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Planning

Discussion in 'General Chat' started by niallohagan, Jun 14, 2018.

  1. niallohagan

    niallohagan New Member

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    So I’m thinking ahead to next year when I plan on doing the Camino. Couple questions.
    I will more than likely be doing it solo, would this be a problem?
    I plan on starting on SJ. Probably have about 8/9 walking days. How far might it be possible for me to get given I have heard this is the hardest part? I am 37 and quite fit. Do a lot of CrossFit and have been training for a trail half marathon. Also do some hill walking and planning a lot more. Cheers in advance
     
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  2. RJS

    RJS Well-Known Member

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    I don’t think that you will have a problem with your fitness levels reading your post ;-)

    In around 9 days you should get as far as Logrono which is a fair sized place with all facilities and good transport links – Not too far from Vitoria airport and also within striking distance of both Madrid and Bilbao – So lots of choice when you come to plan your route home – Wherever that is ;-)

    You won’t have a problem doing the route solo – In fact I would be surprised if you are walking alone for long – Unless you want to !!

    I aren’t sure when you are planning to walk your Camino, but a few other tips include

    Definitely reserve your bed / room at Saint Jean Pied de Port – Sites like booking.com have both beds in private Albergue’s and rooms in hotels, but book ASAP as the cheaper / better options get booked up early


    If you are considering staying at Orisson then it’s essential to book your bed there http://www.refuge-orisson.com/en/ – Many pilgrims walk from Saint Jean Pied de Port to Roncesvalles in a single day (I did so myself, but at that time there wasn’t the option of staying at Orisson) – However, I now recommend that unless you are a hardened experienced trekker then staying at Orisson is a good idea and has the advantage that this allows you to do some sightseeing in Saint Jean Pied de Port before you start your walk (Many Pilgrims miss doing this and Saint Jean Pied de Port is a really beautiful; place and far too nice to miss) – So, apart from the obvious of it easing you into your pilgrimage by splitting the first and usually considered as the hardest day of the walk into two. You needn’t set off until you have taken an early lunch and can then walk the 8k uphill to Orisson and have a leisurely start to your pilgrimage.

    If Orisson is already full up when you try to reserve your bed, ask if they had any beds available at the nearby Kayola gîte ?? - And if Kayola gîte is also full then there was a thread on here where someone also wanted to break the Saint Jean Pied de Port to Roncesvalles section into two stages and couldn’t find accommodation to enable them to do this, so, they walked up to Orisson one afternoon, returned to Saint Jean Pied de Port by taxi, then spent the night at Saint Jean Pied de Port, caught a taxi back to Orisson the next morning and continued their walk to Roncesvalles. - Now this may sound somewhat convoluted, but, especially if you aren’t an experienced walker, better than burning out on your first day.

    Just one thing to be aware of when making your booking and that is Not to use the contact from on the above website, but to reserve your beds using the email address next to the contact form, then, as there have been a few reports of people who haven’t had confirmation emails sent, if it were me, I would telephone them just so that I was 100% sure that I had a bed waiting for me when I arrive :)

    It is now also possible to book a bed in the municipal Refugio at Roncesvalles on their website at http://www.alberguederoncesvalles.com/


    Usually (Apart from Roncesvalles) if you need to reserve a bed, you can only do so in private Albergue’s and hotels, Municipal Refugio’s operate on a first come, first served basis – But If you need to reserve a bed, you will be able to do this on a day to day basis, so will still be able to maintain most of your flexibility.

    I hope the above info helps

    Best Regards

    Rob
     
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  3. Wily

    Wily Francés 2016; Portugués 2017; Inglés/Fisterra 2018

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    Welcome to the Forum - Starting in SJPP is a great place to begin your Camino. Let me suggest that you pick up a copy of the Brierley guide to the CF. He will give you a good breakdown of the stages along with mileage and topographical information. If you can walk 9 days, you should have no problem making it to Santo Domingo de la Calzada. As this is also a larger town so transportation out of there will easily be found.

    The first day over the Pyrenees is demanding, but with your description of being involved in crossfit and training for a trail half marathon, you’ll be just fine. There are physical challenges all along the Camino. The first part isn’t necessarily harder or easier than other sections. Fitness is the key factor regarding how easy or difficult the walking is for anyone. If you continue your involvement in Crossfit snd running over the next year, you’ll be all set to go. Finally, regarding walking solo, you won’t have any problems. One quickly meets fellow pilgrims along The Way. You’ll have the options of walking alone or with others depending on your preferences. The camaraderie you’ll experience will be second to none. So many wonderful people to make your Camino very special. Buen Camino.
     
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  4. UnkleHammy

    UnkleHammy Well-Known Member

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    The only thing that I have seen here is my post on "Why I quit". I went solo and had problems with meeting people and socializing. Both @RJS and @Wily have excelent suggestions and information .
     
