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First Time Pilgrim

Discussion in 'General Chat' started by Sarah Blotter, Jul 11, 2017.

  1. Sarah Blotter

    Sarah Blotter New Member

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    Hi everyone! I am planning on taking the Camino in the late summer/early fall of 2018. I was wishing for some advice for a first-timer! Also, how much the pilgrimage will cost, in general. The equipment I will need, things to look for, etc. Anything will help! Thanks so much!

    Side note, can a minor (someone under the age of 18) complete the pilgrimage?
     
  2. Wily

    Wily Camino Francés 2016; Camino Portugués 2017

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    Hi Sarah - Let me start you out by sending you to the Caminoteca website and their cost calculator. This will give you a pretty good indication of your daily expenses.

    Caminoteca Cost Calculator

    In general, it's fairly easy to walk the Camino on 30€ a day. I budgeted 900€ last year for a 31 day Camino and came home with money in my pocket. From albergues to meals, there are a number of choices you will have which will ultimately determine how much you spend. There's another current thread on this very topic that you can easily access.

    On the Forum, particularly in the archives, you will find a lot of threads regarding most of the question you have. Let me encourage you to spend some time reading a great deal of good information already posted. You'll find information on travel, accommodations, equipment, and many other things. Planning is an exciting part of getting ready for your Camino. Become a regular reader of this Forum for lots of good information and tips.

    There is no age minimum for walking the Camino. You will find people from every age group as you walk and from every part of the world. Buen Camino!
     
  3. Canadian Wander

    Canadian Wander Well-Known Member

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    Bit of advice to remember, even with all the planning and budgeting...remember to practice walking, with your loaded pack on! Seems many people miss this step, and may have issues later, like blisters or injuries. I know of a lot of pilgrims that walked many miles to prepare, but never wore their pack. Wearing a loaded pack changes your gait...and encourages you to pack lighter before you ever leave home!
     
  4. danvo

    danvo Super Moderator Staff Member

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    Sarah, my son (13-y old) walked the Camino with me last year, from Saint Jean to Finisterre and Muxia. So you can do it with no problem :)
     
  5. Tom V

    Tom V Member

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    Sarah,

    Welcome and best of luck preparing for and finally taking what will be an adventure of you life. I walked from SJPP to Santiago in the Spring of 2015. My blog is at tomswalk.com with my notes along the Way. I'm doing a "refresher" this Fall. Something calling me back.

    Buen Camino
     
  6. Keith Jones

    Keith Jones New Member

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    Sarah, like you I was a first timer on May 19th when I left SJPP. Next year you will be sharing your experience with other first timers. You have an advantage over me, you're much younger than I am but, don't let that distract you from preparing physically. I agree with Canadian Wander, walk, a lot, on different terrain. Walk up hills as much as you can, hill climbing is one thing we could not prepare for here in Texas. Purchase and wear your boots and pack. As I acquired my Camino clothes, I packed them in my pack and carried them as I would on the Camino. Do not over pack! I wore 1 pair of convertible pants the entire time, no one cares if you have the same shirt on. You probably won't need a sleeping bag. Get good shoes, I wore Keen low trail walkers. Wear them regularly. I weigh 185 and my pack with 2 L of water weighed under 18 lbs, each liter of water weighs 2.2 lbs. If you have a mobile phone, have it unlocked if it is not, you can buy them cheap on Amazon. When you get to Spain, go to an Orange or Vodafone shop and get a pre-paid SIM, you can get a small data plan as well, you will need to take you passport. Most bars and albergues have Wi-Fi, it's usually slow, don't spend a lot of time on your device though. Those are some don'ts, here are some do's. Do meet as many people as you can. Do, take lots of pictures of your Camino friends. Do enjoy every moment, even when they seem tough. Get up early and enjoy the sunrise, you also miss the heat of the day. Do pace yourself, the Camino is not a race. We averaged about 25 km a day which had us done in plenty of time to take care of our chores (washing clothes, shower, etc.) and time to meet new friends. Do enjoy every minute, I've been off the Camino for 3 weeks and I'd go back in a minute if I could. Good luck! Buen Camino.
     
