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Making friends when starting the Camino later

EmmaHikes

New Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Future Camino: 07/05/2024 (Camino Frances)
Hi all,

Very new to this so please excuse any ignorance or silly questions :) I'm walking my very first Camino in 2 weeks (iieeeek) - the countdown is on and excitement through the roof.

I've been reading through various threads to get a feeling for the distance I'll be able to make in the time that I have for my trip (starting 7th May, need to end by 25th or 28th, latest). I'm an experienced hiker and in very good physical shape - and have my heart set on ending in SDC. I read here that Burgos might be a good idea...

I'm pretty gutted to be missing out on during the Pyrenees but given the unpredictability of the weather and the fact that I read in various forums its better to walk in one go, rather than stop and start that its best to begin the camino closer to SDC. Any views on this welcome. Now to my question - I hear that by Pamplona a lot of the Camino Family have formed and while I don't mind a little solitude, I'm wondering if it'll be harder to meet people down the line?

xx Emma
 
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Now to my question - I hear that by Pamplona a lot of the Camino Family have formed and while I don't mind a little solitude, I'm wondering if it'll be harder to meet people down the line?

xx Emma

Not a problem.
I joined the Frances route at Astorga last year, for only 3 days, crossing between routes.
Met loads of lovely people. Shared meals, walked together etc etc.

I even spotted a Forum member, that I had never met in person........
On the other side of the main square in Astorga.
The orange Macabi skirt was a giveaway!

A quick message via the Forum confirmed it and we met up next day for a Gin & Tonic :)
 
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I walked the camno frances solo the whole way allowing me to pause where and whe n I wanted including nearly a week in Leon. This would have made meeting up with a "family" from the start difficult if not impossible but I preferred it - certainly less stressful. Being alone you could decide where and when to eat, when to walk, speed etc etc. I met plenty of great people on the way. No need to find a family from the start just let it happen.
 
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Hi @emma,
If you are in good shape and a fast walker, you will be passing lots of people. I find as a slow walker that I don't often see the same pilgrims two nights in a row. Everyone has their own pace and I feel confident you will meet plenty of people at this time of year.
 
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Hi all,
...- the countdown is on and excitement through the roof.
Hello and welcome - as per above please watch your head you may find it useful (perhaps not as much as your feet but still...) while on the Camino proper ;)😇

Just to throw something to consider: if you REALLY want to do Pyrenees why don't you start in SJPdP, get to Pamplona and then take train\bus\etc to Burgos? If you are truly a good hiker you can probably hit Pamplona in 3 days so on a larger scheme of things you should be able to make them up further down the line (again if you "can walk")

Now, as far as making friends. It matters not where or when you meet folks. There are plenty of threads here about Camino Family and all the pros and cons of. Even if you do not get your own Camino Family - chances are there is no BIG loss, just a different experience but folks meet you will and friends make you absolutely can.
In my personal case the people I started with - i got 'separated' from pretty much all of them within a week, maybe 10 days after getting out of Orisson (only 1 person that I met in SJ "popped up" after I left Burgos and then just as promptly we were separated again after Hornillos del Caminos)
The folks that I made stronger ties with didn't materialised until way past Leon and what wound up being my Camino Family - not until after Sarria, so there you go
Its not the distance or the timing - its just "us" making the connections. So dont worry about it

Good Luck and Buen Camino!
 
Hi all,

Very new to this so please excuse any ignorance or silly questions :) I'm walking my very first Camino in 2 weeks (iieeeek) - the countdown is on and excitement through the roof.

I've been reading through various threads to get a feeling for the distance I'll be able to make in the time that I have for my trip (starting 7th May, need to end by 25th or 28th, latest). I'm an experienced hiker and in very good physical shape - and have my heart set on ending in SDC. I read here that Burgos might be a good idea...

I'm pretty gutted to be missing out on during the Pyrenees but given the unpredictability of the weather and the fact that I read in various forums its better to walk in one go, rather than stop and start that its best to begin the camino closer to SDC. Any views on this welcome. Now to my question - I hear that by Pamplona a lot of the Camino Family have formed and while I don't mind a little solitude, I'm wondering if it'll be harder to meet people down the line?

xx Emma
Never hard to make friends here on the Way. People walk at different rates so friends float in and out of groups. Just enjoy the walk at your level and u will always find a friend to enjoy the time with.
 
