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Level of fitness

Kia ora, me again.

Couldn't find anything related by using the SEARCH function, so here's my question:

When I will walk the Camino frances in May 2008, I will be almost 65 years old.

I have absolutely no known illnesses of any kind apart from an old spine injury, therefore I can't carry a backpack but I'm looking for organized lugagge transport.

No problems at all with rheumatism, arthritis and all this ugly stuff. I don't need any particular diet or medication.

I'm in quite reasonable shape, tall, muscular, not overweight. Although I don't hike or do sports of any kind - matter of fact, I hate sports - I live a very active life around house & garden. Making my own firewood, cutting down trees and chopping it for the winter (or what they consider being "winter" in New Zealand) - that's my idea of having fun outdoors. I do all the handywork, i. e. renovating, painting (yes, the roof too), fixing things, building decks, crawling under the house for a leaking pipe (shit of a job, btw ...), weedwhacking, cutting out trees and shrubs, building fences and so on and so on.

My feet are pretty tough. Living in NZ means: we walk barefoot from September to May. Walking barfoot an gravel? No problem. Well. Not 800 klicks barfoot from SJPdP to SdC, though...

The downside: I have never done in my entire life a hike like the Camino frances. And soon I will turn 65.

Is this condition of mine ok for the Camino frances? What do you think? Almost sounds to good to be true, I know. But I have heard too many horror stories about people collapsing somewhere out in the sticks, some right after St Jean Pe de Port on this mysterious up hill section. And because I don't have any own experience I ask for your opinion.


... :lol: ... What "condition", Howie?

U sound like u r in great shape!

The best pilgrims I've walked with/seen on the Caminos are our age plus! :)

Get out there and let's hit the road, pardner!!!

Buen Camino :arrow:

the same!

Great issue!! I am in good shape but not a sportsman! I have the same concerns, but let's see what is going to happen. I will let the Camino find me! Hope to see you late May early June somewhere on the Camino!



just had a thought:

Go to youtube.com,

Once there go to search and type: camino de santiago.

You will see lots of (good/bad) videos on what this enterprise entails.

If no luck, check this one out (hoping it's still available):http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y45YVNxT1go

You will be fine, if need there be, there are a lot of very fine medical facilities all over the Camino Frances.

Buen Camino :arrow:

Yep, video is still there. But, heck: this guys/gals are all only about 25 years old ! And lots & lots & more lots of them... Is the Camino always that overcrowded?


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Camino(s) past & future
2002 CF: 2004 from Paris: 2006 VF: 2007 CF: 2009 Aragones, Ingles, Finisterre: 2011 X 2 on CF: 2013 'Caracoles': 2014 CF and Ingles 'Caracoles":2015 Logrono-Burgos (Hospitalero San Anton): 2016 La Douay to Aosta/San Gimignano to Rome:
Fitness and age

I don't think age has anything to do with walking the camino. In 2002 my walking buddy was 74 and she did the Machu Pichu trail the year after.
In the DVD "The Camino is not a bed of roses" two very young girls are interviewed who have to give up after three days walking because they were unprepared.
Anyone can sustain an injury. A 35ish South African pilgrim gave up in Puente La Reina last year after having successfully walking from St Jean. Her knees 'popped' she said, coming down from the Alto del Perdon and she hobbled from there into Puente La Reina. (Those river-bed stones are real tester!)
I think if you start off reasonably fit, have the endurance to be on your feet for 8 hours or more, you will get fitter and fitter as your walk progresses. The first few days are awkward - not used to the backpack, the change in climate, perhaps in a different hemisphere, not used to the food, the sleeping conditions and also the day-to-day walking. But you should settle into a rythm after a few days and get stronger every day.
Howie - many pilgrims use local taxis to cart their backpacks for them at a very reasonable rate. From St Jean you coulkd use Jacotrans and then take it from there.
Hi - I'm leaving StJPdeP a month after you in '08. I will be 52 when that time comes, I have two knee operations in my past, and it's been years since I attempted anything like this. That's why I'm going in '08 instead of '07; I plan to spend '07 going on practice hikes, starting easy and working my way up. Have you thought about trying something similar since you have time? I would think NZ would have a lot of opportunities. (I know that after the Camino, I want to come to NZ and do the Milford Track!)

