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When you decide to take on your first Camino de Santiago challenge, you will be preparing yourself for a journey that will live with you forever. You will not only challenge yourself physically, but also see many beautiful sights and have so many new experiences.

Traditionally a pilgrimage, the Camino de Santiago is now a modern pilgrimage loved by those seeking a spiritual break from our busy world as much as hiking, cycling and cultural enthusiasts.

The Camino de Santiago is a large network of routes from many different starting locations, all of which are spectacular in their own special way. But for those on their first journey, the Camino Frances starting at Sarria with santiago ways is a perfect way for beginners to start.

Sarria, a place full of history and culture

Sarria is around 111km from Santiago, just over the minimum distance that is required for pilgrims to be eligible for the traditional ‘compostela’ certificate that verifies they have completed the Camino de Santiago.

It is a great way to really capture the essence of the Camino. The route takes you through beautiful towns and cities and charming medieval villages and inspiring landscapes.

In the centre of Sarria you have the chance to see beautiful churches,chapels, monasteries and pilgrim hospitals. The main street, rea Maior, is a gorgeous picturesque place and the Church of Santa Marina, the Castle and the Fortress of Sarria are well worth a visit.

From here there is a relaxed hike to Portomarin, 22 km away along country roads past traditional Galician granaries. Highly recommended is a quick stop to the Romanesque church at Barbadelo.

A beautiful green landscape and fantastic local cuisine

One of the best things about this route, is the beautiful forests, farmlands and rustic villages, and stonewall lined trails and paths typical of the Galician landscape.

Leaving Portomarin, the route crosses the Miño River and ascends to the Sierra de Ligonde. Heading through to Palas de Rei, you will see many quaint typical country villages, such as Gonzar and Ventas de Narón.

The next stage from Arzua to Amenal passes through beautiful forests and more quiet villages. You will also be able to see the famous statue of Santiago in the Chapel of St. Irene.

At each overnight stop there are quaint bed and breakfasts to stop at, and many lovely little local restaurants and eateries, so you can not only experience the stunning surroundings, but also get a taste of Northern Spain as well. If you want to split up any of the journeys, so you can take in a little more and ease the day’s hiking that is also possible. The pace and itinerary can be planned to how you like it

A great sense of achievement as you reach Santiago de Compostela

As you reach the final day of your pilgrimage or challenge you will feel a growing sense of achievement, and maybe even share that experience with other travellers on the route. A quick stock at Lavacolla, on the outskirts of Santiago de Compostela, where traditionally pilgrims would wash in the river to prepare for their arrival  in the city. As you approach along the Monte do Gozo hill you will be able to see your final destination, the Cathedral, in the distance.

Arriving at your journey’s end in Santiago

The architecture here is incredible. You will easily find yourself captivated by the historic centre, it is no surprise that it have been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site. You must arrive in time to participate in the Pilgrim’s Mass. Here you can also receive the ‘compostela’ certificate, and take a little time to visit the city and local area.

You may even wish to relax there for a day or two before heading home and really take in the feel of the place.  A day trip to Finisterre or the Cies Islands comes highly recommended.

One thing is for certain, you will never forget the memories you have made, the friends and people met on your journey or the difference you now feel spiritually. In fact you may find yourself hooked and already planning to walk one of the other Camino de Santiago walks.

Hey all! Big thanks to Katy Blevins for handing over the reins to me at the end of 2017 to fulfill my new years resolution to write...often! Based in Miami, you can find me blogging about family life as a mother of two young kids. But i'll also continue the Chaos and Kiddos theme of business, fashion, parenting, product reviews, and...well, I could go on and on.