You live in the UK, Spain isn’t far away so you could easily do the Camino in two or more stages which is what a lot of people do. Alternatively start from Burgos and next year start from Saint Jean. You’ll be well and truly hooked by then, like the rest of us.
 
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I read here that Burgos might be a good idea...

I'm pretty gutted to be missing out on during the Pyrenees but given the unpredictability of the weather and the fact that I read in various forums its better to walk in one go, rather than stop and start that its best to begin the camino closer to SDC.
Burgos is a great place to start! Lovely city. I can only get ~2 weeks at a time, and I've done Leon-Santiago (mostly) and Burgos-Leon (then on to Villafranca). I'm repeating Leon-Santiago starting Friday.

Don't worry about missing the Pyrenees. The section after Leon, until Sarria, has amazing mountain stages.

As you are an experienced hiker, you may want to do significantly longer stages on the Meseta than the ones on gronze.com. I (41M, not much of a hiker) found Burgos-Hontanas (~32km) then Hontanas-Fromista (~32km) to be fine; that would be 3 stages on Gronze. When I say I found them "fine", I mean random drunk Australians found the same stages very easy, much to my chagrin. Anyway... saving some time on the second half of the Meseta from Burgos to Leon (which isn't too scenic) would give you more time in the mountains after Leon, which I recommend as an excellent trade.

Are you happy to arrive somewhere in the afternoon and seek out an albergue, or book a day or so in advance via Wattsapp? The current meta on these forums says that you will be able to do that, even if you are hiking longer stages and arriving later, except perhaps at bottlenecks in the very busiest of peak season. I think you will be bit before the Spring peak season (i.e. people starting around 1-12 May from SJPDP, equivalent to 14-30 May from Burgos)... But, in case albergues are full-ish, then I'd advise the places that are most likely to fill up and pose you a problem if you have a fixed schedule, are the two stops heading into the nicest mountains. That means Rabanal/Foncebadon heading up to Cruz de Ferro, and stops around O Cebreiro after Villafranca del Bierzo. Maybe book them in advance - I am cautious, and not very flexible about distance thanks to my feet, so I would at least book them and probably also Sarria to Santiago.

Oh, and watch out after Carrion de los Condes. It is not called carrion by accident, in my opinion.
 
Thanks all for your detailed responses! I did consider that @CWBuff initially but hearing about the crowds starting at the beginning of May in SJPDP as @EricJR is pointing out above (and as I read in the Live CF thread), think sticking with Burgos might be a good idea and then if I still have time in the end I can always walk on the coast.

This also means I can save the first part for another time (@dick bird the UK really isn't too far as you say).

PS - @EricJR you now have me curious about carrion de los condes...

Thanks all and if you're doing the Camino at similar times let me know and say hi :)
 
Yes, there's a long stretch after Carrion de los Condes without a water fountain or services. Sometimes a cafe mobile in that stage is open and other times not. Carry extra water just in case.
 
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I think we covered it but I was concerned about the camino family question in advance too. I met people I was still with in Santiago stage 4 or 6? A few later much later than that! You'll have no problem meeting nice people. SJPP to Burgos would make for a great return. Walking journeys are a part of my life now. I'm doing a shorter not camino, GR221 (Ruta de la Pedra en Sec) in Mallorca in May
 
I did not meet my two closest friends on the Camino Frances until Rabinal. And the Camino family I walked into Santiago with didn’t come together until a few days before then last stage. It’s never too late to bond with others.

I was part of two other temporary but meaningful families from St Jean for the next 2-3 weeks.

It’s a very organic process and quite unpredictable. Be open to possibilities all the time
 
Hi all,

Very new to this so please excuse any ignorance or silly questions :) I'm walking my very first Camino in 2 weeks (iieeeek) - the countdown is on and excitement through the roof.

