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Why you should not walk the Camino del Norte (or at least not until you have read this post!)

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Wyvernsridge

Alex from Australia
Camino(s) past & future
First Camino (Frances) - October 2013
Second Camino (Norte) - September 2015
Third Camino (Frances) - October 2017
I walked the Camino del Norte from Irún to Santiago during September, October 2015. This was my second Camino, having walked the Camino Frances from SJPdP to Santiago in 2013. Like many others, my choice to walk a different Camino was made on the basis of seeing a different side of Spain on a Camino that was not as crowded as the Camino Frances. I have since learnt that this is a very common reason for walking the coastal route.

As I walked, I discovered many things that might have influenced my decision to walk the Camino del Norte and which I had not seen on the Forum discussions (or if they were there, they were diffused across many conversation threads). This is my attempt to bring some of these issues together so that others may be better informed before making a decision to “head North”.

I know that we are all are enthusiasts of the Camino, and it feels somehow wrong to write stuff that is not necessarily complementary, but I am trying to be both balanced and thorough here. Finally, let me add a caveat. These are my views, which exist within a spectrum of views from people that have walked the Camino del Norte. Others may disagree with specific comments or judgements, and I look forward to a good discussion in the comments.

Because of the 10,000 character limit on posts, I have attached a .pdf file containing the full document.
 

Attachments

Sailor

Donante Vitalicio
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Infinito
Thank you. I have saved a copy of your report in my camino folder.
Que la luz de Dios alumbre su camino.
 

Teresa Santamaria

Two of Three
Camino(s) past & future
2015 - planning done and now future
My first part of a Camino ever was del Norte and we did about 60 km. west of Comillas. I loved it and had had nothing to which to compare it. We eventually re-routed to Lugo to do a piece of the Primitivo and I thought - wow, del Norte should be called Primitivo because in comparison del Norte felt less trodden, more erratic and varied and all 'round unpredictable, I.e., primitive!. Albergues were also all very different from each other. Again, I felf and do feel all absolutely a-ok with the difference and loved the coastline, enjoyed the people we'd met and the changes in the Communidades. Thanks for your reflection!
 

grayland

Moderator
Staff member
Camino(s) past & future
Yes
A very well presented point of view.

However, I have a difficult time recognizing the report as the same camino that we walked in August-September of 2014. Most of the comments run very different than my experience.

I have walked most of the other main routes...some more than once. The Norte, in my opinion, is the equal of the others in most ways. The majority of pilgrims walking at the same time were German, Dutch, Austrian and Spanish...with many others thrown in. Most were younger ( everyone is younger than me) and on their first Camino...having heard of the crowded conditions on the CF.

I guess this is a good example of how we all seem to experience the adventure in a different way. What and who you experience is very likely to be very different.
 

Kanga

Moderator
Staff member
Camino(s) past & future
Francés x 5, Le Puy x 2, Arles, Tours, Norte, Madrid, Via de la Plata, Portuguese, Primitivo
Interesting read. I do not disagree with it except you missed saying the landscape is very beautiful. The coastal views are spectacular. So are the lush green mountains. In spring the flowers were amazing. That in itself is a good reason to walk the Norte. It is also the reason I would not have wanted to miss walking from Irun to San Sebastien or the other "difficult" bits.

In some ways the path and albergues and coffee "stops" are similar to the Camino Frances as it was when I first walked 14 years ago. Since then the infrastructure on the Frances has improved out of sight - to me the current infrastructure is amazing. I suspect that in time the same is likely to happen on the Norte, especially as local entrepreneurs find ways of supplementing their income. There also used to be more road walking on the Camino Frances but over time safety of pilgrims has become a priority and that of necessity involves less road walking. Although that is less likely, unless paths are re-routed.
 
A

Anemone del Camino

Guest
I think the issue here is what you write in your last paragraph: people doing the Norte have expectations and desires based on the CF. And I could not disagree more. Plus I don't believe the more hardcore walkers found on the Norte are there by accident, nor do they regret it. And this applies to the Primitivo as well.

I am glad there are no "camino families", glad it is solitary and not a tourist trap, with drunken fools at the albergues, or others getting the whole albergue up at 4am. I am also grateful for fantastic menus del dia vs the pilgrim menu.

I also could not disagree more regarding the albergues: many give you clean sheets, and by that I mean a full set right out of the industrial laundry cie, some also give you synthetic duvets. Others add in towels. TOWELS! San Vicente de la barquera is a disaster, but let's not forget San Juan de Oretaga on the CF. The youth hostel in San Seb gives you sheets, the Zarautz Hostel a duvet as well. Pobena is simple, but clean. The trainstation in Llanes also gives you all the bedding you need. No need to unpack! Pension in Portugalete 20€ for a single and the lovely woman who owns it will sew for you if in need. Albergue in Santillana is in a spectacular historical mansion, and the jet tub amd shower a treat (ok, tub jet don't work because pilgrims burned the motor on the fisrt night it was installed, but you can still soak in there for a while!)

Ok, I'll also grant you that the albergue in Santander is such a tight squeeze that I wonder how it is legal for it to have so many pilgrims, but then there is Albergue Piedad as an options in Boo: duvet, towels, shampoo, the works.

I for one hope the Norte will not change. I am hopeful that because of the greater distances between villages and towns it will remain more authentic, more in line with what the country, and its regions are.
 
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A

Anemone del Camino

Guest
A very well presented point of view.

However, I have a difficult time recognizing the report as the same camino that we walked in August-September of 2014. Most of the comments run very different than my experience.

I have walked most of the other main routes...some more than once. The Norte, in my opinion, is the equal of the others in most ways. The majority of pilgrims walking at the same time were German, Dutch, Austrian and Spanish...with many others thrown in. Most were younger ( everyone is younger than me) and on their first Camino...having heard of the crowded conditions on the CF.

I guess this is a good example of how we all seem to experience the adventure in a different way. What and who you experience is very likely to be very different.
Yes, few English speakers, but I guess that is how Koreans feel on the CF. Is it such a bad thing? As for age, yes, a bit younger, but also not as many "just out of uni and on a gap year" pilgrims. Mostly 30-55. A lot less "religious" also: no pilgrim masses or blessings as you get so much of on the CF. But fenomenal towns and cities: San Seb, Bilbao, Guernika, Santander, Oviedo.... And as Kanga said, the views, the sea, the beaches...
 

Tia Valeria

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Pt Norte/Pmtvo 2010
C. Inglés 2011
C. Primitivo '12
Norte-C. de la Reina '13
C. do Mar-C. Inglés '15
............ I thought - wow, del Norte should be called Primitivo because in comparison del Norte felt less trodden, more erratic and varied and all 'round unpredictable, I.e., primitive!. ........!
Primitivo - not 'primitive' but 'primary' or 'original' is the translation. :)
For me it is the northern Caminos that call, never the Francés, but each to their own calling and perception of the route. :)
 

TerryB

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Norte/Primitivo (April/May) 2009: Norte/Primitivo (parts) (April/May) 2010: Inglés (May) 2011: Primitivo (April/May) 2012: Norte / Camino de La Reina (April/May) 2013: Camino del Mar / Inglés (May/June) 2015
I walked the Camino del Norte from Irún to Santiago during September, October 2015. This was my second Camino, having walked the Camino Frances from SJPdP to Santiago in 2013. Like many others, my choice to walk a different Camino was made on the basis of seeing a different side of Spain on a Camino that was not as crowded as the Camino Frances. I have since learnt that this is a very common reason for walking the coastal route.
As I walked, I discovered many things that might have influenced my decision to walk the Camino del Norte and which I had not seen on the Forum discussions (or if they were there, they were diffused across many conversation threads). This is my attempt to bring some of these issues together so that others may be better informed before making a decision to “head North”.
I know that we are all are enthusiasts of the Camino, and it feels somehow wrong to write stuff that is not necessarily complementary, but I am trying to be both balanced and thorough here. Finally, let me add a caveat. These are my views, which exist within a spectrum of views from people that have walked the Camino del Norte. .
Thank you! This will be a useful document, especially for those, like yourself, who are looking at a choice for a second Camino. If you are reading it with this in mind, can I suggest that you turn each section into a question? e.g.:-

Stages - Do I really want to walk set stages (as in the Brierley Guide) or do I want to be free to create my own and choose how far to walk in a day? - Always remembering that there is NOT an albergue in every village and town!

Hills:- Can I manage to walk up from a river valley or estuary (Ria) every day, very often more than once! A coastal route is, of necessity, hilly!

Work through the document asking these kind of questions and then decide what kind of Camino you would like to do.
I personally have never looked for a "Camino Family", have always expected to speak Spanish, have been prepared to walk my own distances rather than "stages" and so on. The Francés has never called, the Northern Caminos do. Each to his / her own.

After doing all the work, go "on Camino" and be surprised! :) Your Camino will be unique and may not be what you expected anyway :p

A Blessing on all planning (and planners!)
Tio Tel
 
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Marc S.

