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John Breirley guide ?

#1
Hi everyone ,

just to double check .., regarding the literatute we need for the camino , I was advised on the "John Breirley guide "...
but I only find it on the web http://www.caminoguides.com like Camino Finiestre, Camino Frances and Camino Portugues or de la Plata.... BUT I actually found this one:
Artículo: Guías
Guia Camino del Norte
Precio: 18.0 €
.... and it`s from http://www.mundicamino.com
???
It will be great to have smth in english .., anyone can advise me ??

thx
 

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alipilgrim

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (2005), Frances (2007), Madrid/Frances (2011), 1/2 VdP (2012),
#4
Also available on Amazon.com. Found the book's maps and descriptions invalubable! but remember to keep an eye open for new albergues that have just opened up and haven't yet made the guide's pages. Especially those just outside of the major towns = not as full!!
 

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notion900

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
>
#6
John Brierley was the guru! Hail John if you are reading this! He does get a bit vague on you towards the end, but i guess he had his mind on higher things by that stage!
 
#7
Hey all...long time no post but gearing up for my second camino. I MAY get the Brierley guide but only if i cant find a better alternative.

I found several instances in the book where his information was just plain wrong - inlcuding 2 notable occasions on the first and second day of my camino when the route marked on the ground was nothing like his.

I have to say I also grew to loathe his notes and ramblings on each stage and all the "mystical path" nonsense. Don't get me wrong here, I think i'm quite a spiritual person in lots of ways and its not a "mystical path" per se I object to - its carrying someones ramblings around when I really cant get behind the way they convey them. If I do end up taking his book i ill be ripping quite a bit out of it before i go - it should be organised so you can just have the basic facts you need if thats all you want. Mr Brierley's philosophical musings didnt just leave me cold - on occasion they made me angry I had been forced to pay for them.

Phew!! Bit of a slaughter there.....oops..... bottom line: the basic info needed is well presented enough but not accurate enough I think and the other stuff is pointless added weight - i want to find my mystical path not someone elses.
 

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:
#8
Hi Martin,
I made copies of all Brierley's strip maps and of the CSJ Guide. They worked very well together.
I purposely did not make back-to-back copies of the CSJ guide so that I could chuck away used pages as we went along. My friend Marion used the back of hers to write her diary so that each entry corresponds to the place.
The paths are so well marked with arrows, stelle, pilgrim signs etc that one scarcely needs a guide at all.
 

lckgj

Active Member
#9
I have seen it advertised, but not in the flesh as it were, but JB has recently published a book of camino frances maps. It is cheaper than the guide book so I assume some detail must have been been removed. Could be a lighter less waffly option?

Laura
 

Janeh

Active Member
#10
I have just received from Amazon a great little light weight book that I am going to take instead of John Breirley and others - "Camino de Santiago Map" - Pila Pila Press. Very very light weight, spiral bound for easy viewing and has albergues, fuentes, cross sections of the route, other points of need or interest marked on it, plus 8 town maps of the bigger places. My friend Janet who has done two caminos thinks that is all I'll need! It only weighs 88gms! cheers, Jane
 

cecelia

several caminos- '03-'13
#11
HI everyone,
Just another point-of-view on the John Brierley guide. I neither liked it while on the camino nor found it useful. Although I found it fairly interesting at a time when I wasn't on the camino.I last walked in the spring of 2007 and for me (your experience of it may be quite different!) the book was way too long on the details of his own angst and way too short on details about the camino.

There are very few places along the Camino Frances where a book is really necessary but I always seems to find one or two.There were two places on my last journey where JB's details were so bad I found myself wondering if he had ever been there.

To give him his full due, the path of the camino changes frequently in spite of what we are led to believe. So it may very well be that JB hadn't walked all portions of the route as he was doing his updated version - and the path had changed in some spots he missed. Or because his journey was so intense, perhaps he overlooked details in the midst of an emotional experience.

