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In Retrospect: Top 5 Things You Wish You'd Known

Time of past OR future Camino
(SJPP - Finisterre)
What are the top five things you wish you'd known, or advice you wish you'd been given, thinking about it in retrospect after completing the walk from SJPP to Finisterra? Here's mine:

1) Take your best packed bag and reduce the weight by another 25%

2) Use hiking poles, even if you're young and think you're invulnerable, (to save your knees).

3) Bring something to eat on the Day 1 hike over the Pyrenees.

4) Some albergues close at 10pm and if you miss curfew, you sleep on the street.

5) Realize that it may rain more often than not for a week or more on end in Galicia.
 
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Waka

Veteran Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Some but not all, and other routes too.
Not having started yet, I've taken your five comments into consideration. No doubt I'll have a few more as time goes on.
 

MartinZ

Member
Time of past OR future Camino
camino frances 2012 ... 2017
1) Get to know your backpack. Make sure it fits you and get well informed on what is adjustable and the why and the how of it.
2) Don't bring any luxury 'you-never-know' items unless it's worth risking a week-long painful blister over it.
-Take the lightest cheapest crap sitting pad you can find with you. Nice if you want to sit down but everything is wet.
-Bring some ziplock bags to store your pilgrims credential and other valuable papers.
4) It's just as much fun (if not more) to sleep in the towns NOT marked as ending stages in guidebooks.
- You can still wonder around in 'marked' places for a couple of hours if you desire so, get some rest..... and then move on.
5) Don't be afraid you won't find a bed. The camino provides.
 

Peter Fransiscus

Be a Rainbow in someone else's cloud.
Time of past OR future Camino
All that we are is the result of what we have thought.
What are the top five things you wish you'd known, or advice you wish you'd been given, thinking about it in retrospect after completing the walk from SJPP to Finisterra? Here's mine:

1) Take your best packed bag and reduce the weight by another 25%

2) Use hiking poles, even if you're young and think you're invulnerable, (to save your knees).

3) Bring something to eat on the Day 1 hike over the Pyrenees.

4) Some albergues close at 10pm and if you miss curfew, you sleep on the street.

5) Realize that it may rain more often than not for a week or more on end in Galicia.
Hi, I can't think about anything at the moment. My wife was a good teacher, she learned the hard way. Wish you all well, Peter.
 

jeffnd

Active Member
Time of past OR future Camino
March/April 2014
1. Stop as many times as you need to when climbing a hill. You don't have to keep up with anyone.

2. Take more pictures. You'll wish you had.

3. Never weigh your pack. If it feels good, then go!

4. "York" ham is basically Oscar Mayer lunch meat. Always go for Spanish ham.

5. Don't be afraid.
 
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Al the optimist

Veteran Member
1. That life will never be the same
2. That you will become obsessed with the Camino
3. That you would need to buy a bigger monitor to view your and others pictures and videos better
4. That airline websites would be so dangerous
5. That you would have a spreadsheet that automatically counts the days since your last Camino as well as to the next
 

Sue M

Active Member
Time of past OR future Camino
SJPdP-Burgos(2012)Leon-Santiago(2013)Sarria- Santiago(Sept 2013),Frances (coach,2013),Le Puy-Conques(May 2014), parish pilgrimage organised for June 2015.
Al the optimist, I'm Sue the pessimist! Are you a lone pilgrim in Wolverhampton, or is there a local group? I live in Rugby.
 

GerryFitz

New Member
Time of past OR future Camino
2014 - October - StJPP to Santiago
2015 - September - StJPP to Finisterre
(2016 - September - Le Puy to StJPP)
Wear liner socks
Remember you are never alone
It's not a race - take time and enjoy
Be nice to your feet - elevate them for 20 minutes after each stage
Wine is cheaper than water - and lots more fun :)
 
M

Mark Lee

Guest
1. Need to pack lunch on first day from SJPdP to Roncesvalles.
2. I could have shown up in SJPdP with absolutely no gear and outfitted myself from a store there.

Other than those two, besides sore knees, it was all good. Piece of cake.
 

Bajaracer

Camino Frances 2013 Jun-Jul SJPDP to Finisterre
Time of past OR future Camino
Camino Frances (2013) Jun-Jul SJPDP to Finisterre
I wish I would have know about ordering a tortilla francesa (plain omelette) instead of a tortilla patata, there were some days I just wanted some hot fresh cooked eggs for breakfast. Also good for a bocadillo as well.
 
