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Advice on skipping Meseta

Year of past OR future Camino
Frances (2017), Primitivo (2019)
De nada, Mary!

What about letting your son walking but you taking a public transport on steep sections (downhill mostly of course)? And while waiting for him enjoying architecture, the peace of all those old churches, visiting museums, enjoying the food. Or just lingering somewhere with a good read.

It's not your age the reason that you have to rush anything. On the contrary, it's your age you shouldn't or you may ruin your prospects for later! Anyway at 60's you're still a young gurl ;)

Be well!
I LOVE this advice... you can walk appropriate sections with your son and rest when you need to. Every morning and evening you will be together on the Camino. No need to listen to any judgements. This may be the only time to go with your son and you should enjoy it, as you can. I suspect the mountainous sections will be wise to skip, in light of your serious knee injuries.
 
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Year of past OR future Camino
Frances (2017), Primitivo (2019)
I LOVE this advice... you can walk appropriate sections with your son and rest when you need to. Every morning and evening you will be together on the Camino. No need to listen to any judgements. This may be the only time to go with your son and you should enjoy it, as you can. I suspect the mountainous sections will be wise to skip, in light of our serious knee injuries.
Ooops- I should have kept reading! Looks like you are done and back already. I hope it was grand
 
Year of past OR future Camino
Camino de Santiago, St Jean to Santuago, 2015
Camino Portuguese, 2018
Thanks for sharing this Kinky One - it really touches me and I can see I have some hard thinking to do. I am so disappointed, and maybe there’s a lesson to be learnt there about my expectations. Maybe I can rest up somewhere nice and walk a stage later (I have 2 months), and return to other stages in years to come. I’m in my 60’s and have this sense of urgency that I’ll have to try and let go of it. As you say, the Camino will still be there 😢 Thanks so much
Don’t allow the age thing to get you! I began “Camino-ing” at 82. Guess my theme song would be “I did it my way”. Had read books but did not yet know about this website. Had Brierly and had used Booking.com in the past and thought I could again if needed. Although I had lived in Europe, I forgot about the May 1 holiday and cleverly arranged to arrive in Bayonne that day. So the first couple of days were more interesting than I had planned, but full of helpful people. If you can walk and can keep from thoughts like “but, they will think...” —- or anything similar, you can have a glorious time whatever comes up. Crying is okay. Cursing is okay (silently perhaps!). Singing is REALLY okay.... Bushels of thanks to all here who help me keep on doing all I can. And who share your joys and “not so much”!
 

mary_mh

Buen Camino
Year of past OR future Camino
Camino Frances Sept (2019)
Hi to everyone who gave me such encouragement and advice. I never closed this thread with a final post so - somewhat late - here it is 🤓. I had an amazing journey all the way to Santiago de Compostela. My walking poles were indispensable to manage impact and balance. I just took my time, savouring each day and moment, even the days of continuous rain. Met some wonderful people and made heart to heart connections that continue to enrich my life. My spirit soared.
I’m currently planning another Camino stage to do this year. My knee continues to be a problem, but it’s all soft tissue, no arthritis, and I have learnt how to manage it on the Camino, I hope 😊 This time I think I will try León to Cruz de Ferro - more ups and downs for sure, but a stage I would really like to aim for.
Thanks again everyone - hope to see you on the way xx
 

Bala

Veteran member
Year of past OR future Camino
Camino Frances: SJPdP-Burgos, (2015); Burgos-Sarria (2018); Sarria-Santiago (2018).
Frances (2020)
Wonderful! Thanks for the update and glad it all worked out so well. Buen Camino. 😊
 
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jungleboy

Spirit of the Camino (Nick)
Year of past OR future Camino
Francés 2017
Primitivo 2018
Madrid 2019
Kumano Kodo 2019
Português 2020
Year of past OR future Camino
Camino Norte and Frances Sept 6 - Oct 11, 2016
Year of past OR future Camino
(2009): Camino Frances
(2011): Sevilla-Salamanca, VdlP
(2012): Salamanca-SdC, VdlP
(2014): SJpdP-Astorga
(2015): Astorga-SdC
(2016) May Pamplona-Moratinos; Sept.:Burgos-SdC
(2016): August/Sept: Camino San Olav (Burgos-Covarubbias), Burgos-Sarria
(2017): May: Portuguese; Sept: Pamplona-SdC
I know this thread is a bit old, and the OP had particular circumstances, but I'm with @alexwalker! The Meseta is probably the most memorable part of my CF, looking back on it now. I just wrote an article about it called Six Reasons Not to Skip the Meseta. Hopefully you all agree! ;)
I salute your great article! Wish all newbies would read it! Congratulations!

And the iconic view from the Alto de Mostelares after Castrojeriz shows a perfect image of the Meseta. A 9-10 days of easy walking.
 
