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Discussion in 'General Chat' started by Leslie, Mar 9, 2012.

  1. Greg Canning

    Greg Canning Well-Known Member

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    I found using hiking poles really helped, particularly with the down hill sections. There are some really steep sections down into Roncesvalles and on the descent from Alto de Perdon with lots of loose stones and rocks.

    Buen Camino

    Greg
     
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  2. Wily

    Wily Camino Francés 2016; Camino Portugués 2017

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    Good advice about the steep path leading into Roncesvalles. When I was at the Pilgrim’s Office in SJPP, I was advised to keep to the road. Although it was about 1.5 km longer, it was a most pleasant hike down to the old monestary particularly with tired legs after having judt summited the Col de Leopoder. I know of others who have had some real problems on that path.

    If you don’t already have poles, take Greg’s advice and get a pair. Once you learn to correctly use them, You will find poles to be a great asset. They help you set your pace on the flats, help you drive going uphill, and assist on the downhills with balance and stability. Buen Camino!
     
  3. Richard

    Richard New Member

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    I've read somewhere that walking poles can be purchased in SJPP, can anyone confirm this?
    I won't be checking by backpack in with Ryanair and not sure whether to chance carrying poles on board?
     
  4. UnkleHammy

    UnkleHammy Well-Known Member

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    Since you can not carry poles in U.S. plane cabins, and probably others, I checked mine. They did not successfully make the trip. So I had to buy replacements in Saint Jean. There was no problem in finding them and they cost 22e each.
     
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  5. Crepes4Suzette

    Crepes4Suzette Well-Known Member

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    Hi, Richard. Yes, there are two places in SJPP to get them. I'd recommend getting two rather than only one - you'll be glad of the second one. One store is Direction Compostelle on the main road more toward the bus lot/parking lot where the road bends sharply (D933) near Place Floquet. The other one is on the main historic street (Rue de la Citadelle) which runs parallel to the D933 from the river (Boutique du Pelerin) on the way up to the Pilgrim's Office. I checked my poles once in a canvas bag. They didn't make it to Madrid either - dismantled, broken, entire pieces missing - making them useless.
     
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  6. UnkleHammy

    UnkleHammy Well-Known Member

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  7. Bryan Morlock

    Bryan Morlock Pilgrim Bryan

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    I successfully checked my poles inside my Osprey Kestral 48 liter backpack. I placed the poles against the back frame so there was plenty of padding on both sides of them. They successfully made the trip both directions, to and from Minnesota. And yes, they are available in St. Jean. We stayed in the albergue directly across the street from the Camino shop on Rue de la Citadelle. The others in my group did not check their backpacks going to Spain but bought poles in the shop and successfully shipped them home inside the backpack returning to the U.S.
     
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  8. Dominick

    Dominick New Member

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    Hola Peregrinos,
    My name is Dominick and I am from the USA. I am planning on walking El Camino - Via De La Plata in September/October 2018. I have previously done some long-distance hiking and this is one of the reasons I am going to do the Via De La Plata. Thus far, I have not seen as much information of the Via De La Plata as compared to the other routes. One of the things I have not been able to find is a Guide/Route book for the Via De La Plata - similar to what is available for Camino Frances and some other Caminos. If anyone has some information on where I might be able to get such a Guidebook - it would be appreciated; as well as any other insights, advice, wisdoms, etc. I look forward to hearing from all of you and hope our paths will cross in the future.

    Gracias,
    Dominick
     
  9. Crepes4Suzette

    Crepes4Suzette Well-Known Member

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    Here's one for starters, Dominick. https://www.amazon.com/Walking-Guid...8675874&sr=8-2&keywords=via+de+la+plata+guide

    I think there are guides available from local Spanish associations, but probably in Spanish. I think I remember someone saying they got a guide in English from the Cathedral in Seville's tourist shop. I've been using Gronze.com's Via de la Plata information researching it over the years just for fun. Sounds like you've chosen a good time to do it!
     
  10. Dominick

    Dominick New Member

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    Hi,
    Thanks for the information.
    Today I seen a 2011 Via De La Plata guide book on the Fraternity of St James website, and I was also told of some apps regarding this route. Which routes have you walked? I noticed you are from PA; I have hike through PA on the Appalachian Trail.
    Happy Trails,
    Dominick
     
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  11. Crepes4Suzette

    Crepes4Suzette Well-Known Member

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    You are my hero, Dominick, for doing the AT through PA. I've heard it's really stoney/rocky through the whole state. It's been on my list, but I don't think I'm up for night after night of camping and carrying the extra gear and food. I've done the Frances X2, The Portuguese X1, and this May would like to start the Le Puy and then whatever of the Norte and Primitivo I have the will to do after that. The Via de la Plata has some really long sections that I've been unable to find alternative transport to shorten, but I've thought of doing it from Salamanca. I'll use Wise Pilgrim's app for the Norte and Primitivo if I get that far, and they also have a Via de la Plata app. Happy Trails to you too!
     
