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Hi I am 70 years old and I'm going to attempt my first Camino in April 2017

Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances : April /May 2017
#1
Hello my friends,

I'm 70 years old, a male from South Africa and I'm trying to attempt my first Camino, the French way, in April 2017.

I am honoured to be a new member of this this distinguihed group of experience Pilgrims/walkers/adventurers and I would like you to please assist me with my following questions and those which will follow afterwords:

I have painstakingly gone through the vast amount of informative messages in different fora on this website and I would just like to find out whether:

1. Is there according to your experience any age limit of Pilgrims who walk the French way.?? Have you met some of them in your previous caminos ? As I've mentioned I'm 70 years old and this will be the first time I'm trying such a long distance overall though I'm not unfit at all .

2. Many Pilgrims referred to the different refugios in which one can stay over but I never see whether blankets and sheets are part of the price per night or not. I'm bringing my own sleeping bag with but I'm just curious to know what are the arrangements in this regard.

3. I would like to know whether these refugees are mixed for men and women? It is really no problem, it's just something I would like to know please

4. I also gain the impression from the information on the fora that one not allowed to stay longer than one night in a refugio? is that true and what will happen if you want to rest another day and stay over. are there very strict rules in this regard or can one stay 2 nights if you feel like that in the same place?

These are all my questions for the moment and I'm really looking forward to having a fruitful discussion with all my new friend regarding my first attempt at the age of 70 to tackle my first Camino
 

wayfarer

Moderator
Staff member
Camino(s) past & future
SJPP-Santiago-Finistera-Muxia. April/May 2012
Sarria-Santiago Sept. 2013
SJPP - Almost Orrison April 2014
#2
Welcome Gerhard, you will get lot of help and advise here. Bringing a sleeping bag is a good idea at that time of year IMO. There is no extra charge for sheets or blankets in the albergues which provide them. Albergues are for the most part mixed and if you want to stay more than one night then stay in the private albergues rather than the municipal ones. Some of these also have private rooms if you prefer.
Happy planning and Buen Camino.
 

jefferyonthecamino

http://www.barrerabooks.com/ - Guidebooks
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Francés (1994)
Camino Francés (2013 - 2017)
Camino Portugués (2015 - 2017)
#4
Hello my friends,

I'm 70 years old, a male from South Africa and I'm trying to attempt my first Camino, the French way, in April 2017.

I am honoured to be a new member of this this distinguihed group of experience Pilgrims/walkers/adventurers and I would like you to please assist me with my following questions and those which will follow afterwords:

I have painstakingly gone through the vast amount of informative messages in different fora on this website and I would just like to find out whether:

1. Is there according to your experience any age limit of Pilgrims who walk the French way.?? Have you met some of them in your previous caminos ? As I've mentioned I'm 70 years old and this will be the first time I'm trying such a long distance overall though I'm not unfit at all .

2. Many Pilgrims referred to the different refugios in which one can stay over but I never see whether blankets and sheets are part of the price per night or not. I'm bringing my own sleeping bag with but I'm just curious to know what are the arrangements in this regard.

3. I would like to know whether these refugees are mixed for men and women? It is really no problem, it's just something I would like to know please

4. I also gain the impression from the information on the fora that one not allowed to stay longer than one night in a refugio? is that true and what will happen if you want to rest another day and stay over. are there very strict rules in this regard or can one stay 2 nights if you feel like that in the same place?

These are all my questions for the moment and I'm really looking forward to having a fruitful discussion with all my new friend regarding my first attempt at the age of 70 to tackle my first Camino
most of the pilgrims i have walked with are retired; no age limits on the Camino if you adapt it to your abilities.

Buen Camino!
 

SYates

Camino Fossil AD 1999
Camino(s) past & future
First: Camino Francés 1999
...
Last: Camino Inglés 2018

Now: http://egeria.house/
#5
...
1. Is there according to your experience any age limit of Pilgrims who walk the French way.?? Have you met some of them in your previous caminos ? As I've mentioned I'm 70 years old and this will be the first time I'm trying such a long distance overall though I'm not unfit at all .

2. Many Pilgrims referred to the different refugios in which one can stay over but I never see whether blankets and sheets are part of the price per night or not. I'm bringing my own sleeping bag with but I'm just curious to know what are the arrangements in this regard.

3. I would like to know whether these refugees are mixed for men and women? It is really no problem, it's just something I would like to know please

4. I also gain the impression from the information on the fora that one not allowed to stay longer than one night in a refugio? is that true and what will happen if you want to rest another day and stay over. are there very strict rules in this regard or can one stay 2 nights if you feel like that in the same place?
...
Hi and welcome also from me ;-)

1. The oldest pilgrims I have met personally were in their mid-80s, age is far less of a concern than fitness/pre-existing health conditions. A thorough check-up beforehand could be wise.

2. If there are blankets they are included in the price.

3. Nearly all are mixed.

4. Some private albergues allow you to stay longer, especially in low season. Otherwise there are also reasonable priced pensions/hotels on the way.

Hope that helps and Buen Camino, SY
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances : April /May 2017
#11
Hi and welcome also from me ;-)

1. The oldest pilgrims I have met personally were in their mid-80s, age is far less of a concern than fitness/pre-existing health conditions. A thorough check-up beforehand could be wise.

2. If there are blankets they are included in the price.

3. Nearly all are mixed.

4. Some private albergues allow you to stay longer, especially in low season. Otherwise there are also reasonable priced pensions/hotels on the way.

Hope that helps and Buen Camino, SY
Thank you for the kind information
 

frasert

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
April/May 2013 SJPDP to Burgos
April/May 2015 Burgos to SDC or Leon to Finesterre (undecided)
#13
Hello my friends,

I'm 70 years old, a male from South Africa and I'm trying to attempt my first Camino, the French way, in April 2017.

I am honoured to be a new member of this this distinguihed group of experience Pilgrims/walkers/adventurers and I would like you to please assist me with my following questions and those which will follow afterwords:

I have painstakingly gone through the vast amount of informative messages in different fora on this website and I would just like to find out whether:

1. Is there according to your experience any age limit of Pilgrims who walk the French way.?? Have you met some of them in your previous caminos ? As I've mentioned I'm 70 years old and this will be the first time I'm trying such a long distance overall though I'm not unfit at all .

2. Many Pilgrims referred to the different refugios in which one can stay over but I never see whether blankets and sheets are part of the price per night or not. I'm bringing my own sleeping bag with but I'm just curious to know what are the arrangements in this regard.

3. I would like to know whether these refugees are mixed for men and women? It is really no problem, it's just something I would like to know please

4. I also gain the impression from the information on the fora that one not allowed to stay longer than one night in a refugio? is that true and what will happen if you want to rest another day and stay over. are there very strict rules in this regard or can one stay 2 nights if you feel like that in the same place?

These are all my questions for the moment and I'm really looking forward to having a fruitful discussion with all my new friend regarding my first attempt at the age of 70 to tackle my first Camino
My family friend has walked every year for 15 years (mixed routes) and he started at 71! So don't let age stop you
 
M

Mike Trebert

Guest
#15
Hello my friends,

I'm 70 years old, a male from South Africa and I'm trying to attempt my first Camino, the French way, in April 2017.

I am honoured to be a new member of this this distinguihed group of experience Pilgrims/walkers/adventurers and I would like you to please assist me with my following questions and those which will follow afterwords:

I have painstakingly gone through the vast amount of informative messages in different fora on this website and I would just like to find out whether:

1. Is there according to your experience any age limit of Pilgrims who walk the French way.?? Have you met some of them in your previous caminos ? As I've mentioned I'm 70 years old and this will be the first time I'm trying such a long distance overall though I'm not unfit at all .

2. Many Pilgrims referred to the different refugios in which one can stay over but I never see whether blankets and sheets are part of the price per night or not. I'm bringing my own sleeping bag with but I'm just curious to know what are the arrangements in this regard.

3. I would like to know whether these refugees are mixed for men and women? It is really no problem, it's just something I would like to know please

4. I also gain the impression from the information on the fora that one not allowed to stay longer than one night in a refugio? is that true and what will happen if you want to rest another day and stay over. are there very strict rules in this regard or can one stay 2 nights if you feel like that in the same place?

These are all my questions for the moment and I'm really looking forward to having a fruitful discussion with all my new friend regarding my first attempt at the age of 70 to tackle my first Camino
Hi Gerhard,

Welcome to the forum. I walked the Camino Frances from SJPDP to SDC this year for the first time when I was 71. I've just had another birthday, but my twin granddaughters were born on my birthday last year so from now on my birthday is well and truly hijacked! I can't pretend that my birthdays no longer happen but let's say that the next 10 years will be a voyage of discovery.

I've never been a long distance walker or much of a hiker so my Camino was a research exercise regarding my fitness. I'm strong for my age and much fitter than most, but I trained a lot for almost a year before I left.

