Posted in camino de santiago, Christian living, the way, Uncategorized, walking

Camino – How to Get There

In my previous blog I spoke on how to prepare to walk the Camino. In this blog I would like to share on how we actually got there.

As I have said it was a process of preparation over a 2 year process. Losing weight, gaining better health, studying, reading, and of course training by walking regularly were all a part of that process.

I checked on many sites to see what the cost would most likely be to walk the Camino as well as cost of food and accommodation.  We were living back in Australia at the time so an airfare to Europe was a great cost.

  1. So the first thing to consider is when will you undertake walking the Way?

As we don’t like crowds, we decided that either spring or autumn would be our preference to walk. Due to time constraints we settled on autumn. I am an autumn girl and love the colours of fall so this was really great for me.

Weather in Northwest Spain in October is usually warm but not hot, we found this to be so with some cooler days and nights. Generally it was pleasant. You can expect some rain (unless you travel with Paul – more on that later).   Galacia is Spain’s wettest region and on average,  rains 18 days out of 31 in October.  Santiago de Compostela averages between 64 degrees and average lows 55 degrees.

We found these temperatures to be pretty accurate with some fog in certain areas. Some times there were light showers as we headed out in the morning but by mid morning it would fine up to become sunny. Paul had a special anointing and was spoiled with the weather. He prayed because he hates wet feet and started believing for fine weather. Almost immediately the sun came out and stayed for nearly 3 weeks! We really only had a few days of heavier, uncomfortable rainfalls early on – hence the prayers. This is not normal, particularly in Galacia! So be prepared with wet gear and good weatherproof shoes!

The wind and changeable weather on the Pyrenees can not be underestimated and you need to be prepared for that.

We also liked that there was fewer people on the Camino. One issue starting mid autumn was the amount of albergues that were closed or closing for the season. Spring also has the same but reversed with some not being open yet for the start of the season. Winter there are even fewer albergues  open so a lot of research and preparation needs to be done! Summer has its own challenges with so many vying for a bed for the night and space on the walk.

2. You’ve chosen the season, now where are you going to start the walk?

Most choose the Frances Camino which starts most commonly from St Jean Pied de Port. We chose to warm up by walking two days from Bayonne. There are many other points of starting and ways to traverse, France and Spain. It is purely up to you which direction you start from and which way you head. We actually met a couple walking the Camino backwards, starting at Santiago and walking back to St Jean! We chose the most common route to begin with but who knows where we will go next time!

Some of our friends flew or trained it from Barcelona. It really depends on where you are coming from and where you want to start from.

3. You’ve chosen the season and the route, now how much is it going to cost?

The average day:

  1. AIRFARES – Of course this depends on where you are starting from. We flew from Sydney to Paris. From Paris we took a train trip down to Bayonne in the South of France where we actually walked two days to the jump off point of St Jean Pied De Port. From Santiago De Compostella, after having spoken to some people on the Way we decided to self-drive through Portugal and then across to Barcelona where we flew back to Paris. These are all costs that need to be allowed for.
  2. HOTELS – We slept mostly in the Albergues, the hostels that you will find in nearly every town you come to.  At that time of year and in 2015 the fees were about Euro 10-15 per bed per night. I see that some are saying currently it has risen to nearly Euro 30 per night We paid more for the odd hotel stay but rarely more than Euro Euro 30- 35 per night. We wanted to experience being with others but did enjoy the alone nights as well. Some paid much more when they arrived in Santiago staying in an up market hotel to celebrate their completion. On reflection I would do that too next time.  Because we hadn’t pre-booked we had to take what we could get. Summer would be much worse! It is up to you what you choose to pay but I would suggest getting more up to date costs before you head off. Some chose to camp along the Way too but I would be considering what you need to carry to do that!

3. FOOD – We set ourselves a 30 Euro a day budget each, but probably would be closer to 35 Euro per day. We found the Pilgrim meals, a three course meal most towns offer, for 13-15 Euro were fine and economical. We often bought lunch, cheese, bread or other foods, from the little food places or markets along the way. Sometimes we ate at a restaurant but they were fairly inexpensive. Tapas bars are a great way to eat economically too.  It’s your choice on your budget.

4. INCIDENTALS – We probably allowed 10 Euro per day for these including pharmacy items, but I would suggest shopping at larger stores as some of these were very expensive particularly when dealing in Euros.  Mostly I brought medicines and other items from Australia but you must consider the weight factor of carrying as opposed to buying along the Way.

