josef hammer jun. 

Camino de Santiago: The Video

Follow the entire Camino in under one second per kilometer (without any blisters or sore muscles). Turn up the volume, prepare yourself for lots of walking and join me on this wild ride that will stay in my heart forever. Hope you guys enjoy it!

Camino de Santiago: Day 35

Camino Day 35

Back home. What a difference a month makes. For years I had this idea of walking the Camino in the back of my head – now the time was right. Out of a thirst for adventure, the feeling of freedom, and the challenge to travel with minimal equipment – this journey turned out to be one of the best experiences of my life. I like the highly optimistic, positive me I have become. Over 900 km, wonderful new friendships, so many precious memories, and the hope that my new mindset will stand the test of time and reality. Buen Camino!

Cape Finisterre, Galicia, Spain

Camino de Santiago: Day 34

Camino Day 34

Nobody wants to leave the Camino adventure but real life is calling: In the morning, I board a plane back home and look back on Santiago de Compostela one more time. True to the name of my hostel, last night I got “The Last Stamp” and my Camino passport (“La Credencial”) is now filled with an impressive array of stamps. Aren’t there some real gems in here? :)

Santiago de Compostela, Galicia, Spain

Camino de Santiago: Day 33

Camino Day 33

This beach at Cape Finisterre must be the one with the highest shell density I’ve ever seen – one pilgrim mussel next to the other. That should fulfill my souvenir duty ;). Here we spend another beautiful day relaxing in the sun before I have to say farewell and head back to Santiago de Compostela in the evening. By bus I might add, enough is enough ;).

Cape Finisterre, Galicia, Spain

Camino de Santiago: Day 32

Camino Day 32

We officially end our Camino at Cape Finisterre with a beautiful, lazy day on the spectacular beach and a stunning sunset at the rocks that once symbolized the end of the world. And at night we readily join in on the traditional ritual of burning some clothes to celebrate this truly special and sentimental moment. – Who needs a second pair of socks anyway? ;)

Cape Finisterre, Galicia, Spain

Camino de Santiago: Day 31

Camino Day 31

It’s time to say goodbye – for many of my friends the Camino ends in Santiago. I’m so grateful for the wonderful time we shared – thank you all! Some of us continue – Jörg, Kathi, Martha, and I take the bus to Cee to walk the final 16 km to Cape Finisterre together. My second arrival at the end of the world finally feels right: Surrounded by friends :).

Cape Finisterre, Galicia, Spain

Camino de Santiago: Day 30

Camino Day 30

After arriving at Cape Finisterre last night, I lose no time and head back to Santiago by bus. My glucose sensors sent from home are waiting there. In the previous days, I managed to survive with only three measurements a day … a lot of guesswork compared to the 12+ at the beginning of my journey – other diabetics will understand. And on an equally happy note: I’m with my friends again!! Felix, Ferry, Ines, Jörg, Kathi, Martha, Matthias, Nina and Torsten arrived in Santiago in the meantime – what a wonderful evening together! :)

Santiago de Compostela, Galicia, Spain

Camino de Santiago: Day 29

Camino Day 29

The end of the world. At least that’s what people standing here thought a couple of hundred years ago. It wasn’t planned, but after another 61 km I reach Cape Finisterre :). Seeing the Atlantic Ocean for the first time after walking across Spain felt absolutely amazing! I finally reach the lighthouse with the 0.00 km mark at 10:45 p.m. :). Nevertheless, arriving alone doesn’t feel right and something tells me that this still might not be the end of my journey…

Cape Finisterre, Galicia, Spain

Camino de Santiago: Day 28

Camino Day 28

Can you get addicted to walking the Camino? Gosh, it feels great to be on the road again! While most pilgrims stop in Santiago, I want my journey to finish at the “end of the world”, and embark on another 100 km to Cape Finisterre. These feet are made for walking… and today it’s a leisurely stroll to Vilaserío, 36 km from Santiago, with long breaks and interesting new acquaintances :).

