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Francés Iruña-Meseta or Invierno

Past OR future Camino
De VdBierzo (2004)
Planning Pamplona-Meseta (2021)
Hi, Fellow Peregrines!

This is my first post, but I've been reading the forum for about a month (and have duly purchased and tested my immersion coil!). This post is about deciding between the Francés and Invierno, but I'm posting here because I figure that y'all are much more likely to have walked the Francés than Francés pilgrims are to have walked the Invierno.

So... I'll be arriving in Spain in mid-November and am trying to decide whether to start from Pamplona on the Francés or from Ponferrada on the Invierno. I know that the decision will ultimately be mine, but I'm currently enjoying the fact that both are currently possible and would enjoy your thoughts as well! Below are my pros and cons, but basically, my head wants the Francés and my heart wants the Invierno:

Francés:
Pros - Never again going to find as few people on the Francés as I will this November; lived in several regiones autónomas but never been to Navarra or Rioja; would walk the meseta (not a pro for some, but I live next to and primarily walk in woodland, so grasslands are a change of pace); never been to Pamplona, Logroño, or Burgos; could pick back up in the spring and continue onto the Invierno; already have ALSA reservations to and fro, and reservations for the first two nights; less road walking
Cons - May have to walk farther if accommodation is full; bizarrely, weather forecast is currently worse than Galicia; busier than the Invierno

Invierno:
Pros - I love Galicia (have visited more times than any other part of Spain); fewer pilgrims; would make it to Santiago during 2021 (and maybe have time for Finisterra/Muxía)
Cons - I've been to Galicia (have visited more times than any other part of Spain); dogs; probably worse weather despite the current forecast; already have reservations for the Francés

Clearly the Francés makes more sense for this trip, and yet...

For context, I speak Spanish, walked from Villafranco del Bierzo in 2004, am an experienced and well-equipped walker, only have 11.5 days to walk, and don't care whether I receive a Compostela. I also practice veganism and would love any recommendations for places to eat on either camino! (I usually go with flexible veganism when traveling, meaning that I don't worry too much about how that caldo was created as long as they're willing to scoop around the animal bits, and I'm happy to eat alubias SIN sus sacramentos.)

[Edited to remove the bullets once I saw how weird the formatting looked on my phone and to include my time limit.]
 
Last edited:
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C clearly

Moderator
Staff member
Past OR future Camino
Most years since 2012. Hoping now for 2022.
Welcome to the forum. Your heating coil will endear you to @peregrina2000 , but I gave her mine in 2018 and I now intend to march forth without it.

I haven't walked the Invierno, so I can't help with that comparison. I have walked the Frances in November, though, and it is never crowded at that time of year.

For hints on vegan fare, try this link for threads that have both the key word "vegan" and the tag "food & drink", for all routes. However a simple search for "vegan" will yield even more.
 
Past OR future Camino
De VdBierzo (2004)
Planning Pamplona-Meseta (2021)
Welcome to the forum. Your heating coil will endear you to @peregrina2000 , but I gave her mine in 2018 and I now intend to march forth without it.

I haven't walked the Invierno, so I can't help with that comparison. I have walked the Frances in November, though, and it is never crowded at that time of year.

For hints on vegan fare, try this link for threads that have both the key word "vegan" and the tag "food & drink", for all routes. However a simple search for "vegan" will yield even more.
Thanks for the veg links - lots of good stuff there! And I'm not willing to start walking without my morning coffee so the heating coil idea was a vital revelation. :)
 

C clearly

Moderator
Staff member
Past OR future Camino
Most years since 2012. Hoping now for 2022.
I don't like walking without my coffee, either. But embracing that risk is part of my Camino adventure! :) I feel better about it now that I've been given the idea of buying the cafe con leche in the bar the evening before, and heating it in a microwave in the morning. If there's no microwave? Then I have been living very dangerously and must rise to the occasion!
 
Past OR future Camino
De VdBierzo (2004)
Planning Pamplona-Meseta (2021)
I don't like walking without my coffee, either. But embracing that risk is part of my Camino adventure! :) I feel better about it now that I've been given the idea of buying the cafe con leche in the bar the evening before, and heating it in a microwave in the morning. If there's no microwave? Then I have been living very dangerously and must rise to the occasion!
I admire your bravery but won't follow your example. :) Although I'll be carrying drugs to combat caffeine withdrawal, I hope not to use them.

By the way, after seeing your icon during a month of lurking, I feel like I'm messaging with a celebrity!
 
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jenny@zen

Camino Walker
Past OR future Camino
2022 Via De la Plata
Hhmm. I’m not really qualified to say as I haven’t walked the Frances for many years due to aversion to the larger numbers (though November sounds like the right time to avoid that aspect) AND I haven’t YET walked the Invierno.

But … i think the stretch of Frances between Pamplona and Burgos will not disappoint. I recall a wonderful variety of landscapes, some special villages and bookended by two fabulous cities! What’s not to love 😎
 
Past OR future Camino
Next up 2022?
This post is about deciding between the Francés and Invierno,
  • Never again going to find as few people on the Francés as I will this November
  • Lived in several regiones autónomas but never been to Navarra or Rioja
  • Would walk the meseta (not a pro for some, but I live next to and primarily walk in woodland, so grasslands are a change of pace)
  • Never been to Pamplona, Logroño, or Burgos
  • Could pick back up in the spring and continue onto the Invierno
Already have reservations for the Francés
Clearly the Francés makes more sense for this trip, and yet...
Welcome, excursionista!
I assume you have limited time, so it's an either/or proposition, right?

If walking into Santiago were important, I'd say choose the Invierno. But since you can do it later, why not just go with your original idea. That is a gorgeous part of the Frances, and as you say...the numbers will be manageable right now. You may even find you don't need those bookings.

I will also say that the Invierno is wonderful. But it's not going anywhere.
Buen camino - with that coil!
 
Past OR future Camino
Frances, '12; Frances, '14; Port, '15; Frances, Norte, Fisterre, '16; Ingles, Fisterre/Muxia '17
I just returned from the Invierno a couple of weeks ago & dogs were not a problem for me. I am vegetarian but eat fish & eggs so I did not have a problem and I did get caldo sin carne! If you want to do the Frances with fewer people, now might be the time because; for now & a while to come; the Invierno will have few people - I saw maybe 4 on the trail. Buen Camino
 
Past OR future Camino
De VdBierzo (2004)
Planning Pamplona-Meseta (2021)
Thanks, all! I agree that walking on the Francés now and saving the Invierno for a future trip makes the most sense. As I mentioned in first post, I already knew that in my head, but all your replies and encouragement have helped my heart get on board as well. :) And yes, the need to choose between the two is due to time limitations -- I only have 11.5 days to walk on this visit.
 
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