Download our Camino de Santiago FAQ
I’m beginning to understand why people return to Spain to walk the Camino de Santiago more than once. When we reached Santiago, the end of our journey, I was beyond exhausted and thought to myself, okay, that was a once-in-a-lifetime experience.
Jump to the PDF: Camino de Santiago FAQ
I Understand the Desire
Grateful for completing the journey I couldn’t even begin to think about walking it more than once. When Abi suggested maybe one day we’d return to walk the meseta, I thought he was out of his mind. I still have no intention of walking again, but now I think I understand the desire.
Once we stopped walking my Camino aches and pains faded away, but I lost a toenail while walking and another is still partially bruised. I suspect it’s permanent. I actually don’t mind though, I see them as badges of honor; after all my feet carried me 350 miles. But why subject myself to such a grueling task a second time?
Surviving Each Day
Here’s what I think. The first time you walk – although it seems painfully long – it actually passes by pretty damn quickly. You’re so focused on surviving each day, making it to each destination and getting up each morning to do it all over again, it’s possible that something was missed along the way. We gave as much time to each day as we could. However, there are only so many hours in a day. Between the two of us we probably took well over 1,000 photos. As I look through them I can barely remember being there.
Our Camino de Santiago FAQ Guide
Seriously, I don’t see us walking the Camino a second time, but I could be swayed to take on another trek. Somewhere reasonably flat that doesn’t leave me feeling as if I gave birth to a mountain. And, if there is someone to transport our packs for us, all the better. Maybe then.
Update: April 2019 we walked 145 miles from Porto to Santiago and it was an excellent adventure.
In the meantime though, for those of you who are dreaming of walking the Camino de Santiago – or if you are just interested to read more about our Camino – we’ve put together a detailed FAQ guide of our experience to share with you. Our 15-page free download offers detailed practicalities not included in our real time posts.
We’ve shared our itinerary and our list of accommodations, as well as pilgrim tidbits, for you to use as a source of reference while planning your Camino.
Never Say Never
Walking the Camino de Santiago was by far the most exciting, challenging, breathtaking, exhausting, and pain inducing but fabulously rewarding, travel experience to date. I think it would be hard to top it. Although, I just learned of the European Peace Walk and it’s on my radar! Never say never, right?!
Here is our 15-page free download.
The Camino really is a special track. I walked it in 2000. At that time it was just becoming popular, so I guess I was lucky enough to walk without too many people. Just on the second day in Roncesvalles I met a woman from South Africa who was at the beginning of a one year trip and we walked together to Santiago and on the Finisterre. And we are still friends today – she lives in Sweden meanwhile.
Thank you for sharing your Camino story, Natascha. I love hearing about people’s experience. Our Camino only became crowded after leaving Sarria, then it was a whole new journey. The first 2/3’rds of our walk, we often had to the Camino to ourselves, which was fabulous.
This is so true! We are planning our 4th Camino now it’s amazing and somehow a magnetic thing. Just do it!
Fantastic! We’ve walked two Caminos and we’d be up to take on a 3rd. Walk on!
Hello! I haven’t read your guide yet, but just reading through these comments gives me hope that my dream will come true next year for my 70 birthday. I will be walking alone as my sweet hubby has no interest at all. I love all my creature comforts here at home and I wonder if I’ll be able to manage without them. But that is the whole point, right? Putting myself out there and just doing it! I plan to use a tour company to transport my larger pack and just carry a daypack. Giving myself 45 days from May to June. Right now I’m just soaking up as much information as I can. Your guide will be helpful. Thank you!
Hello Marcia! Thank you so much for the kind feedback and sharing your Camino dream! You can do it! It will be the most challenging while wonderfully awe-inspiring experience of your life! Feel free to reach me directly if you have any questions or concerns, I love chatting about the Camino and sharing what we learned along the way. There is a fantastic documentary, “Walking the Camino: Six Ways to Santiago” if you can I highly encourage you to watch it.
http://caminodocumentary.org/ I wrote a review of the documentary as well, and I posted on our site in real time as we walked. Everything can be found in the archives (right side bar of the home page) under Camino de Santiago. Buen Camino!
