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How bad....

Camino(s) past & future
2017 | May | Vezelay Camino.....watch this space!

2010 | September | Camino de Santiago in - completed in full - 33 days - no rest days! Was an awesome experience!!
Hey all

How bad/crowded will it be along the St Francis Camino if I'm aiming to finish in Santiago at the end of May 2010?? The last Sunday in May to be exact! ;-)

Will I miss the majority of the "mass pack"??

Cheers
Jacqui
 

sillydoll

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
2002 CF: 2004 from Paris: 2006 VF: 2007 CF: 2009 Aragones, Ingles, Finisterre: 2011 X 2 on CF: 2013 'Caracoles': 2014 CF and Ingles 'Caracoles":2015 Logrono-Burgos (Hospitalero San Anton): 2016 La Douay to Aosta/San Gimignano to Rome:
125 141 pilgrims earned the Compostela last year and the authorities are expecting this number to double next year.
Many pilgrims will try to avoid the colder months of February and March and also the really busy and hotter months of July and August. I think any pilgrim should expect to have overcrowding in May which is always a very popular month to walk the camino.

The pilgrims' office in St Jean have weekly stats which show two high seasons. One from April 21 to June 8: More than 1,300 pilgrims per week for 7 weeks with a very strong peak for 28 April to 4 May - 1800 pilgrims in 7 days (daily average of 257) - and another high in August.

Pilgrims will have to go with the flow and be prepared to sleep in make-shift shelters, tent towns, sports halls etc. It will be just like the Middle Ages!
A register dating1594 at the hospice at Villafranca de Montes de Oca recorded 16,767 pilgrims that year, over 200 on some days. (By comparison, in the Holy Year of 1867 just 40 pilgrims turned up for the celebrated mass on 25th July.)
 

FatmaG

Active Member
Hello Jacqui,

it might be quite crowded - so was it this year in May...
But whether it'll be "bad" or not depends only on you - if you are looking for absolute solitude, you'd better choose another date or another camino. If you enjoy meeting (interesting) people sharing a similar experience with you, go for it!

You can always manage to walk alone during daytime (f.i. by starting later or taking all your time during walking), and only meet some company in the albergues in the evening.

I did not want to make acquaintance with anybody - and met so many really lovely and fine people on my way and would never ever miss them and these shared moments...

Fatma

PS About Holy Year ciphers, check statistics - or wait for other feedback - can't say much about it
 
May is becoming a crowded month. It was very crowded when I walked it in 2007. Realize that May 1 is a big holiday in Europe, so if you're planning to start on that day, get your reservations made.

Go with the flow, & add some flexibility to your budget so that you are able to get a hostal or pensione a few times if there is no room at the albergue.

Kellly
 
Camino(s) past & future
2017 | May | Vezelay Camino.....watch this space!

2010 | September | Camino de Santiago in - completed in full - 33 days - no rest days! Was an awesome experience!!
Thank you all so much for your valuable information. My aim was to depart on 25th April 2010 (next year) and be finished by 30th May 2010.

Can anyone suggest that it might alleviate crowds by departing 2 weeks earlier - say around 11th April instead of 25th April?? By leaving earlier, will there likely be snow at the top of Pyrenees when I cross from St Jean?? I certainly don't intend to sleep under the stars until much further into the journey.....just looking for some suggestions?

I realise I won't be alone and that there will be a LOT of people doing the walk next year, however, trying to seek a window that may be a fraction less... hence the earlier April start - that may help??

Cheers
Jacqui
 
Check & see when Easter is, as Holy Week will draw many more to the Camino. As for crossing the mountains, you will have to play that by ear. If the locals tell you to take the Valcarlos Route (or take a taxi if the weather is really really bad), then do so.

Kelly
 

JohnnieWalker

Nunca se camina solo
Easter Sunday 2010 is on 4th April with of course Holy Week (Semana Santa) preceding it. I think we just have to accept that whilst the months of July, August and September will be the peak months the Camino Frances will be busy all of next year.
 
Camino(s) past & future
2017 | May | Vezelay Camino.....watch this space!

2010 | September | Camino de Santiago in - completed in full - 33 days - no rest days! Was an awesome experience!!
Yes I will have to agree....will certainly be an interesting adventure ;-)

Does anyone know of an ENGLISH version to the Bayonne to SJPD train timetable? Or is there still a train that departs daily at 18:10??