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
2012-2018 Frances, Norte, Salvador, Aragones, Portuguese, Via Regia, Elisabethpfad, Jakibspaad.
Thank you for your report.

I find the title a little misleading (why not to walk the Camino del Norte). When I walked it was not dominated as much by Americans and other native English speakers, but for me this was not a negative (I can do without Americans - and others - being obsessed with their camino families). And I actually think it could be a refreshing experienece for many native English speakers to realize that not everybody in this world speaks perfect English. Having no Brierley stages..... well I do not see what the problem is what that.

I do not agree with your judgment of the albergues and I do not remember other pilgrims complaining about infrastructure and albergues. I think you are being harsh here, and I remember some very nice volunteer run albergues that I have no wish to complain about at all (but rather give them a lot of credit). I also think you exagarate the amount of road walking and also did not have any trouble finding bars and shops (also not in Mondonedo), so I also wonder a bit if we walked the same camino...
 

Teresa Santamaria

Two of Three
Camino(s) past & future
2015 - planning done and now future
Primitivo - not 'primitive' but 'primary' or 'original' is the translation. :)
For me it is the northern Caminos that call, never the Francés, but each to their own calling and perception of the route. :)
You miss my pun! Sometimes there is great joy in words!
 
Camino(s) past & future
2011, 2012, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018 (2019) CF
2013 Arles/Aragones
2015 & 2017 HærvejenDK
Thank you for the detailed report. It confirmed my suspicions, from other things I had read and heard, that it was not the route for me. Very informative!
 

grayland

Moderator
Staff member
Camino(s) past & future
Yes
Thank you for the detailed report. It confirmed my suspicions, from other things I had read and heard, that it was not the route for me. Very informative!
@marylynn, please note that there is disagreement with the report posted above.

Personally, I found the report very well written and presented...BUT basically disagree with the content. My experience was very different.

I would suggest considering further research before deciding on the route.
 
N

nathanael

Guest
I walked the Camino del Norte from Irún to Santiago during September, October 2015. This was my second Camino, having walked the Camino Frances from SJPdP to Santiago in 2013. Like many others, my choice to walk a different Camino was made on the basis of seeing a different side of Spain on a Camino that was not as crowded as the Camino Frances. I have since learnt that this is a very common reason for walking the coastal route.

As I walked, I discovered many things that might have influenced my decision to walk the Camino del Norte and which I had not seen on the Forum discussions (or if they were there, they were diffused across many conversation threads). This is my attempt to bring some of these issues together so that others may be better informed before making a decision to “head North”.

I know that we are all are enthusiasts of the Camino, and it feels somehow wrong to write stuff that is not necessarily complementary, but I am trying to be both balanced and thorough here. Finally, let me add a caveat. These are my views, which exist within a spectrum of views from people that have walked the Camino del Norte. Others may disagree with specific comments or judgements, and I look forward to a good discussion in the comments.

Because of the 10,000 character limit on posts, I have attached a .pdf file containing the full document.
I also did the Camino del Norte this year, end of July til Sept. A large amount of young people and noise and drinking at night til pass midnight. Nevertheless myself and two ladies made sure to by pass them. Then there was a group of Italians age 4o'sh. very noisy and leaving at 4 AM we eventually lost them and had a nice Camino. Aviles was the worst albergue I had ever stayed it was dirty and one could tell it had not been clean. Other than that we enjoyed our Camino sometime staying at private albergues like the one called Casa Carmina beautiful place huge back yard and it was exceptional..nona made a vegetable soup for starters that was delicious. Very well run and exceptionally clean, lunch and dinner was served well priced, breakfast was served in the morning. I also noted that bed bugs seemed to be more prevalent on this Camino I saw and knew a few who were infected next to me. I was careful and spared all my belongings with Permethrin. I found one bed bug on my hoodie which had been lying on my Mochila and it was dead due to the spray. I highly recommend one is careful. All in all with all the drama it was a pleasant Camino my second Norte. The view on the Norte is spendid and the playas exceptional.
 

jacobusg

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances
2015 September
Camino Ingles
2016, June 6-12
As a Camino first-timer I completed the Frances this September. The Norte had been my first choice, but I was deterred by other reports of the physical arduosness of the route. But if I was to write a report of the Frances, I would be echoing several comments in the Norte report.
 

Pablo Mac

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances SJPP to SDC Sept 2012
Camino Frances Astorga to SDC Sept 2014
Camino Del Norte Irun to Santander Sept 2015
Caminho Portugese Barcelos to SDC Sept 2016
Camino Del Norte Santander to SDC (2017)
You've taken the words right out of my mouth !! The Del Norte was a serious shock to the system having walked the french way twice . I had read posts about longer stages and less facilities but hadn't fully comprehended the severity of it . We walked from Irun to Santander in Sept and found the going very tough in places, We also worried about getting beds quite a bit having failed to find a single one in Guernika !!! I also found myself really missing the social aspect of The Francais .

Having said all that though the scenery is spectacular and the food and wine is amazing ..even more so than the francais . Its a different experience and one that I will definitely return to complete . Although next time Ill know what to expect . Ill be carrying more food during the day and planning my stages carefully to ensure the best possibility of a bed in a nice alburgue !! Nobody ever said a pilgrimage should be easy :)
 

peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
As an unabashed supporter of all things Camino, I always like posts that create some pushback to the rosy and glowing reports that we often read. I have to agree with the sense that in some ways the Camino del Norte has less of a "Camino feeling" than some of the others, like Vdlp, Primitivo, Invierno. This is undoubtedly because so much of this camino passes through towns on the coast that appeal to a big number of vacationers. If I were in the lodging business, I too would be much more interested in attracting vacationers than pilgrims. So that is one feature of the Norte that I think is immutable. We are just stuck with the fact that Pasajes, Santander, Castro Urdiales, Llanes, Luarca, Cordillero and the many other beautiful seaside towns are going to continue to emphasize the tourist trade over the pilgrim trade.

But insofar as you are talking about the physical accommodations and pilgrim amenities, I think that I could take your report and re-date it 2000 and title it "Camino Francés." And if you ask me whether I'd rather walk the Camino Francés in 2000 or in 2015, it would take me a nano-second to answer. So be careful what you wish for. If your Camino "coming of age" has been in the past few years, you are used to a standard of amenities on the Camino Francés that was unimaginable in 2000, much less in 1980 or 1990.

I think we are lucky that there are many less popular Caminos, like the Norte in their reduced number of pilgrims, but more like the Francés in terms of the illusive "Camino feeling." For those I can suggest the Salvador/Primitivo, the Invierno, the Vdlp, the Sanabrés, and the Aragonés, and probably a few I am forgetting. These are places where pilgrim accommodations lag behind the Francés "standard," to varying degrees, and in some cases there are essentially no other pilgrims, but in any event, they are all routes that leave no doubt in your mind that you are on a Camino, whatever that may mean to you. Buen camino,Laurie
 

fraluchi

RIP 2019
Camino(s) past & future
One every year since 2007
[...] For those I can suggest the Salvador/Primitivo, the Invierno, the Vdlp, the Sanabrés, and the Aragonés, and probably a few I am forgetting. These are places where pilgrim accommodations lag behind the Francés "standard," to varying degrees, and in some cases there are essentially no other pilgrims, but in any event, they are all routes that leave no doubt in your mind that you are on a Camino, whatever that may mean to you. Buen camino,Laurie
Laurie, I felt I should mark this!:) And at the same time ask for less publicity on these beautiful alternatives, lest it degrades (did I write this?) to the Francés.:eek:
 

jirit

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances 2007,
Via Francigena Italy, 2008,
Jakobsweg Austria 2010,
Camino Frances 2011,
Le Puy to Lourdes 2012,
Via de la Plata 2013,
Future:
Ökumenischer (Via Regia), Germany,
Lycian Way, Turkey
There are numerous other " caminos" in other countries beyond just Spain.

Each offer plenty of serendipitous opportunities and potential negative outcomes.

Much depends on your current expectations, needs and desires, your surroundings, the weather, and a host of other variable factors which themselves can change over time.

Nothing in this world including the Camino remains static, so venture forth, fully prepared and not prepared at all.
 

peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
Laurie, I felt I should mark this!:) And at the same time ask for less publicity on these beautiful alternatives, lest it degrades (did I write this?) to the Francés.:eek:
Thanks, fraluchi, and I forgot the Levante. :)

And you're right, I have often thought about why I spend so much time and energy to promote the camino and encourage people to walk when in the end I look at the Camino Francés and ask, what has this become? But I'm also not full of myself enough to think that it is my advice and my encouragement that are producing huge waves of increase on the camino. So I guess I'm left with the thought that it's not the numbers themselves that are the "problem" on the Francés to the extent there is one, it's the heightened, almost self-indulgent expectations that come with huge numbers of people who somewhat contradictorily want both an "authentic" or "quaint" experience and at the same time all the creature comforts they get when they travel away from home. If more and more pilgrims are inevitably going to walk, say, the Invierno, maybe our efforts here on the forum will contribute a bit to preserving the "Camino feel" of that glorious route and perhaps staving off the brash commercialism that seems to come hand in hand with increased numbers.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances 2005,2008,2010,2015.camino Portuguese 2007 .primativo2012.camino Norte 2009.sjpdp to finisterre and muxia 2007. Le Puy to jpdp 2006. Via francigena vercelli to Lucca 2014. Lucca to Rome 2016.
There are numerous other " caminos" in other countries beyond just Spain.

