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2019 Camino Guides

A Few Random Questions

Pcav182

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
unsure
#1
Hello all! I have e few questions that have been ruminating in my head for a while now in regard to my plans to walk from St. Jean to Santiago in July-August of this summer. Any help would be greatly appreciated. :)


1.) The first thing that I've been confused about is what it is like for you when you first arrive in St. Jean Pied de Port? Did you immediately befriend other pilgrims? Was it somewhat awkward not knowing anyone at first. How long did it take to find companions to walk with? (Right now I plan to bus to St Jean the day/evening before I walk. )

2.) Is it worth the space to take a bathing suit? Were there any situations you wish you had brought one?

3.) One matter that I know that I need to resolve ASAP is what I'm going to use for shoes. I've put some thought into perhaps buying hiking sandals because of its great circulation and air. What is your experience with this? Another route that I've considered doing is just use the current pair of sneakers I have now and just save the $70 to buy new shoes. Has anyone just used a pair of sneakers and had success? I'll begin my training soon so I will know whether sneakers work for me shortly.

4.) While I plan to stay in primarily albergues throughout my time, I suspect that I will indulge a few nights and perhaps get a hotel room for some good night sleeps. What would be an appropriate amount to expect to pay for this. Is it worth the money in your opinion?

5.) Will I be able to bring my pack as a carry on for my flight from the US or should I expect to have to put it as check baggage? I know this is mostly dependent on airline policy, but what was your experience? (I have a 40L pack)

6.) Can anyone suggest some good books about the Camino to read prior to my walk and perhaps suggestions during my walk. The Imitation of Christ is already on the list. (Thanks @David )

7.) I'll be going in the absolute middle of the summer, so of course it will be very busy, but should I expect it to be a race for the beds every day? Does this become a source of stress when walking during such a busy time?

8.) Did you notice many teens on the Camino? (I'm 18) Did the younger pilgrims mostly band together?

9.) Lastly, I ask for any advice you may have for younger pilgrims. Any guidance is much appreciated.

Thanks you all so much for the help! Finding this forum has been a true asset.
 
S

simply B

Guest
#2
@Pcav182 -

1. I had people chattering at me on the train to SJPP and I am neither very approachable nor sociable. Then, on the short walk from the train station into town, I had three different people approach me with "Hi, I'm Harry from Ireland !" "Hi, I'm Karen from Wisconsin!", etc. And this in the off-season with very few pilgs around. I would be surprised if you have any trouble meeting people.

2. Bathing suit is a personal choice. There are a few options for swimming but not a lot.

3. Hiking sandals will work for you during the Summer, lots of people here swear by them. Nix on the sneakers is my HO. They won't last and replacing them will eat up time. Plus, what if they poop out when you are not close to a place to replace them.

4. Hotel price depends upon when and where. Again, I'm an "off-season" guy - I have spent as little as 20 euro and as much as 150. (The 150 was to handle an emergency requirement for a hotel with a business center.) Tripadvisor can give you insights as to what's available and for what price when you get the itch. I found it worth the money but I only have gotten a room 7-8 times out of 80 nights on Camino.

5. I have an Osprey 48 and have no trouble carrying it on. (But I carry no walking sticks.)

6. Books? " The Pilgrimage Road to Santiago: The Complete Cultural Handbook" by Gitlitz and Davidson. Others may steer you to other non-fiction; I am more into 'history and culture' genre.

7. It is going to be busy. Folks experienced with walking in peak season will have to be more specific.

8. Some teens, not a lot until one gets to Sarria, based on my experience. That might be because of the time of year I walk though.

9. You are young. (That's okay, we've all been there!;)) My top three advices are:

a. Being young does not make one immune to physical injury. Start slow and work up to a comfortable distance per day. It would be a pity to race through a great experience anyway. I saw a lot of young, athletic people drop out around Santo Domingo due to overuse injuries both times I stayed there.

b. Wine is cheap. There's danger in that. Walking with a hangover did not appear to be much fun even for the youthful.

c. Be respectful of albergue "lights out", closing and "quiet commons area" times.

Buen Camino!

