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I Walk; Spouse Drives - Doable?

Camino(s) past & future
2015 - Roncesvalles - Logrono

(Future)
#1
I had an unexpectedly free week in 2015 and flew to Bilbao to give the Camino a try. Walked Roncevalles to Logrono, and spent an extra day in Pamplona.

Loved it, and now they the kids are all off to college, I’d like to walk the whole Camino and experience it with my wife. But, she has neither the interest, nor, due to a foot injury on a long-ago holiday, the ability to walk long distance.

I’m thinking I walk, she drives, she picks me up each evening and drops me off each morning where she picked me up the night before. We could stay in a hotel 2-3 nights at a time, and I could walk as long as I want without worry about accommodations. I tend toward a marathon a day and prefer to start later in the morning and walk into the evening, which doesn’t work well with competitive bedding.

Has anyone tried this? Did it work for both? Will I miss much out on the aura of the Camino? (I tend to think that, even if so, it will be made up for by experiencing it together, and, practically it’s the only way I’m going to do it, because I wouldn’t want to be apart for a month). I think she’ll be fine, do some reading, enjoy the days, but have others found otherwise?

Hotel cost isn’t an issue, plus I can shave a few days off by having the flexibility to not have to stop early and not carrying a pack.

Thanks for thoughts and advice.
 

Kiwi-family

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Past: (2012, 2014, 2015, 2016)
Future (God-willing): Madrid, Salvador, Primitivo (2018)
#2
Go for it and tell us how it went! I think it's a wonderful solution so long as your wife is interested in joining you. Does she read or sketch or knit or chatter or write or compose music or something that she'd like to do all day every day for a month?
 
Camino(s) past & future
2015 Villafranca to Santiago
2016 St Jean to Los Arcos
2018 24-Sept Leon to Finnisterre
#3
One of our favorite pilgims in 2015 was an older Brit that drove down with his wife. She could not walk much, and he could only walk 4-5k. We called him the "Backwards Pllgrim" as we would see him in the morning headed back to the East while we were going towards Santiago. Turns out, he'd go out early for a slow 2k, then turn backwards to the town to finish his limited walk. We crossed paths several time. He and wife would then drive on to the next village. With their older age limited abilities, they were still able to experience their Camino as best they could. A super nice guy and I think of him often - and wonder how they doing?
 
Camino(s) past & future
CF: (2001, 2002, 2004, 2014). Hospitalera: 2002, Ponferrada. 2004, Rabanal del Camino.
#4
On my first camino, 2001, I walked my mom rode buses and trains. It worked out wonderfully. And, that was before cell phones.

This pilgrimage sounds wonderful.

Buen camino.
 
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scruffy1

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Holy Year from Pamplona 2010, SJPP 2011, Lisbon 2012, Le Puy 2013, Vezelay (partial watch this space!) 2014; 2015 Toulouse-Puenta la Reina (Arles)
#5
Might be fun in the larger stops Pamplona-Burgos-Leon-Astorga but then again your wife will have a month of 5-6-7 hour days sitting around waiting for you to finish off your daily bit. She will have to plan this much much better than your walking - after driving 25k down the road, window shopping, cafe bar, local museum, an occasional visit to a pelequera, pop into the church then...?...a car boot full of books will help as will side trips to off-Camino points of interest - plan well!
 

JabbaPapa

"True Pilgrim"
Camino(s) past & future
100 characters or fewer : see signature details
#6
I had an unexpectedly free week in 2015 and flew to Bilbao to give the Camino a try. Walked Roncevalles to Logrono, and spent an extra day in Pamplona.

Loved it, and now they the kids are all off to college, I’d like to walk the whole Camino and experience it with my wife. But, she has neither the interest, nor, due to a foot injury on a long-ago holiday, the ability to walk long distance.

I’m thinking I walk, she drives, she picks me up each evening and drops me off each morning where she picked me up the night before. We could stay in a hotel 2-3 nights at a time, and I could walk as long as I want without worry about accommodations. I tend toward a marathon a day and prefer to start later in the morning and walk into the evening, which doesn’t work well with competitive bedding.

Has anyone tried this? Did it work for both? Will I miss much out on the aura of the Camino? (I tend to think that, even if so, it will be made up for by experiencing it together, and, practically it’s the only way I’m going to do it, because I wouldn’t want to be apart for a month). I think she’ll be fine, do some reading, enjoy the days, but have others found otherwise?

Hotel cost isn’t an issue, plus I can shave a few days off by having the flexibility to not have to stop early and not carrying a pack.

Thanks for thoughts and advice.
People have been doing that since the 1990s or so -- interestingly, it's actually quite similar to what General Franco wanted to establish as a Camino standard back before the 1965 Holy Year.

The good news from that is that there are still all of the hotels and roads infrastructures to allow people who want it to do exactly that. Including still a few of those 1960s era hotels.

