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Back home after Camino Frances


Veteran Member
Time of past OR future Camino
V Frances; V Podensis; V Francigena; V Portugues; V Francigena del Sud; Jakobsweg. Jaffa - Jerusalem
I had one last scourging to reduce pride and engender humility as I walked home from the bus stop in Melbourne last night.

The rain was pelting down, so once again out came the faithful poncho that had served me so well on rainy days on the Camino Frnaces (May 18 - June 20).

I will post apres-camino tips and reflections once I get my notes in order. Experience is a wonderful teacher, and many of my pre-camino ideas have changed to some extent.

One thing that really struck me was the number of people who do multiple caminos and others who walk phenomenal distances. One person I met was on his 4th Camino Frances. Quite a few others had walked from Holland and Germany.

Originally, I had planned to finish in Santiago, but along the way I decided to go to Finisterre (by bus - no time to walk). I am glad I did this, because it gave another dimension to the conclusion of my Camino. On arrival at Santiago I felt a sense of completion, of calmness, of home-coming, of having done something siginifcant.

At Finisterre, I trudged up the hill in rain (once again!) to the lighthouse and clambered further out over the rocks and sat looking out to sea. Down below, the water churned and broke on the rocky shore. Small spring flowers bent in the wind all around me. Seagulls wheeled and dived in the stiff breeze.

This was truly the end of the known road and only the boundless ocean lay before me. What lies ahead in life? There are no certainties, as there were no certainties for generations of mariners who set sail upon those restless waters.

I said some private words, threw a small personal possession into the sea. As I walked down the hill, the sun came shining through the clearing clouds and warmed my journey homeward.

While Santiago gave me a sense of closure, Finisterre gave me a sense of a new beginning, of new hopes - a satisfying end to a Pilgrimage.


Bob M
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Bob, thanks so much for sharing your reflections, and thanks also for your observations on the sandal/shoes/boots debate. The voice of experience speaks loudly, even in introspection.
We hope to at least come close to achieving the quality of your camino when we set out in August.

The nature of a camino

I will be posting some thoughts shortly on the nature/purpose of a camino that might help others to focus on why they want to do such an arduous "trip".

My own goals and focus were complex and changing during my camino and I only achieved focus on the way to Finisterre. Introspection can be a mixed blessing!

BTW, August walkers need to think about water. On my May/June camino I got by carrying two x 500ml plastic bottles and filling up as required. At the height of summer I would recommend carrying 2 litres (ie 2kg!). One really should drink little and often.

A target of say 3 litres/day is actually pretty meaningless, although such targets are often quoted. The required water intake depends on lots of factors - body size, exertion level, heat conditions, amount of cafe con leche consumed, fruit eaten etc etc.

A more practical test is to monitor urination. Urine should be "pale and plentiful". Straw-coloured is fine, but a dark colour generally means under-hydration. But what does "plentiful" mean? Use your own experience at home doing usual activities. If the pattern is roughly the same on the Camino, OK, but if you find you are urinating noticeably less frequently, you may want to review your water intake.

Thirst is a poor guide for drinking frequency. By the time the body sends the thirst signal, significant de-hydration has occurred.

Although I have to say that I went for 6 hours one very rainy day without a drink and without urinating. But it was cold and miserable and I deliberately drank more than usual after I arrived at my destination for that day.

So one can tolerate dehydration for a time if conditions are benign. The point is that the camino finds the weak spots in your body (and character, for that matter) and tests them.

It is all about increasing the odds in your favour by doing heaps of little things right (eg hydration, resting, minimising load etc etc)

Quite a few walkers used "camel back" water packs for convenience, but I preferred to carry low-weight plastic bottles because my pack can hold them conveniently placed for ready use. I also think they are more practical on the camino than aluminium "SIG" style bottles.

I hope this rambling reply is helpful.

Bob M

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