The cost of walking el Camino de Santiago

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pezblanco
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Re: The cost of walking el Camino de Santiago

Post by pezblanco » Fri Sep 22, 2017 5:57 pm

camper1 wrote:
Fri Sep 22, 2017 4:34 pm
I remember reading this thread years ago and thought someday....well my wife and I have an opportunity to be in Spain next July and may be able to take a week to walk the last 100 km of the Camino. Also a possibility that one or two of our teenage-college age kids may be able to make the trip. I reread the thread and have read some online sites concerning the 100km section from Sarria to Santiago on the Camino Frances. I'm a little discouraged by some of the websites which say its wall-to-wall people in July and lodging will be difficult to find. Some made it sound like Disney world with all the tourist.

Here are my concerns:

Lodging:
As a married couple should we plan on private/hotel lodging and private rooms (also may include 1-2 kids) Would this take away from the experience? We would like the experience of meeting others and don't expect solitude, but also want some quite and rest. The Boglehead in me also wants to know if lodging and food prices are much higher during this time because it is "peak season"?

Would this busy section and being July require us to make advanced lodging reservations? How would you suggest we research and choose lodging, or do we just "go with the experience" and not make reservations? (which sounds adventurous, but prefer not to end up sleeping on the side of a road :D )

Crowds:
Is July so crowded that we should possibly consider one of the less traveled routes to Santiago? I have read of other routes, but we also don't want to feel we are alone and missing the pilgrim experience of the Camino Frances, as this may be our only opportunity. We also don't want to feel like we are packed like sardines. Has anyone walked the final sections of any of the other caminos in July? Were there many other pilgrims?

My initial thoughts are that even though it may be the worst time of year to go, hot, crowded, and only a small part of the camino, it's an opportunity that may not come again.

Would love to hear the thoughts of Victoria or anyone else who has advice/suggestions.
The Camino de Santiago has become (because of the hype) a "bucket list" sort of destination for the masses. It represents (in my opinion) some of the worst hiking, and some of the worst possible experiences one can have in a very beautiful part of Spain. It will be very crowded, the food along the way is mostly not very good and very high priced. Lodging in July will be very difficult. Santiago, when you get there, will be a ZOO. Do yourself a favor and do something else. If you really want to walk in Spain, do the GR 11 through the Pyrenees ... if you insist on doing the Camino, don't do the Camino Frances ... do the Primitivo or the Camino del Norte route along the ocean in Asturias. But, if you just have to get your ridiculous piece of paper, the "Compostela" you will have to walk that last little bit that you are proposing. I got mine and thought, what an idiot I am .... I will never ever ever do this again. I've lived on and off in Spain for many years and have hiked all over the country, including the routes that I have suggested to you.

Please Google, "Truth About The Camino de Santiago", Why the Camino de Santiago Sucks" etc etc .... good luck in whatever decision you make.

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VictoriaF
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Re: The cost of walking el Camino de Santiago

Post by VictoriaF » Fri Sep 22, 2017 7:56 pm

camper1 wrote:
Fri Sep 22, 2017 4:34 pm
I remember reading this thread years ago and thought someday....well my wife and I have an opportunity to be in Spain next July and may be able to take a week to walk the last 100 km of the Camino. Also a possibility that one or two of our teenage-college age kids may be able to make the trip. I reread the thread and have read some online sites concerning the 100km section from Sarria to Santiago on the Camino Frances. I'm a little discouraged by some of the websites which say its wall-to-wall people in July and lodging will be difficult to find. Some made it sound like Disney world with all the tourist.
I walked the Camino Frances in 2015 and 2016. Both times I started in the Pyrenees in early to middle April and ended in Santiago in May. The last 100 km in Galicia were not particularly hot, but the number of people after Sarria was noticeably higher. I cringe from the comparison of the Camino with Disney World but it's definitely crowded and lodging is more difficult to get in summer.