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Peaceable Projects Inc. is a U.S.-based non-profit group that brings the vast resources of the wide world together with the ongoing needs of the people who live, work, and travel on the Camino de Santiago pilgrim trail network in Spain.
Time of past OR future Camino
CF 2006,08,09,11,12(2),13(2),14,16(2),18(2) Aragones 11,12,VDLP 11,13,Lourdes 12,Malaga 16,Port 06
1. Take the Pyrenees in TWO days, no matter what anyone else says, unless you are in EXCELLENT shape
2. Be willing to spend $$$ on the right shoes and pack
3. Focus on the NOW - smell the flowers - watch the sunrise/sunset - hear the birds singing - talk to other pilgrims and locals
4. Underpack - it really IS true that anything you find you need can be found on the Camino route
5. Share - food, money, first aid, water, experiences
 

gerardcarey

Veteran Member
Time of past OR future Camino
CFx2, CPx1
1. Get footwear one size bigger than is comfortable, or a wide version and a half size bigger.
2. Start slow like an old person. Bugger. I am an old person.
3. Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate. If you feel under-hydrated at the end of a day's walk, ensure you consume plenty of vino tinto in the evenings. Without doubt it is the finest tonic available.
4. That's enuf now. Read what other people say cause they are smarter than me and I'm grumpy and feeling under-hydrated.
I think I'll have a tonic.
Regds
Gerard
 

seekingsarah

New Member
Time of past OR future Camino
July 2015
4. Underpack - it really IS true that anything you find you need can be found on the Camino route

Is it possible to hire a backpack in either Leon or Ponferrada? I will be travelling before and after the Camino and my suitcase is full to capacity. Thanks.
 

seekingsarah

New Member
Time of past OR future Camino
July 2015
Is it possible to hire a backpack in either Leon or Ponferrada? I will be travelling before and after the Camino and my suitcase is full to capacity. Thanks.
 
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AZgirl

Active Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Frances 2012 , via de la Plata 2014
Madrid/frances Sept/Oct 2017
Next : mozarabe 2021
These are of course my personal preferences, ymmv.
1) invest in good quick dry clothes.
2) take a journal, and actually use it. One of my biggest camino regrets is my lack of writing down my experiences.
3) like @gerardcarey, drinks lots of water, even when it's Heavy to carry nothing worse than running out on a long hot stage.
4) bring a buff! I used mine as earwarmer, sleep mask & to keep ear plugs in at night, wet it to cool down, keep neck form being burned, and a myriad of other uses.
5) it's been said numerous times, go at your own pace, whether fast or slow, long stages or short. Find what you like, I tried all sorts: short days, long days, taking lots of breaks, powering thru. For me It's fun to vary.
 

jeffnd

Active Member
Time of past OR future Camino
March/April 2014
1. Take the Pyrenees in TWO days, no matter what anyone else says, unless you are in EXCELLENT shape
2. Be willing to spend $$$ on the right shoes and pack
1. There are dozens of places to make up time on the Camino if you're on a tight schedule. The first day is not one of those places!

2. Pry open your wallet for the boots and backpack! Don't skimp here!


2) take a journal, and actually use it. One of my biggest camino regrets is my lack of writing down my experiences.
3) like @gerardcarey, drinks lots of water, even when it's Heavy to carry nothing worse than running out on a long hot stage.

2. Yes! The same thing happened to me, I brought a journal but hardly ever wrote in it. You don't have to document every single thing, but during a break and at the end of the day, just write down 3 or 4 quick notes.

3. You can walk when you're hot. You can walk when you're sore. You can walk when you're tired. You cannot walk when you're suffering from dehydration! Keep that tank topped off, folks! It really is much better to be carrying too much water than too little. And if you are carrying too much, just dump some out!
 
Time of past OR future Camino
June 2015
What are the top five things you wish you'd known, or advice you wish you'd been given, thinking about it in retrospect after completing the walk from SJPP to Finisterra? Here's mine:

1) Take your best packed bag and reduce the weight by another 25%

2) Use hiking poles, even if you're young and think you're invulnerable, (to save your knees).

3) Bring something to eat on the Day 1 hike over the Pyrenees.

4) Some albergues close at 10pm and if you miss curfew, you sleep on the street.

5) Realize that it may rain more often than not for a week or more on end in Galicia.


Here are our thoughts

1 – Not be on a schedule to get to Santiago in 8 days. Although we walked from Sarria to Santiago in 8 days (no one passed us) we wish we had taken more time to stay in towns like Porto Marin and Pedrouzo.

2 – Pack less clothing.

3 – Take two pair of zip-off leg pants instead of just one.

4 – Leave the sleeping bags behind. We did our pilgrimage May 8 to the 16, 2015 and our silk sleeping sacks and the blankets supplied by the Albergues were warm enough.

5 – A better grasp of Spanish to talk with the locals.
 

Urban Trekker

Happy Trails
Time of past OR future Camino
English Camino (2013)
Portuguese Camino (2014)
French Camino (2016)
Way of Saint Francis April 2017
What are the top five things you wish you'd known, or advice you wish you'd been given, thinking about it in retrospect after completing the walk from SJPP to Finisterra? Here's mine:

1) Take your best packed bag and reduce the weight by another 25%

2) Use hiking poles, even if you're young and think you're invulnerable, (to save your knees).

3) Bring something to eat on the Day 1 hike over the Pyrenees.

4) Some albergues close at 10pm and if you miss curfew, you sleep on the street.

