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The Number of Hours of Daily Walking

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous Camino Frances topics' started by davebugg, Mar 16, 2017.

  1. davebugg

    davebugg Active Member Donating Member

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    This post is not meant to be challenging or critical, but a genuine question to help me plan.

    As background, I have a lot of backpacking and hiking experience. I have through-hiked the Pacific Crest Trail and the Colorado Trail. From my childhood to now (63 years old), I have witnessed the evolution of backpacking gear transition from a base weight of forty-some pounds, to my current base-weight of 13 pounds.... all while keeping the same basic comfort level.

    My inquiry is, given the light loads one can carry, why does it seem, from my readings and research, that the vast majority of Pilgrims quit walking while the day is still young? I say this because while backpacking, I will break camp at around 6:30 am, and continue to hike until an hour or so before dark. With breaks, my hiking day will last an average of 11-12 hours before I set up camp for the night.

    What am I missing here? I feel like I am failing to recognize a critical bit of information.
     
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  2. Anemone del Camino

    Anemone del Camino Anemone

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    To nap, read, visit town, eat the menu del dia, chat with others over a drink. Many follow the stages found in guidebooks. And then is the most important: allowing laundry to dry on the line while the suj is still stron enough. Frankly, I have had enough by 3 pm and look forward to putting my hurting feet up. Also to get a bed in high season. Many albergues require you call them to confirm you are coming if you plan on arriving after 4 pm. In July-August, or even earlier in the year on the southern routes people stop even earlier because of the heat. All sorts of reasons.

    But there are those who walk well into the evening but I have only come across them on the Primitivo where there are more "hardcore walkers" and less socialising than on the Frances.
     
    Last edited: Mar 16, 2017
  3. jo webber

    jo webber Active Member

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    The Camino is a journey, not a destination.
    Slow down. Look around. Absorb what surrounds you and listen to yourself as you take the journey.
     
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  4. Robo

    Robo Veteran Member Donating Member

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    together again :-)
    Maybe......
    The Camino is not a 'hike'. ;)
     
  5. trecile

    trecile Veteran Member Donating Member

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    Because it's not a race!

    And if you go too fast it will be over too soon! :)
     
    Last edited: Mar 16, 2017
  6. Mike Savage

    Mike Savage I'm lost but it's the journey that matters. Donating Member

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    I don't believe that you are missing anything. Every day I started early as I enjoy the peace and solitude as well as the morning air. I would walk most days until mid afternoon. Some days I enjoyed walking into the evening and many people thought I was crazy, I thought I was enjoying the walk, the scenery, the birds and animals and just having a wonderful time. You will find people that want you to understand that you are doing it wrong even if it is the most enjoyable way in your opinion. I truly believe it is about the journey and I get a lot of enjoyment walking, enjoying nature, praying, thinking, meeting and talking with everyone, etc. Do it your way and enjoy every step. I generally walk about 35-40 days, if I reach my first destination I pick a new one.

    Mike
     
  7. Tigger

    Tigger Tigger Donating Member

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    If you aspire to 'hike' the Camino, please do so.
     
  8. davebugg

    davebugg Active Member Donating Member

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    If I walk longer hours, why does that mean I wouldn't be doing as you suggest? Walking longer does not mean walking faster :)
     
  9. C clearly

    C clearly Veteran Member Donating Member

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    You are missing a critical bit of information, or three!

    @Anemone del Camino explained a number of reasons. @Robo was very succinct in saying that...
    The Camino is a pilgrimage. That can mean a lot of different things to people, so you will see many different styles on the Camino. Some will walk long and fast, some will walk short and slow, some spend a lot of time socializing or visiting or sitting and contemplating, and some will even consider it to be a hike.

    Is there a stereotypical hiker on the PCT or AT? There isn't a stereotypical pilgrim on the Camino.

    I don't mind at all if you like to walk longer hours. I am just a little surprised that you are surprised that others don't. Why stop when the day is young? Why not?
     
  10. davebugg

    davebugg Active Member Donating Member

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    I guess that perhaps there is a difference of what a "hike" to me. I use the term "hike" and "walk"interchangeably. I do not think of the Camino de Santiago as a "backpacking" trip. :)
     
  11. davebugg

    davebugg Active Member Donating Member

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    Thanks. I don't think of walking longer as a "race". Nor do I see walking longer as the same as walking faster. :)
     
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  12. davebugg

    davebugg Active Member Donating Member

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    I genuinely appreciate all of your replies. Thank you so very much.
     
  13. Kanga

    Kanga Moderator Staff Member Donating Member

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    @davebugg I guess the critical difference is that the hikes you have done are wilderness trails, and the only reason to stop is to admire a view, to look at an individual plant or tree, to rest because it is physically needed, or, as you say, to set up camp for the night.

    The Camino is different. This is a walk in which the culture is at least as important as the physical environment - and the culture means people, customs, history, artefacts, buildings, legends, and experiences that blend all those elements. It is a walk from village to village and town to town. Stop in each and let it play upon your mind. To sit at an outdoor table with a coffee in hand, to talk to those who pass by, to hear the stories of other pilgrims and to make emotional connections, to watch the local children playing in the plaza, to visit the church and read the story told by the retablo - those are all as important as eating up the miles.

    Congratulations, btw, I am in awe of anyone who finishes those two extraordinary trails. But if you expect the Camino Francés to be anything like them, you will be disappointed. There are far better places in the world to go for a long hike.
     
  14. C clearly

    C clearly Veteran Member Donating Member

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    Sometimes they are interchangeable. However, the subtle distinction is part of the key difference between the Camino and wilderness hikes.

    There is no reason you can't go on the Camino and hike long days! Many do. But you ask why so many people walk shorter days, so we are trying to explain why.
     
