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My 7 year old and I...

Camino(s) past & future
considering (2018)
#1
Hello
I am strongly considering walking the last 100 km of the Camino to Santiago de Compostela with my 7 year old at the end of July (unfortunate timing perhaps, but can't be helped). He is a good walker, hiker, and backpacker, and we both feel excited about the adventure.
I've bee reading about the different caminos, and while they all sound appealing in their own way, I am tempted to go with the camino frances from Sarria. Not the one I would choose if doing it on my own or with other adults perhaps, but it seems the one where we would most easily find a place to stay if we walk fewer kilometers than planned, or under other unexpected circumstances.
I would welcome hearing any insights from seasoned walkers though. If any of you have done this with children, or have interesting and relevant information about the different caminos (or other caminos), please share :)
Thank you!
 

Kiwi-family

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Past: (2012, 2014, 2015, 2016)
Future (God-willing): Madrid, Salvador, Primitivo (2018)
#2
What kind of distances is your son comfortable with at home already? The answer to that question will determine my answer to route suggestions;-) FWIW I've walked with children of the same age (and younger and older too - that's what happens when you have eight of 'em!) We've done Frances, Finisterre and back to Santiago, La Voie de la Nive, Baztan, San Salvador, Primitivo, Via de la Plata, Portuguese from Porto...so far.
There are lots of others on this forum who have walked with kids too so you should get lots of advice.
 
Camino(s) past & future
considering (2018)
#3
Wow, very impressive! Thanks so much for your message Rachael.
My son is generally comfortable with 15 km a day, but can be pushed beyond that. Of course it depends on topography, weather etc., and I anticipate it to be quite hot there in late July. I'd mostly like the option to flake out after 8 km (or whatever) some days if he's having a rough time, though that doesn't happen often.
All the best in your continued adventures!
 

Anamya

Keeping it simple
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2015)
Camino Portugues (2017)
Lebaniego (Planning)
#4
I think you can't go wrong with the CF. If you are ok with staying in private accomodations, you wont have to compete or rush with other pilgrims, and meeting people on the route can be interesting for the kid.

Go for it, and if you enjoy, return some other time for more adventure :)

If you DO mind lots of people, though, maybe the Portuguese route from Tui can be a nice option. It is a bit harder than the last 100km of the CF though, with less options of accomodation, but not that much less.

EDIT: yes, it will probably be very, VERY hot. Remember to drink lots of water and refill your botle on the plenty of water fountains you find on the way.

edit 2: asking because of your name: do you and your son speak Portuguese or Spanish? That may help decide as well, as it can enhance the interaction with people along the way.
 
Last edited:

Walking Lover

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
CdS from Leon to Santiago, June 16, 2016 to June 30, 2016.
#5
Hello
I am strongly considering walking the last 100 km of the Camino to Santiago de Compostela with my 7 year old at the end of July (unfortunate timing perhaps, but can't be helped). He is a good walker, hiker, and backpacker, and we both feel excited about the adventure.
I've bee reading about the different caminos, and while they all sound appealing in their own way, I am tempted to go with the camino frances from Sarria. Not the one I would choose if doing it on my own or with other adults perhaps, but it seems the one where we would most easily find a place to stay if we walk fewer kilometers than planned, or under other unexpected circumstances.
I would welcome hearing any insights from seasoned walkers though. If any of you have done this with children, or have interesting and relevant information about the different caminos (or other caminos), please share :)
Thank you!
I believe you can make reservations 100 km out. Also, check out booking.com. We are faux pilgrims. We pay a little more and stay in some really nice hostels. For me, I have to be able to sleep, and this is not always possible in an albergue. However, I realize we miss becoming part of the Camino family by doing so.
 
Camino(s) past & future
considering (2018)
#6
I think you can't go wrong with the CF. If you are ok with staying in private accomodations, you wont have to compete or rush with other pilgrims, and meeting people on the route can be interesting for the kid.

Go for it, and if you enjoy, return some other time for more adventure :)

If you DO mind lots of people, though, maybe the Portuguese route from Tui can be a nice option. It is a bit harder than the last 100km of the CF though, with less options of accomodation, but not that much less.

EDIT: yes, it will probably be very, VERY hot. Remember to drink lots of water and refill your botle on the plenty of water fountains you find on the way.

edit 2: asking because of your name: do you and your son speak Portuguese or Spanish? That may help decide as well, as it can enhance the interaction with people along the way.
 
Camino(s) past & future
considering (2018)
#7
Thank you Anamya, sorry not to see this earlier

Do you happen to have a sense of the typical distance between alberges along the Portuguese route? (likely there's no 'typical' :p)

My son and I both speak English and French; I speak Spanish and he has a fair grasp of the basics of Spanish, so that would lend itself better to the CF route

I appreciate your thoughts!
 

