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Camino Frances - Limited time, avoiding lots of roadside walking

Alishmaly

New Member
Year of past OR future Camino
2021
Hi there,

I am planning a SJPDP - Santiago jaunt in Sept/Oct 2021 (if possible). I have a limit of 20 days and don't want to rush through it.

I know I have to skip some steps and am not put off by the Meseta walks. I do however want to know if there are any segments that are mostly road walking next to trucks and the like, that i could potentially skip, to hop on a bus instead.

Any advice would be appreciated!
 
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trecile

Camino Addict
Year of past OR future Camino
Francés (2016 & 2017), Norte (2018), Francés-Salvador-Norte (2019), Portuguese (2019)
No, there are very few places where you will be walking alongside a road. It's usually just in places where you have to walk a couple of hundred meters to cross the road and connect with the path on the other side.
With 20 days I would encourage you to choose a place that you can start and walk to Santiago without skipping around. There's something special about doing a continuous walk. You build a community with those that you meet along the way.
 

C clearly

Moderator
Staff member
Year of past OR future Camino
2021
I have a limit of 20 days and don't want to rush through it... I know I have to skip some steps
Do you have experience walking long-distances day after day? It is not easy to cram 35 days of walking into 20 days without rushing. It would involve skipping more than "some steps." The road walking and other less pleasant bits are distributed across 800 km, so you might have an hour every day that you'd like to skip. Maybe you'll find some whole days to skip, but you would need to cut out 40% of the route to make it in 20 days. And, you don't want to be spending half of your time getting on and off buses, looking for bus schedules, waiting for buses, etc.
 
Year of past OR future Camino
cycled from Pamplona Sep 2015;Frances, walked from St Jean May/June 2017. Plans to walk Porto 2020
Hi there,

I am planning a SJPDP - Santiago jaunt in Sept/Oct 2021 (if possible). I have a limit of 20 days and don't want to rush through it.

I know I have to skip some steps and am not put off by the Meseta walks. I do however want to know if there are any segments that are mostly road walking next to trucks and the like, that i could potentially skip, to hop on a bus instead.

Any advice would be appreciated!
Hola - one section I think you can avoid is the 8-10 km leaving Leon. This section does follow the highway so you could take a bus to La Virgen Del Camino and then take the alternate route via Villar de Mazarife,. On the Meseta - Brierley does offer a number of "off high-way" alternatives. I used virtually all of these back in 2017 to get away from the cars etc. I also used some of his other alternatives - after leaving O'Cebreiro (do some research).
I know I will get a reaction to this suggestion but maybe a bus from Burgos to Castrojeriz. I have both cycled and walked this section and apart from missing Hontanas there is "nothing extra special". (This would also save you a full day, maybe two). When trying to fit 780 km into 20 days there will always be sacrifices. Buen Camino.
 
Year of past OR future Camino
cycled from Pamplona Sep 2015;Frances, walked from St Jean May/June 2017. Plans to walk Porto 2020
Hola @trecile Please forgive this comment. But the section from Fromista to Carrion totally follow the P890 Regional Road. I cycled this section in 2015, but walked the section via Villovieco in 2017. But I take your point (and that of C clearly) that organising alternative buses does take some time. So prior preparation is definitely required. Cheers
 
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Anhalter

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
2019 CF
Took me 18 days of walking from Burgos to Santiago. There are definately some sections where you walk a lot on roads, but many different types of landscape aswell. Meseta, Mountains, Galicia.
But honestly, I am not sure i would do it this way since the way up to Burgos is incredibly beautiful aswell.
In 20 days you should be comfortably able to do the Primitivo or Portugues including continuing to Finisterre. Might be an option?
 

Roland49

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
2019
I know I have to skip some steps and am not put off by the Meseta walks. I do however want to know if there are any segments that are mostly road walking next to trucks and the like, that i could potentially skip, to hop on a bus instead.

Any advice would be appreciated!
Ambitious!

Maybe:
walk SJPdP-Roncesvalles, take bus to Pamplona (1 day)
walk Pamplona-Puente de la Reina - Estella - Los Arcos take bus to Burgos (3 days)
walk Burgos - Leon (7-8 days)
take bus to Ponferrada
walk Ponferrada - O'Cebreiro - Triacastela - Sarria - Palas de Rei - Arzua - SdC (6 days)

In total 18 days with the possibility of for 2 resting-days.
But you rush! Some of the mentioned walks will stress you. You will miss many opportunities to get to know people who are walking next to you. You will see less of the beautiful landscapes of northern spain.

