This ‘tab’ on the website was supposed to be my 2022 Camino. But things have gone a bit off track the last couple of years.
Health, work, Covid of course and preparing my business for my long absence just didn’t quite come together as planned.
But I’m determined to make it for 2023!
I think we’ll just change this tab from 2022, to 2023 😀
It will have been 5 years since my last Camino! And the doubts are starting to creep in. I’m feeling a bit like a Newbie Pilgrim all over again.
- Will my health and fitness hold up?
- This one will be longer, will I really make it?
- I still haven’t found shoes I like, to replace my boots
- Can I get my pack weight any lower?
- What is a realistic target weight for my body weight? (my biggest factor to fix I think)
- What will the travel/Covid situation be like then?
But these doubts are all quite normal and healthy.
I’ll treat it just like my very first Camino in 2015. I’ll be grateful for every day that I can keep moving forward. And make sure I enjoy every day of the journey.
When is your first or ‘next’ Camino?
Maybe I’ll see you out there?
Hey Robo, I just responded to your Via post on The Forum but I thought I would respond here as well because I think we have some things in common. I walked the VdlP this March and April, finishing during Semana Santa.
First of all I am 61 and in pretty good shape. Before this year I did my last Camino in 2017 and have had two Nortes short-circuited by Covid. Since my Porto in 2017 I have had my hip resurfaced (similar to a full replacement) and I have had fairly serious knee issues. In fact, I walked 40 days on the Via on a partially torn meniscus and some really bad knee cartilage. Four or five days before flying to Seville I was sure I was going to opt out but my doctor suggested a regimen of arthritis strength Tylenol and muscle-relaxant that I followed religiously for the whole walk. Suffice all of this to say that fitness shouldn’t be an issue.
As you know, the longer you walk the stronger you get. There are some long stretches on the Via and they can be onerous. Because of the dearth of albergues and services sometimes you have to do 30s. In the earlier stages the 30s were a bit onerous and took some recuperation on the following stage. At the end however, I walked a 37, a few low 30s and a 42. If you are structurally sound (which I wasn’t!) you should have no problem “making it”.
On my Frances and Porto I walked with Merrell Moabs and I had few issues. With decent training I had few blisters (none on the Porto) and I was comfortable most of the time. Later in the day and on rough surfaces like cobbles, my feet were a bit uncomfortable. This time I switched to New Balance trail runners. They were comfortable from the get-go, held up well for the Via and the much more demanding Sanabres and I was never in discomfort. I had one major blister on my toe and a minor one on my heel but both of these were attributable to rain days. I could easily have managed them better with more thought and attention. Certainly the medication probably helped but I will definitely go with them or something similar next time.
Pack weight is a personal affair. I was down to about 7 or 8kg this time not including food and water. I weighed around 180lbs (82kg) at the start. For some reason my pack, at this weight, has never been an issue for me. I found that even when I started training there was very little extra resistance for me. I set up my pack so that most of the weight is chest high (just below my clavicle). After a couple of Caminos I know what I need and don’t need which is probably the same for you. I would think that your pre-Camino training will get you down to your best possible body weight. I am 5’9″ (175cm) so I’m not overweight but I should be lighter.
I think Covid concern is waning. There were many precautions taken when I was on the Via in March/April but rules and restrictions were not held to religiously in most places. I heard of a number of cases but nothing that really interfered with my walk. I had Omicron at Xmas this year and it was mild. From what I understand, almost everyone is getting it and most are asymptomatic. Hopefully it stays this way because it really doesn’t seem to be getting in the way of Caminos.
I don’t know how you feel about Camino crowds etc. but I loved the Via because there weren’t any and there wasn’t the constant parade of pilgrims. There were still lots of people to get to know and lots of company if you want it, but you had the choice. The Via is a different cat. I posted a series of summary points on one of the Via forums if you want to take a look.
Hopefully this has been helpful. I look forward to hearing how it all goes for you.
Very helpful Tom, many thanks. Great to share experiences and perspectives.