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Walking The Camino Without Training. Fool's Errand?

Discussion in 'Frequently Asked Questions' started by joecamino, Apr 5, 2017.

  1. Elizabeth-o

    Elizabeth-o New Member

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    Camino(s) past & future:
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    Camino de Frances (2016)
    • Joe, please don't be so hard on yourself. If you only walk a few miles a day, you just might find some peace. You don't need to walk the whole Camino, either.
    • Don't compare yourself to anyone on the path. I witnessed some folks who walked very slowly and for short days. It was their Camino and I would be willing to bet their experience was as meaningful as anyone's. That's the miracle of "The Way."
    • Of course, I agree that a sit-down with your doc is extremely important before you embark on this adventure.
    • I am sad that you use the word "shame." Here's hoping that you are able to "do" the Camino and shed that word from your vocabulary, especially in reference to yourself.
    • Best wishes and "Buen Camino, Peregrino!"
     
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  2. Elizabeth-o

    Elizabeth-o New Member

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    Oh, and one more thing, Joe: Make sure your boots are a full size larger than your regular footwear. :>)
     
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  3. jeannick

    jeannick New Member

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    Don't worry mate , I started green as May at 120kg plus 15kg pack , no training or sense of direction
    you have good legs ? that's the first requirement , the rest is mere accessories
    the first week was hell , there were six distinct body parts which hurted ,
    I promise you pain and pleasure , but the pain will come first
    it come for everybody

    I was told by a lung doctor ,at 62 I had the lung capacity of a 95 year old man
    ( heavy smoker since I was 13 and gassed with chlorine half a dozen times )
    crossed Roncevalles one step at the time huffing , puffing and smoking all along
    did 1600 Km fromVezelay and was a slim marching beast at the end , carrying a slimmed down pack
     
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  4. nbyrne611

    nbyrne611 Member

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    You're starting in May? That's several weeks away. You cans tarting walking daily now. And if you can take your time and walk shorter daily distances, I do t see why you can't walk the Camino this year. You've been walking your whole life! (I got some good advice about the Camino from a guy who walked his first one a year ago. Until he got on a plane and walked it, he was a literal couch potato! He was we over 100 lbs overweight, and had never exercised a day in his life. But since then, he's lost the majority of that weight and has changed his entire lifestyle.) I'd say your knee and ankle joints might take a bit if a pounding, so plan ahead and take along some ace wraps, etc. Do as much as you can without killing yourself, take breaks when needed, leave your shame behind you (whether at home before you begin or on the trail as your walking). And remember through the tough times that you came here for change, and change occurs in our discomfort. I begin with my daughter in May for our first Camino. Maybe we'll see you there?! I wish you the best, whatever you decide.
     
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  5. Nath

    Nath New Member

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    Hi Joe, I will be walking it at end or April or beginning of May and I did not train either. I am overweight and I do have knee and feet pain so I will have to go as far as I can without hurting myself each days - As long as I am in Santiago on June 20th I can go as slow as I want to. If you have the time and the right gear I say go ahead- it is not a race anyway. On hill days, do shorter days and on flat days or on days you are feeling great just go a bit further. The important is to listen to your body. Take breaks just before you think you will need one and stay hydrated. I am expecting my first week - 2 weeks to be ``somewheat challenging but after a while your body shall be used to it and it should get easier. Good luck!
     
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  6. CaminoGlen

    CaminoGlen New Member

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    I was in your position on my Camino. I was overweight, never hiked anywhere before, and I also smoked so perhaps you can get some insight from my experience. You can train as you go, I did it and if I can do it then anyone can.

    The stage from SJPD to Roncesvalles was hard, very hard. I had to stop twice . I stayed at Oresson and at the refuge before it.

    Half of the first stage to Roncesvalles is all up hill and my legs turned to jelly to the point where I couldn't walk ten steps without having to stop but fortunately the first refuge wasn't too far. The next day and the walk to Oresson was a little easier but still difficult, and the walk from Oresson to Roncesvalles was easier but had a few surprising moments.

    I went from struggling to walk 6'ish miles up hill on the first day to walking 30+ miles and when I came home none of my trousers fit me anymore :)

    Buen Camino!
     
  7. Dylan Price

    Dylan Price New Member

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    Hi Joe

    Like any such adventure getting in some training will be a good thing - but you don't have to. My wife and I were very overweight - I was 130kgs (280 pounds?) but over a 7 month period managed to lose around 25 kgs and that was just from eating right and exercise and this was all for the Camino.

    That training certainly helped - but we still were not fast. Average for us was around 15km a day - so we were normally up at 7 and walked until 2-2.30 before finding somewhere to stay. Some days we walked 20 or 25 km, some days we walked 10km - depending on how we felt, weather etc.

