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Zordmot

First timer Spring 2019
Year of past OR future Camino
April-May 2019
I have two friends who are preparing for their Camino in September 2021. If you could offer first-timers one piece of sage advice from your Camino experience what would it be? Hint: may it be something unique they’re not already hearing...such as “don’t pack too much”
 
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CF 2014, CF 2018, CP 2019 from Coimbra
Although it is tempting to try to stick with the security of the first friends you make on the first legs of Camino, it is necessary to allow yourself to let it go if it is too much or too little for your own pace/health, etc. Your “Camino family” is not your family... they are, more often than not, “single serving friends”. I met many wonderful people on my Camino walks so far, but I remain friends with only 2. They are wonderful friends whom I cherish... but I nearly blew out my knees on Camino #1 to keep up with people when I should have known better.
 

trecile

Camino Addict
Year of past OR future Camino
Francés (2016 & 2017), Norte (2018), Francés-Salvador-Norte (2019), Portuguese (2019)
When doing the Camino with others everyone must agree about what they will do in all different kinds of circumstances.

First of all, I think that they should possibly agree that they don't need to walk together every step of the way.

Another issue is if one of them is injured or sick. Will the other continue on - perhaps with the sick/injured one taking a bus to meet up, or will they stay together?

Have they all agreed on the kind of accommodations that they want to stay in?

Is one more budget conscious than the other?

Are either of them fussy eaters? That can weigh on a relationship.

Do they like the same kind of schedule? Some people need to have breakfast, coffee, etc. before setting out, while others prefer to walk a few km to the next town to get something to eat.

All of these little things, if they aren't discussed ahead of time can impact their Camino and their friendship.
 

marylynn

Ontario Canada
Year of past OR future Camino
2019
Give up your expectations...the hilly/mountainous parts may not be as difficult as you think they will be...you might feel enveloped by the simple beauty of the meseta and realize it is not boring and dull after all...you may meet lots of interesting people along the way but you might not find a lifelong friend, like others have...you might finish your camino and think There! That's done! and soon find out you can't stop thinking about it and have to return again...and again..and etc.
 
The camino is as much about the people of the camino as it is about the people who walk the camino. Be open and kind and engage with the local people along the way. If your friends don't already speak Spanish, it is so helpful to have some phrases and especially - hello / good morning / please / thank you etc. With these basic things and the willingness to communicate (even if it's with google translate), it will open them up to some wonderful rich encounters and experiences with the people who live in the communities they will pass through.
 
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CF 2014, CF 2018, CP 2019 from Coimbra
The camino is as much about the people of the camino as it is about the people who walk the camino. Be open and kind and engage with the local people along the way. If your friends don't already speak Spanish, it is so helpful to have some phrases and especially - hello / good morning / please / thank you etc. With these basic things and the willingness to communicate (even if it's with google translate), it will open them up to some wonderful rich encounters and experiences with the people who live in the communities they will pass through.
So many plaudits in my head for this! I actually wish people would step back from hoping to meet more people like themselves on Camino, as though it’s some kind of mobile summer camp.
Yes, we can make profound friendships out there.
But there’s something really ugly in the undercurrent of travelling thousands of miles to ignore the local languages, cultures, foodways, folkways and such that one passes along the way.
And yet that undercurrent *is palpable* in the indignant complaints: “Why don’t the restaurants want to feed us at 6pm?! We are tired! And we are paying!” or, “Whey must they have their festivals while I am trying to sleep! Don’t they know I’m a *pilgrim*?!” or, “Well why don’t these tiny villages put in Portaloos for us?!“ etc etc.
It might be worth recalling that the camino was supposed to form a kind of art and architecture and historical education for those who walked it in its earliest days, part and parcel of the idea of the “grand tour” for the moneyed classes, but more accessible for all kinds of interesting reasons that ranged from penance to healing.
 
Year of past OR future Camino
2019
Amen to what @Theatregal says.
We're walking in Spain, not at home.
Of course. But no matter how blatantly obvious that is, it's amazing how easy it is to forget, and be surprised when things are different. Meal times, food, customs, language...viva la difference! Immersion in that can be a profound letting go of ideas of the way things 'should' be.
There's no one 'right' culture!

The camino gives us the chance to be like wide-eyed kids again, with open-hearted curiosity about Spain, her culture, and her people - as well as about the many pilgrims we meet. It's easy to not extend oneself past the edge of our pilgrim bubble, but it is a real joy to share with people who live along the way. And then to meet people from places we will likely never visit.
 

dick bird

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Plata, Ingles, Madrid, Norte, Primitivo, Invierno, Aragones, Olvidado, Chemin D'Arles
I have two friends who are preparing for their Camino in September 2021. If you could offer first-timers one piece of sage advice from your Camino experience what would it be? Hint: may it be something unique they’re not already hearing...such as “don’t pack too much”
I am not being flippant here, but really, you should always use the bathroom before you leave in the morning.
 

mspath

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Frances, autumn/winter; 2004, 2005-2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015
Remember...

