•For the traveller who embarks on a journey through Camino de Santiago, it is important to decide if the journey will be undertaken alone, or in the company of a loved one, or with a group of pilgrims found on the way. One factor to consider, if one is to begin this journey with a loved one, is to ensure that one’s companion can keep pace to avoid delays.
•The most popular route, and the one that harbours the largest infrastructure, is the French route. On this one, travellers will find popular spots such as the St. Jean Pied de Port, Roncesvalles and Pamplona. Nonetheless, there are other routes that can be taken from Portugal, France and various other spots in northern Spain. One can arrive to these starting points quite easily via train or bus taken from the airport, and although they are less known, they are less populated and hold their own charm.
•The Camino de Santiago journey is a long one, and if one plans to walk it all the way through, one very important factor to consider is the amount of luggage to carry, for, in the end, this will affect the distance one travels. The weight of the luggage should not exceed 20 lbs, or, at least represent 10% of the travellers’ weight.
•Without a doubt, the pilgrimage is not easy one, and our everyday habits do no usually include strenuous activity. It is probable, then, that the journey will be tiresome. It is recommended that travellers walk at least 10 minutes each day using the shoes they intend to use for the eventual walk at least one week before departure.
•In any of the chosen routes there is an infinite amount of architectural beauties for travellers to admire. For example, on the French route, one can find the Notre Dame du Bout du Pont church and the Puerta de Casilla, which the pilgrims from the French Real Camino cross.
•One of the natural landscapes that can be admired on the Camino de Santiago is the Leire Mountain Range, inside the Fox de Arbayún Natural Reserve, which is found on the aragonese route. It is a deep and impressive canyon, 385 meters deep and 6 km wide, who’s majestic properties are revealed as one of the hidden jewels during the journey.
•The castles inside the Camino de Santiago deserve a honorable mention. The majority of them are found on hills, on an ideal height to be admired. Amongst these the Javier castle in Navarra, the Temple castle in Ponferrada and the castle-palace of Villafranca del Bierzo in León are the most distinguished.
•In La Rioja one can locate the Sierra de Cebollera National Park, some 50km from Logroño. This site boasts itself as the first protected area in La Rioja, given its ample fauna and botanical diversity that is composed of close to 23 thousand hectares. As well as considering the considerable protected forest area, one can find the largest representations of glacier reliefs on the peninsula.
Text: Amura ± Photo: Patrick Monney, Oficina Española de Turismo en México