Questions, answers, tips and tricks – first edition

There have been a few questions in the comment section of my posts that I have decided to answer in a new post in case others find the responses useful. Here is the first response covering days 1 – 8,

Cheri says
I start from SJPdP on June 10 and am very interested in your waterbottle with bite straw. Where did you find it and how is it attached to your pack strap? I wish you a very buen camino.

My hydration pack is made by RaidLight – ‘RaidLight Olmo Bottle Holder with 750ml Bottle’. It comes with a holder that has webbing straps at the back and slips onto the shoulder strap of your backpack. I am really pleased with it. You can fix it so that the bite valve is at exactly the right height when you turn your head. I am drinking a lot more with this system. It is very easy to refill from a tap or a spare bottle. I am often reminded to drink when it touches my face. Also the bite valve doesn’t drag on the floor when you remove your pack. I don’t need to use my hands at all to reach the valve with my mouth so drinking does not disturb my pace at all. I think the manufacturer is a French company and the shipping rates outside of France are high if ordering direct from them, but it can be supplied by other companies.
I purchased the system in the UK from RacingThePlanet,

kristina wilkening says
Take a pic of your walking companion. So, we can see what he looks like. Where is he from?

There was a photo in my post on day 8 Kristina. George is from the Greater Manchester area in the north of England. I met him via Ivar’s pilgrim forum.

He can also,answer for himself –
“Not so mysterious, just a northern guy who loves to walk in Spain.
This will be my sixth Camino if trying to keep up with Maggie doesn’t see me off first.”

Although I have to add, now George’s appetite has kicked in I don’t think I shall be racing ahead any more. He is quite tall with a long stride and leaves me in his wake on the flat. We shall see tomorrow, on a very long day with way too much elevation! But don’t for a moment think we are racing – just walking our own pace.

sandyleone says
A silly question for you about the beds. I noticed that they have sheets, pillows and big blankets. Do you also use your own sheet, pillow case and sleeping bag or just go with what’s there if it looks good? Also when you go out for dinner, do you leave your big pack behind without worry, if you have your main valuables with you? I’ve probably answered my own questions, but I will appreciate anything you have to add.

Not a silly question at all Sandy. I hate to touch the bedding on the albergue beds and would never intentionally make contact with bare skin (a bit over-the-top really, but I just don’t like to touch bedding when I don’t know who’s been touching it before me).

So, I have a pre-treated (impregnated bed-bug barrier) under sheet made by ‘lifesystems’ that I purchased from Amazon before my first camino. The single size is a bit under sized and if I were buying again I would get the double. The extra weight would not be great. It feels like nylon but is not uncomfortable to touch. This year I am using it sideways and tucking it right over and underneath the pillow, and then my head and shoulders are completely protected. I also have a silk liner and a down sleeping bag that I can unzip and use as a blanket. I spray these two items with permethrin to guard against bed bugs. This system works well for me.

And yes, the backpack stays behind, and gadgets, cash and documents come with me. All these items are worn in a bum bag (fanny pack) and the whole lot comes with me wherever I go. I have a ultra lightweight waterproof hold-all/shoulder bag for use in the evenings, so the whole lots gets stuffed in this and can be taken to the shower with a change of clothes. Again, this system has worked well for three caminos.

OzAnnie says
Do you believe the hikers wool works ? Do you tape it so that it doesn’t move? I was a little wary last year as I thought it may end up being a lump itself and create more of a problem? Interested in whether you are a frequent user and can advise from experience

Annie, I have been a frequent user for the last week or so, if that counts for anything. You place it against the area of concern and pull on your sock, keeping the wool in place. It acts as a cushion and binds itself to your sock and doesn’t then move. It has been successful for me around my heels and under my foot, but not so great on the toes. If you wrap it right round the toe it will form a sort of nest and stay in place, but if you just put it under or between toes it may be more likely to move. I have been told that it is the same stuff as you can buy in craft shops to spin yarn from – but I don’t know if that makes it any cheaper. You can wash your socks with the wool in situ and it seems to be ok for the next day.