Few people know how to take a walk. The qualifications are endurance, plain clothes, old shoes, an eye for nature, good humor, vast curiosity, good speech, good silence and nothing too much
Ralph Waldo Emerson,
Country Life, 1858
 
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Anthony18

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
2019
So many plaudits in my head for this! I actually wish people would step back from hoping to meet more people like themselves on Camino, as though it’s some kind of mobile summer camp.
Yes, we can make profound friendships out there.
But there’s something really ugly in the undercurrent of travelling thousands of miles to ignore the local languages, cultures, foodways, folkways and such that one passes along the way.
And yet that undercurrent *is palpable* in the indignant complaints: “Why don’t the restaurants want to feed us at 6pm?! We are tired! And we are paying!” or, “Whey must they have their festivals while I am trying to sleep! Don’t they know I’m a *pilgrim*?!” or, “Well why don’t these tiny villages put in Portaloos for us?!“ etc etc.
It might be worth recalling that the camino was supposed to form a kind of art and architecture and historical education for those who walked it in its earliest days, part and parcel of the idea of the “grand tour” for the moneyed classes, but more accessible for all kinds of interesting reasons that ranged from penance to healing.
Nailed it! When it came to the people that I met, I always favored the locals.
 

dick bird

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Plata, Ingles, Madrid, Norte, Primitivo, Invierno, Aragones, Olvidado, Chemin D'Arles
The camino is as much about the people of the camino as it is about the people who walk the camino. Be open and kind and engage with the local people along the way. If your friends don't already speak Spanish, it is so helpful to have some phrases and especially - hello / good morning / please / thank you etc. With these basic things and the willingness to communicate (even if it's with google translate), it will open them up to some wonderful rich encounters and experiences with the people who live in the communities they will pass through.
Agreed. I have a linguistic/anthropological theory about cultures and how they communicate: communication basically consists of transaction and interaction. Both are permitted but are not given equal weight. In some cultures it is considered good manners to let people know what you want, then you can engage in chit-chat. This is a transaction-first culture. In other cultures, the Interaction comes first. Spain is definitely an interaction-first culture - a smile and an enquiry about their day, then you can tell them what you want. Holá, Buenas días, qué tal? come before the por favor.
 

Flog

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
2020
Something two friends setting out to spend a month or more together should consider:
Assuming neither has physical difficulties that require one to be dependant on the other, I feel it's important they understand the need to be able to function as individuals, and each be capable of continuing separately if need be. This may not be obvious to all.
I have seen a few strained and lost friendships along the way...
 

calmeg

Member
These two friends will remain friends for life- so understand each others limitations and communicate so as to nurture, not crash the friendship. And Plan on throwing your plans out the window- no matter how much you set out with hard and fast schedules- things come up! Expect nothing and revel in everything?
 
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David

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
2005
One? Well, won't go with packing or taking care of your feet then ... just one .... towards the top of any hill stop, take pack off, take footwear off, drink water and - look back .. look back and see how far you have come .. it is empowering and cracks that "must get on must get on to the next place, the town I stop in" mentality.
Ok, two! - as is part of one - learn to relax ... relax.
 
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Year of past OR future Camino
First 2016
Latest Camino Frances Jul-Aug 2020
I have two friends who are preparing for their Camino in September 2021. If you could offer first-timers one piece of sage advice from your Camino experience what would it be? Hint: may it be something unique they’re not already hearing...such as “don’t pack too much”
1. If the decision to walk was made with the belief that the Camino is the "Camino Frances" then start again and consider other routes before settling on that specific one. It is not automatically right for you as a first camino

I walked the Camino Frances after walking other ones first and got a lot from the experience. I don't think this would have been the case had I done it first, and I doubt I would have done more.

2. Don't read Walk in a Relaxed Manner by Sister Joyce Rupp (Forum Book Club joke alert).
 
Year of past OR future Camino
CF SJPdP to SdC
(May 2015)
CF Sarria to SdC
(May 2016)
CF SJPDP-SdC
(May 2018)
VdlP (2022?)
Just one piece of advice?

Easy.

Submit.

You may have plans, expectations, and be eager to experience specific things.

But as soon as you set foot on the Camino ..............let go.............

Open your eyes, your ears, your heart to whatever comes your way.

Just submit to the experience.

You will be guided along the path......and if you are open enough.......you will learn amazing things.

Just submit and go with the flow :)
 

Camino Chrissy

Take one step forward...then keep on walking..
Year of past OR future Camino
Frances 2015;
Norte/Primitivo 2016;
Frances 2017;
Le Puy 2018;
Portuguese/FishermanTr. 2019
All of these little things, if they aren't discussed ahead of time can impact their Camino and their friendship
I walked all but one of my Caminos with beloved family members, and everything you mentioned applied to our family dynamics as well as friends...you make some good points.
Expect nothing and revel in everything
I love this!
 
