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Thinking of going

Discussion in 'General Chat' started by mosesmew, Sep 30, 2009.

  1. mosesmew

    mosesmew New Member

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    Hello, my name is Nancy,I just had my 55th,b'day. For a number of years I have been feeling I need to walk Camino. Since becoming 55 the desire/urge has become rather insistant. My question to all is,how do I even begin to plan this? Also I live in a very rural community miles from everywhere. The nearest Airport is 4 hours away in Halifax Nova Scotia. Any suggestions will be appreciated! Blessings Nancy
     
  2. Covey

    Covey Active Member

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    Your planning will be a lot easier because you have found this Forum!!

    Here we tend to concentrate on what you really need to know from a practical viewpoint, and we leave the "why" religious overtones to others.

    Most of the comments on this Forum come from those who have walked the Camino before, in many different ways. Some will just walk a section each year, but most do the whole route in one hit.

    The majority start on the Camino Frances from St Jean Pied du Port in France and end up either in Santiago or Finisterre. There are other routes such as from Lisbon in Portugal, or you can start from anywhere along the published routes.

    You can walk as fast as you want, or as slowly as you need to. There is no set schedule which you have to meet, and you can start and finish whenever you want.

    You will normally sleep in Albergues which allow you to stay one night and the next day you walk to the next one, or the one after depending on how you feel. It is your Camino, and you walk it your way!!

    St Jean to Santiago can be done in 30 days if you are fit, or longer if you are not. It is probably better to allow for a 6 week trip which allows for the travel to and from home and some rest days along the trail.

    You do not need book the Albergues to sleep in, you just pitch up.

    There are numerous posts here covering what kit you need, how much money, medical matters etc etc.

    If you have a question, just ask. All of us who have walked the Camino before asked the same questions you are thinking about before our first swing down the trail.

    Buen Camino:D
     
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  3. mosesmew

    mosesmew New Member

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    Thanks!

    I will begin this "journey",by firstly getting a map of Spain. I have never done anything like this EVER, I need to figure which Airport I should land from Halifax Canada, that would out me closest to the beginning of the walk.I would be foolsih to say I'm not without a bit of hesitation,ie;being alone so far from home etc,After reading alot of the posts here,I feel so reassured! You are a wonderful group of folks! Blessings Nancy
     
  4. Covey

    Covey Active Member

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    Having bought your map of Spain, you need to plan how to get there!

    If you want to start at St Jean Pied Du Port, that little town is actually in France tucked in at the base of the Pyrenees.

    By air, the nearest airport is Bairritz which is on the Atlantic coast of France just north of the border with Spain. From Bairritz you catch a bus from the airport (20 minutes) to the train station at Bayonne, and from there you catch the local train (1hr) to St Jean. From St Jean, you walk the 800kms (a little bit longer!) to Santiago!!

    To get to Bairritz, there are daily flights from Dublin (Ireland), London and Paris. You will have to work out the cheapest and most convenient way to get to Bairritz by air, and you can also get the high speed French TGV train from Paris to Bayonne.

    An alternative is to start from Pamplona. To get there it is easier to aim for Madrid from Canada and then catch a train or coach from Madrid to Pamplona. A Pamplona start saves 3-4 days walk from St Jean and the hike over the Pyrenees to Roncesvalles.

    Once you have started, you just walk the Camino at whatever pace suits you!

    You might find it easier to get a return flight from Halifax NS to London, and then catch the Ryanair flight from London to Bairritz outbound and then back to London from Santiago also with Ryanair.

    Have fun with the planning:D:D:D
     
  5. mosesmew

    mosesmew New Member

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    Phew! Guess I have alot of "planning". Blessings & Thanks again, N
     
  6. Covey

    Covey Active Member

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    Various nations have an official association with its links to Santiago and for Canada it is the Canadian Company of Pilgrims.

    Canadian Company of Pilgrims

    There you will find lots of helpful advice and they can issue you with your Pilgrim Passport. This document allows you to use the albergues and is stamped every night to record your progress along the Way.

    When you get to the Cathedral at Santiago, you take your Pilgrim Passport to the Pilgrim Office just behind the Cathedral and they will issue you with your Compostella.
     
  7. mosesmew

    mosesmew New Member

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    Once again, I Thank-you! I'll keep you "posted"! Blessings N:D
     
  8. Waterfall

    Waterfall New Member

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    Hello Nancy. My name is Debora and I am from Canada as well, but from much further north in Nunavut near the Arctic Circle. I am planning on going around mid April 2010. If you are going the same time of year we could meet in Europe and start the trail together. I like to solo hike for the most part but am looking forward to the community of this trail. I have long distanced hiked before on the Appalachian Trial which is over 2,000 miles long which means I can give lots of tips about sore feet :)

    Waterfall
     
  9. mosesmew

    mosesmew New Member

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    Hi Debora, I'm walking in late August & September.My Friend Kerry Lawson teaches yoga in Nunavut/have you met her? Wow, sounds as though you're a "seasoned-hiker"! The Appalachian Trail will be the next to check off on my Bucket-list! At 55 I have just started to "live my way"! I wish you Blessings and a wonerful Camino! Keep me informed! Nancy
     
  10. Villagejonesy

    Villagejonesy New Member

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    Hi Nancy/Mosesmew, buen Camino! I took the Camino, though I had only ever HEARD of it one time before this year, on a two-minute segment on the Rick Steves travel show. So I only had two weeks, once I'd decided to do it, to get all my planning together. One interesting thing is that, like you, I thought, "oh, the first thing I must have is a map!" But somehow, that is the one thing I never managed to buy before leaving! However, since you follow the signs people paint on the trails, I found that I never even needed it. You just show up at the Tourist Information offices, and they usually have a list of albergues (hostels), with a little map with a line showing the next 100 or 200 kilometers you need to walk, and the towns you'll visit. So I never needed a map at all, beyond those little planners the offices gave out. Here are the things I found most important:

    --GOOD BOOTS! Spend an hour or two in the camping store, trying out every boot, until you find a comfortable pair!
    --GOOD SOCKS! Are almost as important as the boots--get thick merino wool ones, if possible.
    --GOOD BACKPACK! Again, take an hour or two shopping, to be careful, and get a well-balanced backpack, that will take strain off your back. I, and many others, found the Osprey backpacks to be the best, but you'll come to your own decision.

