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My First Camino April- May Or May - June

Discussion in 'General Chat' started by Denielle, Feb 20, 2017.

  1. Denielle

    Denielle New Member

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    Hi everyone ... I am a newby here and have enjoyed reading so many of these threads - so much fantastic info!!! Well Done.
    Well I have a dilemma ( well it is in my head anyway) ... I am doing the Camino with my daughter 2018 she will be 21 and I will be 50!
    We originally decided to start on April 1st 2018 .. reasons cooler weather ( I hate the heat , although I am Aussie so by heat I mean 30+ ) and less crowds with less chance of missing out on a bed in an Alberge.
    THEN I realised that we would be away for my youngests 13th birthday, I cant do that .. its such a milestone birthday .. so, we would then leave Australia on May 3rd and start SJPP on May 5th ... my BIGGEST concern is Weather ... you know HEAT in June etc ..
    So my question is April/May Vs May/June Weather and Crowd Wise ... I know we cant predict the weater but being in Australia I have NO CLUE as to the regular weather in Spain at that time. I just dont want to be walking in 30+ degree days ...
    ANY advice you can give us will be warmly welcomed ... we are in "training" now as I am probably the least fit person you will meet ... so I am doing an hour a day at the moment and will build on that every month until we go ..
    Thank you all in advance
    Denielle and Millie
     
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  2. Wily

    Wily Camino Francés 2016; Camino Portugués 2017

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    Hey Denielle - I completely understand not wanting to miss your daughter's 13th birthday. For that reason alone, I'd choose a May start. You are partially correct about both the weather and the crowds. Nonetheless, even with an early May start, both should be very manageable.

    If you follow the Brierely guide of about 34 walking days and also build in a few rest days along The Way, a Camino of approximately 38 days would get you from SJPP to Santiago. You would finish your Camino before mid-June. I walked the Camino the entire month of May last year and had real mixed weather, but most of it was quite good "walking" weather. There were several hot days but nothing 30+ with average temperatures more in the 20s. One of the secrects of walking on the hotter days is to leave early so you can stop early afternoons (I did this most days regardless of temperature) and always hydrate well. In May, you can also expect some rain.

    The Camino was crowded in May. However, it wasn't overwhelming! There will be parts of the trail, the first few days and the last week, that may be more crowded, but generally manageable. Beds can be hard to get at times. Some pilgrims leave in the dark so as to get to their next destination and get in line if they want to stay at a municiple albergue. I found it better to make reservations for beds in advance at the private albergues so that at the end of the day, I knew that I had a bed waiting for me. Using either booking.com or by sending a simple email to the albergue, I had most of my beds lined up prior to arriving in Spain. The hospitaleros at the albergues will also be happy to call ahead for you to an albergue and see if there is room. One way or another, you will find a bed, but reservations take the worry out of the formula. In any case, definitely reserve in SJPP and Santiago. Buen Camino!
     
  3. Denielle

    Denielle New Member

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    Thank you so much Wily, great advice! Yes we have decided that no matter what, we will leave Sydney May 3 2018. I just cant miss Miss S's birthday .. and the Camino will be what ever it will be in that time .. Thank you for the reccomendation of the Brierely guide .. we figured with a couple of rest days and allowing for injury ( lets hope not!) that we would finish mid June .. I was going to allow around 40 days and then a week after that to sight see before we head home. This gives us PLENTY of time .. I hope .. You advice is well recieved and I thank you for taking to time to respond .. it is much appreciated .. Denielle :)
     
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  4. Misfitter

    Misfitter Live Love Walk !

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    Hi Denielle, I am from Sydney and walked the Camino for the first time last year leaving from SJPDP on 5th May.(I am 50ish) I went prepared for hot Spanish weather but I was cold for the first 2-3 weeks! maybe even longer. I only took shorts but had to buy longs in the first week because it was so cold! It did warm up but not as quickly as I would have liked. It took me 36 days to walk to Santiago including 3 rest days and then another 3-4 days doing the Finnesterre loop. 40 days sounds perfect. I had a week of sight seeing in Barcelona on the way home. It was great but my heart was sill back in Santiago. The Camino certainly gave me more than I bargained for.
    Have a fantastic journey and if you would like any more information please feel free to private message me.
    Julie
     
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  5. RJS

    RJS Well-Known Member

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    Lots of good info already posted and only a couple of snippets to add :)

