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Walking the Camino Frances a second time... good or bad idea?

Mark2012

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Camino Frances (2012, 2014) Camino Finisterre (2012, 2013, 2014) Camino Portugues (2013), Camino del Norte (2015)
Hello all,

I'm hoping to walk the Camino in July and August of this year, and at the moment I'm mulling over which route to take. I walked the full Camino Frances in May & June 2012 and the Camino Portugues from just outside Porto in June 2013, so I'm a reasonably seasoned walker at this stage! This year, I've been thinking about walking the Norte or the Via de la Plata, but I'm also considering perhaps walking the Frances again.

And that's the main focus of this thread - the Frances second time around, good idea or bad idea? I absolutely loved it in 2012 and made some wonderful friends along the way. I'm guessing starting in early July will be noticeably more busy than it was starting in late May two years ago, but that's not my main reservation. My fear/anxiety is that second time around it just won't feel the same, that in retreading my steps I'll be thinking about 2012 and all the people I met and what I was doing the last time I was in town X or village Y. It can't be the same second time around, I know that, but do I risk sullying my perfect memories of the first time around or should I just go into it with that sense that no two Caminos are ever the same and try not to think in terms of comparisons.

Even last year, walking the Portuguese way felt a little weird. I was struck by how different the 'personality' of that route to Santiago is. It's not that it was better or worse, merely different. Certainly the social element was easier to cultivate on the French way because there is much more of an eclectic mix of ages, nationalities, and circumstances, and I think I missed that a little bit when walking last year.

Any thoughts on my 'dilemma' (I use the word self-effacingly, as what a lovely dilemma it will be if I find myself to spend five or so weeks walking this summer!) would be much appreciated!
 
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nidarosa

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Inglés 2009+2017, Francés 2012+2018, Astorga-Santiago repeatedly
Hi, I know exactly what you mean and how you feel. I was planning on walking a pilgrimage route in Norway this year, but for different reasons this will not be possible - at least not the way I planned it. I am also still thinking a lot about my 2012, six week Frances and would like to go back, but this time on my own from the beginning. My idea is to try to stop in different places next time, and make a point of making the two walks different. Last time I skipped Eunate - next time I will take the walk up there. Last time I walked straight through Ponferrada early in the morning - next time I will stop there and see the city. Last time I stopped in Santiago - next time I will walk to the ocean, etc. No two caminos can be the same, because we are no longer the same, so I will do things differently and hopefully experience even more Camino Magic!

Buen Camino!
 

Phillypilgrim

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
C F Sept.(2013) Camino de Madrid & Finisterre/Muxia Sept. (2014)
Finisterre/Muia June (2017).
What about a little of both walks? "Tunnel" route to CF (at Burgos) then CF to "Invierno" route (at Ponferrada) and on to Santiago. This way you have something different and something familiar. Anywho, those are the two paths I am pondering for my second walk, fall 2014.
 
Year of past OR future Camino
2012
It looks like I may have the opportunity to walk again in spring (aren't temporary contracts wonderful) and because I will have the time I've been thinking about walking the Frances again. Different pace, different Albergues, different Camino. I am now resolved to take the Salvador from Leon up to Oviedo and then the Primitivo down to Melide for the final sprint. I gained much from walking the Frances and I am sure there are further lessons that route could offer. However, one of the joys of discovering this forum has been the joy of discovering so many possible ways to Santiago.

Some nights I want to follow them all...
 

colinPeter

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
SJPP-SDC (2009) Somport-Jaca, Burgos-SDC, Cee-Muxia (2012) Le Puy - Aumont-Aubrac (2014) SJPP-SDC (Oct 2015)
Hi Mark2012,
I think everyone who was walked the "Frances" more than once will have a different story.
Although I didn't think it possible for me to recapture the feeling I had upon reaching SDC for the first time, the second time was a wonderful experience also.
In fact places & events along the way the second time round, were new and special also and this time we went on to Muxia to have a "end point" .
After arriving the first time I pretty much decided that even though it was the most wonderful experience, I would most likely not return, because I had "already done that".
However, after finishing the second time, which was wonderful in a new way, there was only looking forward to number 3, which hopefully we will do later, Le Puy next then Frances again.
I can't think of a section that we repeated, and there are some alternate routes along the way, that I was disappointed to walk again.
But obviously, that is just one persons experience.
So good luck with your decision making.
Buen Camino
Colin
 
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S

simply B

Guest
Mark -

You will likely make comparisons to your first Camino no matter what you do. That is not a criticism on my part but an observation of what you have already noted:
Even last year, walking the Portuguese way felt a little weird. I was struck by how different the 'personality' of that route to Santiago is. It's not that it was better or worse, merely different. Certainly the social element was easier to cultivate on the French way because there is much more of an eclectic mix of ages, nationalities, and circumstances, and I think I missed that a little bit when walking last year.

The choice is yours, of course, but I think you might be surprised at how different a remembered landscape becomes with a change in weather, ambient light, surrounding vegetation, and numbers of people around you. Yes, the buildings and the city streets will definitely be familiar... but I think the rest of the walk will show a cumulative alteration and opportunity for visual and social surprise. And you seem keen on the social aspects and the multi-route experts seem to agree that the CF is the most social of routes. Just a best guess on my part though...

