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The Meseta; Burgos to Leon

Camino(s) past & future
May 2016
#1
Having just returned from Spain, I would like to share with you some facts and thoughts:
Two year ago, May 2016, I walked with two friends from Pamplona to Burgos, took a bus from Burgos to Leon, walked on to Santiago, then to Muxia and down to Finesterre. Altogether some 650 km.
Last year, May 2017, My wife joined me and we walked from SJPP to Pamplona in 4 days (the first day just to Orisson). from Pamplona we travelled by train to spend 4 lovely days in Barcelona.
This year I felt a strong desire to complete the Camino by walking the missing section; the Meseta, from Burgos to Leon. We skipped it two years ago for lack of time and when weighing the pros and cons of which section to skip, the Meseta "won" for being the least interesting part of the Camino. So early this year I started looking into it again, mainly in this very useful forum. Most opinions I read were glorifying the Meseta as "spiritual" allowing you to look deeply into your soul, meditate, etc. So, May 22nd 2018, my wife and I took a flight to Madrid and on by Alsa bus to Burgos. The next day we started on our 8 day walk to Leon. We were not so lucky with the weather; it mostly ranged from almost raining to raining... Arriving in Leon we stayed at Albergue San Francisco which I highly recommend (take a private room if you can spare the 30 euros). Leon is a lovely city and we arrived early enough in the day to take in most of the city's beautiful sights. The next day we took an early bus to Madrid and spent 4 days in this beautiful city.
In conclusion: I feel a sense of accomplishment, having completed the Camino Frances, alas in three years... I must say though that for me the "spiritual" thing did not work at all. In my opinion, this section is outright boring and worth doing just for the challenge of walking the whole Camino. If you want to meditate, you can do better at home.
Bottom line: I am glad I did it for the right reason for me...
 
Camino(s) past & future
Francés ('14/'15)
St Olav/Francés ('16)
Baztanés/Francés ('17)
Ingles ('18)
#2
Yossi, congratulations. I'm glad you did it for the right reason for you!
And...
In my opinion, this section is outright boring and worth doing just for the challenge of walking the whole Camino. If you want to meditate, you can do better at home.
With respect I cannot disagree more, about both of these things.
But that is my experience.
Anyone who wonders should try it and see for themselves.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2012, 2014, 2015, 2016). Seville-Astorga (Mar 2017). Mozarabe (Apr-May 2018)
#3
Unfortunately, you went with big expectations that the meseta would deliver something in particular, and that can set you up for disappointment. I'm glad it gave you a sense of completion, at least.

The meseta is one of my favourite parts of a longer journey, and one year I walked was more special than the other.

There are many many things that we could "do better" at home, and that's what most people in the world prefer to do!
 

Bradypus

Antediluvian
Camino(s) past & future
Too many and too often!
#4
In my opinion, this section is outright boring and worth doing just for the challenge of walking the whole Camino
For me walking the "whole Camino" means walking from wherever I choose to start to my final destination. That might be SJPDP, Burgos, Leon, Sarria or even Lavacolla. The total distance walked is not the issue for me but skipping sections would completely undermine my experience. Taking in all that the route offers - even the "boring" or the "ugly" - is an integral part of the journey. For me walking all the way is not a "challenge" - it is part of the very essence of what a pilgrimage is.
 

Rich1

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (May 2015)
Camino Frances (2016-2018)
A complicated Camino from Madrid (Aug/Sep 18)
#5
When I did the Camino alone, I absolutely loved the Meseta - so beautiful and peaceful.
However, we we walked it together last year, my wife didn't enjoy it at all - she thought it was boring and monotonous.
Horses for courses :)
 
Camino(s) past & future
Portugués, Francés, Le Puy, Rota Vicentina, De Soulac, Norte, Madrid-Salv-Primitivo
#7
In my opinion, this section is outright boring and worth doing just for the challenge of walking the whole Camino.
Ha, ha! One either loves it or hates it. That's OK.

You either get it or you don't get it.

You have to do the meseta alone to get it.

Jill
 
Camino(s) past & future
Pomplano to Santiago (March 29-May 6 2018)
#8
Unfortunately, you went with big expectations that the meseta would deliver something in particular, and that can set you up for disappointment. I'm glad it gave you a sense of completion, at least.

The meseta is one of my favourite parts of a longer journey, and one year I walked was more special than the other.

There are many many things that we could "do better" at home, and that's what most people in the world prefer to do!
Mine too!! Every step!
 

RJM

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
A few times, but soon again I hope....
#9
I have mentioned it on here before, but the section of the Camino Frances called the meseta seems to get quite a bit of discussion time on here and in some guidebooks, blogs etc. That is odd, because that section is so similar to many other places in the world. I wonder why it seems to invoke mysticism from some pilgrims, dislike from others, and to many like me it invokes nonchalance. To me it is just a section of the Camino. If one were to route out an 800 kilometre walk in many places in the world, it very may well have an agricultural section of plains and rolling hills just like the meseta of the Camino Frances.
I never really divided the Camino Frances into sections like that. Liking some more than others. Dreading some like it is a death march, ha ha. I am just happy to wake up very morning, lace up the shoes and get to walk across Spain. So many of the faithful poor will never have that luxury.
 
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Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances Roncesvalles to Sahagun Oct 2016
Sahagun to SDC April 2017
#10
Last year on what turned out to be my last Camino day into Moratinos in 34 degree heat, I spied a solitary tree in the middle of a sun scorched field. I thought to myself “that’s me that is”.
Walking somewhere on the meseta in blazing sunshine, I spied a solitary tree in the distance. And I do mean solitary, if you took a 360 degree turn around, this was it. I didn't notice until almost upon it, but there were 7 or 8 pilgrims bunched tightly in the only available shade for miles. I squeezed in and we all shared water and someone's figs. Little things create wonderful memories on the Camino as in life.

