Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Documentaries, movies and videos on the Camino

THE WAY - with Martin Sheen as a father who travels to St Jean Pied dePort to retrieve the body of his son (played by real life son Emilio Estevez) after he dies crossing the Pyrenees. 

Hundreds of documentaries and films set on the camino are released every year.  You can watch trailers of some on YouTube.  Just type in the words 'el camino de Santiago' and you will be offered thousands of clips.

My favourite documentary movie is:

Within the Way Without by Larry Boulting 2004
The film features Rob Jorritsma as Winter pilgrim, Madoka Mayuzumi as Spring pilgrim and Milena Salgado as Summer pilgrim. Introduction by Sir Richard Attenborough.150 mins, Each DVD numbered and signed by Larry Boulting http://www.csj.org.uk/

El Camino de Santiago no un camino de rosas" (The Way of St James is not a path of roses) Spanish video with English sub-titles interviews pilgrims of many nationalities as well as priests, hospitaleros and volunteers on the Camino Frances incuding the Brazilian poet Lady Foppa. There is a poignant interview with the daughter of Felisa, one of the well-known characters along the way who died in October 2002 at the age of 92. Those who walked the camino before the end of 2002 will remember Felisa, a wizened old woman who had a table outside a ramshackle farmhouse on the side of the road near Logrono with a sign that read, “Higos, Agua y Amor, " (Figs-water and love)   Watch a youtube trailer here. http://www.thefilmwall.com/camino-de-santiago-el-origen-2004/
Welcome; Bienvenido A documentary DVD made by José Alvarez about the traditions of hospitality on the Way of St James, including interviews with hospitaleros in Burgos, San Bol, Rabanal del Camino, Manjarin, Villafranco del Bierzo, Monte del Gozo. 110 mins, English subtitles, some commentary in English. Suitable for World Zone 2. http://www.csj.org.uk/
Trailer:  http://www.caminovideos.99k.org/

Walk with me: the pilgrim road to Santiago Created and recorded by Althea Hayton:
Set of 3 CDs plus booklet Produced by Verulam Productions - Distributed by Wren Publications

Las Peregrinas by Sue Kenny - veteran pilgrim, author, and inspirational speaker returns to Spain, to shepherd a group of first-time women pilgrims (in Spanish known as, Las Peregrinas) on their own individual journeys of self-discovery Available http://www.suekenney.ca/.ca/

The Way – Camino de Santiago, Spain
Filmmaker Mark Shea wished to explore the spiritual affect the Camino (Way of St. James) has on pilgrims, by walking the French Way alone and documenting his own personal experiences. http://overlander.tv/
Discoveries - Spain Pilgrim Route
Visit the ancient route of Camino de Compostela - Leon and Santiago de Compostela, Finisterre the western most point of Europe, and the monasteries of Yesu and Hesu, where modern Spanish is reputed to have been created; a tour of Spain’s greatest vineyards and wineries in the Rioja region; and in La Guardia, a perfectly preserved, grand gothic cathedral doorway in it’s original state, preserved and untouched for centuries. (Anybody know where the monasteries of Yesu and Hesu are, please let me know!)http://www.bennett-watt.com/DiscoveriesSpain-Pilgrim-Route-DVD/productinfo/DVDHD9/

The Way of St. James from "heaven´s" view:
The film documents the exciting real flight adventure in 2009 of Melanie and Andreas in their gyrocopter along the Way of St. James from Germany through France to Santiago de Compostela in Spain. DVD Jamesflight - http://www.jamesflight.com/

Ray and Carol's video on their walk along the Frances dragging or pushing a two wheeled cart. I remember watching this one and thinking, “If they could walk the camino pushing that cart over rocky, muddy paths, then I could easily walk it carrying a small backpack!”

The Surgeon and the Saint: A professional documentary filmmaker who has produced award-winning documentaries for PBS, the Discovery Channel and A&E. He recently finished an hour-long film about his experience on the Camino. The film is also about the relationship between fathers and their grown sons, and about ambition, religion and the meaning of life. http://www.threemenandasaint.com/com/

On Foot to Santiago De Compostela - Uncertain what to do after college, and needing a physical and emotional challenge to sort his head out, Roman Weishaupt sets off from his idyllic Swiss village to follow the pilgrim trail. The documentary follows his 80-day, 1,367-mile walking journey from the Alps to the Pyrenees and beyond. Running Time: 95 mins. http://www.film.com/movies/foot-to-santiago-de-compostela/17065644

Oh Ye of Little Faith
by Paul Tobey contains interviews with modern day pilgrims, a tour of a Refugio, some great stories, beautiful towns, adventurous festivals, interesting people and breathtaking scenery from the road itself. Music by Paul Tobey. Free download:

