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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 Francés 2016; Portugués 2017; Inglés/Fisterra 2018

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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. 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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  17. Wily

    Wily Francés 2016; Portugués 2017; Inglés/Fisterra 2018

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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!
     
  18. 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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  19. 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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  20. Wily

    Wily Francés 2016; Portugués 2017; Inglés/Fisterra 2018

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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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  21. 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.
     
  22. 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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  23. Dominick

    Dominick New Member

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    Hola Fellow Cardinal (I write that with index & middle finger extended & joined and thumb forming a 90 degree angle),
    I hope all is going well. I have not been to Louisville in a while, and hope to get up there when I have a few days. I actually live about an hour north of Nashville; and recently joined a El Camino Meet-Up in Nashville.
    You bring up a great point -regarding walking in the Autumn and the kids being back in school. When I was hiking the AT, I realized the energy that comes from walking in nature. According to some traditions, walking/being in nature is good for the soul. I do not mind walking alone or with a person or two, but I think more than that becomes a distraction (for me anyway). That being said, at the end of the day, I could foresee looking forward to being around Peregrinos and locals - and talking about "it all".
    I am thinking about doing something more that journaling. I may blog (all though I never have before), I guess I could also post on this site or maybe even Facebook.
    No soy fluido in espanol, pero I will practice before leaving and of course while in Espana.
    Talk Soon,
    Todo El Camino
     
  24. Dominick

    Dominick New Member

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    Hi Wiley,
    Thanks for the information. I am a member of AAA and will talk to them about options - as well as my bank. I am open to whatever other advice you have.
    Gracias,
    Dominick
     
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  25. UnkleHammy

    UnkleHammy Well-Known Member

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    Duolingo might give you some practice and it is free and runs on your phone.
     
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  26. Wily

    Wily Francés 2016; Portugués 2017; Inglés/Fisterra 2018

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    Hey Dominick, One of the best pieces of advice that I can offer you is to not rush your Camino. I put myself on a schedule and walked it in 31 days. Way too fast! Go at a pace fast enough to get there, but slow enough to see. As you learned a great deal about yourself walking the AT, so, too, will you on the Camino. For me, in large part, a great deal of introspection happens due to the many other amazing pilgrims you have the good fortune to meet traveling the same road. One experiences an amazing camaraderie with folks on the trail, in the albergues, relaxing over a glass of Rioja, or when helping someone tend to their blisters.

    I head back to Spain in just over a month from now to walk another Camino. Although the walking is great, I look forward most to meeting new people from all walks of life and from lands very distant from mine. IMHO walking the Camino is really all about the people and the amazing things we can learn from them and about ourselves because of the interactions that seem to happen so naturally. Buen Camino!
     
  27. Dominick

    Dominick New Member

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    Hi Wily,
    Great advice and I agree. I do have a number of days that I would like to complete the walk to Santiago, however, the internal & external "journey" is a very important part of my walk; thus I will definitely be open to flexibility ("smelling the roses"). How many Caminos have you walked? I could definitely see myself going doing more.
    Gracias,
    Dominick
     
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  28. Margareta Varenhed

    Margareta Varenhed Member

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    Hi Leslie and all Pilgrims,
    I'm rather new on the forum and I must say it's really nice to chat with all of you.
    I very much enjoy life on the Camino, walking long days all alone and the social life in the evenings.
    I started my first Camino in SJPP in 2011 and stopped in Burgos with a bad knee. Next time was in 2014, after having worked in Central African Republic for a few months. I walked from Pamplona to Santiago and it was so much better than having a session or two with a psychiatrist, which is the normal procedure after a mission in war country with MSF - Doctors Without Borders.
    Last summer I did Le Puy en Velay to Cahors - the most beautiful walk I ever did! - and this year in May I will continue from Cachors to SJPP. I also want to do the Camino Portugues, maybe 2019...
     
  29. Phil Barnhart

    Phil Barnhart New Member

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    Leslie,

    My friend Jon has had the Camino De Santiago trip on his bucket list for years. The traveling that I have done has been fairly limited but when he asked me about doing this trip with him the timing couldn't have been better. Feeling like this would be good for my soul. I'm from Portland, Oregon and Jon lives in Wenatchee, Washington, (which is the general area where we both grew up).

    I watched the movie The Way and really got motivated about doing this. Picked up the Footprint Handbook Camino de Santiago as a tool for getting me started and then Jon found your Forum. What a great resource! So far I've really enjoyed an appreciated the responses that I've received from other Pilgrims and just reading through some of the threads.

    We're going to arrive in St. Jean via train and bus from Paris on June 2. We are going to try to make Logrono in 7 days and then figure out a way to get to the end of the trail so that we can take a couple of days and end up walking into Santiago de Compostela since we fly out on June 12.

    Thank you for this amazing Forum. Looking forward to the experience and meeting other Pilgrims along the way.
     
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  30. UnkleHammy

    UnkleHammy Well-Known Member

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    Chech the planned France train strikes.
     
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