Is this the most enchanting place to start the Camino?
Start from home?
The Spanish say we should, ideally, start our Camino’s from home. Last year I started a pilgrimage to Assisi, the home of St. Francis, from Javier in Navarre, the home of St. Francis Xavier. Well, who would want to start in Glasgow?
Begin with a night on the island.
Is is possible to have your first night on Mont. St. Michel. There is a pilgrim house next to the Parish Church. Is necessary to reserve in advance. (tél 02 33 60 14 05). At night the mediaeval streets are transformed with dark and shadows. There are fewer tourists and, in spite of the new bridge, you may hit upon a high tide which cuts you off from mainland France.
I object to being charged to enter churches but don’t worry if you share this aversion with me. The monastery can be visited for about 15 euros (2017) and there is not a remnant of spiritual life left within it. It is a very fine and magnificent coffin without any soul: not so, the little parish church down the hill.
A Camino with good infrastructure.
The links above should lead you to a list of lodgings for your first weeks by which time you will know the French system well. Where it says “acceuil pèlerin” this is usually a private house run by people who have walked the Camino and often involved in the local Camino association. Donations are voluntary but I use €10 for a bed and €10 for dinner and morning coffee as a base. The sophistication of each home varies enormously. My donation reflects what I am able to pay: a night’s rest with caring hosts is invaluable for me, even in a stable. You will meet only wonderful hosts. I could not afford a Camino in France without their generosity.
The albergue in the photo is of a municipal hostel. These are in the lists in the links above.
Signposting and GPS.
The sites above have all the GPS tracks in several formats. I am finding them essential. Offline maps are important since mobile coverage often disappears.
Signposting is adequate but small.
A home to start from?
We usually have a place where we are born which can feel like home. As life moves on, so, often, do we. Neither Francis of Assisi nor Francis Xavier had homes at the end of their lives. Spiritual journeys often lead away from physical homes. Perhaps a gift of pilgrimage is the joy of letting go even of our homes.