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New Pilgrim Looking For Advice

Discussion in 'General Chat' started by JJB, Jan 31, 2017.

  1. JJB

    JJB Member

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    Thanks Janita for the great advise,

    My Camino is definitely in flux and changing every day. I was hoping to do the entire route. My wife is growing more interested every day and it looks like she and the kids will join me along the route. The kids just don't want to spend the entire 35 days away from home. I have another friend who wants to join me for a week and a second friend who lives over there would like to join for a few days.
    If they join me along the route would you recommend the first half or the second? I am concerned about my kids hiking 23 k each day.
    Still things are slowly coming together.
     
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  2. Wily

    Wily Camino Francés 2016; Camino Portugués 2017

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    Hey JJB - The nice thing sbout the Camino is that you don't have to do 23 km day after day. On most segments or stages, there are so many towns along The Way that you can easily choose the number of kilometers that you want to walk every day. In fact, I look forward to my next Camino Francés because I am purposely going to slow down and do shorter days. But, with that said, one can't go as far. However, the quality of your experience won't be determined by the distance you walk. In this case, less may be more! Take a look at the website gronze.com to see how the segments/stages are broken up with all the towns and possible albergues to stay in.

    Regarding where to start with the kids, let me suggest they join you along the second half of the Camino. Let me offer you a couple of reasons, but keep in mind, there is no bad part of the Camino to walk. You might think about Leon as where you can meet up with them. It's about 320 km from there to Santiago. If that seems a bit too far, you might also think about Ponferrada as a starting point 100 km closer. Check out this distance calculator that Danvo posted in a thread not to long ago. You can play around with starting and ending points. I think they might like walking into Santiago. If they were to walk the last 100 km, they would qualify for the Compostela as a wonderful souvenir of their accomplishment. Starting in Sarria would be far enough out to get the certificate.
     
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  3. JJB

    JJB Member

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    Thanks

    Thanks Wily,

    I went on the Gronze website you suggested and saw that it was entirely in Spanish which unfortunately is problematic for me. Any idea if they have an English translation or suggestions on what I should be looking for?
     
  4. UnkleHammy

    UnkleHammy Donating Member Donating Member

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    I have Google translate installed and it did a quite reasonable translation of the site. On a different site it translated the links which resulted in garbage links.
     
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  5. JJB

    JJB Member

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    Thanks Unkle Hammy, I'll try that!
     
  6. Wily

    Wily Camino Francés 2016; Camino Portugués 2017

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    Hey JJB - Use gronze.com as just a guide for places and names. You've seen the maps so you can get an idea of how close to one another the towns in a stage are. You will also see some that have a booking.com link. That information will be in English.

    Once you identify towns where you want to stay, a simple Google search of "albergues in _________" will yield you lots of links to various accomodations. Many of these will be in English.

    Not long ago, Rob posted this link of albergues along the Camino Francés that I think you'll find useful: http://caminoteca.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/List-of-Albergues-2016.pdf
    Further, check out those mentioned in the Brierley guide as well as those listed in Leslie's Day by Day guide here on this Forum. Lots of albergues to choose from as you make your decisions on where to stay. Buen Camino!
     
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  7. Jantina

    Jantina New Member

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    Great suggestion the gaiters.
     
  8. Owen V.

    Owen V. New Member

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    First of all, i wanna give JJB a great big hug as I know that losing a loved one is never easy.

    In this thread alone (and few other forums), I have encountered phrases to the sound of "that would qualify for the camino". Is there a minimum requirement (in terms of distance) for it to be qualified? Im just starting to plan my pilgrimage too. For now, I may be able to go away for a maximum of 16 days (maybe 13 days walking only, the other three days for travel as I come from South East Asia).

    Thanks for all of you kind souls out there! This forum is really full of important information. God bless you all!
     
