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Help and advice for my First camino 2021

Huub den Boer

Member
Year of past OR future Camino
2021
Hello Everyone,

My Name is Huub, 34 years old and from The Netherlands. And I want to walk the Camino Frances as soon as possible, hopefully end of May early June. I could go anytime in June though. But want to go as soon as possible since I have some health issues which may prevent me from going if I wait to long. ( my optical nerves are degrading and I'm losing my sight, but it could remain stable or even be stopped, we don't have any prognose sadly)

( First time posting on this forum, If i'm in the wrong sub, my apologies. )

I want to walk in 40 a 45 days, i'm going to take it "easy"

I'm having a whole lot of stress/anxiety/doubts leading up to it. Maybe some of you can remedy that a bit.

  1. First stressful thing, The needing of a negative-PCR test, no older then 72 hours: I would really like to start from Sjdpd, is the feasable? With travel from Amsterdam to Sjdpd, would I loose too much time? Could I get a new test in Sjdpd? ( I am fully vacinated, so in theory the virus should not get a foothoold in my body.) I could start in Pampalona, but would really like to hike over the Pyrenees.
  2. Sleeping arangements along the way: I am a very very difficult sleeper, very light sleeper and I'm anxious around people, social anxiety. My prefered choice of sleeping arangements would be mostly hotels ( I want to try albergues along the way, to at least try them). I am really nervous about finding hotels along the way easily, is this going to be possible to do easily/hassle-free-ish? Probaly going to plan the first few hotels before I start my Camino. But will there be enough vacancies? Do I have to go out of my way to find hotels that have room? Especially with the times we are in at the moment, giving me a whole lot of stress. Or maybe this would be the perfect time and face my anxiety and just go with the flow, I'm really not sure though. I need my sleep badly. How much time, energy and stress is it going to be on the road with finding sleeping arangements (pref.Hotels)?

These are my main concerns at the moment, put a big nice covid sauce on these concerns for added flavor.

Can anyone give me some tips, helpull thoughts, anything that might help or point me to things I am forgetting and are also important?

That would be very much appriciated!

Greetings,
Huub den Boer
 
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mcpilgrim

New Member
Year of past OR future Camino
I've walked as far as Leon and
plan to pick up there in April
Hello Everyone,

My Name is Huub, 34 years old and from The Netherlands. And I want to walk the Camino Frances as soon as possible, hopefully end of May early June. I could go anytime in June though. But want to go as soon as possible since I have some health issues which may prevent me from going if I wait to long. ( my optical nerves are degrading and I'm losing my sight, but it could remain stable or even be stopped, we don't have any prognose sadly)

( First time posting on this forum, If i'm in the wrong sub, my apologies. )

I want to walk in 40 a 45 days, i'm going to take it "easy"

I'm having a whole lot of stress/anxiety/doubts leading up to it. Maybe some of you can remedy that a bit.

  1. First stressful thing, The needing of a negative-PCR test, no older then 72 hours: I would really like to start from Sjdpd, is the feasable? With travel from Amsterdam to Sjdpd, would I loose too much time? Could I get a new test in Sjdpd? ( I am fully vacinated, so in theory the virus should not get a foothoold in my body.) I could start in Pampalona, but would really like to hike over the Pyrenees.
  2. Sleeping arangements along the way: I am a very very difficult sleeper, very light sleeper and I'm anxious around people, social anxiety. My prefered choice of sleeping arangements would be mostly hotels ( I want to try albergues along the way, to at least try them). I am really nervous about finding hotels along the way easily, is this going to be possible to do easily/hassle-free-ish? Probaly going to plan the first few hotels before I start my Camino. But will there be enough vacancies? Do I have to go out of my way to find hotels that have room? Especially with the times we are in at the moment, giving me a whole lot of stress. Or maybe this would be the perfect time and face my anxiety and just go with the flow, I'm really not sure though. I need my sleep badly. How much time, energy and stress is it going to be on the road with finding sleeping arangements (pref.Hotels)?

These are my main concerns at the moment, put a big nice covid sauce on these concerns for added flavor.

Can anyone give me some tips, helpull thoughts, anything that might help or point me to things I am forgetting and are also important?

That would be very much appriciated!

Greetings,
Huub den Boer
Hello Huub,
You should really make sure hotels and cash rurales are open whichever route you decide to take. There are many along the Way and if open, private accommodation will be no problem. The hike over the Pyrenees is wonderful and feels like the beginning of a life changing experience.
Whatever you decide, travel lightly, travel safely.
Buen Camino.
 

mcpilgrim

New Member
Year of past OR future Camino
I've walked as far as Leon and
plan to pick up there in April
Hello Huub,
If you decide to travel, make sure the hotels and cash rurales are open along your chosen route. If they are they are plentiful and you will not have a problem with accommodation.
The hike over the Pyranees is spectacular and a wonderful start to a life changing experience.
Whatever you decide to do, travel light and travel well.
Buen Camino!
 

Raggy

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
2021
As far as I know there is still uncertainty about future rules relating to cross border travel. The picture will become clearer as time progresses.

1. Travel from Amsterdam to SJPP can take 12.5 hours by train or about 8 hours if you fly. If you are subject to a 72 hour rule, you should have plenty of time to travel to SJPP, stay overnight, then cross into Spain. Check possible routes via google or Rome2Rio

2. If you're a light sleeper and you prefer your own room, you will probably gravitate to albergues that offer private rooms and hotels. A good tool to check where to find hotels is the Godesalco planning tool - Select your starting point (SJPP) and end point (SDC), then progress to the next screen where you see a list of towns with letters (e.g. "H" for hotel). For your own peace of mind, you might want to reserve the first couple of nights - I don't recommend locking yourself into an itinerary beyond that.
To get a picture of the facilities and arrangements in albergues, I suggest that you check the Gronze website and/or purchase a guidebook (or app).
 

GFinch

New Member
Year of past OR future Camino
September (2018)
Hi Huub,

The Camino is a life changing experience and I hope that all works well for you on your journey.

I walked the last part of the camino and only stayed at pre-booked hotels/B&Bs. I was unwell on the first day (food poisoning) and had to stay two days in the next town to recover and was able to cancel two of my hotel bookings. I had no issues with booking a hotel accommodation on the day when I was unwell, and people are generally helpful and will direct you to the next available hotel. I have no experience with staying in albergues but remember seeing long queues of people waiting at some of the albergues' doorstep to get accommodation for the night. Generally you should be able to walk to the next albergue or the next town to find a less busy one.

Arrangements for staying at albergues and hotels are different as regards to your suitcase/backpacks. For e.g if you are using a luggage transfer service some albergues will not accept your luggage. (As it is unfair towards pilgrims who have walked with their backpacks and places are awarded on a first come first serve basis).

Staying at hotels is more costly than albergues but should give you privacy and a good night's sleep. Other pilgrims will hopefully be able to give you more insight into albergue life.

Buen camino!
 
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Turga

Camino tortuga
Year of past OR future Camino
CF (Aug/Sep 2017)
CF (Aug/Sep 2018)
I can’t say anything about how the covid-situation will be 2-3 months from now concerning restrictions, requirements etc. – I guess nobody can, things changes very quickly. I think the best thing to do is keep yourself informed through your national health authority/governmental sources and sources of the situation in Spain/France – and then hope for the best.

When it comes to sleeping arrangements and considering your personal needs, you could consider booking all or most of your accommodations in advance using e.g. Booking.com which will generally give you the option to cancel for free should that be necessary. Booking in advance takes a bit of planning, as you have to plan your stages from an assumption of how far you want to/are able to walk daily. Booking in advance poses some restrictions on daily walking distances, but on the other hand, it gives you peace of mind about not having to search for accommodation on the way.

Whatever you choose to do, I wish you good luck and Buen Camino.
 

Albert_Hadacek

Young Pilgrim
Year of past OR future Camino
Portugues - 2015
Norte - 2016, 2020
Frances - 2018
Well, if you are vaccinated the EU travel passports should come into play in June if I am not mistaken. In terms of accomodation, try Gronze.com and Booking.

June/July are very hot months on the Frances, so be ready for that. I was on Primitivo last July and private accomodation was pretty much open.
 

Kathar1na

Member
Year of past OR future Camino
To Santiago and back (roads & paths; Tours; Francés; sea; roads & paths)
Especially with the times we are in at the moment, giving me a whole lot of stress.
First of all, welcome to the forum @Huub den Boer. Secondly, relax. This is easier said than done, I know.

This year will be unlike any other year and nobody can tell you what it will be like as far as demand for accommodation and public health related requirements are concerned. So don't worry about something you will not know for sure will happen at all and also, you will not be the only one in this situation. There will be plenty of information when the time comes. Do you need or want to fix your travel arrangements and travel dates right now or are you flexible? As you are based in the Netherlands, you can basically leave for SJPP from one day to the next (I do know what I am saying here ☺️). You are not planning an intercontinental trip.