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David Tallan

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
1989
I have two friends who are preparing for their Camino in September 2021. If you could offer first-timers one piece of sage advice from your Camino experience what would it be? Hint: may it be something unique they’re not already hearing...such as “don’t pack too much”
I don't know if they are likely to hear this from others or not, but it is the first piece of advice I give to all first-timers. Give yourself more time than you think you will possibly need. You don't know in advance what you will find your best daily walking distance to be. You don't know in advance if issues like tendonitis might lay you up for a few days. The last thing you want is to find yourself racing to Santiago to make a plane. Give yourself that cushion. If you need it, it is there. If you don't need it, you can spend an extra few days in Santiago, you can walk to Finisterre/Muxia, or you can see some of the other wonderful things there are to see in Iberia.

When I went with my son in 2016, I thought it would take 33 or so days. That's what Brierley and the other guide books indicated. I booked our flights so we had almost two months in Spain. It ended up taking us 37 days to walk to Santiago and another 4 to walk to Finisterre. With the extra time at the end, we did some sightseeing in Spain. We found that my son's blisters got really terrible if we walked over 25 km day after day after day but remained under control if we generally kept it below that. I shudder to imagine what his feet would have been like on arrival if we had to get there in 33 days.
 
Year of past OR future Camino
Camino Frances , Pamplona Burgos august 2018 Burgos to Santiago 19 /04 to 20/05/2019
When doing the Camino with others everyone must agree about what they will do in all different kinds of circumstances.

First of all, I think that they should possibly agree that they don't need to walk together every step of the way.

Another issue is if one of them is injured or sick. Will the other continue on - perhaps with the sick/injured one taking a bus to meet up, or will they stay together?

Have they all agreed on the kind of accommodations that they want to stay in?

Is one more budget conscious than the other?

Are either of them fussy eaters? That can weigh on a relationship.

Do they like the same kind of schedule? Some people need to have breakfast, coffee, etc. before setting out, while others prefer to walk a few km to the next town to get something to eat.

All of these little things, if they aren't discussed ahead of time can impact their Camino and their friendship.
Só well said!!!
 

Jean Ti

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
.
I have two friends who are preparing for their Camino in September 2021. If you could offer first-timers one piece of sage advice from your Camino experience what would it be? Hint: may it be something unique they’re not already hearing...such as “don’t pack too much”
Close your cellphone!

Asq your questions to the locals.
 
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Harland2019

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Camino Frances April/May "2019"
If your boots/shoes don't "give" much at the heel then take a cheap lightweight (from a hotel) shoehorn!
 
Pharmacies sell small ziplock bags for medicines. I set up my daily dose instead of carrying bottles (like I did the first time) Write down all you medicines and doses (translate if you can).
Because diets and ingredients change it isn't always about cleanliness and I don't have time to get sick, I take two Pesto Bismals or generics twice a day as insurance.
 
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lt56ny

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
CF(2012) Le Puy/CF (2015) Portugues (2017) Norte (2018) CF (2019) VDLP?
I was one of the few I think that wasn't treated like garbage at the not so fondly remembered Cowboy Bar. Once I saw some graffiti written on the side of the building that I think encapsulates the Camino entirely. If a pilgrim thinks about it answers what happens with friendships with who or how to walk with so much.
'Together We Walk Alone"
 

lt56ny

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
CF(2012) Le Puy/CF (2015) Portugues (2017) Norte (2018) CF (2019) VDLP?
I don't know if they are likely to hear this from others or not, but it is the first piece of advice I give to all first-timers. Give yourself more time than you think you will possibly need. You don't know in advance what you will find your best daily walking distance to be. You don't know in advance if issues like tendonitis might lay you up for a few days. The last thing you want is to find yourself racing to Santiago to make a plane. Give yourself that cushion. If you need it, it is there. If you don't need it, you can spend an extra few days in Santiago, you can walk to Finisterre/Muxia, or you can see some of the other wonderful things there are to see in Iberia.

When I went with my son in 2016, I thought it would take 33 or so days. That's what Brierley and the other guide books indicated. I booked our flights so we had almost two months in Spain. It ended up taking us 37 days to walk to Santiago and another 4 to walk to Finisterre. With the extra time at the end, we did some sightseeing in Spain. We found that my son's blisters got really terrible if we walked over 25 km day after day after day but remained under control if we generally kept it below that. I shudder to imagine what his feet would have been like on arrival if we had to get there in 33 days.
I couldn't agree more. When I walked my first Camino I had no idea about anything. I did have the luxury of time as I had quit my job. I booked the Camino for 48 days. My thought was who cares if I finish even 2 weeks early. I am in Spain, I am in Europe I doubt if I will have problems figuring out what to do. It ended up taking about 35 days, I spent 4 days in Santiago, 3 days walking to Finistere and then about a week in Barcelona. How awful having to spend a week in Barcelona when the weather was still good and most of the tourists were gone. I also found a room rented by two wonderful guys who treated me great, showed me off as their American friend who just walked the Camino. A great way to finish my Camino.
 

Rick M

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
April ('16,'18, '19, 21)
There is no need to photograph the churches, bridges, monuments, and landscapes that you will encounter every day, they have already been photographed a thousand times over and better pictures than you will take are available on line. These things do not change, and are not part of your Camino. Rather, make sure that you take pictures of the people you meet and the events you encounter, these are the memories that you will cherish. Its easy to take a photo of the dinner table every night, the dogs herding the sheep, the picnic on the river bank, or the wedding procession through the village, and these pictures are the ones that will remind you of The Way. At the same time, live the moments, rather than documenting them - one quick snap is all it takes.
 

