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Camino francés June/July 2021


Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
I didn’t send any updates whilst on my last Camino, apart from giving daily news to my family (like yes I am still alive lol) so I’ll do it now.

I arrived in Pamplona on the 15th of June, by train from Alicante, via Madrid. Longer journey than from Gatwick to Biarritz! 🙄

It was extremely hot that day, 38 deg!

Then on the 16th I started walking, short etapas to start with as I wasn’t as fit as I would have liked after so much inaction… Also lots of the places I like to stay in weren’t open at that time, like Cizur Menor for instance. Bigger cities I usually avoid were the answer.

But it all went smoothly, one step at a time.

There were very few pilgrims, most days I could count them on one hand!

The weather, from unusually hot suddenly turned very cold. I didn’t keep a diary so I don’t remember details but I cannot remember feeling so cold in Spain in June! It rained too - sometimes all day! - and I was wearing all my layers… Very often walked in fog or low cloud so I was glad it wasn’t my first time as I missed all the beautiful views…

I didn’t bring gloves so one day resorted to wearing socks on my hands, I was that cold! It was 8 or maybe 9 deg. and the wind made it worse. In O’Cebreiro and a few other places, the heating was on in my room and I was so grateful.

I booked private rooms because basically I was scared of sleeping with many people in albergues… and I had promised my family 🙄😁

There was absolutely no need to worry as everywhere was empty!!!

Honestly, I had so many evening meals on my own - because I was the only pilgrim there - it was eery! For those of you who know the Camino, think of the albergue in Boadilla…. Well it was shut of course and I was the only guest in the nice hotel next door, with a Dutchman but he didn’t leave his room so I had dinner all on my own in their big dining-room! ‘Like a princesita’, the hospitalero laughed. Same again in so many other places, where previously we had shared communal dinners…. In Terradillos de los Templarios, dinner was served to me on the lawn, again on my own 😎 Burgo Ranero, Villarente, Hontanas…. too many to mention them all.

On that long stretch from Carrión, I was absolutely on my own too! No-one ahead of me and no-one behind! Quite something.

There were a few other pilgrims I did meet along the way, mostly French and Spanish and of course as ever I made friends… not to be easily forgotten…

I was always so thankful to find cafes open to have breakfast or just a drink, there weren’t many to start with. Long stretches without anything, not something I had ever experienced on the CF. No ice-cream stop on the uphill walk to Cebreiro, it was shut 🙁

Looking back, I loved it, I enjoyed every minute of it but it wasn’t for everyone. It was very lonely but… it suited me. In fact it was like I expected my first Camino to be - I had no idea then how crowded it could be haha.

I arrived in Santiago on 13th July. Stayed in San Martin Pinario 😎

Flights back to Alicante were prohibitively expensive that week for some reason so I booked a later one and it left me with 5 spare days. I had originally planned to walk to Finisterre and Muxía but decided on a different option this time..Bus from Santiago to Valença and then the last 100 km of the Camino portugués!

And then back to Santiago!

I only stayed one night, it was very crowded, I couldn’t even get a drink in some of my favourite places. After so much solitude it was difficult to take. They were preparing for the festivities, of course and there were many, many people, ready to celebrate.

Now I am back home in Alicante and… reflecting. 🙂 Of course, I think it all went too quickly! And I am amazed I managed to walk all these kms…

Apparently I hear there are far more pilgrims now, just a few weeks later and lots of places appear to be full.

To anyone walking it now, I wish Buen Camino 🙂
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Past OR future Camino
Dear me, it doesn’t sound anything like the Camino that I remember. How long will this last? I enjoyed reading your post.
Past OR future Camino
I appreciate reading your post as I am leaving for Spain August 25th. It sounds like I may need to tuck a few more snacks in my pack. Did you ever feel afraid being so alone out there?


New Member
Past OR future Camino
I appreciate reading your post as I am leaving for Spain August 25th. It sounds like I may need to tuck a few more snacks in my pack. Did you ever feel afraid being so alone out there?
Yes, pack some snacks! We've also gone long times and distances without breakfast or any food at all. Snacks really saved the day many times. A couple places we stopped had run out food. I suspect they don't know how to stock and prepare for the unusual and unpredictable numbers of pilgrims. We had a couple hosts that were incredibly generous with meals knowing we had long stretches without food.
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Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
I appreciate reading your post as I am leaving for Spain August 25th. It sounds like I may need to tuck a few more snacks in my pack. Did you ever feel afraid being so alone out there?
From what I hear, a lot more cafes/albergues are open now but it is a good idea to have a few snacks to eat just in case. I carried a few things for breakfast (and at times for lunch) as that was essential but … it was in June. Also what I noticed is that even though some places were open, they just didn’t carry the usual array of food on the counter (tortilla de patatas, cake, empanadillas) as of course the pilgrims were so few and far between. I always found them willing to cook me a ‘tortilla francesa’ though (omelette). 😎
As for walking alone, no, I never feel afraid. But I did meet another lady who was really panicking at the idea of being alone so I stayed with her for a few days until she left in Burgos. I am far more worried about finding myself in a multi-storey car park in Paris or any big city 😆

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