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Advise to the beginner

2020 Camino Guides

Inna s

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Plan for Sept 2020
Dear all, I have never walked the routes of Camino but this year I plan to walk Portuguese route. I would be grateful for any information you could share presuming I’m a beginner with no experience at all. What should I start with? Is it difficult physically (I’m 46 years old)? I plan to do it alone, is it ok or it’s better to find companions? Generally, what is the starting point of such a trip. Thank you
 

SYates

Camino Fossil AD 1999, now living in Santiago de C
Camino(s) past & future
First: Camino Francés 1999
...
Last: Santiago - Muxia 2019

Now: http://egeria.house/

Pelen

Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF (2018 SJPdP-Logroño)
(2020 Logroño-)
You will feel it in your body, but mostly in a good way. I am 50 and I love it. Next time I will walk alone and I am looking forward to that. If you can have a flexible schedule so you can walk shorter when/if you want, that is really great.
 

nedspencer

They gave me this T-shirt to stop me singing!
Camino(s) past & future
May 2013 - Camino Frances.
Sep 2015 - Del Norte from Santander
Sep 2017 - Ingles from Ferrol
Where do you live?
Have you made contact with your local CSJ office?
There may be people near you that you could talk to
 

lt56ny

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF2012,Le Puy/CF 2015 Portugues 2017 Norte 2018, CF 2019
Take a deep breath and relax. I have walked from Lisboa to Santiago 3 years ago on the Central Route and will walk again this late September/October. Where you start will depend on how much time you have. If you have a month you can start in Lisboa. Not that many people start in Lisboa. The first couple of days aren't the best but it gets prettier as you go. If you are a religious person, or even if you are not, you may want to take the variant to Fatima. As you get closer to Porto and especially after Porto there will be alot more pilgrims than you met starting in Lisboa. Both cities are lovely as are some of the other towns and small cities as you approach Porto, especially Coimbra.
From Porto you have the choice of walking on the Coast that has two routes that merge at times but are very close to each other, or stay on the Central route and later you can take another variant on the Spiritual Variant. It sounds complicated but it really isn't at all.
Every person who takes their first step on their first Camino has stress and worries. Do not worry because before you know it the worries will be completely gone. Pick a place to start and take your first step.
Just remember you only have the step you are talking at that moment. Don't worry about tomorrow it hasn't happened and forget about yesterday because it is over.
You do not need boots. Really good trainers will be great. Do a search for what people think about shoes and socks. They are very important. Look up @davebugg he is the guru of feet and equipment and is really helpful and generous with his advice. Pack light and pack only what you know what you will use. You are walking one of the easier caminos and at your age you should have nothing to worry about especially if you do some training.Get a rucksack, backpack that feels right and train with your pack and your trainers.
You will meet people and some wonderful people. If you want to talk to someone open up. If you want to walk in silence, walk that way. Stay in the albergues and you will meet lots of great pilgrims. Even if you are alone and you see a few pilgrims going to dinner. Just ask if you can come. No one will ever say no. Get the Brierley Guide book to the Camino Portuguese. I think that will help you and you can order it here, just click on Camino 2020 guides. I think he is putting out a brand new guide for 2020. On your phone you can download the Buen Camino and/or Wisely app for the Portuguese. They will have more places to stay and GPS so even if you get lost (This camino is well marked) you can find your way back. Check out Gronze.com and open it in Google Chrome and it will automatically translate it to Ukrainian, or any language you choose. It has very clear distances and reviews of alot of albergues.
Finally if you have problems or lost you are in the best country in the world to get help. The Portuguese people are the nicest, friendliest and most generous people on earth. The food in Portugal is also pretty cheap and really, really good.
Take a breath and just walk Pilgrim!
 

