So you think you might want to hike the Camino? Let me help you, por favor.
by Captain Bradley
Just read. Read a year before. Read that entire year. Read on the plane. I bought four of the best books I thought Amazon could produce and each offered good to great advice. The best, by far, was the upbeat, practical, and even mystical back-pocket sized book of all Camino books…
Looks a little rough. You bet. If I wore you out for two weeks straight, you might not look too good either. This was my Camino bible.
Next, what to pack. Quick dry shirts (Patagonia or Mtn Harware), same in shorts (Columbia , Marmot, Mtn Harware, Patagonia), and underwear (Ex-officio only) work the best. Just 2-4 of each depending on your laundry accessibility. I took 5 of everything , which was too much. Lesson learned. Oh, and hankies. It’s our family thing. But I used a lot of handkerchiefs on the Camino. A sun blocking Columbia hat too. Where did all of my stuff go …
…my Osprey 24liter backpack. Light, compact, fits easily on planes and trains. Held more than I needed for the Camino, plus strapped a water bottle, my back-up Keens, and a bottle opener to it. No problem.
No trekking poles for me. Too noisy. Not physically helpful to me. Just adding tap dancing to a peaceful hike.
Most important items of all:
Great wool socks (SmartWool or Wigwam, my choice) that may claim to be “blister-free”..and they almost were. But those dry socks with these big ol’Keens…
No running. Just walking and hiking. Unless… cervesas are up ahead.
(Yawning my head off…I’ll finish this tomorrow)
I’m back. You know Ameican influence has reach Madrid when..
Sure, bring all of the toiletries you think you need, but my toothbrush, floss, comb, gel, soap, shampoo, quick-dry towel , and deoderant all fit nicely.
Lastly, bring plenty of euros and your wifi capable smartphone and you will be set, with Camino bible as your ultimate guide to each day’s landmarks & destinations.
Lastly, for real this time, bring a best friend or loved one to share this journey with and remember forever. I’ve been on Dad-daughter adventures to our known places of NYC and Pass-a-Grille, but never two weeks plus into the unknown. If you just want to be alone, I guess it’s possible. Come to the Camino alone and you will meet a wide spectrum of characters, 99% well-educated Spaniards, French, German, Italian, or Canadian. We Americans are rarely seen or heard on the Camino, at least during our two weeks in July. And it was wonderful. One retired steel mill fella from Ohio, who strongly resembled Santa Claus, was the loudest person at each cafe’ stop. His vast knowledge of everything reminded me of my Dad.
Go do it, if you like. Alone or not, you’ll never really be alone. You will be with various “pilgrims” as you go.
As the song says, you will never walk alone, at least on the Camino.
Our Camino proved it.
For more prep, laughs & mostly true things about the Camino (we had no bladder issues) check this out:
Hope all of this helps. Go explore. If you can affordably get to France or Spain, do 100km, 300km (like us from Leon to Santiago), or the entire 800km from St. Jean. You will be challenged and probably glad you did.
Just travel. Wherever you go.