5) Realize that it may rain more often than not for a week or more on end in Galicia.
1. There are no Gently Rolling Hills in Spain!
2. The rain in Spain falls mostly in Galicia which is a small part of Spain!
3. Don't leave your fleese at home.
4. Pontedeume means the climb of death.
5. You don't meet the nicest people on a Honda you meet them on the Camino.
Buen Camino

Happy Trails
 

Jetgirl

Member
Time of past OR future Camino
SJPdP-Santiago (2014), SJPdP - Logroño (planned spring 2016)
1. Take care of your feet.
2. Unbelievable people with amazing stories
3. It is more beautiful, more difficult, more life changing than I could have imagined
4. Meseta miles go by much faster when swapping tall tales
5. Headwinds, rain, and snow Oh my! Be prepared for ANY weather.
 
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Al the optimist

Veteran Member
Al the optimist, I'm Sue the pessimist! Are you a lone pilgrim in Wolverhampton, or is there a local group? I live in Rugby.
I'm the only one I know in Wolves. But hey why not try to form a group based say in Brum? I will post a thread to see if there is any interest.
 

jemitch65

Rather than love, money or fame, give me truth
Time of past OR future Camino
Camino Frances to Finisterre to Muxia(2012)
For what it's worth, these are my 5:
1. NO hiking boots ever; trail runner shoes are ideal, adequate and enough
2. Take more pictures
3. Take good care of your feet; blisters can and will appear if you don't and will make the experience extremely hard for you
4. Travel LIGHT; take only the bare essentials of what you need. You can buy all you need as your journey unfolds
5. Most peregrinos will eventually develop a "camino family" as they travel the Camino, but do everything you can still to meet, talk to, and share stories with as many others along the way

John
 
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seekingsarah

New Member
Time of past OR future Camino
July 2015
Thanks Mark & Walli. I do have a decent backpack but its too large for this kind of walk 0 65l, The pre- and post Camino travels require different 'gear' plus I'm bearing gifts for friends in Madrid (therefore full suitcase(. What to do? Ok will buy 30l as carry-on and post suitcase to Santiago. Problem solved.
 

vgen5122

Active Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Camino Frances (August 19-sept 30,2013) (8/2017)
1. Buy footwear one size bigger than is comfortable, or a wide version and a half size bigger.
2. If you pack weighes too much , get rid of the stuff by giving it away to a local charity. It will cost you as much as it is to send it back home as to buy the items new. The other thing you can do is to send it for storeage in Santiago.
3. There is no shame in having your backpack sent ahead via one of the backpack services.
4. Drink lots of water, your body needs it.
5. Don't take an iPad. Take your iPhone instead.
There are a lot of things to list on and on, but these are the most important ones for me to remember. Ditto on all the other things that have been said before.
 

simeon

Active Member
Time of past OR future Camino
SJPDP LosArcos 09\14 Tricastella SDDC 0515 Porto SDDC 1015 LosArcos Burgos 1016 Burgos Leon 0917
1. Make sure all your gear is fast dry
2. If you need to use washing machine \ dryer do it immediately you arriveand then rest til its finished
3.Make sure your poncho has long sleeves and is long.
4. Keep a dry set of socks at the top of your bag
5. get a set of the small compeeds as well as the large ones

and for the next time I go I'm thinking of a light pair of gaitors to bridge the gap between the bottom of the poncho and the top of the boots!
 

Scott Sweeney

Veteran Member
1. Avoid any tapas with squid ink while in Pamplona
2. Take a sleeping bag in May.
3. Ibuprofen there is not ibuprofen here.
4. Never drink that yellow liqueur
5. Go to Muxia instead (I say this because that spring we didn't return to Muxia and the church was destroyed that Christmas eve and I dint get to see it again)
5b. Turn around , look back at where you've been.
 
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Kanga

Moderator
Staff member
Time of past OR future Camino
Francés x 5, Le Puy x 2, Arles, Tours, Norte, Madrid, Via de la Plata, Portuguese, Primitivo
Every Camino teaches different lessons but these are a few things I wish I'd known before my last one:

1. Pacharan on an empty stomach is lethal.
2. I am not a camping kind of girl.
3. It is possible to eat too much seafood.
4. The staff in the post office cannot sell you even a stamp if the computer is down.
5. Do not wait around hoping the computer in the post office will soon be up.
6. The pilgrim with the map does not necessarily know where he is going
 
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A

Anemone del Camino

Guest
1. Never leave home without a consultation with a podiatrist.
2. Only bring fast drying clothes
3. Always bring a sleeping bag, as May of 2013 may be just around the corner once again.
4. If you snore, always make sure you are not spending the following night with the people from the night before
5. A Voltaren a day, with a muscle relaxant at night ( will make you snore, please see no.4) will keep the doctor away.
 

