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What advice can you give me?

Past OR future Camino
Camino del Norte and Camino Primitivo?
Hi
I am planning my Camino in 2023. But it is hard to choose which path.
I want to start from somewhere from Limoges or Bordeax in France. I want to walk for 2 months.
De route Frances is beautiful but more crowdy (and I read somewhere that hostels are more difficult nowadays because of the help of Ukrainian refugees? )
The del Norte has a nicer climate, beautiful seaviews but has more crowdy cities and the route is harder.
I am not experienced but am training in the Netherlands where I come from.

The question 'which route' is asked many times. And the answer is 'it depends on what you want and the time you got'.
* I 've got 2 months.
* I am going in April, May, June
* I am going to walk alone but like to meet people.
* I want to enjoy the beautiful views of the pyrenees but I like also the sea.
* I am not taking a tent but want to stay at hostels of every kind.
* I will be carrying my own backpack all the way.
* I want to use my French so thats why I want to walk in France more then when starting from Saint Jean Pied de Porte.
* I am 58 years young.
* I like adventure.

Because of Covid there aren't info events organised in my region. So I can't talk with other Camino pilgrims.

So what advice can you give me?

Astrid
 
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Pathfinder075

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
Frances (Villada to SdC) (2016)
Primitivo (Ribadesella to SdC) (2017)
Do you need to walk to Santiago, or could you do a different route? So could you do the Vezelay route for instance? All routes are relatively hard at first unless you start on the other side of the Pyrenees.

I am not an expert on the French routes, so I would leave that to others. Could you mix it up, maybe start somewhere in France, join the Norte, then swap to Olvidado (at Bilbao), Salvador, Primitivo and Frances. From what I've read that would give you the adventure, mountains, solitude and be possible in 2 months.

I am planning on doing something similar, but I intend to walk from Bayonne to Pamplona (Baztan) and then walk to the Olvidado via a different route (Viejo).
 

John Holland

Member
Past OR future Camino
2016
I have walked the Frances once and the Norte twice. When considering the Norte route v the Frances route do not be put off because the Norte is said to be harder. It is not much more difficult than the Frances. In fact, I found the first section of the Frances, over the Pyrenees from SJPP via Orisson was harder than any part of the Norte. The Norte is more varied than the Frances. You have to take small ferries across bays and estuaries, a train for approx 2 km across a bridge, an escalator in a street in Portugalete, a transporter bridge across the estuary of Bilbao and so on. It makes that route a little bit different and interesting. I do not think the cities on the Norte are much more crowded than, say, Burgos on the Frances. If you walk via SJPP there is an easy route from SJPP to Bayonne and then along the coast to Irun. It takes about five days. The Camino office in SJPP did not give me good advice for this route. The tourist office in SJPP was much better and gave me a good map with the name of albergues/hostels. Whichever route you take, enjoy. Starting in Limoges or Bordeaux is an excellent idea. I started one camino in Germany. It was along walk but a very good one. Even though I spoke zero French I had no problems.
 

Roland49

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
CF2019, CP2022?
Hello Astrid,

it's very hard to say, if I can answer your request to your full satisfaction.
I've done the Frances once and planned to walk the CP like 2 years now. Got a heart-attack 2 days prior my departure this March.

Met some Pilgrims that walked the del Norte and one of my colleagues walked it via Oviedo and switched there to Lugo and after that onto the CF to SdC out of adventoursness.
As far as she mentioned between Oviedo and Lugo you walk constantly in a mountainous area. It is hard, sometimes really lonely. She walked 6.5 weeks, but didn't stressed out. You may make it in 5.5 weeks.

If you really want to start in Limoges, your 8 weeks will likely not be sufficient. Maybe you can skip some parts?

Why don't you walk from Le Puy to, let's say Leòn, via the "Interior" or the "Ruta do Campo"?
That's 980km and a huge part in France.

If you want to get a Compostela, than walk Leòn to SdC in your next vacation ;-) Just as suggestion.

