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Meseta or Leon/Sarria - which one first?

Steve Taylor

Member
Camino(s) past & future
June 2019 Sarria to Santiago Sept 2019 Logrono to Burgos Aug 2020 St Jean Pied De Port to Logrono
I've completed 400km of the Camino Frances over the past 15 months and need to walk the stretches from Burgos to Sarria (I walked from Sarria to Santiago in June 2019) to complete my Camino.
Ideally, I would walk the Burgos to Leon 8-day stage first and then walk from Leon to Santiago. However, I can only take two weeks off at a time, which would be quite a challenge for the 300km from Leon to Santiago.
Therefore, I intend to complete the Meseta and Leon to Sarria stretches separately, so I'd appreciate any comments on the following questions:
Which stage would you recommend that I do first?
When is the best time of year to walk either or both of these stages?
Thanks
 

JennyH94

Pilgrim in progress
Camino(s) past & future
CF - sections and whole (2012-2019) and part VF (2017)
Hi Steve - if I were to be the one walking I’d do Burgos-Leon first. The Meseta is so, so beautiful - the landscapes and those huge Spanish skies will have you speechless with wonder. And the tranquility - oh the tranquility - now that’s beyond words ...
Time of year? Late May/early June - the weather’s mild, the poppies are still blooming and the landscape is green with the ripening crops - absolutely gorgeous.
Cheers from Oz -
Jenny
 

Mark McCarthy

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF 2014 2015
Lourdes 2 SdC 2016
Sarria 2 SdC April&Oct 2016 & (April 2018)
Camino Baztan June 2017
Both options are great, so you can't go wrong, whichever you choose. I always think October is a great time to walk as most albergues and bars are still open but there are not so many people and the paths are not muddy. If not I also like April although April can mean muddy paths.
 
Camino(s) past & future
CF SJPdP to SdC
(May 2015)
CF Sarria to SdC
(May 2016)
CF SJPDP-SdC
(Apr/May 2018)
VdlP (2022)
Hi Steve - if I were to be the one walking I’d do Burgos-Leon first. The Meseta is so, so beautiful - the landscapes and those huge Spanish skies will have you speechless with wonder. And the tranquility - oh the tranquility - now that’s beyond words ...
Time of year? Late May/early June - the weather’s mild, the poppies are still blooming and the landscape is green with the ripening crops - absolutely gorgeous.
Cheers from Oz -
Jenny
100%, that would be my choice too. That Meseta section is magical.....
 

trecile

Camino Addict
Camino(s) past & future
Francés (2016 & 2017), Norte (2018), Francés-Salvador-Norte (2019), Portuguese (2019)
If you do the Meseta section I would definitely do it in late Spring when it's green and the poppies are blooming. I've walked the Meseta in September, July and the last week of May, and it was the most stunning on my May walk.
 

Steve Taylor

Member
Camino(s) past & future
June 2019 Sarria to Santiago Sept 2019 Logrono to Burgos Aug 2020 St Jean Pied De Port to Logrono
100%, that would be my choice too. That Meseta section is magical.....
Thanks for your replies. I'll definitely bear them in mind.
 

SFletcher

Una flecha sigue una flecha
Camino(s) past & future
SJPdP - Pamplona (2018); Pamplona - Burgos (2019)
If Leon - Santiago is too long to manage in 2 weeks, you could also consider walking from Burgos to either Astorga or Ponferrada in one visit, then continue from there to Santiago next time. That would even out the stages a bit, and both Astorga and Ponferrada have transport links that would allow you to start / finish there.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances 2017
In my view, Jenny is pitch perfect in her recommendation and sentiments regarding the Meseta. I traversed this wonderful landscape in early May, and it is exactly as she decribed. I still think about it every day. Good on you, Steve, that you continue to whittle away each year getting those kilometers under your belt.
 

David Tallan

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (1989 and 2016), Portugues - from Porto (2018)
I don't see the question as "which is better - Burgos to Leon or Leon to Sarria". The OP was pretty clear he was going to walk both, but wasn't sure which order to walk them in. So, for me, how magical the meseta is doesn't really come to play (much as I liked the meseta) because it isn't like I'm choosing between the meseta section and the other one. If it is the best, maybe I want to save it for last. :)

In choosing the order, my first instinct is to do Burgos to Leon and then Leon to Sarria. That way you are taking them in their "natural" order, the order that one would walk them had they set off from France, the order that pilgrims have been walking them for millennia.