Buen Camino to you on any route,

B
 

domigee

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
2020? Looks like.... nowhere! 😁
Hello Mark2012,
I don't think it's a bad idea at all! It'll be a different camino anyway even though you'll be going through the same places... You'll be different, the people you meet will be different... The countryside will have changed as well since you'll be walking in the Summer months...
I walked the camino francés twice, both times mid-July to mid-August (I'm a teacher) and both times were won-der-ful, in very different ways. So enjoy, and buen camino!
 

CaminoKris2013

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
(2014)
My only advice is to not look to repeat those experiences. It is not possible. Try to look at it with different eyes...
 

scruffy1

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Holy Year from Pamplona 2010, SJPP 2011, Lisbon 2012, Le Puy 2013, Vezelay (partial watch this space!) 2014; 2015 Toulouse-Puenta la Reina (Arles)
To walk a second time? It's a great idea! Do try to change your stages, try to stay in different albergues unless you really loved one, say En El Camino in Boadila for example, and not to be afraid to go walkabout on side trips, detours, or parts of another Camino, take off on just about any adventure which pops up. Consider maybe something farther afield-Le Puy is a great walk, totally different from anything you have done, and true, more expensive and you will not make it to Santiago in 32 days but it is a marvelous totally different experience too.
 

Mark2012

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Camino Frances (2012, 2014) Camino Finisterre (2012, 2013, 2014) Camino Portugues (2013), Camino del Norte (2015)
Thanks for all the replies on this so far. Lots of good points made and plenty food for thought. I won't have to make a decision for some time on this, so I'll be able to mull it over for a while yet. In fact, depending on how things work out, I may not have to make a decision between the Frances and the Norte until after my flight lands in Biarritz. Maybe I'll toss a coin after I leave the airport! ;-)
 
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biarritzdon

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
CF11, CF12, CP13, CF14, CA15, S.Anton15, CF&CI15
Ditch Pig16, CF&CP17, CdN18, CM18, CF18, LePuy19
I completed the CF in 2012 and did the Camino Portugues in June 2013. Like you, I was looking at alternatives for 2014 like starting in Oloron Sainte Mairie on the Camino Aragones until it joins the CF in Peunte la Reina or walking the GR 10 from Hendaye to near Perpignan. The Aragones looks like a great way to cross the Pyrenees and friends of mine in Biarritz have raved about the beauty of walking the GR 10; but then a friend of mine from North Carolina asked if she could go along with me this year so I decided to go for the tried and true route.
 

peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
Hi, Mark. You're right, it's a lovely conundrum to have!

In my experience there are two kinds of "repeat offenders" on the Camino. There are those who go back to the Frances year after year. And there are those who return to walk a new Camino every year. I'm in the latter category, but I have met many people who have walked the Frances 8, 10, or more times. I've often wondered what it is that explains the difference. Not sure I have the answers but I can tell you about me.

I have walked the Frances several times. My first time was in 2000 when I turned 50. I found that on my returns I was feeling more like a part of a moving sidewalk. I made a conscious decision not to compare, not to try to recreate, but had a hard time with the crowds and the inevitable increase in commercialization. So I started walking the untravelled ones, and I was hooked. For me the hours of solitude, the chance to enjoy new parts of Spain, the adventure of walking in new territory and not feeling threatened or unsafe just really appeals to me. I will admit that the being totally alone is sometimes hard to take and that I prefer having some company, but I have been alone in enough albergues to have figured out how to make the best of it.

I agree that the Norte and the VDLP are the two alternatives with fewer pilgrims than the Frances but more than the Invierno, Vadiniense, Levante, etc. My only cautions on those two in the summer (rather than spring) is that the Norte travels through heavily touristed parts of Spain (think beaches and quaint fishing villages), so things are busy and crazy and the focus in summer is not so much on the pilgrims but on the tourists. The VDLP has the heat, something I couldn't contend with. Both are amazing and wonderful, but I have walked them in May, not summer, so I can't tell you about July/August.

For me the Salvador/Primitivo is the perfect mix. Some pilgrims, not too many, beautiful scenery, great albergues. The only month you have crowds is August. And August can be very hard on the Primitivo, I've met people who quit it after a few days in August and returned to it in May/June. Many Spaniards walk this route, and August is the default vacation month. The albergues can handle 20-30 a day but not 70-100.

Others have suggested some of the routes that feed into the Frances. Check out the Vasco Interior, the Baztan, the Aragones (the forum has sections on all of them). I'm going to walk the Olvidado from Bilbao to Ponferrada and then the Invierno from there, so there are options, but many of these routes will have very few, if any, pilgrims.

Good luck with the decision, there is no wrong answer! Laurie
 
Year of past OR future Camino
Frances, Jul-Aug 05, Frances, Jul-Aug 06, Portugues, Oct 2010
My fear/anxiety is that second time around it just won't feel the same, that in retreading my steps I'll be thinking about 2012 and all the people I met and what I was doing the last time I was in town X or village Y. It can't be the same second time around, I know that, but do I risk sullying my perfect memories of the first time around or should I just go into it with that sense that no two Caminos are ever the same and try not to think in terms of comparisons.

I think you've answered your own question. Of course it won't be the same but you'll be able to look forward to revisiting your favourite places again.
 
Year of past OR future Camino
Francés, Norte, Primitivo, V. Augusta, V. Plata, Vadiniense, Libaniego, S Salvador, Ingles.
When you feel good with that idea, it's a good idea! Buen Camino! :)
 

Mark2012

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Camino Frances (2012, 2014) Camino Finisterre (2012, 2013, 2014) Camino Portugues (2013), Camino del Norte (2015)
Hi, Mark. You're right, it's a lovely conundrum to have!

