Wednesday, 12 October 2022

Final Wrap up Camino 2022

Back home...all is good! The spirit moved so this is a final wrap-up blog posting on the Camino 2022 walks. 

Keen observers will note that the title associated with the email picture now reads “Santiago de Compostela - Fourth time awaits!”. It took some digging around however I finally found within Mail Chimp how to change the title!

Reflecting on the 2022 Caminos I can only reiterate that there isn’t much that could have gone amazing experience! Having said that I also must admit to myself that on a least one day (Day 3 Camino San Salvador - Pola de la Tercia to Benduenos) I went right to the edge of my current abilities...good fortune was with me that day. 

The analysis below while crude clearly shows me why that particular day...from a simple numbers perspective...adding the difficult terrain...poor preparation from a food perspective...was very poorly planned on my excuses.

Walking the Camino Primitivo was very inspirational...Sylvie/Didier from France, Carmel/John from Ireland all in and around my age walking strongly...Simon from Germany and Pierre from Belgium both 70 also walking strongly and taking an extra day to complete the Camino Primitivo. That’s the challenge going forward...start scaling back the expectations gradually...and enjoy the benefits of this activity for hopefully many years!

Fourth time originally scheduled for 2026...the 4 year Olympic schedule devised by Paulo...however Paulo is now proposing a 14 day walk ending in Santiago de Compostela in 2024. He has likely figured out this old guy/Guy likely has limited shelf life...if life circumstances permit I will walk in 2024 for sure! ☺️.

Also a former work colleague and blog reader has approached me wondering if we could walk together. Hopefully the stars align to give this a go. The famous 315 kms Wainwright Coast to Coast walk in England would lend itself nicely to a 14 day walk...and I could even speak the local language of the area 🤣.

Final wrap-up covers 3 items...Japanese Film Documentary, Estimating Walking Time based on Elevation Gains/Losses, 2022 Camino September 2022 Pilgrim Statistics.

Japanese Film Documentary

Past blog postings have described this once in a lifetime opportunity. Sometimes one has to push a little bit harder to give oneself the best chance of here is a summary of my attempt.

In Tineo I thought I had a good chance of being in the Documentary...the Documentary crew walked by...Patricia yelled “Hola Buen Camino”...and the cameras focused on me! Paulo had his back to the cameras...too bad 🤣

Later that day a real problem developed...I hustled in to Campiello ahead of Paulo...waving to the Japanese crew as I entered the city. I waited...waited...waited... and finally Paulo crested the hill walking...almost arm in arm with Patricia (true strong pilgrim walker) and a documentary only pilgrim walker with the camera crew taking all kinds of shots. I was NOT a happy camper being upstaged by Paulo!

A short while later Paulo and I were interviewed for likely 30 minutes...peppered with questions. I think I held my own with the slick lawyer (Paulo) beside me...I definitely had an appearance advantage with the Tilley hat...not sure if the Clooney glasses were on or not...hope so.

That’s the last we saw of the Japanese Film crew...the Director left his card with contact information soooo...this morning I sent him an email...shown below.

Everything in my email is true...yes it did not need to be sent however I am looking for every possible way to be in the Documentary and frankly to differentiate myself from friend threw me under the bus in Campiello!

Paulo is a lawyer therefore leading an exciting life and is much younger than me...he doesn’t need the glory and he will have future chances to be in a Japanese Camino Documentary I am sure!

Now if I am invited to Tokyo for the premiere showing of the Documentary I will of course go however one major stumbling block...I absolutely abhor formality of any kind! I am not wearing a penguin suit (tuxedo) ever again...maybe I could wear a Japanese traditional kimono instead on opening night! ☺️.

So here is my email message...dreaming costs absolutely nothing!

"Dear Mr. Mimaki,

It was a real pleasure to meet you and your film crew, first in Tineo Spain, then in our sit down discussion in Campiello Spain while walking the Camino Primitivo. Paulo and I greatly enjoyed the opportunity to exchange ideas on why walking the Camino de Santiago paths is such a meaningful experience. 