St Jacques... la Mecque - French with English sub-titles. Middle-aged schoolteacher Clara and her two brothers, chief executive Pierre and alcoholic layabout Claude, absolutely hate one another. Imagine then their blood-curdling horror when they hear the conditions of their mother’s will. Their substantial inheritance will go to charity unless the three of them undertake the arduous pilgrimage from Puy-en-Velay to Saint-Jacques-de-Compostelle. Determined not to lose out on their share of a fortune, the three siblings join the pilgrimage with six other people, including Guy, their guide. http://www.amazon.fr/

The Pilgrim's Way of St. James: Seven Routes to Santiago.
English and german Beate Steger (2007). http://www.amazon.com/

The Naked Pilgrim Brian Sewell's CTV series about the Road to Santiago from England through France to Santiago http://www.csj.org.uk/

El Camino de Santiago - Xunta (A cartoon telling the story of St James and Santiago) (Bought in Santiago)

Pilgrims’ Route to Santiago – English documentary made in 1998 (Bought in Santiago)

Camino de Santiago: by Everest in Spanish. Video on the Camino Frances. (Bought in Santiago)

Santiago de Compostela: Art and History – English. Assoc. Socio-Pedagoxia Galega (Bought in Santiago)

Xunta DVD’s:
La Meta del Camino
El Camino Hacia la Meta Interactive DVD http://www.archicompostela.org/

El Camino de Santiago / Paulo Coelho to Santiago de Compostela (DVD) http://www.amazon.com/

by TravelVideoStore.com (Video On Demand)

Way of Saint James: A Pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela ~ (DVD - Jul 22, 2008)
Pilgrimages of Europe: El Rocio, Spain & Santiago de Compostela, Spain ~ (DVD - Feb 13, 2004)

Camino de Santiago. El origen - This historical documentary of Galician origin features Mathieu’s, a young Frenchman of the 13th century, passionate search of the Milky Way mysteries. He then moves to decipher the origins of the Camino de Santiago, the oldest- and most famous- cultural and religious route of the Old World.  http://www.thefilmwall.com/camino-de-santiago-el-origen-2004/

The Milky Way (French: La Voie Lactée) is a 1969 film directed by Luis Buñuel. The film is intended to be a critique of the Catholic church, as the modern pilgrims encounter various manifestations of Catholic dogma and heresy. (wiki)

Way of St James: A walking tour of Santiago de Compostela takes you on a tour one sunny August day from the outskirts of the city to the main entrance of the Cathedral. You'll experience the typical sights and sounds of a busy morning, view medieval arhitecture and enjoy performances of Santiago's street musicians.
Visiting the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela is a complete visual examination of the Pórtico de la Gloria, the Main Altar, the crypt, numerous side chapels and the botafumeiro in full swing. The soundtrack includes the music and prayers of celebration and the echoes and voices of the many visitors to St. James' Cathedral. http://waystjames.com/Video_clips.html

This group of documentaries presented by Carmelo Gomez showcases the main roads to Santiago de Compostela. Every road has two characters as pilgrims who made the journey on foot. Through them we learn the latest news from the road. Carmelo Gomez deals with past history and legends and tell us what they were, how they were formed and what happened to these roads. Running time: 480 minutes. (120 minutes per DVD) Language: English Audio: Dolby Digital 2.0 Released: 2006
DVD1: Presentation of Our Roads to Santiago Roads Levante 1 & 2
DVD 2: Camino de Madrid : Roads Jacobean Ebro I & 11 Road north of I
DVD 3 Northern Way 2 : Camino English and sea routes Via de la Plata 1 & 2
DVD 4 French Way 1, 2 and 3 : Extension to Finisterre and Jacobean Muxia.
Extra Content: Animated Menus, Scene Selection, Webs, ACOG, associations. http://www.arteguias.com/videorutas.htm

Via de La Plata DVDs: The discs contain fourteen 45-minutes episodes for a total duration of 640 minutes. Each episode covers a specific 80 to 100 kms segment and it completes the entire 1,000 kms of the Via narrating the history and circumstances of its creation over the last 3,000 years, and visiting its most important and emblematic monuments and places. The full title of the DVDs is "Ruta Via de la Plata". http://www.divisared.es/

La catedral de Santiago de Compostela (1959)

Camino de Santiago (mini series) (The Road to Santiago) (1999) Murder mystery on the caminoCast: Anne Archer, Anthony Quinn, Jose Luis Gomez

Online viewing:Miguel de la Cuadra Salcedo en El Camino de Santiago 1h30

YouTube: Thousands of short videos from a few seconds to over 97 minutes in length. Just search for: ‘Camino” ‘el Camino’ ‘Camino de Santiago’ ‘Way of St James’

Coming up...