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  15. trecile

    trecile Veteran Member Donating Member

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    I got to a certain point on the Camino and felt like it was going to be over too soon, and I wished that I had walked some shorter days, just so that I would have more time on the Camino.
     
  16. davebugg

    davebugg Active Member Donating Member

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    Thank you for your thoughts. Hopefully, I did not leave the impression that I think of the Camino in the same way as I would of a wilderness backpacking trip. I do not. I'm not looking to escape civilization. Nor do I look at the Camino as a "trophy" or badge to collect. I am doing the Camino because of deeply internal Spiritual/religious reasons. I intend to do as you have mentioned in observing and embracing the culture and the environment. To enjoy my time and participate with the things around me. I just see doing those things with a longer day of walking, allowing all of the above to occur as it naturally will, but with a later stopping time.

    In other words, should I spend several hours resting in a park or enjoying a cathedral, an yet there is still daylight available to walk when I'm done, I just feel OK to keep walking. Who knows.... perhaps I'll be oft sidetracked to the point that I end up shutting down some days earlier than others.
     
  17. davebugg

    davebugg Active Member Donating Member

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    Thank you; I am grateful. I was just trying to not let differences in meanings cloud what I was trying to say. Please let me know if it seems that I am being defensive, because that is not the case :)
     
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  18. Kanga

    Kanga Moderator Staff Member Donating Member

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    I spent a little time with two people who had walked all the way from Canterbury in the UK, then through France and by the time I met them they were getting towards SDC. They were both very fit and very trail hardened, and they loved walking late into the summer evening.

    But that was many years ago, when there was no pressure for beds in the albergues. I think the problem now is that if you do walk into the evenings you must have a bed booked ahead, or you will miss out.

    There is also the practical issue of stopping in time to wash and dry clothes, assuming that you don't want to be a social outcast. The days of smelly unwashed pilgrims are long gone.
     
  19. Robo

    Robo Veteran Member Donating Member

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    together again :-)
    Walking longer into the day......will also mean......it will all be over faster :(

    My first CF from st jean took 40 days.
    I think my next might take 50 ;)
     
  20. spursfan

    spursfan Veteran Member Donating Member

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    I would suggest three reasons
    The beds in albergues are first-come first-served and will typically open sometime between 12-3
    The vast majority of walkers are not seasoned hikers
    Some walkers have no time constraints and can spend a month or so on the Camino
     
  21. GPeachy

    GPeachy Member

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    Stopping earlier , that is before 3 pm, is better for ensuring both that you have a bed in the town you want to stay in and that you will have time to do some exploring in that area. It also gives you time to walk to the next town if, by chance, no beds are available. I understand the desire to just keep walking, but I finished in 33 days, and would definitely take more time if I walked again.
     
  22. domigee

    domigee Veteran Member

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    You may well feel differently once you walk the Camino. I know it turned out to be completely different to what I had (vaguely) imagined...
    Or you may not :)
    In which case, as others have said and especially during the 'busy' months, make sure you have some accommodation booked ahead and that they know your arrival time. (Otherwise they may think you just haven't turned up and give your bed to someone else).
    Buen camino :)
     
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  23. Carlos Santiago

    Carlos Santiago Member

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    If walking long days were central to my camino, I would secure a bed first when I arrive at my target (paced) stop along the line of yellow arrows; then walk some more to explore nearby* points of interest or events, until dark just before the albergue curfew; or I can just take the detours and sleep where I want. That way the camino won't end faster and I will still be doing all that I want to do.

    * from a few hundred meters to 25++ kilometers out of the way, I have read.
     
    Last edited: Mar 17, 2017
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  24. as gaillimh

    as gaillimh Active Member

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    Hiking is not trekking. You are trekking for 30/40 days. Then prepare food, shower, wash and dry clothes, make your bed and give your body recovery time and hit wAy again at daybreak
     
  25. Bradypus

    Bradypus Antediluvian

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    The way most people walk the Camino has changed a lot over the past 20+ years. When I first walked the Frances in 1990 the number of walkers was extremely small. Accommodation was often much further apart than today and there were one or two sections where a 30km+ day was required. However there was no pressure of bed availability in the refugios. In fact I spent many nights alone in refugios even in July and August. The menu peregrino served at convenient hours did not exist and normal Spanish meal times were not helpful for tired walkers: dinner was rarely served before 9pm in the evening. So for those wishing to eat a substantial meal lunch was the only practical option. I and many other pilgrims got into the very Spanish habit of stopping for a leisurely lunch and a snooze mid-afternoon before walking on until perhaps 5 or 6pm or even later. Very few people ended their day at noon or 1pm. This is a pattern I continue today if I can be confident of finding a bed in the evening. Not something I would try along the Frances most of the year without reserving a bed in advance - something I loathe doing as I value flexibility very highly.
     
  26. jsalt

    jsalt Jill Donating Member

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    I often ask myself the same question, as I am usually still walking until 5 or 6 in the evening. I find the evenings, before bed, long enough on the camino, without adding a long afternoon to them as well. I love walking and see no reason to stop early just to grab a bed and do my laundry. The afternoons are the best time to walk as the crowds have all stopped for the day. Enjoy a relaxed “menu del dia” at lunchtime, and keep on walking – those you do meet after lunch are usually on the same page as you.
    Jill
     
  27. Rick of Rick and Peg

    Rick of Rick and Peg Veteran Member Donating Member

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    For planning purposes may I suggest that you add a week unto the time you think you can complete the camino with your longer days of walking. Then you have plenty of time to enjoy the walk with others going slower, or have time to do the Ingles, Portugues or Finisterre/Muxia loop if you do the longer days.

