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5 things most pilgrims don't do on the Camino (but should)

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Charl

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Aragones 2015, Frances 2015, Via Francigena 2017, Via degli Abati 2017, Del Norte 2020
What are they?

Things that you see people NOT doing, that you know would improve their experience if they did.

Crowdsourcing a series of articles I'm writing on pilgrimage. I'll post the links to Medium here when they're complete!

TIA

Charl
 

Turga

Camino tortuga
Camino(s) past & future
CF (Aug/Sep 2017)
CF (Aug/Sep 2018)
Seems to be a somewhat strange subject. I can’t help thinking that this thread could develop into something that reminds me of the children’s book ‘When the Robbers Came to Cardamom Town’ where Aunt Sophie in her song has a line that goes something like this: “If everyone was quite like me then things would be all right”
 
Camino(s) past & future
SJPdP-Santiago (Sep/Oct 2018)
Most people are doing what they need to do, but the few changes I would suggest to the minority are:

  1. Start slow. I was amazed at the number of people racing up and down the road the first few days out of SJPdP. You’ll risk injury, blisters, etc. and miss out on some beautiful scenery. No matter how good of shape you think you’re in, you still have 30+ days ahead of you. Don’t end your Camino early.
  2. Don’t let a small injury become a big one. I learned this the hard way. If you need to take a rest day, or bus to the next town (outside of 100km), do it. “Toughing it out” in the last few days may work, but not with 2-3 weeks left.
  3. Plan ahead. Know what sights to see each day. Even the smallest towns can have wonderful experiences. In the bigger cities, you may want to spend an extra day. If you don’t have the time, at least make sure you get to the “don’t miss” places. The same can be said for places to eat and sleep. Know what each town offers.
  4. Keep your expectations to a minimum. Welcome change, be flexible. Take what the Camino gives you. You won’t be disappointed
  5. Try not to judge. It can be frustrating to see someone race past you with a daypack on, having shipped their luggage ahead. We don’t know what challenges or constraints (if any) they face. Have the best Camino you can have and don’t worry about others. There is no prize for the most mileage, or heaviest pack. There will always be someone who has walked farther than you and carried more. Letting go of the judgement can be very liberating, and you might find that those people who raced past you are very nice people when you meet them at the end of the day.
Buen Camino!
 

nycwalking

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF: (2001, 2002, 2004, 2014). Hospitalera: 2002, Ponferrada. 2004, Rabanal del Camino.
Seems to be a somewhat strange subject. I can’t help thinking that this thread could develop into something that reminds me of the children’s book ‘When the Robbers Came to Cardamom Town’ where Aunt Sophie in her song has a line that goes something like this: “If everyone was quite like me then things would be all right”
There was Twilight Zone which tackled that issue. A persnickety fellow got his wish and everyone became him. After a few hours with only multiples of himself, he righted the world’s population back to its norm.
 

Charl

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Aragones 2015, Frances 2015, Via Francigena 2017, Via degli Abati 2017, Del Norte 2020
Most people are doing what they need to do, but the few changes I would suggest to the minority are:

  1. Start slow. I was amazed at the number of people racing up and down the road the first few days out of SJPdP. You’ll risk injury, blisters, etc. and miss out on some beautiful scenery. No matter how good of shape you think you’re in, you still have 30+ days ahead of you. Don’t end your Camino early.
  2. Don’t let a small injury become a big one. I learned this the hard way. If you need to take a rest day, or bus to the next town (outside of 100km), do it. “Toughing it out” in the last few days may work, but not with 2-3 weeks left.
  3. Plan ahead. Know what sights to see each day. Even the smallest towns can have wonderful experiences. In the bigger cities, you may want to spend an extra day. If you don’t have the time, at least make sure you get to the “don’t miss” places. The same can be said for places to eat and sleep. Know what each town offers.
  4. Keep your expectations to a minimum. Welcome change, be flexible. Take what the Camino gives you. You won’t be disappointed
  5. Try not to judge. It can be frustrating to see someone race past you with a daypack on, having shipped their luggage ahead. We don’t know what challenges or constraints (if any) they face. Have the best Camino you can have and don’t worry about others. There is no prize for the most mileage, or heaviest pack. There will always be someone who has walked farther than you and carried more. Letting go of the judgement can be very liberating, and you might find that those people who raced past you are very nice people when you meet them at the end of the day.
Buen Camino!
Thanks, makes perfect sense.
 

Isca-camigo

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Various ones.
Just one - learn to see the crowds of the last 100+ km as a postive. Very first time I experienced the crowds of the Frances by joining it at Arzua from the Norte it was a shock for me, it was only two days after the 25thJuly in 2010 and I felt it difficult to adapt to the increase in people and all most resented the crowds. Fortunately after that I have walked a few more times and have been very lucky that some incredible experiences have happened to me in the last 100km, I look forward to it now and I feel that draws more of the same to me, it changes the experience of the crowds for me as well.
 

Charl

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Aragones 2015, Frances 2015, Via Francigena 2017, Via degli Abati 2017, Del Norte 2020
You go first. ;) What are the first 5 to you?
My own list of five plus one then: Spend more time in churches along the way. Pick up after themselves at open-air loo spots. Learn a little Spanish history & culture before starting. Watch the boitefumeiro live, not on your cell screen. Take a small detour to an interesting feature/museum/church when all you really want to do is get to the overnight place, it’s almost always worth it. Gather up prayers, dreams and wishes from your friends beforehand and carry them to Finisterre.
 

Charl

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Aragones 2015, Frances 2015, Via Francigena 2017, Via degli Abati 2017, Del Norte 2020
Just one - learn to see the crowds of the last 100+ km as a postive. Very first time I experienced the crowds of the Frances by joining it at Arzua from the Norte it was a shock for me, it was only two days after the 25thJuly in 2010 and I felt it difficult to adapt to the increase in people and all most resented the crowds. Fortunately after that I have walked a few more times and have been very lucky that some incredible experiences have happened to me in the last 100km, I look forward to it now and I feel that draws more of the same to me, it changes the experience of the crowds for me as well.
This is a great one. Thank you so much!
 

Charl

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Aragones 2015, Frances 2015, Via Francigena 2017, Via degli Abati 2017, Del Norte 2020
Seems to be a somewhat strange subject. I can’t help thinking that this thread could develop into something that reminds me of the children’s book ‘When the Robbers Came to Cardamom Town’ where Aunt Sophie in her song has a line that goes something like this: “If everyone was quite like me then things would be all right”
Don’t know the book. English is not my first language so sorry if the question sounds awkward. See my reply below, hope it clarifies what I have in mind.
 

chinacat

Veteran Member
Keep your expectations to a minimum. Welcome change, be flexible. Take what the Camino gives you.
This one might be almost sufficient ...

”Allow others the gift of giving” rather than “Take what the Camino gives you.”
Or: Let giving and receiving flow, free from self-consciousness.
As in: Be ... Here ... Now ....
... which, alone, might be sufficient.

.... but not sure I’d want to include it in a list of ‘shoulds” .... “I strive to”, perhaps .... never forgetting that we are all fallible human beings, and that the Camino offers us the chance to be the best ... and the worst 😉 .... that we can be.
 

PiryatJos

Pilgrim Brit
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances - SJPdP - SdC (Oct/Nov '18) (Sep/Oct '19)

Camino del Norte - Santander - SdC (2021)
The bottom bunk is a contentious issue. Don't demand and assume you have to take bottom because of your age if you're capable of using the top. If you're young but need to take a bottothrough injury then speak up. I must have slept wrong one night and injured my shoulder and couldn't support my weight to go up and down. I asked around to swap and nobody would. So if someone asks please give up the bottom. I swapped many times even the sweet spots away from windows in the winter. An older German gentleman in Castrojeriz I ate a few meals with had trouble not made aware to me until the morn and who couldn't get on the top bunk, nobody would swap and so he slept on the floor.
 

Turga

Camino tortuga
Camino(s) past & future
CF (Aug/Sep 2017)
CF (Aug/Sep 2018)
Don’t know the book. English is not my first language so sorry if the question sounds awkward. See my reply below, hope it clarifies what I have in mind.
Maybe I misunderstood your intentions. What triggered my little sarcastic joke was the "should" in the title of the thread and your sentence:

Things that you see people NOT doing, that you know would improve their experience if they did.
How would I ever know what would improve other peoples experience? People are very different. Of course there are things of common sense that I believe we all (more or less) can agree on, like not leaving trash on the trail etc, but that is a different story.