Read the full article at:http://www.variety.com/article/VR1118008862.html

"Road to Santiago," reality TV show

"O Gran Camino"

CAMINO DE SANTIAGO (National Geographic, 2009)
Six-part documentary series following Galician pop star Xoel Lopez as he backpacks from Holland's Haarlem to Santiago, using the the region's 12th-century "travel guide," Codex Calixtinus.

CRIMINAL MINDS(Mark Gordon Co./ABC/CBS) A Camino trip in the episode titles

ROAD TO SANTIAGO (Lazona/Antena 3/ZircoZine, 2009) "Demonology" is the missing link between a demon-possessed murderer and victim. Rodrigo Santiago's $4.5 million couples-in-crisis romantic comedy -- set against the painterly background of Galicia's hills, dales, barns and the Camino -- bowed in April (Warners) and generated $3.6 million in box office, landing it in the No. 4 spot of Spanish films this year.

THE WAY (Elixir/Morena, 2010) In Emilio Estevez's film, Martin Sheen plays an eye specialist who travels to the St. James Way to recover his son's corpse, and finds spiritual redemption on the Way. Shoots Sept. 28.

THE APOSTLE (Artefacto, 2010) Fernando Cortizo's $10 million digital 3-D stop-motion pic is set in rural village Xanaz, which preys upon unsuspecting foreign pilgrims. Cortizo is currently courting international distribution for his murder-mystery that he believes will "offer a beautiful window onto the magical atmosphere of Galicia and the Camino." Release date is July 25.

WHERE IS HAPPINESS? (Pulsar/Filmanova, 2010)Carlos Alberto Riccelli's $4 million Brazil-Galicia romantic comedy about a betrayed wife who walks the Way to get her life back on track. Filmanova's Anton Reixa has high hopes for the film -- especially in Brazil where there's tremendous interest in the Camino. Shoots by spring.


This group of people need help in the final edit and production of their Documentary which is about the experience of walking the life-changing, 500-mile pilgrimage across Northern Spain known as “The Camino de Santiago”. The film follows six strangers from incredibly diverse walks of life, as they attempt to cross a country on foot with only a backpack, a pair of boots, and an open mind. Driven by an inexplicable calling and a grand sense of adventure, each pilgrim throws themselves heart-and-soul into their physical trek to Santiago, and their personal journey to themselves.

In Between - a documentary on the camino frances

Sunday, September 27, 2009

101 BOOKS ON THE CAMINO - Pilgrim stories, guides, cultural, childrens' books

(Most Photos from Amazon.com)

NB:  I wont be adding any new books to this list.  In 2013 there were over 3000 Camino books listed on Amazon.com - mostly English - and thousands more on Amazon.de and Amazon.fr

In 2009, when I started compiling this list of '101 books on the camino' I logged on to Amazon.com books and typed in “el Camino de Santiago”. OMG!! 1,258 results
For ‘Santiago de Compostela’ 6 919 : ‘el Camino’. 37,485 : ‘Santiago’. 66,466 : ‘Pilgrimage’. 148,188

In the largest book store in Spain, the Madrid store owner told me that over 400 new titles had been published (in Spanish) between June 2008 and July 2009 - the majority of those about the Camino Frances.

There are thousands of books on the Camino, some written by professional writers who walk the Camino with the specific purpose of writing a book.  IMHO these are often contrived and in the humourous books the Camino comes across as a hitching post for their gags and jokes. 
Others are written by academics or the clergy - priests, pastors, nuns etc.  Surprisingly, for a non-theist I have found some of these to be amongst my favourite books. 
Many books have been self-published by ordinary pilgrims whose journey moved them enough to make them put pen to paper. It seems that every man, woman and their blog is writing a book about their Camino experience.

I love reading about other pilgrims experiences and have reviewed dozens of books. Some are really good but many, especially those written about the Camino Frances, have started to read as though the writer has followed a ‘write-by-numbers’ template – clones of the same story.  I can hardly bring myself to read another Camino Frances pilgrimage book unless there is something new or unique, with a fresh angle or focus.

Please remember if you are planning to write a book about your walk on the Camino Frances. that although it is an extraordinary experience - for you, and for me (and for the hundreds of thousands of people walk the Camino Frances every year) - every pilgrim has similar experiences, passing through the same physical and spiritual landscape, and they all want to share their experience. Its like being offered 500 different productions of the same play - same dialogue, same sets, same story, but different actors.