B
 
Camino(s) past & future
Nearly every year since 2006, often walking more than one route. 2018 will be Camino #14.
#3
Hello all! I have e few questions that have been ruminating in my head for a while now in regard to my plans to walk from St. Jean to Santiago in July-August of this summer. Any help would be greatly appreciated. :)


1.) The first thing that I've been confused about is what it is like for you when you first arrive in St. Jean Pied de Port? Did you immediately befriend other pilgrims? Was it somewhat awkward not knowing anyone at first. How long did it take to find companions to walk with? (Right now I plan to bus to St Jean the day/evening before I walk. )

Not awkward at all. First thing I do is check in, find my bunk, then go get my credential. You'll find companions on the road. Don't worry :)

2.) Is it worth the space to take a bathing suit? Were there any situations you wish you had brought one?
I've never taken one and never have missed taking one but some folks do, and there are a few pools along the way, if you look.

3.) One matter that I know that I need to resolve ASAP is what I'm going to use for shoes. I've put some thought into perhaps buying hiking sandals because of its great circulation and air. What is your experience with this? Another route that I've considered doing is just use the current pair of sneakers I have now and just save the $70 to buy new shoes. Has anyone just used a pair of sneakers and had success? I'll begin my training soon so I will know whether sneakers work for me shortly.
Not sure what kind of "sneakers" you are talking about. I wear a new pair of New Balance trail runners every year and am very happy with those. Whatever shoes you wear, be sure they are lightweight, flexible, and have a wide/deep toe box. I usually buy mine a size larger than I usually wear because my feet swell walking 6 hours each day, as many people's feet do.

4.) While I plan to stay in primarily albergues throughout my time, I suspect that I will indulge a few nights and perhaps get a hotel room for some good night sleeps. What would be an appropriate amount to expect to pay for this. Is it worth the money in your opinion?
Every place is different. I generally pay 25-30 euros for a private room.

5.) Will I be able to bring my pack as a carry on for my flight from the US or should I expect to have to put it as check baggage? I know this is mostly dependent on airline policy, but what was your experience? (I have a 40L pack)
I strongly suggest you carry it on. 40L is awfully large in my opinion. I usually carry a pack 28L-30L. If it will fit as a carry on, better do it. I've known more than one pilgrim who arrived without their pack and had to buy everything new to start up. If nothing else, at least put the items you cannot replace in your carry on.

6.) Can anyone suggest some good books about the Camino to read prior to my walk and perhaps suggestions during my walk. The Imitation of Christ is already on the list. (Thanks @David )
Personally, I suggest reading as little as possible, so as not to have expectations. If I could insist people leave one thing behind, it would be expectations. It is what it is and each person's experience is unique. Go, be nice, use the rules you learned in kindergarten, have a wonderful time, and don't worry about what you should or shouldn't be experiencing.

7.) I'll be going in the absolute middle of the summer, so of course it will be very busy, but should I expect it to be a race for the beds every day? Does this become a source of stress when walking during such a busy time?
It can be stressful if you allow yourself to get caught up in a race for a bed. Please don't get into the race. Once way to avoid it is to walk "between" the Brierley stages. Another is to give yourself an extra few days and walk fewer hours each day. If you start by 7 am and end by 2 pm, you'll surely get a bed. If not, it's hot enough to sleep under the stars, or nab a bus or taxi to the next village.

8.) Did you notice many teens on the Camino? (I'm 18) Did the younger pilgrims mostly band together?
Lots of teens on the Camino! You'll find lots of friends!

9.) Lastly, I ask for any advice you may have for younger pilgrims. Any guidance is much appreciated.
Please remember to be responsible and to be considerate of others, when staying in an albergue. Many are older people who need a good night's sleep. If you plan on drinking yourself into oblivion, consider getting a private room for the night. If possible, offer the lower bunk to older folks who may not be able to easily get into the top one (less chance of bedbugs in the top bunk, in my experience!). Don't stress too much - just GO and have a wonderful time. Be open to new foods, new languages, and new ideas. Explore when you have a chance. Take rest days and see the Cathedrals, even if you aren't religious - some GREAT art to see there that will once day disappear. Be lighthearted. Don't push yourself too hard the first few days. Buen Camino!

Thanks you all so much for the help! Finding this forum has been a true asset.
 

domigee

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF(x4), Fisterra/Muxía(x2), VdlP, Jerusalem, VF, Walsingham,
C inglés. 2019? Who knows! ;-)
#4
Hello all! I have e few questions that have been ruminating in my head for a while now in regard to my plans to walk from St. Jean to Santiago in July-August of this summer. Any help would be greatly appreciated. :)


1.) The first thing that I've been confused about is what it is like for you when you first arrive in St. Jean Pied de Port? Did you immediately befriend other pilgrims? Was it somewhat awkward not knowing anyone at first. How long did it take to find companions to walk with? (Right now I plan to bus to St Jean the day/evening before I walk. )

I met a pilgrim lady waiting for the bus to Bayonne at the airport. We only parted in Sahagun! Plenty of other pilgrims in the albergue became friends. In Roncesvalles I met someone I still walk with every year.
If you don't want to be on your own, you won't be. It won't be awkward!


