All posts by kristaspurr

Food, wine, epic treks and travel adventures at home and abroad

Guest post: Lashauna and Lauren’s first trip in New York

Krista: Hello friends! I’m giving you a break from the onslaught of Camino de Santiago posts to share a guest post from my friend Lashauna and her twin sister Lauren, who recently traveled to New York for the first time. Since NYC is one of my favourite places, I always love to others’ impressions and suggestions for other first-timers. 

L& L’s NYC IMPRESSIONS: WHAT WAS GOOD? WHAT WAS NOT?

Lauren and I took our first trip to New York City on Canadian Thanksgiving Weekend 2014. Here is a quick review of our Top 5 highlights from the City that Never Sleeps.

1. TOP OF THE ROCK – ROCKEFELLER CENTRE

If there is one thing I despise, it’s spending time in very long lines. In terms of options for viewing NYC from above, there are two main options: Empire State Building or Rockefeller Centre Observation Deck (Top of the Rock). Top of the Rock was definitely a good choice. When you buy a ticket, you choose a specific entry time. Show up at time of entry. Get whisked through security and into an elevator to the 66th floor. The total time between arrival and reaching the 66th floor was approximately 15 minutes. We were very impressed with the courtesy and efficiency of the Top of the Rock employees as well.

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Budget and expenses: The cost of the Camino de Santiago

One question pops up frequently on the forums: “How much does the Camino de Santiago cost?”  and it’s a good one. However, there’s no really easy answer because it depends.
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Budget for the Camino de Santiago

Your budget for the Camino should account for most of these factors:

  • Length of trip
  • Style of accommodations: from municipal albergues  and donativos to casa rurales and hotels, the options and costs vary wildly. (Donativo/€5 to €50-60/night)
  • Food and beverage intake
  • Donativos
  • Additional transportation if you  take the train or bus to jump ahead. (Research train costs on RENFE, bus costs on ALSA)
  • Backpack transportation if you send your backpack ahead. The daily rate is about €7 a day from St Jean to Sarria, then  €3-4 a day from Sarria to Santiago de Compostela.
  • First aid/medical care: plan to buy additional bandages, tape and mystery potions, hope for the best.
  • Contingency for unanticipated expenses, souvenirs and anything else you purchase along the way

Jacotrans backpack mochila transport

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My Camino de Santiago packing list: what worked, what didn’t

I’ve talked about my love/obsession with packing lists in the past and planning for the Camino is no exception. I worked on my packing list for months, diligently researching, reading the forums, learning from the successes and mistakes of others. While the starting point for this list was the one I’ve been using for years, it was enhanced and improved by the steady stream of packing information that flows through the Camino forums and the many knowledgeable people I’ve met in real life and through social media who are pilgrims, outdoorspeople, packing enthusiasts and many, many more.

Backpack in Hospital de Orbigo

I also tried to approach this list by identifying the needs that would have to be met during my journey. A Maslow’s packing pyramid, if you will! My conclusion: feet, hydration, protection from the elements, sleep, food, finances. Then, secondarily, navigation, ease of travel, memory retention.

Here is the result, my packing list and post-Camino thoughts on how much I used a particular item and whether I’d take again next time (BREAKING NEWS: there will be a next time.)

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A one-day Paris itinerary, or, “What I did on my Paris vacation”

I’m surprised by the number of search hits I get from visitors using suspiciously long search terms like: “What I saw in Paris vacation” or “Paris vacation homework.” As a former overachiever, the thought of someone using my blog to do their homework for them bothers me. If you are doing this, I hope my Paris posts remind you of the good times you had on your trip and inspire you to work hard and stay in school so you can make a good living and travel much, much more.

Paris Pont Alexandre III Eiffel Tower

Teachers who found this post by searching “What I did on my Paris vacation,” welcome! I’m so happy to have you here and I don’t want your students borrowing liberally from blog posts either!  Continue reading