Anyway, I look forward to reading your articles once they are complete.
 

Derrybiketours

A journey of 500 miles begins with one step!
Camino(s) past & future
SJPdP-SANT-FIN (09/2018)
PORTO-SANT (11/2018)
Caminho Da Fe (01/2019)
*Derry-SANT (09/2019)?
Things that you see people NOT doing, that you know would improve their experience if they did.
Interesting question @Charl and we'll done on challenging my thinking. I would have to say Camino without constraints, specifically time. I had the luxury of having no time limit and I'm aware others may have other commitments, work, travel or otherwise that doesn't afford this luxury. A one way ticket to a journey of unknown destination or timescale took the pressure off, permitted opportunity to linger longer and live in the now. Many others I met had a date in mind for reaching Santiago and many pilgrim's carried this expectation with them on the way. My recommendation would be too wait until the Camino calls and when it does book one way ticket and stay until it feels that it's the right time to return 🤠
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances 2019
What are they?

Things that you see people NOT doing, that you know would improve their experience if they did.

Crowdsourcing a series of articles I'm writing on pilgrimage. I'll post the links to Medium here when they're complete!

TIA

Charl
No need, thanks.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Walked CF September/October 2015
One thing that I don’t know if many pilgrims do is make a point to get out into a dark area at night, away from the lights of town, to see the Milky Way. I had an opportunity to do this one evening with a few pilgrims and it was one of the most memorable experiences of my pilgrimage. Standing under the “field of stars”, which Medieval pilgrims used to navigate their way to Santiago, I just felt a deep connection to all who had traveled before, and it was incredibly beautiful.
 

Mera

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino France, Camino del Norte, Camino de Madrid
Camino Porto, Camino Primitivo
Most people are doing what they need to do, but the few changes I would suggest to the minority are:

  1. Start slow. I was amazed at the number of people racing up and down the road the first few days out of SJPdP. You’ll risk injury, blisters, etc. and miss out on some beautiful scenery. No matter how good of shape you think you’re in, you still have 30+ days ahead of you. Don’t end your Camino early.
  2. Don’t let a small injury become a big one. I learned this the hard way. If you need to take a rest day, or bus to the next town (outside of 100km), do it. “Toughing it out” in the last few days may work, but not with 2-3 weeks left.
  3. Plan ahead. Know what sights to see each day. Even the smallest towns can have wonderful experiences. In the bigger cities, you may want to spend an extra day. If you don’t have the time, at least make sure you get to the “don’t miss” places. The same can be said for places to eat and sleep. Know what each town offers.
  4. Keep your expectations to a minimum. Welcome change, be flexible. Take what the Camino gives you. You won’t be disappointed
  5. Try not to judge. It can be frustrating to see someone race past you with a daypack on, having shipped their luggage ahead. We don’t know what challenges or constraints (if any) they face. Have the best Camino you can have and don’t worry about others. There is no prize for the most mileage, or heaviest pack. There will always be someone who has walked farther than you and carried more. Letting go of the judgement can be very liberating, and you might find that those people who raced past you are very nice people when you meet them at the end of the day.
Buen Camino!
To me #5 is the most important; on or off the Camino. The person who didn't respond to your very cheerful greetings might be grieving someone, and not being rude or antisocial.

If I may, I would like to add one more: don't assume anything. I once asked someone who was badly limping if she had blisters. Of course I was going to offer my medicine bag, but she said she had been recently disabled. How I must have remind her of her painful disability that she is trying to cope with.
 
Camino(s) past & future
camino frances - (May 2019)
One thing that I don’t know if many pilgrims do is make a point to get out into a dark area at night, away from the lights of town, to see the Milky Way. I had an opportunity to do this one evening with a few pilgrims and it was one of the most memorable experiences of my pilgrimage. Standing under the “field of stars”, which Medieval pilgrims used to navigate their way to Santiago, I just felt a deep connection to all who had traveled before, and it was incredibly beautiful.
Great advice! 🙂
 

Michael-FL

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Caminho Portugues (2017)
Frances/Salvador/Primitivo (2021)
Perh
What are they?

Things that you see people NOT doing, that you know would improve their experience if they did.

Crowdsourcing a series of articles I'm writing on pilgrimage. I'll post the links to Medium here when they're complete!

TIA

Charl
Per
What are they?

Things that you see people NOT doing, that you know would improve their experience if they did.

Crowdsourcing a series of articles I'm writing on pilgrimage. I'll post the links to Medium here when they're complete!

TIA

Charl
Charl, mine are attitudinal in nature:
1. Be a pilgrim. Adopt the heart of the pilgrim. Be open to the opportunities of the day and of the journey. Accept the inconveniences, the discomforts, even the sufferings at times, but also the good things along the way.
2. Be grateful. Grateful for the day, for the very fact you’re on this pilgrimage. Offer gratitude for ever kindness. Let gratitude permeate ever aspect of your journey.
3. Be at peace. Whatever psychic burden you’re you’re carrying around, let it go. As the Prayer of St Francis goes, be an instrument of peace.
4. Be Happy. Deliberately choose to be happy and spread it around. It’s infectious.
5. Be prayerful. Regardless of your religious or spiritual tradition, or lack thereof, get in touch with the spiritual aspect of the Camino. This is after all, first and foremost, a pilgrimage. Start and end every day with prayer or contemplation and all along the way.
 

J Willhaus

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
24 May- 14 July (2016)CF
Hospitalera, Zamora Dec 15-31, (2017), Hospitalera Grañón Dec 15-31 (2018)
Here's a few:
Consider another route--for example if you only have time for the last 100 Km of CF try the Ingles for a less crowded experience. Study more than just the CF and think about trying a less traveled route.

Try to see more each day rather than walking further. Stop earlier so you can enjoy the community that is hosting you. You don't need to start in St Jean if you are rushed for time. It is more important to experience the Camino than rush the walking.

Send some things to Ivar to lighten your load rather than leaving it in an Albergue.

Sometimes people with food restrictions/limitations don't eat with others. As a hospitalera, I always ask before we begin the meal preparation so that everyone could enjoy what we are preparing for the evening meal. If you have a food restriction, see how you can be a part of shared meals, whether you prepare it yourself or whether it is prepared for you.

Don't be afraid to try to communicate with others. Google Translate is an option. If you see someone sitting alone and looking lost, try to communicate or help.
 

lt56ny

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF2012,Le Puy/CF 2015 Portugues 2017 Norte 2018, CF 2019
The bottom bunk is a contentious issue. Don't demand and assume you have to take bottom because of your age if you're capable of using the top. If you're young but need to take a bottothrough injury then speak up. I must have slept wrong one night and injured my shoulder and couldn't support my weight to go up and down. I asked around to swap and nobody would. So if someone asks please give up the bottom. I swapped many times even the sweet spots away from windows in the winter. An older German gentleman in Castrojeriz I ate a few meals with had trouble not made aware to me until the morn and who couldn't get on the top bunk, nobody would swap and so he slept on the floor.
I don't know how old you are but I agree with everything you said with one caveat. I am 65 and I am in very good shape for my age. I can still run pretty fast and jump and do lots of physical things. I always ask for a bottom bunk. As each year passes it becomes more and more difficult to navigate going up and down. You can't stop Father Time and my balance although excellent is not what it used to be and no matter how depressing the thought I have to exercise more care going up and down steps. Although I do yoga it is still more difficult for me to turn and put myself into the correct positions. For example, going down and then back up the ladder in the middle of the night. Also as we age, we sure get up alot more to go to the bathroom. If I get up only twice in a night it is considered a great night's sleep. It makes things even more difficult knowing that every time you are getting up, you are probably disturbing your bunkmate. Even in the bottom bunk I sometimes have problems getting in and out of the bunk quietly. It is just a fact of life and as they say growing old isn't for sissies!!!!
 

