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19 Days, St Jean | Dec 2019 - Jan 2020

2020 Camino Guides

PRuss

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Planning to walk Dec 2019 - Jan 2020
I plan on walking Starting Dec 14th, ending Jan 1.

It would seem that to do this I would need to walk about 8 to 9 hours/day, more/less all of the daylight hours. Im in pretty good shape and not generally worried about the physical requirements.

Couples questions:
- Is this crazy?
- Has anyone done it at this pace?
- Will this be too fast to enjoy all that the Camino has to offer?
 

trecile

Camino Addict
Camino(s) past & future
Francés (2016 & 2017), Norte (2018), Francés-Salvador-Norte (2019), Portuguese (2019)
You're planning to walk from SJPDP to Santiago in 19 days in the winter???!!
 

Davey Boyd

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Again, soon as possible!
Welcome to the forum!
I take it you mean starting in St. Jean Pied de Port?
In my view:

- Yes this is crazy (crazy can be good, but not this time)
- The weather will most likely slow you down, I am not sure this can be done at this pace, in winter.
- A good chance that at this pace an injury could slow you down or even stop you.
- With no time leeway, anything slowing you down means you won't make it to Santiago in 19 days or you will have to skip ahead.
- Yes, too fast to really enjoy the camino.

I would start closer to Santiago if Santiago is your aim.

Davey
 

trecile

Camino Addict
Camino(s) past & future
Francés (2016 & 2017), Norte (2018), Francés-Salvador-Norte (2019), Portuguese (2019)
It would seem that to do this I would need to walk about 8 to 9 hours/day, more/less all of the daylight hours.
You would need to maintain a steady pace of 5 km/hour, uphill, downhill in all kinds of weather, without breaks.
Doesn't sound very enjoyable.
 

Tincatinker

Moderator
Staff member
Camino(s) past & future
Lots ;0)
This site https://fastestknowntime.com/route/camino-de-santiago-spain will show you that 19 days is almost a sluggards pace. However, none, so far as I can tell, undertook a speed-camino in mid-winter.

"Is this crazy?" Yes. Well, "yes" is the polite response. In winter, dealing with rain, snow, strong winds and other adversarial weather conditions; with muddy or icy trail conditions and with limited accommodation opportunities and limited daylight it is a foolhardy proposition.

So, if you want to walk some Camino in 19 days consider starting from Leon. That will give you a margin for weather delays and leave a reasonable prospect of arriving in Santiago.

Buen (safe) camino
 

SYates

Camino Fossil AD 1999, now living in Santiago de C
Camino(s) past & future
First: Camino Francés 1999
...
Last: Santiago - Muxia 2019

Now: http://egeria.house/
Two options to stay save:

Start closer to Santiago.
Start in SJPdP, walk as far as you come and continue another year to Santiago.

Also, your daily stages are not only determinate by daylight hours, also by open/closed albergues, for that keep a close eye on http://www.aprinca.com/alberguesinvierno/

BC SY
 

PRuss

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Planning to walk Dec 2019 - Jan 2020
Thank you everyone for the incredibly fast responses.

I think I'll head your warnings and adjust my plans.

I might just start a few days sooner to give myself 24 days. My goal was to make it to Santiago on new years day.

If I add a few extra days so its 24 total and perhaps start in Pamplona do you think that would be a comfortable pace to enjoy everything without major risks?
 

PRuss

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Planning to walk Dec 2019 - Jan 2020
Two options to stay save:

Start closer to Santiago.
Start in SJPdP, walk as far as you come and continue another year to Santiago.

Also, your daily stages are not only determinate by daylight hours, also by open/closed albergues, for that keep a close eye on http://www.aprinca.com/alberguesinvierno/

BC SY
I was going to have a special sleeping bag/tent type thing so could sleep outside if Im caught without a hotel.

Do other people camp on their journey when they cant get a hostel?
 

SYates

Camino Fossil AD 1999, now living in Santiago de C
Camino(s) past & future
First: Camino Francés 1999
...
Last: Santiago - Muxia 2019

Now: http://egeria.house/
I was going to have a special sleeping bag/tent type thing so could sleep outside if Im caught without a hotel.

Do other people camp on their journey when they cant get a hostel?
Have you ever done something like this before, sleeping outside in winter? Any long distance walking/hiking experience, especially in winter?
The Camino Francés in Spain, but it is in NORTHERN Spain ...

BC SY
 

Anamiri

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances
I dont know if this is supposed to be enjoyable for you or just a challenge.
At the very least I would think you havent left yourself time for drying out footwear and clothing. In my opinion Burgos would be a good place to start if you only have 19 or 24 days.
If you walk the Frances, I never saw anyone camping, even in warm months. And the extra weight you would have to take to allow for that would probably just add to the likelihood of injury.
 

Davey Boyd

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Again, soon as possible!
I was going to have a special sleeping bag/tent type thing so could sleep outside if Im caught without a hotel.

Do other people camp on their journey when they cant get a hostel?
I sleep outside a lot on the camino, to me it is just a choice. I never camped out once when I walked in winter.

You will probably at some point get wet in winter. You will not want to be camping outside wet. You will want warm accommodation where you can get out of those wet clothes, have a hot shower and dry those wet clothes overnight.

You will probably encounter a lot of mud on some stretches. Mud plus tent = misery.

And packing away a wet tent is not nice. And heavier.

Finding accommodation is no problem in winter. Save weight by not bringing any camping gear.

Start closer to Santiago and go slow and enjoy!

Davey
 

roving_rufus

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2013-2015) Camino Portugues from Lisbon (2017-2019) Via Francigena (2018-??)
Pamplona seems a more sane start but there are no guarantees on weather even with 24 days. The 2 big issues are weather and accomodation. There is no way to
really say what you might get with weather - I walked part of the Camino Portugues in January with perfect weather for 10 days of blue skies and winter sunshine -- but also walked the meseta on the Frances in freezing fog with visibility less than 1m. You can get snow, rain, gales etc.
Accomodation takes more planning about how far to go each day. Its been a few years since I walked on the camino frances in January but in some sections it is 20-25km between albergues that were open in that time of year. Unlikely the "normal" pilgrim season when there is pretty much accomodation in ever village which makes longer distance walking easier to plan. I am not sure I like the idea of camping in winter (unless you are very used to winter camping with snow & ice or heavy rain). It is also Christmas and some albergues, hotels and accomodation close at this time - and you will need to have a plan in place especially for Christmas Eve/Day. But in winter generally people are more likely to help you if you get stuck.
I love walking the camino in winter but it does require more planning than other seasons. Walking dawn to dusk gives about 9 hours - I am comfortable walking 30km and I can easily manage this in this time frame (except for significant climbs) with plenty of stops, lunch break etc and not feeling rushed.
 

PRuss

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Planning to walk Dec 2019 - Jan 2020
Have you ever done something like this before, sleeping outside in winter? Any long distance walking/hiking experience, especially in winter?
The Camino Francés in Spain, but it is in NORTHERN Spain ...

BC SY
Thanks fro the tips.

I have slept outside like this many times before, in all seasons, so that part isn't a huge concern.

The wet it's a worry, dealt with that before but the mud would be new for me other than mild amounts.

I do want to enjoy the walk, but I also want to do a lot of walking, hence my desire to stretch the distance as much as I can. My walking pace on the Appalachian trail (with up hill and down) is about 5.5k/hour with a full pack and light camping gear but not in the winter.
 

PRuss

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Planning to walk Dec 2019 - Jan 2020
I dont know if this is supposed to be enjoyable for you or just a challenge.
At the very least I would think you havent left yourself time for drying out footwear and clothing. In my opinion Burgos would be a good place to start if you only have 19 or 24 days.
If you walk the Frances, I never saw anyone camping, even in warm months. And the extra weight you would have to take to allow for that would probably just add to the likelihood of injury.
Def meant to be enjoyable, but I do have a fairly fast natural walking pace when I'm alone. If I don't finish i will come back and i dont plan to "rush" per se but i am aiming for more solitude than meeting people which is another upside of a faster than normal pace in the off season.
 

