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Sanabres from Salamanca or Norte from Oviedo?

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Camino Chrissy

Take one step forward...then keep on walking.
Camino(s) past & future
Frances 2015;
Norte/Primitivo 2016;
Frances 2017;
Le Puy 2018;
Portuguese/FishermanTr. 2019
I've walked five various caminos with family. This next spring my sister in law, Susie, has asked to come along. She is strong and enjoys the outdoors, but will be a camino Newbie. I am not planning to repeat any of my prior routes, yet want her to experience some conveniences along the way and have some social interaction with other pilgrims.
I was thinking the Vdlp, but think it's too long and she may get bored with the meseta like quality and the sometimes longish distances without places to stop. It seems like starting in Salamanca could be a better idea, then continue walking on the Sanabres, where I read there are more pilgrims and infrastructure.
Another option is to walk the second half of the Norte from Oviedo as I had turned onto the Primitivo before and never completed the Norte. I assume there would be quite a few pilgrims on it.
So, the goal is to walk about month in spring, giving Susie the best experience as a Newbie, yet not repeat a route for myself. We could continue walking the circuit to Muxia/Finesterre after Santiago if time allowed, but is not necessary. I've already walked the Frances twice, Norte/Primitivo, Rota Vicentina/Portuguese from Porto, and Le Puy.
For those of you with experience having walked "both" of the two routes in my thread title, I would appreciate hearing your opinions.
 
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Camino Chrissy

Take one step forward...then keep on walking.
Camino(s) past & future
Frances 2015;
Norte/Primitivo 2016;
Frances 2017;
Le Puy 2018;
Portuguese/FishermanTr. 2019
Two points I would caution against the Primitivo - there are relatively few pilgrims and, more importantly, I can still remember the mud from May 2018
Thank you for your caution, but I have already walked the Primitivo and do not plan to consider it again for this spring.
 

peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
Oh, I love these kinds of questions. Actually @Camino Chrissy, the most “meseta-like” part of the Vdlp, IMO, is the part between Salamanca and Granja de Moruela, where you turn off for the Sanabrés. So you won’t miss that by starting in Salamanca. The dehesa of Extremadura bears no resemblance to the meseta, and in springtime it is totally glorious, but there are a few flat days, from Alcuéscar into Cáceres and beyond Cáceres for instance. When I walked the Mozárabe last year, I joined the Vdlp in Mérida. Leaving Aljucén early in the morning, I came upon a Dutch peregrino in tears at the beauty. It is not spectacular mountain scenery but it is quite beautiful. But anyway.... as you know, I loved the Vdlp! So for me, missing the part before Salamanca would really be missing some of the highlights. Sevilla, Mérida and Cáceres are amazing cities. That would push me towards the Norte, but the Sanabrés is very nice, don’t get me wrong. @laineylainey is there now, I assume you are watching her posts.

The Norte from Oviedo is a great choice. I would definitely check out the coastal alternatives, though, because there is a lot of road walking. Newbie Susie may not be enamored of plodding alongside a national highway, even if it is used a lot less now because of the fancy fast A-routes. There are some really great albergues along that stretch, Casa Carmina in Muros and O Xistral about 6 km after Abadín. My stages this last Norte were not evenly paced, lots of short and lots of long, but it was one of the most glorious, especially because of the coastal stages we did.

One real benefit of walking outside of high summer is that a lot of the tourists won’t be there competing for business owners’ attention. That means you can frequently get very cheap deals on tourist apartments. On several occasions, we found two bedroom apartments, two beds each, for 60 a night. With four of us, that was pretty cheap, and it had the added advantages of balconies, kithens, living rooms, we were very happy!

My only caution would be about the weather. Hard to predict of course, but spring can be so rainy. My rule of thumb is to try to start in April or May if I’m starting in the south, and later if I’m starting in the north. June, IMO, is the best month for the Norte. And as far as peregrinos go, the consensus seems to be that the second half west of the Primitivo turn-off is much less traveled than the first part. That was my experience as well.

So, there you have it, kind of off the top of my head, so sorry if it is rambling! Buen camino, Laurie
 

Camino Chrissy

Take one step forward...then keep on walking.
Camino(s) past & future
Frances 2015;
Norte/Primitivo 2016;
Frances 2017;
Le Puy 2018;
Portuguese/FishermanTr. 2019
Laurie, I Iove your rambles! Maybe on the Vdpl we could start in Seville or a little farther up, do the portion you are suggesting and then possibly bus up to Salamanca or Zamora to continue on the Sanabres. No, I have not read any blogs nor had time to delve into anything yet, although my Vdlp guidebook by Wisepilgrim arrived yesterday. I have a family trip I need to concentrate on first, coming up next month.
You show some concerns for the Norte and I know you've posted ways to avoid much of the road walking. I will read and research that as well.
Thanks so much!!
 