.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances: September 24 - October 31 (2015); February/March (2019)
#11
For me walking the "whole Camino" means walking from wherever I choose to start to my final destination. That might be SJPDP, Burgos, Leon, Sarria or even Lavacolla. The total distance walked is not the issue for me but skipping sections would completely undermine my experience. Taking in all that the route offers - even the "boring" or the "ugly" - is an integral part of the journey. For me walking all the way is not a "challenge" - it is part of the very essence of what a pilgrimage is.
I agree completely. For me, walking the Camino is not about checking the boxes. Taken out of context, perhaps the Meseta could be considered boring, but in the context of a complete Camino Frances, it is an essential and meaningful part of the experience.
 

Rich1

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (May 2015)
Camino Frances (2016-2018)
A complicated Camino from Madrid (Aug/Sep 18)
#12
If we purely judge parts of the Camino or indeed the whole Camino Francés on the basis of picturesque beauty then we are missing the point.
The Camino isn’t the most challenging route. It isn’t the most picturesque route. It isn’t the most technical route. It isn’t the most historicallly significant route. Yet we are all drawn to it.
I live right in the middle of the beautiful Lake District National Park in England. I have trails, rivers and mountains quite literally out of the back door. I am surrounded by beauty, with technical, challenging routes all around. Yet I am continually drawn back to the Camino...I think of being on the Camino every day.
The beauty and wonder of the Camino is far more than the human eye can visualise.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Flights booked and paid! Flying out of Sydney 5 April 2018
#13
Having just returned from Spain, I would like to share with you some facts and thoughts:
Two year ago, May 2016, I walked with two friends from Pamplona to Burgos, took a bus from Burgos to Leon, walked on to Santiago, then to Muxia and down to Finesterre. Altogether some 650 km.
Last year, May 2017, My wife joined me and we walked from SJPP to Pamplona in 4 days (the first day just to Orisson). from Pamplona we travelled by train to spend 4 lovely days in Barcelona.
This year I felt a strong desire to complete the Camino by walking the missing section; the Meseta, from Burgos to Leon. We skipped it two years ago for lack of time and when weighing the pros and cons of which section to skip, the Meseta "won" for being the least interesting part of the Camino. So early this year I started looking into it again, mainly in this very useful forum. Most opinions I read were glorifying the Meseta as "spiritual" allowing you to look deeply into your soul, meditate, etc. So, May 22nd 2018, my wife and I took a flight to Madrid and on by Alsa bus to Burgos. The next day we started on our 8 day walk to Leon. We were not so lucky with the weather; it mostly ranged from almost raining to raining... Arriving in Leon we stayed at Albergue San Francisco which I highly recommend (take a private room if you can spare the 30 euros). Leon is a lovely city and we arrived early enough in the day to take in most of the city's beautiful sights. The next day we took an early bus to Madrid and spent 4 days in this beautiful city.
In conclusion: I feel a sense of accomplishment, having completed the Camino Frances, alas in three years... I must say though that for me the "spiritual" thing did not work at all. In my opinion, this section is outright boring and worth doing just for the challenge of walking the whole Camino. If you want to meditate, you can do better at home.
Bottom line: I am glad I did it for the right reason for me...
Having just returned from Spain, I would like to share with you some facts and thoughts:
Two year ago, May 2016, I walked with two friends from Pamplona to Burgos, took a bus from Burgos to Leon, walked on to Santiago, then to Muxia and down to Finesterre. Altogether some 650 km.
Last year, May 2017, My wife joined me and we walked from SJPP to Pamplona in 4 days (the first day just to Orisson). from Pamplona we travelled by train to spend 4 lovely days in Barcelona.
This year I felt a strong desire to complete the Camino by walking the missing section; the Meseta, from Burgos to Leon. We skipped it two years ago for lack of time and when weighing the pros and cons of which section to skip, the Meseta "won" for being the least interesting part of the Camino. So early this year I started looking into it again, mainly in this very useful forum. Most opinions I read were glorifying the Meseta as "spiritual" allowing you to look deeply into your soul, meditate, etc. So, May 22nd 2018, my wife and I took a flight to Madrid and on by Alsa bus to Burgos. The next day we started on our 8 day walk to Leon. We were not so lucky with the weather; it mostly ranged from almost raining to raining... Arriving in Leon we stayed at Albergue San Francisco which I highly recommend (take a private room if you can spare the 30 euros). Leon is a lovely city and we arrived early enough in the day to take in most of the city's beautiful sights. The next day we took an early bus to Madrid and spent 4 days in this beautiful city.
In conclusion: I feel a sense of accomplishment, having completed the Camino Frances, alas in three years... I must say though that for me the "spiritual" thing did not work at all. In my opinion, this section is outright boring and worth doing just for the challenge of walking the whole Camino. If you want to meditate, you can do better at home.
Bottom line: I am glad I did it for the right reason for me...
I have just arrived back after completing the Camino from SJPP to Santiago, Finestera and Muxía. I walked with a friend and while planning our trip I read a lot about how “boring” the Meseta was and how many pilgrims caught a bus to miss this section. So going over I was concerned about what to expect. Well, sitiing in a room one night I asked my friend “when do we get to the Meseta?” She laughed and said “we’ve done it days ago”. Thinking back I recalled this was the long stretch of paths. I didn’t find it boring. In fact I recall this is when I did a lot of thinking about my life at home and how lucky I was to have a great mother, husband, son, daughter in law and two beautiful granddaughters.
 

