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Pilgrimage alone in Spain: From happy and touching experiences on the Camino

The Camino is much more than just a hike - it is a spiritual journey to yourself. On this path, everyday life, encounters and the stories you gather there merge into a fascinating experience.

In this blog article I share with you my personal experiences on this path.

Planning and reasons for this journey to myself


For this journey, I am consciously choosing to set out alone as a woman. The idea came to me when I was hiking in the north of Vietnam. There I was walking with my host mother Mama Zuzu - from the indigenous and matriarchal mountain people of the Black Hmong Tribe - in wild and romantic Sapa.

But why do I want to go on pilgrimage at all? Aside from the fact that I love hiking and pilgrimage has always been on my bucket list as an adventure, there are other reasons. After almost a year of traveling the world, I'm looking for some answers and companionship with myself to reflect on everything. To do that, I'm drawn from Asia to Europe - back to more familiar territory, where I'll continue our sustainable world journey with my friend Flo this winter.

In addition, Flo has been raving to me about pilgrimage. In order to "do our own thing" again, as we call it, after this long time, he will hike another stretch of the Camino during the same time. For him it goes with his dad and uncle on a Czech route and for me alone to Spain.

The preparations for the pilgrimage are very simple. I don't really need maps for the pilgrimage routes. Because the original route called Camino Francés - which I chose - is excellently signposted. It is exactly this simplicity that attracts me so much to this hike and the pilgrimage route.


My start into the pilgrimage adventure


I start my pilgrimage with a touch of adventure after a spectacular car ride through the picturesque mountains with a ride-share from BlaBlaCar. When I arrive in the evening at the bar Albergue La Escuela in the Castilla y León region, I am warmly welcomed into the pilgrim:in community.

At dinner, I get to know Rosa, an Italian, better. As we chat, I tell her about my upcoming start the next day. "Do you want to have breakfast and start together with me?", Rosa offers me. I agree and we agree to meet here in the morning at 7am sharp.

The next morning, as Rosa and I sit down to breakfast, a group of Frenchmen rush into the hostel, soaking wet. The weather seems to be presenting us with a challenge, but I remember my parents' words, "There's no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothes." So I put on my rain poncho and get ready for my first step on the Camino.

The phenomenon of pilgrim friendships


A pilgrim friendship is a connection with one or more people that you can make on the Camino. This can be as brief as the blink of an eye or last for several days, even weeks. Most of the time there is little contact afterwards, which makes the time together and the opportunity to open up very special.

Therefore, although I set out on this adventure alone, I rarely feel lonely on the Camino. From the first second I am accompanied by Rosa, the Italian, from the first hostel in Castile until I cross the border into Galicia. Directly on the first day of walking, thanks to her, I meet a large group of Italians who immediately welcome me lovingly on the way towards Vilar.

Although this Italian group feels like Ü60, I can't keep up with them for long. They run up to 35 km per day, while I start first in peace with 15 km per day. From noon on I am alone on the road and use the time to just be and to reflect. Already I am very grateful that I kept to my packing list and carry only 6kg with me - otherwise I would run even slower.

The next day I meet two Hungarian girls, Orsi and Ági, who are my age, in a hostel. It immediately "clicks" with us. Fortunately, we have about the same pace at the beginning. After that, it crystallizes that Ági is running compared to us. Instead of rushing us, we run for it at our pace through the green Galicia. Ági thus gets more coffee breaks until we meet again and talk about God and the world.

Speaking of God. Every morning they pray together and sing songs. On the first morning together, I follow because I still want to fill my water bottle at a free drinking fountain. When I see them in front of a small chapel in the pilgrimage town of Sarria and within earshot, I recognize the melody.

As they sing in Hungarian, I join in in German, "Thank you, for this good morning, thank you, for every new day..." Amazed that I know the song, they smile at me in surprise without stopping to sing. That was just magical.

When we've been hiking together for a few days, Orsi suddenly says, "I can't remember the last time I saw so many smiling faces in just two days." Each:r greets each other warmly with a cheerful "Buon Camino."

A woman from Ireland, who is completing the Camino for the third time, tells me about her personal motivation. She has lost two brothers and finds comfort and peace in nature. Along the way, I meet other people who are walking the Camino because of bereavement. Although I can't keep up with the Irish woman for long because of my bladder, her story stays in my heart and I ease back into my pace. At the next place I buy a blister plaster. Then it runs again.

Near Triacastela, I tell a particularly warm group of two retired French couples that I am writing travel articles. One of the women shows me her notebook and says as we exchange notes and thoughts: "Each of us is a blogger in his or her own way."

When I meet her again later, I'm really into it and well into my run. As I pass her, she and the three Frenchmen form a trellis for me out of their walking sticks. As I walk through, I get goosebumps and grin all over my face.