As to accommodation, in the recent past, it was entirely possible to book private rooms from SJPP to Santiago without having to share a dormitory once. It's great to know that the option of albergue dormitories is there, just in case. Privately run albergues/hostels have sometimes dormitories as well as private rooms and some offer shared meals at the albergue, too. Pilgrims also congregate in the evening for meals at restaurants elsewhere. So there is plenty of opportunity to be on your own or in a group setting, without sharing a dormitory.

For most of the 800 km from SJPP to Santiago, June/July has not been peak pilgrimage season in recent years. High season applies mainly for the last 150 km in Galicia. By that time, you will have gotten the hang of organising your bed for the next night. Do not stress about it now.

The section SJPP to Pamplona can be a bit of a bottleneck during its own pilgrimage peak season (in the recent past: Easter week and the month of May and the month of September) as far as accommodation is concerned. Take your time to familiarise yourself with what is on offer (guidebooks, Gronze website, Eroski website, this forum), then make a decision about how far you want to walk during the first five or six days or so, where you want to stop, and book your accommodation for this stretch. You are good to go!

Buen camino!
 
Last edited:

GIOVANBATTISTA

New Member
Year of past OR future Camino
2015 2017
Hello Everyone,

My Name is Huub, 34 years old and from The Netherlands. And I want to walk the Camino Frances as soon as possible, hopefully end of May early June. I could go anytime in June though. But want to go as soon as possible since I have some health issues which may prevent me from going if I wait to long. ( my optical nerves are degrading and I'm losing my sight, but it could remain stable or even be stopped, we don't have any prognose sadly)

( First time posting on this forum, If i'm in the wrong sub, my apologies. )

I want to walk in 40 a 45 days, i'm going to take it "easy"

I'm having a whole lot of stress/anxiety/doubts leading up to it. Maybe some of you can remedy that a bit.

  1. First stressful thing, The needing of a negative-PCR test, no older then 72 hours: I would really like to start from Sjdpd, is the feasable? With travel from Amsterdam to Sjdpd, would I loose too much time? Could I get a new test in Sjdpd? ( I am fully vacinated, so in theory the virus should not get a foothoold in my body.) I could start in Pampalona, but would really like to hike over the Pyrenees.
  2. Sleeping arangements along the way: I am a very very difficult sleeper, very light sleeper and I'm anxious around people, social anxiety. My prefered choice of sleeping arangements would be mostly hotels ( I want to try albergues along the way, to at least try them). I am really nervous about finding hotels along the way easily, is this going to be possible to do easily/hassle-free-ish? Probaly going to plan the first few hotels before I start my Camino. But will there be enough vacancies? Do I have to go out of my way to find hotels that have room? Especially with the times we are in at the moment, giving me a whole lot of stress. Or maybe this would be the perfect time and face my anxiety and just go with the flow, I'm really not sure though. I need my sleep badly. How much time, energy and stress is it going to be on the road with finding sleeping arangements (pref.Hotels)?

These are my main concerns at the moment, put a big nice covid sauce on these concerns for added flavor.

Can anyone give me some tips, helpull thoughts, anything that might help or point me to things I am forgetting and are also important?

That would be very much appriciated!

Greetings,
Huub den Boer
Hi Huub, I think you need a good app that can help you for everything. In my opinion the best app is "buen Camino". You can download it from play store.
 

Camino Chrissy

Take one step forward...then keep on walking..
Year of past OR future Camino
Frances 2015;
Norte/Primitivo 2016;
Frances 2017;
Le Puy 2018;
Portuguese/FishermanTr. 2019
Booking.com which will generally give you the option to cancel for free should that be necessary.
Hello and welcome to the forum, Huub!
I used booking.com and was able to cancel over twenty lodgings online quickly without losing a dime when the pandemic ruined my Camino plans in 2020. Much easier than contacting individual places by email requesting refunds.
 
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Lexicos

Jimmy
Year of past OR future Camino
2019
Hi Huub. If you can start at St Jean I'd strongly recommend it. It's hard going for day one but going over the Pyrenees is the best. As good as everyone in this forum says.

I went in 2017 and conditions would now be very different I imagine. Still, we found hotel rooms quite easily all the way, my wife and I. We booked 2-3 days ahead for the 46 days that we walked, to Finisterre. Sleep is important and albergues are a challenge if you're a fussy sleeper. We tried about 4 times and then gave up and went for hotels. You'll be fine. Everyone looks after everyone else. It's a community and I reckon most of your at-home stresses and anxieties will fall away as you walk.

Important to remember: if it's not working for you, catch a taxi, get on a train and go to familiar territory or home. There are no rules about that, entirely your call at any stage of the walk.

Good luck.

PS: We walked May-June. June does get hot. Hat, cream and water and early morning starts will do the trick.
 
Year of past OR future Camino
Us:Camino Frances, 2015 Me:Catalan/Aragonese, 2019
If you're a light sleeper and you prefer your own room, you will probably gravitate to albergues that offer private rooms and hotels.
After staying at the 90 bed, one room albergue in Najera we started looking in the guidebook for albergues that divided their capacity into more rooms. This reduced the nightly noise.
 

Lexicos

Jimmy
Year of past OR future Camino
2019
I like everything about albergues, everything except those hours when you have to hit the sack and try to sleep.

One time I slept on the concrete paving in the rear yard under the stars, to get away from the nightly symphony and another time I slept on a wood bench in the laundry. After that I just gave up and went for single private rooms. I realised then that I wasn’t and would never be a Saint.
 

trecile

Camino Addict
Year of past OR future Camino
Francés (2016 & 2017), Norte (2018), Francés-Salvador-Norte (2019), Portuguese (2019)
Hi Huub, I think you need a good app that can help you for everything. In my opinion the best app is "buen Camino". You can download it from play store.
I also like the Buen Camino app. Here's their website.

I would recommend booking your first few nights before you leave - day up through Pamplona, then you can book a few days ahead as you go. If you pre-book every night, then find that you want your schedule changes you'll possibly have to change everything.
 

lt56ny

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
CF(2012) Le Puy/CF (2015) Portugues (2017) Norte (2018) CF (2019) VDLP?
I really hope you can realize your dream. I would offer a few words of advice about sleeping arrangements and walking distances.
Hopefully you will be able to train before you go. Make sure you find a comfortable pair of shoes to wear. Everyone's feet and preferences are different. But unless you have special orthopedic needs (which you should consult with your doctor about) The most comfortable for most people would be getting a good pair of trainers. There is hours of reading about trainers/boots etc. I would recommend getting at least a 1/2 size larger than your normal size and if you have average width foot get a wide trainer. Your feet will expand. Learn how to treat your blisters should you get some. Blisters need to be attended to quickly and since you have time and you get a blister or two. Take a day off to let them heal. Pharmacists can be a big help in Spain.
Pack lightly and only take what you absolutely need and nothing else. Make sure your pack feels right and is comfortable and you wear it properly. Go to a store that has experts and know what they are talking about. This is really important. Buy quick drying clothes and socks and that absorb sweat also. Remember when you are walking you are not going to need heavy clothes. A light jacket will probably be all you need. If you decide to stay in hotels and pensions you will not need a sleeping bag. If you want to try sleeping in albergues a sleep sack should suffice. I assume being from the Netherlands you have resistance to a little cool weather. It will be hot the time you are going so have a good sunhat too. Keep your pack as light as possible. My first Camino I had a 10 kilo pack now my pack with food is about 8k and I walk in colder months.
Again there is a ton of information regarding all this on the forum. There are product testers here who really know their stuff. Pay close attention to them especially @davebugg. He is the guru of gear and shoes. Dave knows, believe me.
Listen to your body. Stop and rest when it tells you too. Don't wait and push yourself. You already want to take your time but you will need to walk yourself into Camino shape and learn how to walk no matter how much training you do.
If you choose to throw caution to the wind just stop in a town you are tired in. I know it is the pandemic and we don't know how things will be and what will be open. Have as many resources as you can to find accommodations. The question I have is because of your sight issues can you read apps on your phone. Forgive me for my ignorance if you have devices to magnify print. I am sure there is. Have as many apps on your telephone that give you a wide variety of choices of albergues and hostels/pensions. No app or website has everything. Gronze.com, Buen Camino and Wisely apps are all very good. The apps are free to download. If you know for sure you will stay in a particular town call the night before to make sure the accommodations you want are open and you can make a reservation. Planning in this time of Covid is important, especially for a first time pilgrim.
Buy trekking poles to help you with stability and going up and down hills. There are so many rough surfaces and rocks and other objects can come out of nowhere and bite even an eagle eyed pilgrim.
Download the app called Alert Cops. If you can't speak Spanish it will connect you with an English speaking law enforcement officer if you are alone and in trouble and/or injured. They can track you and get come get you.
Remember pilgrims are the most wonderful people on earth and we are all here to help each other.
I bet you will also be surprised that after a very short time ALL YOUR FEARS WILL QUICKLY MELT AWAY!!!
Buen Camino and go get them Pilgrim!
 
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Shalaw

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
2015
What an exciting time for you, Huub! Planning your first Camino is so much fun, and actually doing it is magical! We did ours in Sept/Oct 2015, and had 28C degree weather up to October and only a few days of rain in all that time.
I think the answer to your first question will depend on Spain’s travel restrictions at that time, so you may not know until closer to your travel date. We came from Canada to SJPdP and knew we’d lose a day on the way there, so planned for that. We stayed in SJPdP the first night in a hotel, and set out early the next day. Like most people on here say, hiking over the Pyrenees should be experienced, if possible.
Regarding your second question, we stayed at albergues for the most part, but there are also pensions (a private room with two beds and a private bath, usually with kitchen facilities in the building) and obviously hotels too. If you suffer from anxiety, this could be a great opportunity to stretch yourself. We had many meals cooked and shared at albergues that had kitchen facilities, so that is a wonderful experience too! We never had trouble finding a bed, and we went at a very busy time, however, we did book ahead a day or two, when we could, so you may want to consider doing this too, (especially in 2021, a Holy year) to put your mind at ease.

Whenever you’re able to go, BUEN CAMINO!!
 

Huub den Boer

Member
Year of past OR future Camino
2021
Hello Huub,
You should really make sure hotels and cash rurales are open whichever route you decide to take. There are many along the Way and if open, private accommodation will be no problem. The hike over the Pyrenees is wonderful and feels like the beginning of a life changing experience.
Whatever you decide, travel lightly, travel safely.
Buen Camino.
Thank you very much!
 

Huub den Boer

Member
Year of past OR future Camino
2021
As far as I know there is still uncertainty about future rules relating to cross border travel. The picture will become clearer as time progresses.

1. Travel from Amsterdam to SJPP can take 12.5 hours by train or about 8 hours if you fly. If you are subject to a 72 hour rule, you should have plenty of time to travel to SJPP, stay overnight, then cross into Spain. Check possible routes via google or Rome2Rio

2. If you're a light sleeper and you prefer your own room, you will probably gravitate to albergues that offer private rooms and hotels. A good tool to check where to find hotels is the Godesalco planning tool - Select your starting point (SJPP) and end point (SDC), then progress to the next screen where you see a list of towns with letters (e.g. "H" for hotel). For your own peace of mind, you might want to reserve the first couple of nights - I don't recommend locking yourself into an itinerary beyond that.
To get a picture of the facilities and arrangements in albergues, I suggest that you check the Gronze website and/or purchase a guidebook (or app).
Thank you very much for your detailed and helpfull reply. This is amazing!
 

Huub den Boer

Member
Year of past OR future Camino
2021
Really appreciate all the helpfull and detailed responses. This helps me a lot. I’m going to mull it all over.

ill write a more detailed response(s) when I’m back near a computer. Im at a campsite right now, gotta break in my new boots😉. And I find it anoying to type on my phone.

ty ty ty!
 

MarkN

Mark
Year of past OR future Camino
Leon to Santiago Oct 2016
Porto to Santiago Oct 2017
Porto to Santiago May 2019
Finding hotels wasn't a problem ever. I did one Camino only municipal alberges and the others with a mix. On the hotel nights it wasn't hard to find a room at all. But depending on the COVID conditions when you go, some may be closed?
However...
Plan as much as you can. Listen, read and consider what's right for you. I believe this preparation to be an important part of the experience.
But at some point the Camino just has to be walked. I know it seems daunting, all that walking, another country, language, culture, weather, and more. But it will work out ok with some effort.
If you are looking for proof of this, just look here at how many of us have walked more than once and are looking forward to the next one. 😊
I wish you all the best. You are in for a very unique experience.
 
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MarkyD

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Camino Francés 31/08/2018 - 20/10/2018
Hello Everyone,

My Name is Huub, 34 years old and from The Netherlands. And I want to walk the Camino Frances as soon as possible, hopefully end of May early June. I could go anytime in June though. But want to go as soon as possible since I have some health issues which may prevent me from going if I wait to long. ( my optical nerves are degrading and I'm losing my sight, but it could remain stable or even be stopped, we don't have any prognose sadly)

( First time posting on this forum, If i'm in the wrong sub, my apologies. )

I want to walk in 40 a 45 days, i'm going to take it "easy"

I'm having a whole lot of stress/anxiety/doubts leading up to it. Maybe some of you can remedy that a bit.

  1. First stressful thing, The needing of a negative-PCR test, no older then 72 hours: I would really like to start from Sjdpd, is the feasable? With travel from Amsterdam to Sjdpd, would I loose too much time? Could I get a new test in Sjdpd? ( I am fully vacinated, so in theory the virus should not get a foothoold in my body.) I could start in Pampalona, but would really like to hike over the Pyrenees.
  2. Sleeping arangements along the way: I am a very very difficult sleeper, very light sleeper and I'm anxious around people, social anxiety. My prefered choice of sleeping arangements would be mostly hotels ( I want to try albergues along the way, to at least try them). I am really nervous about finding hotels along the way easily, is this going to be possible to do easily/hassle-free-ish? Probaly going to plan the first few hotels before I start my Camino. But will there be enough vacancies? Do I have to go out of my way to find hotels that have room? Especially with the times we are in at the moment, giving me a whole lot of stress. Or maybe this would be the perfect time and face my anxiety and just go with the flow, I'm really not sure though. I need my sleep badly. How much time, energy and stress is it going to be on the road with finding sleeping arangements (pref.Hotels)?

These are my main concerns at the moment, put a big nice covid sauce on these concerns for added flavor.

Can anyone give me some tips, helpull thoughts, anything that might help or point me to things I am forgetting and are also important?

That would be very much appriciated!

Greetings,
Huub den Boer
Goedemorgen Huub,
Firstly, please relax about the whole thing as much as you can. Yes, there will be some unknowns along the way, but nothing that you can't take in your stride.

I live in Spain and can tell you that I've seen pilgrims walking the whole route from SJPP to Fisterra last year, 2020. So, regardless of the various changing restrictions, which seem to affect Spanish residents more than tourists, you should be able to travel into Spain and walk across the country without any major difficulty. Having been vaccinated you are ahead of over 90% of the Spanish population anyway :)

Not all albergues would be stressful for someone like you, the smaller private albergues often have single rooms and then you can benefit from spending time with other pilgrims while relaxing after your day of walking. Some have yoga and meditation opportunities, some have art and craft opportunities. Staying in hotels may cut you off from some of those experiences, unless the hotel is close to other pilgrim accommodation places. I don't thing you will have any problems finding accommodation along the way. Sometimes it might be necessary to get a taxi from a fully booked town to another area, but that's ok, there are plenty of taxis. You can get a taxi back in the morning or later in the evening to meet others for dinner and explore the town a little. Obviously, you'll need the funds to cover the additional costs and many camino business operate a cash-only system.

Depending on when you arrive, some establishments might be closed or have strict protocols in place. Various autonomous regions have imposed varying restrictions on restaurants and bars, so my advice would be to come later in the year, late August say. If you prefer cooler weather then leave it until mid September.

Be prepared to have to wear a face mask, or visor, at all times and anywhere. Hopefully, if you come later in the year, then some of these measures will have been relaxed. COVID-19 emergency laws are a very fluid process in Spain, with widespread differences and confusing interpretations across communities. Strangely, the foreign traveller seems to be given an easier time, although in small villages some locals are still very worried about "visitors" who might infect them. Many local businesses will be looking forward to receiving more guests as they are struggling to stay afloat.

Ok, I hope this helps. I know you want to do this as soon as possible, but if you can defer to 2022 then the situation here would likely be more amenable to pilgrim walkers. That said, don't let fear, worry or uncertainty put you off from doing what your heart is calling you to do. Bueno Camino
 
Last edited:

mspath

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Frances, autumn/winter; 2004, 2005-2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015
What matters is to DO IT!
As pilgrims said in the Middle Ages
Ultreia!

As a novice pilgrim you may be wondering if you could follow the Camino. Could you endure walking every day, carrying a full pack and staying with a group of strangers in albergues each night?

Check out this earlier post
filled with tips/considerations which might help you decide what is best for you.
 