  7. Keith Jones

    Keith Jones New Member

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    Sarah, I checked with 3 college aged Pilgrims that I met while on the Camino. They budgeted $30 per day but they came in closed to $25. They didn't spend much for extras and they stayed in Municipal Albergues most nights. I think they would tell you that the value was not in what they may have missed out on but the richness of the experience that they had. I hope this helps. One tip. Machine washing is something that I appreciated and you wash so little, find 2-3 other pilgrims and share the load. 6 euros becomes 1.5-2 each and machine washed clothes certainly lifted my spirit on certain days.
     
  8. Mary

    Mary Member

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    My biggest advice is take your time. So many of the Pilgrims start off so Gung Ho and over do it the first three days and end up unable to walk. I saw several people have to leave the Camino due to shin splints, blisters, ankle injuries, and pulled tendons. My daughter and I walked the first 4 days with our packs but sent them ahead to our next destination for the rest of the journey. It made a huge difference!!! Jacotran is the name of the service and we never had a problem getting our bags. We did however carry them on our last day into Santiago. We only walked up to 25 km per day with only a couple of longer days. We also enjoyed the horseback ride up to O'Cebrero. We took our time, left early in the AM and rested along the way. Enjoy every minute! Buen Camino!
     
  9. Keith Jones

    Keith Jones New Member

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    Excellent advice. I saw many young people (and I would have done the same thing 40 years ago) dashing ahead doing 30, 35 and 40 KM per day especially the first days after they started. 2-3 days in they were beat and sore and had seen or experienced very little of the Camino. If you have the time, go slow, take some of the alternate routes and explore the churches, abbeys and ruins. Spend an extra day in Burgos or wherever. I realized while climbing the never ending hills that I should not look up towards the top because it would be there when I got there, Santiago will also be there when you get there, no need to rush towards it. Savor every moment and every step.
     
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  10. Wily

    Wily Camino Francés 2016; Camino Portugués 2017

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    Hey Mary- Lots of excellent advice! I, too, found myself aversging 25 km/day. It was a very comfortable distance. If pilgrims give themselves enough time to walk a leisurely Camino, one doesn't have to have many longer days. The one thing I will do differently next time is to take some rest days, probably three: Pamplona, Burgos, and Leon. Walking it as I did in 31 days was very manageable, but a day off every ten would have been nice. Although I only used JacoTrans once, decided to take the weight off my sore feet the day I walked into Leon, I had the very same excellent experience with this luggage transport company. No one should hesitate using them once or multiple times to enhance the Camino they are walking. The horse ride up to O'Cebreiro sounds like great fun! Buen Camino!
     
  11. UnkleHammy

    UnkleHammy Well-Known Member

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    Nice write up in your several recent posts. Congratulations.
     
  12. El Condor 2014

    El Condor 2014 Active Member Donating Member

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    @Sarah Blotter , Read as much as you can on this forum,
    To me the most important things are
    • Good pair of Boots /Shoes. buy 1 to 1-1/2 sizes bigger than you normally wear (start using them as soon as possible before you start your Camino
    • 3 pairs GOOD quality Merino / Woolen socks
    • pack light
    • quick drying clothing
    And finally I will give you a very valuable piece of advice that was given to me on this Forum before my first Camino
    "Highlander said to me " El Condor, start the Camino like an old man and finish like a young buck " ( I am aware you are a female but the same principle applies )
    Find your pace and rhythm and stick to it.

    Buen Camino
     
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  13. Wily

    Wily Camino Francés 2016; Camino Portugués 2017

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    Hey Condor - Excellent advice! Pace and rythym, so important! Luckily, I think most folks figure this out pretty quickly particularly if they start out like the hare instead of the tortoise. Making adjustments is part of the Camino learning process.

