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First Time Pilgrim In Need Of Help And Moral Support - May

Discussion in 'General Chat' started by Kris I, Mar 16, 2017.

  1. Kris I

    Kris I New Member

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    Greetings Fellow Pilgrims!

    Recently, I lost my 29 year old son in a tragic accident. He died less than 2 months before his 30th Birthday. His death has had a very profound impact on me and my family and has shaken me to my core.

    As a result, I am planning on traveling to Portugal and completing the pilgrimage along the Coastal Route, from Porto to Santiago, in May. This is my first time on the Camino and I have a few questions:

    1. What is the single most important item I should bring with me?

    2. Whats is the best way out of Porto - I am trying to get to the Coast and walk along the water. From my understanding, there are multiple routes out of Porto that run nearly parallel.

    3. Is it necessary to start trekking early in the morning to secure a bed/spot in a hostel

    4. What is the consensus regarding the BEST GUIDE BOOK? Recommendations?

    I think that is a good start. Thank you all in advance for your advice and suggestions!

    -K
     
  2. hindsfeet

    hindsfeet Donating Member Donating Member

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    Dear Kris l...... my heart aches for you. I am so sorry for this incredible loss that you
    and your family are experiencing. I am new to this forum as well, but you are in good
    hands when it comes to seeking answers for your Camino.
    But you can count on me to uphold you in prayer. Words from others in this matter
    when you feel so raw inside that you can hardly breathe will probably come up void.
    May you find a peace like never before while on your Camino. May God bless you,
    keep you, and make His face shine upon you!
     
  3. danvo

    danvo Super Moderator Staff Member

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    Dear Kris, I'm very sorry for your lost... Hope, walking camino will be healing time for your soul... I'm walked only camino frances so I can't help on portugues route. I'm sure that @raymond john can help you, he walked Portugal coastal route last year.
    But here is my answer to your questions:
    1.it is hard to say what item is most important. Every pilgrim carry only very few items, which are very important (because of weight). So first of all - most important thing are good shoes/ trail runners, depending on your preferences. Second - good backpack 35 - 40L. Here on forum and on internet you can find very good recommendations for packing list.
    3. Camino portugues becomes popular, I think it is second most popular route. So if you want to walk in summer, probably you will book your bed daily in private hostels (or start daily trek very soon)
     
  4. Wily

    Wily Camino Francés 2016; Camino Portugués 2017

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    Hey Kris - Very sorry to hear of your profound loss. Hopefully, your Camino will offer you some better understanding of it.

    I leave for Porto in exactly one week, so let me share with you some of what I've learned preparing for thus trip. As it is my second Camino, getting ready for it was much easier this time.

    Let's begin with your guidebook question. Get the Brierley guide to the Camino Portugués. There are several routes highlighted in his guide including the coastal route. I used his Camino Francés guide last year and found it invaluable.

    I'm not sure how to snswer your single most important item question exactly. It appears that the question is oriented toward gear. Invest in a good backpack! On the Caminos, you'll see a lot of pilgrims carrying an Osprey. You won't need more than a 35L pack. I'm using their Stratos model. Regarding this then, consult on the Forum or other websites recommendations for packing lists. Keep it light! I leave for Portugal with a nice light 6 kg pack. Stick with the essentials abd avoid the temptation to bring along those "what if" items. If you really need something you don't have, you can buy it is Portugal or Spain. One other item: a pair of walking poles will be helpful!

    There are two good options for leaving Porto to connect with the coastal route. First, from the cathedral, walk west along the Douro River until you reach the coast. It's about 6 km to Foz do Douro where you then begin walking north along the coast. Or second, from downtown Porto, take the metro out to the Matosinhos stop which puts you near the beach to begin your walk.

    In Spain last year (month of May) I usually started walking early, but not in the middle of the night like some pilgrims. My routine consisted of regularly leaving around 6:30-7:00 and completing my day by 13:30 or so. In general, if one stops early in the afternoon, getting a bed is pretty easy. Most of the private albergues take reservations that you can successfully make as little as a day in advance once you get over there. When are you walking? Someone who has already walked the coastal route can surely offer you advice of how crowded it might be at a particular time of year.

    I am sure walking the Camino will be the experience thst you hope it will be.

    Buen Camino!
     
