Taylor-Camino6

A Once in a Lifetime Journey through Petrabax

68 Miles Along the El Camino de Santiago

68 Miles Along the El Camino de Santiago

The Camino de Santiago or The Way of St. James has existed as a sacred pilgrimage for over a thousand years. According to legend, it is said that St. James’ remains were sent to Northern Spain by boat from Jerusalem and were buried on the site of the cathedral in the beautiful city of Santiago de Compostela. Nowadays, people from all over the world travel by foot or bicycle to make their way to Santiago de Compostela in Northwestern Spain.

68 Miles Along the El Camino de Santiago

There are quite a few ways and trails you could do along the Camino de Santiago and even though it is considered a religious pilgrimage, you don’t necessarily have to do it for that reason. In all honesty, I don’t consider myself a religious person, but I am very spiritual, so that is what I considered this pilgrimage for myself. A lot of other travelers do the Camino de Santiago for travel, hiking and athletic reasons. Many also do the Camino to get out of the city (or hustle and bustle of modern-day life) and enjoy the beauty in Northern Spain, which is quite an underrated area of the country.

68 Miles Along the El Camino de Santiago

For 6 beautiful days in July, Elena from The Carry On Chronicles and myself did the El Camino Francés Trail through Petrabax. (Click here to read Elena’s blog post on the Camino.) Known as a full service travel organization that specializes in travel throughout the Iberian Peninsula (Spain, Portugal and Morocco), Petrabax offers quality group coach tours as well as independent travel services such as hotel coordination, airport transfers, local tours and activities, rental cars, rail tickets and more. I was so happy that we did the Camino de Santiago through Petrabax and I couldn’t recommend them more!

68 Miles Along the El Camino de Santiago

Enjoy reading about our amazing 6-day pilgrimage along the Camino Francés. (For 15% off any Petrabax tour, please use my full name TAYLOR DEER when you call or email them.)

*My pilgrimage along the Camino de Santiago was a press trip through Petrabax. For 15% off any Petrabax tour, please use my full name TAYLOR DEER when you call or email.


Doing the Camino de Santiago through Petrabax

68 Miles Along the El Camino de Santiago

Accommodations along the Camino:

68 Miles Along the El Camino de Santiago

As a boutique and rather luxury traveler, I couldn’t have been happier to do the Camino de Santiago through Petrabax. A lot of individuals and groups of people will do the Camino de Santiago as a backpacking trip. They will either stay in hostels, which are considered albergues along the Camino or they camp out. I honestly am not a big fan of staying in budget hostels or camping, so I was happy that Petrabax was able to organize beautiful pensiones (hotels) and Paradores (a hotel administered by the Spanish government). After a long day of walking along the Camino, it was such a treat to arrive in a fairytale Spanish town or small city and stay at one of the lovely hotels or Paradores that Petrabax booked for us. Having your hotels booked in advance is key when doing the pilgrimage along the Camino. Both Elena and I came across individuals along the way who were struggling to find a place to stay. A lot of hotels, hostels and casa rurales (bed & breakfasts) along the Camino overbook quickly.

68 Miles Along the El Camino de Santiago

Luggage Transfers along the Camino:

68 Miles Along the El Camino de Santiago

In addition to organizing all of our hotels during our week along the Camino, Petrabax also coordinated luggage transfers from each hotel or Parador. This was such a huge weight off of our shoulders (literally and figuratively) since we didn’t have to haul around huge backpacks or stress over our luggage getting to our next accommodation.

68 Miles Along the El Camino de Santiago

When it comes to the luggage transfer, you can only take 1 piece of luggage (maximum 44 lbs). Petrabax will provide you with luggage tags when you first arrive. After you check out of the prospective hotel in the morning to start the Camino for the day, there will be an area near the front desk where you could leave your luggage. It will eventually be picked up during the day as you do the Camino and when you arrive at the next hotel, your luggage will either be waiting in your room or at the front desk.

68 Miles Along the El Camino de Santiago

Food along the Camino:

68 Miles Along the El Camino de Santiago

When it comes to food, you could also book your tour through Petrabax with breakfast and dinner included. All of the meals Elena and I savored during the trip were absolutely incredible! Breakfast was always at the hotel and dinners were either at the hotel or located at a nearby restaurant in the city we were staying in. The food we savored included specialties of the Galicia region – the region of Spain we did the Camino in. Lunch is not included because you will need to eat along the Camino. What is nice about the Camino is that there are cute mini villages along the way that you will walk through. There will usually be a bar or cafeteria where you could go to the restroom and get a coffee, Fanta, beer, water, etc. These cute rest stops also have platos combinados which are usually a combo platter of eggs, potatoes and a Spanish meat such as Iberian ham (jamón Ibérico) or chorizo. They also sell croissants, tortilla de España (Spanish omelettes), fresh fruit, candy and bocadillos (sandwiches). The best part about these rest stops is that they are so cheap!

68 Miles Along the El Camino de Santiago

Camino Pilgrimages:

68 Miles Along the El Camino de Santiago

When it comes to choosing the right Camino pilgrimage, it all depends on which route you want to take, how much time you have and of course your budget. Both Elena and I did a portion of the Camino Francés, which started in Sarria and took 6 full days to get to Santiago de Compostela. In total, we walked 68 miles over 6 days and I thought it was perfect for both of us. The full Camino Francés is around 560 miles starting at Roncesvalles or St. Jean de Pied de Port in Southern France. The French Way stands as the first of the Jacobean routes to Santiago. If you do the full trail, you will admire mountain landscapes, valleys and moors and you will also walk through the beautiful World Heritage cities such as Burgos, León and Santiago de Compostela. (I visited Burgos during my first visit to Northern Spain when I studied abroad.) During our 6-day pilgrimage, we started in Sarria and then made our way to Portomarín, Palas del Rei, Melide, Arzúa, A Rúa and then Santiago de Compostela.

68 Miles Along the El Camino de Santiago

The other Camino trails are the Portuguese Way, the English Way, the Primitive Way, the Northern Way, the Silver Way and the Fisterra-Muxia Way. The Portuguese Way starts in Lisbon and goes through some of Portugal’s most prominent cities such as Coimbra and Porto before heading into Spain towards Santiago. The English Way starts in Ferrol. The Primitive Way begins in Oviedo. The Northern Way starts in San Sebastian and goes along the coast of the Bay of Biscay. (The trail also goes through the popular cities of Bilbao and Santander.) The Silver Way starts in Sevilla and goes through Merida, Caceres, Salamanca, Zamora and Ourense. The Fisterra-Muxia Way is the shortest Camino pilgrimage and it starts in Fisterra along the Atlantic Ocean. No matter which Camino trail you decide to do, Petrabax will organize everything for you to make your Camino de Santiago enjoyable and stress-free.

68 Miles Along the El Camino de Santiago

Getting to and from the Start and End of the Camino:

68 Miles Along the El Camino de Santiago

Elena and I started the Camino de Santiago in Sarria. In order to get there, we flew straight to Madrid and then hopped on a short 45-min-to 1-hour flight to A Coruña. When we landed in A Coruña, Petrabax organized a private car service to drive us to our first hotel in Sarria. On the way home, they organized the same private car service to take us back to the airport in A Coruña from the hotel in Santiago de Compostela. It was very convenient!

