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rookie seeking advice please

LLL

New Member
Time of past OR future Camino
June 2023
Hello! I’m planning to walk some of the French Way in either June or September this year. Due to time constraints unfortunately I can only walk for around 20 days so. I was thinking of starting at St Jean Pied De Port & walking to Burgos then catching the train between there & Leon then walking to Santiago de Compostela. Would appreciate any advice on how many days that’ll likely take in total? Is it doable within 20 or am I dreaming? THANK YOU!
 
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JabbaPapa

"True Pilgrim"
Time of past OR future Camino
100 characters or fewer : see signature details
Why start in SJPP if you haven't enough time to walk from there to Santiago ?

Start from somewhere closer, and don't "skip" any bits in the middle. There's nothing "special" about SJPP as a starting point.

As to how long it takes, that varies tremendously from one pilgrim to the next -- what's your average daily hiking speed ?
 

LLL

New Member
Time of past OR future Camino
June 2023
Why start in SJPP if you haven't enough time to walk from there to Santiago ?

Start from somewhere closer, and don't "skip" any bits in the middle. There's nothing "special" about SJPP as a starting point.

As to how long it takes, that varies tremendously from one pilgrim to the next -- what's your average daily hiking speed ?
Good point about where to start. My daily average speed is around 20 - 25km
 
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Marbe2

Active member
Time of past OR future Camino
2015-2019 walked all or more than half of CF 7 times... CP recently cancelled by Covid 19!
There are other factors to consider! Season. June and Setember can be hot leaving Burgos with total exposure to the sun.
Weather? Those months can be very comfortable or brutally hot shortening your hiking time.

Injury? While most people do get somewhat stronger on their caminos, its not a race. Start slow! You don't want to feel pressured everyday to make it to SdC. Many experienced caminosts have developed injuries on a camino from letting their adrenalin get the best of them. Plan 20km a day , but maybe do less the first day and put at least one rest day in your schedule and then a day in SdC.
If you are coming directly from Australia, allow at least a day’s rest for jet lag before walking.

Feet! Do make sure you practice walking on pavement! You will be splitting yourtime between pavement and path. You need to harden the bottoms of your feet.
Stamina on hills? You won’t walk as fast going up those hills. So prepare for them.


Purpose? Making a Camino is not only about distance but about the quality of your experience. What do you want to get out of your days? Take time to stop and breathe in its beauty!

I too, suggest you start in Sahagun. Take time in Leon to at least visit the marvelous Cathedral. The stained class windows are really stunning.

If all goes really well and you really underestimate you speed and somehow you then have a couple of days left over ( I hope not) either enjoy SdC or, walk to the Ocean (The end of The World) or, you can take an excursion bus-there which many pilgrims do. Happy Planning. BTW September can be quite full from Sarria to SdC so make reservations a couple of days ahead. Buen camino!
 
Last edited:

LLL

New Member
Time of past OR future Camino
June 2023
There are other factors to consider! Season. June and Setember can be hot leaving Burgos with total exposure to the sun.
Weather? Those months can be very comfortable or brutally hot shortening your hiking time.

Injury? While most people do get somewhat stronger on their caminos, its not a race. Start slow! You don't want to feel pressured everyday to make it to SdC. Many experienced caminosts have developed injuries on a camino from letting their adrenalin get the best of them. Plan 20km a day , but maybe do less the first day and put at least one rest day in your schedule and then a day in SdC.
If you are coming directly from Australia, allow at least a day’s rest for jet lag before walking.

Feet! Do make sure you practice walking on pavement! You will be splitting yourtime between pavement and path. You need to harden the bottoms of your feet.
Stamina on hills? You won’t walk as fast going up those hills. So prepare for them.


Purpose? Making a Camino is not only about distance but about the quality of your experience. What do you want to get out of your days? Take time to stop and breathe in its beauty!

I too, suggest you start in Sahagun. Take time in Leon to at least visit the marvelous Cathedral. The stained class windows are really stunning.

If all goes really well and you really underestimate you speed and somehow you then have a couple of days left over ( I hope not) either enjoy SdC or, walk to the Ocean (The end of The World) or, you can take an excursion bus-there which many pilgrims do. Happy Planning. BTW September can be quite full from Sarria to SdC so make reservations a couple of days ahead. Buen camino!
Thank you so much for your considered response - much to think about - I certainly don’t want to rush & to make the most of the time I’ll have
 
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Grousedoctor

Active Member
Time of past OR future Camino
2023
Although SJPP is a special place and walking over the Pyreenes is quite spectacular, particularly on a clear day, there’s probably more benefits to starting further out and not jumping sections of the Camino. You will develop a very nice camraderie with those walking at approximately the same pace and you will all arrive in SdC at close to the same day which is also very special. You’ll enjoy sharing your arrival with those you have met along The Way.