Turga

Camino tortuga
Year of past OR future Camino
CF (Aug/Sep 2017)
CF (Aug/Sep 2018)
This could be the beginning of “The Jante Law” of Camino walking.

1. Do not believe you’ll get along with anybody
Before you leave interrogate your walking companion(s) closely about her/his personal preferences such as preferred accommodation, eating habits and manners and budget concerns; let her/him do the same to you. If you are still friends then go.

2. Do not trust friendship
Don’t bond too tightly with anyone you meet and be prepared to dump them and be dumped yourself.

3. Do not have any expectations – you do not deserve it
Leave every expectation behind (if you can). Think: ‘this is going to be boring, absolutely nothing will happen’ and you’re good to go.

4. Do not believe you are right about anything
Practice suppressing any feeling of discontent about anything and practice feeling ashamed should it happen.

5. Do believe you are inferior to everybody else
Submit!

6. Do not think you can think
Just go with the flow! You are not in control anyway.
 
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Year of past OR future Camino
2018
In the midst of all your planning and training, take at least a few minutes (or hours) and skim through (or read) "The Pilgrimage Road to Santiago, The Complete Cultural Handbook" by Gitlitz and Davidson. Even a casual perusal will give you a much better understanding of the art, architecture and cultural history you will experience along the CF and a richer experience as a result. You might even buy a digital edition so you have it handy when you encounter interesting art/architecture along the way.
Buen Camino and Bonne Chance!
 
Year of past OR future Camino
2022
"Start out like an old man so you can finish like a young man"

This is my all time favorite and most perfect advice I got from this forum as I prepared for my first Camino years ago. It served me very well. To me, it means keep your energy and enthusiasm under control in the beginning - this may be one of the few times in our lives we REALLY have to think of the long haul.

The result was blisters kept well under control in spite of 3 solid weeks of rain and mud. No tendonitis. Energy, stamina and speed increased as I got closer to Santiago (although I slowed down since I was sad to see my adventure coming to its end).

And NEVER pass up the chance to use a flush toilet during the day (leave a coin or two extra at the bar).
 
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SeattleJen

Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Camino Frances from SJPDP, April 5 - May 15, 2018
Everyone is giving great philosophical advice, so here is my very boring/practical advice for first-timers (just a few tidbits; I could write a 94 point list if there was time):

1. Never pass a town without using the facilities (esp if you're female). Remember to pay the "potty tax" and not just take advantage of the business -- i.e. buy a bottle of water, a beer, a pack of gum, a banana, anything. Pay that potty tax with a smile on your face because that business saved you from a potential emergency before the next town.

2. Carry some toilet paper in your pack. It will help the businesses save on supplies, and many facilities didn't have any.

3. Bring a small ziploc bag full of odds and ends -- binder clips, safety pins, rubber bands, bobby pins, s-clips, etc. I ended up having to use almost every little bit for something (something broke, something new was acquired but no place to carry it, no clothesline at night, etc).

4. Wrap about 6-10' of duct tape around your water bottle and tear off what you need as you walk. I learned that trick from someone here on the forum and man am I glad I did that.

5. Have a pen and small notepad with you for when you need to make notes, leave a note for someone, etc. I didn't bring the paper and found myself jotting things on the tiniest scraps of receipt paper.

Buen camino to your friends! I really hope they are able to go this fall. It looks touch-and-go still. (I'm holding my breath that I will be able to go again Spring 2022 -- get your shots, everyone!)
 

Jean Ti

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
.
I have two friends who are preparing for their Camino in September 2021. If you could offer first-timers one piece of sage advice from your Camino experience what would it be? Hint: may it be something unique they’re not already hearing...such as “don’t pack too much”
Always be careful with the smiling "pet" you might meet!!!
 

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Anthony18

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
2019
Everyone is giving great philosophical advice, so here is my very boring/practical advice for first-timers (just a few tidbits; I could write a 94 point list if there was time):

1. Never pass a town without using the facilities (esp if you're female). Remember to pay the "potty tax" and not just take advantage of the business -- i.e. buy a bottle of water, a beer, a pack of gum, a banana, anything. Pay that potty tax with a smile on your face because that business saved you from a potential emergency before the next town.

2. Carry some toilet paper in your pack. It will help the businesses save on supplies, and many facilities didn't have any.

3. Bring a small ziploc bag full of odds and ends -- binder clips, safety pins, rubber bands, bobby pins, s-clips, etc. I ended up having to use almost every little bit for something (something broke, something new was acquired but no place to carry it, no clothesline at night, etc).

4. Wrap about 6-10' of duct tape around your water bottle and tear off what you need as you walk. I learned that trick from someone here on the forum and man am I glad I did that.

5. Have a pen and small notepad with you for when you need to make notes, leave a note for someone, etc. I didn't bring the paper and found myself jotting things on the tiniest scraps of receipt paper.

