Interview with a Pilgrim

UTracks team member Sophie Shaw
UTracks team member Sophie Shaw

Interview with a Pilgrim

We sit down with Sophie from the UTracks team and discover what inspired her to walk the Camino de Santiago and her highlights from the trip.
Read on to discover her insights from walking this famous trail.


Why do you like active travel? What motivates you?

I find it the most relaxing way to travel. Eliminating the daily stresses of traffic, large crowds, and city life, you get the opportunity to visit some truly authentic places and see them all on foot. It is a super rewarding way to travel. 
St-Jean-Pied-de-Port, the start of the Camino Frances |  <i>Sophie Shaw</i>

Why did you choose to walk the Camino?

I had read bits and pieces on the Camino in recent years, and I found the historical nature of the path as well as the unknown of walking such a long distance in one go seemed exciting. I also was looking forward to something that was a bit slower pace and peaceful than the usual city travel. 
Happy sunflower |  <i>Sophie Shaw</i>

How did you prepare for your walk?

I was mainly walking every day leading up to the walk and would try and fit in a longer walk or jog on the weekends. 
Pilgrim statue |  <i>Sophie Shaw</i>

How did you find the time to do the Camino?

I was lucky enough to spend some time studying over in Spain and was able to “squeeze” in the Camino before my studies start. It is hard to find the time so as soon as the opportunity arose, I knew I would spend it doing the Camino. 
Views over the Pyrenees |  <i>Sophie Shaw</i>

Did you meet many other younger people on the Camino?

I most definitely met some younger people on the route from around the world. This is a large mix of age groups on the way from families with young children, young adults and individuals as old as 80, it is very diverse.
UTracks team member Sophie Shaw

What were the overall trip highlights?

Some things I loved about this journey was the people you met along the way and some of the stories they would share with you, all from different places and different walks of life. If I was travelling any other way, I never would have met such people. 

The wine fountain at Estella – bit of fun for 9am in the morning! 
The church with wine on tap, Compostela Trail, Spain |  <i>Tali Emdin</i>

The authenticity of some of the small villages and the local people. One night, we paid 8 euros to eat in this local woman’s house and she cooked us a very authentic home cooked Spanish meal, it was great!

The change in scenery from mountains to forests to deserts was a highlight!  
Pilgrim walking the Camino de Santiago |  <i>Sophie Shaw</i>

Can you describe your favourite food and drink?

My favourite food along the way was the famous Pulpo (Octopus). It is famously served in Melide one of the towns along the way and it is delicious. 

My favourite drink discovery on the Camino was Pacharan. It is a Spanish liqueur commonly drunk as a digestif after dinner. It has the flavour of dark berries and a touch of aniseed, it is delicious! 
Indulge in the local flavours of Galicia when walking along the Camino |  <i>@timcharody</i>

What surprised you the most about your trip?

I never felt lonely, and I never got sick of the walking. You are constantly surrounded by people along the way but even at times of walking alone, it was very peaceful. 
Cyclist on the Camino de Santiago |  <i>Sophie Shaw</i>

Were there any standout views, mountains, flowers, lakes, or wildlife?

There was some spectacular scenery along the way. The first day, the view over the Pyrenees is very spectacular and awesome to the see the cloud cover below you. This part of the walk is filled with roaming cows and horses which is also nice to see. 
You also pass some amazing sunflower fields and vineyards along the way which are memorable. Lastly the view on the climb up to O’Cebriero is pretty special and this is awesome little town tucked in the mountains.  
Santiago de Compostela Cathedral |  <i>Sophie Shaw</i>

Can you share advice for other pilgrims doing the Camino?

Take your time each day. There is no rush to get anywhere and that is the joy of the Camino. Enjoy the views, stop for a picnic lunch, and enjoy other’s company (if you would like to) – you don’t have anywhere you have to be 😊. 
UTracks team member Sophie Shaw

Have you experienced the Camino yet? What are your thoughts - we'd love to hear them! Share below.

Camino, Spanish Camino, Camino de Santiago, Spain, Camino Walking Tour

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