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  12. Dominick

    Dominick New Member

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    Hi Mi Amiga, hope you are doing well; congrats on all your Camino accomplishments, and thanks for the information.
    I did not find PA as difficult as many said it would be. Yes it was very rocky in spots, especially the northern part of the state. But I think that if you start from either of the AT terminuses, by the time you get to PA - you are probably not going to let "rocky" stop you. Actually, I found the southern half of the AT in PA to be nice and the shelters were very well maintained. I have found some other areas of the AT to be much more strenuous than PA. That being said, I think El Caminos are very different than the AT; basically, most of the AT is in wilderness/forest areas, you do not see many locals, you carry your own food, and like you said - one has to camp out. However, it is one of the best experiences I have ever had - and highly recommend it. I am sure Los Caminos have their own beauties. One of the reasons why I chose to walk the Via De La Plata - is I enjoy walking long distances. I have heard a few other people mention the Wise Pilgrim app. What kind of phone/internet service did you use? What are your thoughts about camping on El Camino (is it allowed)? I have a very light tent & sleeping pad that I am thinking about bringing. Until soon, Dominick
     
  13. Crepes4Suzette

    Crepes4Suzette Well-Known Member

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    I use Verizon's monthly international plan that can be started and canceled as you wish. You can get a $25/month plan or a $40/month plan. I used a SIM a few times before, but always had trouble with it's alerts and usage messaging being sent in a language I didn't understand (Thai, Spanish). The SIM knocked out my Google translate app, so it left me kind of stuck twice.

    Here's all I know about camping on the Caminos: On the Le Puy many rural landowners will agree to your camping out IF YOU ASK THEM first if it's OK and agree not to do the same things that on the AT are common knowledge not to do. In Spain, I think it's mostly not considered acceptable to pitch a tent, but people stealth camp anyway, and I've seen people emerging from dilapidated, abandoned stone structures a few times on the Frances in the mornings.

    Having done the AT, you might find the Caminos more civilized and supported than you're used to, but you've likely made a very good choice not to start out on the Frances if wilderness is your preference. I found the Pyrenees so stunning that I walked over in a high Cat 1 hurricane and then went back and did it again thinking to enjoy them without the 146K winds.....only to walk in sleet. But it was worth it all. You'll like the CF after Astorga. The mountains are beautiful. Astorga is one of my favorite towns on the Camino - lots to see, friendly people. It was at the crossroads of trade routes for centuries, and they treat guests well.

    I read that you're in Nashville. My daughter is down there visiting right now, and I'm from Louisville, KY. Will be eager to hear how you're getting along on the VdlP, so if you can, please post from the road!
     
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  14. Dominick

    Dominick New Member

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    Hi C4S,
    Nice to hear from you again.
    Small world, Louisville is one of my favorite cities, and I attended Grad-school at UoL.
    Verizon is my current carrier, so I will look into what they have to offer regarding international service. I have a very light tent & mat, so I will probably bring them along, in-case I want to sleep under the stars or just in case... Unlike the AT, you do not have to carry as much food & water on El Caminos (which are usually your heaviest items), so this may allow one to carry more comfort items. I also enjoy the mountains; and it seems like El Camino - Primitivo offers a lot of mountains. Another aspect of this journey I am looking forward to is the history of it "all". Historically, Via De La Plata was one of the main trade routes. I am strongly considering walking the VDLP from Seville to Zamora, then connecting to El Camino Frances in Astorga. I have not fully decided yet - what forum I will use to document my experiences, but at a minimum - I plan on journaling. What forums did you use?
    What times of the year have you walked El Caminos? What are your thoughts about money (ATMs, exchange services, etc) while on El Camino?
    Muchas Gracias,
    Dominick
     
  15. UnkleHammy

    UnkleHammy Well-Known Member

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    I normally hike in the Sierras, when there is a big elevation change there are usually switchbacks to reduce the hiking incline. I didn't see any in France or Spain. This results in a lot of up and down hiking without any "easy" parts .
     