Provided you stick to the hotels and the occasional private more up-market albergues, your plan sounds eminently do-able ; though do try to walk every Km yourself -- don't worry about any days of resting you might want to spend with your wife rather than walking.

The fact that you can do 40K/day is very helpful towards your plan -- walking alone, you'd end up with no "Camino family" anyway, so none of the typical "aura of the Camino" that people usually talk about, whereas the presence of your wife as your Camino family will be delightful for you.

It sounds like a great project !!

Buen Camino !

And remember -- even though your wife as a driver will not be eligible for a Compostela certificate or anything, she'll still be a Santiago pilgrim anyway ...
 
Camino(s) past & future
Nearly every year since 2006, often walking more than one route. 2018 will be Camino #14.
#7
I’m a pretty self confident person but I don’t think I would attempt drive in Spain. The roundabouts and odd signage I have seen while taking taxis confused me. Plus the fact that many off the villages are off the main roads. Might be cheaper and simpler if she took taxi or bus from point to point.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Many
#8
The only thing I would change is the 2-3 nights bit. Unless you are spending a day not walking, 3 days will result in a lot more driving. It might not seem like 25km more is a lot for a car but remember that the camino doesn't always follow the road. 2 nights is ideal, and if it is a big town try to arrange it so that you are spending your first night there on the night before you actually arrive there. I know this sounds counterintuitive since you will see the city 'early' but for your spouse, it means a lazy start in a scenic place.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Portugués, Francés, Le Puy, Rota Vicentina, De Soulac, Norte, Madrid-Salv-Primitivo
#9
Hi, I’m reluctant to be the one who comes across as a bit negative here, after you’ve received much encouragement above, but I think you should have Plan B if it doesn’t work. Has she thought about this idea? She’s already not interested, which should be sounding alarm bells. Quite honestly, I think she will be bored out of her head after one week, let alone a month, waiting for you every evening. What is she going to do every day, all day long? If you have both discussed this together, and weighed up all the pros and cons, and she is very keen to do this, then all well and good – you both tried, and maybe it will work. Otherwise, I think another option might be that you go for only 2 weeks (like many people do, who walk the camino in stages). It won’t be so difficult to be apart for that length of time. Then go for another 2 weeks many months later. Good luck!
Jill
 

Fletchonides

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
SJPdP - Pamplona (2014)
Pamplona - Burgos (2016)
Burgos - Leon (June 2017)
Leon - SdC (June 2018)
#10
We met an Austrian trio a few weeks ago just before Sarria. He was driving the car, and the two ladies were walking. They were mostly staying in private albergues or hotels, I think. If they didn't reach their goal for the day, he drove them back to where they stopped the next morning so they could continue on. it worked for them, but as Jill said, you need to have the interest or you would get completely bored.
 

cesleeth

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
2009 and 2012
#11
On my first Camino in 2009 there were a couple - Joseph and Mary (really). She walked, he drove. He met her for lunch and then picked her up at the end of the day. They stayed in small hostals or hotels in big cities. She got to know the people walking on the Camino. We walked with her many days and had dinner with them both in the evening. My husband wanted to do the Via de la Plata and I said I'd be the chase car and perhaps walk with him off and on. Alas, he died while planning that trip. I'd give anything to be that chase car. Go for it!
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Inglés (from Ferrol June 2014)
Camino Portuguese (from Tui May 2015)
#12
I wanted to do this on my second camino, but my husband just wasn't interested in driving the chase car. He was worried about finding his way (easily solved with google maps and sending location via WhatsApp), driving a stick shift (oops, he still doesn't drive one!) and being bored (I think being bored is an individual thing - I can always find something interesting to see/do wherever I am ... there are SO many interesting sights on and around the camino! Or, I've got a book to read or podcasts to listen to, but everyone is different). That being said, on my second camino, a friend in Galicia actually did pick me up from the route the first couple of days (we either decided a meeting point ahead of time, or I sent my location via WhatsApp) and we spent the afternoons exploring and going to different sites/events in the afternoons/evenings, and it was great. Doing it that way, for those couple of days, didn't really feel like a Camino to me, but the rest of the trip where I just walked on my own did, so it was a nice 'best of both worlds' type of journey.

As for driving in Spain, it's (EDIT: I meant to say "NOT really difficult") really difficult - of course it depends on one's affinity for driving and perhaps depending on where you are from. They drive on the right side of the road and most rental cars are stick shift. Automatics are available from some rental places (not all), but usually at a price. I highly recommend having data and using Google Maps for navigation - it actually makes it quite easy. I've driven all over Galicia, from Santiago to San Sebastian (via Gijon/Santander), and also from Barcelona to La Rioja, San Sebastian, throughout the Pyrennes, and all along the Costa Brava with no issues. We rented a car once in Ireland and driving a stick shift on the "wrong" side of the road was really stressful and challenging, but I managed to do it for the 3 days we were there and NOT smash into any of those charming stone walls that line the tiny roads! It all depends upon what kind of adventure you all are up for! Buen camino to you!!
 
