Packing list for Camino Frances 2018 (with links)

So this will be a fairly routine post with a list of what I have in my pack and links to where I have purchased them if you are interested in finding out more information. Most of the gear I have had for the last while with only some new items since my recent Camino Portuguese in May. So here goes.

Backpack – Lowe Alpine 35litre Trail
Trail Shoes – Meindl Philadelphia GTX trail shoes
Something for the rain – Berghaus rain jacket and Columbia rain trousers
Contigo 720ml water bottle

Clothes:
Columbia zip off trousers
Socks – 2 pair of Quechua socks (bought in Decathlon, Vigo) and 1 pair of Smartwool
Underwear – 3 pair of Under Armour
Baseball cap – Jack Wolfskin
Buff – Random buff I bought in Santiago in May
Sandals  – A cheap pair useful for airing the feet in the evenings
Craghoppers long sleeve shirt
Helly Hansen t-shirt
T-shirt purchased in Santiago in May
North Face fleece
Towel – 1 quick dry Microfibre towel
Sea to Summit – Silk liner sleeping bag

First Aid & Blister Kit:
Blister kit with a selection of compeed and plasters
Gehwol 75ml Foot cream
Deep heat
Earplugs, perfect for those noisy albergues!
Hand cream
Wash kit including All purpose soap 100ml
Safety pins for hanging up laundry
Toothpaste
Toothbrush

Electronics:
Phone & charging cable
Plug adaptor
Fitbit & charging cable
Small over-the-shoulder bag
Wise Pilgrim guidebook
Passport
Pilgrim passport

And I guess that is it!
I will make this into a pdf and save it in the archive.

If I don’t post again, please keep an eye on my instagram. I will be posting more frequently there. My first stop is Puente la Reina but I look forward to meeting other pilgrims and sharing stories. Isn’t that what the Camino is about?

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So why the Camino de Santiago?

I was out with some good pilgrim friends last evening and naturally enough, the Camino was brought up during our conversation. One of the many questions was “So how did everyone hear about the Camino?” which is a perfectly fine question. I didn’t get a chance to answer, however, and as my story is not fairly typical, I thought I would post it.

I have written about my first Camino before. It was a hastily planned affair arranged 6 months before I stepped on the plane. It started with a leaflet, given to me. The words “Walk The Camino” were emboldened at the top of the sheet. I said I would give it a try as the cause was worthwhile. The thing is, after raising quite a lot of money, I was spent and the Camino was just an afterthought. The six days was merely a formality and dare I say, a holiday? I had the wrong gear, the wrong attitude, the wrong everything. On arriving into the Praza da Obradoiro, I was already mentally home in Dublin deciding on the week ahead.

But the Camino didn’t want to let go…

Our guide for the 6 days was a pretty outgoing chap from Australia called Garry. He loved Spain but loved Ireland also. He saw I was struggling and wanted to make sure I got to Santiago in one piece.

Job done. And for that, I thank him.

October 2011, I am back to normality at my desk-based job in Dublin. I receive an e-mail from Garry asking how I am. I leave it unanswered for a while, maybe a week, but like an itch unscratched, I feel the need to reply. A quick hello leads to chat and that leads to a plan to return to the Camino the following May.

Without that e-mail, without that scratched itch, I would not be where I am today – writing from the heart on this site or giving my time to the Camino Society. The rest is history.

 

11 days to Puente la Reina

So while I have the time to write, I may as well post something.

I am 11 days out from yet another Camino and I am as good as ready. These five months since I returned from Santiago have flown by but I have been so busy. These few weeks have come around at just the right time. It will give me the time to slow down and, I suppose, unclutter everything from this head of mine. I have a few decisions to make so I hope the Camino can help me out and I will have a few answers when I return.

I am in zero rush to get to Puente la Reina as my bus to Logrono is 3 hours after the flight arrives. Once I arrive there, I have another bus trip on La Estellesa to Puente la Reina. I don’t know why La Union canceled their service there. I remember it being advertised the last time I was in Bilbao in 2015.

The Camino Frances can be addictive. No, let me rephrase that. It can be difficult to get used to other routes if you are so used to one particular route. I remember last year saying I would not walk the Camino Frances again, and here I am.

I have 6 days in the office before I leave for Spain and sunnier climes (I hope). I have been keeping tabs on the weather and it looks promising. I might ditch the rain trousers!

Adelante!

 

 

 

Camino Frances – A return

I don’t get into this position too often. I returned from the Portuguese Coastal Route, revitalised, with quite a few days leave left. So I decided I would go back. But not to Santiago or Galicia, but to the other side of Spain.

I actually quite prefer the journey and not the destination. Stopping short of Santiago leaves you without a compostela, but I get to witness the excitement and trepidation in pilgrims eyes as they are taking their first steps. And we all remember our first steps on the Camino!

So on September 11th, I fly to Bilbao and travel to Puente la Reina where I will start my Camino. I hope to walk to Burgos or even further. My return flight is on the 21st. It is short but who could imagine I would walk two Caminos in one year. Not me! Let’s see if that carries forward to 2019 but that’s unlikely.

I will be posting on Instagram and I will update this blog when I return home. So please keep an eye on my Instagram.

Weekend Watch #43 – Dan Mullins & Tom Quinlan

Wow. My last Weekend Watch was posted on March 14th. To make up for lost time, here are 2 videos with the Camino theme. The first is from Camino podcaster and musician Dan Mullins who has released this song “Somewhere along the Way”. Much of the footage was shot along the Camino Frances. See if you recognise where. The second video was produced by Irish filmmaker Tom Quinlan. He walked the final week into Santiago in May 2017 and he recorded his experiences. The end result is effective.

Back to the Camino Frances

And I can’t wait…

It has been nearly three months since I returned from Santiago and the Portuguese Camino. I had a great time. It was short. Too short. I arrived back and immediately thought “I need to go back”. So I sat down and looked at flights back to Spain. My trips to Spain typically last 2-3 weeks each year so a 10-day trip left a lot to be desired.

So when I heard that a friend and her husband are walking the Camino around that time, I asked if I could join them for a few days. Luckily enough, the response was yes and I quickly booked my flights. So I fly into Bilbao on September 11th and arrive in Puente la Reina later that day after a short bus journey. I meet up with them in Estella the following day, then I hope to walk with them for a few days after that. Hopefully, I will have enough days to walk to Belorado, a town I have many memories of.

So that’s it. I hope to meet people who have just set off on their journey as opposed to finishing in Santiago. I also hope that I can just switch off and enjoy each step compared to the frenziness of Santiago.