Estelle, it’s funny you mention these dreams of walking a Camino. We met a Dutch woman, Karla, who was in her 60s and walking the Camino alone. She told us she had had dreams of walking a long road in the previous year while taking care of her ill husband. Finally, she told he husband about the dreams. He surprised her by saying it was a sign that she must walk the Camino. With the full support of the husband and sons, she ventured out on the Camino. Afraid at first, she slowly settled in and became more and more confident. Karla radiated happiness and she was a joy to be with and to know.
I take my hat off to you Patti & Abi. To walk the Camino de Santiago and loose a toenail & possibly permant damage to another – and still do another Camino (even if shorter)!!!! I love hiking. However these days I have to be careful about my toenails! What is it about toenails as we age? Anyway, at times I’ve had vague DREAMS of walking a Camino. Now I believe it’s really a dream. But, I have to say I love your spirit and inspiration.
Thank you, Estelle. Guess what? The toenail grew back and all 10 are alive and well. Ha! Ha! I learned so much on our first Camino that I didn’t have any problems on the Camino Portuguese. Well, I had heat rash on both feet on the last day but I believe that was because it was our longest day of walking and a big part of it was working on asphalt on a hot day. When we walked the Camino Francis we met SO many Australians out for what you call a walk-about. They loved it and I think you would too. The thing to remember is that you can make it your own. You can walk it in 30, 45, 60 days. It doesn’t matter. Dreams do come true so never say never, right?!
Thanks Patti. Unless you’ve done the Camino, it’s difficult to explain to others what it’s like. That’s why it is so nice to have found you all. In fact, your FAQ sheet will come in handy as a talking point in a newspaper interview tomorrow–I used to be a contributor (travel) to the Suffolk County News in Long Island for about 20 years. We’re on to discuss the book and I am going to have the FAQ sheet at my side as a talking point! I’ll let you know hot it goes. Ken
Yes, completely agree about having to walk the walk to talk the talk. It’s somewhat like a secret club. Ha! Ha! I’m glad you find our FAQ so helpful. We’d appreciate a shout out if you use the FAQ in interviews and such. Buen Camino!
Patti, you’ve done a fabulous job here. That is a great FAQ sheet you put together. And I wish I had had something like that before my wife and I hiked the Camino Frances from May to June last year. I absolutely smiled widely to see the Elevation maps–they caused us such anxiety especially for me with a bum knee!
By the way, just this week my first book was published on Amazon “It’s Your Camino:One Couple’s 500-mile Pilgrimage Across Spain.” After I got back from Spain, I locked myself up in my room for a few months and wrote the darned thing. Now it’s out of my system and I can go on to another book–totally unrelated to the Camino. Hey, but enough of me. Bravo for the FAQ and I look forward to read your wonderful blogs.
Kenneth Strange recently posted…Is the Camino Dangerous?
Hello Kenneth! Thanks for stopping by and for the positive feedback about our FAQ. Congratulations on your book. I love reading the stories of others who’ve walked the Camino. I’ll click over and check it out. Buen Camino!
Thank you I am planning my pilgrimage. But this was hard to read. Words on right were cut off and unable to find 15 free pages on right where?
Hello Liza. Our PDF is in format, so I’m not sure why you’re not seeing the right margin. Also, on our home page – in the middle box – you can find a quick link to download our FAQ Guide. I hope you do make your pilgrimage, walking the Camino is an outstanding experience.
Greetings, This is the most complete and honest report on the Camino I have read. Well done! I am unlikely to ever walk it myself but reading about it and “Pretend Planning” is a lot of fun! Thank you for your generosity.
Thanks,Vicki,for the positive feedback of our Camino FAQ guide. If you ever do decide to walk, if even part of it, feel free to reach out. I love talking about the Camino.
I’ve been walking the cliffs near our home in Lagos (to drop the pounds from our recent visit in the US) and, as I go up and down the hills, I keep thinking about the Camino which has been a dream of mine, ever since I first heard of it. I have the perfect places to practice and get in shape here in Portugal so one of these days I just may go for it! In the meantime, I’m going to download your e-book and peruse your blogs. Thanks Patti and Abi!