Anamya

Keeping it simple
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2015)
Camino Portugues (2017)
Lebaniego (Planning)
#9
In the Portuguese route, I believe the longest distance between two albergues is around 12km, before Ponte de Lima. Besides that, there was always an albergue or at least some sort of simple accomodation within a 5-10km range. if you don't mind staying in inns and pensions as well, even shorter.

In the Frances there are more options, and I can't remember any looong stretches without albergues. If you ever have to taxi, it will be for very short distances.
 

Anamya

Keeping it simple
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2015)
Camino Portugues (2017)
Lebaniego (Planning)
#10
I believe you can make reservations 100 km out. Also, check out booking.com. We are faux pilgrims.
That's not faux at all - don't you think that is medieval pilgrims could afford sleeping in a silent place, they wouldn't? :p

Booking.com is very good for the route, I used it a few times as well. I'd book a place with free cancelation the day before. If I got there, good. If not, or if I walked more, I would cancel as soon as possible.
 
Camino(s) past & future
considering (2018)
#11
In the Portuguese route, I believe the longest distance between two albergues is around 12km, before Ponte de Lima. Besides that, there was always an albergue or at least some sort of simple accomodation within a 5-10km range. if you don't mind staying in inns and pensions as well, even shorter.

In the Frances there are more options, and I can't remember any looong stretches without albergues. If you ever have to taxi, it will be for very short distances.
Thanks Anamya, that's helpful and gives me peace of mind. And I've just found the gronze.com site which similarly shows the distances to be relatively minimal. And great to know about booking.com with free cancellation options!

And, if I can bother you (or others) with another question- the Portuguese camino is quieter than the CF... but can you give a sense of how often does one encounters other pilgrims while walking? Just once in a blue moon, or are there generally always people around? I'd certainly welcome getting to know others as we walk, but curious about how crowded it is
 

Anamya

Keeping it simple
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2015)
Camino Portugues (2017)
Lebaniego (Planning)
#12
I met pilgrims every day on the CP. Usually when starting (the little 'mob' of 3-4 pilgrims leaving a city). Than maybe 3-4 encounters along the day, sometimes walking at the same pace for a few minutes. Than again at the end of the day, arriving at albergues/accomodation. We acually met the same couple every day for the first 7 days, until we accelerated pace a bit and kinda lost them. But then we re-met in Santiago, which was really nice :)

There were a few stretches that it was only my husband and I for two, two and a half hours... but then we would meet someone. And in the cities, of course, there was a fair amount of people.

So, in a nutshell, the CP it was much calmer than CF, but we never felt isolated or disconnected. It is just that on CF, there was ALWAYS another pilgrim in your view field (or hear, depending on their walking poles).
 

Kanga

Moderator
Staff member
Camino(s) past & future
Francés x 5, Le Puy x 2, Arles, Tours, Norte, Madrid, Via de la Plata.
#14
@Ana Guanabaa I love the last 100km from Sarria. It is joyful. Forget the naysayers! And I have walked from Sarria in Spring and Autumn with not a single pilgrim in sight at times. All you have to do is leave a bit later in the day or walk in the evening (which is delightful - you just need to have accommodation booked ahead) and you will see no-one! One of the advantages of this route is that it is generally shady, and the end of July is likely to be hot, hot, hot.
 

Anamya

Keeping it simple
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2015)
Camino Portugues (2017)
Lebaniego (Planning)
#15
One of the advantages of this route is that it is generally shady, and the end of July is likely to be hot, hot, hot.
Very good point, @Kanga. And indeed, walking in "different" times and not trying to dispute accomodation allows for a much more tranquil walk.
 

Kiwi-family

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Past: (2012, 2014, 2015, 2016)
Future (God-willing): Madrid, Salvador, Primitivo (2018)
#16
If you are walking a short distance each day (up to say 15km) you will arrive early enough to get in line for a bed - at least that was our experience.
 
Camino(s) past & future
considering (2018)
#17
Hm, good points all, thanks for the added input. Ha, decisions! But all of them good on some level. And I appreciate the point about the shade.
If we were to go from Tui, can someone confirm that this is at least 100 km? (It doesn't matter so much to me, but I think will be motivating for my son).
 

Anamya

Keeping it simple
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2015)
Camino Portugues (2017)
Lebaniego (Planning)
#18
Yup, Tui is 102km from Santiago and qualifies you for a Compostela :)

I'm a big fan of the Portuguese Camino, but even I have to admit that for only the last 100km, the Camino Frances is super cute. I kinda remember more things to see on the lask 100km of CF than CP, to be honest.