lt56ny

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
2013-Frances SJP-Finisterre, 2015 Camino Le Puy-Santiago, 2017 Portugues Lisbon-Santiago 2018 Norte
#14
Having just returned from Spain, I would like to share with you some facts and thoughts:
Two year ago, May 2016, I walked with two friends from Pamplona to Burgos, took a bus from Burgos to Leon, walked on to Santiago, then to Muxia and down to Finesterre. Altogether some 650 km.
Last year, May 2017, My wife joined me and we walked from SJPP to Pamplona in 4 days (the first day just to Orisson). from Pamplona we travelled by train to spend 4 lovely days in Barcelona.
This year I felt a strong desire to complete the Camino by walking the missing section; the Meseta, from Burgos to Leon. We skipped it two years ago for lack of time and when weighing the pros and cons of which section to skip, the Meseta "won" for being the least interesting part of the Camino. So early this year I started looking into it again, mainly in this very useful forum. Most opinions I read were glorifying the Meseta as "spiritual" allowing you to look deeply into your soul, meditate, etc. So, May 22nd 2018, my wife and I took a flight to Madrid and on by Alsa bus to Burgos. The next day we started on our 8 day walk to Leon. We were not so lucky with the weather; it mostly ranged from almost raining to raining... Arriving in Leon we stayed at Albergue San Francisco which I highly recommend (take a private room if you can spare the 30 euros). Leon is a lovely city and we arrived early enough in the day to take in most of the city's beautiful sights. The next day we took an early bus to Madrid and spent 4 days in this beautiful city.
In conclusion: I feel a sense of accomplishment, having completed the Camino Frances, alas in three years... I must say though that for me the "spiritual" thing did not work at all. In my opinion, this section is outright boring and worth doing just for the challenge of walking the whole Camino. If you want to meditate, you can do better at home.
Bottom line: I am glad I did it for the right reason for me...
1 minute ago
New #23
I have been reading with interest everyone’s Meseta take. Before I walked I heard many negative opinions. I have done the CF twice. Both times I did the whole Camino. I totally understand that some people can or wish to only walk a part of a Camino. Personally I need long Caminos. I walked the Meseta at the same time in October both times. The first time it was torturously hot and I actually found myself hallucinating sometimes. The second time it was cold, driving rain and high winds almost all day every day. I think because I had started many days before. The second time I had already been walking over a month I was in my rhythm and my body and out of the crap that populated and occupies my brain. I think I may have had a similar reaction to Yossi if I had started cold in Burgos. Maybe starting out and immediately suffering a physical difficulty, boredom or the challengrd
Of weather before one reaches their own ‘rhythm’ could radically alter ones experience dramatically. Just
 
Camino(s) past & future
Santiago to Finisterre to Muxia 2013
Camino Frances May 2015
Camino Frances July 2017
#15
I have mentioned it on here before, but the section of the Camino Frances called the meseta seems to get quite a bit of discussion time on here and in some guidebooks, blogs etc. That is odd, because that section is so similar to many other places in the world. I wonder why it seems to invoke mysticism from some pilgrims, dislike from others, and to many like me it invokes nonchalance. To me it is just a section of the Camino. If one were to route out an 800 kilometre walk in many places in the world, it very may well have an agricultural section of plains and rolling hills just like the meseta of the Camino Frances.
I never really divided the Camino Frances into sections like that. Liking some more than others. Dreading some like it is a death march, ha ha. I am just happy to wake up very morning, lace up the shoes and get to walk across Spain. So many of the faithful poor will never have that luxury.
I could not agree with this more, it's just part of the CF route. Personally I rather like it and while some of the towns in this area are objectively dumps; bereft of much by way of life or charm I find them endlessly intriguing. Also coming from a highly populated area of a highly populated country I really appreciate the emptiness of it all, in fact I find it quite magnificent.
 
Camino(s) past & future
St. Francis Route 2017
#16
Within days of starting the long trek, I learned about plans some people had for skipping this part of the route citing its boredom. This puzzled me because I knew that (for me) long after the adventure was over, I would feel the intense gnaw of a task left incomplete if I abandoned the meseta. I was determined to walk every meter of the Camino. Alone, but never lonely, I appreciated the meseta from sunrise to sunset, knowing I was tracing with my own footsteps the path taken by pilgrims who came before and who did not have modern day options.
 

davebugg

"When I Have Your Wounded" - Dustoff Motto
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances...
Sept. 2017: SJPdP to Burgos
Sept./Oct. 2018: SJPdP to Santiago de Compostela
#18
For me, the pilgrimage is the point. The geography, scenery, architecture, etc are secondary. If it is the most beautiful environment I’ve ever seen, but my internal focus and spirit are out of synch with my purpose for being there, then it is meaningless for me.

Fortunately, none of the above have been in conflict. I just take it as it arrives, and am prayerfully thankful.
 
Camino(s) past & future
June 3 2017 to July 2017
#20
We loved the hill after Castrojeriz. It was hot last year, so we were up at before dawn and made it up the hill as the sun was coming up. Incredible view all around and one of my favorite scenes from the entire 800 km. And the cafe on the right after the 17KM of nothing... the proprietress there had a beautiful soul and delicious French omelets. I won't forget her kindness to my daughter. Yeah, the meseta wasn't so bad.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (1989 and 2016), Portugues - from Porto (2018)
#21
It is designed to be taken from head to tail, not only physically but also philosophically. And I can see that it purpose is lost when it is done in pieces.
While, like others, I tend to disagree with what you wrote in this post, I can see where you are coming from in your response to the original poster.

