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Pre-Camino Travel Ideas

Stephan the Painter

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
Frances 2022
My plan is to start The Camino Frances right after Easter, around April 15, 2020 from SJPP, weather permitting. But I will be arriving in Madrid April 1.

So I’m trying to decide what to do. I’ll be spending a few days in Madrid looking at the art museums, but then I’ll have about 10 days, of course over the Easter holidays. My tourism focus always involves looking at art, or drawing and sketching interesting places.

Much to my surprise, it seems, at least at the moment I can book fairly inexpensive Airbnb’s in Seville. And from what I understand Easter is fantastic there? I was also considering Cadiz, something draws me there.

One other thing I was thinking, trying to take a week of Spanish language class. I’m studying it with some software, but of course that’s no comparison to real interactions. Salambaca?

So I’m looking for feedback or suggestions. Surprise me with an idea I haven’t thought of!
 
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Tassie Kaz

Sempre Avanti
Past OR future Camino
2023?
My plan is to start The Camino Frances right after Easter, around April 15, 2020 from SJPP, weather permitting. But I will be arriving in Madrid April 1.

So I’m trying to decide what to do. I’ll be spending a few days in Madrid looking at the art museums, but then I’ll have about 10 days, of course over the Easter holidays. My tourism focus always involves looking at art, or drawing and sketching interesting places.

Much to my surprise, it seems, at least at the moment I can book fairly inexpensive Airbnb’s in Seville. And from what I understand Easter is fantastic there? I was also considering Cadiz, something draws me there.

One other thing I was thinking, trying to take a week of Spanish language class. I’m studying it with some software, but of course that’s no comparison to real interactions. Salambaca?

So I’m looking for feedback or suggestions. Surprise me with an idea I haven’t thought of!
If you're planning to go to Sevilla, you could consider a side trip to the Caminito del Rey day walk. It does require forward planning; you need a ticket & numbers are controlled + I'm sure Easter would be a very popular time.
One look at the photos of this amazing place would be enough to raise the antenna of any walker...unless of course you have vertigo or a fear of heights, then it may send you into a ground- hugging cold sweat! 😄
I haven't done it yet but it's top of My List prior to walking the VdlP/Mozarabe combo.
You could also consider Granada (& the mighty Alhambra...lots of material for the sketchbook!), another good base for the Caminito del Rey.
Happy planning; the possibilities for your free time are almost endless...& you did ask to be surprised!
👣 🌏
 
Last edited:

NorthernLight

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
Le Puy to Santiago via the Frances 2012-2013. EPW2015
Aragonese & Frances 2016
Burgos to Muxia 2017
You could walk part of the Via de la Plata.
You could study Spanish in a nice coastal town.
You could walk from Madrid to the Frances then transport yourself to SJPP.
You could study flamenco dancing or cooking.
You could study Spanish in Madrid, visit the museums, then head to Bayonne and walk to SJPP.
So many good options.
 

Stephan the Painter

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
Frances 2022
If you're planning to go to Sevilla, you could consider a side trip to the Caminito del Rey day walk. It does require forward planning; you need a ticket & numbers are controlled + I'm sure Easter would be a very popular time.
One look at the photos of this amazing place would be enough to raise the antenna of any walker...unless of course you have vertigo or a fear of heights, then it may send you into a ground- hugging cold sweat! 😄
I haven't done it yet but it's top of My List prior to walking the VdlP/Mozarabe combo.
You could also consider Granada (& the mighty Alhambra...lots of material for the sketchbook!), another good base for the Caminito del Rey.
Happy planning; the possibilities for your free time are almost endless...& you did ask to be surprised!
👣 🌏
Good ideas! I’ll take a look.
 

Stephan the Painter

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
Frances 2022
You could walk part of the Via de la Plata.
You could study Spanish in a nice coastal town.
You could walk from Madrid to the Frances then transport yourself to SJPP.
You could study flamenco dancing or cooking.
You could study Spanish in Madrid, visit the museums, then head to Bayonne and walk to SJPP.
So many good options.
Many nice ideas, thanks , I’ll think about them!
 
Peaceable Projects Inc.
Peaceable Projects Inc. is a U.S.-based non-profit group that brings the vast resources of the wide world together with the ongoing needs of the people who live, work, and travel on the Camino de Santiago pilgrim trail network in Spain.
Pilgrim Pouch carry bags with different designs
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TaijiPilgrim

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
Camino Frances (2011), Camino Frances (2015), Camino Ingles (2017), Camino Muxia (2017), LePuy(2019)
My plan is to start The Camino Frances right after Easter, around April 15, 2020 from SJPP, weather permitting. But I will be arriving in Madrid April 1.

So I’m trying to decide what to do. I’ll be spending a few days in Madrid looking at the art museums, but then I’ll have about 10 days, of course over the Easter holidays. My tourism focus always involves looking at art, or drawing and sketching interesting places.

Much to my surprise, it seems, at least at the moment I can book fairly inexpensive Airbnb’s in Seville. And from what I understand Easter is fantastic there? I was also considering Cadiz, something draws me there.

One other thing I was thinking, trying to take a week of Spanish language class. I’m studying it with some software, but of course that’s no comparison to real interactions. Salambaca?

So I’m looking for feedback or suggestions. Surprise me with an idea I haven’t thought of!
For something different, consider applying to PuebloIngles- google to find its new name. You volunteer to speak English to native Spanish speakers for one week. Free room and board is provided. You might make new Spanish friends who could invite you to visit - especially if they live near your Camino route.
 
Past OR future Camino
CF 2006,08,09,11,12(2),13(2),14,16(2),18(2) Aragones 11,12,VDLP 11,13,Lourdes 12,Malaga 16,Port 06
My plan is to start The Camino Frances right after Easter, around April 15, 2020 from SJPP, weather permitting. But I will be arriving in Madrid April 1.

So I’m trying to decide what to do. I’ll be spending a few days in Madrid looking at the art museums, but then I’ll have about 10 days, of course over the Easter holidays. My tourism focus always involves looking at art, or drawing and sketching interesting places.

Much to my surprise, it seems, at least at the moment I can book fairly inexpensive Airbnb’s in Seville. And from what I understand Easter is fantastic there? I was also considering Cadiz, something draws me there.

One other thing I was thinking, trying to take a week of Spanish language class. I’m studying it with some software, but of course that’s no comparison to real interactions. Salambaca?

So I’m looking for feedback or suggestions. Surprise me with an idea I haven’t thought of!

Semana Santa is incredible in Sevilla! But you should book NOW, not later, imo.
 
Past OR future Camino
2021
After you've seen the Prado and had some roast suckling pig in Madrid, I'd head to Seville. As someone else said, it is fantastic. Be careful on picking the hotels. Many of them are on parade routes and the Santa Semana parades go on until the wee hours of the morning (bands and drums included) - but it's all part of the celebration. You might have trouble even at this point booking a room but it's worth it (unless you don't like loud parades, lots of people, and crowds). But it is a once in a lifetime experience that is worth the time and effort. I was there last year and although it was crowded, I didn't have trouble getting into any of the restaurants that I wanted to try (perhaps because I'm an Americano who eats before 8:00 PM). Buen Camino.
 
Peaceable Projects Inc.
Peaceable Projects Inc. is a U.S.-based non-profit group that brings the vast resources of the wide world together with the ongoing needs of the people who live, work, and travel on the Camino de Santiago pilgrim trail network in Spain.
Original artwork based on your pilgrimage or other travel photos.

Anamya

Keeping it simple
Past OR future Camino
Frances (2015)
Portugues (2017)
Lebaniego (2019)
If you are staying in Madrid for a bit, I highly recommend a day trip to Toledo.

I also recommend stopping by San Gines for some chocolate con churros.

I am also going to suggest Toledo. Spend a night there in an inexpensive inn to have time to enjoy all the city has to offer, or make a day trip. The entire medieval city is preserved inside the walls and the cathedral has one of the most amazing sculptures in the world (the Transparent).

Toledo also has a great collection of El Greco paintings, including his masterpiece Burial of the Count of Orgaz. Worth seeing and looking for all the details and symbols.
 
Past OR future Camino
SJPdP - SdC 2022
You could walk part of the Via de la Plata.
You could study Spanish in a nice coastal town.
You could walk from Madrid to the Frances then transport yourself to SJPP.
You could study flamenco dancing or cooking.
You could study Spanish in Madrid, visit the museums, then head to Bayonne and walk to SJPP.
So many good options.
Or settle in to a nice tapas bar?
 
Past OR future Camino
Frances (2017), Primitivo (2019)
For something different, consider applying to PuebloIngles- google to find its new name. You volunteer to speak English to native Spanish speakers for one week. Free room and board is provided. You might make new Spanish friends who could invite you to visit - especially if they live near your Camino route.
I like this idea! You can help Spaniards learn English, as they return the favor and teach you colloquial Spanish (most helpful). Perhaps this might take place in an area you would like to visit. I am not a fan of rushing around to see the sights. It becomes a blur of well known images. Pick one or two...see them at a human pace and learn some Spanish to prepare for your Camino
 
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Jen&Mike

New Member
Past OR future Camino
We are planning to walk the Camino Frances starting in April 2019.
Chances are, you will have an amazing time wherever you decide to spend your time in Spain. But, since you asked everyone's opinion, here's mine: My wife and I had a few days to kill before starting our Camino this year. We split the time between Bilbao and San Sebastian and would highly recommend both cities. They are beautiful and only an hour's bus ride away from each other. I wrote about both in our Camino blog:


From San Sebastian we were able to take the train to SJPP via Bayonne. It took us only a few hours and we arrived in SJPP in the afternoon with plenty of time to explore the village and relax.

Buen Camino!

P.S.
Wherever you decide to go, we also highly recommend the website/app Rome2Rio.com for finding the best travel options between destinations in Spain and/or Europe.
 

Robert B.

New Member
Past OR future Camino
Camino Madrid - May (2017)
My plan is to start The Camino Frances right after Easter, around April 15, 2020 from SJPP, weather permitting. But I will be arriving in Madrid April 1.

So I’m trying to decide what to do. I’ll be spending a few days in Madrid looking at the art museums, but then I’ll have about 10 days, of course over the Easter holidays. My tourism focus always involves looking at art, or drawing and sketching interesting places.

Much to my surprise, it seems, at least at the moment I can book fairly inexpensive Airbnb’s in Seville. And from what I understand Easter is fantastic there? I was also considering Cadiz, something draws me there.

One other thing I was thinking, trying to take a week of Spanish language class. I’m studying it with some software, but of course that’s no comparison to real interactions. Salambaca?

So I’m looking for feedback or suggestions. Surprise me with an idea I haven’t thought of!
Stephan - Is there a specific reason you want to start in St. Jean? Historically at least, one begins one's Camino from the front door, so, seeing as how you'll already be in Madrid - that great city of Art - why not start from there? Also that way, you will walk three routes if you wish - the Camino Madrid, the Camino Frances and, even possibly, the Camino Finisterre. You'll travel the same distance, have a very different series of experiences from the millions who walk only the French way, and you needn't go rushing around Spain at their holiest time of the year trying to have that 'perfect experience'. I have experienced Semana Santa in a variety of different places, and yes, Seville is an extraordinary, if not overwhelming celebration, but you can find true celebrations of Easter Week in absolutely any corner of Spain, no matter how humble a location in which you may find yourself. In fact, the most amazing Semana Santa I was a part of was in the tiny village of Nijar on the Cabo de Gata. No throngs of tourists bristling with cameras, no drunken revelry till dawn and a truly moving and heartfelt series of ceremonies. Just saying. As an artist you may find more grist for your mill in these environs. Personally, I would delve deeply into the seemingly endless art that the amazing city of Madrid has to offer, for a week, and then start walking from there - it is a truly gorgeous and peaceful Camino by the way. Whatever you choose, enjoy your Camino!
 

kdespot

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
Francés SJPP-SdC Sept-Oct 2016
For something different, consider applying to PuebloIngles- google to find its new name. You volunteer to speak English to native Spanish speakers for one week. Free room and board is provided. You might make new Spanish friends who could invite you to visit - especially if they live near your Camino route.
It seems to be called Diverbo now. Have you done this? It looks like a wonderful opportunity!
 

TaijiPilgrim

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
Camino Frances (2011), Camino Frances (2015), Camino Ingles (2017), Camino Muxia (2017), LePuy(2019)
It seems to be called Diverbo now. Have you done this? It looks like a wonderful opportunity!
Yes, in 2007 and 2009. Memorable experience and still have contact with some of the people I met. You do have to be willing to participate in group bonding activities. I would like to do it again if I can find the time to combine it with a camino!
 