    This webpage has a title that puts many off but Tapon, an extreme through hiker, actually goes through pros and cons of the camino. As a distance hiker yourself you may like his opinions in addition to the ones you get on this forum.
    http://francistapon.com/Travels/Spain-Trails/10-Reasons-Why-El-Camino-Santiago-Sucks
     
  28. Lmsundaze

    Lmsundaze Active Member

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    OK, Dave Bugg, I can't answer for the majority of pilgrims, but will tell you why I stop early, if that helps. I walked at age 70, this year when I walk the Portuguese route I am 71. About 6 hours a day is all I can walk. I have arthritis and osteoperosis, along with hallux rigidus in my right foot. I had a wonderful Camino, and treasured the things I saw, the people I met, the towns, the churches, the cities, the pastures, the farms, the animals, just everything. What an amazing experience! The distance I went worked for my body, my goals, my schedule and my budget. I am guessing that others make the determination of how far to go each day based on their individual circumstances also. I think all we need to know for planning is whether there are available places to stay to accomodate our plans. The only advice I would give to anyone planning is that there is a lot to see and experience along the way and allow yourself time to the extent you can.
     
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  29. Peter Fransiscus

    Peter Fransiscus Veteran Member Donating Member

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    All that we are is the result of what we have thought.
    Hi, it's not a walk in the park. :cool:

    Wish you a wonderful time and a Buen Camino,Peter.
     
  30. N11284

    N11284 Member

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    I walked the camino in 2007 and in 2008 and even though I have forgotton many of the places I passed through I still have vivid memories of the people I met. Meeting people of different nationalities , all with a common purpose of getting to Santiago at some point in the future is a marvelous experience. Trying out foods and drinks that are unfamiliar and passing time unhurridly with total strangers is enjoyable. Enjoying the craic with a dozen different nationalities in a tiny bar of a summers evening, what could be better in life.

    As said above " I'ts not a race" slow down and smell the roses or the oranges or the vines!

    Do your own thing at all times. I suspect you will begin to walk shorter distances after about a week whether you want to or not.
     
  31. Viranani

    Viranani Veteran Member Donating Member

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    Great thread--thanks for starting it @davebugg! And I bow to your PCT and CT accomplishments!
    I actually didn't get the sense you think it's a race--but figure you just enjoy the walking.
    Lots of different takes...
    I'm a bit 'bipolar' as regards time on the road: Occasionally I finish at 1 or even (gasp!) 12, while other days I just keep going and going and going until late afternoon. There's no consistent rhythm because so much depends on the place and whether I want to linger there, what is ahead, how I feel, etcetcetc...
    Many times I've thought in the morning,"Oh, gee, Town X sounds like a good place to end up today--but when arriving at Town X, maybe it feels too soon to stop, or I don't like the vibe, so I just keep going. For me that happens much more often than stopping sooner than expected--which mostly happens because the weather is terrible and I just want to get out of it. Occasionally, though, I'll pause in a place because I like the feel of it (or the church, or an archaeological site, or even a restaurant) and decide to stay--and am always been happy to have done that.
    It's all very organic.
     
    Last edited: Mar 16, 2017
  32. Kitsambler

    Kitsambler Jakobsweg Junkie

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    Personally, I can manage about 6 hours a day of walking, covering about 15-18 km. On the other hand, the norm among the Germans is 40 km (@ 4 km/hr or quicker) a day. So it really does depend on your personal situation, interest, and physical condition.

    At least on the Le Puy route, gites serving breakfast won't have it available until 7:30. And dinner with Euros can easily take an hour or two; far more than the 20 min to boil water and eat a freeze-dried meal while dining alone. Plus the time for laundry (at a shared sink), shopping for resupply, the daily (or more often) journal entry.

    Walking the Camino is a different experience; it can be life-changing if you open yourself to it.
     
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  33. ELHS220

    ELHS220 Member

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    I did the Camino in 2015 and am doing it again mid-May to mid-July. I often felt others were rushing and that I was the pokey one. I am big on photography and, for me, starting before dawn meant missed camera opportunities. I am not an early riser anyway, and I was often the last one out of an albergue. I moseyed along all day and often marvelled at others who would race through a picturesque town without so much as a single picture. I have to confess that I used the transport system and most always had a reservation for the night. That gave me the luxury to go at a more liesurely pace. I walked 36 days and stayed put for five, so I certainly didn't set any speed records. And this year I am giving myself two weeks longer so that I can maybe overnight in some nice towns that I had to quickly pass through before. I get bored just sitting around for hours but I do like to explore and be busy all day. So just do your own thing and do what works for you. Although I did meet people along the way, I was never a full fledged member of a camino family for the whole journey, because my slow pace and desire for lots of creative pictures never allowed it.
     
  34. Bradypus

    Bradypus Antediluvian

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    I am amongst those who generally walk longer and further days and stop in late afternoon. Each to their own. What does puzzle me is how often I have encountered people who tell me that I must slow down, stop earlier and "smell the roses" and then go on to explain that they are amongst the crowd who stomp out of the albergue 2 hours before sunrise to sprint their 15-20km to the next albergue and claim a bed before everyone else :rolleyes:
     
  35. Felipe

    Felipe Veteran Member

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    I think the the OP and most replies are related to Camino Frances. There are other ways in Spain, France and even other countries. Some of them require that you walk around ten hours, because there are not many lodging options. And they can be quite lonely (If you are interested in this kind of experience, I recommend the Piedmont Way, along the Pyrenees...).
    From a hiking point of view, the Frances is not particularly challenging (although it can be tough, sometimes, for different reasons). Apart from the famed SJPP-Roncesvalles and a couple of other stages, it is mostly flat or rolling hills, and you walk by villages most of the time.
    But it is unique by its spiritual purpose, the historic and monumental aspect, and because you meet interesting people from across the globe, of every age and culture.
    You should also be prepared for the rampant commercialism (especially in the last stages), the crowds and people in tours doing only "the best parts of every stage", with guides and supporting minivans.
    All this is part of the Frances experience -and I (mostly) love it.
    Buen camino!
     
