A conversation with Susan

A conversation with Susan

Conversation with Susan |

Susan had been longing to walk the Camino Francés for a long time but she had to put it off a couple of times due to different problems. She finally planned it for September 2016… only to find out that it was not possible again! She was very disappointed, but… she came across the Camino Inglés and decided that was the Camino for her. Read our conversation to know the whole story.

 

Please tell us a bit about yourself

I’m Susan, I love adventures and learning things. What I don’t like is exercise and gyms, because it can quickly get very boring. I love to be healthy and fit, and I found that walking and hiking is just right for me. One hour in the gym vs four hours walking, there’s no contest there. I’ve been in IT all my life, and my job was to make computers easy for users, so that they could get the solution when they needed it, and where they required it. I am also a bestselling author of two books, a hiker, and now an obsessed grandmother. I am thinking of taking my four-year old granddaughter on my next camino!

 

When did you first hear about the Camino? When did you decide to do it?

I was going to India to visit friends, we were going to hike in the Nilgiris, a mountain range in South India. In the flight out, I saw “The Way” – and thought nothing of it. I had never heard of the Camino, and now suddenly it was everywhere. I became more and fascinated and decided to do it in 2014.

 

Did you prepare either physically or mentally? How?

Oh yes, I walked every day, in different types of terrain, and gradually built up stamina and endurance. By the end of 3 months, I could walk 10 kms in 3 hours carrying a 6 kg backpack. I also ate for energy, too supplements to protect my joints and build up my immunity. Mentally, I began attending pilgrim events and meetups and met others who had done long distance walks.

 

You were not planning to walk the Camino Inglés initially. How was your experience? Is there any particular anecdote you would like to share?

The Camino Inglés turned out to be an exquisite experience, with just enough challenge to push you. It is not an easy stroll. Parts can be challenging, and some of the stages are long. It can be long way between bars and cafés con leche! It was quiet too, and we saw only a few pilgrims. I loved Betanzos, the walled city and the medieval centre is authentic, and while it is ancient, the life within the square in the evening is pumping with music, cafés and families enjoying themselves.

 

You then wrote a guide for the English Way. When/why did you decide to write it and how was the process?

I decided to write it because I couldn’t find accurate documentation on the way. The distances were incorrect, and often, so were the directions. I had kept a brief journal on the way, with notes on distances and landmarks. I was also doing live streams everyday from the way. When I got back, when I was sorting the photos and videos, I kept hearing myself say – I didn’t know this – I should write a book about it…So I did.

(Read my review of Susan’s The Camino Inglés: 6 days (or less) to Santiago).

 

Did you learn Spanish prior to the Camino?

Yes, I tried with DuoLingo. It gave me some words. But when we reached Spain, we could understand nothing. I did print out a list of sentences and words, and I used this to communicate in a few words.

 

Do you think your knowledge of Spanish had any impact on your Camino?

Yes, I think I would have enjoyed it much more, and had a chance to really talk to the people – who were such friendly and helpful people – but we couldn’t talk much! Learning more than Gracias and Por Favor will make a huge difference to your experience.

But don’t let a lack of Spanish stop you!

 

I asked Susan to pick a few Spanish words that she thought you should all know before you start your Camino and this is her list:

  • Common words: el Camino, credencial (Pilgrim’s passport), sello (stamp), Compostela (certificate of having walked at least the last 100km of any Camino).

 

  • Greetings: Hola (hello), buenos días (good morning), buenas tardes (good afternoon/evening), gracias (thank you), disculpe (excuse me), lo siento (I’m sorry).

 

  • ¿Dónde está…?: it means “where is…? and you can combine it with other words to ask about the location of anything. Susan has chosen albergue, el Camino and cathedral.

 

And now you can actually hear Susan say all these words in Spanish! She does a fantastic job too! What about you? Have you been practicing?

 

Today’s Spanish words for the Camino

 

About Susan Jagannath

Conversation with Susan Jagannath

Susan Jagannath successfully combined a passion for reading, a love of writing and a fascination for technology, to create a career in technical writing. With over 50 technical manuals (not) to her name, she finally decided it was time to write the books she wanted to write under her own name.

As an army brat, her childhood included seven different schools, three universities and a couple of emergency evacuations from conflict zones. Travel and adventure were a normal part of life. She now believes in seizing every opportunity to have a new adventure. Whether it’s camping on the beach in Australia, trekking in the Himalayas, kayaking in Queensland, whitewater rafting down the Ganges, or walking the Camino in Spain, her philosophy is to pack it into one or two weeks to create memories for a lifetime, and inspire others to see that the right time for adventure is right now.

