Friday, December 28, 2012

Seven Tips to Make the Most of the Camino de Santiago

A couple of months ago a friend recommended the movie The Way, starring Martin Sheen, and it has started me on a journey that I hope will lead to my eventually walking El Camino de Santiago, or The Way of St. James, a pilgrimage route to the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela in Galicia in northwestern Spain, where tradition has it that the remains of the apostle Saint James are buried.

For my birthday in November, my son gave me Seven Tips to Make the Most of the Camino de Santiago, by Cheri Powell, as I considered this a good way to start mentally and physically preparing for my pilgrimage.  Powell and her husband walked El Camino in 2008, I believe, and the book is full of info about what it's like to make the trek.  She covers everything from where to sleep, eat, refill water bottles, to what to bring and what to buy enroute, and what kind of shoes to wear.  She discusses pilgrim etiquette and rituals.  What I found most interesting was her account of a typical day, and how she and her husband planned their trip beforehand and during the adventure itself.

Like many other reviewers, I felt the book would have been immeasurably improved had Powell included a map, but she never claims that her book is a guidebook or the definitive sourcebook for pilgrims.  It provides exactly what she claims in the title--7 tips for making the most out of walking El Camino from France to Spain.

I walk daily, but my longest walk to date is 8 miles.  I know I have a lot of training ahead of me if I am to walk 500 miles in 6 weeks, but goals make the impossible achievable.  Buen Camino!


  1. Jane, how exciting! I read a couple of books about Spain this year that really make me eager to visit, and I've been meaning to put the Martin Sheen film on my library list.

    If you like historical fiction, one of Sharan Newman's 12th century mysteries is about a pilgrimage to Compostela.

  2. Good luck in your endovour! This book sounds like a great bpook to help one prepare.

    I am such a map person, suprising that this book did not include one.

  3. Did you make the journey? I am the author and I have just published the second edition of the book - and it includes a map. And many other things that readers suggested. I am so glad you found it useful and hope that you have now completed the Camino (although it will never be complete, as it will influence you for the rest of your life). Buen Camino

    1. It's on my calendar for May/June of 2014, although my husband and I are starting our training. We've been walking daily for a couple of years, but are throwing in some longer walks each week.

      Really enjoying learning about the Camino, and I found your book inspiring and helpful.