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Seeking feedback from the Camino Veterans

Discussion in 'Camino Frances' started by Ignacio, Mar 20, 2017.

  1. Ignacio

    Ignacio New Member

    Joined:
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    Location:
    San Diego, California
    Camino(s) past & future:
    Camino Frances August 2016,
    Camino del Norte May 2017
    Greetings and excellent health to ALL!

    I walked my first Camino (Frances) last August-Sept. 2016 and now I am researching the possibility of doing the Camino del Norte and Camino Primitivo conbined. Plan to start in Bilbao go to Sebrayo then join the Primitivo and end up in Santiago. My questios for anyone that has done any of these two caminos:

    1. What would be the BEST time to do this -- May-June, August-Sept. or Sept-Oct. I would appreciate feedback and reasons why, ie less rain, not as hot, less crowds, etc.

    2. Am I being too eager, could I possibly be over-extending myself?

    3. BEST resources for the above Caminos, guides, websites, literature, etc.

    In advance I want to thank every responder for taking the time to help out a fellow Peregrino. I hope to hear from a lot of sources, I know that in the end YOUR imput will be invaluable to reaching my best decisions.
    Buen Camino to ALL!!!

    Sincerely,
    Ignacio
     
  2. jpflavin1

    jpflavin1 Veteran Member

    Joined:
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    Location:
    Chicago, Illinois
    Camino(s) past & future:
    Frances(10,11,17), Vasco(12), Salvador(13), Primitivo(13), Norte(14), Madrid (16)

    Ignacio:

    Welcome to the forum.

    I would recommend May-June, less touristy time of year.

    You will switch to the Primitivo after Villaviciosa not Sebrayo. I recommend you stay in Villaviciosa vs Sebrayo much better accommodation.

    www.gronze.com, eroski and Northern Camino's are all good guides.

    Ultreya,
    Joe
     
    Last edited: Mar 21, 2017
  3. Ignacio

    Ignacio New Member

    Joined:
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    Location:
    San Diego, California
    Camino(s) past & future:
    Camino Frances August 2016,
    Camino del Norte May 2017
    Thank YOU! very much Joe for taking the time and providing those invaluable tips on Villaviciosa, plus the guides.
    Ultreya, right back at you.
    Ignacio
     
  4. Anemone del Camino

    Anemone del Camino Camino addict

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    Location:
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    Camino(s) past & future:
    Some, and more.
    Hi Ignacio,

    Many who start the Norte turn into the Primitivo. You will not be alone.

    I walked the Norte from San Sebastian to Llanes in mid-September into October. It was a year of very little rain and a lot of heat. I walked the Primitivo from late May into June and it was glorious, with rain only on the first day. But weather being what it is ... one coud imagine at the very least that the earlier you go in the year the muddier the Primitivo will be, but since you'll reach it in June it's a non-issue.

    Now, albergues on the Norte may not all be open in May. Try plotting your route and see what is open, what is closed. On the Norte many places only open at the start of summer vacation. A site like Ersoki will give you the dates for each establishment. Also Gronze or Mundicamino.

    Imwould avoid August-September as it's high seasin for all and will be hot, hot, hot.

    As for a guidebook, with a name like Ignacio I will assume you read Spanish. Editorial Buen Camino has an excellent guide for the Norte all the way to Santiago, but it also include the switch to and then the Primitivo. You order it from them. Cicerone also had a guide for what you are hoping to walk. It's a more compact book but also heavy and with tiny pages so little info per page, which is a pain if you plan on taking pictures of the pages with your phone rather than carry a book.
     
    SEB, Ignacio and Anniesantiago like this.
  5. notion900

    notion900 Veteran Member

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    >
    Lovely to meet you Ignacio

    I am not exactly a veteran, but I've walked part of the coastal Norte, Primitivo, and then done non standard Green Way crossing over from the Primitivo at Lugo back to the Norte. I met people just after Oviedo who had walked from Bilbao. They were pretty tired! I think the Norte and the Primitivo is definitely a bit harder than the French way.

    People assume the Norte is along the coast so it must be a bit of a vacation. It does have a vacation atmosphere in July and August, and the down side of that is that there are a fair few 'touregrinos' there, which can be a bit demotivating, or you can give in and join them in looking for the best albergue by the beach (I did that a bit!). There is a lot of upping and downing and inning and outing due to the river valleys joining the sea. There's quite a lot of walking on tarmac. I think that's why it's a bit hard. It can be very tempting to get the bus.

    If you have walked the French way in August, you must be used to a very 'sociable' experience. Therefore I would be careful of going too far off-season and being all alone and having some albergues closed. May-June seems ideal.

