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Can anyone give me any advice on doing the Camino Frances with a two-year old.

Camino(s) past & future
2013, camino frances
2019, camino frances
#1
My wife and I will be doing the Camino with our 2-year old daughter. Does anyone have advice they can share?
 
Camino(s) past & future
cycled from Pamplona Sep 2015;Frances, walked from St Jean 2017.
#2
In 2017 I encountered a couple travelling with a child under 12 months. They had a road worthy baby carriage which was very waterproof. From what I remember they would either phone ahead inquiring about private or family rooms or on arrival they would ask about staying in private houses. I ran into them again around Astorga and as I understand it they reached Santiago a day or so behind me. So yes with the appropriate planning it can be done - although with a two year old you might need a large buggy for the child. Buen Camino.;)
 
Camino(s) past & future
CF SJPdP to SdC
(May 2015)
CF Sarria to SdC
(May 2016)
CF SJPDP-SdC
(Apr/May 2018)
VdlP (2020)
#3
I was looking for the youtube series from the couple who walked with a baby called Indigo.
But couldn't find them.
Maybe someone else has the link?
 
Camino(s) past & future
Some but not all, and other routes too.
#4
Hola
I'd say with the right planning and determination it can be done. A lot of young families have been down the road before you, hopefully some of them will come and give you the advice you need. Like Saint Mike II I encountered a young couple with a young child fulfilling their dream and to my knowledge they made it successfully to SDC.
Enjoy the planning.
 

scruffy1

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Holy Year from Pamplona 2010, SJPP 2011, Lisbon 2012, Le Puy 2013, Vezelay (partial watch this space!) 2014; 2015 Toulouse-Puenta la Reina (Arles)
#6
Two years old is a...well...that is...difficult age. They are very active, usually vocal, very curious, and Terrible Two's is not a myth. I don't think you can expect them to walk very far, or to sit politely in a carriage for very long, and while sitting in a back pack maybe fun - for a short while - probably not every day for a month. The logistics seem all but overwhelming, exposure to the elements a very real consideration, food(?). From the gut? You walked in 2013, the Camino is still here, and will still be here in another 5 years in another 10. Back burner time.
 
Camino(s) past & future
March/April 2015, Late April 2016, Sept/Oct 2017
#11
At two years old, my boys would walk for a few miles with me, and then take a break in the stroller. We only walked about 2-5 miles at a time-- Two year olds have little legs but lots of energy, and the more they walk the stronger they get! Another idea, if you are equine inclined, is to walk some of the Chemin (Camino in France) with a donkey-- Then your two year old gets to have a furry friend to give him a lift. This is not so unusual there as it is in Spain. -- There are various threads on this-- lots negative, though I expect the negative ones are from people who don't know donkeys and think they're like small cars with no individuality. Here is one thread: https://www.caminodesantiago.me/community/threads/traveling-with-a-donkey-in-france.40318/

And here is a very nice youtube video of a family walking le Chemin:
 
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (1989 and 2016), Portugues - from Porto (2018)
#13
I was looking for the youtube series from the couple who walked with a baby called Indigo.
But couldn't find them.
Maybe someone else has the link?
You are talking about the Irish vegetarian family, right? They've taken them down. :-(

There is a short video that was put up of someone walking the Camino Portugues with a toddler boy, who might be around the right age. I'll try and find it alter today and update this comment with a link, if no one posts one before that. Asking the same question in the comments there might get a good response.
 
#15
In 2008 we met with Monika and her 2 year old Bartak who had walked from Poland. They crossed the Camino Frances in the winter and after Santiago walked on to Fatima. I was a bit concerened about Bartak as he had no playmates for months on end but this is an opinion...I have no expertise in this area - apart from parenting my own children
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances May 2018
#16
I met a family this spring on the Frances with a 4 year old and a 6 month old. They mentioned a Facebook group for families on the Camino that they found helpful. They had a jogger stroller that carried their backpacks when the two boys didn't want to ride.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Northern Way (2017)
#17
I met a coupele that retired to run an albergue on the Norte. They told me about doing the Camino Frances every two years or so starting when they first married and all the way through to the graduation of the youngest of 4 kids. A lot of km’s!

One of their strategies was to drive and walk. One parent walked while the other shuttled. The car was a station wagon so they lived out of it.

Might not be quite the Camino experience you are looking for, but a little creativity and a list of different resources for different situations might well carry you through!
 
