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Just a couple of thoughts after my last camino

0 Euro Camino Bank Note
Camino(s) past & future
2014 Pamplona to burgos
Hi guys did a small Camino from Saint Jean to just past Burgos and a few thoughts that might help others . This was my third Camino and my second time over the Mountains. Was asked by a pilgrim on the train to Pamplona about breaking the first day up as she had been unable to train . I recommended the taxi service that allows you to break the first day in two she was able to stay in her alberge for two nights and only carry a day pack the first day for 13kms and the do another 13kms the next day with her pack . This made a huge difference for her and is a great option if you are unable to book Orrison. The other is the obsession with following the guide book I always do the the Los Arcos to Najera sections in three 20km sections instead of two days to make it easy on the body .I was questioned by quite a few of our "tribe" that were not as fit as I was and it took a bit of convincing for them to realise that they could introduce their own flexability to the walk .Most ended up doing this and it helped them alot . Lastly I also walked one day back against the flow from Hornellios to Bugos this turned out to be wonderful as I was able to say goodbye to about 25 people I had meet I am sure this only works for one day but it was much better than catching a cab back .
 

Anamya

Keeping it simple
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (2015)
Portugues (2017)
Lebaniego (2019)
I was also surprised by the amount of people that got surprised by the fact we were not following book stages on our walk. A remarkable one was a young Dutch girl that was on her third walking day and hating it.
"I'm so tired, my legs hurt."
"Ah, we stopped in city X yesterday, because it was too much to continue until Y"
"Oh, but CAN you stop in other places?"
We didn´t see her again. Hopefully things got better for her.
 

Bradypus

Antediluvian
Camino(s) past & future
Too many and too often!
"Oh, but CAN you stop in other places?"
I think a lot of the problem is due to a lack of confidence through inexperience. First-time walkers are likely to assume that if a very popular guidebook recommends specific stages then they must be normal and practical. They may not feel confident in setting that aside and choosing their own daily distances and stopping points - especially if they have not yet discovered their own personal distance limits and natural pace. I have met several people who committed themselves to walk fixed stages by prebooking accommodation and transport only to find the guide's stages were too long for them. But there are sometimes people who treat their guidebooks as some sort of Holy Writ. On one camino an English woman looked at me with shock when I told her I wasn't using Brierley's guide and his stages. She replied "Oh! Are you allowed to do that?" :rolleyes:
 
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Robo

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF SJPdP to SdC
(May 2015)
CF Sarria to SdC
(May 2016)
CF SJPDP-SdC
(Apr/May 2018)
VdlP (2020)
I was also surprised by the amount of people that got surprised by the fact we were not following book stages on our walk. A remarkable one was a young Dutch girl that was on her third walking day and hating it.
"I'm so tired, my legs hurt."
"Ah, we stopped in city X yesterday, because it was too much to continue until Y"
"Oh, but CAN you stop in other places?"
We didn´t see her again. Hopefully things got better for her.
I'm sorry, but are people really that dim? :oops:
Do they think someone is watching them! :eek:
 

Bradypus

Antediluvian
Camino(s) past & future
Too many and too often!
I'm sorry, but are people really that dim? :oops:
Sometimes! I've often thought "That is the most ridiculous thing I've ever read". And then I turn the page and guess what... :cool:
Do they think someone is watching them! :eek:
Perhaps. Most of us who walk the Caminos carry a credencial and get it stamped along the way in the sure and certain knowledge that eventually someone in Santiago is going to pore over it searching for evidence of skullduggery.
 

Stroller

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Norte (2015), Frances (2016)
Why do some guide books specify stages there is no need to and the books are perfectly usable without? For inexperienced walkers many of the stages are too long and the idea of fixed points for overnight stops is also part of the "bed race" problem.
 

Robo

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF SJPdP to SdC
(May 2015)
CF Sarria to SdC
(May 2016)
CF SJPDP-SdC
(Apr/May 2018)
VdlP (2020)
Why do some guide books specify stages there is no need to and the books are perfectly usable without? For inexperienced walkers many of the stages are too long and the idea of fixed points for overnight stops is also part of the "bed race" problem.
I think the problem for Guide Book writers, is simply a Logistical one.
Do you write one long 'stream of consciousness' or do you write it in manageable 'chunks'?
For example. My favourite CF Guidebook is Brierley.
I don't really read much of it but I love the maps!
So simple, but clear and concise.
(Please Mr Brierley make some maps of the VdlP)
I can't find any that are as easy to read as yours.......

So if you are going to write a guidebook and include maps...... you are faced with
1 big map of the whole route........100 maps of short distances........or maps that 'roughly' equate to a day's walk.......