Fortune has smiled on me as I have visited Japan on 3 separate occasions given that two daughters each worked 3 years in your beautiful country. In March 2015 I walked the sacred Kumano Kodo pilgrimage path in the Kii mountains and received the Dual Pilgrim designation given to those who have walked the 2 recognized Unesco World Heritage pilgrimage routes being the Way of St. James in Spain and the Kumano Kodo in Japan. That was very special.

I note the first Camino de Santiago project (NHK BS8K) “Going on the Sacred Pilgrimage Route - Camino de Santiago 1,500 km” Episodes 1, 2, 3 aired March 8, 15, 22 2020. I would be most interested in viewing these episodes however am currently unable to access them. If at all possible receiving a link to these documentary episodes would be much appreciated.

Paulo and I wish you success with respect to your 2022 documentary film project and look forward to hearing from you when the film is released.

Best regards,

Guy Arbez

p.s. Please excuse the use of Google Translate for the Japanese version of this email


最初はティネオ スペインで、次にスペインのカンピエッロで、カミノ プリミティーボを歩きながらの座談会で、あなたとあなたの撮影クルーにお会いできて本当にうれしかったです。パウロと私は、なぜカミーノ デ サンティアゴの小道を歩くことがとても有意義な体験なのかについて意見を交換する機会を大いに楽しみました.

あなたの美しい国で2人の娘がそれぞれ3年間働いていたことを考えると、私は3回に分けて日本を訪れました. 2015 å¹´ 3 月、私は紀伊山地の神聖な熊野古道を歩き、ユネスコの世界遺産に登録されている 2 つの巡礼路 (スペインの聖ヤコブの道と日本の熊野古道) を歩いた人に与えられる二重巡礼者の指定を受けました。 .それはとても特別なことでした。

2020 å¹´ 3 月 8 日、15 日、22 日に放送された、最初のカミーノ デ サンティアゴ プロジェクト (NHK BS8K)「聖なる巡礼路を行く - カミーノ デ サンティアゴ 1,500 km」エピソード 1、2、3 に注目します。ただし、現在それらにアクセスできません。可能であれば、これらのドキュメンタリー エピソードへのリンクを受け取っていただければ幸いです。

パウロと私は、2022 年のドキュメンタリー映画プロジェクトの成功をお祈りしており、映画が公開されたときの連絡を楽しみにしています。



追伸このメールの日本語版は Google 翻訳を使用していることをお許しください"

Estimating Walking times based on Elevation Gains/Losses

An interesting exercise... no Actuaries, System Architects, IT Project Managers, Other IT professionals, Engineers, Company Presidents, Lawyers, Medical professionals, Consultants OR anyone with a professional designation of any kind was involved or consulted in this analysis.

Given I don’t fit any of the above criteria I felt totally at ease to give the analysis a go. Be forewarned the various adjustments described may make your head spin 🤣 the very least you will shake your head and wonder “What on earth is Guy doing? Why is he doing this? Does he not realize that there should be way better things to spend his time on?” 

Well...I can have fun doing many different things in life ...and this type of kludgy analysis and playing with numbers is simply one of these varied things. Producing analyses and numbers is pretty easy...a lot of experience with that. The key though is to ferret through and determine “what does this analysis mean?” and more importantly “what decisions/changes do I make based on this?” 

In researching this I came across the following approaches and in the end adjusted an approach to ensure it made sense to me.

Naismith’s rule is the starting point basis for most approaches developed for estimating walking times which adjust for elevation gains/losses. It was devised by William W. Naismith, a Scottish mountaineer in 1892!

- Allow one hour for every 5 kms walked, plus an additional hour for every 600 meters of elevation gained. No adjustment for elevations losses.

