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Just My Thoughts Post-camino

Discussion in 'The Camino Portugues' started by Canadian Wander, Sep 26, 2018.

  1. Wily

    Wily Francés 2016; Portugués 2017; Inglés/Fisterra 2018

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    Hey Kate - Let me add my support to what Bob said above. I, too, am a big fan of Gronze.com and Booking.com for making reservations at albergues and small hotels along The Way. I’ve also been very successful in simply sending emails to places not linked to a booking site. Two years ago when my wife developed knee problems on the CP (yes, the cobblestones) we altered our pace and slowed down (we ended up walking from Porto to Santiago in 12 days; a very nice pace). This caused us to have to modify our accomodations that we made with Booking.com. By emailing the albergues/hotels directly, they graciously modified our previous reservations at the very last minute with no additional charges. Everyone of them was great to work with. During a busier time like August when you plan to walk that flexibility might not be as possible, but certainly worth trying if necessary.

    We, too, did our planning using the Brierely guide. Several of the stages are fairly lengthy, so we modified our stopping points from his standard stages. We broke the Barcelos to Ponte de Lima stage in half. In addition to the distance, we also wanted to stay at Casa de Fernanda in Lugar do Corgo. I highly recommend staying there. But, reserve ahead. Fernanda’s place only has about 12 beds and it’s very popular. As Fernanda doesn’t use the internet regularly, I simply called her from the States to reserve beds. Her English is excellent. Her phone number is in the Brierely guide.

    We also broke up the Tui to Redondela stage with an overnight in O Porriño. As this is about a 33 km stage, stopping half way was again a good decision. In hindsight, I’d change one other thing. On a rather rainy day we walked from Vila do Conde to Barcelos (27+ km). My recommendation would be to stop in Pedra Furada at Antonio's small albergue leaving just 10 m or so into Barcelos the next day. We stopped in Antonio’s restaurant for a break and the smells coming from his kitchen were to die for.

    Like Bob said, we've found having reservations to work very well. When you know how far you want to go on a particular day, a reservation ahead gave us the flexibility of going at our own pace without any worries about finding a bed. But, we each walk our own Camino and what’s right for one might not work as well for someone else. Have fun planning. Bom Caminho!
     
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  2. RJS

    RJS Well-Known Member

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    As you can see from the previous two posts, booking all of your accommodation in advance is certainly an option – But not one that I took myself, either on the Camino Portuguese, or indeed on any of the other Camino’s that I was privileged enough to walk.

    I do think that booking your first night is often a good idea, and also it can be a good idea to book accommodation in advance in Santiago de Compostela as many of the more popular and cheaper small hotels do get booked up a long time in advance.

    The main downside to booking in advance is that you can’t normally reserve your beds in the Refugio’s de Peregrino’s , and these do tend to be the cheapest options along the Ways, so are most popular, especially with younger pilgrims who are often on a tighter budget.

    Another consideration is that once you have booked rooms / beds in advance, it can remove your daily flexibility, if you ware feeling tired, or the weather is bad, then you have to carry on regardless, also if you are feeling good, or it’s a particularly nice day, or you have met other pilgrims who are walking on, then you have to stop, or be faced with rearranging a chain of accommodation.

    I guess what I am saying is there are horses for courses ;-)



    With guidebooks, I have always used the little guides published by The Confraternity of Saint James and have found these incredibly good – Some are now available as downloads and the rest are available by post from https://www.csj.org.uk/planning-your-pilgrimage/csj-guides-and-updates/

    Another fantastic online resource is Mundicamino http://www.mundicamino.com/ where there is a wealth of information available including some good strip maps which I have printed off many times.



    Good Luck and Buen Camino

    Rob
     
    Last edited: Jan 27, 2019
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  3. Bryan Morlock

    Bryan Morlock Pilgrim Bryan

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    We did a combination of things as went through the Camino Frances. Originally we only had reservations in SJPDP and Orrison. We then winged it for a little while, but after a couple of days experiencing difficulty finding available beds (we were a group of four) and having to split up into separate albergues for one night, we changed our ways. We began by making reservations for the next day. As other routes flowed into the Camino Frances we began booking two nights ahead. When we hit the final 115 km we booked all the way through to Santiago. The one exception to our reservation plan was Leon. We figured a town that large would have plenty of spaces available so we didn't make a reservation. It was a Saturday night with a big town celebration. After two hours of not being able to find a place to stay we started calling. About the 15th place we called they had space for us, but we had to be there within an hour. We took a taxi to a place just 1 1/2 blocks from where we had been more than two hours earlier near the cathedral. There were two street parties until about 3 am just below our balcony (we had to leave the door open for cool air). And of course, at 5 am a rooster crowed in the heart of Leon. But, we had a bed for the night!
     
  4. KateM

    KateM Member

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    Hi CW,
    I'm really interested in the type of clothes your wife took with her. I'm leaving from Lisbon in late August and will walk through September as you did last year. I'm particularly interested in tops suited to the weather. My research tells me that it was quite warm at this time last year. Was that your experience? We are Australian and we are very well aware of the dangers of too much sun so are well prepared to cover up but still want lighter garments.
    My last camino was the Frances in April/May 2016 and we wore merino gear which I thought was excellent.
    Do you have any suggestions to help me out? Any of those little tips that we collect and file away?
    Thanks for sharing your advice.
    KateM
     
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  5. Canadian Wander

    Canadian Wander When in doubt, rack out...

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    Hi Kate-
    It was quite warm, just not Australia hot! Was about 24-30 in later afternoon, so we walked earlier, starting about 0700h. We would be done just after lunch generally.
    My wife wore Outdoor Research t-shirts, soft, with a SPF built in. Doubt the process would be different than the norm for where you are. She lad a light, long sleeve merino wool type zip jacket as a light cover, and a goretex shell for over all that if it was cool (wasn't really needed, and we only had about 2 hours of light rain! She also wore a wide brim Outdoor Research 'boonie ' hat as seen in the avatar. really, it was the same gear as we had in 2015 Camino France.
    Tip- enjoy the port and Portuguese tarts in Porto...must NOT be missed!
    Cheers-Rob
     
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  6. KateM

    KateM Member

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    Thanks for that info. 24-30 sounds manageable. (We had 45 here this summer!) The clothing list is about what I thought but the Outdoor Research is a brand I've not used, but is available locally so I'll check it out. Portuguese tarts and port are definitely on my list to research with gusto on the trail!
    Thanks again.
    KateM
     
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  7. Canadian Wander

    Canadian Wander When in doubt, rack out...

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    Wear comfortable, wear sunscreen, pack light, and practice with your pack on, with the weight.
    The camino is so many things to so many people, go out out and find your joy.
    Eat, walk, sleep...repeat.
     
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