Preparing for the Camino in 2017

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Where to find the right information on the Camino de Santiago

We now live in an age with so much information available that one could easily drown in it! Getting the right or appropriate information is vital in your research so please be cautious about the sources you use when ascertaining information about anything – in particular, if you are planning to Walk the Camino de Santiago.

The most important thing to remember

The first and most important rule is: Before you read a website, find out what year it was published. Information that is more than a couple of years old might not only be redundant, it might be harmful or ruin the trip for you.

When I was first researching the walks back in 2015, I rambled through all kinds of websites getting all kinds of great information, only to find out that much of the information was very outdated once I either spoke with other walkers or discovered on the trail itself. Remember that a small situation at home can be a life altering situation when you are in a foreign region! Having the most up to date information is indispensable! I would be very careful about accepting information on a website that is older than 3 or 4 years if it has not been updated. You need up to date information.

Some places you can get reliable information (besides on my website!)

There are Camino de Santiago community websites where people can chat almost live about current situations that impact your trip such as:

There are numerous apps you can download onto your phone from Google Play, so you can access the information while on the trail. Best to download them before you head onto the trail so you can verify their value to your trip.

Personally, I prefer Brierley’s Book “Camino de Santiago”. Get the thin one to save weight and be careful with it because the information is only reasonably accurate.

Some pertinent facts that are important to know in 2017 for Walking the Camino that might dispel some of the old myths

  • Most albergues (hostels) provide disposable sheets and pillows for your use as a preventative measure to manage or eliminate bed bugs
  • Bed bugs are still a problem but not any more serious than if you are staying at a good hotel
  • If you have a good healthy immune system, bed bugs will not usually bother you (healthy people don’t taste good!)
  • Most albergues provide good wool blankets to help keep you warm on cool nights. They are either free or cost about 1 Euro
  • Most albergues have free Wi-Fi (pronounced wee-fee in Spain). It is usually strong enough for personal use
  • Spain is an amazing and modern country with more amenities than you will ever need
  • Spanish people love their “Peregrinos” and will help you any way they can
  • Follow the yellow arrows when you are walking in rural areas. If you do not see an arrow regularly, go back to the last arrow and try again. You are likely lost.
  • There are different yellow arrows depending on which province you are in. If not sure, ask
  • Dogs and other animals in Spain are usually amazing and very friendly. Enjoy them! Cats not so much! Most cats I ran into were feral and had mange so do your cat loving at home.
  • If you watched the movie the Way, you might think Gypsies are scary bad people. They are not. Spanish people of all ilks are generally really nice people who really care about their visitors.

Let your love of life guide you

The Camino is very much a social event, come prepared to meet a gazillion people just like you from all over the world. Please do not let technology override the adventure by depending on your GPS, Apps and the music in your ear buds. The walk is not the adventure, Getting to know yourself is! Come prepared for a long, very challenging walk through some of the most amazing scenery in the world and allow your sense of wonder, adventure and love of life be your guiding forces!

I fly out of Calgary September 16! When are you coming over? Buen Camino Monty