear it with pride. I have a few people that I’d like to meet while in Santiago so I hope to see them. The next post published will be from Santiago on Thursday 1st of September.

So, if you are floating around Santiago on the 1st and see a pale pilgrim, give me a wave, wish me a Buen Camino and I may even buy you a vino tinto. Why not follow me on instagram @clearskiescamino or on twitter @cskiescamino.

Sindre’s Camino Primitivo

The Camino Primitivo is the most challenging of all the ways to Santiago de Compostela but also the most rewarding ones as you will pass through the untouched nature of Asturias.

There are less people on the Primitivo than on the Frances or the Portugues and you can enjoy the scenery all for yourself at some times.

However, I seem to be spoiled as one my followers, Sindre Sandvik is currently walking the Camino Primitivo and uploading videos on a daily basis. He has formed a great Camino family and you can really feel that a bond has been formed. Check out his blog

The Sounds of the Camino

As soon as you reach wherever you choose to start your Camino, there will be sounds that you will find hard to unhear until you reach Santiago. Some are annoying, some make you smile but they are part and parcel of the Camino de Santiago. I’ve decided to run down a few:

1. Buen Camino – Every pilgrim you meet while on the Camino will greet you with the phrase “Buen Camino”. No matter who the person is, their status, or where he or she is from, the first words they utter will be “Buen Camino”. It means “Good way”, while in Portugal, the phrase used is “Bom Caminho”. It is a great way to start off a conversation and meet people but just be careful you don’t say it to a local – I’ve been given a few strange stares🙂

2. Crickets chirping – Ah, now this is something you don’t hear in Ireland, or the UK for that matter. The natter of crickets and other various insects during the day. If you listen closely during a warm day, you will hear them around you. This video was taken after Hospital de Orbigo in 2012.


3. The clatter of cups and saucers in cafes – You wake up and are looking for your first cafe con leche of the day. The nearest cafe is busy serving peregrinos from albergues nearby. All you can hear are cups, saucers, and spoons placed in front of a row of sleepy grumpy pilgrims. Then the coffee machine kicks into gear. After that first cup of cafe con leche and a tostada, I am awake ready to take on the world…until I reach the next cafe, that is!

4. The click-clack of walking poles with no rubber tips – Ok, I need to vent. Other peregrinos may agree with me, some may not but this sound drives me insane. If you have seen the fim Jaws, or any other horror film, you will know what I mean. Picture serenity..pure silence, then out of nowhere..the click-clacking of poles approaching you from behind. There is no escaping need to stop and let them pass you by so you can have your silence. However, rubber tips on the poles stop this sound and all is normal🙂 Vent over!

5. Snoring in albergues – Ahh, the pilgrim’s lullaby. It takes time to get used to, and the first couple of nights you may not get any sleep at all. It’s one of the major sounds of the Camino and unfortunately if you want to sleep in albergues, you will need to grin and bear it. Its a good idea to buy the best foam earplugs money can buy to ensure a restful nights sleep. However, some pilgrims just wont be silenced.

6. Church bells ringing every hour – I guarantee you that you will not need a watch in Spain. Don’t bring one. Church bells ring on the hour every hour which can be annoying also. I remember staying in Hontanas one night in 2013 and the bells in the village church belled on the hour during the night. I wasn’t that happy the next morning, let’s just say.🙂


7. New pilgrims post-Sarria – If your Camino is due to start before Sarria, you will notice a considerable difference when you arrive there. Sarria is last town you must start on the French Way in order to obtain a compostela. Pilgrims who start here are different to those start in, let’s say, St Jean, in that they have more energy, they dress differently and there are greater numbers. There are schools and youth groups walking from Sarria and often you will hear them sing songs, and have radios playing while walking.

8. The sound of friendships being formed – Walking a Camino is the easiest way to meet people from anywhere around the world. Occupation, status, class is meaningless and what counts is how we treat each other over the few weeks we are on the trail. From the moment you set out, it is next to impossible to strike up a conversation with a total stranger. A conversation leads to laughter and that leads to being accepted into a Camino family, where everyone looks out for each other. When the time comes, email addresses are shared and we go our separate ways. I am still in touch with people from 2013. Memories are good nowadays, but they will never beat the real thing.

9. The Sound of silence – No, I’m not going to bring out my guitar and play the Simon and Garfunkel classic, but what I will say is I love walking in silence. You can’t beat walking before the sun rises, stopping to watch it rise over the horizon.


10. Bagpipes in Santiago – You have made it! You walk under the archway and into the Praza da Obradoiro with a soundtrack of bagpipes eternally playing. Who cares if they have been playing since the morning, in your mind it is music to celebrate your arrival to Santiago.


And there you have it. Are there any other sounds that remind you of the Camino? Please let me know in the comments below!

The Camino Through My Eyes #4 – Maggie Woodward

Maggie from Trepidatious Traveler contributed to the blog back in October 2015. Here is some advice for those in the planning stage. If you would like to contribute to the blog, please let me know!

The “Camino Through My Eyes” series is becoming a big success and I’d like to thank you all for stopping by. It’s interesting reading other people’s perspectives and it sure backs up the phrase “No two Caminos are the same”. Last week’s contribution from Terry McHugh has seen quite a bit of traffic since I posted it.

This week I am delighted to introduce to you Maggie Woodward. Maggie is just fresh from completing the Camino Mozarabe, and she has posted a YouTube video, so check that out. I asked for Maggie’s thoughts to the questions I posed to my previous guests. By the way, you can find Maggie over on Facebook so make sure you give her a “like”, and her website is packed with information for anyone about to take on the Camino. I’d like to thank Maggie for her time.

1) How did you first…

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7 Things I Learned On Camino De Santiago | Tarek Riman

I spotted this article online written by a journalist after he had completed the Camino Frances. Yes, but there are hundreds of these articles, I hear you say….! However, the points he has made have hit the nail on the head about what the Camino is, in my opinion.

Recently, I packed 2 small bags, boxed up my bike and hopped a plane to Paris. Lugging a massive bike box through Paris, I then took a train to Bayonne in southern France, assembled my bike and rode 3 hours to a town in the Pyrenees mountains called Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port where my journey on the Camino began.

Source: 7 Things I Learned On Camino De Santiago | Tarek Riman

A little bit of Music?

Imagine the scene..

You have left your albergue, it is 7am in the morning and you are setting off alone. The sun has risen behind you and you have 7 hours of walking ahead of you. Sounds great, doesn’t it? You look around and there are one or two other pilgrims behind you, while there are three ahead of you. You could slow down or speed up to talk to either group, but you prefer your own company. Silence is golden and all that…and there are only so many questions you can answer while talking to your self. I usually listen to music at this stage. Before a Camino, I make up a playlist on my phone ready and waiting. There are some days I wouldn’t listen to any music as I could be chatting with other peregrinos. But I don’t use the music as an excuse not to meet and mingle with other pilgrims. So here is my Spotify playlist for my upcoming Camino Finisterre. I probably won’t even listen to it, but it’s handy to have.

You can have a listen to the playlist here. Unfortunately, WordPress is unable to embed playlists from Spotify.

It’s worth bearing in mind that you should download the music onto your phone before you leave to avoid data costs. If you are making your own and don’t have a Spotify account, you could do the same on YouTube. Enjoy!