Transcript – A summary
About this podcast
Hello and welcome to Into the Woods with Holly Worton, this podcast is all about our journey into the woods of ourselves, getting to know who we are, where we are and where we’re going in life that we can create the life that we want to live.
Talking about the Camino Ingles
This time we’re talking about the Camino Ingles, which she has walked twice to research her book on the trail.
This is a great time to plan a future adventure on the trail. what are you going to learn today? We talk about what is the Camino Ingles and how it compares to other Camino’s, why you might want to choose this Camino over the Camino Francis, which is the more popular route.
How to prepare for a long distance walk like this, the best time of the year to go and how to budget for a Camino Ingles adventure. I really, really hope you enjoy this episode. This is the trail that has been fascinating me for the last couple of years.
I originally read Susan’s book probably two years ago, and she’s updated it since then.
On meeting readers
Lovely. Thank you. I hope you enjoyed it. I love to meet people who read my books and sometimes I’m worried. Oh, they know much about me now. It is weird.
When we are authors, we lay bare parts of our soul, which we never show to anybody else.
Yeah. And in a way, I think that’s what keeps people reading rather than going on to other mediums.
Are there too many Camino books?
I’ve read many books about the Camino more the Camino Frances and the Ingles, but I’ve read many books about it because I wanted to do it for many years. And and every book is different because it’s every walker’s personal journey. I am insatiable terms of reading, watching books.
Every Camino book I’ve read is totally different from the other one, even if it’s two people talking about the same trail. I mean, everyone’s inner experience is different.
I think for anyone listening to this, if you’re thinking about writing a walking book or a book based on a trail just do it.
What is the Camino Ingles and why is it called .
Well, this goes back to the Middle Ages, and the hundred years war where English pilgrims could not get from England to Spain without going through France, where they would probably be killed or something. They were not very friendly to them. And they started a different route going to another port in Spain, A Coruna where they could actually disembark and then walk to Santiago de Compostela.
And it was all just about one hundred one hundred miles, one hundred kilometres. And it was all in one single province of Spain and not much France at all. In those days we have to remember that the super highways of mediaeval times was the sea really.
Over a thousand years
It’s quite amazing when you think and that’s what I love about the Camino, this sheer depth of history, such as geography and walking. But you have this huge reservoir of culture and heritage over there just waiting for you to walk on. It’s just amazing. And these are trails that people have been using, as you said, since the Middle Ages.
It’s mind it’s mind boggling to think that people have been doing these routes for many hundreds of years.
What is the Camino and what is Santiago de Compostela and why is this important?
Well, Santiago de Compostela is a pilgrimage site where it’s the tomb of St. James (in Spanish at Santiago.) James was one of the apostles of Jesus who came to Spain to evangelise and then went back and was martyred in Jerusalem. And his disciples brought the body back to Spain. Specifically, it was the ship was blown onto the sea, blown onto the land at itself.
Women on Pilgrimage
I think the pilgrimage, the women who went on pilgrimage to any Camino were generally the women who the villages could not control. Wild women.
And hey said, OK, to get your sins forgiven go walk the Camino, hoping that they would never come back. There’s one book written by Marjorie Kemp. She’s an English pilgrim and she’s written the book.
The Freedom of the Camino
But if you think of it in those days, they were probably free. And I have to admit that when I’m on Camino on pilgrimage, I feel very free. There’s no laundry, there’s no cooking, there’s no homework for the children.
You’re just doing your thing for you and it’s just you. Absolutely. It’s because it was a pilgrimage to try to reconnect on a spiritual level.
Do you have to be Catholic?
It was originally a Catholic pilgrimage because at that time I think the whole of Europe was Catholic and it was not a big deal. Everyone who was everyone was Catholic walking it.
It’s not about you
And sometimes we know about the Camino is not about you. It’s about and these people I think even today they’re people walking with trust. The Camino will provide. And that’s such a saying that you’ll come across over and over again is the.
And it is true, really, in many ways now, I didn’t have any great huge adventures and dramas on the Camino, but in many ways, you know, you think about the Camino Ingles and my first book, which I published, was the Camino Ingles, the Camino actually provided me with a new career. And that is also something which I always wanted to do from a child as I wanted to be an author.
