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The Village to Village Guide to the Camino Santiago (the Pilgrimage of St James): Complete Directional Guide to the Pilgrimage to Santiago with Accommodation Paperback – 15 Nov 2006
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Use this book to walk a medieval path off the beaten track. This Village to Village guide enables the walker to follow the 1,000 year-old pilgrimage footpath to Santiago de Compostela and to re-enact Europe's most historic journey. This guide is recommended by the Catholic Church to those making the pilgrimage to Santiago on foot. It is a detailed directional guide for the 800 km footpath in Spain. The book contains listings of budget accommodation and other practical information. In the middle ages, a network of foot paths carried pilgrims to the shrine at Santiago from every country. The roads went over the Pyrenees and into Spain, either by way of the great monastery at Roncesvalles, or via that of Santa Cristina and the Somport Pass. Santiago, far away under the mists and Atlantic skies of Galicia, all woods and water in a Celtic landscape of menhirs and lost gods, exerted an appeal that was infinitely pre Christian. The route to Santiago was a Roman trade-route. It was nicknamed by travellers la voje ladee, the Milky Way. It was the road under the stars. The pale arm of the Milky Way stretched out and pointed the way to the edge of the known world : to Cape Finisterre The vast majority of those who walk The Way of St James today, are not experienced walkers at all. Many have never done any serious walking in their lives. and many will never do anything like it again. Most long-distance footpaths avoid not only large towns but even quite small villages as well; the Way of Saint James, on the other hand, because of its historic origins and the need for shelter, deliberately seeks them out. It passes through ancient places rich in art and architectural masterpieces
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Cannot say I was disappointed. I believe in travelling light less then 7kg in my backpack so I posted the other guides back at Estella and kept this one as a one stop resource on the Camino.
My only criticism of the book is that since it has been recommended by the Catholic Church, it has excessive descriptions of the religious establishments along the way. Without these the book could have been quite a concise directional guide saving on weight.
What may make this book worth buying (for those walking on a budget) are up to date prices on accommodation and listing of the free Refugio's which for me were useful. The directions were very clear except for a stretch just outside Pamplona where there had been recent roadworks and the path had been obscured for about half a mile.
Most helpful customer reviews on Amazon.com
Every village is mentioned on the 800km way with information on each village, like don't cross this field because of a bull, or this is the village of barking dogs, or in this village the Baker helps Pilgrims or visit Madam Debril in this village near the laundry who likes chatting to pilgrims -
Ninety Five villages and a guide between them - In each village the books lists places to stay and other useful information - The book will suit the budget traveler who walks the Camino because I did the walk on $10 per day, staying in the religious establishments the book mentions often for free. The book also prepares you for the Journey and details exactly what to take, like how much weight, what type of clothes, shoes, how much does food cost, how to do your laundry, dealing with bed bugs, useful Spanish phrases and so on - It also lists places worth visiting as you walk this 800km track and some interesting stories and legends around these places.
There are also things to watch out for and useful tips - The book will mention at many different points legends around the Camino - It is a very detailed book on the 800km route every fork on this path is mentioned example.. the path now climbs for two km, turn right at the church, from the top of the next mountain you will be able to see the following five villages etc..-
I took maps and three other guides with me but after reaching the city of Pamplona to reduce weight I posted the other books back to New York along with my tent and electric stove - the book had warned me not to take the tent & stove
This is a book packed with information not only on the history of the places you will pas as a pilgrim. But all the information you will need to make detailed planning. The book is updated frequently and all the latest changes are in this book.
The village to village guide has been around for many years frequently coming out in new editions as pilgrims and clergy themselves report changes to the pilgrimage route, this 2007 edition is case to point.
The guide has aquired a bit of a cult status as not only does it have practical information and is a directional guide but it has many stories on the monuments and places of interest along the way. There have been many changes on the route. When the guide was first published there were hardly any pilgrims walking the way of St James, now many thousands make the journey. Prices too have gone up considerably and the new edition incorporates these changes. Latin American and the poor pilgrim will appreciate the guide as it allows one to do financial planning and make up a budget. The guide also points the way to cheaper accommodation.
You will NOT find pictures coloured arrows and diagrams in this guide. It's a sober practical tome. I agree that pictures are not needed as you will be walking many miles to see these places, to stare in wonderment of the discoveries you have made. Pictures rather spoil this. Its rather like Seeing `War and Peace" at the movies interpreted by Hollywood and then reading Tolstoy's famous literary work, . Therefore I am glad there are no pictures in this book and only medieval woodcuts.
The latest 2007 edition has done away with maps as the route is now way marked with thousands of arrows very fifty yards or so. So its impossible to get lost. There is one large map where you can plan your position in the context of where you are on the route and thus able to chart your progress.
There is very useful practical advice on how the plan your journey what the weather would be like during different seasons etc.
An entire section is devoted to the equipment you must take, useful things to carry in your rucksack, a useful chapter describes how to get to the pilgrimage route by Land Sea and Air. It is so detailed that it gives the latest taxi fares and times when taxis leave from |Pamplona to Roncesvalles.
The book is built on the experiences of Pilgrims past and that is its forte. The pilgrimage for every person is different however the book outlines how others did it and their itineraries.
The book also comes with a short English Spanish phrasebook, focused on what the walker might need to say while on the walk, at the back, very useful as on the pilgrim route which is off the beaten track hardly anyone speaks English.
This is the oldest guide book on the Camino but it is updated every year with Pilgrims sending feedback on their journey. The 2007 edition has all the changes on the route. I have walked the route now over three times with Pilgrims from various confraternities of St James's. The problems of road works continue and no all the guides are up to date as this one. This guide is also used when we wish to plan our budget because it has all the latest prices for accommodation, useful when you consider that prices are steadily rising in Spain and it no longer is a cheap country.
The guide has hardly any pictures except about two dozen woodcuts, but one of the enjoyments of the pilgrimage is to see places that would surprise you, so seeing photographs tends to spoil it and the woodcuts do nicely. This guide is recommended by the Catholic Church so contains information for the religious pilgrim of on Holy places along the route. Its not a glossy guide like the lonely planet guide with artistic typesetting. But a guide for Pilgrims By Pilgrims.