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Any advice on a great guidebook?

adri_5

New Member
Hey everyone,
I'm sorry if this question has been asked and answered before, but can anyone recommend a really great, thorough, up-to-date guidebook for the Camino? Ideally I'm looking for something with a good map, a list of places to stay along the way - and of course some of the history behind all the sights I'll be seeing!

Thanks in advance for your advice - everyone on this Forum is great :)

- Adriana
 

sillydoll

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
2002 CF: 2004 from Paris: 2006 VF: 2007 CF: 2009 Aragones, Ingles, Finisterre: 2011 X 2 on CF: 2013 'Caracoles': 2014 CF and Ingles 'Caracoles":2015 Logrono-Burgos (Hospitalero San Anton): 2016 La Douay to Aosta/San Gimignano to Rome:

Deirdre

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Francés (2007), Camino Francés (2008), Camino Portugués (2010), Camino Aragonés - from Lourdes (2012)
I concur - Brierly's is the best in English!

Buen Camino,
 

colinPeter

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
SJPP-SDC (2009) Somport-Jaca, Burgos-SDC, Cee-Muxia (2012) Le Puy - Aumont-Aubrac (2014) SJPP-SDC (Oct 2015)
I note that the new "From St. Jean Pied de Port to Santiago de Compostela" by John Brierley, is and I quote, "All this designed to fit easily into your pocket (2009 editions have been trimmed down to 11.5cm x 21cm (4.5” x 8.2”) for even lighter weight on the path)". Seems about 1cm off length & width of the previous version, I don't suppose it's much lighter though.

Have others felt it is worth the weight, say compared to the CSJ "The Camino Francés" with maybe the John Brierley maps only book (which can be bought seperately).

Col
 
D

Deleted member 3000

Guest
It is worth the weight, which is down to 10.8 ounces from 12.2 ounces.
 

jeff001

Active Member
I used both the CSJ and Brierly guides and found the combination, although sometimes duplicative, to be more than worth the weight. I would no more go without one or both than I would set off a driving trip across the US without a map.
 

30daystosantiago

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
2002 solo and 2013 with wife and toddler
I used the CSJ guide and found it more than adequate for the Camino Frances...it did not contain any maps, nor did it provide very much explanation of the sites...I'm guessing the guidebook referenced by others in this thread provide those aspects. Buen Camino!
 

lorax

Member
Camino(s) past & future
I tried in 09, it went horribly. Gonna try again. Aug/Sept this year
Hi all...

I think the "Walking the Road to Santiago" by Pila Pila Press is by far the best and the LIGHTEST book out there... it's got all the same stuff as the Brierley book but weighs tons less!!!
 

KiwiNomad06

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Le Puy-Santiago(2008) Cluny-Conques+prt CF(2012)
I have just bought the Pili Pala Press "Camino de Santiago Map" and love it. It is very light, shows clearly where the albergues are along the route, and gives listings with their addresses etc at the back. It gives a brief note about places of historical interest along the route, and has small altitude charts on each page. It also has maps showing access through the larger cities. You can learn more on their website: http://www.pilipalapress.com
Margaret
 

colinPeter

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
SJPP-SDC (2009) Somport-Jaca, Burgos-SDC, Cee-Muxia (2012) Le Puy - Aumont-Aubrac (2014) SJPP-SDC (Oct 2015)
KiwiNomad06 said:
I have just bought the Pili Pala Press "Camino de Santiago Map" and love it. It is very light, ....
Weighs 180 gms (approx).
Yes, the latest third edition is the one I'll be taking. Has some info on Flora & Fauna, which I find an excellent addition. I've got most of the others, but I like this one and think it has a good weight Info ratio (If there is such a thing).
Col
 

Portia1

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances 2009, Portuguese 2012
Frances 2016, (Frances 2019)
I cut out any extraneous pages to reduce weight. I learned to do that with a vengence while doing long distance hiking. Box cutters or razor blades work very well. I can always buy another if I need it afterward. I have both the Bierley book and the CSJ. I like the maps and thea additional historial/cultural information so I have gone through and transferred brief notes from the CSJ into the note sections of hte Bierley. That way I'll have virtually the best of both.
 

