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Dilemma: Second Camino

2020 Camino Guides

Lucho

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances Apr/May '18
Hola Peregrinos. Que hubo? It has been almost two years since I did the Camino (Frances) and I'm getting an unexpected itch. It's funny, as the only reason I did it in the Camino in the first place was to accompany my 75-yr old father on it, as he had little trekking experience. As it turned out, I think I got more out of it than he, and it turned into one of the best trips I have ever done. And thus spawns the itch to return.

I think I'd like to return (finances permitting) and do all of the major routes at some point in the coming years, but for now I am looking to do the Frances again. I have a few questions and hope to get some opinions from experienced multi-timers on this thread.

Background
I did the Frances in 2018 starting the second week of April and ending a little over a month later. I am now considering either a fall (Sept/Oct 2020) or another spring (Apr/May 2021) trek. This is my dilemma.

I loved the weather and crowds during my Apr/May trek. As the Camino went on, the weather got better and the days longer, which mimicked the journey and provided an "uplift". Meanwhile, I found the crowds at that time of year perfect: I was able to meet plenty of peregrinos but not so many that the albergues were booked and the route was packed with thick groups and crowded cafes.

Questions

1) My inclination is repeat with a Spring 2021 trip. That said, I've heard the fall is very nice too and it may be nice to try something different, especially since I'm doing the same route. Aside from the darkening days, I suspect fall will be similar in weather and crowds to the spring. Is that correct?

2) 2021 is a Holy Year, so that will affect things. To those with Holy Year experience: how do you think a Spring 2021 would compare to my Spring 2018 trek with respect to crowds and atmosphere? Of note, I am not Catholic so the direct religious benefits of a Holy Year are lost on me.

Thanks for reading. And thanks in advance for your input.

Buen Camino
 

Bad Pilgrim

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Far too many...
Hola Peregrinos. Que hubo? It has been almost two years since I did the Camino (Frances) and I'm getting an unexpected itch. It's funny, as the only reason I did it in the Camino in the first place was to accompany my 75-yr old father on it, as he had little trekking experience. As it turned out, I think I got more out of it than he, and it turned into one of the best trips I have ever done. And thus spawns the itch to return.

I think I'd like to return (finances permitting) and do all of the major routes at some point in the coming years, but for now I am looking to do the Frances again. I have a few questions and hope to get some opinions from experienced multi-timers on this thread.

Background
I did the Frances in 2018 starting the second week of April and ending a little over a month later. I am now considering either a fall (Sept/Oct 2020) or another spring (Apr/May 2021) trek. This is my dilemma.

I loved the weather and crowds during my Apr/May trek. As the Camino went on, the weather got better and the days longer, which mimicked the journey and provided an "uplift". Meanwhile, I found the crowds at that time of year perfect: I was able to meet plenty of peregrinos but not so many that the albergues were booked and the route was packed with thick groups and crowded cafes.

Questions
1) My inclination is repeat with a Spring 2021 trip. That said, I've heard the fall is very nice too and it may be nice to try something different, especially since I'm doing the same route. Aside from the darkening days, I suspect fall will be similar in weather and crowds to the spring. Is that correct?

2) 2021 is a Holy Year, so that will affect things. To those with Holy Year experience: how do you think a Spring 2021 would compare to my Spring 2018 trek with respect to crowds and atmosphere? Of note, I am not Catholic so the direct religious benefits of a Holy Year are lost on me.

Thanks for reading. And thanks in advance for your input.

Buen Camino
Hola Lucho,

Replies:

1) Yes, pretty much.

2) I believe that 2021 will be crazy on the Camino Francés. I mean: a lot more pilgrims compared to 2018 when you walked. But some people like crazy. More people to befriend. So if you like the company and the atmosphere, 2021 might suite you. But have you considered any alternative routes?? There are so many…!

/BP
 

Kiwi-family

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Past: (2012, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2018)-Frances, Baztan, San Salvador, Primitivo, Fisterra,VdlP, Madrid
I can vouch for the fact that April/May on the Via de la Plata matches your description and is delightful with wild flowers and wonderful towns full of history.
 

Jeff Crawley

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Currently on a "Virtual" Camino and striding out across Navarra!
It might be the same route but it won't be the same Camino. In the east the grape harvest will be on, on the Meseta they'll have harvested the wheat crop (straw+mud=5kg feet!), in the west there will be chestnuts, almonds and wild apple trees.
The people along the way will be tired after a busy summer season (why go on a Holy Year?) but the students will be slinking off back to uni.
Oh, and autumn flowering crocuses all along the way.
It's a good time to Camino.
 