Kerstinh47

Active Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Camino Frances 16 May - 29 June, 2014
1. Never assume there will be toilet paper; carry a few small packages of tissues in your pack. Their weight is negligible but worth their weight in gold when you're in a pinch.
2. Others have spoken to this - journal. I've re-read mine many times since and looked forward to that reflective time each day after settling, laundry and various 'chores'. A glass of wine and reflection after walking each day rooted me in what I felt and experienced that day.
3. Forgive the early risers and the snorers - your grumpi-ness only affects you.
4. Keep your rain gear packed at an accessible place - no fun to remove other items in the rain to get to it.
5. If and when you find yourself judging the beautiful person you are because you're comparing yourself to another pilgrim and how they approach The Way; whether in distance that day, better language skills, greater knowledge, actually anything - be aware of it and STOP it; its your pilgrimage; only yours.

I know it's only supposed to be 5, however, if you are a coffee drinker to get your motor going in the morning, explore your options the night before!
 

CyclingJeff

New Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Via de la Plata route, Seville-Santiago, and the Camino Francesa, summer 2013, via touring bicycle, solo. Planning Camino Francesa east-west, by mountain bike, 2014.
Thanks Mark & Walli. I do have a decent backpack but its too large for this kind of walk 0 65l, The pre- and post Camino travels require different 'gear' plus I'm bearing gifts for friends in Madrid (therefore full suitcase(. What to do? Ok will buy 30l as carry-on and post suitcase to Santiago. Problem solved.
Acquire a GI barracks bag in lieu of a conventional suitcase. Easy to roll up and cheap to post to your ending point. Spanish post offices, btw, have suitably sized boxes on hand. I've done this a couple of times on the Camino with my bag, my bicycle transport bag and my travel clothing. I've always selected and booked a hotel room at my anticipated ending point and mailed the package there after clearing it beforehand with the management.
Carry a small container of instant coffee - it's worth it. The world is a different, more benevolent place at oh-dark-thirty (after the noisy Italians have awoken one :) ) with a bit of caffeine and sugar
inside you.
 
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Sofia-Richmond

New Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Frances (May 5, 2015), Portugues (Sep 5, 2016)
1. That life will never be the same
2. That you will become obsessed with the Camino
3. That you would need to buy a bigger monitor to view your and others pictures and videos better
4. That airline websites would be so dangerous
5. That you would have a spreadsheet that automatically counts the days since your last Camino as well as to the next
This is soooooo true. I agree 100%. We become obsessed that we watch our own video and pictures almost daily. We are also counting the days for the next one.. ha haha
 

Al the optimist

Veteran Member
5. Go to Muxia instead (I say this because that spring we didn't return to Muxia and the church was destroyed that Christmas eve and I dint get to see it again)

Hi Scott. Hope you are both well. About number 5. I did carry on in 2014 and saw it. A lovely church and such a great pity that it was burnt. I know it has been restored so time for you to repeat and remember your number 5?
 

Scott Sweeney

Veteran Member
Hi Scott. Hope you are both well. About number 5. I did carry on in 2014 and saw it. A lovely church and such a great pity that it was burnt. I know it has been restored so time for you to repeat and remember your number 5?

We are both well Al and welcome back. We have already started the conversation on walk in spring time again or wait until fall.
But Muxia we be at the end of our walk.
;-)
 

WayWalker63

Active Member
1. Stop as many times as you need to when climbing a hill. You don't have to keep up with anyone.

2. Take more pictures. You'll wish you had.

3. Never weigh your pack. If it feels good, then go!

4. "York" ham is basically Oscar Mayer lunch meat. Always go for Spanish ham.

5. Don't be afraid.

Number 5 is the one I'm struggling with right now. I keep thinking "What have I gotten myself into?"
 

fjvjess

Member
Time of past OR future Camino
June/July 2015
I'll summarize my top 5 with just this:
The Camino provides.
If you're inclined toward worry and over planning (like me!) repeat repeat repeat until you believe it. The Camino provides.

Don't show up in SJPdP empty handed, broke, and totally clueless; I'm a believer that God helps those who help themselves (i.e. we are COcreators of our fate). But, if you've prepared, don't obsess over all the details and how it will work out.
The Camino provides.
Make it your mantra, before, during, and after your Camino.
Buen Camino!
 
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Time of past OR future Camino
September 29 - October 9, 2015
Acquire a GI barracks bag in lieu of a conventional suitcase. Easy to roll up and cheap to post to your ending point. Spanish post offices, btw, have suitably sized boxes on hand. I've done this a couple of times on the Camino with my bag, my bicycle transport bag and my travel clothing. I've always selected and booked a hotel room at my anticipated ending point and mailed the package there after clearing it beforehand with the management.
Carry a small container of instant coffee - it's worth it. The world is a different, more benevolent place at oh-dark-thirty (after the noisy Italians have awoken one :) ) with a bit of caffeine and sugar
inside you.
What a great idea - to bring some instant coffee with me on the trip. I was wondering how I would make it without the usual dose of caffeine I'm used to.
 