Rick M

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
April ('16,'18, '19, '20)
At 46, you will be one of the younger pilgrims out there, I am walking the Portuguese this year with a pilgrim in his 70's. While many pilgrims do very little preparations, I do not recommend this approach. Months before you go, start walking with your backpack and the shoes you want to use. Find out if they fit you properly by gradually extending the length of your training walks. You are most interested in developing some strength and endurance of long walks, as well as making sure that the shoes and socks you have will not give you blisters. Blisters is the main problem people develop on Camino, and really can spoil a marvelous experience for some. As you train, you will find out what works for you, and what does not. If you need to get a different pack or shoes, do so. The other aspect of training is that you begin to feel like you have started your Camino already, which indeed you have.

Buen Camino
 

Peter Wright

Walking to stay young
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Portuguese Porto to Santiago Sept/ Oct (2019)
Dear all, I have never walked the routes of Camino but this year I plan to walk Portuguese route. I would be grateful for any information you could share presuming I’m a beginner with no experience at all. What should I start with? Is it difficult physically (I’m 46 years old)? I plan to do it alone, is it ok or it’s better to find companions? Generally, what is the starting point of such a trip. Thank you
I am 69 and I walked alone from Porto to Santiago starting on 27 September 2019. I have been active all my life. In Spring and summer I walk 4.5 km every day with a longer walk on Saturday. For 2 months before the Camino I walked between 10 and 26 km on Saturdays the last 4 with a full pack. I did not find it difficult and easily finished in 12 days
 

PeterM

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Portuguese (2017)
Hi, wouldn't get to worked up about it. Am 66 did the central Portuguese in March 2019 on my own from Lisbon to SdC without hassles. Felt quite comfortable at the end so continued on and did Muxia and Finisterre to complete the journey. Caught the bus from Finisterre back to SdC only because I had a plane to catch.
Be sensible, do a bit of preparation before setting out and enjoy yourself.
Cheers
 

FooteK

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
SJPdP to SdC, 2013; Lourdes to SdC, 2015; Lisbon to SdC (2020)
46 years old??? Young whipper-snapper!
I did my first Camino, the CF, solo, when I was 65. The second, also solo, from Lourdes to SdC, when I was 67.
You show lots of common sense and initiative by coming here and asking the right questions. Take it all a little bit at a time.
Excitement, trepidation, second guessing, and courage. You are going to have a wonderful time.
I'll be doing the Portuguese myself this fall. And this time, my daughter wants to go along. I look forward to reading more of your questions, and I know you already have a lot to offer in insights and ideas.
 

Inna s

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Plan for Sept 2020
Oh, so many useful comments! Thank you very much. Looks like I’ve got encouragement and support here. Advices about boots and socks are most useful. Usually I’m a thorough planner and I have plenty of time to prepare myself. I’m not restricted in timing and can chose the period. September seems the best month for me as it’s not very hot. July would be better but .... not sure... did anyone experienced the route in July?
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Portuguese 2018
Camino Ingles, Caminos Muxia and Finisterre 2019
I walked the CP from Porto for my first Camino in 2018. I chose October as I'm not good in heat. There was a heatwave with temperatures reaching 36°C. I discovered I could survive and learnt helpful techniques (hydrate and wet hair).
Whatever month you choose to start you want layers so you can easily adjust to the conditions. I saw many people in shorts with the back of their legs sunburnt. Luckily I had some lightweight long trousers.
It's a great Camino for a first experience. You'll meet plenty of people and also find it easy to walk alone if you want.
Buen Camino
 

formysons

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Roncesvalles - Santiago 2009; Portuguese, Ingles, Finesterre and Muxia - 2019.
Dear all, I have never walked the routes of Camino but this year I plan to walk Portuguese route. I would be grateful for any information you could share presuming I’m a beginner with no experience at all. What should I start with? Is it difficult physically (I’m 46 years old)? I plan to do it alone, is it ok or it’s better to find companions? Generally, what is the starting point of such a trip. Thank you
I waljed the Portuguese route from Porto in August last year
Dear all, I have never walked the routes of Camino but this year I plan to walk Portuguese route. I would be grateful for any information you could share presuming I’m a beginner with no experience at all. What should I start with? Is it difficult physically (I’m 46 years old)? I plan to do it alone, is it ok or it’s better to find companions? Generally, what is the starting point of such a trip. Thank you
I walked the Portuguese route from Porto in August, beautiful, but I struggled with the uphills, because my legs were not strong enough, luckily I walked with my much younger niece so had some support, I am 75, all in all a wonderful route, just do some training beforehand, rather safe than sorry.
 