Scarf’s Adjustment

- Adjust the kms walked by adding (meters elevation gain/1000) x 8 and then calculating Estimated walking hours by Hrs. per kms on flat terrain

Aitken’s Adjustment

- Assumes walking 5 kms per hour on paths, tracks, roads and 4 kms on all other surfaces. Add an additional hour per 600 meters of elevation gain. So essentially Naismith’s original rule adjusted for terrain.

Langmuir’s Adjustment

- Assumes walking 5 kms per hour. Add 30 minutes per 300 meters of elevation gain. For elevation losses:

    - For a gentle decline (slopes between 5 and 12 degrees) subtract 10 minutes per 300 meters of elevation losses

    - For a steeper decline (slopes > 12 degrees) add 10 minutes per 300 meter of elevation losses.

Wild Walk Adjustment

- Assume whatever walking speed per hour on flat terrain makes sense for you. Add 1.5 hours per 1,000 meters of elevation gain. For elevation losses add .75 hours per 1,000 meters of elevation losses.

Sooo I tried them best as I could...and concluded that the Wild Walk Adjustment was the best one. Intuitively it also makes the most sense given elevation losses simply slow you down. I am confident that most mistakes and injuries result from losing certainly is where walking poles are essential for me. 

However I found the Wild Walk Adjustment did not fit my Actual results that well sooo...

Guy Arbez Wild Walk Adjustment

- Yes my own adjustment which is the following...

    - 5.5 kms per hour on flat terrain...a little higher than what I normally assume however realistic in limited testing.

    - For elevation gains add 65% of 1.5 hours per 1,000 meters or ~ .98 hours

    - For elevation losses add 75% of .75 hours per 1,000 meters or ~ .56 hours

Overall result

- Actual hours walked / Guy Arbez Wild Walk Adjustment hours were 97% so pretty good.

Ok...what does this mean 🤣. There are so many reasons why trying to estimate walking times is pretty dubious... how you feel, rain, type of trails/terrain etc. etc. Well I went one step further...based on the added estimated time for elevation gains/losses I determined an adjusted Kms per day. An example:

- 25 km day using 5 kms per hour on flat terrain..; it will take you 5 hours to walk

- Factoring in elevation gains/ losses using the factors above let’s say adds 2 hours to your expected day

- Now you have a 7 hour day and using the 5 kms per hour an adjusted walking time of 35 kms or 40% longer than originally planned for.

In the spreadsheet below the average kms per day over the 17 day Camino walks were 26.0 kms...the adjusted average kms per day factoring in elevation gains/losses were 31.5 kms or just over 21% more.

The most difficult day was surprise...surprise... Day 3 Camino San Salvador Pola de la Tercia to Benduenos which was 30.9 kms however 42.2 kms when adjusting for elevation gains/losses. This day ranked as the most difficult in this analysis however it was only the 4th most difficult ignoring elevation gains/losses.

Conclusion - while this type of analysis has many limitations it does provide a basis for decision making. In the future when I see days with adjusted elevation gains/losses in the 30 - 35+ km range that will be an indication of a tougher day...> 35 kms will be a red flag. Over time these criteria points will need to lowered as I move into my 90s and early100s walking 😀🤣

2022 Camino September Statistics

Final graphical presentation (like graphs as well...oh my this is so sad 😢 😔) with updated graphs from previous blog posting.

Overall...2022 will shatter all records as previously predicted.

- September 2002 totals at 371,000 pilgrim compostelas issued have already surpassed the previous total year 2019 high of 348,000

- Mujers are simply out walking Hombres in a very big way...53 % vs 47%...the trend line is really interesting

- > 60 pilgrim walkers now at highest % level at 19%...this will hit 20% by year end. Baby Boomers are healthier and willing to get out there and walk long distances.

- For all Camino Routes the Sep 2022 / Sep 2019 ratio is 124%

- For Camino Primitivo Route the Sep 2022 / Sep 2019 ratio is 134%

Quite a satisfying feeling to be part of this historic year!

That’s it for the foreseeable future...other things to do now...then well maybe a little walking planning would be fun 🙂 and we will see what if any actual plan develops.

