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Avoiding highways on the Camino Frances

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous Camino Frances topics' started by pennyinyk, Feb 16, 2017.

  1. pennyinyk

    pennyinyk New Member

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    Hello everyone - Looking for advice from more experienced peliginos. Through a series of unfortunate events, the time my friend and I had originally allocated to walk the CF has been compressed. We'll now start April 10th from SJPP and she needs to be in Santiago by May 8 - 4 weeks. That's probably more time than enough for some, but we'd been planning to take the odd rest day and enjoy the walk. I'm wondering if there are some portions of the CF that experienced walkers might recommend we could skip (i.e. bus through) - I've been reading some accounts of people skipping (bussing) some of the portions of CF that run alongside busy highways.

    I've also thought about using the luggage transfer service, at least on the more challenging stretches, on the assumption that we might be able to cover more distance without our packs.

    For personal reasons, it's important for us to start in SJPP (otherwise we'd just start closer to Santiago) and to start/finish together.

    Any recommendations/advice? Many thanks!
     
  2. Recommendations? Start closer to Santiago ... say Logrono.
     
    movinmaggie, kelleymac and trecile like this.
  3. falcon269

    falcon269 sidra; no commercial interests

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    There are buses parallel to the route most of the way. Take one when you need to pick up a day. You can cover a day in a taxi for about 20 Euro. Decide what to skip when you have experienced some of the terrain. If flat or hills have become boring, skip a bit. Buen camino.
     
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  4. Rick of Rick and Peg

    Rick of Rick and Peg Veteran Member Donating Member

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    Sahagun is halfway and you can get a halfway compostela there and then bus/train to Leon. Tour a day and then skip the Leon to Astorga section. Only if you think you are behind schedule. And you should know that by Sahagun.
     
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  5. Camino Chris

    Camino Chris Guest

    The smoothest and easiest way to knock off 5-7 days walking is to skip the Meseta by bussing from Burgos to Leon. This would put you closer to your target time and no need to skip other (more beautiful) portions of the trail.

    I know, I know, some people love the Meseta for personal reflection and yes, it is pretty in its own way, but the terrain is flatter and more unchanging there than on any other 5-7 day stretch you could eliminate.
     
  6. Rick of Rick and Peg

    Rick of Rick and Peg Veteran Member Donating Member

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    This also is a viable plan. Read up on the meseta and look at pictures to see if the meseta is for you. If you do skip this whole section you are likely to have time left over when you get to Santiago. They can be used for walking to Finisterre and/or Muxia (3 or 4 days).

    I forgot to mention that you could also rent bicycles to get across the meseta. This way you do the camino under your own power yet get to see the meseta and still save yourselves some time.
     
  7. Davey Boyd

    Davey Boyd Active Member

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    I never understand why people always recommend missing the Meseta. It is one of my favorite parts and I find truly beautiful too! Plus if you miss a middle section you are going to leave all those beautiful people you have just made friends with. I would start closer to Santiago.
     
  8. Dan Murphy

    Dan Murphy New Member

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    Don't skip the Meseta......



    Breaking Fast (Breakfast)


    First oak trees would show themselves

    Lit against the Meseta. Then the growing

    Spire of the cathedral when I’d catch it

    Pricking from the valley into the horizon.

    Maturing quick as a radish seed, rising fast

    As a ship’s mast; stepped within a glancing moment.


    As I walked I knew there would be a village there.

    Pinnacles drawing all of us like flags to fresh coffee,

    Squeezed oranges and a warmed crusty croissant.

    We would sit in our conversations. For a while,

    Small nomadic cultures philosophizing in the dawn;

    Wondering why we’ve been drawn together here.


    Sitting alone I’d savour what darkness felt. Quiet

    And unassuming shadows hiding me. Peaceful

    I thought. Cold cobbles in their place, the Cathedral

    Door slicked oak and touched by the push of thousands.

    For half a millennium pilgrims prayed here, asked for redemption.

    I looked up at what stars were left, billions I thought, enough for all of us.
     
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  9. Giselleontour

    Giselleontour The Alps in Germany. All around the world.

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    I love the meseta. Never ever would skip it. Instead of this I would take a bus into and out of the big cities like Burgos. or Leon.
    If you need to save more days I would suggest to take the bus from Leon to Astorga. But just, if it is absolutely necessary.
     
