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2019 Camino Guides

I survived the Camino Portugues with 5 special young adults and 1 coworker

#1
Hi folks!

Thank you for your prayers and all the positive vibes you sent us. It really was a hell of job.

Three days before our departure one of the kids got sick, or maybe she just got "cold feet" as we say in NL. Since she was the one with severe anorexia, I guess it was meant to be that way.

E. had extreme problems with her feet. Not just a few blisters here and there, but after the first day both her feet were completely sore. I've never seen anything like that before. She still managed to do 10 to 12 km a day, but OMG, it must have been a torture.

D. was in a perfect condition - no blisters at all. Unfortunately she turned out to be very lazy. Every day after 45 minutes she wanted to take a cab. Sometimes we gave in after 13 km, but she also managed the Caldas the Reis to Padron leg without any problems.

S. and S. were real pilgrims. No matter how far, no matter how steep, no matter how hot - they just kept going.

B. caused a lot of problems. On day one she threw her backback down and just took off - we had to pick her up at the police. Three days later she wanted to kill herself and took all her medication at once. In Porrino we had to take her to the hospital, since she cut her arms and legs with a knife. She took a shower with her boots on, and had to walk in her flipflops on the next day.

Regarding sleeping in "albergues" my coworker wasn't any help - too crowded, too hot, too basic :-(

And we only slept in ONE real albergue municipal - in Valenca.

I planned to stay the night in Portela de Barros (about halfway between Ponteverdra and Caldas de Reis), but my co-worker didn't want to stay in this albergue municipal. About 750 metres from the albergue (€ 7,00, evening meal for € 8,00) she called a cab to Caldas de Reis (€ 40,00) and booked 4 rooms in a lousy motel (€ 170,00)

My coworker definately had different opinions about this pilgrimage.

Never ever again.

Emia

PS
Getting the Compostelas for our group was really easy. I showed the security our Credentiales, he directed me to a special office, I left our Credentiales there and the next morning I picked up our Compostelas.
 

james mcev

Born under a wandering star?
Camino(s) past & future
Yeah. Obviously!!
#3
Well done Emia. It sounds like you had plenty of extra challenges. (I wonder if it was you Koen was taking about last week in Portugal?)
Having met a group with special needs walking the Ingles in April, I was always in awe of the long days put in, and the extra work for the chaparones. While you may not want to repeat it, sincere congratulations to all of you.
 

Kiwi-family

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Past: (2012, 2014, 2015, 2016)
Future (God-willing): Madrid, Salvador, Primitivo (2018)
#5
@Emia Thanks so much for telling us how you all went. I don’t think any of us can comprehend what a challenge it must have been. I take my hat off to you.
Forgive me if this is the wrong thing to ask...but....would you do it again on your own or with a friend with the same expectations as yourself? It would be a totally different experience to the one you courageously embarked on - and finished!
Maybe I should wait to ask that question until a time you have managed to catch your breath after the exhaustion!
 

Morgan Holmes

Every day is a path to walk.
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances to Santiago from SJPDP (2014); Fromistá to Santiago (2018).
#7
Just a reminder that we ought to be congratulating the atypical walkers. Whether they were enthused all the time or not, they received their compostelas, and that is a big accomplishment. Thank you Emia for facilitating their shared journey.
 
#9
@Emia Thanks so much for telling us how you all went. I don’t think any of us can comprehend what a challenge it must have been. I take my hat off to you.
Forgive me if this is the wrong thing to ask...but....would you do it again on your own or with a friend with the same expectations as yourself? It would be a totally different experience to the one you courageously embarked on - and finished!
Maybe I should wait to ask that question until a time you have managed to catch your breath after the exhaustion!
I defenitely will!
Walked from Pamplona to León last year and can't wait to continue next May
 
Last edited:
Camino(s) past & future
Norte, Primitivo, Plata, Salvador Torres
#11
Fabulous! I had been wondering how things were going - lost your thread somehow. What an example of courage!!!

Which reminds me of another one: I have at last watched the film “I’ll push you”. Very touching! It is now doing the rounds amongst my family and friends.
 
Camino(s) past & future
September 2017
#12
Omg, sounds like a real ordeal. Please touch base in 6 months or so and tell us what (if any) impact the Camino has had on your wild and crazy group. In the meanwhile relax and think about walking another Camino- alone
 
#13
The first and probably most important lesson I learned from this adventure: never go on a Camino like this with a completely unexperienced coworker!

Ordering meals, asking for the bills, calling a cab, getting the stamps, organizing the Compostelas, getting our group checked in at the hostels and the washing machine going - it really was a tiny bit too much for one person (= me). And motivating the kids to get going at 07.45 was very difficult while my coworker was still relaxing in bed at 08.15 :eek:

If your coworker can't deal with earplugs, snoring fellow pilgrims, shared bedrooms, waiting for the supermarket to open after siesta, food that doesn't taste like what you're used to at home, the beds too hard or too soft, the pillows too large or too small, it is very hard to keep such young adults going....