If you push the upper limit of your range, the 25 km per day, you could start in Burgos. I walked this particular stretch in 19-20 days with no difficulty. As I didn’t suffer from any injuries, just a couple big blisters, not building in any rest days wasn’t a problem. In fact, I was quite excited to start walking each morning so a day of sitting around or sightseeing would have been difficult for me. But, that a very individual thing. I kept basically to the stages outlined on Gronze.com. I could have gone a little faster or even a little slower, but my Camino pace worked out well for me to get to my stopping points early in the afternoon to rest and enjoy what each place had to offer. Buen Camino!
 

musicman

Ensuitepilgrim
Time of past OR future Camino
2004, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2015, 2016,2017,2018
Why start in SJPP if you haven't enough time to walk from there to Santiago ?

Start from somewhere closer, and don't "skip" any bits in the middle. There's nothing "special" about SJPP as a starting point.

As to how long it takes, that varies tremendously from one pilgrim to the next -- what's your average daily hiking speed ?
Totally disagree - walking over the Pyrenees is THE highlight and a convivial night at Orisson highly recommended .
 

Delphinoula

Veteran Member
Time of past OR future Camino
C. PdC 2018 Finisterre Muxía 2018
C.Franconia 2019 C.Algeciras Sevillia 2019
Swabian C. (2020)
Buen Camino,
I get it you only have 20 days, what is important to you? To arrive in Santiago?
The pilgrimage ? The walked way ? Sight seeing? The first one I wanted to see Santiago and had only 3 weeks, I chose the easiest for me. Was plenty challenging but I counted Rest Days in after 2 weeks I was so fit that I continued to Muxia. If you are fit and healthy 20 km a day is doable, last year I walked only 10 inbetween but ended up walking an additional 10 detours and sightseeing. I was able to see so much more. What is your greatest challenge?
I am a planner , I guess it’s a national past-time to have plan a, plan b and c and a contingency plan, so I organised the flight there and back, starting point would be good to know and only planned one day at the time. It was so refreshing and relaxing and it is really easy.
It’s fun to plan and in you mind to walk it all.
But if you prepare your feet, have good walking shoes a decent backpack, your friends may be able to lent you one.
Last time I learned every decision I made was the right one, at the time I made it it was the best I could do, on the Camino and in my life.
Without these decisions I would not be where I am. So never fear…
That’s the truly great thing about the Camino for me. This freedom and the experience the Camino will provide what you need,, maybe not what you want but truly what you need.
Here my five cents worth….
 
Last edited:

jeanineonthecamino

Veteran Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Frances 2021, Norte/Primitivo 2022, VF 2023
Personally I recommend either starting in SJPDP and walking as far as you can walk in your given time - or picking a place in the middle to start and give yourself enough time to get to Santiago.

As for whether or not it is doable in 20 days from SJPDP to Santiago with skipping the Meseta (Burgos-Leon) - I can't answer that for you as I don't know your abilities. I know I can do it - but I do double distance days sometimes already.

BUT - if you are walking the prescribed stages it takes 12 days to get from SJPDP to Burgos and it takes 13 days to get from Leon to Santiago.

Also - will you want or need a "rest day" You have to take that and any travel days into consideration.

In 20 days you could most likely get from SJPDP to Leon or you could start in Burgos and make it all the way to Santiago - but it might require walking slightly further distances each day to be sure you get there in 20 days. And this is with no rest days -

The Meseta is flat - if you are not dealing with heat - it is easy to do longer days in that section. If you are dealing with heat - not so much! I had unseasonably cool temps on the Meseta in late June/early July. My daughters had an unbearable heat wave the following year in July.
 
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David Tallan

Veteran Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Next Camino: Madrid/San Salvador/Primitivo
So 20 days x 20 kms = 400 kms.
Maybe factor in a rest day / buffer?
19 days x 20 kms = 380 kms.

Ending in Santiago, your start point might be .......

Sahagun, The halfway point....
That would be my recommendation.