Each offer plenty of serendipitous opportunities and potential negative outcomes.

Much depends on your current expectations, needs and desires, your surroundings, the weather, and a host of other variable factors which themselves can change over time.

Nothing in this world including the Camino remains static, so venture forth, fully prepared and not prepared at all.
Yes lots of other caminos. Just got a newsletter this morning re the via di Francesco in Italy .a new guidebook has just been published by Cicerone.Goes from Florence to Rome via Assisi. The feet have begun to itch!!! We have also walked the Camino Norte so will reply to that gentleman seperately
 

Robo

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF SJPdP to SdC
(May 2015)
CF Sarria to SdC
(May 2016)
CF SJPDP-SdC
(Apr/May 2018)
VdlP (2020)
Interesting report. Again highlighting that we all have different experiences and perceptions ;)

Doesn't sounds like a Camino I would enjoy though.......... I need my coffee every couple of hours and a decent Casa Rural :oops:
Plus lots of road walking kills my Achilles Tendons. I wouldn't make it :(
 

alansykes

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Except the Francés
Up in the Cantabrian highlands with very limited WiFi so can't download Wyvern'sridge's document. But I hope to hit the Norte for the first time tomorrow, having seen the sea from high up earlier today, so will have to carry on regardless. And I am hoping to enjoy a lot of fish over the next few weeks.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances 2005,2008,2010,2015.camino Portuguese 2007 .primativo2012.camino Norte 2009.sjpdp to finisterre and muxia 2007. Le Puy to jpdp 2006. Via francigena vercelli to Lucca 2014. Lucca to Rome 2016.
I walked the Camino del Norte from Irún to Santiago during September, October 2015. This was my second Camino, having walked the Camino Frances from SJPdP to Santiago in 2013. Like many others, my choice to walk a different Camino was made on the basis of seeing a different side of Spain on a Camino that was not as crowded as the Camino Frances. I have since learnt that this is a very common reason for walking the coastal route.

As I walked, I discovered many things that might have influenced my decision to walk the Camino del Norte and which I had not seen on the Forum discussions (or if they were there, they were diffused across many conversation threads). This is my attempt to bring some of these issues together so that others may be better informed before making a decision to “head North”.

I know that we are all are enthusiasts of the Camino, and it feels somehow wrong to write stuff that is not necessarily complementary, but I am trying to be both balanced and thorough here. Finally, let me add a caveat. These are my views, which exist within a spectrum of views from people that have walked the Camino del Norte. Others may disagree with specific comments or judgements, and I look forward to a good discussion in the comments.

Because of the 10,000 character limit on posts, I have attached a .pdf file containing the full document.
We walked the Camino Norte in 2009 from Irun to Aviles and yes it was a hard enough one. The only guide book we had was the basic one from the confraternity of St James,so used the accommodation info in that which was very basic at times. We found the albergues to be very very very basic so usually stayed in pensions as cheaply as we could get,which when looking back seemed quiet expensive even now. I do remember the albergue with the rats, apparently it is housed in an old prison?? The pilgrims were apparently sleeping on the tables THEN! I can't remember the infrastructure being too bad but in 9 years I would have thought it would have improved also. The thing we remember most is the beautiful coastal scenery on one side and the Picos de Europa on the other . Often we would suddenly come upon a wonderful beach with some kind of cafe making kiosk. There is actually a lot of road walking on it but whether that has changed??? The infrastructure is much different than the France's and hopefully those walking it will understand this .we however were young and foolish in our mid 50s and just took off!! but we loved it and did not mind that there were VERY FEW pilgrims on it.hardly ever met anyone walking it. Might have changed now but I think those looking for solitude would like it. Also needs to be a bit fitter for this one!!
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances 2005,2008,2010,2015.camino Portuguese 2007 .primativo2012.camino Norte 2009.sjpdp to finisterre and muxia 2007. Le Puy to jpdp 2006. Via francigena vercelli to Lucca 2014. Lucca to Rome 2016.
I disagree with the original post and have attached some comments. This route, imo, is maybe the best of the Camino's I have walked. Only a 345 word response.

Ultreya,
Joe
Am glad you enjoyed it.we loved the beaches and the scenery but yes it is a harder one than the France's. We enjoyed it 6 years ago. The infrastructure seems to be a bit better now but back then we did not have too many expectations,just walked and stayed where we could. The thing about the caminos though is that they are all so different and people really need to try and realise this. Otherwise there is only disappointment and what they want is not always what they get.
 
Camino(s) past & future
2011, 2012, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018 (2019) CF
2013 Arles/Aragones
2015 & 2017 HærvejenDK
@marylynn, please note that there is disagreement with the report posted above.

Personally, I found the report very well written and presented...BUT basically disagree with the content. My experience was very different.

I would suggest considering further research before deciding on the route.
Thanks for the information. I have a Camino friend who just finished the Norte and he said it was hard but wonderful. I'm looking forward to seeing his photos. I will stay open-minded. Thank you!
 

Tia Valeria

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Pt Norte/Pmtvo 2010
C. Inglés 2011
C. Primitivo '12
Norte-C. de la Reina '13
C. do Mar-C. Inglés '15
The albergue in the old prison closed some years ago (maybe 2011/12) ans a new one was opened :). This is true too of some of the other albergues and many new ones are now in place - eg Pendueles had no accomodation in 2009, by 2013 it had private rooms and a private albergue, now 2 albergues.... So the infrastructure has improved but may not meet the expectations of those who have walked the Francés.
 

Thornley

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances x 2 , Norte x 2 , Le Puy x 3 , Portuguese x 2,
Mont St Michel , Primitivo .
Thank you for the detailed report. It confirmed my suspicions, from other things I had read and heard, that it was not the route for me. Very informative!
Many years ago we were offered a home exchange in Waterloo Kitchener and many said we were wasting our time staying there after home exchanges in Nova Scotia and Maple Bay on Vanc Isl
We had a great time in Waterloo ............. Marylnn and met wonderful people , still friends 14 years on.

It was a few years ago when we walked Norte and on that occasion not many pilgrims at all .
We are returning this year and adding the Primitivo from Oviedo as last time we keep on the Norte.
Why?
We stayed in San Sebastian this year for a week after walking from Moissac on the GR65 and realised we could walk it this time and use a bit of luxury.
Please believe me if you take your time , enjoy the scenery and stay in accommodation that provides private rooms you will have a wonderful experience.

My wife and i shook our head in disbelief when we were in Pamplona the last day of the weeks festival.
There is more than the running of the bulls.
We could not believe how many people just hurried through , head down and continued.... not one stopped to look at the groups entertaining
I suppose when they get home they will say they were there and experienced this wonderful sight.

Walk it Marlynn and you will be very surprised.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances 2005,2008,2010,2015.camino Portuguese 2007 .primativo2012.camino Norte 2009.sjpdp to finisterre and muxia 2007. Le Puy to jpdp 2006. Via francigena vercelli to Lucca 2014. Lucca to Rome 2016.
Tia Valera, thanks for letting me know as I could not actually remember where that prison was.its wonderful that the infrastructure has improved as it was such a nice Camino. I don't want to give the wrong information or I'll end up in jail myself!! Thanks again.
 
A

Anemone del Camino

Guest
The albergue in the old prison closed some years ago (maybe 2011/12) ans a new one was opened :). This is true too of some of the other albergues and many new ones are now in place - eg Pendueles had no accomodation in 2009, by 2013 it had private rooms and a private albergue, now 2 albergues.... So the infrastructure has improved but may not meet the expectations of those who have walked the Francés.
The albergue in Comillas in the old jail is still open, and has good reviews in Eroski. It's albergue La Pena. The albrergue that according to fellow walkers last fall had rats then is in the monastery en route to Guernika, with the monks.
 

Tia Valeria

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Pt Norte/Pmtvo 2010
C. Inglés 2011
C. Primitivo '12
Norte-C. de la Reina '13
C. do Mar-C. Inglés '15
The albergue in Comillas in the old jail is still open, and has good reviews in Eroski. It's albergue La Pena. The albrergue that according to fellow walkers last fall had rats then is in the monastery en route to Guernika, with the monks.
I was thinking of a different albergue. The one in Comillas was lovely when we looked in, modernised in 2013 or before. :)
We did not walk through places before Santander, so glad to have missed any rats.
 

