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Which Camino with kids?

Time of past OR future Camino
Part of norte
Hello. We are an older (69, 75) fairly fit couple who plan to do the Camino for 5 weeks beginning in late April. We will also have our two grandsons (ages 10 and 12) along with us. We (sans kids) started the northern route a year ago, but had to ditch after husband experienced severe shin splints—most likely due to going too far from the beginning, and had improper footwear. On this trip we’re thinking we should average about 10 miles/day (with a slow build up to prevent injury). We are planning going about a total 250-300 miles to Santiago.. We’d like to offer them plenty of distractions, have decent weather, and not be bored. We’d need to stop fairly early so they have plenty of time for schoolwork as well. We’re trying to decide between Camino Portuguese from Porto vs the French route from Burgos. Disadvantages of CP are more complicated logistics (we’re used to the Spanish Camino now) and worries about weather near the coast. Sorry about long post, but figure we’d get better answer with more specific question!
 
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trecile

Moderator
Staff member
Time of past OR future Camino
PAST - Francés, Norte, Salvador, Portuguese
Hello. We are an older (69, 75) fairly fit couple who plan to do the Camino for 5 weeks beginning in late April. We will also have our two grandsons (ages 10 and 12) along with us. We (sans kids) started the northern route a year ago, but had to ditch after husband experienced severe shin splints—most likely due to going too far from the beginning, and had improper footwear. On this trip we’re thinking we should average about 10 miles/day (with a slow build up to prevent injury). We are planning going about a total 250-300 miles to Santiago.. We’d like to offer them plenty of distractions, have decent weather, and not be bored. We’d need to stop fairly early so they have plenty of time for schoolwork as well. We’re trying to decide between Camino Portuguese from Porto vs the French route from Burgos. Disadvantages of CP are more complicated logistics (we’re used to the Spanish Camino now) and worries about weather near the coast. Sorry about long post, but figure we’d get better answer with more specific question!
May I suggest that you would get even better answers if you title your post something like "Which Camino with Kids?"
 

C clearly

Moderator
Staff member
Time of past OR future Camino
Most years since 2012
worries about weather near the coast
I'm not familiar with weather along the Portuguese coast, but you will likely encounter rain on the Frances in Galicia. (I'm not suggesting it isn't a good route for you, but just pointing out this weather fact.)

If you click on the tag "children" just under the title of this thread, you'll find a lot of interesting threads on the topic.
 
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Time of past OR future Camino
2012
Hello. We are an older (69, 75) fairly fit couple who plan to do the Camino for 5 weeks beginning in late April. We will also have our two grandsons (ages 10 and 12) along with us. We (sans kids) started the northern route a year ago, but had to ditch after husband experienced severe shin splints—most likely due to going too far from the beginning, and had improper footwear. On this trip we’re thinking we should average about 10 miles/day (with a slow build up to prevent injury). We are planning going about a total 250-300 miles to Santiago.. We’d like to offer them plenty of distractions, have decent weather, and not be bored. We’d need to stop fairly early so they have plenty of time for schoolwork as well. We’re trying to decide between Camino Portuguese from Porto vs the French route from Burgos. Disadvantages of CP are more complicated logistics (we’re used to the Spanish Camino now) and worries about weather near the coast. Sorry about long post, but figure we’d get better answer with more specific question!
My first thought when I read this post was “you’re ‘aving a giraffe”. Wrinklies and a couple of pre-teens on a multi day hike with no off button. And then I thought yeh why not: it’ll get chaotic from time to time but we wrinklies can do chaos- we’ve created enough of our own. So, to your question, go with the Frances. The infrastructure, even post the arrival of Covid, will provide. Have a great Camino.
 

Gumba

Active Member
Time of past OR future Camino
2022
Hi Swansong, we walked with our children March/April 2018. They were 9 and 11 (who turned 12 on the CF). We walked the Frances. We walked again when they were 12 (just!) and 14.

Not sure what you want to know but here are some observations. The kids will rung rings around you!!!! Well, maybe you are more fit than we were. We let them walk ahead but had to stop and wait if they got too far ahead. The weather was wet, windy and cold. Good gloves were a deal breaker for our boys. There are plenty of playgrounds along the way. Your walk may be slower because you will stop and watch a little Beatle cross a puddle or walk past a pokemon shop or look at butterflies, etc. You will also probably stop at all the playgrounds! These are moments I still treasure. Cola cao was a staple, especially when we had cafe con leche.

Check the sunrise hours for that time of year, unless walking in the dark you might not be able to leave too early.

