26 days to go…

26 days until Camino numero siete. I can’t wait…no, literally! This feeling doesn’t get old.

And naturally enough, I want to bring you along with me…well, not carry you, but you know what I mean! I hope to write about my 2 weeks away and I hope it will be useful to most of you. But I won’t be doing that while in Spain. No, I plan to start writing when I touch back home in Dublin. The blog will be barren for a number of weeks from the start of September, but I hope you understand. The goal is to journal (write with a pen!!) while abroad and use those thoughts as part of my posts. So I don’t want to keep you out of the loop! No, quite the opposite!!

I will be posting quite a few photos of interest while on the Camino on Instagram (@clearskiescamino) and the occasional post on my Facebook group page. So if you want to follow me while I walk and you use either Instagram or Facebook, add me on either. Or even both if you wish :). If not, I hope you don’t mind sticking around until the 16th of September when I start to process my thoughts.

I’ll write more until I go on the 4th. Until then, Buen Camino!

A Countdown of sorts…

So in my previous post, I mentioned that I had 126 days to wait until I boarded my flight to Madrid. To fill in that gap, I have started a countdown of sorts over on my instagram account. Every day up to my day of departure, I will post a photo from a previous Camino…a memory. I’ve even created a hashtag to celebrate this event: #125daycountdown.

Anything to pass the time eh? 🙂

The Best of 2016 – Instagram

instagram-v051916_200Instagram is officially defined as an online mobile photo-sharing, video-sharing, and social networking service that enables its users to take pictures and videos, and share them either publicly or privately on the app. It is increasingly being used to share photos from everywhere around the world and about a whole host of subjects, including the Camino de Santiago. There are many people who use the service to share photos with friends and family while walking the Camino. However, with the growing popularity of the routes in Spain, more are using Instagram to gather information or fill the gap before they return on another Camino.

At the end of last year, I wrote about my favourite accounts but I suppose now I want to update and expand a bit on those favourites. You should click on the below links and have a browse some of their photos. Instagram is a completely free site and I suppose the only downside is you may want to buy some airline tickets to Spain once you have finished.

In no particular order:

Robb Mac – An Australian who says that the Camino is her beautiful obsession

Andrew Suzuki – Andrew is a filmmaker, photographer, philosophiser and pilgrim. Most of all he is the creator of the Beyond the Way documentary.

followingthearrows  – Kat Davis is a serial walker, pilgrim, thru-hiker, adventure-seeker & blogger.

followtheyellowarrow – Micah walked the Camino Frances in June 2016 and recently created a dedicated Instagram account about the Camino. He has already built up a large following.

paulwalshpilgrim – Paul has uploaded a large number of photos depicting my walk across France and Spain.You can find out more information of his photo project on www.paulwalshphotography.co.uk

setmeravelles – I know Pablo through this blog. While his Instagram is not dedicated to the Camino, all his photos are taken in Spain. He has also recently walked a portion of the Camino Norte. His blog is at www.setmeravelles.com.

donalomahony – Donal is a fellow Irishman and loves the Camino, just like myself. He has taken many photos of his times on the Camino from 2013 to 2016.

caminomyway – This was actually the first account I followed way back in 2012. Randall is author of Camino De Santiago In 20 Days. He uses his Instagram to share photos of his country Canada as well as of his time in Spain.

caminodesantiagopage – Run by pilgrim Jess Bowenn, this account has a massive 22,000 followers. It is a veritable “Best of” from the Camino. Jess offers users to message her with a photo and it will be displayed on this page.

walktosantiago –  I know little of this man’s Camino, but he has a large following. He has taken some special photos, with great use of colour.

wisepilgrimguides – The creator of the Wise Pilgrim mobile guide, however, he uses his account to take black and white portrait pictures for pilgrims on their final day into Santiago.

everystepcounts2016 – Viktor walked from Sweden to Spain (over 3000km) for a number of charities. Overall, close on €10,000 was raised after arriving in Finisterre in September. You can follow his trip here.

iperegrinos – Another account showing the best of the Way of St. James.

throughthearrows – Photos of a Spanish couple walking the Camino Norte in the middle of 2016.

