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The Meseta

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Humbertico

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Plan 2018
How long is the Meseta? Is it Burgos to Leon? How many stages and days?Is it all flat and dull? Is it near the half way point is the CF?
Gracias Peregrinos! Humbertico
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances, 2015
Meseta means plateau so it is generally level but there are a few ups and downs. I've looked at elevation profiles before and I say it starts just a bit before Burgos and ends just a bit after Astorga.

There is no defined halfway point on the CF but you CAN get a halfway certificate in Sahagun.
 

RJM

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
A few times
Yes, approximately the section between Burgos and Leon. It is basically rolling hills and flat plains, filled with agricultural fields. It is lovely, not in the least ugly or boring and sometimes gets a bad and exaggerated rap by pilgrims. It does encompass the halfway point of the Frances.
 

Humbertico

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Plan 2018
Yes, approximately the section between Burgos and Leon. It is basically rolling hills and flat plains, filled with agricultural fields. It is lovely, not in the least ugly or boring and sometimes gets a bad and exaggerated rap by pilgrims. It does encompass the halfway point of the Frances.
Any thoughts or tips on biking Burgos to Leon and walk the rest CF?
 

David

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Moissac to Santiago Spring 2005 was the first foray.
To me the Meseta is wonderful, iconic pilgrim Camino and no, it isn't all flat. It may seem like that when driving a car but walking is different! There is a brilliant steep climb out of Castrojeriz, for instance.

As for dull - well, dull is in the mind isn't it? As our good William wrote in Hamlet "there is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so".

It is an experience, with plenty of time for inner 'work' - enjoy!

Buen Camino.
 

Anamiri

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances
I loved the Meseta, and will walk it again.
If your goal is to reduce the number of days, then biking is an option, there is really only one big hill out of Castrojerez.
If you have plenty of time, walk it.
 

Bala

Veteran member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances: SJPdP-Burgos, (2015); Burgos-Sarria (2018); Sarria-Santiago (2018).
Frances (2020)
I also loved the Meseta. And I was hardly alone. It was a regular topic of discussion among pilgrims -- "How can people say this is boring?" It is beautiful.

And don't let anybody kid you. It is not flat! No, it's not the Pyrenees. But it's definitely not flat. (You want flat? Come see Delaware!:p).

I loved the rolling hillsides, and the villages tucked in the valleys that seemed to materialize out of nowhere. In April there were a thousand birds singing every morning, and the fields were a dozen shades of green, and the sky, brilliant, cloudless blue.

And mystical. Any regular reader of this forum will know three names that come up repeatedly as very special places on the Camino-- San Anton, San Bol, San Nicholás. All on the meseta. Connection? Think about it.

Shortly before Sahagun there is a slight alternate route to the hermitage of the Virgin of the Bridge. Just beyond that are statues and markers declaring you are crossing the halfway point between Roncesvalles and Santiago. You can impress your friends with a certificate to that effect from church museum up the hill as you leave town.

There were many bicyclers. I don't know the rental companies, but there seemed to be plenty. And, contrary to many reports I have read, my experience was that they rode at a moderate speed, alerted walkers they were approaching, and, almost without exception, wished us Buen Camino or Hola as they passed. They looked like they were having lots of fun.

Enjoy the Meseta. It's very special. Buen Camino.
 

Humbertico

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Plan 2018
I also loved the Meseta. And I was hardly alone. It was a regular topic of discussion among pilgrims -- "How can people say this is boring?" It is beautiful.

And don't let anybody kid you. It is not flat! No, it's not the Pyrenees. But it's definitely not flat. (You want flat? Come see Delaware!:p).

I loved the rolling hillsides, and the villages tucked in the valleys that seemed to materialize out of nowhere. In April there were a thousand birds singing every morning, and the fields were a dozen shades of green, and the sky, brilliant, cloudless blue.

And mystical. Any regular reader of this forum will know three names that come up repeatedly as very special places on the Camino-- San Anton, San Bol, San Nicholás. All on the meseta. Connection? Think about it.