Costa do Cano, Galicia, Spain

Camino de Santiago: Day 27

Camino Day 27

Santiago de Compostela – I did it! :) The silent and sentimental atmosphere is gone once you are in front of this iconic cathedral. Pilgrims are cheering and celebrating everywhere, and the queue to pick up “La Compostela! – the official certificate – is long. With 800 km behind me and lots of experiences richer, I already have plans for tomorrow: Santiago is not the end of my journey, I am going to continue to the ocean, to Cape Finisterre – the end of the world :).

Santiago de Compostela, Galicia, Spain

Camino de Santiago: Day 26

Camino Day 26

After my 67-km-record yesterday, I aim for comfortable 30 today. But then I use the momentum and at 10:30 p.m. I cross another 66 km off my list :). With no desire to arrive in Santiago de Compostela in the middle of the night, I stay in the huge hostel on Monte do Gozo, sharing stories late into the night with other pilgrims. The atmosphere is fantastic: Everybody is highly relaxed and excitedly looking forward to embarking on the remaining 5 km to Santiago tomorrow :)

San Marcos – Monte do Gozo, Galicia, Spain

Camino de Santiago: Day 25

Camino Day 25

Only 138 km left to Santiago de Compostela – warm-up completed ;). After a relaxed start, I push through the Spanish heat, passing the last-100-km mark in the afternoon. I rehydrate in Portomarín, watch the sun set, and keep on walking – reaching 67 km when I run out of daylight at 10:30 p.m. in Palas de Rei. At this late hour, I’m really lucky to find accommodation right away. And I’m even luckier that a nice British girl shares her dinner with me, as it’s impossible to buy food this late anywhere close. Thank you, Demelza!

Sarria, Galicia, Spain

Camino de Santiago: Day 24

Camino Day 24

What a beautiful morning! Like most days, I had breakfast on the go when I stumbled upon this magnificent vista. Being in nature every day, far away from the usual, insignificant worries is an awesome experience! Looking at my Amazon shopping cart makes me laugh: Really, those things mattered to me once? And since the people you meet on the Camino are not involved in your life back home, conversations become personal very quickly. Today e.g. with Martha from Linz, who I get to know on my way to Triacastela. Nice to talk to an Austrian again :).

Pedrafita do Cebreiro, Galicia, Spain

Camino de Santiago: Day 23

Camino Day 23

We are getting closer to Santiago de Compostela and it’s getting crowded. After another dusty 30+ km day with horses, donkeys, cows, and busloads of Camino tourists crossing our way, we reach
picturesque O Cebreiro. Tiny, very touristy – but one of my most beautiful evenings on the Camino. This feeling of freedom – a world full of possibilities!

O Cebreiro, Galicia, Spain

Camino de Santiago: Day 22

Camino Day 22

Not everybody walks the Camino in one go. Today, I accompany Elaine and Felicidad, two lovely French women, who walk a week every year. They certainly won’t face my current issue: I’m running short on test sensors for my blood glucose meter. After a few inquiries, a very helpful lady in a pharmacy in Ponferrada informs me that my sensors aren’t available in Spain. Will the parcel from home reach me in time? More importantly, will the river in Villafranca del Bierzo be cold enough after this hot and dusty day? ;)

Villafranca del Bierzo, Castile and León, Spain

Camino de Santiago: Day 21

Camino Day 21

This is it, the moment we’ve been waiting for: On our way to Molinaseca we reach the Cruz de Ferro. On their journey, every pilgrim brings a stone from home as a symbol for what you want to leave behind, and places it in front of the cross. Mine is beautifully painted by my cousin. You can’t help but feel sentimental in that special moment.

Cruz de Ferro, Castile and León, Spain

Camino de Santiago: Day 20

Camino Day 20

Another wonderful day on our way to Rabanal del Camino. Now that I decided to stay with Kathi and Torsten, and to book a later flight home, I am much more relaxed. Less focused on myself, more on supporting the group. Walking the Camino in company doesn’t mean we stick together all the time – often we hike a few meters apart and get lost in our thoughts. Best of both worlds, I’d say ;).

