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Brierly or no Brierly..

andywild

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
april '2018'
#1
I'm considering sneaking a second Camino in this year.. Portuguese (I did CF in April).. I had wise pilgrim guide and was mostly happy with it... Do I go wise pilgrim for this route or the dreaded Brierly?
 
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (1989 and 2016), Portugues - central from Porto (2018 - planned)
#3
I'm doing the Portuguese (from Porto) in October. So I haven't walked it yet, nor put the two guides to the actual test on the Camino. So take this for what it is worth. I bought the Brierly but am not bringing it with me. I also got a number of CP guide apps for my phone (including Wise Pilgrim and Wisely) that I will use while walking. I'm incorporating some notes from the Brierly into the other apps as part of my preparation. That way I don't have the weight of the Brierly to carry around, but I have the benefit of it for planning and can incorporate information that is in the Brierly but not in the apps.
 

andywild

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
april '2018'
#5
I mostly loved my wise pilgrim.. but did occasionally look at a friend's Brierly.. although it did seem that Brierly made up distances and the severity of the odd climb/descent.. unless someone tells me the Portuguese Brierly is spot on I think I'll stick with a wise pilgrim.. any idea on how busy the route is? Was considering VDLP but I think I'd miss the social aspect so I'm hoping the Portuguese is more CF than VDLP
 
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (1989 and 2016), Portugues - central from Porto (2018 - planned)
#6
I mostly loved my wise pilgrim.. but did occasionally look at a friend's Brierly.. although it did seem that Brierly made up distances and the severity of the odd climb/descent.. unless someone tells me the Portuguese Brierly is spot on I think I'll stick with a wise pilgrim.. any idea on how busy the route is? Was considering VDLP but I think I'd miss the social aspect so I'm hoping the Portuguese is more CF than VDLP
If you go by the stats, the Portuguese has more pilgrims than the VDLP. I expect especially after Porto and most especially after Tui.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Ingles (October 2018)
#7
I'm doing the Portuguese (from Porto) in October. So I haven't walked it yet, nor put the two guides to the actual test on the Camino. So take this for what it is worth. I bought the Brierly but am not bringing it with me. I also got a number of CP guide apps for my phone (including Wise Pilgrim and Wisely) that I will use while walking. I'm incorporating some notes from the Brierly into the other apps as part of my preparation. That way I don't have the weight of the Brierly to carry around, but I have the benefit of it for planning and can incorporate information that is in the Brierly but not in the apps.
When in October? I jumped from CI to CP.
 

JabbaPapa

"True Pilgrim"
Camino(s) past & future
100 characters or fewer : see signature details
#10
I dislike the Brierley guides
I dislike ALL pilgrim guide books. The only time I brought one was in '93, and I found it to be pretty much completely unnecessary.

I was very happy when someone else in the group asked to borrow it for a bit ; didn't ask for it back, though I recovered it somehow a long time after that Camino.
 
#11
I *write* guidebooks yet I have to admit that I mostly enjoy finding my own way and 'exploring'. I tend to do a lot of research in advance (which is where I do tend to use guidebooks) and I'll have reference material with me on attractions and so on, but mostly I like to immerse myself in the walk. I don't get too flustered if I make the occasional wrong turn and I don't really mind all that much if I 'miss' something that was supposed to be a must-see (more reason to do the walk again!). Oddly enough, many of my best experiences have come when I screwed up in some way on my walk. :)

That said, I fully understand why many people want the peace-of-mind that a good guidebook and maps can provide. Luckily, there are lots of great Camino resources available these days – a big difference from even 4 or 5 years ago!
 

FSP

Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF SJPP - SDC 2013
CP Porto - SDC (Coastal & Spiritual Variant) 2016
Finisterre 2016
Norte(Sep 2018)
#13
Sounds like you already made up your mind. I did the coastal route and it was a spectacular experience. If you like the social aspect of larger groups of people this route wouldn't be a good one for you. I haven't done the interior route so can't comment on it. I used the Brierley guide and downloaded some map tracks from the resource section of this forum. I was impressed with both. I happen to appreciate that Brierly has gone through the work of correcting distances for elevation gain and loss. No guide book is perfect and I think if someone can do better then they should get off their backside and do it. In the mean time I'm thankful those who do take on the challenge to provide we peregrinos with some assistance have the thick skin they truly must need.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (SJPdP-Burgos, 2015)
Camino Frances (Burgos-Sarria, 2018)
Sarria-Santiago (Oct. 2018)
#16
No guide book is perfect and I think if someone can do better then they should get off their backside and do it. In the mean time I'm thankful those who do take on the challenge to provide we peregrinos with some assistance have the thick skin they truly must need.
Double like. :):)
 

Tincatinker

Moderator
Staff member
Camino(s) past & future
Lots ;0)
#18
I'm possibly among those who could be accused of dissing St John but the irrefutable is that he is one among some who created the modern Caminos. Whether we can ever forgive him for that is a matter for our own consciences. He writes guidebooks: when was the last time you dissed Lonely Planet for dodgy 'elevation gains'. At least he's never recommended a 'banging' bar that got closed down two days after it opened 'cos it got face booked to death...
 

