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The Devil's Directives

John Finn

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino de Frances - Sarria to Santiago (2013), Burgos to Leon (2014), St Jean Pied de Port to Logrono (2015), Logrono to Burgos (2016), Leon to Sarria (May 2017).
(This is advice from Old Nick for prospective pilgrims. Not to be taken seriously of course - in fact, do the exact opposite.)

  • There is no need to train for the Camino. No need for regular long walks, preferably with some climbing involved, for a few months beforehand. Once you start on the Camino you will find yourself propelled along as if by the breath of angels and you will make progress effortlessly. So, sit back, have another beer, order in a pizza and watch the ball game on TV. You’ll be fine.

  • Bring a large backpack - it shouldn't be smaller than 70 liters. You never know when you might need something so it's best to bring at least two of everything.

  • Buy your walking shoes a week or so before you travel. No sense in walking in them any earlier as you don't want to wear out the soles. Also, buy them in the exact size of your everyday footwear.

  • Don't bother learning any Spanish vocabulary as a courtesy to local people. You can make yourself understood to any uncomprehending Spaniard by raising your voice and speaking slowly.

  • When staying in albergues you can leave your valuables - money, passport, phone, etc - on your bed in full view even if you're not in the room. Everyone in an albergue is a paragon of honesty and wouldn't dream of stealing your stuff.

  • Being an early riser is an admirable trait. Be an example to other people in the albergue by rising around 4 a.m. Encourage them to get up and about by making as much noise as possible while you get your pack ready for the day ahead. If you have a half decent singing voice try a verse or two of a song - The Bonnie Banks of Loch Lomond, I find, always goes down a treat early in the morning. This will make you very popular with your fellow walkers.

  • Wear earphones if walking solo so that you can listen to your favorite music. The alternative is to have to listen to birdsong, the sound of rivers and streams, the wind sighing across fields of wheat, and so on. Who'd want that when you can enjoy Van Halen's Greatest Hits instead?

  • Yes, it's a race. Get to your destination each day as fast as you can. Keep your head down and leg it. There are plenty of YouTube videos you can watch when you get home to show you where you were.

  • By the same token, don't allow yourself to be slowed down by other people along the way who may want to have a conversation: just mumble a barely intelligible "Buen Camino" and keep going.
 

MikeyC

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF - September 2016
CF - April May 2017
Shikoku - October 2017
Kumano Kodo - October 2017
CF - 2019
(This is advice from Old Nick for prospective pilgrims. Not to be taken seriously of course - in fact, do the exact opposite.)

  • There is no need to train for the Camino. No need for regular long walks, preferably with some climbing involved, for a few months beforehand. Once you start on the Camino you will find yourself propelled along as if by the breath of angels and you will make progress effortlessly. So, sit back, have another beer, order in a pizza and watch the ball game on TV. You’ll be fine.

  • Bring a large backpack - it shouldn't be smaller than 70 liters. You never know when you might need something so it's best to bring at least two of everything.

  • Buy your walking shoes a week or so before you travel. No sense in walking in them any earlier as you don't want to wear out the soles. Also, buy them in the exact size of your everyday footwear.

  • Don't bother learning any Spanish vocabulary as a courtesy to local people. You can make yourself understood to any uncomprehending Spaniard by raising your voice and speaking slowly.

  • When staying in albergues you can leave your valuables - money, passport, phone, etc - on your bed in full view even if you're not in the room. Everyone in an albergue is a paragon of honesty and wouldn't dream of stealing your stuff.

  • Being an early riser is an admirable trait. Be an example to other people in the albergue by rising around 4 a.m. Encourage them to get up and about by making as much noise as possible while you get your pack ready for the day ahead. If you have a half decent singing voice try a verse or two of a song - The Bonnie Banks of Loch Lomond, I find, always goes down a treat early in the morning. This will make you very popular with your fellow walkers.

  • Wear earphones if walking solo so that you can listen to your favorite music. The alternative is to have to listen to birdsong, the sound of rivers and streams, the wind sighing across fields of wheat, and so on. Who'd want that when you can enjoy Van Halen's Greatest Hits instead?

  • Yes, it's a race. Get to your destination each day as fast as you can. Keep your head down and leg it. There are plenty of YouTube videos you can watch when you get home to show you where you were.

  • By the same token, don't allow yourself to be slowed down by other people along the way who may want to have a conversation: just mumble a barely intelligible "Buen Camino" and keep going.
Excellent advice.
You might add that it's a good idea to keep your pack on your bunk so that everything is close at hand.
Also, a long shower will loosen muscles. Stay under that warm refreshing shower until the water just starts to cool. Don't worry about the queue waiting their turn. First come, first served.
 

