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Winter Camino - 20 tips

Magnara

Maggie Ramsay
Year of past OR future Camino
Santiago de Compostela (2005) Via Francigena (2010) Le Puy to St Jean (2014)
Winter Camino: 20 tips
1. You don’t need a lot of clothes, but the ones you have need to be very functional. (I like ultra fine merino wool, my husband likes hi tech synthetics)
2. Two full outfits plus jacket, gloves and headband is enough. Use one for day (if you get sweaty there aren’t many people around to be bothered by it) and one for evening after your shower. This minimizes washing – you can wear them for days.
3. Walking makes you warm, even in the winter.
4. A twisted elastic travel washing line is invaluable. After you wring out your washing roll it in a towel to get more moisture out.
5. Heaters are mostly turned off during the night – get your socks on it as early as possible, and hang your line close to it.
6. Between Christmas and 6 January lots of places are closed. Don’t count on finding bars open in villages to have a coffee or buy food during the day. More things open up after 7 January.
7. If you are on a tight budget, plan to arrive in time to hunt for open albergues. There are usually hostals or rooms for rent but they will sharply escalate your expenditure. You may need to walk on to the next town.
8. However if there is accommodation, there are always plenty of vacancies! We always found a bed.
9. Newspaper stuffed in your boots will dry them out.
10. No need for sunglasses.
11. Learn some basic Spanish. You can go days without finding anyone to speak any English, and there are no other pilgrims to help you out.
12. The solitude is wonderful, you have it all to yourself.
13. Chocolate is great.
14. The hours of darkness are very long, and the evenings are too cold and dark for sightseeing. Take something light to amuse yourself, such as a pack of cards, crossword book, sudoku etc.
15. The bleak winter landscape is very beautiful.
16. Change your socks in the middle of the day. Soft, warm, no blisters…lovely!
17. A good attitude makes it a fantastic adventure.
18. Walking in snow makes you feel so tough.
19. A glass of wine never tasted so good.
20. Did I say chocolate is great?
Buen Camino, whatever season you go.
Magnara
 
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