Colette Z

Happy Pilgrim
Camino(s) past & future
CF- Finisterre-Muxia 03/17; Camino SK 10/17; Norte 03/18; Ingles 11/18; Augusta 03/19
Most people are doing what they need to do, but the few changes I would suggest to the minority are:

  1. Start slow. I was amazed at the number of people racing up and down the road the first few days out of SJPdP. You’ll risk injury, blisters, etc. and miss out on some beautiful scenery. No matter how good of shape you think you’re in, you still have 30+ days ahead of you. Don’t end your Camino early.
  2. Don’t let a small injury become a big one. I learned this the hard way. If you need to take a rest day, or bus to the next town (outside of 100km), do it. “Toughing it out” in the last few days may work, but not with 2-3 weeks left.
  3. Plan ahead. Know what sights to see each day. Even the smallest towns can have wonderful experiences. In the bigger cities, you may want to spend an extra day. If you don’t have the time, at least make sure you get to the “don’t miss” places. The same can be said for places to eat and sleep. Know what each town offers.
  4. Keep your expectations to a minimum. Welcome change, be flexible. Take what the Camino gives you. You won’t be disappointed
  5. Try not to judge. It can be frustrating to see someone race past you with a daypack on, having shipped their luggage ahead. We don’t know what challenges or constraints (if any) they face. Have the best Camino you can have and don’t worry about others. There is no prize for the most mileage, or heaviest pack. There will always be someone who has walked farther than you and carried more. Letting go of the judgement can be very liberating, and you might find that those people who raced past you are very nice people when you meet them at the end of the day.
Buen Camino!
Yes totally agree! Thank you.
 

Bill Krueger

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2016)
Camino Portugues (June-2018)
most have said wonderful things...know the history of the Camino and as many of the local stories; they are amazing. Bring something to share even if it is only yourself. Have a cork screw on your knife! Leave it cleaner than when you found it. Pray lots...Buen Camino!
 

Terry Callery

Chi Walker
Camino(s) past & future
"Portuguese Camino - In Search of the Infinite Moment" Amazon/Kindle books authored
"Slow Camino"
Learn to "Chi Walk" in order to make your pilgrimage more of a walking meditation!

I was no longer walking in the same aggressive way as when I trained over the winter in Maine. Instead, I began to walk in a way that conserved energy. I called it “sleepwalking” at the time. Now I refer to it as Chi walking. Sleepwalking is more of a short shuffle that glides you along. If you stop pushing off hard with your feet and legs, if you cease powering yourself along with giant strides, you will begin to walk at a slower pace. It allows you to walk for longer distances without getting tired. Anyone who has traveled through a big airport where they went on the moving walkways that connect the sprawling terminals would have adjusted their walking style and would likely have incorporated elements of Chi walking. When I went through Madrid Barajas Airport, I had to make my upper body lean just slightly forward to adjust to the “rug pulled out from beneath you” feeling. I also made short choppy steps to help with my balance, as I was whisked along the moving escalators in the airport.

Chi walkers do not make the mistake of leaning backward with their upper bodies; rather they have a slight forward inclination. The other mistake most people make when distance walking is that they overstride. A Chi walker will shorten the stride, particularly when climbing a hill.

Other biomechanics of Chi walking include loose joints, engaging the core muscles, and relaxing the peripheral muscles of the arms and legs. The arms should swing parallel and not cross the chest. When you walk consistently mindful of your balance and alignment, you will need fewer recovery breaks.

Imagine a needle resting inside a ball of cotton. With Chi walking all movement comes from the needle, the center line. The more you move from the center, the more you can let go of the extremities and begin to experience them as light as cotton. You relax the shoulders and hips, as movement originates from the center, from the core, the abdominal muscles.

It is all about correct alignment with the body upright and balanced. Most walkers I saw on the Camino tended to overstride, particularly the pole walkers. They were doing the exact opposite of Chi walking, as they were transferring energy from the centerline—the needle, if you will—to the extremities, to the arms, and making them heavy rather than light like cotton. They were pushing themselves from side to side with their walking poles, and the needle was wobbling.

Stability is about flexibility, not being rigid. You glide and skate rather than push and shove your way along. The Inuit people were said to be lazy by the first European explorers because they walked slowly and methodically across the arctic. They walked so as not to break a sweat, because sweating and getting wet can mean hypothermia and death in the frigid arctic. They were Chi walking, staying balanced and aligned and conserving energy.

The mental image that helped me with my Chi walking was that of a rope attached to my belt buckle pulling me along the Camino. Often the wind on the Camino blows from the east against your back.

My Frogg Toggs rain gear was loose and baggy and would often act like a sail when the wind was at my back. This increased the feeling of being pulled along by an outside energy. Mentally focusing on your legs pushing off and your arms pumping will deplete your energy.

It is not poor muscle strength, but poor muscle alignment that makes you tired. In addition, the body must be aligned with the mind and communication link must always be open between them. This is why I chose not to listen to music while walking or to even take a cell phone with me. Chi walking is mindful walking.

The mind must be listening to the body and making adjustments, better arm swing, more parallel. Going uphill, the mind must tell the body to shorten stride and walk more relaxed with less tension. Glide up the hill; don’t try to push your way up. I found myself really having to focus on my walking during the second half of the day. Those days when I was pushing 20 km, and I had already walked for five hours that day and it seemed like I would never get to the albergue or hotel—it was then that inner strength would come from pulling it all into the core, aligning myself and taking one mindful step at a time.

I would tell myself, you can do this if you take it slow and easy, conserve the energy, stay balanced, don’t push with the legs, get pulled by your core, glide, Terry, glide.

From "Slow Camino" by Terence Callery
 

PiryatJos

Pilgrim Brit
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances - SJPdP - SdC (Oct/Nov '18) (Sep/Oct '19)

Camino del Norte - Santander - SdC (2021)
I don't know how old you are but I agree with everything you said with one caveat. I am 65 and I am in very good shape for my age. I can still run pretty fast and jump and do lots of physical things. I always ask for a bottom bunk. As each year passes it becomes more and more difficult to navigate going up and down. You can't stop Father Time and my balance although excellent is not what it used to be and no matter how depressing the thought I have to exercise more care going up and down steps. Although I do yoga it is still more difficult for me to turn and put myself into the correct positions. For example, going down and then back up the ladder in the middle of the night. Also as we age, we sure get up alot more to go to the bathroom. If I get up only twice in a night it is considered a great night's sleep. It makes things even more difficult knowing that every time you are getting up, you are probably disturbing your bunkmate. Even in the bottom bunk I sometimes have problems getting in and out of the bunk quietly. It is just a fact of life and as they say growing old isn't for sissies!!!!
So you're saying you need it. Then nobody will have a problem, I had in mind people 10-15 years younger. This German guy was possibly 70, he didn't speak English and I didn't speak German and I couldn't understand his French. In Castrojeriz you pick your own bed. He got there late so got last dibs. People should up the beds IF THEY CAN.
 

lt56ny

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF2012,Le Puy/CF 2015 Portugues 2017 Norte 2018, CF 2019
So you're saying you need it. Then nobody will have a problem, I had in mind people 10-15 years younger. This German guy was possibly 70, he didn't speak English and I didn't speak German and I couldn't understand his French. In Castrojeriz you pick your own bed. He got there late so got last dibs. People should up the beds IF THEY CAN.
Yes I do need it and I think just about everyone in my age group needs it too. I have seen others of my age group in top bunks. They are navigating the top pretty well but I can see that they are always taking extra care. It is really crappy what happened to the German Pilgrim that you spoke of.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances, 2015
And related [to Cavafy's "Ithaca”], older folks can follow up with Tennyson's Ulysses.
The above post got a :mad: response. I suppose that is better than Dante's placing Ulysses into one of the lower circles of Hell for false counsel. That was for encouraging aging shipmates to continue their voyaging.

... Come, my friends,
'T is not too late to seek a newer world.
Push off, and sitting well in order smite
The sounding furrows; for my purpose holds
To sail beyond the sunset, and the baths
Of all the western stars, until I die.
It may be that the gulfs will wash us down:
It may be we shall touch the Happy Isles,
And see the great Achilles, whom we knew.
Tho' much is taken, much abides; and tho'
We are not now that strength which in old days
Moved earth and heaven, that which we are, we are;
One equal temper of heroic hearts,
Made weak by time and fate, but strong in will
To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield.
 