Camino(s) past & future
Caminos Frances (x4), Finisterre, Aragon, Via de la Plata, Portuguese 2011 -2015. Hospitalero 2015
#18
In 2015 I met a young couple who walked from St Jean to Santiago with two young children, I would guess 2 yrs and 3 yrs old. The parents pulled a chariot ( that was the actual name on the carriage), and the children could get out and walk or get in when tired. They carried some toys with them and some of their belongings. I was pretty impressed as it looked to be completely watertight with clear plastic windows. It was amusing to see the boy had blue walking boots and the girl had pink. I am sure that a google search for 'Chariot' which is made in Europe would turn up the manufacturer. The family were French.
 

Kanga

Moderator
Staff member
Camino(s) past & future
Francés x 5, Le Puy x 2, Arles, Tours, Norte, Madrid, Via de la Plata, Portuguese.
#19

Kanga

Moderator
Staff member
Camino(s) past & future
Francés x 5, Le Puy x 2, Arles, Tours, Norte, Madrid, Via de la Plata, Portuguese.
#21
Well, that's negative. I guess some people would give the same answer to the question - "any advice on having children?"!

I recall that when I first saw a post from @Kiwi-family about walking the Camino with family, many years ago, I was also very negative. But wow, did I feel a fool later.
 

Kiwi-family

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Past: (2012, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2018)-Frances, Baztan, San Salvador, Primitivo, Fisterra,VdlP, Madrid
#22
I recall that when I first saw a post from @Kiwi-family about walking the Camino with family, many years ago, I was also very negative. But wow, did I feel a fool later.
So did I as I stood on the side of a path with a six year old stomping her foot and screaming about how unfair it was that I had squeezed the toothpaste onto her toothbrush three hours ago when she had wanted to do it - all with a steady stream of pilgrims walking by!
And a few days later I stood at the top of a hill waiting for Daddy who was taking his turn with the grumpy girl at the bottom of the hill (our strategy is to not force walking but to wait until they are ready to walk without fussing) - by that stage that steady stream of pilgrims knew us and I got an update from each one as they created the hill!
In those moments I wondered if all the naysayers had been right - but at the end of the day, a hissy fit in Spain is more fun than a hissy fit at home! No regrets, but more humility.
 

long trails

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances June 2016
Portugues April 2017
#23
Not being negative. I just think children have the right to refuse being dragged half way across the country. As a two year old, they will not be able to protest!
 

Kanga

Moderator
Staff member
Camino(s) past & future
Francés x 5, Le Puy x 2, Arles, Tours, Norte, Madrid, Via de la Plata, Portuguese.
#24
Well, actually, two year olds are exceptionally good at protesting. But they will do that regardless of whether they are at home or in Spain.

A two year old lives in the moment. As long as "the moment" feels OK, then they are OK. And I can't see any insurmountable problems on the camino to keeping them feeling OK.

Parents generally put the needs of their children before themselves, and no reason to think the OP would do anything else. But that does not mean giving up on a dream. The two can be quite compatible. These days strollers and pushers are very good, and other physical issues like weather, food, sleep, and play, can be overcome with simple forethought and a bit of planning.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (2015); Ch. d'Arles: Oloron Ste Marie to Aragones; Frances (2016); V.d.l.P.; Sanabres (2017)
#25
I remember a documentary movie called Walking the Camino: Six Ways to Santiago, where a young woman took her toddler son on camino, pushing him in a stroller with her brother to help. When he decided to go his own way she managed just fine. Good luck.
 

martin1ws

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Somport to Finisterre Jul-Aug 2018
#26
I was looking for the youtube series from the couple who walked with a baby called Indigo.
But couldn't find them.
Maybe someone else has the link?
I know the youtube series... I made some links but they go to empty youtube pages now... so I think they have deleted their videos on youtube.

Edit: They did not delete their videos, but marked them as private. Only their last video is still public:
 
Last edited:
Camino(s) past & future
2016 Le Puy to SJPP to Santiago de Compostelle to Finisterre. Environ 1700 km.
#27
The children that I saw on my Caminos were older than 2 years old. Young children can and do walk the Caminos. I am trying to remember how old the youngest child that I have seen on the Camino but I think he or she was at least 4 or 5 years old. One day I hope to walk with one of my grandchildren. I am used to babysit my grandchildren (yes yes I know that that is a bit unusual ) but I would not thinki of taking a 2 year old on a long Camino.
 

martin1ws

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Somport to Finisterre Jul-Aug 2018
#28
... I am used to babysit my grandchildren (yes yes I know that that is a bit unusual ) but I would not thinki of taking a 2 year old on a long Camino.
The baby called Indigo in the youtube video was very small... it was still crawling, not walking.... and so it was carried by mum or dad all the time.