I walked to whole way in 27 days and felt I rushed. I will return to the CF to do it in thirds of 14 days each (42 days in total). So God will and I am healthy enough I will do it in one go again after I'm retired.

Good luck for your planning.

BC
Roland
 
Year of past OR future Camino
CF 2014, CF 2018, CP 2019 from Coimbra
Hola @trecile Please forgive this comment. But the section from Fromista to Carrion totally follow the P890 Regional Road. I cycled this section in 2015, but walked the section via Villovieco in 2017. But I take your point (and that of C clearly) that organising alternative buses does take some time. So prior preparation is definitely required. Cheers
There is an alternate path about 500 meters to the right and it runs along farm fields and a canal for most of the way.
I did the road route in 2014, and the field route in 2018.
 

danvo

New Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Camino Frances 2014, 2016, 2019, Camino Portugues 2017
Hi @Alishmaly, Camino is more than only walking. My first camino I walked from Saint-Jean to Santo domingo de la Calzada, then by bus to Burgos and walked to Santiago (not enough days, same as you) - it was biggest mistake and my best recommendation is - take whole part without dividing, for example from Saint-Jean up to ---> and next year from there to Santiago, eventually to Finisterre/Muxia.
 
Year of past OR future Camino
2020
In general the sections leading into and out of cities, such as Burgos, Leon, Ponferrada are not very scenic and you could consider skipping those. However, if you do that you break up continuity. You are not just walking sections of the Camino, you are walking on a journey which is best as a continuous experience not a collection of sections.
I once walked from Astorga to SdC but due to time limitations I had to take a bus through two stages. I think that detracted from my experience.
Also I have often found that sections I thought would not be worth walking, actually added something positive and unexpected to my Camino.
My advice, like others above, is to pick a starting point from which you can comfortably get to SdC in your available time. Also allow an extra day or two for rest or to see SdC.
 
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Year of past OR future Camino
2019
Shaving off 10+ days would give you a really chopped up camino - that's 30% of the route. So the idea to start ìn Burgos is a good one. Or SJPP and just see how far you manage to get, finishing another year.

Are you going for the scenery or something else? That'll inform your decision.
If it's something deeper, I second the many recommenations to walk uninterrupted, both nice and griity sections. Powerful things can happen in the grity bits.

Redardless, if you want a scenic walk not near roads, do follow alternative routes rather than the sendas next to the road across the meseta. There are a few places where you won't have a choice.
 

Liam55

New Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Camino Frances
My opinion is to walk. Walk at your own unrushed pace; meet the other pilgrims; give yourself time to soak up everything and anything the Camino will give you; it’s a precious time to savour. Accept the blessings of the Camino and be a blessing too. This time is for the heart!! A time to enjoy.
 

JanedS

New Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Camino Frances May 2016
Finisterre & Muxia Sept 2016
Mosel Camino May 2018
I would not want to miss a single day - I loved every step of the Camino, including the Meseta. In 2016 I walked the entire distance and went back again in 2019. In 2019 we hired bikes in Burgos and cycled to Leon, cutting 8 days of walking down to 4 days of cycling - only because of time constraints. This is an easy section to cycle and, for someone with time constraints, provides an opportunity not to have to skip any of the Camino’s beauty.
Buen Camino 👣👣
 
Year of past OR future Camino
Sarria to Santiago 2014
Pamplona to Santiago 2017
Norte. 2018
Hola @trecile Please forgive this comment. But the section from Fromista to Carrion totally follow the P890 Regional Road. I cycled this section in 2015, but walked the section via Villovieco in 2017. But I take your point (and that of C clearly) that organising alternative buses does take some time. So prior preparation is definitely required. Cheers
And the section after Carrion is 17km of no service.
 
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Year of past OR future Camino
Frances/SJPP '15,'16,'18,'19,('20)
Way of St. Francis, Italy 2017
Portuguese/Finisterre 2018, 2019
After having given advice to many pilgrims (having walked numerous Caminos) I highly advice AGAINST getting on/off the Camino. The pilgrims I know who have not had the experience they desired choose to skip sections. A special part of the Camino is the community that you develop. When you skip sections you are mostly alone and not part of a community. I suggest you either start at the beginning and walk as far as you can, hopefully returning one day to finish or figure out where you should start to finish in your allotted days. Just be sure you are realistic about your fitness level when figuring the days needed. I see much advice that is not realistic for the average person. Good luck. You can have a wonderful Camino. Buen Camino
 

Walking Lover

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
CdS from Leon to Santiago, June 16, 2016 to June 30, 2016.
Hi there,

I am planning a SJPDP - Santiago jaunt in Sept/Oct 2021 (if possible). I have a limit of 20 days and don't want to rush through it.

