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One book for the Camino

With less than two weeks to go, I have been finalising the contents of my backpack. I have decided that in addition to my guide book, phrase books and journal, I will allow myself one book. I'm sure though that if I take a "best seller", I will have read it in a couple of days. I have decided therefore to take a book of poems by Robert Frost. I was just flicking through it when I saw one poem which may come true very soon. It's called Stopping by Woods On A Snowy Evening. The last verse is:-

The woods are lovely, dark and deep,
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep.

What books will you be taking on your Camino.

For help along the way, I'm taking Walking the Camino De Santiago from Pili Pala Press. :)

For pleasure reading, I'm not taking a book, but I am taking some printouts of my favourite Nizar Qabbani poems.


Active Member
Sounds a bit like desert island discs......
I take my palm, with about 400 ebooks on an sd card
It weighs the same as a mobile phone
No decision needed!


Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Portuguese '08, Frances '11, del Norte '14, Invierno '16, Ingles '17, Primitivo October 2018
Actually I'm doing the Camino Portuguese...but...books are my passion and my life!! journal has already been weighed by grams..and found worthy...not sure, until I finalize the rest of the stuff..which will happen in a few days, what sort of reading material...like you John I'd be thru abook in perhaps 3 days...and I don't want to take more. I have read of people ditching their reading material at refugios...for others to pick up or enjoy...I've also heard of people doing thru hikes on the Appalachin Trail (one of my next goals) taking a paper back and ripping out the pages as they read! Of course there they can serve multi function too!! TP as well as fire starter!!

John I liked the idea of the poetry...haven't really read Frost in a long long time...gotta give that one some thought!! Thanks for the idea,



Active Member
'Rise, Let Us Be On Our Way' by JPII. I will probably leave it somewhere on the way for someone else (after reading it, of course)...
Buen Camino.


Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
2002, Toulouse/Aragon 2005, Cami S Jaume/Aragon 2007/9, Mont Saint Michel/Norte/Vadiniense 2011, Norte/Primitivo 2013, Norte/Primitivo 2014. Norte 2015, Cami S Jaume/Castellano-Aragonese 2016
I am not sure that you will have much time to read, given conversations, siestas and walking. However, as a readaholic, I sympathize.

I like to take the pocket Oxford classics, such as one can find in 2d-hand bookshops; and am fond of Anthony Trollope’s novels for travelling. His work was paid for, and published, in episodes so one can read a 15-page chapter, lay it down, and move on to the next one the day following, without losing the thread of it. Much like episodes of Friends, I would think. They take up little space and are not that heavy. The Last Chronicle of Barset took me from Montserrat to Santiago-51 walking days.

I also took a few printoffs of poems, which I disposed of (responsibly) as I memorized them.
I'm not planning on reading on the camino, I'm planning on writing, walking, thinking and singing with excitedwalker and her mini travel guitar!
Call us crazy, but we're going to be singing, guitar playing pilgrims.

Even though I love to read, work in a bookstore and... well, reading is my life, I'm going to brutal to myself and not take anything. I figure that if I do need to read at some point, I'll steal someone else's poetry or classics... :D


Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Francés (2007), Camino Francés (2008), Camino Portugués (2010), Camino Aragonés - from Lourdes (2012)
Hello Artemis,
You could take one favourite book and leave it in an albergue for another pilgrim to pick up and read.
I was on a Kairos Retreat (done with students in Jesuit schools) and found that the bible I had been given to use was the same one used by my son when he was a participant on the same retreat some years before. I knew, because each one who used the bible signed his name.... perhaps something similar could be done with a book on the Camino... sign it, with date and home country... then leave it for another Pilgrim with the request that s/he do the same. I'm sure it would be an interesting and well travelled (not to mention well-read!) book in a short time! Just a thought....

Buen Camino,


Active Member
Deirdre said:
sign it, with date and home country... then leave it for another Pilgrim with the request that s/he do the same. .

Buen Camino,
What a great idea! I will try to do that with my book this year. You can also add your e-mail adress, so person that have read your favourite book could let you know where the book is now!
Wow- I have to spread this idea on our forum in Poland!

