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Wise Pilgrim Guide - Comparison To Brierley's Guide

Discussion in 'Pilgrim Books' started by BROWNCOUNTYBOB, Jul 14, 2017.

  1. BROWNCOUNTYBOB

    BROWNCOUNTYBOB Well-Known Member

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    John Brierley's Guide was the first camino book I purchased five years ago and I found it invaluable. I read it cover to cover and brought it with me during our 2015 camino and have referred to it many times since then. So parts were very helpful, particularly the maps, topography, photos and brief comments on albergues. Some parts I didn't care for such as sections on "mystical path" and "personal reflections" for each stage. These were kumbaya-like and I could do without.

    Since then, I've used the on line "Wise Pilgrim Guide" to help plan our next camino frances. It seems that the website was retired and has been replaced by a booklet. Since I love all things camino, I went ahead and purchased the book. The format is quite different from Brierley's guide and I really like it. Some differences:
    • Very concise symbol / cold guide at beginning
    • No history of camino, how to prepare, statistics, what to pack, key phrases. This is like a "Cliff's notes" of the camino and just jumps right in.
    • Then follows the camino map, but flows from town to town. It does not break into suggested stages. At the bottom of these maps is a creative way to show the altitude and distance between towns.
    • Brierley's guide only includes maps of major towns / cities. The Wise Pilgrim guide includes of each town! And the town maps show locations of albergues, pharmacies, ATMs, groceries. The maps also show the hiking path of camino frances through each town and city.
    • Wise Pilgrim shows number of beds, services available, cost and phone number of each albergue, only a portion of which is available in the Brierley guide.
    • By comparison, I used the 9th edition of Brierley's guide for our first camino and it was 288 pages long. The Wise Pilgrim is 178 pages so more than 100 pages shorter. And the first print edition of Wise Pilgrim is March 2017 so very current.
    So for my next camino, I'll bring the Wise Pilgrim guide with me. Less weight and more targeted information, particularly if you are not a newbie pilgrim. Bob
     
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  2. Rainyday woman

    Rainyday woman Member

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    Hi Browncountrybob, thank you so much for the information about this guide book. Even though I am a newbie this is exactly what I've been looking for :) I have removed alot of pages from my Brierley guide but it is still heavy. I wish I would have read this thread yesterday before I purchased Brierleys kindle version of "Maps only" book. I also purchased Leslie's book on kindle, which I am still happy that I purchased :) Do they happen to have an e-book version of this guide book?
     
  3. Greg Canning

    Greg Canning Well-Known Member

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    Thanks for the info Bob

    I've used both the Brierly guide and Sergi Ramis's guide and both have strengths and weaknesses. Brierly was the first guide I used and I agree it is a very useful read for first timers and gives a pretty good idea of what to expect.

    The Ramis guide is shorter and gives some very good descriptions as to what to expect along each "stage" (he doesn't automatically follow the Brierly stages). What I do like about the Ramis guide is that he gives an idea of distance/elevation and walking time whereas as Brierly gives distance and elevation. While I accept that people walk at different paces I think it is useful when planning how far you might walk over a set period of time (e.g. a day or a week) to have some idea of how much you might wish to walk each day. For example a distance of 28 kms on the Meseta will be totally different to 28kms in and around the Pyrenees.

    To try to avoid weight I have on my last Camino left both guide books behind and used the Buen Camino and Wise Pilgrim (Camino Frances) apps on my Iphone. Both have advantages but it is not the same as having the paper guides.

    Buen Camino

    Greg
     
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  4. BROWNCOUNTYBOB

    BROWNCOUNTYBOB Well-Known Member

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    Thanks, Greg. I agree that preferences may change as one's experience with the camino evolves. I also have a strong preference for having a paper guidebook.

    Rainyday woman - yes, there is a Kindle Version of Wise Pilgrim's Guide for Camino Frances.
     
  5. The fattest Arse

    The fattest Arse New Member

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    Thanks for the info - useful for me.
     
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  6. Jose

    Jose Well-Known Member

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    I also used it through kindle. Just couldn´t figure out how to add it to my backpack which probably dwindled to only 8 kgs. It´s good. Also there are so many alternative as far as where to stay a night. I really tried to avoid a lot of times, not always, the Brierly stops and found the solitude so important.
     
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  7. BROWNCOUNTYBOB

    BROWNCOUNTYBOB Well-Known Member

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    Jose, I brought the paper guide of Wise Pilgrim with me and my brother downloaded the Kindle guide. Almost every stage, he asked me about the "alternate route" that the Kindle version was suggesting, I didn't even know several alternate routes existed. In some cases, there were several alternate routes proposed at each stage. I encouraged him to leave his Kindle in his backpack and follow the yellow arrows / flechas and he'd be fine. Bob
     
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  8. RJS

    RJS Well-Known Member

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    I didn’t use either of the guidebooks that have been mentioned, The Brierly guide or The Wise Pilgrim Guide, so can’t comment on either of them.



    Just before I set off on my own Camino Frances, my next-door neighbour bought me “A Practical Guide for Pilgrims” https://www.amazon.co.uk/Practical-Guide-Pilgrims-Millan-Lozano/dp/8424138333

    This was a beautiful book, but Anything But Practical !! – Both Bulky and Heavy, but it did come with an extra set of loose strip maps and these proved to be invaluable as they were very detailed and accurate – So I left the book its self at home and took the strip maps on Camino

    I also bought one of the Confraternity of Saint James’s guides https://www.csj.org.uk/product/camino-de-santiago-pilgrim-guides-camino-frances-2017/ and this was wonderful as it describes the route (As well as many variants) very accurately and lists all the facilities en-route (Hotels, shops, train stations etc) and doesn’t give recommendations or split the route into sections - Therefore doesn’t create the pinch-points that many guidebooks accidently seam to do.



    Best Regards

    Rob
     
  9. BROWNCOUNTYBOB

    BROWNCOUNTYBOB Well-Known Member

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    Hey Rob, with the multitude of camino's you have walked, I'm a bit humbled that you need a guidebook or maps. I'm waiting for you to author your own and I'll be first in line to buy one!
     
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  10. RJS

    RJS Well-Known Member

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    Thanks for your kind words Bob, but I fear that my Camino walking days are now behind me as I now have a load of metal in one knee and a dodgy ankle on the other leg, this makes what was once highly pleasurable, into a rather painful experience – I still manage day walks and hope to go on a short trek in Nepal next month, but I feel that the Big Long Distance stuff is, alas a thing of the past :-(



    I used to help the Confraternity of Saint James update their own publications and am credited with this in a few of their guides and I also used to take photos for gallery on http://santiago-compostela.net/ - So I suppose, over the years I have had a very small input :)



    Thanks again

    Rob
     
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