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Camino de Santiago

Blisters and Beds on the Camino de Santiago

Blisters and Beds on the Camino de Santiago

walking the Camino de Santiago

Funny how some conversations begin to take a shape of their own!  Every day, before hundreds of pilgrims begin to walk their next stretch of the Camino de Santiago, time is taken to tend to their feet.

Blisters – almost all of us get them!  They have the power to shape our day, our week, and for some, send us home – our feet literally beaten by the Camino.  In bars at the end of the day, the conversations turn to the topic of blisters – how many have you got? how are you tending to them?  We pull out our feet, putting them on display – ohhhh, this one is much better – you should have seen it yesterday!  At some of the albergues, there is someone there who, for a donation, will tend to the blisters of the pilgrims that present their feet for help.  Afterall, the feet are integral to walking the Camino de Santiago!


Some say Vaseline is the answer.  Then there are others who say, above all – no vaseline!  Do you pierce your blisters or leave the fluid to heal?  Many sew a piece of thread into the blister to allow the fluid to continue to drain – I certainly find it more comfortable to walk when the blisters are not full!  I have not done this yet, opting instead for the layer of vaseline to save my feet.  Whenever I stop, I take my boots off, and sometimes even the socks, to let my feet air and dry.  I have had some pretty big blisters, but have seen much worse on others!

It is hilarious to see us – feet out at the bars, each sharing their horror stories.  It can go on for hours, each time a new person arrives, the sharing of stories begins again.  The feet come back out and war stories are compared!

race for a bed

And then the conversation moves to beds – for the bed situation here on the Camino can get tense at times!  Just the other day, I arrived at 12:30 to take the last bed at an albergue.  The person in line behind me was sent packing – no more beds!  It has been a fear that has driven me on many a day to walk, not stop and reflect, as was my intention!  There is no lunch until a bed is secured in my world!

Those who have walked the Camino in years past suggest this has not always been the case.  In fact, they had no problems walking into a town, later in the day and securing a bed.  They took the time to experience the countryside they were walking through, rest under a tree and ponder life!  I have seen only a few people who have done this on my travels – although there does appear to be a change as the first week becomes 2 weeks, and the simple life of the pilgrim has taken hold on more people!  But still, each evening in the bar, after the blisters, the topic of beds is raised!

race for a bed on the Camino de Santiago

I have taken to buying a phone – a cheap, disposable tool to phone ahead, book a bed and garner a little extra security as I walk, giving myself a few extra moments of contemplation.  After all, this is what I have come here for!

For those of you who have walked the Camino before – what has been your experience?  Has the race for beds on the Camino de Santiago affected your pilgrimage?  What about blisters – having spoken to people who have walked the Camino before, they suggest that each year is different – perhaps the higher temperatures this year has led to more blisters.  I have already heard of some of the people I have met giving in to their feet, hoping to come back another time!  Each morning and night, I take care of my precious feet – I hope they will get me to Santiago de Compostela!

Buen Camino!

About Anita Mac

The bucket list just keeps growing! The more I cross off - the more exciting new destinations and activities I find! I have been fortunate enough to travel a considerable distance over the years. My love of many things, including travel, cycling, kayaking and photography fit together like hand and glove. I have to keep asking myself....where to next? I am happy to share my travels and photography through my blogs: http://traveldestinationbucketlist.com and http://anitamacphotos.wordpress.com Hope you enjoy them as much as I do! On to the next adventure!


12 thoughts on “Blisters and Beds on the Camino de Santiago

  1. This sounds very epic and nice, how much time have you planned for the whole walk?
    And I can relate to the blisters from my time spent in the army, I used to drain the fluid out (but leave skin on if possible to help fight of infection) and tape up, especially on multiday hikes 🙂

    Posted by brixpoul | September 26, 2012, 10:51 am
    • It has been an epic journey and one I feel privileged to make! While I originally planned on 40 days to walk the Camino, I have decided to give myself a little more time – perhaps 42 – 44. While this is longer than many people take, I want to make sure I take the time to savour my experiences, and don’t want to let my feet get the better of me! I have already met a number of people who have had to quit on account of their feet. You see a sadness come over them when they say that they are going home and will come back another time!
      I have been draining the fluid, but not sewing a thread into the blister! My biggest challenge is the blister between my big toe and the next one as I can not tape that one up! It just needs time to heal! I have decided to schedule extra rest days for healing and recovery! Regardless – the Camino de Santiago is epic and wonderful! I am so happy to be out here.

