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SJPP --> Santiago Pacing

Dogbreath

Doug Johnson, Indiana, USA
Camino(s) past & future
CF (SJPP --> Santiago) Sep/Oct 2019
AT (Sections) 2003-2019+
Newbie planning my Camino Frances hike Sep/Oct 2019. (1) Brierley allows 33 days. Is that a good pace for someone 'reasonably' fit? Depends on terrain and weather obviously. Of course I won't suffer any injuries, right? Anybody pushed it and finished in 30 days? Less? I've made my flight reservations, have slack time on both ends, won't have to rush. How much time to Smell the Roses along the way? (2) Brierley also says five-weeks for the hike, adding in two slack/'zero' days when desired. Do people do this? How often? Is hiking for 33-days without a break too mind-numbing? (3) Would like to add Santiago --> Finisterra. Allow three-four days? Gracias all!
 

Bradypus

Antediluvian
Camino(s) past & future
Too many and too often!
How long is a piece of string? I walked my first Camino Frances in 23 days - partly because there were some very long stages then without accommodation. Too fast and I did injure my feet doing so. My most recent Camino Frances in 2016 took 28 days and I felt that pacing was about right for me. Unless weather or terrain are especially rough I normally walk around 30km per day. Sometimes less. Occasionally a fair bit more. I do not normally take "rest days" with zero walking as I find myself becoming very restless and wanting to move on. But I might only walk 12km or 15km one day and stop because something catches my interest. My daily stages are longer than average. Not that I walk very quickly or that I do not stop to "smell the roses" - I just walk for more hours per day than most people. I usually walk in quiet seasons so that I can continue walking after lunch until late afternoon or early evening without feeling anxious about finding a bed. The summer "bed race" which sees people stopping at noon or 1pm for fear of finding all the albergue beds taken is one of the most unappealing features of the modern Camino Frances.
 

Robo

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF SJPdP to SdC
(May 2015)
CF Sarria to SdC
(May 2016)
CF SJPDP-SdC
(Apr/May 2018)
VdlP (2020)
Well, that's a bit like asking how long is a piece of string ;)

Breirley's book suggests 33 days.
I generally take 40-45.
Others can do it in 25.........

Too many variables really. You need to work out your comfortable walking speed and distance and then perhaps you can establish a rough estimate of days. I like to walk 20-25 kms a day. Others are comfortable walking 30-35 some even 40+

Short days or complete rest days are a good idea. I factor in 3 rest days on the CF.

Also depends how much sight seeing you want to do?

We both posted at the same time using the same expression @Bradypus !
 
Camino(s) past & future
Frances from Astorga (2018)
Frances/Invierno from SJPP (2019)
It doesn’t really (edit: it doesn’t ONLY) depend on your level of fitness - more on what you enjoy doing. If, like me, you enjoy long stages and smelling the roses as you walk, then just do that.

Don’t let anyone dictate how long it should take you to smell a rose and the correct manner to smell it. 😉

As it will be your first Camino you’ll only find out when you’re there how you want to do things. I’d say plan for 35 days, but it probably will take you less.
 

Traa

Member
Camino(s) past & future
I want to walk Camino in Sept/Oct 2017
It doesn’t really (edit: it doesn’t ONLY) depend on your level of fitness - more on what you enjoy doing. If, like me, you enjoy long stages and smelling the roses as you walk, then just do that.

Don’t let anyone dictate how long it should take you to smell a rose and the correct manner to smell it. 😉

As it will be your first Camino you’ll only find out when you’re there how you want to do things. I’d say plan for 35 days, but it probably will take you less.
Absolutely spot on answer I completely second all of this!
 

BobY333

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (Sept-Oct 2018)
Camino de Finisterre (Oct 2018)
Camino del Norte (2020?)
All are smart replies. I’d add one other factor that influenced my wife and me - our Camino family! We made good friends and wanted to stick together as much as we could. In our case, that meant some longer days after we took a rest day and others didn’t.

We are in pretty good shape. We thought we’d average 12-14 miles a day, but it turned out that the average was closer to 16 miles with an occasional long day (20ish miles) and short day (12ish miles).

Regarding rest days, we took a day in Leon, but looking back, we should have spent a day touring Burgos as well. Your body (and feet in particular) will let you know what to do.

After Santiago we continued on to Muxia in 3 days, then to Fisterra in 1 more day.

We loved every moment (including the Meseta)! We began in SJPdP on 14 September, arrived Santiago 16 October.

Buen Camino!
 