Buen camino to your friends! I really hope they are able to go this fall. It looks touch-and-go still. (I'm holding my breath that I will be able to go again Spring 2022 -- get your shots, everyone!)
No. 2 for No. 2 for sure.
 

TangoBravo

New Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Frances 2013, Norte 2016, Muxia/Finisterra 2016, Portuguese 2017
I have two friends who are preparing for their Camino in September 2021. If you could offer first-timers one piece of sage advice from your Camino experience what would it be? Hint: may it be something unique they’re not already hearing...such as “don’t pack too much”
I really enjoyed stopping and staying at midpoint villages instead of where the guidebooks say you should stay. Smaller crowds and more intimate dwellings...many having communal dinners.
 
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alexwalker

Forever Pilgrim
Year of past OR future Camino
(2009): Camino Frances
(2011): Sevilla-Salamanca, VdlP
(2012): Salamanca-SdC, VdlP
(2014): SJpdP-Astorga
(2015): Astorga-SdC
(2016) May Pamplona-Moratinos; Sept.:Burgos-SdC
(2016): August/Sept: Camino San Olav (Burgos-Covarubbias), Burgos-Sarria
(2017): May: Portuguese; Sept: Pamplona-SdC
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Aidan21

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
SJPP to SDC 2013/14
SJPP to SDC 2016
Porto to SDC 2017
VdlP Sevilla/Salamanca 2018
Look after your FEET!!!!

Blisters will spoil your Camino, spoil your day, spoil the experience......

Before you go do sufficient training kms to make sure your socks/boots/trainers are right for you. Learn how to prevent blisters (Plan A), learn how to treat blisters (Plan B).

And finally, as soon as your feet tell you they are not happy, STOP what you are doing right then and treat the hot spot on your feet.
 

alexwalker

Forever Pilgrim
Year of past OR future Camino
(2009): Camino Frances
(2011): Sevilla-Salamanca, VdlP
(2012): Salamanca-SdC, VdlP
(2014): SJpdP-Astorga
(2015): Astorga-SdC
(2016) May Pamplona-Moratinos; Sept.:Burgos-SdC
(2016): August/Sept: Camino San Olav (Burgos-Covarubbias), Burgos-Sarria
(2017): May: Portuguese; Sept: Pamplona-SdC
"Start out like an old man so you can finish like a young man"
This is a VERY good advice! Being an old man myself, I have seen many young people with horrible blisters++, due to overestimating their abilities at the beginning. Some so bad, they had to quit. Too bad. Take it slow in the beginning: You won't believe how strong you will grow as the days/weeks are passing.

That being said: There has been tons of good advice in this thread.

Look after your FEET!!!!

Blisters will spoil your Camino, spoil your day, spoil the experience......

Before you go do sufficient training kms to make sure your socks/boots/trainers are right for you. Learn how to prevent blisters (Plan A), learn how to treat blisters (Plan B).

And finally, as soon as your feet tell you they are not happy, STOP what you are doing right then and treat the hot spot on your feet.
Just echoing my simultaneous post: Soo important!
 
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EL LECHERO

Friends no Strangers
Year of past OR future Camino
2022
I have two friends who are preparing for their Camino in September 2021. If you could offer first-timers one piece of sage advice from your Camino experience what would it be? Hint: may it be something unique they’re not already hearing...such as “don’t pack too much”
Don't over plan.
 
Year of past OR future Camino
2018
I have two friends who are preparing for their Camino in September 2021. If you could offer first-timers one piece of sage advice from your Camino experience what would it be? Hint: may it be something unique they’re not already hearing...such as “don’t pack too much”
Do not hesitate to stop along the way for an attractive view, or cafe, or whatever. Stay an extra day if you find a place so attractive you feel like taking time to savor it. If this means you have to take a bus or train to get pre-booked travel back home, so be it. My only regrets are related to feeling hurried. Actually, that is what I am feeling more and more about life in general now. I do not remember who I heard this from so am not able to give proper due, but this is more and more the way I want to approach life: "The past is history, the future is mystery, LIFE is NOW." Whatever you do, there is no one to whom you owe any explanation for the way you do your WAY! Make it yours. Ultreia......
 
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EL LECHERO

Friends no Strangers
Year of past OR future Camino
2022
View attachment 98342

Also, if you get a pedi before leaving for the Camino, DO NOT CHOOSE BLUE NAIL POLISH. As it chips off/grows out, fellow pilgrims (and a foot doctor in Burgos) will be very concerned that you’re losing your toenails. 😬
Don't get a pedicure within a month of you leaving for the Camino. Your skin needs to be rough and not smooth to avoid those blisters and hot spots.
 

dick bird

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Plata, Ingles, Madrid, Norte, Primitivo, Invierno, Aragones, Olvidado, Chemin D'Arles
Look after your FEET!!!!

Blisters will spoil your Camino, spoil your day, spoil the experience......

Before you go do sufficient training kms to make sure your socks/boots/trainers are right for you. Learn how to prevent blisters (Plan A), learn how to treat blisters (Plan B).

