Buen Camino: The People Way

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With the Santiago Cathedral in the background, the 500-mile journey from St. Jean Pied de Port in France is completed. If you want to give this a try, here is what you need to know.

Check out the American Pilgrims on the Camino Facebook page, get a guidebook (I recommend Brierly), your U.S. Passport, and an airline ticket to France. You will end up in Bayonne/Biarritz. From there, take a bus to St. Jean Pied de Port. Tell your bank where you are going to be as you will get cash from ATMs. Go to a store selling quality outdoor clothing and buy a medium sized pack, a good lightweight pair of hiking shoes/boots, a rain jacket or poncho, a light fleece jacket, the lightest pair of sandals you can find, and two sets of trail clothes (just two!)  From May to September you won’t really need a sleeping bag, but if you take one, get the smallest lightest one you can find.  Anything else you seem to need you can buy in Spain.

If you plan to walk the entire 500 miles of the Camino Francais, plan on 35 days plus travel time. Trail costs run $30-$40 per day for food, drink, and a bed, and this is living well. You can take a friend but set your plans regardless; the Camino will provide all the friends you need. Plan to stay in albergues, not hotels, for the true pilgrim experience. You can purchase your pilgrim credencial and a scallop shell in the pilgrim office in St. Jean. Train physically if you will, but go whether or not you train; it will take you a little while to get in shape, and you will suffer, but everyone suffers. Buen Camino!

-About the Author-

Robert C Deming lives in Fredericksburg, where he is a financial advisor and a novelist. Robert is active in community affairs, an avid hiker, and frequent kayaker of Texas rivers. He is the author of four novels, three of them mysteries starring a Texas Park Police Officer.

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