JabbaPapa

"True Pilgrim"
Camino(s) past & future
100 characters or fewer : see signature details
#20
I'm possibly among those who could be accused of dissing St John but the irrefutable [fact] is that he is one among some who created the modern Caminos
Well, I'd refute it ... he basically just adapted the style of some of the Spanish guidebooks of the 1990s, which were a lot more colourful in style and technically minded in content as compared to the earlier more amateurish books of the 1980s and earlier.

Anyway, the modern Camino basically came into existence in the Summer of 1993 -- the period 1965-1992 was a period of quieter renewal and revival, but the mass phenomenon that we can see today started in 1993.

There was no Brierly Guide ; it came along years later.
 

Anamiri

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances
#21
I'm considering sneaking a second Camino in this year.. Portuguese (I did CF in April).. I had wise pilgrim guide and was mostly happy with it... Do I go wise pilgrim for this route or the dreaded Brierly?
I cant speak for the CP, but I found the Brierly good in terms of avoiding his recommendations. Sometimes it worked out that we did stop at one of his stages, but most of the time I stopped either side of his destinations, it was much quieter that way.
I just followed the yellow arrows.....
 

Via2010

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
06/07 & 12 Camino Francés, 08-10 Via de la Plata, 13/14 & 17 Camino Portugués, 18 Camino Primitivo
#22
Hi,

Gronze also describes the way from Lisboa onwards. A list of accomodation, updated frequently, is available from Via Lusitana.

I would not only rely on apps. What, if your smartphone breaks in the middle of nowhere or if you have no connection?

If you do not like the writing of Brierly, taking "Brierly maps" should be a good solution. Giving you maps with an oversight of the stages and possible accomodation, though the distances listet are not quite correct (usually the GPS says 1-2 km more).

BC
Alexandra
 
D

Deleted member 74998

Guest
#23
As a first timer on any Camino I do have the Brierley guide on the basis that any guide gives at least the bones of the route. It’s up to me how I follow it and up to me on what other sources of info I draw on. Plenty of advice available on this forum for example.

And my heartfelt thanks to those who have contributed.

Any mistakes/mis-steps will be down to me, no good blaming a guide book - learn, adapt and move on. The Camino is what it is and won't be found in any guide book.
 

Andrew M

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
SJPDP - Finistere Sept 2017, Porto-Santiago June 2018.
#24
I did Porto-Santiago in June with both the Wise Pilgrim apps and Brierly guide. They are both good. The maps function of the Wise Pilgrim app saved us some backtracking on the Sendora Littoral as some markers were missing. I lost my Brierly guide about 2/3 of the way and really didn't miss it that much.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Portugués, Francés, Le Puy, Rota Vicentina, De Soulac, Norte, Madrid-Salv-Primitivo
#25
Brierley was there when I needed him, on my first camino, from Lisbon to Santiago. There was no other English guide at the time (that I knew of), and I have been a loyal supporter ever since.

But competition is good – it should keep him on his toes.

Jill
 

Bradypus

Antediluvian
Camino(s) past & future
Too many and too often!
#26
De gustibus non est disputandum :) My own dislike of Brierley's guides has nothing to do with the accuracy/inaccuracy of his distances and elevations - something which I have never bothered to check. I do not like the structure of his guides with its division into pre-determined stages. I would rather simply be presented with the relevant factual information and left to my own devices about daily distances. I also prefer to respond to the experience of the Camino in my own way rather than being nudged in any particular direction by another person's metaphysical musings. Brierley's guides are clearly popular with many people and I am glad that they find them helpful. Just not to my taste.
 

Via2010

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
06/07 & 12 Camino Francés, 08-10 Via de la Plata, 13/14 & 17 Camino Portugués, 18 Camino Primitivo
#28
Yellow arrows -- but really, even when you're far away from any waymarked Camino route and weeks away from getting onto one, you work out means to find your way.
Yes, you will be able to continue. But you will not know, where the bars and the albergues are and you will not know, how long it takes you to get there.
 

katie@camino

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF, SJPDP-Finisterre 2016; CPort (Central) from Porto 2017;
CPort (Coastal) from Porto 2018.
#29
Sounds like you already made up your mind. I did the coastal route and it was a spectacular experience. If you like the social aspect of larger groups of people this route wouldn't be a good one for you. I haven't done the interior route so can't comment on it. I used the Brierley guide and downloaded some map tracks from the resource section of this forum. I was impressed with both. I happen to appreciate that Brierly has gone through the work of correcting distances for elevation gain and loss. No guide book is perfect and I think if someone can do better then they should get off their backside and do it. In the mean time I'm thankful those who do take on the challenge to provide we peregrinos with some assistance have the thick skin they truly must need.
Agree wholeheartedly.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Caminho portugues
Via de la Plata
#31
I mostly loved my wise pilgrim.. but did occasionally look at a friend's Brierly.. although it did seem that Brierly made up distances and the severity of the odd climb/descent.. unless someone tells me the Portuguese Brierly is spot on I think I'll stick with a wise pilgrim.. any idea on how busy the route is? Was considering VDLP but I think I'd miss the social aspect so I'm hoping the Portuguese is more CF than VDLP
If it's the social aspect you're after, then go Portuguese. You'll rarely be alone
 

Bradypus

Antediluvian
Camino(s) past & future
Too many and too often!
#32
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2015); Camino Norte/Primitivo (2016); Camino Frances (2017); Le Puy (June 2018)
#33
I dislike ALL pilgrim guide books. The only time I brought one was in '93, and I found it to be pretty much completely unnecessary.

