After having had this beautiful experience I would like to share some tips for the Way of St James. I am very far from being an expert on the Camino, rather I am a rookie, so I am very clear about the mistakes and successes I have had as a beginner. These are just some recommendations for those people who want to do the Camino de Santiago.
Tips for the Way of St James
- The first recommendation is: do it, to go on the Way of St James. It is safe, cheap, easy (logistically speaking) and I assure you that it will be an incredible experience that you will never forget. What are you waiting for?
- The second advice is: do it with time. The Camino can be savoured better if you have time to enjoy the towns and cities you pass through, and to discover the history of this ancient route. Moreover, in this way you can rest your body and avoid injuries. Without a doubt, this is something that I have missed in my experience.
- My next recommendation is that you do it in the first months or in the last months of summer (June, September). The French Way crosses an area of Spain that can be very hot in the summer months, especially in July and August. And it is very cold in winter, and it can be cold in spring and autumn too.
- Another important advice is to use good and quality material. The footwear, the backpack, the components of the bicycle, the panniers, etc. You want the minimum number of problems on your trip and the cheap can be expensive. Also, make sure that your clothes and shoes are comfortable and suitable for the weather. Think that you are going to walk or pedal for hours, days and even weeks. We want to avoid all kinds of discomforts, chafing, cold or heat.
- Another important suggestion is to bring as little as possible. This seems very obvious, but I guarantee you that once you are on the Way you will realize that you could have gone lighter. I washed my clothes at the end of the stage and I put on the same clothes every day, so there was a set of clothes that never came out of the panniers. Besides, I brought some things “just in case” which I did not need either. Wear a set of clothes to walk or pedal and another to rest. Comfort is the most important thing. Wear clothes that you can combine to cope with the weather. There are companies that can send and keep your excesses in Santiago de Compostela.
- Another advice is to learn and use Spanish as much as possible before you start the Way and while doing it. Through my travels I have seen many people who do not know a second language, this makes me feel sad. Of course, it is very convenient for English speakers to have the whole world speaking their language, but at the same time to learn a language is something amazing that will help you grow as a human. If you only speak one language you are missing something. Plus many people in the world speak Spanish and it is a beautiful language. Just learn a few words every day and use them as much as possible, trust me, the experience will become even better.
These are my tips for the Way of St James, I hope they serve you. Although without a doubt the most important advice is the first one. Do not hesitate, visualize that yellow arrow that guides you towards it and do the Camino de Santiago!