SYates

Camino Fossil AD 1999, now living in Santiago de C
Camino(s) past & future
First: Camino Francés 1999
...
Last: Santiago - Muxia 2019

Now: http://egeria.house/
Thanks fro the tips.

I have slept outside like this many times before, in all seasons, so that part isn't a huge concern.

The wet it's a worry, dealt with that before but the mud would be new for me other than mild amounts.

I do want to enjoy the walk, but I also want to do a lot of walking, hence my desire to stretch the distance as much as I can. My walking pace on the Appalachian trail (with up hill and down) is about 5.5k/hour with a full pack and light camping gear but not in the winter.
Ok, now I understand where you are coming from.

Unlike the US long distance hikes, the pilgrimage to Santiago actually hasn't any fixed starting point.
Or better said, traditionally, pilgrims would start at their own door steps to walk to Santiago and back home again.
Whilst that is still possible for a lot of Europeans, it isn't for pilgrims from other continents.

So, relax, wherever you start from is FINE!
Enjoy the journey.
Engage with the people you meet.
Heal and be healed.

BC SY
 

Anamiri

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances
I forgot to add to my reply that you have to factor in the travelling time as well, as getting to SJPDP can add a lot to your travel, often an additional half or whole day depending where your entry point is. If you fly internationally there is often another longer train ride or flight once you land in Europe, plus a short train/bus or shuttle to actually get to SJPDP. Its just a small village so flights and trains don't go there directly.
Starting in other Spanish cities can often be faster to reach.
But it is a really nice village (I've only been there in summer) to start from
 

Hurry Krishna

Indian on the Way
Camino(s) past & future
2009 (from Sarria), 2014 from St Jean Pied de Port, 2016 from Porto, 2018 from Le Puy to Santiago.
I plan on walking Starting Dec 14th, ending Jan 1.

It would seem that to do this I would need to walk about 8 to 9 hours/day, more/less all of the daylight hours. Im in pretty good shape and not generally worried about the physical requirements.

Couples questions:
- Is this crazy?
- Has anyone done it at this pace?
- Will this be too fast to enjoy all that the Camino has to offer?
If you are going all the way to Santiago in 19 days, you will be walking about 40k a day. With pack, winter gear, rain on some days, and some days which are quite up and down, you are looking at 10 or more hours a day. If you are merely ‘pretty good shape’, I think you are setting yourself up to fail. If you are seriously fit, and relatively young, and don’t get blisters or any other problems, then you are just a bit crazy, but it could work :)
Done it twice - regard myself as pretty fit - 30-35 days is a good target for me.
Buen Camino.
Sent from my iPad

Begin forwarded message:
 

Stivandrer

Perambulating & Curious. Rep stravaiging offender
Camino(s) past & future
I´ve got Camino plans until 2042,
- or till I fall flat on my face, whichever comes first !!
Do you HAVE to reach Santiago this time around ? ( have not read all the posts)
If you are crazy (enough ) to want to walk in December, you might want to curtail the some ambitions...
I have heard and read about a dozen people who have done it in December and even through Xmas, and have had a really good time.
But:
consider that not all Albergues are open after November, and that the ones open might be few and far scattered at somer stretches, so your planning might be askew...
That snow and bad weather will force you to have down days.....

Doing Leon to SdC is doable at a leisurely pace.....
Hopefully you will encounter a bunch of like spirited souls to keep you company...

Godspeed and Buen Camino...
 

martin1ws

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Somport to Finisterre Jul-Aug 2018
...
I do want to enjoy the walk, but I also want to do a lot of walking, hence my desire to stretch the distance as much as I can. My walking pace on the Appalachian trail (with up hill and down) is about 5.5k/hour with a full pack and light camping gear but not in the winter.
After the Appalachian trail you know best how far you can go each day in average.
Here are some links to resources for planning:
Albergues in the winter:
Profile Maps:

You could ask pilgrims who did the Appalachian trail and the Camino Frances for differences... @davebugg did the Appalachian trail as well, I think. You can send him a personal message. Or you search for winter caminos.