I was very happy when someone else in the group asked to borrow it for a bit ; didn't ask for it back, though I recovered it somehow a long time after that Camino.
Jabba, you dislike all guidebooks because you are a "true pilgrim". ;)
BTW, thanks for all the help you gave me last spring when I worried about the train strike in France.
 

KinkyOne

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
I'am not perfect, but I'm always myself!!!
#34
...though the distances listet are not quite correct (usually the GPS says 1-2 km more).
That's true because it depends how the distances were/are measured. When I post any distance here on the forum from my Wikiloc GPS recordings it's always either from albergue to albergue or albergue to town hall etc. and many times "my distances" are bigger than those in guides. I guess they are measuring them from end of one town to the beginning of another.
No problem with that in small villages when it would add just a few hundred meters to your daily walk but what about 4km walking through the suburb of Burgos for example and another 4km to get out of it ;)
 

JabbaPapa

"True Pilgrim"
Camino(s) past & future
100 characters or fewer : see signature details
#35
Yes, you will be able to continue. But you will not know, where the bars and the albergues are and you will not know, how long it takes you to get there.
So what ?

Those mod cons are hardly essential features of a pilgrimage ... Keep some emergency rations in your pack, carry your sleeping bag, keep to the right direction, search for foodstuffs in the villages and towns, and maybe somewhere for a nice pilgrim meal or a cool beer, then all the rest will follow
 
Camino(s) past & future
(2015) Frances
(2018) Portuguese
(2019) VdP Seville to Salamanca
(2020) VdP Salamanca to Santiago
#37
I'm a "belt and suspenders" kind of guy. I like Wise Pilgrim but also take a Brierly guide which I dismember into associated pages and only take the pages that I need for that day. Handy reference to just pull out of your pocket rather than needing to carry the whole book or wait until you have reception.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Norte/primitivo (15)
#39
I'm considering sneaking a second Camino in this year.. Portuguese (I did CF in April).. I had wise pilgrim guide and was mostly happy with it... Do I go wise pilgrim for this route or the dreaded Brierly?
Trailsmart is awesome it has all the info you need and it's very accurate and you can purchase and offline map if you want. I did the costal with the spiritual variant using it may. It was wonderful
 
Camino(s) past & future
Casino Portugues (parts) 2015: CF 2016; Le Puy thru Moissac 2017.
#40
I used the maps only CP Brierly in 2015 from Santarem north and found it largely useless as predictor of what the trail would be like. It is more of a schematic than a set of maps; a relatively straight line would be drawn between two towns showing little if anything, then I would find myself waking through an urban or suburban area with a series of traffic circles popping off in different directions.
 

Via2010

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
06/07 & 12 Camino Francés, 08-10 Via de la Plata, 13/14 & 17 Camino Portugués, 18 Camino Primitivo
#42
I used the maps only CP Brierly in 2015 from Santarem north and found it largely useless as predictor of what the trail would be like. It is more of a schematic than a set of maps; a relatively straight line would be drawn between two towns showing little if anything, then I would find myself waking through an urban or suburban area with a series of traffic circles popping off in different directions.
I used them in 2014 and in 2017 and my experience is a bit different. The "maps" Show crossroads, traffic circles and so on, but they do not give correct distances as they are not extracts from a real map but a more schematic drawing showing all important waymarks. But you can see clearly when you cross the railroad, where the next railway-Station is situated or wheter you walk through an industrial estate. They could have been better, but they still work for orientation.
 
Camino(s) past & future
2013 Camino Frances SJPP / 2014 Camino Portugues / 2015 Camino Ingles / 2015 Hospitalero Training
2016 (fall) Camino Sanabre / Hospitalero?
#44
I'm possibly among those who could be accused of dissing St John but the irrefutable is that he is one among some who created the modern Caminos. Whether we can ever forgive him for that is a matter for our own consciences. He writes guidebooks: when was the last time you dissed Lonely Planet for dodgy 'elevation gains'. At least he's never recommended a 'banging' bar that got closed down two days after it opened 'cos it got face booked to death...
I’ve been fortunate to meet John and seen how hard he works. I’ve missed a few turns and didn’t stop at all points of interest.every guide and app have info, not always perfect but I saw new things when lost that others didn’t.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Frances*3, Ingles, Primitive, Finisterre and now Portuguese
#45
I’ve been fortunate to meet John and seen how hard he works. I’ve missed a few turns and didn’t stop at all points of interest.every guide and app have info, not always perfect but I saw new things when lost that others didn’t.
I was thinking about the huge amount of work that must have gone into the Brierley and Wise Pilgrim books on my Camino Portuguese that I just finished yesterday. I took both with me. I was internally moaning about the far too over ambitious early stages in Brierley that I rather foolishly followed, then reading his warnings of a huge stage between Tui and Redondela which he broke up with Porrino but which was in fact a much easier day than the early stages, and also criticising the completely wrong cumulative elevation gains in some of the earlier stages when it struck me that these were very minor things given what he has achieved in the amount of writing and excellent information in his guide. The same went for Wise Pilgrim when trying to understand what the numbers on the right of the map pages meant (I still don't know), but they weren't important in the bigger picture.
In reality, without these guides and all their fine explanations, the Camino would have been less vivid and I would have missed so much. For instance, I wouldn't have the Pedronia, or understood a fraction of the details of amazing churches on the way.
 