It's just an opinion of course, but I feel that the spiritual, emotional or intense journeys of others, while often very interesting, are best read while NOT walking the camino. That is the time to have your own experience and it's easy to let the ups and downs of a talented writer colour, overwhelm or even interfere with one's personal experience. But we all have our own journeys to take - and it's possible that I have too often let others' journeys take precedence in my life so am now guarding my sacred space like a tiger <grin>.
My wish for everyone is that you (we) each fully live and enjoy our own journeys in life.
cecelia
 
#12
IMHO for the Camino Frances the CSJ Guide cannot be beaten in terms of value, uselfullness and most importnatly being kept up to date every year:



The Camino Francés, 2008
William Bisset. CSJ, London, 2008. 76 + 20 pp. (Pilgrim Guides to Spain #1)


Our best-selling guide, updated every year on the basis of pilgrims' feedback, and re-issued each January. Details on the traditional route in Spain, refuges and other accommodation, and practical advice. In English, despite the title


You may also like to consider the supplementary and complementary Practical Pilgrim Notes for either Walkers or Cyclists - see section Practical Pilgrim Notes

Price: £6.00
 

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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:
#13
I agree with Johnny Walker - the CSJ Guides are more than adequate, but I also copied the JB strip maps to take with me last year.
 

KiwiNomad06

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Le Puy-Santiago(2008) Cluny-Conques+prt CF(2012)
#14
I bought the Brierley guide but didn't take it. His spiritual opinions were not something I wanted jammed in my head as I walked. Personal preference. I thought I might find it interesting to look at on my return.... but I like it even less... though I like his town maps.

For pilgrims leaving from SJPP, the pilgrim office gives you a double-sided photocopied page that is an up to date list of all the cheaper alberges along the way. Plus they give out a similar sheet with altitude charts. If you really want to save on pack weight, and don't mind not having maps, this might almost be enough.

I used the Miam Miam Dodo guide, similar to one I had used in France. (And in France, where it is better to book accommodation, everyone carried the MMD.) The MMD just has route maps and accommodation listings though, and not details of the historical buildings and sites you might pass along the way. Perhaps in Spain I didn't really need all the detail it included, but I quite liked being able to work out distances etc. I figured that accommodation listings kept changing, and if I ever returned I would need an updated MMD, so I ripped out the pages as I went.... enjoying the feeling that my pack was getting lighter each day, and my journey - judged by the ever shorter and shorter book, was also getting shorter.

Jane, I like the sound of the maps book you have found. Janet is a wise woman! If I ever go again, maybe that is all I would want to carry as well......
Margaret
 
#15
I still think that the Brierley guide combined with the CSJ guide is the best combination - the most useful elements from Brierley are the detailed altitude plans for each day as well as the maps (both for each day and the town plans) as well as the photos of albergues - whilst the CSJ guide is best for opinions on albergues and details on shops - both have a fair amount of detail on the actual route (and sometimes useful to have both)

I stripped out pages from both before I left and disguarded route details as I went, leaving me with just the daily stgae pages from Brierley at the end
 

alipilgrim

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (2005), Frances (2007), Madrid/Frances (2011), 1/2 VdP (2012),
#17
I agree with many of the above re: the mystical ramblings of Brierley, I didn't like them so...I didn't read them! Simple solution. I too ripped out each day's stage and kept it in my front pouch as a handy reference for the day's journey. I still think the 'strip maps' he provides + the info on the day's elevation and what to expect are invaluable.
 
#18
Yeah...despite my previous posts I ended up getting: The whole Camino France guide, the stripped down version that's recently come out AND the Camino Finisterre.

I think the very practical information is great (although not always 100% accurate but then I guess; what travel book is..) but the "mystical path stuff" and space for notes just leaves me bemused. Ther really is no need to add things like that in - as a separate book - yes, but actually in teh guide - no.
And the cut down version that just has maps I think..has missed the point a bit - again (god i'm sounding like a stuck record here aren't i?! :)) It has the maps (great) but NO information about the alberques etc. AAAAAAAAH!! Instead we get treated to a brief paragraph about each stage in 3 different languages. WHY?! Why not to a guide that has the practial stuff, including alberques, but no spritual notes, no reminiscing, no "space for notes" (we could take note books if we wanted to) and then print it in three langauges seperately?!! Surely it makes no sense to do a single guide book in 3 languages?! It means each nationality that uses it has bought 2/3 of a book they won't ever have a need for.