Sometimes she caused even more trouble than the kids! Like walking through SdC, looking for a decent meal on our last night after the pilgrims' mass. Too expensive, too much like fast food, not pizza again, too busy, too quiet... At 21.30 we ended up in a very small restaurant - and they really scratched all their possible food together: among the seven of us we got 3 mixed salads, 2 pollo asado and 2 ternero with french fries. So the kids and I shared whatever they put on the table, but she only wanted to eat fish - and fish was out. She couldn't eat the bread (too dry), the postre (icecream with chocolate sauce) wasn't homemade and there wasn't enough gas in the aqua con gas. But she did kill a whole bottle of red wine :p Which I think was not very responsible, regarding all the difficult situations that may turn up, day or night.

My coworker wanted to keep our group together by all means. So when 2 kids "needed" a cab, we all had to take a cab. On a few occasions I could and would have walked the whole leg with the other 3 kids, but she didn't want us to seperate. Probably because she wasn't confident enough to manage the taxi ride or the checkin in the hostel on her own, but it was a bit frustrating.

Luckily 2 kids were always very bored on our resting days. So while my coworker and the others stayed in bed all day or performed their beauty programm, we went for adventures. On our resting day in Tui we walked back to Valenca, had a closer look at the fortress and the old town, enjoyed an "unallowed" and "unhealthy" meal, and made our fun of crossing the border between Portugal and Spain about 10 times on one day. The three of us used our resting day in Caldas de Reis to walk the leg we skipped from Portela de Barro: we took a taxi back to where we had compulsively left the day before and really enjoyed our 13 Km walk. No one else complaining after just one hour of walking ("I'm nearly dead") and no one else complaining about the amount of food (my coworker: "we had breakfast at 08.30, so you can't be hungry at 12.30").

We also had a very difficult situation in our albergue in Porrino, where a fellow pilgrim jumped out of a window in the second floor. Psychosis? Camino tantrums? Drugs? We'll never know, but it really was a disturbing experience.

I guess it will take a lot of time for some of the kids to realize what they have accomplished on our Camino. Two of them (40%) are already fully aware about it. Hopefully the other 2 (40%) will realize it in a few months.

And one of them (20%) will probably hate it for as long as she lives. Last week she destroyed her credencial and her compostela :mad:

In spite of all the difficulties I will definitely treasure this Compostela. It really was a hell of job!
But it's my 8 Compostela and I can joyfully look back on 7 "easy" ones. Next year I'm to finish my last one, which I started in 2017 (Pamplona - León).

Turning 60 years old in 2020 one never knows...
 
Camino(s) past & future
Frances(2006) portugues(2013)San Salvador (2017)
#14
The first and probably most important lesson I learned from this adventure: never go on a Camino like this with a completely unexperienced coworker!

Ordering meals, asking for the bills, calling a cab, getting the stamps, organizing the Compostelas, getting our group checked in at the hostels and the washing machine going - it really was a tiny bit too much for one person (= me). And motivating the kids to get going at 07.45 was very difficult while my coworker was still relaxing in bed at 08.15 :eek:

If your coworker can't deal with earplugs, snoring fellow pilgrims, shared bedrooms, waiting for the supermarket to open after siesta, food that doesn't taste like what you're used to at home, the beds too hard or too soft, the pillows too large or too small, it is very hard to keep such young adults going....

Sometimes she caused even more trouble than the kids! Like walking through SdC, looking for a decent meal on our last night after the pilgrims' mass. Too expensive, too much like fast food, not pizza again, too busy, too quiet... At 21.30 we ended up in a very small restaurant - and they really scratched all their possible food together: among the seven of us we got 3 mixed salads, 2 pollo asado and 2 ternero with french fries. So the kids and I shared whatever they put on the table, but she only wanted to eat fish - and fish was out. She couldn't eat the bread (too dry), the postre (icecream with chocolate sauce) wasn't homemade and there wasn't enough gas in the aqua con gas. But she did kill a whole bottle of red wine :p Which I think was not very responsible, regarding all the difficult situations that may turn up, day or night.

My coworker wanted to keep our group together by all means. So when 2 kids "needed" a cab, we all had to take a cab. On a few occasions I could and would have walked the whole leg with the other 3 kids, but she didn't want us to seperate. Probably because she wasn't confident enough to manage the taxi ride or the checkin in the hostel on her own, but it was a bit frustrating.

Luckily 2 kids were always very bored on our resting days. So while my coworker and the others stayed in bed all day or performed their beauty programm, we went for adventures. On our resting day in Tui we walked back to Valenca, had a closer look at the fortress and the old town, enjoyed an "unallowed" and "unhealthy" meal, and made our fun of crossing the border between Portugal and Spain about 10 times on one day. The three of us used our resting day in Caldas de Reis to walk the leg we skipped from Portela de Barro: we took a taxi back to where we had compulsively left the day before and really enjoyed our 13 Km walk. No one else complaining after just one hour of walking ("I'm nearly dead") and no one else complaining about the amount of food (my coworker: "we had breakfast at 08.30, so you can't be hungry at 12.30").

We also had a very difficult situation in our albergue in Porrino, where a fellow pilgrim jumped out of a window in the second floor. Psychosis? Camino tantrums? Drugs? We'll never know, but it really was a disturbing experience.