KJFSophie

My Way, With Joy !
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2014 & 2015 ) ,Via San Francesco, Italy (2017 )
Camino Portugese (2018 )
#47
I'm considering sneaking a second Camino in this year.. Portuguese (I did CF in April).. I had wise pilgrim guide and was mostly happy with it... Do I go wise pilgrim for this route or the dreaded Brierly?

I recommend Book V of the Codex Calixtinus, a Guide for Pilgrims (obviously kidding). I've used Brierly, Wise Pilgrim, Village to Village and others. None were completely accurate with distances and some better than others with listing accommodations, some others still better at 'fluff'/ trivia. I think it all depends on what specifically you want to extract from a guidebook.
 

Bradypus

Antediluvian
Camino(s) past & future
Too many and too often!
#48
Question...Is it possible to default Gronze to English?
Not as far as I know. But viewing it through Google Chrome can give an understandable translation. Works with both Windows and Android versions.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (1989 and 2016), Portugues - central from Porto (2018 - planned)
#49
I would not only rely on apps. What, if your smartphone breaks in the middle of nowhere or if you have no connection?
Then I would do what I did on the Camino Frances in 1989 and make do without. There weren't a lot of apps then. Between the yellow arrows and the locals, I'm sure I can find my way.

What if I relied on a physical book and it were lost or stolen?
 

KJFSophie

My Way, With Joy !
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2014 & 2015 ) ,Via San Francesco, Italy (2017 )
Camino Portugese (2018 )
#50
When I read responses to guidebook questions that tell others not to worry, and that there isn't a need for a guidebook or app, I'm reminded of how fortunate I am, as I might be able to do that. But, I also think others neglect to consider that not all pilgrims can 'wing it'...Some are elderly, sickly, or are doing their best to travel way out of their comfort zone. Some walkers need to know where the next stops are in order to take care of their needs. Would you rely on an arrow, not knowing the distance and what is ahead if you were a diabetic that needed to rest/eat? If you were elderly and felt you could walk a bit more, but then found it was 5K to the next rest/bar/village...you would at least have a bit of info in a guidebook to make an informed decision. There are those among us that need to plan ahead, where simply "walking" isn't an option. Be thankful that you are able to forge ahead without a plan, but try to consider why others might be concerned and ask the questions they ask. It'such a disservice to others to insist that the only way to walk any camino is without any guide, as if using one nullifies a 'real camino'. Rubbish and self centered.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2015); Camino Norte/Primitivo (2016); Camino Frances (2017); Le Puy (June 2018)
#51
Well said, Sophie! Even traveling with my adult son who has no fear, I got kind of "weirded out" if we got even lost for even less than a kilometer....we are all different, including our individual comfort zones!
 

Helen1

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
London to Santiago (2014)
Narbonne to Oloron (2015)
Camino Portugues (2016)
Sentier Cathar (2017)
#52
Just echoing KJFSophie's comments, it's going to be 40+, maybe 45 degrees in Portugal at the weekend. The early stages of the CP typically involve long days and there's not all that much in between stages. I think it's insane and a bit irresponsible to set out in that kind of weather, for those kinds of distances, alone, and without any idea of what's ahead of you.

I thought Brierly was quite good, in the early part of the CP there aren't all that many places to stay so you'll be hitting the Brierly end points unless you're sleeping rough. After Porto there are a lot more options and you have to choose a route. I use a guide as a guide to planning my day rather than something I am constantly referring to so if distances or elevations aren't spot on I wouldn't notice.
 

jimmyc

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
2015
#53
I walked the Portuguese from Lisbon and I found the Brierley guide to be excellent. I am walking the Primitivo in two weeks time and I have the Wise Pilgrim but it is nowhere near as well laid out or detailed and informative as the Brierley I had for the Portuguese.
The print for the Wise Pilgrim for the Primitivo is so small that I will almost need to take a a microscope to read it.
 
#55
Well said, Sophie! Even traveling with my adult son who has no fear, I got kind of "weirded out" if we got even lost for even less than a kilometer....we are all different, including our individual comfort zones!
I also felt that way on the Camino Frances and would say to my husband when we hadn't seen a yellow arrow or shell sign in some time, that i was having "Arrow Anxiety" or "Shell Shock".
 

Anamya

Keeping it simple
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2015)
Camino Portugues (2017)
Lebaniego (Planning)
#56
Stick with what you like. The trail is very well marked after Porto, so the guide will be just some extra info on accommodation and food.

