about keeping a journal?
way to make your Camino even more interesting is
to keep a journal.
This could be simple jottings
at the end of each day or it could balloon into
the form of a nascent book.
By keeping a journal
you can train yourself to pay more attention to
the interesting things that you experience and possibly
even get more ideas about how to improve the trip.
In addition, by keeping a record of what you are
doing as you are doing it, you will have more detailed
information to share with others when you return.
And, of course, going back and reading your own
travel journal months or years later can bring the
trip back to life even more vividly than photos
few tips: Buy a journal that will last—something
considerably more substantial than a spiral notebook.
You will be collecting one or two sellos each day
in your credential but why not collect dozens in
your journal? Simply scatter them around on the
pages and write around them. Use the journal as
the place you keep contact information of others
you meet on the Camino. Draw the occasional sketch—you
don't have to be Rembrandt! Your sketch will capture
the essence of what caught your eye and imagination.
Before you leave home jot notes to yourself about
things that might be useful or even critical along
the way: The details of your air, bus and/or train
itineraries, a few important phone numbers, some
diversions that you want to see.
does a pilgrim do besides walk?
you know you're going to walk or cycle but what
else are you going to do? Even in the Middle Ages
there was a touristic element to pilgrimage so don't
feel bad about following this example.
If you will
be walking for more than a week or ten days you
should consider adding a rest day that will coincide
with being in some interesting place.
Some of the
more obvious cities on the francés would be Pamplona,
Burgos, León and Ponferrada.
One advantage that
cyclists have over walkers is that if an attraction
is more than a half kilometer off the trail of yellow
arrows, the walker is not likely to detour while
the cyclist won't think twice.
is typical day on the Road like?
course no day is 'typical' but this might be a common
If you are staying in an albergue—and
this is highly recommended—your day will typically
begin about 6:00 a.m., although the 'bag rustlers'
may have been up and about since 5:00 or before.
You may also have endured a professional caliber
roncador (snorer) during the night. A lot of peregrinos
Sometimes a breakfast will be available
in the albergue, although often not. most likely
you will be able to find something to eat nearby,
but sometimes you may have to walk for an hour or
more to find something open.
Almost always this
will be in a bar—Spanish bars serve a much wider
purpose than they typically do in North America.
Breakfast will typically be a café con leche - un
grande, por favor, toast or bread, butter, jam and
most likely freshly-squeezed orange juice.
you will walk. Or bicycle. Sometimes you'll travel
alone, sometimes you'll find yourself traveling
and talking with a complete stranger. You will learn
to execute the 'language dance' wherein you determine
the best common language between you.
How late in
the day you will walk will depend on many factors—your
endurance, the weather, how many kilometers you
want to cover, the spacing between towns.
stop for the day around 1:00 or 2:00 which is typically
more or less when the albergues start registering
for the night.
albergues are where you will meet others on the
Camino and this will become one of the most important
memories of your experience.
In the albergues a
typical routine will be to claim a bed, dig some
clean clothes out of your pack, take a shower, wash
dirty clothes, take a siesta and then early in the
evening find something to eat.
In most of Spain
eating in the evening before, say, 9:00 is very
difficult—not to mention considered completely uncivilized!
On the Camino it will generally be easier because
there will be restaurants and bars catering to the
daily cycle of the peregrinos.
Then you will crash
for the night, quietly praying to yourself that
that guy next to you isn't one of the roncadores
profesionales. Then you'll get up and do it all
like essentially all of Europe, uses 230V, 50Hz
electricity (North America is 120V, 60Hz) and they
have outlets that are incompatible with standard
North American plugs. A very useful website is the
World Electrical Guide http://kropla.com/electric2.htm
scroll down to Spain and click on the two image
links, C and F.
So you will definitely need an adapter
to accommodate your two-bladed plugs to their two-round
hole outlets. (Pay attention to the presence or
absence of the third, round grounding prong. Be
sure that everything will plug together.)
not need a voltage converter as these days most
small electronic devices are compatible with both
120V and 230V. Look carefully at the device's electrical
information label. A helpful hint: In albergues,
electrical outlets are at a premium! Take along
an electrical cube in addition to your adapter so
when you do manage to commander an outlet, you can
plug in everything that needs rejuvenating. And
again pay attention to that grounding prong!
à Q.Pratique Route