Charl

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Aragones 2015, Frances 2015, Via Francigena 2017, Via degli Abati 2017, Del Norte 2020
Interesting question @Charl and we'll done on challenging my thinking. I would have to say Camino without constraints, specifically time. I had the luxury of having no time limit and I'm aware others may have other commitments, work, travel or otherwise that doesn't afford this luxury. A one way ticket to a journey of unknown destination or timescale took the pressure off, permitted opportunity to linger longer and live in the now. Many others I met had a date in mind for reaching Santiago and many pilgrim's carried this expectation with them on the way. My recommendation would be too wait until the Camino calls and when it does book one way ticket and stay until it feels that it's the right time to return 🤠
Thanks, very valid point. Would you agree that, given that most walkers have jobs, a recommendation is to always build in say five days flexibility, just so there's less stress about being at a certain point, on a certain day?
 

Charl

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Aragones 2015, Frances 2015, Via Francigena 2017, Via degli Abati 2017, Del Norte 2020
Learn to "Chi Walk" in order to make your pilgrimage more of a walking meditation!

Thanks, I'm going to look for your book. In the meantime I'm keeping your post for reference.
 

Charl

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Aragones 2015, Frances 2015, Via Francigena 2017, Via degli Abati 2017, Del Norte 2020
most have said wonderful things...know the history of the Camino and as many of the local stories; they are amazing. Bring something to share even if it is only yourself. Have a cork screw on your knife! Leave it cleaner than when you found it. Pray lots...Buen Camino!
Almost everything you said is on my shortlist of topics... thanks so much!
 

Charl

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Aragones 2015, Frances 2015, Via Francigena 2017, Via degli Abati 2017, Del Norte 2020
Yes I do need it and I think just about everyone in my age group needs it too. I have seen others of my age group in top bunks. They are navigating the top pretty well but I can see that they are always taking extra care. It is really crappy what happened to the German Pilgrim that you spoke of.
Interesting topic. Is there any kind of solution to give seniors priority? I'd have thought hosts would be able to think up something.
 

J Willhaus

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
24 May- 14 July (2016)CF
Hospitalera, Zamora Dec 15-31, (2017), Hospitalera Grañón Dec 15-31 (2018)
Thanks, very valid point. Would you agree that, given that most walkers have jobs, a recommendation is to always build in say five days flexibility, just so there's less stress about being at a certain point, on a certain day?
Actually as a hospitalera, I found many people did not have jobs and/or quit their jobs or were in between jobs. I don't think you can say that most have jobs, maybe many have a specific timeline due to their travel arrangements?
 

Derrybiketours

A journey of 500 miles begins with one step!
Camino(s) past & future
SJPdP-SANT-FIN (09/2018)
PORTO-SANT (11/2018)
Caminho Da Fe (01/2019)
*Derry-SANT (09/2019)?
Thanks, very valid point. Would you agree that, given that most walkers have jobs, a recommendation is to always build in say five days flexibility, just so there's less stress about being at a certain point, on a certain day?
recommendation would be too wait until the Camino calls and when it does book one way ticket and stay until it feels that it's the right time to return 🤠
 

lt56ny

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF2012,Le Puy/CF 2015 Portugues 2017 Norte 2018, CF 2019
Interesting topic. Is there any kind of solution to give seniors priority? I'd have thought hosts would be able to think up something.
[/QUOTE
I can only tell you what I do. One advantage at my age is that I wake up early and am usually ready to go before the sun rises. I enjoy walking during the early morning. Since I rarely walk more than 25k a day I usually arrive at an albergue early in the day. My Spanish is decent and I always request a lower bed. Even in albergues that assign beds I have never been refused.
 

Derrybiketours

A journey of 500 miles begins with one step!
Camino(s) past & future
SJPdP-SANT-FIN (09/2018)
PORTO-SANT (11/2018)
Caminho Da Fe (01/2019)
*Derry-SANT (09/2019)?
Learn to "Chi Walk" in order to make your pilgrimage more of a walking meditation!

I was no longer walking in the same aggressive way as when I trained over the winter in Maine. Instead, I began to walk in a way that conserved energy. I called it “sleepwalking” at the time. Now I refer to it as Chi walking. Sleepwalking is more of a short shuffle that glides you along. If you stop pushing off hard with your feet and legs, if you cease powering yourself along with giant strides, you will begin to walk at a slower pace. It allows you to walk for longer distances without getting tired. Anyone who has traveled through a big airport where they went on the moving walkways that connect the sprawling terminals would have adjusted their walking style and would likely have incorporated elements of Chi walking. When I went through Madrid Barajas Airport, I had to make my upper body lean just slightly forward to adjust to the “rug pulled out from beneath you” feeling. I also made short choppy steps to help with my balance, as I was whisked along the moving escalators in the airport.

Chi walkers do not make the mistake of leaning backward with their upper bodies; rather they have a slight forward inclination. The other mistake most people make when distance walking is that they overstride. A Chi walker will shorten the stride, particularly when climbing a hill.

Other biomechanics of Chi walking include loose joints, engaging the core muscles, and relaxing the peripheral muscles of the arms and legs. The arms should swing parallel and not cross the chest. When you walk consistently mindful of your balance and alignment, you will need fewer recovery breaks.

Imagine a needle resting inside a ball of cotton. With Chi walking all movement comes from the needle, the center line. The more you move from the center, the more you can let go of the extremities and begin to experience them as light as cotton. You relax the shoulders and hips, as movement originates from the center, from the core, the abdominal muscles.

It is all about correct alignment with the body upright and balanced. Most walkers I saw on the Camino tended to overstride, particularly the pole walkers. They were doing the exact opposite of Chi walking, as they were transferring energy from the centerline—the needle, if you will—to the extremities, to the arms, and making them heavy rather than light like cotton. They were pushing themselves from side to side with their walking poles, and the needle was wobbling.

Stability is about flexibility, not being rigid. You glide and skate rather than push and shove your way along. The Inuit people were said to be lazy by the first European explorers because they walked slowly and methodically across the arctic. They walked so as not to break a sweat, because sweating and getting wet can mean hypothermia and death in the frigid arctic. They were Chi walking, staying balanced and aligned and conserving energy.

The mental image that helped me with my Chi walking was that of a rope attached to my belt buckle pulling me along the Camino. Often the wind on the Camino blows from the east against your back.

My Frogg Toggs rain gear was loose and baggy and would often act like a sail when the wind was at my back. This increased the feeling of being pulled along by an outside energy. Mentally focusing on your legs pushing off and your arms pumping will deplete your energy.

It is not poor muscle strength, but poor muscle alignment that makes you tired. In addition, the body must be aligned with the mind and communication link must always be open between them. This is why I chose not to listen to music while walking or to even take a cell phone with me. Chi walking is mindful walking.

The mind must be listening to the body and making adjustments, better arm swing, more parallel. Going uphill, the mind must tell the body to shorten stride and walk more relaxed with less tension. Glide up the hill; don’t try to push your way up. I found myself really having to focus on my walking during the second half of the day. Those days when I was pushing 20 km, and I had already walked for five hours that day and it seemed like I would never get to the albergue or hotel—it was then that inner strength would come from pulling it all into the core, aligning myself and taking one mindful step at a time.

I would tell myself, you can do this if you take it slow and easy, conserve the energy, stay balanced, don’t push with the legs, get pulled by your core, glide, Terry, glide.

From "Slow Camino" by Terence Callery
Nothing to add, just wanted to see if I could copy and paste such a looong response 😉
 

Walton

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
2016 Sjpp to Sdc. 2018 Lisbon to Sdc to Finisterre. Next up hopefully VDP or Del Norte.
I don't mind the top bunk.

What I hate though is that the steps to the top bunk are more often than not are round and narrow and are designed to cause maximum pain to already sore 65 year old feet.

Flat steps to the top bunk on the other hand, are pure bliss.