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Travel

5 Tips for an Amazing Babymoon

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For the uninitiated, a “babymoon” is a vacation that a couple takes before starting a family. Typically, this trip occurs after a woman becomes pregnant, but before she reaches the stage in her gestation period when she can no longer travel. Babymoons have become increasingly popular in recent years, and they offer happy couples one last opportunity to enjoy a holiday together before they settle down into parenthood. If you’ve been thinking about planning a babymoon of your own –– or are interested in taking one eventually –– then check out these five tips to ensure your babymoon is a blast:

Get Your Ducks in a Row

Naturally, pregnant women should speak with their doctor often. However, it’s particularly important for pregnant women to consult a medical professional before they go on vacation. Your doctor may advise you to cancel a trip if they feel you’re unable to travel safely –– or if you’re too far along in your pregnancy. (Typically, women take babymoons during their second trimester, for reference.) Let your doctor know about your plans as soon as possible, and make it a point to visit a testing clinic before you depart. 

Select the Right Destination 

A babymoon should, ideally, allow you and your partner to enjoy each other’s company and relax. As such, some travel destinations are more suited to babymoons than others. Las Vegas might be a great place for a bachelorette party, but it’s far from perfect for a babymoon.

Account for Your Hormones

Every pregnancy is different, but almost all are turbulent to some degree. Strange food cravings, mood swings, morning sickness, aches and pains –– they can all still occur even if you take a trip halfway across the world. Rather than trying to ignore these hormonal changes, pick a destination that will help you handle them accordingly.

Talk to Your Partner 

Yes, this trip should be all about the mom-to-be (and we’ll get to that in a moment). Yet it doesn’t make much sense to alienate your partner and plan a holiday they won’t enjoy in the slightest. Talk to your partner and set aside time for a few activities you’ll both relish.

Indulge

There’s no two ways around it –– pregnancy is stressful. From the physical toll, to the new financial responsibilities of starting a family, everything about impending motherhood can feel daunting. Babymoons, then, should allow expecting moms relax, unwind, and relieve some tension –– if even for a few days. Eat what you want, sunbathe, nap, take in a few tourist attractions, and do whatever else your heart desires. It’s what babymoons are for!

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Travel

Our Top Five Tips For the Mother and Daughter Holiday

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Spending time alone as mother and daughter is a truly important aspect of building up your bond. And what better way to do this then by taking a holiday together. Mother and daughter holidays will be remembered for a lifetime, and they will work as the roots of future conversations. From laughing in the car on the way to the airport, to talking over dinner and going on adventures, this really is a precious time in every mother’s and little girl’s life. So here are our top tips for the perfect mother and daughter retreat. May your biggest decision today be where to adventure to next!

Pick a Location That Works For Both of You

One of the most important parts of heading out on a mother and daughter holiday is picking a location that works for both of you. One of you may be rooting for a party cruise and the other looking for a poolside massage. Or maybe one of you loves an adventure while the other just wants to relax. Either way it is important that you agree on the perfect location before you leave. Maybe allocate certain days to each of you. Mother can plan days two and four while daughter plans days one and three. This kind of system will mean that you both get to plan your perfect holiday days without any conflict occurring when you are actually there!

How to Pick Somewhere for Both of You: Try writing a list of the places that you both want to visit. Take a look at one another’s lists and if you can see some similarities in locations then that’ll be your best holidaying bet!

Keep Your Budget In Mind

A huge part of a mother and daughter holiday is how much it is going to cost. Make sure you bare a budget in mind and figure out who is going to pay beforehand. No one wants to be the person paying for an entire holiday for two, but sometimes the price does go a little top/bottom heavy. A great way to avoid an inflation on price when you get to your destination is by booking all-inclusive. This means that you pay a set price for unlimited amounts of foods and drink. This will help to reduce the cost while actually on holiday. But you can save money in other ways too. You can pre-plan and adhere to your budget by looking for online discount codes. If you are flying from one of the UK’s major airports then you can make huge savings on airport parking. For example, It’s really easy to find  cheap stansted airport parking when you visit online discount code sites.

Budgeting top tip: Decide who is paying for what before you head off on your holiday. Maybe you are going halves on everything, or maybe mum is paying for the hotel and daughter is paying for the flights. Either way it’s worth having a plan set in stone to prevent any tension when you are on holiday!