Camino(s) past & future
(2015) Frances
(2018) Portuguese
(2019) VdP Seville to Salamanca
(2020) VdP Salamanca to Santiago
I'll echo some others. It's not whether you are fit or not. It's what you want to experience. I did the Frances in about 50 days and didn't regret going slower than most. Granted you do miss walking with some people who you meet but then again you meet more people than you might otherwise as walking companions schedules shifted. In hindsight I would have gone even slower. Not because I needed to, but because I like the feel of the culture and enjoyed the time in each town to savor the differences that you have between the various provinces of Spain (yeah, food and wine). I wasn't sure I would be able to do it again so I wanted to squeeze as much as possible out of the experience rather than squeeze as much as I could out of my physical fitness. The Camino in my view (only) is not an exercise of the body as much as an exercise of the mind and the mind needs time to get itself in shape.
 

trecile

Camino Addict
Camino(s) past & future
SJPDP-Finisterre X 2 - 2016 & 2017, El Norte - Irun to Vilalba 2018
My first time I walked from SJPDP to Finisterre in 36 days including one rest day in León. And that included "splitting" the first stage and staying at Orisson. I was 58, and had never backpacked before in my life.
I decided that I really didn't like full rest days, and on my last two Caminos I walked every day, but if I wanted a "rest" I would only walk about ten miles instead of 15 - 20.
 
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t2andreo

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
C/F: 2013, 2014
C/M: 2016
C/P: 2015, 2017
C/I: 2018
Voluntario: 2014 to 2018
Mr. Brierley chose 33 days as a framework for the stages in his guidebook as that was the number of years that Jesus Christ lived as a human on earth. I recall that is spelled out somewhere in the overly long preachy bits of his guidebooks.

I am not being critical. His guidebook is among the best.

However, it would weigh a lot less and me more portable if he took our some of the philosophical bits and meditations and simply stuck to conveying useful information. IMHO, the more subjective material could easily have been included in a second, supplemental section that could be easily left behind.

This said, I have done the Camino Frances from St. Jean Pied de Port twice, using his guidebook. It is getting better with time. However, those same 33 daily stages have become more or less the standard over the past decade or more. This causes a 'pig in the python' effect all along the Camino Frances.

You can avoid this by using a guidebook that does not prescribe standard stages. IMHO perhaps the best among these books is the Wise Pilgrim Guide. It is available here in the Forum store. The equivalent smartphone apps are available in your Apple or Android store. I recommend them HIGHLY.

As regards the question of how long it will take, the answer is simply "it depends..." It depends on how much time you can devote, how many km you can walk daily, whether or not you simply want to cover the ground as quickly as possible or smell the flowers along the way.

There are published reports of one fellow walking from SJPdP to Santiago in only 20 days, fueled by Diet Coke and Mars bars... 33 Days appears to be the standard measure. However, in my two trips it took 36 and 39 days, respectively.

Based on my experiences, I opine that a better model, if you have the time starts with the 33 days, then adds days as follows:

Break the first daunting day in two. Stay at Refuge Orisson the first night, get to Roncesvalles on the second night. (+1)

Plan an extra rest day (2 nights total) at Burgos, Leon, Astorga and maybe Sarria.) (+4)

Plan two (or more) full days after your arrival day and not including your travel day, at Santiago de Compostela. You will be glad you did. Total three nights at Santiago... (+2)

This doesn't add for additional delays due to medical issues, sightseeing imperatives, or just because... However, if you take the 33 days, then add the + numbers above, you come out to an extra week or 7 days, totaling 40 days... Hmmm...that also has biblical connotations...not my intention.

If you followed the 40 day model, you would still be following the Brierley guide book stages and pace. But you would have rest days built in.

799 kilometers from SJPdP to Santiago, divided by 33 walking days is an average of 24 km daily. If you add, say two days, the average goes down to 23 days. The total goes from 40 to 42 calendar days or six weeks. But you might still have a few 30 km days.

A total of 40 walking days, 47 days total, reduces the daily walking average to 20 km daily.

So, back to my original point, the time needed is relative. If you have the capability to invest the time, then something like 42 - 43 walking days (10 more than Brierley) and a total of 49 - 50 including my extra 7 recommended days, works out to about 7 weeks.

All in all, this is about two extra weeks beyond what Mr. Brierly postulates. However, as my next birthday will see me celebrating 66 trips around the sun, I am planning for the seven-week plan the next time I do this.

This said, the only viable way to trim time is to either:
  1. start in Spain, say at Pamplona, instead of at SJPdP. True you avoid the very daunting first day's walk up the Pyrenees, but you do cut 4 - 5 days off the front end, or,
  2. adopt a "leap frog" approach, using buses tor taxis to skip over some stretches that might be boring (e.g. industrial 'rings' around larger cities like Leon or Burgos - the grey aras in Brierley's city maps), or areas that simply do not interest you (some say the Meseta, but I love it). This could also cut maybe 4 - 5 days from the total.
There is more than enough information available. The essential decisions are your to make. if you started in Pamplona AND skipped the industrial areas I think you might cut another week from the total estimate.

