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Please tell me about your early march Camino Frances

lapamela

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
March 2019
#1
Hello!

I've dreamt of walking the camino since meeting boy in my early twenties (now my husband) who had just done it and felt so passionate about it. We have three kids now and I'd assumed I'd have to wait to hike till they were older or even when my husband and I are retired! But! My children are now in school and I have found myself with a bit of time in between full time mothering and going to grad school. My husband is super supportive of me going and my children have read enough stories about following your dreams that they are excited about it too. But my only chance to walk is starting in early March.

I've read all that I can find about it but wondering about your experiences personally - are there enough people on the trail to feel camaraderie? Is it at all green (I love green and I am assuming I will miss out on much)? Still enjoyable although freezing? A curious question - are you able to dry your wet and muddy clothes? I'd love to hear anything you have to say about walking in March.

This is my only chance so I think I have to do it, right? I have a flight saved that expires in 5 hours so I'd like to decide by then. I guess what I am hoping for is to head to work right now and come back and see more seasoned travelers telling me that it is totally possible. Thanks for reading, thanks in advance for your help and so sorry if this is not posted in the right place.

Mela
 

Kimtom

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances on bike (2014)
Frances on foot (2019)
#4
Hello!

I've dreamt of walking the camino since meeting boy in my early twenties (now my husband) who had just done it and felt so passionate about it. We have three kids now and I'd assumed I'd have to wait to hike till they were older or even when my husband and I are retired! But! My children are now in school and I have found myself with a bit of time in between full time mothering and going to grad school. My husband is super supportive of me going and my children have read enough stories about following your dreams that they are excited about it too. But my only chance to walk is starting in early March.

I've read all that I can find about it but wondering about your experiences personally - are there enough people on the trail to feel camaraderie? Is it at all green (I love green and I am assuming I will miss out on much)? Still enjoyable although freezing? A curious question - are you able to dry your wet and muddy clothes? I'd love to hear anything you have to say about walking in March.

This is my only chance so I think I have to do it, right? I have a flight saved that expires in 5 hours so I'd like to decide by then. I guess what I am hoping for is to head to work right now and come back and see more seasoned travelers telling me that it is totally possible. Thanks for reading, thanks in advance for your help and so sorry if this is not posted in the right place.

Mela
Hi Mela,
I’m planning to begin early March as well...
so there will be at least two of us!
 
Camino(s) past & future
Francés ('14/'15)
St Olav/Francés ('16)
Baztanés/Francés ('17)
Ingles ('18)
#5
Welcome, @lapamela .

In a word: GO!
March is my favorite month to walk and I am sad that my current schedule no longer allows it.
Photos here of an early March start from SJPP. As you can see, the trees were blooming all along the way. It is a magical time of year, with the earth waking up again.
Of course, you'll need to carry warm clothes and allow for wild swings in weather. But it's glorious, and not so crowded as later in the season.
 
Camino(s) past & future
CF: (2001, 2002, 2004, 2014). Hospitalera: 2002, Ponferrada. 2004, Rabanal del Camino.
#6
Well,

I hope you decided to buy tkt.

Early March there will be pilgrims. You might have to walk an extra kilometer or two to find an albergue open.

Take a sleeping bag nights can be very cold.

The worst experience was the mud. Daily, I prayed for mud cessastion.

Buen camino.
 

TimH

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances March-April 2016
Le Puy route April-May 2017
Camino Norte to Bilbao June 2017
#9
We had snow so deep on the Pyrenees that the only way to walk was on the road between massive snow ploughed banks. Far too dangerous with the traffic so started Roncesvalles. Walked in the snow for two days then and had three days of snow later including a serious blizzard. It was GREAT! Not too many people but lots of cameraderie. Glorious changes in scenery and LOTS OF MUD! We concluded the Mesata was Spanish for Mud. It was still GREAT. We wore shoes rather than boots and shorts with a rain skirt when needed and really did not get cold but we ended up buying gloves with waterproof overmitts, scarves and beanies. Just be prepared and you will have the experience of your life.
 