Thanks
Jacqui
 

Canuck

Veteran wanderer
Camino(s) past & future
?
JacquelineRowe said:
Does anyone know of an ENGLISH version to the Bayonne to SJPD train timetable? Or is there still a train that departs daily at 18:10??
Thanks
Jacqui

Take a look here: http://www.voyages-sncf.com/
Click on the English flag at the bottom left.

Trains at 18h12 and 21h06.

Cheers,
Jean-Marc
 

KiwiNomad06

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Le Puy-Santiago(2008) Cluny-Conques+prt CF(2012)
JacquelineRowe said:
Can anyone suggest that it might alleviate crowds by departing 2 weeks earlier - say around 11th April instead of 25th April?? By leaving earlier, will there likely be snow at the top of Pyrenees when I cross from St Jean??Jacqui

There was bad weather and snow in the Pyrenees towards the end of April 2008, so it definitely can happen. You will find it trickiest around May 1st for crowds and I would definitely avoid starting in the first week of May from SJPP. People will also 'join in' from other places along the CF around that date, especially from some of the bigger cities. If you can manage to be somewhere 'in-between' and more rural as the May 1st holiday hits, that might be a little better. But the earlier you start, the more likely you are to encounter cold, mud and even snow.
Margaret
 

sillydoll

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
2002 CF: 2004 from Paris: 2006 VF: 2007 CF: 2009 Aragones, Ingles, Finisterre: 2011 X 2 on CF: 2013 'Caracoles': 2014 CF and Ingles 'Caracoles":2015 Logrono-Burgos (Hospitalero San Anton): 2016 La Douay to Aosta/San Gimignano to Rome:
Jacqui, don't worry too much about the crowds.
I walked in the 2004 Holy Year from Sarria after having walked the Via Turonensis to Roncesvalles. There were many prophesies of doom, gloom and overcrowding and the camino WAS busy but we always got a bed and had many solitary hours.
Go when it is best for you - the later in April the better (weather-wise) and just take it as it comes.
I'm sure the buzz on the camino is going to be exciting and the camaraderie exceptional! Enjoy it all.
 
Camino(s) past & future
2017 | May | Vezelay Camino.....watch this space!

2010 | September | Camino de Santiago in - completed in full - 33 days - no rest days! Was an awesome experience!!
Thank you all again for your advice and suggestions - all very welcome and helpful :D

Sil, I totally agree, and am looking forward to embracing the challenges and fun that lies ahead - as long as I can huddle under a portico I'll be happy - have great sleeping bag and ground mat and can go without a shower for a day or 2!! :wink:

Cheers
Jacqui
 

sillydoll

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
2002 CF: 2004 from Paris: 2006 VF: 2007 CF: 2009 Aragones, Ingles, Finisterre: 2011 X 2 on CF: 2013 'Caracoles': 2014 CF and Ingles 'Caracoles":2015 Logrono-Burgos (Hospitalero San Anton): 2016 La Douay to Aosta/San Gimignano to Rome:
You are my kinda pilgrim!
Avoid the large, mainstream albergues if you can and make for the small, basic remote albergues that are rarely mentioned in the guide books. You are more likely to find a bed and great hospitality in these.
Suerte!
 
Camino(s) past & future
2017 | May | Vezelay Camino.....watch this space!

2010 | September | Camino de Santiago in - completed in full - 33 days - no rest days! Was an awesome experience!!
Hey Sil

Thank you - well afterall, I am doing a Pilgrimage and my philosophy is to behave & live as much as possible as they did! :)

I really don't need a mattress or pillow, just as long as I'm sheltered from wind & rain and can put my mat on a dry piece of flooring, I'll be a very happy "Pilgrim". It's part of my story and I WILL WALK the entire way not take a bus, train or taxi whatsoever....unless I'm in a coffin!! :lol: which of course, I hope that's not the case - but if so, c'est la vie :wink:

Are the "out of the way" refugios / albergues sign posted at all? They may not be in the mainstream guide books, but how do you find them - that style is right up my alley..... :D makes for a more interesting journey and story....!

Ciao ciao
Jacqui
 
Camino(s) past & future
2017 | May | Vezelay Camino.....watch this space!

