Day 11-14 – Camino De Santiago (The way of St James)

Camino de Santiago – Matt’s impressions.

Six months ago Connie told me about a pilgrims walk that people do across France and Spain and I immediately began googling for information. The route is 900kms long and takes the hardcore pilgrim over a month to walk. The walk has religious significance for many pilgrims but for us it was just a chance to do something a bit different. I looked for a section I thought we could do in Spain that would give us a good 3 days of walking. I started looking at maps with these funny names of tiny villages like Ventosa and Azofra.

Jump forward 6 months and suddenly these places are real ! We are walking through them, staying in them, eating in them ! The walk itself turned out to be even better than expected. Wheat fields, vineyards, mountains, goat herds and quaint little villages. We walked in extremes of temperatures; the first day was 29c and the next two 15c, the last with drizzle. We managed to average 15km per day over the 3 days walking a total of 45kms through the La Rioja region of Spain. In all we walked through or stayed in 7 different villages.

Each village along the way has one or more Albergues for pilgrams to stay in. Basically hostels of varying quality. Pilgrams with a passport are able to stay in these Albergues for between 2 and 9 Euros. In one we shared a room with some French and Slovenians. In another we got a room to ourselves. Well, I say a room, more like a wardrobe with 2 beds.

All in all it was everything we hoped and more. If we did it over I would probably have tried to push ourselves to walk further each day or done it over a longer period of time.

Bon Camino !

Notes from Connie…

Well, Matt has covered the logistics and overall walk, here are my memories.

About 5 years ago I was walking with my friend Frank in the Dandenong’s and he told me about this walk he did in Spain, glad I recalled that chat. We started in Lorgrono, finally some nice helpful Spanish people! When we got off the train someone helped us by walking us to our Pension. The region we walked through is primarily a wine producing area, we really wished we had more knowledge of what to try while we were here. (Maybe 1 Euro and less a glass should have been a give away)

The walk started on a beautiful lake, that’s where I spotted the squirrels but they were too quick for my camera. I also recall a random dog walking with the pilgrims along the way, we don’t know where he started and how long he went for but it was cute.

The first day was hot but I was proud of our efforts and we enjoyed a few stops in the shade with snacks on corn, nuts and lollies. Our first night in Ventosa was really sweet and we found the most gorgeous restaurant with an outdoor garden. This is where we first discovered the “menu”. You got 3 courses for about 10 Euros, including a couple of glasses of wine, served in a small pitcher, and a big bottle of water which you can then take away with you. That garden was so lush and shady and I could have spent much more time there. Ventosa also gave us some wonderful views of a storm approaching over the mountains; I love a storm.

In most of Spain, including the walk, you can always find a Bocadillo if you are hungry. It’s basically a big crunchy baguette stuffed with meat and cheese (or jamon and queso). Yes they are yummy but I’m slowly getting a bit tired of them.

I am pretty surprised that Matt and I actually stayed in the Albergues, with the 6 am wake ups, sharing a room with a symphony of snorers and communal cooking, it certainly took me back 15 years ago and took us out of our comfort zone. It was all great though and like Matt said, I would do it again and longer.

For me the fresh air, wild flowers, and discovery of a new little town were the most enjoyable aspects. It was a great thing for us to do together and I think it will inspire us to start doing more adventurous things together in the future.

Annie and Paul, watch out, we might just join you next year for the 100km walk… well….

Sampling the local Vino

NOTE : Check out our new VIDEO page !!!

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Comments
2 Responses to “Day 11-14 – Camino De Santiago (The way of St James)”
  1. Kate Carroll says:

    Sounds beautiful and so interesting. So times the best adventures are the ones that do take us out of our comfort zone, aren’t they?

  2. Steve Dad says:

    Soun like you had an awesome time….
    If you do the oxfam walk I’ll be in the support crew!!

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