Camino superfan Cathy Seitchik Diaz is currently walking the Camino Francés—for the fifth time in five years—with her partner David Stewart. She provides some useful tips which she would like to share to help pilgrims along the way. In this post, she describes methods of booking private rooms in advance by using Booking . com, calling, email or using WhatsApp. Even though they focus only on the Camino Francés, you will find some practical advice for any Camino route that you choose to walk.
Below is the first in a series of Cathy’s Camino Tips, fresh from the Way!
I wanted to do something special for my 50th year, and this three-part trip is what I came up with. First, my mom and I enjoyed our 8th annual mother-daughter trip; this time we chose a tour of Sicily and Malta. Second, I had a free week before meeting up with my Camino buddies in Oviedo, so I visited Bay Area friends who retired in Ponferrada, Spain. I also served as a part-time Hospitalera and taught yoga for pilgrims at the Albergue San Nicolás de Flüe. And last, but certainly not least, I spent two weeks walking the Camino Primitivo with a wonderful group of pilgrims from Malta.
Our Camino Love Story
by Michelle & Andreas
Statue of Mother Mary atop the foothills of the Pyrenees, just outside of Orisson
Most, if not all, of our friends know how our Camino Love Story came about. With that said, we absolutely love retelling it and reliving each and every mesmerizing step along the Way of St. James as it led us to this very beautiful moment of our becoming one on May 12, 2018.
Continued from Sigüeiro to Santiago.
When I started my walk from Sigüeiro, it was sunny and warm, but by the time I reached Santiago, the sky was grey and it felt like it would rain at any moment. This was exactly like my arrival in Santiago last year after walking the Camino Portugués. However, I was in a completely different state of mind this time, having learned a great lesson. I had prebooked a room so I wasn’t desperately trying to find a bed for the night. This time around, I didn’t care if it poured; I was going straight to Praza do Obradoiro by the Cathedral.
I headed right for the center of Praza Obradoiro and felt a euphoric sense of joy rush over me. I made it. My second Camino. And I was so high on life! Below is a video of my arrival.
Continued from Bruma to Sigüeiro.
Santiago or bust! This was the seventh, and final, day of walking the Camino Inglés. And I was just getting warmed up! Until I have enough time off work to walk a longer Camino, these shorter variations satisfy the calling.
First stop, Restaurante Cortés, across the street from Pension Andaina. I sidled up to the bar and ordered a café con leche. Sometimes you get a sweet treat when you order coffee, but this time it was warm churros and cake!
Generous breakfast tapas on the Camino Inglés.
Continued from Bruma, where two Caminos converge.
What comes up must come down. Sure, it was a longer stage of 16 miles (25 km), but I was in for an easier walk on this day because it was mostly downhill, as the graph below shows.
I was out bright and early (for me at least) because I stayed in a municipal albergue and pilgrims need to be out by 8 a.m. On my way out of town, I was hoping the Casa Graña was open for a café con leche. I had forgotten to get a stamp in my credential the night before. They were totally closed, but I spotted a cute bunny hopping around their patio. Here’s the video of the Bruma Bunny.
Continued from Presedo to Bruma.
After the rest break at the AC/DC mural, I had enough energy to forge ahead, and I had a good tune in my head. I was keeping a lookout for the place where the Camino Inglés routes (one starting in A Coruña and one in Ferrol) converge. I thought this fork in the path might be it, but the spray painted arrow on the tree was way too subtle.
Then, I saw the two-sided shell way marker on a farm road. Continue reading
Continued from Betanzos to Presedo.
By splitting the Betanzos-to-Bruma stage (28 km), the walk from Presedo was more manageable at 10 miles (16 km). However, it had the steepest climb yet, with an elevation gain of nearly 2,000 feet.
Leaving Presedo was pleasant. Even though it wasn’t raining, the air was cool and heavy with moisture. Perfect conditions for hiking the Camino.
I saw a fixer-upper, an orange slug, barking dogs, and happy cows, as I trekked southwest toward Hospital de Bruma. I took a few short video clips to capture the beauty and feeling of this stage. Continue reading
Continued from Exploring Betanzos.
This day’s hike was short but sweet, because I split this most challenging stage by staying in Presedo. As my tracked hike screenshot shows, it was 8.5 miles (14 km), but it was still a challenging and hilly hike with a 1565 ft. elevation gain.
It was a Dirty Girl gaiter and skirt day.
The hike out of Betanzos was steep and went from cobblestone to asphalt to gravel, and eventually, dirt paths over rolling hills with farms.
Continued from Pontedeume to Betanzos
Arriving in Betanzos
The entrance into Betanzos, a medieval town, is through the arched stone walls and cobbled streets. When I arrived, I was completely exhausted. Fortunately, the albergue had a friendly hospitalero, an available bunk bed, and because it was a newer municipal albergue, everything, including the bathrooms, was in much better shape.