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  9. Wily

    Wily Camino Francés 2016; Camino Portugués 2017

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    Hi Owen - To qualify for the Compostela when arriving in Santiago, one must have walked the final 100 km of the Camino. With that said, a pilgrim can start in Sarria and walk to Santiago which takes about 5 days.

    If you have 13 days for walking, and considering it will be generally colder and wetter in March, let me suggest you start in Leon. You will have some hills to climb, so it would be important to have the proper gear. Ideally, the later you could start in March, the better. Nonetheless, it's a great section of the Camino from many different perspectives, but you'd have to be prepared more more inclement weather that early in the walking season. By ending up in Santiago, which is a great city, you'd also be able to claim your Compostela. Here is a distance calculator for the Camino Francés. Leon to SdC is approximately 320 km. Very doable in your timeframe. Although there are other Caminos that could be suggested, I think walking the Francés is the way to go for your first one. If you could possibly put your Camino off until April, conditions would certainly be better. Buen Camino!
     

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    Last edited: Feb 6, 2017
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  10. JJB

    JJB Member

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    A quick update and a couple of questions. My plan is to leave from the states around May 23rd. Since I began researching the Camino I have had several friends who have asked to join me for a portion of the trip. My wife and children will be joining me in Sarria. I plan on starting the trek with friends then after 10 days walk by myself. My family will fly into Madrid. I have a few questions I am hoping I may get some help with.

    1) Instead of a sleeping bag, could I get away with two sleeping bag inserts during May and June? I figured this would be less weight and I could have them pre-treated for bed bugs.
    2) I hear everyone talking about the Pyrenees being a must. I am an older, larger man with a bit of a bum knee. Don't get me wrong, I am fairly active but I am concerned about the physical stress of the first three days. If I stay in Orrison do I need to make reservations in advance? If so, how many days in advance to be sure I get a bed?
    3) I am looking at renting a vehicle near Sarria to go to the airport to pick up my family in Madrid. I did see a rental agency in Lugo. Is it possible to get a taxi from Sarri to Lugo and does anyone have any better suggestions.

    Once again I appreciate everyone's help and input.
     
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  11. Wily

    Wily Camino Francés 2016; Camino Portugués 2017

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    Hey JJB - Let me try to answer or comment on at least a couple of your questions.

    1. I traveled in May last year and really enjoyed the warmth and comfort of a one season sleeping bag. If you check out the survey on this Forum (although the months in question are different) it's almost a 50/50 preference. I like the bag! However, in many if not most of the private albergues, blankets were available, but certainly not guaranteed. My sleeping bag only weighed 1.2 pounds. Two inserts might come to nearly that same weight.

    2. My advice on the Pyrenees, don't skip that stage! On a nice day, it's a glorious crossing and a real accomplishment. If you're at all worried about your knee, plan on breaking up the stage with an overnight in Orisson. RESERVATIONS ARE A MUST! Leave SJPP late morning or mid-day, enjoy your 2-3 hour hike to Orisson, and relax having a pleasant evening at the Refuge Orisson. The next day to the top and down (along the road) will be more manageable.

    3. Regarding getting from SdC to Sarria, let me suggest what a Camino friend of mine did. Her daughter arrived in Santiago and took a taxi to Sarria where she waited for her. It was about an hour ride that cost around 100€. If your family is comfortable doing this, I'd suggest that you wait in Sarria for them instead of going into Santiago to pick them up. It's an easy enough trip, and safe, by taxi. Be sure to reserve rooms in advance in Sarria for your group.

    Buen Camino!
     
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  12. Wily

    Wily Camino Francés 2016; Camino Portugués 2017

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    Hey JJB - Just one additional thought for you regarding Orisson. Even if you haven't quite made up your mind at this point about crossing the Pyrenees, reserve a bed(s) now in Orisson. There are only 28 places there. At least with reservation in hand, you have an option. If you change your mind and decide to start instead in Roncesvalles or Pamplona, you can always cancel the Orisson reservation. You're walking at a busy time so I'd make that reservation very soon. Buen Camino!
     