68 Miles Along the El Camino de Santiago

In addition to arranging transportation from the closest airport to your hotel, Petrabax could also arrange train tickets through Renfe (Spanish Railways) from most cities in Spain. 

68 Miles Along the El Camino de Santiago

Preparation for the Camino de Santiago:

68 Miles Along the El Camino de Santiago

Prior to doing the Camino de Santiago, I had done the 3-Day Salkantay Trek to Machu Picchu in Peru two weeks before. The challenging trek to Machu Picchu helped me mentally prepare for the Camino. (Even though the trek to Machu Picchu was only 3 days, it was definitely more challenging than the Camino since we were hiking up high mountains and dealing with the altitude. Thankfully, you don’t have to worry about that along the Camino.)

68 Miles Along the El Camino de Santiago

I definitely recommend the Camino for anyone who is in a good physical condition. If you have never done a long distance hike before, I recommend practicing at a local trail near your home before coming to Northern Spain. I will admit that both Elena and I got some huge blisters on our feet making part of our walk quite uncomfortable (especially around the 3rd and 4th days). Below is a list of items to bring with you so that you are prepared:

  • Blister Band Aids (If you get a water blister, it is best that you try and pop it, clean it properly and cover it up with a blister Band Aid to alleviate the pain. Even though there aren’t many farmacia’s along the way, there are definitely a handful of them in the small towns and cities that you stay in the evening. The pharmacies in Europe are usually spotted with a green cross.)
  • Regular Band Aids
  • Disinfected Wipes
  • A Backpack
  • A Raincoat and/or a Rain Poncho (Just in case it rains. Thankfully, the weather was perfect during our pilgrimage. It wasn’t too hot or too chilly.)
  • Extra Cash (For food and drinks along the way.)
  • Sunglasses and a Hat
  • A Knee Brace (The Camino involves a lot of walking up and down hills. If you have knee issues, it’s definitely best to bring a knee brace.)
  • Hiking Poles/Sticks (I actually didn’t use these for the Camino, but I did for the Salkantay Trek and they definitely help. You could pick these up along the Camino if you need them last minute.)
  • Proper Hiking Boots that are Broken Into (You could wear regular sneakers on the Camino, but the terrain does get rough in certain areas, so it is best to get hiking shoes for stability and comfort. If you are doing the Camino via bike, I recommend getting the right biking shoes.)
  • Any Valuables (Since your luggage will be transported and you will be moving on to the next accommodation, it is best to bring all valuables with you. In my backpack, I had my cellphone, wallet, laptop, passport, contacts, medication, cameras and chargers just in case of an unlikely event of my luggage getting lost or being misplaced along the way. Ps. I used my camera backpack to properly store everything.)
  • Water and Snacks
  • Pilgrimage Passport or known as “Credencial” (Along the Camino de Santiago, you will need to get your Pilgrimage Passport stamped twice a day. You could get your passport stamped at your hotel and at rest stops along the way.)
68 Miles Along the El Camino de Santiago

*Just in case something happens where you can no longer continue the Camino, Petrabax will provide you with support numbers or a hotline that could quickly send a car to pick you up and take you to the next hotel.

6 Days Along the Camino de Francés:

68 Miles Along the El Camino de Santiago

Arriving in Sarria:

68 Miles Along the El Camino de Santiago

Both Elena and I arrived in Sarria a day before the Camino de Santiago officially started for us. I liked being able to settle in, prepare for the Camino and enjoy some time in the lovely small city of Sarria.

68 Miles Along the El Camino de Santiago

Through Petrabax, we stayed at Hotel Alfonso IX. It was at this hotel where I received my information package that contained the complete route descriptions, our Pilgrimage Passport and our luggage tags for the transfers.

68 Miles Along the El Camino de Santiago

Hotel Alfonso IX was a gorgeous hotel and our room was huge! There was a king bed, two bathrooms, a living room space and more. In addition, our dinner that night consisted of mussel’s marinara, a Galician fish with potatoes and molten chocolate cake with helado (ice cream). Everything was amazing!

68 Miles Along the El Camino de Santiago
68 Miles Along the El Camino de Santiago

Day 1 of the Camino Francés – Sarria to Portomarín:

68 Miles Along the El Camino de Santiago

The first day of the Camino de Santiago was definitely one of the easier days. Elena and I were excited, motivated and ready to conquer over 13 miles at a grade 3 level (intermediate). After enjoying a great buffet breakfast at Hotel Alfonso IX, we began our pilgrimage at 8:30am. (Please note that all of the included breakfasts begin at 7:30am and end at 9:30am. It is recommended that you begin the Camino each day at around 8:30am.)

68 Miles Along the El Camino de Santiago

Our first day from Sarria to Portomarín included gorgeous Spanish countryside, quaint little cobblestone villages, “corredoiras” (growing fields) filled with crops and farm animals and so much more! The first day on the Camino was absolutely beautiful and the weather was amazing. I also liked how you could enjoy your surroundings since there were mild inclines and declines. Time also went really fast!

68 Miles Along the El Camino de Santiago

I also realized that doing the Camino with someone who is like-minded and that you get along with is key. Even though a lot of people were doing the Camino alone, it was so nice to have a friend with me. Elena and I had a blast together and our personalities meshed well. (I was SO HAPPY!) If you do the Camino with the wrong person, it could be a VERY LONG journey and definitely not as enjoyable. Definitely think thoroughly before you decide to do the Camino with other people.

68 Miles Along the El Camino de Santiago

Another awesome thing I realized on the first day is how well outlined and marked the Camino de Santiago is. Prior to starting the pilgrimage, I was a bit nervous that we would get lost. Thankfully, Petrabax provided us with an outlined map, but we barely needed it since the trails were outlined very well and clear. As you walk, you will continue to see a stone plank with a blue square and yellow scallop seashell on it. (The scallop seashell is the symbol for the Camino de Santiago.) Right below that will be an arrow directing you on where to go. It is very rare to get lost along the Camino.

68 Miles Along the El Camino de Santiago

As I mention above, there are so many bars and cafeterias to stop at along the Camino. Elena and I usually waited to eat lunch when we were more than halfway into the journey for that specific day. During our first day, we found a gorgeous spot with beautiful views. It was the perfect place to enjoy a delicious bocadillo with jamón ibérico and fresh olive oil.

68 Miles Along the El Camino de Santiago

After lunch we weren’t too far from Portomarín, where we would be spending our second night. As we crossed the Miño River, we entered into the beautiful town. During our evening in Portomarín, we stayed in a lovely boutique hotel called Pazo de Berbetoros and for dinner that night, we went to a café in the town where we savored sangria, chicken noodle soup and a platos combinados of eggs, potatoes and chorizo.

68 Miles Along the El Camino de Santiago

Day 2 of the Camino Francés – Portomarín to Palas Del Rei:

68 Miles Along the El Camino de Santiago

After enjoying a lovely breakfast at the hotel, Elena and I began our second day along the Camino. Our journey from Portomarín to Palas Del Rei would be the longest day of walking, but we were ready to enjoy it. I will admit that this was the day where the walk started to get a little difficult. Since we walked 17 miles, that was when my blisters started to form. (This trail was a grade 3 level, but it felt harder than the first day.)

