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Advice from a first timer

RtG

New Member
Time of past OR future Camino
2018
For those of you considering walking the Camino for the first time, I thought I would add my thoughts to the various pilgrims who have done the same. I found lots of the posts very useful and interesting and thought it right to do something similar. I’m not saying this is the right way, it was just my way and worked for me.

I walked the Camino Frances last year from Roncesvalles to Santiago, starting in April. I was away for 36 days. It was my first long distance walk other than the Sunday ones that are designed to end up in the pub for lunch after a couple of hours! I’m in my 60s and had just retired following major heart surgery, so it was my celebration of being alive.

Training.

I put in a fair few days before hand, but almost everyone on the Camino I met said “I wish I’d trained for more hills”. Take note! I started walking daily for 2 hours or so and as the departure date got closer, I put in a few 20km walks. I got down the gym too and spent time on the treadmill and doing leg and calf strengthening exercises. In fairness, I was pretty unfit to start with, but had the time and inclination to do something about it.

Feet.

The best thing I did was visit a podiatrist before I went, had my feet and “gait” checked out. For about £30, they made some insoles to correct my falling arches. Who knew I had those?? Money well spent. I walked in some Asics gel trainers and very good they were too. Spend enough time breaking you shoes in. As many others mention, you don’t need big hiking boots and a lot walk in trail runners now. The vast majority of walking is on firm, well-trodden paths (obviously) and pavement. It did get a bit muddy on the Meseta after heavy rain though! I wore 1000 mile socks, which are double layered. I smeared my feet with Vaseline before starting out each day and followed the suggestion not to shower in the morning. Make sure you do the night before though or you will become unpopular! The theory is that makes your feet soft and soggy and more likely to blister. Anyway, in 800km I had one minor blister. The other useful advice I can give is the minute you get a hot spot, deal with it there and then, not at the end of the day. Take plenty of Compeeds and tape with you. Overall if you’ve never walked 30km before, on the Camino in new boots really isn’t the place to try it, trust me on this. I met a number of people who had tried and very painfully failed. Have some light and comfy footwear to change into at day’s end.

Equipment

There’s a lot written about this and YouTube videos helpfully showing you what to pack, so I won’t repeat all that. I carried my own pack, an Osprey 36, but you don’t have to and can get your bag sent from stop to stop for Euro 5 a day. This allows you just to walk with a day pack with essential items in. If you are carrying it all, as everyone has said a hundred times here, keep your pack to what you can comfortably carry. One of the key things I took away from the Camino is how little you need to carry with you and in life in general! I didn’t stay in alburgues, more on that later, so I didn’t need a sleeping bag, but I had my pack at around 7kg and I weigh around 110kg. Pack your bag in advance and then try some long walks in it as part of your training. You’ll soon find out if it’s too heavy

Accommodation

I am fortunate that budget wise, I wasn’t confined to alburgues. I spent nine of my most formative years in an English boarding school, sharing a dormitory with 20+ other guys. Having just done the maths, that’s about 2,500 nights. Frankly, the novelty has worn of for me. I’ve also got to an age where I need a pee in the middle of the night, sometimes twice and the idea of clambering down from bunks with a head torch on wasn’t for me. Accordingly, I can’t comment on Camino dorm life, but plenty here do. It still sounds like a boarding school! I tended to plan 2-3 days ahead, using booking.com or using one of the guides to find a recommended place and phoning ahead to book.. Even better, if your Spanish isn’t that good, ask the host where you are to make the call for you to the next place. I confess that I also spoilt myself occasionally with a Parador or similar.

Language

Talking of Spanish, try and make the effort to learn a little. I met people on the Camino who didn’t have a word, not one. I looked it as part of my training and spent 10 minutes a day on the duolingo app, getting the basics down. It stood me in good staid and the Spanish appreciated it, although they all want to practice their English!

Timing

I had the luxury to be able to take my time. I understand that many people don’t. I was always sad to see those people who were so busy getting the miles in that they forgot to enjoy what was a round them, for whatever reason. If time is short and you’ve only got, say 3 weeks, enjoy the walk, do half of it and come back next time. If you’ve gone to all the time, trouble and expense to get to and walk the Camino, take your time and enjoy the beauty of it.

Overall tips

  • Get some training in to get “match” fit.
  • The first week is a physical challenge, after that it’s a mental one.
  • The recuperative powers of a hot shower, a good meal and a large glass of Rioja are amazing. Gin and Tonics work well too and are usually enormushhhh (hic).
  • Look after your feet
  • Keep your pack to what you can comfortably carry
  • Learn some Spanish
  • Take time to enjoy what’s around you
  • Everyone got the idea of walking the Camino from Martin Sheen.
  • Take rest days somewhere nice.
  • Collect as many stamps as you can for your Credencial. They look great framed on your walk at the end of the trip.
  • Buen Camino
 
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Vaughan

Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Camino Francais April/May 2019
Norte Aug/Sept 2022
Excellent advice, especially the training. Walking these distances will come as a shock to a body that is not used to it and whilst I think its true to say that you can walk your way to fitness on the Camino its so much more enjoyable if you have a good level of preparation when you start. Some say pain is good for the soul but perhaps there are better ways to feed it?
 

Jay Es

Member
Time of past OR future Camino
finish the Via de la Plata abandoned lockdown 2020
Feet happy, pilgrim happy. Benzoin Tincture and wide tape put on on day one, stays on for a few days even in baths and showers. Stops all blisters, feet are tough when you remove it you can carry on with no blisters for the rest of your Camino.
 
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M&A

New Member
Time of past OR future Camino
2019
Very good read on your Camino journey RtG. I endorse the advice on feet allergies and appreciate what is around as you walk from place to place.
 