I agree that the Norte and the VDLP are the two alternatives with fewer pilgrims than the Frances but more than the Invierno, Vadiniense, Levante, etc. My only cautions on those two in the summer (rather than spring) is that the Norte travels through heavily touristed parts of Spain (think beaches and quaint fishing villages), so things are busy and crazy and the focus in summer is not so much on the pilgrims but on the tourists. The VDLP has the heat, something I couldn't contend with. Both are amazing and wonderful, but I have walked them in May, not summer, so I can't tell you about July/August.

I've just about given up on the idea of the VdlP in summer. Based on my reading (and the threads you linked for me!), it seems clear that very few people start from Seville in high summer. Day after day of 40C+ would most likely not work out too well for this pale -skinned Irishman!

On the one hand, I like the idea of the Norte - hard walking and the ocean close by - but, again, perhaps the time of year won't be ideal. The idea of passing through tourist resort-type environments doesn't really inspire me.

I find myself really coming around to the idea of doing the Camino Frances again. Doing things the same, yet doing things differently... Not a bad idea at all!
 
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Year of past OR future Camino
Camino Francès (SJPDP - Santiago) - Summer 2012 / Camino Aragones (Lourdes to Finisterre) - Fall 2013
I cannot tell you what to do, only share my experiences with you.

I wanted to walk the Frances a second time this year. We started in Lourdes this time. When we reached Puente de la Reina I almost immediately felt bad. It was not at all a feeling of 'coming home' as I had imagined. I experienced that what you write down as your fears in the OP. I walked on to Logroño and then switched to the camino del Norte - which was the best decision ever. I had never been there before, the crowds were a lot smaller, beautiful scenery and people, great albergues. I loved it. In retrospect I can't imagine why I wanted to do the Frances again; there's so much more camino to walk!

Happy planning and buen camino!
 

huberbernie

New Member
Hello all,

I'm hoping to walk the Camino in July and August of this year, and at the moment I'm mulling over which route to take. I walked the full Camino Frances in May & June 2012 and the Camino Portugues from just outside Porto in June 2013, so I'm a reasonably seasoned walker at this stage! This year, I've been thinking about walking the Norte or the Via de la Plata, but I'm also considering perhaps walking the Frances again.

And that's the main focus of this thread - the Frances second time around, good idea or bad idea? I absolutely loved it in 2012 and made some wonderful friends along the way. I'm guessing starting in early July will be noticeably more busy than it was starting in late May two years ago, but that's not my main reservation. My fear/anxiety is that second time around it just won't feel the same, that in retreading my steps I'll be thinking about 2012 and all the people I met and what I was doing the last time I was in town X or village Y. It can't be the same second time around, I know that, but do I risk sullying my perfect memories of the first time around or should I just go into it with that sense that no two Caminos are ever the same and try not to think in terms of comparisons.

Even last year, walking the Portuguese way felt a little weird. I was struck by how different the 'personality' of that route to Santiago is. It's not that it was better or worse, merely different. Certainly the social element was easier to cultivate on the French way because there is much more of an eclectic mix of ages, nationalities, and circumstances, and I think I missed that a little bit when walking last year.

Any thoughts on my 'dilemma' (I use the word self-effacingly, as what a lovely dilemma it will be if I find myself to spend five or so weeks walking this summer!) would be much appreciated!


What about: Saint Jean - Leon on the Camino Frances, then rightturn to the Camino del Salvador, Leon to Oviedo (with an extra Compostela called "Salvadoriana"). From Oviedo on the Camino Primitivo via Lugo to Melide back on the Frances. So you combine your wish to walk the Frances again with two great new ways and it is not very much longer. I intend to do the Frances combined with the Salvador. But I will go back from Oviedo to Leon and the Frances by bus, as I walked the Primitivo in 2012.
 

piogaw

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Camino frances (05/06 2012) sjpdp-sdc; vdlp/camino sanabrea (02/03 2013) sevilla-sdc; hospitalero sdc june 2013, august-september 2013; caminho portugues (03 2014) lisboa-sdc
no two caminos of the same walks over time will ever been the same. if i were you i will walk a different camino. the excitements of the first camino will never bve able to be duplicated by the second camino. i would seriously consider walking other caninos. i would highly recommend, if you have the time, to walk the vdlp. it will be very different from the cf. you will also meet mostly european pilgrims. one disadvantage is that it will be very hot in the southern part of the camino. but so is the cf. it will not be so crowded. you can either joined up at astorga to the cf, or you can continue westward via the sanabres to ourense.

whatebver you decide. have a wonderful camino.
 
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MKalcolm M

Solvitur ambulando - It is solved by walking
Year of past OR future Camino
north route spring 2013
I walked the Norte in may June 2013 and had a great time. There were enough other pilgrims to make for good company when I wanted it, and solitude when I wanted to be on my own. Some places were busy with tourists, but it was easy enough to walk on and find quiet spots, there was never a sense of being crowded or amongst too many people. Having done the Frances, this will give you a very different experience.
 

