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Traveling from Ireland, walking for 20 days beginning 13th April

Camino(s) past & future
I plan to walk the French Camino Way in April this year 2017
#1
Hello everyone, I'm very excited to be planning my trip and have a few questions. Firstly about flights, I am traveling from Ireland and will be flying into Madrid on 12th April with Ryanair or Aerlingus and believe there are a few airports to choose from, which would be best for traveling on from? I also need to decide to fly back from either Santiago or Madrid - is it easy enough to travel to Madrid airport on a Sunday? Secondly and most importantly I would like to allow time to enjoy all the natural beauty and allow time for spontaneity where would you advice me to begin? Lastly (for now ;-) I'm a little concerned it's going to be very busy at this time and don't want to feel like I'm in competition to get a bed - I would also like to enjoy some tranquility on my journey as well as company along the way, any tips? If it is very touristy at this time I don't think I would enjoy it so much...what do you think? I am 50 years old this year, relatively fit but do plan on physically preparing for the challenge. Thanks for any advice
 

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Camino(s) past & future
I plan to walk the French Camino Way in April this year 2017
#2
I'm thinking about starting in Burgos, does this sound doable? I also forgot to mention I'm on a tight budget
 
Camino(s) past & future
SJPD to Burgos April 2015, Burgos to Leon.(May 2016)
Leon to Santiago(April2017)
#3
your going to hit the Easter weekend so might be busy.You can easily pre book private Albergues on your route.I walked Burgos to Leon 2016 and booked ahead every day,no problems
 

Tincatinker

Moderator
Staff member
Camino(s) past & future
Lots ;0)
#4
@slowprocess , welcome to the Forum. The answers to all your questions will be in these pages somewhere.

20 days from Burgos to Santiago is just about doable if you are reasonably fit, travel light, avoid injury and don't take any rest days. Walking day after day is a very different experience from any practice hike.

13-14 days from Leon would give you a comfortable hike with time to smell the roses, enjoy Santiago, and perhaps continue to Fisterra / Muxia. You may find www.gronze.com helpful in planning your stages.

There is only Madrid Barajas but with 4 Terminals. Travel to Leon from Madrid is easy (lots of information in the Travelling to/from the Camino pages)

Holy Week will be busy but you are very unlikely to not get a bed and the crowds will have dissipated by the time you reach Santiago.

Happy planning
 
Camino(s) past & future
Portomarin - SdC( May 2010), SJdPP - Muxia (Sept/Oct 2012), Lisbon - SdC (April/May 2013), Seville -Muxia (April/May2014), Irun - Oviedo ( Oct 2015),Primitivo + Verde +Ingles (June 2016),Madrid -Sahagun + Camino del Salvador(April 2017)
#5
Slowprocess this may be of interest to you. Camino Society Ireland are holding an information day in St James Church Centre, James St, Dublin8 on Saturday 18th February 2017 11am to 4pm
Buen Camino
 

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Fletchonides

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
SJPdP - Pamplona (2014)
Pamplona - Burgos (2016)
Burgos - Leon (June 2017)
Leon - SdC (June 2018)
#6
We are walking Burgos to Leon in early June, and flying to Santander, then getting a bus to Burgos.
If the Madrid flight is booked, then look at the time it gets in, and find train/bus times that will get you to where you plan to start.
I would look to book the first night, so you have certainty, as you will likely arrive in the evening.

We will actually fly out of Santander as well. One of the reasons for that is because we feel we don't want to fly into or out of Santiago as our first experience of it; we want to walk into Santiago; probably next year.

We booked most hostels on previous legs, precisely because we didn't want to be in a bed race.

It may be busy at Easter, but you will find solitude and calm as you walk. People are usually sensitive to those that don't want to chat much as they walk, and we walked alone for long stretches (even though there were people 100m in front of us and behind us).

in terms of when to leave, if you have a fixed number of days, then calculate from Burgos and from Leon etc. and see if you are likely to make it at your pace. maybe allow a couple of days in Santiago at the end so you can take a rest day along the way if necessary. If you're not tied to a rigid time, then still calculate the number of days and see where to start from.

You do need to know your options for bus/train transfer to Madrid/Santiago, so you know what you need to do to make sure you get your flight on time.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Several and counting...
#7
hello @slowprocess and welcome. I agree with all of what people have said. Burgos will be a little strenuous for 20 days and Leon very doable, with extra time at the end.

I have flown to Madrid and Santander from Liverpool and Dublin in the past and Oviedo from Stansted. Santander (Ryanair) is very nice and simple, if it fits timewise. I got bus in from airport to bus station and then Alsa bus to Burgos. Much less of a hassle than Madrid, although to be fair, Madrid is not a HUGE hassle.

