The Jerusalem Post - The Jerusalem Post Magazine - - TRAVEL -

Get­ting to Por­tu­gal: Trav­el­ers can fly from Tel Aviv to Lis­bon, and con­nect to a do­mes­tic flight to Porto as they both have in­ter­na­tional air­ports. For trav­el­ers ar­riv­ing in Lis­bon, in­ex­pen­sive trains or buses can be used to travel to Porto. While 12 days is the rec­om­mended itinerary, I would strongly rec­om­mend giv­ing your­self a few ex­tra days in the event you are not used to walk­ing 20–25 km. a day and need a few days to rest along the way. Any ex­tra days at the end can be used to ex­plore Spain or Por­tu­gal, which can eas­ily be de­cided at the end of the walk. You can re­turn to ei­ther Lis­bon or Porto by bus, which should be booked some­time af­ter you ar­rive in San­ti­ago at the post of­fice near the Pil­grim’s Of­fice. The trains from San­ti­ago are not as fre­quent as the bus.

What to take: Many blogs rec­om­mend what to pack. I strongly rec­om­mend pack­ing light, in­clud­ing a good 40-liter back­pack; light­weight hik­ing boots with an­kle sup­port that have been bro­ken in; four pairs of light­weight merino blend wool socks; and ban­dages to put over blis­ters. Change your socks in the mid­dle of the day and hang from your back­pack to dry. Try and keep the weight of your back­pack to 10% of your body weight. Wa­ter bot­tles can be eas­ily re­filled along the way at foun­tains, restau­rants and bars. Laun­dry is eas­ily done ei­ther at your place of lodg­ing or at laun­dro­mats in larger towns. When stay­ing in group lodg­ing, al­ways keep your valu­ables, pass­ports and money with you and carry it with you when ex­plor­ing. A small fold­able zip­pered day bag is per­fect. Lodg­ing on the Camino: Op­tions for lodg­ing in­clude mu­nic­i­pal or pub­lic hos­tels; pri­vate hos­tels; pri­vate rooms in pen­sions; and in the cities, tra­di­tional ho­tels. The cheap­est op­tion are the pub­lic hos­tels that of­fer ac­com­mo­da­tion to pil­grims “dor­mi­tory-style,” usu­ally with bunk beds. They do not take reser­va­tions, al­low pil­grims to stay for only one night, and usu­ally close from mid-morn­ing to early af­ter­noon. Trav­el­ers pro­vide their own sheets, pil­low cases and tow­els. Pri­vate hos­tels of­fer lodg­ing in dorm rooms at less than €15 per night, which usu­ally in­cludes sheets and tow­els and – most im­por­tantly – can be booked in ad­vance. Pri­vate rooms in pen­sions in­clude bed­dings and tow­els as well as shared bath­rooms, and cost €30–50+ per night. We started in pub­lic hos­tels and then “up­graded” to pri­vate hos­tels or rooms for the re­main­der of the trip, book­ing in ad­vance most days ei­ther over the phone or on­line as emails of­ten went unan­swered.

Elec­tron­ics: You can pur­chase a SIM card for use in Por­tu­gal and Spain that in­cludes data and voice for ap­prox­i­mately €20 af­ter ar­rival. Kin­dles or E-books weigh less, fit more books and are lighter to carry. I would rec­om­mend keep­ing your lap­top at home. Do take one por­ta­ble charger.

Books: If you want to take a guide­book, there is one that ev­ery­one uses and is worth the price: Camino Por­tugués by John Bri­er­ley. John is THE ex­pert on the Camino San­ti­ago and has writ­ten sev­eral books. We no­ticed many pil­grims car­ry­ing this book.

AN­CIENT POLDRA, bridges used to cross rivers.

CAMINO PATH be­tween walls.

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