I remember one baby on my own camino that got fed by his parents.

So I think there is no age when babies are "too young".
But I think it can be rather difficult...
 

Felice

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
SJPP to Santiago Sept 2014
#29
I think it depends on the child. I would never have taken either of my children, aged 2, on a camino, because neither of them responded well to being taken on a walk at home. At university, my daughter was a member of a group of very keen hikers. A decade on, most now have small children. One family could easily manage to walk the camino together - the daughter adores being out on a walk. She loved her child carrier when small, and now happily toddles as far as she is able. The other families are totally different - the children only tolerate a mile or two before they become fractious. So know what your toddler likes before you get too involved with the planning.
 
Camino(s) past & future
CF (SJPdP to Santiago) March 15, 2018
#30
What an amazing experience to share with your child. If you can get a child carrier with a stroller attachment that would help as there are a lot of places you could push a stroller but others you would have to carry. Your rhythm of walking would be led by your child to a degree and your sleeping arrangements may be more private rooms. Plus bring some extra snacks and juice for thd babe.
 

Kiwi-family

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Past: (2012, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2018)-Frances, Baztan, San Salvador, Primitivo, Fisterra,VdlP, Madrid
#31
I’d be carrying water for a toddler rather than juice, but then my kids didn’t have any sugar apart from whole pieces of fruit and occasionally a thin spread of honey until they were 3 or 4. Even then, it was more about letting them fit in socially at other people’s places rather than from a conviction that sugar would be good for them.
But this is a Camino forum, not a parenting one (which I would avoid!)
 

GinaMarie

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
2010, coming up Sept. 2017
#32
I walked my first camino in 2010, with my sister & sister-in-law. We started out from Ponferrada with a strict time limit (due to work) of 10 days to reach SDC. On our first day, we walked past a young couple, pushing a toddler in a stroller. It was not a rugged stroller, just one of those cheap fold-up umbrella strollers you see everywhere. We tsk-tsk'd as we walked by: imagine! Aiming to travel 200 km with a toddler! In an UMBRELLA STROLLER!!!
However, when we reached SDC & were walking through the streets, recognizing & greeting fellow pilgrims we'd met along the way, we passed a group celebrating with that very same young family. The stroller looked considerably more beat-up but the family looked just fine.
 
Camino(s) past & future
CF (SJPdP to Santiago) March 15, 2018
#33
I’d be carrying water for a toddler rather than juice, but then my kids didn’t have any sugar apart from whole pieces of fruit and occasionally a thin spread of honey until they were 3 or 4. Even then, it was more about letting them fit in socially at other people’s places rather than from a conviction that sugar would be good for them.
But this is a Camino forum, not a parenting one (which I would avoid!)
I agree that this is not a parenting forum. The need for proper hydration for the child and parents is very necessary and as much as I only drank water while walking I do miss that fresh squeezed orange juice with my Gin, best Screwdrivers ever in Spain, what a treat.
 

ksam

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Portuguese '08, Frances '11, del Norte '14, Invierno '16, Ingles '17, Primitivo October 2018
#34
So did I as I stood on the side of a path with a six year old stomping her foot and screaming about how unfair it was that I had squeezed the toothpaste onto her toothbrush three hours ago when she had wanted to do it - all with a steady stream of pilgrims walking by!
And a few days later I stood at the top of a hill waiting for Daddy who was taking his turn with the grumpy girl at the bottom of the hill (our strategy is to not force walking but to wait until they are ready to walk without fussing) - by that stage that steady stream of pilgrims knew us and I got an update from each one as they created the hill!
In those moments I wondered if all the naysayers had been right - but at the end of the day, a hissy fit in Spain is more fun than a hissy fit at home! No regrets, but more humility.

Having had the joy of finally meeting ya'll (well...some of your lovely clan!) ... all I can say is it was worth the efforts on your part. The young one in question is now a lovely and very personable young lady that ANYONE would be proud to be able to call their own. In fact it's one of the things giving me courage to think about walking with my grands in a few years time.
 



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