SafariGirl

Active Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Francés, Vía de la Plata, Primitivo, Norte, Lebaniego & Vadiniense,
Aragonés
1. Take the Pyrenees in TWO days, no matter what anyone else says, unless you are in EXCELLENT shape
2. Be willing to spend $$$ on the right shoes and pack
3. Focus on the NOW - smell the flowers - watch the sunrise/sunset - hear the birds singing - talk to other pilgrims and locals
4. Underpack - it really IS true that anything you find you need can be found on the Camino route
5. Share - food, money, first aid, water, experiences
I like your list very much Annie and will try to remember it on my first Camino in September. Gracias
 

SafariGirl

Active Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Francés, Vía de la Plata, Primitivo, Norte, Lebaniego & Vadiniense,
Aragonés
Every Camino teaches different lessons but these are a few things I wish I'd known before my last one:

1. Pacharan on an empty stomach is lethal.
2. I am not a camping kind of girl.
3. It is possible to eat too much seafood.
4. The staff in the post office cannot sell you even a stamp if the computer is down.
5. Do not wait around hoping the computer in the post office will soon be up.
6. The pilgrim with the map does not necessarily know where he is going
No 6 made me smile Kanga. A lesson to bear in mind for life, nay?
 

SafariGirl

Active Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Francés, Vía de la Plata, Primitivo, Norte, Lebaniego & Vadiniense,
Aragonés
1. Never assume there will be toilet paper; carry a few small packages of tissues in your pack. Their weight is negligible but worth their weight in gold when you're in a pinch.
2. Others have spoken to this - journal. I've re-read mine many times since and looked forward to that reflective time each day after settling, laundry and various 'chores'. A glass of wine and reflection after walking each day rooted me in what I felt and experienced that day.
3. Forgive the early risers and the snorers - your grumpi-ness only affects you.
4. Keep your rain gear packed at an accessible place - no fun to remove other items in the rain to get to it.
5. If and when you find yourself judging the beautiful person you are because you're comparing yourself to another pilgrim and how they approach The Way; whether in distance that day, better language skills, greater knowledge, actually anything - be aware of it and STOP it; its your pilgrimage; only yours.

I know it's only supposed to be 5, however, if you are a coffee drinker to get your motor going in the morning, explore your options the night before!
Thanks Kerstin - I love No 5
 

SafariGirl

Active Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Francés, Vía de la Plata, Primitivo, Norte, Lebaniego & Vadiniense,
Aragonés
Number 5 is the one I'm struggling with right now. I keep thinking "What have I gotten myself into?"
As the saying goes 'Feel the fear & do it anyway'. What started as fear for me (when I first had the Camino idea) has become excited anticipation. Hope it becomes the same for you too WayWalker. Buen Camino!
 
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Denisealldridge

Camino Frances 2014- 2015 Camino Portuguese 2017
Time of past OR future Camino
Camino Frances 2014 first half
2015 Camino Frances Completed -
Camino Portuguese 2017.
1. All Italians set their alarm clocks for 4:30 am, wake every one up and go back to sleep. They loudly leave at 5:30 then sit at the first cafe 500 meters from your albergue until you sleep walk past them at 6:05.
Ha! We must of been in the same albergue... I know what you are saying...
 

Jeff Crawley

Veteran Member
Time of past OR future Camino
A "Tourigrino" trip once Covid has passed, so 2023
Hi Scott. Hope you are both well. About number 5. I did carry on in 2014 and saw it. A lovely church and such a great pity that it was burnt. I know it has been restored so time for you to repeat and remember your number 5?
Perhaps overly restored? It looks brand new on the outside - couldn't go in because it was locked (June 2015)
 

Al the optimist

Veteran Member
1. That life will never be the same
2. That you will become obsessed with the Camino
3. That you would need to buy a bigger monitor to view your and others pictures and videos better
4. That airline websites would be so dangerous
5. That you would have a spreadsheet that automatically counts the days since your last Camino as well as to the next
Just fell victim of number 4.(Well I have lasted 3 weeks since I got back). Off for a little Camino Ingles in 5 weeks, 3 days,17 hours and 10 minutes. Not that I am counting you understand! ;)
 

John Finn

Active Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Camino de Frances - Sarria to Santiago (2013), Burgos to Leon (2014), St Jean Pied de Port to Logrono (2015), Logrono to Burgos (2016), Leon to Sarria (May 2017).
I can honestly say that there is nothing I'd wish I'd known, or advice I'd wish I'd been given. Having done ample preparation both physical and logistical, having read numerous online accounts and advice - including, of course, this excellent forum - and having talked to several people who had walked the Camino, I was well prepared for my treks (three so far). Oh yes, there is one: don't bother bringing Brierley's "The Way of St. James" - his book of maps is a much better and lighter option.
 
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jbear

Active Member
Time of past OR future Camino
SJPdP to SdC march-may 2015
Let's see:
1) Learn a little Spanish before you start. The more the better, then use it to (gasp) talk to some Spaniards. I wish I would have brushed up on my German, too. But I don't know if there are always that many Germans on the C.F.

