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Few Camino tips


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Recently, I completed my Camino in two weeks on my bicycle from the city of Burgos to Santiago, Spain. This was a great experience because of the many challenges that I encountered and the many fantastic people I met along the way. I went on my Camino because of curiosity and cultural learning reasons. For the benefit of future Camino pilgrims I am sharing here some of the things that I learned by having to step outside of my paradigm and truly engage as much as possible. In my opinion Camino is a place but more it is each pilgrim with the local people as co participants in the Camino picture or adventure. I feel that in a small way my participation helped to shaping my Camino as well as for others whether pilgrims and or local people there. Last but not least, I want to thank people like Falcon 269, Rebekah, and many others for their great commentaries to help us all with additional information on various topics.

1. Believe not that the Camino is a vacation and there will not be inconveniences along the way.
2. If you don’t know the language, do yourself a favor and learn some of the basics at home before you get there. You will earn points with the locals just by trying. Some locals feel inadequate to engage in other languages. Don’t be offended if one is shy with you while serving your coffee. Some of them are overworked.
3. Do not rush your Camino. If you rush yourself you could miss the fun or spirit and emptiness for that day may be your result.
4. If you are bicycling the Camino by all means get a horn, bell, or ringer for your bike to alert foot pilgrims ahead that you are approaching them, therefore avoiding an accident. As you pass them say Buen Camino (Greetings). They will remember your kind spirit at the next Alberguer stop and maybe make additional new friends.
5. Take a bit more money than your anticipated expenses. This is for your own piece of mind while you are away. Exchange your money upon arriving at the airport in Spain if possible.
6. When you are not sure which way to go or turn while at the Camino ask, ask, ask as many people as possible so you can get a better feel. Do not be shy about asking many times about anything.
7. If you miss the Camino turn do not panic. Plan your day ahead to cover a certain distance to end about at least 3 hours before sun set. If something does not go right do not react just sit down and think about your plan B. Often plan B was better than plan A.
8. At the Alberguer try to get a bed next to the light switch so you have some control over the on or off time.
9. If you are at a crowded place to eat don’t just sit there and wait for a long time to be served. Just move on to another place in town or village and you will be glad you did.
10. If there is an issue of attitudes along the way just fine a way to defuse the matter and you will come out the winner. For example, on my first Camino day I walked inside of an Alberguer owned by a French woman who made me feel bad about nothing. Instantly, I took her weapon away by complementing her French accent. Then she became sugar at once. Then I proceeded to explore the next door Alberguer that was owned by wonderful people and stayed with them for the night.
11. Before you leave home try to get the most current and accurate guide and or maps. I was under the impression that my guide/maps were accurate and current but it is not and it cost me time and a bit of aggravation a few times.
12. Understand that some pilgrims are actually trying to escape for while from some back home issues or situations. So when engaging be nice and if necessary only ask open ended questions. You will be surprised that your interaction is like therapy for them, but don’t be a constant know it all along the way.

Buen Camino
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