Tuesday, 4 October 2022

Camino San Salvador - Oct 4, 2022 Day 5 Mieres to Oviedo

Success…made it!!! I am in Oviedo…I have received my Salvadorum certificate of completion for the Camino Salvador!

I know I take awesome selfies…almost managed a full head shot! How are you supposed to hold a camera at arms length and actually hit the circle to take a picture? 😊

And my real prize…ice cream!!! Note I was told by a very knowledgeable blog reader that the new Tilley hat looks “dashing” so that’s all the encouragement I need 😉

Somehow this walking adventure all came together…wow..looking back to 2018 Camino Portuguese I hobbled into Santiago de Compostela the last day. I enjoyed this last day so much…an 18.9 km walk in the park!

So many changes were made from 2018…equipment, physical training…essentially walking a few kms in Toronto 😂 and getting my mental side focused on what I believed I was capable of doing. However…as has happened so often in my life…I was simply so incredibly fortunate! 

Remember no rain at all for 17 days…here is the forecast for Oviedo over next few days! Some 🌧!

Weather was perfect…no injuries…no dangerous animals…superb walking countryside…great company! All good! Well maybe the Spanish speaking part was a little…absolutely pathetic Guy!

Today’s walk is summarized below…

In the grand tradition of enjoying numbers…I can’t be the only one 🤣… here are the stats for the two Camino 2022 routes 😂 and a few for overall Camino walking.

Camino Primitivo 

Total kms walked - 315

Kms per day walked - 26.3

Elevation gains - 7,315 meters

Elevation losses - 7,764 meters

Time walked - 66.5 hours

Average kms/hr - 4.7 kms per hour 

Camino San Salvador 

Total kms walked - 126

Kms per day walked - 25.2

Elevation gains - 2,924 meters

Elevation losses - 3,477 meters

Time walked - 28.2 hours

Average kms/hr - 4.5 kms per hour 

Total Camino Primitivo & San Salvador 

Total kms walked - 441

Kms per day walked - 25.9

Elevation gains - 10,239 meters

Elevation losses - 11,241 meters

Time walked - 94.7 hours

Average kms/hr - 4.65 kms per hour 

Everest is 8,838 meters high 😂 Take that Everest!!!

New Camino totals

Number of routes walked - 8

Total kms - 3,441 +/- 2 kms margin for error 😂

Number of days walked - 122

Average kms per day - 28.2

Camino 2026…Paulo I will start planning in a year or so 😂 or maybe before…never know! You will be 50 my friend (69 for me) so I will have to factor in your advanced age in planning…😉 As we have discussed…remember I am a Canadian and you well…are not 😂 so we must adjust what can be done for you…kidding…just a little 😊

To everyone who has read postings on this adventure and my attempts to provide a taste of what Camino walking is…adding a little humour (well I will always try - my objective is if 1 in 10 things make you smile or chuckle it’s a success) and a slice of some difficult and very good moments a simple heartfelt thank you 🙏.

You would be surprised…or maybe not depending how well you know me…how much enjoyment I get while walking and looking for those moments that might be blog worthy…just pure fun! Apparently I have a tell tale stupid look when I am about to say something I think funny…remember 1/10 objective…imagine the poor pilgrim walkers around me seeing this…

On to catching a bus and a flight home 🥰😊 Will see if the spirit moves when I get home for a final blog posting…maybe after my non Actuarial analysis…if not the blog goes silent until the next adventure…at least I can dream!

Late breaking news…in Madrid Barajas Airport…did not even realize that my credit card allowed me access to this VIP lounge…food/drink everywhere…comfortable chairs…I think I only have 4 passes a year but I just waltzed in…holy moly…amazing place…must do this more often 😂. Can’t get too comfortable here though…flight leaves in 5 hours…no gate yet 😊. 

