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2019 Camino Guides

I've been home under a week, what Camino to walk next?

Phillypilgrim

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
C F Sept.(2013) Camino de Madrid & Finisterre/Muxia Sept. (2014)
Finisterre/Muia June (2017).
#1
Hola! I went alone, walked from Roncesvalles to Santiago in 40 days, and it was a wonderful experience! My 25 year old niece met me in Sarria and together we arrived in Santiago on my 60th birthday, it was awesome!
I am so grateful for this forum, the support , the advice, the information and a couple of important connections I made before leaving on September 1st.
I am already thinking about another Camino, but a different trail. Anyone have a favorite 2nd Camino they recommend? In the running is the Portugal route (inland) and a French route, Lepuy, (I would walk to Roncesvalles). Thanks and Buen Camino!
 

StuartM

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2012)
#2
The Salvador is short but spectacular and a totally different experience to the Frances (I saw one other pilgrim over the week in August). Joins into other routes to SdC.
 
Camino(s) past & future
SDC(2013), LePuy(2013), Arles(2015)
#3
I walked the Le Puy route in June 2013, arriving in SJPP July 4th, then continued on to SdC, arriving Aug. 5th, then went on to Finisterre. I also went alone and I'm your age. I enjoyed the Le Puy to SJPP route very much, specially the first 2/3rds of it. Although the hiking was harder in France due to the rougher terrain (and the mud - there was lots of rain this spring in France), the scenery was fantastic, specially from Le Puy to Conques, and the trail was not crowded. The French people I met were very friendly. Although the food was more expensive than along the Camino, the food was fabulous and they used high quality ingredients and served regional specialties so there was variety - not the same pilgrim menu served everywhere like along the Camino. The pilgrim hostels were more expensive than in Spain, but accommodations were usually nicer. The hostels are also usually smaller, so you need to call ahead to reserve a bed most of the time.

I also appreciated that in every town I walked through, the churches were always open, there was a public bathroom (with toilet paper!), and a public water source. I used the Miam Miam Dodo to find food & lodging, and Allison Raju's book for cultural and historical information. Her maps were useless, so I bought the Federation Francais GR 65 books. Although they are all in French, they are easy to understand and have very useful topo maps showing the routes.

One very annoying problem was having my cell phone not work for long periods of time after having spent a lot for a French SIM at Orange and buying phone credits. I will never use Orange in France again - terrible customer service. Orange in Spain worked great, though. Another thing to be aware of: the food markets & shops in France close for about 3 hours in the middle of the day, so you must plan to buy your food for lunch before about 12 or 12:30, or you will have to eat in a cafe or restaurant.

On the last part of the Le Puy route, after Arzacq-Arraziguet, the small towns often have no shops at all! My hosts at Aroue explained that this region has been losing population for decades, and can no longer support stores. Apparently, there aren't enough pilgrims to provide the business to keep markets and cafes going. It was often difficult to find food, and several hikers ran out of money because there were NO ATMs anywhere within walking distance. Not even Ostabat had an ATM. If you walk this route, be sure to have enough cash to get yourself from Navarranx to SJPP.

The only part of the trail where I encountered mean dogs was the French Basque country. Just outside Navarranx, one actually bit me. I had the impression that the Basques don't much care for pilgrims, and they use their mean dogs to let you know you are not welcome. I had no other problems with dogs along the way in other parts of France or in Spain. Mostly the dogs were friendly pooches who just wanted to share your lunch.

I enjoyed walking in France so much that my next walk will be from Arles through the Somport Pass, stopping at Puente la Reina.
 

Phillypilgrim

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
C F Sept.(2013) Camino de Madrid & Finisterre/Muxia Sept. (2014)
Finisterre/Muia June (2017).
#4
Now THAT was an answer! Thanks for all the detail about the Le Puy route, as I am so interested in walking it.
I will also look into the Salvador route, thanks.
 
M

MendiWalker

Guest
#5
The Portugues de la Coast was awesome...... another thing comparing to the Frances. Once in Spain (Aguarda) we saw not one peregrino and it was a Holy Year (2.010) till it joins up at Redondela and still few peregrinos from there. The only problem is thatfor reasons which I don´t understand this Camino isn´t well marked ( Vigo - city). As I was told by the two guys at Aguarda " Este Camino es intuitivo!" ( This Camino is intuitive!) and it was. Both my wife and I enjoyed it a lot. It´s our favorite.:)

Which ever one you chose I do hope you enjoy it.

Buen Camino!
 

jpflavin1

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances(10,11,17), Vasco(12), Salvador(13), Primitivo(13), Norte(14), Madrid (16), Mozarabe (18)
#6
Phillypilgrim:

One week - I recommend the Salvador - Leon to Oviedo. This route is very sparsely walked, though becoming more popular.
Two weeks - Vasco - Irun to Burgos. Another sparsely walked route.
Primitivo - Oviedo to Santiago. Good walk, more traveled than others but not like the Frances.
Three weeks - Combine the Salavador and Primitivo.

Ultreya,
Joe
 

mralisn

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
SJPdP-SdC (2005), Camino Norte-Fisterra (2010), SJPdP-Muxia-Fisterra (2012), Camino Norte w/Primitivo-Muxia-Fisterra (2014), Camino Portuguese (2016)
#7
I like the Camino Norte. Beautiful scenery, wonderful food, more refugios than before, less crowded. The days are longer walking, more challenging than the CF, a bit too much tarmac walking. Can be combined with the GR to stay closer to the coast. Could also combine with the Primitivo.

