Practical (Ehow)  


                                                                                 Practical (Ehow)



                                                           How to go on the Camino de Santiago Spain

                                                                   By Sharma Cortez, eHow Contributor


  The Way, El Camino Santiago de Compostela

- The Camino de Santiago is the Way of Saint James in the region of Spain called Galicia. To go on the Way of Saint James is to engage in a Christian pilgrim tradition hundreds of years old. The pilgrimage begins from any point on several routes leading to the Tomb of Santiago. The Tomb is at the Cathedral in the city of Santiago de Compostela. The route called Camino Frances is popular among foreign and Spanish pilgrims and spans 800 kilometers, or 500 miles, from the Pyrenees to Compostela.



- 1. Go to Spain in the summer, ready for month-long walk taking only what you can carry in your backpack. Bring walking stick or staff for balance.

- 2. Check into any of the albergues, or hostels, along the Camino Frances/French Route across northern Spain. Some albergues accept donations while others list prices, typically 6 Euros to 10 Euros. Make sure that you walk at least 100 km, or about 63 miles, from the Cathedral beginning in Sarria, in order to receive the compostela, a certificate of recognition, at the end. Ask for a pilgrim credential/passport. You will have this stamped at each stop along your camino and then present it to officials in Santiago de Compostela.

- 3. Begin your pilgrimage by starting early in the morning and paying close attention to your own walking pace. Pacing yourself after someone else may frustrate or distract you.

- 4. Follow the yellow flecha, or arrow, walking west toward the city of Santiago de Compostela. Walk 20 or more kilometers each day, as you head for the Tomb of St. James the Apostle housed at the cathedral.

- 5. Stop and enjoy flora and fauna and talk to the pilgrims and the hosts in albergues. Visit monasteries and museums. Have coffee at a local bar-cafe or sit in the plaza mayor to see and hear local residents and other pilgrims.

- 6. When you arrive in Santiago de Compostela go directly to the Pilgrim Office to have your credential/pilgrim passport reviewed. Once it is approved, you will receive the Compostela. This is the official document confirming your Camino de Santiago. Your name is added to the centuries-old register of pilgrims.

- 7. Drink plenty of water at all points during your camino.


  Health of Body and Mind

- 8. Remember that the camino can be challenging both physically and mentally. The physical challenge has to do with the length or duration of your camino. It is a good idea to get a medical exam before going on a lengthy pilgrimage far from home.

- 9. Check your feet often and treat your blisters right away can make a difference. Infections can result. Be very careful of falls. If you should fall and injure yourself, be sure to ask for help. Pilgrims can assist if you are far from a city or telephone. Villagers and other residents are well aware of pilgrims and will help you get medical attention if you ask. Carrying a bilingual phrase book will help the pilgrim who does not speak Spanish.

- 10. Begin carefully and slowly to see how your body reacts to the Camino. The terrain varies. Some enjoy walking uphill more than down, others find the flat hike more difficult on their joints than going uphill or downhill.

- 11. Purchasing groceries or supplies as you enter the town where you plan to stay overnight may become part of your routine. While there are ample resources in many of the larger locales, there are customs that pilgrims must integrate into their thinking and planning. For instance, stores, shops, restaurants and bars are closed in the mid to late afternoon. Keep supplied with water and snacks.


  Tips & Warnings

 - While pilgrimages are often done with religious sacrifice in mind, yours need not be religious or spiritual. It is good to keep in mind, however, the tradition and culture of pilgrimage stems from the religious. This camino dates back to the Middle Ages when the church offered indulgences and people believed this was a good way to ameliorate sin.

- Depending on the time of year, the weather, and your physical health, this Camino can be challenging to the point of despair. Summertime is hot in some regions along the Camino Frances. In Galicia you may find rain making the camino too slippery, especially while carrying a 30 pound backpack. Taking a day off from time to time will help you recuperate and allow you to avoid accidents or injuries during inclement weather.



                                                              How to Walk the Camino de Santiago

                                                             By Jane McDonaugh, eHow Contributor


  The Santiago de Compostela gets many visitors per year.

