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How much planning?

Camino(s) past & future
September 2018
#1
Hi all. I'm leaving for my 1st camino in 4 weeks (frances), It will be my first experience of being alone in a different country. I have all my gear and equipment sorted... shoes are wearing in, training with pack. Ive booked the first 2 nights accommodation. After that I have no plan but to walk. I have no guide book, I haven't really researched the route, any places of interest... I know nothing. Am I being naive ? Would it be wise to know these things or just take whats coming ? Also i'm in a real question about how to deal with my money. Do I carry a wad of cash on me incase I mess up at the card machine and loose my card, or is it too risky incase I get robbed. What are the chances of theft on the camino? I will have a credit card but it seems I could only use that at big towns. Tbh i'm feeling a little lost and clueless.
 

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Morgan Holmes

Every day is a path to walk.
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances to Santiago from SJPDP (2014); Sahagún to Santiago (2018).
#2
It sounds like you are a kind of “go with what comes” kind of person. You may be able to do this with a minimum of prior knowledge, but for good bare-bones history that allows you to stay flexible with some forewarning (of distances, ways to contact albergues, know what’s open etc), I really recommend the WISE PILGRIM App for the Frances.
I know that some people are on this walk as a very personal quest, to the point of not caring whether they are walking in Spain in particular. However, I think having some ability to read about the history while you are en route can only augment the experience.
That’s why I like the Wise Pilgrim App. It works best if you have a cell connection for live distance mapping, but you can get lots of use from most features on wifi when you want, and off line when you read about towns and places to stay.
 

Iriebabel

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances April (2018)
? route TBD for April (2019)
#3
No not naive at all. They’re are yellow arrows, shells, markers in most places so you wont get lost. After a. Few days you will settle into a routine but I would suggest planning your next day’s walk the night before unless there is something specific you are longing to see and you need to reserve a hotel. There are ATMs along the route in major cities and small town....try to use the ones at the banks and during business hours Incase of problems with the machine. I suggest to no go below 100 Euros in reserve and plan accordingly. Spain is pretty safe but I would keep your valuables close and dont leave them unattended. I had a lock on my backpack but I always kept my money on my person in a waist pack. Most places use cash and I think others will agree with this statement “ take out what you need , keep some in reserve and top off as needed” large hotels and restaurants will take cards but its up to you and your comfort. I used cash everywhere except for hotels and shopping at large stores. If you see a ATM and you know you will run short the next few days i suggest you err on the side of caution and utilize the availability. You will be ok. Remember there are a few million other pilgrims feeling the same way. I had my first camino in May and I walked alone, had no worries and felt safe. The forum and other pilgrims are always available to you if you feel you need some advise. Buen Camino
 
Camino(s) past & future
September 2018
#4
It sounds like you are a kind of “go with what comes” kind of person. You may be able to do this with a minimum of prior knowledge, but for good bare-bones history that allows you to stay flexible with some forewarning (of distances, ways to contact albergues, know what’s open etc), I really recommend the WISE PILGRIM App for the Frances.
I know that some people are on this walk as a very personal quest, to the point of not caring whether they are walking in Spain in particular. However, I think having some ability to read about the history while you are en route can only augment the experience.
That’s why I like the Wise Pilgrim App. It works best if you have a cell connection for live distance mapping, but you can get lots of use from most features on wifi when you want, and off line when you read about towns and places to stay.
Thank you! I'd looked at apps but got lost in the reviews so doubted which was best. I will download the Wise Pilgrim, I believe you're right, it can only add to my experience.
 
Camino(s) past & future
September 2018
#5
No not naive at all. They’re are yellow arrows, shells, markers in most places so you wont get lost. After a. Few days you will settle into a routine but I would suggest planning your next day’s walk the night before unless there is something specific you are longing to see and you need to reserve a hotel. There are ATMs along the route in major cities and small town....try to use the ones at the banks and during business hours Incase of problems with the machine. I suggest to no go below 100 Euros in reserve and plan accordingly. Spain is pretty safe but I would keep your valuables close and dont leave them unattended. I had a lock on my backpack but I always kept my money on my person in a waist pack. Most places use cash and I think others will agree with this statement “ take out what you need , keep some in reserve and top off as needed” large hotels and restaurants will take cards but its up to you and your comfort. I used cash everywhere except for hotels and shopping at large stores. If you see a ATM and you know you will run short the next few days i suggest you err on the side of caution and utilize the availability. You will be ok. Remember there are a few million other pilgrims feeling the same way. I had my first camino in May and I walked alone, had no worries and felt safe. The forum and other pilgrims are always available to you if you feel you need some advise. Buen Camino
Thank you Irebabel. Some sound advice, it writes a lot easier than my imagination was making it. Thanks again
 

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Camino(s) past & future
some and then more. see my signature.
#6
Not naive at all.
Just put one foot and then the other one.
Follow the yellow arrows and your common sense.
Regarding money : I always keep 50 € apart from main wallet for emergencies or when an ATM should not work.