If you have time only in July, perhaps you would consider walking the first 100-200 km of Camino Frances to get more authentic experience and then taking a train to see Santiago.
camper1 wrote:
Fri Sep 22, 2017 4:34 pm
Here are my concerns:

Lodging:
As a married couple should we plan on private/hotel lodging and private rooms (also may include 1-2 kids) Would this take away from the experience? We would like the experience of meeting others and don't expect solitude, but also want some quite and rest. The Boglehead in me also wants to know if lodging and food prices are much higher during this time because it is "peak season"?
Municipal and parochial lodging prices are the same year around and the food aimed at pilgrims is inexpensive. Private albergues probably charge more in summer. I stayed only in dorms (albergues) and saw many married couples and dating couples on neighboring bunk beds. I have also heard that some pilgrims travel in style. There is a 5-star hotel somewhere in Galicia. Customers stay there overnight, in the morning a bus takes them to the point they stopped the previous day, and at the end of the day the bus picks them up and delivers back to a luxury hotel.

I've heard about this arrangement from a South African hospitaliero who had a remarkable story. He was diagnosed with a serious disease, quit his job, bought a service building on the Camino, rebuilt it, turned it into an albergue ... and later found himself without the disease. He was not cured by the miracle of the Camino, he was misdiagnosed. He is a very interesting man with a gift for creating a wonderful atmosphere at the dinner he cooks himself. I paid 10 or 12 Euros to stay at his place and had a better experience than if I paid 300 Euros at a 5-star hotel. That night I also met a retired British officer and his wife and we were running into each other for several more days. The officer had many good stories, too.

My biased opinion is that my experience was more authentic.
camper1 wrote:
Fri Sep 22, 2017 4:34 pm
Would this busy section and being July require us to make advanced lodging reservations? How would you suggest we research and choose lodging, or do we just "go with the experience" and not make reservations? (which sounds adventurous, but prefer not to end up sleeping on the side of a road :D )
Municipal and parochial albergues do not take reservations, they are first come-first served. People who want to travel as a group do make reservations in private albergues. When I stayed in private albergues on a few occasions I saw groups of 4 to 6 people. They seemed to prefer to walk together as a group and not interested in interacting with others. I found that staying in public albergues was not only cheaper but also more fun.

I walked the Camino without telephone, computer, or other communications, and thus making reservations was not even an option for me. Normally, I was starting walking between 07:30 and 08:00 am and ending between 13:00 and 14:00 (1-2 pm). I was always able to get a bunk bed, and in most cases the lower bunk bed.
camper1 wrote:
Fri Sep 22, 2017 4:34 pm
Crowds:
Is July so crowded that we should possibly consider one of the less traveled routes to Santiago? I have read of other routes, but we also don't want to feel we are alone and missing the pilgrim experience of the Camino Frances, as this may be our only opportunity. We also don't want to feel like we are packed like sardines. Has anyone walked the final sections of any of the other caminos in July? Were there many other pilgrims?
I decided not to walk other Caminos for the following reasons:
1. they have fewer people, but they also have less facilities
2. albergues are fairly far spaced
3. you have to make reservations

For example, on Camino Frances, I could walk any distance, as low as 5 km/day, and in fact I had some days when I walked only 5 km. My average distance was 18 km/day. On other Caminos you have days when you have to walk at least 20-25 km before you reach the next lodging.

Consider walking the first part of the Camino, e.g., from Pamplona to Lion.
camper1 wrote:
Fri Sep 22, 2017 4:34 pm
My initial thoughts are that even though it may be the worst time of year to go, hot, crowded, and only a small part of the camino, it's an opportunity that may not come again.

Would love to hear the thoughts of Victoria or anyone else who has advice/suggestions.
Hope my comments help. Buen Camino!

Victoria
Last edited by VictoriaF on Fri Sep 22, 2017 8:11 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: The cost of walking el Camino de Santiago

Post by finite_difference » Fri Sep 22, 2017 8:06 pm

A few questions, sorry if they have been answered.