2.) Is it worth the space to take a bathing suit? Were there any situations you wish you had brought one?
I didn't take one the first year. It was incredibly hot (2012) so I did swim in my underwear. Second year, I took a bathing suit as we were walking with a 12 yr old and I wanted to take him swimming... It's up to you really, last year I didn't take one and I was glad as it was much too cold to swim. Brr (July/Aug. every time)
3.) One matter that I know that I need to resolve ASAP is what I'm going to use for shoes. I've put some thought into perhaps buying hiking sandals because of its great circulation and air. What is your experience with this? Another route that I've considered doing is just use the current pair of sneakers I have now and just save the $70 to buy new shoes. Has anyone just used a pair of sneakers and had success? I'll begin my training soon so I will know whether sneakers work for me shortly.

4.) While I plan to stay in primarily albergues throughout my time, I suspect that I will indulge a few nights and perhaps get a hotel room for some good night sleeps. What would be an appropriate amount to expect to pay for this. Is it worth the money in your opinion?

5.) Will I be able to bring my pack as a carry on for my flight from the US or should I expect to have to put it as check baggage? I know this is mostly dependent on airline policy, but what was your experience? (I have a 40L pack)

6.) Can anyone suggest some good books about the Camino to read prior to my walk and perhaps suggestions during my walk. The Imitation of Christ is already on the list. (Thanks @David )

7.) I'll be going in the absolute middle of the summer, so of course it will be very busy, but should I expect it to be a race for the beds every day? Does this become a source of stress when walking during such a busy time?
I have walked the Camino francés 3 times (Again, July/August) and there was never a race for bed. Other people will tell you differently no doubts but....that is my experience!
8.) Did you notice many teens on the Camino? (I'm 18) Did the younger pilgrims mostly band together?
Yes, in the Summers I walked there were quite a few young pilgrims and yes, they tend to find each other. But age doesn't really seem to matter on the Camino :)

9.) Lastly, I ask for any advice you may have for younger pilgrims. Any guidance is much appreciated.
The only thing that comes to my mind is 'take it easy' those first few days. You may find it much less demanding than an older pilgrim and therefore do too much (too fast, too long distances...) . If you take care to start with, you'll sail through it!
Buen Camino!!! :)

Thanks you all so much for the help! Finding this forum has been a true asset.
 

JP

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances 2014 - Camino Portuguese 2016 (Coimbra to Albergaria-A-Velha) - Camino Frances 2017.
#5
_ Was it somewhat awkward not knowing anyone at first.

Metting people won't be a problem. When we walked in 2014 there was this American kid who made himself a hot Canadian girlfriend and they walked together until the end, we kept bumping into them all the time it was funny.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Completed CF in Oct 2016
#6
SJPP is a small little town with tremendous energy and everyone is immensely friendly; it will be a good first day getting use to what is to come.The Best read I had was this guidebook - it will do a great job of preparing you and summarizing all of the cool places you can eat and stay, and insights about the walk.. Trail runners will be your best friend, Brooks or La Sportiva are preferred by many. Take your bathing suit and use as something to sleep in to maximize its value. The stress will come more from being hot then worrying about beds; as mentioned above, leave a little early or go to towns outside of the main ones listed in guidebooks. You will have a chance to meet a lot of teens and young 20 year olds, mostly from Europe who speak really good English. They will be as interested in you as you are them and their culture. My best recommendation is to take care of yourself; feet, hydrate, food intake, and realize some days are better than others. Very cool experience.
 