Camino Chrissy

Take one step forward...then keep on walking..
Camino(s) past & future
Frances 2015;
Norte/Primitivo 2016;
Frances 2017;
Le Puy 2018;
Portuguese/FishermanTr. 2019
Hi Lucho,
I've walked five various camino routes in spring for the same reasons you mention. Plus I am usually chomping at the bit after winter to "go"! I've contemplated going in the fall, but find it hard to wait and when I see photos of the dried golden fields think I still prefer fresh green and flowers unfolding as I go along...just my own opinion. It's often hard to decide which route and which season to walk. Good luck in making a decision, there is no wrong choice!
 

Roland49

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF 2019 July
Walk in 2020. 2021 is the next holy year and it will be, as far as it is foreseeable, crowded and full.
 

NorthernLight

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Le Puy to Santiago via the Frances 2012-2013. EPW2015
Aragonese & Frances 2016
Burgos to Muxia 2017
Any time on the camino is a good time. I’ve done spring and fall, both have their charms.

What a wonderful dilemma!
 

lt56ny

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF2012,Le Puy/CF 2015 Portugues 2017 Norte 2018, CF 2019
You never know the weather so don't worry about it. I can understand why you want to do the CF a second time. The first camino is for many always the most special and memorable. No two caminos are the same. After 5 long caminos I know that is a fact. I am sure anyone who has done more than one would agree. You can't capture the magic of the first time. It is your opportunity to capture new magic, new experiences, friends, and challenges.
No one can be sure how crowded or intense the crowds on the CF will be because of the holy year.
Spring brings new life and growth and fall brings the annual demise of flowers, plants , trees and crops. The Meseta will look completely different. The camino will look different. Even if you went the same time it will look different because you will see different things and have different feelings when you look.
There is a radical difference between walking a less traveled route like the Norte (which still has lots of pilgrims) than the CF. Than walking a route like the one from Le Puy which is even less crowded. I walked in that in early September to Santiago. There were many days I did not even see a pilgrim until I got to the Gate. When I got to St. Jean it was a real big jolt to the system. That was in 2014. I am sure there will be a far greater number of Pilgrims to jolt all our systems in 2021. But for some that is a blessing, for others it is a curse.
Next year I will walk the Via De La Plata starting around March 1, 2021. That will be more different still.
If the worst estimates are true ,and who knows because no one knows, it may be intensely crowded. Or maybe when you go not as much.
You say you want to walk all the major routes. Maybe 2021 is the year to discover the magic of one of the really less crowded routes. The CF will always be there.
 

Lucho

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances Apr/May '18
Thanks all for the replies!

While I'm deciding between the two options, works and other issues do play an influence so I may have to lean one way or another as the year develops. Given that, and your comments above, I think I would do the Frances if I go Fall 2020 but if I end up going Spring 2021 I'll do another route.

I'm going to search the thread for thoughts on other routes. I see some Via de la Plata fans here. Any other favorites?
 

Kiwi-family

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Past: (2012, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2018)-Frances, Baztan, San Salvador, Primitivo, Fisterra,VdlP, Madrid
Any other favorites?
I haven’t had a bad Camino yet, but then I haven’t done them all;-)
I’ve enjoyed in no particular order:
Baztan
La Voie de la Nive
Salvador
Primitivo
Madrid
Vía de la Plata
Sanabres
Portuguese from Porto
Most of the Frances
Finisterre and back to Santiago

I’m about to add Levante and Invierno and Muxia to the mix. Something tells me they might become favourites too!
 

trecile

Camino Addict
Camino(s) past & future
Francés (2016 & 2017), Norte (2018), Francés-Salvador-Norte (2019), Portuguese (2019)
The advantage of going later in the year is that you delay the end of your Camino that much longer. 😀
When I did a spring Camino last year I was jealous of all those who still had a Camino to look forward to for the year. So, I ended up doing a second one in September.
 

NOLA Cajun

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (2016), Via Francigena (Lucca to Siena, 2017), Frances/San Olav/Invierno (planned 2021)
Hola Peregrinos. Que hubo? It has been almost two years since I did the Camino (Frances) and I'm getting an unexpected itch. It's funny, as the only reason I did it in the Camino in the first place was to accompany my 75-yr old father on it, as he had little trekking experience. As it turned out, I think I got more out of it than he, and it turned into one of the best trips I have ever done. And thus spawns the itch to return.

I think I'd like to return (finances permitting) and do all of the major routes at some point in the coming years, but for now I am looking to do the Frances again. I have a few questions and hope to get some opinions from experienced multi-timers on this thread.

Background
I did the Frances in 2018 starting the second week of April and ending a little over a month later. I am now considering either a fall (Sept/Oct 2020) or another spring (Apr/May 2021) trek. This is my dilemma.

I loved the weather and crowds during my Apr/May trek. As the Camino went on, the weather got better and the days longer, which mimicked the journey and provided an "uplift". Meanwhile, I found the crowds at that time of year perfect: I was able to meet plenty of peregrinos but not so many that the albergues were booked and the route was packed with thick groups and crowded cafes.

Questions
1) My inclination is repeat with a Spring 2021 trip. That said, I've heard the fall is very nice too and it may be nice to try something different, especially since I'm doing the same route. Aside from the darkening days, I suspect fall will be similar in weather and crowds to the spring. Is that correct?

2) 2021 is a Holy Year, so that will affect things. To those with Holy Year experience: how do you think a Spring 2021 would compare to my Spring 2018 trek with respect to crowds and atmosphere? Of note, I am not Catholic so the direct religious benefits of a Holy Year are lost on me.

Thanks for reading. And thanks in advance for your input.

Buen Camino
I wish I had that option. For me it is Spring 2021 or not at all. I am a bit concerned about excessive crowds, so I’ll go as early as I can, startin around March 10, and I will switch to Invierno in Ponferrada, to avoid the Sarria crowds. We’ll see how that works.
 

JoEllen

Member
Camino(s) past & future
2017
Hola Peregrinos. Que hubo? It has been almost two years since I did the Camino (Frances) and I'm getting an unexpected itch. It's funny, as the only reason I did it in the Camino in the first place was to accompany my 75-yr old father on it, as he had little trekking experience. As it turned out, I think I got more out of it than he, and it turned into one of the best trips I have ever done. And thus spawns the itch to return.

I think I'd like to return (finances permitting) and do all of the major routes at some point in the coming years, but for now I am looking to do the Frances again. I have a few questions and hope to get some opinions from experienced multi-timers on this thread.

Background
I did the Frances in 2018 starting the second week of April and ending a little over a month later. I am now considering either a fall (Sept/Oct 2020) or another spring (Apr/May 2021) trek. This is my dilemma.

I loved the weather and crowds during my Apr/May trek. As the Camino went on, the weather got better and the days longer, which mimicked the journey and provided an "uplift". Meanwhile, I found the crowds at that time of year perfect: I was able to meet plenty of peregrinos but not so many that the albergues were booked and the route was packed with thick groups and crowded cafes.

Questions
1) My inclination is repeat with a Spring 2021 trip. That said, I've heard the fall is very nice too and it may be nice to try something different, especially since I'm doing the same route. Aside from the darkening days, I suspect fall will be similar in weather and crowds to the spring. Is that correct?

2) 2021 is a Holy Year, so that will affect things. To those with Holy Year experience: how do you think a Spring 2021 would compare to my Spring 2018 trek with respect to crowds and atmosphere? Of note, I am not Catholic so the direct religious benefits of a Holy Year are lost on me.

Thanks for reading. And thanks in advance for your input.

Buen Camino
I have done the Camino twice - once starting in early May ending in mid-June (2017), and the second time starting the first days of September and ending early October (2019). The number of pilgrims until Sarria was about the same for both trips, but after Sarria, it seemed to me there were more "tour groups" of walkers (I hesitate to call them pilgrims, but one man's ceiling is another man's floor). In fact, I got into Palas de Rei in the late afternoon, and had to walk another nearly 2km out of town to find accommodations. I had run into a tour guide that afternoon who'd said she was taking 34 tour participants into Palas de Rei and they were staying in like 5 or 6 locations, and I don't think that size group is unusual. Both times of the year bring something different (much more rain in the fall for me and cooler temps). If I ever decide there is another CF in my future, I would likely walk from SJPP or Pamplona to Sarria, bus to Santiago and then walk on to Muxia/Fisterra to avoid walking in a gaggle of tour bus people.
 

Bronte DownUnder

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Spain 2013 (Roncesvalles to Santago de Compostela)
France 2015 (Le Puy to Roncesvalles)
Portugal 2017 (Porto to Santiago de Compostela)
There's hardly a day I don't wish I live closer to Europe to undertake more Caminos. It's a long way from Australia so the tendency is to do an entire walk while there rather than shorter stretches. I envy those who can spend a couple of weeks year after year making progress along these amazing trails.
Like you Lucho, I always yearned to do the Frances again (originally in 2013) but in 2015 decided on Chemin St Jacques from Le Puy en Velay in France. This is, in my opinion, a more picturesque walk passing through some of France's most beautiful villages. Generally, I think it is more challenging in that the French like to sit their villages either at the top of mountains or deep in valleys so the day generally ends with either a steep ascent or steep descent. There weren't the crowds we had in Spain so finding accommodation was rarely a problem. We walked again in Spring and nothing made my heart sing more that to finally come across a whole field of sunflowers with each "face" turned to the sun. We had watched them emerge as we progressed along the way.
Whatever decision you make will be the right one. Buen Camino
 

Attachments

pepi

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
2013, 14, 16, 17, 18
I am now considering either a fall (Sept/Oct 2020) or another spring (Apr/May 2021) trek. This is my dilemma.
Did all my CF's between mid August 'till mid/end September; almost no rain, long days, warm late afternoons and evenings, never any serious accommodation* problems, no real crowds to be a bother, but enough peregrinos for happy company.

(*) used mostly reserved private rooms in hostals, pensions, etc.
 

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