I’d seen a TV programme about the Camino De Santiago, and it looked like a fun way to spend a week! Walking a trail in Galicia, northern Spain from town to town and stopping for tapas and wine along the way. Plus an opportunity to meet different folk from all over the world. So I started to search for Camino De Santiago Guided Tours.
I generally like yoga holidays for solo trips, but I started warming to the possibility of doing something new. I’d never done hiking before, but I love walking. I live by the canal in east London, and I take long walks there most weekends.
I did a bit of research and found that you can do a guided walk of the last 100KM of the Camino De Santiago, French Way that’s organised for you by a company called Camino Ways. I thought this would be a brilliant way to do the Camino, try something new and meet a few like-minded people too.
What is the Camino De Santiago?
The Camino de Santiago is a network of pilgrims walking routes leading to the cathedral of Santiago de Compostela and the shrine of the apostle Saint James the Great where it’s said the remains of the saint are buried. Many people follow the walking routes as a form of spiritual path or retreat for their spiritual growth.
What’s Unique About Camino De Santiago Guided Tours?
I discovered that walking is like meditating. Once you get in your stride, you zone out. You’re likely to experience a bit of hardship on this walk as our group all had aching body parts by the end of the journey. That is part of the experience. You learn how resilient you are and learn coping mechanisms to push through the journey. It’s a fantastic way to connect with yourself and with nature too. You’ll meet some lovely like-minded people, and if you get to join a group like mine on a Camino De Santiago Guided Tour you’ll have lots of fun on the way too.
Why It’s A Fantastic Solo Holiday
Camino Ways organise Camino De Santiago Guided Tours and plan the whole thing for you. This makes it the perfect female solo trip! They arrange the airport transfers, hotels, luggage transfers and they provide a guide for your walk. It really couldn’t be easier as you meet your guide and the rest of the group at the airport and start your Camino journey.
There were 14 of us in our group, 3 English, 2 Irish, 3 Americans, 1 Australian, 2 Polish and 1 Danish and 2 Japanese and we were a mix of male and female, some solo travellers and a few couples and friends. It was fantastic to learn about my fellow travellers and, we all bonded quickly. You’ll find yourself walking with different people at different times, chatting, sharing stories and stopping for snacks on the way.
On the longer walking days, you reach your destination at about 3 pm and the shorter walking days you get there about 1 pm, so there is time to explore the local town and enjoy the local food. Or get some alone time or maybe hang out with some of the group.
Things You Need To Know Before You Go:
• On Camino De Santiago Guided Tours there are lots of stops on the way, and most of the shops sell useful items for your journey. You can buy t-shirts, jumpers, rain jackets, ponchos, buffs, hats and walking sticks so if you’re not sure you need something you could buy it when you’re there. I purchased a reasonably expensive rain jacket before I travelled but only wore it once and could have made do with a 10EURO poncho easily.
• There are lots of café’s to stop at, and they are cheap so you don’t need to carry lots of water or food as you can buy it as you go.
• When you pack for your trip and travel, don’t fill your big flight bag and day-pack to the top. You need enough space in your big flight bag to fit everything in except what you need for the day. The luggage transfer is one bag only, and everything you don’t want to carry with you needs to go in that bag. A few of us made this mistake and then had to carry more items each day than we would have liked because we had packed both bags to the max to travel.
Things To Pack:
- Leggings are great for walking in
- Shorts for when it’s hot – lighter materials without too many seams are probably better
- Vests are great for when it’s hot and pack the sunscreen also
- Quality hiking trainers
- Quality socks so you don’t get blisters
- Relaxing bath and shower gel – a few of the hotels have bathtubs, and I recommend a good soak to relax those tired muscles
- Two pairs of knickers a day – it’s hot and sweaty so you’ll need to change them after walking
- Change of clothes for the evening – there is a three-course meal in the hotel restaurants each evening. You don’t need to dress up for this, but you will want a change of clothes.
- Flip flops – you’ll want your feet to be free after those long walks.
- Day pack – You need very little as you will have your luggage transported, so you only need things you need in your day pack.
- Hat – some days you’ll be walking for about 7 hours so you’ll want to keep your head cool and in the shade from the sun
- Plasters/Compeed just in case you get blisters
- Buff – can be used as a headband, bobble or to keep the sun off your neck
- Light water bottle
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