Camino(s) past & future
CF-Finisterra-Muxia 2017; SK Camino Kosiče-Levoča Oct 2017; El Norte March 2018; Ingles (Nov 2018)
#10
March 2017 beautiful, only three half days of light snow or rain, temps up to 26C.
 

SabineP

Camino is about empathy. Not about entitlement.
Camino(s) past & future
some and then more. see my signature.
#11
One year from Santiago to Finisterre four days of gorgeous weather.
Another year on the Meseta from Carrion de los Condes : rain , rain and hail and strong winds. And cold ;)
But a quiet, introspective and wonderful Camino. Most albergues were open but never overcrowded.
Gentle and respectful pilgrims on the road : engaging in a conversation and not constantly on their cellphone.
Such a contrast to the crowds I met this week in Santiago....
 
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lapamela

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
March 2019
#12
This is wonderful. Thank you so much! I tried to book my ticket but British Airways is having difficulties, I haven't given up! I'd love to hear more if anyone else finds their way to this thread. THANK YOU!
 

lapamela

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
March 2019
#14
A few more questions as they come to me: Did walking in March take you a bit longer than summer? Are poles a necessity through the mud?
 

TimH

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances March-April 2016
Le Puy route April-May 2017
Camino Norte to Bilbao June 2017
#15
We generally found we could walk further between stops in the cooler weather and hence we were generally a bit faster and could certainly walk further in a day than in the hot super sweaty weather of summer. But I guess it depends on how you handle heat. However, the mud certainly slows you down a bit but it is generally limited in e tent, albeit some days were very muddy for us. We always use walking poles ( very lightweight fixed length Black Diamond carbon ones ) and we found them particularly useful in the mud, but also on climbs and decents. They help take the strain off your knees, feet and even back. If using poles suggest small rubber tips as metal tips make too much noise and tungsten tips are not needed on the Camino.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Francés ('14/'15)
St Olav/Francés ('16)
Baztanés/Francés ('17)
Ingles ('18)
#16
Did walking in March take you a bit longer than summer? Are poles a necessity through the mud?
No to the first question, yes to the second.
And not just for stability and balance...with a gentle probe, you can tell how deep the mud is, and poles are essential for dislodging the sticky wads of clay that accumulate underfoot.
No-one tells you about these.
They are 'interesting.':confused:;)
 
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lapamela

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
March 2019
#17
Thank you! i just booked my flight to Barcelona! And what a relief to have personal answers. You would recommend one should pack a real sleeping bag, not just liner in March?
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino del Baztán- Bayonne to Pamplona
Camino Francés - Pamplona to Santiago
(March 2017)
#18
We started our Camino on St Patrick’s Day in 2017. The Napoleon Route was closed so we began from Bayonne along the Baztan Way and joined the Camino Francés in Pamplona. Weather was cool in the mornings and we only had two days of rain in the five weeks that we walked.
 
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domigee

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF(x4), Fisterra/Muxía(x2), VdlP, Jerusalem, VF, Walsingham,
C inglés. 2019? Who knows! ;-)
#19
Hello!

I've dreamt of walking the camino since meeting boy in my early twenties (now my husband) who had just done it and felt so passionate about it. We have three kids now and I'd assumed I'd have to wait to hike till they were older or even when my husband and I are retired! But! My children are now in school and I have found myself with a bit of time in between full time mothering and going to grad school. My husband is super supportive of me going and my children have read enough stories about following your dreams that they are excited about it too. But my only chance to walk is starting in early March.

I've read all that I can find about it but wondering about your experiences personally - are there enough people on the trail to feel camaraderie? Is it at all green (I love green and I am assuming I will miss out on much)? Still enjoyable although freezing? A curious question - are you able to dry your wet and muddy clothes? I'd love to hear anything you have to say about walking in March.

