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Options if you cannot walk

2020 Camino Guides

LVDWD

Member
Camino(s) past & future
2015
Have booked all my flights, hotel in Dublin on the way there and back. Flight to Biarritz. Flight to Dublin from Santiago. First night at Orisson etc. Dept Sept. Have planned six weeks total for the Camino de Frances SJPP to Santiago including travel time to and back to the States. After probably going at the training at little too hard (typical for me) have developed a back problem, that appears as sciatica when I walk and only when I walk I can do all other activities, that does not seem to want to go away (not the first time). Going to lay off the training for a week and see how things develop, but, need to plan for the worst, i.e may not be able to walk the camino.

So looking for suggestions as to what I might do if I have to come to terms with not being able to walk the camino and still maintain my travel plans. None of the fares are refundable.

Obviously I could bike the Camino, although that would not take 5 weeks.
 

Travellingman

Active Member
Well, there are buses/trains/
Have booked all my flights, hotel in Dublin on the way there and back. Flight to Biarritz. Flight to Dublin from Santiago. First night at Orisson etc. Dept Sept. Have planned six weeks total for the Camino de Frances SJPP to Santiago including travel time to and back to the States. After probably going at the training at little too hard (typical for me) have developed a back problem, that appears as sciatica when I walk and only when I walk I can do all other activities, that does not seem to want to go away (not the first time). Going to lay off the training for a week and see how things develop, but, need to plan for the worst, i.e may not be able to walk the camino.

So looking for suggestions as to what I might do if I have to come to terms with not being able to walk the camino and still maintain my travel plans. None of the fares are refundable.

Obviously I could bike the Camino, although that would not take 5 weeks.
Well, there are plenty of buses,trains,taxis available all the way - you could walk a little,or not, as you feel, then get transport to the next place for the night - lots of hostals and private albergues which don't insist on one having walked all day. Visit Pamplona,Logrono,Burgos,Leon,Astorga,among other interesting places.This would give a camino experience, and the opportunity to meet other pilgrims. Then spend a week in Santiago, go to mass, tour the sights, soak up the atmosphere for a few days.
Better than nothing, and you won't have wasted your airfares etc.
Just a thought.....
 

David

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Moissac to Santiago Spring 2005 was the first foray.
Get thee to an osteopath! Get that back manipulated as soon as possible! As for being on the Camino and being unable to walk long distances, well, as you have realised, this is a bit of a problem!
What you could do, if you can walk a little before it becomes too much, is to scale down your daily distance. It isn't necessary to walk the "daily stages" - they are only a guide, not a rule. Also, if you could drop the idea of walking to Santiago and replace it with walking the Camino - if you could be where you are each day rather than living in the future when you arrive at the Cathedral - then you will find yourself on Camino, on pilgrimage but only walking just a mile or two or more a day.
Doing it this way you will walk a shorter distance this time but you will still be having the full pilgrimage life, and if you only get so far before your have to go home - well, you have had your pilgrimage and the Camino will still be there when you go back.

Just a thought.

Buen Camino
 

William Garza

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances, The Jakobsweg
I agree with David
Get some release work done ask questions .
What you may ask of yourself...may not be what your body will want from you.

I will be walking with numerous spinal issues,sciatica among them. Hopefully next year as the ducats flow...
I would love to do the entire route "en mis pieses"on my own feet
I am willing to sacrifice my body to the Pilgrimage..
But someone told me,that is not what is required of me
Only..to present myself and the rest will follow its natural course.

Please be attentive to the needs of the vessel you occupy,
I believe you will make it
As the many,Many wonderful forum,members who have walked ahead of me advised,there is a baggage service available,to take your bags ahead as to avoid injury to yourself.

The repeated compression cycles of the. Pack and pounding on the road may take the joy frim your heart at the journey.
Be ever so Blessed in your pilgrimage and I will pray that you will be successful!
 

Kanga

Moderator
Staff member
Camino(s) past & future
Francés x 5, Le Puy x 2, Arles, Tours, Norte, Madrid, Via de la Plata, Portuguese, Primitivo
@LVDWD give it a go using a pack carrying service and one of three things will happen:

(1) The walking will fix the problem.

(2) It will stay about the same and you will struggle along using a combination of pain killers, buses, taxis and walking.

(3) It will get worse, in which case abandon walking, buy a wheelie bag to replace the backpack, and use buses, trains, taxis or hire a car to go see the wonders of Spain.

At the end of our last Camino we had ten days spare. We hired a tiny car incredibly cheaply ($164 for 10 days, unlimited miles) and spent the whole time touring the coast of southern Galicia - and still did not see everything!
 

