Thanks to Bradley Ladewig for the video. He travelled from Germany to walk the Camino Francés during Covid times. I’m not sure I could keep up at his pace however. We can all agree that the Camino Francés in summer is beautiful.
The last month has been a rewarding experience for me personally. Let me explain.
Writing here has always been fun but for the last number of years, I can see my posts aren’t reaching the pilgrims I hope to see them. And I don’t want to go around forcing people to read my posts. So I thought of another idea.
A podcast had always been floating around in my head, even pre-covid but I was reluctant to start it solo. Maybe one of my Camino buddies would join me and we would talk each week about tips and tricks etc? This was last Christmas. And then March hit and lockdown hit. It became apparent that my Camino in September would not be happening this year. So I was looking for something else to fill the gap. Something productive that would help my wellbeing. Hey, let’s get this podcast off the ground? I didn’t want to wait any longer. I bought the equipment and sent out a request for pilgrims who wanted to be share their story on the podcast. Fast forward to today, I have 5 episodes uploaded and I have a further 3 recorded.
I have been lucky to speak to pilgrims from Canada, Germany, Spain, Ireland and USA. I look forward to talk to pilgrims from the UK, and Australia. It’s amazing what you achieve when you put your heart into your passion. I’m really enjoying it but I started with zero experience. So I am still learning as the weeks progress. The last episode was uploaded last Wednesday. María Seco lives on the Camino Portugués while my next guest PJ Costello has a passion for the Camino matched by no other. His story can be heard on Wednesday.
So the month has been rewarding. I haven’t earned any money for what I do. I simply chat for 30 minutes or so and upload it to the internet. It helps me and I hope some new pilgrims gets some valuable information from it. Details about kit is subjective – there is no right or wrong answer, but I hope some of the podcasts can tell future pilgrims what is best to avoid or what is a must bring.
I think I have found my niche – I will write a few posts here and there and keep working on the podcasts until pilgrims prove difficult to come by. As for speaking in front of a crowd? I am going to avoid that for the time being.
I’d love to hear your feedback of the podcast. If you are unable to comment, you can send me an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Many thanks.
In Astorga in 2017
A great advertisement for starting your Camino solo. You will always meet other pilgrims, if you want to. This pilgrim walked in September last year and met pilgrims as he walked along the Camino Francés. It is worthwhile watching until the end when the full set of pilgrims arrive into Santiago.
David created another video later on discussing the lessons learned from this Camino.
Uploaded on YouTube in the last few days, here is a video from a pilgrim who has walked from St Jean Pied de Port to Santiago during Covid times. You will agree that it is beautifully shot. More videos can be found here!
September will see me on the Camino Frances for the seventh time. Eek! If you told me back in 2011 I would return to Spain for the following six years, I would look at you with wild disbelief! But yet, here I am and my mind is set on a return; this time walking from the Gaudi town of Astorga to Compostela.
With every year and every upcoming Camino, I spend a little time thinking of how I’d like to approach this trip and how I can make it a little different or unique to the last. Sometimes, these ideas just fade away once I find the first yellow arrow (and cerveza!), but other times I end up sticking to what I had planned. Each of my times on the Camino have been different in some shape or form, which is a good thing I suppose.
So, for September, here’s how I hope my time will go:
- Sarria – There are many books written about the number of pilgrims on the trail on reaching Sarria, which is the last point where you can start your Camino in order to obtain a Compostela. Due to the increased numbers, there is always a strain on accommodation. So, I have decided to pre-book albergues in a number of towns before Santiago. I have never been one to pre-book and if I was walking from, let’s say, St. Jean to Burgos, I wouldn’t do so. But I feel that if I am to enjoy my walk this time around, I may as well reserve. I now will have a little bit of weight taken off my shoulders and I can take my time. Booking.com is a great website to make these reservations. I haven’t made any bookings from Astorga to Sarria as there is no need!
- Less is more – In September 2016, while walking to Finistere, my pack weighed 7 kg. I reckon I can bring that down a little more. I have bought an Osprey 30 litre pack and am pretty happy with it. The less I bring, the less I have to worry about and my back won’t have any niggling pains! Now if only I could leave the smartphone at home!
- Brierley’s end stages – So many people religiously follow Brierley’s guidebook, thereby missing the great towns in between. Towns like Cacabelos, El Acebo, Las Herrerias, and Ribadiso are all passed daily by legions of pilgrims. I aim to stay in these towns. It will be a welcome change as I haven’t stayed there before, save for stopping for a cerveza. Oh, and I’m leaving a guidebook at home 🙂 The arrows can guide me.
- Pacerpoles – For the last few years I’ve walked with either a wooden stick bought before I start or with a single carbon pole. I’ve always found them a hindrance however as I like to have my hands free to take photos and reach for water etc. However, this year I will be making the climb to O Cebreiro so I’ve decided to bring along a set of pacerpoles that I bought before Christmas. It will make things a little easier and I won’t have those niggling back pains that I usually have (I hope!). I have tried them a few times here in Ireland and they are pretty easy to get used to. I reckon they will be a help. Plus, I have been recommended them by a number of camigos! That said, I am usually the one who complains about the click-clacking of poles!
- Take my time – In years gone by, I have been told by a number of people that I am a “speedster”..whatever that is!? My typical day starts at 6 am and I like to check into an albergue before 1pm. That leaves me with the majority of the day to wash, rest, have some food in the evening and get to meet my fellow pilgrims! Sometimes, I don’t realise how fast I walk. In September, I hope to stretch the day out, slow down, start a little later, stop a little more, have numerous coffee breaks. Who knows, this may be the last time I walk the Camino Frances for some time! I’m in no hurry.
- Visit local churches – It’s very easy to forget that the Camino is a pilgrimage. I’m not particularly religious but I’ve always wanted to set aside 20 minutes a day while on the Camino to drop into a church and say a quick prayer. However, after walking 25kms each day, it is difficult to find the time.
- Use my knowledge of Spanish a little more – Creo que tengo buen español. Me gustaría hablar más a la gente local, sólo un poco! I guess this comes with confidence. Ordering a cafe con leche is second nature; speaking to someone from Spain is a challenge, but I’m up for it.
So, there is my wish-list for my September Camino. I may stick with the above, but then again, I may choose to do what I have done all along….let the Camino tell me what to do!
Hello, my name is David. I am a peregrino living in Dublin, Ireland. I have visited Spain and Portugal and walked its many roads to Santiago since 2011. On this site, you will find my stories, photos, and observations from my Caminos and my planning for future Caminos. Feel free to get in touch with me here
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- Camino Francés 2021 – Day 4 – Boadilla to Carrion de los Condés
- Camino Francés 2021 – Day 3 – Castrojeriz to Boadilla del Camino
- Camino Francés 2021 – Day 2 – Hornillos del Camino to Castrojeriz
- Camino Francés 2021 – Day 1 – Burgos to Hornillos del Camino
Clearskies Camino on YouTube
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