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John Donewar
(Newton) - MLife

Locale: Southeastern Louisiana
Camino de Santiago on 10/28/2013 10:33:34 MDT Print View

On my bucket list is a thru hike of the Camino de Santiago from St. Jean-Pied-du-Port to Santiago de Compostela.

Any information from anyone who has done the Camino would be appreciated. I'm allowing 18 - 24 months to organize and plan this pilgrimage.

There will be two of us doing the hike while our wives follow along pacing us hopefully on a bus tour if possible.

Information needed:

1.) The cost and how to keep it reasonable.

2.) Where to stay, hikers and our wives.

3.) Realistic time for completion, we'll be in our early sixties.

4.) Best time of year for good weather.

Thanks in advance,

Newton ;-)

Ben Crocker
(alexdrewreed) - M

Locale: Kentucky
Camino de Santiago on 10/28/2013 12:49:53 MDT Print View

Newton, my 19 year old son did it this past summer. He was on the trail in less than 2 months. He really liked the trail but, honestly, thought the hiking was quite easy. I think mileage was very easy for him. He could have done it faster if he wanted, but had plenty of time until school started.

He also really enjoyed this trail. He did the AT SOBO last year. This trip was much more social for him than his AT SOBO trip. He ate and slept in towns. He did no planning whatsoever. He took very little gear. I know he didn't take a shelter or even a stove. I'm not even sure he took a rain jacket. The weather was mild.

Not my experiences, but I hope this is some help.

John Donewar
(Newton) - MLife

Locale: Southeastern Louisiana
Re: Camino de Santiago on 10/28/2013 13:04:39 MDT Print View

Thank you Ben.

I have sent you a PM.

Newton ;-)

Ben Crocker
(alexdrewreed) - M

Locale: Kentucky
Camino de Santiago on 10/28/2013 13:13:45 MDT Print View

I will try to get him in touch with you. He is in Iceland now, but I'll see what I can do.

David Noll
(dpnoll) - MLife

Locale: Maroon Bells
Camino on 10/28/2013 14:28:49 MDT Print View

My wife, who is 61, did the Camino "Del Norte" this spring. She headed over on May 1 and got home June 18. That included 5 days in Madrid with friends at the end of the trip. If you want to contact her PM me and we can get something set up.

Dave

John Donewar
(Newton) - MLife

Locale: Southeastern Louisiana
Re: Camino on 10/28/2013 15:31:33 MDT Print View

PM will be sent.

Thanks Dave,

Newton ;-)

Jake D
(JakeDatc) - F

Locale: Bristol,RI
Re: Re: Camino on 10/28/2013 20:07:13 MDT Print View

A Local family did it this year and had a pretty extensive blog. they also raised a ton of money for the charity they raised money for.

http://www.girlsontheway.com/

can also find SkyWalker's book about him hiking it twice. gives a bit more of a backpackers style to it since he camped a lot more than most.

John Donewar
(Newton) - MLife

Locale: Southeastern Louisiana
Re: Re: Re: Camino on 10/29/2013 07:17:38 MDT Print View

Thanks Jake

Newton ;-)

David Halterman
(poedog) - F
The Way on 10/31/2013 11:53:40 MDT Print View

Martin Sheen did it spur of the moment.

John Donewar
(Newton) - MLife

Locale: Southeastern Louisiana
Re: Martin Sheen did it spur of the moment. on 10/31/2013 12:59:10 MDT Print View

poedog,

Yes he did.

But he had a production crew, cameramen, craft services, a dressing room and the ability to do retakes. Oh and I forgot to mention that much maligned unlimited credit card he was carrying. ;-)

Party On,

Newton ;-)

Donna C
(leadfoot) - M

Locale: Middle Virginia
Re: Re: Martin Sheen did it spur of the moment. on 11/01/2013 15:21:24 MDT Print View

I did the last half from Lyon onward during the beginning of June. If I did it again...I would go either the same time frame or September. Bed bugs can get bad during the summer. July busy...pilgrims want to get there on the feast day in July...

just Justin Whitson
(ArcturusBear)
Re: Camino de Santiago on 11/01/2013 21:48:13 MDT Print View

Hi John,

Wife and i hiked the Camino about 5 or 6 years ago, during the month of July. We didn't start in St. Jean, but a little further from the France border but still in the Pyrenees. Don't remember the name off the top of my head.

When you sign up as a Perigrino (spelling?) aka pilgrim, it entitles you to "deals" at the various different hostels/places to stay and even often restaurants. It's relatively cheap at most of these. I remember it ranging from about 4 euro to around 15 at most. Some places to sleep at are donativo, run on a donation basis. A number are connected to churches.

The actual hike is fairly easy, though i heard from some others that a number of people got some injuries right away when they started from St Jean because it's got some pretty steep downhill and your not yet in the rhythm, muscles etc, aren't warmed up, and some people go too fast at first.

Lot's of people i met had blisters at some point. I had a different system down than most, and didn't get a single blister.

Met plenty of people in their 50's, 60's, and occasionally even older, and plenty of them did in it the around 30 days which is average for most who are not more hard core hikers, young bucks, and the like. Most people seem to range from about 25 to 35 days (that we met and talked to).

Camping is very frowned on, and one person told me it was illegal. I had brought camping stuff, and we did camp a few times until we were told about that. When you're sleeping at the Hostels, definitely bring something like a silk sleep sack, or otherwise tightly woven, but light full covering to avoid issues like Donna mentioned.

