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Planning my first Camino adventure - November?

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JamiesonN

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Planning to walk Camino Frances (2020)
Hello everyone. Very much enjoy reading about everyones' experiences and advice. A mate of mine and I have recently retired and are planning to do the Camino Frances next year. Deciding when to do the journey has been complicated a little by a thought of our wives flying over from Australia after we finish so we could do a tour together in Portugal or France. However, as my wife still teaches she is limited to school holidays. The idea has been suggested that we do our tour in the Aussie Christmas holidays which start in the second week of December, so if my friend and I are to spend say 5 - 6 weeks on our pilgrimage we would be leaving SJPDP late October or at the beginning of November. I've read varying views on what we might encounter at that time of the year, and I'm not so keen on the idea now. Having said that, we are happy with the idea of walking in cooler weather (which would be a nice change from the hot Aussie summer) and when there are less pilgrims on the track.
I'd very much appreciate any thoughts, encouragement or warnings from anyone who has travelled at that time of the year.
Looking forward to this challenge and the excitement of planning and preparing over the coming months.
Cheers and thanks.
 

Bogong

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
First, March 2014
Hello everyone. Very much enjoy reading about everyones' experiences and advice. A mate of mine and I have recently retired and are planning to do the Camino Frances next year. Deciding when to do the journey has been complicated a little by a thought of our wives flying over from Australia after we finish so we could do a tour together in Portugal or France. However, as my wife still teaches she is limited to school holidays. The idea has been suggested that we do our tour in the Aussie Christmas holidays which start in the second week of December, so if my friend and I are to spend say 5 - 6 weeks on our pilgrimage we would be leaving SJPDP late October or at the beginning of November. I've read varying views on what we might encounter at that time of the year, and I'm not so keen on the idea now. Having said that, we are happy with the idea of walking in cooler weather (which would be a nice change from the hot Aussie summer) and when there are less pilgrims on the track.
I'd very much appreciate any thoughts, encouragement or warnings from anyone who has travelled at that time of the year.
Looking forward to this challenge and the excitement of planning and preparing over the coming months.
Cheers and thanks.
G’day there

In 2014 I did very much what you are contemplating. I left on Australia on 25 February, started walking from St J P de P on 28th at 10.30am lobbed into Santiago deC at 9 am on 26 March so it was a winter walk. I was aloneThere were very few pilgrims, but nice ones and a fair proportion seemed to be doing it in around 25 to 26 days. The weather was vile, snow, rain, sleet, hail and wind aside from 6 days of glorious sunshine through the Meseta. I thought it would be grossly unfair to my wife to have this glorious holiday while she was stranded at home so arranged for her and her sister to meet me five weeks later. I walked on to Fisterre/Muxia (the weather was even worse) but after that had four spare days in A Coruna before they caught up with me there. I really pushed it a bit through absolute terror of them both ( my long term married friends tell me such terror is the key to a successful marriage). Covering 900k in thirty days(I got badly lost several times) is not the best thing to try for a 69 year old 70 kg bloke starting out with a 16kg pack but there wasn’t too much suffering.

The seven weeks spent travelling around Spain with them was marvellous but it was much more traumatic and infinitely more expensive than the walk. Seeing my sister in law, a devout Salvationist, getting seriously stuck into the Sangria was a delight.

So go for it!

De colores

Bogong
 

C clearly

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2012, 2014, 2015, 2016). Seville-Astorga (Mar 2017). Mozarabe (Apr-May 2018)
You will not regret it!

You said you have read "varying reviews"? Have you read any account from a person walked in November regretted it?
 

scruffy1

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Holy Year from Pamplona 2010, SJPP 2011, Lisbon 2012, Le Puy 2013, Vezelay (partial watch this space!) 2014; 2015 Toulouse-Puenta la Reina (Arles)
Camino(s) past & future
2011, 2012, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018 (2019) CF
2013 Arles/Aragones
2015 & 2017 HærvejenDK
I walked from Logrono to Leon the first three weeks in November last fall. The weather was great—warm and sunny—with some rain only in the last few days. I knew there would be few others walking, but there were very few walking, so it was lonelier than I had expected. Sometimes I was the only one in the albergue. The biggest stress for me was that although I had four different lists of open albergues in November, some albergues that were supposed to be open...were closed. Some small towns were totally shuttered up...even the bar was closed. Everything worked out and I always found a bed, but it was stressful.
Never say never, but I will again be walking most of November this year. My expectations will be more realistic, I will be walking a different part of the CF, and I am prepared to make reservations ahead of time.
 
