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LIVE from the Camino My Camino Frances 2024

David Tallan

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Time of past OR future Camino
1989, 2016, 2018, 2023, 2024...
I wasn't sure I was going to post "live from the Camino" for this Camino. I'm happy to do so on my solo Caminos, but when I am walking with family, my focus is a little elsewhere and I am mindful of the privacy of my companion. But here goes. Just know that it won't be as detailed as the threads from last year.

In a sense, today is the first day of this Camino. In another sense, it is the third, and in another sense it is the fifth. It is the fifth day since we set out from Villafranca del Bierzo. It is the third day we have walked. And it is the first of what will hopefully be a continuous walk to Santiago.

After leaving Canada on the 5th and arriving in Spain on the 6th we made our way to Leon where we slept the night in Hospederia Pax. By sheer coincidence, the fellow I had walked some of the Camino de Madrid with last year was also in Leon at the albergue next door, ready to start his Camino de San Salvador. So we met for a drink and a bit of a chat before bed.

The next morning we set out by bus to Astorga where we had breakfast, bought some chocolate, and saw a bit of the town before taking the bus to Villafranca. Here we had a private room in an albergue. And here, during dinner, we met and had a lovely chat with @MARSKA.

On the morning of the 8th we set out to walk to Trabadelo on the high route with a detour through Pradela. It was a beautiful walk, and we really enjoyed breakfast at the albergue in Pradela with the homemade chestnut cake. We spent that night at Casa Susi, as my daughter's introduction to albergue life proper. The communal dinner was wonderful but it was becoming clear that my daughter wasn't feeling well.

She held up through the walk to Las Herrerías early the next morning, where we had reserved horses to take us up to O Cebreiro but, while she had a brief revival there, it was clear that she wasn't feeling well and she asked if we could take a cab to Liñares where we had reserved beds in the albergue. The next day we bussed to Triacastela where we rested for a couple of days before setting out on this morning's very short walk to Casa Forte de Lusío. They were a very quiet couple of days, but we did make it out for a  comida with @Pelegrin and his cousin yesterday, before walking back on the path for a kilometer to see the ancient chestnut tree.

As mentioned, today we are staying in Lusío. The Xunta albergue is in a magnificent 18th century estate house, all nicely renovated. The hospitalera, Eugenia, is wonderful and dropped by the dorm to offer us beautiful little  regalitos of crocheted ornaments. There are 60 beds, according to what you read. We are the only ones here. Tomorrow we walk to Samos. I'm hoping to gradually increase the distances we walk to something more standard. It is pretty clear we won't make it to Santiago for the 17th, but I'm hoping to have a better idea of when we will arrive before trying to change my reservation at San Martín Pinario.

Photos: looking back at Villafranca del Bierzo just at the start of our climb towards Pradela, riding horses to O Cebreiro, sunrise in Liñares, ancient oak just before Triacastela, albergue in Lusío.
20240508_082827.jpg 20240509_100212.jpg 20240510_070139.jpg 20240511_114201.jpg 20240512_144712.jpg
 
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Thank you for this report. Feeling unwell when travelling is awful: none of the familiar and reassuring comforts of home are available, except, in this case, Dad. I hope that your daughter feels better soon.
 
The focus is on reducing the risk of failure through being well prepared. 2nd ed.
The 2024 Camino guides will be coming out little by little. Here is a collection of the ones that are out so far.
We made it to Samos today but it was a tough day for my daughter. We're going to try some strategies to improve things for her tomorrow on the way to Barbadelo. If things work out, we'll continue on to Santiago. If not, we'll walk back to Sarría, catch a bus, and see some other parts of Spain. It probably won't help that it will be raining for the rest of the week, but we'll see how things pan out.

Some photos from today: monastery at Samos, reconstructed apothecary in monastery (original was moved to village), murals by the cloisters, repainted after the great fire of 1951, statue of Afonso II ("first pilgrim"), 9th century Capilla de Ciprés.
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Last edited:
I wasn't sure I was going to post "live from the Camino" for this Camino. I'm happy to do so on my solo Caminos, but when I am walking with family, my focus is a little elsewhere and I am mindful of the privacy of my companion. But here goes. Just know that it won't be as detailed as the threads from last year.

In a sense, today is the first day of this Camino. In another sense, it is the third, and in another sense it is the fifth. It is the fifth day since we set out from Villafranca del Bierzo. It is the third day we have walked. And it is the first of what will hopefully be a continuous walk to Santiago.

After leaving Canada on the 5th and arriving in Spain on the 6th we made our way to Leon where we slept the night in Hospederia Pax. By sheer coincidence, the fellow I had walked some of the Camino de Madrid with last year was also in Leon at the albergue next door, ready to start his Camino de San Salvador. So we met for a drink and a bit of a chat before bed.