But your real question is about alternatives to wearing a backpack. What about biking? Also, I don't know much about this, but I know there are people who walk with a donkey.

Good luck! ¡Buen camino!
I saw many women in their 70 doing the Camino, and they were just fine. Just take it slow and steady, start with 10 or 15 kilometers then work your way up
You pretty young thing

My hubbie is 67 and I am58. We are going on the camino on May 18th this year.
We commute between Bangkok and our farm near Dunedin. While there, I walk miles on local back road breaking in the new pair of walking boots. Local farmers think I am mad to be out and about walking around in circle. As you know, farm lands are very undulating so even with backpack I think I would be able to tackle the trail.
Hubbie thinks it is not cool to be seen out walking with me. Real Southern man sits in front of TV with a can of Speight watching Cricket and Rugby(Super 14 is on now) but he is like you - reasonably fit for his age working around the garden and the farm helping the staff. He can handle the trail.
The big suprise will come when he starts walking. I bet he will get major blisters from his brand new walking boots he has yet to break them in while I clocked more than a 100 km from my training. My bet is my Southern man will hobble along the first few days and he will see it is not so cool after all.
My advice is - get out and walk about a bit. It will certainly help with stamina. Unless you are like my hubbie. A few Speights may help there.


"Yep, video is still there. But, heck: this guys/gals are all only about 25 years old ! And lots & lots & more lots of them..."

:)... not all of them, take a closer look at video.

Howie, am one of those that thinks that the Camino is "a call." You heed it, learn and prepare yourself as much and possible, go, allow yourself to experience it.

Buen Camino :arrow:

Thank you all for your answers.

... many pilgrims use local taxis to cart their backpacks for them at a very reasonable rate ...
Yes, I have heard about that and considered it. But (in life there seems always to be a "but"): leaving place A to walk to place B and have your stuff delivered to place B means, you have to know in advance whereabouts in place B you will stay that night (and of course whereabouts exactly this place B will be) - or wait untill you're arrived at place B and than have your lugagge brought by taxi from place A - most likely hours after you arrived, in dire need of new underwear, a dry shirt, a shower with change of cloth, your personal "things" (pills, salves, pomade, new batteries for the pacemaker, second set of dentures etc. etc.) or whatever from your bags you want. Not practible, I'm afraid. One could as well (as I will most likely do) prebook the whole caboodle, accomodation and all, lugagge transport included. End of problem.

... alternatives to wearing a backpack. What about biking? Also, I don't know much about this, but I know there are people who walk with a donkey ...
Riding a bike? Me? I would rather walk the Camino on my hands while blowing a bagpipe with my ar--, sorry... I have heard about donkeys, horses and carts. The choice of accommodation will be a wee bit limited with Mr Big Ears, though. Don't you think?

... My advice is - get out and walk about a bit. It will certainly help with stamina ...
It's not that I'm not walking at all. I'm on my feet all day long. Going up and down Wainui beach in Raglan is quiete a few kilometers and I just love that. What I was concerned about is the grade of inclinations, in particular the very first one right after SJPdP. But yesterday I found a website full of pictures exactly about that issue and it's half as bad as it seemed to be. I can manage that. More: I permanently use two pair of trekking shoes, well worn and well broken in. So shoes won't be a problem at all.

... A few Speights may help there ...
Now, that might become a major problem because I drink only Speights Old Dark and only from jugs. So where the blimmin' heck will I get that heavenly elexir on the Camino?

... am one of those that thinks that the Camino is "a call" ...
I agree. A beckoning. Without any of this spiritual or esoteric stuff. But wait: how can the one be without the other... Hm. To repeat myself: "buggered if I know...".

Sounds all a bit like OVERKILL? And OVERORGANIZED? No. It's just that I'm a professionell online writer and therefore can't stop to shut up... (You might have realized, I like long, nay: very long articles).

