My current situation
I really don’t remember when and where have I first heard about the journey to Santiago de Compostela (Camino de Santiago). It has always been somewhere hidden in my head, waiting for the right moment to pop up and literally crush all other thoughts. I was in between jobs. Before me rushing into another office job I decided to take 2,5 months summer holiday. Like at school. Two months off in summer time should be a normal thing, not just something that students and teachers have … but that’s for a different post.
Looking for a job
I started to look for a job preemptively to not to have to worry about it on the Camino. There were companies so into me (!) they even asked if I could skip the 2 months vacation and start working immediately. I always answered with the same reply – Okay, but I want my salary to go up 3x (yes, that’s how much I value my time). This usually did the job and they were happy to wait those 2 months for me. However, one of the interviewers simply asked if the raise would be only for those 2 months or all the time. I have to admit, I felt the temptation. Unfortunately, I don’t think he was serious. Or was he? I’ll never know.
Either way, now that I have my job secured I can start preparing for the road. First of all, I have never done a long distance walking journey like Santiago. I love spending my time in mountains, going multi-days trips on the mountain range. Carrying sleeping bag, sleeping outside, living simple. However I plan to go to Santiago for more than 30 maybe even 45 days. That’s a long time to just walk. I hope I will practice my Spanish and not be using English that much.
I am doing Santiago in 2018
In order to obtain a Pilgrims Certificate you have to walk at least 100km. That’s not much honestly, I am afraid there are going to be a lot of “certificate hunters” doing only the minimum to get the certificate in less than 4 days. And that’s not enough time to experience the Camino, as I think is necessary. When someone tells you he/she went to Santiago, ask how many days did they actually walk. Length in Km is not the best metric, but if they walked for 3+ weeks, you can be sure they experienced something special.
That’s why I decided my Camino de Compostela will be special. My idea is to start near France/Spanish borders (Hendaye/Irun). They are both very close to each other, so it probably won’t make much difference and I will decide when I get there. The situation here is that it is nearly 800km. I am counting on getting lost at some points of the road, so the mileage might/will grow. Hopefully only slightly.
Extension to Fisterra
Once I decided to go to Santiago, I immediately knew I would like to truly finish the journey and continue walking to Fisterra. This, only 100km, extension to the Northern Way of Santiago de Compostela will bring me to the End of the World, as they knew it in the Middle Ages. I pity missing the chance of visiting the End of the World in Patagonia, when I was relatively close to it, so I would like to visit this End at least.
6 Reasons why the Northern Way is the right way for my Santiago 2018 journey
I am planning to leave Czech Republic in the first half of July and return back at the end of August. I know these months should be the worst for doing Santiago, but that’s why I chose to go the Northern Way. There are actually 6 reasons why:
- The Northern Way. It’s obvious I will naturally like it more.
- It’s not that popular as the most common French Way so it should be less crowded.
- The temperatures are not going to be in high 30s, but rather around 25-30°C (hopefully, who knows what the weather will be).
- It’s all the way along the northern coast, with some possibilities to jump into the ocean or camp near it.
- It should be little bit more challenging, which means more fun for me.
- The colder weather should also suit dogs more, so I hope I will find some 4-legs companion there.
Either way I hope I will be able to finish it. There are a lot of things I have to be worried about.
4 Things to be worried about while going to Santiago
- Physical difficulty – As I already said, I’ve never done a similar long journey. I am counting on many blisters, non-stopping exhaustion and these common things. I am afraid of something more serious, like what are my knees and ankles going to feel like, after 30km each day for 30 consecutive days?
- Mental difficulty – Walking in the rain should not be a huge problem, as the chance of getting multiple rainy days in a row is pretty small. The problem will be, when I will get sad. And I know I will. It happens on all my journeys, it’s natural.
- Accommodation – The pilgrims usually sleep in Albergues (hostel in Spanish), but the capacity is usually only 10-20 beds and summer months are the most busiest. I will probably sometimes sleep outdoor, no problem with that so far, but when it rains and hostels are full?
- Food – Well I have my fantastic eating tool. So I am ready to eat everything locals will put in front of me. I will see how will the Spanish hospitality look like, unfortunately I am kind of sceptic. Lots of people are walking the Camino, so I don’t think I will be welcomed as someone special, as on my other journeys:)
Well that’s it, I guess. I am sure these are not the only troubles I will get into … only the future posts will show, what else should have been on this list 🙂
I am doing Santiago this year.
If you want to accompany me on this journey: