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Hello - Questions From A Couple Of Camino Newbies

Discussion in 'General Chat' started by Annabelle, Apr 9, 2017.

  1. Annabelle

    Annabelle New Member

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    Hi,

    My husband and I are starting our first Camino Portugues in June this year. We are currently in country Thailand (newly retired) planning our trip and training :).
    We will need to purchase items like socks, sock gloves and blister prevention/treatment online as we are having trouble finding the items to purchase where we are currently staying and we are not planning on going up to Bangkok before we leave for Spain except directly to the airport.

    May I ask if anyone has some experience of what hiking supplies are like to purchase in Porto and then along the route to Santiago de Compostela? We arrive in Porto for a couple of days before we begin. I have a history of being prone to blisters so I am wanting to compile a "Blister Kit" to help me along the way. I would be very grateful of any recommendations anyone would like to offer ( I have a great pair of hiking boots already).

    Thank you in anticipation for your assistance I look forward to chatting!

    Annabelle
     
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  2. UnkleHammy

    UnkleHammy Well-Known Member

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    I would reccomend reading the full section on "Medical Problems". You are not the first people that have had questions/problems on/about feet.
     
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  3. Annabelle

    Annabelle New Member

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    Thank you UnkleHammy for your reply I have read through the various posts noting many tips.
    I would really appreciate it if someone could enlighten us regarding purchasing more supplies in Porto and along the route from Porto. There seems to be a lot of comments regarding help with blisters, restocking supplies from the Camino Frances route however I am unable to find any reference from the Camino Portugues route.

    Any advice regarding hiking suppliers/stores in Porto would be welcomed!!

    Any suggestions regarding this route would be greatly appreciated for us newbies.

    With kind regards
    Annabelle
     
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  4. Wily

    Wily Camino Francés 2016; Camino Portugués 2017

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    Hi Annabelle - I am just back from walking the Camino Portugués. It's a great walk from Porto to Santiago. Like any long walk, blisters are a reality for many walkers. As on the Francés, I saw many people hobbling along due to foot problems including my wife.

    My wife developed a knee problem. Consequently, she changed how she walked and that led to about a half dozen blisters on her feet. I, too, dealt with large blisters last year on the Camino Francés, so this time around I was determined to handle them better. From Porto up to Tui, you primarily walk on cobblestones which can cause problems, so being prepared to deal with blisters or other problems is most wise.

    My approach to blisters, and therefore my blister kit, is quite simple and, of course, there are different perspectives on this. But, let me give you mine since it worked very effectively for my wife last week. Once you start to get a blister, address it immediately. Size-wise, you want to keep it as small as possible. Open the blister and drain it. I make the skin opening large enough so as to prevent it from closing. Once it is drained, cover it with a simple paper pharmaceutical tape available anywhere. IMHO do not use Compeed. Once you get it drained and keep it drained, the blister will heal. At night, we took the tape off so as to help the blister dry.

    Foot care was the first thing we did every morning. Before hiking, check that there is no liquid built back up in the blister. If there is drain it again before re-applying the tape. My wife also had a couple hot spots on her toes, you know, blister wannabes, that we also wrapped in tape so as to prevent more irritation from rubbing against another toe. Finally, we applied Body Glide to the foot. This helps reduce moisture and friction.

    On breaks, and there are so many great cafe/bars to stop at for coffee, take off you shoes and socks for a breather. We also changed socks half way through the day. Although my wife's knee problem remained a problem, the blisters quickly took care of themselves and healed.

    If you were to develop any type of foot, knee, or leg problem, the pharmacies are great. Further, if the problem were to get big enough, think about transporting your pack for a day or two so as to take some of the pressure off your feet and legs. We found Tuitrans in Spain to be highly efficient and reliable.

    Unfortunately, our stay in Porto was very short and we were completely equipped with our gear when we arrived. I'm sure there are outfitters there as it is a very large city, but we didn't need to seek them out. Perhaps others can help here regarding where you might acquire gear in Porto. You wont need much! I have a list of everything we took on my blog at caminoportugues2017.blogspot.com.

    Bom Caminho!
     
    Last edited: Apr 9, 2017
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  5. Greg Canning

    Greg Canning Well-Known Member

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    Hi Annabelle

    As usual, good advice from Wily and Unkle Hammy. I'm afraid I can't help with knowledge of shopping for gear in Portugal as I have only walked the Camino Frances so far.

    However, I can give some general advice re blisters and I suppose the best would be to try to prevent them as much as possible. This means getting your walking shoes well in advance and breaking them in. I really would not like to be starting a Camino in new shoes. The main thing to look out for is that the shoes should be light and provide good support and in so far as possible with a goretex lining. As far as socks are concerned I would recommend Smartwool PhDs based on recent experience. If your feet need support (arches etc) you might consider Superfeet inserts. But really the best advice I can offer is to try to get the time to get to a proper outdoor shop and get properly fitted for your shoes and then have sufficient time to break them in.

    Buen Camino

    Greg
     
    Last edited: Apr 12, 2017
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  6. RJS

    RJS Well-Known Member

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    Lots of good advice already posted and the only snippets that I can add is that I found the Pharmacia’s in both Portugal and Spain to be an excellent source of information well as actual medical supplies – So this would be my own “First Port of Call”



    Digressing slightly, Personally, I found the Camino Portuguese to be the hardest Camino on my feet that I have ever walked – This being because of the many miles of cobbled roads that the route takes you on – In fact these were so hard on my trek-mates feet that he had to give up after 3 days walking because his feet were so badly blistered – And this trek mate had walked many thousands of miles with me previously including around 5 earlier Camino’s, so these blisters weren’t down to a lack of experience – Therefore I was wondering if this was a problem that other Pilgrims found when walking their own Camino Portuguese??

    Best Regards

    Rob
     
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  7. Wily

    Wily Camino Francés 2016; Camino Portugués 2017

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    Rob is correct that the cobblestones are tough walking. We were able to avoid them out of Porto by walking the coast up to Vila do Conde. However, after that, it's all cobbles up to Tui. Depending on how you break it up, if you take the Caminho Central, you've got 4-5 days of tough walking on stone. The terrain is quite walker friendly, but the cobblestones can take a toll on feet and legs. My wife's knee problem was likely due to her inability to manage the cobblestones. Changing how she walked then led to blisters. Although I had no problems on the stones, the walking was much easier when we get into Spain. I was pleased to get them behind us. The pharmacies, as Rob stated, are excellent in both Portugal and Spain. We received excellent assistance from pharmacists in both countries who are quite experienced at helping pilgrims. Bom Caminho!
     
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  8. Alma

    Alma New Member

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    I ordered my Black Diamond hiking poles from Amazon.They also have dri fit clothing.You can also try REI.com we have agroup starting the Portugues from Port on May 31 Buen Camino
     
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  9. UnkleHammy

    UnkleHammy Well-Known Member

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    It was easy for me, I just went to my local REI and got the majir items that I needed. Then I wandered around town for the rest. REI, and others, have quite reasonable on line presences and good to great return polices.
     
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  10. jwmarshall

    jwmarshall New Member

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    About walking the Camino Portuguese - Read Maggie Woodward's blog (informative and well written) on her walk along this Camino. She posts here in this forum under Magwood. She also has a daily Wordpress blog over the full Camino from Lisbon to Santiago at magwood.me. She did the Camino a few years ago. There are probably some Alburgue updates you will need, but there are lots of listing updates posted here and elsewhere. Seems she had a minor meltdown over the Alburgue in Tui. Just read the blog over the sections you will be walking. I believe you will find it very helpful (and hopefully entertaining).
     
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  11. Annabelle

    Annabelle New Member

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    Hi Wily,
    Sorry it's taken so long to reply, I do appreciate the time and effort you put into responding to me.
    Thanks for all of the great info and tips, you helped a lot.
    We are deep into our training at the moment and still trying to come to grips with blisters and plantar issues, but fingers crossed it will all work out before we start in a few weeks time.
    Thanks
    Annabelle.
     
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  12. Annabelle

    Annabelle New Member

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    Hi Greg,
    Thanks for all the tip offs, we've managed to source a few of your suggested items and at this stage we're looking pretty good, just need a few small items when we get to Porto and then it's kick off day.
    Thanks
    Annabelle
     
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  13. Annabelle

    Annabelle New Member

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    Thanks Alma, hope you have a great time on your Camino, not long now for you.
    Annabelle
     
  14. Annabelle

    Annabelle New Member

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    Thanks Unkle Hammy,
    We managed to get a few things from Amazon, just need to source our last few items in Porto if we can, it's a bit difficult getting shipping to us here in coastal Thailand.
    Annabelle
     
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  15. Annabelle

    Annabelle New Member

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    Thanks JW, I've been following Maggie's blog now for a while, great fun and full of some good tips.
    Thanks for pointing it out.
    Annabelle
     
  16. Greg Canning

    Greg Canning Well-Known Member

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    Hi Annabelle

    For the plantar issue, try rolling a squash ball or golf ball under the arch of your foot. Do try to get that sorted before you get walking as it could be a real problem especially on ascents. If it's bad you might want to get medical advice (they can give you all kinds of physio advice for exercises to strengthen the foot).

    Best of luck and Buen Camino

    Greg
     
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