    Last edited: Mar 16, 2017
  5. Greg Canning

    Greg Canning Well-Known Member

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    Hi Kris

    I'm so so sorry to hear of your loss. I hope that the Camino can provide some consolation and peace for you. There is certainly plenty of time for thinking and praying along the Way.

    As to the equipment question, well Danvo and Wily have already provided good advice. I would second their suggestions regarding backpack, lightweight footwear and walking poles (though from your profile you seem to be pretty experienced in the hiking Department).

    The other really important thing to bring is a truly open mind. The Camino will both amaze and surprise you. I was certainly taken aback at the depth of spirituality that could be found among a bunch of people walking along a road or pathway. There is great joy and peace to be found in all kinds of wonderful places and people you will meet. There is camaraderie and friendship and solace and solitude to be found all along the way. So just be ready to embrace what you find. You may get some answers but they may not be to the questions you thought you had.

    Finally I could not say it better than Hindsfeet:-

    May God bless you, keep you, and may His face shine upon you!

    Buen Camino

    Greg
     
  6. Canadian Wander

    Canadian Wander Well-Known Member

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    Hi Kris- I like all Camino feel your loss, and offer what prayers for peace I can. My only suggestion, one that helped me in the past from struggling with a loss, was to take time each day to remember a specific event or story that brings a smile, and allow yourself to dwell on the happy, as well as the sad. It can add perspective.
    I pray your walk brings peace and a sense of joy.
     
  7. UnkleHammy

    UnkleHammy Well-Known Member

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    I am sorry to hear about your loss, your son was about the same age as ours and if he was lost we would be devastated.

    What is your hiking history? Walking any of the Camino is much easier than hiking when you need to carry food, tent, etc. I always consider that if I am mobile, that I can get anywhere. So I recommend something comfortable on your feet. All places that the Camino go through are civilized, thus almost any problem can be alivated by spending some cash.

    Sorry about your son. Buen Camino.
     
    Last edited: Mar 16, 2017
  8. Terry Wilson

    Terry Wilson Member

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    Kris like all others I to mourn your loss I lost a grand daughter nine month age, part of why I am walking in Aug,
    You first question on what to take.
    That,s easy ? take your hart and keep it open. That is what I intend to do.
    God bless.
     
  9. toadoftoadhall

    toadoftoadhall Member

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    to answer no1. Take a friend. Failing that, take time. Do not rush it. take time to see the view, look backwards, smell the flowers, and find friends along the way.
    All the very best to you. Time is a great healer.
     
  10. Terry Wilson

    Terry Wilson Member

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    Great words Toad. Wish I had said that.
     
    Gerry Vandermaat and Kris I like this.
  11. Canadian Wander

    Canadian Wander Well-Known Member

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    The Camino can bring great peace and closure. I found it quieted my soul after the losses of friends overseas during my military times. I was able to celebrate the friendships, and say good bye.
    A soul saver for me.
     
  12. hindsfeet

    hindsfeet Donating Member Donating Member

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    Kris, I cannot help but think about your situation when I listen to this song. Hoping you and your family
    are well.

     
  13. mjfisher02

    mjfisher02 New Member

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    No words from this stranger can help you cope with any loss like that, but I am so sorry for your loss.
    I too am I first time pilgrim. And I am doing the same route as you only about 4 weeks after you. So please reply back once you are back to let me know how it was and with any advice.
     
  14. Scarlet Fez

    Scarlet Fez New Member

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    Kris, again like the others I'm so sorry for your loss. Only done the Camino Frances in September/October which was busy at times but similar to May I would imagine. I spent some time walking with some Americans who prebooked everywhere, in my opinion it was to orchestrated and predetermined. They soon learnt that by going with the flow the Camino provides. Never had a problem finding a bed, maybe not my first choice but it was at these times I met fantastic people and the stay at these places was special.
    Most important to take with you is an open mind, be sensible but spontaneous. You will meet some incredible people. I hope your Camino experience helps with your healing.
    Considering doing the Portuguese route in September I look forward to your updates.
     
    James Orrock and UnkleHammy like this.
  15. Gerry Vandermaat

    Gerry Vandermaat Donating Member Donating Member

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    Good comfortable and well fitting shoe that have had some wearing in.:)
     
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