I could tell you about so many inspiring people, like an American who hangs up his hammock twice a day on the trail: just to look at the clouds. But I'm running out of lines for that. After all, we also want to arrive in Santiago together. So on we go.


Stops along the Camino: From bagpipes to free food for pilgrims


Along the Camino there are stations that operate on a donation basis. In these houses and shelters food is offered free of charge. I can only recommend. Once there was even a small wine barrel for refreshment at Casa Xaymaca.

Another time suddenly sounds bagpipe music in the forest, which blends harmoniously with the rustling of the leaves. While I walk along the path, I discover the corresponding bagpiper. I stand there for a while, listening to the music and stamp this station in my pilgrim's passport.

My favorite station is the one of Mirjam Voets. On the roadside - only about three days walk away from Santiago - she has made herself comfortable on a small wall with her dog Raton and cuts out sayings that she gives to pilgrims. In addition, a sign with "Tell me your story" in English and Spanish hangs on the tree next to her. Here she invites hikers to pause and share their thoughts.

She tells me that she has traveled with her two horses all the way to Santiago de Compostela. "I believe in the magic of the Camino," she assures me, and proudly reports that this is why she found a house for herself and her animals just a few kilometers from the roadside. She is currently writing up her story in her book, which is in the final stages of proofreading with her publisher. Here you can find video footage of her journey.

Later, two older ladies and two young women join them. Each of them gets a piece of paper from Mirjam. One of the girls, Julia, thinks it's so nice that she pulls out saying cards from her backpack and hands them out to all of us. We are allowed to draw them ourselves. After that, we read the card and the saying card in turn. And as is often the case, the cards fit our life situations exactly.

When it is the turn of one of the older ladies to read the card, her voice breaks and she begins to cry. The card said something like you don't have to let others' opinions limit you. As I stand next to her, tears come to my eyes as well. "Do you want a hug?" I ask her softly. She agrees. So the two of us - actual strangers - stand arm in arm on the Camino and weep.

These encounters, as I have described them, are magical and cannot be forced. But when they do occur, they are all the more precious. With all these memories in my luggage, my pilgrimage adventure is coming to an end. It feels bittersweet. On one hand, I am happy to arrive and look forward to rest. On the other hand, my feet are starting to hurt and I am sad that this special experience is coming to an end.
The Camino is also about coming to terms with oneself and not having to live up to the expectations of others. The path encourages us to leave our comfort zone and develop our own perception.

Almost there: Santiago, here I come!


I have overcome my challenges on the Camino: Be it to admit my mistakes at certain points or to have put the rain shower and the snoring bedfellows in the hostels behind me. Thanks to earplugs.

It is the last evening. A Spanish woman named Gema Martin, whom I have met since the first day on the Camino with her boyfriend, invites me to a last dinner. We meet with a large group full of Spaniards, Latin Americans, etc. in a beautiful beer garden and toast the last evening of our journey.

As I sit there with them, I can hardly believe it's over. As I always say. "Time flies when you're having fun." The next day, I'm already running into Santiago. Finally made it. My study friend Ronja and her partner Philipp are waiting for me at the cathedral square and welcome me to Santiago de Compostela.

Afterwards, I pick up my certificate at the pilgrims' office. A board there shows that 937 pilgrims have already arrived today alone. When I come out again, I see the Spaniards from yesterday again. Joyfully we hug each other and celebrate our success together with a beer and a tortilla.

A pilgrimage route full of IMPACKT


If you also want to experience the magic of the Camino de Santiago, I recommend you to grab your walking shoes and start walking. Here you will find all the information you need about organizing and packing for the pilgrimage.

I am sure that you can make a real IMPACT on pilgrimage - for yourself, for others and for sustainable tourism.

Now it only remains for me to say, "Have fun and buen camino."

Best regards,
Franzi

Pilgrimage alone in Spain: From happy and touching experiences on the Camino

The Camino is much more than just a hike - it is a spiritual journey to yourself. On this path, everyday life, encounters and the stories you gather there merge into a fascinating experience.

In this blog article I share with you my personal experiences on this path.

Planning and reasons for this journey to myself


For this journey, I am consciously choosing to set out alone as a woman. The idea came to me when I was hiking in the north of Vietnam. There I was walking with my host mother Mama Zuzu - from the indigenous and matriarchal mountain people of the Black Hmong Tribe - in wild and romantic Sapa.

But why do I want to go on pilgrimage at all? Aside from the fact that I love hiking and pilgrimage has always been on my bucket list as an adventure, there are other reasons. After almost a year of traveling the world, I'm looking for some answers and companionship with myself to reflect on everything. To do that, I'm drawn from Asia to Europe - back to more familiar territory, where I'll continue our sustainable world journey with my friend Flo this winter.