    I walked The Camino Norte 3 years ago in May and June – The last 3 days of this joins The Camino Frances and the weather was almost perfect – In the main we had warm sunny days and it wasn’t too hot at all – Yes, for sure, we also had the occasional wet day too, but these were very much the exception – Obviously, I can’t guarantee you the same, but if you have similar weather to what we did, then you should have a wonderful Camino

    Best Regards

    Rob
     
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  6. Denielle

    Denielle New Member

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    Thank you so much Julie ... GREAT info ... I am REALLY happy to hear it was cold - I do not want to walk in the heat ... I'll be happier if its cool ... did you pre book Alberge's? I will def message you with more questions I am sure ... I know its more than a year away but this excitement helps me to stay focussed with my training ... Thanks again ... BTW I am from the Central Coast, if your ever up this way let me know maybe me could catch up over a coffee :)
     
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  7. Denielle

    Denielle New Member

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    Thanks Rob .. all of this awesome info is making me feel very confident about the desicion to go in May opposed to April ... lets hope we have cool, sunny days :) thanks again :)
     
  8. RJS

    RJS Well-Known Member

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    No Problem Denielle – Pleased to be of help.

    IF it were me then I would certainly book your accommodation in Saint Jean Pied de Port and also Orisson (Orisson is only 5 miles from Saint Jean Pied de Port, but all uphill, so unless you are a seasoned walker then it’s a good idea to split this first, otherwise very hard day and it also gives you an opportunity of a ½ days sightseeing at Saint Jean Pied de Port which, alas, a lot of other people miss !!

    After 2 nights, you will have a good idea of how many others are walking at the time as you and therefore whether it is necessary to book accommodation in advance on a day to day basis– Of course, you might (Probably will) then have to reassess as you get closer too Santiago de Compostela.

    Best regards

    Rob
     
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  9. Wily

    Wily Camino Francés 2016; Camino Portugués 2017

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    Hey Denielle - Your timeframe seems great! Although many pilgrims do break the trip up according to the Brierley stages, once you start walking, you will know what works best for you and how many kilometers you want to walk each day. Hopefully, injuries won't impede your progress so your rest days will simply be for relaxation and recovery.

    I would encourage you to be in the best physical condition possible. It's a long hike! Although the first day out of SJPP may be the most demanding, being in top shape makes the climb over the Pyrenees very doable and even more enjoyable whether you do it in one or two days. Ideally, you'll have great weather so as to enjoy some spectacular views. If you ever need or want assistance with your backpacks, JacoTrans provides a luggage transfer service the length of the Camino.
     
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  10. Rayd

    Rayd New Member

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    Hi Denielle, I am also very new to this and I also plan on doing the Camino in May 2018. I am hoping to complete the Camino in around 35 days which includes a couple of rest days. Just wondering after reading some of the posts if this achievable?
     
  11. Denielle

    Denielle New Member

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    Thanks again Wily ... yes we have come to the conclusion that it will be what it will be .. I have started to train, omg I am so UNFIT~! So, it will take me the full 15 months to get into shape...
    We will stay In Orrisson the first day to help break it up a bit .. Your encouragment and advice is wonderful making us very excited :) ... we may use Jacotrans for the first few days just to help out .. I will still frequent this amazing forum - the wealth of information is invaluable!
    Enjoy your Sunday :) Denielle
     
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  12. Denielle

    Denielle New Member

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    I think is would be ... I am taking longer as I want a rest day each week. This forum has sooooo much awesome information, I am so pleased I stumbled across it - its been a wonderful find - both community and a wealth of excellent information :) We will probably bump into each other along the way :)
     
  13. Denielle

    Denielle New Member

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    GREAT advice Rob , how far in advance do you think should we book SJPP? I did think it would be nice to spend a full day at SJPP then head off early the next morning, we will def take your advice and stay in Orisson the first night.
    Yes you are right - we will just head off and see how many will be around, if we need to book ahead we can , although I was thinking not to take a phone with me just my ipad - relying on WIFI in towns, do you think this will be possible? Or should I purchase WIFI? Its so expensive to have "roaming" from Australia
    My daughter thinks that I am over thinking this - and yes maybe I am , I just want to be confident that I have all things covered before we leave.
    Have a great Sunday :)
     
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  14. Wily

    Wily Camino Francés 2016; Camino Portugués 2017

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    Hey Denielle - Regarding wifi, your ipad will be just fine. I traveled with mine last year and found wifi every evening. Most albergues have it. If not, many of the cafe/bars in a town will have it allowing you to connect. You don't need to buy any service. I didn't take a phone on my Camino, but that's an individual thing. You can find a number of threads on this Forum discussing phones and SIM cards if it interests you. The couple times that I did need to call ahead for a bed reservation, one of the kind hospitaleros just called for me. So, don't over think it! If you only travel with your iPad, you'll be just fine. Buen Camino.
     