1. So you pre-planned each day how far you would walk, and where you would sleep that night?

2. What about taking a shower -- the public hostels had only public showers? Could not walk all day without a shower, and would not want to shower in a public facility :)

3. How were the 4 euro breakfasts and 10 euro dinners?

4. How much training did you need to do beforehand to handle 42 days of walking (almost 500 miles)?
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Re: The cost of walking el Camino de Santiago

Post by VictoriaF » Fri Sep 22, 2017 8:26 pm

finite_difference wrote:
Fri Sep 22, 2017 8:06 pm
A few questions, sorry if they have been answered.

1. So you pre-planned each day how far you would walk, and where you would sleep that night?

2. What about taking a shower -- the public hostels had only public showers? Could not walk all day without a shower, and would not want to shower in a public facility :)

3. How were the 4 euro breakfasts and 10 euro dinners?

4. How much training did you need to do beforehand to handle 42 days of walking (almost 500 miles)?
Here are answers about my experience:
1. I had a book by John Brierley that breaks Camino Frances into 33 stages, and includes a map and a description for each stage. I used Brierley's book as a guide but usually deviated from his suggestions. I walked less than Brierley's recommendations and Instead of 33 days, I spent 42 days. I had large time reserves and could have stretched it even further. Other people had very little time and deviated from Brierley by walking more every day.

2. In public hostels there are public showers. Sometimes they are separate for men and women, but more frequently unisex. Inside the shower stall you are by yourself. But I remember one place where you undress in a common area before you enter the shower, and the common area was unisex. I was hesitating undressing in a public place, but then another woman has stripped her clothes as it was the most normal thing to do and I followed her lead.

3. I usually had my own breakfasts. The night before I would buy some yogurt and fruits and keep them in an albergue's refrigerator, if it had one. Along the Camino, I liked to order eggs for breakfast. Unlike most other pilgrims I was minimizing my carbs. 10-12 Euro pilgrim's dinners were spectacular. It was a lot of food which tasted great after a day of hard walk. A bottle of red wine was included in the price.

4. Before my first Camino I practiced walking with a backpack for 2-4 hours at a time to make sure that I could do it. But after my first Camino I realized that it was not a big deal. The critical distance is not the length of the Camino but the distance you walk every day, and I had enough time reserves to stop whenever I felt I had enough for the day. My backpack was 20-22 pounds, depending on the amount of food and water. I always carried my pack myself, with a single exception. On my second Camino, I started on the French side of the Pyrenees, and paid for my pack to be delivered to Spain on the day when I was crossing the mountains. It's a very difficult day in any weather, but I was doing it after a large snow storm, on the first day when the Napoleon Route opened, and did not want to make it even more difficult by carrying the pack.

Another critical point: Make sure that you have comfortable boots, 1 to 1.5 sizes larger than what you think you need. When you walk a lot with a backpack, your feet stretch, and previously fitting boots become to small. I saw people who were not able to wear their boots and switched to sandals. Sandals were dangerous on steep declines where the trail was treacherous even in boots.

Victoria
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Re: The cost of walking el Camino de Santiago

Post by camper1 » Fri Sep 22, 2017 9:59 pm

VictoriaF wrote:
Fri Sep 22, 2017 7:56 pm



Consider walking the first part of the Camino, e.g., from Pamplona to Lion.

This is an idea I have not considered! Could you recommend a good section that would include 4-5 days of walking that would take into consideration the heat and crowds in July? We are in good shape and would be interested in a stretch that would have a good variety of terrain, less paved and more rural and include more aspects of the camino experience? I could see taking a train/bus to the destination town, leaving our luggage and taking train/bus to starting point. After the walk, we could then travel to Santiago de Compostela if we have time. We have visited the city previously and attended the Pilgrims Mass as tourist and always hoped to do the camino someday, but perhaps this is an option we should consider.

I would be interested in some suggested starting and ending points to consider for further research. Thanks for the suggestion.

