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The stages are usually planned before undertaking the trip, depending on the starting point, type of pilgrimage (on foot, on horseback or cycling) and the kilometres you want to cover. Due to a lack of time, many pilgrims choose to do the French Way of St. James, for example, in three consecutive years, covering the Roncesvalles-Burgo section, then Burgos-León and finally León-Santiago. However, it is best to do it ‘in one go,’ which requires more than a month, if you begin at the French-Spanish border, or establish a starting point closer to Santiago.

The most logical way of dividing the stages is according to the location of the hostels or accommodation, up to a maximum of 20 to 25 kilometres on foot and 70 kilometres for cyclists. If there are children in the group, these distances should be halved. Numerous practical guides establish well-proven stages, with opportunities for accommodation and eating, and taking into account visits to monuments and the contemplation of the Way of St. James’ ‘charms’.

Your walking pace should be appropriate for your age and physical capacity; do not overdo it in order to keep up with the rest or to arrive ‘sooner’. After a gentle start, you fall into a regular and rhythmic walking pace, which should be interrupted for at least ten minutes every hour. In rugged terrain and going uphill, you should slow down and use your staff for support. As soon as your feet feel uncomfortable, due to rubbing or something else, you should stop to try and remedy the situation.

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