This week, I have great pleasure in introducing you to husband and wife team David and Le, who have a huge following over on their fantastic travel blog Wise Monkeys Abroad. Not only are they seriously well-travelled even though they have to squeeze in their numerous trips amongst full-time work, but they’re also wonderful photographers. They share their fascinating 800km walk crossing the Camino de Santiago from France into Spain and the different landscapes they encountered along the way.
Over to you, David and Le…
We don’t really have a specific style of holiday. It will vary, depending on where we are going. Sometimes it’s about the cultural experience where we get to try foods or visit religious or sacred sites. Other times, it might be for the historical significance of a place or the natural beauty and wildlife. We rarely opt for beach getaways but it has been on the cards.
Where did you go?
We walked the Camino de Santiago – 800 km from the south of France into Spain.
It was something that we have wanted to do for a while – it was a “bucket list” for before we turned 40. We made it with about 8 years still to spare!
Just the two of us. But the way that it turned out, we met plenty of other walkers/pilgrims along the way.
Where did you stay? How did you decide?
We stayed at different towns along the way, spaced out so on average we were walking about 20- 23 km per day. The accommodation varied between hotels, hostels and motels. They varied in quality as well as comfort. We chose to pre-book ours and opt for private rooms with en-suites. Most people who do the Camino stay in albergues (which are like dormitories) and are not pre-booked.
Every single moment was memorable but the most memorable was probably walking into the Old Town of Santiago – after six weeks of walking and then arriving: It was the most rewarding and overwhelming experience – a wave of emotions swept over us when we stood in front of the Cathedral.
Any sights, activities you want to shout about?
We walked – it might not be everyone’s idea of a holiday but we saw plenty of little Spanish towns along the way. We learnt a lot about the history of the area as well as got exposed a little more to the Knights of the Templar.
It can be – if you are willing to carry your backpack the entire way and sleep in the albergues/hostals (i.e with shared rooms and bathrooms). It wouldn’t cost too much per day.
Your top tip/s for the area?
It is your Camino so do it YOUR way. There will always be people who say that the true Camino is carrying your bags on your back and staying in the dormitory-style accommodation and that you HAVE to walk the entire way. We think that is not only judgmental but it also throws out the concept of everything that is the Camino.
Which photo is your favourite and why? Tell us the story behind it.
The sunrise. This was Day 1 where we had to walk up and over the Pyrenees. It was about 27 km (mostly) uphill. And this was after about an hour of walking (covering only about 3-4km) and we were SO exhausted. Then when we turned around, we saw this view and it made us stop and really appreciate what we were doing. It was at that moment it all sunk in, we were walking the Camino.
Yes, we would recommend that it is an experience everyone should have in their lifetime. We would go back in a heartbeat. We dream about returning often either on the same route or another route!
What are the five holiday essentials you couldn’t live without?
• Clean underwear
• Local currency
• An open-mind
That’s an impossible question to answer. We have LOTS of favourite places and ALL for different reasons. And it is not necessarily a place that we remember but the experience.If you would like to be featured on Holiday Snapshots, please email me at [email protected] and I look forward to including your travel stories.