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Lessons Learnt From Others!

Discussion in 'General Chat' started by Bill McLachlan, Oct 12, 2017.

  1. Bill McLachlan

    Bill McLachlan New Member

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    I returned to Leon in May having done more training, to complete the camino that I had to abort last year due
    to injury. This time on my own, and armed with at least six months of Spanish lessons to ensure I could get the basics. This year I decided to do it my way! booked accommodation ahead every afternoon for the following night, ensuring a room with at least access to a shower. As I am an early riser I was always on the road by 0615 hrs, getting most of the miles done before it got too hot, I quickly realised that a conventional breakfast was not for me, by 9am I was more than ready for a black tea, and a Magdelena, a small but delicious cake, which gave me enough sustenance to get to the lunch stop! I was very impressed by the Spanish walkers on the Way, whilst I had my backpack full of good quality walking trousers, shirts, med kit, water, and all sorts of essentials, those who impressed me were wearing light weight technical shirts, tops, windproofs, just enough water to survive and were not geared up to climb Mont Blanc! Well meaning suggestions meant that I was carrying much more than the locals, who knew what the weather was like, and the Way, and dressed/equipped accordingly Lessons learnt, go lightweight, top up with water when you can, and copy the locals, they know. I loved the peace and tranquility to be able to just wander at my own pace, and experience northern rural Spain, taste the local food and wine. Santiago was impressive, and a shock after the peace on the Way.
     
  2. Wily

    Wily Camino Francés 2016; Camino Portugués 2017

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    Hey Bill - Great insights! I could see myself writing almost the identical paragraph. Clearly many lessons learned from both your Caminos. Just to reinforce a couple of your points, 1) knowing some Spanish does help. It's not essential, but it's great fun and often beneficisl to be able to communicate better with the locals. 2) book ahead. Although I do like the albergues, I, too, found that by having a place to sleep pre-arranged, I could wander at my pace without worrying about where I would sleep. On a number of occasions, hospitaleros helped me do this just the afternoon before. 3) rise early; finish early before the heat. I regularly left around 0630 and very much enjoyed both the cool morning air and the peacefulness of the day. A light breakfast later in the day was more than sufficient. And 4) travel light. I learned from my first Camino that one doesn't need much. Keep your gear down to the essentials and that will help keep your pack weight down. The lighter pack also makes walking much more pleasant. Thanks for sharing your insights from what sounds to have been a very successful journey. Buen Camino.
     
  3. RJS

    RJS Well-Known Member

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    Hi Bill

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts with all of us on here :)

    “We All Walk Our Own Camino’s” – And how we do things depend on many differing reasons, where as Wily booked all his accommodation in advance, you chose to book yours on a day to day basis, and others don’t book anything at all – All these systems have advantages and you picked the one that suited you – And that is the real lesson, to chose the option that suits yourself.



    Clothing is always a difficult thing to work out as we never really know what we will encounter in the way on weather, so while it’s only sensible to try to cover all of the likely scenarios, we should always remember that we can’t cover them all and if we end up being short of something, we can usually buy this en-route, so overloading ourselves by taking lots of “Just in case” items should be avoided – Travelling as light as possible while still taking the things we need is, in my opinion the way forwards.



    I also think that being able to speak at least a little Spanish is also a huge advantage on The Camino Frances and almost a Must on the lesser walked Camino’s – It certainly helps you integrate with the Spanish speaking pilgrims, and, at least to a degree, is only a courtesy.



    I wonder if you plan to return to walk another Camino ?? and If so, which one next ??



    Best Regards and thanks again for posting

    Rob
     
  4. Ampiji

    Ampiji New Member

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    Hi Bill,
    Many thanks for sharing your thoughts which I resonate with. I am planning my first Camino -Norte leaving in April/ May 2018 & aim to do as you did re accommodation ( for the most part anyway ) however, I'm a little anxious re this. Just hope it doesn't break the bank ! Any other thoughts would be greatly appreciated.
     
  5. Wily

    Wily Camino Francés 2016; Camino Portugués 2017

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    Hey Ampiji - On the Caminoteca website, they have a very general "Cost Calculator" that might help you financial plan your Camino and have a better idea of what you will spend on a daily basis regardless of the Camino you are walking.

    https://www.caminoteca.com/en/

    Depending on your budget, you should be able to get a pretty good idea of how much you'll spend each day depending on the choices you make. Knowing the general costs of walking should lower that anxiety. Buen Camino!
     
  6. BenL

    BenL The Burghers of Calais

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    Here are the key lessons that I have internalized from reading the many great sharings/posts (my planned camino is in Spring 2018):
    1. No checked luggage.
    2. Backpack+contents will easily meet the (intended) budget airline's carry-on baggage weight restriction of 8 kg. About 1.8-2.0 kg will be on me, and about 5.5-6.0 kg in the backpack.
    3. If we find that we need poles or anything else, we will buy in Portugal or on the trails.

