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A good first Camino? Ourense-SdC

2020 Camino Guides

tyrrek

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
SJPP-SdC (4-5/2011), Ferrol-SdC (9/2011), Pamplona-SdC (3-4/2012), Camino Finisterre (10/2012), Ourense-SdC (5/2014)
I just walked this route in the last week or so, and it struck me that it would be a great option for those looking for a short 'introduction' to the Camino. It's a pretty route, not too challenging after the initial climb out of Ourense, and with some options for distances to walk each day. There were still plenty of relatively short ascents and descents to test yourself a bit. Ourense is easy to get to with direct trains from SdC or Madrid etc.

I was able to stay in albergues every night with no overcrowding (8th-11th May) each costing 6 Euros a night except one private one costing 8 Euros. There were enough cafes/bars along the way to rest and refresh.

I had plenty of company after the first day's walk (when I only saw 2 other pilgs in a bar), but it was certainly possible to walk alone if I wanted.

The only possible downsides were that I didn't meet any others who had just started in Ourense, and almost everyone (including myself) had walked at least one Camino before, so you wouldn't be sharing the learning experiences. Also, most people seemed to be from the older age group, which could put some younger pilgrims off a bit. Galicia in May is probably at its prettiest and greenest in May, with the colourful flowers contrasting against the grey stone houses. I was also blessed with perfect weather and almost no rain, but would other forum members agree that it would generally make a good 'starter Camino?'
 

peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
Hi, tyrrek,
I am sorry I missed you in Santiago. I too have walked from Ourense and think it is a nice alternative "starter", especially with a detour to Oseira. In fact, I walked last time with a 20-something Spanish woman I met in Ourense who was doing just what you suggested, because she didn't want to go to the Frances and had time only for about 100 k. She thought it was a great "first Camino."

Another option would be five days on the Primitivo, starting a bit before Lugo, though the day into Lugo isn't among the most spectacular of Caminos. Norte from Baamonde also qualifies. And, though it's getting crowded, I think the Portugues from Valenca or Tui may actually be the nicest of the 100 km options. Nice towns, good albergues, and there's a donativo option in the monastery in Herbon a few km from Padron which is on my "must visit" list.

So there are lots of non-Frances 100 km options for those who want to walk into Santiago but are put off by the crowds. The "problem" with any 100 km stretch is that by that time the camino families are pretty tight and the person starting out may have trouble connecting. But the woman I met in Ourense who was just starting out is now a close personal friend, and she was welcomed into our little Vdlp group.
 

annakappa

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Part frances jun 07/rest frances may- jun 2008/Frances sept-oct 2009/ Sanabres Oct 2010/Frances sept-oct 2011/Aragones Sept-Oct 2012. Hospitalero Sept 2010, Amiga in Pilgrim's Office Oct 2013. Part Primitivo Oct 2013. Portugues from Porto June 2015.
We also walked from Ourense after doing our stint as hospitaleros and not having much time left before our flight back home and not wanting to repeat the Francés, especially as It would have meant starting in Sarria. It was a beautiful route, no problem with accommodation, but this was by then the third week of October. I have always wondered why everybody crowds on the Francés if they only want to do a very short Camino. The other options, for instance of starting just before Lugo, the portugués or the Inglés are other opciones.
Oh yes, also the entrance into Santiago is much more atractive coming in from the South! Anne
 

tyrrek

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
SJPP-SdC (4-5/2011), Ferrol-SdC (9/2011), Pamplona-SdC (3-4/2012), Camino Finisterre (10/2012), Ourense-SdC (5/2014)
Yes, sorry to have missed you too Laurie. I sought you out a couple of times but either you weren't around or it was very busy when I went past. Lovely to meet John, Lydia and the others. It looked as if the Amigos were going to be in good hands when your service ended.

Definitely the nicest entry into Santiago for me so far. Also very poignant now, passing immediately over the site of the dreadful train crash last year. A new cruxeiro-style memorial has been erected just to the right as you walk off the bridge.

Thanks for the tip about the Primativo. To be honest I hadn't really considered that one but I will the next time I only have a week. I chose the Ourense route over the Portugues as I will hopefully get 2 weeks off work later to do a bit more of it. My chances of doing a full VDLP at the moment are nil!

I was lucky to be welcomed into a mainly German/Austrian Camino family in Cea and we walked the rest of the way to SdC. Some of us shared a room in the seminario on arrival, which was great. Lovely peaceful trip.
 

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