    Regarding shoes, perhaps the single most important piece of gear, get fitted by a professional outfitter. One may have to try on a number of different shoes before finding the "perfect" one for your feet. From my experience, I've always bought shoes that fit without purposefully going larger. In some shoes, I might wear a 9, in others a 9.5, but that's because of the fit and not because I wanted a larger shoe. In general, because the terrain on the CF is pretty walker friendly, one doesn't need a heavy-duty boot, but rather a solid, but lightweight hiking shoe. After walking in Keens and Merrells, my next Camino will be done in trail running shoes. Buen Camino everyone!
     
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  14. BenL

    BenL The Burghers of Calais

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    Wily, this sentence on trail running shoes vs hiking shoes really stood out for me. Suggest you amend your packing list (post 26, on your blog) to reflect your latest packing list. I would have gone with Merrell Moab if I had not come across this post. :)
     
  15. Wily

    Wily Camino Francés 2016; Camino Portugués 2017

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    Hey Ben - Sorry if I wasn't clear in my post. My latest packing list you referenced in my blog included my Merrells because those were what I wore on the CP. Folks have different preferences, but for me, I preferred them over the Keens due to a wider toe box. Plus, the GTX model is waterproof. I'm an equally big fan of trail running shoes. As I live in the mountains of upstate NY, my Saucony Xodus 6s are pretty much what I wear most of the spring and summer months hiking and running trails. One sees a lot of running shoes in the Camino. The trail running shoe has the tread that will work well on even the toughest parts of the trail. If it wasn't for weight considerations, I'd take both shoes with me. However, as we are already planning our Camino Inglés for the coming spring, I will substitute my Sauconys for the Merrells on our next journey. As you plan, I don't think you can go wrong either direction you take. Here's an article by Runner's World on shoes that may be helpful. Lots of good choices out there. Buen Camino.

    https://www.runnersworld.com/runnin...0be4&md5hash=450af6882a5f21b3e4091c7b5a38d8ae
     
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  16. BenL

    BenL The Burghers of Calais

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    Wily,
    I am planning to do the CP in spring 2018. Q - if you were going to re-do the CP in spring, would you opt for the Merrell GTX OR the Sauconys? Will the spring rains influence you towards the Merrell GTX, the weight savings towards the Sauconvs? Or the terrain towards X?
     
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  17. Wily

    Wily Camino Francés 2016; Camino Portugués 2017

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    Hey Ben - Certainly, one of the reasons that I like the trail running shoes is due to their weight. In general, the terrain of the CP is very friendly! There are few hills and the paths are well maintained. From that perspective, IMHO, either shoe would be fine.

    We walked late-March into early April. As it turned out last year, weather was great! We did have some rain the first couple of days, but nothing in the "downpour" category. If I thought that I might encounter significant rain, I'd certainly lean toward a waterproof shoe. With that said, a number of the trail running shoes come in a waterproof version including the Sauconys that I wear.

    Jose is walking the CF right now wearing Hokas that he speaks very well of. I'd love to hear his experience with these in wetter conditions that I'm guessing he has encountered from time to time.

    As you're likely to encounter some rain in the spring, and as you have some time before your Camino, check out the various waterproof shoes that are available. I also carry low gaiters to help deal with more extreme weather conditions to keep the feet as dry as possible. Bom Caminho!
     
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  18. Wily

    Wily Camino Francés 2016; Camino Portugués 2017

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    Hey Ben - Although this isn't the Saucony model that I run and hike in, it is their Gor-tex trail shoe that you might want to check out. With the Sauconys, I found that ordering a half size larger dealt with the general narrowness of the shoe. Bom Caminho!

    https://www.saucony.com/en/excursion-tr11-gtx/29237M.html?dwvar_29237M_color=S20394-1#reviews
     
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  19. BenL

    BenL The Burghers of Calais

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    Thanks Wily. Will probably visit local store and check out various brands and models, before I order anything online. Fortunately, I have time to see if there are any sales before I have you stay training in the shoes and with the backpack.
     
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