I don't think any guidebook 'specifies' stages.
That's a bit like saying I stopped in town A, because that was the way my Michelin map was folded. I would have gone across the fold had I gone further.......

Question. When next I drive up the M1 motorway in the UK, must I stop at each Motorway service station, or am I allowed to decide on my comfortable driving distance myself? ;)
 

Camino Chrissy

Take one step forward...then keep on walking.
Camino(s) past & future
Frances 2015;
Norte/Primitivo 2016;
Frances 2017;
Le Puy 2018;
Portuguese/FishermanTr. 2019
I'm sorry, but are people really that dim? :oops:
Do they think someone is watching them! :eek:
My first camino was shortly after watching "The Way". Knowing no better, I thought I had to stay exclusively in albergues and walk every step. I counted the stages in Brierley's book to figure out the dates for my flight and thankfully it all worked out.
Dim, no...uninformed, yes.
 

David Tallan

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (1989 and 2016), Portugues - from Porto (2018)
The other is the obsession with following the guide book I always do the the Los Arcos to Najera sections in three 20km sections instead of two days to make it easy on the body.
This didn't work out for us as there weren't places to stay quite at 20 km. From Los Arcos we had a choice of staying at Viana (18.3 km) or Logroño (27.8 km). We chose Viana. That left us with a choice of Logroño (9.5) or Navarette (22.2). We chose Navarette. Then we could go to Najera (less than 17) or to Azofra (again, just over 22). We chose the latter to take advantage of an albergue with no bunk beds and only two beds to a room. So we did do days of closer to 20 than 30 km, but that meant we ended up in Azofra rather than Najera.
 

Tandem Graham

Every new day an adventure
Camino(s) past & future
Bike: Mont St Michel-SdC '17. Budapest-Vezelay '18. Alicante-Burgos '19
Walk: Le Puy-SJPdP '18
It is part of the adventure for me to anticipate by planning. I resist the temptation to book ahead though - as I also relish the freedom to discard my plan at any point!
For those who also *must* plan, websites such as Godaselc.com and Gronze.com make it easy to plan stages around expected pace and even research and make a note preferred accomodation options in each little hamlet/village/town/city, so when your legs or feet have done enough for the day, you've already got some idea where you might stay. There are so many options on the Camino Frances, there really is no need to stick to the guidebook stages or any other rigid schedule.
 

Telboyo

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
I intend to leave the UK the day Before Brexit and walkMarch -April 2019 Camino Frances
Following the stages of the guide books is the cause of the bed race, which will just concentrate the accommodation in the "big" towns yet it lets the intermediate albergues to go out of business. I made a point of skipping the brierley stages after arriving at Roncesvalles, I just didn't like the look of it or the host so I carried on. The only time I was in a place that was more than half full was Maundy Thursday when I had to continue to astorga, even then I managed to get a room at 17:00. The town was busy for a parade, unfortunately it was cancelled due to rain. The only other brierley stages I stayed at were Logrono, Burgos and SDC.
 

CaminoLori

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Français
Hi guys did a small Camino from Saint Jean to just past Burgos and a few thoughts that might help others . This was my third Camino and my second time over the Mountains. Was asked by a pilgrim on the train to Pamplona about breaking the first day up as she had been unable to train . I recommended the taxi service that allows you to break the first day in two she was able to stay in her alberge for two nights and only carry a day pack the first day for 13kms and the do another 13kms the next day with her pack . This made a huge difference for her and is a great option if you are unable to book Orrison. The other is the obsession with following the guide book I always do the the Los Arcos to Najera sections in three 20km sections instead of two days to make it easy on the body .I was questioned by quite a few of our "tribe" that were not as fit as I was and it took a bit of convincing for them to realise that they could introduce their own flexability to the walk .Most ended up doing this and it helped them alot . Lastly I also walked one day back against the flow from Hornellios to Bugos this turned out to be wonderful as I was able to say goodbye to about 25 people I had meet I am sure this only works for one day but it was much better than catching a cab back .
I just did my first Camino section. I am fit! I teach Jazzercise, run... I'm use to being in the mountains, but more hiking trails than road walking. My feet are great, no bunions or anything...they just don't like to walk! Never have. Not since I was a kid. I had no problem being kind, in-the-moment, friendly, smelled the roses and cow manure... I want to go back, but I would not try to do the advised mileage per day! Just doesn't fit me. Would rather take it slower, smaller bits, and feel like I'm taking care of my feet. And you know, no matter what advice you get...shoes, packs, mileage etc....your camino is your camino. Vaseline, broken in boots, merino wool etc and I STILL GOT BLISTERS!!!!!
 