LVDWD

Member
Camino(s) past & future
2015
Great advice and food for thought. Still hoping to walk and have looked into biking it. Seems you can buy a reasonable mountain bike near Biarritz aiport at the Decathalon Store for 150 euros. Might do that if I do not recover but have six weeks still to go so plenty of time. Have an appointment with the Dr tomorrow and will get and MRI to establish what the problem actually is and go on from there.

The pack I dont think will be a problem for me??

One good thing about it although I hurt a lot when I start walking the problem goes away after about half an hour, so I guess one solution would be to start the camino and not stop!

Please keep the suggestions coming.
 

David

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Moissac to Santiago Spring 2005 was the first foray.
Great advice and food for thought. Still hoping to walk and have looked into biking it. Seems you can buy a reasonable mountain bike near Biarritz aiport at the Decathalon Store for 150 euros. Might do that if I do not recover but have six weeks still to go so plenty of time. Have an appointment with the Dr tomorrow and will get and MRI to establish what the problem actually is and go on from there.

The pack I dont think will be a problem for me??

One good thing about it although I hurt a lot when I start walking the problem goes away after about half an hour, so I guess one solution would be to start the camino and not stop!

Please keep the suggestions coming.
Ha! you have answered your own problem - walk, heal by walking (after you have been to the osteopath!) - if you decide to cycle there is a Decathlon in Logrono, which is a lovely city and on the Camino!
 

Chacharm

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Via Frances (2012) Vie Del Norte (2015) Via Frances (2016) Le Puy (2017)
Have booked all my flights, hotel in Dublin on the way there and back. Flight to Biarritz. Flight to Dublin from Santiago. First night at Orisson etc. Dept Sept. Have planned six weeks total for the Camino de Frances SJPP to Santiago including travel time to and back to the States. After probably going at the training at little too hard (typical for me) have developed a back problem, that appears as sciatica when I walk and only when I walk I can do all other activities, that does not seem to want to go away (not the first time). Going to lay off the training for a week and see how things develop, but, need to plan for the worst, i.e may not be able to walk the camino.

So looking for suggestions as to what I might do if I have to come to terms with not being able to walk the camino and still maintain my travel plans. None of the fares are refundable.

Obviously I could bike the Camino, although that would not take 5 weeks.
If the chiro/walking therapy/bike doesn't work there are lots of things you can do.
When I messed up my ankle I had to rent a car in Bilbao and drive back to my friends in the Pyrenees. I couldn't get on and off trains! I hung out for about a week with them and then I rented another car (an automatic) and drove around France (up the Western coast to Concarneau, over to Versailles and on to Strasbourg) before bouncing over to Italy (Lago di Como, Genoa, Santa Margherita, Portofino) and then back into France (Nice, St Tropez, Perpignan) and then back into Spain (Barcelona, Sitges, Valencia). If I had it all to do over again I would go and hole up on the Italian Riviera. If my budget wouldn't allow it I would go and kick around the Spanish southern coast. I couldn't walk but I could lounge on a beach well enough.
Before you go, register with Air BnB. I had a heck of a time trying to do it from over there. You can get some amazing deals that way.
 
Camino(s) past & future
June/July 2015 (CF, 100 miles), June/July 2018 (CP, ~40 miles, too hot!)
YES to osteopath/chiropractor.
YES to bag services!
Be kind to your body and listen to it. The Camino will break you down physically then build you up in all other ways. For me, I overdid the first day, got heat exhaustion and had to take a day off. I'm overweight and diabetic but I scaled down, REALLY listened to my body and slowly but surely made it to Santiago and learned so much along the way, literally and figuratively.

You can do it if, like me, you are determined and persistent. Good luck!
 

wawpdx

Active Member
Your current plan of starting in SJPP puts you starting your Camino with the most physically challenging section of the entire CF. Why risk ending your Camino on the very first day? The Camino really begins at your own front door. If you are not doing that, you can start from anywhere.

My advice would be to pretend you are Spanish and start in Spain rather than risking an "all or nothing" decision. If you must see the view, find a way to jump back after you reach Santiago.
 

Maryimelda

Active Member
Many pilgrims start out in SJPdP but go by taxi to Ronscavalles. There is a wonderful shuttle type taxi service called Express Bourricott. Price is determined by how many passengers are booked (you don't have to be with a group). This way you will experience the drive over the Pyrenees without the danger of damaging your back too much on the first day. You will also have the opportunity of meeting some of your fellow pilgrims who will be using the shuttle as well.

http://www.expressbourricot.com/en/persons-transport/

The driver is a wonderful young lady by the name of Caroline who speaks fluent French, Spanish and English.

Good luck and Buen Camino!
 

Maryimelda

Active Member
BTW Caroline will also pick you up from Biarritz airport and take you to SJPdP if you like. You could stay overnight in St Jean and sign on in the Pilgrim's Office there and just experience this lovely town before you set off.
 

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