Starting in Burgos, as some have recommended, is also nice. And it is easy to get to. But it might be pushing your limits and I always advise people, especially first-timers, to give themselves plenty of cushion. The last thing you want is to find that you've pushed your body's limits past what it wants and now you are racing to Santiago, pushing it even further, to make a plane. So Sahagun, the halfway point, would fit better with my style of recommendation. Dan Mullins, the host of the My Camino podcast, started his first Camino there. If you find you have extra time because you walked further each day than anticipated, you can spend some more time in Santiago, you can walk on to Finisterre/Muxia, or you can see other things that Spain has to offer.

The alternative is to start in SJPP and walk to Sahagun (or as far as you get) and then complete the Camino another year.
 
Last edited:

lt56ny

Veteran Member
Time of past OR future Camino
2023 Bayonne to Vasco Interior/Burgo to Santiago
Everyone walks at different speeds. Everyone walks different distances. Everyone has different fitness levels. No one can predict if you are going to get a blister, or get sick, or get a bone spur or fall down. No one can say after a week that they really need a rest day. Or if you don't need or want one at all.
Everyone is different. You can't really replicate how far you walk in training with how far you will walk on the camino doing 20 or 25 or more kilometers each day. Pick a spot that will put you in a doable distance to Santiago if that is where you want to end and start walking at your own pace and learn how to walk and learn your rhythm. Like some others have said. If you get there early and have more time. Spend a couple of days in Santiago and if you have time walk to Muxia or Finestere.
What one pilgrim can do and how they like to walk has as good a chance as being completely irrelevant to you as it does being relevant. Discover your own body your own way.
 

JabbaPapa

"True Pilgrim"
Time of past OR future Camino
100 characters or fewer : see signature details
Totally disagree - walking over the Pyrenees is THE highlight and a convivial night at Orisson highly recommended .
It's beautiful, but it's not worth sacrificing a continuous Camino without breaks for. Especially not a first Camino.

And honestly, it's best crossed after several days or weeks of walking to SJPP, not with some intention to "skip" pats of the Camino for pure convenience.
 
John Brierley 2023 Camino Guide
Get your today and start planning.

RRat

Active Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Planning 2017
Hello! I’m planning to walk some of the French Way in either June or September this year. Due to time constraints unfortunately I can only walk for around 20 days so. I was thinking of starting at St Jean Pied De Port & walking to Burgos then catching the train between there & Leon then walking to Santiago de Compostela. Would appreciate any advice on how many days that’ll likely take in total? Is it doable within 20 or am I dreaming? THANK YOU!
Good plan. Just adjust as needed. No problem.
 

aswansonsr

New Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Completed CF Sept, 2022
Hello! I’m planning to walk some of the French Way in either June or September this year. Due to time constraints unfortunately I can only walk for around 20 days so. I was thinking of starting at St Jean Pied De Port & walking to Burgos then catching the train between there & Leon then walking to Santiago de Compostela. Would appreciate any advice on how many days that’ll likely take in total? Is it doable within 20 or am I dreaming? THANK YOU!
This will somewhat depend on how easy/hard it is to get to a starting point. I found the Spanish bus system very efficient

Burgos -> take a morning bus west to a spot xx kilometers from SdC depending on your pace (ie. Terradillos de la Templaros) -> deboard and start walking. I bussed from Estella to Logrono last year, and it was super easy. I also bussed into and out of Leon. Call me a heretic but much of those sections are industrial suburbia. Extra time in Leon was well worth it.

I would start in Sahagun and walk from there. I took 15 days from Sahagun to SdC last September with plenty of time for dinner on a plaza mayor once or twice. As spectacular as a Pyrenees morning is, there are some early grind hikes.
 

Susan finn

Member
Time of past OR future Camino
April 2016
I walked with my son in 2016 for 18 days, starting in St Jean and ended in castrojeriz, some days were long, some short. I always planned to come back and complete my camino but distance (Australia), a pandemic and major illness have stopped me. However I plan to try again soon from castrojeriz to santiago. Buen Camino.
 
John Brierley 2023 Camino Guide
Get your today and start planning.