Susanna

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
2008 2014
Hi There,
I loved Alison Raju you can get het books through Cicerone web site or CJS website,
Regards,
Susanna :)
 

gittiharre

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF Austria Czech Le Puy Geneva RLS V. Jacobi V. Regia V. Baltica/Scandinavica Porto Muxia
I loved the John Brierley book, nothing beats it in my opinion, fantastic mix of excellently laid out and easy to follow maps, height elevations, surface info,i.e. paths/road etc. Historical, spiritual and practical info, I feel bereved he has not done a book on the Le Puy route, which I will be walking this year, as I find the Miam Miam Dodo too minimalist and lacking in ease of layout and information and Alison Rajus guide totally uninspiring. Last year I walked the Austrian part of the Camino and used a guide book by Peter Lindenthal which was horrendous, detailed route descriptions, hard to follow, no decent maps, incorrect distances, I got lost lots of times. So once you have had the John Brierley one, everything else becomes insignificant and annoying, because one is constantly comparing. Regards, Gitti
 

jl

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances('05, '07), Aragonese ('05), del Norte / Primitivo ('09), Via Tolosana (Toulouse '05), Via Podiensis (Le Puy '07), Via Lemovicensis (Troyes '09), VF ('12), Winter Camino ('13/'14) Cammino d'Assisi ('14) Jakobseweg (Leipzig - Paris '15) San Salvador/Norte ('15) Ignaciano ('16) Invierno ('16)
Hello Gitti,

I too used the Brieley guide on the Camino Frances and appreciated all it's good points, but feel compelled to make a comment here about the Cicerone Guide of Alison Raju's. In 2007 this was the guide that I used. It is small and can easily fit into a pocket, it gives some excellent suggestions as to where to detour, or perhaps spend longer time etc., the margins are big enough to jot down important points that you find before you go, and above all it is accurate. There was only one place where I took the wrong path - but that was mny fault, not the guide! That guide became a real friend as I walked the Le Puy path and I found that, just as I was wondering about some site / sight ahead - there it was in the guide book. I would say that the only thing lacking in the Cicerone guide is the quality / quantity of detail on the maps, which aren't a patch on the details of the French guide books and so I took coloured copies of maps with me to supplement my curiosity about the towns etc. (Mind you - more detail will mean many more pages and a much more cumbersome weight.) This combination was extremely workable. Regards, Janet
 

mrbillyto

Member
Hi Adrianna,
I have probably gone over the top but I have both the Pila Pila Press 2009 edition and John Brieley's 2009 edition (just got it this week). Both have their strong points and but when it comes which one I will take...at this point it will be John's book (subject to change). I don't think you can make a mistake with either book as they both offer a great deal of information on the stops, the accomodation and what you will see along the way. Both are light but the Pila Pila Press one is definitely lighter.
Enjoy your Camino!
Bill
 

geraldkelly

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Francés, Vía de la Plata / Camino Sanabrés, Camino del Baztán, Camino Aragonés, Chemin du Puy
Hi Fellow Pilgrims!

I've put together short guides to the Camino Frances and the Via de la Plata based on the walking I've done in the past few years. They can be downloaded for free from http://www.caminoguide.net

I wanted to create a guide which contained just the essential information you need to walk the Camino(s) and that was very light weight.

I hope some of you find it useful and that you'll send me loads of feedback so I can keep it as up-to-date as possible.

Buen Camino!
Gerald
 
Susanna said:
I loved Alison Raju you can get her books through Cicerone web site or CJS website,

We used the Raju guide published by Cicerone. It has some great plus points: a) it is very compact; b) it is very good at giving you directions, particularly when you are entering and leaving large towns. It tried to avoid forcing you into set days, so it didn't give you any suggestions like : Day 1 is from a to b, day 2 is from b to c. On the one hand, this gave you the mental freedom to be flexible. Practically, it meant that we underestimated the number of days we would need to complete and so had to miss out on Finestere. On the down side, I found the Raju guide quite weak with regards to accommodation and Camino lore. We only found out about the sello lady just before you reach Logrono, Tomas the Knight Templar, and the fantastic new algergues at Burgos and Azofra by comparing guides with other peregrinos. The info sheets that we picked up on St Jean really did help to supplement the Cicerone guide. I am glad that we didn't start in Roncesvalles, where they are not so generous with info sheets.
 

hikerjules

New Member
Hello, I was wondering if I will be able to buy the John Brierley guide book for Camino Frances in Saint Jean? I bought the book online, but for some reason I cannot find it now and I leave in 2 weeks so there is no time to order another one. I understand you can buy some guide books in Saint Jean, but does anyone know if I can buy this one there in English ... I really liked it.