And finally, as soon as your feet tell you they are not happy, STOP what you are doing right then and treat the hot spot on your feet.
With a wad of 'tramper's wool', i.e. lamb's wool.
 

koknesis

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Camino Frances June/July 2014
Camino Aragones August 2015
Camino Sanabres (Ourense-SdC) August 2015
VdlP 2017
- learn some Spanish
- aim for a daily distance about 1/3 of what you cover weekly. and you know what to do, if it seems to be too short at the moment :)
 
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David Tallan

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
1989
Do not hesitate to stop along the way for an attractive view, or cafe, or whatever. Stay an extra day if you find a place so attractive you feel like taking time to savor it. If this means you have to take a bus or train to get pre-booked travel back home, so be it. My only regrets are related to feeling hurried. Actually, that is what I am feeling more and more about life in general now. I do not remember who I heard this from so am not able to give proper due, but this is more and more the way I want to approach life: "The past is history, the future is mystery, LIFE is NOW." Whatever you do, there is no one to whom you owe any explanation for the way you do your WAY! Make it yours. Ultreia......
This pairs well with my tip of "give yourself plenty of time". The plenty of time allows you to feel less hurried and take those extra days. The relaxed manner and time to savor is something wise to do with the plenty of time.
 

RRat

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Planning 2017
I have two friends who are preparing for their Camino in September 2021. If you could offer first-timers one piece of sage advice from your Camino experience what would it be? Hint: may it be something unique they’re not already hearing...such as “don’t pack too much”
Bring a notebook, nothing fancy. Something to jot notes. Weather, name of the guys you had dinner with, email of friends along the way, where first blister, where the rain began or finished. Name of each alburge and a distinguishing feature. A year later something will come to mind but you won't be able to place it. It will drive you crazy. I retraced my steps but couldn't remember one alburge I had stayed at. Total blank.
 
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Camino Chrissy

Take one step forward...then keep on walking..
Year of past OR future Camino
Frances 2015;
Norte/Primitivo 2016;
Frances 2017;
Le Puy 2018;
Portuguese/FishermanTr. 2019
Good suggestion! A photo of the exterior of the place with its name included is helpful once you get home and can't remember the specifics of different accomodations. If no one is around, I also take a photo of the room and/or my bed.
So true, Marylynn! I wish I had done that consistently, but I have some big gaps even in 2000 pictures of village and albergue names.
 

dick bird

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Plata, Ingles, Madrid, Norte, Primitivo, Invierno, Aragones, Olvidado, Chemin D'Arles
I have two friends who are preparing for their Camino in September 2021. If you could offer first-timers one piece of sage advice from your Camino experience what would it be? Hint: may it be something unique they’re not already hearing...such as “don’t pack too much”
Not sure if this is advice, or an observation, but nobody does two caminos. Some people do one, and that's enough and others do three or four or fifteen, but never just two.
 
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Walkerooni

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
C. Frances SJPdP to Santiago (June-ish 2018)
Having also travelled from North America (Canada) ,I appreciate a lot of planning is required even to make it to the start line. BUT, once there, throw it all away. Go with enough days to build flexibility into your Camino. Then just go with whatever comes up. I saw a sign outside of Burgos “The freedom to continue”. Yup, that was when I just sunk into it and knew I had it!
 

Anamiri

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
2016, 2017, 2019 Camino Frances
Practical tips.
When you use the toilet in a bar or cafe - take note where the light switch is and the general layout. If its on a timer, and you end up in a completely dark room, its useful to know where it is.
Someone else mentioned to take toilet paper - half the toilets you visit will not have any - best to be prepared for that.
If you run out of your toilet paper keep a stash of paper napkins.
I always take a really sharp pair of needlework scissors with me, useful for so many things - snipping blisters, cutting plaster, trimming fringes, cutting off labels, running repairs. Usually as soon as some one sees me with them they want to borrow them. They are small light and razor sharp - and get used daily.
DRY SOCKS : (note the capital letters). Take socks that dry fast. Test them out before you go - with a hand wash (no spinner). You NEED dry socks - typically the last thing to dry each day is the socks. And remember a lot of the time you are going to hand wash them - which takes longer to dry. Tip to get the water out. Fold up your towel, lay it on wet clothes and stomp on the towel. Gets way more water out than just squeezing by hand, and the towel doesn't take too long to dry.
Many of us take only 2 outfits, so getting stuff dry is very important. I take 2 of most things but 3 pairs of socks.
When you travel with someone else its good to have ME time as well. Unless you're good to be joined at the hip every second of the day - sanity time is important. Probably something they should be prepared for before they go to stop feelings being hurt.
If your phone charger requires a EU adapter - mark it with some tape or paint it - helps you to remember it. Very easy to leave behind, and could ruin your day.
I had a little mantra I would repeat every morning before I left to try not to leave anything behind.
Phone, charger, walking poles (yes. easy to forget these too), sunglasses.
Make sure your towel is bigger than a postage stamp. Tempting though it is to take a smaller - therefore lighter one - you will regret it. Its so so frustrating trying to pull your clothes on when your body is still wet because your stupid towel is too small. Ask me how I know this
 
