Jane was walking the Camino in memory of her late husband. This episode is full of tips and advice for new fresh pilgrims who are considering walking this trail.
It is not good waiting for the storm to pass, you have to learn to walk in the rain.
How did you find out about the Camino?
There was a newspaper article in the Saturday Telegraph. When her husband Barry passed away, she decided to walk the Camino in his memory.
She then realised that she was unable to take 6 weeks off her own business, so she walked the French Route in stages.
Her first week walking was Autumn in 2013 and she finished in 2016.
Jane's friends were not comfortable with her walking this trail, so good friend Liz walked with her on the first week and then another friend walked on the second week and then they realised that it was safe, so the rest she completed on her own.
What was your favourite part of the trail?
The Pyrenees and also the very end part (which Jane describes as Cornwall on acid!).
We talked about the Michelin Guide Book which Jane would highly recommend.
Camino buddies are made at the Orison.
What did you make of Spanish Food?
Jane lived in Spain for a while. The Pilgrim Meals were “ok” but not a true sense of Spanish food. You don’t have to eat the pilgrim menu. Pilgrim meals are about €10
Have you walked any other routes?
Yes, a little bit of the Norte route. It is super scenic but steep. There are not as many hostels, but there are enough to cope with the pilgrim traffic. That coast can be a bit wet, so the weather is a bit unpredictable.
Are you a poncho person?
Nope - rain cover and rain jacket. Julia talks too much about her trekking umbrella.
Breathable clothes are essential otherwise you sweat!
Did you walk for spiritual or religious reasons?
Not really, I wanted closure on my husband passing. I was not expecting any great spiritual experience, but I was walking on my own through the Meseta and in the distance, there was snow-capped mountains, green fields, ploughed fields - for once I felt a moment of pure joy.
A lot of people skip the Meset, don’t they?
We talked in detail about this section of the trail.
Jane: I was walking along this road and I was listening to a very strange noise. I stopped and took my headphones out to figure out what the noise was and it was very loud frogs!
Did you change when you got back?
I met a lady whilst walking the Camino who did an air B&B - when I returned I decided that I was going to launch a B&B!
Do you need to speak Spanish to walk the Camino?
No, not at all. Half the fun is doing sign language. We did talk about signs on the Camino such as “Don’t poo here”.
How was it when you got to Santiago?
It takes a lot longer to get into Santiago than you expect. It seems to take forever! Jane booked a nice hotel and enjoyed a bit of comfort. She then set off to get her Compostela. Jane thought that this was a bit like being in a bank “Go to cubicle 2!”. When she was awarded the certificate she was quite overwhelmed and needed to take five mins.
One day Jane hopes to go back and do the whole trail in one go.
Did you stop the tech? Have a digital detox?
I had no emails or any business transactions, but I did log onto Facebook and I also read my kindle. Her mum is 98 and loved Jane’s updates on Facebook! Yes, a 98 year old on Facebook!
Wifi was not brilliant.
Do you stay mainly in hostels?
Yes, a few times I treated myself, but mostly I stayed in hostels. Some were great some were ropey! Jane then explains her favourite hostel in Hospital De Something. Jane stayed in a hostel run by hippies. They showed Jane to her bunk which was super clean. There was a yoga session in the garden which was free of charge! The whole place was a donation. The pilgrim's meal (with no alcohol) was totally vegetarian and it was amazing. We had a bit of a sing song with the guitars out and it was just lovely and the best meal.
Jane talked about a house on the edge of Pamplona. The Camino gives you what you need. We walked into a town which was about 5km before Pamplona. It was run by two gay guys - they had a swimming pool and Jane indulged in her underwear. There were only two people eating there. They cooked the best food ever! The next day, they left their rucksacks at the same place and walked into Pamplona - then got the bus back and stayed another night!
Was there anything you took but never used?
Um.. can’t think of anything off hand.
Did you have blisters?
A few small ones but nothing too dramatic. I learned how to thread a needle and then leave the thread hanging through the blister which helps to drain the blister.
Jane had a bad knee (called housemaids knee). Stretching is important. The Pharmacies are great on the Camino and they sorted her out - along with the luggage transfer service.
Did you see any “oasis” or little men selling things?
The Camino provides! Yes, these were like a little bit of heaven!
Did you have many snorers?
Did you have anyone sleep naked?
Jane tells a funny story about some cyclists!
Music - is there a type of music that you listen to on the trail?
If I am walking on my own then I may listen to all sorts, Queen, Billy Joel, Classical.
Did you do much training for the Camino?
About 6 months before we walked on a regular basis and built it up to about 8-9 miles. It was more important to wear your boots in, and build your muscle memory.
Are you a bladder or a bottle person?
Jane prefers a hydration bladder, but she gives advice on how to manage this process because if they are not cleaned properly. There is plenty of places to get water on the route.
Toilet discussions on the Camino…
No need to go in public (maybe a wee on occasion).
Is there anything that I have not asked that we should talk about?
Yes, the weight of your backpack is super important. Don’t carry more than 10% of your body weight. Don’t carry too much!
You can buy anything that you need along the way. Please be sensible.
Jane carried about 7.5 kg. Every day you wash the clothes that you have been wearing all day. Jane washed hers in the shower.
Julia talked about the Lush Shampoo Bars for washing clothes and the body.
Tip: Don’t have a shower in the morning as it softens your feet.
Did you journal?
Yes, I made notes on most days.
Jane’s parting words are… Just do it! You will take from it what you want to take from it. You may do a week and think that this isn’t for me, but after a while, you may change your find.
We live in such a fast-paced environment now that just being able to take a week and clear your head for a short period of time is worth it.