wake me up before you go – go


So I’m finally back!! It’s pretty surreal being back in Dublin after 5 weeks on the go. I visited some of the most beautiful areas in Spain, made so many new friends from all around the world, consumed inordinate amounts of red wine, gave up sweets and pastries only to become addicted to cafe con latte and Principe biscuits, took over 600 photos only to wish I had taken more, oh and I walked over 1000 beautiful kilometres in sunshine, rain and snow. I’m already planning when I can squash in my next Camino!

WEEK 1: approx 210km

St Jean – Roncesvalles – Larrasoana – Uterga – Lorca – Los Arcos – Logrono – Najera


  • leave early in the mornings to see the valleys shrouded in mist and catch the rising sun
  • bring a small knife. It will make a world of a difference when you are trying to assemble a lunchtime sandwich on top of a mountain.
  • wind down with a few drinks in the evening until at least 9pm. Relax and get to know your fellow peregrinos.
  • bring a hat. A woolly one for the mountains, something shaded for the sun. Blistering red swollen ears are not comfortable, particularly when someone pops the blisters in a cafe as you are trying to enjoy your brunch. I couldn’t finish my coffee.
  • slow down to walk with the old local man who wants to tell you his life story even though you don’t know what he is saying. His tearful goodbye and well wishes for your remaining journey is only the beginning of the wonderful Spanish hospitality.
  • if you are young and able, take the top bunk leaving the bottom for the elderly and late arrivals. Be prepared to sleep in very basic accommodation. As long as there is a bed it is perfect. Hot water may become a luxury!


  • wake everyone else leaving early. Gather your things, leave the bedroom and then pack your bag as loudly as you want. Shouting goodbye to your comrades at the top of your voice may get an smelly pair of socks thrown at you. In my defence, 5 am is waaay to early to leave and wake others.
  • forget earplugs. Essential to  drown out the cacophony of snores echoing around the bedrooms. I find myself missing the sound now that I’m home, but a good nights sleep is important to get back your energy.
  • get set up with sons and cousins of your drinking companions.
  • accept improptu marriage proposals when talking with said older persons
  • expect everything to be open all the time. The Spanish stores have different opening hours, vital if you need medicine from a farmacia or some food to keep going.
  • exhaust yourself. Take your time, you’re supposed to enjoy the walk. It’s not a race.

lakebenchlos arcosnajera






  • Lorca. Delightful small village I happened upon after exhausting myself the previous day. Most peaceful nights sleep I had, in a small 12 bed hostel. They washed my clothes for me, a huge slice of tortilla cost only 1.50, beer was cheap, the hospitalero friendly and the Italian girl working there was happy to drink with us late in the evening giving Camino advice.
  • the municipal albergue in Roncesvalles. One of the largest on the camino Frances, in an old convent and I was pleasantly awoken at 6.30 am by the gentle guitar playing of the hospitalero who is serenading you with Wham(!) songs. Other plus points include the priest giving groups a guided tour of the old buildings.


  • La Posada, Roncesvalles, unless you’re eating the menu del peregrino. The starter soup may cost €7 alone otherwise! You can get ripped off sometimes along the camino, keep an eye out!
  • Zariquiegui hostel, after Pamplona, unless it is May. If it is unexpectedly closed you have to walk a further 6.5 km over a hill…. having already walked 30 km, on the hottest day of the year so far, sweltering sunshine in the afternoon and running out of water half way up. I almost didn’t think I’d make it.


Guidebook says…

  • “The first half is a tranquil walk, gently rolling farmland”
  • “gateway to the inner realm of spirit. one path is full of distraction..other leads to the real world”
  • “Pilgrims may cross greater mystery beyond the suffering of the world”

Evas words of wisdom…

  • gently rolling really means lots of hills through a valley which has turned into a wind funnel by mid afternoon. Not all areas are beautiful. While most parts are, walking into the larger cities or beside industrial factories is not so spectacular.
  • while it’s a time for reflection don’t forget to just be present in the moment and don’t miss what is all around you
  • the suffering of my hangover after sharing a bottle of local liquor with an enthusiastic Slovenian man was no great mystery to me.

sunriselosarcos deutsche pamplona