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Please explain.....

Gumba

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
March (2018)
#1
.... the pull of the Camino.

We (husband and two boys) walked the Camino from SJPdP to Santiago (although we skipped Leon to Sarria) in March/April this year. Quite frankly, it was Hell with a few magical moments thrown in. Despite being jet-lagged (flew in from Australia 2 days before), the first day we started out full of excitement; we had already met some lovely people, our packs were managable, we had food and water. However the weather turned south after Valcarlos. Little pockets of snow were at first exciting for our boys.. then the snow and rain pelted down upon us. It was extremely hard going and I was beside myself for what the boys were going through. Yes we made it to Roncesvalles. Yes, we will always have that amazing sense of achievement. Yes, it really was amazing. Both boys fell asleep during the first course of dinner that night. Literally.

The next day we set out, again, full of hope. It was a beautiful morning, a winter wonderland. We were ok; not at all sore, no aches or pains despite how broken we felt when we went to be that night... Until my youngest stepped knee-deep into an icy puddle. In the middle of nowhere. We walked about 5km to the next town and were lucky enough to find a bar and arrange a taxi. The days marched on, it didnt get easier. Still we caught up with our camino family along the way. We met some beautiful hospillaros. Amazing scenery.

We were warm enough and the rain did not bother us, but we did not have snow gloves so we struggled a bit. We also struggled with the fierce headwinds - sometimes icy cold, sometimes just cold. And the feet. Don't need to talk about the feet...

But we were together as a family, my most favourite people in the world. Some amazing conversations were had.

We decided to skip a section - Leon to Sarria as we were hearing reports of deep (waist deep) snow. We didn't want to put our boys through that safety wise (who am I kidding - that is our excuse though and we are sticking to it).

Got to Sarria and was not prepared for how beautiful the walk was despite the weather - rain and hail this time - for a few days. But we decided on an easy 15km per day so was, by this time a skip in the park.

But here's the kicker. Despite the gloomy picture I have just painted, we had already started discussing our NEXT Camino. Before we even finished!!!

WHYYYYY!!!

We are heading over to UK/Europe next year for a family 'do' and can only manage 1 week, so... instead of sailing around the Greek Isles or romancing in Paris or all the other places we could go, we are starting the Camino again - by agreement of everyone, to start a new Camino in July 2019! That's right, it's not just me - we all want to do it.

So.... tell me about the weather in July ;)

(This time we plan to leave most of our luggage in Paris, take one bag between the 4 of us and have it transported. The first 4-6 days are the hardest, so going to try and make those days a bit more enjoyable by taking the 'load' off)
Camino snow.jpg off..
 

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Camino(s) past & future
CF(x3), VdlP, Jerusalem, VF, Walsingham.
2018? CF, again :-)
#5
Thank you for telling your story!
I can't explain.... I don't understand it myself :D All I can say is that I found the weather in July MUCH better than what you encountered. There can still be mud (La Rioja), cold (after Rabanal and on the way to Finisterre), drizzle (anywhere in Galicia) but on the whole it is usually hot and dry. :)
 

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Camino(s) past & future
Francés ('14/'15)
St Olav/Francés ('16)
Baztanés/Francés ('17)
Ingles ('18)
#6
So.... tell me about the weather in July ;)
Well it won't be so snowy....

Great post, @Gumba.
And the allure?
Well, no-one was bored, were they?
And everyone learned that they can transcend all sorts of limits.
And there is the beautiful opening to connection with others and really feeling our common humanity.
And all the kindness,
And the simplicity of it all,
And, and, and...
 

natefaith

Moderator
Staff member
Camino(s) past & future
Sarria-Santiago (2009)
León-Ponferrada (2014)
Camino Inglés (2017)
#7
I admire your family for sticking with it through all that weather! What an adventure you were just on.

I walked the Camino Ingles in July and had great weather - cool in the mornings (still needed a fleece and sometimes a rain jacket) but the afternoons were perfect for sitting around and exploring towns.

Thanks for sharing and enjoy all the planning for the next one!
 
