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Continuing CF or switching to Invierno In Ponferrada?

Time of past OR future Camino
Yearly and Various 2014-2019
Via Monastica 2022
Thanks everyone for the replies. I made up my mind and will finish with the Frances. Primitivo perhaps for another day.
Buen camino, @JanusDT !
If you are still wanting solitude when you get to Ponferrada, you can always take a left fork and walk to Santiago on the Invierno. It's much less travelled than the Frances.
 
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Time of past OR future Camino
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If you are still wanting solitude when you get to Ponferrada, you can always take a left fork and walk to Santiago on the Invierno. It's much less travelled than the Frances.
Janus, this was exactly my thought too. You still have a few days to mull it over before you reach Ponferrada.
When I walked it a few years ago I met no other walking pilgrims at all, but there should be a few now.
I think it's also worth pointing out about the Primitivo that yes, it will be less busy: there will be far fewer people walking. But there are far fewer accommodation options and so, while you will not see so many people during the day, you'll probably all end up squeezing into same few albergues in each town. Which may or may not suit your needs! Cheers, tom
 

JanusDT

Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Vezelay
Buen camino, @JanusDT !
If you are still wanting solitude when you get to Ponferrada, you can always take a left fork and walk to Santiago on the Invierno. It's much less travelled than the Frances.
That's great to know. Thank you I was not aware of this option.
 
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JanusDT

Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Vezelay
Wise decision! Finish the Frances! You are almost there and you never know where you will meet someone important--I had started at SJPDP and I met the woman who is now my wife a couple hours after leaving Santiago for Finisterre!
That's beautiful! I am hopeful know ;)
 
Time of past OR future Camino
Yearly and Various 2014-2019
Via Monastica 2022
Was this different before, and what could explain this change?
I've experienced both a lot of easy connection and the sense of isolation you describe.
Maybe it's simply numbers, maybe you're in a wave of people who aren't so social, maybe you're walking faster or slower than the average and so aren't seeing people over an extended period, maybe....well, it could be many things all at once. Sometimes things click to connect with people on the camino, sometimes they don't.
Hang in there, @JanusDT. It could change tomorrow.
 
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JanusDT

Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Vezelay
Buen camino, @JanusDT !
If you are still wanting solitude when you get to Ponferrada, you can always take a left fork and walk to Santiago on the Invierno. It's much less travelled than the Frances.
Hola,
Tomorrow I will reach Ponferrada, the big dicision awaits! I looked a bit into Invierno. The solitary aspects speaks to me but the possible lack of infrastructure not so much.

On the Invierno it seems that a lot of people experiences unchained and agressive dogs on the way (and I am pretty scared of dogs). Has this changed in the last years? Further, is there any big difference in scenery, cost, etc. that comes to mind when comparing the last part of CF to the camino invierno


Thank you!
 
Time of past OR future Camino
Yearly and Various 2014-2019
Via Monastica 2022
See how you feel in the morning, @JanusDT!
Yes, the infrastructure is definitely sparser. But in 2019 I had no trouble, only booking one place ahead of time. And now there are albergues in a few places where they were absent a few years ago (Monforte, Diomondi come to mind immediately...also maybe Chantada, right?)

Yes, it is a bit more expensive where you have to stay in pensions or hostels.
But the scenery is above and beyond anything the Frances has, which (I think) is boring by comparison.

it seems that a lot of people experiences unchained and agressive dogs on the way
That may be a bit of an exaggeration.
I experienced 2 aggressive dogs along the way in 2019, and both were behind fences so totally harmless.
There have been two aggressive dogs with 'famous' reputations - the one in Villavieja I saw but it seemed to now be too old to do anything alarming; the second before Barxa de Lor fortunately wasn't there on the day I went by.

Edit. Don't take everything at face value that local people in Ponferrada tell you about the Invierno. I don't know about now, but in the past there has been some unnecessary fearmongering, based on nothing but hearsay.
 
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Time of past OR future Camino
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So Janus, what did you decide this morning - which fork in the road did you take, and how did it go?
Those of us stuck at home and living the camino through real-time reporters such as yourself, need to know. Best wishes 😊
 

JanusDT

Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Vezelay
So Janus, what did you decide this morning - which fork in the road did you take, and how did it go?
Those of us stuck at home and living the camino through real-time reporters such as yourself, need to know. Best wishes 😊

Currently I am in Ponferrada. I am still working out which way I will go tomorrow. The idea of taking the Invierno scares me and excites me at the same time. But I dislike the idea of making reservations in advance, which is probably necessary on the Invierno. Especially since I do not speak Spanish 😅

Guess the decision is going to be made tomorrow at the crossing. I will keep you updated.
 