    Last edited: Apr 7, 2017
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  36. Mark Lee

    Mark Lee Guest

    The Camino is far from being a hike or a backpacking trip.
    Just a long series of walks between towns. On a lot, if not mostly improved surfaces and roadways.
    You walk as far and for as long as it suites you, or determined by time constraints.
    ultreia
     
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  37. zrexer

    zrexer Active Member

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    Have been on the Camino Frances Route 3 times. 2014 Ponferrada to Santiago. 2015 Burgos to Ponferrada and 2016 St.Jean to Burgos and then bus to Sarria and walk into Santiago but with different overnight stops.
    Camino Portugal from Porto - April 2017
    Some have pretty set ways about the 'proper' way to walk your pilgrimage. There is no right or wrong way as long as you are not intruding on others enjoyment of their pilgrimage experience. Personally my wife and I have found early starts (walking by 6:30 to 7:00 AM) work for us. I enjoy photography and always look for those memorable sunrise or low light landscape shots. We also enjoy being able to explore our destination towns/villages for the day, so being done walking by 2:30 PM gives us that opportunity. Also the social aspect of visiting with fellow pilgrims at the end of the day seems to work better with early stops versus rolling in late to an albergue.
    Enjoy your pilgrimage, it will likely just be the first of many!
     
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  38. davebugg

    davebugg Active Member Donating Member

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    I hear that :) I was on the Pacific Crest Trail for almost 6 months, and on the Colorado Trail for 3-1/2 weeks. Zero and nearo days as resupply required to hitchick from trail head into the nearest town.
     
  39. C clearly

    C clearly Veteran Member Donating Member

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    I don't care for the repeated admonition that "it is not a race" or "slow down and smell the roses." Sometimes that can make a good point (and I have occasionally used the phrases myself), but it often comes across as a bit patronizing. Walking fast or long does not imply that one is racing, and the metaphorical roses can be appreciated in many different ways.
     
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  40. joecamino

    joecamino Member Donating Member

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    It's very helpful for a newbie to read these comments-- and very nice to see the courtesy and respect all are showing. Thank you.

    I have noticed in many threads concerns around finding accommodations on the CF (with "Don't worry, The Camino will provide" sprinkled in as well.)

    How practical-- in safety, comfort, etc.-- is the "sleep outside option" between mid-April to early October? Simply walk, stop, talk, eat, nap, photo however late you want in a day, and don't be concerned whether or not there's an albergue spot open.
     
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  41. joecamino

    joecamino Member Donating Member

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    Think I found my answer here ;) https://www.caminodesantiago.me/community/threads/camping-on-the-camino-frances.44016
     
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  42. dougfitz

    dougfitz Veteran Member Donating Member

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    Camino(s) past & future:
    Camino France (Mar 2010, May/Jun 2016), Camino Salvado (Sep 2011), St Olav's Way (Jun 2012), Camino Ingles and Camino Finisterre (via Muxia) (Apr 2014), St Olav's Way (~Jul 2018)
    My late entry on this is that it is the individual who has to decide on the balance between the activities that comprise their own camino. How long to walk, what time to put to domestic chores like washing, eating and shopping, how much rest is required and the nature and extent of one's social activities are all personal choices.

    I have walked both short and long days, and know that doing three sessions of about two hours walking and stopping between two and three in the afternoon is about right for me. I can still do a longer day should I need to, but doing another session of up to two hours is just far less pleasant when I have done that, and it makes getting everything done in the evening just a little more difficult.
     
  43. kelleymac

    kelleymac Active Member Donating Member

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    I am impressed with your experience! -- So my teenage son and I walked longer than most. Sometimes into the late evening. We walked in the early Spring and only once had to walk on another 8km because all the albergues where full-- but we did get questioned at times by people running the refugios "Why are you late?". -- One place had locked up for the night. I greeted the owner with a "Buenes Tardes", and his response was "Buenes Tardes? Es Buenes Noches!" But it was only about 9 pm-- but he were nice enough after he let us in. -- So, usually we'd stop by 5 or 6. But most pilgrims seemed to stop far earlier at about 1pm for siesta.
     
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  44. frida1

    frida1 Active Member

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    You've received a lot of reasonable and true replies. I think I can somewhat relate, as I am also 63, from USA and have backpacked a lot in our country, and also Nepal, Andes, Alps, etc. Now I'm appreciating a less rigorous form of walking in the caminos. The camino attracts fewer seasoned walkers, there are lots of cafes to stop at, finding place to stay, etc. That said, no one will care if you choose to walk longer days-or shorter ones. I walked until near dark many days on my first camino (Frances). I did some shorter days on the 2nd one (Portugues). It was more relaxed, but the afternoon sitting around can seem long if you're on your own. I say, just start, and plan along the way, given the amount of time you have. I can say that I found the challenges of walking camino to be more foot-related than fitness-related, due to the hard surfaces, and the repetition of long days of 20+ miles on pavement and compacted surface. That's a kind of pounding you don't usually get in mountain treks.

    In April I'm planning the Chemin d'Arles to Puente la Reina, this time with my partner, instead of alone. However you choose to make it, it's a great journey!
     
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  45. Tigger

    Tigger Tigger Donating Member

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    Hi @davebugg
    As a fellow Camino virgin (kickoff is now only 4 weeks away) my only advice to you is to approach the Camino with an open heart and mind. You do sound a little defensive, perhaps rightly so given your extensive hiking experience. To me it is an opportunity to do something completely 'different' from anything I have ever done before. Whilst I have had the most fun on here and even more fun in the background testing equipment, getting competitive with @Kanga (who is a veteran and my walking partner) for ordering the cheapest and most outrageous items post free from China ( I think I am winning so far with my last order of 12 coloured nappy(diaper) pins postage free for $AUD 1.90 ) or maybe it was the 20 pairs of silk sock liners for $AUD 3.50 or my Vietnamese fisherman's hat for $AUD some ridiculously small amount :) )

    my most important preparation is of myself, physically, mentally and spiritually.
    The best advice of all given to me is that as a tourist or a hiker or a backpacker or a walker, you have expectations.