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Re: The cost of walking el Camino de Santiago

Post by VictoriaF » Sat Sep 23, 2017 11:32 am

camper1 wrote:
Fri Sep 22, 2017 9:59 pm
VictoriaF wrote:
Fri Sep 22, 2017 7:56 pm
Consider walking the first part of the Camino, e.g., from Pamplona to Lion.
This is an idea I have not considered! Could you recommend a good section that would include 4-5 days of walking that would take into consideration the heat and crowds in July? We are in good shape and would be interested in a stretch that would have a good variety of terrain, less paved and more rural and include more aspects of the camino experience? I could see taking a train/bus to the destination town, leaving our luggage and taking train/bus to starting point. After the walk, we could then travel to Santiago de Compostela if we have time. We have visited the city previously and attended the Pilgrims Mass as tourist and always hoped to do the camino someday, but perhaps this is an option we should consider.

I would be interested in some suggested starting and ending points to consider for further research. Thanks for the suggestion.
According to the stages proposed in John Brierley's books, which many people use as a default:
- Pamplona to Logrono = 4 days
- Pamplona to Burgos = 9 days
- Burgos to Leon = 8 days
- Pamplona to Leon = 17 days

I usually arrive to Madrid, travel by train to Pamplona, stay in Pamplona overnight, and then take a bus: to Roncesvalles in 2015 and to St Jean in 2016. As you will be short on time, you could start in Pamplona, which is a wonderful city and is well connected by train.

Leon has a well located train station, and so if you end in Leon, you can easily walk to a train to Santiago. I think that Burgos's train station is a bit away, probably reachable by taxi. Burgos is another city on the Camino that I liked a lot. I am not familiar with train transportation out of Logrono.

If you start in Pamplona you will join other pilgrims who are just starting out and more likely to feel like a "real pilgrim". In April-May there were fewer people in early stages than in later stages, but I don't know if this holds in summer. You will need to have a Credential, i.e., "Pilgrim Passport," to be admitted to pilgrims' albergues. If you start in the early part of the Camino, you may decide to come back next year and continue from where you stopped the last time.

If you are in good physical shape and want to have the best experience, consider an alternative of walking from Saint Jean Pied de Port, the "true" beginning of Camino Frances, to Pamplona. Starting at SJPP will put you in the midst of "Camino freshmen" and you will get into the real Camino spirit. But with this option, you need to make several decisions, starting with how you'll get to SJPP. As I mentioned, I go through Pamplona and spend several days getting to SJPP and staying there to get over the jetlag. If your time is limited, you could arrive to Pamplona by train and take a taxi to SJPP the same day, which could be expensive. Note that Pamplona and Roncesvalles are in Spain, and SJPP is in France.

Then you have to decide how to walk back from SJPP to Roncesvalles. In 2016, I broke this stage in two and spent a night at a private mountain albergue Orisson. If you decide to do the same, you will spend two walking days between SJPP and Roncesvalles and then two more days to Pamplona. This would fit your time limits and give you a real pilgrim experience. However:
- You will need to make reservations in Orisson well in advance (I reserved my April stay in November)
- SJPP may be very crowded in summer.
- The day of crossing the Pyrenees is very strenuous in April (based on my experience and that of others in my cohorts). It's probably easier in July when you don't have to deal with walking in snow, not seeing trail in snow, and not having hurricane force winds. If you decided to go from SJPP to Roncesvalles in one day that would simplify your planning by not depending on Orisson reservations.
- You could also walk from SJPP to Roncesvalles in one day by not taking the Napoleon Route. It's easier and the alternative route has more overnight lodging options. But I consider the Napoleon Route the rite of passage. In 2015, I had a Napoleonic complex for not taking the Napoleon Route, and it became my priority for 2016.
- If you go directly from SJPP to Roncesvalles in one day, you will have time to walk for 1-2 extra days beyond Pamplona. Small villages in which you will be staying overnight may not have train stations, but you may be able to take a cab either back to Pamplona or forward to Logrono.