Santa Catalina de Somoza, Castile and León, Spain

Camino de Santiago: Day 19

Camino Day 19

As much as I enjoyed the solitude on the three days before León, it also made me realize that hurrying through Spain isn’t what I’m looking for: I want to create memories with friends and spend time in the lovely places I’m walking through. So, today I decided to stay with my favorite German pilgrims, and the magnificent view from our hotel room in Astorga alone is worth it! I could stare at the Palacio de Gaudí all night long :).

Astorga, Castile and León, Spain

Camino de Santiago: Day 18

Camino Day 18

León is worth staying another day, so in lack of exciting news from the road, here are some facts about my backpack ;). My entire gear weighs only 7.6 kg – the selection process would have made any geek proud :D. Included is the backpack itself, everything I wear during the day, the trekking poles, my running shoes, and a sleeping bag. Furthermore, all my diabetes related stuff as well as absolute necessities like a power bank and a small tripod for my phone ;). Add up to 2 liters of water and enough carbs to keep my blood glucose level up under all circumstances, and I’m good to go :).

León, Castile and León, Spain

Camino de Santiago: Day 17

Camino Day 17

A surprisingly tough decision, but I decide that I do want a replacement phone for the rest of the trip. I love taking photos and I want to connect with my friends again. To reach a proper shop before the weekend, I speed things up and take the train to León (57 km). To my surprise, being on the train feels just right. Eventually, after a mere 15,000 steps around various (repair) stores, I settle on a used Sony Z3. Main feature: it’s waterproof :D.

León, Castile and León, Spain

Camino de Santiago: Day 16

Camino Day 16

Carrión de los Condes to Sahagún (42 km). I feel lucky. This part of the Camino, the Meseta, might have been a pain in hot weather; but since it’s raining for the third day in a row, it’s actually quite pleasant. Just don’t take a break – you’ll lose the momentum and your body will hurt afterwards. The trick is to do everything while walking: measuring the glucose level, eating, drinking, putting on sunscreen (well, maybe not today). 130 km in the last 3 days? Not bad. 10,000 steps a day more than done ;)

Sahagún, Castile and León, Spain

Camino de Santiago: Day 15

Camino Day 15

Castrojeriz to Carrión de los Condes (46 km). I’m alone and completely offline – what an interesting experience. With my phone dead, I have no map, no guidebook, no camera, no dictionary, no music, nobody can get hold of me, and I cannot contact anyone. I just walk. Follow the yellow arrows. Estimate distances from road signs. Practically no other pilgrim in sight today. And I love it.

Photo by Torsten.

Itero de la Vega, Castile and León, Spain

Camino de Santiago: Day 14

Camino Day 14

Rain! 8 hours of walking in liquid sunshine – the entire 42 km to Castrojeriz. This photo was taken the day after, so you can imagine what it looked like during the rain ;). Why the day after? Well, I did not miss the opportunity and drowned my iPhone right away inside my “waterproof” jacket (to be fair, the pocket proved to be watertight from the inside out ;)).

Photo by Torsten.

Hornillos del Camino, Castile and León, Spain

Camino de Santiago: Day 13

Camino Day 13

Delighted to see my friends again, I spend the entire day exploring and enjoying Burgos. Hanging out at the Plaza del Rey San Fernando in front of the impressive cathedral, chatting with other pilgrims, laughing, sharing stories, having a good time until midnight. What a great day catching up with so many interesting characters I met along the way :)

Burgos, Castile and León, Spain

Camino de Santiago: Day 12

Camino Day 12

Must. Walk. Slower. Started too fast again, which led to cramps in my shinbone muscles. But after a few hours I’m always in the zone: marching steady, fast, pushed by some music or lost in thoughts. At 3 p.m., 40 km into the day, I reach Burgos. Arriving in a bigger city always feels great: Like a top athlete crossing the finish line, with the crowd waiting ;)

Burgos, Castile and León, Spain