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  1. billmclaughlin

    Cathedral robbed at Oloron Sainte Marie

    Thieves used a car with a tree trunk strapped to it to smash down the door of a historic cathedral in south west France to steal several items of high value.
  2. billmclaughlin

    Travel / Health Insurance

    To follow up on an earlier discussion about the advisability of travel and/or health insurance...... Everyone's needs are different, of course, but I found when I purchased my airline ticket on Expedia that they offered an insurance package for US$42 that provided the standard travel insurance...
  3. billmclaughlin

    Frédéric Gros, A Philosophy of Walking

    Frédéric Gros, A Philosophy of Walking This is not a camino book. Neither is it a pilgrim book. Yet it may prove of interest to some on this forum. The author considers walking from many points of view, its styles from strolling to trekking, the experience of certain literary figures from...
  4. billmclaughlin

    The route through the larger towns

    I have elsewhere suggested that it's a good idea to get off the official path in Spain. Otherwise one enjoys only a very narrow (pun-intended) experience of contemporary Spain. Examples that come to mind are Pamplona and Logrono. I made this same point to a Frenchman while walking the Le Puy...
  5. billmclaughlin

    Trip Report April/May 2014

    I set out on the Arles route, beginning in Montpellier. I saw only two other hikers on the first day and four on the second, and I confirmed with roadside hotel and restaurant folks that not many more than that could be expected at this season. Since I enjoy company in the evening and it helps...
  6. billmclaughlin

    Medical Dental Insurance Story, autumn 2013

    This is not a dramatic story, just a simple tale. I am an American resident of Massachusetts. I have health insurance as required under Romneycare. I have no dental insurance. I purchased a Medical/Dental insurance policy from American Express. Based on the parameters I supplied -- a trip of 40...
  7. billmclaughlin

    Twelve Tribes near Navarrenx

    As I was approaching Navarrenx on October 9, 2013, hiking solo, a white van came slowly towards me and stopped. The driver was a man of 50+ years and beside him sat a girl about 15 years old. I recall taking in just a few details at first glance: his bushy white bread and her very simple attire...
  8. billmclaughlin

    Trip Report Sept/Oct 2013

    I found Dave's trip report useful a few months back ( so I thought I'd do one of my own. I started in Le Puy on September 12 and ended in SJPP on October 12, following the GR 65 most of the way with an occasional...
  9. billmclaughlin

    Conques Organ Concert

    I attended the evening organ concert in the abbey church in Conques on September 19 and I'm writing here just to register my dismay, shared by all the French trekkers I spoke with, at the musical selections performed. There was a variety of pop tunes, some I recognized and some not, that seemed...
  10. billmclaughlin

    iMiam app: Miam Miam Dodo for iPhone

    Has anyone else purchased the application for iPhone "iMiam" covering the Le Puy to SJPP route? I'm enjoying experimenting with it, though it has some navigation issues and the interface is somewhat clunky. I'm fairly confidant I'll be able to leave the print version at home now. But I will be...
  11. billmclaughlin

    David Downie: Paris to the Pyrenees

    Just finished reading David Downie's Paris to the Pyrenees. I was suckered in by the subtitle: A Skeptic Pilgrim Walks the Way of Saint James. He's a fine writer with some interesting obsessions (Julius Caesar, Gaul, Mitterand) and a bit cranky in a good way, and his wife is along to gently...
  12. billmclaughlin

    Circle from Roncesvalles to to SJPP to Roncesvalles

    I read so many postings about getting to SJPP to begin walking and they often involve getting to Roncesvalles and then making a connection to SJPP to set off on the Camino. I'm a big fan of crossing the Pyrenees on foot and therefore of starting out from SJPP, but I wonder....has anyone every...
  13. billmclaughlin

    Online pedometer for training / measuring your walks

    I used this online pedometer or maybe "pedometer" to track my practice hikes: I found it great for point-to-point accuracy either when planning a hike or doing some post-hike calculations. It's not right for someone who feels the need to check progress en route...
  14. billmclaughlin

    Belorado dining off the pilgrim menu

    In Belorado you have more than one restaurant serving a pilgrim menu, but as you line up your spirits may sink as you experience that Ground Hog's Day feeling. Another pilgrim menu? Can I face it? And if you've sampled tapas and enjoyed that alternative a few times...well you may still wish you...
  15. billmclaughlin


    In Atapuerca there are a few very inexpensive rooms above a little bar/restaurant called La Paloma. One charming young man shows you your room, tends bar, waits tables, and serves the much better than standard food. He speaks little other than Spanish and is flummoxed completely by German. He...
  16. billmclaughlin

    Two easy detours: Eunate and Cañas

    Yes, we're all on our own journey. But somehow, stepping off the “official” path makes it even more your own journey. Between Uterga and Obanos, Eunate is a gem. The walk from the path and then back is easy, lots of wide open spaces, definitely the road less traveled. And you won't retrace...
  17. billmclaughlin

    Pamplona: accommodations, tourism, gelato, tapas

    Pamplona The albergues are either in rather distant suburbs on either side of the city or inside the city on its western edge. If you stay in either suburb you won’t get to see the city proper. Must see: Cathedral (nice café around the back along the city walls); Castillo (main square), where...
  18. billmclaughlin

    Zubiri accommodations

    I highly recommend Pension Amets. 4 rooms, each with a pair of twin beds; two full bathrooms; kitchen; living room; washing machine. Two rooms even have a river view. C/Gerestegi No.25
  19. billmclaughlin

    Orisson as a group experience

    As dinner ended at Orisson, we were asked to introduce ourselves in French or English or whatever we could manage. For just a minute I wondered what this would be like. I was traveling alone and have a horror of enforced groupiness. This was my first night on the Camino and I'd already met some...