Jules
 

hikerjules

New Member
no worries ... I found it! ... but it is probably a good question to answer for anyone else out there that may need a book at the last minute.

2 weeks and I am on my flight to Spain ... very excited!

Jules
 

nellpilgrim

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
SDC-Fisterra 08/Camino Frances SJPP to SDC 09/Nuremburg-SDC 11- ongoing
Brierley has my vote- The new 09 edition is lighter and provides a really comprehensive range of accommodation and the dialing codes and numbers are all correct. My copy was used by other pilgrims whose own guides fell short and some of them even bought copies of their own in Pamplona & Burgos. Its also useful for those who may want an occasional night off from the more 'robust charms' of the Albergues as it covers the upper end of the market. Maps & elevations are all clear with excellent schematics and yes those notes sections are very handy for jotting down all sorts of things.
You do find yourself getting into a bit of a 'Brierley rut' in terms of timing and stages but thats easy to remedy once you are aware of it. Just push it out/or slow it down one day & you will be 'out of step ' with Brierley users who are sticking to his suggested ''stages".
Personally I found the 'spiritual' sections less engaging but then one can't complain as Brierley true to form kindly and clearly marks those passages off, most appropriately, in purple!
I agree it is very vexing that he hasn't 'done' the Le Puy route (all the more so as I intend to walk from Le Puy to SJPP next year) someone should start a petition!
Bonne route
 
Maybe this question is for any of you proficient in Spanish or Catalan, how about El Camino de Santiago desde Roncesvalles y desde Somport by Joan Fiol Boada... I'm trying to choose between Brierley's or the aforementioned one.
 

PeconicBill

New Member
I walked SJPP-Santiago this April-May.

Rather than the full Brierly guide (which I was unable to get hold of because it's between editions), I used both the CSJ guide and Brierly's book of maps of the Camino (ISBN 978-1-84409-134-8). The latter was my primary guide while the CSJ guide gave more specifics (and was more up-to-date) on albergues. Neither of these weighs much.

If you don't mind the extra weight, I also carried the Rother Guide (ISBN 978-3-7633-4835-0) which combines maps, historical detail andalbergue information. It's available in several languages and I met numerous Germans who carried only this guide.

PeconicBill
 

newfydog

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Pamplona-Santiago, Le Puy- Santiago, Prague- LePuy, Menton- Toulouse, Menton- Rome, Canterbury- Lausanne, Chemin Stevenson, Voie de Vezelay
For the French route I'd just look for a good book on the history. The simple folding map is all you need to plan your days. Follow the arrows. When you find a nice place, stay there. I've done it twice that way.
 
We're going to walk the Camino Portugues this fall. I have the Brierly guide and the CSJ guide, (written by veteran poster Johnnie Walker). The Brierly guide is to read before we go and the CSJ guide is to take. We'll be using the Porto to Santiago section. Brierly's guide is in both English and Spanish and includes his personal musings. It's really great. There's also info about what to see along the way, side excursions and the like. The CSJ guide can be downloaded from their site and a donativo is suggested. I downloaded it in Word format so I can cut out what I feel I don't need and paste in other info (such as side trips from the Brierley).
Buen Camino to all

June and Chris
 

JohnnieWalker

Nunca se camina solo
Hola June and Chris

How about correcting the CSJ guide as you go along and sending me your comments - it is the only way to keep these on line guides totally up to date!

