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I only have 11 walking days

Discussion in 'Camino Frances' started by MargueriteP, Jun 8, 2011.

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  1. MargueriteP

    MargueriteP New Member

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    Hello,
    I've been wanting to walk the Camino for years, and I was hoping I could walk for a month. The most time I can get away is two weeks, so with travel time from Canada, that allows me about 11 walking days, with an extra day in Santiago de Campostella. I'm wondering if anyone can advise me on a good eleven day Camino walk.
    Thanks so much for any help you can give - it's greatly appreciated!
    Buen Camino,
    Marguerite
     
  2. markss

    markss Active Member

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    Camino(s) past & future:
    Frances from SJPP (3/10 & 10/10); Primitivo (6/12)
    My recommendation: Astorga to Santiago.

    That assumes you are comfortable averaging a daily distance of about 25 km (15 miles) per day.
     
  3. RENSHAW

    RENSHAW Veteran Member

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    Camino(s) past & future:
    2003 CF Roncesvalles to Santiago
    2/4 weeks every year on CF reaching Burgos or Leon. Hospitalero San Anton June 2016.
    If this is your only crack at the Camino - Start at Rocesvalles or Pamplona and walk to Estella. then take a bus to Burgos and walk a few days in the Meseta and then another bus to the last 2 or three days to Santiago where you should spend an extra day without walking. :)
     
    journeycakes likes this.
  4. Beverley

    Beverley Active Member

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    Camino(s) past & future:
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    Hi, Walking from Porto in Portugal can be done in 14 but if you take a bus now and again you can make it, Check my blog for February posts about albergues on that route.
     
  5. markss

    markss Active Member

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    Marguerite,

    You will get any number of different suggestions to your question. No one is necessarily any better than the other. It partially depends on you, your interests and what you want from the experience. Time of year also matters as it has an effect on crowds and desireablity of walking weather.

    I suggested Astorga to Santiago primarily for these reasons:

    - If you would like to receive a Compostela you are required to include a continuous minimum 100 km walk into Santiago. This would mean that your last four or five days to Santiago likely would include at least Sarria onward.

    - You may, as many do, develop friendships along the way and wish to walk or meet up at the end of the day's walk with some of the same people throughout the journey. Staying on one continuous stretch of the Camino rather than skipping around to different sections makes this more easy to do.

    - You won't have to deal with juggling bus schedules and other logistics once you reach Astorga.

    - The trail from Astorga to Santiago is varied in terms of altitude and is for the most part very scenic. It passes through a nice variety of smaller villages as well as more populated areas, while avoiding much congestion and less interesting industrial sections that exist in larger cities like Leon and Burgos.

    Having said all that, the route out of Portugal might also accomplish those objectives. I recommended the French Route as that is all I have experienced myself. Regardless of your decision, you can't go wrong. It's all good!

    Buen Camino!
     
  6. jpflavin1

    jpflavin1 Veteran Member

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    Marguerite:

    The standard advice here would be to suggest Astorga as a starting point, if walking the Frances. I do not know what type of walker you are so it is difficult to recommend. That being said, if you only have 11 days Astorga does not give you any wiggle room if you have a minor injury (blisters, swollen achilles,etc.)

    I would suggest you start in Rabanal or Ponferrada. This gives you a 1-2 day buffer if you are slowed down for any reason. If you start in Rabanal, you will have a climb through the medevil towns of Foncebadon and Manjarin. There is a bit of climbing early and steep deline on the second half. It might not be a good choice for a first day. Starting from Poferreda would be a less demanding first day followed by some steep climbs the next day to La Faba or O'Cebreiro two beautiful stops on the Camino.

    While the idea of starting in Roncensvalles and jumping to different sections is interesting, and an option, you will lose one of the treasures of the Camino. Celebrating in Santiago with Pilgrims you walked with on various day. It is great to see these familar faces, some you might never see again, with whom you shared memorable Camino moments.

    Whatever choice you make, I wish Buen Camino.

    Ultreya,
    Joe
     
  7. falcon269

    falcon269 sidra; no commercial interests

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    Any suggestions on how to get there?
     
  8. jpflavin1

    jpflavin1 Veteran Member

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    Since I have only walked, I can not say for sure. That being said, there is a network that delivers Pilgrims packs everyday. If a pack can be delivered, I would assume a person could get transportation by cab from Astorga, Leon or Ponferrada. Not sure if there is a bus route.

    My intent was to offer a starting point that would allow for flexibility in regards to minor injuries that might slow someone down.

    Ultreya,
    Joe
     
  9. Anniesantiago

    Anniesantiago Veteran Member

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    VDLP 2011, 13, Lourdes 2012, Portuguese 2008, Madrid 2014, (2016)
    I agree with starting in Astorga. It's a beautiful city with some great sites to see, and the walking through Sarria and Samos is exquistite, some of the best of the Camino in my opinion!
     
  10. MargueriteP

    MargueriteP New Member

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    Oh my goodness, thank you all so, so much! I'm quite struck by the generosity and care of the responses. Is this what walking the camino is like? It certainly is a testament to what the camino means to all of you, and to your desire to share that.

    For those of you who may wish to give more specific advice, I'll just add that I'm fit and I expect to walk about 20-25k per day, depending on the terrain. I hope it won't be my only trip to the camino - I hope it's just my first.

    Thanks again, so much. I'll keep reading any further replies with interest, and I'll start researching within the great advice you've given me.

    Thanks again and buen camino.