    As a pilgrim, you are grateful for everything that comes your way, in every possible way if you are open to it.

    Make the most of it and do your own thing, and see where it leads you.
     
  46. davebugg

    davebugg Active Member Donating Member

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    Yeah, that gives me pause as well. Knees and lower backs can really be affected as well. Right now I am experimenting with different trail shoe and insole combinations to get the right comfort level dialed in for harder surfaces. Fortunately, I have great resources for both paved trail and steep trail exercise/workout/shoe assessments. Always with a full backpack load that I'll carry. :) So far, with my wide-width feet, both Oboz and a couple of models of New Balance (Leadville v3) seem to do well for a good 22 mile stretch.

    Thank you for your comments. I would also like to thank all of you who have posted; your insights are appreciated.
     
  47. james walter purdum iv

    james walter purdum iv Active Member

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    camino francés sept 1, 2015
    i started walking from 7am....sunrise at 8:21am..till about 4 but came to realize by stopping at 2:30 i got a bed and did my chores took a nap and then wandered around the town or hung out with other pilgrims and then had dinner and in bed by 9....it was a good blend for me...the last 5km can be made up in the morning with a fresh take on the new day!
     
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  48. davebugg

    davebugg Active Member Donating Member

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    :) Your posting made me grin; thank you. Isn't it a conundrum that, while one can write words down and post them, it can be difficult to attach the "tone" and "emotion" that is meant to accompany those words? Even emoticons can be lacking in achieving this. I want my words to convey one thing, but I cannot control how a reader filters those words. Eek. Hopefully, you and other readers will take my word that I am not feeling defensive, and have honestly value what each person has had to say.
     
  49. Tigger

    Tigger Tigger Donating Member

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    Making people grin is one of my aims in life, so thanks. Also I think you ring very true for a lot of people, as we are all so different, united by a common respect for each other and a shared future experience whatever form it takes. I have a reputation for saying trite ridiculous things on here that everyone thinks and no-one says...like' the rain in Spain stays mainly on the plain', in the umbrella thread, so I will end by saying

    'Walk a mile ( 1.? kilometres for me) in my Merrells!!!!!!!!
     
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  50. AbbyDee

    AbbyDee Court Jester Donating Member

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    In celebration of the 35th anniversary of my 25th year, I will begin my Camino in September 2017

    Maybe, I will answer a question with a question: Why do you want to walk the Camino? I can't speak for you, but for me, The Camino is more than how many kilometers one can cover in the course of a day. It is a multi-dimensional, multi faceted experience, that includes but is not limited to, the people you meet along the way, shared meals and wine, time for solitary contemplation, the chances to see cultural, historical, spiritual and religious sites,

    I don't see it as an endurance race. Though, I imagine some do: I often look through youtube for videos of other people's experiences of and on the Camino and there are MANY. I do recall one made by a couple, and it consisted of a morning video "check in" which consisted of where they were, what the weather was like and how many kilometers they expected to cover that day. That is pretty much all it consisted of: from the perspective of this video, there was no one on the Camino but them, they didn't talk to anyone, didn't stop to take in any of the sites. I must admit they managed SJPdP to Santiago in 28 days. And I was left thinking "is that all there is?"

    So, in the end, It is a question you have to ask, and answer yourself. "why do you want to walk the Camino and what do you want to experience from it? (Ok, that's two questions)

    Buen Camino, wherever it takes you.
     
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  51. Grace3808

    Grace3808 Member

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    Buen Camino! !
     
  52. fraluchi

    fraluchi Veteran Member Donating Member

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    You would be a perfect candidate for our Coast-to-Coast (Atlantic to Pacific) "camino", which is nowhere comparable to a Camino de Santiago pilgrimage but a pretty engaging hike.:cool:
     
  53. Anemone del Camino

    Anemone del Camino Anemone

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    Camino Frances from 2006 to 2013. Camino del Norte from Donostia to Llanes - 2014. May 2015: Primitivo. May 2016: Portuguese central + variante espiritual. April 2017: half of VDLP.
    Isn't the C to C a walk across England? No Pacific in sight?
     
  54. Mark Lee

    Mark Lee Guest

    I used to do a fair amount of actual hiking and backpacking when younger. Our hiking days were also from about sunrise to just about sunset. Get to where we wanted to stay for the night and set up camp. Usually a couple of hours before dark. Get up the next morning with the sun, break camp after breakfast and get to walking.
    That cannot at all really be compared to the average Camino walking experience and I never even really thought about those hiking trips while walking the Camino, or applying the methods on it. I learned pretty quick that most albergues open at around 12-1 pm and that was when it seemed that 75% of the pilgrims arrived at them, so most of the time I never arrived past 3 pm. I wanted to siesta and drink a cold one after I settled in at the albergue, and didn't want to do that after 6 pm. That just kind of became my schedule and the only time I deviated from it was the first time I walked the Camino and I walked an extra 20 km on the last day so I could reach Santiago late in the afternoon, around 6 pm. I'm glad I did. It was beautiful at around dusk, and the skies were so blue and clear.
    You really don't have to do too much self reflection or deep personal philosophical meanderings before, during or after the Camino, nor do you have to ask yourself why you want to do it. I never did. All I know is I really, really wanted to walk it, and I did and I loved it. Why ask why?
    ultreia
     
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  55. Carlos Santiago

    Carlos Santiago Member

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    I believe he means South America.
     