As long as you walk the final 100 km on the route into Santiago, you qualify for a Compostela. Before that, you can do pretty much what you want. For most pilgrims the 'drop dead' threshold is at Sarria, some 118 actual km from Santiago.

Hope this helps.
 

David Tallan

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (1989 and 2016), Portugues - from Porto (2018)
Others have given you wise advice about how long it is likely to take. My son and I took 41 days from Roncesvalles to Finisterre, but that was us, at our pace, with our choices of rest days. Only you can judge what your pace will be. My advice is for after you have figured out how long you think the Camino will take. If possible, add an extra bunch of days when booking your flights. When doing the Camino with my son, I thought it would take about a month, six weeks maximum. I booked two months in Spain. It was nice to know that if one of us twisted an ankle, got shin splints, or had something else crop up that would necessitate an unexpected delay in the walk, that we could take the time needed to rest and heal and not be racing to Santiago. As it turned out, we didn't need the extra time. But there is always plenty to see in Spain that can consume any extra time you have after your Camino.

Similarly, when I walked the Camino Portugues from Porto last year, I figured it would take me anywhere from ten days to two weeks to walk it. I booked my plane flights to and from Lisbon effectively 20 days apart. The extra time was spent doing a bit of sightseeing in and around Porto and Lisbon after my Camino.
 

AlmostAnastasia

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Francis 2018
Follow the Brierly, just start walking and see what happens. A few extra days at the end can't hurt. You will know how you feel when you are walking. Buen Camino.
 

gittiharre

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF Austria Czech Le Puy Geneva RLS V. Jacobi V. Regia V. Baltica/Scandinavica Porto Muxia
Newbie planning my Camino Frances hike Sep/Oct 2019. (1) Brierley allows 33 days. Is that a good pace for someone 'reasonably' fit? Depends on terrain and weather obviously. Of course I won't suffer any injuries, right? Anybody pushed it and finished in 30 days? Less? I've made my flight reservations, have slack time on both ends, won't have to rush. How much time to Smell the Roses along the way? (2) Brierley also says five-weeks for the hike, adding in two slack/'zero' days when desired. Do people do this? How often? Is hiking for 33-days without a break too mind-numbing? (3) Would like to add Santiago --> Finisterra. Allow three-four days? Gracias all!
I think 35 days is better.
 

MarkyD

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Francés 31/08/2018 - 20/10/2018
Newbie planning my Camino Frances hike Sep/Oct 2019. (1) Brierley allows 33 days. Is that a good pace for someone 'reasonably' fit? Depends on terrain and weather obviously. Of course I won't suffer any injuries, right? Anybody pushed it and finished in 30 days? Less? I've made my flight reservations, have slack time on both ends, won't have to rush. How much time to Smell the Roses along the way? (2) Brierley also says five-weeks for the hike, adding in two slack/'zero' days when desired. Do people do this? How often? Is hiking for 33-days without a break too mind-numbing? (3) Would like to add Santiago --> Finisterra. Allow three-four days? Gracias all!
I did it in 50 days and had the time of my life. That included 6 rest days and some very short distance days. 3 rest days at León were needed to give chance for shin splint to recover. The constant pounding on the ground takes its toll eventually. That's why it helps to have rest days and/or short days at least once a week. I enjoyed stopping and talking to people in the villages (I speak fluent Spanish - which makes that easier). I also took time to talk with fellow pilgrims and help out people who were having difficulty (as others helped me when I was experiencing problems). It's a beautiful walk, it's almost indescribable at times, so I would suggest not to rush it if you don't have to. It probably might be the only time you do this, so cherish the experience. I found myself deliberately slowing down to make it last longer and feel more of the magic along the way. It depends on what budget you have and any commitments back home e.g. family, work etc. The guide books are only a reference, so you can stop as and when you feel like it. I've attached a photo of map of route with my stops highlighted. Some fell in line with guide book stages and others didn't. I didn't have a set itinerary and took each day one step at a time. It was very hot most days up until Villafranca del Bierzo (Sept - Oct 2018) - the heat takes its toll as well as the distance. Take it easy, keep that heart open all the way.
 

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C clearly

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2012, 2014, 2015, 2016). Seville-Astorga (Mar 2017). Mozarabe (Apr-May 2018)
I've made my flight reservations, have slack time on both ends,
I'm curious how much slack time did you put? Knowing that, we can suggest "Plan B's" to manage within that time in case you need to adjust.

I took about 40 days.
 

J F Gregory

Portugal Central - October 2019
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (March-April,2016) finished, (October 2019) Portuguese Central Route.
We walked from SJPdP in the winter in 36 days, lots of rain, snow and mud. Hard walking days 25 -30 km per day. We also are old and walk slow. The next walk we are adding an additional week, so we stop and smell the roses.
 

