The Santiago de Compostela
The way of the St. James,
For Hiking Enthusiasts
If you are a hiking enthusiast, retired, want an adventure that will last anywhere from 30 to 40 days, that is safe, may I suggest the Camino De Santiago.I guarantee not only will it be the most adventurous trip of a life time, but the most economic trip you will endure coming home with stories to last a life time. You can walk, ride a bicycle, or horse the entire way from the border of France and finishing at the border of Portugal.
It is recommended to start at St. Jean Pied De Port. Once you get there you will want to look for the Alburgue to attain a Pilgrim Credential passport. This little booklet is presented to each Alburgue that you stay in and they stamp it so when you reach Compostela, you will be presenting your credential passport to the church where it will be verified and you will receive a diploma for your journey.
I started my journey on “the way” on April 21, 2010, in Pamplona Spain. I was to meet up with an old friend and we were to hike the Camino together, however, that is not how it turned out. Instead of flying back to the United States, I chose to walk the Camino alone.
I couldn’t speak the language, but somehow was able to communicate. Every morning I got up at 0600 a.m. hours, rolled up my sleeping bag, placed my laundry I had washed by hand the night before into my back pack, brush my teeth and set out to walk to the next village where I would be able to get coffee and bread. That is their breakfast. After breakfast I would walk two or three more villages before reaching my final destination for the evening. By 2 pm I would be at my final destination, checking in with the hostelero of the Alburgue, taking a nap, and then looking for dinner before the day ended. Dinner was the only time you could get cooked food, breakfast and lunch was typically bread and coffee, and you only got one cup of coffee, nothing fancy like Starbucks.
The Alburgue’s were co-ed. They were dormitory style with bunk beds. I never saw a Alburgue that was unclean, and coming from me that says a lot because I am obsessive about cleanliness. Snoring in the dorms was a major factor, you had a choice of ear plugs; for me, it became a soothing way to fall asleep. The cost of the Alburgue’s were anywhere from donation to 6 euros, which was about zero to nine dollars.
Before going on this wild adventure, I had done a lot of research. You will find stories on the internet of people who had expectations of some life changing experience or event to happen to them, and then were disappointed when nothing life changing happened to them. I went on this adventure without any expectations and found my journey to be extremely fulfilling because I had opened myself up to meet whatever challenge would present itself.
I walked the Camino in tennis shoes. I did get one really bad blister on my right foot 4th toe that caused me to lose the nail, which grew back, but other than that I was totally healthy. The hardest part about travelling on the Camino alone was the solitude as it was unbearing, because communicating was difficult, but that is part of “the way”.
I was happy to get on the plane and return to the United States because no matter how tough it gets here in the USA, we all speak the same language and food is abundant.