Take Short Breaks From One Another

It is a lovely thing to go on holiday as mother and daughter. But it’s worth remembering one of the things that mother daughter relationships are renowned for: arguments. It is an inevitable part of this bond that really can’t be avoided. It is thus very important that you both take a little bit of time for yourselves during your holiday. Maybe mum wants to try the cocktails whereas daughter wants to watch a move? It’s perfectly fine for you to spend a little time apart on your holiday. It’s always nice to meet back up again and have something new to talk about.

Take Photos

One of the most amazing parts of going on a mother daughter holiday isn’t even actually being there. The memories that you make outweigh the actual occasion ten fold. Imagine it, for years to come you will reminisce about the silly things you did, what you laughed about and the food you ate. It really is an experience for life. So remember to take plenty of photos so that you can remember this really special time!

Top Photo Tip: A lovely idea is to create a scrapbook out of all of the holiday photos that you have taken. This way you will have a hard copy of your memories for years to come! Plus a scrap book can make a really great present!

So overall you need to bare in mind that this will be a truly special time for you and your mum/daughter, so make sure you do it properly. Make sure to pick a great location and save money using cheap airport parking deals. Always keep your budget in mind and take as many photos as you can. These memories really will last a lifetime!

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Travel

Having a Great Trip With Kids

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Being a parent is a wonderful experience. Parenting means being part of it all from the first tooth to the first grandchild. One way to enjoy life even more is to travel with kids. It’s time to think about highly-specific details. This includes the desired destination, the choice of transportation and making sure that the kids are happy while they’re on their way there. Whether you’re traveling with twin babies or teens, the key to family fun is lots of advanced preparation and thinking about what will make everyone happy.

Deciding on a Destination

One of the first things to do is decide on a destination. Many parents already have an idea of the kind of vacation they want. This might be a tropical island or a ski resort that caters to adults and children. Setting up finances for the trip with installment loan direct lenders is a great way to begin. Timing is also important. Kids are off during the summer months, making many parents on a set schedule when it comes to deciding on a time frame for the vacation. A mother should be especially careful to practice self-care as plans her vacation. Think about a child’s special interests. For example, a kid might have a special love of water sports or have a particular academic bent. In that case, bringing the child to places where they can play on the beach or spend time visiting historic sites and museums when it rains is a good bet.

Driving or Flying?

Another factor to take into account is how to get there. This means deciding to drive or taking a plane. Both have advantages and disadvantages. Driving allows for more control. It makes it easy to get up and just leave. Driving also lets families bring everything they need with them in one convenient place. At the same time, driving takes a long time. Flying is typically quicker and makes it possible to consider options such as Europe, South America and the rest of the world. However, flying can be costly and hard to organize. Some flights may not be available to the desired destination or only fly every so often.

Keeping Them Entertained

Once parents have decided on the right place to go with their children, it’s imperative to keep them entertained along the way. Long car trips are hard on young children. Older kids may get bored and frustrated during a long flight. It’s best to think about each kid’s needs. Some kids are visual learners. They find it useful to have visual imagery that lets them concentrate even in the middle of a busy airport. Others are fine with written materials. Any parent should go into the vacation fully prepared with a series of items that everyone traveling can enjoy. Little ones appreciate coloring books and crayons. Older kids love books that have interactive features such as mazes and puzzles. Now is also the time to bring back the art of family communication. Encourage kids to put down the videos and speak up. Create a list of topics that you know your kids care about such as baseball or caring for their favorite pets. A long car ride or waiting at the airport is the ideal time to teach kids how to engage in thoughtful and intelligent discussion with others.

Great Snacks

Traveling with kids means making sure each child has the right thing to eat. Some children have allergies and may not be able to consume gluten or other substances. In that case, it’s best to bring snacks with you. Your child may have a list of snacks they prefer that are known to be safe. Find out what you can bring on the plane before you leave. Other kids have certain food preferences. If your child lives on peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, be sure to make sure you have ingredients to make them. This is also a good way to save money. Many places charge a lot of money for drinks and even a small bite to eat. Overcome this issue by bringing food with you as you go. The food you make yourself is not only less expensive than standard roadside fare. It’s also more nutritious.

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