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Jim

Member
Camino(s) past & future
2006- Camino Portuguese
2008- Camino Frances
2009- Sanabres extension of the VDLP
2010- Camino Frances
2011- Camino Potuguese
2014- Camino Frances
2017- Camino Finisterre
#13
Never tried it— always walked alone except once among seven Camino hikes. But met up with individuals along the way who were going exactly what you are planning. All seemed to be having a very good time. I think your wife will enjoy being at least this much a part of your adventure. So my vote would be to go for it! Buen Camino to you both!
 
Camino(s) past & future
please see signature
#14
I walk, she drives, she picks me up each evening and drops me off each morning where she picked me up the night before
@icecreampilgrim , I understand from my Scottish relatives and from those promoting pilgrimages in the UK that this is a common practice in the UK. The two principal factors driving (pun intended) this behaviour is either minimal accomodation available on a multi-day trip, or lack of interest in walking when on holiday by one of the group.

I suggest try a multi-day trip away from home first to see how it might work for you both.

Kia kaha (take care, be strong, get going)
 
Camino(s) past & future
SJPDP-Finisterre X 2, El Norte incompleto
#15
I have a friend who did something similar with her husband, but they only met up every 5 days or so. He drove to larger towns where there was more to do, and entertained himself until she got there.
 
Camino(s) past & future
CF11, CF12, CP13, CF14, CA15, S.Anton15, CF15, CI15
Ditch Pig16, CF17, CP17, CdN, CM, CF18, LePuy19
#16
I’m a pretty self confident person but I don’t think I would attempt drive in Spain. The roundabouts and odd signage I have seen while taking taxis confused me. Plus the fact that many off the villages are off the main roads. Might be cheaper and simpler if she took taxi or bus from point to point.
Annie, I have driven through Spain many times since 2010, it is easy and much of the east to west Autopista is close to the N 120 which is very close to the CF.
 

domigee

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF(x4), Fisterra/Muxía(x2), VdlP, Jerusalem, VF, Walsingham,
C inglés. 2019? Who knows! ;-)
#17
A Camino friend of mine did this to enable his (not very fit) friend to walk from Sarria to Santiago: he drove the friend’s camper van whilst the other one walked at his own pace. Waited for him at the end of the day. Worked fine.
Hope it works well for you :)
 
Camino(s) past & future
CF11, CF12, CP13, CF14, CA15, S.Anton15, CF15, CI15
Ditch Pig16, CF17, CP17, CdN, CM, CF18, LePuy19
#18
I have started considering this for a future Camino. I want my son, his wife and my 3 grandsons (8, 11 and 13) to enjoy the Camino with me. They would have limited time for their visit, say 2 weeks. Driving a car would give me a chance to give them an interpretive “lite Camino” and get the boys psyched for future explorations after a couple of weeks walking parts of the Camino. Me, I would turn the car in SdC and start walking for another 5 or 6 weeks.
 

janicemf

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
the french way
#19
On our last camino we met someone who either took a taxi, or caught a ride with one of the luggage transport companies from town to town while his wife walked. Both seemed to be enjoying their camino. So it does seem possible, buen camino
 

Vince Lee

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Walking the French way with assorted friends and family starting September 2017
#20
I had an unexpectedly free week in 2015 and flew to Bilbao to give the Camino a try. Walked Roncevalles to Logrono, and spent an extra day in Pamplona.

Loved it, and now they the kids are all off to college, I’d like to walk the whole Camino and experience it with my wife. But, she has neither the interest, nor, due to a foot injury on a long-ago holiday, the ability to walk long distance.

I’m thinking I walk, she drives, she picks me up each evening and drops me off each morning where she picked me up the night before. We could stay in a hotel 2-3 nights at a time, and I could walk as long as I want without worry about accommodations. I tend toward a marathon a day and prefer to start later in the morning and walk into the evening, which doesn’t work well with competitive bedding.

Has anyone tried this? Did it work for both? Will I miss much out on the aura of the Camino? (I tend to think that, even if so, it will be made up for by experiencing it together, and, practically it’s the only way I’m going to do it, because I wouldn’t want to be apart for a month). I think she’ll be fine, do some reading, enjoy the days, but have others found otherwise?

Hotel cost isn’t an issue, plus I can shave a few days off by having the flexibility to not have to stop early and not carrying a pack.

Thanks for thoughts and advice.
A group of us did the whole of the CF last September/October. The spouse of one of our party couldn’t walk long distances so opted to drive. About 50% of the time she met up with us when we stopped for lunch. We opted to have our luggage transported ahead of us each day and stayed in small hotels along the way. She became our pathfinder booking in to the evening’s accommodation in advance of us, sussing our laundry facilities, WiFi passwords etc. Also there were a handful of days where one of the party had to opt out of walking for a day or so and therefore travelled with her in the car. Every 7-8 days when we got to the bigger places such as Burgos, Leon etc we stopped for 2 nights so there were opportunities not to be on her own all day.
 

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