Her first bestseller came from her walk in Spain, The Camino Ingles: 6 days to Santiago. What also happened is that Susan fell in love with Spain, and all things Spanish, and is busy making plans to return for a longer time, and maybe, another Camino.

Susan is now on the next adventure of her life, writing books that are not technical manuals, training to be an awesome grandmother, and helping others write and publish their own bestsellers.

To learn more about Susan Jagannath (and to download the map set), you can go to https://www.susanjagannath.com

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¡Buen Camino!

El Camino Inglés

El Camino Inglés

It was the fifth Camino in number of pilgrims last year (https://oficinadelperegrino.com/en/statistics/). In 2018 it continues to grow its popularity. I’m talking about the Camino Inglés, or English Way.

It’s so called because it was mainly British and Irish pilgrims who followed this route. From the 12th century onwards they used to travel by boat to the Galician coast and then they would continue their pilgrimage a pie (on foot). After the 15th century, when king Henry VIII separated from the Catholic Church, the number of pilgrims choosing this Camino decreased dramatically.

These medieval pilgrims arrived at several ports along the northern coast of Galicia, A Coruña being one of the main ones. However, A Coruña is less than 100km from Santiago (and 100km, as you probably know already, is the minimum distance required in order to obtain a Compostela). So, in recent times, Ferrol has become the most popular starting point, since it’s over 100km from Santiago.

 

Can you still start the Camino Inglés in A Coruña?

But that doesn’t mean you can’t start in A Coruña anymore. In fact, you can. And you can still be eligible to obtain a Compostela. How is this possible? You can can walk the first 25km in your own country or area.

If you are planning to do this, don’t forget to get your credencial stamped during that first stage. You will need evidence that you’ve completed the required 100km in order to get your Compostela.

Whether you start in A Coruña or Ferrol, you should remember that you need to get your credencial stamped twice per day if you are planning to get a Compostela once you arrive in Santiago.

Galerías in A Coruña

Galerías in A Coruña

Torre de Hércules. A Coruña

Torre de Hércules

For things to see and do in A Coruña, check this: Turismo Coruña website.

 

You can complete this pilgrimage in six days or less (check my review of Susan Jagannath’s guidebook). So the Camino Inglés could be a good choice if you only have a few days to do your pilgrimage.

This is not a particularly difficult Camino, although there are a couple of hills that could prove a bit challenging. Also, it goes mostly through rural areas and small villages. So there are some long stretches without bares or tiendas (shops). Make sure you have plenty of agua (water) and some snacks with you!

 

The Camino Inglés from Ferrol

As I mentioned above, the most popular starting point these days is Ferrol, where you can find a stone marker signalling the beginning of the Camino quite close to the tourist office, in the port area. For more info on Ferrol: http://www.turismo.gal/que-visitar/cidades/ferrol?langId=en_US

After you get out of town, you will be bordering the Ría de Ferrol, which provides stunning views. If you prefer to make your Camino shorter, you can walk up to Pontedeume on your first day (31km). If you’d rather take things slower, then Neda is the best place to stop (15km).

 

After Pontedeume, your next stop is Betanzos, an interesting town with a lovely old quarter. If you have time to explore a bit more, you should consider going to the Parque do Pasatempo, an astonishing place built by the García brothers.

These two brothers emigrated to Argentina (1870), made a fortune there and returned to Betanzos. Here, they created schools, hospitales… and this park where you can find all sorts of unexpected things (https://www.galiciamaxica.eu/galicia/a-coruna/pasatempo/#respond).

 

Oh! And let’s not forget that in Betanzos you can find the best tortilla in Spain: http://www.expansion.com/fueradeserie/gastro/2018/08/06/5b617442ca4741f5728b45e0.html

 

After Betanzos, you will go through Hospital de Bruma and Sigüeiro before you reach Santiago. Hospital de Bruma takes its name from an old hospital for pilgrims that does no longer exist. The current albergue is beside the spot where this old hospital used to be.

 

Some parts of the Camino Inglés have been rerouted recently, but don’t let that concern you: it is well signposted and you will not have any problems finding your way.

 

Do you think this could be the Camino for you?

 

Well, it is the Camino for me! You can start reading about my experience on the Camino Inglés in Empezando el Camino Inglés and Walking with strangers.

 

Today’s Spanish words

For the pronunciation of a pie, credencial and Compostela, check ¿Cómo vas a hacer el Camino?