    I would say that as long as you started doing some walking now - start slow maybe 3km and slowly build that up until you are doing 8-10km a walk. That should be ebough to help you out.

    Day 1 will be tough - so consider splitting it in your case so that you aren't destroyed on the first day! After that things get a bit easier, by week 3 when you encounter the second major (and highest) climb you should be in a good position to do it reasonably easy.

    In the end if you have the time like we did - just take it easy! Buen Camino!
     
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  8. Paintboy2

    Paintboy2 Member

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    Go
    for it. As one elderly pilgrim said, "not too fast, not too far". I did my first Camino (CP) last year. 60 years old, 275lbs. Averaged 12 miles per day and had no problems. .
     
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  9. davebugg

    davebugg Active Member Donating Member

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    I strongly disagree. I would suggest that it is only "nuts" if someone doesn't want to do it, but does so anyway. For those who want to do it, it is no more "nuts" to do so than to walk the 790 kms from Roncevalles to Santiago de Compostela, when all one needs to do is walk from Sarria for the final 100 kms. :)
     
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  10. Sarah80

    Sarah80 Member

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    Plan to walk july 15
    On my first camino I was (and still am) about 8 kgs heavier than my BMI perfect weight and not in any way fit. The best way to do this, if you've not got time to train daily before you go - and it has to be daily, IMO, doing a 10-20km walk every weekend doesnt prepare you for the day-in and day-out of walking, just ease yourself in starting with low kms in the first week, extending out to Burgos, once you're at Burgos you'll be ready for 25-30k days - not before.

    My first camino started with, what at the time looked like hard days, but looking back were anything but after some of the high km last days, when you're in shape. I went from St Pied de Port>Valcarlos>Espinal>Zubiri>Pamplona>Zariguegui>Ciraqui>Estella - A full week to get to Estella! After this I pushed myself a bit too hard and fast, the run from Los Arcos to Logrono is pretty long and I hurt myself walking at other peoples pace.

    Slow, steady, frequent breaks (I still break for 15 every 90 minutes and air out my feet as well as an hour for lunch) and your fitness will build - don't walk at others pace, you can face injuries.
     
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  11. jeannick

    jeannick New Member

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    .After some more thinking , a piece of advice , which you might ignore if you wish
    .....the SHOES are the most important thing , they must work well with your feet
    take them one size too large , broad at the toes , the broad part just before the toes must be at ease
    modern shoes in synthetic do not loosen themselves like the leather ones did
    your feet will swell somewhat , don't worry it get back to normal after a couple of months rest

    for most of the way , low walking shoes are fine ,I saw no real need for anything much above the ankles
    in fact it muscled the tendons more and weighted less
    but the sole must be really thick , the stony Spanish roads are not just a poetic image
    if they look flash , that's not good ,
    plenty of design sport shoes were abandoned along the path .
    strangely only one mostly
    I saw a couple of guys walking with their work shoes and very happy with it
     
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  12. RoamFarAndWide

    RoamFarAndWide Member

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    Walked the Camino Frances in 2013. Part of Jeju Olle Trail in 2014. A Pilgrimage in Bavaria: Regensburg Diözesanfußwallfahrt to Altötting 2014. Trekking Nepal 2014. European Peace Trail 2015.
    If you have plenty of time, then absolutely yes. I did it. Not proud, but proof that it's possible. Buen Camino!
     
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  13. Anniesantiago

    Anniesantiago Veteran Member Donating Member

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    VDLP 2011, 13, Lourdes 2012, Portuguese 2008, Madrid 2014, (2016)
    In my experience with leading groups, MOST people do MOST of their training on the Camino.
    Just start slow and gradually work up your distance.
     
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  14. wcsjms

    wcsjms Active Member Donating Member

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    (2016) ; 1st Camino ; Frances Way ; 2017 Norway to Santiago is in the planning stages from August to November/December
    Take your time, you will be ok, just remember it is not a race even though some think so. We're in our 60's, from Florida, training minimal and I had a heart attack in 2005 ... we suffered for the first 7-10 days but we made it. We trekked the entire Camino Frances. This year we are training, lost weight and just went through a complete cardiological revue with testing to make sure we'll be ok...lol a little late but it gives us peace of mind. oh on other thing, you will lose weight and gain cardio health from doing it.
    Buen Camino !!!!
     