My Creative Writing professor told us NOT to write our memoirs unless we were RICH or FAMOUS or, if we had done something so extraordinary that the world would want to read about it!

So, if you are thinking of writing a book about your walk on the Camino Frances, and you are not rich or famous, PLEASE find an original angle or focus otherwise it is going to read like a template story with a different protagonist.

And, please get the spelling of the places and people right - I have read 'Miseta' Mesita' 'Messeta' for the meseta in Spain: and 'hosteleria' 'hospitaler' and 'hostelero' for the guardians of the pilgrim hostels known as 'hospitaleros'. Find a good editor who knows the geography of the Camino so that you don't meet a friend at the Cruz de Ferro who you first met in Triacastela which is three days walk beyond the Cruz!

Here is my 10 point template for writing a book about your camino on the Camino Frances:

1)  Reasons:  I felt called/I read a book..../ I watched a movie/other  ....
2)  Blog:  I started a blog about this exciting event ...........(Give URL)
3) The start:  I started in ... (St Jean, Roncevalles, Pamplona, Seville, Sarria/other...)
4) Rooms:  I slept ....  (in crowded dorms/with snoring pilgrims/ private rooms/paradors/other ....)
5) Food:  I ate... (Bocadillos, patata tortiallas/ Menu del Peregrinos/other .....)
6) Walking:  Day after day I walked in the..... (rain/sun/wind/cold/heat/snow....other)
7) Problems:  I suffered .... (blisters/tendonitis/insomnia/diarrhea/other....)
8) Daily routing:  I walked, arrived, showered, ate, slept. Walked, arrived, showered, ate, slept ...
9) Thoughts:  I thought about ... (all the bad/good/happy/sad things that have happened in my life/other ...)
10)  Other pilgrims: I met ...(Canadians/Australians/Koreans/South Africans/other....)
I arrived in Santiago. Although I am not religious, it was such a spiritual experience that I am a changed person. Amen.
The Book:  And now I want the world to read about it. 

Some people have asked "What angle?" or  "What different focus?" 
You don't have to walk with a donkey (Tim Moore) or with your elderly parent, you don't have to visit your previous lives (Shirley Maclaine) or wrestle with your Master (Paulo Coehlo) but some new insight, something fresh, something that your readers haven't already read dozens times would be nice.
The last book I read incorporated interviews with dozens of women pilgrims.  Another, the legends of each area were woven into the story.  One woman walked in winter.  In the new year I will be reviewing a book written by a young man who walked 450km of the Camino Frances after undergoing a double lung transplant.  Interesting stuff! 

November 2010:  A new book from down under - with a different focus - A Food Lover’s Pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela by Dee Nolan.  This book was given to me as a gift and it is a sumptious, rich, gorgeous coffee-table book.  From the tactile baize cover to the full page colour photographs this is a classy book. 

July 2010:  I recently reviewed a new camino book called "Camino Letters" written by a Canadian pilgrim who asked 26 friends to set her a task for each day that she would be walking.  She steadfastly carried out each task and wrote letters to her friends whilst walking.  These 26 letters make up the book.  It is not a travelogue about the camino Frances or a 'how to' book.  It is a fresh, original, funny, sad, heartfelt book about a woman walking with her teenaged daughter and I was delighted to read it and review it for her.

New books: 
Pilgrimage of a Soul: Contemplative Spirituality for the Active Life
By: Phileena Heuertz, Phyllis Tickle   You can read a review here:
Among the Pilgrims: Journeys to Santiago de Compostela  Mary Victoria Wallis’s Among the Pilgrims is the story of her two pilgrimages – one by bicycle in 1997 and one on foot in 1998

My favourite modern pilgrim's book?

Besides Joyce Rupp's 'warts 'n all' account of her camino, it has to be:

To the Field of Stars: A Pilgrim's Journey to Santiago de Compostela by Kevin A. Codd (a catholic priest).

"His writing reminds one of Ernest Hemingway’s powerful descriptions of the magnificent scenery of Spain" said one reviewer.
Father Kevin found a lot lacking in his regard for other people and pondered on the failure of the church to inspire young people who were obviously searching for something in their lives.

My Favourite cultural book is by far The Pilgrimage Road to Santiago - by David M Gitlitz & Linda K Davidson. It is the camino Bible that discusses the history, tradition, folk lore, saint's lives, art, architecture, geology and fauna and flora of the camino Frances from Somport and from Roncesvalles.
The couple walked to Santiago in 1974, 1979, 1987 and 1993 accompanying groups of students on academic, medieval study programs. In 1974 they did not meet even one other pilgrim on the road to Compostela. In 1979 the met an elderly Frenchman who was fulfilling a vow made in the Second World War. By 1985/86 numbers had swelled and 2491 pilgrims received the Compostela certificate. 
David's imagination had been fired by Walter Starkie's vivid accounts of his pilgrimage experiences from the 1930's to the 1950's. And this leads me to my favourite 'classic' camino book.