My next thought that it depends on the season you are walking. If your first chance is at the height of summer, I might walk the Leon to Sarria portion first. Much as I love the meseta (and walked it in the summer heat myself) you might find that the mountains and Galicia are more conducive to a summer walk and might prefer to leave the meseta to another season.

Finally, I liked SFletcher's suggestion. I know that you set this up as Burgos to Sarria hikes because you've already walked from Sarria to Santiago, but there is (for me) always something more "pilgrimage" about having Santiago as your final destination, even if you are walking it in sections and even if you have already been there (and walked there). While Leon to Santiago is a stretch for 2 weeks, from Astorga to Santiago should be doable. It is about 260 km. Burgos to Astorga is only about 230 km, so it should also be quite doable in a two week trip.
 

JabbaPapa

"True Pilgrim"
Camino(s) past & future
100 characters or fewer : see signature details
I've completed 400km of the Camino Frances over the past 15 months and need to walk the stretches from Burgos to Sarria (I walked from Sarria to Santiago in June 2019) to complete my Camino.
With all due respect to yourself and your questions, your arrival in Compostela did complete your Camino.

The Way of Saint James is a Pilgrimage to the tomb of the Apostle in the Cathedral at Santiago de Compostela, regardless of anyone's religious beliefs or lack thereof. The latter are incidental to the Camino, but the former is its essential. (which I know sounds like a paradox, but the foot pilgrimage to Compostela is the most unusual of all the Catholic pilgrimages in that the journey towards the Shrine has more importance than one's reasons for undertaking it in the first place ; which is a Mystery of the Way of Saint James)

It isn't actually a hiking trail, despite every appearance to the contrary.

-- Having said that, there's no reason why those with time limitations and wanting nevertheless to experience the "full" length of the most popular version of the walking pilgrimage shouldn't do so, and so in regard to your questions, I'd say :

Walk for however much time you have between Burgos and wherever within your next two-week timeframe. Astorga ?

And so on -- but I'd really advise, don't just aim for Sarria ; this is a new and different Camino, and you should aim for Santiago.

If you don't, it will feel incomplete.
 

JabbaPapa

"True Pilgrim"
Camino(s) past & future
100 characters or fewer : see signature details
And personally -- I view the Meseta as stretching between the final few Km of La Rioja to the edge of the plateau just before the descent into Atorga, up where David has made his private Camino Utopia.
 

Steve Taylor

Member
Camino(s) past & future
June 2019 Sarria to Santiago Sept 2019 Logrono to Burgos Aug 2020 St Jean Pied De Port to Logrono
Thank you for all of your suggestions. I was always intending to return to Santiago so, rather than focusing on the Burgos to Sarria section, I have decided to break the stretch from Burgos to Santiago into two sections as follows:
Burgos to Ponferrada and Ponferrada to Santiago
 
Camino(s) past & future
cycled from Pamplona Sep 2015;Frances, walked from St Jean May/June 2017. Plans to walk Porto 2020
Hola @Steve Taylor;
As a two time traveller of the Meseta I agree with JennyH94. The Meseta is a special part of the Camino. I cycled it in Sept 2015 and then walked it in May 2017 - the differences could not have been more marked.
Thus I suggest you walk from Burgos, starting in mid-May, to Leon. The 8 day time table seems about right. Have a look at Brierley"s book and maybe do some of the side trips rather than sicking to the roads. Buen Camino🚶‍♂️🚶‍♂️🚶‍♂️👍

(PS. Steve I wrote the above without reading any of the above posts - apart from Jenny's. So here is a bit more "advice". If you can get the May/June holiday period then the Meseta is the recommendation. In Spring it is impressive and "green". If you have to walk in August to early September, then Leon to Sarria (and even Santiago) would probably be better as the altitude does make it a little cooler. But to conclude - walking in the natural order does make for a better Camino (in my humble opinion). Cheers)
 
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