All up our total budget for the two of us was 4000 Euros exclusive of return air fares to Australia and doesn’t include the cost of setting up your kit or travel insurance. This did include our train fare, hire car and flights to Paris to fly home and we had some cash left over. I would have preferred to train it back to Paris but we left the run too late and from an overnight fare costing 100 or so Euros, booking on the day of travel would have cost over 500 Euros – each! So we booked a cheap air fare and flew to Paris for lunch before our flight that night back to Australia. I could then say, “My husband flew me to Paris for lunch!”

These are suggestions and there are a lot of sites with up to date information which I again suggest you read. Some of the forums give great information but ultimately half the adventure and fun of the Camino journey is working it out as you go along!

Bein Camino!

Until next time

Blessings Narelle

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Posted in travel, Uncategorized

Change our Perspective

A few years ago I had an old SLR camera, in the days when you actually used film.   It was a wonderful time where I discovered I might have an eye for a good photo and really became obsessed looking for the great shot. I wouldn’t think of photography as a profession but as a hobby. I love it!

The truth was we bought a camera for me as Paul and I were continually fighting over the one camera. He has to have the shot exactly centered and his little ducks all in a row. However, most times the ducks have flown before he gets the shot! Me I am a lazy photographer and just aim and shoot. Thank God for a camera that adjusts automatically and takes quality shots now – on a phone!  The age of the digital photo is wonderful. You can fail and not have to pay for the failure! This gives me an amazing sense of freedom.

So recently when we went on our walk through France and Spain along the Camino Way to Santiago de Compestalla, I only took my little Samsung 5 whose camera is amazing for such a small item.  I do see things differently to the average person and love taking the unusual or different angles. I love close ups and would really like a lens that takes micro and macro shots but for now my little camera will do. I had so many lovely photos to choose from when I made Paul a photo journal book of our trip as a keepsake for us, it was hard not to make a 100 page book!  Much to the dismay of my youngest daughter who tried to insist I only use the “best of the best, sir”!

I also love visiting new places and love landscapes or “things” rather than taking shots of people – except for my grandbabies who are great subjects to shoot and love to do crazy things for the camera, even the babies! But one thing I remember learning when I first got my camera is about perspective.

When you are looking through a narrow lens it is easy to be like Paul and want to have everything centered and perfect, focusing on only what is in front of your lens and you become distanced from other things around you. It’s not a bad thing by the way but somewhat limited.

One of the surprises I found was if sometimes I looked up or around or moved position, the different angle could produce such a better photograph or a completely different appreciation of the subject being photographed. It never ceases to amaze me that simply changing your perspective can produce such different results.

Even a slight cropping can do away with the superfluous and can bring an awareness of something maybe not noticed before.

In life I don’t know how many times this lesson could be applied. As a counsellor this was a great learning curve for me with my administrative, prophetic giftings. My moto was and to some degree still is- Tell it like it is. Build a bridge and get over it. The balance of truth and grace tipped heavily towards the truth side of the sea-saw. I had mercy for those who needed mercy but if you were making dumb decisions or needed to hear the truth, I could be very tough, although I tried to never be mean or demeaning to people! I have mellowed somewhat over the years and definitely a balance is pending on the sea-saw.

One of the lessons I have learned and continue to learn is that I may need to shift position on some things or at the least see things from the perspective of someone else. The lesson has taught me to listen, to appreciate the other person’s feelings. I really try to look through their lens and try to see what they see. In trying to see a different perspective though, the Truth is still my lens and I go to the Word of God to ensure my perspective is staying on track and not straying so far off, to become out of focus and blurry. I may not agree with someone but I can appreciate their argument, their thoughts and their position in a matter.

I feel it may have made me a better mother, wife, and friend. Am I still learning? Of course! Do I fail to shift my perspective in the heat of a moment?  Sure I do! But it is an ongoing lesson and effort to ensure I continually look at a situation with eyes that aren’t mono focused but constantly looking to see if there is an enhanced position or superior outlook that can produce an improved product. What areas of your life might need a perspective adjustment or refocus?

Blessings until next time

Narelle

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Our lovely chocolatier in Santo Domingo, in Spain, famous for it’s chickens in the church! 

 

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Everything chicken! Chocolate chickens and ducks.