M

Mark Lee

Guest
#8
1. At SJPdP I recommend immediately finding a bed for the night if you haven't already made reservations, and yeah, you will meet other pilgrims pretty darn quick. They're everywhere.
2. The times I went swimming while walking the CF I just wore my hiking/walking shorts (quick dry tech type).
3. A lot of pilgrim's walk the Camino wearing hiking sandals (Teva, Merrell, Columbia, Keen). It's up to you and your foot style.
4. I never paid over 40-45 euros for a private room at a pensiones, and many are a lot less. Yeah, to me it's worth spending a few more bucks to have my own room on the Camino occasionally, but I'm old ha ha.
5. I highly recommend bringing your pack as a carry-on. I always do. Just carry the TSA sized toothpaste, etc. Since you are going on a July-August Camino your pack shouldn't weigh more than 10-12 pounds. Those months are the driest and the warmest. You don't need a sleeping bag, just a liner. and only a rain poncho...a lightweight one. I wore shorts and t-shirts everyday during July-August..... and hydrate!
7. I never stressed about anything while walking the Camino (there honestly is nothing stressful about it) and I also always found a bed. I have walked it multiple times from June-September.
8. Lot's of teens on the Camino. You will meet a lot of people around your age and yes, they do walk together.
ultreia
 

notion900

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
>
#9
I will use your numbers:

1.) I found someone before I had left the airport!

2.) If you love swimming (I do), small towns do often have an outdoor unheated pool in summer. They are often quite hidden away, so ask around. The word for pool is piscina. There are not many places where you can swim in natural lakes and rivers.

3.) There are so many threads on here about shoes. Some people love boots, others 'trail runners' or sport sandals. You could try out the forum's survey function on this question!

5.) Long haul probably fine, if you use a connecting flight on a budget airline like Ryanair, Easyjet or Norwegian, be careful - their hand luggage rules are very strict. Always check the website.

6.) It's hard to believe, but I never have any time to read during a walk. I would not bring a book other than your guidebook. But read about Spain and it's history a bit before you come. Don't feel you have to read lots of other people's accounts of their pilgrimages, yours is your own.

7.) If you have plenty of time for your trip and don't have to walk too far each day, it won't be too stressful. If you are walking far and arriving at 4 and 5pm, bed shortage is an issue.

8.) I'll be truthful, there are quite a lot of oldies until you get to Sarria, where young Spanish people often join. You need to be comfortable with people of all ages. The old people aren't boring, because they are all adventurous types like you. Ask them about their travels: you'll end up with a long list of places you want to go!

9.) Learn some Spanish if you can. The younger you are when you learn a language, the easier it is. Spanish is probably the world's most useful language after English, so you'll be helping your career too.
Be organised and practice getting up when it is still dark. Pack your bag at home and walk 12 miles with it.

Have a wonderful time!
 

Mark McCarthy

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF 2014 2015
Lourdes 2 SdC 2016
Sarria 2 SdC April&Oct 2016 & (April 2018)
Camino Baztan June 2017
#11
(2) The albergue A Santiago in Belorado has a great swimming pool. Diving in to the ice cold river in Molinaseca on a very hot day is still one of my best memories. In Urdaniz (just beyond Zubiri) on the second day the tiny albergue Albergue Acá y Allá has a small swimming pool and a lovely chicken meal.
This is a list of the albergues that I think have pools.
Urdániz Albergue Acá y Allá
Villava Albergue Municipal de Villava
Puente la Reina Albergue Santiago Apostol
Belorado A Santiago
Espinosa del Camino Albergue Espinosa del Camino
Cardeñuela Río Pico Albergue Via Minerva
Hornillos del Camino Hostal De Sol a Sol
Boadilla del Camino Abergue En el Camino
Calzadilla de la Cueza Albergue Camino Real
Lédigos Albergue El Palomar
Puente Villarente Albergue Delfin Verde
Villar de Mazarife Albergue Casa de Jesus
San Martin del Camino Albergue Vieira
El Acebo Albergue La Casa del Peregrino
Ambasmestas Albergue "Casa Del Pescador"
Vilei Albergue Casa Barbadelo
Boente Albergue Boente
They are not terribly frequent but in August and July they can be a wonderful bonus.
(3) I walked a day with a really nice Polish guy who had walked from Russia and swore by trekking sandals. Having said that I have just moved back to boots from Merrell shoes which were too soft for me. It is a difficult decision but go with your gut instinct of what feels right for you.
(4) Spa Hotel Paris in León http://www.hotelparisleon.com/ about €50 a night is you ring up and get lucky. Best location in town.
(5) I have managed to squeeze a 45-55L pack on as hand luggage on the very tight Easyjet and Ryanair restrictions, so you you should be fine with 40L. Walking poles are a whole other debate. If you want walking poles, it is usual cheaper to order and collect new poles in St Jean http://www.boutique-du-pelerin.com/en/ and leave them in Santiago than it is to pay for hold luggage.
(6) Paulo Coehlo's The Pilgrimage.
 

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