Sagalouts

RIP 2015
Hi Mark
l ask myself the same question and have done for the last 5 years.being retired i have walked twice for each of those years walking most of the Caminos but always walking all or part of the French and it has never disappointed me.I have met the most amazing people and still in touch with most of them.but the other walks have also been good to me that's the nature of caminol.lam a social animal but also love solitude. I would just go with the flow no need to plan just suck it and see
lan
 
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Mark2012

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Camino Frances (2012, 2014) Camino Finisterre (2012, 2013, 2014) Camino Portugues (2013), Camino del Norte (2015)
I cannot tell you what to do, only share my experiences with you.

I wanted to walk the Frances a second time this year. We started in Lourdes this time. When we reached Puente de la Reina I almost immediately felt bad. It was not at all a feeling of 'coming home' as I had imagined. I experienced that what you write down as your fears in the OP. I walked on to Logroño and then switched to the camino del Norte - which was the best decision ever. I had never been there before, the crowds were a lot smaller, beautiful scenery and people, great albergues. I loved it. In retrospect I can't imagine why I wanted to do the Frances again; there's so much more camino to walk!

Happy planning and buen camino!

That taps into my fears perfectly as regard walking the Frances again.

The only experience I have so far of retracing my steps is that I walked from Santiago on to Finisterre and Muxia in both 2012 and 2013. It was mostly enjoyable to have that sense of familiarity, although Finisterre itself felt completely different, given that the day I walked there in June 2012 was blue sky and warm sun, but in June 2013 was grey skies and driving rain. The only negative I felt was when I reached Muxia. In 2012, I walked there with two friends I had made along the way, but in 2013 I walked there alone. I really enjoyed being there in 2012, but for some reason in 2013 I found myself thinking about 2012 more than living 2013, and very much missed the friends from the previous year.

I would hate to think that the Muxia 2013 feeling might crop up if I was to walk the Frances again. I still enjoyed Muxia second time around, but that kind of melancholy and thoughts of the past would wear me down if it was to be typical of five or six weeks of walking.
 

Mark2012

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Camino Frances (2012, 2014) Camino Finisterre (2012, 2013, 2014) Camino Portugues (2013), Camino del Norte (2015)
no two caminos of the same walks over time will ever been the same. if i were you i will walk a different camino. the excitements of the first camino will never bve able to be duplicated by the second camino. i would seriously consider walking ther caninos. i would highly recommend, if you have the time, to walk the vdlp. it will bve bvery different from the cf. you will also meet mostly european pilgrims. one disadvantage is that it will be bvery hot in the southern part of the camino. bvut so is the cf. it will not be so crowded. you can either joined up at astorga to the cf, or you can continue westward bvis the sanabres to ourense.

whatebver you decide. have a wonderful camino.

Yeah, tempting as doing the Frances again is, I'm leaning towards the Norte now. I just don't think it would be realistic to take on the Via de la Plata in July and August. Given my skin tone, I could burst into flames within a few kilometres!
 

Mark2012

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Camino Frances (2012, 2014) Camino Finisterre (2012, 2013, 2014) Camino Portugues (2013), Camino del Norte (2015)
I walked the Norte in may June 2013 and had a great time. There were enough other pilgrims to make for good company when I wanted it, and solitude when I wanted to be on my own. Some places were busy with tourists, but it was easy enough to walk on and find quiet spots, there was never a sense of being crowded or amongst too many people. Having done the Frances, this will give you a very different experience.

That sounds very good!
 
D

Deleted member 3000

Guest
I think you can spoil a camino only through your own expectations. I have done quite a few in France and Spain, and each one is what I make it. I have done the Camino Frances the most as a repeat walk because it has the infrastructure that requires the least planning. While my feet have nearly memorized the hills and turns, the people are always different, and they pretty much make the Camino for me. They do not come out of a mold, so expecting one to be like another from the past can do nothing but diminish my pilgrimage. I have enjoyed the variety that is found on the various routes, but that variety is a minor factor. I must say that I don't dislike crowds, I am not bothered by the bed race, and I get along with bicycles in general, with or without bells.
 

wayfarer

Moderator
Staff member
Year of past OR future Camino
2012
Hi Mark, I also intend to walk the Frances for the second time in April this year. I walked it in 2012 with my brother but this time I want to walk it alone as much as that is possible on the Frances. This time I plan to walk shorter stretches stay at different places but also stay in some of my very favourite places. I will go with no expectations and hope it will work out. This all depends on what happens between now and April but as someone once said "Man plans, God laughs"
 
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zammy

Active Member
My advise is walk the Le Puy route this time. the French part is different from the Camino , doing both is essential to experience the road to Santiago
 

peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
I have been racking my brain trying to remember a quote I once read here about returning to travel to a place where you had already been. I have a vague memory that it might have been by Jose Saramago, Portuguese Nobel prize winner, but I just can't find it. It was along the lines that even though you go back to the same place, things will always be very different, the weather, the time of year, the people, etc etc. He said it very eloquently. I also think that maybe Sil was the one who first wrote it on the forum. Anyway, the point was that your second, third, or fourth camino will be a totally different experience than your first if you are open to the differences and not comparing. Does anyone remember this quote?

As I was searching though, I did come up with a list of 100 "best" travel quotes, which are reprinted here:

http://matadornetwork.com/bnt/50-most-inspiring-travel-quotes-of-all-time/

and here

http://matadornetwork.com/bnt/the-next-50-most-inspiring-travel-quotes-of-all-time/

Some of these quotes are already familiar and used frequently by forum members. Some of them help me to explain to my friends why I keep going back to the camino, when there are all these other exciting, wonderful places to explore. Like this one from Sinclair Lewis:

“He who has seen one cathedral ten times has seen something; he who has seen ten cathedrals once has seen but little; and he who has spent half an hour in each of a hundred cathedrals has seen nothing at all.” – Sinclair Lewis, on sightseeing.