  10. Mark Lee

    Mark Lee Guest

    :D:D:D:D.......LMAO!
    She said she wanted to, and it's important for her to start in SJPdP... all the advice to start some where else! SMH o_O
    To the OP. Start in SJPdP. Walk as fast or as slow as you want to, and carry a guide, and as you walk you will get a better idea as to how much you will cover in your allotted time and as you go you will know when you need to catch a bus or taxi (lot's of buses, lot's of taxis available) to jump ahead a day or two to get to Santiago when you need to be there. Believe me, you will know exactly what you need to do as you go along and figure out where you want to skip. Also Hospitaleros are great sources of advice and information as to where and how to get a bus or taxi, as are the tourist offices.
    I wouldn't worry too much about leaving people you have met. Camino friends come and go. You will meet more where you start from again. It's easy.
    ultreia
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 18, 2017
  11. pennyinyk

    pennyinyk New Member

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    Thanks very much to everyone who replied to my request. My instincts align with Mark Lee's advice to just start in SJPdP and adjust as we go...thanks for that, Mark.....will keep the different perspectives on the meseta and other options for skipping ahead that were offered in mind, too. Love the Forum.
     
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  12. Mark Lee

    Mark Lee Guest

    No need to look at the meseta any differently than the rest of the Camino. Don't get me wrong. It's a cool place to walk in and all, but it's no less, or no more cool to experience than the rest of the Camino. It kinda get's over-dramatized by some people. I'd love to smoke what they're smoking. It's simply a flatter part, with some low rolling hills and surrounded by agriculture fields like sunflowers, wheat, etc. reminded me of some parts of the US like the Texas panhandle or say, Kansas, Oklahoma. I thought it was nice and gave my knees a break from uphills and downhills. Can't say it played with my mind, though and was hardly a hostile environment.
    Sorry la meseta gurus...ha ha. ;)
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 17, 2017
  13. as gaillimh

    as gaillimh Active Member

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    30 days plenty of days to get to Santiago. As you are starting in sjpded see how you getting on. After 10 days you will know if you are on target same again after 20 days. Bus available on most days so can cut out a section or 2 if required. Bag transfer some days good idea but you have to have end destination for that day. Buen camino
     
  14. Lance Chambers

    Lance Chambers Lance Chambers Donating Member

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    I'd suggest walking from Burgos to Fromista and busing to Leon. By that stage you've probably had enough of the Mesita - but some may disagree.
     
  15. J Willhaus

    J Willhaus Active Member

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    The walk into Burgos and Leon seemed very long and tiresome so you could certainly skip from Ages or Atepurca (sorry about spelling) into Burgos and the stage before just before Leon! The walk into Logrono is also a lot of concrete and motorways from Viana on into town.

    The problem is that there is much to see in these places so people want to have rest days or extra time in some of the bigger cities. It was all wonderful so difficult to say what to skip.

    I did not find shipping my bag made me go faster and I also worried about it all day. ( Would it get there or would I be taxiing back for it, etc). We had enough Camino friends with bag mishaps that I was worried sick all day. My bag was light enough as not to slow me down too much and I preferred to have it with me. We shipped ahead only two days out of 45.

    I would say you will know when to start busing ahead. Your body will tell you. On those days you may wish to stay in a private room to rest up and to free up a room for a pilgrim who has walked.
     
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  16. Camino Chris

    Camino Chris Guest

    I live in the midwestern USA, so that's why I'm not as impressed with the Meseta. One of the many reasons I love the Camino and spend $ to get there is to experience something completely different than home. I'd never choose to hike through the corn, soybean or wheat fields of Illinois where I live :eek:, which is why I advised to eliminate that portion.

    In general I found dealing with the buses I used on occassion to be rather stressful...locating and getting to the stations, not speaking Spanish, and hoping the bus schedule aligned with me not waiting too long. Totally interferred with my peace of mind and amped my stress level until seated on the bus when I sighed with relief. Just the opinion from my experiences.
     
  17. Mark Lee

    Mark Lee Guest

    Pretty much all of the terrain in northern Spain looked like places I have been before in the US to some degree. The meseta looks like the panhandle of Texas. The stretch between Ages and Burgos looks like the Texas hill country or some parts of California. The first day over the Pyrenees? The elevation was higher for sure, but otherwise looks like wooded hills I've seen before. The coast at Finisterre looks like a lot of coastal seaside towns all over. The rural villages look like rural villages in other parts of Europe.
    Can't say I expected northern Spain to look completely different than the US or other places I have been, and that's not why I traveled there to walk the CF. If I wanted different in that respect I'd go back to SE Asia. Now that's different, ha ha.
    I rode the bus system in Spain on the Camino a few times, and found it quite easy and inexpensive. No stress. Actually was never stressed once on the Camino (or on any vacation I have been on for that matter). Stress is something that I booted down the road with a swift kick the moment I left to go to the airport to fly to Europe to walk the Camino.
     