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  5. RJS

    RJS Well-Known Member

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    When I split my own Camino Frances (Due to time constraints I split my walk into two sections) I planned to finish my first section in Burgos, but as I made better progress than I expected to, I was able to walk for another 3 days and got as far as Fromista – So although it’s a good idea to have an indication of how far you will get, whatever plans you do end up making shouldn’t be written in stone as flexibility is the key to a successful Camino :)


    Then when I returned to Spain a couple of years later to complete my Camino, I then flew into Bilbao and took the train to Fromista, spend another night in the same Refugio, got a second stamp in my Credentials and then had continuity and therefore had no issues when I came to claim my Compostela when I eventually reached Santiago de Compostela – So If you are able to finish your first stage in a sizable town with both rail and national bus links, all the better for both getting to your chosen airport as well as getting back when you return.


    I am sure that other pilgrims who also split their own Camino into more than one stage will also be along to advise you soon :)


    Also, as I mentioned in a recent thread http://www.caminodesantiago.org.uk/threads/only-23-days.7902/#post-51662 “One great thing about Spain is that you can get to Madrid from almost anywhere very easily by public transport, so, if you fly into Madrid then catch the train/ bus combination via Pamplona to Saint Jean Pied de Port, you don’t have to plan an exact end point and therefore are under no pressure to get to a certain place within a given timeframe “[​IMG]


    Good Luck and Buen Camino

    Rob
     
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  6. Wily

    Wily Francés 2016; Portugués 2017; Inglés/Fisterra 2018

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    Hey Unklehammy - I certainly remember your very sincere and heartfelt description of your Camino experiences. It seems to point out not just the old adage the “we walk our own Camino,” but also that each person’s Camino is a very unique experience. Although we all share certain commonalities in experience as we walk, no two of us interpret the events in the same way. While the physical may be the biggest challenge for some, others are tried by the psychological or spiritual components of this very long journey. As I have mentioned a number of times, for me, the Camino experience is all about the people I meet along The Way. I could easily stay here in the Northeast and do a long walk, but I’m afraid the human component that makes the CF so special would be missing. Your point is well taken! As social animals, most of us enjoy a certain level of interacting with others. Whether breaking bread with fellow pilgrims at a communal dinner or sipping a pint of beer at a sidewalk cafe with acquaintances or treating yourself to a late night ice cream with some friends, I believe it will be these social moments that we best remember from our journeys, Camino or otherwise. As I now plan my return to Spain, one of my strongest motivators is that of knowing that the people I will meet along The Way will be why I went there in the first place. Sharing your experiences as you so honestly did has helped all of us walk our own Caminos. Take care my friend and Buen Camino.
     
    Last edited: Jun 15, 2018
  7. niallohagan

    niallohagan New Member

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    Thanks for replies guys. Im at a very early stage of planning as I’m hoping to do it between May and September next year. Given the fact I’m a pasty white red haired Irishman it’ll probably be May or September
     
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  8. RJS

    RJS Well-Known Member

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    No Problem Nial – Pleased to be of help

    I have walked Camino’s in both May and September and both are good options – May might ?? be the better choice as it can still get quite hot in September – But no guarantees ;-)

    I tend to use the little guidebooks published by the Confraternity of Saint James https://www.csj.org.uk/product/pilg...-jean-pied-de-port-to-santiago-de-compostela/ as these contain a lot of information about the route and in particular the facilities available in the cities, towns and villages that you pass through (Including accommodation options as well as info on the local transport) but don’t make recommendations on where you should stay, so unlike some other guides that break the route down into suggested stages, these don’t contribute to creating pinch-points.

    Good Luck and Buen Camino

    Rob
     
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  9. Bryan Morlock

    Bryan Morlock Pilgrim Bryan

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    Lots of good advice here. With your crossfit training you should probably be able to make it to Santo Domingo, but be sure to have a good pair of whatever you plan to wear on your feet, that they are well broke in and that your feet are very comfortable and secure in your footwear. Despite all of your crossfit training, try to find some steep, lengthy downhills on which to do some training walks. I handled all of the uphills fine, but the downhills are where I really had my issues. Giving the geography in my home area it would have been difficult for me to do extensive downhill training even if I had known beforehand the stress of the downhill sections. Flexibility is the key, rather than planning your trip out with a fixed destination. Plan the first two days, and then just let it come for the rest of the trip. Your experiences and the people you meet will help to determine just how far you go. And finally, enjoy!
     
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  10. BROWNCOUNTYBOB

    BROWNCOUNTYBOB Well-Known Member

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    Trekking poles are essential for steep uphill and downhill climbs. Easy to collapse them and attach to your backpack when you are walking flat stages, such as the meseta. Please order rubber tips to avoid the clack clacking on pavement which can be quite annoying to other pilgrims. Bob
     
  11. niallohagan

    niallohagan New Member

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    Cheers. I have he Mourne mountains fairly close by so will be doing a large part of my training there. Starting tomorrow actually
     
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