    Those are the number-one most important things, I think! Besides that:

    --I rarely used my compass, but the one or two times I needed to, it was a godsend
    --Buy a little cellphone at the start of the trip (if you start from Pamplona, I think there's an El Corte Ingles department store, where you can buy a phone and put minutes on it, for maybe 30 euros); the public phones in the bars can be very temperamental and hard to hear people on
    --Get a small first-aid kit, with good blister remedies (and by the way, don't ever pop your blisters--if you pop them, they burn like fire, but if you just keep walking on them, then by the time they pop, the skin underneath the blister will have toughened so that it doesn't hurt as much)
    --I got a perfectly waterproof, light windbreaker, so that I didn't have to have a heavy jacket, or a heavy umbrella; just put the hood over my head, and that kept me pretty well dry (not perfectly, there were a few days when it soaked through, but mostly it was great)
    --Get a waterproof poncho that drapes over your bag, for the rain
    --Maybe some rain pants, too, to go over your pants
    --Get only super-lightweight clothing, from the camping store; get long underwear, so that you can layer up when it's cold
    --Get a micro-fiber towel, which dries super-fast; again, the HUGE weight of a normal towel will be too much, and the micro-fiber towels usually dry just hanging on your backpack
    --DON'T bring too many things like pots and pans or cooking supplies; just a camping fork, spoon and knife (I found a nice, tough plastic spork and a wide plastic knife that doubled as a spatula), a cup and/or plastic bowl, and your water jug (I used a Camelbak, which is lighter than a metal or thick plastic water jug, and you can have the nozzle right by your mouth, rather than having to stop and take out the jug every time you drink; get a nozzle protector too, so that the Camelbak nozzle doesn't drag on the ground)
    --Bring a good sleeping bag!

    I think that's it--I hope this wasn't too wordy! Good luck and Buen Camino!
     
  11. Villagejonesy

    Villagejonesy New Member

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    A note on the signs along the way: if you start in France, you'll see red and white stripes, at every crossroads along the Camino, to point the way; in Spain, it's yellow arrows. In France, there'll be a red and white stripe, making an = sign, that means "go this way." If you see a diagonal cross in yellow, or red and white, then it means "wrong way, don't go this way." If you see the red and white sign with one horizontal line, but one L-shaped line, that means "you'll turn (right or left) soon."

    Usually, with only a few exceptions (unscrupulous albergue owners misdirect you once or twice! But only once or twice), once in a while there'll be a yellow arrow saying "Camino," and another yellow arrow pointing a different direction saying "Albergue." This means that if you're continuing and not stopping to rest yet, take the "Camino" arrow; if you're stopping for the night, take the "Albergue" arrow.

    These signs are constantly with you, all the hundreds of miles of the Camino, at just about every single crossroads. This is why I rarely needed a map, the whole way along. Tip: in the countryside, it's usually very easy to follow. The only times it was confusing were when 1) you were in a bigger city or town (be very careful and take your time looking around at the crossroads; as a Frenchman told me, "take five minutes looking, to save an hour being lost!"); and 2) when you reach a highway roundabout or crossroads. Take a minute to make sure, before you blaze through. Good luck!
     
  12. NikosP

    NikosP New Member

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    I have completed 300 miles of the Camino de Santiago (part of the English route) last June with my autistic son - this was for charity for people with special needs. I am similar age to you and it was the most amazing experience of my life. I have taken 1,200 photos and have bought a couple of fantastic books. Although its an amazing adventure it must not be underestimated and planning is extremely important. Time, fitness, shoes, clothing, money are some of the factors that you need to take into consideration. Don't hesitate to ask and I would be happy to help if I can.

    Good Luck,
    Nikos
     
  13. Heather L

    Heather L New Member

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    HI! I too am in my 50's and spending hours researching. What happened to the Don't take money, a purse or a staff? This is a lot of planning! I'm thinking of going through Portugal and stopping in Fatima, since it's the 100th anniversary this year. I have a question, and not sure which board to put it on. I read in another posting about ancient pilgrims going for other people. Our pastor is a wonderful man, but is getting up there and has decided that he really can't. Is there a way to have a prayer partner accompany you? does this make sense?
     
  14. danvo

    danvo Super Moderator Staff Member

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    @Heather L I'm sure that you will find many fellow pilgrims for Portugal route+Fatima. For now check new post from @SimLin :)
     
  15. RJS

    RJS Well-Known Member

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    Hi Heather and welcome to the forum



    I also came across this on my first Camino, The Camino Frances when we met up with a young Polish Lass, her name was Asia, she was walking The Camino Frances for her parents and grandparents who were unable to walk the Camino for themselves, as when they would have been able to, Poland was behind the Iron Curtain with most inhabitants unable to travel.

    However, I don’t know if she was doing this in any sort of Official Way – Or just “From the Heart” !!??

    Good Luck and Buen Camino

    Rob
     
  16. UnkleHammy

    UnkleHammy Well-Known Member

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    For an unusual set of pictures of the Camino, there are many pictures taken by pilgrims available on Google Earth. They were placed there by those that took them and are not always on the correct locations.
     
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