But I love both. Maybe you can do some research on the main cities along the way and see if there is something that catches your heart?
 

Aurigny

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Francés, 2016; Português Central, 2017; Port. Interior, 2017; Primitivo, 2018; Port. Coastal, 2018.
#19
When my little girl was nine, we did SJPP to Los Arcos (135 km) in eight days. She loved it. Never turned a hair.

But given my druthers, if I were to do a c. 100 km leg with her again, I'd start at Valença and head north from there. One could stage it as follows:-

1. Valença-O Porrino (16 km)
2. Porrino-Redondela (15 km)
3. Redondela-south Pontevedra (18 km)
4. South Pontevedra-Briallos (18 km)
5. Briallos-Valga (15 km)
6. Valga-A Esclavitude (16 km)
7. Esclavitude-SdC (18 km)

Along that entire route, the longest section that doesn't have an albergue is Tui-Porrino, at about 13 km. Everywhere else has at least one within 10 km, and usually less than that. It's also quite flat, tranquil and, in my view, a lot more attractive (the part around Porrino aside) than the Sarria-SdC route, the second half of which I walked last month and which I found to be a graffiti-and-litter-bestrewn mess.
 
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falcon269

no commercial interests
Camino(s) past & future
yes
#20
But I love both. Maybe you can do some research on the main cities along the way and see if there is something that catches your heart?
While I agree, a road stretch on the route from Tui is one of only two times I have feared for my life on a Camino. I was in the extreme vigilance mode of walking, stepping as far as I could from the road, stopping, and turning my pack away from traffic until it passed. It was only for a few minutes, but it was very tense.
 
Camino(s) past & future
considering (2018)
#21
When my little girl was nine, we did SJPP to Los Arcos (135 km) in eight days. She loved it. Never turned a hair.

But given my druthers, if I were to do a c. 100 km leg with her again, I'd start at Valença and head north from there. One could stage it as follows:-

1. Valença-O Porrino (16 km)
2. Porrino-Redondela (15 km)
3. Redondela-south Pontevedra (18 km)
4. South Pontevedra-Briallos (18 km)
5. Briallos-Valga (15 km)
6. Valga-A Esclavitude (16 km)
7. Esclavitude-SdC (18 km)


Along that entire route, the longest section that doesn't have an albergue is Tui-Porrino, at about 13 km. Everywhere else has at least one within 10 km, and usually less than that. It's also quite flat, tranquil and, in my view, a lot more attractive (the part around Porrino aside) than the Sarria-SdC route, the second half of which I walked last month and which I found to be a graffiti-and-litter-bestrewn mess.
Thank you so much Aurigny. I only saw this today, so apologies for not responding sooner, it was kind of you to share that. And I'm so happy for your experience with your daughter.
I've more or less landed on the Tui-SdC route now, and I like your suggestion of starting in Valenca because you get a couple km of Portugal in prior to crossing into Spain. I can imagine that for us, that first 16 km day would be fine (we'll be fresh! there aren't as many albergues!) , though I anticipate adding a day or two onto the entire trip to average about 14 km a day.
 
Camino(s) past & future
considering (2018)
#22
Yup, Tui is 102km from Santiago and qualifies you for a Compostela :)

I'm a big fan of the Portuguese Camino, but even I have to admit that for only the last 100km, the Camino Frances is super cute. I kinda remember more things to see on the lask 100km of CF than CP, to be honest.

But I love both. Maybe you can do some research on the main cities along the way and see if there is something that catches your heart?
Thanks for all your insights Anamya, I think I'm most captured by the Portuguese way (for the first go at least :p ). I've booked flights for my boy and I to Porto, so now I just need to organize everything else!
 

Marbe2

Active member
Camino(s) past & future
2015 SJPD to Burgos
2017 Leon to Santiago
Pamplona to Santiago Mar. 2018
Burgos - SCDC (Oct 18)
#23
[QUOTE="Anamya, post: 632065, member: 8788"
Booking.com is very good for the route, I used it a few times as well. I'd book a place with free cancelation the day before. If I got there, good. If not, or if I walked more, I would cancel as soon as possible.[/QUOTE]

During high seasons only a few places allow you to cancel the day before your reservation date. Most will allow you to cancel 3 days out...a few even limit cancellation to a week ahead without penalty. And then some reservations are no cancellation possible at all. So be careful when booking. Having said that, I use it for many of my bookings. A number of the private albergues that pilgrims write positive reviews abt. on this website are on booking.com as well.
 

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