There are many routes of the Camino Way, of which Camino Frances is the most popular. It starts in the Pyrenees and finishes in Santiago de Compostela.
In order to receive a compostela or certificate, walkers, known as pilgrims, must walk a minimum of 100km, and have proof of their walk by having a Camino passport stamped, (as shown here) at various locations along the route. We, like many others in May 2018, walked the final section from Sarria to Santiago de Compostela, a distance of 115 km.
Here is our story.
After completing the Great Glen Way in 2017, we wondered where to walk next. After some time, and nearing Christmas, Steve came up with the idea that as we would both be 70 in June 2018, (his birthday before mine) maybe we should do something special and walk the Camino Way in Spain to celebrate our coming of a more mature age.
Giving the idea a lot of thought, we agreed, and so planning commenced after the festive season. Unfortunately, much to his and to our disappointment, Lynn, our fourth member, had to decline due to fitness issues.
So this left just the three of us – see below right to left- Brother Steve (Pilgrim of Logistics), Brother Derek (Pilgrim of Kitty Purse & Finances) & me (Pilgrim Overseer/Organiser), often referred to as The Boss or El Capataine
Los Peregrinos Hermanos – The Pilgrim Brothers.
I duly contacted Macs Adventure early in the New Year to start the booking process. In doing so, I reminded them of an issue that we incurred on our last walk – no fault of Macs Adventure – when we had been let down with the standard of one accommodation. The firm promised to look into this matter and as compensation we were upgraded to a night’s stay at the exclusive Parador Hotel in Santiago de Compostela
Whilst dates, flights, hotel accommodation in the UK, car park arrangements and train times were all being logistically checked out by Steve & Derek, Macs Adventure came up trumps with our accommodation; all the hotels booked were on, or near, the actual “Camino Way” path and within each town centre, making it easier for finding meals and refreshments after a day’s walk. Brilliant.
After finally sorting the arrangements, it was now left to us to start training. Steve & I could walk together as we live in the same town, whereas Derek was left to his own training scheme as he lives down south.
Training was sporadic for various reasons, the weather playing a big part of the disruption, not only for us but around the country generally. It was either extremely cold, or extremely wet, or both, which curtailed our enthusiasm for training. It even upset our golf routine of playing Mondays & Fridays.
Steve would go to the gym two or three times a week; I would work at home doing domestic duties and home maintenance tasks assigned by my good wife. I was trying to shorten my To-Do list and failing. Eventually, as the weather improved, we did complete a few walks of between 8 & 15miles, knowing the longest day on the Camino was 15miles. In addition, a few rounds of golf were played for good measure. We even took part in the local council 12 miles fun walk around the area we live, which was extra training albeit it only two days before we were leaving for Spain.
During our extensive training programme we were hit by the news that our return flight had been cancelled, so it was back to the drawing board to sort the issue. It worked out that we either came home the day we finished the walk, or stayed on 2 days which now had the knock on effect of upsetting our accommodation arrangements.
After discussing the problem with Macs Adventure, we decided to adopt the second alternative and catch the next earliest flight a day later than originally planned.
Day 1 – 8th May – Travel to Gatwick, meet up with Derek
Day 2 – 9th May – Flight to Santiago, then bus to Lugo and Sarria
Day 3 – 10th May – Walk from Sarria to Portomarin – 22km
Day 4 – 11th May – Walk to Palas de Rei – 24km
Day 5 – 12th May – Walk to Melide – 15km
Day 6 – 13th May – Walk to Arzua – 13km
Day 7 – 14th May – Walk to Rua – 19km
Day 8 – 15th May – Walk to Santiago de Compostela – 20km
Days 9,10,11 – In Santiago de Compostela
Day 12 – Fly home