I suggest that at our age we should become as aware as possible about our state of health. There's some wear and tear built in - there's bound to be! We can't just surge on pretending we are still a youthful "blank slate". I have a genetic heart condition which became apparent about 10 years ago. It's well under control. Also, I developed plantar fasciitis while training about 10 months before leaving because I have always had weak arches and my feet are less able to take any heavy punishment these days. This condition faded by the time I left but flared up by the time I was half way along the CF. A couple of examples, you get the idea.

I never stayed in hostels, so I had privacy to recover every day after walking. I use a CPAP machine, I sent a second bag ahead every day and carried a light day pack while walking. A heavy pack was out of the question for me - I'm sure my feet would have given up under the extra load. I ended up in considerable pain as it was.

Some of my conclusions so far: Keep walking. I'm into training again. Loved the Camino experience, will walk in Italy next. But. I'll never walk 800kms in one go ever again. 400kms maximum for me. Also, more days off along the way - it's not some kind of ordeal/penance/marathon/test/race.

Find out which is the right footwear for you, research the various key bits of gear. Don't fall - many people do, bones break easier for some.

Everyone is different.

I saw a woman of about 75 walking very slowly on crutches. She had fallen downstairs and broken her leg the day after booking her trip and went anyway. There are a lot of memorials along the C Frances to those who didn't make it all the way. But none of us get out of here alive, as they say. Two (maybe 3?) people died in the last few weeks on Caminos. At our age we notice these things. But we walk on. I have survived two of my children and their mother. I have grandchildren. I told my son last weekend that I will be getting a tattoo with the names of my three granddaughters.

I like walking in spring when life is renewed.

Buen Camino my friend, - Mike
 
Last edited by a moderator:
Camino(s) past & future
2013 Camino Frances SJPP / 2014 Camino Portugues / 2015 Camino Ingles / 2015 Hospitalero Training
2016 (fall) Camino Sanabre / Hospitalero?
#16
We are in the same age group but I will have to admit there are others that are ageless out there. My only advice is to go, enjoy, learn and don't see completion as a goal. See the adventure as the goal, it will always be part of who you are afterwords as are the many things you have already experienced. .... Ultreya.... Willy/Utah/USA
 
A

Anemone del Camino

Guest
#18
Go for it! Without reservations, but a bot of planning!

Q1: go for it. My :);*%! father who is 64 and runs 5km a day feels he cannot do it and walk with me which is just ..... So happy you are doing this, especially as I jave met people in their early 80s walk a more mountainous way.

Q2: you will not see a bare stained mattress. There will always be a paper or cotton sheet. Mind you, the sheet may not be all that clean, which is why a liner and pillowcase of somesort is what I recommend. Blankets, again, sometimes, but unless they are Ikea fleece, they are not likely to be cleaneed often,

Q3: unless in some monasteries, rooms are coed, but people are naturally respecful.

Q4: if in pain, you may ne allowed a second night, sometimes owth the local dr's note. But you can always switch to the albergue down the road.

As long as you don't try to keep up, listen to your body, carry as light a backpack as possible, you will be just fine. Pharnacies mist ne as commom in Spain as pubs are inthe UK, with lots of qualified personel who can help you.

So excited for you. You will be just fine.
 
Camino(s) past & future
2013, 2017 Camino Frances SJPP-Santiago
2015 St. Olav's Way Oslo-Trondheim
2017 VdlP Seville-Merida
#19
Hello my friends,

I'm 70 years old, a male from South Africa and I'm trying to attempt my first Camino, the French way, in April 2017.

I am honoured to be a new member of this this distinguihed group of experience Pilgrims/walkers/adventurers and I would like you to please assist me with my following questions and those which will follow afterwords:

I have painstakingly gone through the vast amount of informative messages in different fora on this website and I would just like to find out whether:

1. Is there according to your experience any age limit of Pilgrims who walk the French way.?? Have you met some of them in your previous caminos ? As I've mentioned I'm 70 years old and this will be the first time I'm trying such a long distance overall though I'm not unfit at all .

2. Many Pilgrims referred to the different refugios in which one can stay over but I never see whether blankets and sheets are part of the price per night or not. I'm bringing my own sleeping bag with but I'm just curious to know what are the arrangements in this regard.

3. I would like to know whether these refugees are mixed for men and women? It is really no problem, it's just something I would like to know please

4. I also gain the impression from the information on the fora that one not allowed to stay longer than one night in a refugio? is that true and what will happen if you want to rest another day and stay over. are there very strict rules in this regard or can one stay 2 nights if you feel like that in the same place?

These are all my questions for the moment and I'm really looking forward to having a fruitful discussion with all my new friend regarding my first attempt at the age of 70 to tackle my first Camino
When in April are you starting and from where? Several of your contemporaries (including myself) are leaving SJPP on the 15th of April.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances : April /May 2017
#20
When in April are you starting and from where? Several of your contemporaries (including myself) are leaving SJPP on the 15th of April.
Hi thank you very much for the kind the information it is nice to hear that there are people who are also caring about others and I think that is the spirit of the Camino. I was also thinking about starting about the 14th of April 2017, can you tell me are you coming from the beginning of the French way at St Jean or are you starting somewhere in Spain. I hope to start at the French side and also to finish this Camino up to Santiago. Please tell me your plans and I would really like to meet up with you and maybe we can walk some sections together. Thank you very much for your kind response and I hope to hear from you soon
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances : April /May 2017
#21
Being from South Africa I would need a Schengen visa to enter Europe either in Spain or in France. I know that many of the Pilgrims are not necessarily from Schengen countries and I would like to have an idea of how long before the time one has to apply for a visa for France or spain depending on where you want to start. Can you also give me an indication of how long you can stay in Europe with the Schengen visa and how much would the cost be more or less in US dollars? Thank you very much for your assistance in advance it is really appreciated
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances : April /May 2017
#22
Go for it! Without reservations, but a bot of planning!

Q1: go for it. My :);*%! father who is 64 and runs 5km a day feels he cannot do it and walk with me which is just ..... So happy you are doing this, especially as I jave met people in their early 80s walk a more mountainous way.

Q2: you will not see a bare stained mattress. There will always be a paper or cotton sheet. Mind you, the sheet may not be all that clean, which is why a liner and pillowcase of somesort is what I recommend. Blankets, again, sometimes, but unless they are Ikea fleece, they are not likely to be cleaneed often,

Q3: unless in some monasteries, rooms are coed, but people are naturally respecful.

Q4: if in pain, you may ne allowed a second night, sometimes owth the local dr's note. But you can always switch to the albergue down the road.

As long as you don't try to keep up, listen to your body, carry as light a backpack as possible, you will be just fine. Pharnacies mist ne as commom in Spain as pubs are inthe UK, with lots of qualified personel who can help you.

So excited for you. You will be just fine.
Thank you for the kind information my friend every little bit helps and I must say that I already feel that I'm part of the Camino family although I have not even started it. My plan is to start somewhere around the 15th of April from CJ and to do the French way write-up to Santiago
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances : April /May 2017
#23
I went this year for the first time at age 70. I'm going to do it again next year, the Portuguese Route this time. I met plenty of people my age and older.
Thank you very much my friend for this good news I will remember that and I hope to one day see you on the Road to Santiago
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances : April /May 2017
#24
Welcome Gerhard, you will get lot of help and advise here. Bringing a sleeping bag is a good idea at that time of year IMO. There is no extra charge for sheets or blankets in the albergues which provide them. Albergues are for the most part mixed and if you want to stay more than one night then stay in the private albergues rather than the municipal ones. Some of these also have private rooms if you prefer.
Happy planning and Buen Camino.
Thank you very much my friend for this information I will peruse it all and I am sure that on the day I start in SJ I will be fully prepared for this Camino , from there it depends on me and my body of whether I will make it despite all the information I have in my head. Thank you very much
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances : April /May 2017
#25
Go for it! Without reservations, but a bot of planning!

Q1: go for it. My :);*%! father who is 64 and runs 5km a day feels he cannot do it and walk with me which is just ..... So happy you are doing this, especially as I jave met people in their early 80s walk a more mountainous way.

Q2: you will not see a bare stained mattress. There will always be a paper or cotton sheet. Mind you, the sheet may not be all that clean, which is why a liner and pillowcase of somesort is what I recommend. Blankets, again, sometimes, but unless they are Ikea fleece, they are not likely to be cleaneed often,

Q3: unless in some monasteries, rooms are coed, but people are naturally respecful.

Q4: if in pain, you may ne allowed a second night, sometimes owth the local dr's note. But you can always switch to the albergue down the road.

As long as you don't try to keep up, listen to your body, carry as light a backpack as possible, you will be just fine. Pharnacies mist ne as commom in Spain as pubs are inthe UK, with lots of qualified personel who can help you.