- The Camino de Santiago is a collection of old pilgrimage routes that span Europe. It is known in English as "The Way of St. James." The Camino de Santiago is composed of five routes, all of which have their final destination at the Santiago de Compostela in Northern Spain. Walking the Camino can be a great opportunity to take in the outdoors, explore unknown territory and meet fellow pilgrims.



- 1. Plan on the dates of your trip. May to June or September to October will likely be your best bets, as those months have nice weather and tend to be less crowded.

- 2. Consider the length of time you will walk. Walking the entire Camino usually takes up to four weeks, which can be a costly amount of time for some. Divide the trip into smaller, week-long chunks, perhaps spread out over a year or a few years. Money is also a consideration in the length of the trip; a walker can usually expect to spend a minimum of 25 pounds per day -- that was $40 in June 2011. Returning flights at the end of the trip, however, can get expensive if you break your walk into several trips.

- 3. Consider which route to take. The French route is by far the most traveled, as most Camino de Santiago tours take place there. Take the Northern route if you wish to travel along the northern coast of Europe. The Silver route starts from the south of Spain and goes northward; this route is usually the go-to during the French route's busy season. The Portuguese route is the shortest, and the English route is also a short route that starts in Spain.

- 4. Wear good, worn-in shoes, especially if you plan on walking the entire way. Well-ventilated hiking boots are recommended, whereas sneakers and sandals are not. Try high-tech walking socks and Body Glide on your socks to prevent chafing and blisters.

-  5. Pace yourself and walk slowly. Walking too fast will put great strain on your body. Set a daily goal, such as 10 miles a day.



                                                     How to Pack for the Camino de Santiago in Spain

                                                              By Sharma Cortez, eHow Contributor


  The lighter the pack, the better.

- For the pilgrimage to Santiago, you need only pack essentials. You don't need to carry a tent, for instance, because you can stay in pilgrim hostels called albergues. If you travel in the summer, you won't have to carry heavy sleeping or camping gear. Travelers often carry extra copies of passport, airline information or itineraries which could be stored on a flash drive. Because you will carry everything you bring as you walk across Spain, the lighter your load the greater your flexibility and freedom.




  Minimize the Load

- 1. Do not pack for a just-in-case scenario or you will weigh yourself down. With a pilgrimage in mind, it is easier to travel without conveniences that bring weight and distraction into the equation. On a pilgrimage less really is more.

- 2. One reason to pack only essentials and keep your backpack light is to protect your feet. Foot injuries range from simple strains, bruises or blisters to more complex problems such as breaks, sprains or torn tendons. Even blisters, a common complaint for pilgrims, can become serious if not treated properly. As you walk along the Camino you will become increasingly aware of your feet. Hiking boots provide stability and protect your ankles while you walk. Choose a second option like sandals which are lightweight and help your feet relax and breathe after a long day. They can also provide a dressier option if needed. Other items for your feet include extra socks, a blister-treatment kit and anti-fungal cream.

- 3. Pack to protect your head and body from the sun. A bandanna is a lightweight and versatile item, so take at least two. Pack a small container of sunscreen and take sunglasses and lip protection. Bring empty bottles for drinking water.

- 4. Pack the kind of clothing that makes sense given summertime and climate change. Clothing made of light breathable fabric (not jeans) and a few changes of clothes will serve you well. Linen or cotton pants, shorts and tops wear well. Some women bring a cotton skirt, which is versatile. Even in summer a light shell or jacket may be helpful for chilly mornings.

- 5. When you pack sleeping gear be sure to include the following: lightweight sleeping bag, travel pillow, ear plugs, nightshirt, mosquito repellent and flashlight or headlamp. These are basics that will enhance the quality of your sleep.

- 6. Place your toiletries in zip-lock bags, bringing enough for a week. Plan on replenishing your supplies as needed -- all your essentials can be bought along the Camino.


  Tips & Warnings

- Bring your passport and any visas required and pack with other important documents or travel itineraries.

- Keep prescriptions in original prescription bottles when you pack and bring original scripts in case you need replacements or refills.

- Remember cultural distinctions and adapt when necessary to avoid misunderstandings especially regarding attire while attending religious services.

- If you are concerned about rash or skin irritation between legs wear cycling shorts.