Also, I believe one is less likely to experience bed bugs higher up.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Jul-Sept 2019: Ruta Asturianos Lebaniego / Apr 2018 Asturias / May 2016 CP: Portuguese
...don’t know if many pilgrims do is make a point to get out into a dark area at night, away from the lights of town, to see the Milky Way...
OOOOOoooh, EXCELLENT reminder! 🤩
...as they say growing old isn't for sissies!!!!
wow...you almost took the words out of my beloved Mom's (RIP) mouth. ♥

@Charl...Still pondering your most provocative question and the incoming replies. ;)
 

Charl

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Aragones 2015, Frances 2015, Via Francigena 2017, Via degli Abati 2017, Del Norte 2020
Actually as a hospitalera, I found many people did not have jobs and/or quit their jobs or were in between jobs. I don't think you can say that most have jobs, maybe many have a specific timeline due to their travel arrangements?
Very interesting firsthand observation, and a valid point. I don't know of research that has data about the working life of pilgrims. On what section of the Camino did you volunteer?
 

lt56ny

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF2012,Le Puy/CF 2015 Portugues 2017 Norte 2018, CF 2019
Seems to be a somewhat strange subject. I can’t help thinking that this thread could develop into something that reminds me of the children’s book ‘When the Robbers Came to Cardamom Town’ where Aunt Sophie in her song has a line that goes something like this: “If everyone was quite like me then things would be all right”
Or as my cousin Jack has always said: "If everyone would just listen to what I say and do what I ask the world would be a much better place."
 

J Willhaus

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
24 May- 14 July (2016)CF
Hospitalera, Zamora Dec 15-31, (2017), Hospitalera Grañón Dec 15-31 (2018)
Very interesting firsthand observation, and a valid point. I don't know of research that has data about the working life of pilgrims. On what section of the Camino did you volunteer?
Via de la Plata and Camino Frances. Many are students, retirees, or in between something.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Francé 2005; 2016
Inglés June 2017
del Salvador Sep 2018
Primitivo Oct 2018
St James - the book of, has excellent advice which is humanistic if nothing else. Its good to read (mine is a Methodist - Protestant, version, without all the 'thou' and 'shalst' etc etc). Plain english, like St Jame's teaching - plain, common sense to help not just people but the world too. Check it out, you'll find a few things you wish you were doing better on pilgrimage, and not just what others lack in common sense, common descency, christianity or humanism. Hey - I'm not preaching here, so check it. You may find it relevant. Many of you will already have read it, more than once, I'm sure. But we all need reminding - that's just human nature for you.
Keith
 
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truthseeker

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Francés, (fall, 2018)
All these suggestions are wonderful. I will add one, which manifested itself about one third of the way to Santiago (CF from SJPP). Find your own pace, and don't push unduly to match the quicker pace of others. This goes together with jettisoning our pride and beginning to be in harmony with our body's needs. Understandably, however, as I went on, I became stronger and discovered that a slightly quicker pace had become less tiring for me. I still find my new pace less tiring now that I am home.
 

MarkN

Mark
Camino(s) past & future
Leon to Santiago Oct 2016
Porto to Santiago Oct 2017
Porto to Santiago May 2019
My personal list for me:
Relax and accept more.
Plan less and experience more.
Discomfort may be a part of the Camino but pain shouldn't be.
The other pilgrims are one of the most fulfilling parts of the walk, open up and listen.
Try to stay a pilgrim even when not walking the way.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Portuguese Way September 2017.
French Way May 2018.
Planning some sort of camino for Sep 2019..
Most people are doing what they need to do, but the few changes I would suggest to the minority are:

  1. Start slow. I was amazed at the number of people racing up and down the road the first few days out of SJPdP. You’ll risk injury, blisters, etc. and miss out on some beautiful scenery. No matter how good of shape you think you’re in, you still have 30+ days ahead of you. Don’t end your Camino early.
  2. Don’t let a small injury become a big one. I learned this the hard way. If you need to take a rest day, or bus to the next town (outside of 100km), do it. “Toughing it out” in the last few days may work, but not with 2-3 weeks left.
  3. Plan ahead. Know what sights to see each day. Even the smallest towns can have wonderful experiences. In the bigger cities, you may want to spend an extra day. If you don’t have the time, at least make sure you get to the “don’t miss” places. The same can be said for places to eat and sleep. Know what each town offers.
  4. Keep your expectations to a minimum. Welcome change, be flexible. Take what the Camino gives you. You won’t be disappointed
  5. Try not to judge. It can be frustrating to see someone race past you with a daypack on, having shipped their luggage ahead. We don’t know what challenges or constraints (if any) they face. Have the best Camino you can have and don’t worry about others. There is no prize for the most mileage, or heaviest pack. There will always be someone who has walked farther than you and carried more. Letting go of the judgement can be very liberating, and you might find that those people who raced past you are very nice people when you meet them at the end of the day.
Buen Camino!
Sound advice in number 2! And number 5 also, a big YES to that.. I was quite surprised how much judgement there was.. it wasn’t everyone obviously or even the majority, but still, enough people had opinions and judgments about people they knew nothing about. Don’t like that.
 

MichelleElynHogan

Veteran Member
Only one for me too. This is not an endeavor for, not to be cruel, obese individuals. I am obese myself. Obesity can and will aggravate any and all weaknesses. For me, it has further injured IT Bands and quadriceps in both legs. And I trained daily for a year walking more than a Camino from SJPP to Finisterre. On the Camino last year, I made it 100 km before I could not walk further due to excruciating leg pain.

I guess I do have a #2. Proper, well fitting footwear is essential. If that is correctly covered, blisters will never be an issue. That is why training at home is essential to not only test yourself, but also the footwear. It is a lot easier to deal with foot troubles at home than out in the countryside of Espana.

Hmmmm, #3 - Time is a commodity that seems to be afforded the young and the old, like me, and I am both. When I go on pilgrimage, it begins with a one way ticket. That provides freedom to throw away the trappings of what society tells us is a normal life of 9 to 5, taxiing the kids everywhere, paying the bills, running errands, leaving so little for our soul.

'Tis a time of being the bird. Go from branch to branch as the spirit moves. Eat, pray, love as you find it, or it finds you.

On the Camino, even with my limited, unfinished experience, it is the rare Pilgrim who is not walking without an agenda of some kind. Perhaps that is why we see many retirees on the Way. Is this a lesson that non-retirees can take away from this?
 
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Madamjoy

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances. September 2017
Most people are doing what they need to do, but the few changes I would suggest to the minority are:

  1. Start slow. I was amazed at the number of people racing up and down the road the first few days out of SJPdP. You’ll risk injury, blisters, etc. and miss out on some beautiful scenery. No matter how good of shape you think you’re in, you still have 30+ days ahead of you. Don’t end your Camino early.
  2. Don’t let a small injury become a big one. I learned this the hard way. If you need to take a rest day, or bus to the next town (outside of 100km), do it. “Toughing it out” in the last few days may work, but not with 2-3 weeks left.
  3. Plan ahead. Know what sights to see each day. Even the smallest towns can have wonderful experiences. In the bigger cities, you may want to spend an extra day. If you don’t have the time, at least make sure you get to the “don’t miss” places. The same can be said for places to eat and sleep. Know what each town offers.
  4. Keep your expectations to a minimum. Welcome change, be flexible. Take what the Camino gives you. You won’t be disappointed
  5. Try not to judge. It can be frustrating to see someone race past you with a daypack on, having shipped their luggage ahead. We don’t know what challenges or constraints (if any) they face. Have the best Camino you can have and don’t worry about others. There is no prize for the most mileage, or heaviest pack. There will always be someone who has walked farther than you and carried more. Letting go of the judgement can be very liberating, and you might find that those people who raced past you are very nice people when you meet them at the end of the day.
Buen Camino!
Numbers 3 and 4 can conflict... too much planning and you’re no longer open to the unexpected gifts of the Camino.
 

bobbogram

Member
Camino(s) past & future
El Norte San Sebastián to Santiago; Portuguese Lisbon to Porto; Porto to Santiago; Geneva west
Don’t be a hazard to navigation on the Camino and maybe others won’t be either. Having to circumnavigate a group of pilgrims chatting in the middle of the path is an indication of bad manners, anywhere.
“Human Race” is a collective term not a description of a pace for the Camino. More folks pass me than the reverse. So allow others to pass and maybe you won’t be inconvenienced.
Patience and understanding are required on the Camino.
 

Marbe2

Active member
Camino(s) past & future
2015 SJPD to Burgos
2017 Leon to Santiago
Pamplona to Santiago Mar. 2018
Burgos - SCDC (Oct 18)
We are all different...and my expectations for myself change with each Camino...and the circumstances. Safety and health is my one wish for everyone
If you want go to tour the towns, sites, and get a stamp from every church great! If you just want to get from one town to the next and do zen,...”walk-in a relaxed manner,” OR if you speedwalk or Jog for 40 km good for you! I hope everyone gets there safely, and behaves in a way that helps everyone else arrive safely!
 