HaraldS

Member
Camino(s) past & future
2011-2017: Home(Germany) to SdC via Cologne-Taizé-Le Puy-Somport-Camino Aragones-Camino Frances
Why do inexperienced pilgrims follow suggested stages? Because they don't know better. But the good thing is: nearly everyone gains self-belief, consciousness and courage after walking some days and can do better decisions.

Inexperienced pilgrims might even strongly believe in the fact, that "the camino" is only the Camino Frances or that Saint Jean Pied du Port is some special town where you're supposed to start. Nothing of that is obligatory, and so are suggested stages in guidebooks.
 

Robo

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF SJPdP to SdC
(May 2015)
CF Sarria to SdC
(May 2016)
CF SJPDP-SdC
(Apr/May 2018)
VdlP (2020)
I just did my first Camino section. I am fit! I teach Jazzercise, run... I'm use to being in the mountains, but more hiking trails than road walking. My feet are great, no bunions or anything...they just don't like to walk! Never have. Not since I was a kid. I had no problem being kind, in-the-moment, friendly, smelled the roses and cow manure... I want to go back, but I would not try to do the advised mileage per day! Just doesn't fit me. Would rather take it slower, smaller bits, and feel like I'm taking care of my feet. And you know, no matter what advice you get...shoes, packs, mileage etc....your camino is your camino. Vaseline, broken in boots, merino wool etc and I STILL GOT BLISTERS!!!!!
There is no such this as 'advised' mileage, though I'm sure you did not mean it that way ;)
As for Blisters, they are not compulsory.
Sorry to hear you got them even after following all the advice.....

Though in three Caminos of about 2,000 kms total, I have never had a blister.
Could there have been 'something' wrong in your setup? sock type, boot fit, something?
Did you 'air' your feet and change socks during the day?

This is my foot routine, that I 'never' break.......
 

Lindsay53

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances April / May 19
From a purely selfish and un-peregrino perspective, I'm quite happy that so many people slavishly follow the guide books. I stayed at a very nice albergue on the Sarria - Santiago section that was between recommended stops. I sat outside that afternoon with a beer and watched large numbers hurry past. By nightfall only two others had checked in, even though there was room for 30 or so.
 
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Liz from San Diego

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
We are planning to do the Camino Portuguese in May!!
Hi guys did a small Camino from Saint Jean to just past Burgos and a few thoughts that might help others . This was my third Camino and my second time over the Mountains. Was asked by a pilgrim on the train to Pamplona about breaking the first day up as she had been unable to train . I recommended the taxi service that allows you to break the first day in two she was able to stay in her alberge for two nights and only carry a day pack the first day for 13kms and the do another 13kms the next day with her pack . This made a huge difference for her and is a great option if you are unable to book Orrison. The other is the obsession with following the guide book I always do the the Los Arcos to Najera sections in three 20km sections instead of two days to make it easy on the body .I was questioned by quite a few of our "tribe" that were not as fit as I was and it took a bit of convincing for them to realise that they could introduce their own flexability to the walk .Most ended up doing this and it helped them alot . Lastly I also walked one day back against the flow from Hornellios to Bugos this turned out to be wonderful as I was able to say goodbye to about 25 people I had meet I am sure this only works for one day but it was much better than catching a cab back .
We did the Portuguese route in May 2018. We started in Coimbra. I used the Village to Village book to plan our trip. Right from the start we made our own daily mileage and stops. We did not want to be rushed, we wanted to enjoy the walk and soak in the local flavor. We loved our journey and can hardly wait for our next Camino adventure!!
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (Sep/Oct 2018)
Camino Portugues (Sep 2020)
For example. My favourite CF Guidebook is Brierley.
I don't really read much of it but I love the maps!
So simple, but clear and concise.
More people should pay attention to the maps. The towns and albergues are listed for a reason - In case you want to stop there! My suggestion to anyone doing the Camino for the first time would be to add at least three days on to the time you plan to walk. It seems a lot of people plan their trip based on the idea that there are "33 stages" from SJPdP. If you don't account for rest days or shorter stages, your Camino will feel like a death march.
 

Bradypus

Antediluvian
Camino(s) past & future
Too many and too often!
It seems a lot of people plan their trip based on the idea that there are "33 stages" from SJPdP. If you don't account for rest days or shorter stages, your Camino will feel like a death march.
Not necessarily. All depends on your own idea of comfortable daily stages. While I occasionally walk short stages and stop fairly early in the day I very rarely choose to spend two nights in the same place. I usually average about 30km per day on a long-distance walk and I walked my last Camino Frances in 28 days without finding that particularly challenging. Very much a personal and individual thing. Which is one of the reasons why I think inexperienced walkers sometimes struggle: because they walk their Camino according to a schedule established by someone else rather than building their own itinerary "on the hoof" as they become more aware of their strengths and limitations.
 

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