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  18. Camino Chris

    Camino Chris Guest

    I enjoyed reading your reply, Mark, and although your comments are true for you, they are not true for me. It just goes to show how we are all unique and different.

    I have traveled to over 40 of our 50 states (including the final two), both coastlines, and many of our famous national parks in between. Add to that Caribbean islands, the border countries of Canada, Mexico, Central America, Italy, France, Ireland, Mediterranean islands and Turkey. For ME, most everything about the Camino's terrain has looked different than all my other travels, and they one from another. It's all in the eye of the beholder and how much we observe. I'd never walked amongst eucalyptus forests, heard cuckoo birds sing, saw poppies growing in the wild, walked on ancient slabs of bluestone slate, nor saw villages rising high up on a hill in the distance from miles away, nor down in a valley as I walked, all with beds waiting for weary pilgrims at day's end.

    As for dealing with buses, they were rather stressful for me. For you, as a male police officer and man of the town :), I can see how it would be a breeze for you. For me as an older woman...not so easy.

    We all see (and feel) through our own lenses, and no two of us are alike. That's one of the many things that makes this forum so very interesting!
     
  19. Mark Lee

    Mark Lee Guest

    I'm actually a fairly shy guy in person, ha ha. Pretty quiet and easy going. ;)
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 17, 2017
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  20. dalstonmarra

    dalstonmarra Member

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    Although I have only walked fromSJPDP to Leon todate I found the Meseta the dullest,most boring part of the WAY.Almost all of it is on paths alongside roads.A true pilgrim who wishes to follow the route would not miss it,of course, but I could give it a miss.Walking from SJPDP to Burgos is not to be missed.Perhaps I am spoiled here as I am 15 minutes away from the Northern Fells in the Lake District where there is rarely a path with a straight line on it.The Meseta for the most part you are looking across flat terrain with nothing between yourself and the horizon in all directions.Reminded me of riding across the salt to Amboy.
     
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  21. Barbara

    Barbara Active Member

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    Is it though? I don't know how far the OP wants to go each day. But personally I like to amble along and arrive somewhere nice while still able to visit the sights. I would find 30 days a bit of a rush.
    For sure, play it by ear, with advice on places to skip from local sources. Also consider sometimes spending two nights at places you like. Yes, I know this means a hotel. Traveling together and sharing a room this is not a financial disaster. Also consider that Camino families are like the usual sort of family. You don't always like ALL of them. Sometimes it's good to move ahead or drop behind.
     
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  22. jsalt

    jsalt Jill Donating Member

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    It seems there are two types of pilgrims who cross the meseta – those who are looking outward to see the scenery – and those who are looking inward to see themselves.
     
  23. Camino Chris

    Camino Chris Guest

    Well, Im sure that's true since you say it is, but I've yet to meet a police officer who displays a "quiet and easy going" personality. Usually they are a very confident and self assured bunch :cool:... Lol.
     
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  24. Mark Lee

    Mark Lee Guest

    :D
     
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  25. The Spanish Inquisition

    The Spanish Inquisition New Member

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    If you claim to have to visited France, Italy, Ireland, the Med etc among others but never have seen poppies growing in the wild then maybe you should observe a bit more carefully- they are everywhere. Poppies are one of the national crops of Turkey... albeit the White Opium kind, but they have plenty of Red ones too. Cuckoos are common across Europe, maybe the US too. As the for the Eucalyptus, well they are actually quite controversial, of course native only to Australia, only imported and planted recently in Spain to combat deforestation because it grows quickly. Parts of Northern Spain could easily be mistaken for parts of Argentina, France, Italy, the Balkans, Romania, Bulgaria...
     
  26. Camino Chris

    Camino Chris Guest

    Thank you for the added information you've provided. I was not saying that poppies, eucalyptus trees, etc. never grow anywhere else, only that I personally have never observed them until my Caminos in Spain. I spent only two weeks on each trip mentioned. It certainly was not enough time to see everything. I saw lots of lavendar fields in France, but it certainly grows in many other countries as well.
     
  27. dougfitz

    dougfitz Veteran Member Donating Member

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    Wrong, wrong, wrong!! Eucalyptus is native to Australia, New Guinea, Indonesia and the Philippines. The Spanish monk, Dom Salvado exported the first Eucalyptus seeds to Spain in the 19th century, cultivation began around 1860 and it was well established as a plantation crop by the turn of the 20th century.
     