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  16. Crepes4Suzette

    Crepes4Suzette Well-Known Member

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    Dominick, I got my bachelor's from U of L, but it was MANY moons ago. Small world indeed! I haven't journaled on Camino yet, but rather sent emails home that both tell loved ones about the trip and serve as a kind of journal. Last year I set up a Wordpress blog for the Primitivo that I set out to do in May, but got sidelined in Madrid and never used it. As for forums, I used the "main" one, the women's Facebook site, and read everything I could find for 2 years before going the first time in 2015. I find this forum to be the most friendly and have gotten tons of great information from everyone here.

    I've walked September/October and May/June.

    Argh, money. You've probably traveled a great deal, but here are the things I found helpful. Be careful that your bank manager is aware of what your bank's IT department is doing so you don't get to Spain and find out they've blocked the ENTIRE COUNTRY despite your having submitted your travel itinerary a month ahead of time just like you've done for decades of traveling (AKA "how I got sidelined in Madrid"). Take some Euro from your home bank if you can, so that if there are ATM problems right off the bat, you're covered until things can be straightened out. Know how to get ahold of the U.S. embassy in Madrid. Understand how Western Union and wire transfers work in case of a real problem.

    I was pickpocked once in Melide. I had money separated out for the evening and when in a grocery line, a guy bumped me and took the money that had only been in my pocket for 5 seconds as I was making change with the cashier (I'm fairly sure the cashier was in on it also). As people here will tell you also, occasionally when one ATM in a town won't work, another one will, so no need to be alarmed immediately. I also always take a credit card with a limited cash advance option, and the cash advance PIN to draw the money out. If you have an iPhone, you can put your financial information in "code" to yourself under "notes" or reminders, and another option is to photocopy your passport and credit cards front and back and your account information (I always put passwords in "code") and send a copy of it to your email address in case you somehow get separated from everything including your iPhone. Then you can get on any computer and retrieve your information. I also have my iPhone screen password protected so information can't be gotten out of it. I also separate things so I have some cash ready for the day maybe in the zip pocket on my backpack waist strap, and keep nothing very valuable in my backpack, as occasionally someone puts their backpack down and it gets grabbed in public places like train stations. I keep my passport, cards and the rest of the money I'm carrying (I only get about 200 Euro out at a time) in a neck pouch and/or a next-to-the-skin waist belt so that in order to get anything very valuable, there would have to be an assault, which is less likely than other ways of them getting your valuables. I take all valuables into the shower with me in a plastic ziplock too. So much information!
     
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  17. UnkleHammy

    UnkleHammy Well-Known Member

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    Nice summery of "how to travel intellegently". Thanks for posting (I do these too).
     
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  18. Wily

    Wily Camino Francés 2016; Camino Portugués 2017

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    Hey Dominick - C4S has given you a wealth of information above. Let me just add on a couple thoughts regarding how I’ve handled the money issues. If you are a AAA member in the States, they can order you Euros with no service charge. I took about €200 with me to Europe just in case access to an ATM wasn’t immediately possible. And like C4S said, I never carried much more cash on me than the two hundred.

    The only difficulty that I had with ATMs were those at smaller regional banks. At the larger banks, like Santander, my card was always accepted, but not always so at the regional ones. I carry a debit card that I specifically use for travel and not associated with my other bank accounts at home. I also load it with a specific amount of money to to be on the safe side. Be sure your bank knows you’ll be out of the country using it. My plan was always to carry enough cash to get me from large town to large town. As you doesn’t need to spend much money on the Camino, the money that I had on hand was more than sufficient between ATMs. Most albergues don’t accept cards, you will need cash and preferably in smaller denominations. If you’re one of the first to arrive at an albergue, they may not be able to make change immediately if you hand them a €100 note.

    I carried my money, cards, and passport on my person all the time. Yes, like C4S, they went in the shower with me as well. Never, leave or think you’ve hidden valuables, like money or electronics, in your pack and walk away from it. I’ve heard several accounts of people having things come up missing from their backpacks in albergues. Not everyone walking the Camino is as honorable as we’d like to think (but most are). Just err on the cautious side when taking care of your valuables or other property. Buen Camino!
     
  19. UnkleHammy

    UnkleHammy Well-Known Member

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    When I travel, I too use a debit card with a limited amount if cash in it. When I run low I have my wife, at home, transfer more cash into it. This limits my potential for loss.
     
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  20. Crepes4Suzette

    Crepes4Suzette Well-Known Member

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    That's a great idea, Unkle Hammy! I think I'll do the same this time. I also like the idea of prepaid debit cards. Will have to find out where to get one.
     
