Caminoen giver dig, hvad du har brug for, men ikke altid, hvad du har ønsket dig, skriver norsk erfaren pilgrim til nye pilgrimme.
En norsk pilgrim, Alex, der har gået mange pilgrimsvandringer i Spanien giver her - på engelsk - en række råd til kommende pilgrimme, som det er værd at læse. Jeg gengiver dem her ordret, som Alex har skrevet det på en pilgrimshjemmeside. De er ikke identiske med de råd, som jeg ville give, men hans hovedråd: Tag bare afsted, se hvad der sker, og lad være med at blive stresset, vil jeg meget gerne give videre. Ligesom det også er min erfaring, at man altid møder venlige og hjælpsomme mennesker undervejs, der som regel kun ønsker en alt det gode.
Her hans råd, der - så vidt jeg kan se -primært henvender sig til pilgrimme, der skal gå Camino Frances :
1) Where do I want to start?
2) How do I get there?
As for 1), start where you want. If you want a Compostella, start from a place where you can walk to SdC (Santiago d Compostella) in your given time. Not more difficult.
As for 2), get a plane to nearest big city, and take local trains/buses along. It is really not difficult. Use some money on a taxi if needed. Go f.ex. to Pamplona and seek out http://www.corazonpuro.es/ if you desperately need to start in SJPdP (Sant Jean Pied de Port): They will do all you cannot. But you can start where you want. I start in Burgos in 3 weeks, f.ex.
If, by accident, you miss a train/bus, it means just another day. Nothing more. No disaster. Enjoy the locals.
If you feel like in trouble,especially while on the Camino, here are some general rules:
You are not alone. There are pilgrims all around, and most of them will do anything in their power to help you if problems arise. Think about it: do bad people set out on a pilgrimage?
Do not stress. You travel to your destination, and then you walk, eat and sleep. It is that easy.
Be prepared for change: Do not book days in advance: You may need a rest day or two (hurt feet etc.), or you may, as I have been here, attracted to some intermediate action. Look at Varivani's post about: Because of that I have slightly changed my plans.
Do not book a return ticket: You may want to stay longer, or, you may want to go home earlier, if the Camino doesn't suit you.
If you have time constraints, simply plan accordingly. If not, enjoy your freedom.
Remember one very important factor that you may laugh at right now: The Camino will change you. You risk changing your plans dramatically, and change many things in your life. This is a fact that many oldtimers can attest to. You may set out for a cheap walk, and end up as a very different being. I hope so for you, but we'll see. So be prepared for a change in your life, and hence, your plans.
Learn a little Spanish: Know how to say Thank you (Muchas gracias), can I have a beer (una cerveza, por favor), Is there a bed here (una cama aki, por favor), etc. Be polite and respect the country and people you are visiting. Always be polite and say please (por favor).
Remember the saying: "The Camino will give you what you need, not necessarily what you want".