I think I am taking a journal to write in as I have found that helps me remember special moments in years to come. I must also take a book for reading. I can't do otherwise. I don't know what book I will end up with but i will start with a small older paperback of essays. I like essays as they are smaller and self contained. Maybe i will take some by Montaigne?

I don't expect or plan to spend a lot of time reading but a good book is such a good companion.



Active Member
I'll be looking forward to the day when someone brings along a electronic reader, like an Amazon Kindle, and lets us know how it works out on the Way. Heck, maybe someday that person will be me... :wink: :arrow:
vinotinto said:
I'll be looking forward to the day when someone brings along a electronic reader, like an Amazon Kindle
Still: to heavy, too big, too fragile
If I will be able to roll it up like few pages of a newspaper- then I will buy it.


Active Member

Everyone might like to check out this web site - the idea is, you read a book, register it, leave it somewhere for someone else to pick up and read, they register it on the internet site and you can watch your book travel the world. I found a book in Sydney, left it in Adelaide and after about ten people it ended up in Scotland, via Thailand and Europe. If you register your book and leave it on the camino you can watch how often your book travels once it reaches Santiago. Cheers, Jane


Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
I was surprised to find that I didn't have any time to read on the Camino: you get to the refugio, have a siesta, shower, wash your clothes, look after your tootsies, maybe potter in the village a bit and visit the church, sort out dinner, have a beer and a natter to some nice people and then fall asleep about 9.30 because you are whacked. So I wouldn't worry about what book to take and definitely not the Palm with its charger and adaptor and whatnot.


An old chestnut I know but as I'm surrounded by snow at the moment (Bristol, West of England) I thought I'd rekindle this question ...

Marooned on a Camino and assuming you already have the complete works of Shakespeare and the Bible (Catholic RSV), printed on helium rich paper of course, and for once not being concerned about weight as you can have helium balloons to the same lift as the weight of the book :wink:

what (which?) is the one book you want with you/took with you/will take again/ etc etc

for me it is The Imitation of Christ , Thomas a Kempis, as it seems to fit very well with pilgrimage and walking and can be read and re-read throughout one's life .... if that was torn from my grasp I would go with the Bhagavad Gita, the Mascaro translation.

tell all


Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (2005), Frances (2007), Madrid/Frances (2011), 1/2 VdP (2012),
I travel alone, and walk alone, and usually stay at smaller, non-"stage" albergues and therefore tend to keep my own company. Therefore I found I had many hours to fill in the afternoon and a book would have been lovely. Next time I will probably bring my iPhone as it is so multi-purpose. Works as a mobile in case I need a phone; has a Sudoku and Crosswords app, which I love playing; and I've downloaded 10+ books, mostly classics like Jane Austen, which are great for bedtime reading. (and the charger is tiny)
Camino(s) past & future
Many, various, and continuing.
I always carry a palm-sized translation of the "Tao te Ching."

Reading and books are a major part of my life, but I find I can´t really focus on long narratives during a camino. The Tao te Ching is a collection of short, pithy, to-the-point maxims that are very wise and ancient and camino-pertinent. They give me lots to think about as I walk, and the book weighs nothing.



Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances(2005), VDLP(2007), Madrid(2009), Ingles(2009), Sur (2011), VDLP(2011)-partial, VDLP(2014)
We read, and re-read "Iberia" by Michener on one of our caminos. Even though we'd read it previously, it of course had new meaning for us. It filled in a lot of gaps in our sparse knowledge of Spanish history, culture, etc. and we could recognize a number of places and details in it this time. We left it behind to be enjoyed by other pilgrims. I recommend it even though it weighs a fair amount.

I love the "Tao te Ching" as well, Rebekah, so will take that on my next camino. Thanks for the recommendation.

I took Paulo Coelho's The Pilgrimage. It was interesting to compare and contrast my own personal experiences with the narrator in the book, especially when a large black dog appeared before me as I struggled up to O Cebreiro...

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