This is my only chance so I think I have to do it, right? I have a flight saved that expires in 5 hours so I'd like to decide by then. I guess what I am hoping for is to head to work right now and come back and see more seasoned travelers telling me that it is totally possible. Thanks for reading, thanks in advance for your help and so sorry if this is not posted in the right place.

Mela
Hi! I haven’t walked it in March but I’m saying : go! Really. :) You are very lucky to have the opportunity to do it, don’t let it pass.
There is no telling with the weather these days, it may be very wet, it may not. It’ll be windy...
Clothes dry, you don’t have to wash everything, just socks, undies and t-shirt. Take 3 to make sure.
Enjoy!
 

domigee

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF(x4), Fisterra/Muxía(x2), VdlP, Jerusalem, VF, Walsingham,
C inglés. 2019? Who knows! ;-)
#20
Thank you! i just booked my flight to Barcelona! And what a relief to have personal answers. You would recommend one should pack a real sleeping bag, not just liner in March?
I’d take a sleeping bag.
 
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domigee

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF(x4), Fisterra/Muxía(x2), VdlP, Jerusalem, VF, Walsingham,
C inglés. 2019? Who knows! ;-)
#21
No to the first question, yes to the second.
And not just for stability and balance...with a gentle probe, you can tell how deep the mud is, and poles are essential for dislodging the sticky wads of clay that accumulate underfoot.
No-one tells you about this.
It is 'interesting.':confused:;)
I’m with @VNwalking, poles really at their best when probing the depth of mud. Also a big help if it is slippery :)
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2015); Camino Norte/Primitivo (2016); Camino Frances (2017); Le Puy (June 2018)
#22
No to the first question, yes to the second.
And not just for stability and balance...with a gentle probe, you can tell how deep the mud is, and poles are essential for dislodging the sticky wads of clay that accumulate underfoot.
No-one tells you about these.
They are 'interesting.':confused:;)
No they don't... I gained 2" in height from clay mud on the bottom of my shoes! Oh, and also gained 2 pounds at the same time! Lol! :D
 
Camino(s) past & future
March 2019
#25
another question if anyone is still around: I've read the threads of how to get from Barcelona to SJPP and I speak Spanish so I'm comfortable asking for help on the way. Just wondering, anyone have more trouble in February or March? Am I right to assume if I start early I can get there in one day? I'm hoping not to have to pay a taxi from Pamplona for just me. :)
 
Camino(s) past & future
March/April 2015, Late April 2016, Sept/Oct 2017
#26
We walked from mid-March through mid-April. We had little rain, and almost no mud. But it was very cool (cold) in the mornings and the wind was crazy at times.- So wear layers! And while we had little rain, I used my rain jacket and pants to block the wind. There were very few trees with leaves, and so we got a bit sunburned! Bring sunblock and a hat! I brought my own sleeping bag (lightweight down) and was glad of it's warm in some of the cooler albergues. Some albergues are closed until after Easter.
 
Camino(s) past & future
March/April 2015, Late April 2016, Sept/Oct 2017
#27
another question if anyone is still around: I've read the threads of how to get from Barcelona to SJPP and I speak Spanish so I'm comfortable asking for help on the way. Just wondering, anyone have more trouble in February or March? Am I right to assume if I start early I can get there in one day? I'm hoping not to have to pay a taxi from Pamplona for just me. :)
I'd check ALSA, and Rome2Rio to check the times for transit. :)

By the way, it's great to walk early in the Spring because the Camino isn't crowded and the Spanish have more patience at the beginning of pilgrim season. I wish you a Buen Camino!
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Francés febr/march (2012)
Camino Francés febr/march (2019)
#28
-I won't repeat again all the pros everyone told you before: I just agree!

-Next february 18th I'm travelling by bus from Barcelona to Pamplona (by ALSA), and then from Pamplona to Roncesvalles (by ARTIEDA)
Starting time BCN=07:00 AM
Arriving time to Roncesvalles=04:15PM

ALSA use to have from March a bus between Pamplona and SJPP....but you better check it on the website

Buen Camino (actually you're already on it)
 

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