We tended to stay more in private accommodation, this allowed us to cook more easily and have private downtime, it was probably as much for us too! It was not much more expensive. We always made it clear that if the boys didn't want to walk, the didn't have to. If they were exhausted then we could get a taxi/bus/train to the next town (when we walked, it was really only the Brierley stages that were open for business). We didnt do it often (once my 9 y.o. fell knee deep into and icy puddle and there had been 25cm of snow over night. he was icy cold from the knees down and only 1/2 way to Zubiri so we called a taxi). It was nice for them to know they had the option.

We walked the Brierly stages both times due to accommodation so averaged around 23-25km/day. Except for the first day, the boys were fine with this.

Have a wonderful time
 
Time of past OR future Camino
Frances/Portuguese/Ingles/Sanabre/Frances/Fineste
Hello. We are an older (69, 75) fairly fit couple who plan to do the Camino for 5 weeks beginning in late April. We will also have our two grandsons (ages 10 and 12) along with us. We (sans kids) started the northern route a year ago, but had to ditch after husband experienced severe shin splints—most likely due to going too far from the beginning, and had improper footwear. On this trip we’re thinking we should average about 10 miles/day (with a slow build up to prevent injury). We are planning going about a total 250-300 miles to Santiago.. We’d like to offer them plenty of distractions, have decent weather, and not be bored. We’d need to stop fairly early so they have plenty of time for schoolwork as well. We’re trying to decide between Camino Portuguese from Porto vs the French route from Burgos. Disadvantages of CP are more complicated logistics (we’re used to the Spanish Camino now) and worries about weather near the coast. Sorry about long post, but figure we’d get better answer with more specific question!
Using godesalco.com and gronze.com you can judge distances, climbs and housing which should help. Congratulations for being such wonderful grandparents.
 
Time of past OR future Camino
Part of norte
Hi Swansong, we walked with our children March/April 2018. They were 9 and 11 (who turned 12 on the CF). We walked the Frances. We walked again when they were 12 (just!) and 14.

Not sure what you want to know but here are some observations. The kids will rung rings around you!!!! Well, maybe you are more fit than we were. We let them walk ahead but had to stop and wait if they got too far ahead. The weather was wet, windy and cold. Good gloves were a deal breaker for our boys. There are plenty of playgrounds along the way. Your walk may be slower because you will stop and watch a little Beatle cross a puddle or walk past a pokemon shop or look at butterflies, etc. You will also probably stop at all the playgrounds! These are moments I still treasure. Cola cao was a staple, especially when we had cafe con leche.

Check the sunrise hours for that time of year, unless walking in the dark you might not be able to leave too early.

We tended to stay more in private accommodation, this allowed us to cook more easily and have private downtime, it was probably as much for us too! It was not much more expensive. We always made it clear that if the boys didn't want to walk, the didn't have to. If they were exhausted then we could get a taxi/bus/train to the next town (when we walked, it was really only the Brierley stages that were open for business). We didnt do it often (once my 9 y.o. fell knee deep into and icy puddle and there had been 25cm of snow over night. he was icy cold from the knees down and only 1/2 way to Zubiri so we called a taxi). It was nice for them to know they had the option.

We walked the Brierly stages both times due to accommodation so averaged around 23-25km/day. Except for the first day, the boys were fine with this.

Have a wonderful time
Thanks so much! A lot of useful information you shared—-things we hadn’t even considered!
 
Time of past OR future Camino
Part of norte
Hi Swansong, we walked with our children March/April 2018. They were 9 and 11 (who turned 12 on the CF). We walked the Frances. We walked again when they were 12 (just!) and 14.

Not sure what you want to know but here are some observations. The kids will rung rings around you!!!! Well, maybe you are more fit than we were. We let them walk ahead but had to stop and wait if they got too far ahead. The weather was wet, windy and cold. Good gloves were a deal breaker for our boys. There are plenty of playgrounds along the way. Your walk may be slower because you will stop and watch a little Beatle cross a puddle or walk past a pokemon shop or look at butterflies, etc. You will also probably stop at all the playgrounds! These are moments I still treasure. Cola cao was a staple, especially when we had cafe con leche.

Check the sunrise hours for that time of year, unless walking in the dark you might not be able to leave too early.