More importantly: @andywild , will we have more blog posts? Your stories were hilarious! I wanna read more about Team Turtle!
 

andywild

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
april '2018'
#57
Aw shucks, thanks Anya, I've decided I'll go with wise pilgrim guide. I did like the Brierly because it tells you how many rooms the albergue is split into so you know you're not necessarily going to be in one huge shared dorm but no doubt someone somewhere will have a copy anyway. The blog will be back on but I don't think any of the original team tortoise will be joining me. I guess I'll be recruiting new members but they will have to pass a series of tests. Each more cunning and difficult than the last one.. the bizarre thing is that I'm still getting up to 600 hits a day and I'm not even doing anything interesting!
 
Camino(s) past & future
SJPDP-Finisterre X 2, El Norte incompleto
#58
did like the Brierly because it tells you how many rooms the albergue is split into so you know you're not necessarily going to be in one huge shared dorm
Gronze.com has this information about albergues. Here's an example

20180803_122518.jpg
 

Attachments

Camino(s) past & future
March/April 2015, Late April 2016, Sept/Oct 2017
#59
We used the Brierly Guide on the Frances, and I was happy with it. I also used an older book, The Pilgrimage Road to Santiago, by Gitlitz and Davidson. We would walk using the Brierly Guide by day, and read from the Pilgrimage Road in the evening. The Pilgrimage Road has more history and information on architecture and the land and what grows there. -- We did not use the Brierly Guide stopping points after a day or so, as we usually walked a little further, or a little less than the guide book recommended. -- When I walked from Le Puy to Conques, I wished that I had had a Brierly or Pilgimage Road to guide me. There were other guides, but none so friendly or informative.
 

Anamya

Keeping it simple
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2015)
Camino Portugues (2017)
Lebaniego (Planning)
#60
I guess I'll be recruiting new members but they will have to pass a series of tests. Each more cunning and difficult than the last one..
Like the ability to eat Pasteis de Nata every day? :D
Food on CP is ridiculously good, the Portuguese like it tasty and plenty! I believe you will be particularly fond of the Francesinha: it's a ham and cheese sandwich on steroids. They use 7 types of meat, at least 2 cheeses and beer gravy. It's a delicacy in Porto!

I used Brierley for Cp and liked it, but as @trecile mentioned above, you can get some especific info in Gronze.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances-(2013/14/18
Camino Salvado Perth -(2015)
West Highland Way (2016)
Lyon France 2017
#61
Yes ... me too :):):)

I get a little tired of all the criticism of John Brierley .....
As also do I and I also get very tired and very irritated when people keep posting such small minded comments about the John Brierly Guidebooks......for a while there, his guide-books seemed to be the only ones available and, I for one was very glad to have mine, and more particularly so, for my third walk along the Frances earlier on this year.....I found myself going back to my 'good old faithful copy' each evening and still, finding something new to read. Triple Like plus an extra one for good measure.
 

Kanga

Moderator
Staff member
Camino(s) past & future
Francés x 5, Le Puy x 2, Arles, Tours, Norte, Madrid, Via de la Plata.
#62
When I walked the CF with our daughter in 2004 it was my third time and I did not take a guidebook or any information at all. In those days there was no thought of booking ahead, you walked up and took whatever accommodation was available.

I thought it was fine but it drove my daughter absolutely spare not to have any information about what to expect in front of us. My vague "there is a village not far ahead" or "just a few more kilometres, I think" she found completely unsatisfactory. When we got to Burgos she was the first in line in the Cathedral shop, clutching "A Practical Guide for Pilgrims on the Road to Santiago" by Millan Bravo Lozana. It was the Brierley of its day, and she loved it. It gave her a sense of control, something I completely understand.
 

Walking Lover

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
CdS from Leon to Santiago, June 16, 2016 to June 30, 2016.
#63
I'm considering sneaking a second Camino in this year.. Portuguese (I did CF in April).. I had wise pilgrim guide and was mostly happy with it... Do I go wise pilgrim for this route or the dreaded Brierly?
We used Brierley.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino de Santiago, St Jean to Santuago, 2015
Camino Portuguese, 2018
#65
When I read responses to guidebook questions that tell others not to worry, and that there isn't a need for a guidebook or app, I'm reminded of how fortunate I am, as I might be able to do that. But, I also think others neglect to consider that not all pilgrims can 'wing it'...Some are elderly, sickly, or are doing their best to travel way out of their comfort zone. Some walkers need to know where the next stops are in order to take care of their needs. Would you rely on an arrow, not knowing the distance and what is ahead if you were a diabetic that needed to rest/eat? If you were elderly and felt you could walk a bit more, but then found it was 5K to the next rest/bar/village...you would at least have a bit of info in a guidebook to make an informed decision. There are those among us that need to plan ahead, where simply "walking" isn't an option. Be thankful that you are able to forge ahead without a plan, but try to consider why others might be concerned and ask the questions they ask. It'such a disservice to others to insist that the only way to walk any camino is without any guide, as if using one nullifies a 'real camino'. Rubbish and self centered.
Thanks for your comments. I am an 84 year old woman who followed the Frances in 2015 and the Portuguese in June of this year. Definitely “did it my way” and had welcome assistance too many times to bore you here. I do speak Portuguese and a couple of times thought maybe I should get one of those little black dresses and see if I could just blend into the background. I used Brierly and where relevant my own knowledge of the country. No unwelcome advances from men but a couple times welcome help - ride in a small truck when I flagged it down to see which way to go having come out of a field and seeing no yellow arrow. I love the Portuguese; their hospitality and wry sense of humor. And food, though I missed the Spanish tortillas.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Ingles 2017
#66
His guide for the Ingles was much appreciated. But it is a much more relaxed hike.