Last edited:

7wood

Member
Year of past OR future Camino
2013 SJPP to Pamplona. 2014 Pamplona to Burgos. 2015 Burgos to Sarria. 2016 Sarria to Santiago de Compostla,Finisterre,Muxia. 2016. 2017 Porto to ???
I have two friends who are preparing for their Camino in September 2021. If you could offer first-timers one piece of sage advice from your Camino experience what would it be? Hint: may it be something unique they’re not already hearing...such as “don’t pack too much”
Liner socks, ear plugs and toliet roll
 

dick bird

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Plata, Ingles, Madrid, Norte, Primitivo, Invierno, Aragones, Olvidado, Chemin D'Arles
Practical tips.
When you use the toilet in a bar or cafe - take note where the light switch is and the general layout. If its on a timer, and you end up in a completely dark room, its useful to know where it is.
Someone else mentioned to take toilet paper - half the toilets you visit will not have any - best to be prepared for that.
If you run out of your toilet paper keep a stash of paper napkins.
I always take a really sharp pair of needlework scissors with me, useful for so many things - snipping blisters, cutting plaster, trimming fringes, cutting off labels, running repairs. Usually as soon as some one sees me with them they want to borrow them. They are small light and razor sharp - and get used daily.
DRY SOCKS : (note the capital letters). Take socks that dry fast. Test them out before you go - with a hand wash (no spinner). You NEED dry socks - typically the last thing to dry each day is the socks. And remember a lot of the time you are going to hand wash them - which takes longer to dry. Tip to get the water out. Fold up your towel, lay it on wet clothes and stomp on the towel. Gets way more water out than just squeezing by hand, and the towel doesn't take too long to dry.
Many of us take only 2 outfits, so getting stuff dry is very important. I take 2 of most things but 3 pairs of socks.
When you travel with someone else its good to have ME time as well. Unless you're good to be joined at the hip every second of the day - sanity time is important. Probably something they should be prepared for before they go to stop feelings being hurt.
If your phone charger requires a EU adapter - mark it with some tape or paint it - helps you to remember it. Very easy to leave behind, and could ruin your day.
I had a little mantra I would repeat every morning before I left to try not to leave anything behind.
Phone, charger, walking poles (yes. easy to forget these too), sunglasses.
Make sure your towel is bigger than a postage stamp. Tempting though it is to take a smaller - therefore lighter one - you will regret it. Its so so frustrating trying to pull your clothes on when your body is still wet because your stupid towel is too small. Ask me how I know this
If the light goes out when you are in a Spanish toilet, wave your arms: they are motion activated. If you are in a Portuguese toilet and you can actually locate the light switch, you are a genius: Portuguese electricians are a strange tribe and whatever it is that motivates them, it is not a desire to make life easier for the rest of humanity. Believe me, I lived in Portugal for three years and I love them all to bits but I could never locate the sodding light switch in the bathroom.
 

dick bird

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Plata, Ingles, Madrid, Norte, Primitivo, Invierno, Aragones, Olvidado, Chemin D'Arles
If the light goes out when you are in a Spanish toilet, wave your arms: they are motion activated. If you are in a Portuguese toilet and you can actually locate the light switch, you are a genius: Portuguese electricians are a strange tribe and whatever it is that motivates them, it is not a desire to make life easier for the rest of humanity. Believe me, I lived in Portugal for three years and I love them all to bits but I could never locate the sodding light switch in the bathroom.
You can buy phone chargers in Spain. They are quite cheap.
 
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Camino Chrissy

Take one step forward...then keep on walking..
Year of past OR future Camino
Frances 2015;
Norte/Primitivo 2016;
Frances 2017;
Le Puy 2018;
Portuguese/FishermanTr. 2019
Yes you can buy most things in Spain - but as Murphy's law goes - never when you actually need one. Its like a pharmacy, when you need one they are never open, when you dont they all are.
I have definitely encountered these problems a few times myself.😏
 

dick bird

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Plata, Ingles, Madrid, Norte, Primitivo, Invierno, Aragones, Olvidado, Chemin D'Arles
You're right. We just bought one anyway. Like you, we come from a country that doesn't use EU style sockets so it avoided having to carry a charger and an adapter. You can get them from the shops run by migrants, which are, in fact, open at times that most shops in Spain aren't.
 

Mercutio

Let us walk together
Year of past OR future Camino
2019
I have two friends who are preparing for their Camino in September 2021. If you could offer first-timers one piece of sage advice from your Camino experience what would it be? Hint: may it be something unique they’re not already hearing...such as “don’t pack too much”
The first third of your walk is physical, the second third is mental, and the final third is spiritual.
 