  56. Dave - My take on "why does it seem like people stop walking so early?" is that many seem to really enjoy a convivial kind of "cafe culture" after about 1:30 p.m. They do laundry, shower, email family, and then sit outside and have a few beers or glasses of wine until dinnertime (the Spanish dinner hour is much later than in the States). They socialize, greet people met on the trail as they come into town, cook dinners together, swap stories and information, have a look around town. It's a really social Camino, although if you wish for privacy - as many do - you aren't expected to be super-social either. I don't drink and am quieter, so I sometimes just stop for an agua con gaz and something small to eat at the end of around 22K, and then continue on if still feel like moving on.
     
  57. Camino2010

    Camino2010 Active Member

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    SJPP to Santiago (2010)
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    SJPP to Fisterra/Muxia (2012)
    SJPP to Fisterra/Muxia (2015)
    SJPP to Fisterra/Muxia (2016)
    Hello, davebugg! You've had many answers to your question now, lots of different perspectives to take in and think about. I've enjoyed following the conversation! Here's a window into my perspective, having walked the Camino Francés 5 times now, and happily and thankfully getting ready to go back for a 6th time. :)

    The first time I walked, in 2010, I had plans to walk the entire route from SJPP to Santiago. I didn't know I'd develop knee trouble and blisters (first lesson learned, take your time in the first few days and don't rush to keep up with people who have longer legs and walk much faster than you do ;)). I ended up taking the bus and the train across about 6 or 7 of John Brierley's stages. My physical trouble cleared up beautifully after Astorga and I really hit my stride, but by then I didn't have time to spend more than a few hours in Fisterra (I went there from Santiago on the bus). That year I followed Brierley's stages and I think my farthest day of walking was 29km.

    The next year I was fit and healthy all the way along and it was wonderful! What a blessing to get to re-walk stages from the year before when I'd been in such pain. I discovered how much I *love* to walk. My third Camino, in 2012, I walked healthy and strong again but I still basically followed the "traditional" stages most often laid out in guide books. When I went back again in 2015 for my fourth time, my mind and preconceptions were blown wide open. I matched up with a group of pilgrims (who hadn't known each other before the Camino and were from different places around the world) who took it as a matter of course to walk at least 40km per day. This was in the middle of summer too. For the first time I discovered that I liked walking in the heat of the day (I'd avoided it in previous years), and that as long as I was properly hydrated and my feet were happy, of course I could walk longer if I wanted to! That was a happy realisation. :)

    In 2015 and again last year, I walked many days of 35-45km. My longest was 64km (that was a one-off, I don't plan to walk that far again in one day) and I had another of 55km. The thing is, when you walk that far each day the Camino does go by much faster. In 2015 I had basically unlimited time but chose to walk longer days. Last year I had a time limit because of my teaching schedule and I walked the same number of days; I walked to Santiago in 26 days and then added 4 more to get to Fisterra and Muxia. I plan to do the same again this year because again I need to be back in time for the start of school. This schedule will allow me to have a few extra days in Fisterra at the end, which is joyful for me. I'd stay by the ocean longer if I could (I stayed for three and a half weeks in 2011).

    I'm at school on my lunch break right now so this all I have time for with this reply. ;) But I heartily agree with all those who have said that just because you walk longer days, and cover more kilometres, that doesn't necessarily mean you aren't taking in the beauty all around. It doesn't have to mean you're rushing, or racing for a bed. It doesn't have to mean you're missing out on the flavour and feeling of the Camino experience. I look forward to having more days to walk when my schedule allows, but I still (also) really love to cover ground. It's been an interesting juxtaposition to learn that about myself and find ways to balance it on the way to Santiago. And absolutely, if it's your first or second time, take in as much of the villages and towns and wonderful albergues as you can. It's because I've walked a few times now, I know some favourite places I like to visit again.

    Buen Camino!

    Rachel/Caminoheart
     
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  58. Oravasaari

    Oravasaari Member

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    Logrono - Leon, Salvadore, Primitivo April 2017
    I walked quite quickly on my 1st camino Frances at 27 days or approx 33km per day SJPdP to SdC, but even then I never got up with all the 5am headlamp flashers (who I usually passed around midday in a queue at next major stop/stage) preferring to walk on until around 3pm. So I walked 7 or 8 hrs a day. I always had time to do laundry/get it dry, wander around the town, have a few glasses of wine (sometime too many), then a late siesta, then out for the evening meal or cook in the alburgue. I did take a few short days and that was usually due to wanting to stay in a pretty town with a bunch of good people for a while longer. I also did a few 40km stretches, usually due to feeling strong, not getting a good vibe about a place (and falling behind schedule to meet a friend in Leon).

    As an experienced backpacker I had no fear of being without a bed and would have been happy to sleep out (May time) if need be. I always found a bed though (2015).

    Don't go with a fixed schedule. Just do what you feel.
     
  59. Stephen Nicholls

    Stephen Nicholls Veteran Member Donating Member

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    Porto to SdC [2011]
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    Camino Ingles [2014]
    Ruta del Ebro [2015]
    Sureste [2016 aborted.]
    Finisterre [2016]
    [My final Camino.]
    ..... and just a reminder that, if you walk between June and September [both months included] the sun may make walking very uncomfortable after mid-day.
    My camino days are over, now, but I still like walking in the hills and along the coast. I can walk fine in the sun up to 30 degs C MAXIMUM - but preferably below 25C.
    Buen camino!
     
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  60. PADD

    PADD New Member

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    Hey Davebugg

    I'm with you on this one! I cant work it out either. I am 56 so like you remember the heavy gear from the 80's. I am doing Camino this summer Late July for 5 weeks. I actually want the journey to take as long as possible as it delays me returning to 45+ degree temperatures in the Middle East.