In addition, Flo has been raving to me about pilgrimage. In order to "do our own thing" again, as we call it, after this long time, he will hike another stretch of the Camino during the same time. For him it goes with his dad and uncle on a Czech route and for me alone to Spain.

The preparations for the pilgrimage are very simple. I don't really need maps for the pilgrimage routes. Because the original route called Camino Francés - which I chose - is excellently signposted. It is exactly this simplicity that attracts me so much to this hike and the pilgrimage route.


My start into the pilgrimage adventure


I start my pilgrimage with a touch of adventure after a spectacular car ride through the picturesque mountains with a ride-share from BlaBlaCar. When I arrive in the evening at the bar Albergue La Escuela in the Castilla y León region, I am warmly welcomed into the pilgrim:in community.

At dinner, I get to know Rosa, an Italian, better. As we chat, I tell her about my upcoming start the next day. "Do you want to have breakfast and start together with me?", Rosa offers me. I agree and we agree to meet here in the morning at 7am sharp.

The next morning, as Rosa and I sit down to breakfast, a group of Frenchmen rush into the hostel, soaking wet. The weather seems to be presenting us with a challenge, but I remember my parents' words, "There's no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothes." So I put on my rain poncho and get ready for my first step on the Camino.

The phenomenon of pilgrim friendships


A pilgrim friendship is a connection with one or more people that you can make on the Camino. This can be as brief as the blink of an eye or last for several days, even weeks. Most of the time there is little contact afterwards, which makes the time together and the opportunity to open up very special.

Therefore, although I set out on this adventure alone, I rarely feel lonely on the Camino. From the first second I am accompanied by Rosa, the Italian, from the first hostel in Castile until I cross the border into Galicia. Directly on the first day of walking, thanks to her, I meet a large group of Italians who immediately welcome me lovingly on the way towards Vilar.

Although this Italian group feels like Ü60, I can't keep up with them for long. They run up to 35 km per day, while I start first in peace with 15 km per day. From noon on I am alone on the road and use the time to just be and to reflect. Already I am very grateful that I kept to my packing list and carry only 6kg with me - otherwise I would run even slower.

The next day I meet two Hungarian girls, Orsi and Ági, who are my age, in a hostel. It immediately "clicks" with us. Fortunately, we have about the same pace at the beginning. After that, it crystallizes that Ági is running compared to us. Instead of rushing us, we run for it at our pace through the green Galicia. Ági thus gets more coffee breaks until we meet again and talk about God and the world.

Speaking of God. Every morning they pray together and sing songs. On the first morning together, I follow because I still want to fill my water bottle at a free drinking fountain. When I see them in front of a small chapel in the pilgrimage town of Sarria and within earshot, I recognize the melody.

As they sing in Hungarian, I join in in German, "Thank you, for this good morning, thank you, for every new day..." Amazed that I know the song, they smile at me in surprise without stopping to sing. That was just magical.

When we've been hiking together for a few days, Orsi suddenly says, "I can't remember the last time I saw so many smiling faces in just two days." Each:r greets each other warmly with a cheerful "Buon Camino."

A woman from Ireland, who is completing the Camino for the third time, tells me about her personal motivation. She has lost two brothers and finds comfort and peace in nature. Along the way, I meet other people who are walking the Camino because of bereavement. Although I can't keep up with the Irish woman for long because of my bladder, her story stays in my heart and I ease back into my pace. At the next place I buy a blister plaster. Then it runs again.

Near Triacastela, I tell a particularly warm group of two retired French couples that I am writing travel articles. One of the women shows me her notebook and says as we exchange notes and thoughts: "Each of us is a blogger in his or her own way."

When I meet her again later, I'm really into it and well into my run. As I pass her, she and the three Frenchmen form a trellis for me out of their walking sticks. As I walk through, I get goosebumps and grin all over my face.

I could tell you about so many inspiring people, like an American who hangs up his hammock twice a day on the trail: just to look at the clouds. But I'm running out of lines for that. After all, we also want to arrive in Santiago together. So on we go.


Stops along the Camino: From bagpipes to free food for pilgrims


Along the Camino there are stations that operate on a donation basis. In these houses and shelters food is offered free of charge. I can only recommend. Once there was even a small wine barrel for refreshment at Casa Xaymaca.

Another time suddenly sounds bagpipe music in the forest, which blends harmoniously with the rustling of the leaves. While I walk along the path, I discover the corresponding bagpiper. I stand there for a while, listening to the music and stamp this station in my pilgrim's passport.

My favorite station is the one of Mirjam Voets. On the roadside - only about three days walk away from Santiago - she has made herself comfortable on a small wall with her dog Raton and cuts out sayings that she gives to pilgrims. In addition, a sign with "Tell me your story" in English and Spanish hangs on the tree next to her. Here she invites hikers to pause and share their thoughts.