Very much looking forward to my return.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Too many caminos to list in the permitted 100 characters!!
#8
Hola! I went alone, walked from Roncesvalles to Santiago in 40 days, and it was a wonderful experience! My 25 year old niece met me in Sarria and together we arrived in Santiago on my 60th birthday, it was awesome!
I am already thinking about another Camino, but a different trail. Anyone have a favorite 2nd Camino they recommend? In the running is the Portugal route (inland) and a French route, Lepuy, (I would walk to Roncesvalles). Thanks and Buen Camino!
I am SO pleased that you are contemplating another camino! [See my other comment.....]
I walked Porto to SdC in 2011 and would happily do it all again: you can read my diary on my web site below...
Well done Phillypilgrim ... and welcome to the home of 'camino addicts' ;)
Buen camino proxima!
 

Phillypilgrim

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
C F Sept.(2013) Camino de Madrid & Finisterre/Muxia Sept. (2014)
Finisterre/Muia June (2017).
#9
I am becoming intrigued with the thought of dipping on and off the Camino Frances. So, maybe begin in Irun (Tunnel Route), down to Burgos, continue to Ponferrada, then join the Invierno. Is this crazy talk?
 

D.Matthew

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances 2012 (St Jean to Finisterre), Camino Portuguese 2018 (Central Route from Porto)
#10
I like the Camino Norte. Beautiful scenery, wonderful food, more refugios than before, less crowded. The days are longer walking, more challenging than the CF, a bit too much tarmac walking. Can be combined with the GR to stay closer to the coast. Could also combine with the Primitivo.

Very much looking forward to my return.
This sounds right up my alley. I'm in the planning stages now for the Norte. I'm not so fond of the tarmac walking, but I'm sure the scenery, food, and people will more than make up for it.
 

jpflavin1

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances(10,11,17), Vasco(12), Salvador(13), Primitivo(13), Norte(14), Madrid (16), Mozarabe (18)
#11
Phillypilgrim:

There are several routes that intersect with the Frances. Depending on how much time you have to walk.

You could start on the Vasco and intersect the Frances in Santa Domingo de Calzada or Burgos. I prefer SDdC because that allows me to stay in Granon. My favorite Albergue on the Frances. From there you can continue to Leon where you have to option to walk the San Salvador Leon to Oviedo (5 days). In Oviedo you can start the Primitivo (Oviedo to Melide - 11-14 days) where it intersect with the Frances and then onto Santiago. Another option would be to stay on the Frances to Ponferrada and pick up the Invierno there.

So many Choices^^.

Ultreya,
Joe
 

dalston999

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Walked Le Puy/Santiago/Fisterra/Murxia Sept/Oct 2012, Portugues march 2013, Arles April 2013
#13
I can add another vote for the Le puy route but also suggest the Arles route and Aragones to puente la Reina. Depends when you want to go and whether you speak any French as the walkers on the French trails are mostly French as are of course the hospitaliers.
 

Thomas1962

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
2010: Porto - SdC - Finisterra 2011: E4 on Crete 2012: Le Puy - SJPdP 2013: Camino Madrid -> Del Salvador -> Primitivo 2014: European Peace Walk. 2015: Amsterdam - SdC & Barcelona -Burgos. 2016:Norte & hospitalero
#14
The Madrid route is an option. It goes from Mardrid to Sahagun where it joins the Frances. This part takes about 12 days.
It was lovely te me. There are usually very few pilgrims, when I did it last september we met... one on a bike.
The infrastructure is quit good though, enough albergues and places to have coffee and eat on the way.

After Sahagun I went to Leon along the frances, did turn right to the salvador and joined the primitivo in Oviedo. Altogether it took us about fast 28 days. I think in 30-32 days it is easy to do.
In these days I really had a changing camino al the time. A change of amount of people on the way and change of scenery.
 

Phillypilgrim

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
C F Sept.(2013) Camino de Madrid & Finisterre/Muxia Sept. (2014)
Finisterre/Muia June (2017).
#15
I love these ideas, THANKS!!
 

giorgio

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF(2000), Puy (03), VDLP(04), Arles(05), Paris/London(06), Norte(07),Vezelay(09), Levante(10),Madrid(13),CF(15),CF(16)
#16
It's really up to you, depending how much time you want to walk...
Le puy will be a completely different world from CF. Should you think about a long journey, would recommend Via de La Plata,to be walked not later than the month of june, as the summer heat is really unbearable.
For shorter walks would recommend Camino the Madrid ,as someone already suggested, starting in downtown Madrid and ending in Sahagun.
Let us know your decision
Giorgio
 

Phillypilgrim

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
C F Sept.(2013) Camino de Madrid & Finisterre/Muxia Sept. (2014)
Finisterre/Muia June (2017).
#17
Hola!
I have narrowed it down to "Vasco/Tunnel Route" vs "Camino de Madrid", joining the CF and continuing on to Santiago, in Sept. 2014. I expect them both to be more solitary than the CF. Would love to hear from others who have walked both (Vasco and Madrid) and a comparison. Thanks.
 

MKalcolm M

Solvitur ambulando - It is solved by walking
Camino(s) past & future
north route spring 2013
#18
Think of adding the Norte to your list of choices. I did it this spring and it was a truly wonderful experience.
 

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