UPDATE: I found it! It looks like it's a favorite quote of both Sil and Margaret (mspath). Here's what Sil said:

When I have finished a Camino I live in anticipation of the next one, whenever that might be. As for returning to the same route, Margaret and I seem to have a lot in common with Nobel Prize winner, Jose Saramago who wrote In “Journey to Portugal”:

'The journey is never over. Only travellers come to an end. The end of one journey is simply the start of another. You have to see what you missed the first time, see again what you already saw, see in springtime what you saw in summer, in daylight what you saw at night, see the sun shining where you saw the rain falling, see the crops growing, the fruit ripen, the stone which has moved, the shadow that was not there before. You have to go back to the footsteps already taken, to go over them again or add fresh ones alongside them. You have to start the journey anew. Always. The traveler sets out once more."

And here are some other threads with more interesting commentary on the dilemma:

http://www.caminodesantiago.me/comm...ou-come-back-to-the-camino.18954/#post-139921

http://www.caminodesantiago.me/community/threads/the-future-of-the-camino.14028/#post-95389

Lots to ponder.
 
Last edited:

Mark2012

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Camino Frances (2012, 2014) Camino Finisterre (2012, 2013, 2014) Camino Portugues (2013), Camino del Norte (2015)
I have been racking my brain trying to remember a quote I once read here about returning to travel to a place where you had already been. I have a vague memory that it might have been by Jose Saramago, Portuguese Nobel prize winner, but I just can't find it. It was along the lines that even though you go back to the same place, things will always be very different, the weather, the time of year, the people, etc etc. He said it very eloquently. I also think that maybe Sil was the one who first wrote it on the forum. Anyway, the point was that your second, third, or fourth camino will be a totally different experience than your first if you are open to the differences and not comparing. Does anyone remember this quote?

As I was searching though, I did come up with a list of 100 "best" travel quotes, which are reprinted here:

http://matadornetwork.com/bnt/50-most-inspiring-travel-quotes-of-all-time/

and here

http://matadornetwork.com/bnt/the-next-50-most-inspiring-travel-quotes-of-all-time/

Some of these quotes are already familiar and used frequently by forum members. Some of them help me to explain to my friends why I keep going back to the camino, when there are all these other exciting, wonderful places to explore. Like this one from Sinclair Lewis:

“He who has seen one cathedral ten times has seen something; he who has seen ten cathedrals once has seen but little; and he who has spent half an hour in each of a hundred cathedrals has seen nothing at all.” – Sinclair Lewis, on sightseeing.

UPDATE: I found it! It looks like it's a favorite quote of both Sil and Margaret (mspath). Here's what Sil said:

When I have finished a Camino I live in anticipation of the next one, whenever that might be. As for returning to the same route, Margaret and I seem to have a lot in common with Nobel Prize winner, Jose Saramago who wrote In “Journey to Portugal”:

'The journey is never over. Only travellers come to an end. The end of one journey is simply the start of another. You have to see what you missed the first time, see again what you already saw, see in springtime what you saw in summer, in daylight what you saw at night, see the sun shining where you saw the rain falling, see the crops growing, the fruit ripen, the stone which has moved, the shadow that was not there before. You have to go back to the footsteps already taken, to go over them again or add fresh ones alongside them. You have to start the journey anew. Always. The traveler sets out once more."

And here are some other threads with more interesting commentary on the dilemma:

http://www.caminodesantiago.me/comm...ou-come-back-to-the-camino.18954/#post-139921

http://www.caminodesantiago.me/community/threads/the-future-of-the-camino.14028/#post-95389

Lots to ponder.

Lots to ponder, indeed. Thank you for a wonderful post!
 

david g

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
camino frances/finistere sept 2012
Frances May 2015
Aragones/Portugese May 2016
Primitivo July 2017
I have nothing to add to the answers above, as I haven't completed a second Camino. However, I'd like to thank everyone for their responses, as well as you, Mark 2012, for asking a question that is always on my mind as I plan my second Camino. Reading these answers and suggestions on how to "make it a new experience" give me hope that it can be just as enchanting and wonderful as the first time.
 

julie

Active Member
For me, it doesn't matter whether your second (or third, fourth ...) Camino is at a different time of year. It's the experience that's different and it's different because YOU are different. I was a bit confused the first time because I didn't know why I was there. I didn't have any "issues" and couldn't understand why it was calling me so much that I felt like I had to go. Now I'm hooked and have turned into a repeat offender.

You learn so much from going on pilgrimage and you are building on previous lessons each time you go. Your outlook will change depending on what's going on in your life, what you are grappling with or perhaps you have buried something that pilgrimage brings to the surface because it's the right time for you to deal with it.

That's not to say that every day the journey is full of introspection and emotional turmoil. It comes in waves. In the church in O Cebreiro on my first pilgrimage, I found the answer to a question I didn't even know I had and thought my pilgrimage was over. Now I could just enjoy the walk. Not quite, the Camino had other ideas. The second time in O Cebreiro was a time of giving thanks and the way I felt about being there was totally different - it hadn't changed, I had.
 