Paintboy2

Member
Camino(s) past & future
CP-Coastal Route(2016), CdN (2017) CP-Senda Litoral (2018), Way of St. Francis (2019)
Oh, so many useful comments! Thank you very much. Looks like I’ve got encouragement and support here. Advices about boots and socks are most useful. Usually I’m a thorough planner and I have plenty of time to prepare myself. I’m not restricted in timing and can chose the period. September seems the best month for me as it’s not very hot. July would be better but .... not sure... did anyone experienced the route in July?
My wife and I walked it in July ( coastal route) and it was hot in the afternoons. Mornings were glorious. I walked it solo in September (litoral route) and it was also warm and beautiful. Were both going to do the Litoral route next July so maybe we will see you. BTW, I'm 64. Your going to have a great time.
 

Lydia Gillen

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances 2007/8/9 2011 (C.F 2015)
Welcome Inna,
A lot of good advice already given. I would add "walk slowly into the Camino" in other words for the first few days walk a bit less than you intend to let your body get used to the 'day after day' walking. Secondly you will be walking North so make sure to always have sunscrean at the back of your knees and legs. Thirdly i have found that putting -antiperspirant on my feet stops them getting sweaty and thus prevents blisters. I wish you Buen Camino .
 

Old Kiwi

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances 2016
Camino Frances 2019
SdC to Muxia and Fisterra 2019
Camino Portuguese "2020"
I started walking Caminos when I was 73. With some training beforehand I never had any problems. You will be just fine.
 

Mycroft

Active Member
Dear all, I have never walked the routes of Camino but this year I plan to walk Portuguese route. I would be grateful for any information you could share presuming I’m a beginner with no experience at all. What should I start with? Is it difficult physically (I’m 46 years old)? I plan to do it alone, is it ok or it’s better to find companions? Generally, what is the starting point of such a trip. Thank you
I remember when I walked my first Camino all those years ago. I was filled with questions about many things. People were kind to me and answered questions, in particular a Frenchman named Alain, now deceased. I still hold him in my thoughts and in high esteem.
On this site, Inna, you will find many answers and suggestions. The wisest one is to breathe! It is easy to get worked up when one is about to step into the unknown. My personality is to ask many questions, because I like knowing things, choosing my options, and then jumping in. Maybe you are similar. The wisest thing I can mention is the saying, "The Camino will provide." It is constant and always there that you will be provided what you need; the greatest gift of Pilgrimage, to me, is internalizing that we are not in charge, and what we need is there, if you let it come to you. I don't mean to sound Woo Woo; walking a pilgrim route leads me closer to God.
I walked the Central last year alone, leaving from Porto. Your age should be no problem, if you are in good shape. I am 68, and I had no physical problems, but I find I am still horrified if I think of cobblestones in any form! And I do recommend one take the time to stretch before setting out each time.
I am happy to answer any particular questions, if you want to reply.
 

Zabrina G

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
(2020)
I'm 46 and doing it solo in June 2020. I'm starting in Porto and taking the central route. This forum has been very helpful with information as have some of the youtube blogs. Don't worry too much about it.
 