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Elle Bieling

Elle Bieling, PilgrimageTraveler
Camino(s) past & future
Inglés, '14 '17 Finisterre, '14 '17 '18 Primitivo, '15 '18 Portuguese, '17, '18 San Salvador, '18
@Camino Chrissy I am doing the Camino Teresiano from Ávila to Alba de Tormes, connecting there to Salamanca, and onward to the Sanabrés. Total of about 550km I believe. Leaving in two weeks. Woo hoo! Lots of walking thru "cereal fields" as it is described, and flat and dry as I've been reading. Very historic though, if you want to follow the life of St Teresa. Just a thought. Looks fascinating to me. I think you may recall I have written about this one before!
 

Camino Chrissy

Take one step forward...then keep on walking.
Camino(s) past & future
Frances 2015;
Norte/Primitivo 2016;
Frances 2017;
Le Puy 2018;
Portuguese/FishermanTr. 2019
Hi Elle, I will be watching your progress as you walk! I need a path with good infrastructure and yellow arrows, especially bringing a Newbie, so it will be interesting to see how your walk unfolds! All the best to you and wishing you a Buen Camino!
 
Camino(s) past & future
CF 2015, CPo 2016, VDLP[Sev-Các] 2017, VDLP[Các-Sal] 2018
Hi, I’ve not walked the Norte at all so can’t comment on that. I have walked the VDLP in a few stages. Overall I have loved it but I found the stage between Salamanca and a bit beyond Zamora challenging - i don’t want to stay it bored me but I got really sick of the endless non changing landscape. What’s puzzling to me is that I loved the meseta when I did the Frances... so maybe it was more to do with where my head was at when I restarted this year from Salamanca. I loved the dehesa, thought parts of that stretch between Sevilla and Salamanca were just so beautiful and yes with some amazing cities in the mix too. But I also loved the more hilly and Galician landscape this year after Granja de Moreuela. I generally walked in late spring which meant lots of beautiful flowers. It’s been so different this week walking from Orense in the autumn.

Hope this is of some help!
 

OzAnnie

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
'Portuguese,Frances,Norte,Salvador/primitivo,Le puy, Inglés, CDM, Invierno, Fin/Mux, VDLP spring19
Hi @Camino Chrissy
I’ve tried to look at this in terms of your sister being a newbie.
I’ve still got to return myself to complete from Tábara on the Sanabrés; having stopped there in
May this year.
Does your sister want a long one or an introductory camino ?

A.
What about starting in Ourense to Santiago and then do the SdC-Finisterra-Múxia route? (if the first part was ok for her). I don’t think you mentioned having walked either of those stretches. The Finisterra etc walk is a real treat.

I think the stretch from Salamanca thru Zamora and up Granja de Moruela before starting the Sanabrés would not be my choice., even though I loved Zamora (much more than Salamanca ) (each to his own of course). ,so much so that on my way back to Madrid heading home I stopped another night in Zamora to walk around and get some lovely photos.

B.
With the Norte - another excellent choice / starting at Oviedo will make for a decent length and I loved that 2nd section of the Norte though mine in 2014 was straight thru (I had deviated to Oviedo for a bus day trip and night stop over; then returned to continue on from the stage ‘after’ Gijón. There is still a good camaraderie along here, no problem finding a bed back then; and from memory, very pretty all the way. You would ‘finish ‘ your Norte doing that.

My mind keeps leaning to the former though.
I don’t think any of us find the initial choice of ‘which route this time’ is easy to make . Good luck.


Buen camino
Annie
.
 
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Camino Chrissy

Take one step forward...then keep on walking.
Camino(s) past & future
Frances 2015;
Norte/Primitivo 2016;
Frances 2017;
Le Puy 2018;
Portuguese/FishermanTr. 2019
Thank you, Annie, for taking the time to respond. We are flexible with a 4-5 week time frame. Susie should be fine and capable of walking. She is strong and loves the outdoors, social interaction, and has tent camped many times. I want her to have a "camino type" experience, so I appreciate your thoughts on each of the routes.
 

camino07

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances x5, Portuguese VdlP12, Sanabres, Aragones, Norte,Salvador,Primitivo, VdlP 17,Madrid18Norte
I love the Sanabrese from Zamora although first two days are a bit flat. Walked the Norte from Irun to Oviedo in 2014 and wasn't enthused. This year walked the first week of the Norte to Bilbao with my son and really enjoyed it but probably due to his amazing company.
I would walk the VDLP and Sanabrese again in a heartbeat.
 

LesBrass

Likes Walking
Camino(s) past & future
yes...
I’ve not walked from Oviedo but I have walked from Seville to Santiago via the Sanabres... although I skipped 2 days from Salamanca as I was sick.

This is my blog from Salamanca https://caminobrassblog.wordpress.com/2016/10/14/salamanca/

I loved both halves... Seville to Salamanca was fabulous, varied terrain and so much history and great cities and towns. The Sanabres is beautiful too... one of my favourite walks into the city. The mountains are just stunning... although I agree with Laurie, coming out of Salamanca is a little more meseta like.

When I walked I was expecting it to be really isolated and was surprised (happily) by the numbers of pilgrims and the services available. There are sometimes a lack of options between stops but we just carried what we needed. My walking buddy couldn’t walk really long days and we always found alternatives.