The Camino provided me a chance to reconnect with a dream, which I had forgotten.
Why or when did you decide to walk that Camino Inglis and why did you decide to walk this Camino?
Oh, I’m sorry to say there was nothing deep and meaningful about way. It was because I was getting fat.
And then I decided just to walk more for I was already walking, walking for exercise.
And then some day walks and yes, right here in Australia. I had also wanted to hike in India, in the Himalayas. And then suddenly I heard about the Camino. And I don’t know, people say, did you see the movie the way I saw the movie? But I saw it much after I had already thought that I should walk. Yeah. And that’s one of the things I don’t know how it comes into your mind, but suddenly you start meeting people who’ve done it.
I was also getting a bit of arthritis because II had all this pain. I went to the doctor and the doctor looked at me, did scans and I saw something dramatic – And what’s all that white stuff on my bones? Have I got some terrible disease?
And he said, you’ve got arthritis on every joint.
I said, I can’t. I’m too young.
He said, No, you’re not too young.
And that’s when I said and it’s actually it’s actually pretty trippy. according to me, I was too young for it. But that was also one of the things for me to stop working and also not to carry weight. When you have arthritis, you know, it’s I don’t have after walking, I have to have a little sometimes my toes are tingly , my fingers achey. But everything went after my long walks and training for the Camino
What is the Camino Inglês like and how does it compare to the other Camino’s?
I haven’t done any other Camino and I did this Camino because I was still working at that time and we were planning to go in October, which was autumn. I had read that Autumn is the best season to go.
Finding the Camino Ingles
And we couldn’t go. And I was really grumpy and I said, no, I’m going in 2016. I was looking at and then suddenly this Camino Ingles popped up somewhere as a five day walk, five to six day walk, and it’s a complete Camino.
It qualifies you for the Compostella. And yeah, it’s quiet of course, and it rains a lot, in a green and beautiful part of Spain. And I said, OK, that’s it.
Why do you think someone might want to choose the Camino Ingles over the more well-known Camino Frances?
Well, as in my book, I say the problem with most people when they’re thinking of tackling a big project, even if it’s like writing a book. It’s not that they can’t do it, they don’t believe in themselves.
That’s the oh my goodness, six weeks walking the Camino Frances, I just can’t do it.
- I can’t do it because I’m not healthy enough
- don’t have leave if I’m working,
- I don’t have a vacation time.
- I don’t have money for 40 days.
- this Camino is five to six days only
- And, you know, you don’t need a lot of money.
- You don’t need a huge amount of fitness.
People with disabilities
But, on my first walk there was a lady who was completely blind, and she had left white cane at Heathrow. I met her at the start of the Camino.
And then I met her at the end as well,
She said she met other pilgrims every time who walked with her
Nobody can give me any excuses if a blind girl can walk it.
So can you.
How did you prepare for this walk?
We are lucky, we have a lot of bush and forest around us where we live in suburbia in Australia. there was a forest and a mountain.
OK, I will call it a mountain, a small one. What’s important is to be ready to walk for long stretches, not ten minutes at a time, or to walk for hours. And that’s why you need to have somewhere nice and pretty to walk.
The Mindset makes the difference
Yes, yes. It’s not just about the physical, it’s about kind of having that experience of being in a beautiful place. Yeah, absolutely, and that’s another of my faults, apart from being very lazy and not liking exercise. I also get bored very easily. if I were on the same trail, you know, for a couple of days, I’d say I’m sick of looking at that same tree and that same bird is singing. I need to go to another.
Walking is such it’s important for our mental health. And maybe a couple of books which I read about walking and your physique say it’s not your physical walking but that your thinking is everything is at the speed of walking because that’s what people evolved to do – to walk everywhere.
What did each day look like?
We would get up in the morning and, you know, on my next Camino, I would take a collapsible kettle, because the one thing you cannot get is tea. We would get up and just drink water and start walking immediately, get out quite fast and plan to reached a cafe bar within half an hour or one hour. Have breakfast and coffee, fill up your water bottle and keep walking.
But you still have to the first day when you start, you’re looking for the signs.