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  15. glennb77

    glennb77 New Member

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    Location:
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    Camino(s) past & future:
    leon-santiago (2006)
    leon-santiago-finisterre (2007)
    sevilla-santiago-finisterre (2008)
    leon-santiago-finisterre (2009)
    israel national trail (2011)
    pamplona-santiago (2012)
    pamplona-astorga (2013)
    pamplona-leon (2014)
    roncesvalles-leon (2015)

    back in 2006 i was overweight ,29 years old ,never hiked, never traveled, never used a backpack
    went to leon with a backpack that was 15 kilos walked to santiago (300 km) and didn't get a blister , tendinitis or backpain.
    i never train for a camino , butt i have been on the camino and after a couple of 100 km got severe tendinitis because i walked
    to fast to see pilgrim friends or to get to the albergue to be sure to get a bed.
    my advice start with short days of walk and slowly increase the km .
    have enough free days and/or short days (10-15km) , drink enough water when you walk .
    walk you're camino enjoy the walk because thats the most
    importent thing about the camino and it wil not be finishing in santiago.
    see ,feel ,listen , share the camino. let you're mind wander ,think about life ,friends, problems ,god ,etc..
    get as manny communal meals as possible forget about the pilgrims menu.
    in june i will be on the camino for the 10the time and still i learn new things ,see things on the camino i didn't see before.
    and still i don't train for long distance hikes.
     
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  16. Nath

    Nath New Member

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    I agree with Elizabeth. I am currently on the Camino and yes it was challenging without training but I believe the Challenge is that my bag is about 12 kilos which is way too much. Also, to help you out, you could use the luggage transport to Roncesvalles for that section. Now I wish my pride did not get on the way.

    If you can, I will recommend to either reserve your bed in Roncesvalles 14 days before on the web or arrive before 3 in Roncesvalles. About 60 people got turned away on the day I arrived.

    Also, I will recommend you make Reservation in Zubiri and or the next town for 2nd stage as I arrived just before 3 pm in Zubiri and there were no accommodation left in the entire town and the next ones. Over 50 that I am aware of including myself had to take a taxi to Pamplona and there albergues were full as well, so many of us ended up in hotels. The trail, the people, the view and the journey is worth it. Keep strong, pack light, make some reservations and take your time. Don't forget rain gear!

    If Orisson is full, try Gite Antton. Very nice. They will pick you up from Orisson and drive you back there the next morning so you can continue to Roncesvalles.

    Buen Camino.
     
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  17. peregrina2000

    peregrina2000 Moderator Staff Member Donating Member Donating Member

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    So many different perspectives from so many who have successfully walked the Camino. This shows you that no matter what shape you are in when you start, with a combination of common sense, respecting your body's limits and luck, you can get all the way to Santiago.

    We haven't heard much from some of the many who don't make it though. I've met a lot over the years and I think they typically fall into two categories -- those who had some sort of acute injury, like a twisted knee, broken bone, sprain, etc; and those who just overdid it, decided to "power through", and paid the price later on.

    For that second group, it's usually the case that a non-physical event makes you stop listening to your body and then causes big injuries -- trying to keep up with others, not wanting to let your partner down, not wanting to separate from your camino family, having a return plane ticket that doesn't allow for rest days, etc. For anyone who is walking the Francés from SJPP for the first time, I would say -- if you can, add an extra week to your "schedule" and do not be afraid to spin off from your group. If you surprise yourself and arrive as expected, then you have time to walk to Finisterre and Muxia. But if you need the rest, you will be able to take it, to give your body the healing time it needs to get back in walking mode. I've been walking caminos for way too many years now and I am constantly surprising myself -- some years I get to Santiago early and am able to walk on to the coast, and some years, I have taken those extra days and used them along the Camino when it seemed right. And one last suggestion -- reservations are like a noose around your neck and can be oh so bad for your body.

    Buen camino everyone, Laurie
     
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  18. glennb77

    glennb77 New Member

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    leon-santiago (2006)
    leon-santiago-finisterre (2007)
    sevilla-santiago-finisterre (2008)
    leon-santiago-finisterre (2009)
    israel national trail (2011)
    pamplona-santiago (2012)
    pamplona-astorga (2013)
    pamplona-leon (2014)
    roncesvalles-leon (2015)
    hi
    i made mistakes and paid the price on the camino
    one time i walked really fast because i wanted to keep up with some people i liked
    and after 300 km got severe tendinitis.
    one time i got sucked up in the rat race and i quit the camino in astorga
    i didn´t get a blister or back pain etc , i just had enough of the race.
    my advice
    walk you're own pace you meet the same people a long the way or
    you meet a lot of other great people.
    also walk a few days alone and not with a group or a partner, it gives you more time
    to reflect and also to meet new people , because when you're in a group or with a partner
    most of the time you will only talk to them and miss out on a lot of nice people.
    when you walk alone people are also more likely to talk to you.
    and i think when you arrive in santiago its bitter sweet ,
    you will feel joy but you also will realise its over ,
    so enjoy your time on the camino talk to people ,see, feel,taste and let you're mind roam.
     
