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How much stair climbing in last 100 km?

Discussion in 'Medical issues on the pilgrimage' started by gimpypilgrim, Nov 12, 2017.

  1. gimpypilgrim

    gimpypilgrim Member Donating Member

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    As a follow-up to my previous post about navigating the Camino with walking difficulties, I wanted to check with folks who've walked the last 100 km from Sarria to Santiago. Based on previous responses, I would make arrangements in advance with private accommodations and use taxis to get to/from my last walking point each day, with a 6 km per day goal for the pace.

    The next thing I'm trying to gauge is the amount of stair climbing along the way. Does the Camino path itself involve stairs, or stair-like conditions, in the last 100 km? Besides the path, is there much stair navigation associated with hotels, etc.? Stair climbing is another one of my physical challenges and I need to go up and down them one leg at a time, which is manageable if stairs are few and far between. Thanks!
     
  2. Northern Laurie

    Northern Laurie Member Donating Member

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    From Arzua, I cannot remember many stairs, although there were some uphills and downhills. I think there were a few near Lavacolla. The route was generally either paved or well graded gravel.

    I can't remember where you said you were from, but it did strike me that accessibility in Europe overall is not so easy compared to western Canada, just because the building population is older (not that Western Canada is perfect). Many buildings, bars, cafes etc will have a few steps leading up into the building.

    Few buildings below four stories in height had elevators, especially small hospedajes and pensiones, although larger hotels generally did. It was common to walk up to the third floor. This was particularly true in Santiago itself, unless staying in a hotel catering to tourists as opposed to pilgrims.

    That being said, not all accommodation had stairs - in fact many of the albergues didn't, or had relatively few (e.g. a half a flight up). When they did, it was often to put the rooms on one floor, with showers, toilets, or other amenities on a different floor.
     
  3. Icacos

    Icacos Veteran Member

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    I have much admiration for you to be planning your camino while you deal with physical challenges. I'm sure there are many others who are far more familiar than I am with the last 100 k of the Francés but the only daunting set of stairs that I recall are the ones leading up to Portomarin. I don't know if there is a way to avoid them.
     
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  4. Northern Laurie

    Northern Laurie Member Donating Member

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    Side note, I did a general google search for accessible Camino de Santiago and disabled Camino de Santiago. I think there are some resources out there, including a guide written by people with disabilities for people with disabilities, with descriptions of the route and potential alternates.

    Unfortunately, the article I found was a decade old and didn't have working links.

    Is anyone else familiar with a guide like this?
     
  5. linkster

    linkster Active Member Donating Member

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    I think it was possible to avoid the stairs and walk the street which was uphill. It would be time consuming, but I think you could virtually walk the Camino in satellite view on Google Earth.
     
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  6. Icacos

    Icacos Veteran Member

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    Now that I think of it, yes, I believe you are right about the road. I remember we looked at it as a possible alternative, but decided one was as bad as the other.
     
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  7. Sailor

    Sailor Active Member Donating Member Donating Member

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    Stay in Mercadoiro, just a few kilometers prior to reaching Portomarin. The next day when you reach those stairs you make a left turn, follow the arrows to bypass the town. Good luck y que la luz de Dios alumbre su camino.
     
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  8. Felipe

    Felipe Veteran Member Donating Member

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    Yes, you can avoid Portomarin's steep and long stair. After you cross the bridge, turn right by the highway approx. 400 meters. You will see a signpost "Portomarin (centro)" and a kind of open public sport facility. Turn left, as indicated, and after a short walk you will see the imposing local church. That's what cyclists do.
    Buen camino!
     
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  9. t2andreo

    t2andreo Veteran Member Donating Member Donating Member

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    Sarria has the single longest stairway, if I recall correctly. It is both scenic and memorable. To leave Sarria from the city center, it is necessary to walk these long stairs. An option would be to take a taxi to the top. Also, there might be hilly streets that get you to the same place, but I am unaware of them.

    Portomarin, as described, also has a long stairway from the end of the bridge across the river up, into the town. Again, there are likely hilly roads that provide an alternative for wheeled vehicles.

    In general, following, or asking the bike riders which route they are taking might help. The mountain bikers can ride fairly rough ascending or descending trails, but stairs generally required carrying the bike up or down. However, I have rarely seen bikers do this on Camino. They seem to know which way to go to avoid stairs, per se.