The next morning we set out by bus to Astorga where we had breakfast, bought some chocolate, and saw a bit of the town before taking the bus to Villafranca. Here we had a private room in an albergue. And here, during dinner, we met and had a lovely chat with @MARSKA.

On the morning of the 8th we set out to walk to Trabadelo on the high route with a detour through Pradela. It was a beautiful walk, and we really enjoyed breakfast at the albergue in Pradela with the homemade chestnut cake. We spent that night at Casa Susi, as my daughter's introduction to albergue life proper. The communal dinner was wonderful but it was becoming clear that my daughter wasn't feeling well.

She held up through the walk to Las Herrerías early the next morning, where we had reserved horses to take us up to O Cebreiro but, while she had a brief revival there, it was clear that she wasn't feeling well and she asked if we could take a cab to Liñares where we had reserved beds in the albergue. The next day we bussed to Triacastela where we rested for a couple of days before setting out on this morning's very short walk to Casa Forte de Lusío. They were a very quiet couple of days, but we did make it out for a  comida with @Pelegrin and his cousin yesterday, before walking back on the path for a kilometer to see the ancient chestnut tree.

As mentioned, today we are staying in Lusío. The Xunta albergue is in a magnificent 18th century estate house, all nicely renovated. The hospitalera, Eugenia, is wonderful and dropped by the dorm to offer us beautiful little  regalitos of crocheted ornaments. There are 60 beds, according to what you read. We are the only ones here. Tomorrow we walk to Samos. I'm hoping to gradually increase the distances we walk to something more standard. It is pretty clear we won't make it to Santiago for the 17th, but I'm hoping to have a better idea of when we will arrive before trying to change my reservation at San Martín Pinario.

Photos: looking back at Villafranca del Bierzo just at the start of our climb towards Pradela, riding horses to O Cebreiro, sunrise in Liñares, ancient oak just before Triacastela, albergue in Lusío.
View attachment 170105 View attachment 170106 View attachment 170107 View attachment 170108 View attachment 170109
I was SO happy to hear you are posting for this Camino. I am looking to try it for the 1st time next May and am already taking in everything I can from "seasoned vets" like yourself. I am confused though, are you do the entie route of Camino Frances. Once again, please fogive me for my ignorance but I have to begin my lessons somewhere :)
 
...and ship it to Santiago for storage. You pick it up once in Santiago. Service offered by Casa Ivar (we use DHL for transportation).
I was SO happy to hear you are posting for this Camino. I am looking to try it for the 1st time next May and am already taking in everything I can from "seasoned vets" like yourself. I am confused though, are you do the entie route of Camino Frances. Once again, please fogive me for my ignorance but I have to begin my lessons somewhere :)
The whole concept of an "entire" Camino Frances is a little fraught. Unlike, say, the Camino de Madrid, which starts in Madrid, there isn't a clear starting point. When I first did the Camino in 1989, it was just called the Camino de Santiago, and included both the route over the Somport Pass (from Arles) and the route over the Cize Pass (from Paris, Vezelay and Le Puy). The guidebook I have from then shows the Cize route from Ostabat, where the routes from Paris, Vezelay and Le Puy join together. It was common to talk about the Camino Aragones over the Somport Pass and the Camino Navarres over the Cize Pass joining and becoming the Camino Frances in Puente la Reina. Nevertheless, many Spaniards considered the Camino to start in Roncesvalles (and the "half way point" by Sahagun marks half way from Roncesvalles to Santiago). Many people nowadays like to start at St. Jean Pied de Port, the nearest town with good transit connections to Ostabat, but that is a purely arbitrary choice. Many more people like to start in Sarria.

All that said, as I mentioned in my first post, we decided to start in Villafranca del Bierzo, which is much closer to Santiago than SJPP or Roncesvalles. And our continuous walk, for however long it ends up being, will be from Triacastela, which is just over 130km from Santiago.
 
The whole concept of an "entire" Camino Frances is a little fraught. Unlike, say, the Camino de Madrid, which starts in Madrid, there isn't a clear starting point. When I first did the Camino in 1989, it was just called the Camino de Santiago, and included both the route over the Somport Pass (from Arles) and the route over the Cize Pass (from Paris, Vezelay and Le Puy). The guidebook I have from then shows the Cize route from Ostabat, where the routes from Paris, Vezelay and Le Puy join together. It was common to talk about the Camino Aragones over the Somport Pass and the Camino Navarres over the Cize Pass joining and becoming the Camino Frances in Puente la Reina. Nevertheless, many Spaniards considered the Camino to start in Roncesvalles (and the "half way point" by Sahagun marks half way from Roncesvalles to Santiago). Many people nowadays like to start at St. Jean Pied de Port, the nearest town with good transit connections to Ostabat, but that is a purely arbitrary choice. Many more people like to start in Sarria.

