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Camino de Santiago (Village to Village Guide): Camino Frances 2017: St Jean - Santiago - Finisterre Kindle Edition
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|Length: 819 pages||Word Wise: Enabled||Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled|
|Page Flip: Enabled||
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Top Customer Reviews
First impression: it's beautiful! Stunning photos, great maps, and directions that make sense. I especially like the detailed list of albergues in each town, complete with prices and icons showing their amenities. The book covers the entire route all the way to Finisterre and Muxia, with daily stages of around 25km (15.5mi) per day. You can, of course, finish your day anywhere you like, but the stages often end in the larger towns with more options for places to stay and eat, as well as resources such as pharmacies, ATM machines, etc.
Each stage begins with an overview including the distance, difficulty, average number of hours, and a breakdown of the percentage of time you'll spend on paved vs. unpaved pathways. It then includes a description of what you'll be facing that day, along with an elevation chart and a map showing all towns and the amenities you can expect to find there (albergues, food, shopping, etc.) It then walks you through each town you'll be visiting, and describes points of interest as well as warnings for things to watch out for (like the lack of water between Valcarlos and Roncesvalles). Each town has a sidebar with a listing of places to stay, each with its price, contact details, and amenities (food, washer, dryer, kitchen, WiFi, number of beds, etc.) Maps are also included for the larger towns, with all places to stay marked on the map. We always found it easy to understand the differences between the albergues, and to find them once we arrived in the town.
The book also includes a lot of nice information in the introductory chapters, including a history of the Camino, when to go, how to get there, visas, the various types of places to stay and eat, costs, safety issues, packing lists, and lots more. This information is expanded even further on the book's extensive web site, including links to many of the sites and places to stay that are listed in each stage.
Since many people seem to be using John Brierley's book, A Pilgrim's Guide to the Camino de Santiago, I'll make a few quick comparisons.
The distances between places are different than in the Brierley book. This book resets the distance to zero at the beginning of each stage, and then shows the cumulative distance until the end of the stage. 0.0, 3.2, 6.8, 12.0, 18.5, etc. Whereas Brierley shows the distance from place to place and not the cumulative distance. 0.0, 3.3, 1.5, 2.7, etc. I like this book's way better, at least if your stages mostly line up with the book's. If you end up staying at a town that's not at the beginning of a stage though, your numbers will be off a bit the next day. That happened to us occasionally, but it wasn't a big problem.
This book is 2.8 cubic inches (46 cu cm) larger and 3.4 ounces (96 g) heavier than Brierley's. Partly because it includes Finisterre and Muxia, but mostly because the general tone of the writing is much more relaxed and less terse, with larger pictures. Although it's a bit wider than Brierley's, I had no problem carrying it in a side pocket of my pants so it was always available. And since we were only doing the first 11 days, I removed the last two thirds of the pages to cut down on weight -- the authors suggest doing exactly that actually, for pages you've already used along the way. I carefully compared the directions for the multiple paths leading into Burgos, and both books cover all the details about equally well -- I feel certain I could find my way with either one. But there's no question that I prefer the tone of this one.
One of the best items on the book's web site is a downloadable GPS track of the entire Camino, including alternate pathways. I imported the data into the fantastic "GPS Kit" iPhone app and then cached the maps near the paths. I was then always able to see at a glance where we were in relation to the marked pathway, as well as the distance and direction to any point on the map -- all without a data connection.
Overall I was quite happy with our time with this book on the Camino, and I'll be taking it next year when we continue. I definitely recommend it.
As I started to admire all the cool things - the maps I could easily understand, the albergue information - complete with ratings and prices, gorgeous photos, what to expect in each village, etc... I mentioned to my husband how cool the book was.. soon he was reading it with me and shortly thereafter he had taken it over completely and was excitedly telling me how cool this book was. Hopefully it will be my turn soon!
UPDATE: Another bonus: If you don't know Spanish, there are some helpful phrases in the back of the book. Every time I get some time to read this handy guide, I find more to like!