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siseale94

Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Camino Frances, Oct.( 2012), Pamplona to Santiago Compostela. Camino Finisterre, Oct. (2015)
I too plan to walk the Frances a second time and I look at it as if I am reading a very good and complex book over again. I always find something that I missed the first time, usually something insightful and important. Buen Camino
 

Katycamino

Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Camino Frances St Jean to Leon Sept 2013; Leon to Santiago May 2014; Santiago to Muxia and Finisterre Sept 2015; Camino Ingles May 2017
I will be doing the camino part 2 in May this year having had to stop on October last year due to problems with heel blisters and other problems. It was a terrible blow to have to stop.
What I learned from part 1 of the camino:
- don't fool yourself that if you have managed with the blisters after three weeks on the camino that you will be ok
(I made that mistake on the long hard paths of the meseta). Be careful of overuse of Compeed, they can pull away all the skin on your foot in certain circumstances
- make sure you do what YOU need if you are walking in a group. Sometimes you might want to stop but feel you should/ need to keep up, DONT!
-if you need to take the bus then just do it! If you do then there is a need, don't feel pressured by the 'camino police!'
-relax! You will find somewhere to lay your head. I truly if believe that the camino does provide. I had a horrible last night on the camino in Reliegos in a so called private room in the private albergue there. It was cold and dismal with no heating or even towels and full of flies. The owner was not in the least interested in trying to help me find any medical assistance and this was for the 'reduced' rate of €27! It was so unpleasant for a person on her own .
However a kindly fellow pilgrim tried to help with dressings and the lovely owner of 'bar Elvis' unwittingly provided a lovely dinner which was much needed. So, there will be good times and possibly some not so good times. However the camino is an experience that is unique to us all . Enjoy, it's like nothing else. Hope to meet some of you on the road in May.
N
 

ManyMiles2Go

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Camino Frances (2013)
I too plan to walk the Frances a second time and I look at it as if I am reading a very good and complex book over again. I always find something that I missed the first time, usually something insightful and important. Buen Camino
You and I both!! I know there is a lot of places we would have liked to spend more time in, but we were newbies and were not sure if we would have the time. Next time will be a different story for us :)
 
Year of past OR future Camino
CF 2006,08,09,11,12(2),13(2),14,16(2),18(2) Aragones 11,12,VDLP 11,13,Lourdes 12,Malaga 16,Port 06
Hello all,

And that's the main focus of this thread - the Frances second time around, good idea or bad idea?

To me, any time is a good time to walk the Camino Frances again.
I've walked it many times,and will continue to do so as long as I can walk.
Sometimes I walk just a stage or two.
Sometimes, like last year, I walk it in its entirety again.

I also walk short stages of other Camino routes.
One of my favorites is the Aragones, and I"m doing it for the 4th time this year, but I'm starting in a different place and am going to walk a few days on the Ossau Route.

Just do what your heart tells you to do.
You can't go wrong.
Life is too short to worry about what other people think.
Just do it and be happy!
 

mspath

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Frances, autumn/winter; 2004, 2005-2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015
Remember
"The end of one journey is simply the start of another. You have to see what you missed the first time, see again what you already saw, see in springtime what you saw in summer, in daylight what you saw at night, see the sun shining where you saw the rain falling, see crops growing, the fruit ripen, the stone which has moved, the shadow that was not there before. You have to go back to the footsteps already taken, to go over them again or add fresh ones alongside them. You have to start the journey anew. Always" Jose Saramago, A Journey to Portugal

Last December I finished my 9th Camino Frances walking, as always, from SJPdP to Santiago; now mid January I am dreaming of my next. Each journey is never the same, but always special. Carpe Diem!

Margaret Meredith
 
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Mark2012

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Camino Frances (2012, 2014) Camino Finisterre (2012, 2013, 2014) Camino Portugues (2013), Camino del Norte (2015)
Remember
"The end of one journey is simply the start of another. You have to see what you missed the first time, see again what you already saw, see in springtime what you saw in summer, in daylight what you saw at night, see the sun shining where you saw the rain falling, see crops growing, the fruit ripen, the stone which has moved, the shadow that was not there before. You have to go back to the footsteps already taken, to go over them again or add fresh ones alongside them. You have to start the journey anew. Always" Jose Saramago, A Journey to Portugal

Last December I finished my 9th Camino Frances walking, as always, from SJPdP to Santiago; now mid January I am dreaming of my next. Each journey is never the same, but always special. Carpe Diem!

Margaret Meredith

Carpe Diem is the plan! Based on the thoughts above and other conversations, I've decided that if I am walking this year (fingers crossed!), then it will be the French Way again. I hope to benefit from my past experience on the route, but without attempting to replicate the experience. I want something new, and I'm sure it will be. That said, if I can make good decisions along the way based on having walked the route before, then all the better!
 

david g

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
camino frances/finistere sept 2012
Frances May 2015
Aragones/Portugese May 2016
Primitivo July 2017
The best of luck in making it happen and I look forward to hearing what your experiences are, whether they be good or bad. (What am I saying? It's the Camino.....they're bound to be good!)
 

tyrrek

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
SJPP-SdC (4-5/2011), Ferrol-SdC (9/2011), Pamplona-SdC (3-4/2012), Camino Finisterre (10/2012), Ourense-SdC (5/2014)
My second Camino Frances only started as a 'mini Camino' from Pamplona to Burgos because I enjoyed that section so much the first time. However due to a twist of fate (and no small amount of incompetence on my part) I ended up walking on to Santiago instead. On leaving Burgos I wondered what one of my all time favourite sections (Hornillos to Hontanas) would be like second time round, because first time round that short section was just magical. The right time of day, the right weather etc. I didn't want to spoil my memories. Second time round it was...just magical as well! It was a different but it was special and it was mine. I have a few other places like that.
 