Mera

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino France, Camino del Norte, Camino de Madrid
Camino Porto, Camino Primitivo
Most people are doing what they need to do, but the few changes I would suggest to the minority are:

  1. Start slow. I was amazed at the number of people racing up and down the road the first few days out of SJPdP. You’ll risk injury, blisters, etc. and miss out on some beautiful scenery. No matter how good of shape you think you’re in, you still have 30+ days ahead of you. Don’t end your Camino early.
  2. Don’t let a small injury become a big one. I learned this the hard way. If you need to take a rest day, or bus to the next town (outside of 100km), do it. “Toughing it out” in the last few days may work, but not with 2-3 weeks left.
  3. Plan ahead. Know what sights to see each day. Even the smallest towns can have wonderful experiences. In the bigger cities, you may want to spend an extra day. If you don’t have the time, at least make sure you get to the “don’t miss” places. The same can be said for places to eat and sleep. Know what each town offers.
  4. Keep your expectations to a minimum. Welcome change, be flexible. Take what the Camino gives you. You won’t be disappointed
  5. Try not to judge. It can be frustrating to see someone race past you with a daypack on, having shipped their luggage ahead. We don’t know what challenges or constraints (if any) they face. Have the best Camino you can have and don’t worry about others. There is no prize for the most mileage, or heaviest pack. There will always be someone who has walked farther than you and carried more. Letting go of the judgement can be very liberating, and you might find that those people who raced past you are very nice people when you meet them at the end of the day.
Buen Camino!
And more people should carry a hiking umbrella. Especially while walking shadeless meseta, it is a lifesaver literally.
 

Pipmahoe

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances June 2018
Central Portuguese April 2019 8 weeks post hip replacement!
What are they?

Things that you see people NOT doing, that you know would improve their experience if they did.

Crowdsourcing a series of articles I'm writing on pilgrimage. I'll post the links to Medium here when they're complete!

TIA

Charl
Live each day as if it were the last, enjoy that day, look at your surroundings, don’t rush forward, don’t think about tomorrow, ENJOY THAT DAY AS YOU NEVER KNOW WHAT THE NEXT DAY WILL BRING!!! Bon Camino 👣😀
 

Mick McQueen

https://www.facebook.com/groups/
Camino(s) past & future
I am escorting the Roll of Honour (Afghanistan) on Camino France on 20 May from SJPDP
The Roll of Honour details the 41 young Australians who died on Active Service in Afghanistan. In the centenary of the ANZAC’s, the Roll of Honour will be escorted to 41 prominent places and events around the World, laying 41 Poppies at each location.
Nothing!!! the only thing that got on my nerves was the locals outside Albergues talking more loudly as the booze was flowing, but you know what it’s there country and I was only a visitor so let it go, europeans unlike Aussies like the windows closed regardless of how hot it is sort of got on my nerves also but wall price to pay for peace.
 

Salash

Road less travelled
Camino(s) past & future
Senda Litoral Portugal (2019)
Camino Central Portugal (2020)
My number 1 would be to Please not drop your rubbish, and #2, if you come across rubbish - please pick it up. Walking the Portuguese in April I came across rubbish that could only have been left by pilgrims due to where it was. It's part of respect for the earth we inhabit, the country we are visiting, and those who are coming after us.
 

gerip

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF, Lourdes to Burgos, Oct 2018
CF, Burgos to Santiago, May 2019
Primitivo, Oct 2019
I don't know how old you are but I agree with everything you said with one caveat. I am 65 and I am in very good shape for my age. I can still run pretty fast and jump and do lots of physical things. I always ask for a bottom bunk. As each year passes it becomes more and more difficult to navigate going up and down. You can't stop Father Time and my balance although excellent is not what it used to be and no matter how depressing the thought I have to exercise more care going up and down steps. Although I do yoga it is still more difficult for me to turn and put myself into the correct positions. For example, going down and then back up the ladder in the middle of the night. Also as we age, we sure get up alot more to go to the bathroom. If I get up only twice in a night it is considered a great night's sleep. It makes things even more difficult knowing that every time you are getting up, you are probably disturbing your bunkmate. Even in the bottom bunk I sometimes have problems getting in and out of the bunk quietly. It is just a fact of life and as they say growing old isn't for sissies!!!!
Yup. Then add in hip replacement, knee replacement, and so on. I always preferred a top bunk, but those nighttime trips to the toilet put an end to that. :confused: I’m sure folks would prefer me in a bottom bunk than waking them up every three hours climbing up and down a ladder.;)
 
Camino(s) past & future
SJPdP-Santiago (Sep/Oct 2018)
Numbers 3 and 4 can conflict... too much planning and you’re no longer open to the unexpected gifts of the Camino.
Very True. What I meant to communicate is that even the smallest stops at the end of the day may have something worth seeing - A chapel, church, etc. It's impossible to see all the wonderful sites in one journey, but knowing what's out there can help guide you.
 

Charl

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Aragones 2015, Frances 2015, Via Francigena 2017, Via degli Abati 2017, Del Norte 2020
Nothing!!! the only thing that got on my nerves was the locals outside Albergues talking more loudly as the booze was flowing, but you know what it’s there country and I was only a visitor so let it go, europeans unlike Aussies like the windows closed regardless of how hot it is sort of got on my nerves also but wall price to pay for peace.
What did you in turn do that 'got on their nerves' ;) For me, I'm sure there are a few pilgrims who've grumbled about "those damn South Africans who sat drinking wine in the kitchen till way past midnight'. To those pilgrims, sorry guys, it was unintentional, but the conversations were just so interesting we lost track of time (and the red wine didn't help). I think we all do stuff unintentionally that piss off other pilgrims. What amazes me is the abundance of goodwill on a pilgrim route... everyone's patient and chilled enough to live with others' whims.
 

Charl

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Aragones 2015, Frances 2015, Via Francigena 2017, Via degli Abati 2017, Del Norte 2020
Don’t be a hazard to navigation on the Camino and maybe others won’t be either. Having to circumnavigate a group of pilgrims chatting in the middle of the path is an indication of bad manners, anywhere.
“Human Race” is a collective term not a description of a pace for the Camino. More folks pass me than the reverse. So allow others to pass and maybe you won’t be inconvenienced.
Patience and understanding are required on the Camino.
"Bad manners" is a cultural thing. In Africa walking in the middle of the road is considered normal behaviour (even though a passing motorist might hoot long and loudly, everyone laughs about it.) Your last sentence is absolute key. Perhaps those holding you up might there to teach you a lesson of patience, or an understanding of awareness. It can get very philosophical, but I don't think it's an issue of ethics. I'm always amazed at the breadth of habits and behaviours on the Camino emanating from so many cultures, classes, and personal dispositions, and yet 250 000 pilgrims a year manage to live with each other for weeks on end in peace and harmony (I've not read about anyone getting slapped for snoring). That's a miracle and a world lesson in itself.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Portugues (2019)
Interesting question @Charl and we'll done on challenging my thinking. I would have to say Camino without constraints, specifically time. I had the luxury of having no time limit and I'm aware others may have other commitments, work, travel or otherwise that doesn't afford this luxury. A one way ticket to a journey of unknown destination or timescale took the pressure off, permitted opportunity to linger longer and live in the now. Many others I met had a date in mind for reaching Santiago and many pilgrim's carried this expectation with them on the way. My recommendation would be too wait until the Camino calls and when it does book one way ticket and stay until it feels that it's the right time to return 🤠
Sounds wonderful! But a luxury indeed!
 

Derrybiketours

A journey of 500 miles begins with one step!
Camino(s) past & future
SJPdP-SANT-FIN (09/2018)
PORTO-SANT (11/2018)
Caminho Da Fe (01/2019)
*Derry-SANT (09/2019)?
Sounds wonderful! But a luxury indeed!
Indeed but not for everyone. I met a number of Pilgrims who described their motivation as purposeless and was interesting to observe their physical constraints and attitude about the difficulties and hardships they experienced. They where focused on the destination and getting home to their luxuries and I got the impression they were simply ticking another one off their bucket list. I expect one person's luxury is another's person's challenge. Another valuable lesson I learned 🙏
 

Tincatinker

Moderator
Staff member
Camino(s) past & future
Lots ;0)
Think (thoughts other than “will I ever get there, will I get a bed? If this hill gets any steeper will I drop down dead?)

