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As I've said before I'm planning to walk the Camino at the end of May 2007.

But after having read several postings (also on other boards) it sounds like the Camino is suffering under its own success? Too many people, the 'fights' over the beds, having to start your day very early so you're at the hostels before the others, the mountain bikers being somewhat of 'rowdies', etc ...

I've got a tendency to worry too much, I know ;)

So, how was it last year? Or, if you're walking the Camino right now, how is it this year??

And what would alternatives be? The Northern Camino? Is its infrastructure as good the Camino Frances? What would be the 'advantages' of each one?

I really want to meet people while walking but I'd also like the have time for my own, to reflect, to think, etc ... And I don't want to be in a sort of competition to race to each hostel ...

Any insights or comments are greatly appreciated :)
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Have you looked at the Via de la Plata?
I began walking on 20th April and found myself in a "bubble" of approx 12/16 pilgrims travelling at the same speed + a few lycra clad cyclists who appeared for the odd night. During the time I was walking I had problems finding an Aulbergie bed on only two nights. In addition I chose to stay in hostals as and when I felt like a wee bit of pampering.
Although the route was busier than I anticipated there is ample opportunity for solitude, if you desire, and there is company when you relax in the evenings.
I hope I don't offend anyone when I say that it was a different type of pilgrim that I met. generally older and more experienced (only 3 first time pilgrims).
As to the route, I found it to be wonderful, but you have to be prepared for long stretches without any facilities (no mid morning coffee) and of course it is longer than the Francais.
If I can be of any further help to anyone please don't hesitate to get in touch.

I've just finished the Camino Frances and, yes there are problems and yes it was busy at times, but please don't let that put you off. The experience is amazing and the difficulties very minor in comparison.
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I hope you get more answers from people walking the french route now. I startet on Via de la Plata some days later than Dael, and had other experiences than he had. Some days we were few people. Other days, no free beds. So my answer is: You do not solve the problem by walking Via de la Plata. The nothern route I do not know. There are very few people walking Via de la Plata compared with the french route. Some days you can walk the whole day without seeing anybody, but the infrastructure is also very "small". A few people more each day, and there are someone in all the beds.... I loved my walking on Via de la Plata this spring, and hope to be back one day, but there is something about the french route that you do not get other places.
So ... hope for more exact answers from people walking this year. (I am also planning for the french route next spring, and I will be there - crowded or not.) Bjørg
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no te preocupes! that means don't worry.

I first walked the Camino in 1998 and it was much, much quieter than last year, when my wife and I walked it again. While stops like Roncesvalles are busy and intimidating, people quickly thin themselves out and you will have plenty of quiet walking days. Don't rush to beat the group. While you most likely will be up early anyway (noise from crazy VERY early risers), it is wonderful to set out just before sunrise, listen to the world wake up and get 5 or 10km in before your morning cafe con leche or cola cao. But don't make it a race.

There are so many new private family run albergues popping up along the way that you shouldn't have a problem at all finding a bed. If worse comes to worst you might have to go an extra 5km to the next town but not likely.

On special days, or if you need a good rest day, you might also want to call a day or two ahead and book into a casa rural. They are very cheap (20-30 euros a night) and you'll have your own clean bed to have a good rest.

And just a quick word of advice, while Santo Domingo de la Calzada is a beautiful town and a worthwhile stop for the night, go the bit further and stay in Granon. You won't regret it.

buen camino amigo!


I have just returned from Santiago and had no problems with over crowding. There was only one day when we could not get into the albergue of our first choice and had to walk on another 4 ks. We ended up in a wonderful place in Espinosa del Camino. Here we were looked after by Pepe who provided a wonderful communal meal and great hospitality. We made some great spanish friends here. So don't worry, let the camino provide you with lovely surprises. If you want be be alone when walking then you just adjust your pace. If you really need to be alone at the end of the day you can book into a hostal.

have a great time. I did.

Carol Ann :

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