Ask anyone who knows me – I’m pretty ridiculous when it comes to researching and planning anything to do with travel. So I thought I’d share some of the helpful resources I’ve come across in relation to the Camino.
1. John Brierley – A Pilgrim’s Guide to the Camino de Santiago: This is the book that I will be taking with me on my walk. It has good practical information (directions, packing info, lodgings, phone numbers, etc) and it covers most of the important sights along the way. When I compared my sightseeing list to the book, I found I didn’t need to add that much at all. The downside to the book is that it has “mystical” and quasi-religious stuff as well. Not my kind of thing at all – so in the blank sections intended for reflections, that is where I put the extra sightseeing and lodgings information I gleaned from other sources.
2. Camino de Santiago Forum: An absolute goldmine of information. Everyone on here has either done one of the camino routes or is in the process of planning their trip. I’ve asked a few questions myself and I have always gotten back helpful responses. Just make sure you search the forum for the information you need before posting your question – more than likely it has already been answered!
3. Gear: I visited many stores to find the gear that I didn’t already have. In order of the most yuppie to country, these are the stores from which I shopped: Mountain Equipment Co-op, Sail, Mark’s Work Warehouse, Joe Fresh, Le Baron Outdoor Products Ltd.
4. Random: The smartphone app, Map My Walk, is very good to help with your training for the camino. You can save maps and routes, time your walk, see the distance, and even count how many calories you’ve burned. It does, however, seem to use up a lot of battery on the phone. As for podcasts, check out Coffee Break Spanish if you need to learn some Spanish before going on your walk. The Coffee Break line has many other languages as well.
5. The Canadian Company of Pilgrims: These are the people to contact if you would like your pilgrim passport ahead of time. I got mine as I didn’t want to have to think about getting it once I reach SJPDP. You send them the form, the money, and a couple weeks later, you have a passport in your mailbox! Easy!
By the way, no one is paying me for this – if I have mentioned a company, it is because I like ’em. Though if any of them would like to pay me for my endorsement, feel free to contact me 😛