lt56ny

Veteran Member
Time of past OR future Camino
10/22 Aragones/Frances
I agree completely with your advice about training. It is a must and the more varied terrain you can walk on the better. The first time I walked I trained like crazy and I was still exhausted the first week. You just can't recreate the Camino. But you know the expression about the CF. It is part 1 body, part 2 mind, part 3 spirit.
I live in Mexico now and I am soon to be 66 and soon to walk Camino number 6. I can't train for long periods of time because I live in the tropics so I am stuck with the Gym. But I think you learn how to walk and as I walk more and more, even though I get older and older I know how to gradually ease into a new Camino and listen to my body. Trust me I am still training for a few months before I go but for much less time a day. Usually at most an hour.
Totally understand why you don't want an albergue but for a Bronx boy who went to public school and slept on the fire escape when it was too hot I know not anything of a boarding school. When I first arrive at an albergue I immediately ask for a lower bunk for the very reason you described and have always gotten one, except once, uggg! I tend to walk alone most of the time and not have alot of conversation so for me an albergue is the place I make my lifetime Camino friendships and have had alot more positive than negative experiences. I have 50 cent earplugs that on my first Camino a Brazilian woman taught me a little trick and they work great. I sleep in peace.
The first Camino IS special and i have the most sellos from that one. I agree get alot because it does have special meaning and memories. I ex wife framed my first Compostela from Santiago (also the one i got walking to FIsterra) and passport and gave it to me as a gift. It is so special to me. I am not even sure where my other Compostelas or passports are.
I did not find out about the Camino from The Way. ;) I found out from my neighbor's mom who walked it in the year 2000. We had a dinner to celebrate her return. At the time I never even thought about doing it until in 2010 being miserable in my job and not knowing what to do it crept back into my head.
I saw the movie about 3 months after my first Camino when a friend told me about it. The only thing I remembered from the first time I watched it. (For some reason then I didn't really like it or pay close attention), was where did they find all that good food, that was in a few scenes? I thought it was so unrealistic. It wasn't very long ago that a pilgrim menu was, Iceberg lettuce, two sliced tomatoes, onions, 3 green olives, olive and vinegar bottles that felt like they were last cleaned in the 1960's. Water or really bad vino tinto, main course of dry chicken, dry cod (or haki or whatever it was), dry lomo, and a dessert of a small cup of ice cream that had been in the back of a deep freeze for 2 years, yogurt (usually plain) arroz con leche or for some reason I can't remember the other choice. But I have watched it since and now watch it about a month before every new camino.
The only advice I would add to your excellent list is listen to your body, not your mind. Your body takes care of you and your mind messes with you.
 

kdespot

Active Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Francés SJPP-SdC Sept-Oct 2016
Thanks for good, succinct advice. The only addition that I'd like to offer is to make that second pair of shoes a good, comfy pair of walking sandals (love my Keens!) and change into them every day 2/3 of the way to your destination, along with a clean pair of socks.
 
Time of past OR future Camino
2018
Thanks for good, succinct advice. The only addition that I'd like to offer is to make that second pair of shoes a good, comfy pair of walking sandals (love my Keens!) and change into them every day 2/3 of the way to your destination, along with a clean pair of socks.
Oh, yes, to Keen Sandals. They are my walking shoes, with flip-flops for shower and ballet-shoe-like for evening.
 
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martin1ws

Active Member
Time of past OR future Camino
2018; (2020); 2021; 2022
Very good tips!
Really very good general advice...


What I write next is only my comment to a small detail: Compeed.
.... Take plenty of Compeeds and tape with you. ...
Compeed is a little bit more complicated.

If you have a small problem, it can help you. For example:

If you have a big problem (e. g. non fitting, too small shoes), compeed can make the problem much worse (because you cannot remove compeed easily to treat a blister that is getting worse (burst/inflammation/infection)).
See for example:
Therefore one advice is to use compeed only for deroofed blisters.

Additional blister links:
 
Last edited:

Kumi

New Member
Time of past OR future Camino
April 2020
Very good tips!
Really very good general advice...


What I write next is only my comment to a small detail: Compeed.

Compeed is a little bit more complicated.

If you have a small problem, it can help you. For example:

If you have a big problem (e. g. non fitting, too small shoes), compeed can make the problem much worse (because you cannot remove compeed easily to treat a blister that is getting worse (burst/inflammation/infection)).
See for example:
Therefore one advice is to use compeed only for deroofed blisters.

Additional blister links:
Thank you
 

alexwalker

Forever Pilgrim
Time of past OR future Camino
2009-2019: More than I remember...
For those of you considering walking the Camino for the first time, I thought I would add my thoughts to the various pilgrims who have done the same. I found lots of the posts very useful and interesting and thought it right to do something similar. I’m not saying this is the right way, it was just my way and worked for me.

I walked the Camino Frances last year from Roncesvalles to Santiago, starting in April. I was away for 36 days. It was my first long distance walk other than the Sunday ones that are designed to end up in the pub for lunch after a couple of hours! I’m in my 60s and had just retired following major heart surgery, so it was my celebration of being alive.

Training.

I put in a fair few days before hand, but almost everyone on the Camino I met said “I wish I’d trained for more hills”. Take note! I started walking daily for 2 hours or so and as the departure date got closer, I put in a few 20km walks. I got down the gym too and spent time on the treadmill and doing leg and calf strengthening exercises. In fairness, I was pretty unfit to start with, but had the time and inclination to do something about it.

Feet.

The best thing I did was visit a podiatrist before I went, had my feet and “gait” checked out. For about £30, they made some insoles to correct my falling arches. Who knew I had those?? Money well spent. I walked in some Asics gel trainers and very good they were too. Spend enough time breaking you shoes in. As many others mention, you don’t need big hiking boots and a lot walk in trail runners now. The vast majority of walking is on firm, well-trodden paths (obviously) and pavement. It did get a bit muddy on the Meseta after heavy rain though! I wore 1000 mile socks, which are double layered. I smeared my feet with Vaseline before starting out each day and followed the suggestion not to shower in the morning. Make sure you do the night before though or you will become unpopular! The theory is that makes your feet soft and soggy and more likely to blister. Anyway, in 800km I had one minor blister. The other useful advice I can give is the minute you get a hot spot, deal with it there and then, not at the end of the day. Take plenty of Compeeds and tape with you. Overall if you’ve never walked 30km before, on the Camino in new boots really isn’t the place to try it, trust me on this. I met a number of people who had tried and very painfully failed. Have some light and comfy footwear to change into at day’s end.

Equipment

There’s a lot written about this and YouTube videos helpfully showing you what to pack, so I won’t repeat all that. I carried my own pack, an Osprey 36, but you don’t have to and can get your bag sent from stop to stop for Euro 5 a day. This allows you just to walk with a day pack with essential items in. If you are carrying it all, as everyone has said a hundred times here, keep your pack to what you can comfortably carry. One of the key things I took away from the Camino is how little you need to carry with you and in life in general! I didn’t stay in alburgues, more on that later, so I didn’t need a sleeping bag, but I had my pack at around 7kg and I weigh around 110kg. Pack your bag in advance and then try some long walks in it as part of your training. You’ll soon find out if it’s too heavy

Accommodation

I am fortunate that budget wise, I wasn’t confined to alburgues. I spent nine of my most formative years in an English boarding school, sharing a dormitory with 20+ other guys. Having just done the maths, that’s about 2,500 nights. Frankly, the novelty has worn of for me. I’ve also got to an age where I need a pee in the middle of the night, sometimes twice and the idea of clambering down from bunks with a head torch on wasn’t for me. Accordingly, I can’t comment on Camino dorm life, but plenty here do. It still sounds like a boarding school! I tended to plan 2-3 days ahead, using booking.com or using one of the guides to find a recommended place and phoning ahead to book.. Even better, if your Spanish isn’t that good, ask the host where you are to make the call for you to the next place. I confess that I also spoilt myself occasionally with a Parador or similar.

