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Traffic and trash

Gigipro

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Coming this month - June 2018. Deciding route.
#1
Hello. Is this a relatively shady route? I'm still deciding my route, and as I'll be there mid-June, I'm hoping to find the route on which i'm least likely to boil. I've seen responses critical in tone to someone who asked a similar question. I'm not looking for a walk in the park, but I'm not able to avoid summer as many pilgrims will do, so of the sun is a major consideration.
I have wanted to take the CF, except i'm a bit squeamish, and I don't want to walk through a 500 mile toilet. Is there less trash along the English way?
I hope to come a route where people who live along the way are happy, still to see pilgrims. Any thoughts. If you have done several, can you say how the caminos compare in these ways? Thank you for your response. Also, I'll be traveling alone - felt the CF might be safest in this regard, but the others, I'm hoping may be as well. Any thoughts?
 
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Lucy Keenan

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Northern Route - 2016
Santiago to Finestiere and Muxia - 2017
Frances Route - May 2018
Camino Ingles
#2
Just finished Frances and got back from Ingles yesterday.

First off the Frances route is NOT 500 miles of trash. And in terms of it being shady on the Ingles, it depends on the weather. It wasn't great when I walked it but it is Galicia.

You get completely different experiences depending on your route.

It also depends how long you have.
 

falcon269

no commercial interests
Camino(s) past & future
yes
#4
I hope to come a route where people who live along the way are happy, still to see pilgrims.
Pilgrims ceased being a novelty two decades ago. Still, I think Spaniards are happy still to see pilgrims (in general). The enthusiastic greeting that was reported in the last century has been reduced to the occasional donativo water and food table place trailside in a handful of places, more so in France than Spain. Those table disappear as the donativo becomes "free."

You may find more shade in cities from buildings than you will find shade in the countryside from trees. Spain is not a remote place to walk, and where it is not developed, it may be agricultural where trees were replace by farmland centuries ago. There are forests planted for pulp wood, and I watched an acre of eucalyptus next to the Camino outside Burgos that went from forest shade to open space in a day! The forests around the Santiago airport were harvested in the last couple of years, so that now is an open walk (until a new crop is grown in twenty years). The xuntas have planted trees to shade the walk, particularly in the meseta, with mixed success. Two in three seedling have died in some places, but it shows some effort to provide shade for walkers.

The Camino Ingles is a nice walk that is mostly from city to city with few villages in between. It has some accommodation bottlenecks as the number of pilgrims increases, so you will need to do some planning and reserving to find a bed in the busier seasons. Only the Camino Frances really has the capacity for the number of pilgrims using it, and that can be over 1,000 per day in the last 100 km. Without a time machine, you will not be able to walk the caminos of the past.:)
 

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Bradypus

Antediluvian
Camino(s) past & future
Too many and too often!
#6
Pilgrims ceased being a novelty two decades ago. Still, I think Spaniards are happy still to see pilgrims (in general). The enthusiastic greeting that was reported in the last century has been reduced to the occasional donativo water and food table place trailside in a handful of places, more so in France than Spain. Those table disappear as the donativo becomes "free."
Sadly true. On my first Camino Frances it was unusual to walk through a town or village without some local person stopping me in the street to ask me where I came from and to wish me well. When I went into a bar or restaurant it was quite common for someone to invite me to join their table with a group of family or friends rather than see me eat or drink alone. On several occasions I found on leaving that my food and drink had been paid for anonymously by another customer, or the bar owner refused any payment as a gift for a pilgrim. That might be sustainable when a village might only see three or four pilgrims on any given day but not when 300 or 400 pass through every day for half the year.
 

peb

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
C. Ingles March 2018
#7
shade on the Ingles is no more than 40% of the way. But the first two days are walking by the coast, and therefore, the sea breeze should cool you down if it is hot. After that, you walk in the countryside in Galicia, which is always less going to be less hot than parts of the inland route of the Frances, because you are no more than 50km from the sea.