So excited for you. You will be just fine.
I thank you very much for your kind information and I'm really excited about taking this ideas route to Santiago. Thank you for helping me with your knowledge and I will be in contact in the future to ask your more questions noting that we are more or less from the same age group and maybe in the same state of Health☺☺☺☺
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances : April /May 2017
#26
We are in the same age group but I will have to admit there are others that are ageless out there. My only advice is to go, enjoy, learn and don't see completion as a goal. See the adventure as the goal, it will always be part of who you are afterwords as are the many things you have already experienced. .... Ultreya.... Willy/Utah/USA
Dear Willy thank you very much for your kind information and I will definitely take it to heart and I will take it day by day or you and step by step but I hope that I will be able to make it to Santiago eventually. Thank you for your kindness
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances : April /May 2017
#27
most of the pilgrims i have walked with are retired; no age limits on the Camino if you adapt it to your abilities.

Buen Camino!
Thank you for the kind information I am glad that I will be in company of my age although I do also prefer to be with younger people but whether I will be able to keep up with her face only time will see. I will pace myself well and I hope that I will make it to Santiago
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances : April /May 2017
#28
Hi and welcome also from me ;-)

1. The oldest pilgrims I have met personally were in their mid-80s, age is far less of a concern than fitness/pre-existing health conditions. A thorough check-up beforehand could be wise.

2. If there are blankets they are included in the price.

3. Nearly all are mixed.

4. Some private albergues allow you to stay longer, especially in low season. Otherwise there are also reasonable priced pensions/hotels on the way.

Hope that helps and Buen Camino, SY
You very much for the kind information it is most helpful and I will bear everything in mind and IM DV on the camino !Thank you very much for your assistance my friend
 
Camino(s) past & future
Walking Camino April 8th 2017 start date - excited much!!!
#29
Hello my friends,

I'm 70 years old, a male from South Africa and I'm trying to attempt my first Camino, the French way, in April 2017.

I am honoured to be a new member of this this distinguihed group of experience Pilgrims/walkers/adventurers and I would like you to please assist me with my following questions and those which will follow afterwords:

I have painstakingly gone through the vast amount of informative messages in different fora on this website and I would just like to find out whether:

1. Is there according to your experience any age limit of Pilgrims who walk the French way.?? Have you met some of them in your previous caminos ? As I've mentioned I'm 70 years old and this will be the first time I'm trying such a long distance overall though I'm not unfit at all .

2. Many Pilgrims referred to the different refugios in which one can stay over but I never see whether blankets and sheets are part of the price per night or not. I'm bringing my own sleeping bag with but I'm just curious to know what are the arrangements in this regard.

3. I would like to know whether these refugees are mixed for men and women? It is really no problem, it's just something I would like to know please

4. I also gain the impression from the information on the fora that one not allowed to stay longer than one night in a refugio? is that true and what will happen if you want to rest another day and stay over. are there very strict rules in this regard or can one stay 2 nights if you feel like that in the same place?

These are all my questions for the moment and I'm really looking forward to having a fruitful discussion with all my new friend regarding my first attempt at the age of 70 to tackle my first Camino
Hi Gerhard
Welcome :)
I too am walking my first Camino in April 2017 and start my walk from SJDP on April 8th.
I have a bit of a dodgy knee but am going with an open mind, without expectation , and also travelling alone.
I hope our paths cross and I wish you a happy journey too
Kelly
 

grayland

Moderator
Staff member
Camino(s) past & future
Yes
#30
Being from South Africa I would need a Schengen visa to enter Europe either in Spain or in France. I know that many of the Pilgrims are not necessarily from Schengen countries and I would like to have an idea of how long before the time one has to apply for a visa for France or spain depending on where you want to start. Can you also give me an indication of how long you can stay in Europe with the Schengen visa and how much would the cost be more or less in US dollars? Thank you very much for your assistance in advance it is really appreciated
These are many South African Pilgrims walking the various routes every year.

There is also a very active and highly respected Confraternity of Saint James of South Africa. They have the visa procedures and requirements available for future SA pilgrims.....along with a great information and suggestion packet.
I suggest you contact them through their website and establish contact.
 
A

Anemone del Camino

Guest
#31
The Schengen visa is normally good for 90 days.

Also, since you are planning a mid-April departure and would like to start in France, while the Napoleon route is still a highlight of the many places I have been lucky to visit, in mid-April the weather may still be iffy, and if conditions are not good, it may be closed. You will then be able to walk via Valcarlos. Upon arrival in Saint-Jean, please visit the Pilgrim center and take their recommendation on which route to take to heart.
 

KentuckyJay

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Hiked Leon to Santiago in May, 2014.
Hiked Porto to Santiago in May, 2016.
#32
Hello my friends,

I'm 70 years old, a male from South Africa and I'm trying to attempt my first Camino, the French way, in April 2017.

I am honoured to be a new member of this this distinguihed group of experience Pilgrims/walkers/adventurers and I would like you to please assist me with my following questions and those which will follow afterwords:

I have painstakingly gone through the vast amount of informative messages in different fora on this website and I would just like to find out whether:

1. Is there according to your experience any age limit of Pilgrims who walk the French way.?? Have you met some of them in your previous caminos ? As I've mentioned I'm 70 years old and this will be the first time I'm trying such a long distance overall though I'm not unfit at all .

2. Many Pilgrims referred to the different refugios in which one can stay over but I never see whether blankets and sheets are part of the price per night or not. I'm bringing my own sleeping bag with but I'm just curious to know what are the arrangements in this regard.

3. I would like to know whether these refugees are mixed for men and women? It is really no problem, it's just something I would like to know please

4. I also gain the impression from the information on the fora that one not allowed to stay longer than one night in a refugio? is that true and what will happen if you want to rest another day and stay over. are there very strict rules in this regard or can one stay 2 nights if you feel like that in the same place?

These are all my questions for the moment and I'm really looking forward to having a fruitful discussion with all my new friend regarding my first attempt at the age of 70 to tackle my first Camino
Hey mon. Welcome aboard. I did Leon to Santiago at age 68 and Porto to Santiago last May at age 70. No problems on either hike. If you take a sleeping bag, take a light one. Most albergues prefer that you just stay one night, but many will allow an extra night for good reason. And of course there are always options such as B&Bs and small inns/hotels. Buen Camino.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Portugués, Francés, Le Puy, Rota Vicentina, De Soulac, Norte, Madrid-Salv-Primitivo
#33
I'm 70 years old, a male from South Africa and I'm trying to attempt my first Camino, the French way, in April 2017.
Hi Gerhard, the Confraternity of St James in South Africa:

http://www.csjofsa.za.org/

sometimes has workshops in Cape Town, Durban and Pretoria, which you might like to attend if you live near one of those cities. The workshops are usually in about March. You can contact them for more details:

camino@csjofsa.za.org

Buen camino!
Jill (in Mpumalanga)
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino France's (2016) Portuguese 2017
#34
I walked 811 ks from St Jean to Santiago this year. Take your time,have a few rest days,look after your feet and stay in small hotels occasionally and you will be fine. I was 70 in February 2016 and it felt wonderful to do it. Definitely get the weight down. You will be amazed how little you need and 6 kilos should be plenty.
I met some great people many of them are still in touch. Good luck and enjoy.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances : April /May 2017
#35
Hi Gerhard
Welcome :)
I too am walking my first Camino in April 2017 and start my walk from SJDP on April 8th.
I have a bit of a dodgy knee but am going with an open mind, without expectation , and also travelling alone.
I hope our paths cross and I wish you a happy journey too
Kelly
Hello Kelly thank you very much for the kind information about your walk on the 8 th of April. Was also thinking about starting that time but I have decided to postpone my starting date to the 14th of April because I just do not know how cold it still is so early in April . remember the colder it is the more clothes you have to carry with you but in any case I hope to be in contact with you . even if I'm a week behind you on the route we can always just stay in touch with text messages. Thank you very much for the kind information and I'm really looking forward to Crossing paths with you TV in April 2017 best regards
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances : April /May 2017
#36
These are many South African Pilgrims walking the various routes every year.