Kanga

Moderator
Staff member
Camino(s) past & future
Francés x 5, Le Puy x 2, Arles, Tours, Norte, Madrid, Via de la Plata, Portuguese, Primitivo
We could not believe how many people just hurried through , head down and continued.... not one stopped to look at the groups entertaining
I suppose when they get home they will say they were there and experienced this wonderful sight.
We asked a fellow pilgrim what he thought of the Cathedral in Burgos. "I walked straight past it" he said. Extraordinary to me but I think that tends to change after the first camino. The first one is all about "making it" to Santiago.
 
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Anemone del Camino

Guest
i think the first one is about an exploit, and scarce resources: hurry up, stay in donativos and don't give, just get that piece of paper, no matter how many trains or buses you take.

Honestly, with all these places where You can "free stamp"' , what is stoping someone from buying 100s of credenciales and stamping them in a bar here, a chapel there, a private alberge in the other spot, and selling these in the bar in Santa Irene or elsewhere on the last 100, in exchange for a % of the profits to lazy buggers?
 
A

Anemone del Camino

Guest
But there's a perfectly good albergue above the bar/restaurant just before the monastery
But that doesn't mean some walkers are not looking forward to a night in the moastery... Untill it's too late. :mad:
 

Wokabaut_Meri

somewhere along the Way
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Francés 2015
Pilgrims Way 2018
Via Francigena #1 Canterbury-Dover 2018
I asked a fellow pilgrim what he thought of the Cathedral in Burgos. "I walked straight past it" he said. Extraordinary to me but I think that tends to change after the first camino. The first one is all about "making it" to Santiago.
Depends also on whether you are a journey or destination walker. Different focus. I've always espoused the former as there is no 'failure' and every completed day is a destination in itself.
 
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zzotte

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
2012 Camino Frances, 2014 Lourdes to SDC, 2016 Camino del Norte
I hear some of you say albergues with rats, industrial areas, towns with no food and some other negative points which I totally understand and appreciate but if you are trying to help could you provide us with albergues names? Town names? Locations? That would be very valuable info to someone contemplating doing the Camino del Norte since I'm sure must have some beautiful sections as well.

Thanks
Zzotte
 

spursfan

Veteran Member
I hear some of you say albergues with rats, industrial areas, towns with no food and some other negative points which I totally understand and appreciate but if you are trying to help could you provide us with albergues names? Town names? Locations? That would be very valuable info to someone contemplating doing the Camino del Norte since I'm sure must have some beautiful sections as well.

Thanks
Zzotte
See some of the previous posts that will help you avoid the rats

The Northern Caminos guide book lists the facilities that you can expect along the way (such as albergues and grocery stores/supermarkets) - but as far as opening hours go you should be aware that almost all supermarkets will be closed on Sundays and many shops will have a two-hour break in the middle of the day - most big chains of supermarkets will have more detailed information on their opening days and hours from their websites
 

AlanB

Active Member
Sometimes I wonder if I walked the same Caminos as others. The camino del norte is an excellent walk. I think the OP has an issue comparing it to the Camino Frances.Its different. I quite liked not going through places which revolved/evolved around the Camino
You will get good and bad Albergues on any Camino. That's part of the fun. The best Albergue on ANY Camino is on the Camino del Norte ....my opinion of course.
 

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)
I hear some of you say albergues with rats, industrial areas, towns with no food and some other negative points which I totally understand and appreciate but if you are trying to help could you provide us with albergues names? Town names? Locations? That would be very valuable info to someone contemplating doing the Camino del Norte since I'm sure must have some beautiful sections as well.

Thanks
Zzotte
I enjoyed Albergues and other Accommodations in Orio, Markina, Liendo, Guemes, Santa Cruz de Bezana, Pendueles, Casa Belen, Baamonde, and Miraz to name a few.

Ultreya,
Joe
 

Marc S.

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
2012-2018 Frances, Norte, Salvador, Aragones, Portuguese, Via Regia, Elisabethpfad, Jakibspaad.
I hear some of you say albergues with rats, industrial areas, towns with no food and some other negative points which I totally understand and appreciate but if you are trying to help could you provide us with albergues names? Town names? Locations? That would be very valuable info to someone contemplating doing the Camino del Norte since I'm sure must have some beautiful sections as well.

Thanks
Zzotte
When preparing for the Norte it is worth going the threads at the Norte section of this forum. It will you a give more balanced view. I respect the OP's opinion about the Norte, but as I wrote before, it feels like I walked a different camino.

To answer your questions:
IMO there are no 'towns without food'. At least I never encountered any trouble in this respect.
Walking in and out of Gyon and Bilbao is a bit industrial, but nothing too bad: IMO a bit of a suburban industrial slog is an integral part of any camino.
 

zzotte

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
2012 Camino Frances, 2014 Lourdes to SDC, 2016 Camino del Norte
Thank you Spur, JP and Marc for your answers, I for one like the road less traveled, but thought if you have to sleep on top of tables because of rats one could at least tell which albergue, ( bars don't count) :) it's lots of information here in our forum and it's great to know directly from people's personal experiences (never two alike) and interesting to hear about them. I'm sure all the Caminos have issues (of some kind) I know that sometimes our negative moments tend to be overwhelmed and soon forget the good ones as in Alex's notes, I think is beauty in every journey however one wants to interpret beauty :)

Zzotte
 
Camino(s) past & future
2002, Toulouse/Aragon 2005, Cami S Jaume/Aragon 2007/9, Mont Saint Michel/Norte/Vadiniense 2011, Norte/Primitivo 2013, Norte/Primitivo 2014. Norte 2015, Cami S Jaume/Castellano-Aragonese 2016
Interesting report. Again highlighting that we all have different experiences and perceptions ;)

Doesn't sounds like a Camino I would enjoy though.......... I need my coffee every couple of hours and a decent Casa Rural :oops:
Plus lots of road walking kills my Achilles Tendons. I wouldn't make it :(
I've done the del Norte a couple of times and have had no trouble finding both cafe con leche and some very nice casas rurales. Remember that this is a summertime vacation zone for Spaniards from the interior, and they are well cared for. If it happens that those accommodations are still there and almost empty in September and October, and the innkeepers very happy to see us, who am I to complain?
 

Barbara

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances, Norte (twice)and Primitivo, Sureste, In France From home Tours and Vézelay, also Le Puy
I must have done a different Norte to some of you. Once in 2004, and again this year. It's developed since 2004, but it was wonderful then, and wonderful again this year. So, once with a donkey, branching on to the Primitivo, and this year on my bike. More pilgrims, more pilgrim accomodation, but not yet a motorway like the Frances. I wouldn't EVER walk the Frances again after my encounter with part of it last year, when I returned home after a week. Why? Because of the thoughtless inconsiderate behaviour of the early risers and the incontinent....Waymarking with paper tissues, as it were.

And, nice though it is to make friends, I would willingly not hear Buen Camino! every five minutes as large groups of fast walkers (OK, everyone walks faster than me, 'tis true) sail past me on the bed race. Especially the ones with the bus waiting with their luggage ;) Just my little whinge there...

Oh, and I returned home using the narrow gauge train, which was pure magic. So, if you want vast albergues and a lot of company, please do take the Frances, and leave the Norte for those who prefer a quieter walk. At least the off road sections haven't had to be paved due to wear and tear as yet. I don't remember not being able to eat, either.
 

Smallest_Sparrow

Life is rarely what you expect or believe it to be
Camino(s) past & future
2012: most of some, all of a few, a bit of others
First, despite my deep love and preference for the Norte I also appreciate some points made by the OP and counterpoints by others. To each his own, and I'd rather all be aware of what they are getting before they commit. I knew (from reading the CSJ del Norte guide, posts on this forum, and looking at a map) that it would be a more strenuous, less travelled, and less pilgrim-oriented path --after all, we walk through irun, San Sebastián, Bilbao, guernika, Comillas, etc--but for me those were all positives. But the OP note has made that more clear to people who don't want to read and interpret many sources.

OTOH, good and bad are so subjective. I looked SO forward to Guermes--and hated it. Smokers everywhere so I couldn't sit in the garden, couldn't wash/hang clothes or they'd stink of others smoke, people smoking in the rooms! It was hell. But Ziortza monastery? I loved it. Yes we ate as the monks did, soup bread and water. But it was magical: The day before, I'd gotten lost coming from Deba and arrived late at night, drenched and hypothermic from a thunderstorm and falling into a stream. so the monks urged me to stay and rest a day, especially since it was still stormy. I walked around the grounds and explored the church while rain and thunder echoed outside. the only other pilgrim that night was French and spoke only French and a dozen words in English, and about the same in Spanish. I speak English, Farsi, and Arabic, with survival Russian and Spanish, and six words of French and Dutch. We "talked" the night away in pantomime, sketches, and using every tongue we knew hoping it would be similar enough. We laughed for hours. But I doubt it would be the same a second time.

No Camino is ever the same, no Camino is better, but some generalities are true. The more popular the route, the more crowded it will be, good if you want a social scene and ample pilgrim infrastructure. There's of course reasons the less travelled routes are less travelled, so expect trade offs.

