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Advise about which route to walk

Camino(s) past & future
I am planning to walk El Camino in May of 2017
#1
Sorry to post this again, but I decided to start a new thread....

I saw on a thread that 240 people began Caminos last Tuesday! Yikes!

I am planning to walk el Camino Frances in mid May. A friend told me that when he walked it in April several years ago in 2011, it was very crowded and packed at night at the Albergues, and many of the hosts were "up to here" with peregrinos....he was trying to get me to walk the Via de la Plata instead. I am now confused.

It's too hot for me to walk the Plata...and don't know much about the Northern Route. I am a strong hiker so that might be a possibility....

I don't want to feel rushed to find a bed. The whole of the Camino for me is to NOT RUSH! :)

I do speak Spanish so I'm sure I could wander around and find alternative places...but am on a tight budget, too! I enjoy people, but find crowded situations a bit overwhelming.

Sage advise, please??

Sue in Western MA
 

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SabineP

Veteran Member
Donating Member
Camino(s) past & future
some and then more. see my signature.
#2
Just go and relax. There has been in the recent years such an increase in albergues. Stop in the in between places and you will be ok. There are some long weekends in May which means that maybe some more Spaniards will be walking for a week or so. But still enough places to stay the night. If you know your pace and limits you can call and book a bed in an albergue. If you want to continue just call them and cancel the bed.

April and May can be busy but again it is not August.
And the Frances is not the wilderness. Every five k. there is albergue except for the etapa from Saint Jean and the one from Carrion de los Condes.
 

falcon269

no commercial interests
Camino(s) past & future
yes
#3
I don't want to feel rushed to find a bed. The whole of the Camino for me is to NOT RUSH!
The Camino has changed. While April and May are not bad, they have become busier. Regardless of what each of us may want, the Camino will not change to fit us. We must change to fit it. One strategy to combat the crowds is to reserve ahead. As more and more pilgrims use baggage services, let tour services plan their camino, and reserve ahead, the drop-in bed becomes a bit of an endangered species. Other caminos are seeing increases, too, and they do not have the infrastructure of the Camino Frances.

You will be as rushed as you allow yourself to be. If you are sure that making reservations, having crowds, and accommodating the Camino as it is (as opposed to your hopes and expectations), perhaps it is not the walk to be taking now. Don't go if conditions will make you miserable. As interesting as it is, it is not worth being miserable to walk it. :)

Many of us would like a time machine to roll back twenty years of pilgrim increases, but I have not found one on eBay yet...
 

frida1

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances April 11-May 11 2014
#4
I walked the camino in April-May of 2014. My perception was that there were plenty of pilgrims, but I didn't feel overwhelmed. I never rushed for a bed-never thought about it-and there was always room at the inn. Even over Easter; Saturday night was the only night I remember having any problem. I was in Burgos and had to book a hotel, but that was not a disaster.
 

marylynn

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Camino(s) past & future
2011-12-14-15-16-17-18 CF
2013 Arles/Aragones
2015 & 2017 Hærvejen DK
#5
Out of all of my Caminos, there was only one day when it took three attempts to find beds for three of us...otherwise, our first choice had space. I've never booked ahead except in St. Jean.
 

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C clearly

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Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2012, 2014, 2015, 2016). Seville-Astorga (Mar 2017). Mozarabe (Apr-May 2018)
#6
Sage advise, please??
I think you mentioned somewhere that you had wanted to walk the Camino Frances, but were being discouraged from it. My sage advice is to go walk the Camino Frances. It will probably be a wonderful and satisfying experience. However, if by chance you find it too crowded or otherwise don't like it, you can always get on a bus and go elsewhere, such as the Camino del Norte.
 
Camino(s) past & future
I am planning to walk El Camino in May of 2017
#7
I think I will start in ST JDPP because hiking thru the Pyrenees has long been a dream of mine. When I get to Pamplona, I can decided whether to continue or bus it up to San Sebastian.

I am overwhelmed by the crowds and focus on finding "families," etc. I love people, my solo hiking and am going on the Camino, in part, to explore my inner introvert :)

It seems that el Norte would be less populated, but that "camino" spirit also draws me....

Thanks for your input!
Sue

PS...I will bring my flute and wonder about the culture/ethics of playing music along the Camino...
 

C clearly

Veteran Member
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Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2012, 2014, 2015, 2016). Seville-Astorga (Mar 2017). Mozarabe (Apr-May 2018)
#8
I am overwhelmed by the crowds and focus on finding "families," etc.
The emphasis on "families" can create a bit of angst and you might need to remind yourself of why you are there. If you don't know why you are on the Camino, maybe you will at least recognize some non-reasons! On a couple of occasions I found myself caught up with others who I really liked a lot, but the group began to feel like a high school field trip. I didn't want to be on a group field trip so I forced a separation by holding back a half day or surging ahead. Then I rediscovered how much I enjoyed the independence. After all, I have a perfectly good family at home and didn't go to Spain to find another.