Hope this helps,
Victoria
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Re: The cost of walking el Camino de Santiago

Post by camper1 » Sat Sep 23, 2017 12:54 pm

Victoria, could you comment on your impressions of the Astorga to Sarria section? We will be in Salamanca and this looks to be a pretty accessible section from there. Several websites mention this section (or start at Leon) for a good experience. I would assume the crowds will be smaller if exiting at Sarria.

Also, thank you for your insights and comments! I will be picking up the John Brierley book you recommended.

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Re: The cost of walking el Camino de Santiago

Post by VictoriaF » Sat Sep 23, 2017 2:18 pm

camper1 wrote:
Sat Sep 23, 2017 12:54 pm
Victoria, could you comment on your impressions of the Astorga to Sarria section? We will be in Salamanca and this looks to be a pretty accessible section from there. Several websites mention this section (or start at Leon) for a good experience. I would assume the crowds will be smaller if exiting at Sarria.
camper1,

There are no "bad" sections on the Camino. Some people who are short on time skip Meseta between Hornillos (stage 13) and Leon (stage 20) by taking a bus. But I had some wonderful experiences in that part, too, including spending a night at Ermita de San Nicolas (stage 15), where I had a community dinner in candlelight with wine, guitars and dancing, and then slept in the main area of the church (the bathroom and shower were outside).

Astorga to Sarria are stages 22 to 28, or a 6-day walk according to Brierley's schedule. Astorga is a beautiful city which attracts tourists apart from pilgrims and it will be crowded. You will have a large climb to O'Cebreiro (stage 26), which is a good physical experience, and is usually cool, but O'Cebreiro itself was crowded even in April, because it's easily reachable by tourist buses.

The key to my previous recommendation is that the earlier on the Camino Frances you start, the easier it would be for you to become a part of a peer group and make friends with others experiencing the Camino for the first time. By the time I got to Astorga I've already met so many people that my social capacity became saturated and I was gravitating to the people I already knew. Also, we had common memories of crossing the Pyrenees, or recalling a drunk guy who fell off the top bunk in Roncesvalles, or getting soaked in thunderstorms.
camper1 wrote:
Sat Sep 23, 2017 12:54 pm
Also, thank you for your insights and comments! I will be picking up the John Brierley book you recommended.
Brierley has several books. I have his thin book which is mostly maps and a thicker book which also includes descriptions of the path and albergues. If you are only researching the Camino, you can buy a cheaper old used version of these books on Amazon. If you are planning to use it soon, make sure to buy the latest version. Brierley is updating them every year, and you will want to know about new albergues, new by-pass routes, and other changes. When you are traveling by foot and carrying a backpack, every unnecessary kilometer is really annoying.

Victoria
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Re: The cost of walking el Camino de Santiago

Post by dphilipps » Sat Sep 23, 2017 5:03 pm

VictoriaF wrote:
Sat Sep 23, 2017 2:18 pm
camper1 wrote:
Sat Sep 23, 2017 12:54 pm
Victoria, could you comment on your impressions of the Astorga to Sarria section? We will be in Salamanca and this looks to be a pretty accessible section from there. Several websites mention this section (or start at Leon) for a good experience. I would assume the crowds will be smaller if exiting at Sarria.
camper1,

There are no "bad" sections on the Camino. Some people who are short on time skip Meseta between Hornillos (stage 13) and Leon (stage 20) by taking a bus. But I had some wonderful experiences in that part, too, including spending a night at Ermita de San Nicolas (stage 15), where I had a community dinner in candlelight with wine, guitars and dancing, and then slept in the main area of the church (the bathroom and shower were outside).
I did the Camino Frances a few years ago and enjoyed it, mainly because of the people I met along the way. If you are looking for a true hiking experience, however, you will be disappointed. Much of it is a mind-numbing slog through monotonous fields. I rented a mountain bike in Burgos to cross the flat Meseta because I would have otherwise lost my mind. After Leon, you’ll encounter many stretches on paved sidewalks along busy roads, through suburbs, past malls and car dealerships. After Sarria, the Camino resembles The March of the Penguins and the albergues, which are already overcrowded on the earlier parts, become full-blown ghettos (This was in June; spring and fall may be quieter, although many facilities close during off-season). I wasn’t walking during a “Holy Year,” but heard it gets even worse then.