It is true that one can start the Camino pretty much anywhere. The length and the geography will differ, but it will still be the Camino. It is also true that many people (especially Europeans, it seems) do the Camino quite successfully in pieces.

But it is also true that the vast majority of people discussing their experience of the Camino and the place of the Meseta in their experience, are people who have walked from the SJPP to Santiago de Compostela. That is a route of a particular length, with a particular geography. The experience of the Meseta in the middle of that journey is different than the experience of the Meseta would be at the beginning, or at the end, or by itself.

While everyone's Camino is different and unique, there are common patterns that, while not universal, appear to be quite frequent for those who walk that particular route as a whole: dealing with physical challenges at the beginning, spending time in introspection in the middle, etc. Someone walking from Le Puy, I would imagine, wouldn't find Navarre as physically challenging as someone starting in the Pyrenees. Someone starting their first Camino in Burgos might find the Meseta more physically challenging, which might distract from the introspection that others find there, So to go to the Meseta with expectations based on the experience of people for whom it had a very different place in the overall structure of their journey, as the OP did, is to set oneself up for disappointment. (Although one could say that taking any expectations to the Camino is to set oneself up for disappointment.)

My personal experience of the Meseta, while very meditative, was not at all like the introspective journeys into my life that others describe. I wasn't reliving moments of my past or thinking about my future or character. I was very much "in the present". If I was thinking about anything other than where I was at that moment and what I was seeing, I was thinking about how far I had walked that day and how far I still had to walk. :) Yet, I found the Meseta to be one of my favourite parts of the Camino. I didn't find it quite as monotonous as I was prepared for. There were hills and gullies. You could be 250 metres from a village and not see it at all. There were rivers and canals. And, more than anywhere else on the Camino, I really got the feeling that the Camino was central to all of the villages or towns we passed through. Whether it was the romanesque church in Fromista or the singing nuns in Carrion de los Condes or the Mudejar architecture in Sahagun, I felt that the places in the Meseta had as much to offer as their counterparts in any other part of the Camino.
 
Camino(s) past & future
St. Francis Route 2017
#22
While, like others, I tend to disagree with what you wrote in this post, I can see where you are coming from in your response to the original poster.

It is true that one can start the Camino pretty much anywhere. The length and the geography will differ, but it will still be the Camino. It is also true that many people (especially Europeans, it seems) do the Camino quite successfully in pieces.

But it is also true that the vast majority of people discussing their experience of the Camino and the place of the Meseta in their experience, are people who have walked from the SJPP to Santiago de Compostela. That is a route of a particular length, with a particular geography. The experience of the Meseta in the middle of that journey is different than the experience of the Meseta would be at the beginning, or at the end, or by itself.

While everyone's Camino is different and unique, there are common patterns that, while not universal, appear to be quite frequent for those who walk that particular route as a whole: dealing with physical challenges at the beginning, spending time in introspection in the middle, etc. Someone walking from Le Puy, I would imagine, wouldn't find Navarre as physically challenging as someone starting in the Pyrenees. Someone starting their first Camino in Burgos might find the Meseta more physically challenging, which might distract from the introspection that others find there, So to go to the Meseta with expectations based on the experience of people for whom it had a very different place in the overall structure of their journey, as the OP did, is to set oneself up for disappointment. (Although one could say that taking any expectations to the Camino is to set oneself up for disappointment.)

My personal experience of the Meseta, while very meditative, was not at all like the introspective journeys into my life that others describe. I wasn't reliving moments of my past or thinking about my future or character. I was very much "in the present". If I was thinking about anything other than where I was at that moment and what I was seeing, I was thinking about how far I had walked that day and how far I still had to walk. :) Yet, I found the Meseta to be one of my favourite parts of the Camino. I didn't find it quite as monotonous as I was prepared for. There were hills and gullies. You could be 250 metres from a village and not see it at all. There were rivers and canals. And, more than anywhere else on the Camino, I really got the feeling that the Camino was central to all of the villages or towns we passed through. Whether it was the romanesque church in Fromista or the singing nuns in Carrion de los Condes or the Mudejar architecture in Sahagun, I felt that the places in the Meseta had as much to offer as their counterparts in any other part of the Camino.
A most thoughtful commentary, David,
 

MichaelF4

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
None
#23
I arrived in León yesterday and just completed the Meseta section. We had lovely weather for the most part. The walk was not boring in the least. The Camino is what you make of it. The big blue skies and gently rolling hills have their own beauty. I found that there was only one day that could be described as somewhat tedious. I for one would never suggest to anyone to skip sections.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Starting May 18th in Burgos to Santiago
#25
Having just returned from Spain, I would like to share with you some facts and thoughts:
Two year ago, May 2016, I walked with two friends from Pamplona to Burgos, took a bus from Burgos to Leon, walked on to Santiago, then to Muxia and down to Finesterre. Altogether some 650 km.
Last year, May 2017, My wife joined me and we walked from SJPP to Pamplona in 4 days (the first day just to Orisson). from Pamplona we travelled by train to spend 4 lovely days in Barcelona.
This year I felt a strong desire to complete the Camino by walking the missing section; the Meseta, from Burgos to Leon. We skipped it two years ago for lack of time and when weighing the pros and cons of which section to skip, the Meseta "won" for being the least interesting part of the Camino. So early this year I started looking into it again, mainly in this very useful forum. Most opinions I read were glorifying the Meseta as "spiritual" allowing you to look deeply into your soul, meditate, etc. So, May 22nd 2018, my wife and I took a flight to Madrid and on by Alsa bus to Burgos. The next day we started on our 8 day walk to Leon. We were not so lucky with the weather; it mostly ranged from almost raining to raining... Arriving in Leon we stayed at Albergue San Francisco which I highly recommend (take a private room if you can spare the 30 euros). Leon is a lovely city and we arrived early enough in the day to take in most of the city's beautiful sights. The next day we took an early bus to Madrid and spent 4 days in this beautiful city.
In conclusion: I feel a sense of accomplishment, having completed the Camino Frances, alas in three years... I must say though that for me the "spiritual" thing did not work at all. In my opinion, this section is outright boring and worth doing just for the challenge of walking the whole Camino. If you want to meditate, you can do better at home.
Bottom line: I am glad I did it for the right reason for me...
Respect!
You had your experience and conclusion - and this is the whole point!
I was 2 days ahead of you last year. I started in Burgos on the 19th- and ended up in Santiago 25 days later.
For me- the Meseta was divine! I loved every step!
In 2019 i’ll return- and will do the Meseta one more time!
Buen Camino!
 