Last edited:

Lemondrop

New Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Camino Frances (2016)
As far as I know there is still uncertainty about future rules relating to cross border travel. The picture will become clearer as time progresses.

1. Travel from Amsterdam to SJPP can take 12.5 hours by train or about 8 hours if you fly. If you are subject to a 72 hour rule, you should have plenty of time to travel to SJPP, stay overnight, then cross into Spain. Check possible routes via google or Rome2Rio

2. If you're a light sleeper and you prefer your own room, you will probably gravitate to albergues that offer private rooms and hotels. A good tool to check where to find hotels is the Godesalco planning tool - Select your starting point (SJPP) and end point (SDC), then progress to the next screen where you see a list of towns with letters (e.g. "H" for hotel). For your own peace of mind, you might want to reserve the first couple of nights - I don't recommend locking yourself into an itinerary beyond that.
To get a picture of the facilities and arrangements in albergues, I suggest that you check the Gronze website and/or purchase a guidebook (or app).
As far as I know there is still uncertainty about future rules relating to cross border travel. The picture will become clearer as time progresses.

1. Travel from Amsterdam to SJPP can take 12.5 hours by train or about 8 hours if you fly. If you are subject to a 72 hour rule, you should have plenty of time to travel to SJPP, stay overnight, then cross into Spain. Check possible routes via google or Rome2Rio

2. If you're a light sleeper and you prefer your own room, you will probably gravitate to albergues that offer private rooms and hotels. A good tool to check where to find hotels is the Godesalco planning tool - Select your starting point (SJPP) and end point (SDC), then progress to the next screen where you see a list of towns with letters (e.g. "H" for hotel). For your own peace of mind, you might want to reserve the first couple of nights - I don't recommend locking yourself into an itinerary beyond that.
To get a picture of the facilities and arrangements in albergues, I suggest that you check the Gronze website and/or purchase a guidebook (or app).
do you happen to know if there is a way to get an English version of Gronze.com? Looks like a super great site.
 

trecile

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Year of past OR future Camino
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do you happen to know if there is a way to get an English version of Gronze.com? Looks like a super great site.
If you use the Chrome browser you can set it to automatically translate to English. Be aware though, that it will translate place names into English too.

For example Cizur Menor becomes Lesser Cizur, and Ventosa becomes Sucker. 😄
 
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Lemondrop

New Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Camino Frances (2016)
I really hope you can realize your dream. I would offer a few words of advice about sleeping arrangements and walking distances.
Hopefully you will be able to train before you go. Make sure you find a comfortable pair of shoes to wear. Everyone's feet and preferences are different. But unless you have special orthopedic needs (which you should consult with your doctor about) The most comfortable for most people would be getting a good pair of trainers. There is hours of reading about trainers/boots etc. I would recommend getting at least a 1/2 size larger than your normal size and if you have average width foot get a wide trainer. Your feet will expand. Learn how to treat your blisters should you get some. Blisters need to be attended to quickly and since you have time and you get a blister or two. Take a day off to let them heal. Pharmacists can be a big help in Spain.
Pack lightly and only take what you absolutely need and nothing else. Make sure your pack feels right and is comfortable and you wear it properly. Go to a store that has experts and know what they are talking about. This is really important. Buy quick drying clothes and socks and that absorb sweat also. Remember when you are walking you are not going to need heavy clothes. A light jacket will probably be all you need. If you decide to stay in hotels and pensions you will not need a sleeping bag. If you want to try sleeping in albergues a sleep sack should suffice. I assume being from the Netherlands you have resistance to a little cool weather. It will be hot the time you are going so have a good sunhat too. Keep your pack as light as possible. My first Camino I had a 10 kilo pack now my pack with food is about 8k and I walk in colder months.
Again there is a ton of information regarding all this on the forum. There are product testers here who really know their stuff. Pay close attention to them especially @davebugg. He is the guru of gear and shoes. Dave knows, believe me.
Listen to your body. Stop and rest when it tells you too. Don't wait and push yourself. You already want to take your time but you will need to walk yourself into Camino shape and learn how to walk no matter how much training you do.
If you choose to throw caution to the wind just stop in a town you are tired in. I know it is the pandemic and we don't know how things will be and what will be open. Have as many resources as you can to find accommodations. The question I have is because of your sight issues can you read apps on your phone. Forgive me for my ignorance if you have devices to magnify print. I am sure there is. Have as many apps on your telephone that give you a wide variety of choices of albergues and hostels/pensions. No app or website has everything. Gronze.com, Buen Camino and Wisely apps are all very good. The apps are free to download. If you know for sure you will stay in a particular town call the night before to make sure the accommodations you want are open and you can make a reservation. Planning in this time of Covid is important, especially for a first time pilgrim.
Buy trekking poles to help you with stability and going up and down hills. There are so many rough surfaces and rocks and other objects can come out of nowhere and bite even an eagle eyed pilgrim.
Download the app called Alert Cops. If you can't speak Spanish it will connect you with an English speaking law enforcement officer if you are alone and in trouble and/or injured. They can track you and get come get you.
Remember pilgrims are the most wonderful people on earth and we are all here to help each other.
I bet you will also be surprised that after a very short time ALL YOUR FEARS WILL QUICKLY MELT AWAY!!!
Buen Camino and go get them Pilgrim!
Wonderful post.
 

Huub den Boer

Member
Year of past OR future Camino
2021
Hi Huub,

The Camino is a life changing experience and I hope that all works well for you on your journey.

I walked the last part of the camino and only stayed at pre-booked hotels/B&Bs. I was unwell on the first day (food poisoning) and had to stay two days in the next town to recover and was able to cancel two of my hotel bookings. I had no issues with booking a hotel accommodation on the day when I was unwell, and people are generally helpful and will direct you to the next available hotel. I have no experience with staying in albergues but remember seeing long queues of people waiting at some of the albergues' doorstep to get accommodation for the night. Generally you should be able to walk to the next albergue or the next town to find a less busy one.

Arrangements for staying at albergues and hotels are different as regards to your suitcase/backpacks. For e.g if you are using a luggage transfer service some albergues will not accept your luggage. (As it is unfair towards pilgrims who have walked with their backpacks and places are awarded on a first come first serve basis).

Staying at hotels is more costly than albergues but should give you privacy and a good night's sleep. Other pilgrims will hopefully be able to give you more insight into albergue life.

Buen camino!
Thank you very much for your reassuring words!
 

Huub den Boer

Member
Year of past OR future Camino
2021
I can’t say anything about how the covid-situation will be 2-3 months from now concerning restrictions, requirements etc. – I guess nobody can, things changes very quickly. I think the best thing to do is keep yourself informed through your national health authority/governmental sources and sources of the situation in Spain/France – and then hope for the best.

When it comes to sleeping arrangements and considering your personal needs, you could consider booking all or most of your accommodations in advance using e.g. Booking.com which will generally give you the option to cancel for free should that be necessary. Booking in advance takes a bit of planning, as you have to plan your stages from an assumption of how far you want to/are able to walk daily. Booking in advance poses some restrictions on daily walking distances, but on the other hand, it gives you peace of mind about not having to search for accommodation on the way.

Whatever you choose to do, I wish you good luck and Buen Camino.
Hi Turga,

Thanks for replying, I'm going to keep my ear to the ground and hope the covid situation improves. Thanks for your tips!

Love your name btw, i'm going tortuga style myself on the camino.
 

Huub den Boer

Member
Year of past OR future Camino
2021
Well, if you are vaccinated the EU travel passports should come into play in June if I am not mistaken. In terms of accomodation, try Gronze.com and Booking.

June/July are very hot months on the Frances, so be ready for that. I was on Primitivo last July and private accomodation was pretty much open.
Hi,

Yeah Spain especially is pressing hard to get the travel/vaccine passports in play in Europa, their economy needs the tourists.

Thanks for your tips!
 

Huub den Boer

Member
Year of past OR future Camino
2021
First of all, welcome to the forum @Huub den Boer. Secondly, relax. This is easier said than done, I know.

This year will be unlike any other year and nobody can tell you what it will be like as far as demand for accommodation and public health related requirements are concerned. So don't worry about something you will not know for sure will happen at all and also, you will not be the only one in this situation. There will be plenty of information when the time comes. Do you need or want to fix your travel arrangements and travel dates right now or are you flexible? As you are based in the Netherlands, you can basically leave for SJPP from one day to the next (I do know what I am saying here ☺️). You are not planning an intercontinental trip.

As to accommodation, in the recent past, it was entirely possible to book private rooms from SJPP to Santiago without having to share a dormitory once. It's great to know that the option of albergue dormitories is there, just in case. Privately run albergues/hostels have sometimes dormitories as well as private rooms and some offer shared meals at the albergue, too. Pilgrims also congregate in the evening for meals at restaurants elsewhere. So there is plenty of opportunity to be on your own or in a group setting, without sharing a dormitory.