There are some gems, though: Crossing of the Pyrenees SJPP to Roncesvalles on Day 1 was brilliant, and the ascent to O Cebreiro later on was also enjoyable (the latter helped by the stylish, newly-built municipal albergue on top of the mountain, and a delicious meal of polpo gallego). If you just want to spend a week or so on the “best” part of this trail, I’d recommend SJPP to Burgos. Burgos is well worth visiting, as well as halfway point Pamplona. Forget about boots and wear trail runners instead, or lightweight hiking shoes. Pack light! This cannot be overstated. If your backpack weighs more than 10lbs (without food and water), you are taking too much. Your empty pack alone should not weigh more than 2lbs. A 35-liter pack is plenty.

I second Victoria’s recommendation of the Ermita de San Nicolas; another one I loved was the parochial albergue in Grañon.

Avoid staying overnight at the monestary in Samos, unless you wish to atone for some horrific sin. You might want to give Leon's nun-run albergue a miss, as well.

For a more “authentic” Camino, I’d recommend the French trail that starts in Le-Puy-en-Velay (the GR-65). The section from Le Puy to Conques leads through one of the most beautiful parts of France (about a week-long hike). It helps to speak a bit of French, as 90% of the pilgrims are French and you may miss out on the social aspects otherwise –- the “classic” Camino Frances through Spain is much more international and you’ll be okay with just English. The Le Puy Camino is also more of a “religious pilgrim” experience, for better or worse.

If you’re looking for European long-distance hikes that aren’t pilgrim-themed, but still accessible to beginning hikers, check out the Stevenson Trail (GR-70), which also starts in Le Puy and leads towards the South of France through the Cevennes -– the least-populated region of France, and is stunningly beautiful as well (no worries, despite its relative remoteness, there are plenty of accommodation choices).

Buon Camino (or Bon Chemin)!

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Re: The cost of walking el Camino de Santiago

Post by livesoft » Sat Sep 23, 2017 6:00 pm

My spouse said she spent about 200 euros a day in May 2016 and stayed in the some very fine hotels which were reached by being picked up from the Camino by her guide in a van. The next morning she was deposited by the van to about the same place. She only needed a fanny pack and a water bottle while walking with her friends. Not my kind of hiking, but it's one way to do things.
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Re: The cost of walking el Camino de Santiago

Post by friar1610 » Sun Sep 24, 2017 11:15 am

Victoria,

I missed this thread the first time around but have read it on the rebound. Fascinating and thank you for posting it.
Friar1610

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Re: The cost of walking el Camino de Santiago

Post by Lynette » Sun Sep 24, 2017 11:30 am

livesoft wrote:
Sat Sep 23, 2017 6:00 pm
My spouse said she spent about 200 euros a day in May 2016 and stayed in the some very fine hotels which were reached by being picked up from the Camino by her guide in a van. The next morning she was deposited by the van to about the same place. She only needed a fanny pack and a water bottle while walking with her friends. Not my kind of hiking, but it's one way to do things.
Now that is what I call class :D For how many days did she walk?

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Re: The cost of walking el Camino de Santiago

Post by livesoft » Sun Sep 24, 2017 11:34 am

She spent a lot of time in Spain, but was only on the Camino for about 8 days ending in Santiago.
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Re: The cost of walking el Camino de Santiago

Post by finite_difference » Mon Sep 25, 2017 12:40 pm

Thanks VictoriaF. The fact that the auberges (inns) have private showers and good food makes it sound really nice. Hmm I have my first bucket list item.
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Re: The cost of walking el Camino de Santiago

Post by VictoriaF » Mon Sep 25, 2017 12:44 pm

finite_difference wrote:
Mon Sep 25, 2017 12:40 pm
Thanks VictoriaF. The fact that the auberges (inns) have private showers and good food makes it sound really nice. Hmm I have my first bucket list item.
finite_difference,

Perhaps, I was not clear. Showers in albergues are not private, but shower stalls are. Think of a college dorm, except that in many albergues showers are unisex. If you are interested in girl watching, this offers unprecedented opportunities. Otherwise, it is means to get clean after walking for many hours, sometimes in a dust caked on your sweat.