    I hope this helps.
     
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  10. OTH86

    OTH86 Active Member Donating Member Donating Member

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    I believe there are also some stairs going down shortly after leaving Monte del Gozo just before entering the outskirts of Santiago.
    The street access around the stairs on entry to Portomarin is not too bad - up hill, but much easier than the stairs! Follow Felipe's directions.
    Ask at accomodations if there is a room on ground floor. Sometimes places have accessible rooms that aren't necessarily visible or advertised. Or ask accommodation owners if they can direct you to other places with accessible rooms or elevators.
    There is also an accommodation brochure primarily for bicyclists - you will be able to stay in these places - they are quite nice, and you'll be able to ask bicyclists about avoiding stairs. The brochures are available all along the Camino.
    Buen Camino!
     
    Last edited: Nov 13, 2017 at 3:37 PM
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  11. tjb1013

    tjb1013 Member Donating Member

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    The stairs in Sarria are a bear, but beautiful. You can avoid the ones in Portomarin.

    Worse than stairs are steep ascents and descents along rocky paths. There's one somewhere between Gonzar and Ponte Campaña that also can be avoided by taking the bike route along the road that adds only a few meters (and is noted in Brierley).

    File Nov 13, 9 05 28 AM.jpeg

    That one damaged me. :confused:

    This is from before just Sarria, but gives you an idea of the worst that you need to be prepared for:

    File Nov 13, 9 27 57 AM.jpeg

    I relied on hands on shoulders, someone else's backpack, etc., a few times, and it was completely do-able. I didn't know any of these helpers before the Camino - that also won't be a problem. :)

    There is very little in the way of accommodations for disabled people along the entire Camino Frances. Handrails in stairwells, grab bars in bathrooms and showers, etc. Even the private hotel/hostel rooms I stayed in did not have accessible bathrooms, etc. Not surprisingly, the pilgrimage is not designed for people who have trouble walking. o_O

    I took along a portable grab handle for showers (like this one) and it was invaluable. Walking poles also were critical; they kept me upright despite dozens of toe catches on large rocks in the path.

    Best of luck.
     
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  12. Old Crow

    Old Crow New Member

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    The stairs at Sarria can be easily bypassed by turning right at the bottom of the stairs, left at the first intersection and left again at the first or second street. A bit steep.
     
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  13. dalstonmarra

    dalstonmarra Member Donating Member

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    It's quite a steep downhill from Monte del Gozo to Santiago.I have knee problem and it was a slow hobble down this long hill.
     
  14. daniTS

    daniTS New Member

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    2017: CF Sarria–SdC in 21 stages with my grandfather (last week in a wheelchair)
    We just finished from Sarria to SdC with my 82 year old Grandfather (with a replaced hip, titanium heart valve, COPD, etc). We took 21 days and starting out walking 4-8km a day. After he developed a terrible chest infection and we had to essentially carry him for part of a day, we rented a wheelchair and pushed/pulled him from Arzua. There are places to stay alllll along the route from Sarria--we booked the day before so we knew were we were headed and took a taxi once, from O Coto to Melide (and then back the next day to finish the walk to Melide). There's actually a nice looking private place in O Coto though, so totally doable without the taxi if you are staying in pensions as well.

    As others have said, the stairs I remember are leaving Sarria, up to Portomarin, and then down to the cathedral right at the very end. Also in the Albergue Seminorio de Menor in SdC. Stairs for days.

    It's a bit of a trek from the main route, but Camino das Ocas has an accessible washroom with a ground floor room and a very friendly proprietor. Many of the albergues we stayed in (usually private ones, but not pensions, they were dorms) did have 1/2 or a flight of stairs to get up to the sleeping area, but wherever possible they gave at least my grandfather a same-level room. Our route (I don't think too many people do it with so many stages and I didn't see much about it, so I'll post it in the hopes it may be helpful when finding places to stay) was:

    • Sarria-Barbadelo (4km)
    • Barbadelo-Morgade (8.5km)
    • Morgade-Mercadoiro (5ish)
    • Portomarin (5.5) *rest day*
    • Ortiz (8.7)
    • Ventas de Naron (4.4)
    • Ligonde (3.6--I think we did such a short day because of where the Albergues were located)
    • Palais de Rei (8.34--there are a couple of other albegues in the Ventas-Palais area, but we couldn't book them or they were closed, which is why we had the short + long day) *rest day*
    • Casa Domingo (just past St Xulian) 4.7km
    • St. Xulien to O Coto (4.2), taxi to Melide
    • taxi back to O Coto, walk to Melide 6.33km
    • Boente (6.12)
    • Milpes (Ribadaiso) 6.33km
    • Arzua (2.46km--super short but Grampa needed a break at that point) *rest day*
    <<this is where we rented the chair, so we started to be a bit faster>>
    • Camino Das Ocas (4.37)
    • Salceda (6.67)
    • O Pedrouzo (9.5)
    • Lavacolla (11.61)
    • Seminorio de Menor (edge of Santiago) (11.16) <<there were a LOT of stairs here and no lift...
    • Cathedral (1.36)

    Have a great time! We were past by just about everyone and missed the chance to meet people repeatedly or form any kind of 'Camino Family', but on the other hand we loved seeing soooo much as we walked and really having time to enjoy the experience, each other, and a solid 4-6 cafe con leches per day ;)
     
  15. ginniek

    ginniek Member Donating Member

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    You can avoid those steep stairs in Portomarin by adding more steps--turning right and walking uphill along the road/sidewalk. Takes longer and is still kind of strenuous, but a lot less daunting.
     
  16. julia-t

    julia-t Active Member

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    <<Sarria has the single longest stairway, if I recall correctly. It is both scenic and memorable. To leave Sarria from the city center, it is necessary to walk these long stairs. >>

    Only if you start in Sarria. You can start at Barbadelo or Morgade and still qualify for your compostela.
     
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  17. Mark Barnes

    Mark Barnes Old Engineer Donating Member

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    I did not use a tour provider for my Camino, but it may be something that would be a good idea to think about if you have concerns. I would think that a good tour provider would be able to put together a Camino that would fit your needs and give you a certain level of peace of mind. God be with you.
     
  18. Walking Lover

    Walking Lover Member Donating Member

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    You can avoid the steps at Portomarin by doing the Camino in reverse when you get to the steps. Also, take the alternate route to go into Portomarin. The rocky, steep decline might be too much for you.
     
  19. ginniek

    ginniek Member Donating Member

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    Wish I had known that. I assumed that the stairs were a test for those people (like me) that are often derided for starting at Sarria instead of doing the whole Camino.
     
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  20. fraluchi

    fraluchi Veteran Member Donating Member Donating Member

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    Four years ago I had the opportunity to join a small group of pilgrims with (some serious) walking limitations (Los Caracoles - a slow Camino) from Sarria to Santiago. We eventually walked an average of 7 kms/day and stayed for the most part in hotels with facilities for the disabled (elevators, special bathrooms, etc.). Usually we spent two nights at a same hotel (Booking.com or Tripadvisor.com will lead you) and used taxi service from/to each accommodation/walking stop (average € 1.10 / km). Few albergues have the necessary facilities for disabled persons.
    Any parts of the Camino with stairs (as already mentioned above) can easily be circumvented.
    Ultreya!
     
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  21. tjb1013

    tjb1013 Member Donating Member

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    I wasn’t more than a few days into my Camino when I realized there was nothing essential about the endurance test aspect of the experience, and regretted that I put off doing the Camino until I could do the “whole thing.”

    Still, this made me laugh:

    424BFDA0-C027-4622-8CC0-997DD3E4D8D9.jpeg

    Remember: Real pilgrims walked back home.
     
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  22. gloria lowe

    gloria lowe New Member Donating Member

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    If you walk around the corner from those stairs there is a road to walk up. No stairs.
     
  23. Marbe2

    Marbe2 Active member Donating Member

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    If you go on booking.com you can prebook places. So me private places had elevators..between Sarria and Santiago. You can send the place a note letting then know you can not climb stairs and they will key you know if they can accommodate you.
    Once you get into a town you are free to take a cab without bachtracking...so if in a town use taxi if you encounter stairs. There are also areas that are hilly and some uneven paths so you will need to take that into account as well.
     

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