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.
The next letter on the “Towns Along the Way” series is “E”, as there are no towns starting with “D” (I dare you to look!). There aren’t too many so here goes…working towards Santiago.
Espinal is a typical Basque village and one of the first you will encounter after leaving Roncesvalles. At this point, you have 871km left before Santiago. Its name in Basque is Aurizberri and on leaving the town you are faced with a climb to Alto Mezkiritz. While not many stop here, there are many accommodation options (www.gronze.com). I don’t remember much of this town as I had stopped in Burguette (the town previous), and was deep in conversation with newfound Camino friends!.
We meet Estella (or to give it it’s full name Estella-Lizarra) 115km from St Jean Pied de Port. Estella is also part of Navarra and has a population of over 13,000 people. On entering the town, you cross the Picudo Bridge and are greeted with the Church of San Pedro de la Rúa, a large Romanesque church. There are plenty of places to stay (www.gronze.com). I have good memories of my time here and of the Agora Hostel, a great place to stay.
Espinosa del Camino (map)
And finally, Espinosa del Camino is located about 40km (or 2 days walk) from Burgos. It is in Castille y Leon and has a population of just over 30 people. It makes a living from the Camino with a number of cafes and albergues (www.gronze.com). It was in this town that I met a good Camino friend and had a cafe con leche, only to be told I walk too fast. And that was my first day!! Above we have Albergue La Campana, a great place to stop for a rest!
With two weeks planned for a Camino in September / October 2020, the question remains what I will do for the rest of the year. I certainly won’t stay at home and I can’t see myself jetting off on another Camino (unfortunately). With many waymarked trails and pilgrim paths on my doorstep, I have a great opportunity now to walk some of these trails.
Many of these trails are a few days long and can be reached by bus or train. Accommodation is a little different here than in Spain. There are no “albergues” and it is advisable to pre-book in a bed & breakfast or a hostel. As a result, costs can be a little more expensive. This is if you want to walk by yourself. Another option is walking as part of an organised group.
The Kerry Camino (or the Dingle Way) is a 3 day walk (57km) from Tralee to Dingle in the South of Ireland. Each year, over the May bank holiday weekend, large crowds descend on Tralee to walk this pilgrimage to Dingle. I want to walk this trail but while the organised group option is great, it is not for me.
I have already looked into the Kerry Camino for the middle of May and will cost me about the same as the price of a flight! You can watch a good video on this way below.
St Kevin’s Way (30km) follows in the footsteps of St Kevin through the hills of Wicklow to the monastic ruins in Glendalough. The main start for the route is Hollywood. The route is well marked and takes you through a wide variety of landscapes as it climbs towards the Wicklow Gap. From here the descent brings you to Glendalough and monastic ruins. I have walked half of this walk on two occasions and I love it. It can be a bit tricky when it is raining but when the sun is out, there is nothing better.
St. Declan’s Way is a modern walking route linking the ancient centres of Ardmore in County Waterford and Cashel in County Tipperary. The route most commonly associated with St. Declan’s Way is 56 miles (96 kilometres) long and crosses the Knockmealdown Mountains at Bearna Cloch an Buideal (Bottleneck Pass), an elevation of 537m. St Declan’s Way Walk utilises the route of a number of ancient and medieval pilgrimage and trading routes such as the Rian Bo Phadraig (Track of St. Patrick’s Cow), Bothar na Naomh (Road of the Saints), Casan na Naomh (Path of the Saints) and St. Declan’s Road.
There are others but I’ll be realistic as I don’t have too many holidays 🙂 I can decide on others later on.
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- Lisbon – Hostel do Castelo Lisboa – map / booking
- Alverca do Ribatejo – Hospedaria Alfa 10 – map / gronze / web / fb
- Azambuja – Albergue Abrigo do Peregrino da Azambuja – map / gronze / fb
- Santarém – N1 Hostel Apartments and Suites – map / gronze / facebook / video of Santarém
- Golegã – Albergue Solo Duro – Casa da Tia Guida – map / gronze
- Tomar – Hostel 2300 Thomar – map / gronze / facebook / booking
- Alvaiázere – Albergue Pinheiro’s – map / gronze / facebook
- Rabacal – Albergue O Bonito – map / gronze / facebook
- Coimbra – Serenata Hostel – map / facebook / booking / video
- Sernadelo – Albergue-Residencial Hilário – map / gronze / facebook
- Agueda – Albergue de peregrinos Santo António – map / gronze / facebook / video
- Porto – Hotel Poveira – map / booking
Standouts for me were the albergues in Tomar, Alvaiázere and Rabacal. Most were small, offered meals or had a restaurant nearby. They catered to the pilgrim, very much like any of the albergues on the Camino Frances.
The accommodation in Lisbon and Porto were booked before I made the trip. I stayed in every other place on a whim. And this was a joy for me!
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
Clearskies Camino on YouTube
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