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first camino in may 2010/camping

bisaccia

New Member
I would like to ask for your opinions and advices. I 'am planning to do my first camino next may, starting from st Jean. My first intention was to camp.Not so much in campsite, but anywhere possible,being as much discret and respectfull I can be aware of, leaving as less traces as possible.Every so often ( once a week maybe) i would be sleeping in albergue. I would like to do like this first because I like independance, walking as much as I like,not rushing, being free...and then because I CANNOT AFFORD a full cost camino anyway.This would mean as well cooking mostly myself, not going to bar or restaurant ecc...
From what I read so far , there are mixed feeling about it. First it seems i would miss what seems to be a very important part of the camino, that is the life in Albergue, the social aspect of the experience... to the possibility of even finding myself completely isolated from it, wich sound like a shame.
I also realise that wild camping isnt legal, although more or less tolerated. But the problem seems to arise with numbers of poeple "wild camping", and the increase of the lack of respect and damaged caused by campers, as well as such a bad image pillgrims could give of themeselfs to the locals. I do not wish to be part of that.
Is there still a only a small number of poeple doing it? Is it generally accepted? Is it easy to find good and discreet spot all along the way? Does wild camping definitely will isolate myself from any chance to meet up with others fellows pillgrims? I am also aware that this may 2010 and it is a holy year. Would it be preferable to avoid this year at all?
If this doesnt seems right anymore, I may reconsidere, and go and walk somewhere else all together,thats why I ask for your opinion. Thank you so much for your time and help.
 

JohnnieWalker

Nunca se camina solo
Hi

Welcome to the Forum. Your question is very interesting and it is one which has provoked some strong feelings in the past. As you say the reservations which are expressed are about masses of people camping in places not designated for that or lacking facilities. I do some volunteering work in the Pilgrims' Office in Santiago. There are no statistics kept of the numbers of people who camp but it seems to me from the pilgrims who arrive at the office very few camp or sleep out all of the way. But from those I have met they say that if they are discreet and respectful and move on early each day they have never encountered problems. Although technically not allowed or encouraged the route does have lots of places where a small tent could be pitched overnight.

Some others will argue though that sleeping in albergues is very cheap and there are still a fair few which operate on a donativo basis leaving it for you to decide how much you can reasonably afford to donate. We are all quick to point out that 'donativo' doesn't mean 'free' and that pilgrims should contribute to help keep places going for future pilgrims.

I don't know whether you are going in May 2010 or 2011 but let's hope before you go you will meet people on the forum who have done what you want to do and can give first hand advice.

Best wishes

John
 

elzi

Active Member
Hi, I'm not going to reiterate what I've said about wild camping if you've read the previous threads. I know I've always been discreet and often left the site in a better state (often picking up other pilgrims rubbish from the area) and can't see a lot of issues with wild campers who treat the camino with respect. Yes it's also nice to stop at an albergue regularly, to chat to other pilgrims, to get your credencial stamped and more than anything to get a SHOWER! :)
I'm more worried about you in the weather in May which can be changeable!! Bear in mind it could be very wet and some parts of the camino could be very cold. If you are planning to camp then plan for all weathers and bring a very warm sleeping bag. Bear in mind that the extra layers, heavier sleeping bag, tent and the large amount of water you need to carry around for camping could well add a lot of weight to your backpack. It's one thing wild camping in the warm summer evenings and quite another night after night in the freezing rain with wet clothes especially after walking 20+km days!
Buen Camino and I really hope it all works out! I had some experiences wild camping that I could never have had in an albergue! :D
 

bisaccia

New Member
Thank you for you answers. How cold could it get at night ( and days)?And How much rain? Are there any link with data wich could give a general idea of how the weather could be in the camino frances during may? I d like to ask as well, how often is there drinking water available along the way? Are they spot easy to find? This coming may will be a holy year....is there any reason to believe that countryside will be flooded with campers? Or that the way ,during the day, would be as busy and crowdy as a big city high street, without any chance for quiet contemplation or relaxed meeting? Should i avoid this year all together?I appreciate the holy year being a very special year, And I would be glad to be part of it, and that as well the camino has a lot to do with relationship and meetings....but perhaps not at any cost. Thank you!
 

newfydog

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Pamplona-Santiago, Le Puy- Santiago, Prague- LePuy, Menton- Toulouse, Menton- Rome, Canterbury- Lausanne, Chemin Stevenson, Voie de Vezelay
The crowds will be in the last 100 KM. It is a big trail and people spread out well.