The Road to Santiago by Walter Starkie is part travel, part history, his knowledge of the road, the people and their history is profound.
I was lucky to find this first English edition (with dust jacket) in a charity shop for R10 (about $1)
My favourite guide books have to be those sold by the Confraternity of St James in the UK. Small, lightweight, no frills, no photographs or maps, annually up-dated they have a guide book for almost every route through France and Spain.
I couldn’t list all of the many thousands books available - especially the other languages - but here is a short list of English books - pilgrim stories, cultural books, fiction, guide books etc - to get you started on your reading. (They are listed in publishing date order.)

Camino Frances
17th C: A Journey to the West - Domenico Laffi: The Diary of a Seventeenth-Century Pilgrim from Bologna to Santiago De Compostela by Domenico Laffi and James A. Hall (1998)

The Pilgrimage: A Contemporary Quest for Ancient Wisdom: Paulo Coelho (1987)

Spanish Pilgrimage - A Canter to St James - Robin Hanbury-Tenison (He, his wife and 4 year old son travelled the route on horses (1991.)

Off the Road: A Modern-Day Walk down the Pilgrim’s Route into Spain. Hitt, Jack (1994)

Road of Stars to Santiago: Stanton, Edward (1994).

El Camino: Walking to Santiago de Compostela by Lee Hoinacki (1996)

Foot by Foot to Santiago de Compostela - Judy Foot. (1997).

On Pilgrimage. - Lash, Jennifer (1998)

On Foot to the End of the World (Armchair Traveller) Hardcover by Rene Freund (1999)

The Camino : a journey of the spirit by Shirley MacLaine (2000)

On the Road to Santiago: Tuggle, Bob (2000)

One Million Footsteps Across Spain, Walking El Camino De Santiago: Jr. L. Carroll Yingling (2000)

Roads to Santiago: Nooteboom, Cees (2000)

Diary of a Pilgrim - Emma Poë. (2000).

Pilgrim's Road: A Journey to Santiago De Compostela by bike: Bettina Selby (2000)

Following the Milky Way: A Pilgrimage on the Camino de Santiago. Aviva, Elyn (2001)

My Father, My Daughter: Pilgrims on the Road to Santiago: Schell, Donald, & Maria Schell (2001)

A Pilgrim's Journal: Walking El Camino de Santiago: Sophronia Camp and Thyra Heder (2002)

Peregrina: A Woman’s Journey on the Camino: Melville, Marilyn (2002)

Road to Santiago. National Geographic: Harrison, Kathryn (2003)

Buen Camino: Memories of the Road to Compostela: Norris, Patricia (2003)

Following the Milky Way: A Pilgrimage on the Camino de Santiago: Elyn Aviva (2003)

Walking For Wildlife: El Camino To Santiago De Compostela: Jean Ann Buck (2004)

My Camino. Kenney, Sue (2004)

The Journey: A Guide For The Modern Pilgrim. Scaperlanda, Maria Ruiz and Michael (2004)

Pilgrimage to the End of the World: The Road to Santiago de Compostela: Rudolph, Conrad (2004)

Spanish steps: one man and his ass on the pilgrim way to Santiago: Tim Moore, (2004)

Santiago de Compostela: Journal of Our Camino by Roger Rhoades and Nancy Rhoades (2005)

Horseshoes and Holy Water: on the hoof from Canterbury to Santiago de Compostela:Mefo Phillips, (2005)

Walk in a Relaxed Manner - Life Lessons from the Camino: Joyce Rupp (2005)

Dreaming Santiago : Bas Boorsma (2005)

Reflections on Spain's St. James and His Way: Robert Hodum (2005)

My Camino: a personal pilgrimage: Michael G. Moon. (2005)

Pray for Me in Santiago: Theresa Burkhardt Felder (2005)

Walking Home on the Camino de Santiago: Linda, L. Lasswell (2005)

I'm Off Then: Losing and Finding Myself on the Camino de Santiago: Kerkeling, Hape (2006)

Fumbling: Egan, Kerry (2006).

