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Newbie picking a starting point for October

Camino(s) past & future
(Oct 2018)
#1
I've just started planning my camino for this October. I have two weeks at the beginning of October and including flight time in and out of Madrid which looks like it gives me 11-12 walking days. Based on what I've read so far, I'm thinking about starting at León? I've found several itineraries that break this down as doable in 11/12 days with a few 30km days. I'd say I'm a reasonably fit person, I regularly run half marathons, occasionally hike, but I recognize this doesn't necessarily translate to hiking with my backpack 25+ km a day. Thoughts on starting at León? Or any other advice!
Thanks in advance, Buen Camino!
 

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Camino(s) past & future
Francés (Spring '17)
Primitivo (Spring '18)
TBD (2019)
#2
Is finishing in Santiago important to you? It sounds like it might be, from the way you seem to be approaching it. If so, León's certainly a good choice in terms of accessibility from Madrid, although you'll have to be prepared for some longer days, as you said, and you probably won't have much time to spend in León, which is a great city. Gronze (in Spanish, but easy to follow) lists 13 stages from León to Santiago. We did it in 14, although junglegirl had a foot injury so we took it a bit easier than most.

If you don't 'need' to finish in Santiago, you could do something like Pamplona-Burgos (9 stages on Gronze, 11 for us at the height of the foot problems), which would allow you to walk a bit less each day and/or spend a day enjoying both of those cities, or even Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port - Burgos (12 stages on Gronze).

Whatever you decide, ¡buen camino!
 
Camino(s) past & future
(Oct 2018)
#3
Thank you Nick,
I'm sorry to hear that your partner had foot problems! What kind? As a runner, I'm accustomed to things like losing toenails and can push through, but I've never had a legitimate foot injury. Blisters with "cute" shoes on holiday have stopped me in my tracks however!

I think, that this time finishing is important to me. Ideally, I'd like to work backwards and start from an earlier destination on my next holiday? I work for a school, so I have ample vacation, however, most of it is at the height of the busy season. I've only begun real research in the last two weeks, and I'm torn because León is listed as a popular start point, but then people seem to think the walk from there is "boring"? Astorga is also a possibility? But I don't like the idea of shortening my journey just because it's prettier?
 
Camino(s) past & future
(Oct 2018)
#5
Is there bus/train service from Madrid or León to Astorga? It's been mentioned as a start point many times, but I'm curious how easy it is to get to? I'm also not good at too much down time, super type A personality, so walking further each day is my inclination. If I have shorter walks...what do I do when I'm done walking for the day?!
 

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Camino(s) past & future
Leon to SDC (2014)
Porto to SDC (2015)
Astorga to SDC(2017)
SJPdeP toBurgos (Oct 2018)
#6
After walking, you shower, wash your clothes, hang out with other pilgrims, laugh, chat, rest, read, write, draw etc, have a beer or a wine, go for dinner, then early to bed. I promise you won't be bored :)
 
Camino(s) past & future
(Oct 2018)
#7
After walking, you shower, wash your clothes, hang out with other pilgrims, laugh, chat, rest, read, write, draw etc, have a beer or a wine, go for dinner, then early to bed. I promise you won't be bored :)
That sounds fabulous. Too much down time is scary, more walking makes this less likely ;)
 

Marbe2

Active member
Camino(s) past & future
2015 SJPD to Burgos
2017 Leon to Santiago
Pamplona to Santiago Mar. 2018
Burgos - SCDC (Oct 18)
#9
[Start in Leon. If you need to make up a day...take the bus from Ponferrada to Villafranca del Bierzo...nor a particularly inspiring stretch. Also, many take the bus leaving Leon as far as Virgin del Camino. These two options might give you the cushion you may need? Have a great Camino!
 
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (1989 and 2016), Portugues - central from Porto (2018 - planned)
#10
If it were me, I would start in Astorga to give myself a couple of extra days in case of unexpected delays. You never know what the Camino will throw at you.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances: September 24 - October 31 (2015); February/March (2019)
#11
As others wrote, 14 days would be a bit more comfortable for this stretch of the Frances. My observation from my first Camino is that the first 7-10 days are when your body adjusts to the grind of walking a half marathon a day carrying a pack. Starting in Astorga feels more manageable for 11-12 days of walking. I’m sure there is bus service available to Astorga.
 
Camino(s) past & future
CF: (2001, 2002, 2004, 2014). Hospitalera: 2002, Ponferrada. 2004, Rabanal del Camino.
#12
Astorga is a nice little city. There is a chocolate museum, the Guadi palace, a great place to visit and start your camino.

I'd rather start there and arrive in Santiago early: than start in Leon and be forced to push myself or takes buses or trains to catch up on time.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Aug-Sept(2016) SJPDP-Finisterre, July-Aug(2017) SJPDP-Muxia-Finisterre, July-Aug(2018) El Norte
#15
Oh I hadn't thought of that! That seems like a great idea, thanks I'll look into it :)
I think that it's better to have extra time at the end than to feel rushed on the Camino. There are plenty of things to do around Santiago. Even just hanging out in Praza de Cervantes watching the other pilgrims arrive. :)
 

Davey Boyd

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Seven Compostelas in Three years and counting......
#16
I'd go with Astorga too. It gives you a time buffer and is also a nice place to start. And a chocolate museum.

Be careful though, this camino thing is highly addictive

Buen Camino, you are gonna love it!
Davey
 

Gcmacrae

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances
#17
I've just started planning my camino for this October. I have two weeks at the beginning of October and including flight time in and out of Madrid which looks like it gives me 11-12 walking days. Based on what I've read so far, I'm thinking about starting at León? I've found several itineraries that break this down as doable in 11/12 days with a few 30km days. I'd say I'm a reasonably fit person, I regularly run half marathons, occasionally hike, but I recognize this doesn't necessarily translate to hiking with my backpack 25+ km a day. Thoughts on starting at León? Or any other advice!
Thanks in advance, Buen Camino!
Allowing for 1 rest day per week, you’ll cover about 250 km in 2 weeks so you could launch in Leon or Astorga
 

Jim&Carol

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Starting in Leon 9/15/2018
#18
It is my favorite starting point. Your time is a bit short for me; it prefer 14 days from Leon. Start in Astorga is you want to shorten the daily stages a bit. It is very easy to get to from Leon.:)
I agree, Astorga will give you a chance to enjoy your Camino and not feel pressured to finish in 11 days from Leon.
 
Camino(s) past & future
(Oct 2018)
#19
Thank you everyone for your advice and feedback! I'm trying (but it's difficult!) to put the over planner in me aside! I''m planning Astorga to Santigo and then... maybe onward and maybe back to Madrid for two days. One more test run with my new hiking socks and I'm on my way! :) Thank you again!
 


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