Camino de Santiago planning: trains, planes and routes galore

Like I’ve said in earlier posts, I’m trying to contain my planning for my upcoming Camino de Santiago in September. Before stepping foot on the path, though, there’s a lot of planning that can go into such a trip.

For my brain, this is exactly the kind of thing it loves. Research, planning, analysis, spreadsheets. It’s completely why I do what I do in my non-travel life.

Getting from Halifax to Spain and back

Given the time I’ve already spent in the area, I have a pretty good handle on the geography of Spain and the options for getting in and out of the country. For our inbound journey, we know we want to start from Madrid. It’s a nice, central entry point, and there are easy connections to Leon. On paper, it looks to be the most efficient route into our Camino adventure. However, it’s always fun to see if there are other options.

Route brainstorming

In the past, I’ve done a lot of route brainstorming. I look at a map, find the major towns and cities between my destinations and start plugging options into airfare aggregators and national train system websites. That’s how I discovered you could take a combo ferry-rail trip between Dublin and London instead of flying (but that’s a whole other trip). Continue reading

Camino de Santiago backpack fashion

I wholeheartedly accept the Camino de Santiago is not a fashion show. I’m counting on it and fully intend to disintegrate into full traveler-ragamuffin mode by Day 3 or so. After all, there’s a reason I don’t appear in any travel pictures from the end of my travels. Ragamuffin, that’s why.

That said, that doesn’t mean my backpack has to suffer. I’ve already picked up the patch of the Canadian Company of Pilgrims, and I’ll be putting it on my pack to denote both my peregrina status and my Canadianness.

Canadian Company of Pilgrims Badge

But that’s not all…  Continue reading

Venice’s floating fruit and vegetable market

Touring local markets is a highlight of any visit to a new city, and finding the markets frequented by locals is a special delight. Venice has a tremendous local market, the Rialto, with its landmark bridge and early morning/late night bar scene. It’s a lovely one, to be sure, where I got to see the morning crowd shout about football and chop up fish over the day’s fresh offerings.

However, my best find was at the base of Ponte dei Pugni, the bridge of fists, where a little vegetable barge was tied up next to the bridge on a narrow canal in the Dorsoduro sestiere or neighbourhood. 

Venice canal boat barge vegetable stand

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Bite-sized Travel’s 2nd blogiversary!

Happy blogiversary to me! Happy blogiversary to me! Two years ago today, I clicked “create” and became a travel blogger. Let us celebrate with cronuts!

Cronetto La Cornetteria Montreal
Please play along and imagine this cronetto has burning candles on it.

I had no expectations and knew next to nothing about travel blogging or travel writing. I don’t necessarily know a lot more today, but I’m continuing to work at it and seeking the balance between having a full-time job (which I like very much), having a non-paying part-time job (hint: this one) and having a life beyond both of those jobs. Continue reading

My Camino de Santiago in 2014

When I visited Spain in 2011, I immediately fell in love with the country and knew I’d return. In Madrid, I encountered a couple who had just finished their second Camino de Santiago, this time from Portugal. At the time, I knew nothing about it and asked them enough questions to know this was something I’d have to do. On the flight home, I was decided: I will walk the Camino de Santiago in 2014. On paper, it’s a big year for me. I turn 40. And while 40 is the new 29, or some hot nonsense like that, it’s also a good time for me to go somewhere I really want to go, enjoy what comes my way and meet people from all over the world while I’m doing it.

Walking, eating and meeting. This is what I want to do in 2014. As the months tick by, I’ll provide updates with my progress, planning and preparation. At best, it will be one person’s definitive guide to fulfilling her dreams. If you find it helpful, have questions, or even better, want to offer advice, let me know in the comments! Buen camino!

#caminotwits

My friend Lori and I are planning to do the Camino around the same time and have been pursuing our planning with great, shared enthusiasm. She’s also blogging her Camino prep, and we’ve created a hashtag – #caminotwits – to tag information in our Twitter conversations. Needless to say, it’s quickly becoming the theme of our adventure and a source of amusement among our friends.

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