Stephan the Painter

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
Frances 2022
Stephan - Is there a specific reason you want to start in St. Jean? Historically at least, one begins one's Camino from the front door, so, seeing as how you'll already be in Madrid - that great city of Art - why not start from there? Also that way, you will walk three routes if you wish - the Camino Madrid, the Camino Frances and, even possibly, the Camino Finisterre. You'll travel the same distance, have a very different series of experiences from the millions who walk only the French way, and you needn't go rushing around Spain at their holiest time of the year trying to have that 'perfect experience'. I have experienced Semana Santa in a variety of different places, and yes, Seville is an extraordinary, if not overwhelming celebration, but you can find true celebrations of Easter Week in absolutely any corner of Spain, no matter how humble a location in which you may find yourself. In fact, the most amazing Semana Santa I was a part of was in the tiny village of Nijar on the Cabo de Gata. No throngs of tourists bristling with cameras, no drunken revelry till dawn and a truly moving and heartfelt series of ceremonies. Just saying. As an artist you may find more grist for your mill in these environs. Personally, I would delve deeply into the seemingly endless art that the amazing city of Madrid has to offer, for a week, and then start walking from there - it is a truly gorgeous and peaceful Camino by the way. Whatever you choose, enjoy your Camino!
Thank you for your thoughtful response, Robert. And I agree with your point, from all my research it does seem like a possibility that I would enjoy some of the other Caminos more than the potentially busy Frances. But since I’ve been thinking about the Frances for 20 years now, I think its the one that calls my heart. I fantasize about doing more routes in the future, but maybe I’ll see how this one works out first!

But your suggestion to think about other locations to spend Easter strikes me as an extremely good one. Although I’d love to see the Easter celebrations in Seville, it’s not that important to me. Combine that with the logistics of visiting the city at probably its busiest time of year, I think I will look for someplace quieter. Or maybe just play it by ear when I’m on the ground. Probably in that region though, because after a long winter, I know I will be thirsting for warmth.
 
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Stephan the Painter

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
Frances 2022
Chances are, you will have an amazing time wherever you decide to spend your time in Spain. But, since you asked everyone's opinion, here's mine: My wife and I had a few days to kill before starting our Camino this year. We split the time between Bilbao and San Sebastian and would highly recommend both cities. They are beautiful and only an hour's bus ride away from each other. I wrote about both in our Camino blog:


From San Sebastian we were able to take the train to SJPP via Bayonne. It took us only a few hours and we arrived in SJPP in the afternoon with plenty of time to explore the village and relax.

Buen Camino!

P.S.
Wherever you decide to go, we also highly recommend the website/app Rome2Rio.com for finding the best travel options between destinations in Spain and/or Europe.
Good thoughts, appreciate the suggestions. And nice blog posts!
 

Stephan the Painter

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
Frances 2022
My vote would be either Cadiz or Granada after visiting the Prado. The Alhambra in Grenada is a must see.
Hi Glenda, did you have a specific reason to mention Cadiz? Or are you just responding to my post? I am drawn to Cadiz. I’m actually not quite sure why. When I read about it, nothing particularly strikes me, but for many years I‘ve thought I need to go to Cadiz. Weird.

I had this crazy thought in my head that in a previous life I was a sailor who left Cadiz for the New World back in the day of sailing ships. And somehow couldn’t get back, and pined for the loss of my loved ones. Luckily I’m far too sensible a person to believe in anything like that😜!

I may also stop in Granada, where I visited about 20 years ago. It was truly gorgeous and worth a second trip. Thank you.
 

Stephan the Painter

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
Frances 2022
If you are staying in Madrid for a bit, I highly recommend a day trip to Toledo.

I also recommend stopping by San Gines for some chocolate con churros.
I am also going to suggest Toledo. Spend a night there in an inexpensive inn to have time to enjoy all the city has to offer, or make a day trip. The entire medieval city is preserved inside the walls and the cathedral has one of the most amazing sculptures in the world (the Transparent).

Toledo also has a great collection of El Greco paintings, including his masterpiece Burial of the Count of Orgaz. Worth seeing and looking for all the details and symbols.
I’m definitely also going to Toledo. After I spend a few days in Madrid. Probably for at least a couple days, because I know I want to sketch there and look at the art.
 
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