This might work for others, what I did (I called it my patch-work Camino, or Gaudi Camino): walk part on the Frances (I did SJPdP to Estella) then train to bus to a starting point of ones choosing on the Norte (for me Santander but to go with the OP suggestion you could choose further west). For me it was the best of both worlds.
 

spursfan

Veteran Member
But that doesn't mean some walkers are not looking forward to a night in the moastery... Untill it's too late. :mad:
I went to a lovely vespers in the evening with the monks then went back to my room - having walked from Deba that day I was happy to splash out - I also needed a few quick glasses of Coke to cool me down
 

spursfan

Veteran Member
IMO there are no 'towns without food'. At least I never encountered any trouble in this respect.
Walking in and out of Gyon and Bilbao is a bit industrial, but nothing too bad: IMO a bit of a suburban industrial slog is an integral part of any camino.
Both Gijon and Bilbao would qualify as towns without supermarket food on a Sunday were it not for OpenCor - also Santander with no supermarket open on Sunday
 
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A

Anemone del Camino

Guest
Both Gijon and Bilbao would qualify as towns without supermarket food on a Sunday were it not for SuperCor - also Santander with no supermarket open on Sunday
Not so. The Jumbo near Ballas Artes and Opencor are open or Sundays as are mom and pop shops in the old town. It is harder to find grocery stores than on other days but there are places open, including bakeries.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances and Finisterre 2014
Camino Frances,Muxia and Finisterre 2015
Camino del Norte,Arzua to Ribadeo 2015
Both Gijon and Bilbao would qualify as towns without supermarket food on a Sunday were it not for SuperCor - also Santander with no supermarket open on Sunday
There is a good Chinese minimarket less than 100m from the bus and train stations in Santander,seemed to be open all hours.
 
S

Satírico

Guest
I walked the Camino del Norte from Irún to Santiago during September, October 2015. This was my second Camino, having walked the Camino Frances from SJPdP to Santiago in 2013. Like many others, my choice to walk a different Camino was made on the basis of seeing a different side of Spain on a Camino that was not as crowded as the Camino Frances. I have since learnt that this is a very common reason for walking the coastal route.

As I walked, I discovered many things that might have influenced my decision to walk the Camino del Norte and which I had not seen on the Forum discussions (or if they were there, they were diffused across many conversation threads). This is my attempt to bring some of these issues together so that others may be better informed before making a decision to “head North”.

I know that we are all are enthusiasts of the Camino, and it feels somehow wrong to write stuff that is not necessarily complementary, but I am trying to be both balanced and thorough here. Finally, let me add a caveat. These are my views, which exist within a spectrum of views from people that have walked the Camino del Norte. Others may disagree with specific comments or judgements, and I look forward to a good discussion in the comments.

Because of the 10,000 character limit on posts, I have attached a .pdf file containing the full document.
Thanks for this very generous submission. I was supposed to be on the del Norte in September but had to cancel the camino adventure. One day and when it comes I will be better prepared. Best wishes.
 

spursfan

Veteran Member
Not so. The Jumbo near Ballas Artes and Opencor are open or Sundays as are mom and pop shops in the old town. It is harder to find grocery stores than on other days but there are places open, including bakeries.
I did mean OpenCor and found it useful on a non Sunday since it is open late - my real ire was for Bilbao where I had to ask in a hotel as I was walking through on a Sunday for directions to the OpenCor; I landed at Santander airport on a Sunday morning and found very little open - the Supermarket near the bus station was only selling bread and my best hope of buying large bottles of Aquarius was from the small number of sweet shops for tourists - though there was one small chinese supermarkets towards the outskirts - all I am trying to do is just to make walkers aware on the Norte not to expect everything to be open on Sundays - having said that, petrol stations might be the best best on Sundays in the countryside
 

Jim Kavanagh

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances 2010 Portugues 2015 De LaPlata 2015
Just to add my three half pence worth, I walked from Castro Urdiales to Santander about a month ago on the Camino del Norte and did not enjoy it. The scenery may be nicer than the Camino Frances but there was too much walking on main roads and other hard surfaces and at one time I had to clamber over a rocky path over a headland with the ever present possibility of spraining an ankle or worse.
Being of an elderly disposition I cannot comment on albergues as for comfort and with a fear of bed bugs I stayed in casas rurals and small hotels.
I met very few other pilgrims, the exception being a group of eight Irishwomen that I met at dinner one night.
I have completed the Camino Frances and there was nothing like the sociability encountered there.
I do not intend to walk any more stages of the Norte based on my experience.
I have walked the Camino Portugues from Belorado to Pontevedra and found it very enjoyable.
I would recommend the Portugues for anyone who has done the Frances and is looking for another Camino to walk.
 

Thornley

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances x 2 , Norte x 2 , Le Puy x 3 , Portuguese x 2,
Mont St Michel , Primitivo .
Just to add my three half pence worth, I walked from Castro Urdiales to Santander about a month ago on the Camino del Norte and did not enjoy it. The scenery may be nicer than the Camino Frances but there was too much walking on main roads and other hard surfaces and at one time I had to clamber over a rocky path over a headland with the ever present possibility of spraining an ankle or worse.
Being of an elderly disposition I cannot comment on albergues as for comfort and with a fear of bed bugs I stayed in casas rurals and small hotels.
I met very few other pilgrims, the exception being a group of eight Irishwomen that I met at dinner one night.
I have completed the Camino Frances and there was nothing like the sociability encountered there.
I do not intend to walk any more stages of the Norte based on my experience.
I have walked the Camino Portugues from Belorado to Pontevedra and found it very enjoyable.
I would recommend the Portugues for anyone who has done the Frances and is looking for another Camino to walk.
Disagree Jim sorry,
October along the coast is a bit iffy with weather but there is no comparison between Norte and Portuguese .
If you walk from Lisbon to Porto you will know what i mean and i believe you cannot "can" a way by only walking 5 days.
 

Jim Kavanagh

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances 2010 Portugues 2015 De LaPlata 2015
Fair enough vis-a-vis knowing about a Camino by walking only five days. However, I do stand by my opinion that that particular stretch is not very pleasant to walk.
And maybe I do not know enough about the the Camino Portugues to recommend it but I did enjoy the part I walked. And I think few people recommend walking from Lisbon to Port but Porto to Santiago is very popular.
 

Kanga

Moderator
Staff member
Camino(s) past & future
Francés x 5, Le Puy x 2, Arles, Tours, Norte, Madrid, Via de la Plata, Portuguese, Primitivo
@Thornley and @Jim Kavanagh , your experiences are both valid yet different. Let's just report our experiences and not get into an argument. It's a bit like "my life is better than yours"!

I have enjoyed every single one of my Caminos. Even "bad" days are memorable and offer something worthwhile. Would I walk them all again? Yep.
 

jumpingin2014

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances 2013
I didn't see anything in the document new. I do appreciate however knowing that when all things considered you would not recommend it .....thanks for sharing :)

Mark
 

Thornley

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances x 2 , Norte x 2 , Le Puy x 3 , Portuguese x 2,
Mont St Michel , Primitivo .
Pardon me. I didn't realise that things were getting so hot that we needed a woman to get between us! I thought we were merely giving opinions.
Concur Jim,
I should tell Kanga , and she is a good bloke, lol, that as the oldest of 8 kids Jim and i were not arguing.
 

jh2

jh2
Camino(s) past & future
Frances / Portuguese interior
I walked the Camino del Norte from Irún to Santiago during September, October 2015. This was my second Camino, having walked the Camino Frances from SJPdP to Santiago in 2013. Like many others, my choice to walk a different Camino was made on the basis of seeing a different side of Spain on a Camino that was not as crowded as the Camino Frances. I have since learnt that this is a very common reason for walking the coastal route.

As I walked, I discovered many things that might have influenced my decision to walk the Camino del Norte and which I had not seen on the Forum discussions (or if they were there, they were diffused across many conversation threads). This is my attempt to bring some of these issues together so that others may be better informed before making a decision to “head North”.

I know that we are all are enthusiasts of the Camino, and it feels somehow wrong to write stuff that is not necessarily complementary, but I am trying to be both balanced and thorough here. Finally, let me add a caveat. These are my views, which exist within a spectrum of views from people that have walked the Camino del Norte. Others may disagree with specific comments or judgements, and I look forward to a good discussion in the comments.

Because of the 10,000 character limit on posts, I have attached a .pdf file containing the full document.
I walked the Camino del Norte from Irún to Santiago during September, October 2015. This was my second Camino, having walked the Camino Frances from SJPdP to Santiago in 2013. Like many others, my choice to walk a different Camino was made on the basis of seeing a different side of Spain on a Camino that was not as crowded as the Camino Frances. I have since learnt that this is a very common reason for walking the coastal route.

As I walked, I discovered many things that might have influenced my decision to walk the Camino del Norte and which I had not seen on the Forum discussions (or if they were there, they were diffused across many conversation threads). This is my attempt to bring some of these issues together so that others may be better informed before making a decision to “head North”.