Language

Talking of Spanish, try and make the effort to learn a little. I met people on the Camino who didn’t have a word, not one. I looked it as part of my training and spent 10 minutes a day on the duolingo app, getting the basics down. It stood me in good staid and the Spanish appreciated it, although they all want to practice their English!

Timing

I had the luxury to be able to take my time. I understand that many people don’t. I was always sad to see those people who were so busy getting the miles in that they forgot to enjoy what was a round them, for whatever reason. If time is short and you’ve only got, say 3 weeks, enjoy the walk, do half of it and come back next time. If you’ve gone to all the time, trouble and expense to get to and walk the Camino, take your time and enjoy the beauty of it.

Overall tips

  • Get some training in to get “match” fit.
  • The first week is a physical challenge, after that it’s a mental one.
  • The recuperative powers of a hot shower, a good meal and a large glass of Rioja are amazing. Gin and Tonics work well too and are usually enormushhhh (hic).
  • Look after your feet
  • Keep your pack to what you can comfortably carry
  • Learn some Spanish
  • Take time to enjoy what’s around you
  • Everyone got the idea of walking the Camino from Martin Sheen.
  • Take rest days somewhere nice.
  • Collect as many stamps as you can for your Credencial. They look great framed on your walk at the end of the trip.
  • Buen Camino
Very good tips! (Except Compeed...)
 

RRat

Active Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Planning 2017
For those of you considering walking the Camino for the first time, I thought I would add my thoughts to the various pilgrims who have done the same. I found lots of the posts very useful and interesting and thought it right to do something similar. I’m not saying this is the right way, it was just my way and worked for me.

I walked the Camino Frances last year from Roncesvalles to Santiago, starting in April. I was away for 36 days. It was my first long distance walk other than the Sunday ones that are designed to end up in the pub for lunch after a couple of hours! I’m in my 60s and had just retired following major heart surgery, so it was my celebration of being alive.

Training.

I put in a fair few days before hand, but almost everyone on the Camino I met said “I wish I’d trained for more hills”. Take note! I started walking daily for 2 hours or so and as the departure date got closer, I put in a few 20km walks. I got down the gym too and spent time on the treadmill and doing leg and calf strengthening exercises. In fairness, I was pretty unfit to start with, but had the time and inclination to do something about it.

Feet.

The best thing I did was visit a podiatrist before I went, had my feet and “gait” checked out. For about £30, they made some insoles to correct my falling arches. Who knew I had those?? Money well spent. I walked in some Asics gel trainers and very good they were too. Spend enough time breaking you shoes in. As many others mention, you don’t need big hiking boots and a lot walk in trail runners now. The vast majority of walking is on firm, well-trodden paths (obviously) and pavement. It did get a bit muddy on the Meseta after heavy rain though! I wore 1000 mile socks, which are double layered. I smeared my feet with Vaseline before starting out each day and followed the suggestion not to shower in the morning. Make sure you do the night before though or you will become unpopular! The theory is that makes your feet soft and soggy and more likely to blister. Anyway, in 800km I had one minor blister. The other useful advice I can give is the minute you get a hot spot, deal with it there and then, not at the end of the day. Take plenty of Compeeds and tape with you. Overall if you’ve never walked 30km before, on the Camino in new boots really isn’t the place to try it, trust me on this. I met a number of people who had tried and very painfully failed. Have some light and comfy footwear to change into at day’s end.

Equipment

There’s a lot written about this and YouTube videos helpfully showing you what to pack, so I won’t repeat all that. I carried my own pack, an Osprey 36, but you don’t have to and can get your bag sent from stop to stop for Euro 5 a day. This allows you just to walk with a day pack with essential items in. If you are carrying it all, as everyone has said a hundred times here, keep your pack to what you can comfortably carry. One of the key things I took away from the Camino is how little you need to carry with you and in life in general! I didn’t stay in alburgues, more on that later, so I didn’t need a sleeping bag, but I had my pack at around 7kg and I weigh around 110kg. Pack your bag in advance and then try some long walks in it as part of your training. You’ll soon find out if it’s too heavy

Accommodation

I am fortunate that budget wise, I wasn’t confined to alburgues. I spent nine of my most formative years in an English boarding school, sharing a dormitory with 20+ other guys. Having just done the maths, that’s about 2,500 nights. Frankly, the novelty has worn of for me. I’ve also got to an age where I need a pee in the middle of the night, sometimes twice and the idea of clambering down from bunks with a head torch on wasn’t for me. Accordingly, I can’t comment on Camino dorm life, but plenty here do. It still sounds like a boarding school! I tended to plan 2-3 days ahead, using booking.com or using one of the guides to find a recommended place and phoning ahead to book.. Even better, if your Spanish isn’t that good, ask the host where you are to make the call for you to the next place. I confess that I also spoilt myself occasionally with a Parador or similar.

Language

Talking of Spanish, try and make the effort to learn a little. I met people on the Camino who didn’t have a word, not one. I looked it as part of my training and spent 10 minutes a day on the duolingo app, getting the basics down. It stood me in good staid and the Spanish appreciated it, although they all want to practice their English!

Timing

I had the luxury to be able to take my time. I understand that many people don’t. I was always sad to see those people who were so busy getting the miles in that they forgot to enjoy what was a round them, for whatever reason. If time is short and you’ve only got, say 3 weeks, enjoy the walk, do half of it and come back next time. If you’ve gone to all the time, trouble and expense to get to and walk the Camino, take your time and enjoy the beauty of it.

Overall tips

  • Get some training in to get “match” fit.
  • The first week is a physical challenge, after that it’s a mental one.
  • The recuperative powers of a hot shower, a good meal and a large glass of Rioja are amazing. Gin and Tonics work well too and are usually enormushhhh (hic).
  • Look after your feet
  • Keep your pack to what you can comfortably carry
  • Learn some Spanish
  • Take time to enjoy what’s around you
  • Everyone got the idea of walking the Camino from Martin Sheen.
  • Take rest days somewhere nice.
  • Collect as many stamps as you can for your Credencial. They look great framed on your walk at the end of the trip.
  • Buen Camino
Collecting as many stamps as you can, becomes too many stamps. First breakfast stop and alburgue is sufficient. Add stamps for significant event or locations. Note somewhere (guide book, diary, notebook, app). You will forget what some stamps were for. One year later, I have an overnight stay that I still can't recall, wish I had taken daily notes.
 