    Maybe some old experienced traveller can explain this for us
     
  61. C clearly

    C clearly Veteran Member Donating Member

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    Isn't that what we've been doing for the whole thread? :D
     
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  62. Maureen McGovern

    Maureen McGovern New Member

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    I did my 1st Camino Francis in Sept 16. My shortest day was 6 hours and longest 10. I completed it in 33 days with no break days. It was great to finish early afternoon to enjoy the afternoon at your destination and catch up with your Camino friends for drinks or a meal. I think this was the highlight of the Camino catching up and talking about your day and your individual experience
     
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  63. DowtyCamino

    DowtyCamino Active Member

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    One point I didn't see mentioned as well....not saying that your experience wouldn't already have taught you this, but for others that may not know.....

    Alot of the camino is on hard surfaces (pavement, sidewalk, and farmer's fields compacted over 1000 years). I can easily walk 18mi through the scenic Appalachians on through rock and dirt and foliage. My feet don't bother me much at all. However walking on flat hard surfaces can wear me out in half the time. I recommend anyone preparing for Spain to spend some time walking in the city, or other paved surface.
     
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  64. Lmsundaze

    Lmsundaze Active Member

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    To me the reality is that it isn't possible to prepare for the Camino by duplicating the conditions on the Camino. Most of us don't have lives that would permit us to walk multiple kilometers for multiple consecutive days. Depending on where we live, most of us can't prepare for all the terrain we will find. I live on the coast where it is completely flat no hills at all. I think for most of us being as fit and healthy as we can and starting slowly as we grow stronger can work -- it did for me and I was 70 with a number of health issues. It really is just walking. To the OP, you sound ready.
     
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  65. J Willhaus

    J Willhaus Active Member

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    24 May 2016- 14 July
    Hi Davebugg,
    We met a school teacher from Poland last summer who walked about 45-50 KM per day or more sometimes. Although he ate dinner with us that evening, he said he really just enjoyed the walking and not the social aspects of the pilgrimage. He was walking for 4-5 weeks and planned to do both the Porto and the CF. Then he was going to meet his wife for a week of non-walking vacation in Spain. He said walked late each day and if he came to a town where there was not a bed, he just walked on. I think walk as far and as long as you wish. For us a shorter day was our preference and we usually stopped in early afternoon to avoid walking in the heat later in the day.
    Janet
     
  66. Gail Larson

    Gail Larson New Member

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    Spring 2017
    Hi Tigger. My friend and I start in 4 weeks also. Our first Camino as well....

    My question is...tell me about these bargains. A website???
     
  67. davebugg

    davebugg Active Member Donating Member

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    That is a very valid observation and a tip that I hope folks really pay attention to. That is why I spend a good deal of time trying out combinations of both shoes AND insoles. A goodly percentage of people who do a lot of walking (hiking) find that, while a shoe fits perfectly, the insole creates problems of support and cushioning, which can create problems with sore feet and ankles, lower back pain, and greatly exacerbate the creation of blisters.

    THE FOLLOWING ARE MY PERSONAL OBSERVATIONS FOR THE BENEFIT OF THOSE WHO ARE NEW(ISH) TO BUYING WALKING (HIKING) SHOES/BOOTS

    Because of my wide feet, I find that it is harder to find a comfortably fitting shoe or boot. It takes a great deal of patience and perseverance to "dial in" a correct fit. The focus should be on how well the length and width fit when the shoe is properly tied. For me, and many others, a shoe or boot that is one to one and a half longer than the measured foot length is needed to prevent the toes from cramming and banging into the front of the shoe on downhill grades. Even a tightly cinched lace will not keep toes from getting banged up if the length of the shoe just barely clears the toes when standing on level ground.

    It is the width of the foot, not the length of the foot, that is affected by swelling during long walks (hikes) with a loaded pack. If one's normal, everyday shoe size has a width that even feels just barely snug on the foot, that is a width-size that will feel like a clamp when walking (hiking) a long distance under load. It will create more of a problem for blistering.

    So get a fit for a hiking (walking) shoe/boot that allows for proper length and width, THEN start paying attention to how the bottoms of one's feet feel while trying the shoe on while walking around the house. (A store will generally allow for shoe returns IF they are not worn outside. The only exception that I have found here in America is shoes/boots purchased from REI. Even if you have worn them for a year whilst pursuing outdoor activities, if you find you don't like them, REI will accept their return.

    With modern materials, combinations of materials, and current manufacturing techniques, a shoe/boot that fits well for the trail does not require a rigorous period of a "break-in" routine. A shoe/boot that is fitted well for the trail is good to go, so to speak, right out of the box.

    If the bottoms of the feet feel uncomfortable in the properly fitting shoes/boots, that has, sadly, become normal. More and more shoe manufacturers are selling their shoes with cheaply made inserts (insoles) which is why the market and manufacture of third party insoles (inserts) have exploded over the last decade. There are stores which specialize in selling insoles/inserts. Many shoe stores that cater to runners, hikers, and backpackers will also stock a good number of different after-market insoles.

    So.... take your new, good fitting shoes/boots to one of these stores so that your can now find an insole that will properly fit and comfort the bottoms of your feet. You can also go online and ponder and order from the many varieties of insole offerings, but doing so means that you will need to allow more time for trial and error while you try out those that are ordered (and need to be returned if they don't feel good).

    As with shoes/boots, they should feel good in the store. Don't fall for the malarkey that it takes time to break them in, or to get used to them, or to allow your feet to adapt to them. If your feet are fairly normal, with minor issues of metatarsal, pronation or supination mechanics, if it doesn't feel good in the store, it won't get better with use or with time.

    Feet are so unique and individual, that a recommendation of brands, other than a critique of their quality control and longevity, is mostly useless. What I find to be good for my feet, might not work for yours. What I will say is this: I need adequate metatarsal support, otherwise the balls of my feet get really sore and feel like I have a hard pebble pounding at the front of my soles near my the balls of my feet. I also require pronation support, otherwise the shoes/boots begin to bend inwards.