Blink (as in stop, close your eyes, open your eyes, look again. Yes, it really is that amazing.)

Sink (with absolute gratitude into that unfamiliar mattress)

Drink ( no, not all that water – drink into your very soul every golden and every tarnished moment (Orujo is good too))

Wink (at your fellow sufferers as some old hand is laying down the righteous stuff yet again)

(Copyright Cider Press 2019 - not for reproduction without inducement ;) )
 

CWBuff

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
in Planning stage: Frances (SJPdP --> SdC) & Finisterre "2021"
Think (thoughts other than “will I ever get there, will I get a bed? If this hill gets any steeper will I drop down dead?)
one could conceivably argue that if # 3 is true then there is absolutely no reason to worry\think ##1 & 2 😇

🧟‍♂️🛏⛰
 

Nekodemus

Certified insane
Camino(s) past & future
Been there, done that. Keep coming back.
Most likely addicted.
One thing most SHOULD consider, is to buy a ticket with an open return date. Yes, it may cost a bit more, but it's well worth the money when your planning slips.

Small things can wreak havoc with your planning. I've needed the open return twice myself.

Once I strained my ankle lightly on the descent towards Roncesvalles. When I got to Zubiri, the ankle was really annoying, so the next morning I took a cab to Pamplona, where I relaxed for a few days. No big problem, as I didn't have a fixed return date.

On my last walk, I wore the wrong socks, which cost me a few extra days. Not so much because of the blisters, but because my body "compensated" and I started walking "wrong", which again lead to swellings around my implants. That made me extremely careful, and I quit walking until the swelling was gone. Not having a strict plan made it possible to complete my walk without problems.
 

Bala

Veteran member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances: SJPdP-Burgos, (2015); Burgos-Sarria (2018); Sarria-Santiago (2018).
Frances (2020)
One thing most SHOULD consider, is to buy a ticket with an open return date. Yes, it may cost a bit more, but it's well worth the money when your planning slips.
Provided you live somewhere where cheap one-way flights are available. To the U.S., they are hefty. One-way flights from Madrid to Philadelphia, my destination, start just under $1,000 for travel in the next few weeks. 🙁 They spiral upwards from there. 😱
 

David Tallan

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (1989 and 2016), Portugues - from Porto (2018)
Provided you live somewhere where cheap one-way flights are available. To the U.S., they are hefty. One-way flights from Madrid to Philadelphia, my destination, start just under $1,000 for travel in the next few weeks. 🙁 They spiral upwards from there. 😱
As an alternative, I try and book both ways but with a substantial buffer for unexpected delays. If not used during the Camino, it is available for sightseeing in Iberia afterwards. For example, when walking the CF with my son, I gave us 2 months when I didn't expect it to take much more than 1 (we ended up walking 41 days). When I walked the CP and expected it to take under 2 weeks, I booked 3 and used the extra days at the end for time in Porto and Lisbon.
 

firstshirt

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
November (2018)
Perh

Per

Charl, mine are attitudinal in nature:
1. Be a pilgrim. Adopt the heart of the pilgrim. Be open to the opportunities of the day and of the journey. Accept the inconveniences, the discomforts, even the sufferings at times, but also the good things along the way.
2. Be grateful. Grateful for the day, for the very fact you’re on this pilgrimage. Offer gratitude for ever kindness. Let gratitude permeate ever aspect of your journey.
3. Be at peace. Whatever psychic burden you’re you’re carrying around, let it go. As the Prayer of St Francis goes, be an instrument of peace.
4. Be Happy. Deliberately choose to be happy and spread it around. It’s infectious.
5. Be prayerful. Regardless of your religious or spiritual tradition, or lack thereof, get in touch with the spiritual aspect of the Camino. This is after all, first and foremost, a pilgrimage. Start and end every day with prayer or contemplation and all along the way.
I really like this and am going to try and read it every day. Thanks
 

cosan

Member
Camino(s) past & future
july 2016
Most people are doing what they need to do, but the few changes I would suggest to the minority are:

  1. Start slow. I was amazed at the number of people racing up and down the road the first few days out of SJPdP. You’ll risk injury, blisters, etc. and miss out on some beautiful scenery. No matter how good of shape you think you’re in, you still have 30+ days ahead of you. Don’t end your Camino early.
  2. Don’t let a small injury become a big one. I learned this the hard way. If you need to take a rest day, or bus to the next town (outside of 100km), do it. “Toughing it out” in the last few days may work, but not with 2-3 weeks left.
  3. Plan ahead. Know what sights to see each day. Even the smallest towns can have wonderful experiences. In the bigger cities, you may want to spend an extra day. If you don’t have the time, at least make sure you get to the “don’t miss” places. The same can be said for places to eat and sleep. Know what each town offers.
  4. Keep your expectations to a minimum. Welcome change, be flexible. Take what the Camino gives you. You won’t be disappointed
  5. Try not to judge. It can be frustrating to see someone race past you with a daypack on, having shipped their luggage ahead. We don’t know what challenges or constraints (if any) they face. Have the best Camino you can have and don’t worry about others. There is no prize for the most mileage, or heaviest pack. There will always be someone who has walked farther than you and carried more. Letting go of the judgement can be very liberating, and you might find that those people who raced past you are very nice people when you meet them at the end of the day.
Buen Camino!
Love this
 

cosan

Member
Camino(s) past & future
july 2016
Just one - learn to see the crowds of the last 100+ km as a postive. Very first time I experienced the crowds of the Frances by joining it at Arzua from the Norte it was a shock for me, it was only two days after the 25thJuly in 2010 and I felt it difficult to adapt to the increase in people and all most resented the crowds. Fortunately after that I have walked a few more times and have been very lucky that some incredible experiences have happened to me in the last 100km, I look forward to it now and I feel that draws more of the same to me, it changes the experience of the crowds for me as well.
Thank you for this. It was a shock to meet crowds leaving Sarria after my lonely walk from Samos but next time I will have your perspective.
 

cosan

Member
Camino(s) past & future
july 2016
Interesting question @Charl and we'll done on challenging my thinking. I would have to say Camino without constraints, specifically time. I had the luxury of having no time limit and I'm aware others may have other commitments, work, travel or otherwise that doesn't afford this luxury. A one way ticket to a journey of unknown destination or timescale took the pressure off, permitted opportunity to linger longer and live in the now. Many others I met had a date in mind for reaching Santiago and many pilgrim's carried this expectation with them on the way. My recommendation would be too wait until the Camino calls and when it does book one way ticket and stay until it feels that it's the right time to return 🤠
That sounds like a whole different adventure. I love the thought of an open ended Camino .
 

ouroboros

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2012) (2019)
Camino Portuguese (2017)
Perh

Per

Charl, mine are attitudinal in nature:
1. Be a pilgrim. Adopt the heart of the pilgrim. Be open to the opportunities of the day and of the journey. Accept the inconveniences, the discomforts, even the sufferings at times, but also the good things along the way.
2. Be grateful. Grateful for the day, for the very fact you’re on this pilgrimage. Offer gratitude for ever kindness. Let gratitude permeate ever aspect of your journey.
3. Be at peace. Whatever psychic burden you’re you’re carrying around, let it go. As the Prayer of St Francis goes, be an instrument of peace.
4. Be Happy. Deliberately choose to be happy and spread it around. It’s infectious.
5. Be prayerful. Regardless of your religious or spiritual tradition, or lack thereof, get in touch with the spiritual aspect of the Camino. This is after all, first and foremost, a pilgrimage. Start and end every day with prayer or contemplation and all along the way.
May i quote you Michael, in my book on being a pilgrim?
 

jungleboy

Nick
Camino(s) past & future
Francés (Spring '17)
Primitivo (Spring '18)
Madrid (April '19)
Learn how to use the straps on your pack to maximise weight distribution (i.e. so the weight is on your hips, not your shoulders/back).
 

Nekodemus

Certified insane
Camino(s) past & future
Been there, done that. Keep coming back.
Most likely addicted.
start just under $1,000 for travel in the next few weeks
What you are stating, is the price of a ticket, which is without relevance to the issue.