Last edited:

wanderer806

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
(2013)
Hello everyone. Very much enjoy reading about everyones' experiences and advice. A mate of mine and I have recently retired and are planning to do the Camino Frances next year. Deciding when to do the journey has been complicated a little by a thought of our wives flying over from Australia after we finish so we could do a tour together in Portugal or France. However, as my wife still teaches she is limited to school holidays. The idea has been suggested that we do our tour in the Aussie Christmas holidays which start in the second week of December, so if my friend and I are to spend say 5 - 6 weeks on our pilgrimage we would be leaving SJPDP late October or at the beginning of November. I've read varying views on what we might encounter at that time of the year, and I'm not so keen on the idea now. Having said that, we are happy with the idea of walking in cooler weather (which would be a nice change from the hot Aussie summer) and when there are less pilgrims on the track.
I'd very much appreciate any thoughts, encouragement or warnings from anyone who has travelled at that time of the year.
Looking forward to this challenge and the excitement of planning and preparing over the coming months.
Cheers and thanks.
As teachers in Australia we also had this time slot. Started first of December from SJPP and finished early January. The weather was beautiful, crisp but usually sunny. Enough people to have some great company but not busy until Sarria. Many albergues were winter options rather than the bigger ones open in summer. The only time we were stuck for meals were Christmas and New Years Day breakfasts. It was a great time to walk.
Doing it all again in four weeks time, but on my own this time . Go for it.
 

Bogong

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
First, March 2014
I walked from Logrono to Leon the first three weeks in November last fall. The weather was great—warm and sunny—with some rain only in the last few days. I knew there would be few others walking, but there were very few walking, so it was lonelier than I had expected. Sometimes I was the only one in the albergue. The biggest stress for me was that although I had four different lists of open albergues in November, even albergues that were supposed to be open...were closed. Some small towns were totally shuttered up...even the bar was closed. Everything worked out and I always found a bed, but it was stressful.
Never say never, but I will again be walking most of November this year. My expectations will be more realistic, I will be walking a different part of the CF, and I am prepared to make reservations ahead of time.
 

Bogong

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
First, March 2014
It’s interesting all the different experiences people have. Reading the various posts on various matters can give an impression of all sorts of problems and contingencies, the need for extensive pre-planning, worry about booking or not to book accommodation, etc etc. i researched a lot beforehand and it almost scared the living daylights out of me.

It’s a few years now but when I arrived in St J pdeP in heavy rain with only one other pilgrim on the bus I should have twigged. The books said the Pilgrim Office is easy to find, just follow the hordes of other pilgrims from the railway station. Well there were none and we had a bit of a search.

I was given a list of albergues open and shut during winter. I carefully put it in a pouch under my singlet but it was pulped by the time I reached Roncesvalles- wet nearly every day thereafter courtesy of my Goretex rain jacket, my third one of this rubbish. In desperation I borrowed and copied another. Next lesson. It bore no resemblance to what the situation was on the ground.

Big lesson was all the stuff I read that scared me. It turned out not an arduous walk at all, just a long well-marked one on easy tracks, although there seemed to be a bit of a hill to climb every day, even through the Meseta. I had no problem with accommodation, and most, except for the major cities which apparently attract a lot of “pilgrim tourists” in the slack seasons were near or actually empty. Only problem was that in some small villages there was no food available.Also if you walk for more than a few hundred yards without seeing a yellow arrow you may be off track.

So basically chuck a few things in a pack, put on your boots and socks and head off, following the yellow arrows. Stop when you’ve had enough for the day and don’t be too concerned about setting targets. And, please, learn some Spanish before you go!

De colores

Bogong
 

JamiesonN

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Planning to walk Camino Frances (2020)
G’day there

In 2014 I did very much what you are contemplating. I left on Australia on 25 February, started walking from St J P de P on 28th at 10.30am lobbed into Santiago deC at 9 am on 26 March so it was a winter walk. I was aloneThere were very few pilgrims, but nice ones and a fair proportion seemed to be doing it in around 25 to 26 days. The weather was vile, snow, rain, sleet, hail and wind aside from 6 days of glorious sunshine through the Meseta. I thought it would be grossly unfair to my wife to have this glorious holiday while she was stranded at home so arranged for her and her sister to meet me five weeks later. I walked on to Fisterre/Muxia (the weather was even worse) but after that had four spare days in A Coruna before they caught up with me there. I really pushed it a bit through absolute terror of them both ( my long term married friends tell me such terror is the key to a successful marriage). Covering 900k in thirty days(I got badly lost several times) is not the best thing to try for a 69 year old 70 kg bloke starting out with a 16kg pack but there wasn’t too much suffering.

The seven weeks spent travelling around Spain with them was marvellous but it was much more traumatic and infinitely more expensive than the walk. Seeing my sister in law, a devout Salvationist, getting seriously stuck into the Sangria was a delight.