Anita @ No Particular Place To Go recently posted…Don’t Know Much About Art But We Know What We Like: The Grounds For Sculpture
Hey Anita, that’s so exciting! I hope you find our FAQ helpful as we worked diligently to think of every tip we could, but don’t hesitate to reach out if you need more information!
What a beautiful city.
Hey, Meagan, thanks for stopping by! There are so many beautiful stops along the Camino.
I never, ever say “never”! Well, maybe once or twice. 🙂 What a fantastic experience you had and your comprehensive guide will be a big help to others, I’m sure. Who knows? I might take the walk sometime myself and your practical tips will be much appreciated.
Cathy Sweeney recently posted…Tasting Montana, One Town at a Time: Bozeman
Never say never! 🙂 You’re an adventurous woman, go for it!
Hi Patti, I’ve downloaded your Camino FAQ and enjoyed reading it. Fantastic resource and I will save it for when I do the Camino, although no plans to do it in the near future, I will definitely like to do it one day. Amazing that you managed to keep blogging all the way and now you can look back and remind yourselves of what you have achieved. For the future I will suggest for you to walk the Coastal Path here in the South of England, I have only done small bits of it, but can recommend it, since it is very beautiful.
Gilda Baxter recently posted…Glamping at Cheddar Gorge, England
We would love to visit England, Gilda. It’s been nearly 30 years since I was last there and Abi has never been. There’s so much to see and I’d love to visit Cornwall. I took a look at the Coastal Path and it’s look beautiful! Will definitely put that on our list! I’m glad you enjoyed reading the FAQ, it was fun to write because it made me reflect on our Camino.
We will love to host you here at our house in the South of England and you can start your Coastal Path walk from our home town of Poole in Dorset. Would love to meet you and Abi.
Gilda Baxter recently posted…Glamping at Cheddar Gorge, England
What a sweet invitation, Gilda! Thank you. You just may find us at your door one day!
I must admit, when I first heard that you wanted to walk the Camino, I thought—the girl is crazy. But now that I have experienced this adventure vicariously through you, I think it would be a wonderful thing to do. I might be able to do the walk if someone could carry my stuff, but not with a pack. Is there anything like that? And I would need a lot more days of rest. I know the places on my feet that would blister, so there would have to be time for healing built into the experience.
But I am so proud of you. You did the Camino!
Yes. There are backpack taxis and there is a section in our FAQ download that talks about the taxis in detail. I’m pretty proud of us too!
Think about the Milford Track in New Zealand — a guided hike—only 35 miles, 1 mountain pass, but no technical climbing. If you can do El Camino, you could do it.
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I will definitely keep that in mind, although we’ve been to New Zealand and I’m not sure we’ll return as it is SO far. Never say never though!
It’s possible that next year I will need a really good challenge, after some enforced inactivity, and I was thinking that the Camino may be it. I will certainly download your guide, thank you! The thing I always wonder, and it is the thing which strikes me forcibly reading this, is why the hurry? Is that just a hiking thing? I hike, but I slow hike to take in everything. Is there anything to stop me from doing the Camino that way? Even stopping a day or two if I take a liking to somewhere specific? I realize the accommodations are only overnight, but if one could find a rural hotel or B&B, is that practical or frowned on?
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It is not frowned on at all! You can walk the Camino at your pace! 30 days or 3 months, it’s completely up to you. We met many pilgrims who had no specific time frame, they just walked as much or as little as they wanted to each day. The albergues are single night stays, but there may be more than 1 albergue in a village so you can just switch. We stayed in casa rurals, pensions, B&B’s, hostals, etc., and you can stay as many nights as you’d like. We walked for 30 days and we enjoyed 5 rest days (we did not walk the meseta) and although we had a few long days, it felt like a good pace for us and we did not feel hurried.
Hi Patti! what a wonder gift to your readers to produce a download That is just so generous of you both…………..and you know I have a sneaking suspicion that just maybe you’ll set off again one day. until then enjoy your next adventure 🙂
Thanks Christine! I still want to make it to Cornwall!