The Apostle Saint James the Great whose shrine is housed in the cathedral of Santiago de Compostela in the northwestern part of Spain is a pilgrimage route flocked to by tourists from around the globe. Many go on this pilgrimage while exploring their spirituality or path of enlightenment, and it has been said that the route of the pilgrimage would be seen as an act of indulgence whereby travellers would earn forgiveness for the sins that they repented of.
Embarking on such an iconic and spiritual adventure, whether for self-repentance or as an outdoor excursion like no other, the route to Camino de Santiago has changed people’s lives and will for sure change yours.
The way of travelling.
There are many ways to go about completing this unique hike, the Camino de Santiago route, known in English as the Way of St. James, can be done on foot walking (about 30 days) or running, or many have done it cycling which has proven popular. The great thing is that you will meet plenty of people on the same route, all for their personal reasons, but with one main objective – to reach the burial ground where tradition states the remains of the apostle are buried.
What you do need to keep in mind is the varied terrain you will face, and thus you must plan your trip ahead of time not only mentally but physically too. The route is challenging, more so in some areas than others, but can be very demanding on the body which will ultimately determine your enjoyment of the trip. Be sure to increase your fitness and training before you head off.
If you are planning to do this adventure or spiritual awareness journey, but it is your first time, then take note of these simple yet fundamental tips to help you along the way and beforehand.
Top 5 tips for beginners for the Camino de Santiago route.
You may well be reasonably fit, but without some knowledge ahead of time, you could find yourself in a tough situation that, with proper preparation, could easily have been prevented.
- With any long walk and hike it is imperative to stay hydrated, and with multiple sources of water along the way you need to ensure you keep your bottles of water full. You can also drink the tap water at stops along the route but check ahead of time how many, if any, water source locations there might be.
- Eating well can make all the difference. Frequent smaller meals are recommended over fewer large meals, this way you have a constant source of energy to keep you going. Snack foods are always great (and highly advised) to keep in your bag should you feel lethargic or weak during your walk.
- During the warmer months, it can be tough going on the path, the sun beats down, and you sweat out any water you have in your body, so it is advised to get a good rest the evening before and wake up ready to go as the sun rises. Be sure you have packed and eaten by sunrise, this way the path is visible for you to walk safely, but also to enjoy the beautiful surroundings as opposed to during the dark. And it won’t be scorching hot early on in the day.
- Symbols and signs along the route not only remind you that you are still on course, but the iconic Jacobean shell has a rich history too. Some signage has this shell symbol guiding you on which way to continue, and others have a marker stating how many miles or kilometers you have till you reach the Camino de Santiago.
- This refers to your body. Often we are driven by adrenalin and excitement and forget the basics when it is something new, but it could cause trouble down the line if you don’t take care of your body from the get-go. Sun cream, comfortable shoes, plasters (for blisters), and rest are vital signs you need to tend to before they become a problem.
A final thought.
Respecting nature as you travel the route goes without saying, but still needs to be said. This pilgrimage, for the most part, is a religious act of the Old Continent, and being able to journey on the path that so many have done before you, is an honor not to be wasted. Embracing Camino de Santiago will be an everlasting memory.