We tended to stay more in private accommodation, this allowed us to cook more easily and have private downtime, it was probably as much for us too! It was not much more expensive. We always made it clear that if the boys didn't want to walk, the didn't have to. If they were exhausted then we could get a taxi/bus/train to the next town (when we walked, it was really only the Brierley stages that were open for business). We didnt do it often (once my 9 y.o. fell knee deep into and icy puddle and there had been 25cm of snow over night. he was icy cold from the knees down and only 1/2 way to Zubiri so we called a taxi). It was nice for them to know they had the option.

We walked the Brierly stages both times due to accommodation so averaged around 23-25km/day. Except for the first day, the boys were fine with this.

Have a wonderful time
May I ask—how did you find the more private accommodations you suggested? Airbnb? We are planning to have some of our items transported each day to next accommodation—did you do that as well, and if so, would you do that again?
 
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RRat

Active Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Planning 2017
Hello. We are an older (69, 75) fairly fit couple who plan to do the Camino for 5 weeks beginning in late April. We will also have our two grandsons (ages 10 and 12) along with us. We (sans kids) started the northern route a year ago, but had to ditch after husband experienced severe shin splints—most likely due to going too far from the beginning, and had improper footwear. On this trip we’re thinking we should average about 10 miles/day (with a slow build up to prevent injury). We are planning going about a total 250-300 miles to Santiago.. We’d like to offer them plenty of distractions, have decent weather, and not be bored. We’d need to stop fairly early so they have plenty of time for schoolwork as well. We’re trying to decide between Camino Portuguese from Porto vs the French route from Burgos. Disadvantages of CP are more complicated logistics (we’re used to the Spanish Camino now) and worries about weather near the coast. Sorry about long post, but figure we’d get better answer with more specific question!
School work! Give the kids a five week break for god's sake. Who knows they might experience an education not found by a structured home town educator. Send them to the store to buy a candy bar, have them find the way out of town for the next morning, what time is the pilgrims mass, plan the next day, etc. They will amaze you with what they will learn, experiencing outside of someone else's lesson plan.
 
Time of past OR future Camino
Part of norte
School work! Give the kids a five week break for god's sake. Who knows they might experience an education not found by a structured home town educator. Send them to the store to buy a candy bar, have them find the way out of town for the next morning, what time is the pilgrims mass, plan the next day, etc. They will amaze you with what they will learn, experiencing outside of someone else's lesson plan.
I love your ideas—I’m right there with you. Will discuss with their parents but I suspect they’ll approve (they’re into free range kids too).
 

Gumba

Active Member
Time of past OR future Camino
2022
yes, it was a wonderful experience for the children - they missed 4 weeks of school - that is a fair bit in terms of a school curriculum. It did take my boys while to catch up - so I would say pick out the important things and adapt. ie maths - converting currencies how much was that drink in USD? calculating distance - we have to walk 22km today - what is that in miles - how far do we have left to walk today - if it takes 'x' hours to walk 'y' km - how many km/hour are we walking? Have a daily graph on your phone for how many markers/shells arrows you see each day. My older son would get up and say 'ok we have to walk x km today, its pretty flat so we should get to the destination by x o'clock.' He would readjust for our coffee/lunch stops. Draw a new design for a way-marker/arrow. Take photos, Keep a journal. Write a factual account of what they saw - create a verbal make-believe story about something you saw. Listen to podcasts. Learn about Spanish history. Discuss the memorial statues along the way. Duo lingo to learn some basic Spanish - and well.... you have Phys Ed covered!!!! The above seems incidental when you are walking together for hours. I am a former teacher so make of that what you will haha. Our second Camino was December/January to coincide with our big Australian school (summer) holiday. There was less opportunity for accommodation but were able to get private rooms in albergues some times and some hotels/hostels. We used booking.com a fair bit and I would often book apartments. Sometimes we would get a room for the 4 of us and sometimes 2 rooms for 2. My husband and I would each share a room with a child. Sometimes we let the boys share a room together which they though was wonderful. There was not much on airBNB. I budget around 80 Euros for private accom.

The March/April Camino I pre-booked until Burgos a) I am a planner!! and b) it was Easter so I wanted to make sure we had accommodation sorted, especially because of the kids. Otherwise, we booked 2-3 days ahead.

Re food, look, the pilgrim menu is not the best diet in the world, so I did like to prepare some meals or at least healthier snacks for the day, cut carrot/capsicum, cheese, boiled eggs especially for the kids. They dont like nuts, but that would have been good. We would share a bag of lollies or chocolate - this was a morale booster!!!! They didnt love every day, especially the wind and cold (the Christmas camino was beautiful in terms of weather but our March/April was a bit different). We probably had more rest days than most other pilgrims - at their request. For us as parents, it was about trust. They were eager to walk with us and we gave them our word that we would walk on their terms. Some days we said 'well why dont we just walk to x town and decide then whether to keep walking or get a bus'. 9/10 we kept walking the day. Other days they were telling us to walk faster and try to keep up with them!