2) Pack light. If you're a man 10% of your body weight is probably way too much stuff. Remember you're going to need to put food and water in your pack, too.

3) Dont try to walk at someone else's pace. That's how you hurt yourself. Also, do some walking with your pack before you start. It will help you know your pace.

4) Talk to people. I was amazed at the conversations I had with people I just met. And even though I had one argument I wouldn't trade away all the great talks I had to avoid that.

5) A guide book is just that- a guide. If you're tired, stop. If you're not, keep going. I had a day I went 9km (no book will ever say go only 9km), days where the book said go 23 and I went 30, and days where it said to go 30 and I went 20.

So that's my 5, but you will have your own when you walk your Camino. Don't let others define it for you.
 

Dan the Man

Active Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Camino Frances, 2015, 2017, 2019
I have read so much, spoken to so many people, driven my friends and family mad with Camino talk.
I was afraid of a torn disc etc etc. Crossing the Pyreness, blisters blah blah

For those who know who Doris day is....Que Sera Sera

I can't wait to go. My Camino, My Pace, My # of Km per day, My Way!

I started chatting on here in April, I am 26 days away from what I feel will be the most interesting experience of my life. I have no expectations, am not shy to talk to anyone, and can't thiunk of a better retirement gift to myself.

You have all been so helpful!
 
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jennyb

Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Camino Frances [May 2012]
VDLP (September 2015)
A wonderful thread. I have picked up some great tips. Thanks all.
Ready for my 2nd Camino - VDLP. Only 35 more sleepies to Seville!
 

Jodles64

New Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Camino Frances (August/September 2015)
Great thread
I start my first camino 31st of August 15. 56 years old mother, wife and daughter of elderly mother....decided to do something solo and a little challenging.
Scared to death but can't wait.
Thanks for the thoughts!
I Joanne, loving this thread too.
I too am a 50 ish mother and wife heading on my first camino alone. I start out from sjpdp on the 27th Aug... Im a bit nervous but excited! Happy walking. Maybe we will run into each othet somewhere.. Buen camino.
 

Nan

Member
Time of past OR future Camino
. April 2016. April 2017
1. Get footwear one size bigger than is comfortable, or a wide version and a half size bigger.
2. Start slow like an old person. Bugger. I am an old person.
3. Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate. If you feel under-hydrated at the end of a day's walk, ensure you consume plenty of vino tinto in the evenings. Without doubt it is the finest tonic available.
4. That's enuf now. Read what other people say cause they are smarter than me and I'm grumpy and feeling under-hydrated.
I think I'll have a tonic.
Regds
Gerard
You are my type of pilgrim. Great sense of humour and like a wine at the end of the day.
 
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Gazell

New Member
Contrary to previous statement Ibuprophen is not only available in Spain, but you get them in strengths up to 800mg over the counter in the pharmacies.

1. Buy Radio Salil if you feel inflammation coming. pilgrims from other countries used Voltaren, Spanish pilgrims used Radio Salil, so I went out and bought a tube and it worked wonders.
2. Wear simple Knee straps to support the knees.
3. What to wear on your foot depends on how you walk. If you get tendonitis easily then observe how and when it happens and get the proper support. There is no such thing as wear sneakers or wear boots, get the stability right and you reduce the chance of stress fractures.
4. A simple light weight sleeping bag, Its the north, it gets cold and the traffic on the Camino has increased so has the number of bedbugs. Sleeping with borrowed blankets are risky.
5. Big plastic bag to store your belongings in - avoid bedbugs.
 

Robo

Veteran Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Frances 2015,
2016, 2018
VdlP 2023
Honestly?.......................... Nothing.

I was glued to this Forum for 18 months before I left. As a result I felt as prepared as I could be. Though not physically :(
And I didn't feel there were any key things I had not been made aware of or essential advice I had not been given.

What a great community this is :)

What would I do differently?

Lose more body weight before going.
Carry even less stuff in my pack. Though it was very light already.
 

Pablo Mac

Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Camino Frances SJPP to SDC Sept 2012
Camino Frances Astorga to SDC Sept 2014
Camino Del Norte Irun to Santander Sept 2015
Caminho Portugese Barcelos to SDC Sept 2016
Camino Del Norte Santander to SDC (2017)
1. Prepare to have your perspective on life and your own limits forever altered.