I've been reading through various threads to get a feeling for the distance I'll be able to make in the time that I have for my trip (starting 7th May, need to end by 25th or 28th, latest). I'm an experienced hiker and in very good physical shape - and have my heart set on ending in SDC. I read here that Burgos might be a good idea...

I'm pretty gutted to be missing out on during the Pyrenees but given the unpredictability of the weather and the fact that I read in various forums its better to walk in one go, rather than stop and start that its best to begin the camino closer to SDC. Any views on this welcome. Now to my question - I hear that by Pamplona a lot of the Camino Family have formed and while I don't mind a little solitude, I'm wondering if it'll be harder to meet people down the line?

xx Emma
My wife and another couple are starting the same day but at your walking rate you will leave us in the dust 🤣🤣 good luck and hope to see you at the start. Buen camino
Fernando and Liza from Brisbane
 
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My wife and another couple are starting the same day but at your walking rate you will leave us in the dust 🤣🤣 good luck and hope to see you at the start. Buen camino
Fernando and Liza from Brisbane
Lovely to meet you both and really hope we do get to meet at the start ☺️ I’m arriving on Tuesday 7th and will sleep a night in one of the albergues before setting off Wednesday morning :) buen Camino
 
Hi all,

Very new to this so please excuse any ignorance or silly questions :) I'm walking my very first Camino in 2 weeks (iieeeek) - the countdown is on and excitement through the roof.

I've been reading through various threads to get a feeling for the distance I'll be able to make in the time that I have for my trip (starting 7th May, need to end by 25th or 28th, latest). I'm an experienced hiker and in very good physical shape - and have my heart set on ending in SDC. I read here that Burgos might be a good idea...

I'm pretty gutted to be missing out on during the Pyrenees but given the unpredictability of the weather and the fact that I read in various forums its better to walk in one go, rather than stop and start that its best to begin the camino closer to SDC. Any views on this welcome. Now to my question - I hear that by Pamplona a lot of the Camino Family have formed and while I don't mind a little solitude, I'm wondering if it'll be harder to meet people down the line?

xx Emma
I'm going to give some unpopular advice. The last 100km is the least enjoyable part of the walk. Picture Disneyland on a holiday weekend. Very crowded and not what most people picture when they imagine the Camino. Think about marching in a parade for 25km. The best part is actually the Meseta. It's quieter and peaceful and people bond more there. If you have 3 weeks and could manage 25 - 30 km per day, you could cover like 500 km. If you start in SJPDP you could get to Sahagun where you can get a "halfway Compostela" certificate. That would be like 400 km. You would have a Camino family and all the good memories. If you really want to finish in Santiago and deal with the last 5 days, you could start in Burgos and walk all the way to Santiago in about 3 weeks, about 460 km. But you can't beat the excitement in SJPDP and the first day over the mountain. It's the best day on the Camino. The Camino Frances is off to a busy start so far, so another option would be to walk a different route like the Norte or the Portugues.
 
I'm going to give some unpopular advice. The last 100km is the least enjoyable part of the walk. Picture Disneyland on a holiday weekend. Very crowded and not what most people picture when they imagine the Camino. Think about marching in a parade for 25km. The best part is actually the Meseta. It's quieter and peaceful and people bond more there. If you have 3 weeks and could manage 25 - 30 km per day, you could cover like 500 km. If you start in SJPDP you could get to Sahagun where you can get a "halfway Compostela" certificate. That would be like 400 km. You would have a Camino family and all the good memories. If you really want to finish in Santiago and deal with the last 5 days, you could start in Burgos and walk all the way to Santiago in about 3 weeks, about 460 km. But you can't beat the excitement in SJPDP and the first day over the mountain. It's the best day on the Camino. The Camino Frances is off to a busy start so far, so another option would be to walk a different route like the Norte or the Portugues.
Thank you! I have my partner joining me on the last 100km so part of my thinking was that it would be meaningful to finish it together from Sarria to SDC. Also been hearing that it’s very crowded in SJPDP already so I’m somewhat hoping that I’m beating the crowds to Burgos if I then try and push through the first couple of days at 30+km….

Had my heart somewhat set on the Frances as my first one!
 
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