People complain more (beds, hiking sticks, guidebooks, . . ..) when walking the crowded caminos.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Frances, Muxia-Fisterra, March/April 2017
Portuguese, March 2018, ( Lituano 2019, VdlP 2020)
#67
What is happening on this forum in 2018? Everyone moaning and complaining? Let’s have some open minds and fellowship, please. It was the Brierley guide that got me walking The Camino in the first place, so I will always be grateful to his initiative and dedication, and the fact that every word he writes is from the heart. I’ve used Brierley CF and CP guides - full versions, not just the reduced maps versions - and have absolutely loved them. I never got lost, I never felt disappointed, and I always felt a genuine sense that his heart was truly in the spirit of the endeavour. Who cares about the accuracy of the elevations? If that’s all you are are interested in, go and climb a mountain. Camino walking is something different altogether. Bless the man for opening my eyes to something that is now dominant in my life, and which I intend to keep doing as long as I can.
 
#68
What is happening on this forum in 2018? Everyone moaning and complaining? Let’s have some open minds and fellowship, please. It was the Brierley guide that got me walking The Camino in the first place, so I will always be grateful to his initiative and dedication, and the fact that every word he writes is from the heart. I’ve used Brierley CF and CP guides - full versions, not just the reduced maps versions - and have absolutely loved them. I never got lost, I never felt disappointed, and I always felt a genuine sense that his heart was truly in the spirit of the endeavour. Who cares about the accuracy of the elevations? If that’s all you are are interested in, go and climb a mountain. Camino walking is something different altogether. Bless the man for opening my eyes to something that is now dominant in my life, and which I intend to keep doing as long as I can.
Beautifully put ...
Thank you, Adrian.
 
Camino(s) past & future
2017
#69
My copy of my John Brierley guide was my bible. I studied it probably every day. When I made mistakes I laughed at myself for not having read his notes which would have warned me. I often found myself talking to him in deep appreciation for the warmth of his heart. At the end of the road I put my very battered copy in a drawer with my credentials and my notebook. Thank you John. Being a passerby was such a joy.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (2010,2013,2015), Portugues (2011,2016), Muxia/Fisterra (2012), Norte (2018)
#70
I mostly loved my wise pilgrim.. but did occasionally look at a friend's Brierly.. although it did seem that Brierly made up distances and the severity of the odd climb/descent.. unless someone tells me the Portuguese Brierly is spot on I think I'll stick with a wise pilgrim.. any idea on how busy the route is? Was considering VDLP but I think I'd miss the social aspect so I'm hoping the Portuguese is more CF than VDLP
I did the Portuguese twice - using Brierley. I found it spot on on all counts - practical and background. I could have done without the spiritual advice, but this is easily ignored. The book is lightweight and easy to read on the way (much more so than a small cellphone screen, or the Wise Pilgrim format). I am truly sorry there is no Brierley for the Camino del Norte.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Frances(2006) portugues(2013)San Salvador (2017)
#71
Hi Andywild. It will be fun to check out your blog again, so be sure to put in a message ahead of time. In addition to reading all around me, and then walking the CP from Porto with Mr Brierley in my pack, I scoured the St James’s Association site, and in particular what Johnniewalker had to say. You are now a veteran, and I look forward to your forthcoming beats-them-all ultimate and ultra-lite guide!
 
Camino(s) past & future
first Camino francais Sept/Oct (2016)
Second Camino Niort Sept/Oct (2018)
#72
I'm considering sneaking a second Camino in this year.. Portuguese (I did CF in April).. I had wise pilgrim guide and was mostly happy with it... Do I go wise pilgrim for this route or the dreaded Brierly?
Personal view, I have both but gravitate strongly to "Brierly". good luck.
 

truenorthpilgrim

"Adventure is Worthwhile" - Aesop
Camino(s) past & future
C. Frances (2016)
C. Finesterre (2016)
#73
I must say Brierley was indispensable on my first camino. I needed something, and I liked reading up on the next day, looking at maps, seeing how far I had gone.

BUT...next camino I will not use a guidebook. I won't be sticking to stages, as it sort of encouraged a bit of a herd mentality amongst some pilgrims. I want stop at towns I had walked through before, maybe those looked over towns and bars that don't get the love because they aren't a "stage" stop.

*editing to state: I greatly appreciate Brierly as he invested so many hours with details writing his books.
 