Anamiri

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances
September is a busy month, so the Pig-in-a-python effect of following the exact Brierly stages will be more pronounced than if you went in a quieter time.
Dont be too concerned with an exact plan, use the book for information, but walk as your body tells you. I waIked in 33 days with 2 rest days - next time I'll aim for 40. I think 33 days for many people pushes them to injury point, and doesn't give them enough time to look around and just enjoy being there. Smaller days or rest days can make all the difference.
I used a different guide book, translated from a Spanish author Sergei Ramis - it too gives great info. I never even heard of Brierly until my second Camino. I found the easiest way to plan was to use the small Michelin guide. Its small, and you can see the route at a glance. The maps on the bottom pages (this opens from the top not the side) were really good and clear, and the elevations shown on the top pages useful.
Another bonus of staying off-Brierly is that you find some real gems, it is quieter, and much easier to get a bed and I met some wonderful hosts.
Next time I will just use the Wise Pilgrim app available here and a newer Michelin.
Some people pushed themselves too far thinking the stages were mandatory. They bought the book and then their plane tickets based on that which didnt give them much leeway.
 

davebugg

"When I Have Your Wounded" - Dustoff Motto
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances...
Sept. 2017: SJPdP to Burgos
Sept./Oct. 2018: SJPdP to Santiago de Compostela
I'll add that only you know how long it takes for you to enjoy smelling the roses; the speed of one's pace doesn't determine the enjoyment of what is around you as you travel. Some folks feel that a pace faster than a sloth is too fast, while others may feel that warp speed is mind-numbingly boring. Some folks like calves liver while others hate not only calves liver, but those who enjoy calves liver :)

If you do not need the whole Brierley guide, there is a smaller and lighter 'maps only' version. It does not provide all of the weighty philosophical dialogue or the explanations and references to points of interest. It does provide the same maps and directions. It also has enough white space to make notations and personal observations. So you have a choice if you wish to use a Brierley's guide.

As noted above, there are other guidebooks and apps other than Brierley which do a great job of helping pilgrims along the way.

Even with the most popular months of travel, you can mostly avoid bed races and crowds by NOT stopping at the stages which Brierley has. Stay between stages, allow the crowds to stay either ahead of, or behind you.

Reservation apps, like booking.com work well on the Frances in case you find yourself engulfed with bed racers. Although most municipal and parochial alburgues do not take reservations, many private ones do. Plus, there are a lot of lodging options besides alburgues in most locations. The booking apps will list most that are available.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances, 2015
About the Brierley guide (mine is the 2015 edition): his philosophy and places to write your notes and reflections are in purple. Except for 3 or 4 pages in the introduction you should notice that they are space fillers between the more practical information and the end of the stage description (so each new stage starts with a map of it on the left-hand page.) Thus the book is only heavier by two pieces of paper and a bit of purple ink than if he got rid of his own pilgrimage thoughts.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Frances 2017
TDMB 2016
Cotswold Way 2018
You are getting a ton of great advice. Here is my two cents. My wife and I did it in Sept/Oct 2017. We took 43 days from SJPP to Santiago. We found our “comfort zone” was 10-12 miles a day, otherwise we were too tired and grouchy. Once we found our sweet spot for distance, I started managing segments to that as closely as I could. Part of our strategy was to go “off Brierley” because we found more vacancies. But Brierley was in my bag because it is a good guidebook. I just shed pages as we went so the book got lighter. I did not want to race because I wanted the options to slow down and enjoy sites. I remember Astorgia and all the disappointed pilgrims who arrived too late to see the Gaudi palace because they walked too far that day. So my advice, dont think in terms of how quickly you can do it, but rather give it all the time you can. Also start slowly and work your way up. I encountered so many injured pilgrims between Pamplona and Estella who had to drop out in tears from injuries they got just by pushing too hard to meet an artificial schedule the first week.
 

Bob Howard

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances 2016
Frances 2018
I would think an average fit person can do it sans suffering in 30 days--25-30 km per day. I would wager that it is easily doable by most on this forum. But as has been suggested in earlier posts, should it be done in 30 days? I did it in 2016 in 30 days at age 69. Then this past year, in June 2018, I did it again vowing to slow down. But I didn't. And I'm sorry. And I had plenty of time, but for some reason it felt good to cover a lot of ground everyday. There are some villages and towns that I enjoyed so much the first time, that I simply kept much of the same schedule on the most recent walk. Next time (either this coming or next summer), I am damn well going to slow down, which will have the ancillary benefit of forcing me into new overnight villages/hamlets--I need that encouragement.
 

