On the Road to Santiago

Our Camino MapOur Camino Map

So, we're finally doing it. After twenty years of dreaming about it, Charlie and I are going to walk the trail to Santiago de Compostela. We will do the Spanish portion, also known as the Camino Frances (because in the tenth century the Spanish kings were encouraging Franks to move into new towns they were founding along the trail). We start at Puente de la Reina, the place where the trails from various countries meet and become one, and walk to Santiago over the course of thirty-five days, staying in hostel-style "albergues" or "refugios" set up for pilgrims along the way.

There are lots of reasons for doing a trip like this. As one pilgrim said, to leave the 55 mph life and live the 5mph life -- at least for a while. To get into shape. To admire the wealth of medieval, Renaissance and Baroque art along the way. To admire some of Spain's most beautiful countryside and savor its Rioja wines at the same time. And of course, it's a religious journey, especially for Catholics, a journey that forces confrontation with Spain's religious single-mindedness and the Jewish and especially Moorish influences of the past.

It's mostly the latter that inspired me to start write a novel, working title "On the Road to Santiago," set in medieval Spain at the time of the First Crusade. Our walk overlaps as much as possible the trip that my characters took in 1097 and I plan to rewrite relevant sections as we go along. You can read more about the inception of the novel here.

We will do our best to keep up reports here on this blog for those of you who want to follow us from your armchair, both on our personal progress as well as the progress of Teresa and Joaquin, the fraternal twins that make the journey in the book.

Schedules are made to be departed from, but one must start with a plan, so ours is posted below.

Buen Camino!


Total distance: 682.6 km.
Stages: 35.
Average: 19.5 km per walking day.
Departure: Saturday, 30 April 2011.
Arrival: Friday, 3 June 2011.


Day                          Stage                                                                     (km)
1)Sa, 30-Apr-2011    Puente la Reina - Lorca                                             13.5
2)Su, 1-May-2011      Lorca - Estella                                                           8.5
3)Mo, 2-May-2011      Estella - Los Arcos                                                   21
4)Tu, 3-May-2011       Los Arcos - Viana                                                    18
5)We, 4-May-2011      Viana - Navarrete                                                    22.2
6)Th, 5-May-2011       Navarrete - Nájera                                                  16.2
7)Fr, 6-May-2011      Nájera - Santo Domingo de la Calzada                        20.9
8)Sa, 7-May-2011     Santo Domingo de la Calzada - Belorado                     23.4
9)Su, 8-May-2011     Belorado - San Juan de Ortega                                   23.7
10)Mo, 9-May-2011   San Juan de Ortega - Burgos                                     25.6
11)Tu, 10-May-2011   Burgos - Castrojeriz                                                 40.5
12)We, 11-May-2011  Castrojeriz - Frómista                                              24.6
13)Th, 12-May-2011    Frómista - Carrión de los Condes                             18.6
14)Fr, 13-May-2011     Carrión de los Condes - Lédigos                               23.3
15)Sa, 14-May-2011    Lédigos - Sahagún                                                  15.6
16)Su, 15-May-2011   Sahagún - El Burgo Ranero                                       17.7
17)Mo, 16-May-2011El Burgo Ranero - Mansilla de las Mulas                        19
18)Tu, 17-May-2011      Mansilla de las Mulas - León                                   18.2
19)We, 18-May-2011León - Villadangos del Páramo                                     20.1
20)Th, 19-May-2011  Villadangos del Páramo - Hospital de Órbigo                11.9
21)Fr, 20-May-2011  Hospital de Órbigo - Astorga                                        16.1
22)Sa, 21-May-2011 Astorga - Rabanal del Camino                                      20.4
23)Su, 22-May-2011   Rabanal del Camino - El Acebo                                   16.7
24) Mo, 23-May-2011  El Acebo - Ponferrada                                                16
25)Tu, 24-May-2011      Ponferrada - Villafranca del Bierzo                            22.4
26)We, 25-May-2011 Villafranca del Bierzo - Vega de Valcarce                       16.7
27)Th, 26-May-2011 Vega de Valcarce - Hospital de la Condesa                     17.5
28)Fr, 27-May-2011 Hospital de la Condesa - Triacastela                               15.1
29)Sa, 28-May-2011 Triacastela - Sarria                                                      24.6
30)Su, 29-May-2011 Sarria - Portomarín                                                     22.4
31)Mo, 30-May-2011   Portomarín - Palas de Rei                                          24.9
32)Tu, 31-May-2011 Palas de Rei - Melide                                                   14.5
33)We, 1-Jun-2011  Melide - Arzúa                                                             14.3
34) Th, 2-Jun-2011  Arzúa - O Pedrouzo (FR 500 m)                                    18.4
35) Fr, 3-Jun-2011O Pedrouzo (FR 500 m) - Santiago de Compostela             20.1