Hikers get to the albergues early, so camping offers many quiet evenings. Spots are easy to find, often out of sight from any road or trail. Set up late, take down early, don't be a pig and you should have no problem.

I avoid albergues like the plague, but still meet many good people out on the trail.

I wouldn't worry too much about the weather, assuming your gear is decent and you have camped before.
 

Abijah

New Member
Hi
I am also planning on wild camping for most of my pilgrimage from Lourdes to Santiago de Compostela (via Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port) next year. I will be setting off approx 11th March 2011 to arrive in Compostelle for Easter 2011 (a Lentern pilgrimage).

A lot has been made of camping (wild or otherwise) in the forums though not much of it too useful. A lot of opinions without too much experience it seems. I have wild camped in many places for many years and will use my upcoming pilgrimage trek next year to offer my experiences to future pilgrims. Maybe you can do the same bisaccia?

If you wild camp just make sure you leave the place you pitch your tent in the same condition as you find it. Unless you find you can camp in Albergues and Refugios grounds, church grounds etc (ask first!) then camp away from the road, away from buildings, away from farm animals, in fact find an isolated spot where you cannot be seen or cause any disturbance. Leave no waste, start no fires, bury your excrement deep away from water or take it with you to dispose of later. If you find waste there already be prepared to remove it as it were your own. Wild camping is a privilage not a right and most land owners are happy to let you wild camp as long as they don't know you have! :)

As for water - as long as you boil any water from rivers, streams etc for 2-5 minutes then it will be safe to drink (once cooled of course - unless for a hot drink or to rehydrate food) and any Albergue or Refugio worth it's title will let you have water even if you are not staying there.

A lot is mentioned in the forums of the spirit of friendship when staying in Albergues and Refugios and although this is highly desirable for those who wish their Camino to be a shared experience, for others this is not the reason they walk it. We all have different reasons for making a pilgrimage and all should be respected. I am going for very private reasons and although i will enjoy meeting people along the way as i walk, i require my solitude in the evenings. I am not anti-social, but as i mentioned we all pilgrimage for different reasons.

A lot is also discussed about the cost per day of walking these Camino's. A lot of people can not manage on less that 25-30 Euro a day. Having read their daily intake of breakfast, dinner, supper, beer, wine, plasters, lotions and potions, coffee stops, pastries, snacks, accomadation requirements, taxi's, bus fairs etc i can see why they need so much money! I wild camped in Scotland last year for 5 weeks and spent less than 3 euros a day!
Some treat the Camino as a holiday, others as a task, others as a way to meet people, others as a true pilgrimage.... etc etc. Your financial requirements will be based on what YOU want/expect from your own camino.

Good luck, enjoy and panic not. If all people are as nice on the road as they appear in the forums then there will be plenty of help, advice, support and love for you on your journey.
 

amado

Member
I did the Camino Frances during summer (July 15-August 10, 2010). I was glad I brought my ultra-light tent, air-mattress and sleeping bag liner. I used my tent for seven nights out 27 nights on the Camino.

Lourdes ( wild camping by the bank of the river), i pitched my tent as soon as it got dark
St. Jean Pied de Port (camping on the lawn of the municipal albergue)
Estella (camping at the back of the parochial albergue)
San Martin del Camino (camping at the lawn of the albergue)
O'Cebreiro (camping at the ground of the church, near the cemetery)
Triacastela (camping at the field outside the albergue)
Fereiros (camping at the side of the Albergue)

I enjoyed sleeping alone in my tent and had a good sleep without being disturbed by the snoring of other pilgrims and without keeping others awake with my snoring. In the Galician region, a lot of the albergues were full so I just pitched my tent outside the albergues. In O'Cebreiro, I used the WC (toilet) of the nearby bar.
I noticed that even at night during summer, it was still very cold (sometimes down to 10 degrees celsius) that the sleeping bag liner was not adequate.
I noticed that there were some pilgrims who did some wild camping along the way.
I'm glad that I experienced sleeping outside in my tent and also in the albergues. Many of the albergues, especially those with lawn or open field would allow you to pitch your tent, especially those with donativo.
The best time to pitch your tent would be as soon as it gets dark. By then, nobody would bother you - or wouldn't mind as long as you wake up early and go on your way.
 

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