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Planning A Retirement Adventure In September 2019.

Discussion in 'General Chat' started by Bruce O, Jan 8, 2018.

  1. Bruce O

    Bruce O New Member

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    Greetings one and all. I am in the initial stages of joining the retired and planning an adventure to celebrate. After research and soul search, I have opted to walk the El Camino Frances for September 2019. I will be looking to all of you...my new friends...to help in the planning and execution of this trip. I will be walking the entire Camino alone except when each of my kids join me for one week at a time. The hope is for a shared adventure with each with enough alone time to contemplate.

    Thank you all in advance for your sage advice and wisdom.
     
  2. UnkleHammy

    UnkleHammy Well-Known Member

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    Sounds as though you are planning a great adventure. I was unable to get my kids to come along with me but if I can return I would like to.
     
  3. Bruce O

    Bruce O New Member

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    Thank you UnkleHammy.

    Is it easy to make friends on the Camino? I'm a bit of a grumpy guy.....not awful...just a bit solitary.
     
  4. UnkleHammy

    UnkleHammy Well-Known Member

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    I have problems with meeting new people and always have. Mostly it is because I am somewhat introverted. In general those around me on the Camino were far more extroverted and we got along quite well. I wrote about this in my post "Why I Quit" in the "General Chat" section.
     
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  5. Greg Canning

    Greg Canning Well-Known Member

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    Hi Bruce and welcome to the Forum

    As Unklehammy said, a great adventure awaits you. The thrill of crossing the Pyrenees from France into Spain is one of the greatest experiences I have ever had and there are other wonderful experiences awaiting along the Camino. You will meet people from all over the world with as many reasons for undertaking the Camino as you can imagine. You will visit beautiful and historic places and enjoy moving breathtaking experiences of a physical, emotional and spiritual nature. Most of all you will get the opportunity to take time out to contemplate.

    Have fun planning and don't forget to ask lots of questions (this is one of the friendliest non-judgemental forums on the subject of the Camino).

    Buen Camino

    Greg
     
  6. RJS

    RJS Well-Known Member

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    Hi Bruce and welcome to the forum

    I am sure that you will have a wonderful time, both with planning your Camino and then actually walking the route :)

    Just one piece of initial advice and that is to leave the “Grumpy Guy” in your home country – Nearly all the people you meet on Camino are Happy People, so I am sure that with a little bit of good will, you could join in with them and the happiness would rub off :)

    Good Luck and Buen Camino

    Rob
     
  7. BROWNCOUNTYBOB

    BROWNCOUNTYBOB Well-Known Member

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    Bruce, I retired at the end of 2014. My wife and I walked camino frances from SJPDP to Santiago. We began our camino in mid-Sept and arrived in Santiago on Oct 31. This was a nice transition from working full time for 34 years and raising our family. Since we were walking together, we pretty much kept to ourselves, but we did meet many nice pilgrims along the way. The nice thing about the camino is you can easily talk with a "new face" as you walk together. You might see that same pilgrim day after day, or never see this person again. We had such a positive experience, we walked the full camino frances again last fall (2017) with my brother and his wife. We're already planning for our third camino frances to begin Sept 2019. By the way, what a nice way to share your camino experience with your children. Buen Camino ! Bob
     
  8. Canadian Wander

    Canadian Wander When in doubt, rack out...

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    I too walked with my wife, but found that we met so many people along the way. I am not the really social one, but when you have so many people heading towards the same goal, the natural question is...why? And there as many answers as their are people. You will enjoy that part of the journey.
     
  9. Crepes4Suzette

    Crepes4Suzette Well-Known Member

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    Bruce, I'm fairly solitary as well, and had both very solitary days and days when ran across people who were a real pleasure to walk and talk with. People often sort themselves out by language and age. I didn't fall in with a "camino family" on the first two Caminos (and went with my sister on the third, which made the whole social aspect of Caminos easier) partly because I took a side-trip, stayed in some pensions instead of the albergues, and did a bus-ahead at one point, but there are kind people everywhere on Camino and I had the chance to have some delightful and very funny conversations with others - some that I never saw again - who added a lot to the experience. Just send out accurate messages about whether you want to engage or whether you just want to be left alone at a particular time, and people will usually read your cues well.
     
