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early April: Norte or Le Puy?

Camino(s) past & future
Frances - Pamplona to Santiago; April 2017
#1
Hello,

I have been following this board/page for a while, having used it for my first camino from Pamplona to SdC last April/May.

I now am ready for a second and having difficulty choosing between the Le Puy and the Norte for a walk starting April 5. Considerations are weather (too cold/muddy?), walking solo, costs. I will have 34/35 days to do this and both paths appeal to me because of the landscapes combined with culture. I walked the CF with friends which was fun but didn't really enjoy the number of people from Sarria onwards. We also took two days of rest in Leon as we were there on Easter and the scene was quite remarkable and is a favorite memory. I would like to walk at a more leisurely pace but with the infrastructure being less developed on the CdN and LP I don't know if I would be able to do this given my time constraint.


Thank you so much in advance for any tips.
 
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Iriebabel

Iriebabel aka Cyborg Turtle
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances April (2018)
Camino Del Norte for April (2019) possible Primitivo
#2
I did the Frances the same time as you and next year will walk again same time. I started in SJPDP 1 April 2018. I finally decided to do the Norte next year. I walked alone and I agree with you on the crowds from Sarria. The Norte joins the Frances in Melide and I am considering avoiding this in favor of the alternative primitive. But have not made a final decision. There are some alternatives. Search the threads and resources here as I found a list of coastal alternatives for the Norte. There are several members here who have walked the routes multiple times and offer great tips. I already have my wise pilgrim app with offline maps and ordered the northern camino guide along with my passport from the forum store as the village by village guide was sold out.
 
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Camino(s) past & future
Frances - Pamplona to Santiago; April 2017
#3
Thank you. I'll make sure to download the app. If I do decide on the Norte (most likely) I hope it won't be too muddy... which would be a big deterrent to doing this route.
 

Iriebabel

Iriebabel aka Cyborg Turtle
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances April (2018)
Camino Del Norte for April (2019) possible Primitivo
#5
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MichaelC

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
August 2017: Le Puy to Santiago
July 2019: Cammino di Assisi (La Verna to Assisi)
#6
I would like to walk at a more leisurely pace but with the infrastructure being less developed on the CdN and LP I don't know if I would be able to do this given my time constraint..
I only know the Le Puy route, which I loved.

You can absolutely walk it at a leisurely pace. In fact ... it's probably easier to walk it at a leisurely place than the Francés ! Check:

1. Nobody leaves the gîte until after breakfast. There's none of that 'heading out before the sun is up' business.
2. Since you reserve a bed the day before, there's no 'bed race.' You know you have a spot.
3. Most gîtes don't open until after 3 pm. There's no benefit to getting to town early ... so people tend to take longer picnics and more rest stops en route.

The infrastructure is less developed, for sure, but that means that you'll need to carry more supplies for the day. There often weren't coffee shops or stores to restock in between towns. But the stages themselves aren't long; it was only towards the end of the route that I had to do 30 km days.

I'll defer to others on April weather. It might still be cold on the Aubrac.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Frances - Pamplona to Santiago; April 2017
#7
Thank you Michael; I thought this might be the case. Yes, my CF experience was indeed marred a bit by the race for beds. Otherwise the weather was pretty much pleasant with it being a bit chilly at the beginning of the day.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2015); Camino Norte/Primitivo (2016); Camino Frances (2017); Le Puy (June 2018)
#8
I walked the Norte/Primitivo combination in 2016. I started on April 18th snd had mild weather with just a little drizzle and light rain a few times.
I walked the Le Puy route in June of this year. I had mostly decent weather with a few afternoon showers. I had had checked the weather reports prior to going and saw photos of other walkers who had snow, cold and mud just a week or two before me! This route starts out in much higher elevations with spring often arriving later.

If you are comitted to going in early April, I recommend the Norte as the ocean is known to bring a somewhat more temperate spring climate to the coast.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances March-April 2016
Le Puy route April-May 2017
Camino Norte to Bilbao June 2017
#9
Early April almost certainly means you will have some snow on the Le Puy route but this is nothing to be feared. It is our favorite Camino route by far. Beautiful villages full of history, very little road walking, no big cities with their endless suburbs and great people. The Norte goes through much more developed country, has lots of road walking and can be very wet at that time. Each to their own but for us the Le Puy route is a very very special experience and also totally different to the Frances.
 

Maybee

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Plan to walk Camino del Norte in May
#10
I walked from Le Puy to Roncesvalles in September, taking a month to the day. Moved on every day except for 2 nights in Cahors. Other walkers, not too many & not too much road walking. A great experience!
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2015); Camino Norte/Primitivo (2016); Camino Frances (2017); Le Puy (June 2018)
#11
@maybe, I walked Le Puy to Auvillar, then one day backward to Moissac to return to CDG by train. It took me almost as long as you (including travel from/to USA), not even going as far as Roncevalles! I think you must walk very fast and I must walk very slow! I did love the route...I must have stopped to smell too many flowers along the way.:)
 

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