For most of the 800 km from SJPP to Santiago, June/July has not been peak pilgrimage season in recent years. High season applies mainly for the last 150 km in Galicia. By that time, you will have gotten the hang of organising your bed for the next night. Do not stress about it now.

The section SJPP to Pamplona can be a bit of a bottleneck during its own pilgrimage peak season (in the recent past: Easter week and the month of May and the month of September) as far as accommodation is concerned. Take your time to familiarise yourself with what is on offer (guidebooks, Gronze website, Eroski website, this forum), then make a decision about how far you want to walk during the first five or six days or so, where you want to stop, and book your accommodation for this stretch. You are good to go!

Buen camino!
Hello Katharina,

Wow, your words are so reassuring. It fills me with confidence about the trip and how I want to tackle the hurdles.
Thank you very much for taking the time to help me out.

Can't wait to begin my journey.

Wish you all the best!
 
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Huub den Boer

Member
Year of past OR future Camino
2021
Hello and welcome to the forum, Huub!
I used booking.com and was able to cancel over twenty lodgings online quickly without losing a dime when the pandemic ruined my Camino plans in 2020. Much easier than contacting individual places by email requesting refunds.
Hello,

Booking.com looks great! ease of use is the way for me.

Thanks!
 

Huub den Boer

Member
Year of past OR future Camino
2021
Hi Huub. If you can start at St Jean I'd strongly recommend it. It's hard going for day one but going over the Pyrenees is the best. As good as everyone in this forum says.

I went in 2017 and conditions would now be very different I imagine. Still, we found hotel rooms quite easily all the way, my wife and I. We booked 2-3 days ahead for the 46 days that we walked, to Finisterre. Sleep is important and albergues are a challenge if you're a fussy sleeper. We tried about 4 times and then gave up and went for hotels. You'll be fine. Everyone looks after everyone else. It's a community and I reckon most of your at-home stresses and anxieties will fall away as you walk.

Important to remember: if it's not working for you, catch a taxi, get on a train and go to familiar territory or home. There are no rules about that, entirely your call at any stage of the walk.

Good luck.

PS: We walked May-June. June does get hot. Hat, cream and water and early morning starts will do the trick.
Hiya,

Yeah don't want to miss out on walking over the pyrenees, should be the perfect start for the journey.

Thanks for your reply, really helps me out and stops me from worrying to much haha.

Helpfull tips.

All the best!
 

Huub den Boer

Member
Year of past OR future Camino
2021
I also like the Buen Camino app. Here's their website.

I would recommend booking your first few nights before you leave - day up through Pamplona, then you can book a few days ahead as you go. If you pre-book every night, then find that you want your schedule changes you'll possibly have to change everything.
Thank you!
 

Huub den Boer

Member
Year of past OR future Camino
2021
I really hope you can realize your dream. I would offer a few words of advice about sleeping arrangements and walking distances.
Hopefully you will be able to train before you go. Make sure you find a comfortable pair of shoes to wear. Everyone's feet and preferences are different. But unless you have special orthopedic needs (which you should consult with your doctor about) The most comfortable for most people would be getting a good pair of trainers. There is hours of reading about trainers/boots etc. I would recommend getting at least a 1/2 size larger than your normal size and if you have average width foot get a wide trainer. Your feet will expand. Learn how to treat your blisters should you get some. Blisters need to be attended to quickly and since you have time and you get a blister or two. Take a day off to let them heal. Pharmacists can be a big help in Spain.
Pack lightly and only take what you absolutely need and nothing else. Make sure your pack feels right and is comfortable and you wear it properly. Go to a store that has experts and know what they are talking about. This is really important. Buy quick drying clothes and socks and that absorb sweat also. Remember when you are walking you are not going to need heavy clothes. A light jacket will probably be all you need. If you decide to stay in hotels and pensions you will not need a sleeping bag. If you want to try sleeping in albergues a sleep sack should suffice. I assume being from the Netherlands you have resistance to a little cool weather. It will be hot the time you are going so have a good sunhat too. Keep your pack as light as possible. My first Camino I had a 10 kilo pack now my pack with food is about 8k and I walk in colder months.
Again there is a ton of information regarding all this on the forum. There are product testers here who really know their stuff. Pay close attention to them especially @davebugg. He is the guru of gear and shoes. Dave knows, believe me.
Listen to your body. Stop and rest when it tells you too. Don't wait and push yourself. You already want to take your time but you will need to walk yourself into Camino shape and learn how to walk no matter how much training you do.
If you choose to throw caution to the wind just stop in a town you are tired in. I know it is the pandemic and we don't know how things will be and what will be open. Have as many resources as you can to find accommodations. The question I have is because of your sight issues can you read apps on your phone. Forgive me for my ignorance if you have devices to magnify print. I am sure there is. Have as many apps on your telephone that give you a wide variety of choices of albergues and hostels/pensions. No app or website has everything. Gronze.com, Buen Camino and Wisely apps are all very good. The apps are free to download. If you know for sure you will stay in a particular town call the night before to make sure the accommodations you want are open and you can make a reservation. Planning in this time of Covid is important, especially for a first time pilgrim.
Buy trekking poles to help you with stability and going up and down hills. There are so many rough surfaces and rocks and other objects can come out of nowhere and bite even an eagle eyed pilgrim.
Download the app called Alert Cops. If you can't speak Spanish it will connect you with an English speaking law enforcement officer if you are alone and in trouble and/or injured. They can track you and get come get you.
Remember pilgrims are the most wonderful people on earth and we are all here to help each other.
I bet you will also be surprised that after a very short time ALL YOUR FEARS WILL QUICKLY MELT AWAY!!!
Buen Camino and go get them Pilgrim!
Hello it56ny,

Thank you so much for taking the time to reply with all of your helpfull tips and advice.

I am preparing myself as we speak, went away this weekend on a trip to give my new boots a good breaking in ( I need boots because my ankles aren't in the best shape) did some 25km treks and my feet knees and body held up really well. Took my backpack along with me with about 12kg in the pack. Seems to be alright, at least for the couple of days I walked this trip.

The people in my local outdoor store helped me out a lot.

I can still see pretty well luckely, no real problems with reading. So that won't we an issue just yet. And hopefully never.

Got a lot of great advice from this forum aswell, from users just like you! Really awesome :D

I'm going to prepare myself best I can and then just go with it and trust myself and the people around me. Post like this really help.


So thank you very much, I am so happy right now!

regards, all the best!
 
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Huub den Boer

Member
Year of past OR future Camino
2021
What an exciting time for you, Huub! Planning your first Camino is so much fun, and actually doing it is magical! We did ours in Sept/Oct 2015, and had 28C degree weather up to October and only a few days of rain in all that time.
I think the answer to your first question will depend on Spain’s travel restrictions at that time, so you may not know until closer to your travel date. We came from Canada to SJPdP and knew we’d lose a day on the way there, so planned for that. We stayed in SJPdP the first night in a hotel, and set out early the next day. Like most people on here say, hiking over the Pyrenees should be experienced, if possible.
Regarding your second question, we stayed at albergues for the most part, but there are also pensions (a private room with two beds and a private bath, usually with kitchen facilities in the building) and obviously hotels too. If you suffer from anxiety, this could be a great opportunity to stretch yourself. We had many meals cooked and shared at albergues that had kitchen facilities, so that is a wonderful experience too! We never had trouble finding a bed, and we went at a very busy time, however, we did book ahead a day or two, when we could, so you may want to consider doing this too, (especially in 2021, a Holy year) to put your mind at ease.

Whenever you’re able to go, BUEN CAMINO!!
Exciting indeed!

Thank you very much for your reply, this stuff really helps me out.

I am going to use the trip to get out of my comfort zone and deal with myself haha.

Thanks again, and all the best!
 

Huub den Boer

Member
Year of past OR future Camino
2021
Finding hotels wasn't a problem ever. I did one Camino only municipal alberges and the others with a mix. On the hotel nights it wasn't hard to find a room at all. But depending on the COVID conditions when you go, some may be closed?
However...
Plan as much as you can. Listen, read and consider what's right for you. I believe this preparation to be an important part of the experience.
But at some point the Camino just has to be walked. I know it seems daunting, all that walking, another country, language, culture, weather, and more. But it will work out ok with some effort.
If you are looking for proof of this, just look here at how many of us have walked more than once and are looking forward to the next one. 😊
I wish you all the best. You are in for a very unique experience.
Thank you very much Mark,

It just has to be walked indeed. I got so many usefull tips here, feeling a lot more confident.

Thanks again. All the best!
 

