Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Guides to the Camino de Santiago

I must be very brave (or crazy) to attempt walking my camino without a guide. It is not that I did not try to find one, but that I can't find any at the bookstores. And between my final decision to embark on this journey to the time I start walking was less than 2 weeks, not enough time to have any books ordered online that can be delivered on time to Singapore. In any case I thought, how hard can it be? Just follow the waymarkers or yellow arrows, or just follow other pilgrims along the way, so many internet sites on the camino says...

But I was glad that they sell guides books on the camino in Roncesvalles where I began my journey. A history buff like me would miss out on many things along the way without the guide. Information on which towns has an albergue (and the number of beds), elevation maps to make you cringe ('Oh my gosh, 700 meters climb in 4 km'), and so forth.

I paid 22 euros for this guide book in Roncesvalles. I just found that Amazon UK is charging 23.70 pounds for it! If you can find for less, I highly recommend this guide.

Alternatively, the Confraternity of Saint James in the UK has the "The Camino Francés, 2006" for only 6 pounds (minus the shipment). The Confraternity also have guides to the other Camino Routes. Those guides are hard to find since they are not as popular as the Francés (French) route.

In essence, any guide on the camino should be fine as long as:

  1. They are regularly updated.

  2. They have a distance map.

  3. Elevation map.

  4. Albergue and/or lodging information.

  5. Some history and practical advise along the camino.

Buen Camino!

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