Thornley

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances [08 ]Portuguese [09 ]Le Puy[10] Norte[ 11] Madrid [12] Figeac - Pamplona [13] Mont Saint Michel - Bordeaux / St Palais - Pamplona [14] Moissac -Burgos [15] , Norte to Oviedo and then Primitivo [16]
Le Puy to Moissac and Dax to Santo Domingo
#26
walking the whole Camino.
With many Europeans we have walked their Camino commences at their front door . Over the years these people commenced in Italy, Belgium , France , Holland , Switzerland .
There is also more than ONE camino path even in Spain as per a friend commencing in Malaga.

We skipped it two years ago for lack of time
The most common mistake made by most pilgrims , we recommend 40 - 42 days [6 weeks] to all our friends.
If they complete in less time wonderful , but we allow this to ENJOY the pilgrimage and villages.

... I must say though that for me the "spiritual" thing did not work at all.
There is a beautiful church on the path in this section which accommodates a dozen pilgrims within its walls.
A Priest will wash your feet and its beauty still resounds with us a decade later.

the Meseta "won" for being the least interesting part of the Camino.
On our return for a second Camino Frances then later the Norte , Madrid and Primitivo Camino's we have never walked the last 100km ......on the bus to SDC then have a walk to Muxia and Finisterre.
So the least interesting is subject to many a debate Yossi.
 
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Camino(s) past & future
Will walk the camino francés in October 2018 and beginning of November
#27
Unfortunately, you went with big expectations that the meseta would deliver something in particular, and that can set you up for disappointment. I'm glad it gave you a sense of completion, at least.

The meseta is one of my favourite parts of a longer journey, and one year I walked was more special than the other.

There are many many things that we could "do better" at home, and that's what most people in the world prefer to do!
Maybe the 'Meseta' is more 'fruitful', spiritually, when you arrive on it after a while walking, for exemple from SJPDP, rather than juste being catapulted on it without having walked several weeks before. I don't know yet. I'll experience it this October.
 

Thornley

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances [08 ]Portuguese [09 ]Le Puy[10] Norte[ 11] Madrid [12] Figeac - Pamplona [13] Mont Saint Michel - Bordeaux / St Palais - Pamplona [14] Moissac -Burgos [15] , Norte to Oviedo and then Primitivo [16]
Le Puy to Moissac and Dax to Santo Domingo
#28
Camino(s) past & future
Will walk the camino francés in October 2018 and beginning of November
#29
COLD October ,
Enjoy the peace in this month.
I live in Quebec and was born in Saguenay (5 hours north of Montréal), so October will not be cold for me, and Nature is wonderful in Fall, particularly the light. I'm not a fan of heat and crowd. I'm soooo looking forward to walk. :)
 

Kanga

Moderator
Staff member
Camino(s) past & future
Francés x 5, Le Puy x 2, Arles, Tours, Norte, Madrid, Via de la Plata, Portuguese.
#30
This thread was hijacked by a general pronouncement, which was off-topic. It was followed by another general statement about the nature of the Camino which invoked opposition and became an off-topic disagreement. I considered leaving all the posts because I could see nothing impolite in the disagreement, but it was becoming personal.

I am sorry for deleting posts by those who put a lot of effort into writing thoughtfully about their own experiences of the meseta. I could have edited some but do not like to change the words of others.
 
Camino(s) past & future
2017
#31
I had second thoughts of walking the meseta last year as I heard many people catch the bus I am so glad I walked the meseta as it was an amazing experience of peace and the most amazing sun rises
 

Thomas V

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
FRANCES, St. Jean to Santiago, 2016
Camino Frances #2 Pamplona to Leon 2017
#32
I walked the total Camino in Sept 2016. The Meseta was such a favorite part of the journey we walked again in 2017 from Pamplona to Leon, enjoying the Meseta a second time. I loved each small village we walked into. Missing them, to me is missing a big part of the experience of the Camino Frances.
 
Camino(s) past & future
CF11, CF12, CP13, CF14, CA15, S.Anton15, CF15, CI15
Ditch Pig16, CF17, CP17, CdN, CM, CF18, LePuy19
#33
I have walked the Meseta at least a half a dozen times. It is magic place. This year (2018) I have never seen it so green and full of life. When invited I visit Paddy and Reb in Moratinos at the drop of a hat to be a Ditch Pig and spent a month last year helping Paddy with the dogs. The towns between Burgos and Leon are far from boring and if you are into food some of the best menu del dia are to be had. I drove a car back from Santiago to San Sebastián yesterday and at 120km/hr the change in scenery after Astorga brought tears to my eyes. Like I said, pure magic!
 