    The other option is to do it in 3 parts. Walk from Bilbao to Oviedo, then you can do both Norte and Primitivo in separate sections. There is an airport called Asturias next to Oviedo which has cheap flights to London.

    Best of luck with whatever you choose!
     
    Last edited: Mar 21, 2017
    Ignacio and HighlandsHiker like this.
  6. Redvespablur

    Redvespablur Member

    Joined:
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    Location:
    Victoria, BC Canada
    Camino(s) past & future:
    Norte April/May 2016
    Norte May 2018
    We started from Irun last April 28th and arrived in SdC a month later. We loved the stretch from Irun to Bilbao - great Basque seaside towns etc.

    We had pretty good weather and not too much spring mud on the trails. We stopped Norte in Colunga and bussed to Oviedo and started Primitivo after a couple days of rest. We were synced up with a large group of Spanish pilgrims that filled up the albergues on the Primitivo but understood was fine a day before or after.

    I have a blog you can link to in my profile if interested.
     
    SEB and Ignacio like this.
  7. Ignacio

    Ignacio New Member

    Joined:
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    Location:
    San Diego, California
    Camino(s) past & future:
    Camino Frances August 2016,
    Camino del Norte May 2017


    Anemone, notion900 and Redvespablur,

    I want to Thank YOU!! for taking the time to read my post and for providing excellent ideas and information. Based on the info provided by all so far, I am beginning to form a good idea as to the time of year, itinerary, plus great ideas about albergues that I did not know about. Caminos del Norte and Primitivo seem like an excellent idea to do this year.

    Anemone, thank you for the "heads up" regarding the closing of albergues in May, I will certainly do a little more research on that subject.

    notion900, thank YOU! for the info on the Asturias airport, I did not even know of its existence.

    Redvespablur, I took a quick look at your blog and it is such a great resource for my trip. The photos are great and the day-day narrative gives me a good idea as to what to expect on MY Camino.

    So again THANK YOU! and Ultreia to ALL,

    Sincerely,
    Ignacio
     
    SEB, Anemone del Camino and notion900 like this.
  8. notion900

    notion900 Veteran Member

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    What a lovely reply! Whoever is lucky to walk with you, dear @Ignacio, is in for a wonderful journey.

    Just another thought about timing, I walked the Primitivo x Norte in July last year and it was busy but fine. I had booked in O Pedrouzo and Santiago in advance and was glad I had. I did call ahead for beds sometimes too, but only 1 day ahead. So June on the coast and July inland would work well as well. Be careful about getting to Santiago around St James's day 25 July, it's very busy and you should probably have a reservation.

    Flights from that nice little airport Asturias are not year round to London, so check that out. But could be so handy for a connection from LHR to LAX. Here is the bus timetable for the airport which makes great connections with three places on the caminos. Its about 40 minutes to Oviedo.

    Ultreia!
     
    Last edited: Mar 21, 2017
    Ignacio likes this.
  9. Ignacio

    Ignacio New Member

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    Location:
    San Diego, California
    Camino(s) past & future:
    Camino Frances August 2016,
    Camino del Norte May 2017

    Hello notion900,

    Thank YOU! so very much for your kind words. I want to emphasize that your words are a TRUE reflection of my happy experiences while doing the Camino Frances. I met and shared my first camino with people like YOU, with a kind and UPLIFTING attitude, who always had a kind words of advice and offers to help in many ways. It is people like YOU and the rest of responders on this blog that take the initiative and time to assist their fellow peregrinos without expecting ANYTHING in return, THAT it's what it makes me want to return to do a Camino, the bond that it's forged between peregrinos it's so beautiful, it makes me think that if the world was full of peregrinos we would have a much better world alltogether.
    THANK YOU AGAIN! I truly mean that.

    Best regards,
    Ignacio
     
    Last edited: Mar 22, 2017
    HeidiL and notion900 like this.
  10. Flem

    Flem Member

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    Location:
    Denmark
    Camino(s) past & future:
    Camino Denmark 2015 Padborg - Viborg
    Camino Fances 201
    3. BEST resources for the above Caminos, guides, websites, literature, etc.

    Guidbook from Cicerone.co.uk

    "The Northern Caminos" (The norte, Promitivo and Inglés routes)
    by
    Laura Perazzoli and Dave Whitson

    Wish you Buen Camino
     
    Ignacio likes this.
  11. Ignacio

    Ignacio New Member

    Joined:
    Apr 9, 2016
    Messages:
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    Location:
    San Diego, California
    Camino(s) past & future:
    Camino Frances August 2016,
    Camino del Norte May 2017

    Hello Flem,
    Thank you for taking the time and providing this info. I truly appreciate it. Buen Camino to you and
    Best Regards
     

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