So go for it!

De colores

Bogong
Bogong, thanks so much for your feedback. Sounds like you had quite an adventure. I'm surprised at the distance you said many were doing the walk in each day, 30kms plus! I certainly haven't thought (at 65yrs) that I'd set a pace like that. Did you not take any rest days and take time to explore some of the bigger cities on the way? I've been working on about a 6 week journey from SJPDP. Cheers
 

JamiesonN

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Planning to walk Camino Frances (2020)
You will not regret it!

You said you have read "varying reviews"? Have you read any account from a person walked in November regretted it?
I don't think I can recall anyone saying they regretted a November walk, I'm more thinking about what the experience might be like in the cooler, quieter months. In some ways I like the thought of a less crowded path, but wondering what the overall experience might be like.
 

JamiesonN

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Planning to walk Camino Frances (2020)
I walked from Logrono to Leon the first three weeks in November last fall. The weather was great—warm and sunny—with some rain only in the last few days. I knew there would be few others walking, but there were very few walking, so it was lonelier than I had expected. Sometimes I was the only one in the albergue. The biggest stress for me was that although I had four different lists of open albergues in November, some albergues that were supposed to be open...were closed. Some small towns were totally shuttered up...even the bar was closed. Everything worked out and I always found a bed, but it was stressful.
Never say never, but I will again be walking most of November this year. My expectations will be more realistic, I will be walking a different part of the CF, and I am prepared to make reservations ahead of time.
Marylynn, thanks for your feedback. Interesting, given your experience, that you are up for another November walk this year. Hopefully not so stressful for you a second time around. I look forward to hearing how it goes. Cheers.
 

C clearly

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2012, 2014, 2015, 2016). Seville-Astorga (Mar 2017). Mozarabe (Apr-May 2018)
Six weeks is ideal. November should be no problem at all - if that is a convenient time for you, don't think anymore about it. Any time of year is great. Just be sure to take light layers, gloves, buff or hat, rain gear, and have a dry warm layer to wear in the evenings. Don't count on there being a lodging in a tiny village, even if the list says it is open, so ask others and confirm what your options are for the day or 2 ahead.
 

JamiesonN

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Planning to walk Camino Frances (2020)
As teachers in Australia we also had this time slot. Started first of December from SJPP and finished early January. The weather was beautiful, crisp but usually sunny. Enough people to have some great company but not busy until Sarria. Many albergues were winter options rather than the bigger ones open in summer. The only time we were stuck for meals were Christmas and New Years Day breakfasts. It was a great time to walk.
Doing it all again in four weeks time, but on my own this time . Go for it.
Wow, that sounds like quite an experience - really was a winter walk! Look forward to hear how it goes again this year - so you can compare winter / summer experience! Cheers
 

JamiesonN

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Planning to walk Camino Frances (2020)
Six weeks is ideal. November should be no problem at all - if that is a convenient time for you, don't think anymore about it. Any time of year is great. Just be sure to take light layers, gloves, buff or hat, rain gear, and have a dry warm layer to wear in the evenings. Don't count on there being a lodging in a tiny village, even if the list says it is open, so ask others and confirm what your options are for the day or 2 ahead.
C, thanks for your feedback. I'm feeling much more confident and enthusiastic about a November trek now that I've done more research and from the great responses here on the forum. Appreciate your advice. Cheers
 

GaryAus

Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF December 2017
G'day
I left 13 Nov 2017 SJPP and finished 17 December SdC. 33 days of walking. Walked with a mate of mine from Sydney, and families then joined us for Christmas. One of the best experiences of my life, and you will have a ball. Wasn't too cold for Aussies (10 degrees C most days - coldest minus 6 coming out of Burgos one morning). Very little rain or mud, about 5 days max. And not too much snow O'Cebreiro (but enough to look fantastic for Australians who don't normally see much of it - a real highlight). About 10-15 other pilgrims out there with us each day, but often we had the Camino Frances to ourselves. Never got stuck for Albergues open, and only once did we have to walk extra to the next one, about 5 kms. We made it with 8 kg packs each, and that was plenty of clothing and gear. A fantastic time to walk the Camino.....rug up and enjoy.
 

