CAMINO DE SANTIAGO TREK
What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?
Seeing people of all ages doing this pilgrimage, some not for the first time and some not very able. Finding volunteers in little old churches willingly sitting stamping Pilgrim Passports for hours. The peace of Samos Monastery. Seeing storks nesting on a pole in someone's garden! Seeing the famous Botafumeiro (censer) in action at Santiago Cathedral at the Pilgrim's Mass.
What did you think of your group leader?
Jose Manuel Garcia was brilliant - I cannot improve on the accolades given by a previous reviewer. We missed him once he left us but he left everything in order for the rest of our stay. When he knew I was learning Spanish he made a point of asking me the time etc to help me practise.
Do you have any advice for potential travellers?
Do be very sure of your ability to walk some very long days back to back and be sure of your footwear (including socks). The walking is not difficult but the long days make it hard on the feet. Pack blister kits etc just in case. Don't panic once your leader has gone - Jose gave us all the contact numbers we might need on a slip of paper. If you don't speak Spanish learn some basics before you go - they will be useful and much appreciated. This is not the Costa del anywhere!
Is there anything else you would like to add?
My sister and I are both vegetarians and this is a sea-food region! The salads and vegetables are fantastic and there's never any problem if you eat omelettes. Be prepared to avert your eyes in the "pulperias" (octopus restaurants!) and don't ask for a "mixed salad" as it will contain tuna. Get into the spirit of collecting your passport stamps - it's great fun seeing the spaces fill up. When you go to the Pilgrim Office in Santiago to get your certificate try lunchtime - it's much less busy. Don't expect to see anything inspiring from Monte de Gozo - there's a whole modern town to trek though these days before you get anywhere near the cathedral. This was the only disappointment of the trip.