- Give a copy of your proposed itinerary to others and check in via Internet or telephone to keep them updated.

- People beginning the day before sunrise may prefer headlamps to flashlights.

- Make sure that your packed items conform with security policies at airports.

- If you get hurt, consult a physician to determine the extent of the injury and propose treatment. If you fall, ask for help and ice the injured area.


  Things You'll Need

- Albergues list

- Army knife

- Blank book

- Blister-busting kit

- Book

- Camp cup

- Compact camera

- Earplugs

- Extra clothing/underwear

- Extra socks

- First-aid kit

- Flashlight/headlamp

- Glasses/contact solution

- Granola bars

- Hat/bandanna

- Hiking boots

- Khaki/cargo pants

- Laundry cord

- Light jacket

- Light sleeping bag

- Map/Camino guide

- Pens

- Pilgrim credential

- Pilgrim guide

- Pocket poncho

- Sandals

- Shorts

- Sleeping bag (light)

- Sunglasses

- Sunscreen

- Toilet tissue

- Toiletries

- Towel

- Trail mix

- Travel towel

- Walking stick

- Water bottles



                                                  How to Choose Albergues on the Way of Saint James

                                                              By Sharma Cortez, eHow Contributor


  Albergues offer pilgrims dormitory-style lodging along the Way (Camino).

- Albergues on the Way of Saint James (the Camino de Santiago) in northern Spain provide shelter for weary pilgrims. The system of albergues continues to supply ample lodging for all pilgrims, particularly in the summertime. Types of albergues: church or confraternity sponsored, municipal, and private, often located on the main road and in almost every town or city on the Camino. Some albergues offer exceptional hospitality that may include a hot meal, good counsel or treatment for injuries.




  Personal Considerations in Choosing

- 1. Choose on the basis of the type of experience you want. A more traditional pilgrimage along the Camino suggests openness to unexpected physical challenges, emotional ups and downs, and the possibility of new spiritual awareness. If this becomes your approach, which albergue you choose -- whether large or small -- may not matter as you remain open to the experience. Larger albergues can host over 100 while smaller may have fewer than 12 bunk beds.

- 2. Choose on the basis of your overall physical and emotional health. If you have limiting conditions, consider finding the least stressful circumstances and ask for suggestions. Many veteran pilgrims will offer advice when asked. The hospitaleros also have lots of experience and may offer good counsel.

- 3. Choose based on spiritual or personal enrichment: If you would like to use the Camino experience as a retreat, the combination of physical and mental exertion may help. Choose albergues with connections to spirituality that you identify as enriching. Depending on your temperament, any type may work. If you seek solitude, you may find solitude in a larger group where the pressure to engage socially may be less demanding. You may find enough solitude during the day, while on the Camino, and welcome the company of pilgrims in any albergue, large or small, municipal or private.

- 4. You can choose an albergue even with limited funds. The albergues that offer hospitality as a gift to the pilgrim make the Camino affordable to all regardless of financial circumstances. Choose those supplied by local parishes or confraternities asking only for donations. If you have no money, give your time, energy or expertise, if useful.

- 5. Suppose you simply want the pilgrim experience and other categories do not apply to you, then let your sense of adventure take over. Stay in any available albergue whenever you arrive at a stopping point. Keep a log of your experiences and offer the information to those interested. Whatever you decide, the albergue offers a good place for rest, meeting others and learning about the culture, traditions and history of Spain.


  Other Considerations

- 6. Choose a clean albergue.

- 7. Pack only what you can carry and easily safeguard while on the Camino or in albergues.

- 8. Try to avoid blisters, rashes, bug bites, etc., but if you suffer from any of them, ask hospitaleros for assistance.

- 9. Follow house rules. Each albergue has information about departure times, check-in times, doors open or closed and resources available on site or in the local area.

- 10. Give generously at albergues that do not charge. Although they are not hotels, even the albergues that do charge provide good basic lodging at little cost. Municipal and private albergues cost three to 10 euros as of 2011.


  Tips & Warnings

 - Finally, accept the hospitality of the monasteries or convents along the Camino, for a unforgettable travel experience -- many groups of religious men and women are known for their hospitality to pilgrims.



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delhommeb at - 25/10/2012