Terry Callery

Chi Walker
Camino(s) past & future
"Portuguese Camino - In Search of the Infinite Moment" Amazon/Kindle books authored
"Slow Camino"
My first Camino on the French route was almost the entire 800 k, starting in Roncesvalles missing just the first leg. I titled the book I wrote about the experience "Slow Camino". ( slowcaminobook.com.). Not just "slow" because I took my my time- 45 days - to stop periodically and be a tourist, seeing the Great Cathedral in Leon for example.
But "Slow" as in slow travel or slow cooking. Connecting with a 'grand sense of wonder". Immersing myself.
Thomas Merton the contemplative Trappist monk -advised us to "Take more time - cover less ground."
To allow mindfulness in - to realize that we are not the objects of our awareness - but pure awareness itself.
We are not our situational self or our Facebook page, rather we are a "foundational self".
I tried not to focus on a timetable, nor did I try to add "the lessons of the Camino" to my collection of knowledge. For me the Camino was a winnowing - am emptying out.
I thought about all that I had learned on my first Camino: The important knowledge was not about acquired doctrines or life lessons. It was not about what to know, but rather how to be. I was more comfortable in my own skin. I was less lonely being all by myself. I was definitely more patient and more open to new experiences. Doors were opening, and I was not passing by; I was peeking inside. The long hours of walking and the repetition of taking one step after the other became a gateway for me to experience the infinite moment—a place where being and knowing intersect.
There is a small museum in Union, Maine, near where I live, called the Matthews Museum, where household items and farm equipment from the 1800’s are on display. They have several winnowing machines that use gravity and wind and metal screens to separate the edible parts of wheat and bean plants from the useless shells and husks. My Camino was like a winnowing. Left behind were false assumptions, destructive habits, and circular ruminations that no longer worked. Like a sculptor chipping away at a giant block of stone, I had found a self-actualized version of myself that was already there—trapped inside the granite.
Terence Callery
 

MarkyD

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Francés 31/08/2018 - 20/10/2018
Chi Walker - good on you and so beautifully expressed in your post.
 

AlexanderAZ

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
2017 (Sept/Oct): CF: SJPdP-->Fisterra-->Muxia (solo)
2019 (late Sept): CF: SJPdP-->Leon (honeymoon!)
This simplest answer is take as much time as your schedule will allow. I know someone who did all of CF in 14.5 days (yes, an ultra runner so everything was a blur) and someone who took 69 days (they stopped and smelled every rose). Don’t get too caught up with what others did or what books suggest since terms like “fit”, “challenging”, etc., are very relative. I’m a Sept/Oct 2019’er myself, perhaps I’ll see you there.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Frances/SJPP 2015, 2016, 2018
Way of St. Francis, Italy 2017
Portuguese/Finisterre 2018 (2019)
Three Camino Frances, all took 38 walking days and 2 rest days. Wouldn’t have wanted to do it any faster and intended to do it slower, but made a Camino family. My best advice is that however many days you take “start like an old woman and you will finish like a young one.” It’s too easy as an excited pilgrim running on adrenaline to start out with unrealistic expectations and this in many cases leads to injuries.
 

tjb1013

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
2017
I'm 58 (57 for the Camino), disabled (drop feet from nerve damage - they basically don't work).

Did it in 38 days, but wasted a day dealing with bedbug paranoia six days in. So 13 miles per day on the 37 days I was making progress.

That was a little much for me. I enjoyed meeting up with whatever parts of the fairly large group I was traveling with that ended up in the same albergue that night, so I kept pushing. And the 'reasonably' in-shape people of my age had no difficulty with that pace aside from the normal aches and pains.

I like this idea:

We found our “comfort zone” was 10-12 miles a day, otherwise we were too tired and grouchy. Once we found our sweet spot for distance, I started managing segments to that as closely as I could.
I was the last in my Camino cohort to get in each night, and I usually struggled to clean clothes and shower up for dinner and all those little things that you have to do each day. If I hadn't been

  1. Trying to keep up with the group, and I hadn't been
  2. Married to the *superb* list of exceptional albergues that is available here,
an ideal strategy would have been to get as far as I could by 2 p.m. or so each day, and give myself time to kick back.

So what would have worked best for me was ... a slower cohort. :)

(The other thing I would do next time is stay at Orisson, even though it is a very short leg. The first day to Roncesvalles was a doozy.)
 

Thornley

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances [08 ]Portuguese [09 ]Le Puy[10] Norte[ 11] Madrid [12] Figeac - Pamplona [13] Mont Saint Michel - Bordeaux / St Palais - Pamplona [14] Moissac -Burgos [15] , Norte to Oviedo and then Primitivo [16]
Le Puy to Moissac and Dax to Santo Domingo
(The other thing I would do next time is stay at Orisson, even though it is a very short leg. The first day to Roncesvalles was a doozy.)
Many , many people walk to Orisson , have a drink , return by taxi to StJPP for a great sleep and dinner , return by taxi the next day to Orisson and then continue.
Its that simple [ mid afternoon if you just arrived ] and your shins, feet and knees will appreciate it.

