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Vasco del Interior - impressions and photos

peregrino_tom

Member
Camino(s) past & future
.
I walked this way in June and really enjoyed it. I journeyed with a couple of compadres, a Catalan and a Basque, who helped with the language, and it made for many interesting discussions about politics, culture and autonomy!
I wanted to see if it was possible to stay in albergues every night - and indeed it was.
At the start the province of Gipuzkoa is hilly and steep, although for the most part the route follows the river valley into the hinterland. Because the valley floor is flat, all the roads, trains, industry and town want to occupy it as well, but you leave all this behind after a couple of days. Overall, there’s a similar amount of walking on asphalt as the Norte, Portugues or Ingles, but in the early part you are at least on pavement and cycleways for most of this. Once through the St Adrian Tunnel the landscape widens out and it's generally quiet.
I found the Basque people, lands, food, culture and history to be fascinating. I’m now reading Kurlansky’s The Basque History of the World so that some more things are starting to make sense...
If I can recommend just one thing it would be the guided tour of the renovations of the cathedral of Santa Maria in Vitoria Gasteiz. Amazing.
It’s a lovely and surprising camino and I wholeheartedly recommend it. In terms of a guide book - the CSJ one is worth it for the insight and cultural detail but otherwise quite out of date. We took the Gronze pages, from which I transferred the distances and albergue details onto a single sheet. I’ve attached it as a PDF, but send me a message if you want the original spreadsheet.
I’ve written a longer piece for the CSJ website here
and have placed a set of photos on Flickr
Zorte ona, tom
 

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peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
This is wonderful, Tom, thank you. By any chance, have you walked the Camino Baztan? I am thinking that next year I would start with one of these two, but I'm not sure how to choose between them. Both seem to be 9 days, both go through beautiful Basque country, not sure what to do! Buen camino, Laurie
 

peregrino_tom

Member
Camino(s) past & future
.
This is wonderful, Tom, thank you. By any chance, have you walked the Camino Baztan? I am thinking that next year I would start with one of these two, but I'm not sure how to choose between them. Both seem to be 9 days, both go through beautiful Basque country, not sure what to do! Buen camino, Laurie
Hi Laurie, I've not been on the Baztan yet. The book I'm looking at suggests it's a lot less than 9 days - more like 5/6 from Bayonne to Pamplona. I did the Vasco in 10 days as we stopped a day in Vitoria Gasteiz, which was fab.
 
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jprogers

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances 2005
Ptgse 2007 Norte 2009 Ingles 2011
Vasco del 2013 Ourense to SdC 2016
Invierno? 2020
Hi Tom
Great photos and great summary. We walked in June 2013 and your accommodation guide certainly has up to date info. We enjoyed the Basque food very much and also a highlight was the cathedral in Vitoria. We met 1 other pilgrim. Thanks Jill
 

peregrino_tom

Member
Camino(s) past & future
.
Hi Jill, we found more pilgrims, but perhaps we were in a 'pilgrim bubble'. I think three others set out from the Irun albergue the same day as us, and we saw two of them regularly. We picked up about three more at Besain and then met about five or six (typically couples) after Vitoria. With the exception of three Basques starting from their hometowns, they were typically seasoned pilgrims.
 

jpflavin1

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF(10,11,17), Vasco(12), Salvador(13), CP(13), CN(14), Madrid (16), Mozarabe (18), VdlP(19)
Tom:

I also enjoyed this route and believe it is a great alternative to starting in SJPdP. The Vasco is actually quite gentle and pedestrian until Besain. After Zegama it becomes a lot more like the Frances through the wine country of Brinas/Haro.

I keep my avatar as a reminder of the old Roman road after the tunnel.

Ultreya,
Joe
 

peregrino_tom

Member
Camino(s) past & future
.
Hi Joe
yes that's proper old road, hewn into the limestone. Quite something to experience. Requires some concentration when wet!
Cheers, tom
 

Thornley

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances x 2 , Norte x 2 , Le Puy x 3 , Portuguese x 2,
Mont St Michel , Primitivo .
I walked this way in June and really enjoyed it. I journeyed with a couple of compadres, a Catalan and a Basque, who helped with the language, and it made for many interesting discussions about politics, culture and autonomy!
I wanted to see if it was possible to stay in albergues every night - and indeed it was.
At the start the province of Gipuzkoa is hilly and steep, although for the most part the route follows the river valley into the hinterland. Because the valley floor is flat, all the roads, trains, industry and town want to occupy it as well, but you leave all this behind after a couple of days. Overall, there’s a similar amount of walking on asphalt as the Norte, Portugues or Ingles, but in the early part you are at least on pavement and cycleways for most of this. Once through the St Adrian Tunnel the landscape widens out and it's generally quiet.
I found the Basque people, lands, food, culture and history to be fascinating. I’m now reading Kurlansky’s The Basque History of the World so that some more things are starting to make sense...
If I can recommend just one thing it would be the guided tour of the renovations of the cathedral of Santa Maria in Vitoria Gasteiz. Amazing.
It’s a lovely and surprising camino and I wholeheartedly recommend it. In terms of a guide book - the CSJ one is worth it for the insight and cultural detail but otherwise quite out of date. We took the Gronze pages, from which I transferred the distances and albergue details onto a single sheet. I’ve attached it as a PDF, but send me a message if you want the original spreadsheet.
I’ve written a longer piece for the CSJ website here
and have placed a set of photos on Flickr
Zorte ona, tom
Tom ,
When we leave here down under the Vasco & Baztan will occupy the first year
Wonderful photos and the solitude very evident .
We love the Basque countryside , it comes from home exchanging 15 yrs ago in Biarritz
Could the Vasco be done with 15-20 km max days ??
My best wishes and hope this finds you & family well and healthy,
David
 

peregrino_tom

Member
Camino(s) past & future
.
Hi David
Firstly, just to say, it's lovely when someone finds an old thread of mine (I don't start many) and from 5 years ago. I've just been through the photos again and have been smiling and wistful throughout. It really was a very happy camino for me.
I just did a quick check on Gronze and don't see too many changes from my summary PDF. Yes, you can definitely do it in 20km days, but if you stick to albergues it might take a while, as some of them will be half days (no bad thing tho'). VNwalking is the person go to, as I'm sure you have seen, with all that up-to-date experience from last year.
BTW in case you hadn't spotted it, Gronze has little exclamation marks by each of the albergues with hover text that says they are closed in 2020. Not sure when you leave Down Under on what sounds like either a big trip or a permanent move....?
Best wishes, tom
 

VNwalking

Wandering in big circles
Camino(s) past & future
Francés ('14/'15)
San Olav/CF ('16)
Baztanés/CF ('17)
Ingles ('18)
Vasco/CF/Invierno ('19)
VNwalking is the person go to, as I'm sure you have seen, with all that up-to-date experience from last year.
Thank you, and full circle back to you, Tom, as I had printed out your information and found it very useful, still. So you are still the go-to guy. 🙏

Coronavirus closures may make our experiences obsolete, but as it was last year, 15-20km per day would be quite doable, especially if you're willing to go a little off piste and pay a little more.

Recently, while researching the Viejo (which merges with the Vasco at Salvatierra), I learned some things I wish I had known when I was on the Vasco. Next time.
Thete are lots of pertinent links on the thread I started about it, beginning here:
Have a look at this site. It should keep you busy for a while. (I sure wish I had seen this before I waltzed past all this last year!)
 
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