So how did my gear get on after my Camino? In this post, I will tell you how the kit I brought fared and if it needs any improvement.
Backpack – Lowe Alpine 35litre Trail – I loved this pack. It served me well. It didn’t cause me any problems. I suppose the only issue I had, was with the zip-tie to close the pack itself. The two ends of the tie had a habit of going missing inside the pack and I had to go looking for them which caused me angst.
Trail Shoes – Meindl Philadelphia GTX trail shoes – Fine but not cut out for more than one Camino. They were comfortable and I had just the one minor blister. But they were battered by the time I finished up. I left them in Burgos and have since bought a new pair of Salomon X-Ultras.
Something for the rain – Berghaus rain jacket and Columbia rain trousers – Not used. The weather was superb save for a freak shower in Belorado.
Contigo 720ml water bottle – I loved this bottle, a little pricey but will do me for many more Caminos.
Columbia zip off trousers – No issues until I left the bottom half of the trousers in Belorado. An error on my behalf. So they need replacing.
Socks – 2 pair of Quechua socks and 1 pair of Smartwool – Perfect. No need to make any changes.
Underwear – 3 pair of Under Armour – Under Armour is a top class brand. I won’t be changing from them. I may reduce the number of socks and briefs to 2 on my Celtic Camino.
Baseball cap – Jack Wolfskin – Great, I wore it all the time.
Buff – Random buff I bought in Santiago in May – Not used
Sandals – A cheap pair useful for airing the feet in the evenings – Great for the evenings. As I have said, they don’t need to be expensive. Just as long as your feet are comfortable after your day’s walking.
Craghoppers long sleeve shirt – Great. I wore this in May and it is perfect. Quick dry and great protection against the sun.
Helly Hansen t-shirt & T-shirt purchased in Santiago in May – Same as above. I may drop one t-shirt next May.
North Face fleece – Great in the morning, but it got warm very early. I had the fleece off before noon most days.
Towel – 1 quick dry Microfibre towel – Ideal and essential that it is quick dry. I have this particular one 2 years now. I won’t be changing any time soon.
Sea to Summit – Silk liner sleeping bag – Used every night bar my first and last. It fits in my hand and it takes less than a minute to pack away. It’s perfect.
First Aid & Blister Kit:
Blister kit with a selection of compeed and plasters. – I used this once, but I make sure I bring it every year. Essential
Gehwol 75ml Foot cream – Used every morning and evening.
Deep heat – Not used
Earplugs, perfect for those noisy albergues! – Oh boy, these were used, I can’t imagine a Camino without earplugs!!
Hand cream – Very handy to have.
Wash kit including All purpose soap 100ml – I just love the Lifeventure 100ml all-purpose soap and use it for every Camino. I always have some left over when I return home. At less than a tenner, I will stock up on some more.
Safety pins for hanging up laundry – I might return to pegs next time. I had lost a lot of the pins by the time I reached Burgos.
Toothpaste & Toothbrush – Goes without saying
Phone, charging cable & adaptor- My mobile phone was very battery intensive and I used it to take photos and keep in touch with those at home. Naturally, the battery would die sooner than later. I brought a cable and adaptor which just didn’t do the job so I was left two days with no power and no photos. I did, however, buy a Spanish adaptor so I have that for future Caminos.
Fitbit & charging cable – No issues with the Fitbit, but the number of steps I had walked was just not important on these ten days! I may leave it behind next May.
Small over-the-shoulder bag – For all the essentials, it’s good to have one instead of taking off the bag everytime you need something.
Wise Pilgrim guidebook – Well worth a look!
Pilgrim passport – Supplied by Camino Society Ireland
So what do you reckon? Is there anything you would add or take away from that list?
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.
Around 7 kilometres outside of the town of Astorga is La Casa de los Dioses, the Home of the Gods. It is not a hotel, an albergue or anything fancy, but quite the opposite. It is a small piece of property owned by David Vidal (link to google maps). This was the most interesting donativo (donation only) that I have encountered on the Camino Frances. This building is the definition of simplicity and he was offering drinks and fruit while not asking for money. Each morning, he travels the short distance to Astorga, buys what he needs and gives what he has to pilgrims that pass. He is what the Camino should be about, keeping it simple and giving what we have to help our fellow pilgrims. Money doesn’t mean much to David. I admire that.
On passing his humble abode in 2012, I wasn’t quite sure what to make of it but there were many people stopping to ask him why he was doing this. Something must have hit him to give up a working life and to live on the Camino. He said to me that he believes that it is all about sharing. That’s a strong reason, no doubt! Last year, 2015, David had moved his building slightly and had started to build a garden to grow. He loves to talk, and is really happy to have pilgrims stop by for a while. The below video shows you La Casa de los Dioses and David talks for a while. Don’t forget to take a few pictures when you pass as the Camino will miss him if or when he goes.
We continue on our journey…
Uterga (map) – 710 kms to Santiago.
Uterga is the first town you arrive at after descending the Alto de Perdón. The descent can be perilous at times, especially during bad weather. I remember walking into the village in September 2014 and initially spotting its large town hall. It must be the tidiest village I have seen. It is home to 2 albergues and a hostal (Gronze). Albergue Camino del Perdón is perfect for a stop off after the tough climb and descent. However, many choose to walk on to Puente la Reina, another fine town.
Villatuerta (map) – 685 kms to Santiago
Villatuerta is a town of just under 1000 residents located 4 km outside of Estella. Although probably of Roman origin, the greatest development of Villatuerta occurred in medieval times and, as a consequence of the Camino de Santiago. Since then it has retained its Romanesque bridge over the river Iranzu, the river that that divides the town into two neighbourhoods. The parish church, dedicated to Our Lady of the Assumption, also of Roman origin, it had to be rebuilt in the 15th century. There is the one albergue here, Casa Magica (Gronze), which is well recommended.
Villamayor de Monjardín (map) – 653 kms to Santiago
In 2014 I encountered this village in Navarra. I had stayed just outside of Estella the previous night and had left early that morning. Unfortunately, there were no cafes open in Villamayor when I passed so I had to make do with the wine I picked up in Irache earlier. I wasn’t complaining :). Villamayor de Monjardín is a small town located at the foot of the Castle of San Esteban of Deyo. The fortress walls are well conserved. The main site visited is the Romanesque church of San Andrés, from the 12th century. You should have no problem finding somewhere to stay here (Gronze).
Torres del Río (map) – 636 kms to Santiago
Torres del Rio is one of the final towns you will pass before entering La Rioja. This small village, located at the side of a hill, hosts of one of the most characteristic monuments of Romanesque architecture in Navarre, an octagonal church of the Santo Sepulcro. I was unlucky not to witness the inside of this church as it was closed the day I passed through Torres del Río. There are three albergues here (Gronze). I really enjoyed my stay in Casa Mariela. The following clip shows you the church of the Santo Sepulcro.
Viana (map) – 625 kms to Santiago
Viana is a town that will surprise pilgrims for its rich architecture, wine cellars and, above all, for its extensive history. The last town in Navarre is situated just seven kilometres from Logroño. It has a fortified square, surrounded by a medieval wall, which served as a defensive stronghold during the Middle Ages against the ancient Kingdom of Castile. Its narrow streets, many monuments, and the majestic church of Santa Maria are highlights. The importance of the Camino on the evolution of Viana is evident by the six refuges for pilgrims, of which several traces still remain. Viana often hosts fiestas and is known to have a ‘running of the bulls’.
Leaving Viana brings us to Logrono and the new province of La Rioja…