Re bag transport. yes, this was another strategy, we didnt do it too often, especially on our second camino where bag transport was double (10 euros each x 4). My husband and I did tend to carry more - eg, we would carry the toiletry bags and chargers. Some of the boys' stuff. We gave the boys phones so that they could have a bit more freedom of walking ahead and knowing we had full contact. A personal choice. We did not take sleeping bags on our first camino. When we stayed in private rooms in Albergues they had sheets provided in all but 1 albergue (Hontanas). We took bags for the second Camino as we know we would have limited options.

We are hoping to walk again this Christmas, the boys will be 14 (just) and 16. We plan to let them walk on their own and meet up for lunch/end of the day. We met some lovely people last camino and kids loved walking with them for some stretches - Korean, Italian, Venezuelan - while we trailed behind. They still talk about it
 
Last edited:

Gumba

Active Member
Time of past OR future Camino
2022
Another thing we did was to give the boys some money each day. They were supposed to use this to by their own drinks. It didnt work too well as we ended up ordering together - having said that, we did get the boys to order sometimes and pay. They loved having their own euros though.
 

Leanne Lang

New Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Future
Well your trip sounds amazing, what a great opportunity to bond in a new way with your grandsons! I'm walking my first Camino this June with my 10 year old daughter, so I have read people's replies to your question with great interest.

We can't arrive in Spain any earlier than June 10th, so I have decided that for the best weather and fun for Johanna, we will start in Santander on the Norte. I think it might be too hot already on the Frances by then, we are from southern Australia and wilt (and burn) in the sun. I've bought us hiking umbrellas which are fabulous, I think they will make it possible for us to take our time and walk a little later each day than I had originally thought, not getting up super early at least to beat the heat.

I like the idea to start in Santander, catch the train to start walking in Barreda, then walk about 10kms a day for the first 4 days to ease into the walking and to get over jetlag. The coastal towns will have no end of distraction for us, and great food, lots of accommodation options, and a great immersion in Spanish culture. After 10 days of gentle ascents and descents, we can choose whether to tackle the Primitivo route or continue on the Norte. I want my daughter to feel like she is creating this journey too, and whilst I am planning options of distances, preferred accommodation, etc, it is only so we can make quicker and better decisions when we are there. Booking.com has some great priced options for places to stay, with reviews to help with confidence to stay somewhere clean and comfortable. I am okay to have a few not great nights, but in taking care of my daughter I need to protect our rest times, especially as she will need earlier bedtimes than the average pilgrim.

Ah yes, what to do about school work? I have had plenty of the same advice, to forget school work and just soak up the learning experiences along the way. We are lucky to be in a situation where this is legal and even encouraged by our schools.
 
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Leanne Lang

New Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Future
Another thing we did was to give the boys some money each day. They were supposed to use this to by their own drinks. It didnt work too well as we ended up ordering together - having said that, we did get the boys to order sometimes and pay. They loved having their own euros though.
yes, it was a wonderful experience for the children - they missed 4 weeks of school - that is a fair bit in terms of a school curriculum. It did take my boys while to catch up - so I would say pick out the important things and adapt. ie maths - converting currencies how much was that drink in USD? calculating distance - we have to walk 22km today - what is that in miles - how far do we have left to walk today - if it takes 'x' hours to walk 'y' km - how many km/hour are we walking? Have a daily graph on your phone for how many markers/shells arrows you see each day. My older son would get up and say 'ok we have to walk x km today, its pretty flat so we should get to the destination by x o'clock.' He would readjust for our coffee/lunch stops. Draw a new design for a way-marker/arrow. Take photos, Keep a journal. Write a factual account of what they saw - create a verbal make-believe story about something you saw. Listen to podcasts. Learn about Spanish history. Discuss the memorial statues along the way. Duo lingo to learn some basic Spanish - and well.... you have Phys Ed covered!!!! The above seems incidental when you are walking together for hours. I am a former teacher so make of that what you will haha. Our second Camino was December/January to coincide with our big Australian school (summer) holiday. There was less opportunity for accommodation but were able to get private rooms in albergues some times and some hotels/hostels. We used booking.com a fair bit and I would often book apartments. Sometimes we would get a room for the 4 of us and sometimes 2 rooms for 2. My husband and I would each share a room with a child. Sometimes we let the boys share a room together which they though was wonderful. There was not much on airBNB. I budget around 80 Euros for private accom.

