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I may be crazy....

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Loretta S

Member
Camino(s) past & future
September 2017
My 22 yr. old daughter just secured a job after college graduation (Yippee) and we are celebrating with a very last minute trip for 2 weeks of walking the Camino Frances. My husband and I completed the Camino in 2017 but my daughter is a newbie. I just bought airfare yesterday and her pack still has the tags on it. We begin on August 22 in Astorga and will finish (hopefully) in Santiago on Sept. 2!! This time around I have secured lodging ahead of time to lessen the pressure to get to our destination early. This should allow plenty of time to take it slowly. Questions:
Should we prebook train tickets from Madrid to Astorga (not sure of timing from airport to train station etc.) or can we purchase whenever we arrive at train station? Do they sell out??

Also, if my daughter just can’t make it some day (I am preparing myself since she has only walked 2 days of 6 miles and all without a pack) can we call for transportation to the next town? Would it be a taxi? If so, is there one general phone number or different numbers for each town? How do I find these numbers?

Thanks in advance. And….wish us luck
 

nidarosa

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Inglés 2009+2017, Francés 2012+2018, Astorga-Santiago repeatedly
Sounds great! I'd get the ALSA bus from Madrid airport terminal 4 straight to Astorga myself, you can book tickets online before you go to avoid the queue at the counter. Buen camino!
 

Loretta S

Member
Camino(s) past & future
September 2017
Sounds great! I'd get the ALSA bus from Madrid airport terminal 4 straight to Astorga myself, you can book tickets online before you go to avoid the queue at the counter. Buen camino!
Do you buy tickets from the Renfe website?
 

hel&scott

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
2004 St Jean - Santiago, 2008 &18 Seville - Finesterre, 2010 Ferrol - Lisbon, 2012 from Cartehenga.
I'd be very surprised if a 22yr old can't manage the French route. Resist the temptation to over organise, I understand the desire to try and make your trip as trouble free as possible, but in doing so you can make a rod for your own back and you may miss the sence of adventure and achievement the Camino can bring.

As I get older I find it very advantageous to have my daughter walk with me, when I pulled up sick and lame on my last Camino she carried my pack, held me up and sorted me out both practically and emotionally as l slowly broke down. She shrugged it off and said it was just her time to help me given all the help I have given her over the years, made me realize that I must have done an ok job as a mother after all.

Good luck with your trip.
 

scruffy1

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Holy Year from Pamplona 2010, SJPP 2011, Lisbon 2012, Le Puy 2013, Vezelay (partial watch this space!) 2014; 2015 Toulouse-Puenta la Reina (Arles)
Taxis will work...if you are close to a road. For a non-stressful first few days, ask the Hospitalier/landlord/receptionist wherever you stay for the phone number of a local taxi driver and carry it with you. You will be walking through some serious boondocks and if there is a bus it may only come through twice a day, ALSA does serve the boonies but not frequently. Buen Camino!
 
Camino(s) past & future
Frances 2017, 2018, 2019, Ingles 2018, Madrid (2019) Portuges (2020)
Strongly suggest book train tickets in advance. An excellent booking site is loco2.com - same price as Renfe direct, but all in English with ‘print at home’ tickets.

Yes, tickets can sell out - but there are many trains daily Madrid to Leon (then bus to Astorga).

Advance booking substantially cheaper.

If you find a telephone pole or streetlight without a taxi number sticker on it, take a photo - they are a rarity!
 

nidarosa

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Inglés 2009+2017, Francés 2012+2018, Astorga-Santiago repeatedly
@Loretta S No, ALSA is a bus company, website link here, but their buses are comfortable, plentiful and cheap. If you land in Madrid Barajas airport there is a free shuttle bus doing the rounds of all the terminals, so hop on one of them and within 10-15 mins at most you'll be in Terminal 4, where ALSA has a counter and all its stands. It is by far the easiest way to get from Madrid airport to Astorga - just sit back and relax. When you get to Astorga, just cross the road and take the shortcut path up to the Gaudí Bishop's palace and the cathedral and why not stay in Hotel Gaudí for the night? The camino passes right in front of the hotel.
 

Loretta S

Member
Camino(s) past & future
September 2017
Strongly suggest book train tickets in advance. An excellent booking site is loco2.com - same price as Renfe direct, but all in English with ‘print at home’ tickets.

Yes, tickets can sell out - but there are many trains daily Madrid to Leon (then bus to Astorga).

