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Leon or Astorga?

#1
Hello,
I don't know whether I'm pushing it to take the bus to Leon and start from there or whether i should go to Astorga. I have left it all abit last minute... I'm getting the bus from Madrid next Saturday and from the following day I will have 12 full days for walking hoping to arrive in Santiago on the morning of 13th day so that i have a couple of days to go on to Finisterre.( 16 days total). i know it's not a long time but it's all i've got! i'm up for walking long distances but don't want to be rushing along everyday...

Any advice very welcome!

Venetia
 

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marktqm

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2006)
#2
Venetia,

On average, Leon to Astorga is only a couple days' walk, and it is relatively flat so if you're just starting the walk, that will serve as a nice warm up. The issue is if you have the time because 12 days may not be enough to enjoy the journey from Leon to Santiago. I suggest you stay in Santiago for a couple of days for pilgrim reunions and try to see if the botafumeiro will be swinging.

If you start in Astorga, the first days' walk will actually be a mild climb but it's not too bad compared to SJPP-Roncesvalles or going up O Cebreiro.

Good luck.

Mark
 
#4
Astorga

I would start in Astorga. True, between Leon and Astorga it is flat, but it is also the least attractive part of the Camino. I would not hesitate to skip it and enjoy the what lies after Astorga.
 
#5
astorga/leon?

Hi Venetia,
It's quite possible to start from Leon but if you don't want to rush and want to be relaxed then I think Astorga is the best bet. Also I think rushing along is the time when blisters/injuries occur. The walk across the Montes de Leon from Astorga is beautiful - take time to enjoy it.

Buen Camino

Brendan
 

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marktqm

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2006)
#6
I agree, the first half of the way from Leon to Astorga is a plain boring slog through commercial and industrial zones, in pretty much the same way approaching Burgos.

A pilgrim who skips the Leon - Astorga stage will miss the medieval Puente de Orbigo, though.

This stretch will always be memorable to me as this is where I got lost in a village 6 km away from the 'correct' camino.

Mark
 
#7
Orbigo

I have to say that if I had the choice, I would start in Hospital de Orbigo... It's about 10 km from Astorga and is a lovely town with some of the most beautiful albergues we met on the way. And from there to Astorga it goes through lovely red landscape, no longer along the road.
 
#8
Thankyou so much for all the helpful advice, i am going to look up if i can get the bus from madrid to Hospital de Orbigo so that I don't miss this bit and walk into Astorga.
This maybe a silly question but does everyone wear boots that support the ankle as I am thinking they might be abit clumpy and as i am only walking 2 weeks maybe good walking trainers would do... or sturdy sandals, or should I take an option?!
 

marktqm

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2006)
#9
Venetia,

The trail from Astorga to Santiago isn't that treacherous, except for the short steep stretch going down to Molinaseca from the Cruz de Ferro. Good soles and ankle support I think is essential (esp. in wet weather) unless you are surefooted.

Mark
 
#10
Thankyou for getting back- Having read and listened to all advice I have opted for lightweight boots that support my ankle as i have a dodgy ankle anyway! Thankyou for confirming I made the right decision as I was worrying about the heat etc but I agree your feet are the most important thing!
Can't wait to arrive at Hospital de Orbigo
Venetia
 

Minkey

Active Member
#11
There's only a small part of it that's industrial. There are some nice parts between Leon and Astorga, but I guess essentially it's down to what you want from your travels, how far you want to go etc...
 
#12
I know i wish i could do more. i might now be arriving a day earlier than i thought so if I do I will start from Leon, need to get my pilgrim passport though and don't know how long that'll take (especially with my dodgy spanish!) so depends on timing whether i get bus to hospital de orbigo or just begin walking from Leon.
 

Minkey

Active Member
#13
If in doubt timewise, start in Astorga then. There's a tourist board office very close to the Cathedral. They'll be able to kit you out with a credencial... Or tell you where in the Cathedral you can get it, for sure.
 
#15
I have just returned from the camino and it was on of the most wonderful experiences of my life. i feel very lucky with the weather, hearing now of the rain and mud.
Arriving late in the day in Leon i saw the beautiful stained glass inside the cathedral and easily found the albergue for my credencial and found the bus to Virgen del Camino to start my walk the next day. There is not much written about this small place outside of Leon but it was aperfect starting point for me and i made friends with fellow pilgrims that first night who were there at the finish in Santiago too. The church here has amazing modern sculptures above the doors and on the main road side has a door with the handle a scupture of st. fraolin, standing by here some locals told me that touching his nose when making a wish would make it true. The whole door was dark and bronze but his nose was shiney bright where so many hands had touched on passing, also the crest of santiago and a small shell- it was very beautiful, and a lovely way to begin my camino.
I was very lucky with the weather as had no rain until arriving in Santiago when it was clear early morning but then rained for 2 days. I was also lucky as the day after i arrived was the assumption and a fiesta and the botufumeiro was swung after the 12 0' clock mass, which many friends arrived too late to get in for. It was amazing. Also the rain then stopped for my walk on to Finisterre and was cool days to walk in until the sun emerged almost in complete timing with the appearance of the Sea and I swam in a beach all to myself- it was quite magical!
The whole journey was the most wonderful time and I feel 110% better than the day I left.
Just to return to my point!... I was very lucky with weather and was fine with my liner alone but next time think i would take lightweight mat and bag for outdoor sleeping options when albergues are so busy, instead of getting caught up in the rush to get a bed. I wore my boots once and they hurt my back of ankles- I know this is my fault as they weren't worn in but my feet don' like being so wrapped up and I did the whole camino in my sandals, with socks, and had no problems.(carrying my boots was bit silly but my feet felt better!).
MY pack was great once i stopped over packing it, although it was one of the smallest, was not one of the lightest! I know for next time.
As a female walking alone I had no problems and met many wonderful people aswell as having time to be by myself- my perfect holiday! As for the food, all those delicious things fresh from the sea,I was in heaven!
 

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