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  21. Wily

    Wily Camino Francés 2016; Camino Portugués 2017

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    Hey C4S, Although I just set up a separate debit card on my existing bank account, I think that if you check with your local AAA, they offer a prepaid VISA debit card. I don't believe that you have to be a AAA member. One nice feature of it is that you can have it easily reloaded when abroad if necessary. Buen Camino!
     
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  22. Crepes4Suzette

    Crepes4Suzette Well-Known Member

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    We belong to AAA, and I'll check that out. I thought I remembered you'd done that and that it worked out well.
     
  23. Dominick

    Dominick New Member

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    Hi C4S,
    Hope you are doing well.
    I attended UoL from 08-10, my field of study is Social Work. What is yours? Thanks for all the great advice; Sorry to hear about the incident in Madrid. I like your ideas about photo-copying & emailing. I usually journal on my adventures, although it is a discipline for me. One of the ways I view journaling is "the pain now is the pleasure later". When journaling, I tend to mix internal & external thoughts/feelings, so it can be a balancing act - determining what I want to keep private and what one would like the public to read. I think these "long distance" walks, hikes, pilgrimages are made for thinking, enlightenment (spiritual & non-spiritual); that is one of the reasons I enjoy them so much. Which time of the year did you enjoy walking and why? BTW, I recently sent for a Via De La Plata guide from Amazon, thanks to the link you sent me. It is a 2017 version, so it should be good. I will also put a Camino app on my phone - prior to departing. Yes, there is a lot of information out there, and one can get overwhelmed if you try to have "all" the answers. I hope to leave with a good foundation on what to do, and leave the rest to flexibility, spontaneity, serendipity, and the like. Hope to hear from you soon, and thanks again. Is Crepes 4 Suzette your "Trail Name"? Mine was "All The Way" when I hiked the AT; translated "Todo El Camino".
     
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  24. Crepes4Suzette

    Crepes4Suzette Well-Known Member

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    I'm an old bird, Dominick, and I graduated in 1980 after working fulltime to put myself through college part-time (so I'm even older than the math would suggest!!), and strangely went in social work as well. I know they have a great MSW program there. I was running a group home about halfway through my degree and eventually decided that social work wasn't my thing, but finished anyway, continued to work for awhile doing bachelor's level social work, and then went back to do another degree in nursing. I worked mostly in Psychiatry and Trauma/Ortho/Neurosurgery, but have been gratefully retired for several years while husband still works. After all, somebody has to fund my hiking addiction.......

    My daughter just got back about an hour ago from Nashville. They ate at Husk, which seems to have "Nouvelle Southern" type food. It sounds like a really nice place.

    I would probably not go before mid-May again for the more northern routes because of the rain and the fact that there is still snow in the mountains sometimes in late April. I like September/October because the high school and college kids are mostly back to school and so the general tone of things is a bit more sedate. You've probably heard people say to stay away from the VdlP in July and August because it is scorching then. People hike these Caminos all winter too, so if you don't mind the cold, the solitude is good then.

    Thanks for the reminder! I've got some guides to order also! If you are so inclined, I hope you'll post a link to your blog/journaling. It helps others understand what doing it is like internally and externally, and for those of us who are sitting at home, it's a way of being on Camino vicariously:). I totally agree with your take on how hiking can benefit people. It seems to engage part of the brain with rote plodding onward that leaves the rest of the brain especially free to ponder deeper things. Then there are the endorphins and the plain soothing part of simple, repetitive action. Your plan sounds excellent, and you have a good perspective that will help you have a very enjoyable Camino, I think. The people met along the way are mostly wonderful and interesting folks too, so there's that.

    If I'd had a trail name, it would have been "Calamity Jane", as I tend run into trouble whenever I fling myself out into the world. Crepes4Suzette is a very old name I've used on the internet because I had a long period of being smitten with France and used to make my daughter (Susan) crepes when she was little.

    Am I right that you have decent Spanish already? As far as I know, trail names aren't used on the Caminos like they are on the AT, but sometimes people get trail names in the sense that there is some quality that the person becomes known for along the way. Mostly "that person who snores all night in the albergues", which you probably experienced all the time in the AT shelters. I'm so glad you were able to get a VdlP guide! That's exactly what I do - I learn whatever I can beforehand, and when the flight lifts off toward the next adventure, I just let it all go to be what it will. Hope you are well too!
     
    Last edited: Feb 19, 2018 at 1:57 AM
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