Do You Know the Way to San Jose??

We do know the way to Santiago. On the Camino, you follow yellow arrows for 500 miles. Even though we can’t take our guidebooks with because they’re too heavy, I do have a lightweight Michelin Camino map that we will be using. It shouldn’t be too difficult to find our way.

We do know the way to get a good airfare. It takes lots of patience and persistence. On the Monday evening before Thanksgiving I was running errands and grocery shopping. Terry was frantically texting me to hurry up and get home, the airline prices dropped. It was $400 round trip to Madrid. It was well after 10pm when we started looking at possibilities. We ended up booking Delta from Minneapolis to Paris, round trip, direct flights for $600. The only better price would have been to use frequent flier miles, which I did.

Several people have asked if we were going with a group, is someone arranging this for you? Do you have your hotels all lined up? No, no and no.  It’s taken two years of careful planning and research. There are many guidebooks, blogs and apps that provide a vision of what to expect. You have to rely on your experience, common sense and personal preferences to make decisions. Many years ago, my husband David and I quit our jobs and traveled around Europe, Turkey and Morroco in an old Volkswagen Van for a year. At that time, personal computers, internet, google maps and cell phones didn’t exist. The guidebook we used was, “Europe on $5 a Day”.  (So thankful we went when it was still $5 a day). We navigated over 20 countries the old fashioned way and had an amazing experience. The best advice we received came from a Kiwi (New Zealander) who successfully encouraged us to go to Istanbul. He said to let your guard down. Try not to view things through American eyes. Good advice!

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Jane is a resident of Browndale neighborhood in St. Louis Park, Minnesota.

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