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Skipping the meseta...

neutra

New Member
#1
I expect all kinds of responses to this post so please feel free!

If one wanted to skip the meseta what would that look like? Is it simply the stretch between Burgos and Leon? I heard from a Camino veteran that you would need to make this decision at the beginning as there are no buses once you're in (on?) it.

Others have written how they liked the meseta and wouldn't have missed it. Comments?

Thanks. My wife and I are starting in Pamplona on Sept 6.
 

SabineP

Camino = Empathy + Compassion.
Camino(s) past & future
some and then more. see my signature.
#2
Re: Skipping the Maseta...

Neutra,

There are buses on the meseta ( roughly the part between Burgos and Astorga ) if you want, maybe a bit more planning to catch one but overall no problem.
I walked last year on the CF in April/ May in ideal weather ( not too warm and hardly any rain ), took my time and liked walking the Meseta part. It is indeed different than the part till Burgos and certainly different than green Galicia but it has his charm. The meseta has beautiful small towns and I very much liked the atmosphere there. Some parts are a bit " dreary and boring " to walk but when you get into a certain mood it is quite liberating too.
 

annakappa

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Part frances jun 07/rest frances may- jun 2008/Frances sept-oct 2009/ Sanabres Oct 2010/Frances sept-oct 2011/Aragones Sept-Oct 2012. Hospitalero Sept 2010, Amiga in Pilgrim's Office Oct 2013. Part Primitivo Oct 2013. Portugues from Porto June 2015.
#3
Re: Skipping the Maseta...

If you skip all of the meseta, you will have missed one essential part of the Camino. This is the time for open spaces and meditation! By all means skip some, but do try a bit. There are bus or train services practically all the way along (otherwise how would the local residents move around if they don't have a car)? Last year, we took the train from Sahagun to Leon and so gained 2 days. We have already walked completely twice, so I didn't feel "guilty". After having walked the Meseta, the arriving at the beginning of the "hilly" section, starting just after Astorga makes it even more pleasurable. And, once in Galicia, you will appreciate its charm and beauty. Anne
 

robertt

Active Member
#4
The meseta is great. Just different. I'm a cold weather walker, which may explain my enthusiasm for the Big M, but, for me, it's an indispensable part of the mix. It's also an opportunity to get into a different rhythm or mindset.

I never worry about anybody using luggage services, skipping bits and so on. "Authenticity" is a fetish that fails to arouse me in any way. If someone jumps on a bus at some point, they'll get a different perspective, that's all.

But, whenever people talk of skipping bits, I always like to mention the pleasure I took in things like the thundering highways along parts of the meseta trail, the suburban and urban fringes, the industrial estates like the one before Burgos. You see, we get to walk through these places and do it as pilgrims. In some ways, it's more exotic than walking through snow-clad passes and stopping near Romanesque chapels in forests. It's the familiar, yet approached in an unfamiliar way.

But everything is good, except for "authenticity", which really is a bore, and not good at all.
 

fraluchi

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
One every year since 2007
#5
neutra said:
If one wanted to skip the meseta what would that look like? My wife and I are starting in Pamplona on Sept 6.
The only really demanding stretch is from Carrión de los Condes to Calzadilla de la Cueza: 17 boring kilometers IMHO. The remainder of the meseta is a soul reviving experience. September is a good time. Watch out for potential thunder storms when walking over these flat areas!
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (1988)
#6
The meseta is not scenic in the "purple mountains majesty" kind of way but it is very alluring in a subtle and zen way. What's the old saying?: "Music is not just the notes but also the space between the notes." Think of the meseta as a wonderful space between notes. I highly recommend it.
 
#7
In many ways I feel that it is a core and essential element of the camino.
The massive sky and landscape does make one reflect and meditate. It is a place of such beauty - many of my dearest memories of the camino as a walker and cyclist are from those areas.
It does, of course, connect and give fluidity to the narrative of crossing the entire country. To hop on a bus does negate this but, yes, I do accept that it may be required on occasion.
The first times I walked the camino I completed sections over time - this enabled the narrative to continue and build without any harsh disconnect. I see the camino has developing like a symphony or play - so I am not in favour of just skipping bits.
Just think of the wonderful experiences that would be sacrificed just to gain a trip on a diesel belching bus.
 
#8
I'm yet another voice to add to the positive experiences of walking the meseta. When I think of the villages I stayed in between Burgos and Leon, I have nothing but wonderful memories and wouldn't have liked to have missed any of them.

Different isn't better or worse, it's just different and the Camino is made up of lots of different sections. All of them are special in their own way.

I generally found that the terrain was easy/difficult/boring/exciting in line with my head space. The meseta is wonderful for finding your rhythm and allowing your mind the freedom to go where it will without worrying about what your feet are doing.
 

dazzamac

Active Member
#9
I certainly think that you should try to experience some portion of the Meseta for yourselves. The only portion I found to be truly mind-numbing was the first day's walk out of Burgos towards Hornillos but that was more to do with an accumulated lack of sleep after several late nights while on supposed rest days in Burgos.