Hope you enjoy your planning and walk.
 

Ianinam

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
CF 2013 / CP 2018
Because of Covid there aren't info events organised in my region. So I can't talk with other Camino pilgrims.

So what advice can you give me?

Astrid


Astrid, on the website of the 'Nederlands Genootschap van Sint Jacob' (https://www.santiago.nl/) you can find lots of information about all the camino's, including maps with KMZ and GPX files with detailed information about albergues/hostals on each route in France and Spain (and Belgium and Portugal).

You can also go to one of their informatiecentres in Utrecht, in Vessem and/or in Sint Jacobiparochie; for more information and openinghours look here: https://www.santiago.nl/openingstijden/#info-utrecht.
There you will find experienced pilgrims who can answer all your questions.

They organise twice a year a meeting for all members with lots of information, workshops and lectures. The next meeting is on November 12th in The Hague.
Furthermore they organise every month in each region a meeting with other pilgrims, so meeting with other pilgrims is never far away!
 
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Past OR future Camino
Camino del Norte and Camino Primitivo?
Astrid, on the website of the 'Nederlands Genootschap van Sint Jacob' (https://www.santiago.nl/) you can find lots of information about all the camino's, including maps with KMZ and GPX files with detailed information about albergues/hostals on each route in France and Spain (and Belgium and Portugal).

You can also go to one of their informatiecentres in Utrecht, in Vessem and/or in Sint Jacobiparochie; for more information and openinghours look here: https://www.santiago.nl/openingstijden/#info-utrecht.
There you will find experienced pilgrims who can answer all your questions.

They organise twice a year a meeting for all members with lots of information, workshops and lectures. The next meeting is on November 12th in The Hague.
Furthermore they organise every month in each region a meeting with other pilgrims, so meeting with other pilgrims is never far away!
Because of covid there aren't meetings. But I will check again.
 

Ianinam

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
CF 2013 / CP 2018
Yes, the infocenters are all open, in most regions the monthly Saint-Jacques café's have restarted, the regions are organising all sorts of meetings again (walks, bycicle-tours etc.), on 24th of July in Roermond will be the celebration of the Holy Year with lots of events (walking and on bike) ... Read the 'Ultreia' about the festivities https://www.santiago.nl/ultreia/ultreia-127-juni-2022/
 

lt56ny

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
10/22 Aragones/Frances
If you want to walk in France I would highly recommend starting in Le Puy. Get the Miam Miam Dodo guidebook. I made a big mistake not buying it because I do not know a word of French. It would have helped alot. You can speak French so you will not feel as isolated as I did in the Gites and in towns. I still loved it and it was absolutely beautiful and the food out of this world. Mostly older people walking who are retired and walking with friends. Most are more hikers on holiday than pilgrims. Stay on it as long as you want. It will be very quiet and most days you probably will not see other pilgrims until you get to the Gite at night. Make sure you book a day ahead so they know how many to prepare dinner for.
If you love it stay on it. If you want to do the Norte and want to get to Santiago you can get to San Sebastian and then Irun at either Condom or when you get near Pau. If you leave in Condom that knocks about 250k from the full Le Puy Camino which is about 760K. I would recommend looking at these two sites to figure out what you may want to do.
You may just end up walking and deciding as you go and throw out all your pre camino planning.
Buen Camino
 
Past OR future Camino
2022
If this is your first Camino, I suggest you walk from San Jean Pied de Port to Santiago de Campostella.

I'm not saying it is the "best" route (I think it's pretty good) but it sets the baseline by which all the rest of your Caminos will be measured. It establishes a common "language" when you talk about walking a Camino here on this forum. When you discuss a particular "stage" people will know instantly where you are talking about.

You have established services and locals who are very used to pilgrims walking in their villages/towns/cities and can accommodate. There will be other pilgrims to encounter and you may find a Camino family, For the most part, the route is well marked so getting lost will be one less concern for you.