Camino Chronicle: Walking to Santiago: Alcorn, Susan (2006)

Riding the Milky Way: Gallard, Babette (2006)

Among the Pilgrims: Journeys to Santiago de Compostela. Wallis, Mary Victoria (2006)

Among the Pilgrims: Journeys to Santiago de Compostela by Mary Victoria Wallis (2006)

The Way Is Made by Walking: A Pilgrimage along the Camino de Santiago: Boers, Arthur Paul (2007)

The Way of A Thousand Arrows. Drane, Jonathan (2007)

Walking The Camino In An Age Of Anxiety: The Search For The Medieval Pilgrim by John H. Pratt ( 2007)

Camino Walk: Marie-Laure Valandro (2007)

Confessions of a Pilgrim. Kenney, Sue (2007)

Ultreia! Onward!: Progress of the Pilgrim by Robert L. France and Matthew Fox (2007)

All The Good Pilgrims: Tales Of The Camino De Santiago : Robert Ward (2007)

Walking The Camino in an Age of Anxiety: The Search for the Medieval Pilgrim. Pratt, John H. (2007)

To the Field of Stars: A Pilgrim's Journey to Santiago de Compostela: Codd, Kevin A. (2008)

Forever a Pilgrim: Ermanno Aiello (2008)  South African author

Once is Not Enough: Tales from the Camino De Santiago by Barbara Cameron (2008)

Walking in Grace : Atman (2008)

A Journey of Days: Relearning Life’s Lessons on the Camino de Santiago: Thatcher, Guy (2008)

Camino Footsteps: Reflections on a Journey to Santiago de Compostela: Malcolm Wells and Kim Wells (2008)

Walking Through Cancer: A Pilgrimage of Gratitude on the Way of St. James: Elyn Aviva and Kate López (2009)

Hiking the Camino: 500 Miles with Jesus by Dave Pivonka (Paperback - May 2009)

The Way of Stars and Stones: Thoughts on a Pilgrimage by Wilna Wilkinson (2009) South African author who walked in the dead of winter.  (This should be a goodie for those wanting to read about a winter pilgrimage!)

Footpath to the End of the Earth –  Abie Martin: Walking the Camino Frances…(2009)

"El Camino - a modern day pilgrimage"  (2009)
Impresssions from an ancient trail in Northern Spain / 99 images / 40 pages:  The author captures the spirit of the Camino in 99 images, from beautiful landscapes to intense portraits of locals and pilgrims alike.
By Thomas Hartmann

October 2012
Encounters on the Camino de Santiago - Natural, Human, and Divine
By William Beahen A retired Canadian policeman walks the Camino Frances.

Aragones Route/Finisterre/Camino Ingles

Pilgrimage Trails - a series:  Three Short Hikes on el Camino  - Sylvia Nilsen


A Pilgrim's Journal II: Walking la Vía de la Plata. Camp, Sophronia (2008)

A Walk from Gibraltar to la Coruña - Christabel Watson, 2005,
Illustrated account of walk across Spain, including the Via de la Plata from Seville to Santiago de Compostela

Walking the Camino: A Modern Pilgrimage to Santiago by Tony Kevin (2009)

Via Turonensis (from Paris)

Walking to Santiago - Mary E Wilkie Paris to Santiago in 1998.
La Via Turonensis from Paris to Spain - Sylvia Nilsen (2012)

Via Vezelay

Pilgrim Snail - Ben Nimmo (Canterbury - Santiago with his trombone!)

Le Puy

A Painting Pilgrim: a journey to Santiago de Compostela - Mark Hoare. 2003. Diary of a walk from le Puy to Santiago, generously illustrated with the author's own watercolours

The Road to Santiago: a Journey to Santiago de Compostela - Knud Helge Robberstad. 1996. A beautifully illustrated account of a walk from le Puy to Santiago, made in 1995 by two photographer pilgrims, one Norwegian, the other English


North to Santiago de Compostela via Fatima: Lagos to Santiago: John Merrill (2004)


This is my Bible of the camino! The Pilgrimage Road to Santiago - A cultural handbook that discusses the history, tradition, folk lore, art, architecture, fauna and flora of the camino Frances. David M Gitlitz & Linda K Davidson

The Archaeology of Pilgrimage on the Camino De Santiago De Compostela: A Landscape Perspective (British Archaeological Reports International Series) by Julie Candy (2009)

Plantas Y Remedios Naturales. Camino Santiago (Spanish Edition) by Txumari Alfaro (2008)

The Pilgrimage to Compostela in the Middle Ages: A Book of Essays by Linda Davidson (2000)

The Camino de Santiago de Compostela Ultimate Handbook. by Jack de Groot, Ph.D., and Stephanie K. Winter, and MD. (2009)

Santiago De Compostela in the Age of Great Pilgrimages (The Centers of civilization series) by Marilyn Stokstad (1979)

Saint James's Catapult: The Life and Times of Diego Gelmirez of Santiago De Compostela by R. A. Fletcher (1984)

The Road to Santiago: pilgrims of St James Walter Starkie: (1957)

The pilgrimage to Santiago - Edwin Mullins.(1974)

The Pilgrimage Road to Santiago – David M Gitlitz & Linda Davidson (2000)

Pilgrim Stories: on and off the road to Santiago : Nancy Louise Frey (1998).

