The Hunt for a Good Camino del Norte Guidebook

The great Consumer Eroski online Camino Guide

As I plan for my May/June walked along the Camino del Norte I’m looking through guidebooks and thinking I may abandon the traditional guidebook for an Internet guide instead. This great resource from Consumer Eroski, a Basque retail giant, helped greatly on my 2010 camino. Giving up the paper is easy. Trusting in my Spanish to interpret the directions is not. Still, in 2010 I used the daily itinerary as a Spanish vocabulary study guide and it worked out great. Even better, there’s an iPhone app that includes all the same info. If it included a GPS feature and local maps it would be spectacular.

My fall back will be the Walker guides, available at the online bookstore of the Confraternity of St. James in London. The two volume set for the Camino del Norte was last published in 2010, perhaps meaning it is based on 2009 info. So I wonder how accurate it will be after a few years on the shelf. Amazon seems to have it available through related dealers, but it’s unclear whether that includes one or both volumes.

It’s always possible to just walk without a guidebook, but I’d be anxious about missing available services in this particular camino that has such a thin infrastructure. Some of the walks, according to the Eroski guide, are in the 35-40 km range, the distance required to get from one albergue to the next. That’s a lot of miles to cover in a day with no guide.

Very happy to hear my buddy Sebastian, of Germany, will join me for the first few days of Camino 2012.

Good news came yesterday. Sebastian, my German firefighter friend from Camino 2011, will join me in Bilbao for a few days. That’s is great news! Sebastian is much fun and it’ll be great to walk with him again as a pilgrim brother. The pressure will be on for us to find a bottle of the infamous “Cilantro” liquor that accompanied us on our pilgrim way last year.