I know that we are all are enthusiasts of the Camino, and it feels somehow wrong to write stuff that is not necessarily complementary, but I am trying to be both balanced and thorough here. Finally, let me add a caveat. These are my views, which exist within a spectrum of views from people that have walked the Camino del Norte. Others may disagree with specific comments or judgements, and I look forward to a good discussion in the comments.

Because of the 10,000 character limit on posts, I have attached a .pdf file containing the full document.
Hello Alex,
Just a note to thank you for your file which I found well written and v informative . I agree with your assumption that we are looking alternatives to the over busy Frances which for me was often about covering distance and evenings socialising . As an alternative I tried the CPI in mid Portugal for a week in Oct an like you on the Norte found it different . This is a route the Portuguese local councils are trying to resurrect to bring tourists to a an area lacking economic growth , but the pilgrims aren't coming and the natives don't hike -- I walked for five days without meeting another soul and stayed in alberge's solo where no one had slept for the previous week . I stayed in small hotels for some company most nights , but it is a beautiful walk especially from Viseu and up through the Douro valley with its vineyards and is good for meditation and relaxation ,one could however keel over and not be found for some time it is solitary .
My plan for 2016 was to walk some kms from Irun, your notes suggest to me that my CPI experience will assist me on the less developed Norte .
I quite enjoy heading off in the morning not knowing where I will finish or what I will get to eat /drink during the day , something turns up !
Thanks again,
James
 

Thornley

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances x 2 , Norte x 2 , Le Puy x 3 , Portuguese x 2,
Mont St Michel , Primitivo .
Hello Alex,
Just a note to thank you for your file which I found well written and v informative . I agree with your assumption that we are looking alternatives to the over busy Frances which for me was often about covering distance and evenings socialising . As an alternative I tried the CPI in mid Portugal for a week in Oct an like you on the Norte found it different . This is a route the Portuguese local councils are trying to resurrect to bring tourists to a an area lacking economic growth , but the pilgrims aren't coming and the natives don't hike -- I walked for five days without meeting another soul and stayed in alberge's solo where no one had slept for the previous week . I stayed in small hotels for some company most nights , but it is a beautiful walk especially from Viseu and up through the Douro valley with its vineyards and is good for meditation and relaxation ,one could however keel over and not be found for some time it is solitary .
My plan for 2016 was to walk some kms from Irun, your notes suggest to me that my CPI experience will assist me on the less developed Norte .
I quite enjoy heading off in the morning not knowing where I will finish or what I will get to eat /drink during the day , something turns up !
Thanks again,
James
Its pretty well developed James for Pilgrims , you will not be short of friends whilst walking.
When in the big towns [ ex ] San Sebastian / Bilbao / Santander etc take an extra day and soak it all up.
People travel around the world to these cities so enjoy whilst there.
Not just the food ..........you are commencing in the Basque.
We found the Portuguese lovely, quiet and respectful , but i think their Gov't let them down with the Camino,
We will update latter was maybe their thought process .................now the penny has dropped on how much the Camino's bring to the areas.
Have a great walk James and enjoy the Sardines and Portuguese Tarts.
 
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Galuh

Member
Camino(s) past & future
mei 2016
That's why I doubt between the Portuguese and del Norte (Mei 2016), for me it's my first Camino.
 

Deborah Kostisin

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Francigena (2014) September for 20 days to Roma, Camino Frances from La Puy to Rocamandour (2012) May for 24 days, Camino to Santiago from San Jean pied du port to Finisterre (2010) for 40 days Parts of the Camino northern route in Spain 5 days at a time in (2015) Via Francigina from Turin to Rome, Hospialaria volunteer in Viana Spain, volunteer on Via Francigina for September 17
Yes lots of other caminos. Just got a newsletter this morning re the via di Francesco in Italy .a new guidebook has just been published by Cicerone.Goes from Florence to Rome via Assisi. The feet have begun to itch!!! We have also walked the Camino Norte so will reply to that gentleman seperately
Hi Annette, I walked the via Francigena last October. I can recommend it highly. Some suggestions are a good place to begin is Lucca. Also don't do this one alone something I would not say in Spain. I ended up at the last minute walking with, because I met them the night before I began walking, an Italian man, a French lady and 2 Irish. We all had different nationalities guide books and we needed all of them not to get to lost. I also found that you aren't always welcome by the local farmers to use the path even though it is clearly the path. Fabulous walking, but you must be willing to cheat and use a bus every now and then.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances 2005,2008,2010,2015.camino Portuguese 2007 .primativo2012.camino Norte 2009.sjpdp to finisterre and muxia 2007. Le Puy to jpdp 2006. Via francigena vercelli to Lucca 2014. Lucca to Rome 2016.
Hi Annette, I walked the via Francigena last October. I can recommend it highly. Some suggestions are a good place to begin is Lucca. Also don't do this one alone something I would not say in Spain. I ended up at the last minute walking with, because I met them the night before I began walking, an Italian man, a French lady and 2 Irish. We all had different nationalities guide books and we needed all of them not to get to lost. I also found that you aren't always welcome by the local farmers to use the path even though it is clearly the path. Fabulous walking, but you must be willing to cheat and use a bus every now and then.
Yes I agree about not walking alone as so few people walking it and it is a bit remote at times. We met a German lady who had been harrised a few times. We walked with her and an American guy for a few days and we had a great laugh. We found that from Verchelli to Lucca there was a lot of road walking and one area on a main road past industrial sites for about 20km. Not pleasant.we had good maps but I think the routes marked on it often changed so we just followed the arrows. Got pretty lost once and had to hitch! It was the road walking even on small roads that we did not like as so hard on the feet. The people we met were so nice however. Yes we would like to do the way now from Lucca but this new guide via Francesco has caught my eye!! So many "ways" so little time as we are getting older!!! Best wishes Annette
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances 2005,2008,2010,2015.camino Portuguese 2007 .primativo2012.camino Norte 2009.sjpdp to finisterre and muxia 2007. Le Puy to jpdp 2006. Via francigena vercelli to Lucca 2014. Lucca to Rome 2016.
We asked a fellow pilgrim what he thought of the Cathedral in Burgos. "I walked straight past it" he said. Extraordinary to me but I think that tends to change after the first camino. The first one is all about "making it" to Santiago.
Yes it a shame as it's such a beautiful cathedral as is the one in Leon. We don't tend to visit museums or buildings other than churches but I have to "pop in" to every little church that is open along the way to light a candle even though we don't walk as pilgrims. Closet ones perhaps!!
 

Kieranodriscoll

New Member
I walked the Camino del Norte from Irún to Santiago during September, October 2015. This was my second Camino, having walked the Camino Frances from SJPdP to Santiago in 2013. Like many others, my choice to walk a different Camino was made on the basis of seeing a different side of Spain on a Camino that was not as crowded as the Camino Frances. I have since learnt that this is a very common reason for walking the coastal route.

As I walked, I discovered many things that might have influenced my decision to walk the Camino del Norte and which I had not seen on the Forum discussions (or if they were there, they were diffused across many conversation threads). This is my attempt to bring some of these issues together so that others may be better informed before making a decision to “head North”.

I know that we are all are enthusiasts of the Camino, and it feels somehow wrong to write stuff that is not necessarily complementary, but I am trying to be both balanced and thorough here. Finally, let me add a caveat. These are my views, which exist within a spectrum of views from people that have walked the Camino del Norte. Others may disagree with specific comments or judgements, and I look forward to a good discussion in the comments.

Because of the 10,000 character limit on posts, I have attached a .pdf file containing the full document.
 

Kieranodriscoll

New Member
Myself and my wife have walked the Frances and Portuguese and are planning to walk Camino del Norte in Aug/Sept 16. Accordingly I have been scouring all the blogs and threads to get a sense of the route and what is involved. To be honest, I got the impression from this exercise that the route is hilly and the guides are only evolving, but I did not get the other negative impressions that Alex has.

But of specific concern is the reference to the rat infestation at one of the albergues. This needs to be identified, ie. name and location. Not knowing where it is is a concern for me and anybody else planning to walk the route soon or in the future. Some of the contributors to the thread have made suggestions, but nothing definite, I think. Kieran
 

LTfit

Veteran Member
Back to the OP. Many comments, opinions and advice have been posted. As I walked from Irún to Portugalete this October I wanted to join in and give my side.

First of all my immediate reaction was (as others): did we do the same Camino?
And second was: did you do your homework? And lastly: what are you looking for in a Camino? Expectations?

But to address the first part - and let me say that this is only based on the first 8 days.

Stages: easier than expected and I live in The Netherlands where there are no hills let alone mountains. Definitely lots of up and down but IMHO very doable and the stages can be relatively short if required. (note: this is coming from a 59 year old active woman).

Signage: excellent! This Camino is so well marked that a guide is not even needed. Download or print information from the Gronze or Eroski web and you are set to go.