It's just...odd!!

But hey - as ever - the Brierly guide (and selected notes from the full book because i'm damned if im carrying it and I object to buying a book and ripping stuff out of it to make it useful to me) will take me from Astorga to Finisterre...in about 4 weeks WOOOHOOOOOOO!!!!! :)
 

Janeh

Active Member
#19
I have decided to go with the map book I mentioned in an earlier post (see above), plus I've ripped apart into 3 stages the big tome "The Pilgrimage Road to Santiago" by Gitlitz & Davidson. I will carry part 1 with me (132gm), post the others ahead. My reason for all this?
1. I may as well get an education about the history of the camino, the towns I walk through, the cathedrals I hope to peek in on, etc as I go
2. As I leave a town I can discard the pages for that town at the albergue for another pilgrim to enjoy
3. broken into 3 parts it really is worth carrying along, I think it will broaden my knowledge more than any other guide book.
4. I will learn to trust my instincts and the knowledge of others as to which albergue to stay in plus I've typed up a list of albergues and given them a score out of 5 (gleaned from everyone else's opinions here on the forum, plus read and digested 3 seperate guide books)

I expect, by the time I've reached Santiago and so have read thoroughly this cultural handbook, I will be an expert about all things relating to camino history, types of structures found along the camino, each nuance for each town etc etc :)
:)
So if you're leaving Roncevalles after September 9th, follow the paper trail and please enjoy the book with me. :) Jane.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Yes please!
#20
Re: John Brierley guide ?

I have come to the decision that I will do the same - I love Brierley's daily stage maps with elevations and distances to accommodation etc, but I find the layout of the text chaotic and the reflections are not for me. I still recognise the wealth of information he offers, but I won't be using it or taking it with me. I don't particularly like the spiral bound books either, they are awkward to put away, but that is a personal preference. Instead I am taking the new Brierley short version - the daily stage maps collected in a book - and the updated CSJ booklet. I will also read the Gitlitz 'cultural handbook' plus forum notes before I go, I love that part of the planning. The plan is to write short notes on each day and stick them onto the maps ... Does that sound like a good idea to the camino veterans, or am I totally clueless here?

All the best,
LM
 

alipilgrim

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (2005), Frances (2007), Madrid/Frances (2011), 1/2 VdP (2012),
#21
You'll find it all works out much easier once you are on the road than in the planning stages. I really liked being able to refer to the day's walk map, or 'stage', just double-checking to see how much further I had to the next village, or when to look for the next turn, or what elevation changes were coming up. The true sense of freedom comes after a week or two when you venture free of the stages' recommended daily walk and decide to either go a bit further or end a bit sooner and break free of the masses. Stay in a tiny little town instead of the major ones, stay in a Casa Rural where there is no village, and enjoy the comfort of your hosts and the companionship of your fellow guests, pilgrims who you might not normally converse with because you had stay with the same 'group' from stage end to stage end. It really just comes down to finding food, shelter, shower (and maybe a glass of wine) on the Camino; so as long as you have an idea as to how far the next accommodation might be, just let your feet be the guide as to how far you walk....
 
#22
falcon269 said:
And now you can buy Brierley with just the maps and lodging, and save a little bit of money and weight and philosophy and ripping it apart (physically and verbally).
Actually - I think the new map book is LESS useful. We all seem to agree he has some useful info which i padded out with a lot of rambling that is far from necessary...although occasionally interesting. However - the new book with just maps is just that......maps. Given the somewhat schematic nature of the maps I wonder how useful this will be. There is a brief paragraph about the days journey - in THREE different languages. (WHY??!?!?!?!?!) The altitude diagram and the overview map. Some town maps as well.

But NO information abotu teh lodgings of any kind whatsoever. Some of the stuff that warend you to stock up on supplies in one particular town has gone as well.