I have still got a couple of small blisters even though I have been using the hiker’s wool, and I don’t know if they would have been worse if I had not used it. It was very successful when I used it under the ball of my foot when it felt tender and around my toes. It’s not cheap but it weighs next to nothing and I was keen to have as many blister weapons in my armoury as possible.

Heather says:
Hi Maggie, I may not comment everyday, but am following you again on this journey. Once again in admiration of your endeavours. Keep listening to those tunes! lol xxx

I would just like everyone to know that, other than my family, I have known Heather for longer than anyone else I know. We met when I moved home at age 14 and went to the same school – Chipping Sodbury Grammar. We have kept in touch over the intervening years and our daughters were great chums for many years. It is lovely to hear from you my friend – it means a lot xx

OzAnnie says:
I haven’t used music walking myself before. Sounds like it gives you a burst !

I find it an enormous boost to listen to my specially chosen tracks. All great beats that suit my pace. I switch on and zoom off, arms and legs pumping in time to the music. I shall share a few tracks with you –

Don’t stop me now – Queen
Born to be wild – Steppenwolf
Bat out of hell – Meat Loaf
Mr blue sky – ELO
That don’t impress me much – Shania Twain
Girls just want to have fun – Cyndi Lauper
Two princes – Spin Doctors
Boogie nights – Heatwave
Yes – Mary Clayton
Hot fun in the summer time – Sly and the Family Stone
All right now – Free
Walking on Sunshine – Katrina and the Waves

Katherine Paterson says:
How about a couple of plastic bags over your boots for your next ford crossing?

I have some Katherine, but it would be almost as much bother to put them on as to don my crocs. I used my crocs on this occasion because I could see the surface I was walking over was smooth concrete. If it had been rough ground or if I couldn’t see what I was walking on I would try the carrier bag trick

Susan Quenneville says:
Can I ask, Maggie, what device you are wearing/carrying that records all the data you include daily? Also are you carrying a solar powered charger?

Hi Susan. I am recording the information on my iPhone (5). I am using apps “mapmywalk” and “wikiloc” which give quite varied results. I am led to believe that wikiloc might be more accurate so this is the result that I am publishing.

I have a stand alone battery pack that is charged by electricity, not solar. It is excellent, although quite heavy. I am sure there are much more light weight units available. I have read differing reports about the efficiency of solar battery chargers.

OzAnnie says:
About your blog, I can’t get over the presentation/layout and balance in every days post.
Does it ‘just flow’ easily for you?

Thank you Annie. The writing flows quite easily, I just refer to my photos and write about the day. Unfortunately wordpress doesn’t flow quite so well, especially with dodgy wifi. It is a long and slow process and I am a perfectionist and can’t imagine many people would have the determination to do it at the end of a day’s walk. But it is important to me. I started the blog as a visual reminder for myself as I have such an appalling memory. It is a joy and a curse at the same time. But the viewing figures keep me going and the feedback I get really spurs me on. Once I get to meet more pilgrims I might want to socialise and not have my nose in my ipad quite so much. We shall see!

Steve says
Oh, Maggie, I am loving following your walk! Your pictures are awesome–what are you taking them with? Buen camino

Many thanks Steve. I am using a panasonic lumix DMC-LF1, the same as last year. Meanwhile it has been to the repairers (under guarantee) to be cleaned because it got some dust on the sensor behind the lens, which left dark blobs on my photos. I believe this is a common fault with all cameras that have an extending lens. As the lens extends, a vacuum is formed and any dust on the surface can get sucked into the works. I had the same problem with my previous camera, also a lumix, but I found a video on tube showing how to take it apart and remove the dust. My current model is much more technical and I couldn’t do the same trick.

As soon as it was returned from the camera shop I had a fall and smashed it, buckling open the casing. However a bit of black electrical tape has covered up the gap and other than not being able to use the view finder, it is working fine. I have now made myself a slip case out of a couple of pieces of spectacle cloth, so that every time I use it, the cloth is passed over the lens area, hopefully removing any dust. So far so good.