You will almost certainly enjoy meeting familiar faces at stops and even on the path. However, there is no reason you can't tell people that you want to walk alone for a while - walk with them for 5 or 10 minutes and then make up whatever explanation you want. If someone asks "Can I walk with you?" just give them a polite answer. Wanting to walk alone is very common and people are always supportive of the need to "think through some issues" or "do walking meditation" or whatever. I don't allow people to become clingy, and somehow they know to seek someone else! :rolleyes: However, if there were a need, or someone was fearful, I would certainly try to help. That doesn't mean you need to walk side by side.

The music will be very much liked, so feel free to produce it!

Having said some negative things about Camino families, I still have to say that there is a real charm to the Camino Frances that is worth experiencing.
 
Last edited:

trecile

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Camino(s) past & future
Aug - Sept (2016) SJPDP - Finisterre
July - Aug (2017) SJPDP - Muxia - Finisterre
#9
PS...I will bring my flute and wonder about the culture/ethics of playing music along the Camino...
One of my most memorable nights on the Camino was when a fellow pilgrim played his guitar for a group of us.
 

manoll

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino del Norte, Camino Primitivo - 2013
Camino Sanabrés from Zamora - April-May 2016
Camino del Norte - June-July 2018
#10
Sorry to post this again, but I decided to start a new thread....

I saw on a thread that 240 people began Caminos last Tuesday! Yikes!

I am planning to walk el Camino Frances in mid May. A friend told me that when he walked it in April several years ago in 2011, it was very crowded and packed at night at the Albergues, and many of the hosts were "up to here" with peregrinos....he was trying to get me to walk the Via de la Plata instead. I am now confused.

It's too hot for me to walk the Plata...and don't know much about the Northern Route. I am a strong hiker so that might be a possibility....

I don't want to feel rushed to find a bed. The whole of the Camino for me is to NOT RUSH! :)

I do speak Spanish so I'm sure I could wander around and find alternative places...but am on a tight budget, too! I enjoy people, but find crowded situations a bit overwhelming.

Sage advise, please??

Sue in Western MA

Hi Sue,

How lucky that you speak Spanish, you will feel more confident on your journey across Spain! I, too speak Spanish and feel very comfortable when I am there:) The Camino Francés is one that I have avoided at all costs, precisely because the number of people along that route. Unfortunately I spent 2 days on it, and honestly, hated it. It felt like I was in a herd trying to get ahead all the time. There were some rude people, smokers, and many who ditched their packs on trail crossings, where there were vans and mini-busses ready to take your pack to your next destination, not sure how I feel about this.
I prefer solitude and time to enjoy my surroundings without feeling like I'm in competition to make it to my overnight destination in order to find a spot where to sleep. Now, I have been on 3 caminos, and I have to say that I am partial to Camino del Norte for all the reasons I've mentioned. It's tough at times, but in good physical condition (not necessarily athletic), it can be done. It gave me many options for distances to walk daily because there is plenty of lodging along the way and never had a problem finding a place to stay. There are a couple of monasteries, plenty of albergues, if for any reason I did not like the albergue I never had a problem finding a pension instead, and in places that I knew I wanted to stay more than one night, I would book a hotel. Some days I chose to walk 6 hours because I enjoy tremendously spending time in the late afternoon, early evening exploring the area, visiting historical sites - if there are any, or sitting down at a cafe/restaurant/bar to enjoy a great meal and local wine! I spent 6 weeks on CDN and loved it so much I am planning on doing it again next year:) No hesitation at all in doing the northern route!
I walked in May and never had a day above 60˚F, the evening where crisp and comfortable with temperatures in the 40's.
If I can help you in any way, please feel free to contact me, though there are so many experienced peregrinos here that give helpful advice to rely on!

Ultreïa!
 
Camino(s) past & future
I am planning to walk El Camino in May of 2017
#11
One of my most memorable nights on the Camino was when a fellow pilgrim played his guitar for a group of us.
I certainly won't have room in my 38L pack for a guitar, or matter how small or light. However, in my experience with travel in the past, I was never far from a guitar. :)
 

manoll

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino del Norte, Camino Primitivo - 2013
Camino Sanabrés from Zamora - April-May 2016
Camino del Norte - June-July 2018
#12
Sue, there is a fantastic app for you iphone that has a breadth of information about the caminos. It gives you pretty much everything you need to know along the routes:

http://caminodesantiago.consumer.es/

Ultreïa!
 

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