Buen Camino when it comes

John
 

gittiharre

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF Austria Czech Le Puy Geneva RLS V. Jacobi V. Regia V. Baltica/Scandinavica Porto Muxia
Thank you Janet, the Pilapala Press guide does sound great. My husband and I will hopefully be walking the Camino next year, so I might have a change from the John Brierley. Regards, Gitti
 

hel&scott

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
2004 St Jean - Santiago, 2008 &18 Seville - Finesterre, 2010 Ferrol - Lisbon, 2012 from Cartehenga.
The John Brierley series are good, maps and info wise - Alison Raju –she should be nailed to one of those damn crosses she admires so much! Her guides are like taking the Da Vinci Code as your guide!
 

nellpilgrim

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
SDC-Fisterra 08/Camino Frances SJPP to SDC 09/Nuremburg-SDC 11- ongoing
hel&scott said:
The John Brierley series are good, maps and info wise - Alison Raju –she should be nailed to one of those damn crosses she admires so much! Her guides are like taking the Da Vinci Code as your guide!

LOL Hel and Scott, Though it is funny how experiences differ and I know people who swear by her. I swear by her but not in the usual sense of the phrase! We 'used' Raju when walking from Santiago to Fisterra in 2008. Never again the third day the distances were so obviously wrong it was almost comical...almost but not quite :evil:
As a childish but satisfying revenge we turned Raju into a verb e.g. "being well and truly Rajued" has come to mean... well all I'll say is that I used it to describe how I felt after the walk to Burgos with blisters that had turned into buboes!
We found Brierley on the other hand to be spot on re distances, climbs and maps-a trait for which we thanked God every day of our Camino Frances.
Nell
 

hel&scott

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
2004 St Jean - Santiago, 2008 &18 Seville - Finesterre, 2010 Ferrol - Lisbon, 2012 from Cartehenga.
nellpilgrim said:
I know people who swear by her. I swear by her but not in the usual sense of the phrase!

Yes, we have used a few choice Anglo Saxon (and the odd Celtic) verb at dear Alison... and you are not the only ones to use the 'rajued' term. Sadly her books are some of the few available in English around and so tend to be used, they also look like they could be helpful in that they are pocket sized and have maps. But what’s with the "walk 5 paces, turn left, cross the sty and take the 2nd right lane KSO” sounds terribly detailed but it misses the bigger picture and as the Camino changes you can loose the plot very quickly. It would be funny if it wasn't so infuriating - and at times dangerous.

Actually I've taken to drawing my own maps, makes a great passport and memento of the trip. I use a Moleskin Japanese fold pocket book and orient it like one of those old "road" maps so the Camino is always in the centre of the book.
 

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frasert

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
April/May 2013 SJPDP to Burgos
April/May 2015 Burgos to SDC or Leon to Finesterre (undecided)
I have lost or misplaced my Brieley. Does anyone know if I can buy the latest edition in SJDPP? Thanks in advance
 

woodswoman

Member
John Brierly's guide.
You can buy it from http://www.caminoguides.com
Ditto to Brierley's guides. He has one for the Camino Frances, one for Finisterre and Muxia and one for the Portuguese. I took the first two with me, cut the Camino Frances book in thirds, and only carried the relevant section in my very accessible "pouch". the sections were tattered and showed signs of wet pages dried by the sun by the time I was done, but these shredded remnants of the book are part of my cherished "archives" of the trip. Each book is small, compared to many of the guidebooks, had EXCELLENT maps of each daily segment, both in elevation and in distances, available lodging WITH phone #s, # of rooms, # of beds, etc. And a bit of the historical thrown in. I very much regret that he doesn't have a book for the Norte. The Cicerone book does not have very good maps and is extremely bulky. I also got something totally in Spanish (which I can't read) but the maps are much better.
 

woodswoman

Member
I have lost or misplaced my Brieley. Does anyone know if I can buy the latest edition in SJDPP? Thanks in advance
I wasn't looking for books by the time I got to SJPP, but since Brierley turned out to be INVALUABLE on my journey, I wouldn't take a chance on leaving home without it! Buy another copy.
 

petitewalker

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2014 fall), Camino Portuguese (fall 2017)
I have a recent addition of Brierley's, but my daughter bought me another quidebook which I am also enjoying. I prefer their listings of albergues, hostals etc. They are listed by each town and the map is topographical along with an seperate elevation chart and distance between each village .
It is called a Village to Village guide to Hiking the Camino de Santiago, by Anna Dintaman and David Landis. This route goes from SJPP /Santiago/Finisterre/Muxia.
I think you can catch a saple of it on Amazon, however the sample runs out before you get to all the maps and lists.
 

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