You can get a lot of buses direct from the airport in Madrid, or else you need to get a shuttle bus in to railway/bus station in Madrid. Rome2rio.com useful for checking providers and then alsa.es website - Alsa is commonest intercity bus company. Strangely I have often found it easier to pay for an Alsa ticket online using the movelia.com website. You can print your ticket out in advance. You can probably do it on a phone app now, but I have not, yet.

I don't think you will find it too busy in April, though Easter and the school holidays in Spain will cause a bit of a blip in numbers.

I always enjoy extra days at the end. Starting from Leon, I can't think of anywhere you would probably want to stop off for a day. Coming from Burgos, I would always stop at Leon for a day. Astorga is nice, but if you start at Leon possibly a bit too soon for a day off!
Plenty to see and do in Santiago. You could also walk to Finisterre, or go to Finisterre by bus.

Aerlingus fly directly from Santiago to Dublin which is handy, but it is not all year around, I think and not every day of the week, unfortunately. Certainly on Saturdays. If not, connecting to Madrid is easy enough by coach or train from Santiago. Or it can be surprisingly cheap to fly Ryanair from Santiago to Madrid, or Stansted or Gatwick and then on to Dublin. Again Rome2rio.com is helpful.

Buen camino.
 
Camino(s) past & future
I plan to walk the French Camino Way in April this year 2017
#8
You are all fabulous thank you, I'm enjoying the journey already - everyone I speak to has some gem wisdom to add to my backpack. So far I've booked my flights - flying into Madrid and back home from Santiago and yes I think I will start from Leon and enjoy Finisterre at the end. The next question I have is about footwear, I have had 3 different bits of advice so far 1) boots 2) shoes 3) two pairs of shoes (a bit cumbersome as I am enjoy taking the minimum). I don't want to get blisters and hear this can be avoided with good, worn in footwear. Do you have any advice?

Thank you Trekkers :)
 

Fletchonides

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
SJPdP - Pamplona (2014)
Pamplona - Burgos (2016)
Burgos - Leon (June 2017)
Leon - SdC (June 2018)
#9
There are probably as many opinions on footwear as people on the forum.
You don't 'need' high walking boots as its not mountain climbing and the path is generally ok. There are some places where the descent is a little steep and you might benefit from some ankle support.
I did the last few years in Hitec shoes, and went in to buy a replacement (in Great Outdoors, Dublin), and ended up with Merrell All-Out Blaze mid shoes, because they were so comfortable.
They do need to be good quality, and you will do some walking on tarmac and road as well as track, so good soles are a must. Some folks here like trail runners as they are generally lighter.
I wouldn't bring two pairs of shoes, but I do bring a pair of good sandals to change into when I get to my destination, that allow my feet to breathe and rest.

Go find a good pair, buy them and break them in.
On the avoiding of blisters there are also many opinions. I wear liner socks with hiking socks, and also put coconut oil or vaseline-type stuff on the areas of my feet likely to develop hotspots. Some people wear socks with double material. I didn't avoid getting blisters, but they were mostly small ones.
 
Camino(s) past & future
"2016"
#10
There are probably as many opinions on footwear as people on the forum.
You don't 'need' high walking boots as its not mountain climbing and the path is generally ok. There are some places where the descent is a little steep and you might benefit from some ankle support.
I did the last few years in Hitec shoes, and went in to buy a replacement (in Great Outdoors, Dublin), and ended up with Merrell All-Out Blaze mid shoes, because they were so comfortable.
They do need to be good quality, and you will do some walking on tarmac and road as well as track, so good soles are a must. Some folks here like trail runners as they are generally lighter.
I wouldn't bring two pairs of shoes, but I do bring a pair of good sandals to change into when I get to my destination, that allow my feet to breathe and rest.

Go find a good pair, buy them and break them in.
On the avoiding of blisters there are also many opinions. I wear liner socks with hiking socks, and also put coconut oil or vaseline-type stuff on the areas of my feet likely to develop hotspots. Some people wear socks with double material. I didn't avoid getting blisters, but they were mostly small ones.
I am taking a pair of skechers as my secondary footwear, very light, comfortable and for me sandals maybe too cold for March.
 

JabbaPapa

"True Pilgrim"
Camino(s) past & future
100 characters or fewer : see signature details
#11
20 days with a good pace would suggest a departure from Burgos, but given your desire for a more leisurely and slow Camino I'd agree with the suggestions to start at Léon.

It's a great place to start -- the flatter end part of the Meseta leads into the pleasant walk into Astorga, not too tough, but enough to prepare one physically for the hike over the mountains above past Cruz de Ferro, towards Ponferrada.

Then up towards O Cebreiro -- and don't listen to anyone, the easier tarmac option is perfectly OK too (better than cheating with a taxi anyway !!) -- then after a last struggle down to Triacastela, and couple days later the always mystifying passage through Portomarìn, the mind simply starts to tend towards Santiago and the difficulties become a second nature.
 

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