Huub den Boer

Member
Year of past OR future Camino
2021
Goedemorgen Huub,
Firstly, please relax about the whole thing as much as you can. Yes, there will be some unknowns along the way, but nothing that you can't take in your stride.

I live in Spain and can tell you that I've seen pilgrims walking the whole route from SJPP to Fisterra last year, 2020. So, regardless of the various changing restrictions, which seem to affect Spanish residents more than tourists, you should be able to travel into Spain and walk across the country without any major difficulty. Having been vaccinated you are ahead of over 90% of the Spanish population anyway :)

Not all albergues would be stressful for someone like you, the smaller private albergues often have single rooms and then you can benefit from spending time with other pilgrims while relaxing after your day of walking. Some have yoga and meditation opportunities, some have art and craft opportunities. Staying in hotels may cut you off from some of those experiences, unless the hotel is close to other pilgrim accommodation places. I don't thing you will have any problems finding accommodation along the way. Sometimes it might be necessary to get a taxi from a fully booked town to another area, but that's ok, there are plenty of taxis. You can get a taxi back in the morning or later in the evening to meet others for dinner and explore the town a little. Obviously, you'll need the funds to cover the additional costs and many camino business operate a cash-only system.

Depending on when you arrive, some establishments might be closed or have strict protocols in place. Various autonomous regions have imposed varying restrictions on restaurants and bars, so my advice would be to come later in the year, late August say. If you prefer cooler weather then leave it until mid September.

Be prepared to have to wear a face mask, or visor, at all times and anywhere. Hopefully, if you come later in the year, then some of these measures will have been relaxed. COVID-19 emergency laws are a very fluid process in Spain, with widespread differences and confusing interpretations across communities. Strangely, the foreign traveller seems to be given an easier time, although in small villages some locals are still very worried about "visitors" who might infect them. Many local businesses will be looking forward to receiving more guests as they are struggling to stay afloat.

Ok, I hope this helps. I know you want to do this as soon as possible, but if you can defer to 2022 then the situation here would likely be more amenable to pilgrim walkers. That said, don't let fear, worry or uncertainty put you off from doing what your heart is calling you to do. Bueno Camino
Goedemorgen Mark :D

Man these words are just what I needed to hear! Got so many helpfull tips and advice from this thread, just awesome!

I am planning to go as soon as possible, I've got this itch I just have to scratch. No time like the present.
Your words really helped!

Wish you all the best!
 

Huub den Boer

Member
Year of past OR future Camino
2021
What matters is to DO IT!
As pilgrims said in the Middle Ages
Ultreia!

As a novice pilgrim you may be wondering if you could follow the Camino. Could you endure walking every day, carrying a full pack and staying with a group of strangers in albergues each night?

Check out this earlier post
filled with tips/considerations which might help you decide what is best for you.
Thanks man!

I'm fit, trained quite a bit already. So that should be fine.

I am gonna DO IT! thanks again.

all the best!
 
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mspath

Veteran Member
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Frances, autumn/winter; 2004, 2005-2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015
Thanks man!

I'm fit, trained quite a bit already. So that should be fine.

I am gonna DO IT! thanks again.

all the best!
Glad to read your decision! Please do let all your digital friends here on the forum know how your camino goes!
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Raggy

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
2021
Took my backpack along with me with about 12kg in the pack. Seems to be alright, at least for the couple of days I walked this trip.
If you feel comfortable walking with a 12Kg pack for a couple of days, you are in good shape. Even so I recommend reducing the weight of your rucksack for the Camino. Many people on the Camino carry half that weight. Since there are good facilities all along the way, you don't need much clothing or equipment.

And here's why you don't want it - You will take about a million steps to walk from SJPP to SDC. If you can reduce your pack weight by five or six kilos, you will reduce the impact on your knees and ankles by that amount, multiplied by one million. Less weight means that you will recover more easily from each day's efforts and you will have less chance of injury.

If you're not sure what to pack, take a look at some packing lists on this forum and search for youtube videos about what to carry on the camino. There are some cool videos of people who explain how they keep their pack weight to 7Kg or 6Kg (or less).
 
Last edited:

SabineP

Camino = Gratitude + Compassion.
Year of past OR future Camino
some and then more. see my signature.
If you feel comfortable walking with a 12Kg pack for a couple of days, you are in good shape. Even so I recommend reducing the weight of your rucksack the Camino. Many people on the Camino carry half that weight. Since there are good facilities all along the way, you don't need much clothing or equipment.

And here's why you don't want it - You will take about a million steps to walk from SJPP to SDC. If you can reduce your pack weight by five or six kilos, you will reduce the impact on your knees and ankles by that amount, multiplied by one million. Less weight means that you will recover more easily from each day's efforts and you will have less chance of injury.

If you're not sure what to pack, take a look at some packing lists on this forum and search for youtube videos about what to carry on the camino. There are some cool videos of people who explain how they keep their pack weight to 7Kg or 6Kg (or less).

Not that difficult at all, IMO, to keep pack and content under six kilo all in. That is , when you sleep in albergues and / or hostales and do not need to take extra medical supplies with you.
 

lt56ny

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
CF(2012) Le Puy/CF (2015) Portugues (2017) Norte (2018) CF (2019) VDLP?
Hello it56ny,

Thank you so much for taking the time to reply with all of your helpfull tips and advice.

I am preparing myself as we speak, went away this weekend on a trip to give my new boots a good breaking in ( I need boots because my ankles aren't in the best shape) did some 25km treks and my feet knees and body held up really well. Took my backpack along with me with about 12kg in the pack. Seems to be alright, at least for the couple of days I walked this trip.

The people in my local outdoor store helped me out a lot.

I can still see pretty well luckely, no real problems with reading. So that won't we an issue just yet. And hopefully never.

Got a lot of great advice from this forum aswell, from users just like you! Really awesome :D

I'm going to prepare myself best I can and then just go with it and trust myself and the people around me. Post like this really help.


So thank you very much, I am so happy right now!

regards, all the best!
Unless you have special gear that you need 12 kg is a heavy pack. Check people's packing lists. Take everything out of your pack and take only what you are 100% sure you will need. Discard the rest. Do that at least 3 or 4 more times. Remember you can buy everything you need on the Camino. You are walking across Spain not the Sahara!. Since you have knee and ankle problems get hiking poles and go on YouTube and learn how to use them properly. I would also send a IM to @davebugg if I were you describing your ankle and knee issues. No one gives better and more proven advice than Dave does. Also knowing how to care for blisters (and care for them promptly) is also important. Everyone has an opinion unfortunately and you never know whose is best. For my two cents I have a needle, lighter, Neosporin and bandages. As soon as that "water" starts to accumulate in the blister I sterilize the needle, stick it through the blister (it doesn't hurt), gently squeeze the water out, a small glob of Neosporin, bandage and go. I check it very often and as soon as there is more water I repeat the process. It works well for me but I get my blisters (and I get very, very few. I have had about 5 total in 5000k plus training k. I wear Brooks Cascade trail runners I know people swear by Compeed and I think it was invented by the devil. Many swear by hikers wool. I would love to try it but I can't find it anywhere where I live. Final two points. First in my observation lots of people get blisters. But I think the most serious ones I have seen are more often on people with boots. Having said that and all my other foot advice, I can't say I am right, I have no proof to back it up medically or scientifically speaking. But as Richard Pryor once said telling his wife that there is no woman in bed with him when she walked in the bedroom. "Who are you going to believe, me or your eyes??"
If you do write to Dave ask him if my memory is correct when he once wrote that in almost all cases boots do not give weak ankles any real additional ankle support over trail runners. I am getting old now and my memory isn't quite what it once was. 12K is really heavy for a pack.
 
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lt56ny

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
CF(2012) Le Puy/CF (2015) Portugues (2017) Norte (2018) CF (2019) VDLP?
Better yet, learn how to not get blisters!
Why didn't I think of that. Ok this is how I prevent blisters. Vaseline in the morning all over my Cinderella feet. Second a very thin synthetic sock that looks like the sock your grandmother wore if she had diabetes. But I don't wear a tight sock I hate it. They a synthetic or smart wool sock. If it is warm an ankle one if it is cold a higher one. Then I walk. Unless I step in a big puddle I don't have to change my socks as my feet don't sweat too badly. Finally I never have used waterproof socks or shoes and buy my trail runners wide and one size larger as my already monstrously large feet get even bigger.
Also I always have a newspaper or two that I take from a bar if the weather is looking like rain or it is raining as soon as I get to my albergue I take out the insole and stuff both shoes with newspaper. I usually do it immediately, then before dinner and finally again before I go to sleep. I have walked in pouring rain all day and I mean all day and I never have wet shoes in the morning.
What did you do when you walked the Oregon Trail???
 

lt56ny

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
CF(2012) Le Puy/CF (2015) Portugues (2017) Norte (2018) CF (2019) VDLP?
Glad to read your decision! Please do let all your digital friends here on the forum know how your camino goes!
Buen Camino.
I guess with all of our postings it is already going. Isn't it great to just be writing the simple stuff and not working about all the things that have weighed the world down for way too long.
 