Albergues: clean, a bed or bunkbed and a hot shower. What else is needed? In Irún communal breakfast was offered and in Bilbao communal dinner and breakfast. Both donativo and staffed by volunteer hospitaler@s. Both were to be closed by September 30 but given the amount of pilgrims decided to stay open 2 weeks more. For this we were grateful.

Terrain/Scenery: rolling lush green hills combined with beach and a dramatic coastline! Beautiful! Add to that nice towns and villages. And history (a visit to the Museo de la Paz /Peace Museum in Guernika is a must). This is nothing like any other part of Spain that I have seen thus far and I have walked numerous different Caminos.

Language: as I come to Spain to experience Spain and speak Spanish (amongst other things) I like the fact that there may be few English speaking pilgrims on the Camino. Although I did meet a Dutch and German woman who spoke perfect English as well as several Frenchmen.

Lastly I would like to say something about the other two questions I posted above :

-Did you do your homework?
And I don't mean this to sound condescending but I have read several comments in threads recently stating "oh but nobody told me this or why didn't people from the Forum tell me that..." Gleaning information from this Forum is just one way to prepare for a Camino. We are all adults right?

-What kind of Camino were/are you looking for and what were/are your expectations?

Maybe it is just me but I have never been on a Camino that I didn't enjoy but that is not to say that I don't have favorites. But maybe this is because the only expectation I have is to walk, eat, sleep and wash my clothes if I must. The rest is all icing on the cake. And after 10+ Caminos the icing still tastes damn good!

Buen Camino y Ultreia
 

Kanga

Moderator
Staff member
Camino(s) past & future
Francés x 5, Le Puy x 2, Arles, Tours, Norte, Madrid, Via de la Plata, Portuguese, Primitivo
I think we can all disagree without getting personal about it. Obviously many on this forum had a different experience on the Norte to the OP (including me) but that is no reason to blame or attack him. He is telling his experience and that is valuable alternative information for prospective pilgrims.

I, like LT, have enjoyed every one of my caminos and would walk each one again without hesitation. Partly that is because I start every camino without any expectations, except to walk. In my enthusiasm to encourage others I don't talk about the negatives because I don't see them that way. Giving space for other views may help new walkers be more prepared and less likely to be disappointed.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances 2005,2008,2010,2015.camino Portuguese 2007 .primativo2012.camino Norte 2009.sjpdp to finisterre and muxia 2007. Le Puy to jpdp 2006. Via francigena vercelli to Lucca 2014. Lucca to Rome 2016.
I think we can all disagree without getting personal about it. Obviously many on this forum had a different experience on the Norte to the OP (including me) but that is no reason to blame or attack him. He is telling his experience and that is valuable alternative information for prospective pilgrims.

I, like LT, have enjoyed every one of my caminos and would walk each one again without hesitation. Partly that is because I start every camino without any expectations, except to walk. In my enthusiasm to encourage others I don't talk about the negatives because I don't see them that way. Giving space for other views may help new walkers be more prepared and less likely to be disappointed.
Yes every Camino is different as is each walker or pilgrim travelling along them and it should not be a case of "my way or no way" there will be positive or negative reactions to each Camino depending on what each persons expectations are. Some caminos are more conducive to those who like solitude and visa versa. Therefore it is important that all views are considered and accepted as such otherwise those pilgrims with less than positive opinions will be reluctant to post information for others looking for advice .then people can make up their own minds. Of course we liked some caminos more than others but enjoyed them all.
 

dougfitz

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Spain: Mar 2010, Apr 2014, May/Jun 2016. Norway/Sweden: 2012, 2018. Other: 2011 (2019)
I think we can all disagree without getting personal about it. Obviously many on this forum had a different experience on the Norte to the OP (including me) but that is no reason to blame or attack him. He is telling his experience and that is valuable alternative information for prospective pilgrims.
I have been watching this thread with fascination, having met Alex and had the pleasure of listening to him speak about his first camino. I think he should be congratulated for executing the most brilliant piece of trolling I have seen. Even better, he did so in an informative and entertaining way. Pure class, Alex. Well done.
 

jesben1

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Del Norte 2015
A few thoughts, for one I only came across one hostel the entire time that I found unpleasant, it was in sebrayo, covered in mold, the mattresses were gross and flies were extremely thick. Other than that I really can't complain. In fact many time I would have thought, any nicer and it would sort of take away from the experience lol I think this is subjective and will differ from each person's perspective, if you have only stayed in 5-star hotels with room service than yes I would imagine you would be very disappointing with the accommodations. I was just happy if they were clean, and by clean I mean no bugs in my bed haha.

As far as the physical challenge, it was the hardest thing I've ever done in my life, and I am 24 yrs old, a runner, and would consider myself very in shape. Every single day in the first two weeks was an incredible struggle. But the reward at the end of the day was always worth it, getting/making good food, relaxing, enjoying the beach etc. I think it built character, my mantra during the tough times was frequently "if I can do this I can do anything." This got me up many hills...

Regarding the availability of hostels, we basically made it our routine to be up by 5 and walking by 6, if we didn't do this we were sure to get there too late, and have to walk further or spend extra money. knowing spaces were limited just caused us to be more prepared.As far as not being able to find bars/restaurants, again, just learned to be prepared. If my book said no facilities, then I would stop at a grocery store early in the day, or buy extra the day before. Not eating anything between breakfast and dinner, well I'm sorry to say is no one's fault but your own.

Final thoughts - even if every hostel was disgusting and I thought things were as bad as you described, I would probably do it all again, because the natural beauty the norte provided was indescribable. It would surpass any and all unpleasantness for me. Every day was an adventure and a treat for my eyes. Also from what I've heard about the Frances, I would never walk that trail! The herds fo people sounds horrible. But then again I am more of an introvert. Other people draw energy from socialization, I do not. Just an example of why everyone can walk the same trail and have such vastly different opinions, I just hope new people don't read this and decide the Norte isn't for them. But then again, I would like to do it again someday and hope it doesn't gain too much popularity, so on second thought, spread the word ;)
 

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)
A few thoughts, for one I only came across one hostel the entire time that I found unpleasant, it was in sebrayo, covered in mold, the mattresses were gross and flies were extremely thick. Other than that I really can't complain. In fact many time I would have thought, any nicer and it would sort of take away from the experience lol I think this is subjective and will differ from each person's perspective, if you have only stayed in 5-star hotels with room service than yes I would imagine you would be very disappointing with the accommodations. I was just happy if they were clean, and by clean I mean no bugs in my bed haha.

As far as the physical challenge, it was the hardest thing I've ever done in my life, and I am 24 yrs old, a runner, and would consider myself very in shape. Every single day in the first two weeks was an incredible struggle. But the reward at the end of the day was always worth it, getting/making good food, relaxing, enjoying the beach etc. I think it built character, my mantra during the tough times was frequently "if I can do this I can do anything." This got me up many hills...

Regarding the availability of hostels, we basically made it our routine to be up by 5 and walking by 6, if we didn't do this we were sure to get there too late, and have to walk further or spend extra money. knowing spaces were limited just caused us to be more prepared.As far as not being able to find bars/restaurants, again, just learned to be prepared. If my book said no facilities, then I would stop at a grocery store early in the day, or buy extra the day before. Not eating anything between breakfast and dinner, well I'm sorry to say is no one's fault but your own.

Final thoughts - even if every hostel was disgusting and I thought things were as bad as you described, I would probably do it all again, because the natural beauty the norte provided was indescribable. It would surpass any and all unpleasantness for me. Every day was an adventure and a treat for my eyes. Also from what I've heard about the Frances, I would never walk that trail! The herds fo people sounds horrible. But then again I am more of an introvert. Other people draw energy from socialization, I do not. Just an example of why everyone can walk the same trail and have such vastly different opinions, I just hope new people don't read this and decide the Norte isn't for them. But then again, I would like to do it again someday and hope it doesn't gain too much popularity, so on second thought, spread the word ;)
Jesben:

Agree with your evaluation. That said, I walked in April and had no accommodation issues.

You might find the Salvador/Primitivo a nice combination walk. There are not the great sea views and beaches but beautiful mountain scenery. The Salvador is sparsely traveled and the Primitivo is similar to the Norte in numbers of Pilgrims. The Frances is not bad, crowd wise, in March/April with the exception of Easter week.

Villaviciosa is a better option than Sebrayo. It is a very nice town with lot's of food and accommodation choices.

Ultreya,
Joe
 
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Felice

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
SJPP to Santiago Sept 2014
I have been watching this thread with fascination, having met Alex and had the pleasure of listening to him speak about his first camino. I think he should be congratulated for executing the most brilliant piece of trolling I have seen. Even better, he did so in an informative and entertaining way. Pure class, Alex. Well done.
LOL! As chief troll on this forum, that is praise indeed.
 

Gregory Stegman

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
9/2014 Camino Frances. 5/2015 Lepuy. next 6/16 ?
Interesting read. I do not disagree with it except you missed saying the landscape is very beautiful. The coastal views are spectacular. So are the lush green mountains. In spring the flowers were amazing. That in itself is a good reason to walk the Norte. It is also the reason I would not have wanted to miss walking from Irun to San Sebastien or the other "difficult" bits.