Advance booking substantially cheaper.

If you find a telephone pole or streetlight without a taxi number sticker on it, take a photo - they are a rarity!
How much time do you think I will need between landing at the airport and train departure? It looks like the trains depart from Madrid-Chamartin. Our plane lands at 10:00 and I am trying to decide the earliest we could depart by train.
 

CJG

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
(2018) Sarria to SDC
(2019) Astorga to Sarria, SDC to Finisterre
So easy to take the ALSA bus since it drops you right in front of the Bishop's Palace in Astoria. We did this last May and were surprised at how wonderful the bus was with large windows, waters and snacks, wifi, and bathroom. Right from the airport without any need to go into Madrid and transfer to get to train station.
 

intrepidtraveler

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Caminos Madrid, Frances and Finisterre (2015)
Camino Norte-2017; Camino Ingles from A Coruna - 2017
If you're concerned about your daughter not making it due to lack of training, why not have her bag sent ahead (you have reservations, right?). Then the walking will be easier for her.
 

Loretta S

Member
Camino(s) past & future
September 2017
Sorry. One more thing. Do busses sell out? Could we purchase tickets when we arrive in Madrid? This would give us some flexibility in an earlier departure if our flight gets in on time.
 

Loretta S

Member
Camino(s) past & future
September 2017
If you're concerned about your daughter not making it due to lack of training, why not have her bag sent ahead (you have reservations, right?). Then the walking will be easier for her.
Yes. I have that option "in my pocket". She's confident she can make it but its always good to have options.
 

Becky 59

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (May 2018)
Camino Ingles (Aug 2019)
We just finished the Ingles with our 20 year old daughter on summer break from college, she did 2 3-mile hikes for training, that’s all. Fortunately at their age they adapt pretty quickly to the physical demands, as long as blister prevention is superb. And the Ingles is hillier than the stretch you are planning. I think your daughter will pleasantly surprise you!
 

trecile

Camino Addict
Camino(s) past & future
SJPDP-Finisterre X 2 - 2016 & 2017, El Norte - Irun to Vilalba 2018
How much time do you think I will need between landing at the airport and train departure? It looks like the trains depart from Madrid-Chamartin. Our plane lands at 10:00 and I am trying to decide the earliest we could depart by train.
Remember that is when your plane is scheduled to arrive - there can always be delays. Give yourself a time cushion for contingencies.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Frances 2017, 2018, 2019, Ingles 2018, Madrid (2019) Portuges (2020)
How much time do you think I will need between landing at the airport and train departure?

I’m a creature of habit and try not to rush. UK flights land at T1 from where I take the express bus to Atocha and a local train or subway to Chamartin.

I’d give it at least three hours from scheduled arrival time.

However, I believe there is a direct subway from T4 to Chamartin. That would be quicker.

Until now I’ve had the privilege of being in a country which was part of the EU. As of November I’m in the same position as US citizens and things will probably be slower.

Anyway, seems like you’ve gone with the ‘happy to sit down for another four hours even though I’ve just had a long intercontinental flight’ bus supporters rather than the ‘why not stand up and walk around, visit the restaurant car and/or use the bathroom and free wifi’ train promoters.

You pays your money and takes your choice!
 

Loretta S

Member
Camino(s) past & future
September 2017
I’m a creature of habit and try not to rush. UK flights land at T1 from where I take the express bus to Atocha and a local train or subway to Chamartin.

I’d give it at least three hours from scheduled arrival time.

However, I believe there is a direct subway from T4 to Chamartin. That would be quicker.

Until now I’ve had the privilege of being in a country which was part of the EU. As of November I’m in the same position as US citizens and things will probably be slower.

Anyway, seems like you’ve gone with the ‘happy to sit down for another four hours even though I’ve just had a long intercontinental flight’ bus supporters rather than the ‘why not stand up and walk around, visit the restaurant car and/or use the bathroom and free wifi’ train promoters.

You pays your money and takes your choice!
Hah. I definitely prefer train travel. Still mulling the various options.
 

paddington

Member
Camino(s) past & future
may (2019)
I don’t know your exact bus, but many of the Alsa busses leave from the Madrid airport . They are all in a row and easy to find . I believe your train leaves from the charmatin station. There is a connecting train from the airport to charmartin station. Your call on whether or not the convenience of the bus (catch it at the airport) offsets the possibly faster train trip. Also, some of the busses many have more stops along the way and be slower than the bus at other times (you can see that in the “length of trip “ on the booking site). I have used the Alsa website for booking bus trips and loco2.com for booking train trips . Buen Camino
 

John H.

Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF - 2017
CP Central - 2017
CP Coastal - 2018
CF - [hopefully again someday]
I would take the train if it is available and book seats in advance. More than once I left it late and there were very few seats available. Bus is a good back-up plan. Have fun.
 

countycork

Member
Camino(s) past & future
26th May 2013
I agree with Nidarosa....we arrived Madrid Barajas airport,got free shuttle to T4 and ALSA counter where we got our tickets for bus to Astorga. Another time (to save time at counter) we booked tickets online. We used the services of Jacotrans to transport our luggage from Hostal/Hotel to Hostal/Hotel. Our luggage was waiting for us by the time we reached our destination each afternoon!
 

Carolyn G

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
May 2018
May 2019
(Future - CP September 2020)
If you’re really concerned about your daughter, have WhatsApp on your phones so you can text/chat if you get separated. CaminoFacil is my preferred luggage transfer company and they have cab dispatch AND you can contact them using WhatsApp.
Hope it’s a great trek!
 

Loretta S

Member
Camino(s) past & future
September 2017
Many thanks. We are here on Camino in Molinaseca. I reserved the bus and had plenty of time even though our plane was 1 hour delayed. However the bus was mismarked And we would have missed it if I hadn’t been anxious and kept asking. But, all good in the end. Daughter injured first day. Got a brace for injured knee and tending to her nasty blisters. Even bought new shoes. Transporting her backpack and getting her walking sticks. On we go. FYI: many, many more cyclists than when I walked in 2017. I have heard many saying the same thing. Buen Camino.
 

Juspassinthrough

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances, May-June (2017)
Ingles, June (2019
Leon-Sarria, June (2019)
Le Puy-Santiago (2023)
Lotetta S,

I saw lots of good information but no one commented on your statement I may be crazy... so, I will. You are, so’s your daughter, enjoy your Camino Madness. Buen Camino to you both. I stayed at the Hotel Gaudi in June, great place to crash after your travels.
 

David Tallan

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (1989 and 2016), Portugues - from Porto (2018)
Many thanks. We are here on Camino in Molinaseca. I reserved the bus and had plenty of time even though our plane was 1 hour delayed. However the bus was mismarked And we would have missed it if I hadn’t been anxious and kept asking. But, all good in the end. Daughter injured first day. Got a brace for injured knee and tending to her nasty blisters. Even bought new shoes. Transporting her backpack and getting her walking sticks. On we go. FYI: many, many more cyclists than when I walked in 2017. I have heard many saying the same thing. Buen Camino.
Walking sticks are so helpful for an injured knee. I injured mine on my 2016 camino and I don't think I would have completed it without them (and the brace).
 

Thornley

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances x 2 , Norte x 2 , Le Puy x 3 , Portuguese x 2,
Mont St Michel , Primitivo .
Many thanks. We are here on Camino in Molinaseca. I reserved the bus and had plenty of time even though our plane was 1 hour delayed. However the bus was mismarked And we would have missed it if I hadn’t been anxious and kept asking. But, all good in the end. Daughter injured first day. Got a brace for injured knee and tending to her nasty blisters. Even bought new shoes. Transporting her backpack and getting her walking sticks. On we go. FYI: many, many more cyclists than when I walked in 2017. I have heard many saying the same thing. Buen Camino.
My daughter said the following ....if first up on Camino ;
Plane arrived @ 10am
Bus left @ 11.15 am .........no worries there.
Arrived @ Astorga @ 5.15pm , a long day......hope you stayed and slept in.
1
I would then have gone only to Santacatalina , 12km max. a rest for the kid.
2
Next day walk to Foncrbadon ....15km.
3
The next morning walk to Acebo , 11km and with all the cyclists at the top bar .....
You have now had the beauty of up there , now get the taxi to Ponferrada.
You are on a very tight time frame , walking Brierley's stages without being warmed up.
The down hill part between Acebo and Molineseca is VERY DEADLY for all joints.
4
Taxi 5km to Columbranos then walk 20km to Villafranca
From there on tell her the most beautiful [ via Samos] and skip Portomarin to Palas de Rei
This should get the purists going.

Cyclists everywhere when we were there just recently , got to Melide and then bus to Ferrol
Beautiful last 100km from there , 20 people per day max.
 

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