The March/April Camino I pre-booked until Burgos a) I am a planner!! and b) it was Easter so I wanted to make sure we had accommodation sorted, especially because of the kids. Otherwise, we booked 2-3 days ahead.

Re food, look, the pilgrim menu is not the best diet in the world, so I did like to prepare some meals or at least healthier snacks for the day, cut carrot/capsicum, cheese, boiled eggs especially for the kids. They dont like nuts, but that would have been good. We would share a bag of lollies or chocolate - this was a morale booster!!!! They didnt love every day, especially the wind and cold (the Christmas camino was beautiful in terms of weather but our March/April was a bit different). We probably had more rest days than most other pilgrims - at their request. For us as parents, it was about trust. They were eager to walk with us and we gave them our word that we would walk on their terms. Some days we said 'well why dont we just walk to x town and decide then whether to keep walking or get a bus'. 9/10 we kept walking the day. Other days they were telling us to walk faster and try to keep up with them!

Re bag transport. yes, this was another strategy, we didnt do it too often, especially on our second camino where bag transport was double (10 euros each x 4). My husband and I did tend to carry more - eg, we would carry the toiletry bags and chargers. Some of the boys' stuff. We gave the boys phones so that they could have a bit more freedom of walking ahead and knowing we had full contact. A personal choice. We did not take sleeping bags on our first camino. When we stayed in private rooms in Albergues they had sheets provided in all but 1 albergue (Hontanas). We took bags for the second Camino as we know we would have limited options.

We are hoping to walk again this Christmas, the boys will be 14 (just) and 16. We plan to let them walk on their own and meet up for lunch/end of the day. We met some lovely people last camino and kids loved walking with them for some stretches - Korean, Italian, Venezuelan - while we trailed behind. They still talk about it

Thanks Gumba for sharing how you approached Camino walking with your kids, it is great to hear the voices of experience! I really like how you let your kids know that you were walking on their terms, that you held the Camino experience loosely in as much as how it would work out, giving priority to your kids and fun rather than speed and effort and grit to do it by the book. I think we can learn so much from kids, not to give up too easily, but to see other options (like taking a bus or getting bags transported) as not a failure but simply a good decision, being kind to ourselves. I hope my daughter will draw comparisons with life, she tends towards perfectionism, I am encouraging her to see that doing things differently, maybe in her opinion less perfectly, is often a good thing, and can lead to unexpected blessings.
 

trecile

Moderator
Staff member
Time of past OR future Camino
PAST - Francés, Norte, Salvador, Portuguese
Re bag transport. yes, this was another strategy, we didnt do it too often, especially on our second camino where bag transport was double (10 euros each x 4). M

Perhaps take a folding duffel bag and offload weight from each person's backpack into it? Then you only pay to transport one bag.
 
Time of past OR future Camino
Part of norte
Well your trip sounds amazing, what a great opportunity to bond in a new way with your grandsons! I'm walking my first Camino this June with my 10 year old daughter, so I have read people's replies to your question with great interest.

We can't arrive in Spain any earlier than June 10th, so I have decided that for the best weather and fun for Johanna, we will start in Santander on the Norte. I think it might be too hot already on the Frances by then, we are from southern Australia and wilt (and burn) in the sun. I've bought us hiking umbrellas which are fabulous, I think they will make it possible for us to take our time and walk a little later each day than I had originally thought, not getting up super early at least to beat the heat.

I like the idea to start in Santander, catch the train to start walking in Barreda, then walk about 10kms a day for the first 4 days to ease into the walking and to get over jetlag. The coastal towns will have no end of distraction for us, and great food, lots of accommodation options, and a great immersion in Spanish culture. After 10 days of gentle ascents and descents, we can choose whether to tackle the Primitivo route or continue on the Norte. I want my daughter to feel like she is creating this journey too, and whilst I am planning options of distances, preferred accommodation, etc, it is only so we can make quicker and better decisions when we are there. Booking.com has some great priced options for places to stay, with reviews to help with confidence to stay somewhere clean and comfortable. I am okay to have a few not great nights, but in taking care of my daughter I need to protect our rest times, especially as she will need earlier bedtimes than the average pilgrim.