About magwood

Trepidatious Traveller - camino blog is about preparing for and walking the Camino de Santiago. Many future pilgrims have found the blog useful and inspiring, and many who have no plans to walk the camino have simply enjoyed the dialogue
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14 Responses to Questions, answers, tips and tricks – first edition

  1. Extremely useful information here as I prepare for my second Camino. I am on the search for the Olmo bottle holders as it appears Racing the Planet is no longer selling them and am perusing the internet for a photo of the Lifesystems bed sheet (last year I took a piece of Permethrin-treated Tyvek but would often by halfway through the night find parts of me touching the mattress). I was wondering about the WordPress blog posting; last year on the Camino, I was almost always too tired to post via WordPress so ended up just posting on Facebook. I’m impressed by your determination to follow through with the daily posting. Buen Camino and thank you for these detailed responses to questions.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Ella Woodward says:

    Sadly or fabulously I would listen to half of your play list. Let me know if you are anywhere that has fab wifi and I will send you some more tunes.
    Ps tomorrow I am off to a northern soul all dayer now that will keep you moving and smiling.
    Keep the faith!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. The Distinguished Cruiser says:

    Thanks for all the information here and all of your daily postings.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Janice Tyler says:

    I love your playlist – every single track! I am so impressed in the technicalities of what goes into a successful camino and heartily glad to be just following from my sofa! Well done Maggie on a fab blog again and really appreciate the time it takes you to complete it. Looking forward to more! xx

    Liked by 1 person

  5. cindy jones says:

    Excellent, excellent. Cindy x

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Thank you for answering so many questions. Glad you have the energy and WiFi, wonky or not. I shan’t ask any for now. Am enjoying your walk, stories and pictures. ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  7. mary lynch says:

    I loved your play list also Maggie. Well done on answering all those
    questions I’m sure it will be very useful for future pilgrims.
    Buen Camino.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Maggie, thank you for the extra effort it took to not only post your daily blog but to answer so well and in such detail all of our questions. I hope I have half your energy when I begin my Camino shortly. Truly, you are an inspiration to many who may one day follow in your footsteps or just enjoy the stories you are telling. We have our own little reality show going on here as we follow your day to day exploits. Wishing you many more happy days dear woman!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Tony Rice says:

    Maggie, I just read this page and the should strap water hydration system is brilliant. I’ve been using clips that fit on the neck of store bought water bottles and attach to anchor points on my shoulder straps. Cheep but bottles sometimes fall off when bending over or putting on or taking off my pack.. Thanks for the tip.

    Happy Trails

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Frances says:

    Well done in answering all those questions Maggie. Most interesting. Well done you x.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. i can only agree with everyone, the descriptions, the amazing photos, almost like wer’e there with you,really enjoying your walks,hope your feet are better as the days go on x

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Susan.A says:

    I also use an iPhone 5 to record my walking and found MapMyWalk unreliable so I switched to Endomondo which seems better, not tried wikiloc but will maybe give it a go! I have huge admiration for your progress…well done!!

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Philip says:

    Hello! Trust you are well settled back in the UK.

    I start on the Mozarabe on 18 May and will meet Mercedes if the Asociacion the day before. I intend to hike to Cordoba. Then bus back to Baena and aim to hike ‘backwards’ to Malaga for return flight.

    Do you see any issue with following the signage backwards and is there a map you would recommend?



    • magwood says:

      Hi Philip
      Many thanks for your comment. That sounds like an interesting hike, although I believe it is notoriously difficult to follow a trail backwards if you are relying just on the signage. I think I would get a terrible neck ache from looking over my shoulder all the time to see what I was missing, and also its not always clear which direction you would need to take (ie which direction you would have been coming from if you were following the signs as intended). However I don’t see that it would be too much of a problem if you had a trail downloaded to say Wikiloc, or You would need to be checking your screen quite regularly but if you don’t have a problem with that I think you should be ok. I was using Wikiloc for the first time back in 2015 when I walked this route so my tracks are not very consistent. But I’m sure you could find some that would help. If you have any problem, let me know and I will try to source a track for you.
      Buen Camino


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