2024-04-27 Back to Santiago

Thoughts on the Camino

There is a trail community wherever there are trails. I’ve met people from all over the world, countries like Cuba, Georgia and Venezuela who I would never have met.You just say Hola, or Buen Camino, then ask where are you from? People have been talkative even though we have no common language other than Google Translate, which works only with Cellular or WiFi.

Lessons learned:

Don’t book connecting flights. Yes, it’s a pain to collect bags and go through security again, but if plans change, it’s WAY easier to get the flights changed. I booked the PHL to Madrid to Santiago and back. I wanted to go to Porto and change Santiago to Madrid, to Porto to Madrid. Nope! even though I paid extra for a changeable flight. If I didn’t show for the Santiago to Madrid, they were going to cancel my Madrid to PHL leg.

Take less, just like the AT lessons, pack less, yes the weather is changeable but even when the mornings were 45F. It was just gloves added to my single layer. I never wore multilayers, no matter how bad the weather.

Sunscreen, the back of my hands got way more sun than anything else.

Ditch the poncho, get an umbrella that can attach to you pack. Wear shorts when raining hard. No one will see those pasty white legs.

Prepare for Darkness!

Every hotel has motion sensors, so the hallway and stair lights are on if there is movement. If you stop to talk or lookup a map, the lights go out. This also applies to the bano  stalls. If you don’t move, you are in the dark.

The hotels in Spain often have a room key slot to turn on the lights. That also means you can only charge your phones and tablets when you are in the room. 

Open the door before removing the key card!

Auberge, hostels and Refugios are a much cheaper way to spend the night. Other rules apply, and I can afford hotels. I used a baggage transfer and hotel booking service, they were great, and I could get changes done in a couple of emails. You are not camping unless you have to bivvy if lost or weather. Take photos of the Taxi signs you see, and make sure your plan allows for calls. The cheap plans are often data only for Camino Nija, Hiiker, and Google maps.

You will drink a lot of coffee, on my fasting diet over the last 12 months, I learned to drink coffee black. While a Cafe Solo gives you the caffeine kick, I just like a bit more volume. A cafe con leche gives the volume better than a Cafe American which waters everything down.

Data plans in the EU

If your phone has an eSIM, get a physical SIM before leaving the US. Android phones can have two eSIM, but only one can be active. But a physical SIM and an eSIM can share the load.

If you can do WiFi calling the eSIM for EU can work, but some US carriers say “Whoah, you are roaming.”

A bidet  is a nice way to clean your butt, but you still need to dry off. Women, get that REI foldable funnel so you don’t have to drop trousers on the Camino. But the coffee stops give you a bano stop as well. Along the camino the WC were much cleaner than the US.

Preplan travel

Many trains and buses do not run on Sunday. I had to book another night in Santiago because I could not get out of town until Monday. Spain and Portugal don’t seem to have inter-country connections like the northern EU.

Stay in the big cities for a while. I got to walk on the roof of the Cathedral in Santiago.

Say hello or Buen Camino to all that have a backpack. Those with hollow eyes or a single focus need a coffee or a cerveza. They are pushing for the destination with full determination, be kind and offer a break. If you see 1 person taking a picture of another offer to take a group picture. You will make friends.

Like I said the trail community goes way beyond the AT, PCT or CDT.  My new call is Ultreia! “Onward, upward.” When we make friends all over the world, maybe we can do more good together.

If in Santiago, look up the restaurant Sant  Yago is family owned and they serve wonderful dishes.

OK, off to Porto, then back on that bus to Santiago because I could not change my flight.

Nations today:







 7 miles just locally wandering.


Just random photos, And on the roof of the cathedral. 

Map of the various Camino, my two walks are a blip. I have talked with those that have walked the French Way, section walking since 2017.

You can walk behind St James an pat him on the back.

Find where that grape vine starts.

Yep, that’s the roof of the Cathedral, big granite slabs.

KT tape can fix hats as well.

Find the guy in the tapestry, not facing the audience. Guess what he’s doing

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Comments 2

  • Coach : Apr 29th

    Yes, take less. But I read too much arrangement. Just go. Fly direct. Stay in the albergues and then get a hotel, casa rural or something every so often but considering how short of a walk you made it, why bother? Let spontaneity amplify the greatness of the journey.

  • John "Tercius" Rutkowski : May 1st

    Yes, I agree if I was younger. I snore so I’d rather not disturb the other pereginos.

    I like knowing where my bed is each night.

    The weather was swinging wildly the three weeks before we arrived. But we had excellent weather for 11 days.

    Buen Camino,!


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