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!
Most years in the month of May, you would find me in Spain or Portugal walking. Not this month. Or even not this year. Instead I am looking back on old trips. I find it is a suitable replacement.
- 2011 – I was preparing for my first trip, walking from Sarria on the first week of June.
- 2012 – I was just days away from walking from Orbigo and my second encounter on the Camino Frances.
- 2013 – In a week’s time this year, I would fly out to Bilbao to walk from Logrono
- 2015 – I finished this year’s Camino in Molinaseca this year and made my way to Santiago for my flight home.
- 2018 – I made the trip to A Guarda in Portugal and walked to Santiago with my brother
- 2019 – I walked with my brother again to Ferrol and walked to Santiago and on to the coast.
I have been reliving these Caminos day-by-day with photographs on my Instagram. Feel free to join me. At present, I am looking back on my 2015 Camino to Molinaseca. Next week, I will start walking from Logrono to Leon from back in 2013.
40 days and counting…
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.
- New Podcast – Adam from England
- Weekend Watch #79 – Irish pilgrim on the Camino Francés
- This is worth waiting for…
- Video: Camino Francés 2017 Part 1
- Ideal viewing – Webinars for Planning your Camino!
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Once upon a time, in the not too distant past, I could walk 25 km-30 km a day and feel fine. Of course, I would stop for cafe con leches or cervezas, and a little snack. Walking these distances didn’t cause too much trouble for me save for a few strains in my legs or the occasional back pain. In particular, I would relish the Meseta (between Burgos and Astorga) and I suppose I still do! I have walked from the large city of Burgos to the tiny insignificant hamlet of Hontanas on two occasions; 2013 and 2015. That particular etapa (stage) is 31 km in length which may be too far for some people, however, I couldn’t get out the door of the albergue in Burgos fast enough! I thrived on it. I had music in my ears, and a spring in my step and I had a choice of beds when I arrived at my destination. People may ask me to slow down, but that’s the way I like to walk, I guess. I know of people who have walked longer, so it does depend on the person.
However, I have always wanted to bring that attitude back home. Since 2011. Walking for 25 kms a day in a beautiful country is one thing, but once I return home I drift back to the usual habits of resolutions and promises. As you know, I walked the Camino Finisterre at the start of September. It is an extension of the Camino Frances from Santiago to the coast and weighs in a 90 kms. I found this incredibly tough in stages, no matter how beautiful it is. I managed to make it to coast but I do wonder would it have been more enjoyable if I had been more Camino fit / ready. Possibly?
At present, I walk, give or take a few kms, 10 kms per week. It is recommended that if you are going to walk a Camino in the future, that you prepare. That’s not just with kit. You should be able to walk close to what you are aiming to walk on a daily basis on the Camino. Not straight away of course! But build the distance so you can manage it in Spain. It is also recommended that you carry your kit to get used to the weight.
So where does this leave me?
Well first off, I have joined a hiking group called The Challenge Hikers, a group that organise hikes in Ireland for all levels. This will be a great chance to meet people who have a love of the outdoors like me. And maybe a few of them have walked the Camino! The more km I walk at home, the easier it will be while in Spain!
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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