I know I have to skip some steps and am not put off by the Meseta walks. I do however want to know if there are any segments that are mostly road walking next to trucks and the like, that i could potentially skip, to hop on a bus instead.

Any advice would be appreciated!
If you walk to Burgos, get a taxi once you get to the outskirts. Take the taxi to the center of town.
 

Roby

Member
Year of past OR future Camino
2021
I’m not interested in the Camino family but I still think continuous walking is better than skipping stages.
Calculate how realistic it would be for your fitness level to pass in 19 days and start the Camino from that point. I say 19 days to leave yourself one day to enjoy Santiago and your achievement and just in case if you still need one day off for some reason.
 
Year of past OR future Camino
2018
Hola - one section I think you can avoid is the 8-10 km leaving Leon. This section does follow the highway so you could take a bus to La Virgen Del Camino and then take the alternate route via Villar de Mazarife,. On the Meseta - Brierley does offer a number of "off high-way" alternatives. I used virtually all of these back in 2017 to get away from the cars etc. I also used some of his other alternatives - after leaving O'Cebreiro (do some research).
I know I will get a reaction to this suggestion but maybe a bus from Burgos to Castrojeriz. I have both cycled and walked this section and apart from missing Hontanas there is "nothing extra special". (This would also save you a full day, maybe two). When trying to fit 780 km into 20 days there will always be sacrifices. Buen Camino.
I like these suggestions. Sometime there seems to be a trend of "having to" walk in some way or other. As if there were a Camino cop ready to strike when one "does it wrong". Since I was 82 when I began, and 85 when I went back after coming home for a family issue, I had to make some adjustments even i though I was pretty fit. I needed to have an attitude that though this was not exactly a tourist trip, I was allowed to enjoy it in a way that worked for me. I took a local bus a number of times and thoroughly enjoyed the opportunity to be with ordinary people who were going to a market, or for a family visit. While I'm at it, here's a bit about equipment/clothing/etc. Aside from having the truly right pack, one can get nearly everything you need once in Spain. I began with sneakers and found Keen sandals in a shoestore in Spain. Began without hiking poles and bought some in SJPP. Discovered I needed to send my pack each day; a Hospitalera helped me learn how to do that, and offered me a smaller pack, that someone had left, to use as a day pack. For what it's worth, these are my views. And a basic outlook - Life can only be lived NOW. Each breath, each step, each experience ..... We need to be sensible and do what we can to plan, but also how to then let that go and be where/when we are, in the moment. Ultreia. Bom Camino. Be yourself - there is only one of you and the world needs you.
 
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alexwalker

Forever Pilgrim
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
There are not many road walking distances along the CF.
 

David Tallan

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
1989
Hi there,

I am planning a SJPDP - Santiago jaunt in Sept/Oct 2021 (if possible). I have a limit of 20 days and don't want to rush through it.

I know I have to skip some steps and am not put off by the Meseta walks. I do however want to know if there are any segments that are mostly road walking next to trucks and the like, that i could potentially skip, to hop on a bus instead.

Any advice would be appreciated!
There aren't many long sections of walking on busy roads next to trucks any more. There were many more decades ago but for safety's sake, the Camino route has generally been shifted off those roads. What you will find now is that where the Camino route goes alongside busy highways now you are generally not walking on the road but off to the side next to it. And where you are walking on the road itself, it is generally a smaller road with infrequent traffic.

Some of the sections that I recollect being more dominated by the road include the section between Leon and Astorga, with long sections of walking by the N-120 (although there is an alternative route to the north that avoids much of it, and if you bus this section you'll miss Hospital de Orbigo, the site of the famous jousting tournament, and David's marvellous donativo stand) and the section between Villafranca del Bierzo and Trabadelo (although, once again, there is an alternative route that avoids it).

Since you say any advice will be appreciated, my advice would be, if you have 20 days and don't want to rush through it, to start in Burgos and leave the SJPP to Burgos section for a different trip.
 

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