    Marguerite
     
  11. MargueriteP

    MargueriteP New Member

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    Oh, and I should also have mentioned that I'll be walking late Sept - early Oct, and one of the experiences I'm looking forward to most is meeting Pilgrims along the way.

    Thanks again,
    Marguerite
     
  12. domandanne

    domandanne New Member

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    My wife and myself started from Astorga. We spend 13 days in total but only took 11 comfortable walking days during September.
    We took a train to Leon, bus for the short trip to Astorga then walk.
    The days start getting shorter at that time which was one thing that we hadn't expected.
     
  13. fiddletree

    fiddletree Active Member

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    I would start in Saint Jean (or Roncesvailles, but the walk from St Jean is spectacular). That section of the Camino is the most beautiful, with exceptional kindness abounding, particularly among locals. If your goal is to get the Compostella, that wouldn't work, but if you want to walk for the experience of purely walking, that would be a good place to start. It is also less crowded, which helps immensely. Another plus is that if you ever get the chance to go back and walk some more, you can just pick up where you left off and continue on to Santiago. I met a lot of pilgrims who can only walk a week or two each year, and pick up where they stopped before.

    Also, the last 100 km to Santiago are a complete nightmare. It was the only section of the Camino that I didn't thoroughly enjoy. Trails so packed with 'weekend pilgrims' that it is difficult to walk, many of them rude and unkind, and the views range from uninteresting to sad (forrests clear cut) to disgusting (factories and landfills). Walking into Santiago was the only place I encountered locals who were openly hostile to pilgrims, as well. I remember being in the supermaket buying some breakfast and a local came up to me and shoved me out of line and stepped into my place. Not such a nice welcome to the city.

    Basically, any part of the camino except for the last 100 km or so is amazing and life changing. The last bit made me sad. BUT the walk from Santiago to Finisterre was probably the most beautiful and peaceful of the whole trip.
     
  14. grayland

    grayland Moderator Staff Member Donating Member

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    Wow, Fiddletree.... sorry to hear that Galicia treated you so badly.
    I have not encountered any of the experiences you described on my Caminos. It can be more crowded as many are only walking the last 100km to get the Compostela...but a lot of rudeness was not my experience.
    There is however, a pretty well known Camino mental quirk. Many (including me) find themselves resenting the crowds intruding on "our Camino" after having walked peacefully for so many weeks in a well practiced manner and with a loose group of kindred fellow Pilgrims. Those "new" and inexperienced people seem to suck the quiet peace out of the air for a time. The first couple of days out of Sarria seem to be the worse.
    It is good to be forewarned of this attitude changing phenomenon so you can mentally guard against it.
     
  15. fiddletree

    fiddletree Active Member

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    It was probably just a fluke, but after all of the extreme kindness of everyone, pilgrims and locals alike, it was a major shock to get to Santiago (and the couple of days before). I doubt most people have the same experience, or there wouldn't be so many 'weekend pilgrims' there at the end.
     
  16. SabineP

    SabineP Veteran Member Donating Member

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    some and then more.
    Regarding the crowds of the last 100 k. : First four weeks I hardly slept in an hostal ( except for Logroño and El Burgo Ranero ) but I had it really difficult with the feisty and turisty atmosphere in the albergues. So up from Sarria I got myself a pension / hostal in 3 of the five last etapas. I got annoyed with the superficiality and I personally needed some room for myself for meditating and contemplating.
    Says more about me and my issues than those of other pilgrims!
    I too loved the vibes of the first two weeks!
     
  17. tyrrek

    tyrrek Veteran Member

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    I might be leading us further off-topic now, but I quite enjoyed the last 100km. Yes, the atmosphere changes, and you get large groups turning up who all walk together rather than people walking alone or small groups earlier on. However I saw a couple of groups of young Spanish people (maybe 14-15 years old) walking together and thought what a wonderful experience that must be; away from their parents perhaps for the first time, surrounded by people from all over the world, the sense of cameraderie etc. It couldn't be a better first experience of independence and self-reliance within a safe atmosphere. I also thought that the last 100km helps ease you back into life away from the Camino. Most people will hate it, but I liked walking past the airport at Santiago the night before I arrived in the city. It tells you that you're leaving and to say your last goodbyes.
     
  18. Jnlee99

    Jnlee99 Member

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    I had same question for my walk last October. I started from SJPdP and walk to Santo Domingo, and took a bus to Burgos to start my trip home. I did this because I wanted to continue and finish the full walk over coming couple of years. Only thing I would do differently would be to take two days from SJPdP to Roncesvallies, or spend a full day in SJPdP to get acclimatized to the timezone.
     
  19. rsmith0000

    rsmith0000 Member

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    Le Puy (September 2016)
    Many helpful comments here. I think you need to decide if you care about the Compostela or not. I would walk Astorga-Santiago, if a Compostela was a priority. If not, I would walk from St. Jean or Pamplona (which is more easily reached and thus requires less travel time) and would go as far as I could in the time allowed. I heartily agree that the early part of the route provides a more relaxed walking experience than the end -- crowds are fewer so it's less harried.

    In either case, I would walk stages as a block so that you have the opportunity to really get to know other pilgrims. Statistics showed pilgrims from 96 nations collected Compostelas in the first five months of the year. It's like the United Nations is on foot! Amazing and wondrous!
     
  20. clearskies

    clearskies Veteran Member

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    I have 11 days in Sept. I am starting in St Jean and hope to get to Belorado, maybe further. There is a direct bus to Bilbao. Or you can get a bus to Burgos.
     

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