There is also a very active and highly respected Confraternity of Saint James of South Africa. They have the visa procedures and requirements available for future SA pilgrims.....along with a great information and suggestion packet.
I suggest you contact them through their website and establish contact.
Thank you very much my friend I will contact this group in South Africa as soon as possible to start my arrangements with them . I really appreciate your kind information
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances : April /May 2017
#37
Hi Gerhard, the Confraternity of St James in South Africa:

http://www.csjofsa.za.org/

sometimes has workshops in Cape Town, Durban and Pretoria, which you might like to attend if you live near one of those cities. The workshops are usually in about March. You can contact them for more details:

camino@csjofsa.za.org

Buen camino!
Jill (in Mpumalanga)
Thank you Jill for this invaluable information, I will contact them as soon as possible to be able to can totally start my arrangements for the Camino in April 2017. Thank you very much for your assistance is highly appreciated
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances : April /May 2017
#38
I walked 811 ks from St Jean to Santiago this year. Take your time,have a few rest days,look after your feet and stay in small hotels occasionally and you will be fine. I was 70 in February 2016 and it felt wonderful to do it. Definitely get the weight down. You will be amazed how little you need and 6 kilos should be plenty.
I met some great people many of them are still in touch. Good luck and enjoy.
Thank you very much Richard for the invaluable information that you have you and me but I really appreciate the fact that you have taken the trouble to write to me and I'm taking note of your advice of rest in a day or two here and there and also of taking as little as possible because one can get along with very few items. I intend to travel as light as possible full stop with my best regards
 
Camino(s) past & future
Caminos Frances (x4), Finisterre, Aragon, Via de la Plata, Portuguese 2011 -2015. Hospitalero 2015
#39
As you can see from the numerous posts, age is irrelevant (within reason). I walked it for the first time when I was 79 and as you can see from my avatar I have walked several times since, including last year when I was 84 and walked only 300 km due to working as a hospitalero. Last year there was a Canadian lady walking who was 86.
Except once on the Portuguese Camino, I have never seen sheets, and sometimes there are not enough blankets, so good idea to take a light sleeping bag.
Do some training before hand and be reasonably fit. Take your time - it is not a competition - and enjoy the walking. Don't always eat the Pilgrim menu (it can become boring) and treat yourself to some great authentic Spanish food occasionally. Pay great attention to footwear that fits and is broken in.
Pack light - my pack weighs 6.2kgs excluding food and water and contains everything I need.
Everyone walking is friendly and helpful, and interesting to talk to.
Buen Camino
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances : April /May 2017
#41
As you can see from the numerous posts, age is irrelevant (within reason). I walked it for the first time when I was 79 and as you can see from my avatar I have walked several times since, including last year when I was 84 and walked only 300 km due to working as a hospitalero. Last year there was a Canadian lady walking who was 86.
Except once on the Portuguese Camino, I have never seen sheets, and sometimes there are not enough blankets, so good idea to take a light sleeping bag.
Do some training before hand and be reasonably fit. Take your time - it is not a competition - and enjoy the walking. Don't always eat the Pilgrim menu (it can become boring) and treat yourself to some great authentic Spanish food occasionally. Pay great attention to footwear that fits and is broken in.
Pack light - my pack weighs 6.2kgs excluding food and water and contains everything I need.
Everyone walking is friendly and helpful, and interesting to talk to.
Buen Camino
Thank you David for your kind information I really appreciate you taking all the time to answer me properly I think that I am now more than ever and feeling much better than before. I thank you for your time and for your consideration and I hope one day to meet you somewhere along the line in the Camino.

Kindest regards

Gerhard
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances : April /May 2017
#42
My family friend has walked every year for 15 years (mixed routes) and he started at 71! So don't let age stop you
you're really want for their great words I will remember that and I hope to do a few more coming up once I've mastered this big monster in 2017
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances Sept 2016
Camino Portuguse Oct (2018)
#44
Hi Gerhard
Welcome to the greatest adventure of your life. I am 69 and from California. I am a skier and backpacker (though not as much as I would like). I did train for the walk by walking with a backpack. I had NO problems. Did not get a blister until day 38. Finally got shin splints on day 38 as well, but KT tape took care of that. Admittedly I was tired when we walked into the square in Santiago, but little worse for the wear.

GO FOR IT

Buen Camino
Bob
 

Stivandrer

Perambulating & Curious. Rep stravaiging offender
Camino(s) past & future
I´ve got Camino plans until 2042,
- or till I fall flat on my face, whichever comes first !!
#45
I got severely reprimanded on the Camino when I expressed me feeling old at 60, - by a 75 yearold pilgrim !
A good thing about age is that you have run this ship so long that you know how to accomplish the things that you want, and how to use your strength accordingly.
All the South Africans I encountered have been weathered, strong & elderly persons but seriously young on the inside..and doing phenomenally well trackwise.. due to experience.
You will have no trouble doing this, but if you encounter hardship, it is no crime or no shame indeed to slow down and regroup and make it a safer project with longer stops.

Now on you get, and Buen Camino to you,

See you down the Road apiece in April/May...
 
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Camino(s) past & future
Del Norte from Irun to Santander, Primitivo from Oviedo to Frances to Santiago September 2016
#47
Hello my friends,

I'm 70 years old, a male from South Africa and I'm trying to attempt my first Camino, the French way, in April 2017.

I am honoured to be a new member of this this distinguihed group of experience Pilgrims/walkers/adventurers and I would like you to please assist me with my following questions and those which will follow afterwords:

I have painstakingly gone through the vast amount of informative messages in different fora on this website and I would just like to find out whether:

1. Is there according to your experience any age limit of Pilgrims who walk the French way.?? Have you met some of them in your previous caminos ? As I've mentioned I'm 70 years old and this will be the first time I'm trying such a long distance overall though I'm not unfit at all .

2. Many Pilgrims referred to the different refugios in which one can stay over but I never see whether blankets and sheets are part of the price per night or not. I'm bringing my own sleeping bag with but I'm just curious to know what are the arrangements in this regard.

3. I would like to know whether these refugees are mixed for men and women? It is really no problem, it's just something I would like to know please

4. I also gain the impression from the information on the fora that one not allowed to stay longer than one night in a refugio? is that true and what will happen if you want to rest another day and stay over. are there very strict rules in this regard or can one stay 2 nights if you feel like that in the same place?

These are all my questions for the moment and I'm really looking forward to having a fruitful discussion with all my new friend regarding my first attempt at the age of 70 to tackle my first Camino
Hello Gerhard, I will be 73 in a few weeks.My daughter (38) and I did the del Norte from Irun to Santander then the Primitivo to the Frances to Santiago from 2 Sept to 25 Sept, 2016. I have been a hiker all my life having done several treks in the Alps and New Zealand. I also hike on a regular basis at home in the mountains of the NE USA. Most of your questions have been answered and I would only add that the difficult part of the Camino for me was the heat on the Norte while walking on pavement. Some days were in the 90's F. I wore a low boot (Oboz) between runners and full height hiking boots. I wish I had worm my old standby leather boots for support and cushion. I didn't have a problem with blisters but my feet took a beating on the pavement and some of the rough spots along the Norte and Primitivo. I bruised the ball of my foot on a sharp rock a few days before reaching the Frances. Those last 4-5 days painfully difficult with the sore foot.Others can advise on the different footwear requirements for the Frances.
There were many Pilgrims my age and older and the thing I noticed most about them in addition to their great spirit was the use of more substantial footwear than younger Pilgrims. I am sure you will love your Camino and meet many Pilgrims your age and older.
 

zrexer

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
2014, 15,16 & 19 Camino Frances
2017 Camino Portuguese
2018 Camino Primitivo
#48
Gerhard, welcome to the site.

First of all saying you want to 'attempt' the Camino is starting with the wrong mindset.

The Camino is not like climbing Mount Everest where only the best of the best make it.

My wife and I walked with a lady in 2015 that was about to turn 70 in 2015 and she was amazing and set a blistering pace. In fact she got to be such a good friend she is walking with us in April 2017 on the Portuguese Camino at almost 72.

Age is not a deterrent, but get a complete physical first and be honest with yourself. If you have bad knees or hips, it will make the Camino more challenging but not impossible.

Training is essential, not just walking, but doing exercises that help build some core strength are very beneficial.

Get fitted for a your back back and use the 'less is more' philosophy for what you pack. My opinion on foot wear is that although hiking boots are better in a few sections, trail shoes are the better way to go overall. I have used both and had virtually no foot issues in trail shoes, but massive issues with boots.

Opinions vary, but get some good trekking poles. They are hugely helpful when used correctly.

Keep in mind for early April starts from SJPP, you may not be able to take the Napoleon route due to snow. We left from SJPP on April 8th this year and it was closed and we had to take the Val Carlos route and still had heavy snow the last 2 hours into Roncesvalles. Not a big issue for us as my wife and I winter hike in northern Alberta, but it freaked out some pilgrims.

You will love the Frances route and the Camino.
 
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offtrail1

Dave Black
Camino(s) past & future
May 9th - June 13rd (2015) St Jean to Santiago
June 1st - June 29th (2016) Leon to Santiago & Finisterra
#49
Hello Gerhard,
It seems all of your questions have been fully answered.... I walked the Frances from St Jean in 2015 at age 75, then returned last year to walk again, although only from León, to accompany a good friend. I am considering another pilgrimage next fall - yes I'll be 77 then - so numerically age is not so much a factor; of course one's health and physical conditioning very much is. If your doctor clears you, and you are in relatively good physical shape with proper footwear, you should have few problems. I applied the mantra I learned from my guides while climbing Mt Kilimanjaro in my 60s, and that was 'Polee, Polee Papa', which is Swahili for 'Slowly, Slowly, Grandfather! Enjoy this special part of life, and Buen Camino!
Dave
 
Camino(s) past & future
(09/2013)
#50
Hello my friends,

I'm 70 years old, a male from South Africa and I'm trying to attempt my first Camino, the French way, in April 2017.