David Tallan

Veteran Member
Time of past OR future Camino
1989
Collecting as many stamps as you can, becomes too many stamps. First breakfast stop and alburgue is sufficient. Add stamps for significant event or locations. Note somewhere (guide book, diary, notebook, app). You will forget what some stamps were for. One year later, I have an overnight stay that I still can't recall, wish I had taken daily notes.
For me, there is no such thing as too many stamps. If it looks like my credencial will fill up before I get to Santiago, I get another one. Others prefer the minimum. Different strokes for different folks.
 
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briza

New Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Camino Ingles May 2018
Although flat I found that the Spires and Steeples walk in lincolnshire was a good introduction to the Camino Ingles May 2018. Camping at Brinkle Springs near Washingborough bus to Lincoln Cathedral and a days walk south collecting a few stamps on the way for my camino passport. At the end of the day there was good bus and train links back to Washingborough and a short drive to the campsite. I did notice on the camino that hill climbing was a slight problem for some pilgrims. My training on the Pennine hill’s did help me during my camino.
 

BryanandJoan

New Member
Time of past OR future Camino
2016
If you are in England then my wife and I strongly recommend 3 days training on the Coast to Coast walk, Seatoller to Shap. Not only does it include a couple of Youth hostels but we honestly didn’t find anything more strenuous on the Camino. I was 79 and Joan 72 and actually carried too much on that occasion as we are backpackers. But it was a great learning experience.
 
Last edited:
Time of past OR future Camino
Camino Frances from Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port in September 2015
For those of you considering walking the Camino for the first time, I thought I would add my thoughts to the various pilgrims who have done the same. I found lots of the posts very useful and interesting and thought it right to do something similar. I’m not saying this is the right way, it was just my way and worked for me.

I walked the Camino Frances last year from Roncesvalles to Santiago, starting in April. I was away for 36 days. It was my first long distance walk other than the Sunday ones that are designed to end up in the pub for lunch after a couple of hours! I’m in my 60s and had just retired following major heart surgery, so it was my celebration of being alive.

Training.

I put in a fair few days before hand, but almost everyone on the Camino I met said “I wish I’d trained for more hills”. Take note! I started walking daily for 2 hours or so and as the departure date got closer, I put in a few 20km walks. I got down the gym too and spent time on the treadmill and doing leg and calf strengthening exercises. In fairness, I was pretty unfit to start with, but had the time and inclination to do something about it.

Feet.

The best thing I did was visit a podiatrist before I went, had my feet and “gait” checked out. For about £30, they made some insoles to correct my falling arches. Who knew I had those?? Money well spent. I walked in some Asics gel trainers and very good they were too. Spend enough time breaking you shoes in. As many others mention, you don’t need big hiking boots and a lot walk in trail runners now. The vast majority of walking is on firm, well-trodden paths (obviously) and pavement. It did get a bit muddy on the Meseta after heavy rain though! I wore 1000 mile socks, which are double layered. I smeared my feet with Vaseline before starting out each day and followed the suggestion not to shower in the morning. Make sure you do the night before though or you will become unpopular! The theory is that makes your feet soft and soggy and more likely to blister. Anyway, in 800km I had one minor blister. The other useful advice I can give is the minute you get a hot spot, deal with it there and then, not at the end of the day. Take plenty of Compeeds and tape with you. Overall if you’ve never walked 30km before, on the Camino in new boots really isn’t the place to try it, trust me on this. I met a number of people who had tried and very painfully failed. Have some light and comfy footwear to change into at day’s end.

Equipment

There’s a lot written about this and YouTube videos helpfully showing you what to pack, so I won’t repeat all that. I carried my own pack, an Osprey 36, but you don’t have to and can get your bag sent from stop to stop for Euro 5 a day. This allows you just to walk with a day pack with essential items in. If you are carrying it all, as everyone has said a hundred times here, keep your pack to what you can comfortably carry. One of the key things I took away from the Camino is how little you need to carry with you and in life in general! I didn’t stay in alburgues, more on that later, so I didn’t need a sleeping bag, but I had my pack at around 7kg and I weigh around 110kg. Pack your bag in advance and then try some long walks in it as part of your training. You’ll soon find out if it’s too heavy

Accommodation

I am fortunate that budget wise, I wasn’t confined to alburgues. I spent nine of my most formative years in an English boarding school, sharing a dormitory with 20+ other guys. Having just done the maths, that’s about 2,500 nights. Frankly, the novelty has worn of for me. I’ve also got to an age where I need a pee in the middle of the night, sometimes twice and the idea of clambering down from bunks with a head torch on wasn’t for me. Accordingly, I can’t comment on Camino dorm life, but plenty here do. It still sounds like a boarding school! I tended to plan 2-3 days ahead, using booking.com or using one of the guides to find a recommended place and phoning ahead to book.. Even better, if your Spanish isn’t that good, ask the host where you are to make the call for you to the next place. I confess that I also spoilt myself occasionally with a Parador or similar.

Language

Talking of Spanish, try and make the effort to learn a little. I met people on the Camino who didn’t have a word, not one. I looked it as part of my training and spent 10 minutes a day on the duolingo app, getting the basics down. It stood me in good staid and the Spanish appreciated it, although they all want to practice their English!

Timing

I had the luxury to be able to take my time. I understand that many people don’t. I was always sad to see those people who were so busy getting the miles in that they forgot to enjoy what was a round them, for whatever reason. If time is short and you’ve only got, say 3 weeks, enjoy the walk, do half of it and come back next time. If you’ve gone to all the time, trouble and expense to get to and walk the Camino, take your time and enjoy the beauty of it.

Overall tips

  • Get some training in to get “match” fit.
  • The first week is a physical challenge, after that it’s a mental one.
  • The recuperative powers of a hot shower, a good meal and a large glass of Rioja are amazing. Gin and Tonics work well too and are usually enormushhhh (hic).
  • Look after your feet
  • Keep your pack to what you can comfortably carry
  • Learn some Spanish
  • Take time to enjoy what’s around you
  • Everyone got the idea of walking the Camino from Martin Sheen.
  • Take rest days somewhere nice.
  • Collect as many stamps as you can for your Credencial. They look great framed on your walk at the end of the trip.
  • Buen Camino
Well written summary that will be helpful to others. That makes you a person the true pilgrim spirit.
 

dougfitz

Veteran Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Spain: Mar 2010, Apr 2014, May/Jun 2016. Norway/Sweden: 2012, 2018. Other: 2011, 2019. CP (tbc)
For me, there is no such thing as too many stamps. If it looks like my credencial will fill up before I get to Santiago, I get another one. Others prefer the minimum. Different strokes for different folks.
I agree. I would rather have a stamp that I have to think about to recall where it was and what the albergue or bar looked like. I walked my first camino collecting the minimum, and didn't quite fill one credential. When I next walked the CF, I finished with the third credential over half full, and a much better aide memoire as a result.
 