  13. JJB

    JJB Member

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    Thanks Wily,

    You have been a tremendous wealth of information. I will book Orrison now but once I'm on the Way do you book in advance? I would like to be a little bit more spontaneous, but I also know there will be times when I would like to stay in private Albergues for a little more comfort.
     
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  14. Wily

    Wily Camino Francés 2016; Camino Portugués 2017

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    Hey JJB - You can do your booking a couple of different ways. I certainly understand the issue of spontaneity, so to preserve that, you could just book a night or two in advance once you are walking. I did this a number of times with great success. It's easy enough to ask the hospitalero where you are staying to call ahead for you. Everyone I asked to do this did so very graciously. If you do start out in SJPP you can get a printed list of most of the albergues along The Way with contact information. On one of these threads, there's also a link to that same information that Rob posted. Most towns have more than one albergue so if one is full just call another.

    As I knew exactly how far I was walking every day and where I wanted to stop, I made many of my reservations from The States. Some were done through booking.com, but most were done by way of a simple email to the albergue requesting a bed. Almost everyone wrote back to me immediately. I know the site is in Spanish, but gronze.com has a pretty comprehensive list of albergues along The Way. Further, most have contact information and even a website making sending an email pretty simple. You can also just google "albergues in name of town" and find websites that way. I did a lot of research in advance so I had a pretty good idea of where I wanted to stay. In any case, check out the albergues online to get a good idea as to some of the differences between them. Planning your Camino is almost half the fun.
     
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  15. JJB

    JJB Member

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    Hi Wily,

    Would you mind sharing the make of your one season sleeping bag. I have a minimalist bag that is 1-2 seasons and it weighs about 2.5 lbs. I would like to get lighter. Also mine is a mummy bag that I don't really like. Any thoughts would be appreciated.

    Depending on how things go with work I am planning on flying out May 28th. Getting pretty excited!
     
  16. Wily

    Wily Camino Francés 2016; Camino Portugués 2017

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    Hey JJB - It sounds like the trip is falling into shape. Exciting, isn't it?

    My wife and I both have a Swedish sleeping bag the Fjallraven Funas Light. Although Fjallraven has their own website, we bought off Amazon.com because the price was better. I used it all through the month of May last year and it gave me both the comfort and warmth I needed. We both have ours packed now for Portugal.

    Unfortunately, it is a mummy bag. Not my favorite design either, but I really have no complaints about this particular bag. I just put it on the scale and it weighs in at less than 1 pound 1 ounce (470 grams) and compresses down very nicely into a small bag. I'm 5'10" and the regular bag fits very nicely. It akso comes in a long. Buen Camino!
     

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  17. JJB

    JJB Member

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    That's great advise. I appreciate the photos as well. If you don't mind I'm looking for one other suggestion. My family is joining me in Sarria and then we are walking to Santiago together. I would like to find a nice place to stay in each of those places. Preferably a private hotel. In Sarria they will be jet lagged and I want to make sure they get a nice sleep before we get on the road. The remaining days I would like to give the Albergue experience. Finally in Santiago I would like to splurge a little bit. If you have any recommendations I would appreciate it!
     
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  18. Wily

    Wily Camino Francés 2016; Camino Portugués 2017

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    Hey JJB - In Sarria, I stayed at Albergue O Durmiñento. I mention this albergue because besides being quite nice and in the center of the old part of town, they also offer triple, quad and family private rooms at what seems to be very reasonable rates. You can find them listed on both gronze.com and can reserve through booking.com. Let me pull together suggestions for you between Sarria and Santiago.
     
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  19. Wily

    Wily Camino Francés 2016; Camino Portugués 2017

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    Hey JJB - My travel from Sarria to Santiago did not follow the Brierley guide. I walked this section of the Camino in 4 days instead of five. Therefore, my days tended to be a bit longer than I would recommend for your family just starting out. Between the listings on gronze.com and thoughts by other Forum members, I know you will be able to identify nice albergues in: Portomarin, Palas de Rei, and Ribadiso. As you get closer to Santiago, there is definitely an increase in the number of albergues. However, in June, there will also be an increase in the number of pilgrims since many begin their journey in Sarria. Therefore, I'd reserve ahead. On the Gronze site, many of the albergues are directly linked to booking.com.