Brierley allows 33 days.
First time we rushed as everyone did 10 years ago , [ there was no booking accommodation ] took 35 days as we loved Logrono and Burgos and stayed then
Returned 2 years later and took 42 days and it was bliss.
You will find yourself walking with over 30 plus nationalities , so believe me Brierley's book is not used by most Europeans.

“start like an old woman and you will finish like a young one.
Copy Right Violation;)
An old man [78] in Le Puy who had commenced in Mt Blanc a few 100km earlier, after loosing his wife , gave us this advice in 2010 and he definitely used ;
"old man ":D
He was walking 10km a day .
Its also how the English / Irish [ who steal our Melbourne Cup each year ] condition their staying horses.
 

Richmond Gardner

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
(2017)
My first Camino on the French route was almost the entire 800 k, starting in Roncesvalles missing just the first leg. I titled the book I wrote about the experience "Slow Camino". ( slowcaminobook.com.). Not just "slow" because I took my my time- 45 days - to stop periodically and be a tourist, seeing the Great Cathedral in Leon for example.
But "Slow" as in slow travel or slow cooking. Connecting with a 'grand sense of wonder". Immersing myself.
Thomas Merton the contemplative Trappist monk -advised us to "Take more time - cover less ground."
To allow mindfulness in - to realize that we are not the objects of our awareness - but pure awareness itself.
We are not our situational self or our Facebook page, rather we are a "foundational self".
I tried not to focus on a timetable, nor did I try to add "the lessons of the Camino" to my collection of knowledge. For me the Camino was a winnowing - am emptying out.
I thought about all that I had learned on my first Camino: The important knowledge was not about acquired doctrines or life lessons. It was not about what to know, but rather how to be. I was more comfortable in my own skin. I was less lonely being all by myself. I was definitely more patient and more open to new experiences. Doors were opening, and I was not passing by; I was peeking inside. The long hours of walking and the repetition of taking one step after the other became a gateway for me to experience the infinite moment—a place where being and knowing intersect.
There is a small museum in Union, Maine, near where I live, called the Matthews Museum, where household items and farm equipment from the 1800’s are on display. They have several winnowing machines that use gravity and wind and metal screens to separate the edible parts of wheat and bean plants from the useless shells and husks. My Camino was like a winnowing. Left behind were false assumptions, destructive habits, and circular ruminations that no longer worked. Like a sculptor chipping away at a giant block of stone, I had found a self-actualized version of myself that was already there—trapped inside the granite.
Terence Callery
This is such a nice point of view! Taking your time to really explore without any agenda is just a gift we rarely get. To accept that gift is another thing altogether.... that said, this will mean different things to each of us. I think 30 days is adequate to cover the territory, without rushing. That’s taking no days off. I took 33, but was meeting a group in Sarria. So, early on, I walked more to make sure weather or injury would not hinder me and later on, when I realized I would get to Sarria early, I slowed down and had 2 rest days, waiting for my group. Each day, I looked forward to walking and not resting. After all, walking at 4K per hour was the slowest I have ever gone. It felt quite leisurely, with plenty of rest and relaxation every afternoon/evening.
You have so much good advice available in this forum, so make of it what you will and enjoy your experience!
 

MoniRose

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
(5/28-7/4, 2012) Camino Frances - SJPP to Santiago
(7/22-8/2, 2013) Camino Finesterra
(?) Camino Le Puy
I took 40 days SJPP to Santiago. If it’s good enough for Lent, it was good enough for me. ;)
I had one two days in Astorga to rest after falling and then getting sick, and an extra in Santiago before heading home.
Enjoy!
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances in Spring (2019)
I'm 70 this year (September) and heading out, at end of March, to SJPP for the first time & giving myself 6 weeks / 42 days. The one bit of advice I've had from a Camino veteran but that's not been mentioned here yet is : "Walk slowly into your Camino". That's my plan. And just to make sure I stop, I'm bring a tiny ukulele. (light & cheap). Feel free to join me, or ... just pass by.
Thanks everyone for all that advice .... so are there a LOT of roses, then?
Buen Camino.
 

Bob Howard

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances 2016
Frances 2018
I was 71 this past June and did it in 30 days. But that is just too rushed, in my opinion, even if you're in tiptop shape. Bobcat mentioned 42 days. I think that is a damn near perfect amount of time to allocate. It gives time for a comfortable pace plus rest days if needed. Now, you may not use all the 42 days, but that's even better because then you can spend extra time in Santiago, Madrid or any number of other wonderful Spanish towns.
 

Roland49

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF 2019 June/July/August
I will be a 49yo male on the Camino this year and I "wish" to walk it in 29-31 stages.
But you have to walk the Camino the way your body, feet, soul and mind can handle it.