Ivar Rekve – Owner of www.caminodesantiago.me and resident of Santiago. His photostream makes me want to pack my bags and move to Santiago.

pilgrimhousesdc – And finally, photos from Terra Nova Pilgrim House in Santiago. Pop in if you are around. Their website is www.pilgrimhousesantiago.com/blog.

And don’t forget you can view my photos at www.instagram.com/clearskiescamino.

Instagram – Some of my favourite Camino accounts

instagram-logo-icon-2Whenever I am not crossing Spain by foot, I am vicariously following other peregrinos as they make their way to Santiago. Some go to great lengths writing large blogs about each day (I can be guilty of this), while others like to capture a moment in a picture. Instagram is one of the best mobile photo and video-sharing and social networking services out there and are used by many to do the latter. I love to check in on those who are walking and see how they are getting on.

I’ve made a list of some of my favourite users who are either dedicated to the Camino de Santiago or who have walked the Camino and posted their pictures. There are a few on the list in Spain as I post.

I am also an instagram user and have uploaded pictures while walking. You can follow me at instagram.com/clearskiescamino

2015…what’s to come?

I still find it hard to believe that I will be returning to Spain for the 5th time next year. I keep getting asked that there must be other things I could do or places I could visit, but as long as I enjoy walking, I’ll keep making plans to return. I love the Spanish people, the culture, their way of life and also meeting people from different corners of the world. I hope to start in Belorado in the first week of May. From there, I will walk from 11 days. I would hope to reach Ponferrada within that time. I then hope to catch a bus to Santiago de Compostela, stay a night and fly home to Dublin. It all looks well and good on paper, you know?, but I have found Astorga to Ponferrada to be the most challenging section. I picked up some bad blisters there in 2012. However, I think I stand to gain from walking the full Camino before.

I don’t have flights booked as of yet but hope to do so over the Christmas period. I have kept in touch with my friend Garry in Santiago (check out his site www.spanishadventures.com) and I may meet him and his family, provided he is not walking with a group. I won’t blog during this Camino but I will continue to post pictures to my instagram and facebook accounts while I am there.

And just to finish off this post, why not “like” my facebook page here?

Buen Camino!


So what have I been up to lately?

It is a week now since I took my first “pre-Camino” walk. Afterwards, I developed a pain at the back of my legs, my calves. It has long gone away but I’m left wondering if that was down to lack of practice or something else. I had planned to take a trip out to Howth Head, not far from me, but the cloud was pretty low of it’s cliffs and I didn’t want to leave anything to chance. So I may do that tomorrow as I need to walk more. I am simply not prepared and I am afraid of tearing something half way up the Pyrenees. Anyway, I have a good 40 days to think about that.

As you know, I have 11 days of walking ahead of me, and would like to get to Belorado to catch a bus to Bilbao. That is 210km approx and in 11 days, that is beyond do-able. I’ve walked that in 9 days before. So if I find myself passing Belorado, and I have a day or two to spare, I might catch a bus to Burgos and get a bus to Bilbao from there.

When I was away last week, I shredded the bottoms of my trousers. They look pretty nasty. A new pair will cost €80 (yeah, I know!!) so I used my diy skills and turned them up! Da dah good as new!!

Work has calmed down a little bit over the last few weeks so I haven’t been working as late as before.

Oh..if you have an instagram account, make sure you search under the #caminodesantiago hashtag. There are many many people on the trail as we speak and they are posting bucketloads of photos. It’s great to see the places I have been or (in my case) see some places, I will be in a few weeks. One guy I am “following” is in O Cebreiro, another is in Burgos and another is in Lorca. I am on instagram myself and I will be posting some photos also. You can find me under the username of david.clearskies.

That’s all the news for the time being.