THE PILGRIM EXPERIENCE – Undertaking the Camino de Santiago is like nothing most people have ever experienced. Thousands of people tackle it every year and do this in a number of ways:
THE ADVENTURE – Historically, most people undertook the Camino de Santiago as a religious pilgrimage. Nowadays, whilst many still have religious reasons for doing so, significant numbers do it purely for the sense of adventure and the boost it gives their morale.
Unless they are on a commercially organised walk over the last stretch of the Camino as per No 2 above most pilgrims try to tackle the Camino without support and in a spirit of adventure and anticipation. They simply arrive at the start and commence walking. They carry all their clothing/personal belongings in a rucksack and stop when they are tired each day – ie without pre-booked accommodation. They usually stay in “albergues” or “refugios” – hostels specifically for pilgrims. Here they get a bed in a dormitory, with a blanket and pillow provided, and access to showers, with it all costing between €5 and €10 for the night. If the accommodation in a village is already full, they walk on to the next one. Many, (sometimes because they are ill-prepared or dont address the issue till its too late, or because they have had to walk a long distance because of accommodation problems), get bad blisters and endure considerable hardship for a few days as a result. But along the way, they get time for personal reflection, and to admire the wonderful scenery, meet interesting people of all ages nationalities and backgrounds and have an incredible and truly memorable experience
Some of the aspects of The Camino De Santiago that make it so special
At FLAVOUR OF THE CAMINO, we realise that backpacking and sleeping in hostel accommodation may not be to everyone’s taste. We also know that many are fearful of heading into a rural part of Spain where many local people do not speak English, leaving things to chance, without some sort of back-up. Yet we also know that people want to experience a pilgrim adventure that’s as close to the real thing as possible, but still costing little more than the very low “pilgrim experience” prices.
FLAVOUR OF THE CAMINO is a facilitator for all of this. Whilst we are not a tour company, we do organise everything to ensure that you experience the travel in Spain, the walking (with our guide to accompany you all the way*, and at a pace that suits each individual group we bring), the food, the culture and the fun of the Camino, but with safeguards and comforts added in. (See What FLAVOUR OF THE CAMINO provides).
* NOTE 1 – we understand that for many, one of the attractions of the Camino is that pilgrims gets a chance to be alone with their thoughts for periods as they walk. Also, people walk at different speeds. Consequently, whilst our guide walks along the daily route, and will be on hand to support/guide you to the extent that you wish, only those who wish to walk with him in a “group” do so. We have a number of re-grouping points each day as needs be/each group decides during the evening briefings. Flexibility and ensuring everyone gets what THEY want from their pilgrimage, is an important feature of a FLAVOUR OF THE CAMINO trip.
* NOTE 2 – it is possible that on some days the guide may only be with you for some of the day – this may be because he is accompanying others in the group who are either further ahead or further behind along the route on that particular occasion. Or it may be because of some other reason due to unforseen circumstances which necessitate him not to be with you. Nevertheless he will always be close to hand and available to assist/seek help for you should it be required