The Pilgrim Guide to Santiago de Compostela - Annie Shaver-Crandell and Paula Gerson (English translation from the original Latin of the 12th C "Pilgrim Guide" & 730 entries listing all important towns, monuments and buildings (even those now lost) encountered by the 12th C pilgrim.)

Jacobean Pilgrims from England to St James of Compostela - Constance Mary Storrs (1964 thesis on English pilgrims to Santiago 12thC to late 15th C.)
The Pilgrimage to Santiago - Edwin Mullins (An analysis of the art, architecture, legends and history of the route from Paris to Santiago.)

The Way of Saint James, Vol. I by Georgiana Goddard King978-0-9790909-2-9 pp. 484 $34.95
The Way of Saint James, Vol. II by Georgiana Goddard King978-0-9790909-3-6 pp. 532 $38.95
The Way of Saint James, Vol. III by Georgiana Goddard King978-0-9790909-4-3 pp. 700+ $45.95

The Cockleshell Pilgrim: a medieval journey to Compostela - Katherine Lack. SPCK, London, 2003.

Roads to Santiago: a Spiritual Companion - 25 short reflections and poems, readings and prayers on the nature of pilgrimage, by 25 members of the Confraternity of Saint James.

Ultreia! Onward! - Progress of the Pilgrim: a book of daily readings for the pilgrim, ed by Robert France. Foreward by Matthew Fox.

Pilgrimage to Heresy: Don't Believe Everything They Tell You by Tracy Saunders (Paperback - Dec 11, 2007)

What the Psychic Told the Pilgrim: A Midlife Misadventure on Spain's Camino de Santiago de Compostela [Jane Christmas (2007)
Knight of the Temple: Stuart J. Dimmock (2006)

Death of a Pilgrim by David Dickinson (Hardcover - Feb 1, 2009)

There are excellent guide books in languages other than English, such as the Maim Miam Dodo guides to France and the Camino Frances, but I am only listing the English Guides here.
http://www.csj.org.uk/ - Bookshop for guides to the routes in France and Spain.

Cicerone Press guides by Alison Raju who is the author of four pilgrim guides for walkers published by Cicerone Press:
Way of St James: Le Puy to the Pyrenees (2nd edition 2003),
Way of St. James: Pyrenees-Santiago-Finisterre (3rd edition 2003),
Vía de la Plata: Seville/Granada-Santiago (2nd edition 2005)
Pilgrim Road to Nidaros (Oslo-Trondheim, 2001).

A Practical Guide for Pilgrims - Millán Bravo Lozano:

Walking in Spain - Lonely Planet Guide.

The Roads to Santiago: the medieval pilgrim routes through France and Spain to Santiago de Compostela - Frances Lincoln Ltd, (2008)

A Traveler's Highway to Heaven: Exploring the History and Culture of Northern Spain on El Camino de Santiago (History on the Hoof): William J. Bonville (2007)

http://www.blogger.com/www.%20Caminoguides.com John Brierley’s Guides - Camino Frances, Portugues and Finisterre

The Village to Village Guide to The Camino Santiago (The Pilgrimage of St James)
by Jaffa Raza

Pila Pala Press: http://www.pilipalapress.com/ Bethan Davis and Ben Cole guides - Camino Frances, Via de la Plata

http://www.rother.de/titpage/4835.php Rother guides Camino de Santiago (Includes Aragones Route)

e-book:  http://sites.google.com/site/2010caminodesantiagoguide/  Guide on the Camino Frances

Camino by Car:   Los Caminos de Santiago en coche/ The Way to Santiago in Car

Books for children

I couldn't find much in English. Perhaps this is your chance to publish a book on the camino - for children!

El Camino de Santiago: Rites of Passage. Trafford Publishing. ISBN-13: 978-1412056380. Chimenti, Wayne (2006) The Chimenti family's travels on a 500-mile walking pilgrimage. It started as Nahja, their 12-year old daughter's "rite of passage". It turned out to be a test for everyone.

Santiago de CompostelaISBN/EAN - 9788424105839 (English)9788424105594(Spanish)Author - Alonso, Juan RamónAge- 2-5 years
Pepe Mouse and his friends in Santiago de Compostela.ISBN/EAN - 9788424105952 (English)9788424105716(Spanish)Author - Alonso, Juan RamónDescription: Activitiy Book with Stickers
Childrens Books

Go to http://www.casadellibro.com/ Enter this in the search box: PEPERRATON Y SUS AMIGOS EN SANTIAGO DE COMPOSTELAIf you want to see the entire series, just enter PEPERRATON Y SUS AMIGOSPeperraton in every town in Spain, as well as both English and Spanish will appear.