Berni13

New Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Past : Camino Frances, Le Chemin de Puy
Future: Camino del Norte ,Camino Salvado
For those of you considering walking the Camino for the first time, I thought I would add my thoughts to the various pilgrims who have done the same. I found lots of the posts very useful and interesting and thought it right to do something similar. I’m not saying this is the right way, it was just my way and worked for me.

I walked the Camino Frances last year from Roncesvalles to Santiago, starting in April. I was away for 36 days. It was my first long distance walk other than the Sunday ones that are designed to end up in the pub for lunch after a couple of hours! I’m in my 60s and had just retired following major heart surgery, so it was my celebration of being alive.

Training.

I put in a fair few days before hand, but almost everyone on the Camino I met said “I wish I’d trained for more hills”. Take note! I started walking daily for 2 hours or so and as the departure date got closer, I put in a few 20km walks. I got down the gym too and spent time on the treadmill and doing leg and calf strengthening exercises. In fairness, I was pretty unfit to start with, but had the time and inclination to do something about it.

Feet.

The best thing I did was visit a podiatrist before I went, had my feet and “gait” checked out. For about £30, they made some insoles to correct my falling arches. Who knew I had those?? Money well spent. I walked in some Asics gel trainers and very good they were too. Spend enough time breaking you shoes in. As many others mention, you don’t need big hiking boots and a lot walk in trail runners now. The vast majority of walking is on firm, well-trodden paths (obviously) and pavement. It did get a bit muddy on the Meseta after heavy rain though! I wore 1000 mile socks, which are double layered. I smeared my feet with Vaseline before starting out each day and followed the suggestion not to shower in the morning. Make sure you do the night before though or you will become unpopular! The theory is that makes your feet soft and soggy and more likely to blister. Anyway, in 800km I had one minor blister. The other useful advice I can give is the minute you get a hot spot, deal with it there and then, not at the end of the day. Take plenty of Compeeds and tape with you. Overall if you’ve never walked 30km before, on the Camino in new boots really isn’t the place to try it, trust me on this. I met a number of people who had tried and very painfully failed. Have some light and comfy footwear to change into at day’s end.

Equipment

There’s a lot written about this and YouTube videos helpfully showing you what to pack, so I won’t repeat all that. I carried my own pack, an Osprey 36, but you don’t have to and can get your bag sent from stop to stop for Euro 5 a day. This allows you just to walk with a day pack with essential items in. If you are carrying it all, as everyone has said a hundred times here, keep your pack to what you can comfortably carry. One of the key things I took away from the Camino is how little you need to carry with you and in life in general! I didn’t stay in alburgues, more on that later, so I didn’t need a sleeping bag, but I had my pack at around 7kg and I weigh around 110kg. Pack your bag in advance and then try some long walks in it as part of your training. You’ll soon find out if it’s too heavy

Accommodation

I am fortunate that budget wise, I wasn’t confined to alburgues. I spent nine of my most formative years in an English boarding school, sharing a dormitory with 20+ other guys. Having just done the maths, that’s about 2,500 nights. Frankly, the novelty has worn of for me. I’ve also got to an age where I need a pee in the middle of the night, sometimes twice and the idea of clambering down from bunks with a head torch on wasn’t for me. Accordingly, I can’t comment on Camino dorm life, but plenty here do. It still sounds like a boarding school! I tended to plan 2-3 days ahead, using booking.com or using one of the guides to find a recommended place and phoning ahead to book.. Even better, if your Spanish isn’t that good, ask the host where you are to make the call for you to the next place. I confess that I also spoilt myself occasionally with a Parador or similar.

Language

Talking of Spanish, try and make the effort to learn a little. I met people on the Camino who didn’t have a word, not one. I looked it as part of my training and spent 10 minutes a day on the duolingo app, getting the basics down. It stood me in good staid and the Spanish appreciated it, although they all want to practice their English!

Timing

I had the luxury to be able to take my time. I understand that many people don’t. I was always sad to see those people who were so busy getting the miles in that they forgot to enjoy what was a round them, for whatever reason. If time is short and you’ve only got, say 3 weeks, enjoy the walk, do half of it and come back next time. If you’ve gone to all the time, trouble and expense to get to and walk the Camino, take your time and enjoy the beauty of it.

Overall tips

  • Get some training in to get “match” fit.
  • The first week is a physical challenge, after that it’s a mental one.
  • The recuperative powers of a hot shower, a good meal and a large glass of Rioja are amazing. Gin and Tonics work well too and are usually enormushhhh (hic).
  • Look after your feet
  • Keep your pack to what you can comfortably carry
  • Learn some Spanish
  • Take time to enjoy what’s around you
  • Everyone got the idea of walking the Camino from Martin Sheen.
  • Take rest days somewhere nice.
  • Collect as many stamps as you can for your Credencial. They look great framed on your walk at the end of the trip.
  • Buen Camino
I enjoyed your summary thank you.I must admit “The Way” was what inspired me to do the walk😂.
 
Camino Way Markers
Original Camino Way markers made in bronze. Two models, one from Castilla & Leon and the other from Galicia.