You would be amazed, how little I itend to plan for the Camino. Except (see top) to know exactly how to get from place A to place B and make damn sure there is a room booked in my name in place B - with my lugagge already inside. That's it. Then I can concentrate an the most important thing to me: the Camino and the experience therefrom. Well. Not to mention the french and spanish kitchen. Have I ever told you guys I'm a food & travel writer as well? A passionate cook too? No? Oh dear... Ivar, better check your servers bandwith...


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Booking ahead

Howdy Howie!

We are going to get you organised by hook or by crook!

I have got two more suggestions:

By Hook:
As far as booking accommodation ahead is concerned, you can send away for a free copy of the tourism institute of Spain's official guide of hostals, pensions, hotels, and camping sites on the Camino called "Guia Oficial de Hoteles y Campings del Camino de Santiago". It is available in French, German, Spanish and English and lists all accommodation authorized by the appropriate municipal and national tourism authorities. You can obtain the booklet free of charge by sending an E-mail to: manuel.jurado@tourspain.es. With this in hand, you can follow the suggested stages in most guide books, book a stage or two ahead and organise a taxi to take your backpack/luggage for you leaving you free to walk with a little daypack for your water, bocadillo and toilet roll.

By Crook:
You can pay me 3000 Euro and I will follow behind you (at a suitable distance so as not to intrude) carrying your backpack for you with a jug dangling from the back. I will book places for you, and for an extra few euro, I will even source supplies of Speights Old Dark.



Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016,2017,2018
I'm tempted too-would you stand over me with a fan at the end of the day feeding me peeled grapes too?


Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
2002 CF: 2004 from Paris: 2006 VF: 2007 CF: 2009 Aragones, Ingles, Finisterre: 2011 X 2 on CF: 2013 'Caracoles': 2014 CF and Ingles 'Caracoles":2015 Logrono-Burgos (Hospitalero San Anton): 2016 La Douay to Aosta/San Gimignano to Rome:
Booking ahead

Trust the Kiwis and Wallabies to take advantage of a South African.
I suppose you'll want a Fosters as well?
Well, if Omar pays you 3 grand, me too - that makes a veritable fortune. Say, we top that up to 10 grand (ie. approx. NZ$ 20,000) - would you, sillydoll, (aside from having to carry our backpacks, schlepp our lugagge, book accommodation and so on) wheel a small gas fired kitchen stove cum small refrigerator with food stuffs behind the two of us (Omar and poor me) so I can offer y'all scallops mornay (pun intended) at the end of the day? (We could sell the shells and thus claim back a bit of our expenses). While, of course and as a matter of service, being cooled down with a fan (by sil), being fed peeled grapes (by sil) and have an'ol jug of Speights Old Dark resp. Fosters at the same time.

Oh my dear. That all sounds a bit unlikely, doesn't it...

I have contacted the already mentioned travel agency in Hamburg/Germany, which is organizing accommodation and so along the Camino. They get the tour up and running for me only - it's not an organized tour with many, many pilgrims, it's an individual tour with individually prebooked accommodation. Lugagge transport is done by taxi. If I don't want to walk this day I will just hop in the taxi with my lugagge (not in the boot, though...) and thus will get to the next hotel in no time. Simple as that. Come to think about it: I might do that (taxi) every day... No. Not really. More important: all rooms (I will book a single room) have bath, shower, WC etc. Sounds like heaven. But heck, I still want this gas fired kitchenstove...
howie i give you kudos for your computer-savyness just as much as i do your openness to the camino!

as someone said to me 'you will love the camino, and the camino will love you.'

best wishes to you!
Thank you.

buena! said:
you will love the camino, and the camino will love you
Nice. Shouldn't that be a full stop - instead of the comma? Not for punctuation - but for the deeper meaning. First things first?

Regards from 'ole nitpickin' Howie...

The discussions in this forum (thanks again to Ivar) give me a lot. And I have been "open" all my life because (I learned it the hard way) you will only get back something when your are ready to give something first. Thank you all for silently and patiently listening to my rumblings. The memsahib still can't understand me fully - in spite of loving me deeply and fully supporting me with my plans all the way - she can't for heck of it understand why of all the people me, Howie, wants to walk the Camino. Well. Honestly: neither can't I...