    Re equipment, I intend to invest wisely (not to be pennies wise, pounds foolish) in the following key pieces of gear:
    4. A good backpack that has an internal frame, that weighs at most 3.3 lbs for me (2.25 pounds for partner).
    5. Light weight trail shoes/boots (aiming for 2 pounds and less). Here's an article on how 1 pound off the feet is the equivalent of 5 pounds on the body. Said another way, "carrying an amount of weight on the feet required between 4.7 and 6.4 times as much energy as carrying that same weight on one's back".
    http://adventure.howstuffworks.com/...g/one-pound-off-feet-five-pounds-off-back.htm

    Preparations wise, I/we are doing the following:
    6. Getting more fit - strengthening cardio, weight training, etc.
    7. Start learning Spanish.

    Mentally, am adopting following mind set:
    8. Avoiding the temptation to plan and organize every detail. There's a certain inner peace in accepting, anticipating and 'enjoying' the un-known. It is the un-known that will push us outside our comfort zone, that will cause a deeper contemplation and a self-discovery. Consider this - if everything is smooth sailing, we might as well be on a cruise ship, and not the camino!

    Spiritual:
    9. Work in progress, but this is equally important for me!

    Buen Camino.
     
  7. Ampiji

    Ampiji New Member

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    Hi again Bill,
    Many thanks ,yes I am aware of the site re accommodation but haven't checked it out as yet but will have a go later this evening. Do you have to enter the exact name of the accommodation or just a rough guess of the cost ? Any other tips re navigating my way through it would be great ! Thanks again
     
  8. Bill McLachlan

    Bill McLachlan New Member

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    Hi Ampiji,
    Wise to be anxious, but unnecessary as you are never really on your own, during the period I was walking there were approximately 43000 pilgrims on the Way, a big chunk join in the last 100 km to qualify for the credencia. Some can only afford to spend two weeks on it, as I did, some just a week. Once I got into the routine of packing the night before, on the road by 6.15 and booking ahead, it allowed me to enjoy the sight seeing more as I had a bed and food sorted. In June it got quite crowded and the prices went up a bit, but by doing an extra 5 km you can walk on to a better priced hostel with less to do the following day. I set my distances by the guide written by John Priestley, got my accommodation booked by using his phone numbers, or through Booking.com and the most I paid was 40 Euro due to the high demand, most had en suite and a restaurant as part of the set up. April/May is a good time to go, not too hot, not too crowded, so enjoy the experience and Bon Camino!
     
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  9. Wily

    Wily Camino Francés 2016; Camino Portugués 2017

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    Hey Ampiji - Let me reinforce a couple good points made by Bill. If you're not familiar with it, Booking.com works very well for those hotels/hostels that use that system. Although you will use a credit card to reserve your room, you will pay at the hotel/hostel most of the time. Their cancellation policies are ususlly very generous in that you can cancel up to 24 hours in most cases in case you change your mind. You'll find that many, if not most, of the places have their own website for additional information.

    As Bill also indicated, stop a bit before or a bit after the usually destination points recommended in guide books. In addition to possible better prices, you may also experience smaller crowds.

    Finally, let me encourage you to try the albergues whether private or municipal. I found them to be both an enjoyable and important aspect of my Camino. A number of them also offer single or double rooms in addition to the dorm-style accomodations. Many have websites for you to check them out further. Buen Camino.
     
    Last edited: Oct 15, 2017
  10. Ampiji

    Ampiji New Member

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    Hi,
    Many thanks for your comments. I guess my slight anxiousness is related to the less number of pilgrims on the Camino Norte, although that's why I've chosen it, first time Camino and arranging my accommodation ahead. I've taken on board your advice, gone on the Caminoteca site but it only has accommodation -French Way. I'll do some research re accommodation on the Norte up until it meets the French Way-will check out booking.com too. Yes, great idea walking an extra few kilometres to get cheaper hostels etc. Thanks again
     
  11. Ampiji

    Ampiji New Member

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    Hi,
    Yes I will also try out the albergues too. Thanks for your tips
     
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  12. calowie

    calowie Active Member

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    Ampiji- we also did the Norte and Primitivo in the spring. The weather will be cool, and the route should not be crowded. We did not book ahead and never had a problem. In 2 towns there was no room in the municipal alberge- each had only 6 beds- so we went to a private albergue down the street. You are leaving a bit earlier and should have no problem. We never walked in the dark- did not want to miss any of the sights or experiences. There will be some people to walk with, but not as many as will be on the camino frances, so you can adjust your speed and length of distance/day accordingly. If you want to see where we stayed our stops are indicated in the blog: https://carlosandmick.wordpress.com/
     
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  13. stella1226

    stella1226 New Member

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    Hi! My camino will be April 18 - May 30th. Hope to see you there! Buen Camino! !
     
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