JulieandPeter

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (April/May 2015)
Frances (May/June 2017)
Planning Le Puy to SJPDP (August/September 2018)
#35
I have just arrived back after completing the Camino from SJPP to Santiago, Finestera and Muxía. I walked with a friend and while planning our trip I read a lot about how “boring” the Meseta was and how many pilgrims caught a bus to miss this section. So going over I was concerned about what to expect. Well, sitiing in a room one night I asked my friend “when do we get to the Meseta?” She laughed and said “we’ve done it days ago”. Thinking back I recalled this was the long stretch of paths. I didn’t find it boring. In fact I recall this is when I did a lot of thinking about my life at home and how lucky I was to have a great mother, husband, son, daughter in law and two beautiful granddaughters.
I love this - I felt the same way.
 
Camino(s) past & future
First timer, leaving April 3rd from SJPDP
#36
I found myself repeatedly looking far to the north, trying to judge whether the mountains were getting closer or not. We started a game of "guess the steps to the next bush or tree". We talked a lot, we solo-ed a lot. And then I did a long day (52k) to finish. I'm glad I did it! It was part of the "journey" from SJPDP to Finesterre.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Francés five times, Madrid two days, Ingles once.
#38
Very interesting, this thread!
Yesterday I was plotting my next walk in Northern Spain using the basic spreadsheet I've used seven times. This one will be for when I walk every step from St Jean to Santiago (I've not done that!) - maybe beyond.
The plotting was to think about every step of the way - favorite places, past experiences, people I'd met and those who had remembered me, places I'd passed and not stopped. Then I thought about where I'd not walked - VillaFria to Burgos Centro, El Burgo Ranero to León to Mazarife, and VillaFranca del Bierzo to Ruitlan. I need to experience those places - places I've read about - other people's impressions - but I need to experience them for myself. What do I know from what others say? They are not me. I need to experience these places, and decide for myself - I like to make my own decisions. I will probably find things to like, dislike, wonder at, feel grateful to have seen and experienced...
And when going back over my plan, and thought about the Meseta, I remembered how much shorter those long walks were after the first time - easy-peasy ;). I remember the changes - even from one year to the next.
Gratitudes for having been able to experience so much, and looking forward to piecing it all together on the Frances.
A todos, enjoy YOUR Camino!
 

Jacobus

Pilgrim since 2008
Camino(s) past & future
CF 2008 09 14
Del Norte 2011. Portuguese 2015, 2017Ingles 2015 Fisterre 2015.
#39
Having just returned from Spain, I would like to share with you some facts and thoughts:
Two year ago, May 2016, I walked with two friends from Pamplona to Burgos, took a bus from Burgos to Leon, walked on to Santiago, then to Muxia and down to Finesterre. Altogether some 650 km.
Last year, May 2017, My wife joined me and we walked from SJPP to Pamplona in 4 days (the first day just to Orisson). from Pamplona we travelled by train to spend 4 lovely days in Barcelona.
This year I felt a strong desire to complete the Camino by walking the missing section; the Meseta, from Burgos to Leon. We skipped it two years ago for lack of time and when weighing the pros and cons of which section to skip, the Meseta "won" for being the least interesting part of the Camino. So early this year I started looking into it again, mainly in this very useful forum. Most opinions I read were glorifying the Meseta as "spiritual" allowing you to look deeply into your soul, meditate, etc. So, May 22nd 2018, my wife and I took a flight to Madrid and on by Alsa bus to Burgos. The next day we started on our 8 day walk to Leon. We were not so lucky with the weather; it mostly ranged from almost raining to raining... Arriving in Leon we stayed at Albergue San Francisco which I highly recommend (take a private room if you can spare the 30 euros). Leon is a lovely city and we arrived early enough in the day to take in most of the city's beautiful sights. The next day we took an early bus to Madrid and spent 4 days in this beautiful city.
In conclusion: I feel a sense of accomplishment, having completed the Camino Frances, alas in three years... I must say though that for me the "spiritual" thing did not work at all. In my opinion, this section is outright boring and worth doing just for the challenge of walking the whole Camino. If you want to meditate, you can do better at home.
Bottom line: I am glad I did it for the right reason for me...
Hi Yossi
I think of the meseta as a landform in central Spain. The Camino crosses it. You could be 100 k south of the Camino and still on the meseta. That point might not make it more interesting just another viewing point.
Cheers
 

Thornley

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances [08 ]Portuguese [09 ]Le Puy[10] Norte[ 11] Madrid [12] Figeac - Pamplona [13] Mont Saint Michel - Bordeaux / St Palais - Pamplona [14] Moissac -Burgos [15] , Norte to Oviedo and then Primitivo [16]
Le Puy to Moissac and Dax to Santo Domingo
#40
Please do Muxia and then Finisterre , stoping at Lires ....you will not forget it.
Finish @ Finisterre because of more buses ,
Unless you wish to catch one after a few days around 7am from Muxia.
Half the Bella Muxia Albergue will be on same.
Have a great way.
 

wayfarer

Moderator
Staff member
Camino(s) past & future
SJPP-Santiago-Finistera-Muxia. April/May 2012
Sarria-Santiago Sept. 2013
SJPP - Almost Orrison April 2014
#41
I walked the Meseta in sunny but cool weather in 2012 after a walking in rain and wind for the previous week or so. I liked it as I liked all parts of the Camino, the walk into and out of Burgos and Leon, boring, uninteresting or bussing didn't come into it, it was just all part of the whole.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (2018)
#42
I have heard the Mesata described as 'boring. I did it this year on my first Camino from SJPdP to Santiago. I would suggest that just because one is bored, it does not follow that what they are doing is boring. It may speak more to their mindset than what is staring them in the face. Loved every minute of the Mesata!
 