Last edited:
Camino(s) past & future
2019
#74
As a first timer on any Camino I do have the Brierley guide on the basis that any guide gives at least the bones of the route. It’s up to me how I follow it and up to me on what other sources of info I draw on. Plenty of advice available on this forum for example.

And my heartfelt thanks to those who have contributed.

Any mistakes/mis-steps will be down to me, no good blaming a guide book - learn, adapt and move on. The Camino is what it is and won't be found in any guide book.
I just got the Brierly and I think it's quite good. Don't have to worry about KML files, apps, etc.
 
Camino(s) past & future
2015 -SJPP- Santiago .Oct/Nov
2017 -Porto to Santiago.Oct
2017- Santiago- Finesterre. Nov
#75
I for one am really grateful that John Brierly wrote his guides . I feel that it is such a blessing for us pilgrims . I've used them for my last few caminos and they've been great and I'll use them again . I also have the wise pilgrim apps and I am grateful for them too . I just feel that we need to acknowledge with gratitude all these wonderful and useful methods to guide us on our way ..
The people who painted the yellow markers , those who researched and wrote the books and everybody who gives of themselves for others to provide services and assistance in whatever form be it hospiteleros , authors , helpers in whatever form . They are the true Camino angels .
We are pretty lucky these days because these things weren't available to pilgrims in the past .
 

jefferyonthecamino

http://www.barrerabooks.com/ - Guidebooks
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Francés (1994)
Camino Francés (2013 - 2017)
Camino Portugués (2015 - 2017)
#76
I'm considering sneaking a second Camino in this year.. Portuguese (I did CF in April).. I had wise pilgrim guide and was mostly happy with it... Do I go wise pilgrim for this route or the dreaded Brierly?
I have found the Brierly map booket useful
 

Irish Bernie

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Francis 2013-2014-2015,16 and June 2017,May 2018,Sept 2018.
#78
I find info written by a local on my beer mat to be more useful than a guidebook.
 

truenorthpilgrim

"Adventure is Worthwhile" - Aesop
Camino(s) past & future
C. Frances (2016)
C. Finesterre (2016)
#81
What is happening on this forum in 2018? Everyone moaning and complaining? Let’s have some open minds and fellowship, please. It was the Brierley guide that got me walking The Camino in the first place, so I will always be grateful to his initiative and dedication, and the fact that every word he writes is from the heart. I’ve used Brierley CF and CP guides - full versions, not just the reduced maps versions - and have absolutely loved them. I never got lost, I never felt disappointed, and I always felt a genuine sense that his heart was truly in the spirit of the endeavour. Who cares about the accuracy of the elevations? If that’s all you are are interested in, go and climb a mountain. Camino walking is something different altogether. Bless the man for opening my eyes to something that is now
dominant in my life, and which I intend to keep doing as long as I can.
Here here! Well said.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Francés ('14/'15)
St Olav/Francés ('16)
Baztanés/Francés ('17)
Ingles ('18)
#82
I appreciate how Brierley gives information about how many places and rooms there are in each albergue - when there is a choice to be made, it gives you a rough idea of which albergues have large dorms and which have smaller rooms with fewer bunks.

And although they are schematic, I generally like the maps as they show many options for avoiding asphalt and sendas next to busy roads. I found my way into Burgos on the river route very easily using his map and directions - which is something that others here have had trouble doing.

If you don't like his musings, don't read them, simple as that.
 

Peter Barker

My dream is to do the long walk.
Camino(s) past & future
In the future is my plan. Hopefully sooner than later.
#83
What is happening on this forum in 2018? Everyone moaning and complaining? Let’s have some open minds and fellowship, please. It was the Brierley guide that got me walking The Camino in the first place, so I will always be grateful to his initiative and dedication, and the fact that every word he writes is from the heart. I’ve used Brierley CF and CP guides - full versions, not just the reduced maps versions - and have absolutely loved them. I never got lost, I never felt disappointed, and I always felt a genuine sense that his heart was truly in the spirit of the endeavor. Who cares about the accuracy of the elevations? If that’s all you are are interested in, go and climb a mountain. Camino walking is something different altogether. Bless the man for opening my eyes to something that is now dominant in my life, and which I intend to keep doing as long as I can.
Couldn't agree more.
 

lissie45

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Planning to walk Frances 2019
#84
It is, but he has chosen to remain a dinosaur in the digital age. His books will be found only on the remainder tables soon. He needs to publish a Kindle version or issue an app to stay relevant. Remember the Radio Shack TRS-80? Remember Radio Shack???;)
To be fair - its not him its his publisher (though he may be his own publisher I'm not sure) - but yes I agree spent years lugging around dead trees when travelling - certainly do not now - particularly guidebooks. I borowed a copy from our library - but found him wordy and I believe he is in places inaccurate from comments I've read here and on blogs. The advantage of a website or an app - or a kindle edition - is that updates can be made much faster than an annual print run.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Francés ('14/'15)
St Olav/Francés ('16)
Baztanés/Francés ('17)
Ingles ('18)
#85
Off topic but I can't resist.
It is, but he has chosen to remain a dinosaur in the digital age. His books will be found only on the remainder tables soon.
Maybe but I doubt it. People have been predicting the demise of print for a long time but it sticks around for a reason. There will be people who prefer a real book, because some others of us are dinosaurs, too.