LLL

New Member
Time of past OR future Camino
June 2023
Buen Camino,
I get it you only have 20 days, what is important to you? To arrive in Santiago?
The pilgrimage ? The walked way ? Sight seeing? The first one I wanted to see Santiago and had only 3 weeks, I chose the easiest for me. Was plenty challenging but I counted Rest Days in after 2 weeks I was so fit that I continued to Muxia. If you are fit and healthy 20 km a day is doable, last year I walked only 10 inbetween but ended up walking an additional 10 detours and sightseeing. I was able to see so much more. What is your greatest challenge?
I am a planner , I guess it’s a national past-time to have plan a, plan b and c and a contingency plan, so I organised the flight there and back, starting point would be good to know and only planned one day at the time. It was so refreshing and relaxing and it is really easy.
It’s fun to plan and in you mind to walk it all.
But if you prepare your feet, have good walking shoes a decent backpack, your friends may be able to lent you one.
Last time I learned every decision I made was the right one, at the time I made it it was the best I could do, on the Camino and in my life.
Without these decisions I would not be where I am. So never fear…
That’s the truly great thing about the Camino for me. This freedom and the experience the Camino will provide what you need,, maybe not what you want but truly what you need.
Here my five cents worth….
This is wonderful advice, thank you! I do have specific reasons for doing this, so you’re right, making decisions based on them is the best way to go
 

LLL

New Member
Time of past OR future Camino
June 2023
Personally I recommend either starting in SJPDP and walking as far as you can walk in your given time - or picking a place in the middle to start and give yourself enough time to get to Santiago.

As for whether or not it is doable in 20 days from SJPDP to Santiago with skipping the Meseta (Burgos-Leon) - I can't answer that for you as I don't know your abilities. I know I can do it - but I do double distance days sometimes already.

BUT - if you are walking the prescribed stages it takes 12 days to get from SJPDP to Burgos and it takes 13 days to get from Leon to Santiago.

Also - will you want or need a "rest day" You have to take that and any travel days into consideration.

In 20 days you could most likely get from SJPDP to Leon or you could start in Burgos and make it all the way to Santiago - but it might require walking slightly further distances each day to be sure you get there in 20 days. And this is with no rest days -

The Meseta is flat - if you are not dealing with heat - it is easy to do longer days in that section. If you are dealing with heat - not so much! I had unseasonably cool temps on the Meseta in late June/early July. My daughters had an unbearable heat wave the following year in July.
Excellent insights, I appreciate it, thank you!
 

LLL

New Member
Time of past OR future Camino
June 2023
That would be my recommendation.

Starting in Burgos, as some have recommended, is also nice. And it is easy to get to. But it might be pushing your limits and I always advise people, especially first-timers, to give themselves plenty of cushion. The last thing you want is to find that you've pushed your body's limits past what it wants and now you are racing to Santiago, pushing it even further, to make a plane. So Sahagun, the halfway point, would fit better with my style of recommendation. Dan Mullins, the host of the My Camino podcast, started his first Camino there. If you find you have extra time because you walked further each day than anticipated, you can spend some more time in Santiago, you can walk on to Finisterre/Muxia, or you can see other things that Spain has to offer.

The alternative is to start in SJPP and walk to Sahagun (or as far as you get) and then complete the Camino another year.
Options to think about, thank you!
 

LLL

New Member
Time of past OR future Camino
June 2023
Everyone walks at different speeds. Everyone walks different distances. Everyone has different fitness levels. No one can predict if you are going to get a blister, or get sick, or get a bone spur or fall down. No one can say after a week that they really need a rest day. Or if you don't need or want one at all.
Everyone is different. You can't really replicate how far you walk in training with how far you will walk on the camino doing 20 or 25 or more kilometers each day. Pick a spot that will put you in a doable distance to Santiago if that is where you want to end and start walking at your own pace and learn how to walk and learn your rhythm. Like some others have said. If you get there early and have more time. Spend a couple of days in Santiago and if you have time walk to Muxia or Finestere.
What one pilgrim can do and how they like to walk has as good a chance as being completely irrelevant to you as it does being relevant. Discover your own body your own way.
Very true, thanks :)
 
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LLL

New Member
Time of past OR future Camino
June 2023
This will somewhat depend on how easy/hard it is to get to a starting point. I found the Spanish bus system very efficient

Burgos -> take a morning bus west to a spot xx kilometers from SdC depending on your pace (ie. Terradillos de la Templaros) -> deboard and start walking. I bussed from Estella to Logrono last year, and it was super easy. I also bussed into and out of Leon. Call me a heretic but much of those sections are industrial suburbia. Extra time in Leon was well worth it.

I would start in Sahagun and walk from there. I took 15 days from Sahagun to SdC last September with plenty of time for dinner on a plaza mayor once or twice. As spectacular as a Pyrenees morning is, there are some early grind hikes.
Good info, thanks!
 