68 Miles Along the El Camino de Santiago

On the second day of the Camino, we trekked along the side of a highway for quite a few miles. It honestly wasn’t the most exciting part of our journey, but we got through it easily since the weather was overcast and a little chilly, making it perfect hiking weather. When we finally reached a small village, there was a rather steep incline up a small mountain. After we reached the top, there was a mystical view that we both enjoyed! I loved all the purple wildflowers.

68 Miles Along the El Camino de Santiago

We walked through quaint little villages and were doing great on time. We eventually reached a great lunch spot where we enjoyed more platos combinados. (I had eggs with potatoes and croquettes this time.) After lunch, there was a lot of downhill walking, which caused my knees to start hurting like it did when I hiked to Machu Picchu. By the end of the day, I was in pain, but was so happy to have reached our hotel in Palas Del Rei called Hotel Casa Benilde.

68 Miles Along the El Camino de Santiago

During our evening in Palas Del Rei, we picked up extra blister Band Aids and enjoyed one of the best dinners at a cute café near the hotel. Our dinner consisted of a Spanish charcuterie board, sangria and a main course, which was a Galician fish with vegetables.

68 Miles Along the El Camino de Santiago
68 Miles Along the El Camino de Santiago

Day 3 of the Camino Francés – Palas Del Rei to Melide:

68 Miles Along the El Camino de Santiago

We enjoyed breakfast at our hotel before starting the hardest day of the pilgrimage (both in reality since it was a grade 4 level and also physically because I was really hurting in both my knees and feet). Even though this journey was a grade 4 level, it honestly felt a bit easier than the day before despite my pain. Plus it was the shortest day for us, which was only 8 miles of walking.

68 Miles Along the El Camino de Santiago

Most of the journey on Day 3 took us through enchanting woodland paths, oak tree forests and mini villages. We even walked past corporate buildings, car dealerships and factories. When we finally reached Melide, it felt like we stepped into a fairytale.

68 Miles Along the El Camino de Santiago

What is cool about arriving in Melide is that this city is where the Camino Francés and Camino Primitivo meet together. Just before entering into the heart of Melide, we passed through the enchanting town of Furelos. We also walked over a gorgeous bridge, which is considered one of the jewels of architecture on the Camino de Santiago.

68 Miles Along the El Camino de Santiago

Since we got into Melide early (around 1:30pm) we were able to rest our feet, grab lunch in the town, get ready and look cute to explore the little village and take photos. I absolutely loved getting lost amongst the cobblestoned streets.

68 Miles Along the El Camino de Santiago

We also had a great time walking through the heart of Melide where we wandered around, grabbed a helado (ice cream) and had some good laughs. The hotel we stayed in Melide was called Hotel Carlos 96 and it was situated perfectly between the heart of the city and also near the old village.

68 Miles Along the El Camino de Santiago

Day 4 of the Camino Francés – Melide to Arzúa:

68 Miles Along the El Camino de Santiago

Day 4 on the Camino de Santiago was considered the easiest day since we would only be walking 8 miles on a grade 3 level. I will admit that we both were still in a little bit of pain, but were starting to feel better. This was probably the hottest day along the pilgrimage as well.

68 Miles Along the El Camino de Santiago

After we ate breakfast at our hotel in Melide, we exited the city and entered into woodland forests, rural paths and a few cute villages. During this day, we stopped a lot to grab ice cream, water and food and to also rest our feet. When you are in pain, it is best to rest as much as you can. That is what gets you through the journey. (Stretching as much as you can is very important too.)

68 Miles Along the El Camino de Santiago

I really loved all of the hidden gems we found during this day! From flowers to cute stoned houses, everything was so photogenic! (Don’t forget to also bring your camera on the Camino.)

68 Miles Along the El Camino de Santiago

Our hotel (Pazo Santa María) in Arzúa was situated in the rural part of town. When we arrived, we both fell in love with how charming and beautiful it was! I felt like I was in a little storybook village there. Pazo Santa María was also the first pazo we stayed in along the Camino. (A pazo is considered a Galician traditional house.)

68 Miles Along the El Camino de Santiago
68 Miles Along the El Camino de Santiago

Pazo Santa María is considered an oasis along the Camino. Situated in a historical manor house dating back to the 18th Century, the pazo was originally commissioned for the family formed by María Micaela de la Rue and Gregorio de Barrio y Figueroa in 1742. I loved walking around the hotel and admiring its beauty, the gorgeous pond and gardens as well as the stunning rural views.

68 Miles Along the El Camino de Santiago

In addition to its beauty, Pazo Santa María also offered both the best dinner and breakfast we had during our pilgrimage. For dinner, we had fresh bread with mango salsa, Galician wine, Galician soup, a stir-fry with chicken and almond cake for dessert. Everything was amazing, plus the surroundings were so beautiful! For breakfast the next morning, we had fresh crepes with chocolate and fruit and there was also a great buffet of typical Spanish breakfast items such as jamón Ibérico, tortilla de España, chorizo and other cold cuts, fresh fruit, yogurt, muffins and more.

68 Miles Along the El Camino de Santiago
68 Miles Along the El Camino de Santiago
68 Miles Along the El Camino de Santiago

Day 5 of the Camino Francés – Arzúa to A Rúa:

68 Miles Along the El Camino de Santiago

After savoring the amazing breakfast at our hotel, one of the staff members had to drive us to the starting point of the Camino for the next day since the pazo was a little out of the way.

68 Miles Along the El Camino de Santiago

Day 5 of the Camino was definitely one of the easiest days for us because we were feeling pain free! It was also a grade 3 level and we walked 11 miles. During this journey, we walked through the rolling green foothills of Galicia, strolled through more fairytale villages, hiked through stunning woodland paths and even got to enjoy a cool rest stop that was decorated with beer bottles. Casa Tía Dolores is a fun place to sip a beer, relax with friends and enjoy the artwork all around you. As a way to recycle the beer bottles, they have all the pilgrims decorate and place them around the rest stop. It’s such a cool and eco-friendly concept.

68 Miles Along the El Camino de Santiago

As we continued to walk, we found a great little restaurant that served pasta! It was such a treat. I had linguine with pesto and fresh vegetables.

68 Miles Along the El Camino de Santiago

When we arrived in the town of A Rúa, we hung out at a campsite where we got to relax and also enjoy food and drinks before we got picked up and transferred to our pazo in Lavacolla – a nearby town between A Rúa and Santiago de Compostela.

68 Miles Along the El Camino de Santiago

It took a little over 10 minutes to get to Pazo Xan Xordo – another beautiful oasis to relax and rejuvenate along the Camino. I absolutely adored this pazo as well and it was so lovely to stroll around it and enjoy a lovely dinner of croquettes, roasted chicken and helado cake! In addition, Pazo Xan Xordo also had a great breakfast in the morning.

