I hiked just over half of the Camino Francés in 2014 and returned in 2015 to do the Camino from Saint-Jean-PIed-de-Port all the way to Sarría, just short of Santiago. On both occasions, this is the book that almost all of the English speakers on the Camino were carrying. (My 2015 Camino trek is described in the book A Senior Citizen Walks the Camino de Santiago).
However, this review is about Brierley's book, which describes each suggested stage in detail and includes maps, elevation charts, a description of most hostels along the way, and brief descriptions of the cultural background and the history of many places of interest along the Camino. I think there is a general agreement among pilgrims on the Camino that his is the book to carry. It is a bit pricey, but considering the trove of information it contains, it is worth it.
There is no need to stick to Brierley's suggested stages to use the book. I found many of the smaller villages along the way to be interesting places to stay, and I only occasionally finished a day's stage at the town or city that Brierley suggested, but even so, I relied on the book to help me find alternative lodging.
Why am I only giving it four stars if it's such a great book? Because on the Camino, when one is hiking day after day and week after week, every extra ounce in the backpack begins to add up. Many people hiking the Camino start looking for objects in their backpacks that they can leave behind or ship ahead to lighten their packs sometime during the second week. This book has a bit of heft despite its small format. Some people tear out pages as they progress along the Camino to lighten the load, although this is a book that I decided to keep in its dog-eared entirety to refer to in future years. I would give the book five stars if it were offered in Kindle format.
When I hiked the Camino, I had dozens of books loaded on the Kindle app on my tablet computer to read in the evenings while sipping a beer and resting after a hard day's hiking. However, this is the only printed book that I carried.
- Paperback: 288 pages
- Publisher: Kaminn Media; 15 Revised edition edition (1 January 2019)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1912216051
- ISBN-13: 978-1912216055
- Product Dimensions: 11.8 x 1 x 19 cm
- Boxed-product Weight: 272 g
- Average Customer Review: Be the first to review this item
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,930 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)