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Northern alternative


Time of past OR future Camino
Frances from SJPdP 2007, TBD 2017
Not sure if this is the appropriate place for this but...
I am leaving to walk the Camino Frances from St. Jean in one week. I still wish to walk that route if possible. But in light of recent information about the Frances allready being crowded, I think it might make some sense to consider other options. I was thinking that if the Frances really turns out to be too crowded for my taste, I might bus north and pick up the Camino del Norte.
Has anyone done this? Where might be a good spot to bus from/to? I have about 5 weeks to complete.
Also, I know that the northern route has less as far as accomodation. Since I won't have a tent, from what point are there regular albergues? Do I need to rush myself a guidebook for this route and also carry it with me or can I buy guides from wherever I start?
Any advice appreciated :D
The focus is on reducing the risk of failure through being well prepared. 2nd ed.
Do I need to rush myself a guidebook for this route and also carry it with me or can I buy guides from wherever I start?

:roll: ok, LaurenE, let's calm down here ... :lol:. U got precious time, 5 weeks, can walk a lot during that span. From what I read it's not only the crowds but just as importantly, if not more, the weather, that hasn't been cooperating too much with peregrinos on the CF. I don't recall anyone reporting about the Camino Norte recently, need to do some checking there. Sounds good to start the CF and if it doesn't agree with u catch a bus to Irun and walk the Camino Norte from there, that's an alternative. We should get some up to date info on conditions on that Road. I concur that, should u opt for the Camino Norte, or any camino for that matter, u should "(get a) guidebook for this route and also carry it with u," and study it. Place to statr: ... dn_en.html Best, xm 8)
Am I really that whacked out? Hmm, I guess my nerves are getting the best of me. :oops:
It's funny, I've been walking quite a bit these last few weeks and never gotten a single blister, even in the mountains. But just today, I was feeling sortof "disconnected" and anxious, so I went out for a walk. Within 20 minutes I developed 2 enormous blisters on each foot and litterally limped home. :( Maybe my anxiousness/moodiness has psychosomatic effects? :wink:
I guess the idea of maybe not having a place to sleep is very frightening to me. In my life I have not had experiences that led me to be very trusting of people and the idea of spending a night outside alone is about the most terrifying thing I can think of.
The thing is, I really want to do this, but I don't even know why anymore. People ask me and I can't think of what to tell them. I have this recurring thought that I'm all wrong for the camino, that I'll never make it because I'm in it for the wrong reasons.(whatever those are!) What if I don't find the personal change I'm looking for? What if I'm building up this whole thing to make me feel better about JUST GOING and I find it anticlimactic? Or if something horrible happens to me and I come back bitter and afraid?
I realize as I'm writing this that I'm having a total meltdown here....
So to collect myself.
Dear friend,

In general, fears, doubts, insecurities, lack of confidence, pain, suffering, and dissapointments, are serious and valid feelings to confront and deal with. Some say they're a part of everyday living. Others, that they don't exist, they're imaginary. Me? I don't know. The older I get, the more I experience and learn, the less I know. That's why am in the forum, to learn!

We deal with the above on a daily basis, consciouly/unconsciously, from lesser to larger extent, each one in his/her own way(s), but we do it. Maybe not too well, pretty well other times, surely to the best of our ability, as we continue living, growing, evolving into, hopefully, better humans.

There's a situation that has presented itself for you in a far away land, for reasons that may not be important. Folks say it's about something called "transforming." May be. You could have an opportunity to face the above in (a) different way(s):learn how to end them, perhaps, to understand what they may be about and supersede them, to embrace, accept, live with them better and healthier, leave them behind, heal, minimize and/or end the terror they have inflicted, substituting them for new, different, or higher and better things.

It's scary, we may be talking here about opening the "little box" of our personal histories, looking into our life-long few joys and many sorrows, not an easy, pleasent thing, not something that most people would want to do.

Seems that most people, for whatever reason(s), if, again, (a) reason(s) there had to be, lead lives of conformity, never wanting to know how they may evolve to become better beings. It may mean something really terrifying for them to look inside the "little box." No no, takes too much guts and it could be painful. Those people, most people, choose to, like Tenessee Williams said, "lead lives of quiet desperation."

Recently, I shared with a friend that I had a History professor and good friend who used to say that: "la vida es lucha, y mientras hay lucha, hay vida" ("life is a struggle, and while there's a struggle, there's life)."

The Camino means many things to me, from the sacred to the profane (like staying in hotels). One of them, a metaphor for life. The way I lead my life could just be the way I walk the Road. Or, the Camino may give me the perspective I need to look at the way(s) I lead my life, and meditate on what works and what doesn't; there's always room for improvement.

You have no idea how many people I've talked to over the years about the Camino! They have told me it's wonderful (some that's pure madness). Yet, not one of them, as far as I know, have gone and experienced it. That's part of what has led me to believe that the desire to walk to Compostela is a call, a very particular beckoning if you will, for special people, I truly believe this. I don't want to set peregrinos apart and build us to be and sound like super(ior) beings, we're not, far from it. There are nice and not so nice peregrinos, kind and not so kind, even after having done forty Caminos. But the invitation implies the option to become better persons, what we do with it is a personal matter. Hard to leave the past behind, sometimes.

