Betanzos…a town rich in Celtic history sits on the Camino Ingles between Ferrol and Santiago. It lies beside the Mandeo river and is a place to stop and look around once you have your day’s walking over. I am due to arrive here on the 9th of May and having seen so many great photos of the town, I am eager to see what all the fuss is about. The next morning, rather than continuing on to Santiago, I pick up my pack and make way for A Coruna.
The albergue in Betanzos is fairly new, having opened in 2013, and has over 30 beds for pilgrims. There are other accommodation of course in this fine town. This morning, news broke that, due to a water leak, the albergue will limit the number of beds to 6 each night.
So if you are walking from Ferrol shortly, it is best to plan ahead if staying in Betanzos.
Do you ever have a countdown to your next Camino ticking away? I bet you have. I use an application on my phone telling me the number of days I have left before I leave. I’m not sure if it’s a good thing or not but each morning I get a little bit giddy knowing that I’m a little closer to my return date. And when I return back to Dublin, the whole process starts again.
So what do you do to bide the time before your next Camino?
It is quite possible to walk the Camino with very little preparation. Provided you are in normal good health, are prepared to take your time and listen to your body, you are half way there. However, here in Ireland, we are lucky enough to have numerous walking trails and pilgrim paths on our doorstep. It is a shame not to use them. Throughout the year, there are various walking festivals in Ireland which provide perfect opportunity to get you ready for a trip to Spain. Or why not walk by yourself with your pack? You can find details of these trails on irishtrails.ie or pilgrimpath.ie. It might be the case in other countries.
Are you comfortable with your Pack?
If you are considering carrying your pack on your Camino, you will need to be comfortable with it and it’s contents. Check it’s weight and if there is anything you don’t need, leave it behind. Try to walk with your pack a few times before you leave so you are sure it is the right size and all the settings are correct.
Join a Camino / Pilgrim Society
Are you talking about your experience on the Camino with a family member and they just don’t get it? Does it feel like you are talking to a brick wall? Well, by joining a Camino Society in your country, you get the chance to meet like-minded people (just like you!), share your story and give back to the Camino. Being a volunteer with Camino Society Ireland is a huge plus for me as I am able to pass on my experience to people preparing for their own Caminos and I can learn about new and exciting developments. And I don’t drive my family crazy!
YouTube / Movie
YouTube contains countless videos of peoples experiences along the different Caminos. From the very professional to videos made by pilgrims just like you and me. Watching them brings me back to the Camino and some offer helpful tips. Or you could watch a Camino related movie. The Camino Voyage springs to mind and I may give that a watch shortly.
And when you come home…
..Organise another Camino! Ah yes, the old doozie! For those of us fortunate enough to get away for another Camino, the 2nd best thing to being on the Camino is putting one together. Booking your flights and/or your first night accommodation (if needed) is a joy-inducing formula. Then there is Gronze.com, Rome2rio.com and plenty of other Camino planning tools to ensure everything goes smoothly.
It’s the weekend again and we have a video for you as always.
This weekend we celebrate the many varied foods along the Camino and how to eat during your day. One of my favourite parts of the day is the morning – because of the number of breakfasts you can have on the Camino….there is no limit!
So..the future..that space in front of us that no one can predict. Unless you can read people’s minds, that is. I can’t anyway and I don’t plan on starting!
The last few weeks I have been asking myself in what direction do I want to take ClearskiesCamino, if any. I have been plugging away, doing the same thing here since I started walking the Camino many years ago. I just want to take an extra step up the ladder.
So, I have set myself a number of well achievable goals for the next 6 to 9 months in order to make that next step. I’m a little excited to say the least but excitement is good. I’m not quite sure how it’s going to pan out but I’ll take each day as it comes.
1. Self hosted website – I have reached the end of the line with wordpress.com and I’ve done as much as I can with the resources they offer. The last 7 years have been great but now is the time to push on and locate a site to host my blog and take it from there. I have located a hosting site and it’s just a case of transfering the site across. Many thanks for all the tips I have received regarding this. I will get to keep the ClearskiesCamino name too. I hope to make the switch when my current plan expires in October.
2. I have two Caminos planned for 2019 – the Camino Ingles / Camino Finisterre in May and Camino Portuguese from Lisbon in September. Rather than posting from this blog, I will write my stories in the form of an ebook and publish them free. It’s another avenue I want to go down. And if that doesn’t work, I will keep plugging away at what I am good at. Of course I will continue to post snippets on Facebook and pictures on Instagram. I just want to promote my writing a bit more.
Anyway that’s the plan. Plans sometimes change, my hope is these work out. I will let you know how things go.
I hope you are having a good weekend. I have finally reached 50 in this series. And I mark this occasion by posting a quick video about my favourite 30km stretch on the Camino Frances – from Burgos to Hontanas and the start of the meseta. This pilgrim even stopped at the same cafes as myself in the small towns of Tardajos and Hornillos del Camino. Check out the video.
Hontanas is not a big village, its population is less than 100 but at least you will find here three albergues. Some people prefer to walk over nine more kilometers to the bigger village of Castrojeríz as usually this stage is quite easy on the foot but most opt to stay overnight in Hontanas. My favourite albergue is the municipal at the end of the village and have always been given a warm welcome here. The main feature of the town is its church tower whose bells ring every hour on the hour. Happy sleeping.
This May will be a coast to coast Camino. I start my Camino in northern city of Ferrol on the eastern arm of the Camino Ingles. Two day of walking later, I travel to A Coruña from Betanzos. Both are known for their links to Ireland through the Camino de Santiago. From A Coruña, we (myself and my brother) walk to Finisterre via Santiago. This whole thing will probably be the hardest walk I’ve done in 3 or 4 years as I have been sticking to the well-worn ground of the Camino Frances for quite a while. So these 8 weeks are perfect to get in gear.
I hope to be in A Coruña as early as I can, which leaves me with a little time to see the city and explore. And there are a few sites that I want to see. For example:
Torre de Hércules & the statue of Breogán
María Píta Square
Castillo de San Antón
Manolo Paz’s Menhirs
After all that, I should have enough time to wash my clothes, pack my bag and get ready for the next day’s walking.
I’ve often thought of creating a YouTube channel providing helpful hints on the Camino de Santiago. YouTube is saturated with videos on the Camino, just type in the word and a long list of videos will appear in front of you. Some of them will be helpful, some will not but it is about filtering out the best and choosing the best content.
I find Beyond the Way very good, the same can be said for JohnRoyYHZ and Lindsey Cowie. There are many others in my helpful links.
I need a little practice myself though. But I suppose it gets easier over time. Maybe I’m better to stick to what I’m good at – writing. What do you think?