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  19. joecamino

    joecamino Member Donating Member

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    Thanks again everyone for the thoughtful advice. You got me "over the hump" of making the decision, and I fly out tomorrow.

    A lot of fear coming up (why did I look at that time-lapse video over Pyrenees?!) I'll keep taking deep breaths, and count on you, other pilgrims, my grit and a higher power to get me over the humps between here and Santiago.
     
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  20. sadaigh

    sadaigh Camino Frances, July 2017

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    I've seen at least 5 of those time-lapse videos... I just can't stop watching them.
     
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  21. NicP

    NicP Member

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    Via de la Plata, Seville to Santiago de Compostella via Astorga, then Finisterre... April and May 2016
    Hi Joe, I thought I'd reply without looking at what others have said to you, as I want to give you my unadulterated views...

    Firstly, I think that the most important issue is how motivated you are to do it - more than any physical preparation, it will be your level of desire to keep going that will determine your success. That's probably more true if you are unfit and physically unprepared.

    Secondly, if you go and are unfit, then don't be unrealistic about what you can achieve on a day to day basis. Don't try to walk further than you can. You will get fitter, the longer you walk.

    Lastly, there is a mountain of practical advice on this forum - have a look around and take from it what you think might work for you and what you think you're comfortable with, and disregard the rest. There are lots of different opinions on how to go about this gargantuan task, many of which are presented as facts - in my opinion, everybody has to figure out their own best way to tackle this beast - and you should be prepared to revise your approach in an ongoing fashion, based on how things work out for you along the way. Some examples - there is no one "Camino" - the "Camino" doesn't start in SJPDP - you could equally start a few weeks further back from somewhere in France, or you could start in Roncesvalles or Pamplona - both good options for somebody who is unfit and feels less well physically prepared that they'd like to be, and doesn't want to start on day one with a massive hill! Or you could walk a different path altogether to the Camino Frances - there are many choices. Another example of an opinion which should, in my view, be critically assessed, is one which has the camino broken into "stages". Guidebook writers created the "stages" - there are lots of other places to stop or start, and you will probably feel more comfortable walking shorter days, at least in the beginning.

    In terms of practical advice - I'm sure others have said much of this already, but the following are a few things I'd consider doing - things that worked for me: get some light weight shoes to walk in and break them in before starting; use walking poles - they will save your knees and make downhill and uphill sections much easier (YouTube can show you how); take as little as possible with you, you only need one change of clothing plus what you're wearing. That's just what worked for me though!

    It sounds like the Camino might be a good thing for you Joe - have fun, and enjoy the people you meet along the way - its a beautiful experience! I'd love to hear how you got along afterwards.
     
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  22. Chiptheshrink

    Chiptheshrink New Member

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    D
    Did my first (Frances) last year at age 61, 50 lbs overweight, off the couch with virtually no training, and I survived just fine and will be back with my wife this fall for another one. I worried until I looked at the guidebook and realized that there are places to stay along nearly the entire route literally every few kilometres, and if I was really tired, I wouldn't necessarily have to walk more than another hour at most before I found somewhere to stay. It turned out that this was rarely necessary, but it was always an option. It's your walk. Forget the agendas and stages and schedules, and just start putting one foot in front of the other, and everything else will take care of itself, just as it has on the Camino for 1,000 years. And never forget that on that "10 km day" you are walking 10 km more than most people, and there is certainly no shame in that! And most of all, enjoy doing YOUR Camino!!!!!
     
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  23. Dorpie

    Dorpie Member

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    Santiago to Finisterre to Muxia 2013
    Camino Frances May 2015
    Camino Frances July 2017
    Hey Joe,

    Great news that you decided to go for it. Hope this acts as a quick confidence boost.

    When I started from SJPdP two years ago I was 41, weighed 270lbs (123kgs) had had a knee operation 6 months earlier, was on blood pressure medication and had done just one 6 mile walk as training. The first day was tough, but it's tough for pretty much everyone who isn't a mountain goat and from then on it just got better every day. I ate and drank like.......well like someone who weighs 270lbs and by the end I was over 14lbs (8kgs) lighter and felt better physically and emotionally than I ever have before. Not saying it's the right way to do it, but it can be done.