I saw the signs
And then by the second day, the signs are looking for you. They just sort of pop out. They just then you start seeing them. I think your your brain kind of gets in. But the first day. Yeah, definitely.
You need to take it slow because you’re looking for you’re searching for the signs.
And what kinds of places were you staying?
Well, we stayed mostly in the pensions, what they called hostals was like a maybe a two star. We did stay to Albergues. It’s just for the experience. And they were quite good deals that I could pay this huge sum of eight euro for the night.
But you walked it both times in the spring and you loved it.
I thought it was beautiful. It was wet. And be aware the Camino Ingles is green because in it rains a lot. People say it’s like Ireland and they’re legends that from Coruna is that there’s a tower from which they saw Ireland and decided to sail there. A Celtic myth.
A second time
Why did you decide to walk the trail a second time? Because of my book.
Once you write a book and when they change the trail on you, what you you do, then you just have to walk it.
Why have they changed it much?
A lot of it is politics. They want certain villages. They said certain villages want to come near them. I think a lot of it is also they changed it to make it closer to the road. it was more convenient maybe for the authorities or I. Yeah. they changed the route a bit in some places. But in my book, I give you both the way to walk the two stages which are more forested
Is it hard to get to the start of this Camino? A Coruna or Ferrol?
It has two starting points. One is A Coruna and you can that is the place which is has the airport. you have to fly into A Coruna This is also the historical port used by most people in mediaeval times and A Coruna was also a royal port. if you were a king or queen, you didn’t want to walk with the hoi polloi on the Frances. they would land at the port at A Coruna and walk from there with their retinues.
A Coruna is a very beautiful town. but the problem is that today it’s only seventy five kilometres to Santiago. doesn’t qualify you for the Compostella, which is the certificate you get at the entrance.
it doesn’t qualify for that, which is why people started walking from another port called Ferrol Ferrol is one hundred and twenty kilometres and you can walk from there. that’s also a port. It’s also an old town which pilgrims used to walk from all the spots of both of these spots. Ferrol is interesting because it’s on a very deep estuary. And historically for for you in England, this is the port which from the Spanish Armidale was launched.
Would you say this is a good trail for beginners who maybe haven’t done another long distance trail before?
Yes, it’s ideal for your first Camino because supposing you decide that you don’t like to walk much and then six days it’s over
Yeah, it’s really nice. It’s quiet. It gives you a lot of thinking time. And yet every evening you do meet other pilgrims and you have time to socialise a bit. But it’s not as if everything is packed and rollicking along.
The Camino Ingles Experience is quite different
And it’s just lovely. You would get that on the Ingles, really like we would pass a couple, but we would see pilgrims, we would turn up at the Albergue and they would be fill, but than we haven’t seen anyone all day.
One hundred kilometres is nothing. It’s nothing. But they were pilgrims walking.
Meetings on the Camino
And I was crossing we had come out of a forest and we were crossing over a bridge over the freeway. And suddenly from the middle of the forest, I heard someone shouting, Susan, Susan!
A guy came up from the forest, they were a couple and it turned out he was one of the one of my readers. And so we caught up and it was very nice to me to meet up. When your book was actually walking the trail with you.
How expensive is the Camino Ingles? What does a good budget to plan for it?
I don’t know today what it would be like because you can’t know how many of those places are open. But at the time when you will, I think it was fifty euro, I’d be two of us. Yeah. It was really ridiculously cheap. And and this is stay in a paid accommodation. Yeah. I guess used to paying about thirty, thirty euro a night and of course the 30 euro was in for the accommodation and then after that.
Yeah. You have coffee and your dinner might be about ten euro next year. It’s really cheap. fifty to sixty.
And if you’re in Betanzos or Santiago a little bit more because those are because they re bigger city. You want to go out and have a nice evening. Yes.
Did you have to book your accommodation in advance or did you kind of show up and find places.
I booked it one night ahead. Yeah. Yeah, that’s what I did. Yeah. The first we booked the hotel in. Ferrol, but then after that every day we booked in advance;
For Albergues, We just you know, we just walked into the albergues.
That’s good. What is the current situation with covid?
Holly that changes every day, but they are really scared of a fourth wave getting them in holy week when people go out and meet people, all the procession’s have been cancelled. Oh, wow. Yeah, everything’s cancelled.
