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thekofimensah

New Member
Time of past OR future Camino
April 29!
Hello, I tried to find other postings about this but haven't found anything suprisingly.

I'm about to embark on my first camino with my wife and I always like to do things a bit differently. I'm thinking of starting from Irun and doing the Camino Vasco del Interior that connects to the camino frances in Santo Domingo and then continuing on the Frances.

A few questions:

As far as I can tell, the time from SJPP to Santo Domingo and Irun to Santo Domingo looks pretty similar around 9 days. Is that in fact true?

How busy is the Camino Vasco del Interior beginning of May? Hows the weather generally?

I'm not 100% sure how the passport works, but it seems like getting a passport in Irun would be for the camino del norte.. would that affect anything or is there any difference in the two passports?

I'm thinking of doing 1-2 days of walking in France (to take advantage of the delicious bakeries in France)... is Bayonne/Biarritz a good place to start?
 
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I cannot help you with specific route information. But on the question of the credential, there should be no difficulty using a single credential for the whole journey you are proposing. While some associations offer a credencial of their own design, provided they conform to the basic requirements established by the Pilgrim Office, they can be used on any route.

Others will be able to better describe the history of this, but a few years ago the Pilgrim Office established new rules about what needed to be included on the credencials, and who could supply them. I understand this was to stop a practice by tour companies in particular from profiting from the printing and distribution of their own credencials at somewhat higher prices than those provided by the cathedral and pilgrim associations, and to standardise the wording about the requirements, eg to collect two sellos a day in the last 100 km.

Recently, I walked the Camino do Tejo, the route from Lisbon to Fatima, using the credencial provided by a now defunct Portuguese pilgrim association. After Fatima, I walked from Tomar to Santiago on the CP, using a credencial from the Santiago Cathedral, intending to only 'claim' that as the distance that I had walked to Santiago. However, when I got to the Pilgrim Office, the person preparing my compostela and distance certificates seemed to know that there is no equivalent document provided at Fatima, and included the Camino do Tejo in the distance calculations, and recorded my departure point as Lisbon. This was despite the credencial I used not complying with the current rules from Santiago.

There will, no doubt, be many similar stories about walking with locally produced credencials, I suspect from the time before the Pilgrim Office established the current rules. Certainly I have a couple, but now I use a credencial from the pilgrim office or from one of the associations authorized. There will be a Canadian pilgrim association who provide on for you before departure if you wanted to have it with you on arrival.
 
You can use the same credential (pilgrim passport) for any Camino route or routes. In 2019 I walked a "combo Camino" Francés - Salvador - Norte, then on to Finisterre with one credential.

If you enjoy collecting a lot of stamps in your credential you may need to bring or pick up another one on your way.
 
The one from Galicia (the round) and the one from Castilla & Leon. Individually numbered and made by the same people that make the ones you see on your walk.
I'm thinking of doing 1-2 days of walking in France (to take advantage of the delicious bakeries in France)... is Bayonne/Biarritz a good place to start?

Gronze has suggested stages along the Norte from Bayonne.


You will see a lot of mentions of Gronze on the forum. It's a Spanish website that covers all the major and many minor Camino routes, with information, maps, elevation profiles, and listings of accommodations.

It's only in Spanish, but if you use the Chrome browser it will automatically translate to English or the language of your choice.
 
Walking from Bayonne is lovely. Pilgrim credential (not “passport”) is available at the Cathedral there.
 
Hi! Welcome to the forum.
How busy is the Camino Vasco del Interior beginning of May? Hows the weather generally?
I don't think the Vasco is ever what one would call "busy." The weather is likely to be similar to the rest of northern Spain - mostly good, but it could be anything.

For information on the Vasco del Interior, look at this section of the forum.
 
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I walked the first half of the Via Bayonne in June 2022 and the second half in January 2023 (the Vasco and Via Bayonne split after La Puebla de Arganzon withthe Bayonne heading to Burgos). Looking at the records in the albergue books there was a steady trickle of pilgrims but in June I met none after Irun, and in January I met 2 - though on both occasions there were people a day ahead.
Gronze has some info including accommodation

The section from Bayonne to Irun was a nice walk but it's worth after reaching Biarritz train station to start to follow the Voie Littoral near the coast rather than the more inland marked camino rote. Gronze also lists accomodation for this section under the camino Norte - I stayed in the private albergue GEO at Guethery which was nice.
 