I would not say that you encounter people happy to see pilgrims on the Ingles. You don't encounter too many people at all, which is what makes the Ingles attractive. Because there are not too many pilgrims walking it, you have time for contemplation as you walk and peace when walking through the countryside. Where you stop and stay are normal towns (I would not describe them as cities), not towns set up for pilgrims. This though means you see genuine Spain.

Some of the guidebook stages do have limited accommodation at the end of stages, and some of the albergues are not large, but with some planning, accommodation should not be a problem. I do not think that you need to be up and out before dawn on the Ingles in order to secure a bed for the night.

As for trash, I did not see much at all on the Ingles. Because the route is not walked as much as the Frances, you are walking through normal countryside where people get on with their everyday lives. That means that bars and food stops can be 10km apart, but it does mean that you are walking through genuine, slow living, countryside.

Last point to add is that many guidebooks map out a 5 day walk on the Ingles with long 20km plus stages. You do not need to follow the guidebook stages, and if you take 7 or 8 days, for example; cutting the first stage from Ferrol to Pontedeume in half and staying at Xubia or Neda, and then cutting the Pontedeume to Betanzos stage in half and staying at Mino, you can have a much more enjoyable walk.

If you do walk the Ingles, think about flying into La Coruna, as this is often cheaper than flying into Santiago (you can easily take a train from Santiago back to La Coruna at the end of your camino), and think about spending a day in La Coruna exploring before you go off to Ferrol.

If you have never walked a Camino before, I would do the Ingles. As said above, it is 5 to 8 days, so if it turns out not to be your thing, you don't need to worry that you are stuck for 40 days or so. hopefully, what you will end up doing is loving the Camino experience, loving reaching Santiago, and then using the Ingles as some kind of taster for a longer Camino in the future.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Portugues - Tui to Santiago (2014, I think)
French - St Jean to Santiago to Finester (2018)
#8
I wanted to walk the Frances. The idea came to me a couple of years ago.

However, not being to sure, we (Mrs Biff not wanting to left out) tried the Portuguese from Tui - about a weeks walking - to see if we liked it.

Completed the Frances (and Fisterra) last week. It has its good parts and not so good parts, its up and downs, highs and lows. We both enjoyed it and had a lovely time (Peregrine Torture Tower not withstanding!). Just prepare for a long, long walk.

Bon Camiño
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Inglés (July 2015)
Chiasso - Le Puy (Jan 2015 - July 2017)
Le Puy - SDC (Summer 2018 -)
#9
We found a lot of friendly people on the Ingles 3 years ago, including a woman before Neda who invited us to pick fruit from her orchard, use her bathroom and she made us coffee and introduced us to her extended family. People would wave and slow down in cars and even say thank you for walking the Camino for everyone. In Siguero where we were wandering after dinner someone stopped their car and asked if we needed directions or any help, and in Bruma the restaurant owner from Meson gave us a lift back to the albergue in the evening after we'd walked there in the evening to find a supermarket. There were many small instances of kindness - shops giving us extra food "to give us strength" to bars making sure we got our food quickly.

There is some shade in the woody bits, but there are a lot of roads, and I appreciated my wide-brimmed hat (I'm a teacher so can't go anytime except July either). We started early enough that it wasn't a problem. As a first Camino I'd definitely recommend the Ingles. I've not done the CF, so I can't compare it with a busier route.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Piémont, Frances, Littoral, Norte, Ingles (completed) Baztan, St. Jaume, Portuguese (planned!)
#10
Unfortunately, avoiding the heat entirely is a fruitless pursuit - especially during the summer. It was extremely hot when I walked the Ingles last June. Conversely, it was cool and breezy when I walked the across the Meseta of the Camino Frances in July 2014.

So, please don't pick your Camino based on weather chances. It is as finicky as any other place in the world.

Instead, I would recommend choosing the Camino that speaks to you. Are you looking for natural, unspoiled beauty? Try the Primitivo, the first section of the Norte (Basque Country to Santander), any Caminos in the Pyrenees. Are you looking for culture? The Camino Frances, hands down.

Lucky for you, there is no wrong choice. All Caminos have combinations of both these things, and I have found friendly souls on all routes! And all Caminos will also have at least a little trash.

Walk the route that calls to you. You can't go wrong! Buen Camino :)
 


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