Cicada

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances St Jean -Santiago April -June 2017
Portugues September 2018
Dear all, I have never walked the routes of Camino but this year I plan to walk Portuguese route. I would be grateful for any information you could share presuming I’m a beginner with no experience at all. What should I start with? Is it difficult physically (I’m 46 years old)? I plan to do it alone, is it ok or it’s better to find companions? Generally, what is the starting point of such a trip. Thank you
We walked in2018 the first two weeks of September it was hot -over 30 every day. I think it cooled off later in the month and into October The walk should be a piece of cake for you
So young at 48 my wife and I were 68 at the time!
Dear all, I have never walked the routes of Camino but this year I plan to walk Portuguese route. I would be grateful for any information you could share presuming I’m a beginner with no experience at all. What should I start with? Is it difficult physically (I’m 46 years old)? I plan to do it alone, is it ok or it’s better to find companions? Generally, what is the starting point of such a trip. Thank you
Dear all, I have never walked the routes of Camino but this year I plan to walk Portuguese route. I would be grateful for any information you could share presuming I’m a beginner with no experience at all. What should I start with? Is it difficult physically (I’m 46 years old)? I plan to do it alone, is it ok or it’s better to find companions? Generally, what is the starting point of such a trip. Thank you
 

Tony Walsh

Tony in Perth
Camino(s) past & future
Sarria last 120km 2014, Full Camino Frances 2017, Via Francigena 2018, Coast Caomino Portugues 2020
I would suggest you make sure you have the right equipment first and walk your shoes in.
The Coastal version is nice and flat compared to the central version or Camino Frances. So you may find this the best to start with.
 

Inna s

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Plan for Sept 2020
Take a deep breath and relax. I have walked from Lisboa to Santiago 3 years ago on the Central Route and will walk again this late September/October. Where you start will depend on how much time you have. If you have a month you can start in Lisboa. Not that many people start in Lisboa. The first couple of days aren't the best but it gets prettier as you go. If you are a religious person, or even if you are not, you may want to take the variant to Fatima. As you get closer to Porto and especially after Porto there will be alot more pilgrims than you met starting in Lisboa. Both cities are lovely as are some of the other towns and small cities as you approach Porto, especially Coimbra.
From Porto you have the choice of walking on the Coast that has two routes that merge at times but are very close to each other, or stay on the Central route and later you can take another variant on the Spiritual Variant. It sounds complicated but it really isn't at all.
Every person who takes their first step on their first Camino has stress and worries. Do not worry because before you know it the worries will be completely gone. Pick a place to start and take your first step.
Just remember you only have the step you are talking at that moment. Don't worry about tomorrow it hasn't happened and forget about yesterday because it is over.
You do not need boots. Really good trainers will be great. Do a search for what people think about shoes and socks. They are very important. Look up @davebugg he is the guru of feet and equipment and is really helpful and generous with his advice. Pack light and pack only what you know what you will use. You are walking one of the easier caminos and at your age you should have nothing to worry about especially if you do some training.Get a rucksack, backpack that feels right and train with your pack and your trainers.
You will meet people and some wonderful people. If you want to talk to someone open up. If you want to walk in silence, walk that way. Stay in the albergues and you will meet lots of great pilgrims. Even if you are alone and you see a few pilgrims going to dinner. Just ask if you can come. No one will ever say no. Get the Brierley Guide book to the Camino Portuguese. I think that will help you and you can order it here, just click on Camino 2020 guides. I think he is putting out a brand new guide for 2020. On your phone you can download the Buen Camino and/or Wisely app for the Portuguese. They will have more places to stay and GPS so even if you get lost (This camino is well marked) you can find your way back. Check out Gronze.com and open it in Google Chrome and it will automatically translate it to Ukrainian, or any language you choose. It has very clear distances and reviews of alot of albergues.
Finally if you have problems or lost you are in the best country in the world to get help. The Portuguese people are the nicest, friendliest and most generous people on earth. The food in Portugal is also pretty cheap and really, really good.
Take a breath and just walk Pilgrim!
thank you very much! your words are so inspiring! all my hesitations just disappeared. some preparation is needed, that's for sure but no doubt I can do it. thanks again!
 
