Since returning to Colorado, anyone who asks how was my Camino will find that I’m still very energized and passionate about my experiences on the Camino.  As meaningful as the Camino was for me, I needed some time to process what I had experienced.  My sense is that I will continue “processing” my experiences for an undefined period.  However, I’ve been feeling a strong urge to start a series of posts sharing some of my reflections.

I’d like to start with our actual itinerary.  We started off with the strategy of starting slowly and giving us an opportunity to develop our trekking legs.  Since we started our Camino in Burgos, which is the largest city on the Camino Francés, we anticipated a lot of pilgrims leaving Burgos the same day as us.  Since nearly all the English speaking pilgrims were using the John Brierly Pilgrim’s Guide, my assumption was that many of those same pilgrims would be following Mr. Brierly’s recommended daily stages for each day.  That immediately put us in the rural Spanish Meseta with very small villages offering accommodations.  Therefore, I took the advice of a “veteran” pilgrim who started in St. Jean Pied du Port and looked at starting our Camino out of Burgos very slowly and staying away from the recommended stages which might heighten our probability of accommodations.  I believed this strategy helped us along the way.  To be fair, I’ll never know.

Once our actual hiking on the Camino started, I also quickly realized that we needed to be open to what the Camino brought us which included being sensible about public transportation, if needed.  Therefore, along the way, when we felt it was necessary we at times took a taxi, bus, or train to ensure that we would reach Santiago de Compostela in a relatively healthy state and to have walked at least the last 100 kms to receive our Compostela.  Below is our day by day itinerary.  My distances are based on those provided in John Brierly’s “A Pilgrim’s Guide to the Camino de Santiago.”  They are approximations. The format is basically each day’s “stage”, approximate distance walked and where we stayed that evening.  I also indicate when, where, and why we took public transportation.  Also, please note that when we reached each day’s destination, we walked everywhere.  Therefore, we walked for sightseeing, finding restaurants, or looking for a good wifi connection.  The total distance walked for all of us is more than just the hiking distances shown below.

Camino de Santiago: Burgos to Santiago de Compostela

Friday, May 17 – Burgos to Rabé de las Calzadas for 13.3 kms / 8.2 miles

                           Alberque: Libéranos Dómine

Saturday, May 18 – Rabé de las Calzadas to Hontanas for 18.5 kms / 11.5 miles

                             Alberque: El Puntido

Sunday, May 19 – Hontanas to Itero de la Vega for 20.4 kms / 12.6 miles

                             Alberque: Puente Fitero

Monday, May 20 – Itero de la Vega to Población de Campos for 18.1 kms / 11.2 miles

                             Hotel: Amanecer

Tuesday, May 21 – Población de Campos to Carrión de los Condes for 17.0 kms / 10.5 miles

                              Hostel: Santiago

Wednesday, May 22 – Carrión de los Condes to Terradillos de los Templarios for 26.8 kms / 16.6 miles

                             Alberque: Jacques de Molay

Thursday             May 23 – Terradillos de los Templarios to Sahagún for 13.0 kms / 8 miles

                             Alberque: Monasterio de Santa Cruz

it is from Terradillos de los Templarios that Nancy and Andrea took a Taxi to Sahagún and then a train from Sahagún to Leon. Nancy’s knee was really bothering her and Andrea’s hips were tightening up.  Since it would be a three day hike to Leon from Terradillos de los Templarios, we thought that would give Nancy and Andrea additional, much needed rest.  Heike and I continued hiking.

Friday, May 24 – Sahagún to Reliegos for 40.0 kms / 25 miles

                           Alberque: La Parada

Saturday, May 25 – Reliegos to Mansilla de las Mulas for 6.1 kms / 3.8 miles

 9 consecutive days of walking for total of 173.2 kms / 107.4 miles, averaging  approximately 19.2 kms / 12 miles per day. 

After Heike and I inadvertently walked 40 kms (we got lost!) we were wiped out.  In Brierly’s guidebook, he also recommends not hiking into Leon because of the heavy traffic getting through the industrial part of the city.  Therefore, we took a taxi to LEÓN from Mansilla de las Mulas saving us 18.6 kms / 11.5 miles of walking.  Heike and I really needed that!

Sunday, May 26 – REST DAY IN LEÓN

Monday, May 27 took bus from Leon to La Virgen del Camino for 8.5 kms / 5.2 miles. Again, we followed Brierly’s advice regarding getting out of Leon’s industrial area.  We made up for that by walking a solid day.

Monday, May 27 – La Virgen del Camino to Hospital de Órbigo for 28.2 kms / 17.5 miles

                             Bed & Breakfast: El Caminero

Tuesday, May 28 – Took bus to Astorga for 14.9 kms / 9.2 miles.  This day was very, very cold and windy.  Heike and I were exhausted after the previous day’s 17.5 mile hike.  My feet and knees were killing me and Heike’s feet were in pain.  We stayed in Astorga for the day. Hotel: Coruña  REST DAY IN ASTORGA

Wednesday, May 29 – Astorga to Rabanal del Camino for 21.4 kms / 13.3 miles

                             Hostel: Hostel el Refugio

Thursday, May 30 – Rabanal del Camino to Riego de Ambrós for 20.8 kms / 13 miles

                             Pension: Riego de Ambrós

Friday                    May 31 – Riego de Ambrós to Ponferrada for 13.2 kms / 8 miles

                             Hotel: San Miguel

Saturday, June 1 – Took bus from Ponferrada to Villafranca del Bierzo for 24.4 kms / 15 miles.  Again, as a team, we discussed this and listening to our bodies, we took the bus to save our legs for the upcoming mountain climb into Galicia.

Saturday, June 1 – Villafranca del Bierzo to Ambasmestas for 14.5 kms / 9 miles

                            Hotel: Ambasmestas

Sunday, June 2 – Ambasmestas to Fonfría for 27.4 kms / 17 miles

                             Alberque: A Reboleira

Monday, June 3 – Fonfría to Triacastela for 9.0 kms / 5.6 miles. The previous day was truly grueling in that we climbed the very steep path to O’Cebreiro and onto Alto do Poio.  Therefore, we made this a very short day to Triacastela to recover.

                            Hotel: Vilasante

Tuesday, June 4 – Triacastela to Barbadelo for 24.9 kms / 15.4 miles

                            Alberque: Casa de Carmen

Wednesday, June 5 – Barbadelo to Portomarín for 19.2 kms / 12 miles

                            Hotel: Hotel Pérez

Thursday, June 6 – Portomarín to Palas de Rei for 24.8 kms / 15.3 miles

                            Pensión: Guntina

Friday, June 7 – Palas de Rei to Castañeda for 22.8 kms / 14 miles

                             Casa Rurales: Casa Milía

Saturday, June 8 – Castañeda to A Rúa for 22.4 kms / 13.8 miles

                             Hotel: O Pino

Sunday, June 9 – A Rúa to Santiago de Compostela for 22.8 kms / 14.1 miles

We closed with 12 consecutive days of walking and 13 out of our last 14 days

for a total of 271.2 kms / 168 miles which is an average of approximately 20.9 kms / 13 miles per day.

Total hiking distance for Joe and Heike was 444.4 kms / 275.5 miles

Total hiking distance for Nancy and Andrea was 388 kms / 241 miles

Each of us who have walked the Camino and for those who plan to, I believe we must find our own way to completing our pilgrimage to Santiago.  For those of you who have or will walk further, bravo!  For those who have or will walk less, bravo!

More posts to follow.

Buen Camino!