I guess it will take a lot of time for some of the kids to realize what they have accomplished on our Camino. Two of them (40%) are already fully aware about it. Hopefully the other 2 (40%) will realize it in a few months.

And one of them (20%) will probably hate it for as long as she lives. Last week she destroyed her credencial and her compostela :mad:

In spite of all the difficulties I will definitely treasure this Compostela. It really was a hell of job!
But it's my 8 Compostela and I can joyfully look back on 7 "easy" ones. Next year I'm to finish my last one, which I started in 2017 (Pamplona - León).

Turning 60 years old in 2020 one never knows...
I just have to salute you for your commitment and endurance. Lovely to hear of the two who joined you on the free days, and the delight in going back and forth across that bridge between Portugal and Spain! You will certainly relish the luxury of just looking after yourself when you go to complete your unfinished Camino from Leon!
 

Kiwi-family

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Past: (2012, 2014, 2015, 2016)
Future (God-willing): Madrid, Salvador, Primitivo (2018)
#15
Thanks so much for sharing in such detail. It will be so useful for anyone else considering doing something similar. First guideline would seem to be about sorting out your co-worker. Second might be to take a smaller group - my own experience (with lots of kids) is that the more you have, the more variables there are.
You just might find yourself doing this again with ONE special person!
 
Camino(s) past & future
Norte, Primitivo, Plata, Salvador Torres
#16
The first and probably most important lesson I learned from this adventure: never go on a Camino like this with a completely unexperienced coworker!

Ordering meals, asking for the bills, calling a cab, getting the stamps, organizing the Compostelas, getting our group checked in at the hostels and the washing machine going - it really was a tiny bit too much for one person (= me). And motivating the kids to get going at 07.45 was very difficult while my coworker was still relaxing in bed at 08.15 :eek:

If your coworker can't deal with earplugs, snoring fellow pilgrims, shared bedrooms, waiting for the supermarket to open after siesta, food that doesn't taste like what you're used to at home, the beds too hard or too soft, the pillows too large or too small, it is very hard to keep such young adults going....

Sometimes she caused even more trouble than the kids! Like walking through SdC, looking for a decent meal on our last night after the pilgrims' mass. Too expensive, too much like fast food, not pizza again, too busy, too quiet... At 21.30 we ended up in a very small restaurant - and they really scratched all their possible food together: among the seven of us we got 3 mixed salads, 2 pollo asado and 2 ternero with french fries. So the kids and I shared whatever they put on the table, but she only wanted to eat fish - and fish was out. She couldn't eat the bread (too dry), the postre (icecream with chocolate sauce) wasn't homemade and there wasn't enough gas in the aqua con gas. But she did kill a whole bottle of red wine :p Which I think was not very responsible, regarding all the difficult situations that may turn up, day or night.

My coworker wanted to keep our group together by all means. So when 2 kids "needed" a cab, we all had to take a cab. On a few occasions I could and would have walked the whole leg with the other 3 kids, but she didn't want us to seperate. Probably because she wasn't confident enough to manage the taxi ride or the checkin in the hostel on her own, but it was a bit frustrating.

Luckily 2 kids were always very bored on our resting days. So while my coworker and the others stayed in bed all day or performed their beauty programm, we went for adventures. On our resting day in Tui we walked back to Valenca, had a closer look at the fortress and the old town, enjoyed an "unallowed" and "unhealthy" meal, and made our fun of crossing the border between Portugal and Spain about 10 times on one day. The three of us used our resting day in Caldas de Reis to walk the leg we skipped from Portela de Barro: we took a taxi back to where we had compulsively left the day before and really enjoyed our 13 Km walk. No one else complaining after just one hour of walking ("I'm nearly dead") and no one else complaining about the amount of food (my coworker: "we had breakfast at 08.30, so you can't be hungry at 12.30").

We also had a very difficult situation in our albergue in Porrino, where a fellow pilgrim jumped out of a window in the second floor. Psychosis? Camino tantrums? Drugs? We'll never know, but it really was a disturbing experience.

I guess it will take a lot of time for some of the kids to realize what they have accomplished on our Camino. Two of them (40%) are already fully aware about it. Hopefully the other 2 (40%) will realize it in a few months.

And one of them (20%) will probably hate it for as long as she lives. Last week she destroyed her credencial and her compostela :mad:

In spite of all the difficulties I will definitely treasure this Compostela. It really was a hell of job!
But it's my 8 Compostela and I can joyfully look back on 7 "easy" ones. Next year I'm to finish my last one, which I started in 2017 (Pamplona - León).

Turning 60 years old in 2020 one never knows...
What an experience to have been through! Not only would you need an experienced co-worker, but you would need to know him or her well enough to know their reactions, how practical they are, how they tackle particular problems, do they moan about things which cannot be changed like bad weather and spoil the ambiance of the whole group, etc etc.

Will you be retiring in 2020, so you can offer yourself a long camino? And, as Kiwi family said, may-be with one very special person!

Buen camino for next year! And keep us posted about how you are doing!
 

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