Regarding a guide : now I like to read beforehand but a book is not needed on the Frances if you prefer it this way.
The spanish Eroski website has lots of info about the history of the Caminos.
And I prefer to talk with locals in the villages.
On numerous occasions it got me an invitation to visit a closed church, attend choir practice .Or when I was on the Camino del Ebro in some small town the lady of the board of tourism let me have a private tour in the town hall where they had a beautiful picture of a Flemish painter.

But above all : enjoy and follow the arrows.
 
Camino(s) past & future
April/May 2018
#7
I start my 1st Camino on Sept 22. Despite planning and training I too still have similar questions to yourself. This forum is superb and the replies to your post have been very useful for me as well. I have downloaded the Wise pilgrim app as it does seem to be well recommended. I have the Brierley guide and I probably will bring it with me. Being 65 years of age I'm from a generation that is still a little suspicious of the robustness of things digital. If my phone goes down for whatever reason then I have the book to fall back upon!
I can't wait to start. I'm sure that all of our lingering questions and doubts will resolve themselves once we're in the company of fellow pilgrims. As they say 'The Camino provides'.
Best of Luck with Your Camino.
 
Camino(s) past & future
(2017)
#8
Hi all. I'm leaving for my 1st camino in 4 weeks (frances), It will be my first experiencewas unnecessary of being alone in a different country. I have all my gear and equipment sorted... shoes are wearing in, training with pack. Ive booked the first 2 nights accommodation. After that I have no plan but to walk. I have no guide book, I haven't really researched the route, any places of interest... I know nothing. Am I being naive ? Would it be wise to know these things or just take whats coming ? Also i'm in a real question about how to deal with my money. Do I carry a wad of cash on me incase I mess up at the card machine and loose my card, or is it too risky incase I get robbed. What are the chances of theft on the camino? I will have a credit card but it seems I could only use that at big towns. Tbh i'm feeling a little lost and clueless.
I agree with the others in this thread and will add that your approach and attitude is a great recipe for a very good and fulfilling Camino!

I used the exact same approach as you on my first Camino. The first two nights were fixed/booked in order to "force myself not to walk too long" until I had adapted to the Camino rhythm and flow. That worked well for me and I didn’t have to worry about accommodation. I also found out during those two days that planning and booking ahead is unnecessary even during peak season....! So it helped me to relax.

Like you I really didn’t plan anything which was great, because I could just go with the flow and enjoy the present moment. So to taking it as it comes is a good approach and attitude. It will make you more open and open to whatever presents itself to you.

And the Camino is safe. Pilgrims are always taking care of each other (that’s my experience at least), the locals are friendly and there is police around although they often try to be discrete. Don’t worry about safety. I have walked miles on end completely alone on the Camino, also in darkness. I grew up in a rough neighborhood, my job is related to “dealing with unpleasant persons” so I have well-developed antennas and a good sense for self-preservation. But I have never felt threatened in the slightest way on the Camino. Quite the contrary, actually it is my experience that people on and around the Camino “lower their defenses” and become more friendly and accpting.

That’s also part of being a pilgrim. You leave the security of your home and walk into the great unknown trusting completely in providence and other people delivering help and friendship, or at least acceptance and overbearing (even for the snoring of other pilgrims….. :).

It’s a truly beautiful experience and just writing this reply makes me long again for the wonderful Camino.

Buon Camino!
 