2. Wear your heart on your sleeve (you'll end up having some wonderful conversations and forge lifelong friendships).

3. Get used to wearing ear plugs before you go !

4. Seek out bedbug spray and apply liberally to bedding.

5. If you're travelling with a friend don't be surprised if there are days you feel the need to walk alone.
 
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jennie

Active Member
Time of past OR future Camino
from st jean - estella 2013 ponferrada-santiago 2012.hope/expect to do full camino with y
sister in sept 14. we completed our walk in 2014?puenta la reina to belarado june 2016,
Great thread
I start my first camino 31st of August 15. 56 years old mother, wife and daughter of elderly mother....decided to do something solo and a little challenging.
Scared to death but can't wait.
Thanks for the thoughts!
am guessing but am pretty sure in light of what you have done and are still doing being a mother/wife/daughter this journey will be a wild and wonderful walk in the park :)very best of luck take YOUR time and enjoy .
 

hejd1408

New Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Camino Frances April-May 2014
1) Buy some snack food in SJPP before leaving for Roncesvalles. It is one of the hardest, longest days of the Camino and there aren't many places to stop for a lunch break.
2) A lot of pilgrims have firm ideas of why they are there and what they are going to get out of the Camino. In retrospect, these pilgrims learned least of all. When a pilgrim asks you upon meeting (and they will), why you are walking the Camino, it's perfectly okay to say 'I don't know'.
3) You will soon become very jealous of pilgrims with Crocs. Don't judge them, join them.
4) Some pilgrims will sound like they are dying in their sleep. There is no need to jump up in the night and fetch the paramedic pilgrim - they are just snoring.
5) Don't stick to a rigid walking plan. You can't predict your day-to-day energy levels, the delightful company you will keep, the albergues you will discover, the weather, and thus the number of days that it will take you to arrive in Santiago/Finisterre.
 

Wokabaut_Meri

somewhere along the Way
Time of past OR future Camino
Camino Francés 2015
Pilgrims Way 2018
Via Francigena #1 Canterbury-Dover 2018
  1. I allowed 44 days should have left it open ended and just spent months along The Way (sigh!!). It's hard to be both a pilgrim and a tourist. I might have to come back :):):)
  2. I walked with my trusty Aarn backpack with front pockets. I should have brought some spares as I could have sold them a few times over.
  3. Glad that I stuck to wearing my Meindl boots despite advice to the contrary. As an experienced bushwalker and needing to manage chronic midfoot osteo, it worked for me. Listen to all the advice, try everything but, in the end, what works for you is always best.
  4. The Farmacias are veritable Aladdin's Caves - you only need to bring minimal blister treatment etc. Fortunately I didn't get one blister. :):cool::D
  5. Used to walking with just my husband in remote areas in Australia and around the world and being totally self-sufficient, thought that this would not be as enjoyable. IT WAS AMAZING!!!
 

Kanga

Moderator
Staff member
Time of past OR future Camino
Francés x 5, Le Puy x 2, Arles, Tours, Norte, Madrid, Via de la Plata, Portuguese, Primitivo
Lovely post @Wokabaut_Meri - such enthusiasm. Good to know you enjoyed it so, and that my passion is not just a weird illusion.
 
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WildPlace

Active Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Camino Frances 2013, 2015
Via de la Plata 2022
  1. Keep passport and phone in zip lock or other waterproof bag - my passport ended up in a very poor state after the first day of rain.
  2. Put waterproof trousers on when the rain starts - the only time I got a blister was when I thought "it's just a shower, my trousers will soon be dry." No - water from my soggy trousers seeped down into my walking shoes and made my feet and socks soggy - and this was the only time I got blisters.
  3. Retain a sense of humour at all times - there are days when you will need it more than others
  4. The camino provides (I had many and varied instances of this).
  5. If you have very specific dietary needs take food with you from SJPP to eat - Due to medical issues I have to avoid all grains, lactose and sugar. Between SJPP - Orisson - Roncesvalles - Zubiri I ate just a little cheese I had with me, a few left-over nuts, a handful of dates, the last tin of pate from the vending machine in Roncesvalles and the meat/fish part of the pilgrims meals at Orisson and Roncesvalles. Needless to say I was very hungry by the time I arrived in Zubiri!
 

Lachance

Me llamo Deb
Time of past OR future Camino
Part Francese 2016
  1. ...the last tin of pate from the vending machine in Roncesvalles
Awesome. Can't wait to see what vending machines offer in the big towns. In Japan many years ago, I was blown away by the vending machines for beer. We only get chips and lollies.
 

AusShelley

New Member
Time of past OR future Camino
June 2016
I Joanne, loving this thread too.
I too am a 50 ish mother and wife heading on my first camino alone. I start out from sjpdp on the 27th Aug... Im a bit nervous but excited! Happy walking. Maybe we will run into each othet somewhere.. Buen camino.

Do you have blog setup? Would love to follow it... am planning to walk the Camino solo next year also...
 

Jo Jo

Active Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Eight routes; nine pilgrimages 2014-present
1. What is on your feet is far more important than what is on your back.
2. 500 miles is a very, very long walk, pretty much guaranteed to break you physically, emotionally or spiritually. Often all three. Or rather, it will show you were the cracks already are.
3. Once broken, you do not wait to heal then walk. You heal as you walk. Just keep walking, no matter how slowly. You will get to Santiago.
4. Limping (physically, emotionally or spiritually) into Santiago is normal.
5. All of the above is true in life as on the Camino.
 

JohnMcM

Veteran Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Some, and with luck, some more.
What are the top five things you wish you'd known, or advice you wish you'd been given, thinking about it in retrospect after completing the walk from SJPP to Finisterra? Here's mine:.........................................

