Advice and savings at the Camino de Santiago.
It is time to do the Camino de Santiago and pilgrims from all over the world know it. We want to help you so that you have all the possible information to enjoy it as much as you can. This is why we have made available for you a BarterPoint in Santiago de Compostela so that you can exchange your currency with who you want, and as usual, for FREE.
With whom to make the camino and when.
Don’t be afraid about doing the camino alone. It is the best way in order not to depend on anyone and it is the easiest way of enjoying the Camino and the inner searching that goes with it. However, you may find the adequate partners.
It is not dangerous at all the route as it is very well defined and it is complicated to get lost, but in case it happens, you will find for sure help anywhere.
Although any time of the year has its own charm, the end of April, May, June (very long days) and September (not that hot) is probably the best time to do it, as they are part of the Spring and the end of Summer. You must take into account that mostly the 75% of the pilgrims do the Camino during July and August, so to find a refuge may turn into a sort of competition.
Where to start, the duration of the stages and the refuges.
There are several caminos to get to Santiago, the question is which is the one to choose. They all have a special charm so your choice will always be right. Once you have chosen the camino you should think about the days you will need until you get to Santiago. The stages are usually more or less scheduled and depend on the distance between the hostels. Anyway, you will walk around 25 km per day.
The French Camino (Sant Jean Pied de Port – Santiago de Compostela)940 km.
This is the oldest one. From the XI century a lot of pilgrims come from the east of Europe to see the tomb of the Apostle Santiago in Compostela.
With its 37 stages, the French camino is the longest one and in it you will discover unique places and contrasts that are completely different. It is the one chosen the most by pilgrims because it is full of history and landscapes that will change your life.
The Primitive Camino (Oviedo – Santiago de Compostela)321 km.
It is known as the Primitive Camino, the route that from Oviedo the Asturian King Alfonso II in the IX century started in order to venerate the remains of the Apostle, whose tomb had been found some years before.
It is less known than the others but nowadays it has been set so that it becomes one of the most beautiful caminos.
The Northern Camino (Irún – Santiago de Compostela) 815 km.
It is as old as the French Camino and it can also be one of the longest. This Camino is the one used in the Medival Age by the European Kings. In the last few years it has been presented as one of the best options because of its good signalling, its landscapes and the type of ground you walk through.
La credential and where to stamp.
The credential is what identifies us as pilgrims and allow us to get to hostels. It can be obtained in many different places as churches, cathedrals, hostels, associations… but it is true that not all of them have so you may need to ask.
In the place in which we will start the Camino we will get the certification of the starting point and the way we will be doing the Camino, on foot, by bike or by horse. Throughout the Camino, usually at hostels, we will get the stamp and the date. There are also some bars and private houses that also have some nice stamps. Once we are in Santiago, showing that we have travelled at least the last 100 kms. at the Pilgrims’s Office we can obtain the Compostelana, which is a diploma that certifies that you have done the Camino de Santiago. It has your name written in Latin and you can obtain only if your trip has been religious, spiritual or for an inner search.
Advice to walk, the shoes and the care of your feet.
Start walking slowly, until your body gets warm. Don’t hurry, you don’t need to finish the stage faster, it is better to walk in a continuous and regular way. Each person has a different rhythm and it must be comfortable to avoid blisters and overweights. If you walk with someone that walks faster, don’t try to follow his/her rhythm or you will be exhausted and in pain in a few hours, with problems for starting the following stage.
There are several ways of avoiding blisters During the Camino:
- Put some moisturising cream on, mainly between your toes, on your foot’s sole and on the heel before starting any stage.
- Put some hydrogen water all over your clean feet after each stage. That will help you a lot.
- Use cotton socks with no sewing and you will avoid some scuff marks.
- It is completely fundamental to have used your shoes before starting the Camino so that they are comfortable and don’t hurt you.
- Dry feet. If they get wet, dry them and change your socks.
- Don’t walk when it is too hot or you feet will get reheated and you will get some blisters.
- Keep a comfortable rhythm for you, otherwise your way of walking will be changed and you may get some blisters and a muscular overweight.
Maximum weight of your bag, 10% of your own weight.
It is not advisable to carry more than that and with this list you will bring around 7-8 kilos, although it is true that when it is cold the weight is higher.
- With some easy-to-get pockets and compartments for the water, things you may need or some fruit and dried fruit. It has to be padded and it has to have a closure on the waist and the chest.
- Sleeping Bag. You can also bring a mat but you won’t need it at hostels. It is just in case you have to sleep on the floor of a sport centre or in a tent.
- Hat or cap. To protect yourself from the sun, at the front or at the back part of your head.
- A scarf for your neck. It will keep you fresh when it’s hot and will cover your face if there is dust. It can also help you in case you need to make a tourniquet.
- Safety pins.It is possible that you may have to carry wet clothes. In order to keep them away from the dry clothes you can carry them out of the bag, joined with a safety pin.
- The maximun, 3 t-shirts. Take into account the weight, the space in the bag and how easy it will be to wash them and to dry them.
- The warmest don’t need a lot of space in your bag and are not very heavy. And they also protect you from the cold!
- 2 pairs of trousers. One pair wearing for walking and the other one for the end of the stage and coming back home.
- Raincoat or water layer. Depending on the time of the year you should choose how warm they are. Take into account that the space it will occupy must me minimum as happens with its weight. There are pilgrims that cover their bags with the water layer.
- 3 or 4 pairs of socks. 100% cotton and with no sewing. It is highly recommended to keep them dry as much as possible in order to avoid blisters,
- 3 piece of underwear. Same advice as for the t-shirts and the socks. Women can use “paper panties” that can be used and the thrown to the bin.
- Boots or trekking shoes. As advice: To use the shoes before the Camino so that they are comfortable and don’t provoke scuff marks and don’t burn your feet. You have to take into account that pilgrim’s feet are the most valuable thing he/she has and to take care of them is fundamental.
- Flip-flops for the shower and for the end of each journey. They can be those with something attached to your toe or with strips, but these last ones should be used with socks.
- Bordón or cane. It is convenient in order to help yourself with it when going up or down. It is also helpful to keep away dogs with not good intentions.
- Food, some dried fruit as raisins, figs, nuts and, depending on the time of the year, chocolate, but only for emergencies.
Save money. Exchange your currency for the Camino in Santiago.
Only 700 metres from the Cathedral, in front of the Alameda Park, you can find our BarterPoint, Gastrobar Avelaiña, where you will be able to exchange your currency in a privileged setting, quietly and comfortably.