Year of past OR future Camino
Us:Camino Frances, 2015 Me:Catalan/Aragonese, 2019
EARPLUGS EARPLUGS AND MORE EARPLUGS!
Yep, they help with the noise but I can only use two at a time. ;) They don't help protect me from wayward flashlights and bunk shaking by folks doing nightly aseo caminos. All in all things went better in the smaller rooms.
 
Last edited:
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Camino Way Markers
Original Camino Way markers made in bronze. Two models, one from Castilla & Leon and the other from Galicia.
Year of past OR future Camino
Francés, Plata, Levante, Norte (part), Primitivo, Catalan, Lana (part), Madrid, D.V. Francés 2020
Hi Huub!

I'm jumping into this discussion very late. Probably other people have already made the points I am going to make.

I have walked from SJPDP twice. Each time I spent a night in the Orisson hostal. I recommend it very strongly.
First, it makes you walk to Roncesvalles shorter and easier.
Secondly it is a great way to meet other walkers and discover the ambiance of the Camino and a good albergue.

Frankly, I found crossing the Pyrenees frustrating and disappointing. You only spend one day crossing the mountains. I had imagined it would take several days. Not so! The route after Roncesvalles is downhill and increasingly domesticated.

The first time I did the walk the weather was bad (it snowed at the end of May!), the clouds were low and I saw nothing!

The second time the weather was sunny and the walk to Roncesvalles was stupendous. The views, the panoramas are wonderful. Take your time to let them sink into your memory so that if ever your sight does deteriorate you will still be able to recall your walk.

If you wait to mid-June the European Union "covid document" should be available and will facilitate your travel.

A Dutch friend had an eye problem similar to you and so I sympathise very much with you.

Don't be anxious about the future. You cannot control it. Let life carry you along and you will see doors of opportunity open for you. As Jesus said, “Take therefore no thought for the morrow, for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof."

I pray that you may be able to walk the Camino and that you will be richly blessed by your experience.

I am not going to argue about any of the points I have made. They are my personal opinions. Other people will have different ideas. That is alright by me.
 

trecile

Camino Addict
Year of past OR future Camino
Francés (2016 & 2017), Norte (2018), Francés-Salvador-Norte (2019), Portuguese (2019)
I found crossing the Pyrenees frustrating and disappointing. You only spend one day crossing the mountains. I had imagined it would take several days. Not so!
Making the walk through the Pyrenees last longer is a good reason to stay at Orisson, or at the new Auberge Borda.
 

Blintintin

Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Frances (2018)
as others have stated here already there are private rooms in albergues too, they were very comfortable and allows you the same evening / dinner/ pilgrim /social experience. Booking.com, Gronze.com were also convenient and easy. my guide book had a lot detailed hotel/albergue info which was very useful, listing amenities/servces, and provided for each town along the C.Frances. (get a good guide book). I often telephoned them to reserve, vs online; it was often easier, and it worked better in some places where it was hard to find a room (OCebreiro, etc.) Speaking spanish helped but was not always necessary, and if needed you can learn the necessary words to ask/reserve a room. Good luck, buen camino.
 

Huub den Boer

Member
Year of past OR future Camino
2021
Hi Huub!

I'm jumping into this discussion very late. Probably other people have already made the points I am going to make.

I have walked from SJPDP twice. Each time I spent a night in the Orisson hostal. I recommend it very strongly.
First, it makes you walk to Roncesvalles shorter and easier.
Secondly it is a great way to meet other walkers and discover the ambiance of the Camino and a good albergue.

Frankly, I found crossing the Pyrenees frustrating and disappointing. You only spend one day crossing the mountains. I had imagined it would take several days. Not so! The route after Roncesvalles is downhill and increasingly domesticated.

The first time I did the walk the weather was bad (it snowed at the end of May!), the clouds were low and I saw nothing!

The second time the weather was sunny and the walk to Roncesvalles was stupendous. The views, the panoramas are wonderful. Take your time to let them sink into your memory so that if ever your sight does deteriorate you will still be able to recall your walk.

If you wait to mid-June the European Union "covid document" should be available and will facilitate your travel.

A Dutch friend had an eye problem similar to you and so I sympathise very much with you.

Don't be anxious about the future. You cannot control it. Let life carry you along and you will see doors of opportunity open for you. As Jesus said, “Take therefore no thought for the morrow, for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof."

I pray that you may be able to walk the Camino and that you will be richly blessed by your experience.

I am not going to argue about any of the points I have made. They are my personal opinions. Other people will have different ideas. That is alright by me.
Thank you very much for your wonderful reply.
 

Huub den Boer

Member
Year of past OR future Camino
2021
as others have stated here already there are private rooms in albergues too, they were very comfortable and allows you the same evening / dinner/ pilgrim /social experience. Booking.com, Gronze.com were also convenient and easy. my guide book had a lot detailed hotel/albergue info which was very useful, listing amenities/servces, and provided for each town along the C.Frances. (get a good guide book). I often telephoned them to reserve, vs online; it was often easier, and it worked better in some places where it was hard to find a room (OCebreiro, etc.) Speaking spanish helped but was not always necessary, and if needed you can learn the necessary words to ask/reserve a room. Good luck, buen camino.
Thanks for the tips! Appreciated.
 
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Huub den Boer

Member
Year of past OR future Camino
2021
Hello everyone,

Small update on my Camino plans.

I have decided to take the plunge and, have a little faith and just go. I have booked my flight the 30th of may, I will be flying from Amsterdam to Barcelona. Stay for a day in Barcelona and then go to Pamplona by train and start my walk from there. ( decided not to start from StjPdP because of the extra border crossing and the need for negative PCR test not older than 72 hours)

I will be walking from Pamplona to Finesterre, I have booked the first couple of sleeping arrangements up until Los Arcos to get a lay of the land and get comfortable winging it from then on. My stress and anxiety about it have all but dissipated, all will be well, and if it won't thats okay too.

All of your tips and advice in this thread have helped me a lot! Really awesome.

Following some of that advice I have decided to reexamine my pack and prune it some more. it was 12.6kg (27.7lbs) an now I have got it down to max 10kg (22lbs) depending on my snack hoarding habbits during the walk.
I feel really comfortable with that weight.

I have broken in my boots, man I am in love with them ( first time getting footwear that really fits my needs) Thanks to the awesome people at my local outdoor store. At first I doubted the advice I got, heavy high mountain boots. But boy was I wrong, wont be going back to lighter shoes anytime soon. My ankles love the support! This is what works for me.

I feel ready and can't wait to start my journey.

I want to thank you all again, you guys gave such great advice.

I wish you all the best and hope you find nothing but open roads and peace!

Regards,

Huub
 

Kaleena

New Member
Year of past OR future Camino
2025
It's good decision not to cross to France, but why wouldn't you start in Roncesvalles, you'll miss the best part of the Camino! If you don't know there is a daily bus from Pamplona just to R (except Sunday) for 5 euro! You can get off the bus, get the stamp and start walking right off!
I'll post the link maybe you will change your mind, save Barcelona for another time.

https://www.autocaresartieda.com/pdf/roncesvalles.pdf
 
Last edited by a moderator:

Jim ME

New Member
Year of past OR future Camino
2019
Huub, I looked down through the great response you have. What a great community! I did not see mycaminobed.com. There is an app you install on your phone. It shows you most of the lodging places on the CF. When you look at the app you will see the hotel name, telephone, number of beds and if they offer meal et. This app also includes a lot of the book.com places. I used it a lot for my Camino. It is set up in stages and you can track GPS where you are. It also has a map view. So you will be able to see how close you are to your lodging. Caution... in some spots in big cities the buildings block GPS. I would usually end my walking day with a shower, clothes wash, glass of wine and a call to my next day lodging to reserve a room. Then I could totally relax with my evening meal and conversations. Hope you enjoy your time on the Camino!
 

chinacat

Veteran Member
First of all, welcome to the forum @Huub den Boer. Secondly, relax. This is easier said than done, I know.

This year will be unlike any other year and nobody can tell you what it will be like as far as demand for accommodation and public health related requirements are concerned. So don't worry about something you will not know for sure will happen at all and also, you will not be the only one in this situation. There will be plenty of information when the time comes. Do you need or want to fix your travel arrangements and travel dates right now or are you flexible? As you are based in the Netherlands, you can basically leave for SJPP from one day to the next (I do know what I am saying here ☺️). You are not planning an intercontinental trip.

