Having now completed two Caminos, I’m not sure I’m any wiser about the pilgrim experience, but I have lots more information to share about how to get the most out of the experience.
My Caminho Portugues experience (2017)
In September 2017, I walked 250 km from Porto, Portugal to Santiago de Compostela, Spain on the Caminho Portugues. Portugal has many Camino routes, and I varied my Camino experience by starting on the Coastal Route (seaside walk – Senda Littoral), then crossing over to the Central route.
My Camino de Santiago packing list: what worked, what didn’t (2017 edition)
Caminho Portugues planning resources (PDF download from a presentation I gave in November 2017)
Crossing from the Coastal route to the Central route
Comparing the Caminho Portugues and the Camino Francès
My Caminho Portugues: Day by day
My Camino Francès experience (2014)
In September 2014, I walked 330 km from Leon to Santiago de Compostela on the Camino Francès.
My Camino de Santiago packing list: what worked, what didn’t (2014 edition)
Keeping your critical gear dry (Jim Wood’s Base Camp)
My 2014 Camino Francès in Pictures
Day 0: Arriving in Leon
Day 9: Fonfria to Samos (20km)
Day 10: Samos to Barbadelo (22km)
Day 11: Barbadelo to Portomarin (19km)
Day 13: Palas de Rei to Boente (22km)
Day 14: Boente to O Pedrouzo (29km)
There are lots of ways to prepare for the Camino. Physically, you simply can’t be too prepared. It’s not “just walking,” it’s long days of walking in often challenging conditions. Endurance and stamina, with lots core strength will be what gets you through 30+ km days. Liking walking is a good start, but only part of the equation.
It’s helpful to look through a guidebook or check out a few other accounts of other people’s experiences, but don’t overload on them before you go. Two reasons. First, knowing too much about what to expect reduces the thrill of discovery along the way. Second, you’re going to walk your own Camino, and your experiences will be very unique to your situation, the (literal and figurative) path you take, and the people (good, bad, and indifferent) you meet along the way. Just let things happen – you’re going to be fine.
Your Camino de Santiago tips, questions, comments & more
The floor is open. I am happy to receive any tips, advice, dining suggestions, comments and more. Fire away in the comments or tweet me at @bitesizedtravel!