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How do you need to prepare for Camino de Santiago? This is the third publication that I am writing about The Way. In the previous two posts (here and here), I shared with you what it is the Camino de Santiago and part of my tips how to prepare for it.
Today, I have prepared more tips that might be useful before to begin an adventure like that.
After the part with the clothes, bag and shoes, let’s look into the additional things that you may bring with you
I had a diary, where I was journaling everyday for the experience of each day. One day, this may become a book and it may be published, who knows. So I had a book reader and a book with me and honestly, choose only one, you don’t need both of them. Most of the days everything that you will want will be to get a shower, have some food and sleep to recover.
It is good if you have some cutlery with you – knife, fork, spoon, 2 boxes, which you can use as a plates or to carry your own food for the day. Stainless steel mugs are very useful too. There is a plenty of wine to be drunk, haha, and the wine in Spain is cheaper than usual.
Some raw nuts, bars, fruits, bread are good to have with you, just in case you get hungry and there is no shop close to you.
Very important note – Supermarkets in Spain do not work on Sundays! So you need to do your shopping on the previous day, because you risk not to find anything open, than some pubs.
At some of the albergues there is a breakfast, or breakfast and dinner, but in others there is nothing. So it is better if you are always prepared. The food they serve is mainly vegetarian.
How much does it cost to sleep in albergue?
There are a few types of albergues – municipal, on donation and private. The municipals are around 5-6 euro a night, they may have breakfast or not, depends on the albergue. The donation ones were my favourites. It is your choice how much you are going to give for it. There is a box and you put the money of your choice. Donation doesn’t mean free!
It depends of the season, but if you want to go to the cheapest ones or municipal ones, you need to be quiet fast. There are people who wake up at 4 AM and start walking with a head torch.
In the first days, I wanted to be very fast, to be from the firsts, to be sure that I will have space to sleep. But the truth is you will always find a place. So enjoy the Way, do not focus on the destination.
You can’t book places in the albergues. You can book hotels, hostels and private rooms if you choose to sleep in any of them.
My favourite were the Donativo ones. There I met such wonderful people, had the best stories and experience. Most of the time the host decides to create his house into an albergue and to meet a certain amount of people every day. Often they prepare food for you, talk endlessly with you and you got so inspired. Some of the stories I will share with you in my next publication.
About the washing machines and dryers – in some of the places you will find, they work with 2/3 euro. You can share the cost with someone and wash your clothes together. In the places that you won’t have washing machine, you will need to wash your clothes with soap and cold water just like back in the days. 2-3 clothespins are always good to have.
Do I need a guide book?
No. I do not think that you will need, especially if you have a smartphone with you. There are the yellow arrows and the shelf which show the direction. However, there is an app called Buen Camino.
So you can download the route you are walking on, and use it in offline mode. It works with iOS and Android. It is very useful, because it shows you where you are all the time and it shows the albergues and the places where you can sleep at every point – city, village.
How do I get the diploma for the way?
The diploma which you can receive at the end of your way is called Compostela and you get it from Santiago de Compostela. When you start your route in the first albergue you are (your start point), you should get a pilgrim passport called Credencial. This Credencial will be your pilgrim ID, with which you will prove that you walked the way.
From every place you will collect stamps, you can get them not only from the places you will sleep but from restaurants, coffees, churches, etc. It is obligatory to have the Credencial if you want to sleep in a municipal albergue.
To get you Compostela, you need to walk minimum 100 km. It means that if you want the diploma, but you do not have time for the whole way, it is good to start from a point which is a minimum hundred km away from Santiago de Compostela.
Once you reach Santiago de Compostela, you need to go to the pilgrimage office, where you will get a number and wait long time to get your Compostela. The good thing is that they give you a number with QR code, so you can wander around and just check if your number is close and just go and get it.
On the document, you have your start point, how many km you have walked and your name in Latin.
How much money do I need?
This is a very subjective question. If you spend your money wisely and on budget, I think that around 800 euro will be enough for the whole way without the plane/train tickets. As well it is better if you have cash with you, in the albergues you can’t pay with card.
Something that I did not need
I do not think that I had something that I did not need with me. But I had something that I did not use that much and I regret it. It was my photo camera. It is just so much easier to take photos with the phone when you are on the way. As well the photo camera is quiet heavy and takes space. So you may consider if you are going to get it with you.
I hope my tips are useful for you. If you have any questions, just DM me or leave it in the comments.
Buen Camino x0