Over 12 Year-olds

The Ramsay Scallop Shell by Frances Temple set in 1299 (was a set book in schools)

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Caring for your feet

In 2004, Machi (Dr. Renato Alvarado Vidal) walked the camino Frances barefoot. One of the benefits he writes about is not getting any blisters! We can’t all walk the camino barefoot but there are a few things we can do to prevent blisters. Well, there are - sometimes!

In August 2007 on the camino I thought I’d done everything right. I was wearing good quality Bridgedale sock liners under good quality Coolmax hiking socks.
I'd worn in my trusty boots with months of training for day after day trekking up and down hills and mountains, on gravel, rock and shale paths including a 700km trek on the Via Francigena to Rome.
I carried my lightweight OMM 32L backpack and weighed everything that went into it so that I didn’t carry more than 10-15% of my bodyweight.
Then, just 2 days into my hike I felt hot spots developing on both heels and on the side of my big toe.
I was really cross because I never get blisters.
Admittedly it had rained for a week and the paths were quagmires of unrelenting sludge. We started walking in the rain and continued in rain for three days. My trusty old boots were no longer waterproof and after a few kilometres became waterlogged dead weights on my feet. The rain poured down our legs and into the top of the boots and sloshed up and over wading through rivers of mud. Our socks were soggy after just a few minutes and I could hear my feet sloshing inside the boots. By the end of day two they looked like wrinkled prunes and by the end of day three I had huge blisters on both heels and a large translucent orb on the side of my left big toe.
When I discovered large developing blisters on the back of my heels I drained them and covered them with Compeed, a 2nd skin type silicone plaster much loved by camino pilgrims. BIG mistake!! Firstly, Compeed does NOT like soft, broken skin or wet, sodden socks. It does not like waterlogged boots dragging the wet socks up and down on the heels – especially when the boot has been sucked into thick mud and has to be dragged out with brute force. It does not like to be softened in a hot shower and covered up with warm, clean socks only to have cold, wet socks and boots rubbing on them again the next day. After a day or two the Compeed starts to disintegrate and any further friction causes it to adhere to the socks in gooey, messy blobs.
When I took my socks off on day four, the Compeed stuck firmly to the socks ripping the skin off the blister on my right heel. I had to cut the sock and some of the Compeed off my left heel. Both heels were a mess and for a fleeting moment (the exact moment I screamed as the sock and blister tore off) I thought that was the end of my walk!
When I hobbled into Villamyor de Monjardin the hospitalero cut away the remaining Compeed, applied an antibacterial cream to my heels, covered them with Dove pads, taped those down with plaster, covered that with sock liners, protected the heels with small wash-up sponges before putting a second pair of sock liners to keep the sponges in place. Of course I couldn’t get my boots on so I walked to Logrono in psuedo Croc sandals. There I bought hiking sandals and wore them for the remaining 600 km to Santiago. For nearly two weeks I had to change the pads and plasters every day until they skin finally healed and started to dry out.
What should I have done differently – besides walking barefoot?
I should have bought new, waterproof boots.
I should have lubricated my feet with a silicone shield every morning and during the day.
I should have attended to the hot-spots right away and not waited until we reached our destination (not an easy thing to do when it is pouring with rain and there is no shelter.)
I should NOT have used Compeed on soft, broken blisters.
A camino pilgrim said: If you use silicone ointment, polypropylene liner socks, and wool socks inside properly fitting boots, you WILL NEVER GET A BLISTER.

This year (2009) I tried all of the above, but protected the sensitive area of my feet with gel moleskin. (Picture credit - Dr Todd's) And, I didn't get a blister!

I have asked an expert foot man to give some advice on caring for feet and treating blisters - so watch this space!
Update: I wrote to John Vonhof who has one of the best websites on foot care that I have seen. He is too busy to write an article for this blog so, instead of re-inventing the wheel, I would like to refer you to his blog. http://fixingyourfeet.com/blog/
NB: Spain is a 1st World country. I'm sure that there are more 'farmacias' along the camino than there are bottle stores! The growth in the number of pilgrims means that nearly every pharmacy carries all sorts of products for the hurt, wounded, limping or ill pilgrim.
One of my favourite products is 'alcohol de romero' a wonderful, clear liquid that cools, dries and refreshes hot, tired feet and muscles.
For more on medicines along the camino, check out an earlier blog post: