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Any advice for absolute, completely clueless, beginner?

Estè-SA

New Member
Hi!

Although I've known about the Pilgrimage for quite some time it's only after reading an article on it recently that it settled in spirit and I just knew it's something I needed to do.

I know I definitely do not want to walk the crowded French route and was wondering if anyone could tell me if the Camino Portugues would be the best of the shorter routes. If not, what would you recommend?

I am so excited but completely overwhelmed as to where to begin planning!

Any advice would be so dearly appreciated. :wink:
 
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gyro

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Caminos: Frances, Ingles, Portugues, de Norte
Via(s): de la Plata, Mozarabe
Dear Este- SA,
Thank you for your question.
I think that the Camino Portuguese would serve you very well as a modest introduction to Pilgrimages and to Iberia. It is quieter than the Camino Frances, the stages between towns are not so onerous and the countryside is beautiful.

If you can, why not try a few days on the Camino. I would suggest that you might want to try the path from the outskirks of Porto to Ponte da Lima (two or three days walking) which is really quite lovely
Kind regards
gyro
 

Estè-SA

New Member
Hi Gyro,

Thanks for your speedy reply. I have never been to Spain or Portugal so doing the Camino will be my first visit to these countries. So you see why I'm so nervous, I'm flying blind!

I see that the route can be walked in 10 days. Is this a realistic pace? I have never done more than a one-day hike and was wondering how often, if necessary, I should have 'rest'-days?

So sorry to bother you with such trivial little questions but I guess I'm over-excited and I tend to plan things to death. :oops:

Thanks again.

SA Greetings
 

gyro

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Caminos: Frances, Ingles, Portugues, de Norte
Via(s): de la Plata, Mozarabe
Dear SA,
I am delighted to try and respond to you. Your questions are entirely reasonable.
1. yes, 10 days is a reasonable time to walk from Porto to Santiago. I took 8 but chose a couple of very long days.

2. If you find yourself needing a rest day,then take one. Your body, especially your feet, will tell you what you can and can't do. I find that taking a short (15-20km) rather than a long (40-45km) daily walk is sufficient.

3. I guess that the most significant issue is acquiring the mind-set of a person making such a long journey. That will come with experience and meeting other pilgrims. Just don' t beat your self up if you walk for a day or so and don't have a lot of fun. The benefits of taking such a long journey will come to you.

And please, do feel free to ask as many questions as you want. There are plenty of folk here who are happy to answer them.
Gyro


Estè-SA said:
Hi Gyro,

Thanks for your speedy reply. I have never been to Spain or Portugal so doing the Camino will be my first visit to these countries. So you see why I'm so nervous, I'm flying blind!

I see that the route can be walked in 10 days. Is this a realistic pace? I have never done more than a one-day hike and was wondering how often, if necessary, I should have 'rest'-days?

So sorry to bother you with such trivial little questions but I guess I'm over-excited and I tend to plan things to death. :oops:

Thanks again.

SA Greetings
 
Hello,

I am just back home now after doing the Camino Portugues from Porto. I took 10 days to do it, but some of the people we started off with took 11 days in order to break up one of the longer days (i.e. they stayed at Mos which is on the way to Redondela). You can check out my comments on this route by looking at my 'Live from the Camino' post. I think that the Portugues is a lovely alternative to the Frances. If you start from Porto (you can also start from Lisbon, but there isn't as much peregrino infrastructure) you still meet some peregrinos, but not as many as on the Frances. This means that you still have the opportunity to make friends along the route, but that you don't have the mad rush to the albergue in order to get a bunk that you see on the Frances. The country side is quite green and the uphills and down hills are quite gentle. The largest single amount of uphill we had was 460m. I normally carry walking poles with me when I walk and the 460m day was the only day I used them (mind you, I was glad that I had them at the time). Porto is great place. We liked it so much, we returned to it after we came back to Santiago from Fisterra.

My top tip would be to get a good guidebook. We used the Brierley guide which I got from Amazon.com. This is excellent and came out tops when we compared out guide with other peregrinos. The route is very well marked in Portugal. There are a few areas on the Spanish side, most notably coming out of Tui where a few more arrow would be useful. So, I would suggest that in addition to the Brierley guide, you also download the online camino guide for this route http://www.csj.org.uk/guides-online.htm.

My second tip for a first time camino person is to pack light. Below is a list of what I took on the camino (and some info on how much they were used).

1) Light weight sleeping bag and foam pad (just in case we couldn't get a place to stay). You might well choose, as many do, and run the risk and have a lighter pack.
2) walking poles (only used once, but I was glad I had them). Again depending on how used you are to walking, you can probably get away with out them. (note, if you plan to continue on to Fisterra via Murxia, you should definately take poles (see my live from the Camino report from the Fistera route).
3) sandals (for the evening). You WONT regret having a pair. Note: if you are planning on doing the Fistera continuation via Muxia, you will want proper walking sandals rather than flip flops for the river crossing.
4) comfortable walking shoes (you don't need heavy boots as most of the Camino is on good surfaces)
5) two sets of clothing (Camino clothes (lightweight/fast drying shirt and shorts) and evening clothing (fast drying shirt and trousers (washed clothing dries very quickly)). Note: I took a linen mix skirt for the evening rather than tousers. Many of the other peregrinas bought light cotton skirts along the way. My boyfriend thought that I was crazy, but a skirt does keep you cool when it is still 29 C at 9pm. You do not need more than two sets of clothing. Most of the people on the Portuges had already done the Frances and had learned that it is far better to wash clothing than to carry it
6) socks and liner socks (bridgedale) (2 pairs),
7) underwear (3 pairs)
8) very light weight fleece (only used once, but we had only one day of rain)
9) rain jacket, rain trousers (you will be thankful for this when you hit Galicia). Some people prefer to take a rain poncho rather than a rain jacket and trousers. On the one day that it did rain, I wore my rain jacket (which isn't as water proof as it used to be and a 2 euro plastic poncho). This worked fine, but we only had a few hours of rain and it wasn't that hard.
10) sun hat (Tilly)
11) sun glasses and normal glasses
12) suntan lotion and aftersun lotion
13) compede (you can get this at almost all pharmacies on the Frances but NOT on the Portugues) and a needle for pricking blisters (note: there is a debate about the pros and cons of pricking blisters. I always do, but have iodine or alcohol on hand to sterilise the needle and the skin) .
14) ibuproflen (anti-imflamatory + pain killer). You can buy this along the way.
15) ear plugs (for albergues)
16) watch with altimeter and alarm
17) anti-histamine pills for insect bites
18) zink oxide creme for heat rash
19) 2L camelbak water bag
20) guide book (the camino is well marked, but a guide book is still VERY useful)
21) a small bottle of alcohol (toughens skin on feet and acts as a disinfectant)
22) Vaseline (or Vicks Vapo Rub). I know that this sounds weird, but if you rub your feet with this before you put your socks on, it reduces friction and prevents blisters. I did the entire Portuguese route without a single blister. My boyfriend perfers vasoline. I prefer Vicks as it smells nice. It is also good for the end of the day foot massage.
23) swiss army knife
24) a head torch or light weight flash light (we would start off half an hour to an hour before sunrise)
25) tooth brush, tooth paste, dental floss, deoderant, a hair brush, bio-degradable soap, lip salve 26) camping towel and body wash
27) camera
29) Some people also take safety pins for pinning clothing/towel to your backpack so that they can dry while you walk.
30) Spanish and Portuguese phrase book and or dictionary
31) A scallop shell to identify you as a pergrino. As I said above, many people on the Portugues had already done the Frances and so had their shell. We didn't see any scallop shells on sale along the route. So, I would suggest that you get one from your local fish seller and use a tile bit on a drill to put a couple of holes in the shell (people use the top half) and attach it to your rucksack. This of course, is not a necessary thing to carry, but you will notice that you don't have one when your rucksack is lined up along the other at the first open cafe along the route.