I am honoured to be a new member of this this distinguihed group of experience Pilgrims/walkers/adventurers and I would like you to please assist me with my following questions and those which will follow afterwords:

I have painstakingly gone through the vast amount of informative messages in different fora on this website and I would just like to find out whether:

1. Is there according to your experience any age limit of Pilgrims who walk the French way.?? Have you met some of them in your previous caminos ? As I've mentioned I'm 70 years old and this will be the first time I'm trying such a long distance overall though I'm not unfit at all .

2. Many Pilgrims referred to the different refugios in which one can stay over but I never see whether blankets and sheets are part of the price per night or not. I'm bringing my own sleeping bag with but I'm just curious to know what are the arrangements in this regard.

3. I would like to know whether these refugees are mixed for men and women? It is really no problem, it's just something I would like to know please

4. I also gain the impression from the information on the fora that one not allowed to stay longer than one night in a refugio? is that true and what will happen if you want to rest another day and stay over. are there very strict rules in this regard or can one stay 2 nights if you feel like that in the same place?

These are all my questions for the moment and I'm really looking forward to having a fruitful discussion with all my new friend regarding my first attempt at the age of 70 to tackle my first Camino
 
Camino(s) past & future
(09/2013)
#51
Hello my friends,

I'm 70 years old, a male from South Africa and I'm trying to attempt my first Camino, the French way, in April 2017.

I am honoured to be a new member of this this distinguihed group of experience Pilgrims/walkers/adventurers and I would like you to please assist me with my following questions and those which will follow afterwords:

I have painstakingly gone through the vast amount of informative messages in different fora on this website and I would just like to find out whether:

1. Is there according to your experience any age limit of Pilgrims who walk the French way.?? Have you met some of them in your previous caminos ? As I've mentioned I'm 70 years old and this will be the first time I'm trying such a long distance overall though I'm not unfit at all .

2. Many Pilgrims referred to the different refugios in which one can stay over but I never see whether blankets and sheets are part of the price per night or not. I'm bringing my own sleeping bag with but I'm just curious to know what are the arrangements in this regard.

3. I would like to know whether these refugees are mixed for men and women? It is really no problem, it's just something I would like to know please

4. I also gain the impression from the information on the fora that one not allowed to stay longer than one night in a refugio? is that true and what will happen if you want to rest another day and stay over. are there very strict rules in this regard or can one stay 2 nights if you feel like that in the same place?

These are all my questions for the moment and I'm really looking forward to having a fruitful discussion with all my new friend regarding my first attempt at the age of 70 to tackle my first Camino
 
Camino(s) past & future
(09/2013)
#52
Hello my friends,

I'm 70 years old, a male from South Africa and I'm trying to attempt my first Camino, the French way, in April 2017.

I am honoured to be a new member of this this distinguihed group of experience Pilgrims/walkers/adventurers and I would like you to please assist me with my following questions and those which will follow afterwords:

I have painstakingly gone through the vast amount of informative messages in different fora on this website and I would just like to find out whether:

1. Is there according to your experience any age limit of Pilgrims who walk the French way.?? Have you met some of them in your previous caminos ? As I've mentioned I'm 70 years old and this will be the first time I'm trying such a long distance overall though I'm not unfit at all .

2. Many Pilgrims referred to the different refugios in which one can stay over but I never see whether blankets and sheets are part of the price per night or not. I'm bringing my own sleeping bag with but I'm just curious to know what are the arrangements in this regard.

3. I would like to know whether these refugees are mixed for men and women? It is really no problem, it's just something I would like to know please

4. I also gain the impression from the information on the fora that one not allowed to stay longer than one night in a refugio? is that true and what will happen if you want to rest another day and stay over. are there very strict rules in this regard or can one stay 2 nights if you feel like that in the same place?

These are all my questions for the moment and I'm really looking forward to having a fruitful discussion with all my new friend regarding my first attempt at the age of 70 to tackle my first Camino
 

GRR

Member
Camino(s) past & future
August - September 2015
#54
What I found about the Camino is that you cannot plan this trip. In fact, past planning to get to your starting destination, planning is mostly to be avoided. Wear clothes amenable to the prevailing weather at the time of your trip. Bring whatever minimal toiletries you require (a bar of soap?) Bring a change of clothes. Bring whatever communication device you desire. If you have too much, dump it. If you need something, there are stores. Other than that, just walk. Have no goal for the day in mind.

As to age on the Camino, I met people of all ages. Many in their seventies or even eighties and some of these wise ones had done several caminos.

Go out with a sense of adventure, not fearing the unknown. Return with the riches of the journey.

Buen camino and blessings my friend.
 
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BobM

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances; Via Podensis; Via Francigena; Via Portugues; Via Francigena del Sud; Jakobsweg.
#55
Hello my friends,

I'm 70 years old, a male from South Africa and I'm trying to attempt my first Camino, the French way, in April 2017.....
I am honoured to be a new member of this this distinguihed group of experience Pilgrims/walkers/adventurers and I would like you to please assist me with my following questions and those which will follow afterwords:I'm really looking forward to having a fruitful discussion with all my new friend regarding my first attempt at the age of 70 to tackle my first Camino
Hi Gerhard

You have already received lots of excellent advice, so I will offer only a few general thoughts based on my experience of the Camino and subsequent pilgrimage walks.

1. Set intermediate goals as this is your first big walk. The Camino was the first big walk for me, so my first goal was to get to Burgos, where I had a rest day. Then I said "Ok, let's go to Astorga", where I had a rest day. I was pretty confident then of reaching Santiago.

Don't obsess from the "get-go" on reaching Santiago. It's to big and daunting an undertaking. Baby steps are the go. Lentement mais surement is another good approach. Read a bit about Buddhism and mindful steps, living in the moment.

I did not actually need the rest days and there was a downside: On the Camino you will often meet the same people day after day, and a bond develops among your "band of brothers" (and sisters!). If you take a rest day, your companions will move on and although you will meet up with a new group of people, you will miss your old friends. My approach now is not to take rest days if possible, but to walk a short stage instead.

2. Reduce the unknown: There is a natural anxiety in doing something big for the first time, so try to reduce the unknown as much as possible. Buy a good guidebook. Pore over maps, including Street View in Google. Read blogs. Do training walks with your actual pack and load over the distance you hope to cover in a day. You can walk the Camino in ordinary walking shoes - I did two in my ordinary shoes. But I found that experienced walkers (and now that includes me) generally prefer light walking boots. Above all, read posts in the forum, which is by far the best one for all pilgrimage walks. The people who post here are genuinely helpful and their advice is credible.

3. Age issues: As we age, we gradually lose muscle mass that often becomes noticeable in the 70s. Our lung function also declines. Both factors can make it harder and slower to walk on ascents, even at low altitudes. That slows us down, but walking short stages is not a crime!

We can do two simple things to slow down muscle loss: (a) do strength training for the legs and arms (remember you need your arms for your walking pole) by using weights or training on hills or steps; and (b) eat more protein in your regular diet. Vitamin D may help as well.

As for lung function, exercise is the best thing. You may also want to have your doctor do a simple lung function test to see how you rate for your age. COPD and other respiratory diseases are becoming more common in Australia and other countries, even though smoking rates have declined, so it is worth finding out if you are affected.

4. Have a spiritual purpose: I don't necessarily mean that in a religious sense. It is all very well to have a practical purpose, say "I am going to walk to Santiago", but having some higher purpose enriches the journey. When I walked the Camino I met a woman who was walking to give thanks for all the good things in her life: the love of a fine husband and family and all they had achieved in their lives. I met a man who had previously walked the Camino with his wife. She had recently died, and he was retracing their steps in remembrance and to assuage his grief. He confessed to me that he felt her presence very strongly at times.

5. Lend a helping hand: Opportunities will almost certainly arise for you to help another walker. It may be only a few comforting words as you walk together, it may be a gift of a few bandaids or other items. You may be able to help prepare a common meal in the evening while a companion rests. Whatever. The remarkable thing about helping another person is that it uplifts both parties and gives them strength. I met a woman while walking the Via Francigena and I made her coffee in the morning while she got ready for the day. That simple gesture and the few companionable moments we shared over breakfast were very important for me and were helpful for her as well.

On your walk you will meet many volunteers, certainly at St Jean when you set out, but also in albergues. Not all of us can volunteer like that, but it is something to consider when the walk is over. However, there is one thing we can all do: keep contributing to this forum when your walk is over to share your experiences.

Finally, it remains to wish you well in all you do. Many people say that the Camino is one of the most meaningful experiences of their lives and I am sure you will return home with memories to treasure and a better understanding of yourself. The Camino tests us physically and mentally and we find out who we truly are. Therein lies the possibility of growth.