68 Miles Along the El Camino de Santiago

Day 6 of the Camino Francés – A Rúa to Santiago de Compostela:

68 Miles Along the El Camino de Santiago

On our final day, we were transferred back to the trail in A Rúa. I will admit that the last day was a little tougher than the day before because we were exhausted. What was getting us through this challenging walk was knowing that we would be reaching the Catedral de Santiago de Compostela in 11 miles. This was also a grade 3 level journey and it took us behind the town of Pedrouzo, past the village of Amenal, around the Santiago de Compostela airport and around Lavacolla where we stayed the night prior. What also made this part of the pilgrimage difficult was the limited amount of bars and cafeterias along the way. Eventually, we found a bar to rest our feet and enjoy lunch. (I had a bocadillo with grilled chicken. It hit the spot.)

68 Miles Along the El Camino de Santiago

We eventually made our way into Santiago de Compostela and it all became real when we eventually started to see the cathedral from a distance. At that point in the journey, my feet were on fire, but I was so determined. We walked through the beautiful city of Santiago de Compostela and then eventually reached the cathedral. Right before we got to the cathedral itself, there was a couple playing a bagpipe. It was such a beautiful moment that I never want to forget!

68 Miles Along the El Camino de Santiago

When we got to the cathedral, everything became real. WE JUST COMPLETED 68 MILES! I remember shedding a few tears. As I stared at the stunning cathedral I took a moment to acknowledge everything I did over those past three weeks. Not only did I complete the Camino de Santiago, I also considered the 27 miles I hiked during the 3-Day Salkantay Trek in Peru. Overall, I walked close to 100 miles over those three weeks! I never thought I would be able to walk that far in my life! I definitely felt proud of myself and realized I could overcome any challenge and achieve anything I set my mind to. I am stronger than I think I am and I have more patience than I realize.

68 Miles Along the El Camino de Santiago

A wonderful treat was realizing that our hotel for the last night was located right next to the Catedral de Santiago de Compostela in the Obradoiro Square. It was the stunning Parador de Santiago de Compostela, which looked like an enchanting palace! (I absolutely LOVE staying in Paradores when I travel to Spain. There is something about a Parador’s authenticity and beauty that makes staying in them so comforting.) Known as one of the most luxurious and beautiful hotels in the Paradores chain, Parador de Santiago de Compostela includes a blend of history, art and tradition regarding the dream of pilgrims and emblem of Santiago. The hotel was built as a royal hospital in 1499 to accommodate pilgrims traveling to Santiago de Compostela. Inside of the hotel is the Parador Museum, which is considered the oldest hotel in the world.

68 Miles Along the El Camino de Santiago

Even though we only had the evening to enjoy Santiago de Compostela, I fell in love with it! There was so much beauty all around, the streets were thriving with pilgrims who had completed the Camino and families were enjoying vacation time. After taking a few photos, Elena and I treated ourselves to pizza, Spanish beer and helado. It was absolutely perfect! We also took this time to purchase souvenirs.

68 Miles Along the El Camino de Santiago

The next day, Elena and I said our goodbyes (she left earlier than me) and I enjoyed a lovely buffet breakfast at Parador de Santiago de Compostela before being picked up to go to the airport.

68 Miles Along the El Camino de Santiago

68 Miles Along the El Camino de Santiago

Overall, I am so happy I did the Camino de Santiago through Petrabax. Doing this journey was such an incredible and inspiring experience. I also felt like I did the Camino de Santiago during the right time in my life. I am happy, fulfilled and on my way to achieve greatness!

68 Miles Along the El Camino de Santiago

Completing the Camino de Santiago reminds me how much of a beautiful and underrated destination Northern Spain is. It’s so different and unique from the rest of the country and there is so much energy, happiness and inspiration there. Some of my favorite parts of the Camino were sharing the journey with Elena of The Carry On Chronicles and making new memories with her; saying “Hola, Buen Camino!” to every friendly face we met along the way; admiring all of the gorgeous landscapes and villages that we walked past; staying in fairytale Paradores in different cities and towns; enjoying delicious Galician food; getting my Pilgrimage Passport stamped twice a day and conquering many miles a day.

68 Miles Along the El Camino de Santiago

This amazing experience wouldn’t have been the same if it weren’t for Petrabax. If you want to do the Camino de Santiago, I couldn’t recommend Petrabax more. For 15% off any Petrabax tour along the Iberian Peninsula, please make sure to use my full name TAYLOR DEER when you call or email. For more information or if you have any questions, please visit Petrabax’s website or email me at info@browneyedflowerchild.com.

68 Miles Along the El Camino de Santiago

BUEN CAMINO!

Basic Facts of Spain:

Currency: Euro, Capital: Madrid

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14 Comments

  1. Courtney on July 30, 2019 at 5:32 pm

    What an amazing journey! I would love to do this one day

    • Taylor Deer on July 30, 2019 at 6:04 pm

      It definitely was a once in a lifetime experience, Courtney. You would love it! 🙂

  2. Diana on July 30, 2019 at 6:25 pm

    Sounds amazing, Taylor! What type of camera backpack do you have?

  3. Nellie on July 30, 2019 at 8:08 pm

    I Love your chronicles of El Camino. It looks like you and Elena had lots of fun. I’m from Galicia and I live in NY but I never did el camino. After reading your story I would be doing it in the near future. I will definitely consider contacting Petrabax when I am ready. Thank you!
    Nellie Lago

    • Taylor Deer on July 30, 2019 at 8:15 pm

      Thank you so much Nellie! We had such a blast. 🙂 You definitely would enjoy the El Camino. It is such a beautiful experience.

  4. Kim on July 30, 2019 at 8:12 pm

    Wow, so proud of you completing this beautiful journey ~ that had to be so rewarding! To see that beautiful cathedral at the end was really a grand finale of your 6 day hike ~ so amazingly emotional! Glad you got to experience this and that it showed you how strong you are and in great shape ~ loved the blog and all the amazing photos ~ love you, mom xoxo

    • Taylor Deer on July 30, 2019 at 8:16 pm

      Thank you mom! It sure was amazing! 🙂 Love you too!

  5. Christina on August 2, 2019 at 5:09 am

    What an amazing adventure! Thanks for sharing all the info Taylor!! This has definitely been added to the travel list!

    • Taylor Deer on August 2, 2019 at 10:05 am

      Thank you so much Christina! It was definitely an experience I’ll never forget! 🙂

  6. Marisa NeSmith on August 7, 2019 at 11:51 am

    It was so much fun watching your live journey on Instagram! Thanks for sharing all of your wonderful tips and detailed journey on the 6 day hike! We’ve definitely adding this to our list for the future!

    • Taylor Deer on August 7, 2019 at 12:23 pm

      Thank you so much Marisa! It was incredible and you guys would love it. 🙂

  7. Elena Pappalardo on August 9, 2019 at 6:19 pm

    I am so, so happy we got to experience this incredible journey together, Taylor! You’ve been such an inspiration to me and I can’t wait to travel together again! This post is so well-written and the pictures are just gorgeous. Until our next adventures!