Shortly before Sahagun there is a slight alternate route to the hermitage of the Virgin of the Bridge. Just beyond that are statues and markers declaring you are crossing the halfway point between Roncesvalles and Santiago. You can impress your friends with a certificate to that effect from church museum up the hill as you leave town.

There were many bicyclers. I don't know the rental companies, but there seemed to be plenty. And, contrary to many reports I have read, my experience was that they rode at a moderate speed, alerted walkers they were approaching, and, almost without exception, wished us Buen Camino or Hola as they passed. They looked like they were having lots of fun.

Enjoy the Meseta. It's very special. Buen Camino.
Gracias Peregrina!
 

JennyH94

Pilgrim in progress
Camino(s) past & future
The Frances and part VF, first-aid helper and hospitalera
Hi Humbertico - the Meseta is an absolute joy, for all the reasons everyone is posting here. IMO it's a cyclist's dream - please don't miss out on this very special and magical part of the Camino - those huge Spanish skies and the landscape which goes forever will stay with you and in future times you'll long to be back there.
Cheers from Oz -
Jenny
 
Camino(s) past & future
cycled from Pamplona Sep 2015;Frances, walked from St Jean May/June 2017. Plans to walk Porto 2020
Hola @Humbertico ; I have both cycled and walked the Meseta and I think I enjoyed the walk more than the ride, even when it rained all the way from Rabe de las Calzadas to Hontanas. I rode in September and it was warm to hot and very dry; the walk was in May and very green. As for those half-way certificates - well good luck we tried for a number of hours and never found the establishment open!! Cheers
 

MikeyC

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF - September 2016
CF - April May 2017
Shikoku - October 2017
Kumano Kodo - October 2017
CF - 2019
We too have read of pilgrims skipping the Meseta or describing it as dull. For us it is the most wonderful part of the Camino. We'll take it any day over a wet Galician stroll through lanes smelling of cowpats.
 
Camino(s) past & future
cycled from Pamplona Sep 2015;Frances, walked from St Jean May/June 2017. Plans to walk Porto 2020
The old convent is a museum now and so it is closed on at least one day a week, probably Monday. They also observe siesta.
Hola Rick sounds about right, except that the signage said nothing about Monday siesta!! But come to think of it it was a Monday as we had been in Ledigos on a Sunday. Cheers!
 

Irish Bernie

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Francis 2013-2014-2015,16 and June 2017,May 2018,Sept 2018.
Finished the Meseta a few weeks ago,rain rain n more rain,oh and lot's of touristos booking most of the beds,not a pleaseant experience but the walking was ok,unfortunately the CF is now reduced to a circus of retired folk who smell of aftershave and hairspray :(
 

Pelegrin

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Primitivo June 2013
SJPP - Logroño June 2014
Ingles July2016
We too have read of pilgrims skipping the Meseta or describing it as dull. For us it is the most wonderful part of the Camino. We'll take it any day over a wet Galician stroll through lanes smelling of cowpats.
Did you mean that if the Camino ended in Leon would be more successful?
I don´t think so
 

linkster

Nunca dejes de creer!
Camino(s) past & future
CF (17) Sarria - Portomarín
CF (17) SJPdP - SdC
CF (18) SJPdP - Fisterra
CP (19) Porto - Muxia
I found the Meseta provided me an opportunity for introspection. Just me and my shadow. I am glad I did not skip it.:D:cool:
 

Attachments

Camino(s) past & future
Portugués, Francés, Le Puy, Rota Vicentina, Soulac, Norte, Madrid, Salvador, Primitivo, Aragonés
Any thoughts or tips on biking Burgos to Leon and walk the rest CF?
Hi, the problem with that idea is that you then get out of sync with your “camino family”. After 2 or 3 weeks on the road you find you are walking parallel with some pretty good companions. Two of my “family” one year had booked bicycles to cycle across the “boring” meseta. We (about 12 of us) had a big farewell party in Burgos, as these two on bikes would now get ahead of us. We never saw them again. I often wonder how it would have panned out if they hadn’t rented the bikes . . . .
Jill
 

lt56ny

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF2012,Le Puy/CF 2015 Portugues 2017 Norte 2018, CF 2019
Finished the Meseta a few weeks ago,rain rain n more rain,oh and lot's of touristos booking most of the beds,not a pleaseant experience but the walking was ok,unfortunately the CF is now reduced to a circus of retired folk who smell of aftershave and hairspray :(
And I guess it has been reduced even further by Judgements pulled out of one's wazoo.
 