  15. Wily

    Wily Camino Francés 2016; Camino Portugués 2017

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    Hey Rayd - 35 days is a very reasonable amount of time to walk the Camino Francés although adding a couple extra days to that might be even better. If you look at the Brierley guide, he breaks the journey into 34 stages. Any rest days would be on top of that. I walked the Camino in 31 days without any breaks. Doing it over, I'd build in a few days for rest or walk shorter distances some days. In fact, because the first three days are tough, I'd plan my first break in Pamplona. Burgos and Leon are also popular break day locations. Depending on how far you travel to get to SJPP, a rest day there might be considered before starting off and crossing the Pyrenees. Finally, give yourself a couple nights in Santiago if at all possible. Once you start walking, you'll discover your pace and what feels right for you. Buen Camino!
     
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  16. Denielle

    Denielle New Member

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    Thanks again Wily .. Yes my ipad will be plenty - I really dont want to add my phone into the mix. The whole point being - to get away from the reched thing. Great news re the Wifi, its just like a sooky blanket for me to keep my ipad with me :)
     
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  17. UnkleHammy

    UnkleHammy Donating Member Donating Member

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    I had my phone with me and found it to be very important, both while walking and when I got some bad news from home.
     
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  18. Wily

    Wily Camino Francés 2016; Camino Portugués 2017

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    Hey Denielle - Couldn't agree with you more about getting away from the reched thing! Isn't it amazing that we could ever survive without always having a phone attached to our ear or constantly texting? Ah, the good old days! In any case, you'll be fine without one. In the case of a real emergency, there will be no shortage of phones on the Camino to assist you were you to need one. Your iPad will allow you to keep in touch with friends and family more than adequately.
     
  19. RJS

    RJS Well-Known Member

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    No Problem Denielle – Greetings from Kathmandu and Pleased to again be of help :)



    With whether to take your phone and/or an i-pad – I only took an an i-pad with me once on Camino and that was my “Big Walk” from Cumbria (North West England) to Santiago de Compostela in 2014 because I was doing this walk to raise money for cancer research and keeping a blog on my progress https://www.facebook.com/robs.big.walk?ref=hl

    Alas, on my second day in Spain I leant on my rucksack when getting up after a rest and must have inadvertently put weight on my i-pad and cracked the screen and that was the end if that !! – So if you decide to take yours then make sure you have some kind of hard cover for it so that it is well protected in your rucksack, Especially if you are considering having it transported by JacoTrans as suggested by Wily !!

    I now have a smart phone and I would now opt to take this with me - OK, I do understand the point about getting away from it all, but you could have the phone switched off unless you wanted to use it and then switch it on and use the free available Wi-Fi that is now common in Spain to keep in touch with your loved ones for free + the BIG advantage of a smart phone over an i-pad is the weight _+ in an emergency, you can contact people from almost anywhere :)

    God Luck and Buen Camino

    Rob
     
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  20. Denielle

    Denielle New Member

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    I'm sorry to hear you recieved bad news Unkle Hammy ... I'm hopinh my ipad will be enough to stay in touch with home.
     
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  21. Denielle

    Denielle New Member

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    Yes my thoughts exactly ... I cant believe how much I use it .. looking forward to not being a slave to it for a few weeks :)
     
  22. Denielle

    Denielle New Member

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    Good thinking Rob .. I didnt think of using my phone as an "ipad" I could def do that and it would be a lot smaller .... If I turned off the roaming it would essentially become a tiny ipad .. definately worth the thought - thank you :)
     