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (2014), Camino Inca (2015), Primitivo (2017), Portugues (2018)
#9
I served as a hospitalera, for the last two weeks of June last year, in Estella and we had day after day of 35+ degrees. Most pilgrims were trying to leave by 4 or 5 am to try to avoid walking in the heat of the day, but the vast majority were Europeans and Americans. As Australians, you may be more comfortable with those conditions.
As to the "pull" of the Camino, I can't define it. All I know is that I am heading back for my third one this September - along with the 3 people that I met and walked into Santiago with the first time, and who all said that they would never do another Camino!
 

Paul J W

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2002/3 and 2004/5)
Camino Ingles. (2008)
Camino Portuguese. (2009)
Camino del Norte (2008 and 2014)
Ruta de la Plata (2004)
Camino Primitivo. (2015)
Camino Mozarabe (2007)
"Tunnel" route (2016)
Camino del Salvador (projected: 2017)
#10
Yes, infectious it is. But, with only a week next year, why not try another route and see if the Camino de San Salvador appeals. Fabulous, scenic route (125km) with far fewer walkers/pilgrims; well waymarked; excellent refuges. Option: fly to Asturias, bus to Oviedo and on to Leon. Walk to Oviedo!
 

MileHighPair

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
2012, 2014: Cam. Frances
2015: Chimayo, USA.
2016, 2017: VdlP
2018: Madrid and Ourense
#11
Great story Gumba. Predicting the weather is tricky, best to look at climate data. As to the draw of the Camino, I too have wrestled with this (for several years). On the other hand, it always seems like an odd question. Do we wonder why we love to golf, or surf, or rock climb, or play bridge or poker, or whatever? Most of the time it is a combination of factors. Like any other activity or adventure that I enjoy, there are many aspects that appeal to me. The religious, cultural, historical, and social parts are what I absolutely cannot find in the mainland USA. Buen Camino!
 

natefaith

Moderator
Staff member
Camino(s) past & future
Sarria-Santiago (2009)
León-Ponferrada (2014)
Camino Inglés (2017)
#12
Great story Gumba. Predicting the weather is tricky, best to look at climate data. As to the draw of the Camino, I too have wrestled with this (for several years). On the other hand, it always seems like an odd question. Do we wonder why we love to golf, or surf, or rock climb, or play bridge or poker, or whatever? Most of the time it is a combination of factors. Like any other activity or adventure that I enjoy, there are many aspects that appeal to me. The religious, cultural, historical, and social parts are what I absolutely cannot find in the mainland USA. Buen Camino!
Yes! And what you wrote reminds me of what my psychology professor always said: "multi-causal, multi-maintained." :D
 

peb

Member
Camino(s) past & future
C. Ingles March 2018
#13
If you have only 1 week next year, try the Ingles. First two days a lovely walk along the coast, and you can walk the whole way in any time between 5 and 8 days. The sense of achievement of walking the whole route of a Camino, especially for your boys, should not be underestimated.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Frances
Portuguese
Piamonte
#15
All I can say is - :D:D:D It is extraordinary isn't it? I've just got back from what I think was my toughest camino yet - and already I am thinking about the next one ....
Are you going to share with us the identity of your toughest camino yet?
 

Anamya

Keeping it simple
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2015)
Camino Portugues (2017)
Norte/Liebana (Planning)
#17
As a fellow Aussie, I totally understand the jetlag... and the pull to do it again!
With only one week, I'd suggest maybe the Portuguese Camino from Tui? Anywhere you go, it will be fantastic! July you will probably get a very, very different weather!
 

Gumba

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
March (2018)
#18
Thank you for your kind comments.

We do want to do the Frances again, this time going over the top. Husband and I were discussing it last night - there is a sense of wanting to 'do it right'. I think we are seeking a more positive experience in that first week. Not be so bothered by the snow and cold. Remember, we left Oz at 40 degrees C (104F). We do better when we are thawed out lol. Having jet lag will mean it will be easy for us to leave nice and early to avoid the heat of the day, something we couldn't do in winter.

We met a lot of people (mostly Irish and Brits and Germans) that just do one week each year (or twice a year) and were all quite happy for the experience. I am not fussed about just doing 7-9 days this time. We will be back again, I am sure of it. And if the boys need to wait a few years and pick up where we left, as adults, I think that would be a wonderful starter for them. Our nine yer old has already committed to walking the Camino every 10 years.. but just until he is 70 - or maybe 80!!!!!!
 