RJM

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
A few times
Finished the Meseta a few weeks ago,rain rain n more rain,oh and lot's of touristos booking most of the beds,not a pleaseant experience but the walking was ok,unfortunately the CF is now reduced to a circus of retired folk who smell of aftershave and hairspray :(
I like walking the Frances. I am not retired, have not worn aftershave in 30 years and not sure what use hairspray would be to my shaved head.
 

Irish Bernie

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Francis 2013-2014-2015,16 and June 2017,May 2018,Sept 2018.
I like walking the Frances. I am not retired, have not worn aftershave in 30 years and not sure what use hairspray would be to my shaved head.
Ah you'll be that bloke with the wee scruffy dog on a piece of string then :)
 

lt56ny

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF2012,Le Puy/CF 2015 Portugues 2017 Norte 2018, CF 2019
A wazoo that's walked it 7 times.
I am on my 5th camino this year. you should try some of the other ones (Maybe you have but it looks like your little bio only shows CF, forgive me if I am wron). I do not walk the CF anymore because of the crowds although I may do it in a year or two in the winter. I think it would be a very different Camino.The Le Puy Camino is really great. But there are a lot of old retired French and Germans, so maybe that will not work. I will be an old but not retired fart who will be walking the Norte in September. I will let you know how that goes.
 

Irish Bernie

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Francis 2013-2014-2015,16 and June 2017,May 2018,Sept 2018.
I am on my 5th camino this year. you should try some of the other ones (Maybe you have but it looks like your little bio only shows CF, forgive me if I am wron). I do not walk the CF anymore because of the crowds although I may do it in a year or two in the winter. I think it would be a very different Camino.The Le Puy Camino is really great. But there are a lot of old retired French and Germans, so maybe that will not work. I will be an old but not retired fart who will be walking the Norte in September. I will let you know how that goes.
Yeah I'm planning the Portuguese route next year,one more Santiago-Finn-Muxia this Sept n that's me finished with CF.I know everybody is entitled to walk the CF,I'm just being a grump :)
 

MikeyC

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF - September 2016
CF - April May 2017
Shikoku - October 2017
Kumano Kodo - October 2017
CF - 2019
Did you mean that if the Camino ended in Leon would be more successful?
I don´t think so
Just saying... the Meseta was our favourite part, Galicia wasn't. Not sure where the idea of terminating in Leon arose.
 

trecile

Camino Addict
Camino(s) past & future
SJPDP-Finisterre X 2 - 2016 & 2017, El Norte - Irun to Vilalba 2018
One of the (many) great things about the Camino Frances is the variety of landscapes. Mountains, vineyards, rolling hills, the Meseta, cities and towns. It would be boring if it were all the same.
 

Pelegrin

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Primitivo June 2013
SJPP - Logroño June 2014
Ingles July2016
Just saying... the Meseta was our favourite part, Galicia wasn't. Not sure where the idea of terminating in Leon arose.
Leon is more or less the end of the Meseta on the Camino Francés If the end of the Camino was Leon instead of Santiago, Galicia would stay completely outside of the pilgrimage. In that case the number of pilgrims would be significantly lower (especially Spaniards). So green Galicia is very important on the Camino success.
 

Luka

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Pelgrimspad I, Via Monastica, Via Podiensis, Via de la Plata, Camino Francés, Camino del Norte...
I just walked the first part of the meseta again, from Burgos to Frómista. It was a very pleasant surprise. Green fields, full of flowers, impressive skies. Loved it!

But what about the second part? Say roughly from Frómista to Astorga? There were a lot of pilgrims on the train to León to skip this part. I know the stage from Frómista to Carrión de los Condes is on a boring path next to a road. But after that? Is the second part of the meseta different from the first?

(I have walked several caminos in Spain, France, Belgium and the Netherlands, but - coincidentally or not - I never walked the Francés between Carrión de los Condes and Astorga.)
 