I hope that this helps!

Bom Caminho/Buen Camino
 
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basarella

New Member
Hi,
Your story sounds very much like my own. I too am a beginner and planning to walk the Portugues way in September 2010. I would love to hear how you are getting along with your planning and share the joys and woes of planning.

Kind regards
Basrella
 

Estè-SA

New Member
O wow!!!

I'm so completely overwhelmed by everyone's support and interest, thank you all very much.

I'm soaking up every piece of advice and it makes me even more excited and eager to get my walking shoes on.

I think I'm really starting to 'taste' the spirit of the Camino. I never thought that I'll be experiencing the camaraderie and support of fellow pilgrims during the planning phase of my trip already.

I'm thankful and blessed!

Keep it coming!!!
 
Year of past OR future Camino
CF 2006,08,09,11,12(2),13(2),14,16(2),18(2) Aragones 11,12,VDLP 11,13,Lourdes 12,Malaga 16,Port 06
I have one piece of advice for anyone walking the Portuguese route

Carry a BRIGHT COLORED hankerchief you can tie to the end of your walking stick so you can flag cars when you walk on those tight little winding narrow roads!
 

walkmag

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
leon to Santiago (2006),
SJDP to Santiago (2009)
Porto to Santiago (2010)
Minturno to Rome (2012)
Siena to Rome (2012),
Fidenza to Siena (2013)
Lausanne to Fidenza (2014)
Bilbao to Ribadeo Sept (2015)
CMD Maybe (Sept 2016)
basarella said:
Hi,
Your story sounds very much like my own. I too am a beginner and planning to walk the Portugues way in September 2010. I would love to hear how you are getting along with your planning and share the joys and woes of planning.

Kind regards
Basrella
Hi All

re walking Camino Potugues..mid Sept
.does any one have any idea on weather conditions at that time of the year.

would it be similiar to Spanish Autumn weather ?
cheers..
 
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JohnnieWalker

Nunca se camina solo
You're right I think but the weather one year these days is no predictor for the next. IMHO you will need rain gear and warm clothes for early morning and evening. But there again you'll still need sunscreen in September!
 

Caminando

Veteran Member
Estè-SA said:
Hi!

Although I've known about the Pilgrimage for quite some time it's only after reading an article on it recently that it settled in spirit and I just knew it's something I needed to do.

I know I definitely do not want to walk the crowded French route and was wondering if anyone could tell me if the Camino Portugues would be the best of the shorter routes. If not, what would you recommend?

I am so excited but completely overwhelmed as to where to begin planning!

Any advice would be so dearly appreciated. :wink:

My advice is not so specific as the excellent advice above. But I will say whatever route you choose, I am certain that you will have a truly unique and memorable experience, which will stay with you all your life. I am convinced that you will adapt your experience to fit your needs and wishes, as I think all of us do. Go forward with confidence, and you will overcome all obstacles. You will find lots of help here on this site, but most importantly on the Way. Don't overplan, don't depend on this site or guidebooks too much, for this remarkable way is special, and all previous planning can melt away. Remember please, that over history, millions did this Way successfully, without ANY of the facilities we all enjoy today. Don't worry about the practical side of things; you will be fine. Almost everyone on this site will give you straight, helpful information when you ask for it.

I am a little bit envious of your first journey, for you will encounter something which Antonio Machado wrote of in his poem "Caminante, no hay camino" etc. "Traveller, there is no road ahead , it unfolds beneath you as you go".... a lovely poem if you want to Google it.

:arrow:
I wish you buen camino
 
D

Deleted member 3000

Guest
You can reduce anxiety by an "appropriate" amount of planning. The "appropriate" amount? The amount that reduces your anxiety, of course.
 

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