#Camino Inglés vs Camino Francés

The English or the French? It’s a rivalry that’s lasted hundreds of years, and not one I really intend to solve in this blog, but having walked the English and French Caminos, I have some reflections on the comparative merits of both. If you want a quiet Camino: I can’t start by giving the English…

#Camino Inglés Day Five: The World is a Handkerchief

There is a Spanish expression, “el mundo es un pañuelo” which essentially means “it’s a small world” but it’s rather more poetic: the world is a handkerchief. I think the idea is that we might all be on different parts of the fabric but if you fold it in enough different ways we’ll all meet….

#Camino Inglés Day Four: Cold Evenings, Warm Days

As the evening drew in yesterday, so did the damp and cold. So nothing was more welcome than the warm fire in the bar of the hotel we stayed in last night, and the hot bowl of Galician soup, caldo gallego, that followed. We sat around the fire, glasses of wine in hand, and discussed…

#Camino Inglés Day Three: All Part of the Adventure

I’ve started to realise that it takes a couple of days on the Camino before you really “arrive” on the Camino. I arrived today. I separated from the group a little, and walked by myself in the early Galician morning. It had rained in the night, so the air was very fresh, and the trees…

#Camino Inglés Day Two: A Day of Extremes

When another pilgrim’s alarm went off at 5am this morning, and they left it going for a full minute before switching it off, I thought this was going to be a bad day, but I fell asleep again, and woke up at 8am (this is crazy late for the Camino and bodes well). We were…

#Camino Inglés Day One: Feeling Pretty English

I arrived in A Coruña late last night, and went directly to my hotel in a taxi. The rain was lashing down and I was glad I didn’t have to walk anywhere. I slept badly, woken by howling wind and occasional claps of thunder. I now know why the Spanish word for a storm is…

My second #Camino: hasta luego

Friday was my last day walking, but the joy of the Camino is that you can make new friends in even that short space of time. At our second stop for the day, Elke and I met Laurie, from the Netherlands, who started in Leon and is walking her first Camino. We walked the rest…

My second Camino: the pilgrims’ meal

I normally write my blog in the afternoon, after walking, and before dinner, so I haven’t written much before about the pilgrims’ meals on the Camino. But now seems like a good opportunity because we had a very special pilgrims’ meal in Villavante, the night before last. All along the Camino you can have a…

My second #Camino: you don’t just see, you experience

The magic of travelling across a country on foot is that you don’t just see it, you really experience it. One of my favourite experiences is the food. Food along the Camino is like nothing else on earth. Of course, it’s probably not just the quality of food (though it’s generally very good). Walking several…

My second #Camino: andar y descansar

It’s easy to push yourself too hard on the Camino. You want to walk. You came here to walk. Just a few more kilometres… It’s not so easy to rest. But it’s important to do so. It’s vital for your body, and it’s also good for your soul. I remember reading a sign last year…

My second #Camino: a sunny day and a psychological challenge

Today marked my first day walking on this year’s Camino. After a full fourteen hours of travel yesterday, perhaps you’d have thought I would have wanted a little bit of a lie in, but by 6am the hostel was bustling and by 6:45 we were on the road. On sunny days in the meseta (Spain’s…

#Camino Day 25 and 26: five reflections on arriving in Santiago

Yesterday, I did it. I finally arrived in Santiago. And though the last 5kms felt like the longest I’d walked (and possibly were more than 5kms as I lost the Camino once or twice) the moment I spotted one of the cathedral’s spires I was flooded with relief and happiness. Exhausted and elated, I walked…