Mark2012

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Camino Frances (2012, 2014) Camino Finisterre (2012, 2013, 2014) Camino Portugues (2013), Camino del Norte (2015)
My second Camino Frances only started as a 'mini Camino' from Pamplona to Burgos because I enjoyed that section so much the first time. However due to a twist of fate (and no small amount of incompetence on my part) I ended up walking on to Santiago instead. On leaving Burgos I wondered what one of my all time favourite sections (Hornillos to Hontanas) would be like second time round, because first time round that short section was just magical. The right time of day, the right weather etc. I didn't want to spoil my memories. Second time round it was...just magical as well! It was a different but it was special and it was mine. I have a few other places like that.

Yes, I know exactly what you mean about not wanting to spoil the memories. As I grappled with my "will I, won't I" procrastination, that was one of my paramount concerns. Walking the French Way in 2012 was an amazing experience for me, and I would hate to do anything that undermine those memories. But, I've decided that, while understandable, it's also perhaps a little irrational to feel that way. I suspect that had I started a week earlier or a week later in 2012 I would have had just as enjoyable an experience, just with a different "cast of characters" and events. I'm sure there was nothing particularly special about walking when I did, other than the obvious point of it being special to me. So, assuming my plans work out, when I walk the French Way later in 2014 I expect it to be a special experience in its own way, but with a different flavour, and that's fine. Not better, not worse, just different. How could it be any other way?
 

petro

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Camino Frances (2008 April/May) (2011 May/June) (2014 May/June), Camino Primitivo (May 2016)
I start my 3rd Camino Frances on 8 May 2014 in SJPdP. I enjoyed both previous walks, they were different but special. Having done the Route Napoleon on both previous occasions I decided to take the Valcarlos route this May, stopping for lunch in Roncesvalles and carry on walking a little further. From then on I will try to stop at villages I have not visited before - already it feels like a brand new camino! Once I get to Ponferrada I plan on walking the Camino Invierno. I know it will probably be a lonely walk to SdC but I am very excited about walking it. So I have lots to look forward to and I am sure this walk will be as magical as the ones before.
 
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marylynn

Ontario Canada
Year of past OR future Camino
2011-2019 CF, Arles/Aragones
2015 & 2017 HærvejenDK
Carpe Diem is the plan! Based on the thoughts above and other conversations, I've decided that if I am walking this year (fingers crossed!), then it will be the French Way again. I hope to benefit from my past experience on the route, but without attempting to replicate the experience. I want something new, and I'm sure it will be. That said, if I can make good decisions along the way based on having walked the route before, then all the better!

I'm glad that you have decided to return to the Camino Frances! While planning my second Camino Frances walk in 2012, I also struggled with the concern/fear of constantly being reminded of friends and experiences from my first camino the previous year--and feeling sad or distracted from the current walk. It's natural to remember people and experiences when you revisit the same physical space, and for me, it turned out to be OK. My second Camino was just as wonderful with equally fantastic people as my first - only very different. I knew the weather and the people would be different the second time around, and I had planned to stay in different towns and in different albergues, but I stepped back with the new friends I was walking with and let them lead the way in terms of deciding where we stayed, and just see what happens. So I did end up staying in many of the same towns and in the same albergues as I had the previous year and that was just fine, but it was very funny when several times I was assigned the very same bed I had slept in before. What will be, will be.

Last year I walked 500km from Toulouse to Puente La Reina on the Arles/Aragones Camino with a friend I had met on my 2011Camino. This year I am planning to walk the Camino Frances for the third time. I know there is a good infrastructure in place and things will be familiar - but different - and I will be safe. I'm also keeping in mind the advice offered by huberbernie earlier in this thread and will consider diverting at Leon onto the Salvador and Primitivo Caminos if I need things to be different or I need a new challenge at the time. The most important thing, I think, in planning and walking any Camino is to trust it and to be open to what the Camino has to offer. The same goes for Life. Enjoy your second Camino Frances experience, Mark!
 

rosie m

New Member
Year of past OR future Camino
none
Hello all,

I'm hoping to walk the Camino in July and August of this year, and at the moment I'm mulling over which route to take. I walked the full Camino Frances in May & June 2012 and the Camino Portugues from just outside Porto in June 2013, so I'm a reasonably seasoned walker at this stage! This year, I've been thinking about walking the Norte or the Via de la Plata, but I'm also considering perhaps walking the Frances again.

And that's the main focus of this thread - the Frances second time around, good idea or bad idea? I absolutely loved it in 2012 and made some wonderful friends along the way. I'm guessing starting in early July will be noticeably more busy than it was starting in late May two years ago, but that's not my main reservation. My fear/anxiety is that second time around it just won't feel the same, that in retreading my steps I'll be thinking about 2012 and all the people I met and what I was doing the last time I was in town X or village Y. It can't be the same second time around, I know that, but do I risk sullying my perfect memories of the first time around or should I just go into it with that sense that no two Caminos are ever the same and try not to think in terms of comparisons.

