Many people think of the legendary Camino de Santiago as a concept, an idea, that is too far away from their lifes and capabilities. It is a test for the body, that they do not think they can manage to pass. It is also a test for the mind, that has lots of unknown questions. Hard and unknown. How hard could it really be? Walking a few kilometers every day, sleeping under the same roof with strangers from all over the world, getting inspired on the road.
Blinded by the beautiful photos and amazing stories of the people who have walked on the Camino it was not hard for us to fall in love with the idea. We didn’t think a lot and quickly booked our flights to Madrid. Now, after we have walked on the Camino almost an year ago and we are planning to go there again soon, we know that it is not too hard or too unknown. In the next few lines you will see how easy it is to decided weather you are ready to do it, too.
Do you like walking?
There are three main ways you can experience the Camino de Santiago – walking, riding a bike or riding a horse. In order for it to become more accessible for more people there are some new hybrid methods. You can take some parts by car/buss, even by plane. But nothing can compare to the feeling of pure joy when you are conquering it by yourself (or with the help of your horse). You will be surprised how far you can go just on your own feet. We chose to walk on the Camino – the same way the pilgrims of the old times used to do it. Just on our own feet, without a bike or a horse.
How many kilometers per day can you walk?
Camino de Santiago is not a race! You don’t have to walk faster than everyone else there so you finish it first. It doesn’t matter if you manage to do it 3 days faster than anyone else. You won’t get a better Compostela (the certificate you get in the end). The real race is actually in your inner self – trying to achieve some balance between how much you can walk today, so that tomorrow you can still walk and enjoy it. Many people get carried away by the joy and pain of walking…
Do you know when to stop for some rest?
Once again it is all about the balance between the physical pressure and the magnificent views on the road.
Every day the other pilgrims felt owe and jealousy over us, because they were carrying 10 kg backpacks. “Where are you going with these 5-6 kg?”. In the end it turned out we managed to do great and live normally with those 5-6 kg for 17 days. Our backs were very thankful to us. Now we are considering how to cut even more the weight of our luggage for our next Camino.
Do you need to get prepared beforehand? Do you need someone to show you the way?
Many people are wondering weather they can make it on their own on the Camino and if they need a guide. There is hardly any way you can get confused on the Camino. The road is marked with yellow arrows, seashells, signs, etc. Even if you somehow go off the road, the local people will see your backpack and direct you back. So it is really easy to navigate on your own. For the accommodation – in April/May, when we were there, we didn’t have to race the other pilgrims for the best/cheapest albergues. There was enough room for everyone. you just have to show up with your credentials (these are some pieces of paper like a small book that say you are a pilgrim and also on them you collect stamps that show where you have been) and some money. If someone has been there in the busiest period (July to August) let us know if you need to make a reservation so you don’t end up sleeping at an expensive place or on the road (which sounds exciting, though).
Are you ready to adapt and change your plans on the spot?
You get tired earlier, you have to sleep at another place. All of a sudden there is a shop, but it is still not time for lunch. You decide to add 10 km walking for today, to see some great place. You got a new callus, but you have nothing to cover it with. If these don’t sound scary to you and you think you can manage, then you are ready for improvisations and being changed for the better by the Camino.
How much pasta can you eat?
Pasta is something like the national dish for Camino de Santiago. The more you enjoy it, the better. There is also tuna fish in almost every dish. This was something we didn’t quite enjoy, so every time we had to say “sin atún”.
Does change affect you in a good way?
Are you ready to be alone with yourself? What if your companion is boring? Are you ready to share personal feelings with strangers? What if one of them has a solution for your problem?
Are you going to wish “Buen Camino” to a stranger? Are you going to get someone inspired by your own example? How many people will start the Camino thanks to your stories? What thoughts will come by?
We went for our second Camino. Warning – Camino is addictive!
So, what did you decide? Are you ready for Camino de Santiago? 🚶🏻🚶🏾 🐚 ➡
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