Sometimes when you read a guidebook you get a vague impression that the author has never been to the places he/she is describing. Usually, the sensation gets stronger when you are knocking at the door of the closed hostel with your hands numb from cold or when you are standing over a chasm with no bridge in a view after cycling in mud for the last two hours.
So, if it happens to you that the route described in this guidebook differs from the real one, you might presume that the author originated the trail staring at Google View in her London flat. Do not. The Camino is just constantly evolving.
I am going to quote some examples – I did the Camino numerous times and for the road from Santo Domino de la Calzada to Granon, I have a strong feeling that each time the trail was constructed across a different field. The reason for this might be the new shiny road built nearby with no haste or just the general idea of putting some variety into the pilgrims’ life. Another one – the road from Carrion de los Condes to El Burgo Ranero where I almost knocked my teeth out in 2009, a year later surprise, surprise, it was sprinkled with bicycle-friendly fine-grained grit. I felt like a total fool as I had previously told horror stories about it to another cyclist. I also love the new motorway, which is partly built in place of the old N-120. Just a useful detail – road signs directing you to the N-120 were never removed. The change also escaped the maps and attention of many guidebook authors. So, I found myself cycling that bloody newly opened highway in the torrential rain, praying that I wouldn’t be arrested for a) cycling on highway b) having red Rioja for lunch c) not speaking Spanish. At the same time, I was thinking that it is vileness that cycling on the motorway is forbidden because the surface is excellent. Never mind, recent attempts have been made to build a ‘highway’ for pilgrims in place of dirt roads – much to my surprise I discovered that some of the fantastic, challenging stony paths in Galicia have just disappeared.
The Spanish seem to like improvements and changes in general. When I think about this I always have in my eyes a flyover in Meseta, somewhere between Sahagun and Leon, completely finished but over nothing and leading to empty fields. I guess that many years ago somebody planned a road interchange here. But somewhere in the process changed his mind. As simple as that.
While writing this guidebook I tried to take everything into account – what could and could not be changed in the future. Even with all the effort, I put into writing this guidebook, you know guys I am not a Nostradamus…