I am quite fit, seriously playing table-tennis in a lower division and train every 2-3 days.
Started training for the Camino be walking with my backpack last Sunday (7.1km / 1,25h on the hills)
Nonetheless I will see my orthopaedist for advice in 5 weeks, hopefully it all will be fine for the journey.

Buen Camino!
 

Bradypus

Antediluvian
Camino(s) past & future
Too many and too often!
I will be a 49yo male on the Camino this year and I "wish" to walk it in 29-31 stages.....
I am quite fit, seriously playing table-tennis in a lower division and train every 2-3 days.
Started training for the Camino be walking with my backpack last Sunday (7.1km / 1,25h on the hills)
Nonetheless I will see my orthopaedist for advice in 5 weeks, hopefully it all will be fine for the journey
I was an overweight sedentary 54 year old just beginning to feel the onset of osteoarthritis in both knees when I walked my third Camino Frances in 2016. I walked from Saint Jean Pied de Port to Santiago in 28 days on that occasion without any problems and without feeling unduly rushed. I think the physical difficulty of the Camino Frances is often exaggerated and so too is the necessity for serious training. It is a series of day walks with a few sections which are challenging for those unused to hills or rough paths. For someone of 49 and in general good health it should present no serious difficulty. None which would require rigorous systematic training.
 

peckahad

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
walk in sept 2019
I'm 70 this year (September) and heading out, at end of March, to SJPP for the first time & giving myself 6 weeks / 42 days. The one bit of advice I've had from a Camino veteran but that's not been mentioned here yet is : "Walk slowly into your Camino". That's my plan. And just to make sure I stop, I'm bring a tiny ukulele. (light & cheap). Feel free to join me, or ... just pass by.
Thanks everyone for all that advice .... so are there a LOT of roses, then?
Buen Camino.
Yes, Bobcat I start on my 77 birthday Sept 18 from St Jean. Giving myself 40 plus days as well. Good luck. I did reserve a room at Orisson but after that it will bea crap shoot where Iand.
 

Roland49

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF 2019 June/July/August
and so too is the necessity for serious training.
Physically it should be no problem at all, but I want to get used to the weight on my hip and shoulders and try the backpack intensivly before the flight.

The visit @ the orthopaedist is precautionary, in March last year I had entirely torn ligaments in my right foot.
 

Bradypus

Antediluvian
Camino(s) past & future
Too many and too often!
Physically it should be no problem at all, but I want to get used to the weight on my hip and shoulders and try the backpack intensivly before the flight.

The visit @ the orthopaedist is precautionary, in March last year I had entirely torn ligaments in my right foot.
In that case what you propose sounds very wise. The rucksack weight should not be a problem provided you are careful to pack only what is really necessary. That need not be a great deal for a spring or summer Camino unless you have special individual needs. While individual days on the Camino may not be overly demanding on the feet there is some cumulative strain. A pre-existing injury of that scale is certainly something which I would want professional advice upon before I set out.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances in Spring (2019)
That's interesting @Roland49. I booked a 'service' with my physical therapist for next Thursday!! I've asked him for some coaching too. You'ld think after 69-70 years, we'd have got the hang of this walking thing!! How come babies do it so quickly? LOL
 

erikakiana

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Francés July-August 2019
I'm with you. I'm kind of panicking about how to go about my staging. My goal is to start on July 9 and finish on August 10 (32 days) since it's my birthday and I'd think that'd be a cool way to celebrate. It seems like it is possible after seeing what people say. I just don't know how to go about planning each stage or how much to plan.
 

trecile

Camino Addict
Camino(s) past & future
SJPDP-Finisterre X 2 - 2016 & 2017, El Norte - Irun to Vilalba 2018
I'm with you. I'm kind of panicking about how to go about my staging. My goal is to start on July 9 and finish on August 10 (32 days) since it's my birthday and I'd think that'd be a cool way to celebrate. It seems like it is possible after seeing what people say. I just don't know how to go about planning each stage or how much to plan.
You can make a rough plan, and then after you are on the Camino you will discover if it will indeed be doable for you. This site is excellent for planning stages. And check out ForWalk.org for sample itineraries of 26 and 31 days.
 
