Camino de Santiago: A Typical Day

5:00am Wake up because someone is rustling plastic bags as they prepare for an early start.
5:15am Go back to sleep
6:15am Wake up again, more hikers are preparing to leave
6:30am Finally decide to get up as getting back to sleep is hopeless.

  • Gather up your items (sleeping bag, pack, shoes) and quietly move them to the common room so that you don’t disturb other sleepers.
    • You can do this because you prepared for it the night before.
  • Roll up sleeping bag or blanket.
  • Stow clothes that were drying from the night before, possibly hang some from your pack to dry during the day.
  • Wash face, brush teeth, add deodorant, use toilet.
  • Attend to feet – tape up problem areas, use muscle and/or foot cream, bandage blisters.
  • Finish putting pack together.
  • Fill up water bottle from the tap.
  • Double/triple/quadruple check the entire albergue for items you might have left behind.
7:30am Leave and start hiking.
7:40am Realize that you forgot your stretching exercises, so stop to stretch some.
7:45am Continue hiking.
8:10am Encounter a tempting bar. Decide to stop for coffee and a tortilla, pastry, or toast.
8:45am Leave and hike some more.
9:30am Stop to put on suntan lotion and to stow your fleece jacket.
9:40am Serious hiking begins.
9:50am Stop to remove stone from shoe.
9:55am Serious hiking begins again.
9:57am Stop to tighten and/or loosen shoe laces.
10:00am Serious hiking begins for real.
Stop occasionally to take pictures, drink water, rest, explore churches, etc.
11:30am Mid-morning snack: Fruit, water, trail mix, etc. Possibly find a bar, have a drink and use the toilet.
12:15pm More serious hiking with occasional stops, as above.
2:00pm Encounter restaurant OR stop to have lunch on the trail. Whichever, take some time to take off shoes and socks (not in the restaurant – please!) and air everything out.
3:00pm More hiking, remember to stretch first this time.
4:00pm Encounter bar: Stop for a cool drink and a bathroom break.
4:15pm More hiking, occasional stops.
5:30pm Reach destination.
5:45pm Finally locate the albergue.
Find the hospitalero and check in:

  • You ask: Do you have beds? (Hay camas?)
  • The hospitalero asks: Por dormir? (for sleeping? – answer “si”)
  • Hand over your pilgrims credentials to the hospitalero who will copy information from it into the register, and will also ask you two questions:
    • Where are you from?
    • What is your age?
  • The hospitalero will then stamp and date your credentials.
  • You are then pointed to the dormitories where you can choose your bedchoose_bed
    On your way, check out the facilities (bathrooms, showers, kitchen, etc.)
  • Check to make sure that the bunk-bed is solidly constructed – one evening Linda slept in fear of the bed collapsing but afraid to fix it because I was sound asleep above her.
  • After you drop your pack on a bed, go back and Pay a donation to the albergue! Suggested: 3-5 euros per person.
6:00pm Unpack and wash up

  • Air out blanket or sleeping bag.
  • Examine feet.
  • Complain about blisters to anyone who is nearby.
  • Compare blisters.
  • Argue about whose blisters are bigger and whose tendonitis is more painful.
  • Shower, toilet, etc.
  • Change clothes.
  • Wash today’s clothes and hang them and your wet towels outside to dry (or inside, if it’s raining outside).
  • Tend to feet.
  • Possibly: Shop for next day’s food or other supplies, if there’s a tienda or supermercado nearby.
  • Arrange pack so that you can get into bed quickly and quietly when it is time to go to sleep, and also that you can leave the room quickly and quietly the next morning.
7:00pm Relax, read, play cards, chat with other pilgrims, nap, use internet, etc. (depends on what’s locally available).
8:00pm Dinner at local restaurant, usually having the “Menu del Dia” or the “Menu del Peregrino”.
OR use the facilities at the albergue to make your own food.
9:30pm Back to the albergue, fetch clothes from clothesline on the way. Complain about expensive “quick dry” clothes that do not dry quickly. Possibly play more cards, chat some more with other pilgrims, etc.
10:30pm Go to bed

As you can tell, we hiked on a pretty relaxed schedule. In general, our approach was to enjoy the walking as much as possible, even if this meant walking fewer kilometers per day.