There is a downside to the Camino: It is addictive! You may find yourself doing other long pilgrimage walks - as I did. But it is so exhilarating. What better addiction could we have??

Bob M
 

Attachments

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Camino(s) past & future
Frances 2014, Sarria to Muxia 2015, Frances on to Muxia 2016, Frances/SDC/Fisterre/Muxia (Sep 2018)
#56
Hi Gerhard,

There is great advice and wisdom above so I will touch on a few points only

Age - just a number, I walked with a Sara from USA this year - 80yo who did the Camino Frances carrying her pack all the way - she told me at the Crux de Ferro "I think I can do this" where her family thought she couldn't - and she did! On the 3rd day she was knocked to the ground by a cyclist who misjudged passing on a narrow path - he fell over the edge and broke his wrist! She was bruised but continued and said later that she forgave him because "he had a cute butt in Lycra"! We all loved her and she was an inspiration.

A friend here in Australia wrote a great book (The Day was Made for Walking by Noel Braun) about doing his first Camino at 77 years old after his wife, who suffered from depression, committed suicide - it is a good, humorous and inspiring read.

Blankets and sheets - I take a silk sleeping bag liners (light and can act as a sheet) and I discovered thanks to Kanga a travel quilt that I found better than my sleeping bag, very light and luxurious - for Albergues. When going for respite and privacy on the odd night in a Casa Rural or Hotel, I absolutely luxuriated in the towels, sheets, blankets and en suite!

Time and Distance - give yourself plenty of time to allow for illness and injury as well - there is nothing worse than being pressured to get somewhere. I found (65yo) that my wife (69yo) and I were most comfortable walking 20kms or less a day and 28-30 kms was a stretch. This allows you to consider stopping about 2-3pm which pretty much guaranteed a bed in most Albergues. We carried our packs the whole way but knew we had the option of sending the pack on every day and that was easy to do and cost only 3-7 Euros. We chose to walk the whole way and even got pleasure from the Meseta experience (the 200km pretty flat bit). When I was not well, I preferred to go on a short distance, even a Km or 2. Also, instead of stopping for rest days where I found it harder to get going again, I had shor days of 10km or less and enjoyed looking around.

Medical - I take my tablets (on far too many!) in bulk and use a 2 week dosage box and I take a letter from my Doc confirming what I am on (in case I run out or Customs asks). I have sleep Apnoea and have to use a CPAP machine - I found one called Transcend that is the size of a can of coke and is quiet for sleeping in dorms - in fact people told me the gentle rising and falling was like the sea and was soothing and also acted as "white noise" if there were snorers. I have an 8 hr battery with it but only had to rely on that once in 46 days. It weighs only 2.1kg and gives us good freedom.

Communal Living in Albergues - a real challenge to us that took us way out of our comfort zone. It was easy to adjust to living cheek by jowl with up to 30 men and women of all ages, the toilets were segregated or private and no one worries much. If you snore try to have something that can stop it as that is the most anti-social thing that usually upsets fellow Pilgrims.

Albergues - municipal ones kick pilgrims out usually by about 8am, but even they will let you stay more than one night if you are sick. Private ones often will take bookings, also have smaller rooms with en suites, let you stay longer and ask you to leave later, they cost a little more.

Guides - have a good Guide book that is up to date - I have had no issues with the Brierley book that most Pilgrims use but I do not do the day's walks that he always suggests as that means sometimes that distances are a bit far for my comfort and the destination towns are often busier, this allows me to find less busy but as good accommodation down a page.

Enjoy the experience - it is wonderful and addictive. Don't try to grasp it too greedily, take your time, be quiet and let it come to you and you will be the richer for it.

Pack Light!

Buen Camino

Tony
 

BobM

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances; Via Podensis; Via Francigena; Via Portugues; Via Francigena del Sud; Jakobsweg.
#57
Blankets and sheets - I take a silk sleeping bag liners (light and can act as a sheet) and I discovered thanks to Kanga a travel quilt that I found better than my sleeping bag, very light and luxurious - for Albergues. When going for respite and privacy on the odd night in a Casa Rural or Hotel, I absolutely luxuriated in the towels, sheets, blankets and en suite!
Medical - I take my tablets (on far too many!) in bulk and use a 2 week dosage box and I take a letter from my Doc confirming what I am on (in case I run out or Customs asks). I have sleep Apnoea and have to use a CPAP machine - I found one called Transcend that is the size of a can of coke and is quiet for sleeping in dorms - in fact people told me the gentle rising and falling was like the sea and was soothing and also acted as "white noise" if there were snorers. I have an 8 hr battery with it but only had to rely on that once in 46 days. It weighs only 2.1kg and gives us good freedom.
Guides - have a good Guide book that is up to date - I have had no issues with the Brierley book that most Pilgrims use but I do not do the day's walks that he always suggests as that means sometimes that distances are a bit far for my comfort and the destination towns are often busier, this allows me to find less busy but as good accommodation down a page.
tony
I also used only a silk sleeping bag liner and slept in only my underpants - no pyjamas (not needed, save weight!). Remember that communal albergues are often packed to the rafters with bodies pumping out heat as they metabolise their evening meals. They can get quite hot at night, even in early spring! So don't take that polar sleeping bag you bought for a future ascent of Everest.

I used the Brierley guide, but I probably would not do so again, mainly because my edition had only strip maps for each stage and I prefer real maps (either paper or, better still, offline digital maps such as you can get very cheaply from LocusMap, for example). The biggest downside of everyone using a popular guidebook is that they all want to stop at the same places at the end of the set stages. That means crowded accommodation. What I did was to get out of sync with Brierley's stages and stay at smaller villages that were generally less crowded and more tranquil.

Navigation is not an issue on the Camino because of the crowds walking it and the plethora of waymarks.

Bob M
 
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GRR

Member
Camino(s) past & future
August - September 2015
#58
Bringing a guidebook on the Camino is akin to bringing a manual on how to go on a date with you on a date. If you need one, read it before you go and then leave it home. Rip out the important part - the maps - if you have to and take them. But even then you can just take pics of the maps on your phone and bring that with you. That being said, the best book I saw was the Michelin book that a few travelers had.
 

nollaigc

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Walking since 2008, various stages of French,Norte and Via del Plata- addicted to the Way
#59
Gerhard,
You can really over think the camino!
Trust me- it will provide!
There are two important days-the day you arrive and the day you have to leave-but if you have flexibility- only the first counts.
I fell into the camino completely by accident-have been totally addicted since.
Do all the basic stuff-bring you meds-watch the weather- let your body be your guide-listen to it and don't second guess it.
Most of all enjoy it- it isn't a task.
I've been doing bits and pieces of the camino since 2008 and people ask me what's it like and the only answer I give them is that at it's worst it's a good walk.
nollaigc
 
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (SJDPP to Burgos) - September, 2015; Burgos to Santiago - April, 2016
#60
Hello my friends,

I'm 70 years old, a male from South Africa and I'm trying to attempt my first Camino, the French way, in April 2017.

I am honoured to be a new member of this this distinguihed group of experience Pilgrims/walkers/adventurers and I would like you to please assist me with my following questions and those which will follow afterwords:

I have painstakingly gone through the vast amount of informative messages in different fora on this website and I would just like to find out whether:

1. Is there according to your experience any age limit of Pilgrims who walk the French way.?? Have you met some of them in your previous caminos ? As I've mentioned I'm 70 years old and this will be the first time I'm trying such a long distance overall though I'm not unfit at all .

2. Many Pilgrims referred to the different refugios in which one can stay over but I never see whether blankets and sheets are part of the price per night or not. I'm bringing my own sleeping bag with but I'm just curious to know what are the arrangements in this regard.

3. I would like to know whether these refugees are mixed for men and women? It is really no problem, it's just something I would like to know please

4. I also gain the impression from the information on the fora that one not allowed to stay longer than one night in a refugio? is that true and what will happen if you want to rest another day and stay over. are there very strict rules in this regard or can one stay 2 nights if you feel like that in the same place?

These are all my questions for the moment and I'm really looking forward to having a fruitful discussion with all my new friend regarding my first attempt at the age of 70 to tackle my first Camino

1. I completed the Camino Frances in two stages in September 2015 (SJDPP to Burgos) and April 2016 (Burgos to Santiago). I was 68. Like you, I used this forum extensively to plan my walk. I think the best piece of information I got was in a particular post: "the key to a successful and enjoyable Camino is preparation, preparation, preparation." Prepare physically for the Camino with hikes and walks (with pack). Keep the weight down. I did a couple of hikes early on in my preparation with a 7 kilo pack and quickly determined that I had to stay below 6.5 kilos. I invested in equipment to lower my pack weight (pack, rain gear, sleeping bag). Keep your daily distances moderate; I averaged 22 km a day with a maximum of 28 km. Plan a rest day and allow for a day or two to have some sort of physical issue; I did not have this but I observed several others who did. I remember whining at dinner one night about the trials of making a Camino at 68 when Ben (a Dane) commented that he was 80.