Ah yes, what to do about school work? I have had plenty of the same advice, to forget school work and just soak up the learning experiences along the way. We are lucky to be in a situation where this is legal and even encouraged by our schools.
Leanne—we had never heard of hiking umbrellas and now are slapping our heads for not thinking of something like that before! What a fabulous idea, for those of us who have to avoid the sun,, or who get sweaty while walking in rain gear. I’m not sure about the boys however—we will need to talk. So grateful for everyone’s advice and perspectives.
 
Time of past OR future Camino
Part of norte
Perhaps take a folding duffel bag and offload weight from each person's backpack into it? Then you only pay to transport one bag.
Well your trip sounds amazing, what a great opportunity to bond in a new way with your grandsons! I'm walking my first Camino this June with my 10 year old daughter, so I have read people's replies to your question with great interest.

We can't arrive in Spain any earlier than June 10th, so I have decided that for the best weather and fun for Johanna, we will start in Santander on the Norte. I think it might be too hot already on the Frances by then, we are from southern Australia and wilt (and burn) in the sun. I've bought us hiking umbrellas which are fabulous, I think they will make it possible for us to take our time and walk a little later each day than I had originally thought, not getting up super early at least to beat the heat.

I like the idea to start in Santander, catch the train to start walking in Barreda, then walk about 10kms a day for the first 4 days to ease into the walking and to get over jetlag. The coastal towns will have no end of distraction for us, and great food, lots of accommodation options, and a great immersion in Spanish culture. After 10 days of gentle ascents and descents, we can choose whether to tackle the Primitivo route or continue on the Norte. I want my daughter to feel like she is creating this journey too, and whilst I am planning options of distances, preferred accommodation, etc, it is only so we can make quicker and better decisions when we are there. Booking.com has some great priced options for places to stay, with reviews to help with confidence to stay somewhere clean and comfortable. I am okay to have a few not great nights, but in taking care of my daughter I need to protect our rest times, especially as she will need earlier bedtimes than the average pilgrim.

Ah yes, what to do about school work? I have had plenty of the same advice, to forget school work and just soak up the learning experiences along the way. We are lucky to be in a situation where this is legal and even encouraged by our schools.
Wow! So much useful information that I hadn’t even considered. Thanks SO much for taking the time to share all this. Luckily their schools are encouraging them as well, and they were homeschooled during Covid year, so this won’t be their first rodeo. My worst fear is that they will be bored with a couple of old fogeys and minimal electronics. Not to mention extreme home sickness for the rest of their family (2 other kids and parents).
 

Marbe2

Active member
Time of past OR future Camino
2015-2019 walked all or more than half of CF 7 times... CP recently cancelled by Covid 19!
School work! Give the kids a five week break for god's sake. Who knows they might experience an education not found by a structured home town educator. Send them to the store to buy a candy bar, have them find the way out of town for the next morning, what time is the pilgrims mass, plan the next day, etc. They will amaze you with what they will learn, experiencing outside of someone else's lesson plan.
Yes, of course, there will be educational benefits to going on a camino!
And I realize that some of us come from different cultures.

Although there can be significant positive benefits to a camino there can also be negative consequences for pulling a child from school for 5 weeks and, therefore, without knowing the child, their abilities and curriculum, I would recommend caution about advocating for such a trip without school consultation. We do not know what is right for your grandchildren!

There needs to be school input and consultation between the parents/grandparents, the children, and the teacher(s). Not all children may be capable of making up 5 weeks of classroom work within a specified period of time? Will they be expected to? If so, what’s the plan to do so? How flexible is the curriculum? Some teachers might be willing to provide alternate and or online learning opportunities… and maybe creative assignments that would at minimum reinforce prior instruction and hopefully address some of the new material.
 
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Marbe2

Active member
Time of past OR future Camino
2015-2019 walked all or more than half of CF 7 times... CP recently cancelled by Covid 19!
There is a website https://www.girlsontheway.com/2013/02/

The Mother blogs daily about how her two girls and she, made the CF starting the end of February of 2013 thru SdC to Finestra, ending the beginning of April. I believe she home-schooled her children but you can read about their trip challenges, interests and how they balanced assignments. Have a great trip!
 