I would walk it again and again and again... it is my favourite walk by a mile... but I’m waiting until I have a free spring because I can only imagine how fabulous it will be with all the water and wild flowers.

I Hope this helps ... happy planning!
 

peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
I think the entire Vdlp may be too long for Chris and pals. What do you guys think about my suggestion that she consider just starting in Mérida? I know that means missing Sevilla (and Zafra, aka “Little Sevilla”, though that is way overstated IMO), but if I HAD to miss a part of the Vdlp I would either choose that, or cut out a part in the middle, Salamanca to the start of the Sanabrés. But that would mean missing Zamora, and I agree with everyone who says that is is just a wonderful place!
 

LesBrass

Likes Walking
Camino(s) past & future
yes...
I think the entire Vdlp may be too long for Chris and pals. What do you guys think about my suggestion that she consider just starting in Mérida? I know that means missing Sevilla (and Zafra, aka “Little Sevilla”, though that is way overstated IMO), but if I HAD to miss a part of the Vdlp I would either choose that, or cut out a part in the middle, Salamanca to the start of the Sanabrés. But that would mean missing Zamora, and I agree with everyone who says that is is just a wonderful place!
Yes I can see how that could work. Maybe fly into Seville for a visit and bus to Merida. The road follows so much of the camino... mind you the park on day 3 is beautiful :) I agree about Zafra... compared to the other cities it pales... which is crazy as it's a lovely place. There are certainly a few days that go on and on... Is it after Caceras that it becomes a bit flat too? Maybe bus ahead there and that misses the long day over the lake?

This is an awful thread really because I'm re-reading my blog and just yearning to return! 😃 :oops: :)
 

peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
Yes I can see how that could work. Maybe fly into Seville for a visit and bus to Merida. The road follows so much of the camino... mind you the park on day 3 is beautiful :) I agree about Zafra... compared to the other cities it pales... which is crazy as it's a lovely place. There are certainly a few days that go on and on... Is it after Caceras that it becomes a bit flat too? Maybe bus ahead there and that misses the long day over the lake?

This is an awful thread really because I'm re-reading my blog and just yearning to return! 😃 :oops: :)

That’s a good idea about flying into Sevilla and busing to Mérida. I agree that the park on Day 3, into Almadén de la Plata, is nice, but my memory is that it is nowhere near as nice as the dehesa after Mérida.

I always feel like I am going out on a limb when I recommend the Vdlp, because I know there are strong contra opinions. But I’m happy to see others who enjoyed it as much as I did!
 

LesBrass

Likes Walking
Camino(s) past & future
yes...
That’s a good idea about flying into Sevilla and busing to Mérida. I agree that the park on Day 3, into Almadén de la Plata, is nice, but my memory is that it is nowhere near as nice as the dehesa after Mérida.

I always feel like I am going out on a limb when I recommend the Vdlp, because I know there are strong contra opinions. But I’m happy to see others who enjoyed it as much as I did!
Oh I think you should go out on that limb more often 😁 I’m not and certainly wasn’t an experienced walker when I walked the VdlP but I found it totally doable... I know it’s so very different than the Frances but gosh isn’t it beautiful?

I really want to walk it again but in Spring... so I wait. But gosh I can’t wait ❤
 

Kanga

Moderator
Staff member
Camino(s) past & future
Francés x 5, Le Puy x 2, Arles, Tours, Norte, Madrid, Via de la Plata, Portuguese, Primitivo
@Camino Chrissy I have walked both the Vdlp and Sanabres and also the Norte from Oviedo (I did not go into Oviedo but stuck to the Norte all the way - continued from Gijón to Avilés and on to Muros de Nalón).

We came across very few pilgrims on the Norte after Gijón. Everyone seemed to turn onto the Primitivo. So I am not sure that you would get that "camino" community and I think that is an important thing for newbies to experience.

I absolutely loved the whole of the Vdlp. I did it in early spring and for me it held the full deck of cards - beautiful walking, varied terrain, flowers to die for, fabulous cities along the way, great community (lasting friendships made). I walked the Sanabrés and would highly recommend it.

I agree that there are a few stretches where it would be easy to take a bus in order to shorten the journey, without too much loss. The walk is sufficiently long that even if you lose one group of companions you will likely pick up another - as long as you don't break it up with too many short bus trips.
 

C clearly

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2012, 2014, 2015, 2016). Seville-Astorga (Mar 2017). Mozarabe (Apr-May 2018)
Starting in Merida is an excellent option and I'll vote for that. I have walked several stages between Merida and Caceres every year for the past 3 years, and I'll happily walk them again.
 

Camino Chrissy

Take one step forward...then keep on walking.
Camino(s) past & future
Frances 2015;
Norte/Primitivo 2016;
Frances 2017;
Le Puy 2018;
Portuguese/FishermanTr. 2019
Thanks, everyone, for all the great input. I've read them all and will give all your comments a "good think"! 😊
 

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