I don't even dare to tell my kids. We have four beautiful, intelligent daughters. Not to mention the grandkids...


Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
2002 CF: 2004 from Paris: 2006 VF: 2007 CF: 2009 Aragones, Ingles, Finisterre: 2011 X 2 on CF: 2013 'Caracoles': 2014 CF and Ingles 'Caracoles":2015 Logrono-Burgos (Hospitalero San Anton): 2016 La Douay to Aosta/San Gimignano to Rome:
Organised walk

Awe shucks! That means you won't need my services after all.

When I walked the Wainwrright's Coast to Coast in England with a couple of friends we got the 'White Knights' booking service to reserve all the B&B's along the way and cart our luggage from one place to the next. It worked perfectly and if one of us was injured or tired, we could arrange to join the taxi in the morning to the next village. We had a great walk carrying just a small daypack.
Alfred Wainwright said of his walk:
"The way you go and the time it takes matters not. The essence of the walk is the crossing of England from one coast to the other on foot”.
The same applies to the Camino - so you have a great walk Howie-peregrino.


Maggie Ramsay
Camino(s) past & future
Santiago de Compostela (2005) Via Francigena (2010) Le Puy to St Jean (2014)
Hello howie
My husband and I walked in January this year, we are both 59. But he had a shoulder resonctruction unexpectedly 5 weeks before we left, and we weren't sure what we could do, if anything, really, but we went anyway to have a go and see what we could do. We took it a day at a time to begin with , but walked all the way from St Jean, except for 100km in the middle when he became exhausted and miserable with extreme weather on the meseta. The little train trip we took was a brilliant solution at that moment and enabled us to finish in good spirits. Don't be too rigid, it's your camino, do it whatever way you widh, and be prepared to be flexible if you need to. We tried taxi for a few days for our backpacks at the start, but it was too stressful without enough Spanish to organise it properly, so we just stripped our packs down and carried them happily from then on. But if you have it prebooked it could be quite nice. But beware, we have a good daypack, but have discovered, now we are home and "backpack experts" that it is harder on the body than our fully loaded good backpack.
Thank you all for the comments and encouragement.

Re daypack vs. backpack: I can't carry either (old spine injury) so I will walk the Camino francès with one or two shoulderbags - exactly the way all the medieval pilgrims did (no Deuter backpacks in those days...).

We are off to the greek islands in a few weeks and later travel on to Tuscany - excellent way to check it out, i. e. carrying all my personal every-day stuff in a shoulderbag instead of a dayback.


Active Member
Luggage trolley

I was in a shop today and spotted one of those luggage trolleys - it claimed to be "strong and lightweight" and appeared to have a sturdy set of wheels with what looked something like mudguards. It cost 15 English pounds and was made by 'Kart'.

Then I remembered seeing someone pulling luggage up the road at the start of a video I was looking at recently, and I wondered if this could be a solution for Howie? Those of you who are very familiar with the Camino - is this feasible at all?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XptBsRhw ... ed&search=
Thank you for your help.

Re trolleys. A few years ago we had to walk from the train station in Piraeus (Athens) to the harbour where the hydrofoil boats depart to the islands. In total approx. 1½ kilometer, max. Our two mobile trolley bags didn't survive that distance. We bought something else, still with wheels. After a few more travels, i. e. from the car to the checkin, from the luggage pickup back to the car, the new ones were completely knackered as well. What's killing them is any kind of rough surface, i. e. cobblestone (deadly!) or anything plastered with concrete slabs (the grooves in between the slabs - deadly...).Trying to schlepp something like that 800 klicks on gravel? Won't work. Of course I could build myself a real lugagge trolley, with big, wide wheels, almost tyres, with good ball bearings, lightweight frame - but honestly: would you pull something like that along the camino?

Not a good idea. But thank you anyway, I really appreciate that.

I guess I will stick with lugagge transport by taxi. And carry my personal stuff for the day in shoulder bag(s), something like this:

or that:

Thread starter OLDER threads on this topic Forum Replies Date
L Camino Frances 31
H Camino Frances 60
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