1. I wish I had known all the wonderful people I met during my Caminos before I went.
2. I wish I could spend more time with all the wonderful people I met during my Caminos.
3. I wish all the wonderful people I met during my Caminos a return to the Camino.
4. I wish I made more effort to get to know more people during my Caminos.
5. I wish I had known how much people were capable of restoring my faith in humankind.

Buen Camino
 
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Sandra S

Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Camino Frances Nov-Dec 2015
This is such a beautiful thread. I've just joined the forum today and am walking the Camino Frances from early November this year. Thank you for your insightful, poignant, funny, inspiring, practical, and generous suggestions. I teared up quite a few times at the love you obviously all have for this journey! I'm excited to be a part of this community and am looking forward to returning with my own list of 5 things. Thanks again!
 

Mike Savage

So many friends to meet . . . so little time
Time of past OR future Camino
Camino Francés,Inglés
Muxia/Finisterre
Português Coastal
Português Central
Sanabrés
Buen Camino Sandra and welcome!
 

Kablois

New Member
Time of past OR future Camino
First time this summer (Burgos-SdC)
I came back from Santiago yesterday, having walked from Burgos. It's hard to settle back into normal life and my heart is still in Spain, so here I am on the forum with my 5 things I wish I'd known. I can think of others but these are the most helpful to a pilgrim:
1. When it's hot, it's boiling so take specialised ultra-light shorts and a t-shirt made for sport/hiking (I ended up buying some in Leon) The major cities have fantastic pilgrim shops with all the necessary equipment. If you are starting from one of them, allow an extra day to purchase your equipment there - it is cheaper and there is much more choice than back home.
2. Use walking sticks - they help IMMENSELY on the uphill and downhill stretches (and there are many) (I ended up buying some in Leon)
3. Galicia is cold in the morning (I had blue fingers on more than one occasion in August) Take LEGGINGS, even if you are walking in summer. (I ended up buying a pair in Sarria).
4. Jacotrans is more than twice as expensive as other smaller transport companies. Unfortunately these companies don't advertise until after you have paid Jacotrans for the whole trip :(. Jacotrans will ask you to pay the whole thing up front but this is NOT necessary and leaves you the option to plan as you go along.
5. Don't plan too much ahead, you will want to tailor your journey according to your fatigue and the people you meet. This is difficult if you are having your pack transported, but there is no need to pre-book anything before Sarria.
 

SunnyCat

New Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Camino Frances August 2015, SJPDP to Fin
I came back from Santiago yesterday, having walked from Burgos. It's hard to settle back into normal life and my heart is still in Spain, so here I am on the forum with my 5 things I wish I'd known. I can think of others but these are the most helpful to a pilgrim:
1. When it's hot, it's boiling so take specialised ultra-light shorts and a t-shirt made for sport/hiking (I ended up buying some in Leon) The major cities have fantastic pilgrim shops with all the necessary equipment. If you are starting from one of them, allow an extra day to purchase your equipment there - it is cheaper and there is much more choice than back home.
2. Use walking sticks - they help IMMENSELY on the uphill and downhill stretches (and there are many) (I ended up buying some in Leon)
3. Galicia is cold in the morning (I had blue fingers on more than one occasion in August) Take LEGGINGS, even if you are walking in summer. (I ended up buying a pair in Sarria).
4. Jacotrans is more than twice as expensive as other smaller transport companies. Unfortunately these companies don't advertise until after you have paid Jacotrans for the whole trip :(. Jacotrans will ask you to pay the whole thing up front but this is NOT necessary and leaves you the option to plan as you go along.
5. Don't plan too much ahead, you will want to tailor your journey according to your fatigue and the people you meet. This is difficult if you are having your pack transported, but there is no need to pre-book anything before Sarria.

Thanks Kablois -
I appreciate the information. I will begin my first Camino on August 25 & plan to arrive in SJPDP on August 23 to give me the 24th to purchase a couple of things & enjoy SJPDP.
 
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Kablois

New Member
Time of past OR future Camino
First time this summer (Burgos-SdC)
Thanks Kablois -
I appreciate the information. I will begin my first Camino on August 25 & plan to arrive in SJPDP on August 23 to give me the 24th to purchase a couple of things & enjoy SJPDP.

Oh lucky you! Enjoy, enjoy enjoy.
 

Cecy

Active Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Sept 2016
Acquire a GI barracks bag in lieu of a conventional suitcase. Easy to roll up and cheap to post to your ending point. Spanish post offices, btw, have suitably sized boxes on hand. I've done this a couple of times on the Camino with my bag, my bicycle transport bag and my travel clothing. I've always selected and booked a hotel room at my anticipated ending point and mailed the package there after clearing it beforehand with the management.
Carry a small container of instant coffee - it's worth it. The world is a different, more benevolent place at oh-dark-thirty (after the noisy Italians have awoken one :) ) with a bit of caffeine and sugar
inside you.
Instant packets good too right? I might as well bring my flavored creamer!!
 

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