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LauraL

Member
Time of past OR future Camino
French (starting late July)
Currently I am in Ponferrada. I am still working out which way I will go tomorrow. The idea of taking the Invierno scares me and excites me at the same time. But I dislike the idea of making reservations in advance, which is probably necessary on the Invierno. Especially since I do not speak Spanish 😅

Guess the decision is going to be made tomorrow at the crossing. I will keep you updated.
I will reach Ponferrada tomorrow and will be facing the same decision, although for different reasons.
I started at SJPP on 23 July. I read that on average, people complete the CF in 35 days. It's my first time, and I allowed up to an extra week, just in case. But I have been making good progress and at this rate, I will finish too soon!
I am considering switching to the Invierno AND walking to Finisterre and perhaps Muxia as well, if I can do it all by 3 September.
So far I am keeping my daily destinations flexible, not booking ahead. From what I gather, I may have to get used to committing in advance whether I take the CF (from Sarria) or Invierno (few choices, and could get full despite fewer pilgrims, or could be closed?). Any advice from those with experience at this time of year, greatly appreciated.
Am I correct in my understanding from reading a variety of other posts that the Invierno is also more scenic?
I didn't have time to do a thorough research on the possible stops on the Invierno and therefore how much longer than the CF it will be. I would really appreciate any tips or ideas! (Happy for moderators to move this to a new thread if appropriate, I don't mean to hijack JanusDT's thread with my own questions, but they are related).
Thank you!
 
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Time of past OR future Camino
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Currently I am in Ponferrada. I am still working out which way I will go tomorrow. The idea of taking the Invierno scares me and excites me at the same time. But I dislike the idea of making reservations in advace, which is probably necessary on the Invierno. Especially since I do not speak Spanish 😅

Guess the decision is going to be made tomorrow at the crossing. I will keep you updated.
Aha! OK, well as one of the people who suggested the Invierno originally (along with VNwalking, who I almost always agree wholeheartedly with!) here's my opinion..
The Invierno will be quiet and it will be less structured to support pilgrims. I'm pretty sure there will be sufficient accommodation, but in many cases if you try and walk the regular length stages, like in Gronze, it will be a lot more expensive than municipal or cheap private albergues on the CF. You might well be advised to try and book a couple of places in advance. It's very likely that whoever is charged with answering the phone will speak some English - it's almost an essential requirement of the business model. Gronze also has quite a lot of places that can reserved via Booking.com - and I just found a hotel in Las Medullas for tomorrow night for 35 euro (its a quiet afternoon here...).
I got lost a few times on the Invierno and that can be more stressful when you are in a quiet area, with often no-one visible in the vicinity. You need to be able to stop and calmly work out your options (whether to go back, forwards or sideways, find someone to ask..) and logically work it though. I can do that now, but would not have been able to do so on my first camino. So that's for you to evaluate, knowing your own temperament.
I actually think you should stick with the Frances and work out how you can adjust your experience for the better. For instance moving to quieter accommodation than you have been experiencing, perhaps by seeking out alberges located in between the most popular staging points. Often those smaller private places thrive on being a bit quieter and being able to offer a more personal experience.
So, instead of staying in Villafranca (although it pains me to suggest anyone should walk past Ave Fenix!) go past and stay in one of the many places in the little hamlets on the way up to O Cebreiro. And then the next day walk through the pinch-point of O Cebreiro (but you must look in on the legendary little church on the way) to somewhere quieter on the other side etc etc .
Cheers, tom
 

peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
I didn't have time to do a thorough research on the possible stops on the Invierno and therefore how much longer than the CF it will be. I would really appreciate any tips or ideas!
Take a look at the forum guide, it hasn’t been updated in a few years but the information is still pretty good. It also gives some good suggestions on different ways to “stage” the Invierno. Actually, an even better suggestion is to go to the App store and download Wise Pilgrim’s Invierno guide. He took our forum guide and did a bunch of updates, added tracks, etc.

There is also a relatively recent thread with lots more information.

There are quite a few new lodging options, and I don’t think you will have much trouble finding places. Certainly not as abundant as the options on the Francés, but with a WhatsApp a day or two before, you are likely to be fine.

Good luck with the decision!
 

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