Victoria
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Re: The cost of walking el Camino de Santiago

Post by Nicolas » Mon Sep 25, 2017 7:16 pm

VictoriaF wrote:
Mon Sep 25, 2017 12:44 pm
finite_difference wrote:
Mon Sep 25, 2017 12:40 pm
Thanks VictoriaF. The fact that the auberges (inns) have private showers and good food makes it sound really nice. Hmm I have my first bucket list item.
finite_difference,

Perhaps, I was not clear. Showers in albergues are not private, but shower stalls are. Think of a college dorm, except that in many albergues showers are unisex. If you are interested in girl watching, this offers unprecedented opportunities. Otherwise, it is means to get clean after walking for many hours, sometimes in a dust caked on your sweat.

Victoria
I don't think it's unprecedented. If you've been to certain beaches in Spain I think you could say it's precedented.

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Re: The cost of walking el Camino de Santiago

Post by VictoriaF » Mon Sep 25, 2017 7:20 pm

Nicolas wrote:
Mon Sep 25, 2017 7:16 pm
VictoriaF wrote:
Mon Sep 25, 2017 12:44 pm
finite_difference wrote:
Mon Sep 25, 2017 12:40 pm
Thanks VictoriaF. The fact that the auberges (inns) have private showers and good food makes it sound really nice. Hmm I have my first bucket list item.
finite_difference,

Perhaps, I was not clear. Showers in albergues are not private, but shower stalls are. Think of a college dorm, except that in many albergues showers are unisex. If you are interested in girl watching, this offers unprecedented opportunities. Otherwise, it is means to get clean after walking for many hours, sometimes in a dust caked on your sweat.

Victoria
I don't think it's unprecedented. If you've been to certain beaches in Spain I think you could say it's precedented.
I stand corrected. Now that you've mentioned it, I recall that I once stumbled on a beach like that in Brittany when I was doing long-distance walking on one of the French GRs.

Victoria
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camper1
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Joined: Wed Jan 01, 2014 12:39 pm

Re: The cost of walking el Camino de Santiago

Post by camper1 » Sun Oct 15, 2017 3:41 pm

Just finished securing our flights to Spain and know the dates we can do a (very) short portion of the Camino Frances!

Taking Victoria's advice and will try to find a 3 day section toward the Pomplona area of the camino. Unfortunately, we have some constraints due to other commitments and flight times which leaves us with the following:
July 7 depart from Salamanca to wherever we decide to start camino (approx.6-8 hours travel time by bus or train)
July 8 Early start on camino
July 9 on camino
July 10 on camino
July 11 Need to take early bus or train to Barcelona

I know this is just a small taste of the camino, but hopefully it will inspire us to come back again when we have more time. Also, we will be taking our 19 and 17 yr. old kids and wanted them to get a taste of the experience rather than only seeing the typical big city tourist areas.
Now we can start looking at specific starting and ending points that fit our limited time and offer the best experience!

Thank you Victoria for the suggestions as I will now start researching the various options for convenience to transportation, scenery (prefer rural, small villages and mountains or hilly terrain), and places to stay. We will most likely choose private places with private room for 4 if available.

Still open to any advice /wisdom concerning where to start and finish now that we know our time constraints. I will be researching some of the earlier suggestions!

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VictoriaF
Posts: 17491
Joined: Tue Feb 27, 2007 7:27 am
Location: Black Swan Lake

Re: The cost of walking el Camino de Santiago

Post by VictoriaF » Sun Oct 15, 2017 4:05 pm

camper1 wrote:
Sun Oct 15, 2017 3:41 pm
Just finished securing our flights to Spain and know the dates we can do a (very) short portion of the Camino Frances!