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  23. RJS

    RJS Well-Known Member

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    No Problem Denielle, Yes, saving as much weigh as you can us Always the way to go – I remember on my early walks, the amount if unnecessary things that I used to take with me – Unworn T-Shirts and socks that had been added to by bag “Just in case” – I soon started cutting things down to a bare minimum and the, the next step was buying as many lightweight items as I could find/ afford, so IF you can make do with your phone, then that will certainly help – Personally, I Always try to remember that all the weight in my rucksack is transmitted to my feet and that Happy Feet Always help to make a Happy Pilgrim :)

    Good Luck and Buen Camino

    Rob
     
  24. Wily

    Wily Camino Francés 2016; Camino Portugués 2017

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    Rob is completely correct about keeping your pack weight down. I believe we've all learned through experience the difference between "essential" and "extra". In fact, I was discarding items before I even reached Pamplona. As he said, don't add those "just in case" items. If you really need anything you don't have with you, buy it in Spain. Laurie Ferris has a couple great posts under "What Equipment Should I Use and Take" that may help you decide what you need and/or want to take. The bottom line is that you really don't need much on the Camino (which is in and of itself refreshing). I admit to still packing along two small indulgences, my mini iPad and a tiny camera, but I've tried to minimize everything else and focus on lightweight items that I do need. Part of the fun of this part of the planning process is figuring out what to bring. To walk far, carry less. Buen Camino!
     
  25. hindsfeet

    hindsfeet Donating Member Donating Member

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    Hello Denielle and Rayd, It is great to hear from other (new to the Camino) future pilgrims. I sense your excitement also! I stumbled on this site as well and have been soaking up the great info. I might be bumping into you guys as well. I will be leaving the States at the end of April and plan on staying in SJPP for a day or two and then heading out the beginning of May. I am really old school, and still only have a flip phone......hmm...perhaps the last on the planet? I don't really want to take any technical device, is this unwise? I only want to touch base to home once a week. Just starting to look for a new light backpack. The pack is probably the least of my worries as far as weight goes. It is what I put in it! Buen Camino!
     
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  26. Denielle

    Denielle New Member

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    Good morning hindsfeet , I am VERY excited. We plan to do the Camino next year 2018 ( I need to get into shape ) So my excitement is very early .. I am wanting to bring either my iphone or ipad mearly to keep in touch with my youngest and my hubby. My back pack only weighs 800grams and yes its what goes in it will be a concern. This forum is fabulous! SOOOOO much excellent information and help its really great .. I wish you a great Camino :)
     
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  27. Denielle

    Denielle New Member

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    Thanks Wily ... I use to be a back packer ( in the olden days ) so keeping things to a minimum I think I am ok with - its just the little things like DSLR - Point and shoot, I dont want to miss out on the awesome photos with my good camera BUT it weighs a whole kilo! And as I said before mini ipad vs iphone, ect ... the crunch time will come when I put all of my gear together and weigh it - my pack is light - 800 grams I'm wanting no mare than 7kgs, so thats 6 kgs allowing 1 kg ( 1 litre ) of water - so only 5 kilos of gear including my camera! eeeekkkk ... thankfully it wont be freezing :)
     
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  28. Wily

    Wily Camino Francés 2016; Camino Portugués 2017

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    Hey Denielle - I'll tell you, I took my full size DSLR with me and it was a pain in the butt. I got great pictures, but it was cumbersome to lug around. If I were to take it again, I would purchase some type of camera harness to wear so as to keep it from swinging around. If it wasn't swinging from my neck, it stayed in my backpack. Neither situation was optimal. I took most of my pictures at the end of the day while walking around the towns and villages. For this go around, I have invested in a much smaller, but high quality camera, the Canon Powershot G9 X Mark II. It only weighs 0.45 pounds and should give me close to the same quality pictures that I get from my larger Canon. So, if you do take your DSLR, look into getting a camera harness. Buen Camino!
     
  29. Wily

    Wily Camino Francés 2016; Camino Portugués 2017

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    Hey Hindsfeet - My brother also still has a flip phone and I was teasing him about it just yesterday. I like your attitude about keeping electronics to a minimum or not bringing them along at all. It's your Camino, so do it your way! If you were to need to use a phone, there are plenty of them to be found in Spain. Although I had my iPad with me, I kept my contact with home down to a minimum. For me, texting, calls, emails, Facetime, etc. were all distractions for why I was walking. Buen Camino!
     
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  30. Denielle

    Denielle New Member

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    Yes I am very worried about that - it is very heavy! I may look into a decent point and shoot - as I would then want to bring a couple of lenses , it would be a huge pain!
     
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