Rosalinda

Member
Time of past OR future Camino
2015 Sarria to Santiago; 2017 Ourense to Santiago
My husband and I were in our mid forties and in what we thought was good shape (I went to zumba three times a week and walked twice a week and my husband did Taekwondo and did triathlons) when we took our two boys on our first camino. We started in Sarria. Our boys were 10 and 13 yrs old. Our boys hated it. It was really hard on them. It was hard on us too. It got better when we bribed them with money and stopped to eat ice cream at every stop. That was in 2015. In 2017 we decided to go again and we were really surprised they wanted to come along (we would have left them with grandma this time). Grandma came along and so did my sister and her husband. This time we walked the Sananbres (Ourense to Santiago). This time they did not complain at all; maybe because this time they had phones and watched their shows when we stopped to rest at the hotels or casa rurales. I am so glad that we had a big group because had it only been us they would have hated it. Because dinners are served to late we would stay up late and get up late we saw almost no one on the Camino. We only ran into a large group leaving the Monestary on day 2 and some bikes that's all we saw. The churches were all locked and the places that we stopped didn't have the hamburgers and fries that the kids loved and ate so much on the Camino Frances. They missed the ice cream stops and I missed the fresh orange juice that was so widely available on the CF. Can't wait to go on our third camino. We will be doing the CF again(Sarria to Santiago). We are thinking that our fourth camino will be the first 100 starting in St. Jean. I really don't know how they kids would even have the energy to do any kind of school work after walking all day. We walked only 6 days and there is no way we would have able to squeezed any school work. As a parent I wouldn't let my kids go with grandma and miss that much school. I would tell them to wait until school got out. Let us know how you handle it as there may be others wanting to do the same. I know the summers are hot in Spain but having walked twice in July and August I didn't think it was all that hot when we compare it to the humid summers of Northen Virginia.
 
Time of past OR future Camino
August 2015
Hello. We are an older (69, 75) fairly fit couple who plan to do the Camino for 5 weeks beginning in late April. We will also have our two grandsons (ages 10 and 12) along with us. We (sans kids) started the northern route a year ago, but had to ditch after husband experienced severe shin splints—most likely due to going too far from the beginning, and had improper footwear. On this trip we’re thinking we should average about 10 miles/day (with a slow build up to prevent injury). We are planning going about a total 250-300 miles to Santiago.. We’d like to offer them plenty of distractions, have decent weather, and not be bored. We’d need to stop fairly early so they have plenty of time for schoolwork as well. We’re trying to decide between Camino Portuguese from Porto vs the French route from Burgos. Disadvantages of CP are more complicated logistics (we’re used to the Spanish Camino now) and worries about weather near the coast. Sorry about long post, but figure we’d get better answer with more specific question!
Hi Swansong
I walked with my 10 year old granddaughter from Leon to Santiago and from Fistera to Muxia a few years ago. We did as you suggest, taking some shorter days early on. We both loved it. Because it was summer she was able to swim at several places along the way. I pre booked a lot of the places we stayed because I didn’t want to feel rushed to get a bed. Happy to answer any questions you might have. Buen Camino
 

muddy-mama

Member
Time of past OR future Camino
2021 CF
2022 CP coastal
School work! Give the kids a five week break for god's sake. Who knows they might experience an education not found by a structured home town educator. Send them to the store to buy a candy bar, have them find the way out of town for the next morning, what time is the pilgrims mass, plan the next day, etc. They will amaze you with what they will learn, experiencing outside of someone else's lesson plan.
That was my thought when first read this post. The kids will learn so much more on the Camino than sitting behind a desk. If doing the Frances you could go up to O Cebreiro on horseback an amazing experience and something different for a few hours.
 
Time of past OR future Camino
Part of norte
Yes, of course, there will be educational benefits to going on a camino!
And I realize that some of us come from different cultures.

Although there can be significant positive benefits to a camino there can also be negative consequences for pulling a child from school for 5 weeks and, therefore, without knowing the child, their abilities and curriculum, I would recommend caution about advocating for such a trip without school consultation. We do not know what is right for your grandchildren!

There needs to be school input and consultation between the parents/grandparents, the children, and the teacher(s). Not all children may be capable of making up 5 weeks of classroom work within a specified period of time? Will they be expected to? If so, what’s the plan to do so? How flexible is the curriculum? Some teachers might be willing to provide alternate and or online learning opportunities… and maybe creative assignments that would at minimum reinforce prior instruction and hopefully address some of the new material.
Your points are good ones. However, my husband and I have had experience taking our own kids out of school for extended trips (4 weeks) overseas (Australia, France/Italy/England) with positive results. They actually came back AHEAD of their compatriots in many areas without the hours of distractions and busywork often included in average school day. One also has to know the child’s capabilities, and we have no concerns about that.
However, looking at your CV, you may be the perfect person to answer my original question—which route best in our situation? We are leaning towards the Portuguese route, starting coastal, then heading inland, because it sounds very pretty, physically not as challenging, yet still lots of pilgrims for interactions with people of other cultures. But we could be convinced to try the Frances 250-300 miles from Santiago. Score if we could start on one route and if we didn’t like it take a bus to another! But any advice would be appreciated regarding route with children.
 