    • Taylor Deer on August 9, 2019 at 6:26 pm

      Thank you so much Elena and likewise! I am so proud of you for all that you’ve accomplished and all of the amazing projects you’re working on. I am excited for our future travels! 🙂

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Taylor-Camino6

A Once in a Lifetime Journey through Petrabax

68 Miles Along the El Camino de Santiago

68 Miles Along the El Camino de Santiago

The Camino de Santiago or The Way of St. James has existed as a sacred pilgrimage for over a thousand years. According to legend, it is said that St. James’ remains were sent to Northern Spain by boat from Jerusalem and were buried on the site of the cathedral in the beautiful city of Santiago de Compostela. Nowadays, people from all over the world travel by foot or bicycle to make their way to Santiago de Compostela in Northwestern Spain.

68 Miles Along the El Camino de Santiago

There are quite a few ways and trails you could do along the Camino de Santiago and even though it is considered a religious pilgrimage, you don’t necessarily have to do it for that reason. In all honesty, I don’t consider myself a religious person, but I am very spiritual, so that is what I considered this pilgrimage for myself. A lot of other travelers do the Camino de Santiago for travel, hiking and athletic reasons. Many also do the Camino to get out of the city (or hustle and bustle of modern-day life) and enjoy the beauty in Northern Spain, which is quite an underrated area of the country.

68 Miles Along the El Camino de Santiago

For 6 beautiful days in July, Elena from The Carry On Chronicles and myself did the El Camino Francés Trail through Petrabax. (Click here to read Elena’s blog post on the Camino.) Known as a full service travel organization that specializes in travel throughout the Iberian Peninsula (Spain, Portugal and Morocco), Petrabax offers quality group coach tours as well as independent travel services such as hotel coordination, airport transfers, local tours and activities, rental cars, rail tickets and more. I was so happy that we did the Camino de Santiago through Petrabax and I couldn’t recommend them more!

68 Miles Along the El Camino de Santiago

Enjoy reading about our amazing 6-day pilgrimage along the Camino Francés. (For 15% off any Petrabax tour, please use my full name TAYLOR DEER when you call or email them.)

*My pilgrimage along the Camino de Santiago was a press trip through Petrabax. For 15% off any Petrabax tour, please use my full name TAYLOR DEER when you call or email.


Doing the Camino de Santiago through Petrabax

68 Miles Along the El Camino de Santiago

Accommodations along the Camino:

68 Miles Along the El Camino de Santiago

As a boutique and rather luxury traveler, I couldn’t have been happier to do the Camino de Santiago through Petrabax. A lot of individuals and groups of people will do the Camino de Santiago as a backpacking trip. They will either stay in hostels, which are considered albergues along the Camino or they camp out. I honestly am not a big fan of staying in budget hostels or camping, so I was happy that Petrabax was able to organize beautiful pensiones (hotels) and Paradores (a hotel administered by the Spanish government). After a long day of walking along the Camino, it was such a treat to arrive in a fairytale Spanish town or small city and stay at one of the lovely hotels or Paradores that Petrabax booked for us. Having your hotels booked in advance is key when doing the pilgrimage along the Camino. Both Elena and I came across individuals along the way who were struggling to find a place to stay. A lot of hotels, hostels and casa rurales (bed & breakfasts) along the Camino overbook quickly.

68 Miles Along the El Camino de Santiago

Luggage Transfers along the Camino:

68 Miles Along the El Camino de Santiago

In addition to organizing all of our hotels during our week along the Camino, Petrabax also coordinated luggage transfers from each hotel or Parador. This was such a huge weight off of our shoulders (literally and figuratively) since we didn’t have to haul around huge backpacks or stress over our luggage getting to our next accommodation.

68 Miles Along the El Camino de Santiago

When it comes to the luggage transfer, you can only take 1 piece of luggage (maximum 44 lbs). Petrabax will provide you with luggage tags when you first arrive. After you check out of the prospective hotel in the morning to start the Camino for the day, there will be an area near the front desk where you could leave your luggage. It will eventually be picked up during the day as you do the Camino and when you arrive at the next hotel, your luggage will either be waiting in your room or at the front desk.

68 Miles Along the El Camino de Santiago

Food along the Camino:

68 Miles Along the El Camino de Santiago

When it comes to food, you could also book your tour through Petrabax with breakfast and dinner included. All of the meals Elena and I savored during the trip were absolutely incredible! Breakfast was always at the hotel and dinners were either at the hotel or located at a nearby restaurant in the city we were staying in. The food we savored included specialties of the Galicia region – the region of Spain we did the Camino in. Lunch is not included because you will need to eat along the Camino. What is nice about the Camino is that there are cute mini villages along the way that you will walk through. There will usually be a bar or cafeteria where you could go to the restroom and get a coffee, Fanta, beer, water, etc. These cute rest stops also have platos combinados which are usually a combo platter of eggs, potatoes and a Spanish meat such as Iberian ham (jamón Ibérico) or chorizo. They also sell croissants, tortilla de España (Spanish omelettes), fresh fruit, candy and bocadillos (sandwiches). The best part about these rest stops is that they are so cheap!

68 Miles Along the El Camino de Santiago

Camino Pilgrimages:

68 Miles Along the El Camino de Santiago

When it comes to choosing the right Camino pilgrimage, it all depends on which route you want to take, how much time you have and of course your budget. Both Elena and I did a portion of the Camino Francés, which started in Sarria and took 6 full days to get to Santiago de Compostela. In total, we walked 68 miles over 6 days and I thought it was perfect for both of us. The full Camino Francés is around 560 miles starting at Roncesvalles or St. Jean de Pied de Port in Southern France. The French Way stands as the first of the Jacobean routes to Santiago. If you do the full trail, you will admire mountain landscapes, valleys and moors and you will also walk through the beautiful World Heritage cities such as Burgos, León and Santiago de Compostela. (I visited Burgos during my first visit to Northern Spain when I studied abroad.) During our 6-day pilgrimage, we started in Sarria and then made our way to Portomarín, Palas del Rei, Melide, Arzúa, A Rúa and then Santiago de Compostela.

68 Miles Along the El Camino de Santiago

The other Camino trails are the Portuguese Way, the English Way, the Primitive Way, the Northern Way, the Silver Way and the Fisterra-Muxia Way. The Portuguese Way starts in Lisbon and goes through some of Portugal’s most prominent cities such as Coimbra and Porto before heading into Spain towards Santiago. The English Way starts in Ferrol. The Primitive Way begins in Oviedo. The Northern Way starts in San Sebastian and goes along the coast of the Bay of Biscay. (The trail also goes through the popular cities of Bilbao and Santander.) The Silver Way starts in Sevilla and goes through Merida, Caceres, Salamanca, Zamora and Ourense. The Fisterra-Muxia Way is the shortest Camino pilgrimage and it starts in Fisterra along the Atlantic Ocean. No matter which Camino trail you decide to do, Petrabax will organize everything for you to make your Camino de Santiago enjoyable and stress-free.

68 Miles Along the El Camino de Santiago

Getting to and from the Start and End of the Camino:

68 Miles Along the El Camino de Santiago

Elena and I started the Camino de Santiago in Sarria. In order to get there, we flew straight to Madrid and then hopped on a short 45-min-to 1-hour flight to A Coruña. When we landed in A Coruña, Petrabax organized a private car service to drive us to our first hotel in Sarria. On the way home, they organized the same private car service to take us back to the airport in A Coruña from the hotel in Santiago de Compostela. It was very convenient!