As far as I can tell, the time from SJPP to Santo Domingo and Irun to Santo Domingo looks pretty similar around 9 days. Is that in fact true?
9 days to SD on the Vasco. Also 9 on the Francés if you do SJPP to Roncesvalles in one go. (I know which I prefer hands down. And it's not the Francés.)

But do consider turning right after Estavillo and going to Burgos instead on the Via de Bayona branch. It's really lovely. 12 days to Burgos.

How busy is the Camino Vasco del Interior beginning of May? Hows the weather generally?
I walked mid-May 2019, and it was beautifully quiet.

is Bayonne/Biarritz a good place to start?
It would be really nice.
I started in Irun. But on another camino, I'd walked from Irun on the Voie Littorale as far as St Jean de Luz, about a third of the way to Bayonne. I don't know about the rest as we took a bus from there, but the part we walked was gorgeous. You could walk it in one go, or take your time and spend the night in SJdL.

Hows the weather generally?
How long is a piece of string?😉
Climate and one weather data point are two different things. But I can tell you it was hosing the first 2 days, raining off and on on the 3rd, and then once through the tunel it was very nice most of the rest of the way, with the exception of one day. Even in May we had at least one very chilly morning. So be prepared to have part of the Atlantic dumped on your head. My Altus did OK.

Also consider the Invierno from Ponferrada if you plan on walking as far as Santiago. It's a gorgeous walk too.
 
I will be walking this year on the Vasco also but not until October. I have done some research and I will take the Vasco all the way to Burgos.
9 days to SD on the Vasco. Also 9 on the Francés if you do SJPP to Roncesvalles in one go. (I know which I prefer hands down. And it's not the Francés.)

But do consider turning right after Estavillo and going to Burgos instead on the Via de Bayona branch. It's really lovely. 12 days to Burgos.
I do not know if VNwalking would agree but it may be better to just go Santo Domingo. You have never walked a camino before and Santo Domingo is a pretty special place. As I have been through there before I have chosen to walk to Burgos.
I don't think the Vasco is ever what one would call "busy." The weather is likely to be similar to the rest of northern Spain - mostly good, but it could be anything.
After doing my research I think C clearly's comment about it being busy and the weather is spot on. Weather is weather and who knows whether or not you will have run, sun, wind, cold or heat. I walked the Norte from Mid October to early December and I didn't have rain until about 8 or 9 days out of Santiago. It was sunny, pretty warm and of course windy the whole time I was on the coast. Looking forward to hearing about your Vasco. Buen Camino
 
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I do not know if VNwalking would agree but it may be better to just go Santo Domingo.
It's a decision with pluses on both sides.
The branch to SD goes through Haro, a very historic town with lots of wine and good food.
The branch to Burgos goes through Miranda de Ebro and Pancorbo, along the old Roman road through Briviesca to Burgos. It's spectacular, and less touristic than Haro. Lots of history in all those places too.

So it depends. If someone likes quiet, and/or has already walked that stretch of the Francés, the Via de Bayona to Burgos would be preferable.

But if they haven't walked the Francés and don't mind the culture shock of lots of tourists in Haro then lots of Pilgrims on the Francés, yes, the Vasco through Haro to SD would be good. I only know from repute but the stretch on the Vasco into Haro is also very nice.

Botom line is you can't go wrong with either.
 
Thank you everyone for your responses. This is very informative. I think I'm now encouraged to go from Bayonne via the Voie Littorale to Irun and then after the 8 days or so we'll decide to branch off to Burgos or Santo Domingo.. leaning more towards Santo Domingo currently.

I'll most likely get overwhelmed by the amount of people on the Frances, but inevitable it seems to me, so might as well embrace it!

Very excited for my first, and most likely not my last :)
 
"El Gran Caminante," (or "The Great Westward Walk" in English translation) a best-selling book by Spanish pilgrim Antxon "Bolitx" Gabarain, follows this camino and provides a good bit of local legend and color. He walked in 2007, so available lodgings have changed a bit... but it's a great read and a good look at that part of the country. (I did the translation.)
 
The focus is on reducing the risk of failure through being well prepared. 2nd ed.

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