Maps, Guide Books, Diaries/Journals, & Web Forums for the Camino:
Comment: Why do many popular guide books seem to go put much effort into streamlining their formats yet print on heavy paper? Once on the Camino, pack weight becomes a critical focus - some pilgrims (claim to) feel relief by tearing out only a few pages from a guide book. Maybe one day...?
Historical Precedent. The history of Camino guide books is noted for having what is called the first tourist book, the 'Codex Calixtinus' (1140 ad), also known as the 'Liber Sancti Jacobi'. Volume 5 of the 'Liber Sancti Jacobi' is about the 'Camino Frances' from France to Santiago and gives detailed descriptions of religious sites, paths and customs on the 'Camino'. The 'Liber' is so accurate as a base reference guide that we give it proper recognition by listing it first.
'Codex Calixtinus' (1140 AD). Guide. Also known as the 'Liber Sancti Jacobi', this was the official guide book in Medieval times. The 5th book of the Codex is still considered the definitive source for modern guide books. Four pilgrimage routes listed in the Codex originate in France and converge at Puente la Reina. From there, a well-defined route crosses northern Spain, linking Burgos, Carrión de los Condes, Sahagún, León, Astorga, and Compostela.
CAMINO PACK DIARIES & JOURNAL NOTEBOOKS:
THE PILGRIM SOUL: Your Journal for the Camino de Santiago (2015). Susan Thompson (Peregrino). Trek diary/journal. Compact. Waterproof cover. Three pages are set aside per day for diary entry, drawings, sellos (stamps), photographs and other mementos from the Camino. Quotes are provided throughout the book that track the progress of your pilgrimage.
Ekit. Ekit is a global phone provider at very reasonable prices (comparable to Skype). They offer phones and plans to fit a range of budgets. Ekit also includes with its phones a free Web-Diary that can daily update itself with photos and a short description of your current location's cultural context, monuments, cathedrals, etc. Another feature of this free service is that family and friends can leave comments and news from home through their browser (and you can leave responses as well). The phone has 'GPS' capability and can be continued after your trip at a very low maintenance cost.
GUIDES & REFERENCE BOOKS:
Pilgrim's Guide to the Camino De Santiago (2014).. Guide book. . John Brierly. Probably the most
popular guidebook covering most of the pilgrim routes from all Europe to Santiago de Compostela. His books are laid out in stages but try your own way, including staying off-stage to avoid crowds.
Special note: this guide is light weight and compact enough to be a backpack 'essential'.
Camino De Santiago: Way of St. James from the Pyrennes to Santiago - ROTH.E4835. (Rother Walking Guide), 2013. Guide book. Cordula Rabe (Author). Maybe tied with 'Brierly' for popularity
among european pilgrims. Smaller size than 'Brierly' but equally detailed, at least.
Camino de Santiago: St Jean to Santiago. Michelin Map Guide #160. At about $7 USD!, this is a
definite bargain. 'Typical' Michelin Guide details all in a slim (lite weight!) fold-out. Paths, villages, hostels,
hotels, and up-to-date.
The Way of St James - a Walker's Guide - Le Puy to Santiago. A Cicerone Guide. Alison Raju.
A tidy, thorough guide but again somewhat heavy for some.
The Pilgrimage Road to SANTIAGO: The Complete Cultural Handbook. Guide, 430 pages.
David Gitlitz and Linda Kay Davidson. Listed subjects: art, architecture, geology, history, folklore, saints' lives,
flora & fauna. It's all here, and more. For the general public and data wizards.
UK not-for-profit. The main on-line source of Camino information and guides. Extensive selection.
'Off the Road: A Modern-Day Walk Down the Pilgrim's Route into Spain.' Guide. Jack Hitt.
WEB SITE GUIDES:
American Pilgrims on the Camino. Web site. The only American organization authorized to provide the official Camino 'Credentiale' which is required to 'win' a 'Compostela' carte of completing the Camino.
Camino de Santiago Forum. Web site. Perhaps the major web site for preparing and sending
personal suggestions and inquiries.
Trail Journals. Backpacker journals & fotos collected from all over the globe. Many Santiago pilgrims.
The Caminopedia Project. Innovative Web guide of Info and resources to prepare to walk the
JohnnieWalker-Santiago Blog. Go here to get the statistics of how many walked the Camino by
year and by country. Blogger operates a 'refugio' on the Camino.
Galicia, the Best Way. Various routes through Galicia from Spain and Portugal to Santiago, Finistere and Muxia. Very informative with up-to-date weather reports on route points.
Camino Adventures. Lots of neat tips and information. These pages are intended to help you plan your pilgrimage, (or walking holiday), and keep you in contact with other pilgrims after you have gone back to your daily life.