There was one day in particular, about 3/4 of the way into my Camino, where I realized that my mind had made the unconscious shift from ‘newbie’ to (relatively) ‘experienced pilgrim’. I was traipsing down a quiet wooded path when suddenly, a group of five people appeared walking towards me. They looked like new Pilgrims. “Wrong way,” they said, ruefully. Without hesitation, my response was, “No, it’s not. The arrow not even two minutes ago pointed this way.” Then one guy waved a map at me, saying according to the map, this is the wrong way. I shrugged. “I’m going this way. Buen Camino!” And so we went our separate ways. I had a lovely afternoon walk on quiet country roads to Sarria.
The key to a successful Camino Frances is simply this: Trust in the arrows. They will always point you in the right direction. Though one may take forever to show up, it will eventually appear, usually just as you’re about to start freaking out. But once you see it, follow it. As a bit of a control freak with trust issues, I know how hard this is. But believe me, let go and just trust the arrows.
Arrows will appear on various surfaces so keep your eyes peeled. They are not always easy to spot – sometimes you’ll need to dredge up your “Where’s Waldo” skills. Pay attention, especially in cities where the usual city busyness competes for your attention. The worst city for this is Burgos.
Speaking of trust, there is actually one thing on which you should never rely: distances on non-highway/road signs. And even those signs are the distances for a car, not a Pilgrim.