Services and services are cancelled. But the I think churches are open still. But all the huge processions which they used to have or they were cancelled and suddenly you can’t walk the Frances at all because of the recent rulings back to even into Spain from France.
You now have to have your covid certificate. Right. Right. Seventy two hours within 72 hours. And but the point is, if you get onto the Frances, you can’t walk because they’ve got these circles of containment.
You can’t enter into certain areas if you’re not a local. I mean, they’re writing out fines. It’s quite a lot. Three hundred euro fines.
.The other problem is a lot of the hostels and advocates are closed. where do you stay? And in the bigger cities now, they have curfews as well in the night. The same thing as you have, like in Australia. And I presume in the UK you can only have X number of people in a venue.
Yes. if if there’s only one or two coffee bars open and it’s full, what do you do? You have to stand outside. What do you do? it’s everything is more difficult.
The only Camino which you can walk is the Camino Ingles
Yeah, that’s it. But there’s a catch you have to live in Galicia.
You have to be a local, you have to be a local.
And I was following a peregrino, Lorenzo who is I think he runs the agency or something. He did the Camino Ingles, but he was actually having to drive home or to go home every night because tnothing was open. He said none of the accommodation was open.
Hmm. This is a couple of weeks ago, said that he would get stuff to eat and it was quite quiet. There weren’t too many cases and even Santiago was open.
It wasn’t locked down.
But we know that bars have to close by eight o’clock. And you have these restrictions on how many people you can have inside the bar. people are finding having a really tough time, like, yeah, I don’t know if the hostel owners will come back even because how do they manage?
I don’t know. It’s a whole hospitality industry is really been hit hard with this. we shall see. they can be doing less. If you’re listening to this is something to think about either for later this year or probably next year.
Yes, this is actually a holy year when they expect a lot of people to come. I think with a lot of the holy people within Spain walking, but I think even within Spain, unless you’re you go the year, maybe next year, we’re also hoping we can go next year.
I thought we’d go this year. Yeah, I thought we’d do the Frances this year and had that we had planned the Portuguese last year. Yeah, I had both the Portuguese and the Frances for last year and neither of them happened.
Hopefully next year you next year maybe we can meet on the Portuguese, do it together. Yes.
Tell us about your book.
It’s called the Camino Ingles: six days or less to Santiago. And it’s basically all my books are guidebooks. I try and give you a lot of information on them. But I also think it’s more conversational to tell you what I’m thinking.
And also an important thing for everyone who reads my books is obliged to go to the Church of Santa Susana.
I have that story as well of me wandering through the park and suddenly finding this this church to Santa Susanna.
Susan, thank you much for joining us today. I really love talking about the Camino with you. What can people find you online and learn more about you and your adventures in your books?
Oh, thanks. Well, it’s been great talking to you, too. You can find me on Amazon. My name is Susan Jagannath and there isn’t any other Susan Jagannath on Amazon. you’ll find me on Amazon either the print book or the e-book. You can get either of those. I think if you are in the UK, the print book comes to really fast because. Yeah, they’re printing them in the UK.
And I do find that I get a lot of print books sales in the UK.
Yeah. Then I think people like to hold the book and it’s a very small book.
Yeah. I was just thinking because I have I think I have one of the early editions of the e-book and I was just thinking as we were talking about this, I need the updated edition and I think I’m going to get the paperback because it’s nice to just be able to just kind of underline it and take notes in the margins.
And I have had even said in the book to just read the book and leave it at home. But people who’ve actually said, no, no, I took your book, I loved it.
And you know, Holly, and that anyone who’s got the e-book, you can go into your Amazon account area and go into your management devices and you can get the updates. I made it available for free. You can go you can go there and update your book.
Amazon gives you a long list of things where you can update a book after majorly changes. But I just wrote to them and said, look, the Camino has changed it. And also it’s covid.related, they allow you to get an updated copy.
Yes, that’s that’s only fair. I mean, I suppose I could say this is a completely new book by it, but what’s the point? I’d rather have a Camiga, which is like a better friend than two dollars for the book. Yeah.
You can also find me on my website. www.susanjagannath.com
Yes. Buen Camino Thank you for listening,