Please forgive me if I sound incoherent, don't make sense, or am rambling off in tangents.

The seed of the Camino planted inside of you, has taken its growth, it needs expansion, and is inviting you to a most formidable adventure. Don't be afraid, there's no worst case scenario here. A new and different world of experiences and adventures await there for you. Not devoid of difficulties and hardship, it's the Camino, life after all, there's a struggle in doing it, that's part of it. But you may just find much beauty on the Camino. And beauty, however you may conceive it (was it Robert Frost that said it?)' "is its own excuse for being."

Go, my friend, without expectations, leave behind your fears, give in to your beauty and growing excitement. The meltdown has already started, no doubt, but the "total meltdown" is waiting for you in Spain. It'll be good and, yes, potentially transforming, but you have to be willing to immerse yourself in it. The C Frances? The C Norte? Doesn't matter, for what we're talking about here. Give yourself in to what you cannot figure out, "the most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious."

Buen Camino, peregrina,

xm 8)

I have been staying in touch with 'Dawn of a new Day" who is currently on the Northern Route. She is reporting that it is very beautiful, not very many pilgrims and the trails are much rougher with more up and down. She is very grateful to speak some Spanish as there is no one there to help with translation etc. On the Camino Frances, there was always a coffee shop or something to stop and rest at every two hours or so, that is not the case on the northern route. The distances are very vast. She is loving it, but I don't think she would recommend doing that route for your first time.

If you are somewhat nervous about the Camino, I think that is normal at the start, I leave tommorrow and I am excited yet, wondering what the heck I may have gotten myself into. Stay with the Camino Frances, at least you will have help if you need it. It will all work out!

Blessings Peregrina.

The focus is on reducing the risk of failure through being well prepared. 2nd ed.
I looked forward to doing the camino for 5 years before I got to do it. Right before I left I started getting very anxious. It is like in the planning stage you are only thinking about how wonderful it will be but when you get close to actually getting on the plane to go you start thinking about all the things that might possibly happen and wonder what in the world you were thinking. The day we were driving to the airport my sister and I were about to jump out of our skin. My sister-in-law kept asking us if we were excited. Terrified was more like it. Looking back I wish I had been more relaxed. Once we started walking we were wishing it would never end. You will have such a support system when you get there. People you have never met and will never see again will stop and show you the way. It is not only the other pilgrims but all of Spain. I felt like I had a whole cheering section on my side. You will love it and like all of us who have been before you will want to go back and do it all over again.
Good luck and Buen Camino!
Thank you all for your kind words (especially xm). Up until yesterday I had sleeping about 5 hours a night, finishing finals and working too much. After sleeping about 14 hours, the world is a better place! :D

I still don't know why I have to do the camino exactly, but I do, and what is meant to happen will. Maybe it is a calling. I will certainly face some demons, I only hope I can be proud of myself looking back. (You are right, xm, the total meltdown is waiting for me on the camino!)

I think I will try to stick with the frances route. I like the idea of people being near if I should need help. My reservation in St. Jean is made, my pack is coming together, I am really doing this! :shock:

Remember one thing, if for some reason (weather wise or whatever) the CF does not work for u, u have other options right there and then: the Camino Portugues starting as south in Portugal as you want, the Via de la Plata, the Camino Ingles, the Camino to Fisterra, Muxia, etc. , and combinations of these. Flexibility is a very important characteristic to walk with. Buen Camino, xm 8)
yes, I'd just have to figure in the cost of extra transportation!
Point taken. :wink:
Bus traveling is not really that expensive in Spain. But let's wait and see what'll happen, summer is getting nearer, things hopefully will improve soon, weather-wise, at leat. One of the many things I learned from the Camino is to be more flexible than I thought I already was! For ex, the decision to change caminos from the North to the Primitivo while already haven started the first, came so easily, it still astounds me. Best, xm 8)
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Marianne Payne said:
I've walked the Camino Frances a couple of times. LOVED it! But, considering other alternatives, I'm interested to know if you can actually SEE the ocean from the trail on the Northern Route.

Hi Marianne, yes, it keeps cropping up every now and then if not every day. You get quite close on a few occassions and sometimes the surprised peregrino wanders out to investigate.


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mikevasey said:
Marianne Payne said:
I've walked the Camino Frances a couple of times. LOVED it! But, considering other alternatives, I'm interested to know if you can actually SEE the ocean from the trail on the Northern Route.

Hi Marianne, yes, it keeps cropping up every now and then if not every day. You get quite close on a few occassions and sometimes the surprised peregrino wanders out to investigate.

La Concha de Artedo, ¿verdad?

La Concha de Artedo, isn´t it?
You not only see it, there are places you walk on the beach. It's a challenging but lovely route! I walked from Bilbao to Santander, and am looking forward to going back and walking the entire route someday.

Mermaid Lillian has a website with photos of the entire route. You might contact her for more information.
angulero said:
La Concha de Artedo, isn´t it?

Yes, this place is very special to me for various reasons.

The 2nd Photo is from the little beach near La Paz Camping site on the way to Llanes.
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