      Posted by Anita Mac | September 26, 2012, 1:02 pm
      • Sounds really good and I really fancy a Long hike but would maybe go for something less crowed and more wild 🙂
        But having said that, the history of the Camino di Santiago makes it very attractive 🙂

        It sounds like you have the blister problem under “control” After a certain point it stops being painful and even when it looks bad you just deal with it and get on with the hike but you’re right to take your time and make sure you enjoy it and I’m sure the more your body and mind gets used to the slower pace of life you will be able to enjoy and reflect on life and where you are 🙂
        Boun Camino

        Posted by brixpoul | September 27, 2012, 4:31 am
  2. Hi Anita, done alot of hiking and the first thing I always ask, is how are your feet? A really common thing to bring people off trail is feet and knees. The added weight of the pack really does a number on them. I have taken to using those toe sox and they have been the cure for me and a really light pack of courxe. I will be testing them out on the Camino. Will keep you posted. Buen Camino mi amiga nueva.

    Posted by caminodave | September 26, 2012, 11:19 am
    • Hey Dave – you are so right about feet and knees! Don’t forget the ankle – I rolled mine last year and thought it was ok – but the added weight of my pack and the constant distances has played a toll. I have not tried toe soxs but may see if I can find some in Leon. A little nervous to try something new on the road, but I think that they could help….if not, I can always change my socks on the side of the trail. Keep me posted on how they work for you – could be a brilliant solution. I have seen a few people walking in shoes with the individual toes – you never know! Buen Camino to you too – hope you have a marvellous journey!

      Posted by Anita Mac | September 26, 2012, 1:06 pm
  3. Hi Anita, I’m enjoying reading about your Camino journey. My sister Denise that you know has told me that you are there right now. She would love that we do this together one day. So I’m looking at your experiences on the Camino and want to learn what I can before we ever do this ourselves one day. Thank you for taking the time while away to blog about your adventure. All the best!

    Posted by Suzanne McRae | September 27, 2012, 12:29 am
    • Thanks Suzanne – I hope you both get to do the Camino one day – it is such a special experience! It is amazing how each day can be so different from the next – the changes in landscape, the personal changes and the people you meet! I am thrilled that you are enjoying reading about my journey and am happy to share! When it is your time to do the Camino – please feel free to ask me any questions! I am looking forward to catching up with Denise – I can share as much insight as you ladies need! Walking the Camino de Santiago is such an amazing experience – you will love it!

      Posted by Anita Mac | September 27, 2012, 2:30 am
      • This is so exciting Anita to hear of your experience on the Camino. We may just take you up on your offer and ask a few questions or more. 😉

        Enjoy the rest of your journey and adventure… safe travels. xo

        Posted by Suzanne McRae | September 27, 2012, 8:07 am
  4. Thanks for sharing your stories Anita. When I was in high school we all had to do a 10 day adventure camp and were advised to prepare for it by soaking our feet in methylated spirits regularly in the lead-up to camp. Apparently it hardens the skin to make you less likely to get blisters. I followed this strange ritual and I don’t remember getting any major blisters during that time.

    Posted by Georgia | September 29, 2012, 9:29 am
    • Thanks for the tip Georgia! I had never heard of that before. It may be a little late for me – although a few weeks of walking is another great way to harden up the feet! I am hoping that the old blisters will soon be behind me and the feet so accustomed to life on the trail that they are good from here! The signs are pointing in that direction!

      Posted by Anita Mac | September 29, 2012, 4:48 pm


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