Weekend Watch #54 – Camino de Santiago – The Journey

It’s the weekend again and boy! did that week go quick!

But not to worry, we have a great Weekend Watch for you. It comes from Efren, who has been creating Camino videos over on YouTube for months following a Camino Frances. He has now started a Camino Norte followed by a stint on the Primitivo to Santiago.

This video just sums up the Camino. It is pure joy. Plus it has one of my favourite artists “Woodkid” as music. The drone footage is fantastic! Enjoy!

For more great videos, check out the Archives.

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Just a few last things to do..

The bag is packed, I’m ready to go………ok! enough of the singing! The neighbours will start to complain.

But I am pretty much ready. I bought a new Samsung phone charger cable, walking trousers and a few items to restock my first aid kit during the week. So I am set. And forgive me if Europe is down with Brexit-flu, I’m a little bit high at the moment. I guess that’s what a Camino does to you. Even if it’s a short Camino. I have even bought a EU patch from Amazon to attach to my backpack.

Breoghan & the Tower of Hercules in A Coruna

I will be walking from Maynooth College on April 13th to Dublin along the Royal Canal Greenway. If you have an instagram account, why don’t you check out my photographs on that day and follow me. This should serve as good practice before I head back out to Spain. And if you live in the Dublin region, you are more than welcome to join me.

There are so many people I want to meet / see again in Spain when I return. Santiago is a vibrant city full of pilgrims and people that help pilgrims and even though I won’t be there for a full day, I plan to make the most of it before I walk to Finisterre.

2020

I have also been thinking ahead to 2020 and potential Camino plans. St. Jean popped into my mind for some reason last week and I began watching many various videos on YouTube of the town. I was there last in 2014 and loved my stay there. I want to go back, so maybe next year,

Clearskies Camino

This website will be going through some changes shortly, but I promise to make things as unnoticeable as possible. Please stay in your seats. 😉

I’ll be back before I go. Keep the kettle on!

For those on the Camino Ingles shortly…

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.

Betanzos – Igrexa de San Fransisco

When your Mind is on the Camino but your Feet aren’t..

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?

Get walking..

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.

Independent.ie

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.

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Weekend Watch #51 – Camino Frances from Sarria

This Weekend Watch falls on St. Patrick’s weekend and it has a distinct Irish feel to it. Not only does the video show a good part of Galicia, Ireland’s unofficial fifth province, but this pilgrim arrived at A Coruña before making his way to Sarria where he started his Camino. I look forward to seeing Breoghan and the Tower of Hercules in May. In the meantime, enjoy Galicia through this video.

To watch other Weekend Watches, check out my archives

Weekend Watch #50 – Burgos to Hontanas

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.

For more Camino related videos, check out my Archives.

8 weeks and counting

So the 7th of May can’t come quick enough. I’ve been secretly counting down since I came home from Burgos, but let’s keep that between us.

We are not yet into Camino season but already, the number receiving the Compostela in Santiago is rising. I wonder what May will be like. But this time I will walking a relatively quieter route. Just like last year.

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.

Aerial view of the Hercules´Tower in the coast of Coruña, Galicia, Spain.

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
  • Paseo Marítimo
  • María Píta Square
  • Museo Domus
  • 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.