68 Miles Along the El Camino de Santiago

In addition to arranging transportation from the closest airport to your hotel, Petrabax could also arrange train tickets through Renfe (Spanish Railways) from most cities in Spain. 

68 Miles Along the El Camino de Santiago

Preparation for the Camino de Santiago:

68 Miles Along the El Camino de Santiago

Prior to doing the Camino de Santiago, I had done the 3-Day Salkantay Trek to Machu Picchu in Peru two weeks before. The challenging trek to Machu Picchu helped me mentally prepare for the Camino. (Even though the trek to Machu Picchu was only 3 days, it was definitely more challenging than the Camino since we were hiking up high mountains and dealing with the altitude. Thankfully, you don’t have to worry about that along the Camino.)

68 Miles Along the El Camino de Santiago

I definitely recommend the Camino for anyone who is in a good physical condition. If you have never done a long distance hike before, I recommend practicing at a local trail near your home before coming to Northern Spain. I will admit that both Elena and I got some huge blisters on our feet making part of our walk quite uncomfortable (especially around the 3rd and 4th days). Below is a list of items to bring with you so that you are prepared:

  • Blister Band Aids (If you get a water blister, it is best that you try and pop it, clean it properly and cover it up with a blister Band Aid to alleviate the pain. Even though there aren’t many farmacia’s along the way, there are definitely a handful of them in the small towns and cities that you stay in the evening. The pharmacies in Europe are usually spotted with a green cross.)
  • Regular Band Aids
  • Disinfected Wipes
  • A Backpack
  • A Raincoat and/or a Rain Poncho (Just in case it rains. Thankfully, the weather was perfect during our pilgrimage. It wasn’t too hot or too chilly.)
  • Extra Cash (For food and drinks along the way.)
  • Sunglasses and a Hat
  • A Knee Brace (The Camino involves a lot of walking up and down hills. If you have knee issues, it’s definitely best to bring a knee brace.)
  • Hiking Poles/Sticks (I actually didn’t use these for the Camino, but I did for the Salkantay Trek and they definitely help. You could pick these up along the Camino if you need them last minute.)
  • Proper Hiking Boots that are Broken Into (You could wear regular sneakers on the Camino, but the terrain does get rough in certain areas, so it is best to get hiking shoes for stability and comfort. If you are doing the Camino via bike, I recommend getting the right biking shoes.)
  • Any Valuables (Since your luggage will be transported and you will be moving on to the next accommodation, it is best to bring all valuables with you. In my backpack, I had my cellphone, wallet, laptop, passport, contacts, medication, cameras and chargers just in case of an unlikely event of my luggage getting lost or being misplaced along the way. Ps. I used my camera backpack to properly store everything.)
  • Water and Snacks
  • Pilgrimage Passport or known as “Credencial” (Along the Camino de Santiago, you will need to get your Pilgrimage Passport stamped twice a day. You could get your passport stamped at your hotel and at rest stops along the way.)
68 Miles Along the El Camino de Santiago

*Just in case something happens where you can no longer continue the Camino, Petrabax will provide you with support numbers or a hotline that could quickly send a car to pick you up and take you to the next hotel.

6 Days Along the Camino de Francés:

68 Miles Along the El Camino de Santiago

Arriving in Sarria:

68 Miles Along the El Camino de Santiago

Both Elena and I arrived in Sarria a day before the Camino de Santiago officially started for us. I liked being able to settle in, prepare for the Camino and enjoy some time in the lovely small city of Sarria.

68 Miles Along the El Camino de Santiago

Through Petrabax, we stayed at Hotel Alfonso IX. It was at this hotel where I received my information package that contained the complete route descriptions, our Pilgrimage Passport and our luggage tags for the transfers.

68 Miles Along the El Camino de Santiago

Hotel Alfonso IX was a gorgeous hotel and our room was huge! There was a king bed, two bathrooms, a living room space and more. In addition, our dinner that night consisted of mussel’s marinara, a Galician fish with potatoes and molten chocolate cake with helado (ice cream). Everything was amazing!

68 Miles Along the El Camino de Santiago
68 Miles Along the El Camino de Santiago

Day 1 of the Camino Francés – Sarria to Portomarín:

68 Miles Along the El Camino de Santiago

The first day of the Camino de Santiago was definitely one of the easier days. Elena and I were excited, motivated and ready to conquer over 13 miles at a grade 3 level (intermediate). After enjoying a great buffet breakfast at Hotel Alfonso IX, we began our pilgrimage at 8:30am. (Please note that all of the included breakfasts begin at 7:30am and end at 9:30am. It is recommended that you begin the Camino each day at around 8:30am.)

68 Miles Along the El Camino de Santiago

Our first day from Sarria to Portomarín included gorgeous Spanish countryside, quaint little cobblestone villages, “corredoiras” (growing fields) filled with crops and farm animals and so much more! The first day on the Camino was absolutely beautiful and the weather was amazing. I also liked how you could enjoy your surroundings since there were mild inclines and declines. Time also went really fast!

68 Miles Along the El Camino de Santiago

I also realized that doing the Camino with someone who is like-minded and that you get along with is key. Even though a lot of people were doing the Camino alone, it was so nice to have a friend with me. Elena and I had a blast together and our personalities meshed well. (I was SO HAPPY!) If you do the Camino with the wrong person, it could be a VERY LONG journey and definitely not as enjoyable. Definitely think thoroughly before you decide to do the Camino with other people.

68 Miles Along the El Camino de Santiago

Another awesome thing I realized on the first day is how well outlined and marked the Camino de Santiago is. Prior to starting the pilgrimage, I was a bit nervous that we would get lost. Thankfully, Petrabax provided us with an outlined map, but we barely needed it since the trails were outlined very well and clear. As you walk, you will continue to see a stone plank with a blue square and yellow scallop seashell on it. (The scallop seashell is the symbol for the Camino de Santiago.) Right below that will be an arrow directing you on where to go. It is very rare to get lost along the Camino.

68 Miles Along the El Camino de Santiago

As I mention above, there are so many bars and cafeterias to stop at along the Camino. Elena and I usually waited to eat lunch when we were more than halfway into the journey for that specific day. During our first day, we found a gorgeous spot with beautiful views. It was the perfect place to enjoy a delicious bocadillo with jamón ibérico and fresh olive oil.

68 Miles Along the El Camino de Santiago

After lunch we weren’t too far from Portomarín, where we would be spending our second night. As we crossed the Miño River, we entered into the beautiful town. During our evening in Portomarín, we stayed in a lovely boutique hotel called Pazo de Berbetoros and for dinner that night, we went to a café in the town where we savored sangria, chicken noodle soup and a platos combinados of eggs, potatoes and chorizo.

68 Miles Along the El Camino de Santiago

Day 2 of the Camino Francés – Portomarín to Palas Del Rei:

68 Miles Along the El Camino de Santiago

After enjoying a lovely breakfast at the hotel, Elena and I began our second day along the Camino. Our journey from Portomarín to Palas Del Rei would be the longest day of walking, but we were ready to enjoy it. I will admit that this was the day where the walk started to get a little difficult. Since we walked 17 miles, that was when my blisters started to form. (This trail was a grade 3 level, but it felt harder than the first day.)

