The Camino to Santiago

The 790km pilgrimage from St Jean Pier de Port to Santiago

  • The Camino to Santiago

    What to take on the Camino to Santiago?

    What to take for a 800km walk, in one backpack? One thing is almost certain – what you start with is not what you will end with. Camino albergues are littered with discarded gear. Some depends on what you normally use. Do you walk in shorts? Pants? Whatever. Take it, but just make it light. Some depends on whether you are carrying your pack. There are excellent services that will pick up and deliver your pack every day. Your accommodation will sort this out for you for about 3 euro a day. This post is probably not for you, unless you get unlucky… No, this post is for the people…

  • The Camino to Santiago

    My pack and me – an uneasy relationship

    What should I take for the Camino? This exercised my mind in the few weeks I had to prepare. A lot. And, it also exercises the mind of most people before they go – judging from the internet. Also a lot. I decided I would carry my pack, even though a bag toting service was available. Anyway, I hadn’t much time so I stuck to basics. I hardly ever check bags so it all had to weight less than 7kg. This was in line with internet advice which said to carry no more than 10% of body weight. For me, this meant 6 to 6.5kg was optimal. When I left…

  • The Camino to Santiago

    Beguiling Burgos

      Burgos turned out to be a pretty decent place to be unwell for a few days. I now think of my first Camino as ‘before Burgos” and “after Burgos”. After taxi-ing through from Santo Domingo, I holed up in a cheapish place right in the historical centre – the creaking Hotel Norte y Londres with its ancient plumbing and intimidating wooden furniture. Not that I saw much of the historical centre for the first few days. The main attraction here was the bakery within a 100m walk of the hotel’s front door. Luckily I had brought a small medical pack from New Zealand, including antibiotics for respiratory infections from…

  • The Camino to Santiago

    The Camino Cough – it got me!

    Yes it happened. I got sick. Very sick. Too sick to carry on. So what’s it like being sick on the Camino? The short answer is miserable. The long answer is interesting. Because you’re a long way from home. And on a mission. But you can’t get ahead with walking 20 plus km a day, or even do much at all. So the fretting kicks in. About getting it done and wasting time. And you’ve got a lot of time to think. That’s why it’s miserable. And interesting. And very very challenging. But the truth is the Camino stretches us. It needles our weak spots. Be they feet, tendons, muscles…

  • The Camino to Santiago

    Days 1 and 2 – St. Jean to Roncevalles

    Twenty five kilometers over the Pyrenees is no joke under any circumstances. Add a 8kg pack, no training and jet lag and it’s bad! A few weeks before leaving I’d decided to stay over halfway at Orisson and got booked into their overflow gite at Kayola. Turned out to be a good choice, considering. The first few kms out of St Jean aren’t too bad. Plenty of undulating hills through green fields and guest houses. Then, suddenly, a few hundred meters before the hotel at Honnto, everything changes. A do-able walk becomes a very very steep uphill climb. With my pack and my fitness (both bad) a pleasant walk quickly…

  • The Camino to Santiago

    I’m doing the Camino

    My Camino to Santiago starts in about 30 minutes. My pack is packed. My passport and money are in place. This is really happening! Until today, preparations involved booking a one way ticket to Paris, lying on the couch reading a book on what to take (half-way) and another book on how it changed someone’s life. Also trawling the one-and-only Trademe, New Zealand’s iconic online shopping destination, for gear, which turned up the perfect now packed pack. No training has been done… So my Camino starts here in Wellington, through Auckland, Shanghai, Paris and on. Truly expecting to get lost. Or eaten by wolves.