Taking Victoria's advice and will try to find a 3 day section toward the Pomplona area of the camino. Unfortunately, we have some constraints due to other commitments and flight times which leaves us with the following:
July 7 depart from Salamanca to wherever we decide to start camino (approx.6-8 hours travel time by bus or train)
July 8 Early start on camino
July 9 on camino
July 10 on camino
July 11 Need to take early bus or train to Barcelona

I know this is just a small taste of the camino, but hopefully it will inspire us to come back again when we have more time. Also, we will be taking our 19 and 17 yr. old kids and wanted them to get a taste of the experience rather than only seeing the typical big city tourist areas.
Now we can start looking at specific starting and ending points that fit our limited time and offer the best experience!

Thank you Victoria for the suggestions as I will now start researching the various options for convenience to transportation, scenery (prefer rural, small villages and mountains or hilly terrain), and places to stay. We will most likely choose private places with private room for 4 if available.

Still open to any advice /wisdom concerning where to start and finish now that we know our time constraints. I will be researching some of the earlier suggestions!
I think your first priority is to make sure that the transpiration and schedules will work for you. Also, considering your tight schedule you should rely on taxis getting from the train to your starting point, and, possibly, from your end point to the train. Here is a tentative schedule, if you can work out trains:
7 July: train from Salamanca to Pamplona, night at albergue Jesus y Maria (great initiation into the pilgrimage; you'll buy your credentials there)
8 July: early morning taxi from Pamplona to St Jean Pied de Port (France)
8 July: walk from SJPP to Roncesvalles (take the Napoleon Route if you are in good shape for a 4k foot ascent and 1.5k foot descent, otherwise do the Valcarlos Route), night in Roncesvalles
9 July: Roncesvalles to Zubiri
10 July: Zubiri to Pamplona
11 July: Train from Pamplona to Barcelona

This will put you in contact with all pilgrims that are just starting out and have not made Camino friends yet. You will get into the spirit of the Camino. And if you decide to finish the Camino a couple years from now, you will already have the most difficult part, the Pyrenees, behind you.

Good luck,
Victoria
Last edited by VictoriaF on Sun Oct 15, 2017 4:08 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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cherijoh
Posts: 4044
Joined: Tue Feb 20, 2007 4:49 pm
Location: Charlotte NC

Re: The cost of walking el Camino de Santiago

Post by cherijoh » Sun Oct 15, 2017 4:07 pm

VictoriaF wrote:
Thu Jun 18, 2015 6:36 am
I would not dispute the official objective statistics but note that one's subjective statistics are somewhat different. As an English speaker, I was more attuned to other people speaking English, which seemed to be about a half. As we were forming friendships, we tended to stay together and form English-speaking groups while walking, in bars, and in albergues. Other pilgrims were joining our groups, e.g., the Dutch, the Germans, the Austrians. Curiously, by far the largest Asian group I have encountered on the Camino was S. Koreans. Some Koreans were staying strictly within their groups, others were seeking friendships with other pilgrims. I've met some interesting pairs such as a middle-aged Frenchman and a much younger Korean man who were walking together. At some point they discovered that they had the same walking pace, had compatible communication styles, and stuck together, speaking English to each other.

Victoria
I coordinate a weekly English conversation program for internationals learning English as a second language. A side benefit of the program is that a lot of friendships are formed and participants socialize outside of class. Quite a few of the participants are spouses of people with a 1 - 3 year work permit who are prohibited from working themselves. These (primarily) women often feel isolated by their lack of a social network.

A large percentage of the participants come from Latin America which makes for easy communication outside of class since most of them share Spanish as a first language. But there are plenty of friendships and cross cultural exchange between people who only share English as a common language. (I am a lot more confident that these latter friendships result in additional practice in English :wink:). For example, two women who shared an interest in cooking were teaching each other the traditional recipes from their respective countries (Peru and Japan) and having a ball by the sound of it.

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