    Now, the day before reaching Santiago, you'll most likely be staying in Pedrouzo. When I was there, I stayed at the REM Hostel. It's a new, modern albergue and just a block off the main street with lots of eateries. The hospitalera there was extremely friendly and helpful. I used booking.com for that reservation.

    In Santiago, I stayed at The Last Stamp. It's a great albergue, but not really the splurge you're looking for. When price is no issue, the big splurge would be to stay at the Parador Santiago de Compostelo. More modest, but very nice accomodations in the heart of the city might be Hospedería San Martín Pinario. My wife and I have two nights booked there in April at a very reasonable rate for a private room.
     
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  20. JJB

    JJB Member

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    Once again great info and I will definitely take your advice. Booking.com has a Hotel Paza Alto in downtown Santiago. Looks pretty good and is fairly reasonable. They say it is 1000 feet from the Cathedral. Let me know if you have ever seen or heard of this.

    Once again I cant tell you how much I appreciate your input.
     
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  21. JJB

    JJB Member

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    On another note I finally figured out the Gronze site. I was having a brain cramp and wasn't clicking on the links for each stage. This will be a tremendous help. Thanks again.
     
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  22. Wily

    Wily Camino Francés 2016; Camino Portugués 2017

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    Hey JJB - Do you mean the Hotel Pazos Alba? If so, just checked it out on Booking.com. Looks very nice with good rates considering it is right in the city center. Nice find!
     
  23. JJB

    JJB Member

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    Yes that is the one.
     
  24. Wily

    Wily Camino Francés 2016; Camino Portugués 2017

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    You will enjoy a well earned splurge after being on the Camino for a month! I hope you'll be able to spend a couple nights in Santiago as there is plenty to see along with some great eateries. You must try the pulpo "octopus" while in Galicia!
     
  25. Josh unçu

    Josh unçu Member

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    Hi JJB and welcome to the forum .

    So sorry for your loss, my sympathies to all the members of the family.

    I am the less suitable to give you answers, having good experts (many names), as all those who have responded to you.

    In reference to the language, I think that you will not have any problem. I think is The Way in terms of spoken languages more English than Spanish or any other would say I.

    In the majority of the hostels, the hosts -or - volunteers will talk to you in our language or someone who knows it will be around. Until the Big Day if need translator or help, believe that among us members there is more than one to help you.

    As a guide for pilgrims I recommend: Books- from John Brierley or Leslie Gilmour. Spanish Web´s by stages, hostels, data, infoas.- Gronze and Eroski.As a guide for pilgrims you recommend: Books-John Brierley or Leslie Gilmour. Web´s Spanish by stages, hostels, data, info-Gronze and Eroski, moreAs a guide for pilgrims you recommend: Books-John Brierley or Leslie Gilmour. Web´s Spanish by stages, hostels, data, info-Gronze and Eroski, moreAs a guide for pilgrims you recommend: Books-John Brierley or Leslie Gilmour. Web´s Spanish by stages, hostels, data, info-Gronze and Eroski ( http://caminodesantiago.consumer.es/los-caminos-de-santiago/frances/). Plus : A/http://www.americanpilgrims.org/ and
    B/ http://www.americanpilgrims.org/philadelphia-chapter
    Sincerely. ULTREIA.
    JÇ.
     
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  26. UnkleHammy

    UnkleHammy Donating Member Donating Member

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    I checked the costs of having an open return and is quite expensive. It probably is better to get a round trip ticket with an extended return date. Then pay the early return fee. The total ticket price might be less than having an open return. Of course I only checked US prices, other countries may have different flight pricing.
     
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