1. Camino Places
The best thing about this application is that it covers four different Camino routes. The built-in GPS can even be accessed offline.
2. Camino de Santiago Forum
The Camino de Santiago Forum has answers to most questions you might have about the Camino. If you have a question, post it on the forum and an experienced pilgrim will answer it. Many questions have already been asked and answered, so there is a vast collection of information already available on the site.
After having breakfast at Mansilla de las Mulas we headed for León. The final 20 kilometers was definitely difficult for us, given that we hadn’t fully recovered from our colds and our bodies were sore and aching from the accumulated fatigue of the past few days.
The scenery on the Camino route between Burgos and León consists mainly of plains. They stretch out boundlessly, as if they were endless. In the last few hours we were eager to break the monotony and return to civilization.
At about 3:00 in the afternoon, we finally reached León. The first thing we did was to buy a box of salad and two bottles of freshly squeezed orange juice, as our bodies were really craving fiber after the walk. Returning to civilization was sweet! It felt like the reward for the 120 kilometers we walked. We finally finished our Camino.
Our Camino was short compared to people who walk the whole Camino Frances, but it was still physically and mentally challenging for us.
We walked in rain, mud and wind, and the Spanish diet was not well suited to our tastes. Being a vegetarian in rural Spain was quite challenging. Having to worry about finding accommodation was also stressful.
But it was worth it.
I am not a person who works out and exercises all the time, and I didn’t do any training for the Camino. I never would have thought I could walk 120 kilometers in six days before I did my Camino.
I know now that if I push myself to do something I can achieve more than what I expect. The sense of accomplishment when we reached León gave me great satisfaction and joy. Now that I know better where my physical limitations actually are, I plan to come back and finish the whole walk in the future.
Doing the Camino with a friend is also definitely helpful and recommended, especially for girls. There are parts of the Camino that might feel a bit too vacant to walk alone, especially in the morning before the sun comes up. As a lot of pilgrims start walking before dawn, walking alone as a girl may feel a bit unsafe. Having a friend in albergues would also make you feel a lot more secure when you leave your packs in the room.
Walking with a friend isn’t just safer, it also makes your walk a lot more interesting. Having someone to talk to while walking for 6 hours a day feels a lot less mentally challenging than walking alone.
If you don’t happen to have someone to accompany you on the Camino, it is also a good opportunity to make new friends. Local people that you meet on the way are generally friendly towards pilgrims.
The Camino is also a good opportunity to gain some clarity to your thoughts. Even if you are walking with friends, there are still likely to be several hours every day when you do nothing but focus on your steps. Having to fulfill only one goal a day is a rarity for modern people. The Camino also offers you a chance to walk through beautiful natural environments.
Busy thoughts slow down and become louder, and suppressed feelings emerge. You have time to “communicate” with yourself internally and ponder things freely while enjoying the scenery of the Camino.
The Camino was an unforgettable experience for me, one I wouldn’t have been able to get elsewhere. I now feel confident challenging myself to do more physically demanding activities and also to “survive” in rural areas of foreign countries.
El Camino de Santiago, I shall return.