  10. Margareta Varenhed

    Margareta Varenhed Member

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    Sounds like a great adventure.
    I retired this year, and I actually plan to do the Le Puy en Velay to Finisterre part in 2019. I walked the SJPP - Santiago in 28 days in 2012 and I did Le Puy - Cahors in 16 days 2017, and I will continue this year in May walking from Cahors to SJPP or maybe Pamplona. I love the walking, and I always walk alone. Of course I meet lots of lovely people on the road. This gives me plenty time to contemplate and plenty nice company at dinner.
    My next year's Camino will probably start beginning of April and hopefully end in June. I will probably need at least 70-75 days. I like to do long days, like 26-33 km and have an occational day off every now and then.
    The Le Puy - Cahors part is mountainous and rather hard but absolutely the most beautiful part.
     
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  11. Chip Frazier

    Chip Frazier New Member

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    Bruce, we must be kindred sprits! I too plan to retire and walk the CF with my wife of 45 years in late Aug or early Sep 2019. If you are retiring, I assume we are similar in age, but I may be a bit longer in the tooth. I will be 69 on the Camino. We plan to start in SJPP and walk to Santiago. I have been doing serious research for about 4 months. I think you will find this forum quite helpful! I would like to recommend an easy read to consider. Barry Sanders wrote as "B.G. Preston" the book "Camino Easy" (Second edition July 2017). It focuses on the CF for the over 50 crowd and is only one of several books I have read thus far. But, it is the only book I found for "mature audiences". I think his tips on packing, travel, and routing were particularly helpful. Buen Camino!
     
  12. Chip Frazier

    Chip Frazier New Member

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    Bob, I have enjoyed your many informative posts in my short membership on this forum! I didn't realize we may encounter one another on the CF in Sep 2019. That would be a treat! I have a new guy question for such a sage contributor. SJPP to Roncevalles in one day? My wife and I will be 68 & 69, respectively. I am in great shape (ran a 1/2 marathon in Aug 2017 and will run another with a 20# ruck in May 2018). My wife is healthy, but not as well conditioned. So, we will walk at her pace-about 20 or so km per day. She is also adamant that we forego the albergues in favor of more private accomodations en route. Consequently, she takes a dim view of spending the first night in the albergue in Orisson. Do you think it is practical to push through to Roncevalles the first leg or would you recommend other options?
     
  13. BROWNCOUNTYBOB

    BROWNCOUNTYBOB Well-Known Member

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    Bruce, I think if you walk at your own pace, take breaks when tired, keep well hydrated, you should be able to make it to Roncesvalles in one day. Consider whether to send your backpacks ahead. For our second camino, I carried my backpack the entire camino to Santiago. My wife shipped hers ahead every day and wore a small daypack for her water, iPhone, fleece, and rain jacket. This worked really well for her. If in doubt or bad weather, consider taking the Val Carlos route. You walk through a few small towns, some forest trails along streams, some asphalt roads, then a climb that is not as brutal as the Napoleon. We walked Napoleon first time and Val Carlos the second time. We'll flip a coin next time. Also, for our second camino, we stayed in many more private albergues with private rooms, or rooms for four (we walked with my brother and his wife). We were much better rested compared to the loud snoring and lack of privacy in municipal albergues. For our third camino next year, we'll stay in private rooms for two the entire way. Hope to meet you on camino frances in Sept 2019. Bob
     
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  14. Chip Frazier

    Chip Frazier New Member

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    Bob, I really like your suggestion of sending my wife's pack to Roncevalles! I hadn't thought of that. That might do the trick for my wife. I am a purist, so, I will keep my pack. Can you recommend a company that provides that service in SJPP? And, what approximately would that cost ?

    I'm also interested in the need for reservations for private rooms (for two) in September. Will you be making reservations? If so, how far in advance? We hope to start in SJPP in the last week of August in order to take it easy and reach Santiago by early Oct (probably 6 weeks). I am reluctant to make reservations too far ahead (except in Roncevalles the 1st night) because I am not sure what pace we will be able to sustain, where we will need to take breaks, or where we will spend the second and subsequent nights. I have studied John Bierley's 2017 guide carefully and will have his 2019 edition on the Camino. I'm pretty sure we will not keep up with Bierley's 33-leg route.
     