Brush up on your Spanish before hand if you need it. One of my misconceptions was that a lot of Spaniards know English pretty well... well maybe in the cities, but not so much in the country. Course, there are various languages besides Spanish, and while some who don't normally speak it (like the Basque), well they do know it.

Best advice i could give, is go into with little preconception and just be open. Surrender, that beautiful Feminine word that is so foreign and difficult for most men.. The Spirit of the Camino was amazing, for me it was the best part, the sharing of meals, of stories, of friendship, openeness, kindness and helpfulness.

I'm more a relationship kind of person and more internally focused than many, and so i forget a lot of the names, places, and details of the outer stuff, but the connections and relationships are still fresh in my mind. I now have friends all over the world. The reason why we went to Quebec City, was to visit a couple of Camino friends (two different people not connected to each other).

I couldn't recommend it more, unless you're looking for a more purely nature, natural hike. There is plenty of nature, but there are points wherein you're walking through or around cities, which for me wasn't so nice especially after being in the more natural places. Getting to Galacia...wow amazing, very different feel, look, and even the people tend to look different--much more Celtic like and the land is much greener--almost reminiscent of Ireland in some ways.

If you would like more and better details, i can put you in touch with Becky (wife), she is much better at the places, names, and details kind of stuff than i (she is A LOT more outer focused than myself), and she has been to Spain 3 or 4 times now (but only once did the Camino).

Edited by ArcturusBear on 11/01/2013 21:49:26 MDT.

John Donewar
(Newton) - MLife

Locale: Southeastern Louisiana
Re: Re: Camino de Santiago on 11/02/2013 04:56:22 MDT Print View

Thank you very much, Justin.

Newton ;-)

Donna C
(leadfoot) - M

Locale: Middle Virginia
Re: Re: Re: Camino de Santiago on 11/02/2013 06:04:04 MDT Print View

John, this is a good website for lots of information. I used it to help me plan my trip.
http://www.caminoadventures.com/

Like Justin said, be open. Not once did I find myself without a room, even if we were turned away by an alberge (hostel). I used Body Glide on my feet and never even had a hot spot on my feet.

I don't speak Spanish and got along well with communicating to the locals. Somehow they understand what you need/want.

There are more private alberges now. Much more expensive, but a good alternative. I used a Deuter Dreamlite 500 bag..goes to 50 degrees and found it worked fine. Some offer washing machines at an extra cost, so you can get some things really clean. I just rotated shirts and undies each day by washing them the night before. Get quick dry clothes. You may want to use an umbrella on this walk. I did and it worked perfectly.

Up in the mountains you may get snow. Be prepared for some cold weather there.

People of all ages are on that walk. Have fun....it was truly an amazing experience!! They have THE best coffee and proscuitto. OMG...just the best. ( I don't know the Sapnish name for that ham but it was to die for)

Edited by leadfoot on 11/02/2013 06:06:37 MDT.

John Donewar
(Newton) - MLife

Locale: Southeastern Louisiana
Re: Re: Re: Re: Camino de Santiago on 11/03/2013 07:48:59 MST Print View

Donna,

Thanks for the address to the website.

It's also nice to know that I may not have to add a second language to my "kit" to be able to enjoy the experience.

I use one of Tim's down top quilts that is rated as low as 30 to 35 degrees and I can adjust for warmer temps by opening the footbox and / or keeping the clothing under the quilt on the light side.

"They have THE best coffee and prosciutto. OMG...just the best."

Breakfast, lunch or dinner or all three? ;-)

Newton

Michael Schwartz
(greenwalk) - MLife

Locale: PA & Ireland
Camino de Santiago on 11/03/2013 07:57:48 MST Print View

Listen to the following podcasts:

The Trail Show #17

The Outdoors Station #362 and 363

John Donewar
(Newton) - MLife

Locale: Southeastern Louisiana
Re: Camino de Santiago on 11/03/2013 08:04:50 MST Print View

Thank you Michael, I'll give them a listen. ;-)

Newton

Donna C
(leadfoot) - M

Locale: Middle Virginia
Re: Re: Camino de Santiago on 11/03/2013 11:46:54 MST Print View

The locals repected the pilgrams. My friend and I had a hard time finding one of the shells to follow in the city and an elderly lady made sure we were on the right track. She drew us a map with directions and guided us to the correct street. Just use your hands alot and the message will come across just fine.

Make sure you pay attention to ATM machines and bank hours. Some places are not open on certain days and the ATM's don't always work or only take certain cards in the more rural areas.

You may want to book a hotel room ahead of time in Santiago. But there is also a concierge of sorts in the Pilgrams office where you get your certificate and will help you find a room. I just wandered into a place and luckily got a private room with patio! it was so nice to take a shower....throw away my ratty clothes and put on a new outfit that I purchased in town.

If you need to bail out for any reason, there is a great bus system to get you where you need to go.

Check out the American Pilgrim website. They have a magazine for subscription. They also provide an American Pilgrim's passport as well.

http://www.americanpilgrims.com/

Edited by leadfoot on 11/03/2013 11:47:39 MST.

John Donewar
(Newton) - MLife

Locale: Southeastern Louisiana
Re: Re: Re: Camino de Santiago on 11/03/2013 16:51:07 MST Print View

Donna,

So much good information and suggestions, Thank you.

I will check out that website.

Newton