As dance lovers, we know the importance of taking care of our feet at all times, but especially when we perform some activity that we are not used to, or if we are, that requires an extra physical effort.
Since there are many travelers that I am finding on my way and they ask me about the Camino de Santiago when I say that I am from there, and that I have done it a couple of times and also what I recommend as a trip, I have decided to write this article, although you’ll find a lot more on the internet, but it’s a way to compile here my tips, based on my experience, and on other walkers’ tips.
1. Choose the date
The best months are May and September: Nice temperature but without reaching the suffocating heat of the summer (from June to August). Low chance of rain and less agglomeration of people that summer time.
It is not recommended to do it in winter for the temperatures, Spain is not only beach, winter also arrives … and the snow, and although it can be a very nice experience, it is not the first time that pilgrims are lost in the Pyrenees, for example. So, if your only months are from November to February, choose the route well and avoid those that you have to cross mountains.
2. Choose which Camino
There are many options to reach Santiago de Compostela, and also, for those who are eager to do more, there is a path that reaches Finisterre, a town on Costa da Morte, 98 km from Santiago.
The best known and oldest way is the French way, it is probably the most transited and the most economical because it has many pilgrim hostels, but if you want to do it in July or August, you will find some trouble finding places in these hostels. But you will find also privates ones, which, even then, is usually quite cheap, between € 8 and € 15.
There is a highly recommended website, which is one of the best routes and accommodation, it is very clear and you can see the difficulties of the stages.
3. Time available
Not everyone has a month of vacations only to dedicate themselves to the Camino de Santiago, is not problem! You do not need to make the whole path, for example, I did it twice and in parts.
The most common is that people make the last stretch to reach Santiago.
The average is about 25 km a day. On the web that told you, you can see the difficulty of the stages, if there is a lot of mountain maybe that day, just 20 km and the next day if it’s an easier stage and make 30 or 35 km. If you plan to walk more than 35 km a day, we recommend that you be feet. 20 km a day are made “easy”, if you go from there, it will depend on your physical conditions. It is normal to walk between 6 to 8 hours a day, you can stop and enjoy the land scapes.
4. How to get there
When you already know the path you want to make and from where you will have to organize how to get there. In Spain there is a wide network of buses and trains, so you will have access almost anywhere from the nearest airport and then taking bus or train.
5. Pilgrim’s hostel or hotel accommodation
There are people who prefer to stay in hotels or pensions than in a pilgrim’s hostel. I recommend living the authentic pilgrim experience, and staying in the hostels, because in addition you do not have to reserve and you walked to your air and you stop wherever you like most.
But if you prefer private accommodation, then you will have to decide in advance the steps you will do each day in order to make the reservations.
6. Prepare your backpack: the least the better
After we give you a list of things that are needed, but basically the trick: put everything you want to take on the bed, and from that, only take the half.
What is advisable is that your suitcase does not exceed 10% of your weight so that you do not suffer from your joints, if you manage to weith less, then better, keep in mind that you will have to carry at least 1 liter of water, that also weighs.
Taxi mochila (backpack), for cheaters
If you have ignored the previous advice, and after two days your backpack is killing you, there are some taxi drivers who offer to take your bag to your next stop.
7. The throwaway trick
The first time I made the journey I met some guys who did the trick of wearing the shirts, the ones you use to sleep, and at night they will throw them away, the same with socks and underwear, so you won’t need to wash it and your backpack will be lighter.
I did not believe it until I tried it, but believe me it works.
You need to put it on your feet before the socks and you will not get blisters, because it prevents rubbing.
9. The Compostela
If you are one of those who like to have the memory and proof of what the Camino has done, when arriving at Santiago de Compostela you can get the official pilgrim’s diploma. You have to prove that you have done at least 100 km on foot or 200 km on a bicycle.
In any of the hostels they seel the “pilgrim credential”, which is like a passport that is going to be stamp along the way, in hostels or bars. All road routes will be valid.
Office to request La Compostela:
Rua Carretas 33 (Entrance by García Sabell)
15705 Santiago de Compostela, A Coruña
10. What to bring?
As we said earlier on this trip your feet and your back will appreciate that you carry the lighter luggage. Even so, there are things that it is better not to forget:
-Raincoat: If you do it in the recommended months or in summer, it will not be cold so it will be enough one of this that look like a rubish bag, it cost 1 euro and you will also cover the backpack.
-Compeed: This new invention of foot technology, will be very useful if you get a blister. It is a bit expensive, but it is very effective.
-Microfiber towel (the one that weighs the least)
-Flip-flops for your feet to rest from the walk when you arrive at the hostels. It is optional that you want to use them or not to shower, but your feet will appreciate that you have another change. AND THAT’S ALL … no high-heeled shoes, no extra mountain boots, or other sports shoes. In the worst case that you get wet (can happen) if it is little, they will dry at night, and if not … you can use the dryers in the hostels.
-Sleeping bag: If you decide to do it in pilgrims hostels, you will need a bag or sheets. I always opt for a small and light sleeping bag, because in some mountain places at night it refreshes, but if you are normally use to the cold, maybe enouth with a sheet sleeping bag.It will also depend on what time of year you do it.
I hope you found it useful, if you want to help us and tell us your experience, or give us more advice, go ahead traveldancer, you are welcome leave your comments.