Week 2: approx 195 km. Granon – Tosantos – Atapuerca – Burgos – Hontanas – Boadilla del Camino – Carrion de los Condes – Sahagun
- go to a donativo albergue. A bed, showers, place to do laundry and relax AND a communal meal all for whatever price you feel it was worth. Bringing a bottle of vino to the evening meal doesnt hurt either!
- take more breaks. For two days I almost walked non stop. This became a much better ritual of waking at 7, enjoying breakfast until 8, stopping for coffee at 10, sharing a picnic lunch at one, and stopping for the day at 3, to spend my evening with with the best company – good friends & a bottle of vino. This was the life!
- Bring your student card. If being a peregrino doesn’t get you the discount, a student card is like a VIP pass for the main church in Burgos.
- Alternatively don’t pay into the church, just go free along to the evening mass.
- Save some clean clothes like pjs for your washing day. If you wash EVERYTHING, you don’t want to have to sit outside wrapped in a towel to wait for decent clothes to dry.
- Walk with different people. You can share stories, have deep conversations, laugh about nothing or even sing hungaruan rock songs to each other.
- share a meal in the evening. Cooking for one is no fun! You may even meet an Italian cook who you can persuade to be your personal chef!
- Listen to the advice of those who walked before. If the little old lady who walked the camino 5 times before tells you to air your feet, and dry your socks in the sun to kill some bacteria, do it!
- take the opportunity to send stuff back in the bigger cities. Amongst some of the useless stuff people had; hairdryer, more makeup than clothes, 5kg tinned salmon, 4 pairs of shoes, camping stove (not needed if you stay in albergues), 3 different guidebooks, more clothes than you need..the list is endless. If its not a necessity, send it on!
- expect luxury. The camino can be walked staying in nice hotels costing more money, but part of the experience is slumming it with the regulars, even for a few nights. You become so grateful just to have a bed to sleep in. I’ve never appreciated my hot shower in Dublin as much.
- walk with people you don’t click with. Even though it may be the best day of their life, if it is frustrating, slow, awkward and uncomfortable with you to walk with someone who gets on your nerves, just say no.
- backtrack for anything. Walking the camino backwards isn’t easy especially if you go off route backwards to try and find the small chapel you missed. Cue confusion and time wasting.
- listen to everyone’s blister remedies. Each person is different; one swears by rose oil, another vaseline, or tea tree oil, it could be two pairs of socks, a brand of blister plasters. Try everything then stick to whst works for you!
- Evening mass in the church in Burgos. You don’t have to pay to visit the church, it’s beautiful despite all the crazy cherubs floating from the roof, it was a welcoming mass even though it was mostly in spanish so if you’re going to partake in a mass somewhere even though you’re not religious this is the place to go.
- one euro pub in Burgos, directly after mass, Irish style. Need I say more?
- donativo in Granon. So welcoming, friendly and you get to stay overnight in an awesome old church! The small evening mass was beautiful with the local people singing, and you had to walk to the bakery and sing a song to get your dinner (‘if you’re happy and you know it clap your hands’ in our case)
- the alternative routes. In some stages there are different routes you can take which don’t follow main roads. Maybe a little longer, but quieter and safer.
- Walking the meseta (beautiful but totally flat with no shade) at the hottest time of the day.
- mercatos which are not always open sundays.
- burgos castle (unless you have a student card) is nice, but not amazing.
- rivers. And the stage up to Boadilla del Camino without some sort of insect repellent. There were flies everywhere.
- “how many pilgrims has this grove sheltered”
- “such deep respect and joy amongst strangers who were not strangers”
- “life without an inner direction is fruitless”
Evas words of wisdom…
- Decent vegetation after Burgos is sparse. What groves?
- Seriously though. This is the place to make lifelong friends.
- My direction was Santaigo. Preferrably in one piece.
- stolen from a magnet in Granon – “it is not enough to be forgiven by others, sometimes you need to forgive yourself”