Renascer

Active Member
Time of past OR future Camino
2021
I agree completely with your advice about training. It is a must and the more varied terrain you can walk on the better. The first time I walked I trained like crazy and I was still exhausted the first week. You just can't recreate the Camino. But you know the expression about the CF. It is part 1 body, part 2 mind, part 3 spirit.
I live in Mexico now and I am soon to be 66 and soon to walk Camino number 6. I can't train for long periods of time because I live in the tropics so I am stuck with the Gym. But I think you learn how to walk and as I walk more and more, even though I get older and older I know how to gradually ease into a new Camino and listen to my body. Trust me I am still training for a few months before I go but for much less time a day. Usually at most an hour.
Totally understand why you don't want an albergue but for a Bronx boy who went to public school and slept on the fire escape when it was too hot I know not anything of a boarding school. When I first arrive at an albergue I immediately ask for a lower bunk for the very reason you described and have always gotten one, except once, uggg! I tend to walk alone most of the time and not have alot of conversation so for me an albergue is the place I make my lifetime Camino friendships and have had alot more positive than negative experiences. I have 50 cent earplugs that on my first Camino a Brazilian woman taught me a little trick and they work great. I sleep in peace.
The first Camino IS special and i have the most sellos from that one. I agree get alot because it does have special meaning and memories. I ex wife framed my first Compostela from Santiago (also the one i got walking to FIsterra) and passport and gave it to me as a gift. It is so special to me. I am not even sure where my other Compostelas or passports are.
I did not find out about the Camino from The Way. ;) I found out from my neighbor's mom who walked it in the year 2000. We had a dinner to celebrate her return. At the time I never even thought about doing it until in 2010 being miserable in my job and not knowing what to do it crept back into my head.
I saw the movie about 3 months after my first Camino when a friend told me about it. The only thing I remembered from the first time I watched it. (For some reason then I didn't really like it or pay close attention), was where did they find all that good food, that was in a few scenes? I thought it was so unrealistic. It wasn't very long ago that a pilgrim menu was, Iceberg lettuce, two sliced tomatoes, onions, 3 green olives, olive and vinegar bottles that felt like they were last cleaned in the 1960's. Water or really bad vino tinto, main course of dry chicken, dry cod (or haki or whatever it was), dry lomo, and a dessert of a small cup of ice cream that had been in the back of a deep freeze for 2 years, yogurt (usually plain) arroz con leche or for some reason I can't remember the other choice. But I have watched it since and now watch it about a month before every new camino.
The only advice I would add to your excellent list is listen to your body, not your mind. Your body takes care of you and your mind messes with you.
May i ask what was the little secret the Brazilian woman teached you? I hope was about the earplugs. As i know sleep will be my problem with the snoring going on
 

Kumi

New Member
Time of past OR future Camino
April 2020
Feet happy, pilgrim happy. Benzoin Tincture and wide tape put on on day one, stays on for a few days even in baths and showers. Stops all blisters, feet are tough when you remove it you can carry on with no blisters for the rest of your Camino.
What kind of wide tape.? Ty
 

lt56ny

Veteran Member
Time of past OR future Camino
10/22 Aragones/Frances
May i ask what was the little secret the Brazilian woman teached you? I hope was about the earplugs. As i know sleep will be my problem with the snoring going on
haha. Someone else told me before I walked. In fact when I met her she brought me earplugs from the hardware store in or town as a gift. She said they were indispensable and she was right. I usually have 5 or pairs.
The Brazilian woman taught me to breath and to find my rhythm and to help myself clear my brain as to not concentrate when I was struggling and huffing going up steep hills. How to let things go. She was wonderful. It still takes me a while on every camino to reach that point. When I do I am less tired, have fewer struggles and I can really feel the earth and surroundings with each step. I just listen for the sounds of my feet against the ground or the sound of the wind or birds or just to let the things I see enter me without thoughts or even judgments of their beauty or uniqueness. Does that make sense?
 
How to avoid failure "be prepared"
3rd Edition. More content, training & pack guides avoid common mistakes, bed bugs etc

JabbaPapa

"True Pilgrim"
Time of past OR future Camino
100 characters or fewer : see signature details
Good, well-meant, and well written.

Quibble : no, for some of us, The Way is just an illustration, and nothing to do with our reasons.
 

Nancyheathcote

New Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Northern route - 2019

Irun - Bilbao August 2022
For those of you considering walking the Camino for the first time, I thought I would add my thoughts to the various pilgrims who have done the same. I found lots of the posts very useful and interesting and thought it right to do something similar. I’m not saying this is the right way, it was just my way and worked for me.

I walked the Camino Frances last year from Roncesvalles to Santiago, starting in April. I was away for 36 days. It was my first long distance walk other than the Sunday ones that are designed to end up in the pub for lunch after a couple of hours! I’m in my 60s and had just retired following major heart surgery, so it was my celebration of being alive.

Training.

I put in a fair few days before hand, but almost everyone on the Camino I met said “I wish I’d trained for more hills”. Take note! I started walking daily for 2 hours or so and as the departure date got closer, I put in a few 20km walks. I got down the gym too and spent time on the treadmill and doing leg and calf strengthening exercises. In fairness, I was pretty unfit to start with, but had the time and inclination to do something about it.

Feet.

The best thing I did was visit a podiatrist before I went, had my feet and “gait” checked out. For about £30, they made some insoles to correct my falling arches. Who knew I had those?? Money well spent. I walked in some Asics gel trainers and very good they were too. Spend enough time breaking you shoes in. As many others mention, you don’t need big hiking boots and a lot walk in trail runners now. The vast majority of walking is on firm, well-trodden paths (obviously) and pavement. It did get a bit muddy on the Meseta after heavy rain though! I wore 1000 mile socks, which are double layered. I smeared my feet with Vaseline before starting out each day and followed the suggestion not to shower in the morning. Make sure you do the night before though or you will become unpopular! The theory is that makes your feet soft and soggy and more likely to blister. Anyway, in 800km I had one minor blister. The other useful advice I can give is the minute you get a hot spot, deal with it there and then, not at the end of the day. Take plenty of Compeeds and tape with you. Overall if you’ve never walked 30km before, on the Camino in new boots really isn’t the place to try it, trust me on this. I met a number of people who had tried and very painfully failed. Have some light and comfy footwear to change into at day’s end.

Equipment

There’s a lot written about this and YouTube videos helpfully showing you what to pack, so I won’t repeat all that. I carried my own pack, an Osprey 36, but you don’t have to and can get your bag sent from stop to stop for Euro 5 a day. This allows you just to walk with a day pack with essential items in. If you are carrying it all, as everyone has said a hundred times here, keep your pack to what you can comfortably carry. One of the key things I took away from the Camino is how little you need to carry with you and in life in general! I didn’t stay in alburgues, more on that later, so I didn’t need a sleeping bag, but I had my pack at around 7kg and I weigh around 110kg. Pack your bag in advance and then try some long walks in it as part of your training. You’ll soon find out if it’s too heavy

Accommodation

I am fortunate that budget wise, I wasn’t confined to alburgues. I spent nine of my most formative years in an English boarding school, sharing a dormitory with 20+ other guys. Having just done the maths, that’s about 2,500 nights. Frankly, the novelty has worn of for me. I’ve also got to an age where I need a pee in the middle of the night, sometimes twice and the idea of clambering down from bunks with a head torch on wasn’t for me. Accordingly, I can’t comment on Camino dorm life, but plenty here do. It still sounds like a boarding school! I tended to plan 2-3 days ahead, using booking.com or using one of the guides to find a recommended place and phoning ahead to book.. Even better, if your Spanish isn’t that good, ask the host where you are to make the call for you to the next place. I confess that I also spoilt myself occasionally with a Parador or similar.

