Camino Francés – Links & Resources

Resources Listing

Handy Camino Resources

The following are some recommended Camino resources. Let us know if you have any suggestions on additional resources.

Planning Tools / Resources

Book: Pilgrim Tips & Packing List (Sybille Yates, 2013)

URL: Available on Amazon

Excellent guide to planning and packing for your Camino. Written by Camino veteran Sybille Yates, who has walked over 6,000 km of Camino trails all over Europe, it is packed with helpful tips on what to bring and -perhaps even more importantly- what not to bring. Sybille is a fount of knowledge and presents everything in a nice informal style. An added bonus is that Sybille is an active participant in the online forums and is known for generously helping other Camino pilgrims.

Available in print or as an ebook. Highly recommended

Godesalco Camino Planner

URL: www.godesalco.com/plan

This is a handy planning tool for the Camino. There are planners available for the Camino Frances, Via de la Plata, and Chemin du Puy. You can select your starting and finishing locations, then where you want to over-night (i.e. your stage breaks) and your starting date. The tool then generates a bunch of files for you that you can save to your computer, such as your itinerary, a waypoints file for your GPS receiver, elevation profile, and so on.

The default language for the site is Spanish, but there is a toggle there to switch it to English. Even if you are using auto-translate features of your browser (such as with Google Chrome), you should set the desired language anyway — this is because auto-translate won’t work on the files generated for you. You need to have toggled the interface to English if you want those files to be in English.

Forums & Online Communities

Camino de Santiago Forums

URL: www.caminodesantiago.me/community/

This is an active, friendly, and very helpful English-language forum (or, more accurately, set of forums). There are multiple forums covering each of the major Camino routes, plus forums for things like ‘Equipment’, ‘Traveling to/from the Camino’, ‘Biking the Camino’, and so on. The forums are wonderfully devoid of flame-wars and Camino newcomers are treated with respect and patience (even after asking the exact same question as 3,417 others have asked, and had answered, earlier in the same week… LOL). Don’t be surprised if you get questions answered moments after asking them. That said, the forums have been there for years — use the site’s search engine to search existing posts, since you’ll likely find lots of excellent answers already available.

The discussions are often lively and strongly-held opinions are frequently expressed, but almost always without rancor or hostility. The site owner and the moderators do an excellent job of letting debate flow freely but of not tolerating personal attacks.

The website also has some nice FAQs and reference information.

Highly recommended (we learned a tremendous amount here ourselves when first researching the Camino a few years ago.)

Resource-Style Blogs & Websites

Blogs and websites listed here are those that focus on offering useful content for others planning their own Camino. See the ‘Travelog-Style Blogs’ section for blogs focusing more on a person’s own personal experiences.

Xacobeo

URL: www.xacobeo.es/en

Website maintained by the regional government (“Xunta”) of Galicia with extensive resources about the Camino in that region. The Camino Frances goes through Galicia from O Cebreiro to Santiago. The site also covers other Camino routes. There are handy interactive maps and details on the Xunta-run albergues, as well as on many communities and attractions. The site is in Spanish, but you can select your preferred language and the site will translate the content for you (very readable).

Travelog-Style Blogs & Websites

Blogs and websites listed here are those that focus mainly on a person’s own personal experiences on the Camino. For blogs focusing on reference information useful mainly for others planning a Camino, please see the ‘Resource-Style Blogs’ section.

Walking the Camino Together (2014 / 2015 walk)

URL: walkingthecaminotogether.com/

Excellent, detailed travelogue by a Canadian couple who walked from St. Jean to Santiago in two parts, starting in 2014 and finishing in 2015. They visited Finisterre, too, though they went by bus for that part. Lots of interesting tidbits and plenty of great photos. A very enjoyable read!

Only drawback of their site is that there is no easy way to jump to the start of the trip (i.e. the first blog entry) – you have to scroll forever. Here’s a direct link to their first log entry. You can use the ‘next’ link at the bottom of each entry to read through the posts one by one, if you prefer: First Post

All My Caminos

URL: allmycaminos.blogspot.ca

Very enjoyable blog by Margaret Meredith, a veteran of nine Caminos (as of Dec 2013). Each time she goes on a Camino, she blogs the trip, posting about her experiences and the people she meets. Reading her blog, you can’t help but get the feeling that no matter how many Caminos she goes on she’ll never get tired of them!

Rusty Travel Trunk

URL: rustytraveltrunk.com

Nicely-done website by a self-described “cubicle escape artist” (nice!). Focuses on the website author’s personal travels with a heavy emphasis on the Camino, which the website author walked in the spring of 2013. Most posts are photo essays (with many fantastic photos).

Photo Galleries

Walk 500 Miles In My Shoes

URL: http://bjornfree.com/camino

Beautiful collection of photos by Bjørn Christian Tørrissen, each with a brief description / commentary, covering from Saint Jean to Santiago. 136 high-quality pics in total. You’ll find many of them hosted here, with permission of the photographer, on the Caminopedia Project. Some of these are breath-taking!