I have very pleasant memories of the stretch between Carrión de los Condes and Calzadilla but that may owe far more to the beautiful Italian girl I was walking with as opposed to the beauty of the Meseta. :wink:

Either way, when I return to the Frances this summer, I will be walking the Meseta again. I find the vast open spaces relaxing and comforting but I'm aware that not everyone sees it that way. I'd recommend walking a day or two in the Meseta and if you like it, keep walking. You can always hop on a bus or train if it's not for you and spend the extra days in a place more to your liking.
 

newfydog

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Pamplona-Santiago, Le Puy- Santiago, Prague- LePuy, Menton- Toulouse, Menton- Rome, Canterbury- Lausanne, Chemin Stevenson, Voie de Vezelay
#10
I posted these in another thread---where you can be lost in thought on a bike, and why I like to bike the meseta.
 

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Camino2010

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Francés
SJPP to Santiago (2010)
SJPP to Fisterra (2011)
SJPP to Fisterra/Muxia (2012)
SJPP to Fisterra/Muxia (2015)
SJPP to Fisterra/Muxia (2016)
#11
neutra said:
I expect all kinds of responses to this post so please feel free!

If one wanted to skip the meseta what would that look like? Is it simply the stretch between Burgos and Leon? I heard from a Camino veteran that you would need to make this decision at the beginning as there are no buses once you're in (on?) it.

Others have written how they liked the meseta and wouldn't have missed it. Comments?

Thanks. My wife and I are starting in Pamplona on Sept 6.
I love the Meseta, and September-October is a beautiful golden time of year to walk.

Basically, yes, the Meseta is the section between Burgos and León. It starts in at about Tardajos (12km or so after Burgos, on the way to Hornillos); there you can see the landscape shift and open up in a new way.

The first time I walked the Camino Frances, in 2010, I developed knee trouble from going too fast in the first 5 days (trying to keep up with someone I'd met who was faster than me!) and ended up taking motorized transport a couple of times. As a result I missed quite a lot of the Meseta.

The stretch I walked was from Burgos to Frómista. From there I took a bus south to Palencia, then a train west from Palencia to León. When I walked on from León I was very happy to discover that the Meseta wasn't quite completely finished... I still had the feeling of it for a couple of days until I got to Astorga.

It can be tricky to get a bus from place to place once you're on the Meseta. I'd wanted to take a bus from Castrojeriz to Frómista but found out I'd have to wait 2 days for that connection! So I walked to Frómista instead (and was glad I did).

One of the things I was most looking forward to when I went back and walked the Camino Frances a second time last year, was being able to walk the parts I missed in 2010. I'm thankful to say I was healthy and strong all the way along and walked every step, including the entire Meseta .

The 17km stretch between Carrión de los Condes to Calzadilla was no problem. By the time I got to El Burgo Ranero though, I was ready for the Meseta to be over and I wanted to catch up with a friend so the next day I walked the rest of the way to León (39km). I left the albergue at 5:30am to walk under the light of the full moon, and for three and a half hours I had the Camino completely to myself... a rare thing to experience for even minutes at a time, sometimes, with thousands of people walking, let alone for more than an hour! It was beautiful.

Next time I'll walk the entire Meseta again. Golden fields; sky that goes on endlessly, be it forever-blue or stormy grey (and the way it changes from one to the other); countless butterflies like the blue one in my avatar photo, flitting around by the roadside; some of the most beautiful sunrises I've ever seen; being able to walk alongside the canal on the way to Frómista; so much contrast for a place that some say is so much repetition... and oh so alive.

Buen Camino!

Rachel (Caminoheart)
 

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camino77

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
2004 & 2006
#12
Every part of the Camino stands for its own and has its meaning. The Meseta can be seen as the essence of the Camino.
The emptiness of the Meseta offers little entertainment for our overstimulated senses. This part of the Camino can be a wonderful option to empty yourself and create a new mindset.
The wonderful Meseta has a lot of beauty to offer. This beauty does not like to be so obvious, but will reveal itself after a few days walking. The beauty of the Meseta may not be seen with the eyes in the first place.

Buen Camino!
 
#13
camino77 said:
The emptiness of the Meseta offers little entertainment for our overstimulated senses. This part of the Camino can be a wonderful option to empty yourself and create a new mindset.
The wonderful Meseta has a lot of beauty to offer. This beauty does not like to be so obvious, but will reveal itself after a few days walking...
Yes, the vastness of the meseta is a walking meditation. Sometimes the lack of reference points gives you the feeling you are not moving in space -- yet you are moving your body, alive, breathing. It seems like you are not really moving from point A to point B, but simply walking for the sheer pleasure of walking.

Because of time constrains this year I will skip the entire Rioja section which I'm not very fond of anyway, but I wouldn't dream of missing the meseta. For me it is the part of the Camino where something really happens in your mind that transforms you forever.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/nosdamonta ... 4162889226

 
Camino(s) past & future
Moissac to Santiago Spring 2005 was the first foray.
#16
skipping the Meseta? Don't!!!!!!!!!!! :shock:

It is marvellous, utterly marvellous, .... skip everything else but don't skip the Meseta :|
 

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