Language

Talking of Spanish, try and make the effort to learn a little. I met people on the Camino who didn’t have a word, not one. I looked it as part of my training and spent 10 minutes a day on the duolingo app, getting the basics down. It stood me in good staid and the Spanish appreciated it, although they all want to practice their English!

Timing

I had the luxury to be able to take my time. I understand that many people don’t. I was always sad to see those people who were so busy getting the miles in that they forgot to enjoy what was a round them, for whatever reason. If time is short and you’ve only got, say 3 weeks, enjoy the walk, do half of it and come back next time. If you’ve gone to all the time, trouble and expense to get to and walk the Camino, take your time and enjoy the beauty of it.

Overall tips

  • Get some training in to get “match” fit.
  • The first week is a physical challenge, after that it’s a mental one.
  • The recuperative powers of a hot shower, a good meal and a large glass of Rioja are amazing. Gin and Tonics work well too and are usually enormushhhh (hic).
  • Look after your feet
  • Keep your pack to what you can comfortably carry
  • Learn some Spanish
  • Take time to enjoy what’s around you
  • Everyone got the idea of walking the Camino from Martin Sheen.
  • Take rest days somewhere nice.
  • Collect as many stamps as you can for your Credencial. They look great framed on your walk at the end of the trip.
  • Buen Camino
Great tips! Thanks
 
Time of past OR future Camino
CF 2019. SJPdP 14 April 2022 to Finisterre
For those of you considering walking the Camino for the first time, I thought I would add my thoughts to the various pilgrims who have done the same. I found lots of the posts very useful and interesting and thought it right to do something similar. I’m not saying this is the right way, it was just my way and worked for me.

I walked the Camino Frances last year from Roncesvalles to Santiago, starting in April. I was away for 36 days. It was my first long distance walk other than the Sunday ones that are designed to end up in the pub for lunch after a couple of hours! I’m in my 60s and had just retired following major heart surgery, so it was my celebration of being alive.

Training.

I put in a fair few days before hand, but almost everyone on the Camino I met said “I wish I’d trained for more hills”. Take note! I started walking daily for 2 hours or so and as the departure date got closer, I put in a few 20km walks. I got down the gym too and spent time on the treadmill and doing leg and calf strengthening exercises. In fairness, I was pretty unfit to start with, but had the time and inclination to do something about it.

Feet.

The best thing I did was visit a podiatrist before I went, had my feet and “gait” checked out. For about £30, they made some insoles to correct my falling arches. Who knew I had those?? Money well spent. I walked in some Asics gel trainers and very good they were too. Spend enough time breaking you shoes in. As many others mention, you don’t need big hiking boots and a lot walk in trail runners now. The vast majority of walking is on firm, well-trodden paths (obviously) and pavement. It did get a bit muddy on the Meseta after heavy rain though! I wore 1000 mile socks, which are double layered. I smeared my feet with Vaseline before starting out each day and followed the suggestion not to shower in the morning. Make sure you do the night before though or you will become unpopular! The theory is that makes your feet soft and soggy and more likely to blister. Anyway, in 800km I had one minor blister. The other useful advice I can give is the minute you get a hot spot, deal with it there and then, not at the end of the day. Take plenty of Compeeds and tape with you. Overall if you’ve never walked 30km before, on the Camino in new boots really isn’t the place to try it, trust me on this. I met a number of people who had tried and very painfully failed. Have some light and comfy footwear to change into at day’s end.

Equipment

There’s a lot written about this and YouTube videos helpfully showing you what to pack, so I won’t repeat all that. I carried my own pack, an Osprey 36, but you don’t have to and can get your bag sent from stop to stop for Euro 5 a day. This allows you just to walk with a day pack with essential items in. If you are carrying it all, as everyone has said a hundred times here, keep your pack to what you can comfortably carry. One of the key things I took away from the Camino is how little you need to carry with you and in life in general! I didn’t stay in alburgues, more on that later, so I didn’t need a sleeping bag, but I had my pack at around 7kg and I weigh around 110kg. Pack your bag in advance and then try some long walks in it as part of your training. You’ll soon find out if it’s too heavy

Accommodation

I am fortunate that budget wise, I wasn’t confined to alburgues. I spent nine of my most formative years in an English boarding school, sharing a dormitory with 20+ other guys. Having just done the maths, that’s about 2,500 nights. Frankly, the novelty has worn of for me. I’ve also got to an age where I need a pee in the middle of the night, sometimes twice and the idea of clambering down from bunks with a head torch on wasn’t for me. Accordingly, I can’t comment on Camino dorm life, but plenty here do. It still sounds like a boarding school! I tended to plan 2-3 days ahead, using booking.com or using one of the guides to find a recommended place and phoning ahead to book.. Even better, if your Spanish isn’t that good, ask the host where you are to make the call for you to the next place. I confess that I also spoilt myself occasionally with a Parador or similar.

Language

Talking of Spanish, try and make the effort to learn a little. I met people on the Camino who didn’t have a word, not one. I looked it as part of my training and spent 10 minutes a day on the duolingo app, getting the basics down. It stood me in good staid and the Spanish appreciated it, although they all want to practice their English!

Timing

I had the luxury to be able to take my time. I understand that many people don’t. I was always sad to see those people who were so busy getting the miles in that they forgot to enjoy what was a round them, for whatever reason. If time is short and you’ve only got, say 3 weeks, enjoy the walk, do half of it and come back next time. If you’ve gone to all the time, trouble and expense to get to and walk the Camino, take your time and enjoy the beauty of it.

Overall tips

  • Get some training in to get “match” fit.
  • The first week is a physical challenge, after that it’s a mental one.
  • The recuperative powers of a hot shower, a good meal and a large glass of Rioja are amazing. Gin and Tonics work well too and are usually enormushhhh (hic).
  • Look after your feet
  • Keep your pack to what you can comfortably carry
  • Learn some Spanish
  • Take time to enjoy what’s around you
  • Everyone got the idea of walking the Camino from Martin Sheen.
  • Take rest days somewhere nice.
  • Collect as many stamps as you can for your Credencial. They look great framed on your walk at the end of the trip.
  • Buen Camino
Excellent summary for those who are nor Spring chickens. I have copied your post onto a friend in the US who is just preparing for ‘23

My advice for first-timers, as I prepare for my second Camino, is to put 80% of thinking into getting zero blisters. i believe it’s completely possible with research and more research.

I would love to learn more about the Asics gel trainers. Is this a shoe or an insert?