As others said before... there is no 'complete' camino and you can start whereever you want. In SJPP just start many pilgrims... and you could say you started in a different country... but for the camino it is insignificant where you start.
 

lunna

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
frances; lisboa-muxia; norte+bayonne; vdlp; le puy; voie d'arles+aragones; geneva to ales
If you do this, you will miss a lot. It really is, as the cliche goes, the journey, not the destination, that counts.
 

susanawee

susanawee
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances-(2013/14/18
Camino Salvado Perth -(2015)
West Highland Way (2016)
Lyon France 2017
I plan on walking Starting Dec 14th, ending Jan 1.

It would seem that to do this I would need to walk about 8 to 9 hours/day, more/less all of the daylight hours. Im in pretty good shape and not generally worried about the physical requirements.

Couples questions:
- Is this crazy?
- Has anyone done it at this pace?
- Will this be too fast to enjoy all that the Camino has to offer?
Just my own humble response here...I really feel that 19 days is Way to short a time period, especially during winter. Are you planning a meaningful Camino and all that this means, or a marathon. Kind regards, Susanawee.
 

susanawee

susanawee
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances-(2013/14/18
Camino Salvado Perth -(2015)
West Highland Way (2016)
Lyon France 2017
This site https://fastestknowntime.com/route/camino-de-santiago-spain will show you that 19 days is almost a sluggards pace. However, none, so far as I can tell, undertook a speed-camino in mid-winter.

"Is this crazy?" Yes. Well, "yes" is the polite response. In winter, dealing with rain, snow, strong winds and other adversarial weather conditions; with muddy or icy trail conditions and with limited accommodation opportunities and limited daylight it is a foolhardy proposition.

So, if you want to walk some Camino in 19 days consider starting from Leon. That will give you a margin for weather delays and leave a reasonable prospect of arriving in Santiago.

Buen (safe) camino
As usual Tincantinker, a well thought out and considered response.
 

trecile

Camino Addict
Camino(s) past & future
Francés (2016 & 2017), Norte (2018), Francés-Salvador-Norte (2019), Portuguese (2019)
Just my own humble response here...I really feel that 19 days is Way to short a time period, especially during winter. Are you planning a meaningful Camino and all that this means, or a marathon. Kind regards, Susanawee.
What's meaningful to you may not be meaningful to me or @PRuss .
 

David Tallan

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (1989 and 2016), Portugues - from Porto (2018)
Just my own humble response here...I really feel that 19 days is Way to short a time period, especially during winter. Are you planning a meaningful Camino and all that this means, or a marathon. Kind regards, Susanawee.
People have found great meaning in a Camino that was done in a week from Sarria. Some have found such a Camino a completely life-changing experience. One that I know of was inspired to move with his family to Santiago de Compostela and start a Camino-related podcast and, eventually, a Camino-related business, all after walking for less than 19 days.

Those who walk a month or more for 800 km may look at these people and say that it is too short for something meaningful. What you really need is something closer to a month and 800 km. That's what provides a meaningful Camino (at least, that's what provided them a meaningful Camino). Of course, to people who walked two or three or more months to Santiago, the mere month or so and 800 km is just getting started. They would say that it is not enough to provide something meaningful, but I expect that people who have walked two or three months have probably walked far enough to learn that meaning can come in trips of many different lengths.

Just my humble opinion. Your mileage may vary.

(All that said, I tend to agree with Tincatinker's response and suggest a less aggressive schedule. Most of the people I've read or watched or talked to who have done both the Camino and through hikes like the AT, PCT, or CDT say that a Camino is a very different experience. I wouldn't use one as a pattern of what you can expect or should do on the other.)
 

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