All that said, as I mentioned in my first post, we decided to start in Villafranca del Bierzo, which is much closer to Santiago than SJPP or Roncesvalles. And our continuous walk, for however long it ends up being, will be from Triacastela, which is just over 130km from Santiago.
Thank you so much for explaining. I now have a better understanding of the Camino. I will be exploring the wealth of guide books and internet sources such as the threads from veterans like yourself as my "journey" begins on planning a trip for 2025.
 
3rd Edition. More content, training & pack guides avoid common mistakes, bed bugs etc
Well, today was somewhat better. We walked from Samos to Barbadelo (over 21 km all in, according to the Samsung Health app). My daughter shipped her backpack today and just took a day bag and that made all the difference, she said. It also helped that there were a lot more animals today, including some nice calves and a dog she could pat (coincidentally in a little hamlet named Perros). And she really appreciated the donativo in Casa Xaymaca. And I reinforced for her that taking it slow and stopping to rest are not against the Camino ethis, which was something she seems to have picked up from othet pilgrims. So we will be walking tomorrow (and shipping her backpack again). We'll take it one day at a time, and see how it goes. But I'm somewhat more optimistic than yesterday.

Photos: donativo, roadside shrine, cows and calves, Perros
.20240514_083309.jpg 20240514_094158.jpg 20240514_094418.jpg 20240514_110209.jpg
 
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@MARSKA you spoke a little too soon. I havent posted for a couple of days because i wanted to see how things shook up, but it seems our Camino is over for now, at least. It has been a real roller-coaster of a ride.

Tuesday's wall to Barbadelo went really well, as described above. And our time in Casa Barbadelo was also great, making excellent connections with the other 7 pilgrims in our little room and all eating dinner together. At the end of the day, Rosie was very confident for our walk yesterday.

But we weren't far in the walk when she started to really lag. She was experiencing stomach issues (which is something she really hates). We left it until this morning to decide whether she would want to walk a short day today to Ligonde or just stop here, but I thought yesterday it was a better than even chance that ilthe Camino would stop here. The stomach issues seem to be at bay, but she has decided that right now, at least, she would rather take the bus from Portomarin to Santiago and spend some time seeing the rest of Spain. She said that when the Camino was good it was great but when it wasn't it was really hard. There was no middle ground for her. I've told her that so long as we keep her credencial we can always come back, either later on this trip before June 10 or on some future trip to Spain, get ourselves to Portomarin, and finish her Camino. It will still "count".

But now we are waiting for the bus later to take us to Santiago and I've put away our shells for now.
Photos: tree house, sheep, Galicia is green, Portomarín church
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Transport luggage-passengers.
From airports to SJPP
Luggage from SJPP to Roncevalles
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We are in Santiago now, enjoying staying with a fellow forum member for a few days. It was lovely to see @peregrina2000, if only for a few minutes. We will probably take a day trip to Finisterre and spend a couple of days in A Coruña. Then back to Astorga for the chocolate museum and on to Burgos, Zaragoza, Barcelona and down to Valencia. Then assess how much time before the flight home on the 10th. I will want some time in Madrid and a visit to Toledo before we fly home.
 
Of course, all this has got me thinking of which solo Camino I will do in November, after my hospitalero stint in Salamanca. I had been thinking that might be the perfect time to walk the Camino Mozarabe from Almería to Merida. But it is starting to be a bit more tempting to just walk from Salamanca to Santiago instead, so I still get to walk into Santiago this year.
 
Hi from the airport. Several flights have been canceled because of the strike, but mine is going!

Hope you have a very fun trip with your daughter— lots of great places on your list. If you have time to do this, I think an overnight in Toledo will give you a totally different impression of the city than if you take a day trip and visit with the thousands of other day visitors. At night, with everything lit up, it’s just beautiful. And it would give you time to visit the sites on the pulsera turística, many of which are not on the standard list of attractions for tourists. I really enjoyed spending more than half a day just on those sites, and it was great because it took me to a lot of out-of-the-way parts of the casco histórico.

As for walking from Salamanca, I think the Torres/Geira is a great idea. I walked starting on September 8 (holidays that week in Salamanca, which I really enjoyed!). My blog is here if you’re tempted.

But for now, just enjoy your father-daughter time, and hope you see lots of animals in your travels!
 
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Then assess how much time before the flight home on the 10th. I will want some time in Madrid and a visit to Toledo before we fly home.
Hi David, You are definitely making some good lemonade decisions out of a few lemons your daughter has experienced from feeling ill.
I might add that I think Avila could be a great choice for a couple of days. It is a favorite smaller city of mine with its stunning intact walls around its perimeter with lovely bird's eye views everywhere you look. It is not an overwhelming city, but more of an "oasis" and very relaxing. I ended my Camino last year in Avila for two days on my way back to Madrid as it was not much out of the way.
 
Enjoy the rest of your visits in Spain. Your daughter will enjoy it and you will be with her. Like you said, you can come back before your departure date to finish the camino if she wants to.

Bueno Camino!! Barcelona is a great city.
 
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