It should talk less than 2 months to walk the Camino Frances so either use the extra time to enjoy rest days along the way (either by choice or by necessity), enjoy the wonderful city of Santiago at the end of your journey, or walk on to Finisterre.

I remember my excitement when, a few months before my first Camino, while I was in preparation mode, I spotted my first brass shell in a sidewalk in Brussels. There was a fluttering in the stomach because, even though I thought I was so far away from the Camino, there, right in front of me, was concrete proof that it truly was right at my doorstep, waiting for me to take that first step.

I'm happy and excited for you. Buen Camino, pilgrim, and keep us posted.
 
Past OR future Camino
Camino del Norte and Camino Primitivo?
Do you need to walk to Santiago, or could you do a different route? So could you do the Vezelay route for instance? All routes are relatively hard at first unless you start on the other side of the Pyrenees.

I am not an expert on the French routes, so I would leave that to others. Could you mix it up, maybe start somewhere in France, join the Norte, then swap to Olvidado (at Bilbao), Salvador, Primitivo and Frances. From what I've read that would give you the adventure, mountains, solitude and be possible in 2 months.

I am planning on doing something similar, but I intend to walk from Bayonne to Pamplona (Baztan) and then walk to the Olvidado via a different route (Viejo).
Hi Pathfinder

Your suggestion was just my latest plan. Start from Limoges or Bordeax. Then to Irun and take the north route and the primotivo. A nice sea climate, not crowdy.
But then I read article about not taking the Norte because of the dirty large cities you pass. That the route tries to be a pilgrim path but doesn't have the same charm as the Frances.
Do you have experience with the del Norte?
 
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Past OR future Camino
Camino del Norte and Camino Primitivo?
If this is your first Camino, I suggest you walk from San Jean Pied de Port to Santiago de Campostella.

I'm not saying it is the "best" route (I think it's pretty good) but it sets the baseline by which all the rest of your Caminos will be measured. It establishes a common "language" when you talk about walking a Camino here on this forum. When you discuss a particular "stage" people will know instantly where you are talking about.

You have established services and locals who are very used to pilgrims walking in their villages/towns/cities and can accommodate. There will be other pilgrims to encounter and you may find a Camino family, For the most part, the route is well marked so getting lost will be one less concern for you.

It should talk less than 2 months to walk the Camino Frances so either use the extra time to enjoy rest days along the way (either by choice or by necessity), enjoy the wonderful city of Santiago at the end of your journey, or walk on to Finisterre.

I remember my excitement when, a few months before my first Camino, while I was in preparation mode, I spotted my first brass shell in a sidewalk in Brussels. There was a fluttering in the stomach because, even though I thought I was so far away from the Camino, there, right in front of me, was concrete proof that it truly was right at my doorstep, waiting for me to take that first step.

I'm happy and excited for you. Buen Camino, pilgrim, and keep us posted.
Hmmm, thank you for pointing out to me to take also time to enjoy and look around. I do know it but my focus was now more on the route.

In April we were in Cascais, Portugal and there I've seen my first Camino sign. It was really exciting! I got goosebumps. In about one year I am following those signs to Santiago.
 
Past OR future Camino
Camino del Norte and Camino Primitivo?
Hello Astrid,

it's very hard to say, if I can answer your request to your full satisfaction.
I've done the Frances once and planned to walk the CP like 2 years now. Got a heart-attack 2 days prior my departure this March.

Met some Pilgrims that walked the del Norte and one of my colleagues walked it via Oviedo and switched there to Lugo and after that onto the CF to SdC out of adventoursness.
As far as she mentioned between Oviedo and Lugo you walk constantly in a mountainous area. It is hard, sometimes really lonely. She walked 6.5 weeks, but didn't stressed out. You may make it in 5.5 weeks.

If you really want to start in Limoges, your 8 weeks will likely not be sufficient. Maybe you can skip some parts?

Why don't you walk from Le Puy to, let's say Leòn, via the "Interior" or the "Ruta do Campo"?
That's 980km and a huge part in France.