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  28. Mark Lee

    Mark Lee Guest

    I like that stretch of them growing right along the Camino somewhere between Sarria and SDC. I remember some of them had limbs down and I'd grab a handful of the leaves and roll them between my hands releasing the oil, then cup them an inhale deeply. Natural sinus opener.
     
  29. C clearly

    C clearly Veteran Member Donating Member

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    I don't think that "quiet and easy going" is mutually exclusive with "confident and self assured." Also, people learn a professional face, that doesn't necessarily transfer exactly to their personal lives. There is usually some truth to stereotypes, but we need to be careful in applying them. How many police officers have you met who are repeat offenders at walking the camino? ;)
     
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  30. Barbara

    Barbara Active Member

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    I grow opium poppies as an ornamental in my herb garden. They are purple and somewhat striped. Also available in white. They don't produce much of the drug in a temperate climate. That's Papaver somniferum for the botanists amongst us. The red ones are field poppies Papaver rhoeas. The yellow ones are called California poppies, Eschscholzia californica, and they are of the Papaveraceae family. There, that's more than you wanted to know, and I claim the prize for thread drift.
     
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  31. Yellowfriend

    Yellowfriend Active Member

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    Totally agree and thanks :)
     
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  32. Lisa HS

    Lisa HS Member Donating Member

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    I shipped my bag ahead about 1/4 of the time. Kept me from injury - steep ups and downs (I've got arthritic knees) and some extra long days. It did allow me to do some 26km days (my average days were 18km). I never had a mis-sent bag...it was always there when I arrived, and I never worried. Their system is very good. Highly recommend this option to allow you flexibility and perhaps a bit more speed with less chance of injury.

    Also, remember that the Meseta is not an "either/or" option. You could do just part of it. For example, you could walk from Burgos to Boadilla del Camino. It's 3 days at 19km each day: Burgos to Hornillos del Camino, then Castrojeriz (ruined castle on the hill, cool town wrapping around the base of the hill - stay at Albergue Ultreia, one of my favorites), then Boadilla (small town, beautiful vespers mass, very unique Albergue en el Camino with the inimitable Eduardo as hospitelera...a long-time Camino personality). THEN skip ahead to Leon (looks like you can taxi to the nearby Carrion de los Condes, then the once/day bus to Leon. You'd save 120km and still see the Meseta (or just bus as far as Sarhagun and save 65km). You can be flexible, for sure. BTW, look at the website/app Rome2Rio for quick reference on any transportation options. It's priceless.
     
  33. Peregrinopaul

    Peregrinopaul Active Member

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    There you go! ...a quiet, shy, (emoji) reply!
    And Mark, I thought SMH was the Sydney Morning Herald.
     
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  34. Peregrinopaul

    Peregrinopaul Active Member

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    I guess I meant
    QED
     
  35. dougfitz

    dougfitz Veteran Member Donating Member

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  36. Kathar1na

    Kathar1na Member

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    I feel that the poster with the Monty Python moniker has a point: in the context of the history of the pilgrimage to Santiago, the eucalyptus forests in Galicia are a recent addition :). I am probably biased: the first time I heard of them, I learnt that they are controversial. I don't know when the "eucalyptus controversy" in Spain started - 1980s?1990s? They go together with the bright yellow rapeseed fields: I was stunned when I read for the first time that people admire and photograph them ... I'm one of the people who has not yet fully gotten accustomed to this recent change of familiar landscapes.
     
    Last edited: Feb 19, 2017
  37. pennyinyk

    pennyinyk New Member

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    Thanks again, everyone, for all your posts in reply to my question. As a regular forum reader, I did expect to get a variety of responses and they are all truly helpful for this first time pelligrina. So many options....all of which serve to reassure me that whatever happens, it will all be good and part of the camino experience. Can't wait to get there!
     
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  38. dougfitz

    dougfitz Veteran Member Donating Member

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    Certainly the geographic distribution of eucalyptus plantation appears to have been concentrated in the southern parts of Spain. However, Dom Salvado came from Tui, and it appears that this was where the first cultivation took place sometime around the 1860s. You might be correct that the major plantations on the CF and CI are recent. The material that I have access to does not go into that level of detail. However, the comment that I objected to made the claim that eucalyptus plantations were a recent phenomena to Spain, and that is clearly not true.
     
  39. Bumpa

    Bumpa Active Member Donating Member

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    Excellent point. Police officers with a "quiet and easy going" nature can often be most effective. But often need to assume a "confident and assured manner" to accomplish the job. It is important that they be "quiet and easy going" in personal life to ensure they can balance the professional and personal lives. Speaking as a retired police officer of 25r yrs. who, come April, will be a repeat "offender" ;)
     
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