2. I primarily stayed at private albergues; it adds several euros to the cost but I found it worth the cost; all of the albergues where I stayed had blankets and they were provided at no additional cost.

3. As noted in other posts, almost all albergues are mixed. It was a little uncomfortable the first few days but it quickly becomes a non-issue. You get used to seeing people running around in their underwear and realize they are more modestly clothed than most at the beach.

4. As others have noted, if you prefer to stay more than one night, seek out a pension or hotel. Many are priced reasonably.
 

Montana Jayne

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
September 2015 - Camino Frances
? Camino Ingles
#61
I was 68 and my hubby 70 when we did the CF in fall 2015. And my observation is that everyone has given great answers to your questions and other personal insights that will help you prepare. I developed plantar faciitis after Burgos. I'd never had it before. That was a real bummer! So I'd say get your feet checked now and see if shoe inserts might be recommended . Also, I felt walking poles were VERY IMPORTANT. All in all it was a wonderful experience for us and I hope it will be that for you. Buen camino!
 
Camino(s) past & future
SJPDP to Burgos 2014. Burgos to SdC arriving 5/5/2015. C2C (2016) Le Puy to Moissac April (2018)
#62
Hi Gerhard! I was 69 when I arrived in SdC on May 5, 2015. It was an amazing walk and I hope yours is the same. My pack was 7.5 kg, and I brought only a polyester fleece sleep sack, and a pillowcase to encase my very light down jacket to use as a pillow. I used an albergue blanket every night, and at the Samos Monastery I borrowed a second one off of an unoccupied bed. Some mornings I draped my poly-fleece sweater over my chest for more warmth. I encountered one public albergue that did not have blankets, so I just went on to a private one. I agree with the previous recommendation to take a light sleeping bag.
I strongly recommend that you trail-test your shoes and socks while carrying your pack for the same distance (and similar hills if possible) you'll be walking in Spain - to see if, and where you might, get blisters. I taped 5 toes each morning which successfully avoided any blisters on the Camino. I used hiking shoes, not boots, but bought the heaviest pair that fit correctly - since they have stiffer soles better suited for rocky paths.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Lourdes, Aragonese May-June 2018 incomplete
#63
Being from South Africa I would need a Schengen visa to enter Europe either in Spain or in France. I know that many of the Pilgrims are not necessarily from Schengen countries and I would like to have an idea of how long before the time one has to apply for a visa for France or spain depending on where you want to start. Can you also give me an indication of how long you can stay in Europe with the Schengen visa and how much would the cost be more or less in US dollars? Thank you very much for your assistance in advance it is really appreciated
Contact the South African Camino organisation for Schengen information.
 
Camino(s) past & future
September 18 to October 25 (2016) from SJPDP.
#64
Everybody is different, so you have to know yourself. My husband and I did our training together. He had no problems. When I started walking over 10 miles a day after three weeks I developed achilles tendonitis. The doc had me get expensive inserts, that cured that. We went to the mountains and hiked 14 miles from the Marin Headlands to the Golden Gate Bridge, very steep trails. I got blisters that were de-roofed by the time I checked them. I also got black toenails and lost them. I had to get bigger shoes. I kept getting blisters and tried a variety of strategies I learned about online. I always wore holes in the interior of my athletic shoes by my heels and learned I have a mild case of Haglands or pump bump. I tried Darn Tuff Socks, vaseline, etc. I learned I had to tape my feet with a surgical tape in a way that the heel lift did not pull it down. I also wore Wright Socks (guarantee is not to allow blisters, but still without the tape got a couple of small ones). The point is, I spent a year training and going through my problems at home and never had a problem on the Camino. So many "experienced" hikers were hobbling around day after day and some of them got really infected blisters. I had read that if you use Compede to be sure you completely disinfected the area before. I met a woman who did not do this and went to the hospital with a horrid infection. I had been told by a shoe salesman at REI that you don't need ankle support on the Camino, but there are steep and very rocky areas. I saw a young man with a sprained ankle the third day. He was not the only one that had that problem. Some people have naturally weak ankles. My point is, all the information is on Youtube videos, great boot tying strategies to secure your feet and other things. People who did not research it, and then see what they needed to do had the problems. On the other hand, my husband did not need the inserts, tape or special socks. Figure out what you need. I would never tell anyone that because one thing was good for me it is what they should do too. Almost everything I saw people have I had done at home, except maybe shin splints. Better to do it at home and then you will have a much easier time. If I had not I would have been right up there at the top of the sufferers' list.
 
Camino(s) past & future
2015 late May to early June Ponferada to Santiago
2017 Apr 11 St. Jean to May 13 Santiago
#65
Hi thank you very much for the kind the information it is nice to hear that there are people who are also caring about others and I think that is the spirit of the Camino. I was also thinking about starting about the 14th of April 2017, can you tell me are you coming from the beginning of the French way at St Jean or are you starting somewhere in Spain. I hope to start at the French side and also to finish this Camino up to Santiago. Please tell me your plans and I would really like to meet up with you and maybe we can walk some sections together. Thank you very much for your kind response and I hope to hear from you soon
Gerhard:
I am planning to leave St Jean on April 12. So I will be a couple of days ahead of you. But, I plan to start slowly. I am getting a ride from St. Jean to Orrison or a bit further, just to make this day easier. On my last camino, my first two days were the most difficult for me despite the fact that that were shorter in distance and with fewer meters of elevation climb than my average. I had trained quite a bit before but the first two days kicked my butt! This time I am learning my lesson and starting slowly. I hope to see you. Buen Camino! Greg.
 

martyseville

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
a/a
#66
Great that you are going to walk!

71 here.

I did the Frances (biked) 2014.
Walked the Frances 2015
Walked the Ingles (loved it) this year (2016).

Praying to walk the Plata this coming April 2017.

Lots of good comments above. Cannot add much more.

Pack light. Pack light. Forgot it? can buy it.

Step at a time. Day at time.

Boots! break in well. May have to go through different sizes, types, styles etc before the walk.


Most important: do it.

and let us know how you are doing......
 

Givesome

Cape Hiker
Camino(s) past & future
CF 27 March 2017
#67
Hi Gerhard58 My wife and I are from Cape Town and will start from Pamplona on 27 March 2017. We both have fulltime careers and we could only mange to synchronise leave for 33 days. Starting from St Jean and finish in Santiago in 33 days is a bit much. As they say the camino has no specific starting point. It would have been nice to start in St Jean but we are only setting realistic goals. Hopefully we will meet somewhere on the way. Please join the Fraternity of St James of South Africa to obtain the visa letter, it will make your application process so much easier. Please don't hesitate to contact me if you need any assistance with regards to your visa application or anything else.
 

BobM

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances; Via Podensis; Via Francigena; Via Portugues; Via Francigena del Sud; Jakobsweg.
#68
Hi Gerhard58 My wife and I are from Cape Town and will start from Pamplona on 27 March 2017. We both have fulltime careers and we could only mange to synchronise leave for 33 days. Starting from St Jean and finish in Santiago in 33 days is a bit much. As they say the camino has no specific starting point. It would have been nice to start in St Jean but we are only setting realistic goals....
Best wishes to all of you. Realistic goals are important, as well as the knowledge that pilgrimage is a very personal journey that can only be measured deep within our being.

The value of such a journey is not defined by the distance travelled, or by the opinions of other people; it is defined by ourselves alone for the personal blessings it has inscribed in our hearts, in our minds and on our bodies.

God speed.

Bob M
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances : April /May 2017
#69
Hi Gerhard

You have already received lots of excellent advice, so I will offer only a few general thoughts based on my experience of the Camino and subsequent pilgrimage walks.

1. Set intermediate goals as this is your first big walk. The Camino was the first big walk for me, so my first goal was to get to Burgos, where I had a rest day. Then I said "Ok, let's go to Astorga", where I had a rest day. I was pretty confident then of reaching Santiago.

Don't obsess from the "get-go" on reaching Santiago. It's to big and daunting an undertaking. Baby steps are the go. Lentement mais surement is another good approach. Read a bit about Buddhism and mindful steps, living in the moment.

I did not actually need the rest days and there was a downside: On the Camino you will often meet the same people day after day, and a bond develops among your "band of brothers" (and sisters!). If you take a rest day, your companions will move on and although you will meet up with a new group of people, you will miss your old friends. My approach now is not to take rest days if possible, but to walk a short stage instead.

2. Reduce the unknown: There is a natural anxiety in doing something big for the first time, so try to reduce the unknown as much as possible. Buy a good guidebook. Pore over maps, including Street View in Google. Read blogs. Do training walks with your actual pack and load over the distance you hope to cover in a day. You can walk the Camino in ordinary walking shoes - I did two in my ordinary shoes. But I found that experienced walkers (and now that includes me) generally prefer light walking boots. Above all, read posts in the forum, which is by far the best one for all pilgrimage walks. The people who post here are genuinely helpful and their advice is credible.