    Great advice above, especially about poles. I would add one more thing thing that I didn't see mentioned previously; when you're out on the trail talk to people! It's amazing how much more quickly the kilometre markers tick by with a bit of company and if my experience is anything to go by it will do wonders for your insecurities, not only will you discover lovely people but you'll also learn that almost everyone has their hang ups. I ended up walking with a 21 year Dutch girl who as well as being half my age was also less than half my weight, that didn't stop her from having hang ups about her appearance and yet on the camino none of it matters, we're all in it together.

    Buen Camino,

    Rob.
     
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  24. Paddington Bear

    Paddington Bear Active Member

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    Hi Joe
    It would be great to have a report when you return.
    Best of luck.
    Buen Camino!
     
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  25. cvixx

    cvixx Member

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    Joe...you should be on the Camino today so just wanted to say 'good for you' on your walk. You have been an inspiration to a bunch of us.

    bon chance!
     
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  26. as gaillimh

    as gaillimh Active Member

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    Get medical advise before you go and listen to the advise given. The camino is not a walk in the park buen camino
     
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  27. joecamino

    joecamino Member Donating Member

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    Hey everyone-- just want to send a quick update and thank you.

    I'm getting ready to continue on from Burgos, and it's been a good Camino-- even the hard days, like the one over the Pyrenees. My body's been burnt, bitten, and sore, but it's getting stronger. Even lighter-- despite beer, KAS, and tortillas.

    If you'd like to see more / come along, I'm posting notes and photos here.

    Thanks again to everyone who's supported me-- and other scared, would be pilgrims-- get out here. You rock!

     
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  28. JulieandPeter

    JulieandPeter Active Member Donating Member

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    Camino(s) past & future:
    Camino Francis (April/May 2015)
    Planning Francis (May/June 2017) and Coastal Portugues (July 2017)
    Hi Joe,
    Thanks for sharing your blog posts - I loved reading them and I hope you will continue to share them. It is a great reminder of how one evolves along the Camino. On a different thread you asked about places to stay between Burgos and Leon. We really liked Posada Emebed in Castrojeriz.
    http://www.emebedposada.com/en/

    It was a splurge - we booked the cheapest room ($65), but a very nice respite after an especially long day. We arrived in late evening and the young woman at the door looked surprised and said most pilgrims arrive much earlier in the day. THEN she asked us if we wanted our clothes washed and gave us a basket to put them in. She brought them back folding and smelling like they hadn't been worn for a couple of hundred miles. I know a real pilgrim probably always washes their own clothes, but it only cost 6 Euros and it was well worth it.

    I remember it being a wonderful place and worth the splurge, but I may have been delirious over the laundry. One learns to appreciate small things along the Camino. :)

    Looking forward to hearing more!
    Fresh Start.JPG
     
    joecamino likes this.
  29. joecamino

    joecamino Member Donating Member

    Joined:
    May 25, 2016
    Messages:
    78
    Likes Received:
    351
    Camino(s) past & future:
    2017 CF
    Hi there. So this happened late Monday


    Don't know if many of the people who reached out with support are still following this thread...but THANK YOU to all who helped make this experience possible.

    This Camino didnt answer everything for me. I'm not sure what's next in life, or even on this trip. But it's certainly helped me learn more about the strengths inside me, and the kindness of others. And KAS. Definitely learned about that too!

    Thanks again, and much love,

    Joe
     
  30. Dorpie

    Dorpie Member

    Joined:
    Apr 9, 2015
    Messages:
    34
    Likes Received:
    105
    Location:
    London UK
    Camino(s) past & future:
    Santiago to Finisterre to Muxia 2013
    Camino Frances May 2015
    Camino Frances July 2017
    Hey Joe,

    Could not be happier about this. I've been following your blog posts and enjoyed seeing you grow into your camino.

    I think it's only a very lucky few who arrive in the square in Santiago with all their questions answered but it's a lesson in resilience and self belief that I've found incredibly valuable over the two years since I finished.

    And KAS Naranja is the best, got me through some dark days when my camino family bet me I couldn't finish the walk without drinking another coke.

    BTW as of my posting the picture in your link is not appearing. Says "Camino De Santiago Forum Error."

    Congratulations.

    Rob.
     
    joecamino likes this.
  31. mylifeonvacation

    mylifeonvacation Active Member Donating Member

    Joined:
    Apr 15, 2014
    Messages:
    186
    Likes Received:
    242
    Location:
    Phoenix, Arizona
    Camino(s) past & future:
    Camino Inglés (from Ferrol June 2014)
    Camino Portuguese (from Tui May 2015)
    Just looked at your blog @joecamino - What a fantastic journey! Congratulations!! But that clown fountain! :eek::eek::eek: Enjoy the rest of your journey, wherever it takes you!
     
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