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peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
Great writing, @jungleboy. I have not walked the Francés in many years, but have had meseta-like stints on the Ebro, Levante and Catalán. For me, those wide open spaces in springtime are about as life-affirming as it gets. The exhilaration comes from being all alone with nothing but those endless vistas all around me — waving green fields, stark blue skies, and the occasional pueblo and poppy field dotting the landscape. When the fields are brown and dried up, it is harder to get to that point, but it’s possible I think.

I am not sure I would get the same sense of magic if I were on the moving sidewalk that the Francés has become. But maybe the meseta’s bad rap means that lots of pilgrims skip it and you can hope to find your moment of being alone with your demons and your angels and the Castilian landscape.
 
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VNwalking

Wandering in big circles
Year of past OR future Camino
Francés ('14/'15)
San Olav/CF ('16)
Baztanés/CF ('17)
Ingles ('18)
Vasco/CF/Invierno ('19)
I am not sure I would get the same sense of magic if I were on the moving sidewalk that the Francés has become
You might be surprised that it's actually possible to walk with some sense of solitude on the meseta, even now. The secret is staying in small places between traditional stages — especially places that do not have Wi-Fi or even electricity. Last year I walked across the meseta in late May/early June and had a lot of time to myself, between the waves of pilgrims staying in more popular destinations.
 

jungleboy

Spirit of the Camino (Nick)
Year of past OR future Camino
Francés 2017
Primitivo 2018
Madrid 2019
Kumano Kodo 2019
Português 2020
I salute your great article! Wish all newbies would read it! Congratulations!
Great writing, @jungleboy.
Thank you both!

Absolutely. But everyone has their own opinion. @Dinah Shaw , can you say more, or do you just want to be the dissenting voice?
Of course, that was tongue in cheek!

You might be surprised that it's actually possible to walk with some sense of solitude on the meseta, even now. The secret is staying in small places between traditional stages — especially places that do not have Wi-Fi or even electricity. Last year I walked across the meseta in late May/early June and had a lot of time to myself, between the waves of pilgrims staying in more popular destinations.
Off-stage is an interesting discussion. When Wendy and I walked our first camino (the Francés), we planned to stay off-stage because we'd done this on other multi-day hikes like the Annapurna Circuit in Nepal and been very happy that we'd done so. But we didn't 'get' what the camino was at that stage, and soon we found that a) the shared experience with other pilgrims was a big part of it, and b) unlike in the Nepal example, where the traditional end-of-stage villages were just the larger ones that could better accommodate groups, some (though not all) traditional end-of-stage places on the Francés are part of camino lore and have sites to explore that are harder to appreciate/enjoy if you're just passing through on your way to the next town (e.g. early on the Francés: Puente la Reina, Estella etc). Now that we've walked a couple of solitary caminos (the Madrid, the CP from Lisbon during the pandemic), I'm not sure how I'd feel about the enormous (non-COVID) crowds on the Francés.

To bring this back to the Meseta, if you're walking it for the first time, I would still recommend staying in some of the traditional places (e.g. Castrojeriz, Carrión, Mansilla de las Mulas) but maybe mixing up some of the other stops if that's practical stage-management-wise.

Finally, the last few days of the Camino de Madrid is an excellent Meseta alternative to the Francés because you still have the landscape, the canal (and it's an even better walk along the canal IMO), the Romanesque-Mudéjar fusion (San Gervasio and San Protasio) and a historic albergue (Grajal) without the crowds.
 
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Year of past OR future Camino
2022
You might be surprised that it's actually possible to walk with some sense of solitude on the meseta, even now. The secret is staying in small places between traditional stages — especially places that do not have Wi-Fi or even electricity. Last year I walked across the meseta in late May/early June and had a lot of time to myself, between the waves of pilgrims staying in more popular destinations.
Perhaps we passed on the meseta, I was walking there at that time too.
 

Simon B

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Camino Ingles and Camino Frances. VDLP Spring 2019
My advice would be do not skip the Meseta - it is an integral part of the whole experience. Personally I loved it as much as any other stage.
 
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John Brierley Camino Frances Guide
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RJM

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
A few times
I always found the infamous and to some dreaded "LA MESETA" (said in dramatic, spooky tone of voice 👻 lol) to be no different than the rest of the Camino Frances. No more challenging or austere. Not spooky, lonely or desolate. Just flat farm country, folks. Have similar terrain all over the world. There's plenty of accommodations on that stretch of the Frances and plenty of cafes and bars and restaurants. If so much was not mentioned/written about it I do not think anyone would give it any thought. Maybe I just do not have as much of an imagination as others, lol.
Anyway, prospective pilgrims take note, do not treat it any different than any other section of the Frances.
 

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