If you want to get a Compostela, than walk Leòn to SdC in your next vacation ;-) Just as suggestion.

Hope you enjoy your planning and walk.
Hi
Do you really think that 8 weeks wouldn't be enough to walk from limoges to SdC? Not via the Norte or Frances?
I really want to take 8 weeks to walk the whole path and do not want to skip parts.

Good luck on your health!
 

Roland49

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
CF2019, CP2022?
Hi
Do you really think that 8 weeks wouldn't be enough to walk from limoges to SdC? Not via the Norte or Frances?
I really want to take 8 weeks to walk the whole path and do not want to skip parts.

Good luck on your health!
From Limoges to SdC is doable on the CF in 8 weeks. But I don't think that's a good idea via the Norte.
I may be wrong, but as far as my colleague told me, she managed to walk 18-25km per day on the Norte while walking via Oviedo and 25-30km in average per day until Oviedo.

You have way more changes in means of transport and less infrastructure, that you really have to push through, if you want to walk from Limoges via the Norte in 8 weeks.
And if you start in April you have to be aware that you'll have atlantic weather on the second third of your walk that is really unpredictable. May and June should be far more pleasant.

I did the CF from SJPdP to SdC in 27 days. I rushed. If I will do it again, I will do it in thirds of 14 days each, in total 42 days.

If you plan some rest-days it is likely that you may not get to SdC in time.
I do not know the infrastructure, waymarking nor support for walkers in France, if you are fit enough, well trained and make 35km per day in average, than I am sure that it is possible on either way.

But it depends.
 

Pathfinder075

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
Frances (Villada to SdC) (2016)
Primitivo (Ribadesella to SdC) (2017)
Hi Pathfinder

Your suggestion was just my latest plan. Start from Limoges or Bordeax. Then to Irun and take the north route and the primotivo. A nice sea climate, not crowdy.
But then I read article about not taking the Norte because of the dirty large cities you pass. That the route tries to be a pilgrim path but doesn't have the same charm as the Frances.
Do you have experience with the del Norte?
I've walked little bits of it. Never walked it all. The big cities are busy, but then all cities are busy. Then you have the hidden gems like San Vincente, Luarca. I personally have no interest in it, besides it being a gateway route to other routes. I generally enter Spain via the ferry at Santander or Bilbao and walk from either of those places. I've walked bits of several routes. If possible avoid Frances between June and end of August. I find September and October tolerable, but many won't be able to fit that around life unless retired. Similarly, I'm told April and May are also good months to walk. June-August is just pure mayhem. If you want to walk with 100+ other people (and probably far more), then summer is a good time to walk. September and October are a touch quieter.

I think in the end it's how many people you can be happy around. Some people thrive with large numbers around them, others prefer less people, some prefer none. I fall in the less people category. Some people are fine, but most days I like to just zone out and walk in silence or put some music on and disconnect for a while.

If I was heading for the Primitivo, I would probably use one of the other routes to get there. There are a couple to choose from. I like mountains and excellent scenery/views, so any route that runs along the Picos would be preferable for me. But only you know what you can tolerate and route wise what might work for you. Also it's about doing something different to the sheeple that just follow the path. I like to walk/make my own path. :)

Hope that helps.
 

John Holland

Member
Past OR future Camino
2016
Two months should be enough time from Limoges, depending on the route you take. It is roughly 440 km from Limoges to SJPdP. At 25 km per day that means 16 to 18 days. If you continue along the route France it will take you roughly another 33 to 35 days. That is just under two months in total. If you decided to go via the Norte and still go via SJPdP then you need to add on another 5 days (see my post above). However if you go direct to Irun from Limoges it is roughly 440 km so 18 to 20 days plus another 33 days to SdC. Again, it is doable in two months. The Frances and Norte are really the only viable routes to SdC from Limoges in two months. Of course, if you are a slow walker, or want to have a few rest days, then your walk will take longer. It will primarily depend on the speed at which you walk. Starting from Bordeaux is a shorter distance so that will give you more time to do the walk.
 
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