68 Miles Along the El Camino de Santiago

On the second day of the Camino, we trekked along the side of a highway for quite a few miles. It honestly wasn’t the most exciting part of our journey, but we got through it easily since the weather was overcast and a little chilly, making it perfect hiking weather. When we finally reached a small village, there was a rather steep incline up a small mountain. After we reached the top, there was a mystical view that we both enjoyed! I loved all the purple wildflowers.

68 Miles Along the El Camino de Santiago

We walked through quaint little villages and were doing great on time. We eventually reached a great lunch spot where we enjoyed more platos combinados. (I had eggs with potatoes and croquettes this time.) After lunch, there was a lot of downhill walking, which caused my knees to start hurting like it did when I hiked to Machu Picchu. By the end of the day, I was in pain, but was so happy to have reached our hotel in Palas Del Rei called Hotel Casa Benilde.

68 Miles Along the El Camino de Santiago

During our evening in Palas Del Rei, we picked up extra blister Band Aids and enjoyed one of the best dinners at a cute café near the hotel. Our dinner consisted of a Spanish charcuterie board, sangria and a main course, which was a Galician fish with vegetables.

68 Miles Along the El Camino de Santiago
68 Miles Along the El Camino de Santiago

Day 3 of the Camino Francés – Palas Del Rei to Melide:

68 Miles Along the El Camino de Santiago

We enjoyed breakfast at our hotel before starting the hardest day of the pilgrimage (both in reality since it was a grade 4 level and also physically because I was really hurting in both my knees and feet). Even though this journey was a grade 4 level, it honestly felt a bit easier than the day before despite my pain. Plus it was the shortest day for us, which was only 8 miles of walking.

68 Miles Along the El Camino de Santiago

Most of the journey on Day 3 took us through enchanting woodland paths, oak tree forests and mini villages. We even walked past corporate buildings, car dealerships and factories. When we finally reached Melide, it felt like we stepped into a fairytale.

68 Miles Along the El Camino de Santiago

What is cool about arriving in Melide is that this city is where the Camino Francés and Camino Primitivo meet together. Just before entering into the heart of Melide, we passed through the enchanting town of Furelos. We also walked over a gorgeous bridge, which is considered one of the jewels of architecture on the Camino de Santiago.

68 Miles Along the El Camino de Santiago

Since we got into Melide early (around 1:30pm) we were able to rest our feet, grab lunch in the town, get ready and look cute to explore the little village and take photos. I absolutely loved getting lost amongst the cobblestoned streets.

68 Miles Along the El Camino de Santiago

We also had a great time walking through the heart of Melide where we wandered around, grabbed a helado (ice cream) and had some good laughs. The hotel we stayed in Melide was called Hotel Carlos 96 and it was situated perfectly between the heart of the city and also near the old village.

68 Miles Along the El Camino de Santiago

Day 4 of the Camino Francés – Melide to Arzúa:

68 Miles Along the El Camino de Santiago

Day 4 on the Camino de Santiago was considered the easiest day since we would only be walking 8 miles on a grade 3 level. I will admit that we both were still in a little bit of pain, but were starting to feel better. This was probably the hottest day along the pilgrimage as well.

68 Miles Along the El Camino de Santiago

After we ate breakfast at our hotel in Melide, we exited the city and entered into woodland forests, rural paths and a few cute villages. During this day, we stopped a lot to grab ice cream, water and food and to also rest our feet. When you are in pain, it is best to rest as much as you can. That is what gets you through the journey. (Stretching as much as you can is very important too.)

68 Miles Along the El Camino de Santiago

I really loved all of the hidden gems we found during this day! From flowers to cute stoned houses, everything was so photogenic! (Don’t forget to also bring your camera on the Camino.)

68 Miles Along the El Camino de Santiago

Our hotel (Pazo Santa María) in Arzúa was situated in the rural part of town. When we arrived, we both fell in love with how charming and beautiful it was! I felt like I was in a little storybook village there. Pazo Santa María was also the first pazo we stayed in along the Camino. (A pazo is considered a Galician traditional house.)

68 Miles Along the El Camino de Santiago
68 Miles Along the El Camino de Santiago

Pazo Santa María is considered an oasis along the Camino. Situated in a historical manor house dating back to the 18th Century, the pazo was originally commissioned for the family formed by María Micaela de la Rue and Gregorio de Barrio y Figueroa in 1742. I loved walking around the hotel and admiring its beauty, the gorgeous pond and gardens as well as the stunning rural views.

68 Miles Along the El Camino de Santiago

In addition to its beauty, Pazo Santa María also offered both the best dinner and breakfast we had during our pilgrimage. For dinner, we had fresh bread with mango salsa, Galician wine, Galician soup, a stir-fry with chicken and almond cake for dessert. Everything was amazing, plus the surroundings were so beautiful! For breakfast the next morning, we had fresh crepes with chocolate and fruit and there was also a great buffet of typical Spanish breakfast items such as jamón Ibérico, tortilla de España, chorizo and other cold cuts, fresh fruit, yogurt, muffins and more.

68 Miles Along the El Camino de Santiago
68 Miles Along the El Camino de Santiago
68 Miles Along the El Camino de Santiago

Day 5 of the Camino Francés – Arzúa to A Rúa:

68 Miles Along the El Camino de Santiago

After savoring the amazing breakfast at our hotel, one of the staff members had to drive us to the starting point of the Camino for the next day since the pazo was a little out of the way.

68 Miles Along the El Camino de Santiago

Day 5 of the Camino was definitely one of the easiest days for us because we were feeling pain free! It was also a grade 3 level and we walked 11 miles. During this journey, we walked through the rolling green foothills of Galicia, strolled through more fairytale villages, hiked through stunning woodland paths and even got to enjoy a cool rest stop that was decorated with beer bottles. Casa Tía Dolores is a fun place to sip a beer, relax with friends and enjoy the artwork all around you. As a way to recycle the beer bottles, they have all the pilgrims decorate and place them around the rest stop. It’s such a cool and eco-friendly concept.

68 Miles Along the El Camino de Santiago

As we continued to walk, we found a great little restaurant that served pasta! It was such a treat. I had linguine with pesto and fresh vegetables.

68 Miles Along the El Camino de Santiago

When we arrived in the town of A Rúa, we hung out at a campsite where we got to relax and also enjoy food and drinks before we got picked up and transferred to our pazo in Lavacolla – a nearby town between A Rúa and Santiago de Compostela.

68 Miles Along the El Camino de Santiago

It took a little over 10 minutes to get to Pazo Xan Xordo – another beautiful oasis to relax and rejuvenate along the Camino. I absolutely adored this pazo as well and it was so lovely to stroll around it and enjoy a lovely dinner of croquettes, roasted chicken and helado cake! In addition, Pazo Xan Xordo also had a great breakfast in the morning.