The photographer has also travelled to many parts of the world and has photo galleries available of each. Check out his full site at: http://bjornfree.com/

Organizations & Associations

American Pilgrims on the Camino

URL: www.americanpilgrims.com

Amercian Pilgrims is a non-profit association providing assistance to (mainly) US pilgrims, past, present, and future. Among other things, they train hospitaleros for operating albergues, raise / disburse funds for Camino infrastructure projects (such as repairs for an albergue), and organize local association chapters and national get-together events.

In addition to information about the association, the American Pilgrims website also includes a wealth of information and resources about the Camino and about planning / preparation. A credencial can be requested via an order form on the site.

Confraternity of Saint James

URL: www.csj.org.uk

UK-based non-denominational not-for-profit association providing assistance to those planning a Camino. Can issue a credencial.

Take your time when exploring their website — there is a lot more information available than might be apparent at first glance. This is a great site that is very helpful.

Australian Friends of the Camino

URL: http://afotc.org/

Association providing info and support for Australians planning their Camino.Can issue credencial.

Canadian Company of Pilgrims

URL: www.santiago.ca

Volunteer-run association for Canadians planning a Camino. Organizes get-together events in cities across Canada. Can issue a credencial.

Du Québec à Compostelle (Quebec Pilgrims Association)

URL: www.duquebecacompostelle.org

French-language site / association for Quebecers planning their Camino.

Mobile Apps

TrekRight

URL: http://trekopedia.com/?page_id=477

This is an absolutely amazing app. Tons of great content and some very handy functionality. If you are going to take a mobile app for one of your long-distance treks, this is the one!

OK… full disclosure, we’re the developer of TrekRight (as well as the Trekopedia website), so perhaps we are a tiny bit biased. But only a tiny bit! 🙂

Our objective with TrekRight is to not only enable you to take the content of one of Trekopedia’s long-distance trek with you, but to add significant functionality that takes advantage of the ‘mobile’ nature of your phone. It is a very powerful and flexible app that we think you will find very useful. Check out app section for full details and let us know if you have any questions.

Note: almost all of the content in TrekRight is available right here on Trekopedia. You don’t need to purchase the app unless you want the content to be more portable / available off-line, or if you want the added functionality that TrekRight provides. Sales of TrekRight help support the costs of maintaining this website, but you are entirely welcome to simply copy-and-paste any content of interest to you into a document and take it with you if you don’t want the functionality of TrekRight.

A nice feature is that content can be updated directly from within TrekRight (without having to update the app itself), so you can keep up-to-date with changes as we make them (both TrekRight and the Trekopedia website are supported from the same database application we’ve created for our internal use).

TrekRight is currently available in the Apple app store for the iPhone. An Android version is being developed now. $4.99.

GPS Tools

If you are new to the world of GPS devices / tracks and associated software tools, it can seem a little intimidating at first. However, for most people’s needs it is actually fairly simple. Don’t let all the jargon and acronyms get to you. Once you start using GPS, you’ll probably find it extremely handy and easy. And maybe fun too. 🙂

Here are some resources for working with GPS tracks.

Google Earth

URL: http://www.google.com/earth/

Google Earth is a fantastic tool. You can use it to explore GPS tracks (in Google’s KML format), which Google Earth calls ‘paths’. These can be edited, viewed as an elevation profile, annotated, and even ‘flown over’ (which is like taking a helicopter ride along the route). Google Earth is also just plain fun — you can lose entire days of your life exploring… Like Google Maps, you can also switch into Street View wherever that is supported. One bonus — Street View in Google Earth has much better controls than it does in Google Maps.

Google Earth only supports KML files, so if your GPS tracks are in another format (such as GPX), then you will need to convert them first.

All of the GPS tracks available on the Caminopedia Project are in KML format. You can either download them to your computer and then open them in Google Earth, or you can point Google Earth to the desired GPS track URL on this website and Google Earth will fetch the track for you.

Note that while Google Earth is great when you are sitting at home, it isn’t so useful on the Camino. There is a version available for iOS and for Android, but they have the significant drawback of requiring an active Internet connection. That is not always desirable if you’ll be incurring roaming charges.

GPSBabel

URL: http://www.gpsbabel.org/

If your app or device requires GPS tracks in a specific format, GPSBabel can usually convert to and from just about every common format. It’s free and works on almost any major OS (including Windows and Mac).

One really nice feature is that you can do bulk conversions with GPSBabel – very handy if you are working with large collections of tracks.

It supports a massive number of formats and the conversions are very reliable in our experience. The settings might be a tiny bit confusing your first time using it if you are new to GPS files, but you’ll figure it out pretty quickly. Well worth checking out.

Route Converter

URL: http://www.routeconverter.com/

For working with your KML / GPX files, Route Converter is highly recommended. It makes editing very easy, has handy features like looking up elevations for each point in your track, and is very reliable. It is free and also available for both Mac and Windows.

Route Converter is very well supported by its auther, and new updates tend to be released every few months.

You can also use Route Converter for converting between file formats, though it only works with one file at a time and it doesn’t support as many formats as does GPSBabel.