Too funny after all this time walking on roads, trails of all sorts…getting a little 🤣 muddy…I even tried to clean up a bit….cleanish clothes …I think I just fit in…other than my backpack… but NOT wearing my Tilley hat!😂 HOKA Speedgoats are a dead giveaway though…they look like they have been through a war…

I think the trick is to just pretend like I belong here…wonder if someone will pick up my dirty plate once I leave to sit in a comfy chair…they must don’t see anywhere to return it 😉

What a crazy way to finish the walk…

A few pictures from today…enjoy your day!

Monday, 3 October 2022

Camino San Salvador - Oct 3, 2022 Day 4 Benduenos to Mieres

Quite a different day from yesterday 😊 easy walking except for a few tricky descents, limited views as most of the day was on various road surfaces. No rain 16 days in a row!!! 

This is the type of day I personally refer to as Point A to Point B walking…the main objective is simply to cover the distance. That’s ok as not every day on a Camino is scenic and the reasons for walking the Camino San Salvador are now great memories 😊

Yesterday after arriving at the Benduenos Albergue I was surprised that I was the last one in AND that I was not alone…6 pilgrim walkers were there! How did that happen? Well that was solved quickly when someone asked me where I started this morning.

Poladura de la Tercia…hmmm I got some very surprised looks and comments…”really…holy that must have been hard walking etc” Sooo…the 6 other pilgrim walkers had completed the same stage as mine in 2 days!

Before anyone out there says “Guy how could you? Can you not plan? Your not 25?  Etc etc” I have  a defence. I simply followed a guide compiled by Ender which laid out a 5 day plan. I was also influenced by a very well known Pelegrína in her early 70s who walked the Camino San Salvador in 4 days instead of my 5.

Would I do it again you ask? Are you crazy…of course I would take an extra day! Way too difficult!

However there won’t be a next time for either the Camino Primitivo or the Camino San Salvador. There are too many other things to do…why do the same thing twice? Also…perfect weather this time…what are the chances of that happening again!

Here is a group picture of the pilgrim walkers taken at supper time. From right to left Byron Malaysia, Jean-Pierre and Nadine France (walked most of my Camino routes and more), me, Jose-? Spain, Jose-? Spain, Victoria Slovakia.

An Albergue like this was a new experience for me…one room 8 beds (one empty), two washrooms downstairs on a spiral staircase (fun in middle of night), lights going on off, various noises, pack at foot of bed…communal meal prepared by Sandra the Hospitaleria.

Lentil soup and pasta…sooo delicious 😋 

Somehow I managed a pretty good nights sleep despite the various noises…lights etc.

Byron who recently completed the 2nd half of the Camino Frances from Burgos, Camino Finistère and after the Camino San Salvador will walk the Camino Primitivo was the “official photographer”

A few of Byron’s photos…including the last two of me as I was leaving this morning…

Sandra has a few four leaf clovers in a little cup!

The setting for the Benduenos Albergue is stunning at the top of a ridge overlooking a valley surrounded by mountains. It’s run on a Donativo basis…give what you can or want…I looked at it as another night so likely left a generous € amount.

I’m very glad I went out of my normal comfort zone to stay at Benduenos Albergue…met some really nice folks …the first in 3 days. Most of the conversation was in Spanish however Nadine was kind enough to translate key points.

Walking alone is fine with me…as I mentioned in an earlier post with Paulo I end up walking alone a good part of the day…comes with being an introvert. However I also like meeting new people…always something to talk about it seems…learn a little bit about them…their country…their walk. 

My preferred accommodation arrangement is what Paulo and I did on numerous occasions on the Camino Primitivo…share a private room within an Albergue which also has dorms. Best of both worlds…privacy and opportunity to meet others.

Todays stats are shown below…they will be part of a  non Actuarial analysis post walk😂

On to tomorrow the final walking day…will be different as it’s short and I have an overnight bus at 22:30 to Madrid airport and my flight home 😊 the next day!

Here is tomorrow’ forecast…do I hear 17/17 days no rain? Packa has simply done a superb job!

A few pictures from the day…remember slim pickings!