  15. BROWNCOUNTYBOB

    BROWNCOUNTYBOB Well-Known Member

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    Chip, the backpack transport service we used to send my wife's backpack from St Jean to Roncesvalles was Express Bourricot. There is a small office in St Jean very close to the pilgrim's office. We paid 8 euros for one backpack. In Spain (Roncesvalles on), we used Jako-trans. Most days it was 5 euros / backpack.

    Since last fall was our second camino, we were familiar with the route, our walking pace and towns we'd stay in. So I made advance reservations in January for our entire camino. We booked 35 of 38 nights and never had a problem. Gronze.com is a tremendous website for planning, as is Booking.com. Last fall the weather was outstanding, causing many more pilgrims to walk the camino. We were glad to have reservations, since many albergues were "completo".

    If you are reluctant to book far ahead, I think you'll be okay to make a reservation two days ahead. Keep in mind that reservations are linked to backpack transport. You need to specify to Jakotrans what town to ship the backpack to and which albergue you will stay at. You and your wife will be fine. Our first camino, we walked with a pilgrim lady that was celebrating her 80th birthday. She was walking camino frances on her own and carrying her own backpack! Bob
     
  16. Chip Frazier

    Chip Frazier New Member

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  17. Chip Frazier

    Chip Frazier New Member

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    Bob,

    Thank you for your timely reply! I greatly appreciate your insight and assistance!

    Chip
     
  18. Brucepayne

    Brucepayne Member

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    Bruce, It seems funny typing that as I am also Bruce! I walked the Primitivo last september,and found it the best experience of my life! I am very talkitive,and did my share on the walk. But I also spent more than several days completely alone all day. You will find that you can walk with a family or walk alone, however you feel that day. I think that you will be surprised how open you will become,and how close you will become with your fellow walkers. I talk to a German man who I meant of the Camino about 4 times a week,and text another 6 people. You will probably be surprised how well you do,and what wonderful people that you will meet on the was;really on the way! Buen Camino. Bruce
     
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  19. Wily

    Wily Francés 2016; Portugués 2017; Inglés/Fisterra 2018

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    Hey Bruce - You are point on regarding meeting wonderful people along The Way. It doesn’t matter which Camino one walks, what they all have in common is the human element that makes them so special. I do love the physical challenge of the walks, the sense of history one passes through, the cultural treats awaiting the visitor, but most of all, IMHO, the Camino is all about the people. In addition to my fellow pilgrims, I have come to look forward to all the wonderful local Spanish and Portuguese people who welcome us all into their homes. As I sit here planning my fourth Camino, it’s truely the human element of this experience that most makes me yearn to return to the pilgrimage routes. Buen Camino!
     
    Last edited: May 17, 2018
  20. BROWNCOUNTYBOB

    BROWNCOUNTYBOB Well-Known Member

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    Bruce and Bruce, we've not booked airfare yet, but our tentative plans are to start our third camino from St Jean on Friday, Sept 20. Hope to run into one or both of you during our camino. Bob
     
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  21. Bruce O

    Bruce O New Member

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    Thank you for your very helpful and encouraging words. My plans are moving along and I am ready to start working on my physical preparation. I am so excited to take this adventure.
     
  22. Bruce O

    Bruce O New Member

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    I am packing away my grumpy guy. I don't think there will be room in my backpack....which is a good thing. One question...how easy is it to keep up to date on news from the states? I've gotta know how my beloved Cubbies are doing. Thanks.
     
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  23. Bruce O

    Bruce O New Member

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    Thank you for the feedback and good thoughts. I will definitely check out that book. I will be 60 on this trek....so the book sounds spot on. Buen Camino.
     
  24. Bruce O

    Bruce O New Member

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    Best of luck on your Camino.
     
  25. Wily

    Wily Francés 2016; Portugués 2017; Inglés/Fisterra 2018

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    Hey Bruce - It seems these days that it’s tough not to be connected to what's going on around the world. I travel with my mini iPad and my wife uses her iPhone to keep current. Wifi is everywhere! Although you won’t find the Cubbies on Spanish tv, you can connect with what’s going on if you’re carrying certain electronics with you. Just as an aside, I grew up just a bit outside Chicago in the 50s and early 60s. It was my great pleasure to see the likes of Ernie Banks, Ron Santo, and Billy Williams on numerous occasions as a kid! Now that was good baseball! Buen Camino!
     
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