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Walking the Camino Frances

nick11

New Member
Hi I am really interested in doing this journey I am in pretty good shape, but it looks like a very tough but exciting journey. I want to know some more information if possible. Where does the camino Frances start and which airport is closer. How is the weather in late January early Feb. How much time is needed? These are just some starter questions, but if anyone could give me more insight it would be helpful.
 
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Deirdre

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
Camino Francés (2007), Camino Francés (2008), Camino Portugués (2010), Camino Aragonés - from Lourdes (2012)
Hello, Nick,

Welcome to the forum. There are so many "experienced" pilgrims here who can answer all your questions! They can also give you personal insights into various aspects of the Camino. I have only walked in summer so I cannot really help you in terms of weather, but I do suggest that you listen carefully to any/all warnings you receive regarding weather, especially in the mountains. There are a number of posts about weather, but the very recent one below this one "Walking through a blizzard in O Cebreiro" is very interesting. There is a link to their blog.

Take a browse around the list of topics and you will find a wealth of information on all things Camino! As far as a starting point, I came up from Madrid and began in Roncesvalles, the typical "starting point" from Spain. Many others begin in Saint Jean Pied de Port on the French side of the Pyrenees. Your starting point has more to do with time and personal choice, I think than anything else. Many would say, and I include myself among these, that your journey begins when you decide to make your Camino!

Buen Camino,
 

pos

New Member
Hello Nick

Welcome to the Forum. To answer some of your questions, the nearest airport to St. Jean Pied de Port is Biarritz. As regards walking in January and Februray, I cannot offer any advice as I started my camino in October but I would imagine that crossing the Pynenees in the height of winter would be problematic.

As regards the time needed to walk the Camino, I would advise any intending pilgrim not to become obsessed with time and distance because one can always return to complete the Camino at a future date. I walked from SJPP to Logrono in October and I intend returning again in April and October of 2009 to complete my Camino.

If you have any more questions - just ask.

Buen Camino

Paul
 
Congratulations on making the decision to have a go. I really enjoyed the experience. I walked the camino 4 years ago from St John Pied de Port. It took me 5 weeks at an average of 23km per day. I would not attempt it in Jan or Feb. They are the coldest 2 months of the year with snow and blizzards common. I went in late April/May which was spring time. I still walked through snow on the top of the Pyrenees. It was also very wet for the first 2 weeks ie trudging through mud every day for a week. It got cool again at the other end entering the mountains in Galacia. In between it was good walking weather.
To get there I flew to Paris (from Australia) and then got the express train to Bayonne. I changed there to a little train that takes you directly into Pied de Port. I stayed at "L'Esprit du Chemin" which you can book on the net. It is owned by a Dutch couple who operate it for 8 months of the year. The Pyrenees are covered in snow for the other 4 months. There are ski resorts nearby - that's the kind of weather you would be facing.
You will need to be used to walking every day with a backpack. You should carry no more than 8 kilos in the pack. That means light weight everything. I bought the best walking boots I could get and broek them in over 9 months. The secret of preparation is to walk every day with your boots on to condition your feet. Many walkers had to quit because of torn feet or crook knees.
If you want to know more, email me.
Buen Camino James
 

sillydoll

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
2002 CF: 2004 from Paris: 2006 VF: 2007 CF: 2009 Aragones, Ingles, Finisterre: 2011 X 2 on CF: 2013 'Caracoles': 2014 CF and Ingles 'Caracoles":2015 Logrono-Burgos (Hospitalero San Anton): 2016 La Douay to Aosta/San Gimignano to Rome:
If you can fly on Iberia to Pamplona you can get the Express Burricot taxi service to St Jean and then fly home from Santiago.
 
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30daystosantiago

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
2002 solo and 2013 with wife and toddler
I walked from SJPP to Santiago in 30 days and I felt that was pretty aggressive...I was in my late 20's at the time. Interestingly enough, one of the fellows I met who kept the same pace was 70 years old...another was 65 years old. when I walk the camino next time I think I'll allow another week or so...like the other post says, I wouldn't advise getting too concerned with time or distance - make general plans and then let your body guide you. One pilgrim I met was kaput about 15 days into the journey because of stress fractures to his shins.
 

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