Even last year, walking the Portuguese way felt a little weird. I was struck by how different the 'personality' of that route to Santiago is. It's not that it was better or worse, merely different. Certainly the social element was easier to cultivate on the French way because there is much more of an eclectic mix of ages, nationalities, and circumstances, and I think I missed that a little bit when walking last year.

Any thoughts on my 'dilemma' (I use the word self-effacingly, as what a lovely dilemma it will be if I find myself to spend five or so weeks walking this summer!) would be much appreciated!
Dear friend
congratulations on your successful completion of the Camino 2x. I was hoping I could ask your advice, I am planning on doing the Frances trek starting at the end of march and this will be my first time. I can only get a month off from work, so I am hoping I will be able to walk from St Jean pied de Port to Santiago with a few days to spare in case I want to continue on to the coast and go all the way to the water. How many km did you walk per day and how long did it take you? Were you alone? What were the greatest challenges? What are the Albergues like? is it wise to reserve ahead of time? How heavy was your pack? can you wash clothes at the albuergues and hang dry? Let me know if March-April is a good time of year.

Moderator: Please contact by PM first. It is unwise to post personal email addresses on a public forum.
 
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rosie m

New Member
Year of past OR future Camino
none
To anyone who can offer advice to a first time Camino walker:

I am planning on doing the Frances trek starting at the end of march and this will be my first time. I can only get a month off from work, so I am hoping I will be able to walk from St Jean pied de Port to Santiago with a few days to spare in case I want to continue on to the coast and go all the way to the water. Please advise what it's like to walk 20-30 km per day everyday for a month? Do your legs, back, feet hurt to the point where you think you can't continue? I am a good walker but never tried walking such long distances for a whole month. It's hard to train as i work 10-12 hours a day and only have weekends off. What's your best advice for me walking alone? What are some of the greatest challenges? What are the Albergues like? is it wise to reserve albergues ahead of time? How heavy should the pack be? can you wash clothes at the albuergues and hang dry? Let me know if March-April is a good time of year. Can you get by on speaking English or do you have to speak Spanish? I prefer if you contact me and get off the forum. I would appreciate any advice you can offer. Thank you

Moderator Edit: Please contact by PM first. It is unwise to post personal email addresses on a public forum
 
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trecile

Camino Addict
Year of past OR future Camino
Francés (2016 & 2017), Norte (2018), Francés-Salvador-Norte (2019), Portuguese (2019)
Dear friend
congratulations on your successful completion of the Camino 2x. I was hoping I could ask your advice, I am planning on doing the Frances trek starting at the end of march and this will be my first time. I can only get a month off from work, so I am hoping I will be able to walk from St Jean pied de Port to Santiago with a few days to spare in case I want to continue on to the coast and go all the way to the water. How many km did you walk per day and how long did it take you? Were you alone? What were the greatest challenges? What are the Albergues like? is it wise to reserve ahead of time? How heavy was your pack? can you wash clothes at the albuergues and hang dry? Let me know if March-April is a good time of year.

Moderator: Please contact by PM first. It is unwise to post personal email addresses on a public forum.
Rosie, you will get better responses if you start your own thread, rather than add on to an old one.
 

Urban Trekker

Happy Trails
Year of past OR future Camino
English Camino (2013)
Portuguese Camino (2014)
French Camino (2016)
Way of Saint Francis April 2017
Hello all,

I'm hoping to walk the Camino in July and August of this year, and at the moment I'm mulling over which route to take. I walked the full Camino Frances in May & June 2012 and the Camino Portugues from just outside Porto in June 2013, so I'm a reasonably seasoned walker at this stage! This year, I've been thinking about walking the Norte or the Via de la Plata, but I'm also considering perhaps walking the Frances again.

And that's the main focus of this thread - the Frances second time around, good idea or bad idea? I absolutely loved it in 2012 and made some wonderful friends along the way. I'm guessing starting in early July will be noticeably more busy than it was starting in late May two years ago, but that's not my main reservation. My fear/anxiety is that second time around it just won't feel the same, that in retreading my steps I'll be thinking about 2012 and all the people I met and what I was doing the last time I was in town X or village Y. It can't be the same second time around, I know that, but do I risk sullying my perfect memories of the first time around or should I just go into it with that sense that no two Caminos are ever the same and try not to think in terms of comparisons.

Even last year, walking the Portuguese way felt a little weird. I was struck by how different the 'personality' of that route to Santiago is. It's not that it was better or worse, merely different. Certainly the social element was easier to cultivate on the French way because there is much more of an eclectic mix of ages, nationalities, and circumstances, and I think I missed that a little bit when walking last year.

Any thoughts on my 'dilemma' (I use the word self-effacingly, as what a lovely dilemma it will be if I find myself to spend five or so weeks walking this summer!) would be much appreciated!
I walked the French Way lase April and May. If I wasn't walking the Way of Saint Francis this year I would be walking the French Way again this year.

Buen Camino

Happy Trails
 
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Gaddong

New Member
Year of past OR future Camino
(2018) CF SJPDP April 22, to May 27.
Ah I thought I was the only one asking if it is crazy to walk Frances again... Just completed SJPDP to Santiago May 27 (34 days total with 2 days rest - I think I prefer no rest days, I would have maybe 10 KM walk days instead of a day off). I already have a target date to go back - start at SJPDP to Leon and walk the San Salvador route to Oviedo for the Primitivo onto Santiago and Finisterre/Muxia. Anyone on this thread gone via San Salvador? I am a little apprehensive about distances in between. Buen Camino.
 

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