#9
Hi all. I'm leaving for my 1st camino in 4 weeks (frances), It will be my first experience of being alone in a different country. I have all my gear and equipment sorted... shoes are wearing in, training with pack. Ive booked the first 2 nights accommodation. After that I have no plan but to walk. I have no guide book, I haven't really researched the route, any places of interest... I know nothing. Am I being naive ? Would it be wise to know these things or just take whats coming ? Also i'm in a real question about how to deal with my money. Do I carry a wad of cash on me incase I mess up at the card machine and loose my card, or is it too risky incase I get robbed. What are the chances of theft on the camino? I will have a credit card but it seems I could only use that at big towns. Tbh i'm feeling a little lost and clueless.
You will be fine and it will be a fantastic adventure. I would advise NOT carrying cash. ATM’s are plentiful and you can restock your wallet easily. Go for it
 

MichaelB10398

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Le Puy to Santiago de Compostela, Lourdes to SdC, SJPP to SdC
#10
Yes and no. It depends on your objectives. You already have a leg up in that you are open to what is happening. You seem present. However, if you enjoy history, architecture, culture then you recognize that you are going to both France and Spain and will have the opportunity to see and experience some things you may not have the opportunity to see. If these things are important to you, then it may be worth spending some time to see what is along the way that will be of interest to you and plan accordingly.
However, if you are on pilgrimage then your Way has already begun. Just keep taking one more step.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Spring 2016: Camino Frances, Finisterre and Muxia
#11
One more thing about ATMs and carrying cash -- carry 2 cards that are ATM friendly. On the off chance that you lose one card or if one of your banks somehow doesn't honor your card (it happens), you are still in business, so to speak.

Buen Camino!
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Francis, Fall 2016
#12
Hi all. I'm leaving for my 1st camino in 4 weeks (frances), It will be my first experience of being alone in a different country. I have all my gear and equipment sorted... shoes are wearing in, training with pack. Ive booked the first 2 nights accommodation. After that I have no plan but to walk. I have no guide book, I haven't really researched the route, any places of interest... I know nothing. Am I being naive ? Would it be wise to know these things or just take whats coming ? Also i'm in a real question about how to deal with my money. Do I carry a wad of cash on me incase I mess up at the card machine and loose my card, or is it too risky incase I get robbed. What are the chances of theft on the camino? I will have a credit card but it seems I could only use that at big towns. Tbh i'm feeling a little lost and clueless.
Andy - I love your spirit. I say, GO for it! This is going to be a transformative journey and the element of discovery will enrich your experience. I did solo-ed the Camino 2 years ago, not unlike what you are about to embark on and had no problems, yes, a few surprises, but that's enriches the the adventure and experience. One of your biggest challenges is packing and pack weight. Pay attention to this. Remember, you are going to schlep your pack 500 miles. Money. There are plenty of cash machines to meet your needs. I would not worry about being robbed or theft. That said, just be smart and take appropriate precautions and you should not have any problems.
 
Camino(s) past & future
CF11, CF12, CP13, CF14, CA15, S.Anton15, CF15, CI15
Ditch Pig16, CF17, CP17, CdN, CM, CF18, LePuy19
#13
You have gotten some great advice already from this Forum. I did my first wack at the Camino from SJPdP to Logrono in 2011 and just about like you with no guide book and a backpack that looked like a kid's school bag. Eight year later I have proably walked well over 7000kms in Spain. Just take each day as it comes at you, rest when you need to rest, keep about 200 euros with you most of the time. Use ATM's during the day and enjoy the wine and food.
 
Camino(s) past & future
September 2018
#16
I start my 1st Camino on Sept 22. Despite planning and training I too still have similar questions to yourself. This forum is superb and the replies to your post have been very useful for me as well. I have downloaded the Wise pilgrim app as it does seem to be well recommended. I have the Brierley guide and I probably will bring it with me. Being 65 years of age I'm from a generation that is still a little suspicious of the robustness of things digital. If my phone goes down for whatever reason then I have the book to fall back upon!
I can't wait to start. I'm sure that all of our lingering questions and doubts will resolve themselves once we're in the company of fellow pilgrims. As they say 'The Camino provides'.
Best of Luck with Your Camino.
I'm positive they will Teej41 Best wishes with you also.
 
Camino(s) past & future
September 2018
#17
Yes and no. It depends on your objectives. You already have a leg up in that you are open to what is happening. You seem present. However, if you enjoy history, architecture, culture then you recognize that you are going to both France and Spain and will have the opportunity to see and experience some things you may not have the opportunity to see. If these things are important to you, then it may be worth spending some time to see what is along the way that will be of interest to you and plan accordingly.
However, if you are on pilgrimage then your Way has already begun. Just keep taking one more step.
Lovely thank you Michael. Funnily, things started clearing and opening within weeks of my decision to do the walk !
 

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