Why in the name of.... would they release this book in three langauages?? WHY?!?! Two thirds of teh book will be completely useless to anyone who buys it. COmplete waste of time. yes there are some situations that it may prove useul...if you meet a french or spanish pilgrim who also wants to read a single and not very useful paragraph abotu the day ahead. I'll be ripping the original book apart and in future...if I take anything at all, it most certainly wont be the Brierley guide. I give up on a publisher that take ssuch ridiculously stupid decisions. Those two paragraphs in spanish and frenc on each page could be replaces with some word about lodgings that would make the book invaluable.
 

Trudy

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
(2006) Roncesvalles to Leon (2007) Leon to Compostela
#23
Well, to me it would make sense to use the Brierly maps in conjunction with the CSJ Guide. That would combine both a waymap and and a really up-to-date guide to the albergues. Both are lightweight and easy to carry.

I seem to be one of the few who actually appreciate his writings. But, as the book is printed infrequently, the albergue listing is not to be relied on.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Yes please!
#24
There is a brief paragraph about the days journey - in THREE different languages. (WHY??!?!?!?!?!)
I can see one very good reason - so that there's room for me to stick a post-it note with additional information on each day over the French and Spanish parts ... :D

LM
 

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)
#25
Hi LM - don't bother with post it notes - (that old word - weight) What's wrong with scrawling important info in the margins?

I am one of the strange people that plans a very detailed itinerary for my Caminos, with the important dates being when I leave home and when I am to return. Even though the itinerary is VERY detailed, it is still very flexible. On my last Camino there were many days which were altered -either lengthened or shortenend depending how I felt. The bonus of all this preparation is that I have a very good picture in my head of maps and so on, which in turn allows me to be very flexible. I still like to look at a map - just to see "where in the world" I am, but, I found the thing I used most was the elevation diagrams that were handed out at the pilgrim offic e in St Jean. However, becauseit was the second time I had walked the same path I was determined to take as many detours as practible and found "Brierly" invaluable for guidance there. If you intend to follow the set path it is really the arrows that will show you the way, and after a few days I didn't even use the guide books for the albergues because the grapevine did a good job of helping me select, plus my own intinct. Janet
 
Camino(s) past & future
Yes please!
#26
Hi, Janet - we seem to have the same outlook on information and itineraries ... I intend to gather as much info as I can on places and buildings of historical, cultural or general interest to give myself plenty of choices and then bring my own notes along with the more logistical info on albergues etc. That way I can make up and change my mind depending on whim, weather or mood without feeling lost. I have got six to eight weeks to complete the walk, and haven't even decided where to start yet.

I guess there are as many different opinions on the guide books as there are pilgrims, and the good thing about that is that all the different info will be available from others along the way.

Oh, and I always scrawl in the margins ... :D
LM
 

falcon269

no commercial interests
Camino(s) past & future
yes
#27
I plan to share the non-English descriptions in the Brierley map-only guide with pilgrims who do not speak English...
 
#28
falcon269 said:
I plan to share the non-English descriptions in the Brierley map-only guide with pilgrims who do not speak English...
Which is fair enough........but if i was a native french or spanish speaker I would probably prefer and have, a guide book in my own language..

I just dont see its usefulness except on the "off chance" a french or spanish person needs that one paragraph in their language...seems a tad far fetched as an idea...

Of course really..i should email John and say this... so off I go then!
 

gittiharre

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF Austria Czech Le Puy Geneva RLS V. Jacobi V. Regia V. Baltica/Scandinavica Porto Muxia
#29
Hi, I know it is ages since you posted this. The John Brierley guide of the Camino Frances ( you misspelt the name slightly) is absolutely fantastic. When I walked the Camino lots of people who did not have it, but had other guides would ask to look at it in preparation for the next day. It combines very clear well organised maps including height elevations, adjustments of distance for heights and with spiritual sayings for each day, which gives you something to think about for that day and see your experiences from a different angle, with pracitcal info on where to stay, prices and historical and mythical information. I have not found a better book in years. This year I walked through Austria on the Camino and the guide book I had drove me mad. I kept on longing that John had written one for Austria. I constantly got lost due to the impossible to follow verly detailed route directions. It was very cumbersome. You should be able to get the book through the Confraternity of St James bookshop or Amazon. Regards, Gitti
 

notion900

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
>
#30
I quite liked his spiritual ramblings actually. If you can't stomach random spiritual soundings-off, the camino is going to be hard work for you - people bang on about their inner torment all over the place!
 