68 Miles Along the El Camino de Santiago

Day 6 of the Camino Francés – A Rúa to Santiago de Compostela:

68 Miles Along the El Camino de Santiago

On our final day, we were transferred back to the trail in A Rúa. I will admit that the last day was a little tougher than the day before because we were exhausted. What was getting us through this challenging walk was knowing that we would be reaching the Catedral de Santiago de Compostela in 11 miles. This was also a grade 3 level journey and it took us behind the town of Pedrouzo, past the village of Amenal, around the Santiago de Compostela airport and around Lavacolla where we stayed the night prior. What also made this part of the pilgrimage difficult was the limited amount of bars and cafeterias along the way. Eventually, we found a bar to rest our feet and enjoy lunch. (I had a bocadillo with grilled chicken. It hit the spot.)

68 Miles Along the El Camino de Santiago

We eventually made our way into Santiago de Compostela and it all became real when we eventually started to see the cathedral from a distance. At that point in the journey, my feet were on fire, but I was so determined. We walked through the beautiful city of Santiago de Compostela and then eventually reached the cathedral. Right before we got to the cathedral itself, there was a couple playing a bagpipe. It was such a beautiful moment that I never want to forget!

68 Miles Along the El Camino de Santiago

When we got to the cathedral, everything became real. WE JUST COMPLETED 68 MILES! I remember shedding a few tears. As I stared at the stunning cathedral I took a moment to acknowledge everything I did over those past three weeks. Not only did I complete the Camino de Santiago, I also considered the 27 miles I hiked during the 3-Day Salkantay Trek in Peru. Overall, I walked close to 100 miles over those three weeks! I never thought I would be able to walk that far in my life! I definitely felt proud of myself and realized I could overcome any challenge and achieve anything I set my mind to. I am stronger than I think I am and I have more patience than I realize.

68 Miles Along the El Camino de Santiago

A wonderful treat was realizing that our hotel for the last night was located right next to the Catedral de Santiago de Compostela in the Obradoiro Square. It was the stunning Parador de Santiago de Compostela, which looked like an enchanting palace! (I absolutely LOVE staying in Paradores when I travel to Spain. There is something about a Parador’s authenticity and beauty that makes staying in them so comforting.) Known as one of the most luxurious and beautiful hotels in the Paradores chain, Parador de Santiago de Compostela includes a blend of history, art and tradition regarding the dream of pilgrims and emblem of Santiago. The hotel was built as a royal hospital in 1499 to accommodate pilgrims traveling to Santiago de Compostela. Inside of the hotel is the Parador Museum, which is considered the oldest hotel in the world.

68 Miles Along the El Camino de Santiago

Even though we only had the evening to enjoy Santiago de Compostela, I fell in love with it! There was so much beauty all around, the streets were thriving with pilgrims who had completed the Camino and families were enjoying vacation time. After taking a few photos, Elena and I treated ourselves to pizza, Spanish beer and helado. It was absolutely perfect! We also took this time to purchase souvenirs.

68 Miles Along the El Camino de Santiago

The next day, Elena and I said our goodbyes (she left earlier than me) and I enjoyed a lovely buffet breakfast at Parador de Santiago de Compostela before being picked up to go to the airport.

68 Miles Along the El Camino de Santiago

68 Miles Along the El Camino de Santiago

Overall, I am so happy I did the Camino de Santiago through Petrabax. Doing this journey was such an incredible and inspiring experience. I also felt like I did the Camino de Santiago during the right time in my life. I am happy, fulfilled and on my way to achieve greatness!

68 Miles Along the El Camino de Santiago

Completing the Camino de Santiago reminds me how much of a beautiful and underrated destination Northern Spain is. It’s so different and unique from the rest of the country and there is so much energy, happiness and inspiration there. Some of my favorite parts of the Camino were sharing the journey with Elena of The Carry On Chronicles and making new memories with her; saying “Hola, Buen Camino!” to every friendly face we met along the way; admiring all of the gorgeous landscapes and villages that we walked past; staying in fairytale Paradores in different cities and towns; enjoying delicious Galician food; getting my Pilgrimage Passport stamped twice a day and conquering many miles a day.

68 Miles Along the El Camino de Santiago

This amazing experience wouldn’t have been the same if it weren’t for Petrabax. If you want to do the Camino de Santiago, I couldn’t recommend Petrabax more. For 15% off any Petrabax tour along the Iberian Peninsula, please make sure to use my full name TAYLOR DEER when you call or email. For more information or if you have any questions, please visit Petrabax’s website or email me at info@browneyedflowerchild.com.

68 Miles Along the El Camino de Santiago

BUEN CAMINO!

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14 Comments

  1. Courtney on July 30, 2019 at 5:32 pm

    What an amazing journey! I would love to do this one day

    • Taylor Deer on July 30, 2019 at 6:04 pm

      It definitely was a once in a lifetime experience, Courtney. You would love it! 🙂

  2. Diana on July 30, 2019 at 6:25 pm

    Sounds amazing, Taylor! What type of camera backpack do you have?

  3. Nellie on July 30, 2019 at 8:08 pm

    I Love your chronicles of El Camino. It looks like you and Elena had lots of fun. I’m from Galicia and I live in NY but I never did el camino. After reading your story I would be doing it in the near future. I will definitely consider contacting Petrabax when I am ready. Thank you!
    Nellie Lago

    • Taylor Deer on July 30, 2019 at 8:15 pm

      Thank you so much Nellie! We had such a blast. 🙂 You definitely would enjoy the El Camino. It is such a beautiful experience.

  4. Kim on July 30, 2019 at 8:12 pm

    Wow, so proud of you completing this beautiful journey ~ that had to be so rewarding! To see that beautiful cathedral at the end was really a grand finale of your 6 day hike ~ so amazingly emotional! Glad you got to experience this and that it showed you how strong you are and in great shape ~ loved the blog and all the amazing photos ~ love you, mom xoxo

    • Taylor Deer on July 30, 2019 at 8:16 pm

      Thank you mom! It sure was amazing! 🙂 Love you too!

  5. Christina on August 2, 2019 at 5:09 am

    What an amazing adventure! Thanks for sharing all the info Taylor!! This has definitely been added to the travel list!

    • Taylor Deer on August 2, 2019 at 10:05 am

      Thank you so much Christina! It was definitely an experience I’ll never forget! 🙂

  6. Marisa NeSmith on August 7, 2019 at 11:51 am

    It was so much fun watching your live journey on Instagram! Thanks for sharing all of your wonderful tips and detailed journey on the 6 day hike! We’ve definitely adding this to our list for the future!

    • Taylor Deer on August 7, 2019 at 12:23 pm

      Thank you so much Marisa! It was incredible and you guys would love it. 🙂

  7. Elena Pappalardo on August 9, 2019 at 6:19 pm

    I am so, so happy we got to experience this incredible journey together, Taylor! You’ve been such an inspiration to me and I can’t wait to travel together again! This post is so well-written and the pictures are just gorgeous. Until our next adventures!

    • Taylor Deer on August 9, 2019 at 6:26 pm

      Thank you so much Elena and likewise! I am so proud of you for all that you’ve accomplished and all of the amazing projects you’re working on. I am excited for our future travels! 🙂

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