Take maps. I for one find digital maps frustrating and the technology unreliable: needing unreliable connectivity for online maps, and having to try to see something on a screen that doesn't work so well in bright light, and having to carry chargers or battery packs, and running out of power at just the wrong moment when you need a map most, and not being able to go back and forth between pages effortlessly, and being concerned about said tech being ripped off, and and and....
I'm not at all a luddite but for all those reasons (and more) I intensely dislike the map experience on a device.
Once glance a paper map (or Brierley) is enough to figure out where I am - and even without a functioning or connected phone or tablet I can still find my way. I'm not the brightest light on the Christmas tree, but even my mind is vastly better and more versatile than a machine.
 
Camino(s) past & future
2019
#86
Off topic but I can't resist.

Maybe but I doubt it. People have been predicting the demise of print for a long time but it sticks around for a reason. There will be people who prefer a real book, because some others of us are dinosaurs, too.

Take maps. I for one find digital maps frustrating and the technology unreliable: needing unreliable connectivity for online maps, and having to try to see something on a screen that doesn't work so well in bright light, and having to carry chargers or battery packs, and running out of power at just the wrong moment when you need a map most, and not being able to go back and forth between pages effortlessly, and being concerned about said tech being ripped off, and and and....
I'm not at all a luddite but for all those reasons (and more) I intensely dislike the map experience on a device.
Once glance a paper map (or Brierley) is enough to figure out where I am - and even without a functioning or connected phone or tablet I can still find my way. I'm not the brightest light on the Christmas tree, but even my mind is vastly better and more versatile than a machine.
Totally agree. I'm totally into technology and love Google Maps, Earth, etc., but I know that I'll never need to charge my Brierley.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Frances planned for October 3-mid November (2018)
#90
I cant speak for the CP, but I found the Brierly good in terms of avoiding his recommendations. Sometimes it worked out that we did stop at one of his stages, but most of the time I stopped either side of his destinations, it was much quieter that way.
I just followed the yellow arrows.....
This is what I am "planning" to do....:)
 

RJM

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
A few times, but soon again I hope....
#91
Brierley books get slammed a wee bit too hard, IMO. While no guidebook is an absolute necessity they definitely assist you in getting where you are going on the various Camino routes. Especially for the inexperienced and uninitiated. Quite a few prospective pilgrims have never, ever walked a long distance before in a foreign country, or anywhere. An actual, tangible guidebook can be a source of comfort for them, and if it is, that's wonderful.
If weight of the book is a factor, simply tear out the sections you need/want, staple them together and as you progress in your travel on the Camino, simply tear off the particular page used that day, and toss it in a bin. Before you know it, you are in SDC and no longer have a guidebook. Quite simple.
 
Camino(s) past & future
C/F: 2013, 2014
C/M: 2016
C/P: 2015, 2017
C/I: 2018
Voluntario: 2014 to 2018
#92
My considered recommendation is to ditch Brierley, too heavy, too verbose. If you must use a paper guide use the Wise Pilgrim Guides. Ivar sells them. But my recommendation is to use the Wise Pilgrim guide apps, TOGETHER WITH THE NEW Wisely additions.

The Wisely additions to the apps incorporate new GPS location capability based on a downloaded map. The previous Wise pilgrim guide used an online map based on Google Earth or satellite view. It used a huge amount of data and battery. The author of these guides, a friend of mine, living at Santiago, saw this problem and developed a really cool and effective solution.

The new, Wisely revisions download the map once. Then using the built in GPRS location functionality of your phone (where is my phone now), simply moves the dot, arrow, or whatever, along the downloaded mapped route. It uses nil battery and data. This works similar to other GPS programs like Maps.me.

The Wise apps have all the information of the paper guides, and none of the verbosity of the Brierley guides. In fact, the paper guides are essentially the apps printed out. As we all know, any paper book is obsolete on the day it goes to print. So, focusing on the online apps and maps seems to be the wiser (no pun intended) choice.

I still like the Brierley guides and do buy them annually to check out his slant on the Caminos. But, I no longer carry one. In my relentless drive to carry less and reduce my rucksack weight, this was one item that had to go. The improvements in the Wise Guides made this possible. They are now, IMHO, the best guides and apps available. You can buy them here at Casa Ivar.

BTW, the author of the Wise Pilgrim Guides uses GPS locators on his bicycle to cover several Camino routes annually, He is continuously updating the apps. If you download from the app stores (iOS or Android) automatic updates are one BIG benefit you cannot get with paper guides.

Hope this helps.
 

Keyes

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF May-June 2016
Francesco June-July 2017
Francigena July-August 2017
Portuguese July 2018
#93
I used Brierly, Harms/Dintamam/Landis and several apps including Wise Pilgrim while walking the Camino Portuguese from Lisbon to Santiago last month (July). Cross referencing among them was handy. The H/D/L book is bare bones, easy to use and mark up. Brierly is heavier and more comprehensive. I haven't found it verbose, but do skim through some parts.

Everyone has their own opinion. Check out the products and use the ones that feel best for you.
 

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