Rachel walked the Camino from Sarria to Santiago | Rachel Mordy
Rachel's Camino de Santiago Experience
Rachel walked the final stage of the iconic Camino de Santiago from Sarria to Santiago and was surprised by just how much of a 'profound spiritual journey' it was. There are various ways
to complete this section, which is popular mainly due to it being an achievable 115km (72 miles) long. Rachel chose to walk it on a self-guided tour
Read on to discover Rachel's advice and highlights for walking the Camino from Sarria to Santiago.
Why did you choose to walk the Camino from Sarria to Santiago?
I chose this trip after having booked the Inca trail
and not being able to go during the pandemic. I had hoped to do part of the Camino and it ended up fitting in really well when travel was possible again.
It was a random choice to walk from Sarria to Santiago de Compostela but it turned out to be a really good choice, the Frances Way is a popular route, the yellow arrows are easy to find and the scenery is beautiful.
How did you prepare for your Camino walk?
I talked with lots of people I know who had already done the Camino and they all told me to prepare for blisters. I thought they were exaggerating, but now I believe them!
I read Louise Sawle's recent book, 'On My Way'
. This book gave me good advice about the daily experience of walking and how to approach the walk.
What was the overall trip highlight?
There was no one highlight, the whole thing was a wonderful experience of knowing that you were walking where pilgrims had walked for over 1000 years. The sense of history was in every aspect of the walk.
The conversations that build up each day, starting as hellos and then longer as you meet the same pilgrims each day, sometimes on the walk, or in a cafe along the way. The snippets of conversation become longer.
The superb three course meals at the hotels were always a treat after a long day. I was unprepared for how spectacular and moving I found St James Cathedral in Santiago de Compostela; this is a special place and beautiful city worth exploring.
What was your favourite town you visited in Spain? Why?
I loved all the towns, they were all full of history and had their own quirks. I could easily have spent two days in each place.
Azura was a lovely smaller village that had a delightful church and interesting buildings. Portomarin has a fascinating history once you manage to get across the long bridge into it, the whole village has been moved top from the river and rebuilt.
Sarria is a lovely, friendly town with lots of little restaurants. Melidé was a highlight, though I couldn't bring myself to eat their famous octopus dish.
What was the scenery like? Were there any standout views?
The scenery along the Camino is spectacular; each step could be worth stopping and taking another photograph. There are endless winding paths through woodlands and then through small villages that seem to have stopped in time as you meander through them.
I adored the vegetable gardens that have been lovingly tended with overgrown tomatoes and pumpkins everywhere. There was something grounding about the smells of the farms as you pass by, as though from another time and place when life was slower and gentler.
The Galicia area is very green and does seem to have high rainfall; I was thankful for my rain gear!!
What was the local cuisine like on the Camino trail? Can you describe your favourite food and drink?
The cuisine was amazing. There were great spreads each morning of various European foods and good coffee. Evenings consisted of three course meals, each course usually having a few choices. There was a lot of seafood and the meals were well-presented.
Santiago almond cake (tarta de Santiago) and creme caramel seemed to be favourite dessert option. The carafe of wine served at dinner was endless and I really enjoyed having a Galician beer at lunch.
How challenging did you find the Camino?
The walking was not overly difficult, I found it fairly easy walking that was easily completed in the suggested time.
However, much of the trail is on harder surfaces which I found hard on my knees and ankles, and this kind of walking tends to lead to blisters. Once you have some blisters and a swollen ankle then the next day's walk, which should have been easy, can become considerably more difficult.
The hiking poles made a big difference and soaking your feet in the hotel bathtub is a life saver!!
What surprised you the most about your Camino experience?
I thought it was just going to be an enjoyable walk for a few days when actually it was quite a profound spiritual journey.
You are walking in the footsteps of thousands of other pilgrims that have walked the trail before you. This gave me a sense of being part of a much bigger Camino community. There was also a wonderful sense of walking with other people from all over the world who are sharing the experience.
I was constantly saying 'Buen Camino' to those around me and having it said to me, a constant well wishing that just makes you feel good.
Can you share advice for other travellers thinking about doing this trip?
I would recommend doing research about the route as there are significant sites worth stopping at along the way. Thoroughly checking Google Maps each night so you can see the route, distances and altitudes is worthwhile as is researching the map before leaving.
A huge thanks and Buen Camino to Rachel for sharing her Traveller Tale from the Camino de Santiago!
If you would like to experience this famous walk for yourself view UTracks' comprehensive tours below.
Is walking the Camino de Santiago on your bucket list, or have you already experienced the trail? Let us know in the comment section below.