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Time of past OR future Camino
Part of norte
My husband and I were in our mid forties and in what we thought was good shape (I went to zumba three times a week and walked twice a week and my husband did Taekwondo and did triathlons) when we took our two boys on our first camino. We started in Sarria. Our boys were 10 and 13 yrs old. Our boys hated it. It was really hard on them. It was hard on us too. It got better when we bribed them with money and stopped to eat ice cream at every stop. That was in 2015. In 2017 we decided to go again and we were really surprised they wanted to come along (we would have left them with grandma this time). Grandma came along and so did my sister and her husband. This time we walked the Sananbres (Ourense to Santiago). This time they did not complain at all; maybe because this time they had phones and watched their shows when we stopped to rest at the hotels or casa rurales. I am so glad that we had a big group because had it only been us they would have hated it. Because dinners are served to late we would stay up late and get up late we saw almost no one on the Camino. We only ran into a large group leaving the Monestary on day 2 and some bikes that's all we saw. The churches were all locked and the places that we stopped didn't have the hamburgers and fries that the kids loved and ate so much on the Camino Frances. They missed the ice cream stops and I missed the fresh orange juice that was so widely available on the CF. Can't wait to go on our third camino. We will be doing the CF again(Sarria to Santiago). We are thinking that our fourth camino will be the first 100 starting in St. Jean. I really don't know how they kids would even have the energy to do any kind of school work after walking all day. We walked only 6 days and there is no way we would have able to squeezed any school work. As a parent I wouldn't let my kids go with grandma and miss that much school. I would tell them to wait until school got out. Let us know how you handle it as there may be others wanting to do the same. I know the summers are hot in Spain but having walked twice in July and August I didn't think it was all that hot when we compare it to the humid summers of Northen Virginia.
We too struggled with timing of dinner for awhile in Spain on first Camino last year. But then we started doing what Spanish do—eat largest meal (lunch) about 2-4, then snack in evening. We were often so full from lunch we didn’t even need one, but I know kids will. Then early to bed, start out early next morning, and plan on being at next stopping place by lunchtime. As I mentioned to another poster, we’ve had experience pulling our own kids out of school to travel multiple times, and for us it worked well. It may not work for all kids.
 
Time of past OR future Camino
Part of norte
Perhaps take a folding duffel bag and offload weight from each person's backpack into it? Then you only pay to transport one bag.
@trecile do you have strong opinion about cp vs cf for 250-300 miles with 2 pre-teens? They are good humored, intelligent boys (says their objective grandmother)— just really want to provide their with fantastic first overseas experience.
 

David Tallan

Veteran Member
Time of past OR future Camino
1989
I think either Camino is an excellent choice. If you are looking at 5 weeks, I think it depends on what you want from your time. I generally advise having a nice cushion in your plans, and I think 5 weeks from Burgos (rather than SJPP, Roncesvalles, or Pamplona) gives you that cushion. On the other hand, 5 weeks from Porto gives you the cushion and a few weeks on top of that. I gave myself three weeks for my Camino Portugues from Porto. I ended up walking it in 13 days and many walked it in fewer.

So: if you walk the CF from Burgos, your 5 weeks will primarily be Camino, possibly extended to Finisterre/Muxia, and with a few days spare for stopping at towns along the way, extra time in Santiago, or some sightseeing after the Camino. If you walk the CP from Porto, the Camino will likely be about half your time and you will have time to spend elsewhere in Iberia (some recommendations might be: Lisbon, Barcelona, Madrid, Toledo, Granada, Sevilla....).

If you are interested in watching another family with a 10 and 12 year old walk the Camino Frances, you might want to check out: WorldTowning: Camino Frances
 

trecile

Moderator
Staff member
Time of past OR future Camino
PAST - Francés, Norte, Salvador, Portuguese
@trecile do you have strong opinion about cp vs cf for 250-300 miles with 2 pre-teens? They are good humored, intelligent boys (says their objective grandmother)— just really want to provide their with fantastic first overseas experience.
Since you have 5 weeks, I would do the Francés from Burgos. The Portuguese route from Porto only takes a couple of weeks, and if you started farther south in Portugal the infrastructure wouldn't be as good, and you would meet far fewer other pilgrims - especially of the child variety. 😉
 

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