JamiesonN

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Planning to walk Camino Frances (2020)
G'day
I left 13 Nov 2017 SJPP and finished 17 December SdC. 33 days of walking. Walked with a mate of mine from Sydney, and families then joined us for Christmas. One of the best experiences of my life, and you will have a ball. Wasn't too cold for Aussies (10 degrees C most days - coldest minus 6 coming out of Burgos one morning). Very little rain or mud, about 5 days max. And not too much snow O'Cebreiro (but enough to look fantastic for Australians who don't normally see much of it - a real highlight). About 10-15 other pilgrims out there with us each day, but often we had the Camino Frances to ourselves. Never got stuck for Albergues open, and only once did we have to walk extra to the next one, about 5 kms. We made it with 8 kg packs each, and that was plenty of clothing and gear. A fantastic time to walk the Camino.....rug up and enjoy.
Fantastic GaryAus, just what I was hoping to hear. We are keen to fit in with the school holidays over here, but was starting to worry that timing wouldn't work out. Where did you end up spending Christmas? We are thinking of heading down in to Portugal after the walk. Cheers
 

GaryAus

Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF December 2017
We flew from SdC to Piedmonte in Italy for Christmas. BTW the airport in Santiago is the best, most spacious airport terminal I’ve ever been to with virtually no people. Wait until you see it. Camino Portuguese next for me, March 2020.
Buen Camino
 

PiryatJos

Pilgrim Brit
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances - SJPdP - SdC (Oct/Nov '18) (Sep/Oct '19)

Camino del Norte - Santander - SdC (2021)
I started mid/late October. Reached Foncebadón on Hallowe'en. Snow covered and looked amazing. Many close by this time of year but plenty enough were still open. The municipals are always open.

I found I wasn't really carrying much extra weight because I was wearing most of it always.

Still got sunburn in October.

I walked with someone who walked the same time Oct/Nov their last time and thought it was best for them. There was a few too many places that had recently closed for me. I'm walking Mid September this year.
 

Bogong

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
First, March 2014
Bogong, thanks so much for your feedback. Sounds like you had quite an adventure. I'm surprised at the distance you said many were doing the walk in each day, 30kms plus! I certainly haven't thought (at 65yrs) that I'd set a pace like that. Did you not take any rest days and take time to explore some of the bigger cities on the way? I've been working on about a 6 week journey from SJPDP. Cheers
[/QUOTE

G'day,

Not much city stuff sadly. Basically I enjoy the countryside heading off well before dawn, watching glorious sunrises on the very few days the sun appeared, snow capped hilltops, the sound of birds, farmers out tilling for next season, occasional flocks of sheep, the real deal. Next time, if there is one (my wife is crook) I'll do a lot more cultural stuff. Stay in the Hostal Burguette (I'm a Hemingway fan), a lot more time just moseying along, Pamplona, Burgos( where zI did spend half a day) a bit more time with some of the lovely people I met in family- run albergues)
And so on.

De Colores

Bogong
 

Angelina B

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
2017
I walked from Logrono to Leon the first three weeks in November last fall. The weather was great—warm and sunny—with some rain only in the last few days. I knew there would be few others walking, but there were very few walking, so it was lonelier than I had expected. Sometimes I was the only one in the albergue. The biggest stress for me was that although I had four different lists of open albergues in November, some albergues that were supposed to be open...were closed. Some small towns were totally shuttered up...even the bar was closed. Everything worked out and I always found a bed, but it was stressful.
Never say never, but I will again be walking most of November this year. My expectations will be more realistic, I will be walking a different part of the CF, and I am prepared to make reservations ahead of time.
I guess having done your research you may be walking a part of the Camino that maybe has more accommodation open at this time of the year. Which parts will you walk - from where to where and how will you start - ie fly in to? just looking for ideas.
 

Dalmatinka

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Never been
I walked from Logrono to Leon the first three weeks in November last fall. The weather was great—warm and sunny—with some rain only in the last few days. I knew there would be few others walking, but there were very few walking, so it was lonelier than I had expected. Sometimes I was the only one in the albergue. The biggest stress for me was that although I had four different lists of open albergues in November, some albergues that were supposed to be open...were closed. Some small towns were totally shuttered up...even the bar was closed. Everything worked out and I always found a bed, but it was stressful.
Never say never, but I will again be walking most of November this year. My expectations will be more realistic, I will be walking a different part of the CF, and I am prepared to make reservations ahead of time.
Hi! I was planning Camino Frances first week of November and I am a little bit worried about the weather, but you say everything was ok, not so cold or rainy? Also about albergues, they were not all open? Now I'm reconsidering my idea, but that's the only part of the year I can go. What do you say, is it worth it, without so many people around and streessing about albergues? Thank you!
 
Camino(s) past & future
Frances 2017, 2018, 2019, Ingles 2018, Madrid (2019) Portuges (2020)
My first Camino was in a November. Obviously the weather is likely to be colder and wetter than in summer - but it was a great experience.

There will be fewer albergues open - because there will be fewer peregrinos.

I think it will still feel sufficiently busy.

I have only ever walked from October to March. Outside that period the heat and crowds would bee too much for me.
 

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