    For me, the show/boot brands that I currently have enjoyed over the last five years of heavy-duty hiking and backpacking are Oboz (Sawtooth) and New Balance (Leadville). Take it with a grain of salt.
     
  68. Tigger

    Tigger Tigger Donating Member

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    Yes
    Hi, I hope you have a great time.

    No, there is no particular website except perhaps Ebay(Australia) here.
    So, you have to know what you want and then search. With all the throw away nappies, it is amazingly hard to buy nappy pins and I have to admit to a small lie about them.. They were only AUD$1.50 postage included. An example is that I wanted really lightweight walking pants with zip off bottoms. I googled and checkout out a range of sites and specials and because we are the opposite season I got a real bargain from a UK site, also postage free. I don't know how they do it! They are fabulous and I was lucky with the fit, mind you I am losing weight as I train so there is a little leeway. I have bought energy plug transformer for $4.50, Vietnamese fisherman's hat/umbrella for $13.25, ultra light flexible water bottle for $3.00 and some accessories on special online from Katmandu Australia as well as their merino range of clothing on sale for about half price. I am lucky to be borrowing expensive items like Aarn pack, Altus and down sleeping bag from @Kanga's husband. I am having fun getting the lightest cheapest and best stuff apart from that. My Camino has well and truly already started! We are walking the VDLP though we might catch up in SDC at the end. I have to fly out on the 18th May to babysit in the UK.
     
    Gail Larson likes this.
  69. cehusted

    cehusted New Member

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    Walking the Camino is not always about speed, although some do it quickly do to other time constraints. Fast or slow, it is your Camino. There is much to be experienced along the way with people to meet, churches to visit, and vistas to enjoy. It is a very different experience than the PCT. Backpacking is not really needed as there are hostels (alburgues) along the whole way. I have foot problems do to plantar faciitis and have learned that I cannot cover the same distance that people like you can. It is your Camino and go the speed that you want.
     
  70. davebugg

    davebugg Active Member Donating Member

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    Hi, cehusted. I understand that the Camino is not the PCT. My hiking experience is not limited to wilderness backpacking.... I only mentioned it as a base background as to how -- while walking -- my usual choice is to walk through the day and into the evening. During time stationed in Germany, I did a lot of multi-day distance walks through the countryside, village to village while camping in parks or staying in gasthauses in order to do a lot of sightseeing.

    I never mentioned "speed" in my post, only the number of hours of walking; walking for 10 or 11 hours is not the same as walking fast, although some, I imagine, may walk fast for that many hours. Some may also walk extremely slow during that many hours.

    My reasons for doing the Camino are religious in nature. So, while I look forward to the cultural aspects of the Camino, socializing is not high on my list of needs. I am not going to be closed off from the social aspects, but it won't direct my day. Thank you so much for your insights. I appreciate what you said. :)
     
    Last edited: Mar 21, 2017
  71. good_old_shoes

    good_old_shoes Member

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    Camino(s) past & future:
    Camino Francés March-May 2015
    Jakobsweg Cologne-Trier August 2016
    Walk as many hours as you want to. It's all fine.

    But maybe keep in mind that you might fall into a different rhythm than you are used to, and allow that to happen in case it does happen.

    I met people who told me they had walked the AT and still walked the same short(ish) distances per day as most of the other pilgrims. The Francés apparently is a strange way with its own rules and rhythm.


    Some of the reasons why many pilgrims on the Camino only walk about 5-6 hours per day (in no particular order):

    1) some start right from the couch, no training, no hiking, ever (or a very long time ago)
    2) some are old and / or it's difficult for them because of injuries or other medical conditions
    3) in summer it can get very hot in the afternoon, something most try to avoid, if possible
    4) in high season it's easier to get a bed when you arrive early to the albergues
    5) too much to see, to many bars to stop and drink café con leche, too much vino and cerveza, too many interesting people to talk to

    Plus all the reasons I forgot to mention or didn't even realize they existed.


    Anyway... you'll know when to walk and when to stop, just let it happen!


    Buen Camino :)
     
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  72. davebugg

    davebugg Active Member Donating Member

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    Thank you for your post, Good Old Shoes. I really enjoyed the points you made and agree with virtually all of them. I think the social part of the Camino (the bars, frequent stops to talk and drink coffee concoctions (can't stand the stuff myself :) ) are probably right on target from the many things that I have read and watched in online videos. I think because my personal Camino is not about adventure, but about a deep need for a religious and spiritual renewal and seeking, I will be more introspective and not inclined to a lot of social interaction. I won't avoid or shun it or be unapproachable, but it won't direct my days. I'm excited to meet new folks, but that isn't what is important to me on this journey.

    I'll be walking during the fall shoulder season, so that may make the bed-finding rush less of an issue. At any rate, I'm prepared to sleep outside. My sleeping kit (tent, sleeping quilt, mattress) weigh just shy of 3 lbs (about 1.4 kg ?). That's one of the things about backpacking, you don't have any anxieties about being able to find a spot to sleep :)
     
  73. peregrina2000

    peregrina2000 Moderator Staff Member Donating Member Donating Member

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    This is the kind of post I usually jump right into, but decided to sit back and see how it developed. So glad to see the tolerance that forum members have of others' preferences. We should all give ourselves a big pat on the back. :D

    And when it comes to the frequent admonition that we should all be smelling the roses, I don't know anyone who disagrees that that's exactly the opportunity the Camino offers. It's just that we may have different ways of doing it or a different understanding of what it means. I always find it easier to smell the roses when walking quietly through the countryside at a pace that works well for my body than when I'm at a crowded café or albergue socializing and interacting with my many wonderful camino friends. That's an important part of my camino, to be sure, but it's not where I really get to sit back and try to clear my mental fog about some of life's big issues.
     
    Mike Savage, davebugg and C clearly like this.

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