3. Age issues: As we age, we gradually lose muscle mass that often becomes noticeable in the 70s. Our lung function also declines. Both factors can make it harder and slower to walk on ascents, even at low altitudes. That slows us down, but walking short stages is not a crime!

We can do two simple things to slow down muscle loss: (a) do strength training for the legs and arms (remember you need your arms for your walking pole) by using weights or training on hills or steps; and (b) eat more protein in your regular diet. Vitamin D may help as well.

As for lung function, exercise is the best thing. You may also want to have your doctor do a simple lung function test to see how you rate for your age. COPD and other respiratory diseases are becoming more common in Australia and other countries, even though smoking rates have declined, so it is worth finding out if you are affected.

4. Have a spiritual purpose: I don't necessarily mean that in a religious sense. It is all very well to have a practical purpose, say "I am going to walk to Santiago", but having some higher purpose enriches the journey. When I walked the Camino I met a woman who was walking to give thanks for all the good things in her life: the love of a fine husband and family and all they had achieved in their lives. I met a man who had previously walked the Camino with his wife. She had recently died, and he was retracing their steps in remembrance and to assuage his grief. He confessed to me that he felt her presence very strongly at times.

5. Lend a helping hand: Opportunities will almost certainly arise for you to help another walker. It may be only a few comforting words as you walk together, it may be a gift of a few bandaids or other items. You may be able to help prepare a common meal in the evening while a companion rests. Whatever. The remarkable thing about helping another person is that it uplifts both parties and gives them strength. I met a woman while walking the Via Francigena and I made her coffee in the morning while she got ready for the day. That simple gesture and the few companionable moments we shared over breakfast were very important for me and were helpful for her as well.

On your walk you will meet many volunteers, certainly at St Jean when you set out, but also in albergues. Not all of us can volunteer like that, but it is something to consider when the walk is over. However, there is one thing we can all do: keep contributing to this forum when your walk is over to share your experiences.

Finally, it remains to wish you well in all you do. Many people say that the Camino is one of the most meaningful experiences of their lives and I am sure you will return home with memories to treasure and a better understanding of yourself. The Camino tests us physically and mentally and we find out who we truly are. Therein lies the possibility of growth.

There is a downside to the Camino: It is addictive! You may find yourself doing other long pilgrimage walks - as I did. But it is so exhilarating. What better addiction could we have??

Bob M
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances : April /May 2017
#70
Dear Bob I must say that I am absolutely impressed by the fact that you took all the trouble to initiate me into whatever faces me on this Camino, which I hope to start on the 10th of April 2017. I really would like to thank you and all the other people who answered me, they are too many to acknowledge separately but I can already smell the taste of cooperation in those people who are all partaking in the Camino. I have taken all the advice to heart and I have already started breaking in my boots for the last 3 weeks on the beach near Durban in South Africa, but having been in each other for many years and lately just the Walker I know that there are so many unknowns in a long distance of 800 km, but what I've also learnt through my years is that one has to take it step-by-step and start slowly and somehow things will come together.

I thank you for your kind information my friend and I wish you also God's blessings in your future ventures.

Gerhard Visser
Pretoria South Africa

Wednesday
 

BobM

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances; Via Podensis; Via Francigena; Via Portugues; Via Francigena del Sud; Jakobsweg.
#71
Dear Bob I must say that I am absolutely impressed by the fact that you took all the trouble to initiate me into whatever faces me on this Camino, which I hope to start on the 10th of April 2017. .... I know that there are so many unknowns in a long distance of 800 km, but what I've also learnt through my years is that one has to take it step-by-step and start slowly and somehow things will come together.
It is my pleasure, Gerhard. I will be thinking of you on April 10, to wish you well - but as you so aptly put it 'somehow things will come together.'

Here is another thought for you: some years ago I went on a different pilgrimage to Kwa-Zulu Natal, to walk among so many vanished young men of all races at places like Insandhlwana, Rorke's Drift, Spion Kop, Colenso and Ladysmith. You will know these names yourself. The battlefields at Insandhlwana and Rorke's Drift are especially evocative, so if you are in the Durban area it would be worth making the trip for some quiet reflection before you set out on the Camino.

Regards

Bob M
 

Attachments

MTtoCamino

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Francis SJPdP to Finnestere April(2014)
#72
It is my pleasure, Gerhard. I will be thinking of you on April 10, to wish you well - but as you so aptly put it 'somehow things will come together.'

Here is another thought for you: some years ago I went on a different pilgrimage to Kwa-Zulu Natal, to walk among so many vanished young men of all races at places like Insandhlwana, Rorke's Drift, Spion Kop, Colenso and Ladysmith. You will know these names yourself. The battlefields at Insandhlwana and Rorke's Drift are especially evocative, so if you are in the Durban area it would be worth making the trip for some quiet reflection before you set out on the Camino.

Regards

Bob M
Bob is there a local group of Camino walkers in Melbourne? Just curious, I walked with a family of 3 Andy, Jan & son Matt from Melbourne
 

BobM

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances; Via Podensis; Via Francigena; Via Portugues; Via Francigena del Sud; Jakobsweg.
#73
Bob is there a local group of Camino walkers in Melbourne? Just curious, I walked with a family of 3 Andy, Jan & son Matt from Melbourne
There are a lot of Camino walkers in Australia and certainly from Melbourne (the Australian Melbourne, not the Florida Melbourne - but that is another story!). I have not searched for a group, but there probably is one. A few Australians also do volunteer work for pilgrims in busy places like St Jean Pied de Port. In fact, I am thinking of doing the same myself when I get too decrepit to walk long distances.

Bob M
 

MTtoCamino

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Francis SJPdP to Finnestere April(2014)
#74
There are a lot of Camino walkers in Australia and certainly from Melbourne (the Australian Melbourne, not the Florida Melbourne - but that is another story!). I have not searched for a group, but there probably is one. A few Australians also do volunteer work for pilgrims in busy places like St Jean Pied de Port. In fact, I am thinking of doing the same myself when I get too decrepit to walk long distances.

Bob M
Yes, even in our small town & surrounding area we have roughly 8-10 who have walked different portions. We just had a dinner that a couple described their experiences as hostilero's in Logrono. They worked very long days. I agree with you it would be a different perspective. It certainly gave them the example of how each person has a story to tell & not easily shared. Respect on the Camino is very important.
Take care
Keith
 

BobM

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances; Via Podensis; Via Francigena; Via Portugues; Via Francigena del Sud; Jakobsweg.
#75
As the pilgrimage season fast approaches, may I offer these thoughts to intending pilgrims?

'Where goest thou, Pilgrim?'

'I go where no one has gone before, on a journey that has no end.

'What do you seek?'

'I seek the hidden recesses of my heart and soul.'

'Are you not afraid of what you might find?'

'I hope to find a prize worth every hazard: forgiveness and perhaps peace at the setting of the sun.'

'Such a difficult journey is one that each of us must make alone.'

'There are faithful guides to ease the way; if we open our hearts to all living things, and cast out hatred and avarice.'


You might also like to read the Prologue to the Canterbury Tales at:
https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poems-and-poets/poems/detail/43926

Bob M
 

poogeyejr

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Norte, May 2011
Norte, Sept 2013
Started the Frances, 2017
#76
Blankets and sheets - I take a silk sleeping bag liners (light and can act as a sheet) and I discovered thanks to Kanga a travel quilt that I found better than my sleeping bag, very light and luxurious - for Albergues. When going for respite and privacy on the odd night in a Casa Rural or Hotel, I absolutely luxuriated in the towels, sheets, blankets and en suite!
Figure out how to clip a corner of your travel quilt to the bunk bed. I woke up 3 nights in a row with the travel quilt on the floor. I had to scramble off the bunk bed at 2 in the morning to pick it up, then attempt to mount the bed again!
 

BobM

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances; Via Podensis; Via Francigena; Via Portugues; Via Francigena del Sud; Jakobsweg.
#77
Figure out how to clip a corner of your travel quilt to the bunk bed. I woke up 3 nights in a row with the travel quilt on the floor. I had to scramble off the bunk bed at 2 in the morning to pick it up, then attempt to mount the bed again!
I just used a thin, climb-in silk sleeping bag liner. It can't slip off the bed - unless you fall out of bed yourself (Memo to self: avoid top bunk).
If you want to be really warm, use two liners, one inside the other. That will trap a layer of air and help insulate you.

Rgds

Bob M
 

BobM

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances; Via Podensis; Via Francigena; Via Portugues; Via Francigena del Sud; Jakobsweg.
#79
Hi Gerhard: Just a short note to wish you all the best for your impending Camino.

I hope you will be able to keep us posted about your progress and any questions you have, as the opportunity permits.

Bob M
 

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