Buen Camino!
 
Camino Way Markers
Original Camino Way markers made in bronze. Two models, one from Castilla & Leon and the other from Galicia.
Time of past OR future Camino
2018
Excellent summary for those who are nor Spring chickens. I have copied your post onto a friend in the US who is just preparing for ‘23

My advice for first-timers, as I prepare for my second Camino, is to put 80% of thinking into getting zero blisters. i believe it’s completely possible with research and more research.

I would love to learn more about the Asics gel trainers. Is this a shoe or an insert?

Buen Camino!
I took no precutions against blisters, and got none. My issues were getting a good fit. Tried boots and my feet rebelled. Keen sandals solved that; i continue to wear them at home; warmer socks for colder weather.
 

MaryStella

New Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Camino del Norte
For those of you considering walking the Camino for the first time, I thought I would add my thoughts to the various pilgrims who have done the same. I found lots of the posts very useful and interesting and thought it right to do something similar. I’m not saying this is the right way, it was just my way and worked for me.

I walked the Camino Frances last year from Roncesvalles to Santiago, starting in April. I was away for 36 days. It was my first long distance walk other than the Sunday ones that are designed to end up in the pub for lunch after a couple of hours! I’m in my 60s and had just retired following major heart surgery, so it was my celebration of being alive.

Training.

I put in a fair few days before hand, but almost everyone on the Camino I met said “I wish I’d trained for more hills”. Take note! I started walking daily for 2 hours or so and as the departure date got closer, I put in a few 20km walks. I got down the gym too and spent time on the treadmill and doing leg and calf strengthening exercises. In fairness, I was pretty unfit to start with, but had the time and inclination to do something about it.

Feet.

The best thing I did was visit a podiatrist before I went, had my feet and “gait” checked out. For about £30, they made some insoles to correct my falling arches. Who knew I had those?? Money well spent. I walked in some Asics gel trainers and very good they were too. Spend enough time breaking you shoes in. As many others mention, you don’t need big hiking boots and a lot walk in trail runners now. The vast majority of walking is on firm, well-trodden paths (obviously) and pavement. It did get a bit muddy on the Meseta after heavy rain though! I wore 1000 mile socks, which are double layered. I smeared my feet with Vaseline before starting out each day and followed the suggestion not to shower in the morning. Make sure you do the night before though or you will become unpopular! The theory is that makes your feet soft and soggy and more likely to blister. Anyway, in 800km I had one minor blister. The other useful advice I can give is the minute you get a hot spot, deal with it there and then, not at the end of the day. Take plenty of Compeeds and tape with you. Overall if you’ve never walked 30km before, on the Camino in new boots really isn’t the place to try it, trust me on this. I met a number of people who had tried and very painfully failed. Have some light and comfy footwear to change into at day’s end.

Equipment

There’s a lot written about this and YouTube videos helpfully showing you what to pack, so I won’t repeat all that. I carried my own pack, an Osprey 36, but you don’t have to and can get your bag sent from stop to stop for Euro 5 a day. This allows you just to walk with a day pack with essential items in. If you are carrying it all, as everyone has said a hundred times here, keep your pack to what you can comfortably carry. One of the key things I took away from the Camino is how little you need to carry with you and in life in general! I didn’t stay in alburgues, more on that later, so I didn’t need a sleeping bag, but I had my pack at around 7kg and I weigh around 110kg. Pack your bag in advance and then try some long walks in it as part of your training. You’ll soon find out if it’s too heavy

Accommodation

I am fortunate that budget wise, I wasn’t confined to alburgues. I spent nine of my most formative years in an English boarding school, sharing a dormitory with 20+ other guys. Having just done the maths, that’s about 2,500 nights. Frankly, the novelty has worn of for me. I’ve also got to an age where I need a pee in the middle of the night, sometimes twice and the idea of clambering down from bunks with a head torch on wasn’t for me. Accordingly, I can’t comment on Camino dorm life, but plenty here do. It still sounds like a boarding school! I tended to plan 2-3 days ahead, using booking.com or using one of the guides to find a recommended place and phoning ahead to book.. Even better, if your Spanish isn’t that good, ask the host where you are to make the call for you to the next place. I confess that I also spoilt myself occasionally with a Parador or similar.

Language

Talking of Spanish, try and make the effort to learn a little. I met people on the Camino who didn’t have a word, not one. I looked it as part of my training and spent 10 minutes a day on the duolingo app, getting the basics down. It stood me in good staid and the Spanish appreciated it, although they all want to practice their English!

Timing

I had the luxury to be able to take my time. I understand that many people don’t. I was always sad to see those people who were so busy getting the miles in that they forgot to enjoy what was a round them, for whatever reason. If time is short and you’ve only got, say 3 weeks, enjoy the walk, do half of it and come back next time. If you’ve gone to all the time, trouble and expense to get to and walk the Camino, take your time and enjoy the beauty of it.

Overall tips

  • Get some training in to get “match” fit.
  • The first week is a physical challenge, after that it’s a mental one.
  • The recuperative powers of a hot shower, a good meal and a large glass of Rioja are amazing. Gin and Tonics work well too and are usually enormushhhh (hic).
  • Look after your feet
  • Keep your pack to what you can comfortably carry
  • Learn some Spanish
  • Take time to enjoy what’s around you
  • Everyone got the idea of walking the Camino from Martin Sheen.
  • Take rest days somewhere nice.
  • Collect as many stamps as you can for your Credencial. They look great framed on your walk at the end of the trip.
  • Buen Camino
This was great, thanks!
 

Vaughan

Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Camino Francais April/May 2019
Norte Aug/Sept 2022
Totally agree with all that superb advice. I walked the Frances in 2019 aged 57. My backpack was just under 9kgs loaded. I took 35 days and was lucky enough not to suffer any physical problems at all. I did however do lots and lots and lots of training beforehand. I probably walked more than 800 kilometres in the preceding 3 months including quite a few 30- 40 km days. I have always done a lot of hill walking but the Camino is very different because of the distances involved, being repeated day after day after day often on hard surfaces. That can take quite a toll on your feet if they are not used to it so for me the training was more about that than having the strength to do the walk. I also do quite a lot of cycling which is great for the legs and probably the reason I didn't struggle with the hills. I'm going to walk the Camino Norte in September which might be more of a challenge as I believe there are more ups and downs on that!

The only other piece of advice I'd offer is to start the day early - I was often on the road by 7am. Loads of advantages to that - early morning light can be lovely, the trails are less crowded, less reason to feel rushed, more time for coffee and cake stops along the way, more likely to arrive at your accommodation early so lots of opportunity to unwind and explore.
 

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