Like Us On Facebook!

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:

  1. Undertaking the whole 800km, from St Jean Pied de Port in France, to Santiago De Compestela in Galicia in the northwest of Spain – this usually takes around 32 days. (On average people will walk 25km per day – some days doing more than 30km and on other days walking as little as 15km). The route traverses all sorts of terrain, from the heights of the Pyrenees, through the gentle and picturesque hills of the Navarra and Rioja regions, onwards across the high exposed plains of the Meseta, up through the arduous and rugged mountains of Galicia, until finally reaching the busy last 100kms walk into Santiago through farmland very like rural Ireland.
  2. Walking the last 100km to Santiago – Large numbers of people now do this section each year. In doing so, they reach Santiago, the historic end of the Camino, and receive a “Compestella” or certificate signifying that they have completed a pilgrimage. There are very many tour companies organising trips to this section, and many people take part in these tours to raise money for charity, or so they can say they have “done” The Camino De Santiago. As a result this part of the Camino is very busy with people walking, and in recent times has become much more commercialised
  3. Undertaking the Camino in sections from the beginning, ie on separate trips as and when time permits – ideal for those living in Europe, with regular scheduled air transport to Spain

 

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

  • Time to enjoy fantastic scenery: unlike other holidays, you’re walking and have time to see the beauty, wildlife and flora of the countryside in a slow, relaxed environment.
  • Time to THINK : In modern day life we get little time for reflection and thought. This is probably one of the most beneficial aspects of the Camino. Many people talk about how the Camino gave them time to reflect on life for the better, and to sort out in their minds personal  issues they may have been struggling with at home. Many more have said that doing the Camino was a life-changing experience
  • The people you meet :  Because you’re walking for up to 5 hours each day, you get a chance to talk to really interesting people from all over the world who share a kindred spirit.
  • A stress-free experience:  As each day progresses, all pilgrims have to worry about is how their legs are feeling, have they any threatening irritations in their feet which might need attention before they become blisters, what’s the next town going to be like, will the weather be good again today, and where will they sleep tonight.
  • Unique spirit of mutual support/encouragement:  As people get to know each other/meet new people from other countries, friendships develop and pilgrims build up their own “peregrino family”.  They look out for each other, and for people who are finding the walk more of a challenge than they are, due to blisters or for other reasons. Strangers often help each other by giving them bandages, plasters, fruit etc. The atmosphere of mutual encouragement, friendship, support, positivity and fun is uplifting in the extreme.
  • Each day, you are heading west. Unlike an afternoon walk at home, the scenery and towns are different each day. This helps create a spirit of adventure. In good weather, pilgrims develop a humorous one-sided sun-tan pattern. (Walking westwards,the sun is always on the left). This can be addressed whilst resting each afternoon………..!
  • Everything is inexpensive. This is not a holiday where you find yourself spending more than you thought you would, unless you want to. Set dinners each evening rarely cost more than €14, and alcohol and soft drinks are inexpensive. Accommodation can be found that is clean and cheap.

 

FLAVOUR OF THE CAMINO – providing you with the “pilgrim experience” but with comforts and safeguards added in 

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

(See what our clients who have taken part in our trips had to say here)

Want to be a Pilgrim?

Book Now