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MarkyD

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Francés 31/08/2018 - 20/10/2018
Some sections of the route have more albergues than others, so make sure you have an idea what stop options might be available each day. A glance at a simple guide book map of the route will show you, or ask the 'hostelero' (Albergue/hostel owner) where you are staying. The pace will vary depending on terrain, weather, company, places of interest, nice views, how your feet and legs are coping. You will get stronger as you go along, but you'll also most likely get a few niggles along the way. When you do, then slow up a bit, reduce daily km and look after yourself. Avoid forcing your pace to 'keep up' with someone, as this invariably leads to problems - I saw a lot of this, particularly over the first week on the Camino. I also found out that it's good practice to warm up your legs, knees and ankles before getting going again after stops of more than 10 minutes. Stay very well hydrated too. It means more toilet breaks, but your leg muscles will thank you for it.
Ultreia!
 

jrunner02

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
C.Frances, SJPDP to Santiago, May 2018
I (35 M) walked solo from SJPDP to Santiago April-May 2018 in 18 days. I followed Gronze.com and did double stages the entire way. I walked about ~40km/day with my longest being right at the start. The first day was short from SJPDP to Orisson (5km). The second day was a brutal ~60km walk from Orisson to Pamplona (would not recommend). I started at 4AM and finishing at 9PM that night.

As far as pacing went, I tried to keep a pace of 5km/hr (20min/mi) which was pretty reasonable. From what i noticed, most peregrinos walked from 8:30AM to about 1PM when the alberges would open and call it a day. I walked from 5 or 6 AM (sometimes 7 or 8AM) to 6 or 7 PM (sometimes 8pm) everyday but I made sure to enjoy my breakfasts at 8AM of coffee and pastry, and took my time at lunch at 1-2PM (comida de peregrino) for an hour or so. Walking later really broke my day up into a social and solo part of the day. In the mornings, the camino was filled with other peregrinos and offered me an opportunity to walk, talk, and make friends. The afternoons were to myself to think about everything and nothing until I reached my place for the night.

I did most of the walk in a pair of hiking sandals and socks (no style points awarded here, haha). I found that the sandals handled my feet swelling much better and kept my feet dryer since there weren't enclosed in airtight,waterproof, gortex, hiking shoes which allowed them to breathe. I wore the sandals in the snow but put my hiking shoes on once it started to rain.
 
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Thornley

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances [08 ]Portuguese [09 ]Le Puy[10] Norte[ 11] Madrid [12] Figeac - Pamplona [13] Mont Saint Michel - Bordeaux / St Palais - Pamplona [14] Moissac -Burgos [15] , Norte to Oviedo and then Primitivo [16]
Le Puy to Moissac and Dax to Santo Domingo
60km walk from Orisson to Pamplona (would not recommend). I started at 4AM and finishing at 9PM that night.
No desire to experience this vibrant city ?
 

Thornley

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances [08 ]Portuguese [09 ]Le Puy[10] Norte[ 11] Madrid [12] Figeac - Pamplona [13] Mont Saint Michel - Bordeaux / St Palais - Pamplona [14] Moissac -Burgos [15] , Norte to Oviedo and then Primitivo [16]
Le Puy to Moissac and Dax to Santo Domingo
Sorry, I I wouldn't recommend meant the 60km walk! LOVED Pamplona.
After walking 60 km arriving at 9 pm , alberques close at 10 pm , you must have stayed in a Pension to dine out that night.
This is the complete opposite to most who have a short day from Larra into there.
 

jo webber

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Sept 9th 2017
I planned and planned a bit more, had a great time doing it. Reached Rossenvailes, then stopped planning. I badly injured my knee going into Zubiri, changed plans. We found a Camino family and changed plans again. Part of the family needed to take a bus for a preplanned side trip and one person went home, we …….

While it is good and great fun to plan, throw away the plan as needed.
 

jrunner02

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
C.Frances, SJPDP to Santiago, May 2018
After walking 60 km arriving at 9 pm , alberques close at 10 pm , you must have stayed in a Pension to dine out that night.
This is the complete opposite to most who have a short day from Larra into there.
I stayed at the Casa Paderborn. By the time I was processed, it was 9:15ish and was told lights out at 10pm. My choices were to shower or eat (no shower).

I chose shower. I ate an energy bar I had on me for dinner. My feet were so swollen and hurt, I couldn't sleep from the pain. Eventually I did fall asleep. It was the best sleep ever
 

Thornley

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances [08 ]Portuguese [09 ]Le Puy[10] Norte[ 11] Madrid [12] Figeac - Pamplona [13] Mont Saint Michel - Bordeaux / St Palais - Pamplona [14] Moissac -Burgos [15] , Norte to Oviedo and then Primitivo [16]
Le Puy to Moissac and Dax to Santo Domingo
I stayed at the Casa Paderborn. By the time I was processed, it was 9:15ish and was told lights out at 10pm. My choices were to shower or eat (no shower).

I chose shower. I ate an energy bar I had on me for dinner. My feet were so swollen and hurt, I couldn't sleep from the pain. Eventually I did fall asleep. It was the best sleep ever
Next time i hope you take 3 to 4 days and enjoy this great city
Turn right @ Leon to Oviedo and then do the Primitivo
You will love the solitude from Leon onwards,
Good Luck.
PS I knew you never ate out😉
 

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