Camino(s) past & future
Starting May 18th in Burgos to Santiago
#43
We loved the hill after Castrojeriz. It was hot last year, so we were up at before dawn and made it up the hill as the sun was coming up. Incredible view all around and one of my favorite scenes from the entire 800 km. And the cafe on the right after the 17KM of nothing... the proprietress there had a beautiful soul and delicious French omelets. I won't forget her kindness to my daughter. Yeah, the meseta wasn't so bad.
Agree with you. The hill is called "The Mule killer"- and the sight on top of it was fantastic. I loved the meseta.
 

Mugatu

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances 2018 (July 6- Aug 2) ✅
Camino Frances once more or Norte 2019
#44
Yossi, congratulations. I'm glad you did it for the right reason for you!
And...

With respect I cannot disagree more, about both of these things.
But that is my experience.
Anyone who wonders should try it and see for themselves.
I can not agree more, for me it was the most impactful and transformative part of the entire journey. I found the people warm and genuinely interested in getting to know you. The scenery is awe inspiring especially at first light, nothing like an early start at 4am to enjoy the sunrise as it crests over the horizon. I can't wait to get back there. HYOH IMG_8221.JPG
 
Camino(s) past & future
cycled from Pamplona Sep 2015;Frances, walked from St Jean 2017.
#45
Having just returned from Spain, I would like to share with you some facts and thoughts:
Two year ago, May 2016, I walked with two friends from Pamplona to Burgos, took a bus from Burgos to Leon, walked on to Santiago, then to Muxia and down to Finesterre. Altogether some 650 km.
Last year, May 2017, My wife joined me and we walked from SJPP to Pamplona in 4 days (the first day just to Orisson). from Pamplona we travelled by train to spend 4 lovely days in Barcelona.
This year I felt a strong desire to complete the Camino by walking the missing section; the Meseta, from Burgos to Leon. We skipped it two years ago for lack of time and when weighing the pros and cons of which section to skip, the Meseta "won" for being the least interesting part of the Camino. So early this year I started looking into it again, mainly in this very useful forum. Most opinions I read were glorifying the Meseta as "spiritual" allowing you to look deeply into your soul, meditate, etc. So, May 22nd 2018, my wife and I took a flight to Madrid and on by Alsa bus to Burgos. The next day we started on our 8 day walk to Leon. We were not so lucky with the weather; it mostly ranged from almost raining to raining... Arriving in Leon we stayed at Albergue San Francisco which I highly recommend (take a private room if you can spare the 30 euros). Leon is a lovely city and we arrived early enough in the day to take in most of the city's beautiful sights. The next day we took an early bus to Madrid and spent 4 days in this beautiful city.
In conclusion: I feel a sense of accomplishment, having completed the Camino Frances, alas in three years... I must say though that for me the "spiritual" thing did not work at all. In my opinion, this section is outright boring and worth doing just for the challenge of walking the whole Camino. If you want to meditate, you can do better at home.
Bottom line: I am glad I did it for the right reason for me...
Hola @Yossi Fuchs . 1. Congrats on finally completing the Frances (including the 3/4 day to the Atlantic - I have still to complete this section)
2. Why the lack of spirituality? Well in my opinion you arrived in Bugos all set for a Sunday afternoon walk, not the pilgrimage your earlier walks had been. I have covered most of it twice. Once on a bike and once (May/June 2017) on foot. In both cases I had the two or so weeks of "build up" as to what the Meseta was and what it entaled. The rain can, so to speak, put a dampener on the events, but then rain is part of the pilgrims experience.
To those pilgrims or potential pilgrims please, may I ask, approach the Meseta as the middle third of your pilgrimage. Meet it with an open mind and fresh legs after a day off in Burgos.

To Yossi - again thanks for your post. Cheers for now!!
 
Camino(s) past & future
cycled from Pamplona Sep 2015;Frances, walked from St Jean 2017.
#46
Agree with you. The hill is called "The Mule killer"- and the sight on top of it was fantastic. I loved the meseta.
I think your geography is a little off. Mule Killer Hill (Cuesta de Matamulos) is actually the hill you walk "down"into Hornillos del Camino (often the end of the first day out of Burgos).
The hill west of Castojeriz is (according to Brierley) Alto de Mostelanes, for which I do not have a translation. But get one later. Cheers!!
 

JabbaPapa

"True Pilgrim"
Camino(s) past & future
100 characters or fewer : see signature details
#47
I must say though that for me the "spiritual" thing did not work at all. In my opinion, this section is outright boring and worth doing just for the challenge of walking the whole Camino. If you want to meditate, you can do better at home.
Well, really ... I'm very unsure as to whether I would "walk the meseta" with no other goal in mind, and I think it's highly doubtful if that could be a "spiritual" experience for anyone at all !!

I'd personally probably enjoy such a walk if circumstance were to bring me to it, as I love the meseta, but that's still all it would be -- a walk. Which is perfectly fine of course, as all long walks are fine things in their own right and in their own terms !!