LLL

New Member
Time of past OR future Camino
June 2023
I walked with my son in 2016 for 18 days, starting in St Jean and ended in castrojeriz, some days were long, some short. I always planned to come back and complete my camino but distance (Australia), a pandemic and major illness have stopped me. However I plan to try again soon from castrojeriz to santiago. Buen Camino.
Thank you, I’m coming from Australia too. I wish you the best for your health & continued journey
 

La Brique Jaune

Official member of la confradia del pinza del oro
Time of past OR future Camino
2017: SJPDP to Finisterre
(202?): I hope and need to
Hi,

For myself, I will prefer to do a continuous walk for two reasons: Less planing and stay with people I walk with.
 

Kathy F.

Veteran Member
Time of past OR future Camino
CF 2013, CF from Lourdes 2015, CP Porto 2022
It sounds like you are compelled to do a Camino. You've dreamed about it, read about it, planned for it, cleared your calendar for it.

But, as a new pilgrim, you don't know what to expect from it. Will you be up to the task? What will be the best part?

I suggest starting where you hope to start, SJPdP, and continuing as far as you can in your 20 days. Don't skip the Meseta. Don't rush with one eye on your schedule and one eye on the trail - you will miss important things and possibly injure yourself (I know you DO NOT plan on that!).

If you are as compelled as you sound, you will, inevitably, return at a later date and pick up where you left off. Thousands of pilgrims before you have done just that and finished with the sense of completeness and achievement that finishing the Camino of your hopes and dreams can bring.

You may even join so many of us and become a "repeat offender."

Do not try to make the Camino fit into your schedule. Let the Camino work its magic on you - you may be wonderfully surprised.

Buen Camino!
 

Kanga

Veteran Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Francés x 5, Le Puy x 2, Arles, Tours, Norte, Madrid, Via de la Plata, Portuguese, Primitivo
I walked with my son in 2016 for 18 days, starting in St Jean and ended in castrojeriz, some days were long, some short. I always planned to come back and complete my camino but distance (Australia), a pandemic and major illness have stopped me. However I plan to try again soon from castrojeriz to santiago. Buen Camino.
And the Camino will be waiting, with arms outstretched! I'm with you Susan.
 
How to Successfully Prepare for Your Camino
The focus is on reducing the risk of failure through being well prepared. 2nd ed.

LLL

New Member
Time of past OR future Camino
June 2023
It sounds like you are compelled to do a Camino. You've dreamed about it, read about it, planned for it, cleared your calendar for it.

But, as a new pilgrim, you don't know what to expect from it. Will you be up to the task? What will be the best part?

I suggest starting where you hope to start, SJPdP, and continuing as far as you can in your 20 days. Don't skip the Meseta. Don't rush with one eye on your schedule and one eye on the trail - you will miss important things and possibly injure yourself (I know you DO NOT plan on that!).

If you are as compelled as you sound, you will, inevitably, return at a later date and pick up where you left off. Thousands of pilgrims before you have done just that and finished with the sense of completeness and achievement that finishing the Camino of your hopes and dreams can bring.

You may even join so many of us and become a "repeat offender."

Do not try to make the Camino fit into your schedule. Let the Camino work its magic on you - you may be wonderfully surprised.

Buen Camino!
thank you! I understand what you’re saying - appreciate the advice :)
 

Delphinoula

Veteran Member
Time of past OR future Camino
C. PdC 2018 Finisterre Muxía 2018
C.Franconia 2019 C.Algeciras Sevillia 2019
Swabian C. (2020)
one of my favorite Yiddish sayings is “der Mensch tracht und Gott lacht”
So when you hear god laughing remember all your planning and laugh with him.
 

Charrymn

New Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Camino Frances
Hello! I’m planning to walk some of the French Way in either June or September this year. Due to time constraints unfortunately I can only walk for around 20 days so. I was thinking of starting at St Jean Pied De Port & walking to Burgos then catching the train between there & Leon then walking to Santiago de Compostela. Would appreciate any advice on how many days that’ll likely take in total? Is it doable within 20 or am I dreaming? THANK YOU!
Hello. I am also a rookie, this year will be my first time on El Camino. There are 3 of us, one of which has knee issues. So we will be doing a combined hike-bike pilgrimage. Two of us will start hiking in SJPDP and will meet our buddy in Pamplona to ride the rest of the way to Santiago. It will add to a total of 18 days on El Camino including one rest day. Has any of you had any experience with this kind of plan?
 

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