#31
Planning on making my first walk next year sometime. I am allowing myself time for training, saving money, and research. The first thing I bought was Breirley's guide and it has changed my outlook on the whole thing. I am ready to go now, but, alas I still must wait some time before setting off.
I will be around here alot between now and then absorbing everyone's knowledge and experience on this amazing pilgrimage.
 

falcon269

no commercial interests
Camino(s) past & future
yes
#32
It is probably universally known by now, but Brierley has a 2009 edition with updates on albergues. Amazon still sells the old one even as it offers the new one. There are a lot of additions, so I recommend the 2009 edition.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Many, various, and continuing.
#33
just watch out for the spinning vortex of power someplace outside Puente de la Reina. And that evil witchcraft pilgrim in Calzadilla de la Cueza, clutching the tools of his craft! Wooowoo! :twisted:

The maps are very good. The spirituality is good for a laugh if nothing else... I kinda think you´ll find your own spirituality out there without instructions, but hey. I haven´t written a best-seller yet, and Brierley certainly has!
 

hel&scott

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
2004 St Jean - Santiago, 2008 &18 Seville - Finesterre, 2010 Ferrol - Lisbon, 2012 from Cartehenga.
#34
We far prefer to the maps in John Breirley to the endless twaddle of Alison Raju.

As to the text, well don't bother with it unless bored. As our research is on the old roman and pagan elements of the walk which we make notes in a small note book rather then carry heavy tomes... Actually we make our own maps as well (Moeskin makes a great concertina folded notebook), it helps focus on where we are going and is great for collecting sellos.
 

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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:
#35
Alison is a very competent guide writer who has compiled many guides for Cicerone Press.
When I first walked the camino there were very few books available and I was extremely grateful for her guide. I didn't find any 'twaddle' in her books! Alison is dedicated to pilgrimage trails and is the editor of the Pilgrims to Rome newsletter.

With your interest in things Roman, you might enjoy this excellent site with extensive research on the Roman Roads along the camino.

http://traianus.rediris.es/viasromanas/
 

falcon269

no commercial interests
Camino(s) past & future
yes
#36
I liked the route information in the Alison Raju books both from Le Puy and from St. Jean (I remember one turn that I NEVER would have found without her step-by-step description), but the Brierley maps were better. His Mystical Path and Personal Reflections are a matter of taste. To avoid them, buy the very light book with just his maps. Albergues are depicted but a further description is missing.
 

hel&scott

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
2004 St Jean - Santiago, 2008 &18 Seville - Finesterre, 2010 Ferrol - Lisbon, 2012 from Cartehenga.
#37
Well each to their own taste I guess. And yes in the early days there was few books around which is why we have battered copies of Alison's on the shelf (battered mainly from being thrown in disgust, but later recovered). Frankly I've had knitting patterns that make more sense then:

Go over KSO(L) veering (R) bypass T junction,3 steps over stye, fork (L) walk // to road (R)
Why are their no English versions of the great French and German guides which have great maps, good info on the area being walked, up to date albergue info, spiral bound and still a good size to carry?
 

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:
#38
:D
At least Alison gives a 'translator' of the symbols she uses in her books. I was able to read your example perfectly!
When we walked the Via Francigena we had a short Italian guide sent to us from Rome with very little text and lots of mysterious symbols that did not appear in the short explanation. Some of them were like hieroglyphics, odd triangles, double Celtic crosses and arrows and series of dots and dashes like Morse Code! I don't think the author of the guide remembered what they all meant!
The Rother guides are very good, small and compact.
 
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