Although tiring, everyone seems to enjoy hiking. The experience is one of a kind.
It is the best way to relieve one’s mind. Besides, the rough terrains and the weather are a better way to bring the people involved together. Currently, the Camino de Santiago is one of the few prominent hiking events.
The event offers an ultimate epic hike for everyone. The Camino de Santiago is an ancient route to the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela, which houses the prominent shrine of the apostle St. James. There are many routes all around Europe that leads to the Cathedral. However, the Camino Frances or Way of Saint James is the most popular. Taking this particular hike can be a challenge since it’s long and not as the usual one-day walks that you may be used. Without saying much, here are the top five things that you should know before planning your trip to the Way of St. James.
1. No app for the route
Currently, and thanks to the advancements in tech, it’s possible to travel to a new place with less worry. All you need is a smartphone and a connection to the internet, and you’ve your map. With a smartphone, you can rarely get stranded along your hike as the small device can help you navigate all along.
However, when it comes to the Way of St. James, your phone may not be of any help. The connection to the internet is usually a challenge, as well as, the phone’s signal. Therefore, be prepared to hike without the tech and that’s not knowing your exact location, and what distance is left for you to cover. Thankfully, some guidebooks can assist you to plan your trip efficiently. The handbooks can help you in knowing where to make a stop, or where to spend a night instead of going blindly. With a guidebook, you will be in a position to walk at your own pace while enjoying every part of the hike. There is much to see along the way.
2. Making an early booking is necessary
The Way of St. James is an all year event. Some hikers prefer hitting the trek in April, May, June, and October. These months, usually have a low number of hikers. As a result, accommodation during the period is easy to find. Besides, the weather is welcoming. However, most pilgrims hit the Way of St. James during the summer. During the summer, the weather is usually intense. Besides, securing accommodation is often a big deal.
Therefore, it’s advisable to make your bookings before starting your trip. Making the reservations a few months before the trip is essential, especially if you prefer hiking during the summer. Over the past few decades, the Camino has gained popularity. So, you shouldn’t risk missing accommodation. Having a guaranteed accommodation ensures that you avoid the hassles of hotels along the way. The last-minute bookings can see you share dorms with other hikers, and the experience may not be amazing.
The Camino requires sufficient rest to gain the energy needed to tackle the following day. Also, making an early booking saves you some money. The hotel’s prices usually hike during the peak seasons. Besides, having an early reservation ensures that you and your friends enjoy the hike all along without the worry of missing a hotel. The assurance makes you hike at your own pace and thus avoiding straining your body.
3. You should cover at least 100kms to get a certificate
As many would say, the Camino is like any other hiking experience. The only difference is that in the Camino, there is a reward at the end. You will receive a certificate of completion. However, for one to receive the certificate, he or she must have covered at least 100 kms (62 miles) by foot or horseback. You’re required to take your passport to the Pilgrim’s Office in Santiago for distance verification and then the issuance of the certificate.
On hitting the 100km mark, the number of hikers usually increases, and there is a final 200 kms left to be covered. However, the remaining distance can be covered using a bike. The experience is often one of its own. Although tiring, you can interact with the fellow hikers to fight the boredom and thus make the trip entertaining. For those who enjoy solitude, you can hit the trail between 7 and 8 in the morning. The early hours help you avoid the worst of the day’s heat, as well as, the crowds. Most people manage to cover at least 25 kms a day.
4. Packing list
Like any other hike, minding what you carry along the Camino is vital. Remember, you will have to bring the backpack all along. The experience can be a misery if you take more than what is needed. Therefore, preparing a packing list is one of the smartest moves one can make before planning the trip to the Way of St. James.
You can consult with other pilgrims to have an idea of what to bring along. Also, there are various blogs out there and which can give you a hint of your packing list. There are also tour companies with the info of what you need during the trip. Here you will learn that you need things such as water bottles, sun hats, camera, travel towel, socks, hiking boots, wipes, warm clothing, trekking poles, sunscreen and medicines among many other essential items. Therefore, unless you’re organizing luggage transfers, you should ensure that your luggage is small to avoid burdening yourself during the hike.
5. You don’t have to suffer
Many hikers argue that if you don’t allow yourself to suffer during the Way to St. James, you’re not a real peregrine. They insist that a real pilgrim should spend the nights in hostels with over 20 beds in a room, for example, and share the bathroom without complaining. But that shouldn’t be the case. After all, it’s a hike and not a misery journey. You have a right to enjoy your privacy, and that means spending your night in comfortable hotel rooms.
Besides, people are different. Therefore, you should go with an option that suits your taste or preference. Spending a night in the crowded dorms is allowed. But that should happen if you miss accommodation and you’re ok with the state, and not because you’re trying to act like a real pilgrim. As stated earlier, it’s advisable to book everything early to avoid the miseries during your trip.
Taking a trip to the Way of St. James is an exciting experience. In the recent past, the tour has gained popularity with visitors all year round. Therefore, planning for the trip is essential to ensure that you enjoy it to the maximum. In the article, there are five things that you should know before making the trip arrangements.