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stinmd

Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Camino Frances - May 2015; Camino del Norte/Primitivo - July/August 2016; Camino Portugues - Sept 2017
The camino is as much about the people of the camino as it is about the people who walk the camino. Be open and kind and engage with the local people along the way. If your friends don't already speak Spanish, it is so helpful to have some phrases and especially - hello / good morning / please / thank you etc. With these basic things and the willingness to communicate (even if it's with google translate), it will open them up to some wonderful rich encounters and experiences with the people who live in the communities they will pass through.peak Spanish is not as challenging

So many plaudits in my head for this! I actually wish people would step back from hoping to meet more people like themselves on Camino, as though it’s some kind of mobile summer camp.
Yes, we can make profound friendships out there.
But there’s something really ugly in the undercurrent of travelling thousands of miles to ignore the local languages, cultures, foodways, folkways and such that one passes along the way.
And yet that undercurrent *is palpable* in the indignant complaints: “Why don’t the restaurants want to feed us at 6pm?! We are tired! And we are paying!” or, “Whey must they have their festivals while I am trying to sleep! Don’t they know I’m a *pilgrim*?!” or, “Well why don’t these tiny villages put in Portaloos for us?!“ etc etc.
It might be worth recalling that the camino was supposed to form a kind of art and architecture and historical education for those who walked it in its earliest days, part and parcel of the idea of the “grand tour” for the moneyed classes, but more accessible for all kinds of interesting reasons that ranged from penance to healing.
As the saying goes: "The tourist demands; a pilgrim gives thanks."
 

stinmd

Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Camino Frances - May 2015; Camino del Norte/Primitivo - July/August 2016; Camino Portugues - Sept 2017
The camino is as much about the people of the camino as it is about the people who walk the camino. Be open and kind and engage with the local people along the way. If your friends don't already speak Spanish, it is so helpful to have some phrases and especially - hello / good morning / please / thank you etc. With these basic things and the willingness to communicate (even if it's with google translate), it will open them up to some wonderful rich encounters and experiences with the people who live in the communities they will pass through.
In my experience, speaking a few words in Spanish is not as challenging as comprehending what comes back at you ;-)
 

MarkN

Mark
Year of past OR future Camino
Leon to Santiago Oct 2016
Porto to Santiago Oct 2017
Porto to Santiago May 2019
Practical:
Do bring a cell phone, an older one if it still works.

I will also say I did not have a sim card in my phone when walking the Camino. It is just for pictures and maps and limited email when I found Wi-Fi to let family know I am ok, and to book a hotel as a treat at the end and bus rides, etc.
I choose to get away from most of my online connections via the phone.

Download maps to your phone. You don't need data to use your gps on your phone. The data is only for the maps. So download them for the area you will be in before hand.

Get a phone charger with multiple USB ports!
That way when you find all the available electrical outlets are full you can plug yours in and many people can use the one plug.

Just found one for $8.25 Canadian at wallmart.

Have your phone automatically upload pictures at night over WiFi and then even if you loose it, you will still have your pictures.
 
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trecile

Camino Addict
Year of past OR future Camino
Francés (2016 & 2017), Norte (2018), Francés-Salvador-Norte (2019), Portuguese (2019)
Tip to get the water out. Fold up your towel, lay it on wet clothes and stomp on the towel.
I lay my clothes on my towel, then fold the towel over them and twist and wing the towel.
Like you, we come from a country that doesn't use EU style sockets so it avoided having to carry a charger and an adapter.
If you do bring a separate adapter tape it to your charger so that you don't leave it behind in the socket.
And a 6ft/2 meter long charging cable is very useful.
The first third of your walk is physical, the second third is mental, and the final third is spiritual.
For some but not for all.
In my experience, speaking a few words in Spanish is not as challenging as comprehending what comes back at you ;-)
Right. No point asking for directions when you can't understand the answers! Unless it's someplace nearby where pointing and gesturing will suffice.
 

John A Richard

New Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Frances (2017), Portuguese (2019)
There is no need to photograph the churches, bridges, monuments, and landscapes that you will encounter every day, they have already been photographed a thousand times over and better pictures than you will take are available on line. These things do not change, and are not part of your Camino. Rather, make sure that you take pictures of the people you meet and the events you encounter, these are the memories that you will cherish. Its easy to take a photo of the dinner table every night, the dogs herding the sheep, the picnic on the river bank, or the wedding procession through the village, and these pictures are the ones that will remind you of The Way. At the same time, live the moments, rather than documenting them - one quick snap is all it takes.
Amen to that!
 
Year of past OR future Camino
Camino Francis, Portuguese Camino (Cluny, Le Puys), Hadrian's Wall, West Highland Way
I have two friends who are preparing for their Camino in September 2021. If you could offer first-timers one piece of sage advice from your Camino experience what would it be? Hint: may it be something unique they’re not already hearing...such as “don’t pack too much”
Good question...my answer would be keep a diary, record your memories forever 'cause we know memory fades!
 

Stivandrer

Perambulating & Curious. Rep stravaiging offender
Year of past OR future Camino
I´ve got Camino plans until 2042,
- or till I fall flat on my face, whichever comes first !!
Giving some thought to the matter is this...
Ahead of planning and gear stocking, start preparing your feet...
wear your boots to work daily if possible, let the feet get warm , squeezed and strong through exposure to the daily grind...
get the surprise of a blister in the comfort of everyday life, so you know how much your feet and your boots cooperate...
without this weathering of your most valuable asset, you are done for when you start out.
Everything else come second....
 
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