As to accommodation, in the recent past, it was entirely possible to book private rooms from SJPP to Santiago without having to share a dormitory once. It's great to know that the option of albergue dormitories is there, just in case. Privately run albergues/hostels have sometimes dormitories as well as private rooms and some offer shared meals at the albergue, too. Pilgrims also congregate in the evening for meals at restaurants elsewhere. So there is plenty of opportunity to be on your own or in a group setting, without sharing a dormitory.

For most of the 800 km from SJPP to Santiago, June/July has not been peak pilgrimage season in recent years. High season applies mainly for the last 150 km in Galicia. By that time, you will have gotten the hang of organising your bed for the next night. Do not stress about it now.

The section SJPP to Pamplona can be a bit of a bottleneck during its own pilgrimage peak season (in the recent past: Easter week and the month of May and the month of September) as far as accommodation is concerned. Take your time to familiarise yourself with what is on offer (guidebooks, Gronze website, Eroski website, this forum), then make a decision about how far you want to walk during the first five or six days or so, where you want to stop, and book your accommodation for this stretch. You are good to go!

Buen camino!

Great post!!!
 

Huub den Boer

Member
Year of past OR future Camino
2021
It's good decision not to cross to France, but why wouldn't you start in Roncesvalles, you'll miss the best part of the Camino! If you don't know there is a daily bus from Pamplona just to R (except Sunday) for 5 euro! You can get off the bus, get the stamp and start walking right off!
I'll post the link maybe you will change your mind, save Barcelona for another time.

https://www.autocaresartieda.com/pdf/roncesvalles.pdf
Hi there,

Pamplona seemed like a good place to start, thanks for your tips! I'll keep it in mind.
 
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Huub den Boer

Member
Year of past OR future Camino
2021
Huub, I looked down through the great response you have. What a great community! I did not see mycaminobed.com. There is an app you install on your phone. It shows you most of the lodging places on the CF. When you look at the app you will see the hotel name, telephone, number of beds and if they offer meal et. This app also includes a lot of the book.com places. I used it a lot for my Camino. It is set up in stages and you can track GPS where you are. It also has a map view. So you will be able to see how close you are to your lodging. Caution... in some spots in big cities the buildings block GPS. I would usually end my walking day with a shower, clothes wash, glass of wine and a call to my next day lodging to reserve a room. Then I could totally relax with my evening meal and conversations. Hope you enjoy your time on the Camino!
Hi Jim,

Yeah this community is a blessing, learned so much. Such great vibes.

I haven't heared about mycaminobed yet, so many thanks about pointing me to it. Sounds like a great tool.
I'm going to check it out.

Thanks for your guideance!

All the best!
 

alexwalker

Forever Pilgrim
Year of past OR future Camino
(2009): Camino Frances
(2011): Sevilla-Salamanca, VdlP
(2012): Salamanca-SdC, VdlP
(2014): SJpdP-Astorga
(2015): Astorga-SdC
(2016) May Pamplona-Moratinos; Sept.:Burgos-SdC
(2016): August/Sept: Camino San Olav (Burgos-Covarubbias), Burgos-Sarria
(2017): May: Portuguese; Sept: Pamplona-SdC
Hi Jim,

Yeah this community is a blessing, learned so much. Such great vibes.

I haven't heared about mycaminobed yet, so many thanks about pointing me to it. Sounds like a great tool.
I'm going to check it out.

Thanks for your guideance!

All the best!
Hi, and welcome to the Forum!

You have gotten a ton of good advice already, so I won't write about that. I'll just say that with 2 apps, the ones from WisePilgrim.com, and Booking.com, both on appstore & Android, you have all you need to walk (guide with accomodations) and reserve albergues/hostels, etc. in all towns. They are both supreme for your (my) walk(s).

I will rather give you some thoughts on the experience of the Camino.

Firstly, I am so pleased that you, at the age of (only) 34, has decided to walk the Camino. I did it first time when I was 54; I should have done it much earlier. Why?

Because walking the Camino, at young age, can give you perspectives on the real values in life, change your choices for your future life in a different and more valuable direction than if you didn't walk it. The walk is a time for reflection on your life so far, and what matters for your future.

When starting out, much will be unknown, but within a few days, you'll get the hang of it. It will be much easier than you think/fear. You will also, undoubtly, meet and bond with new people, all with the same goal as you. Some may become your lifelong friends. Enjoy walking, talking and making meals together in the afternoons. Sharing a cold beer at noons. The social aspect of the Camino can be great fun and rewarding.

There is a saying: "The Camino will give you what you need, not neccessarily what you want". This is true. You obviously have been "called" to walk the Camino. Very good for you. It may sound stupid now, but you will know/understand more when you stand in front of the Cathedral in Santiago. The Way has a tendency to change people for the better, in ways that is difficult/impossible to describe beforehand, because you simply do not know yet. You have to walk it first.

I applaud and I am happy about your decision to walk the Camino, from wherever, for reasons you will discover during your walk.

BTW: I am not a religious guy. After many Caminos, I prefer to call myself "Spiritual/Reflective". The Camino did it to me.

Buen Camino!
 
Last edited:

Huub den Boer

Member
Year of past OR future Camino
2021
It's good decision not to cross to France, but why wouldn't you start in Roncesvalles, you'll miss the best part of the Camino! If you don't know there is a daily bus from Pamplona just to R (except Sunday) for 5 euro! You can get off the bus, get the stamp and start walking right off!
I'll post the link maybe you will change your mind, save Barcelona for another time.

https://www.autocaresartieda.com/pdf/roncesvalles.pdf
Slight change of plans!

Going to start in stJdpd, the trek over the pyrenees is calling me!
 

Huub den Boer

Member
Year of past OR future Camino
2021
Hi, and welcome to the Forum!

You have gotten a ton of good advice already, so I won't write about that. I'll just say that with 2 apps, the ones from WisePilgrim.com, and Booking.com, both on appstore & Android, you have all you need to walk (guide with accomodations) and reserve albergues/hostels, etc. in all towns. They are both supreme for your (my) walk(s).

I will rather give you some thoughts on the experience of the Camino.

Firstly, I am so pleased that you, at the age of (only) 34, has decided to walk the Camino. I did it first time when I was 54; I should have done it much earlier. Why?

Because walking the Camino, at young age, can give you perspectives on the real values in life, change your choices for your future life in a different and more valuable direction than if you didn't walk it. The walk is a time for reflection on your life so far, and what matters for your future.

When starting out, much will be unknown, but within a few days, you'll get the hang of it. It will be much easier than you think/fear. You will also, undoubtly, meet and bond with new people, all with the same goal as you. Some may become your lifelong friends. Enjoy walking, talking and making meals together in the afternoons. Sharing a cold beer at noons. The social aspect of the Camino can be great fun and rewarding.

There is a saying: "The Camino will give you what you need, not neccessarily what you want". This is true. You obviously have been "called" to walk the Camino. Very good for you. It may sound stupid now, but you will know/understand more when you stand in front of the Cathedral in Santiago. The Way has a tendency to change people for the better, in ways that is difficult/impossible to describe beforehand, because you simply do not know yet. You have to walk it first.

I applaud and I am happy about your decision to walk the Camino, from wherever, for reasons you will discover during your walk.

BTW: I am not a religious guy. After many Caminos, I prefer to call myself "Spiritual/Reflective". The Camino did it to me.

Buen Camino!

Hello Alex,

Thaths excactly why this journey is calling me. I need some time to get my bearings in live. Re-adjust and see where I want to go in live.

Thank you for your wonderfull words!

Buen camino!
 

MarcelWals

Walking a Camino = a way of living...
Year of past OR future Camino
'16:Frances; '18: Portugues; '19:SdC/Muxia/Finisterre/SdC; '20:Portugues + Ingles
Which part of The Netherlands you live, Huub? If you wanna chat live about your camino, feel welcome in a small village in Noord - Holland.
 
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Huub den Boer

Member
Year of past OR future Camino
2021
Which part of The Netherlands you live, Huub? If you wanna chat live about your camino, feel welcome in a small village in Noord - Holland.
Im from the east, Hengelo. So a bit out of the way. Going to be hard to do before I leave. But I am up to meet sometime in the future, maybe after my Camino. I am planning to more of them ,as much as I can.
 

MarcelWals

Walking a Camino = a way of living...
Year of past OR future Camino
'16:Frances; '18: Portugues; '19:SdC/Muxia/Finisterre/SdC; '20:Portugues + Ingles
Im from the east, Hengelo. So a bit out of the way. Going to be hard to do before I leave. But I am up to meet sometime in the future, maybe after my Camino. I am planning to more of them ,as much as I can.
Join me after your Camino! I am leaving in August. Curious about your first!
 

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