She tells me that she has traveled with her two horses all the way to Santiago de Compostela. "I believe in the magic of the Camino," she assures me, and proudly reports that this is why she found a house for herself and her animals just a few kilometers from the roadside. She is currently writing up her story in her book, which is in the final stages of proofreading with her publisher. Here you can find video footage of her journey.

Later, two older ladies and two young women join them. Each of them gets a piece of paper from Mirjam. One of the girls, Julia, thinks it's so nice that she pulls out saying cards from her backpack and hands them out to all of us. We are allowed to draw them ourselves. After that, we read the card and the saying card in turn. And as is often the case, the cards fit our life situations exactly.

When it is the turn of one of the older ladies to read the card, her voice breaks and she begins to cry. The card said something like you don't have to let others' opinions limit you. As I stand next to her, tears come to my eyes as well. "Do you want a hug?" I ask her softly. She agrees. So the two of us - actual strangers - stand arm in arm on the Camino and weep.

These encounters, as I have described them, are magical and cannot be forced. But when they do occur, they are all the more precious. With all these memories in my luggage, my pilgrimage adventure is coming to an end. It feels bittersweet. On one hand, I am happy to arrive and look forward to rest. On the other hand, my feet are starting to hurt and I am sad that this special experience is coming to an end.
The Camino is also about coming to terms with oneself and not having to live up to the expectations of others. The path encourages us to leave our comfort zone and develop our own perception.

Almost there: Santiago, here I come!


I have overcome my challenges on the Camino: Be it to admit my mistakes at certain points or to have put the rain shower and the snoring bedfellows in the hostels behind me. Thanks to earplugs.

It is the last evening. A Spanish woman named Gema Martin, whom I have met since the first day on the Camino with her boyfriend, invites me to a last dinner. We meet with a large group full of Spaniards, Latin Americans, etc. in a beautiful beer garden and toast the last evening of our journey.

As I sit there with them, I can hardly believe it's over. As I always say. "Time flies when you're having fun." The next day, I'm already running into Santiago. Finally made it. My study friend Ronja and her partner Philipp are waiting for me at the cathedral square and welcome me to Santiago de Compostela.

Afterwards, I pick up my certificate at the pilgrims' office. A board there shows that 937 pilgrims have already arrived today alone. When I come out again, I see the Spaniards from yesterday again. Joyfully we hug each other and celebrate our success together with a beer and a tortilla.

A pilgrimage route full of IMPACKT


If you also want to experience the magic of the Camino de Santiago, I recommend you to grab your walking shoes and start walking. Here you will find all the information you need about organizing and packing for the pilgrimage.

I am sure that you can make a real IMPACT on pilgrimage - for yourself, for others and for sustainable tourism.

Now it only remains for me to say, "Have fun and buen camino."

Best regards,
Franzi

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IP1 Suitcase

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Suitcase M

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Size: M

€149.95*
IP1 Crossbody Bag

Colour: flora pink

€39.95*
IP1 Crossbody Bag

Colour: iron grey

€39.95*
IP1 Suitcase

Colour: Spring Green

Size: M

€149.95*
Suitcase M

Colour: polar white

Size: M

€149.95*
Suitcase S

Colour: flora pink

Size: S

€129.95*
IP1 Suitcase

Colour: Spring Green

Size: S

€129.95*
IP1 Beautycase

Colour: polar white

€69.95*
Suitcase S

Colour: deep sea green

Size: S

€129.95*
IP1 Crossbody Bag

Colour: Garden Apricot

€39.95*
IP1 Crossbody Bag

Colour: glacier blue

€39.95*
Wheel set

Colour: deep sea green

€19.95*
Suitcase M

Colour: deep sea green

Size: M

€149.95*
Suitcase S

Colour: glacier blue

Size: S

€129.95*
IP1 Beautycase

Colour: iron grey

€69.95*
IP1 Beautycase

Colour: deep sea green

€69.95*
Suitcase S

Colour: lava black

Size: S

€129.95*
IP1 Crossbody Bag

Colour: lava black

€39.95*
Wheel set

Colour: flora pink

€19.95*
IP1 Crossbody Bag

Colour: Spring Green

€39.95*
Suitcase S

Colour: sunset yellow

Size: S

€129.95*
Suitcase L

Colour: lava black

Size: L

€159.95*
Suitcase L

Colour: polar white

Size: L

€159.95*
Suitcase M

Colour: flora pink

Size: M

€149.95*
Suitcase S

Colour: polar white

Size: S

€129.95*
IP1 Crossbody Bag

Colour: deep sea green

€39.95*
Suitcase L

Colour: flora pink

Size: L

€159.95*
Wheel set

Colour: glacier blue

€19.95*
IP1 Beautycase

Colour: Spring Green

€69.95*
IP1 Suitcase

Colour: Garden Apricot

Size: M

€149.95*
Suitcase M

Colour: glacier blue

Size: M

€149.95*