To me, those "spiritual" or meditative or what-have-you aspects of it are inextricably related to their relationship with the rest of your Camino, so that the silence and the wide spaces and the rurality and, indeed, the monotony become meaningful from one's fresh experiences in the Pyrenees and La Rioja and so on, and as compared to the anticipation apprehension that one will feel there concerning the pursuit after the meseta (which really extends further than Leon BTW, and doesn't "start" at Burgos) into the mountains and beyond to the very different and far more bite-sized hiking in Galicia to Santiago.

Also, they seem to manifest, when they do -- and if they do, it's hardly a universal experience !! Not everyone is meditative in character -- either on one's first Camino Francès or one's second.

But I'd say that removing the meseta from your Camino and then treating it as something separate and isolated would be not very likely at all to produce a meditative experience within that Camino.

As for "boring", well, with few exceptions, so really is the rest of the Camino, whichever route you should go by or howsoever short or long your Camino might be. There's nothing "special" about the meseta in this regard ... those of us who love it are inspired by its qualities, not its flaws.
 

JabbaPapa

"True Pilgrim"
Camino(s) past & future
100 characters or fewer : see signature details
#48
But it is also true that the vast majority of people discussing their experience of the Camino and the place of the Meseta in their experience, are people who have walked from the SJPP to Santiago de Compostela.
hmmm, in itself that's doubtful -- I've walked to Compostela via SJPP twice, and I think it's fair to say at this stage that I'll never start a Camino at SJPP.

And statistically, I don't think that most Caminos commence at SJPP, nor that all who start there, walk every step to Compostela in one go.

That is a route of a particular length, with a particular geography. The experience of the Meseta in the middle of that journey is different than the experience of the Meseta would be at the beginning, or at the end, or by itself.
But really for your excellent post, I'd overall just quibble rather than disagree -- first, that experience of the Meseta can be characterised as you do, as within a longer journey, but the Meseta does not need to be in the middle of your Camino for it ; I found much the same in 1994 in particular, and also 2005, and even to a lesser degree in the 2014 (by which time the familiarity had well encroached upon the spirituality), when my Meseta was more towards the end or last 2/3rd of those Caminos.

It's a curious section.

While everyone's Camino is different and unique, there are common patterns that, while not universal, appear to be quite frequent for those who walk that particular route as a whole: dealing with physical challenges at the beginning, spending time in introspection in the middle, etc. Someone walking from Le Puy, I would imagine, wouldn't find Navarre as physically challenging as someone starting in the Pyrenees. Someone starting their first Camino in Burgos might find the Meseta more physically challenging, which might distract from the introspection that others find there, So to go to the Meseta with expectations based on the experience of people for whom it had a very different place in the overall structure of their journey, as the OP did, is to set oneself up for disappointment. (Although one could say that taking any expectations to the Camino is to set oneself up for disappointment.)
This, I wholeheartedly agree with.

My personal experience of the Meseta, while very meditative, was not at all like the introspective journeys into my life that others describe. I wasn't reliving moments of my past or thinking about my future or character. I was very much "in the present". If I was thinking about anything other than where I was at that moment and what I was seeing, I was thinking about how far I had walked that day and how far I still had to walk. :)
:cool:

A "meditative" experience can take many forms, and the notion of "spiritual experience" is very variable too, and there is no reason at all why either should have to take the form of contemplations about one's life and one's past -- though of course they might.

These things are very hard to judge from the outside -- and very frequently, even from within.

Yet, I found the Meseta to be one of my favourite parts of the Camino. I didn't find it quite as monotonous as I was prepared for. There were hills and gullies. You could be 250 metres from a village and not see it at all. There were rivers and canals. And, more than anywhere else on the Camino, I really got the feeling that the Camino was central to all of the villages or towns we passed through. Whether it was the romanesque church in Fromista or the singing nuns in Carrion de los Condes or the Mudejar architecture in Sahagun, I felt that the places in the Meseta had as much to offer as their counterparts in any other part of the Camino.
Yes, I love the Meseta for all of the reasons here, and many more.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (1989 and 2016), Portugues - from Porto (2018)
#49
And statistically, I don't think that most Caminos commence at SJPP, nor that all who start there, walk every step to Compostela in one go.
Absolutely true that statistically most Camino's don't start in SJPP. More start in Sarria than anywhere else. SJPP comes second. But I don't think that the people walking from Sarria are discussing their experience of the Meseta. Nor the people who walk the Norte. And I fully acknowledge that some walk the Camino in sections. My experience was that these seem to be the minority. I think, all in all, I still believe that, for those discussing their experience of the Meseta on forums like this, those who experienced it in a Camino from SJPP are in the majority. (And I write that as someone who started in Roncesvalles.)
 

JabbaPapa

"True Pilgrim"
Camino(s) past & future
100 characters or fewer : see signature details
#50
Absolutely true that statistically most Camino's don't start in SJPP. More start in Sarria than anywhere else. SJPP comes second. But I don't think that the people walking from Sarria are discussing their experience of the Meseta. Nor the people who walk the Norte. And I fully acknowledge that some walk the Camino in sections. My experience was that these seem to be the minority. I think, all in all, I still believe that, for those discussing their experience of the Meseta on forums like this, those who experienced it in a Camino from SJPP are in the majority. (And I write that as someone who started in Roncesvalles.)
Well, on the Meseta itself, it's true that Pilgrims have typically started from Roncesvalles, SJPP, or Le Puy. It's the people usually not skipping sections that you find there.

But still, quite a lot of people do also start in Pamplona or Logroño or Burgos (or join the Francès in those places from other Ways), or Somport, Jaca, or increasingly Lourdes, or from the direction of Catalonia, or even further afield.

Anyway, it's because I love the Francès sections of the Meseta so much that I'll probably never do a Camino not including the Francès. :cool:
 

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