David

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Moissac to Santiago Spring 2005 was the first foray.
When going for your pilgrim meal always ask "Tienes comida inglesa?" They will rustle up a steak and kidney pie and chips and beans or pasty and chips and beans, no problem (last thing you want is to have to eat foreign food).
 

Paladina

old woman of the roads
Camino(s) past & future
CF, primitivo & del norte (2017); VdlP/Sanabres, ingles etc (2018), Mozarabe etc (2019), tbc (2020)
The Spanish love showing hospitality to pilgrims. They run these quaint little albergues called donativos, where you don’t have to pay anything for a night’s lodging. Some of these these places are a bit basic, but you can always threaten to leave a bad review on Trip Advisor. They usually leave lots of boots and trekking poles outside for you to help yourself to any that you fancy. You’re also entitled to a free meal at the Parador in Santiago, so make sure you get it.

The Spanish encourage you to keep ancient traditions alive, like leaving your old clothes at the Cruz de Ferro and burning your boots at Fisterra, and they really appreciate your creative artwork on waymarkers and cut stone bridges. Don’t forget to bring a lighter and spray paint with you, and lots of toilet paper and baby wipes so that they have something to remember you by.

It’s your Camino!
 

trecile

Camino Addict
Camino(s) past & future
Francés (2016 & 2017), Norte (2018), Francés-Salvador-Norte (2019), Portuguese (2019)
Don’t forget to bring a lighter and spray paint with you, and lots of toilet paper and baby wipes so that they have something to remember you by.
No need to bring your own toilet paper - the proprietors of the bars and albergues along the way don't mind if you take as as much as you want - they've got plenty.
 

Paladina

old woman of the roads
Camino(s) past & future
CF, primitivo & del norte (2017); VdlP/Sanabres, ingles etc (2018), Mozarabe etc (2019), tbc (2020)
No need to bring your own toilet paper - the proprietors of the bars and albergues along the way don't mind if you take as as much as you want - they've got plenty.
Ah yes, I forgot that bars have an endless supply, and you don’t even have to buy a drink while you’re there.
 

Dilbin

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Irun to Santander del Norte
(This is advice from Old Nick for prospective pilgrims. Not to be taken seriously of course - in fact, do the exact opposite.)

  • There is no need to train for the Camino. No need for regular long walks, preferably with some climbing involved, for a few months beforehand. Once you start on the Camino you will find yourself propelled along as if by the breath of angels and you will make progress effortlessly. So, sit back, have another beer, order in a pizza and watch the ball game on TV. You’ll be fine.

  • Bring a large backpack - it shouldn't be smaller than 70 liters. You never know when you might need something so it's best to bring at least two of everything.

  • Buy your walking shoes a week or so before you travel. No sense in walking in them any earlier as you don't want to wear out the soles. Also, buy them in the exact size of your everyday footwear.

  • Don't bother learning any Spanish vocabulary as a courtesy to local people. You can make yourself understood to any uncomprehending Spaniard by raising your voice and speaking slowly.

  • When staying in albergues you can leave your valuables - money, passport, phone, etc - on your bed in full view even if you're not in the room. Everyone in an albergue is a paragon of honesty and wouldn't dream of stealing your stuff.

  • Being an early riser is an admirable trait. Be an example to other people in the albergue by rising around 4 a.m. Encourage them to get up and about by making as much noise as possible while you get your pack ready for the day ahead. If you have a half decent singing voice try a verse or two of a song - The Bonnie Banks of Loch Lomond, I find, always goes down a treat early in the morning. This will make you very popular with your fellow walkers.

  • Wear earphones if walking solo so that you can listen to your favorite music. The alternative is to have to listen to birdsong, the sound of rivers and streams, the wind sighing across fields of wheat, and so on. Who'd want that when you can enjoy Van Halen's Greatest Hits instead?

  • Yes, it's a race. Get to your destination each day as fast as you can. Keep your head down and leg it. There are plenty of YouTube videos you can watch when you get home to show you where you were.

  • By the same token, don't allow yourself to be slowed down by other people along the way who may want to have a conversation: just mumble a barely intelligible "Buen Camino" and keep going.
All joking aside but the only time my feet got destroyed was the time I wore a half size bigger than my normal shoesize. Horrendous pain in feet, legs and blisters all over my heels. Exact same brand in my everyday size shoe two months later and no blisters and painfree. Otherwise great humour😁😁😁😁
 

Dilbin

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Irun to Santander del Norte
All joking aside but the only time my feet got destroyed was the time I wore a half size bigger than my normal shoesize. Horrendous pain in feet, legs and blisters all over my heels. Exact same brand in my everyday size shoe two months later and no blisters and painfree. Otherwise great humour😁😁😁😁
And as an Irishman, our answer to everything is "sure it'll be grand"
 

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