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (1989 and 2016), Portugues - central from Oporto (2018 - planned)
#19
You will find it much hotter in July. :) Also drier. When my son and I walked in July/Aug of 2016 (started July 7), we never needed to use our rain gear in the 41 days of walking. Not that it never rained, just never when we were walking. We ended up starting quite early (generally before 6 am), not because of the "bed race", but to get more walking in when it was cooler and to try and finish before the hottest part of the day.

Also, depending on when you start in July, you may run into Los San Fermines in Pamplona.
 
Camino(s) past & future
CF(x3), VdlP, Jerusalem, VF, Walsingham.
2018? CF, again :-)
#20
Thank you for your kind comments.


We met a lot of people (mostly Irish and Brits and Germans) that just do one week each year (or twice a year) and were all quite happy for the experience. !
Yes, me too but the ones I met were mostly French. Had been doing it for years, one week at a time. (In a group, going at the speed of the slowest). Wonderful!
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances: September 24 - October 31 (2015); February/March (2019)
#21
Your post made my day! I struggle with explaining the pull of the Camino. You have encapsulated it brilliantly. There isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t think about the Camino. It’s not that I’m not enjoying the here and now. I definitely am, but there is this thing out there called the Camino that just cannot leave my consciousness for any significant stretch of time.
 
Camino(s) past & future
(2019) only 2 weeks available! St. Jean PDP - Pamplona, then Sarria - SDC with the family,
#23
What date did you start from SJPdP...? I've considered bringing poles.... based on your picture, looks like skis would be handy as well!
 

Marbe2

Active member
Camino(s) past & future
2015 SJPD to Burgos
2017 Leon to Santiago
Pamplona to Santiago Mar. 2018
Burgos - SCDC (Oct 18)
#24
Gumba we started at the end of February 2018 and walked leisurely...abt 15km to 20km per day. We arrived in Santiago in early April. We experienced only 3 Days of dry weather the entire time....Bitter cold wet weather with high winds and constant precipitation of one kind or another! Take your pick, snow, sleet, hail or rain! The year before, March 2017, the weather was gorgeous! Only two days of rain and lovely days! If you go in summer and want to leave early in the morning, remember that The sun rises later than in many counties so bring head lamps.
 

Gumba

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
March (2018)
#25
Beeks, we left on a Sunday - 19th of March. We were so grateful to have our poles. It saved us toppling over a number of times. Saved us from falling on our bottoms due to the slippery ice just as many times. I know it is a personal thing, but based on our experiences, I don't know hope people DON'T use poles. We were in awe of people going down certain tracks without them. Personal choice though. When are you going?

Marbe2, YES!! The bitter cold wet weather with high winds. Everyone was marching past us, I thought those winds had just found us lol.

It was very magical though. Perhaps we were a bit delicate as we had come from hot temps of the Australian summer
 
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Kiwi-family

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Past: (2012, 2014, 2015, 2016)
Future (God-willing): Madrid, Salvador, Primitivo (2018)
#26
This week we had dinner with a lady who reminded my children that a year or so ago she sat at the same table with them as they insisted they would never do another Camino! This time they were chattering eagerly about why we had chosen this particular route to do in October!!
I’d put in a vote for the San Salvador if you only have a week. Mountains that range from gentle to dramatic, bookended by two fabulous cathedrals. It’s the route (along with the Primitivo) that my kids wanted to do again!
 

Gumba

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
March (2018)
#28
We're leaving SJPdP on April 10... Praying for a mild winter!
Beeks, we started our Camino towards the end of an incredible cold snap the covered most of Europe - lots of snow all over. I think our experience was more the exception than the rule. A lot more places will be open along the way in April. There were only a few bars open along the way which added to our misery as it was difficult to find something open for a snack/rest/coffee. We did have a lot of sunshine. To be honest, the rain did not worry us. Only one day where it was really pelting down. As long as you are warm! April will be a lovely time, I am sure. I see you are going with your family - kids? How old are they? It was such an amazing experience for our boys. We met a few other children along the way, it was lovely.
 
Camino(s) past & future
(2019) only 2 weeks available! St. Jean PDP - Pamplona, then Sarria - SDC with the family,
#29
Our boys will be 18 and 16, and our daughter will be 11. They're looking forward to it!
 

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