2010 | September | Camino de Santiago in - completed in full - 33 days - no rest days! Was an awesome experience!!
If you can manage to be somewhere 'in-between' and more rural as the May 1st holiday hits, that might be a little better

Margaret - I have checked my maps & dates and will be about 4-5 days out of Leon when 1st May hits! So i'll be well away from the major ports of departure over the holiday weekend! I have also scheduled a rest day in Leon so the crowd that depart that holiday weekend will be a good week ahead of me.... :mrgreen:

Given I'm a hobby photographer - I'm taking "Picture Days" (faux rest days!! lol) in the major ports - indulge my passion. Am taking my first one in Pamplona which I think could be a smart move given it will only be day 4 - but could be a clever tactic for my feet & back etc to rest up after only 3 days of walking but I'm starting in St Jean & know that crossing the Pryenees certainly takes its toll on the body - so am happy to be kind to myself early on....it's a LONG way to Santiago :D
 

KiwiNomad06

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Le Puy-Santiago(2008) Cluny-Conques+prt CF(2012)
Hi Jacqui,
When I walked from Le Puy it definitely seemed a looooooooong way to Santiago. Perhaps because of that, people were much more hesitant about assuming that they would in fact reach the end. I was a slow walker, and quite often in those early days, people would tell me about the fable of the tortoise and the hare.... and how it was the slow old tortoise who made it all the way. I loved the French for that kind of attitude! And sure enough... I was a tortoise...... but in the end, I arrived at the destination!
Next week I am hoping to meet up again with a Canadian woman I met in SJPP and Orisson and Roncesvalles. She and her friend definitely took a nice slow journey to Santiago, but I think they had one of the most satisfying Camino journeys of anyone I met: they had loads of interactions with locals along the way, as they were never in a hurry to rush on. I think some of those who go quickly on the Camino miss out on some of the very special joys of going slowly. I hope you find your pace and are happy with your journey.
Margaret

Oh, and those 'out of the way' albergues- mostly they are on the main route, and signposted like others..... but they tend to be in smaller villages, and people tend to head for the larger 'important' towns. I loved some of the smaller places I stayed in....
 

sillydoll

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
2002 CF: 2004 from Paris: 2006 VF: 2007 CF: 2009 Aragones, Ingles, Finisterre: 2011 X 2 on CF: 2013 'Caracoles': 2014 CF and Ingles 'Caracoles":2015 Logrono-Burgos (Hospitalero San Anton): 2016 La Douay to Aosta/San Gimignano to Rome:
Jacqueline - when I planned my first camino I factored in a few rest days, mainly in the bigger places like Pamplona, Burgos, Leon.
When we reached Pamplona we didn't want to stay there - it was too big and noisy after three days of walking through rolling countryside. Ditto Burgos and Leon. Once in the city we couldn't wait to get out!
There are many things that might make you change your mind. You could become part of a little group of pilgrims walking together, talking, breaking bread in the albergues. You might be reluctant to say goodbye to them.
The camino is like a river and pilgrims need to go with the flow!
 

Sagalouts

RIP 2015
Hi Jacqui
just have to echo what as been said by others-I had a full day in Pamplona and enjoyed taking a few pics-enjoyed the main square and a drink in the Hemmingway bar-but that was it-I had stayed the night before 4.5km back in Trinidad de Arre and loved it-great closed garden and decent kitchen-small rural town square, and after Pamplona another 4.5 km to Cizur Menor and the Knights of St John of Malta small rural with quite Chapel plus my first shared meal from a donativo kitchen.
these small places are the ones that stay in my mind still and would not have missed them for a crowded large town of department stores.
have a great Camino Jacqui wherever you stay
Ian
 
Jacqui, that might be the thing to do: stay in Trinidad de Arre one night, then take your time to get to Cizur Menor, if you don't want to stay in Pamplona. In my experience, while it's nice to have rest days in the larger cities, it is much more tiring to walk through them because of the noise, traffic, etc, than it is to walk in the rural areas.

Buen Camino!
Kelly
 

Nandy61

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
2010 CF StJPP to Santiago
2014 CF Leon to Santiago
2015 Primitivo
"...and I WILL WALK the entire way not take a bus, train or taxi whatsoever....unless I'm in a coffin!! which of course, I hope that's not the case - but if so, c'est la vie"

I'm guessing you meant to say "c'est la mort"?! :wink:
 

gerardnm

New Member
I´m on the Camino at the moment and theres 10-20 a day others on the same stage, apparently its usually 4-5 per week so this may be an indication.

CL
 

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