What is relevant, is the additional cost of an open-ended return for that ticket.
 

Kos

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
non yet
Nothing!!! the only thing that got on my nerves was the locals outside Albergues talking more loudly as the booze was flowing, but you know what it’s there country and I was only a visitor so let it go, europeans unlike Aussies like the windows closed regardless of how hot it is sort of got on my nerves also but wall price to pay for peace.
I have to dissent on the widow issue at least for the Europeans from Germany. Most Germans I know like their window open while sleeping.
 

JabbaPapa

"True Pilgrim"
Camino(s) past & future
100 characters or fewer : see signature details
1) Take a rest day instead of a bus or taxi -- medical necessities always withstanding of course, including those from chronic conditions, as my own 2019 Camino has been characterised by so far

2) However many 7-day weeks you think your Camino will take, re-count each week as 8 days and then add 3 on top to ensure you'll have enough time -- Expect the Unexpected, and then you won't worry so much about getting to Santiago in time for your return flight

3) Focus on the Locals, not the other Pilgrims -- the other Pilgrims will talk to you anyway, and that'll be fantastic ; but the Way is from Parish to Parish and pueblo to pueblo, and you can never travel properly abroad unless it's among the people

4) Keep it open to yourself as a Catholic Pilgrimage -- this didn't even need stating up to the early 2000s, but these days FAR too many people are much too unmindful of it. It's nothing to do with actually being a Catholic nor even a Christian, but at the least to be open to the cultural and religious and traditionally spiritual meanings of the Camino as such, instead of those, so many these days, treating it as a purely secular undertaking

5) Make sure that your journey home is fully a part of your Pilgrimage -- which I think is a big part of why some pilgrims walk on to Fisterra. But it's better to remember that your material destination is home, the long way 'round, rather than Compostela. Keep that in mind along the Way, even as you close your front door before starting, and that'll help to ensure you're on a pilgrimage, not just a hiking trip.
 

bobbogram

Member
Camino(s) past & future
El Norte San Sebastián to Santiago; Portuguese Lisbon to Porto; Porto to Santiago; Geneva west
Take lots of photos to trigger great memories in the future. Digital photography is too easy and inexpensive not to.
Take care of your FEET - dry wool socks, cut back your toenails, wear shoes a half size larger for expansion, a little Vaseline in the AM will reduce friction and blistering.
Stop one day a week for rest and renewal - it isn’t a race.
Choose your drinking water sources carefully!
 

Attachments

Camino(s) past & future
Plan on walking the Camino Frances May 2019, God willing
Interesting question @Charl and we'll done on challenging my thinking. I would have to say Camino without constraints, specifically time. I had the luxury of having no time limit and I'm aware others may have other commitments, work, travel or otherwise that doesn't afford this luxury. A one way ticket to a journey of unknown destination or timescale took the pressure off, permitted opportunity to linger longer and live in the now. Many others I met had a date in mind for reaching Santiago and many pilgrim's carried this expectation with them on the way. My recommendation would be too wait until the Camino calls and when it does book one way ticket and stay until it feels that it's the right time to return 🤠
Yes! We have a one way ticket! Luxury of being “older” to offset those of being young!
 

Derrybiketours

A journey of 500 miles begins with one step!
Camino(s) past & future
SJPdP-SANT-FIN (09/2018)
PORTO-SANT (11/2018)
Caminho Da Fe (01/2019)
*Derry-SANT (09/2019)?

Gailsie

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances Fall '09 ;
Turn around once in awhile to see how far you have come, instead of contemplating how far you still have to travel. It is also worth the view to see where you have walked.
 

Mick McQueen

https://www.facebook.com/groups/
Camino(s) past & future
I am escorting the Roll of Honour (Afghanistan) on Camino France on 20 May from SJPDP
The Roll of Honour details the 41 young Australians who died on Active Service in Afghanistan. In the centenary of the ANZAC’s, the Roll of Honour will be escorted to 41 prominent places and events around the World, laying 41 Poppies at each location.
Most people are doing what they need to do, but the few changes I would suggest to the minority are:

  1. Start slow. I was amazed at the number of people racing up and down the road the first few days out of SJPdP. You’ll risk injury, blisters, etc. and miss out on some beautiful scenery. No matter how good of shape you think you’re in, you still have 30+ days ahead of you. Don’t end your Camino early.
  2. Don’t let a small injury become a big one. I learned this the hard way. If you need to take a rest day, or bus to the next town (outside of 100km), do it. “Toughing it out” in the last few days may work, but not with 2-3 weeks left.
  3. Plan ahead. Know what sights to see each day. Even the smallest towns can have wonderful experiences. In the bigger cities, you may want to spend an extra day. If you don’t have the time, at least make sure you get to the “don’t miss” places. The same can be said for places to eat and sleep. Know what each town offers.
  4. Keep your expectations to a minimum. Welcome change, be flexible. Take what the Camino gives you. You won’t be disappointed
  5. Try not to judge. It can be frustrating to see someone race past you with a daypack on, having shipped their luggage ahead. We don’t know what challenges or constraints (if any) they face. Have the best Camino you can have and don’t worry about others. There is no prize for the most mileage, or heaviest pack. There will always be someone who has walked farther than you and carried more. Letting go of the judgement can be very liberating, and you might find that those people who raced past you are very nice people when you meet them at the end of the day.
Buen Camino!
Most are just commonsense and I noticed on my Camino everybody just did their own thing in there own special way, the hardest thing I found as a pilgrim is watching the road running Albergue chasers with a daypack.
When I spoke to my mentor Jose Piner he told me to just concentrate on my own camino as everyone does their own Camino and I was fine after that but it was still teeth knashing time listening to other pilgrims in line to get a Compostela the same as mine with spotless packs and pockets full of bus tickets bragging about how the conquered the Camino.

When I do CF in the holy year I will have a better understanding of why people do this: health reasons, time, injuries, plane flights and personal reasons.

I think I’ve finally found that you can’t judge a person unless you have walked in their shoes.

Slicer
 

P Rat

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino VDLP april (april2019)
Interesting topic. Is there any kind of solution to give seniors priority? I'd have thought hosts would be able to think up something.
When we arrived at the municipal Albergue in Zamora (VDLP) we got told we had to have top bunks to leave the bottom ones for older people... We’re not young young, (60 and 58) but I did have a knee problem at the time that was strapped, and unfortunately hubby gets up at least twice to use the bathroom. We didn’t mind, and were able to transfer down when it turned out the Albergue wasn’t busy 😊.
On a different note, a fellow pilgrim of the ripe old age of 80 was not offered the top bunk either by anyone when arriving late after a 35 km day! He used the top, but I was very disappointed when he told us what happened to him. I think we were more offended by the occurrence than he was, true pilgrim this octogenarian!
 

Dannyhiker

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Chemin de St. Jame 2013
Camino del Norte 2017
What are they?

Things that you see people NOT doing, that you know would improve their experience if they did.

Crowdsourcing a series of articles I'm writing on pilgrimage. I'll post the links to Medium here when they're complete!

TIA

Charl
Learn to walk through the pain. Don't give up so soon. I've seen pilgrims who came from the other side of the world go home because of shin splints, for example.
 

Dannyhiker

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Chemin de St. Jame 2013
Camino del Norte 2017
Learn to walk through the pain. Don't give up so soon. I've seen pilgrims who came from the other side of the world go home because of shin splints, for example.
 

DebbieG64

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
First one next week, May 2019
My own list of five plus one then: Spend more time in churches along the way. Pick up after themselves at open-air loo spots. Learn a little Spanish history & culture before starting. Watch the boitefumeiro live, not on your cell screen. Take a small detour to an interesting feature/museum/church when all you really want to do is get to the overnight place, it’s almost always worth it. Gather up prayers, dreams and wishes from your friends beforehand and carry them to Finisterre.
Hi, on the Portuguese Camino, I tried to visit each Church I came across for some peace, quiet, rest & shade and I found most of them were closed & locked! Of the few that were open, it would be nice if they also had a stamp. I understand that Churches are frequent victims of vandalism & thefts and I am sure that is why they are locked. But, it is a wonderful place to rest. Also, why don't the Churches have bathrooms? Bathrooms Pilgrims can use. In the US, we have bathrooms in the back or next to the Churches.
 

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