Cambridge Pilgrim

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Part walked / part cycled September 2014 SJPdP to SdC
Walked SJPdP to SdC summer 2017
I loved the Meseta, and will walk it again.
If your goal is to reduce the number of days, then biking is an option, there is really only one big hill out of Castrojerez.
If you have plenty of time, walk it.
When cycling there’s a road route you can take to Fromista to circumnavigate the hill - which is what we chose to do. It does mean you miss the great views from the descent though.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances, 2015
When cycling there’s a road route you can take to Fromista to circumnavigate the hill - which is what we chose to do. It does mean you miss the great views from the descent though.
You have much more time on the ascent than on the descent to admire views; but less inclination.

Fondly remember helping a cyclist up the hill by pushing for awhile while he strained at pedaling.
 

freeflyer123

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
www.cyclingsofties.blog
Camino de Santiago, 2013
The main thing I remember about riding the Meseta is that there is a huge lack of trees. We rode the Camino back in July 2013 and it was hot, hot, hot. Although it was great to reach the Meseta and get a break from the rather more challenging hills (although there were more to come), it was a pleasure getting into a rhythm simply cycling along a more flattish route for a while. But you must make sure you have plenty of water with you and a good hat because if you are hoping to find a tree to sit under for a while, you'll be unlucky.

I talk about riding the Meseta in my blog (https://cyclingsofties.blog) on Day 9. You might find something there to give you a clue what to expect. Of course, everybody's experience is different.
 

MarkyD

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Francés 31/08/2018 - 20/10/2018
How long is the Meseta? Is it Burgos to Leon? How many stages and days?Is it all flat and dull? Is it near the half way point is the CF?
Gracias Peregrinos! Humbertico
The Meseta is approximately 188km (from Burgos to Astorga) which in some guides is planned over 8 stages i.e. 8 days walking. But often by that part of the Camino many people might be nursing injuries and taking longer by walking shorter days where possible. The stages are up to you, so you could do what you want. You really start to appreciate the vastness of the Maseta after the hill at Alto de Mostelares (100m height incease), shortly after leaving Castrojeriz. It's from there that your mind will start to quieten down a lot (if you let it!) and some deep emotions can bubble up to the surface when you least expect it. So its certainly not dull in that respect. I personally found it to be a great test, but also a fabulously enriching experience.
Some sections have longer distances with no village in sight (10km up to 17km). People separate out more, as everyone has a different pace. It's not completely flat, there are some rolling up and down bits.
Beware of water fountains that might not have good treated water - Carrión de los Condes has often been reported to be a place where several pilgrims have picked up an unpleasant stomach bug of some kind.
The half way point (Roncesvalles - Santiago) is at the Ermita de la Virgen del Puente just before entering Sahagún. (Watch the signs carefully or you'll miss the turn). You'll find a small monument there, that signifies the half-way point. In the town of Sahagún you can obtain a half-way certificate from Santuario de la Peregrina, which also houses a small museum. It's worth spending an hour there.
Some pilgrims hire bikes to go from Burgos to León, or even skip it altogether by taking the bus or train. But if you have the time and you are not troubled by serious injury, then I believe it's an essential part of your Camino experience, and for some it will be when transformation starts to take place. So, embrace it my dear friend, love the Maseta and it will love you back.
 

gersevink

Member
Camino(s) past & future
2013 Camino del Norte, Fisterra, Muxia
2015 Via de la Plata Sevilla Santiago
2016 Camino Portugues
How long is the Meseta? Is it Burgos to Leon? How many stages and days?Is it all flat and dull? Is it near the half way point is the CF?
Gracias Peregrinos! Humbertico
Niet zeuren gewoon gaan!
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances, 2015
How long is the Meseta? Is it Burgos to Leon? How many stages and days?Is it all flat and dull? Is it near the half way point is the CF?
Gracias Peregrinos! Humbertico
Starts in Burgos, Brierley's stage 13 takes you out of town. Some say the meseta ends at Leon, Brierley's stage 21 takes you out. I say the end is in Astorga and Brierley's stage 23 sets you on your way to climbing out of the meseta.
 
Thread starter OLDER threads on this topic Forum Replies Date
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