 

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¡Buen Camino!

The Camino Inglés: 6 days (or less) to Santiago

The Camino Inglés: 6 days (or less) to Santiago

When I felt I had to walk the Camino, one of my first questions was:

Which Camino should I do?

I didn’t feel ready to tackle a long one, and it wasn’t feasible either, given my personal circumstances. So I started looking into doing the last 100 km of a Camino. And then I came across Susan Jagannath‘s book The Camino Inglés: 6 days (or less) to Santiago. I read it and my decision was made!

It’s a fantastic little book full of practical information. It takes you from the planning stages all the way to the start of the Camino in Ferrol and from there to Santiago de Compostela.

 

The Camino Ingles: 6 days (or less) to Santiago

  • Chapters 1-4 are all about planning and preparing:

Chapter 1: we learn about the author’s motivation to walk and why she chose this route. There is also a lot of encouragement for anyone who is thinking of doing a Camino: don’t let things like age or level of fitness stop you.

Chapter 2 is all about preparation: mindset, fitness, nutrition, preparing your feet… and even a bit of Spanish! Yes, you can get a list of basic Spanish words and phrases to use on your Camino such as gracias (thank you), por favor (please), buenos días (good morning) or vino tinto (red wine).

There are a few more words in the chapters devoted to the actual walking, but the main ones can be found in this chapter. Some of these words have already been covered by me in previous posts, some others haven’t. You can scroll down for the audio files of the new ones (and some links to the old ones).

Chapter 3 is about planning: maps, transport, bag transfer services, safety issues (list of emergency numbers included) and mochila packing, with lists of essential and optional items.

Chapter 4 is about getting there: booking flights, train and bus services, types of accommodations.

  • Chapters 5-11.

These describe the author’s walk from Ferrol to Santiago. Each stage includes distances, elevation maps, list of available accommodations and extra insightful tips.

  • Finally, chapter 12.

It includes extra resources, such as websites, books she read before the walk and a Pilgrim’s Prayer.

And… this guide also includes a downloadable free set of maps of the towns and villages mentioned in the book.

I loved the way this is a very informative yet entertaining book. It gives you very easy to understand advice and it offers options and alternatives for people with different levels of fitness or health issues. It gives lots of encouragement too, all in an easy-to-read style (and humorous at times!).

 

The Camino Inglés: 6 days (or less) to Santiago is available on paperback and Kindle. I have the Kindle version (I have the Kindle app on my phone: no extra weight!), so I can’t comment on the size/weight of the paperback, but I’m guessing it’s not too heavy to carry in your mochila since it seems to be around 115 pages long.


Disclosure: this is an affiliate link. This means that if you click on it and happen to buy the book, I will get a small commission at no extra cost to you.

 

About Susan

Susan Jagannath

Susan Jagannath successfully combined a passion for reading, a love of writing and a fascination for technology, to create a career in technical writing. With over 50 technical manuals (not) to her name, she finally decided it was time to write the books she wanted to write under her own name.

 

As an army brat, her childhood included seven different schools, three universities and a couple of emergency evacuations from conflict zones. Travel and adventure were a normal part of life. She now believes in seizing every opportunity to have a new adventure.

 Whether it’s camping on the beach in Australia, trekking in the Himalayas, kayaking in Queensland, whitewater rafting down the Ganges, or walking the Camino in Spain, her philosophy is to pack it into one or two weeks to create memories for a lifetime, and inspire others to see that the right time for adventure is right now.

Her first bestseller came from her walk in Spain, The Camino Ingles: 6 days to Santiago. What also happened is that Susan fell in love with Spain, and all things Spanish, and is busy making plans to return for a longer time, and maybe, another Camino.

Susan is now on the next adventure of her life, writing books that are not technical manuals, training to be an awesome grandmother, and helping others write and publish their own bestsellers.

To learn more about Susan Jagannath (and to download the map set), you can go to https://www.susanjagannath.com

 

Today’s Spanish words

For the pronunciation of Compostela, credencial and sello check ¿Cómo vas a hacer el Camino?

If you don’t know how to pronounce albergue, hostal and hotel check ¿Dónde vas a dormir?

For the pronunciation of Ración and tapa check ¿Dónde vas a comer?

Check Shopping on the Camino for the pronunciation of supermercado, farmacia and empanada.

For the pronunciation of lavadero and hospitalero check El albergue.

 

Make sure you don’t miss any posts by subscribing for free here. That way, when a new post is out, you will get it in your inbox. And… you get access to exclusive content too.

 

¡Buen Camino!