Camino(s) past & future
2015 entire CF, Porto and CF again in Feb 2020
Dear all, I have never walked the routes of Camino but this year I plan to walk Portuguese route. I would be grateful for any information you could share presuming I’m a beginner with no experience at all. What should I start with? Is it difficult physically (I’m 46 years old)? I plan to do it alone, is it ok or it’s better to find companions? Generally, what is the starting point of such a trip. Thank you
Dear spring chicken :). I'm 70 years young and doing the Camino again this year. My big lesson learned is to go light... you can just about buy anything you need along the way... i'm down to 8lbs (4kg). Good shoes and socks (i wear 2 pair - thin liners) are essential. I walk every other day for 5-10 miles and have a full pack on every other hike.... and then i rest for one week before the Camino. you'll be surprised how your body responds once your heart and brain get 'into it'. I found the first hour of each morning to be a bit painful but after that it was pain free... until i stopped walking. Best of Luck!
 

kenwilltravel

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Portuguese Coastal (2018)
Portuguese Coastal, with Spiritual Variant (2019)
. did anyone experienced the route in July?
Hi Inna,
My wife and I walked the coastal Portuguese twice, in 2018 and 2019, and our experiences covered the summer months (June to early September). It's obviously impossible to predict the weather. But as a general rule, you could say that you're more likely to avoid rain if you do it during the summer. We experienced minimal rain both years. Again, as a general rule, you're more likely to encounter rain in Galicia in the spring and fall. But you also need to be aware of the tradeoffs. The summer months are hotter and you will encounter more crowds on the trail. If you do the coastal route north from Porto, for example, you will encounter lots of people packing the Portuguese and Spanish beach resorts. So, you need to sort through your priorities and individual preferences.
I'll indulge in a little bit of self-promotion here and mention that I wrote a book describing how my wife and I handled all these decisions as newbie peregrinos: https://www.amazon.com/Sauntering-Santiago-Camino-Slow-Walkers-ebook/dp/B07RHQX2PX/ref=sr_1_1?keywords=Cline+Sauntering&qid=1580068662&s=books&sr=1-1
I would also mention that the coastal Portuguese is absolutely doable for older folks who may not be in tip-top shape. My wife and I are both in our 60s. I have some lower back issues and she has diabetes, asthma and high blood pressure. The point is, we managed our way around those issues. In both years, we arrived in Santiago with zero blisters or other problems, although she did encounter a bout of food sickness in Pontevedra in 2018. But that could have happened anywhere and can't be blamed on the Camino per se.
So, buen Camino!
 

Moorwalker

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
The Saint's Way, Cornwall
Don't over think it. Don't do too much for the first few days until your body gets used to the exercise. Don't panic!
 

Inna s

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Plan for Sept 2020
Dear spring chicken :). I'm 70 years young and doing the Camino again this year. My big lesson learned is to go light... you can just about buy anything you need along the way... i'm down to 8lbs (4kg). Good shoes and socks (i wear 2 pair - thin liners) are essential. I walk every other day for 5-10 miles and have a full pack on every other hike.... and then i rest for one week before the Camino. you'll be surprised how your body responds once your heart and brain get 'into it'. I found the first hour of each morning to be a bit painful but after that it was pain free... until i stopped walking. Best of Luck!
Special thanks for “spring chicken”!!!!😁 Looks like I really am
 

steve 217

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino frances planning via del la plata
Dear Inna s
My first night on the Camino at SJPDP i was very anxious not knowing what i had let myself in for i could only manage a week so consoled myself that if i hated it i could go home early .
That was 10 years and 20 plus trips ago it was and is the adventure of my lifetime and i will walk as along as my legs carry me , i am either planning or looking forward to another Camino all the time.
Go put your worries behind you and let the Way lay out before you .
Ps Porto is lovely
Pps Be safe Buen Camino
 

trecile

Camino Addict
Camino(s) past & future
Francés (2016 & 2017), Norte (2018), Francés-Salvador-Norte (2019), Portuguese (2019)
I only wish that I had learned about the Camino when I was only 46! So many more Caminos I could have walked. But better late than never!
 

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