In some ways the path and albergues and coffee "stops" are similar to the Camino Frances as it was when I first walked 14 years ago. Since then the infrastructure on the Frances has improved out of sight - to me the current infrastructure is amazing. I suspect that in time the same is likely to happen on the Norte, especially as local entrepreneurs find ways of supplementing their income. There also used to be more road walking on the Camino Frances but over time safety of pilgrims has become a priority and that of necessity involves less road walking. Although that is less likely, unless paths are re-routed.
Hi Kanga, I corresponded with you early 2014 before my first Camino adventure from SJDP. This year I walked from Le Puy. I am deciding for May 2016, Camino Northern or Camino Portugal. Research tells me the Portugal can become busy with many Pilgrims. I really enjoyed my Le Puy adventure. What are your thoughts. Greg
 

Kanga

Moderator
Staff member
Camino(s) past & future
Francés x 5, Le Puy x 2, Arles, Tours, Norte, Madrid, Via de la Plata, Portuguese, Primitivo
Greg, I think if you liked the Le Puy you will love the Norte. It has more in common with the Le Puy than with the Francės. I can't comment on the Portuguese because I have not walked it.
 

alansykes

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Except the Francés
Not sure if I'm really entitled to add anything as I still can't read the original document (must be a problem with my tablet, or possibly its owner), but after four whole days, I'd say:

- the Norte is probably the best marked camino I've been on
- I knew it wasn't a stroll along the beach, but was surprised by 5000' of elevation between Comillas and Pendueles (lovely, but quite a lot)
- normally on my caminos, 1km walked will get you 1km closer to Santiago, more or less. On the Norte it seems to be often much less - yesterday in Nueva I saw a sign saying Ribadesella 10km and thought "that's closer than I expected": it wasn't, it was 13km by the camino.
- there is more loo paper on the trail than I'm used to (but I've never been on the Francés)
- a lot of places do close for the winter (which, in my experiences of the Levante and the Plata, they VERY rarely do)
- I wasn't expecting the sea to be so warm and calm to swim in in mid November, which is slowing my progress
- I have eaten a LOT of mostly very good fish, including a 1/4kg of percebes for €10, perhaps 1/4 the cost in Santiago, lots of wonderfully fresh mussels, some memorable sopa de mariscos, some tiny explode in your mouth navajas, perfectly fresh swordfish and sardines, and mostly (not the barnacles, obviously) included in the menú del día, or pretty cheap. In fact I haven't eaten any meat since leaving the mountains, better have some fabada before I leave Asturias.
 
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Thornley

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances x 2 , Norte x 2 , Le Puy x 3 , Portuguese x 2,
Mont St Michel , Primitivo .
Not sure if I'm really entitled to add anything as I still can't read the original document (must be a problem with my tablet, or possibly its owner), but after four whole days, I'd say:

- the Norte is probably the best marked camino I've been on
- I knew it wasn't a stroll along the beach, but was surprised by 5000' of elevation between Comillas and Pendueles (lovely, but quite a lot)
- normally on my caminos, 1km walked will get you 1km closer to Santiago, more or less. On the Norte it seems to be often much less - yesterday in Nueva I saw a sign saying Ribadesella 10km and thought "that's closer than I expected": it wasn't, it was 13km by the camino.
- there is more loo paper on the trail than I'm used to (but I've never been on the Francés)
- a lot of places do close for the winter (which, in my experiences of the Levante and the Plata, they VERY rarely do)
- I wasn't expecting the sea to be so warm and calm to swim in in mid November, which is slowing my progress
- I have eaten a LOT of mostly very good fish, including a 1/4kg of percebes for €10, perhaps 1/4 the cost in Santiago, lots of wonderfully fresh mussels, some memorable sopa de mariscos, some tiny explode in your mouth navajas, perfectly fresh swordfish and sardines, and mostly (not the barnacles, obviously) included in the menú del día, or pretty cheap. In fact I haven't eaten any meat since leaving the mountains, better have some fabada before I leave Asturias.
Likewise Alan ,
We never had one piece of meat for the whole Norte , the food is wonderful.
 

domigee

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
See signature
Wow, first the wonderful photos in another thread then now the food!!! I am soooo glad we're planning on doing this Camino next summer :cool::cool::cool:
Thanks for all your comments.
 

lunna

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
frances; lisboa-muxia; norte+bayonne; vdlp; le puy; voie d'arles+aragones; gebennensis
I did not have the same experience as the original poster, who sounds like he hiked the Norte about the same time as I did. For me, the hardest part of the Norte was the asphalt, but other than that, at least in Sept-Oct (the same time the OP walked it), walking the Norte was an absolute pleasure. I would strongly recommend that folks begin in Irun, or even in Bayonne - and not hesitate to take detours onto the GR (the red/white marked trail), especially between Getaria and Deba. The first six days to Bilbao may be hard, but they are absolutely worth it (including the 'alpinista' route the first day), if you can do it. The middle stretch, actually, was the least interesting part of the Norte - flat, flat, flat and lots of asphalt, but Asturias and Galicia are just fantastic and there are options to get off the main camino and rejoin the GR or even, at times, some unmarked cliff trails. I had no problems finding albergues with beds available - only once was I turned away because the hostel was full. Yes, it's not the Frances - but, having walked from Lisboa to Muxia, it is definitely not as lonely as the stretch between Lisboa and Porto. To make a long story short, other than the asphalt - and there was admittedly too much of that - I can't recommend the Norte strongly enough, but do recommend it as a second or third camino, after one's done the Frances.
.
 
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Pierre Julian

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances, Ingles, VdP, San Salvador, Aragonese, sections of Northern, Portuguese, Mozarabic.
Thanks Alex for the posting. It resonates with my experiences. I wrote an article on 29 June 2015 about my Northern Camino and some tips and advice for walking from Bilbao to Santander. I thoroughly enjoyed it, but it is very different to the Camino de Frances.
 

Kurt5280

Crazy Enough To Try It Again!
Camino(s) past & future
Frances: SJPDP to Finisterre & Muxia 9/15 (MTB) - Norte: Bayonne to Muxia & Finisterre 9/18 (MTB)
I am 2+ months back from my first Camino Frances (SJPDP to Muxia) and I now have enough energy to start thinking about my next
Camino...deciding on Camino Portuguese or Camino Norte...biggest problem with deciding is lack of information on Camino Norte.
Question: Has anyone done both the Camino Portuguese and Camino Norte that can compare the both routes?
Question: Any recommended reading or maps on the Camino Norte?
 

alansykes

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Except the Francés
I have finally managed to read the original document. It seems pretty fair to me, based on my recent experience of Comillas-Ribadeo, so missing the first third of the route. Bearing in mind that I never have and never will walk the Camino Francés (which the OP uses as a comparator fairly regularly) to take the points in order:

Stages:

The towns/albergues from Santander onwards are quite easily split up, depending on whether you want to do long or short days.

Language:

If you go to (off piste) Spain and don't speak, or at least understand, Spanish, you may find people who don't speak (or understand) English. Amazing, ain't it?

Hills:

I was a bit surprised by the amount of up and down, but it's hardly mountaineering - on the day I went on the (heavily discouraged) "mountain" route from Soto de Luiña the highest point is 720m above sea level, only a "mountain" if you live in Holland.

Infrastructure:

What annoyed me most was the horrific ribbon development almost the whole way along the coast.

Albergues:

I stayed at 1 xunta, 1 "benevolent", 2 private and 3 municipal albergues in my time on the Norte. All were admirable. It has to be said that I was alone in most of them, and with a maximum of three people in the others, which may make for a more comfortable experience.

Cafés, bars and the like:

There were some long gaps between coffee breaks, but no longer than, say, on the Plata or the Levante.

Road walking:

There was a lot of road walking, but it was mostly on very minor roads, and often one was able to take the A9 coast alternative.

Conclusion:

I liked my time on the Norte, especially as it was an amazingly benevolent autumn which meant that I got more use of my swimming trunks than my raincoat. I liked the fish in the restaurants. I liked the fact the nobody spoke to you in English. I liked the mountains on the left and the sea on the right. I loved the detour to San Salvador de Valdediós, one of the loveliest churches I've ever seen.

I will almost certainly never walk the Norte again, but I'm glad I've done the (roughly half) that I have walked.
 

Old Koot

Member
Camino(s) past & future
(09/2013)
...... This is my attempt to bring some of these issues together so that others may be better informed before making a decision to “head North”. ......
Having walked the del Norte during September / October 2015 from Irun to Santiago without the benefit of any of the excellent German guidebooks translated into English, and having experienced much of which Alex has observed, I completely concur with his extremely well written contribution.

What it may lack is any trace of Pollyannaism.
 
A

Anemone del Camino

Guest
Too funny, perfect nickname for the CF: Polyanna Route! :eek:
 
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James Furlong

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
2013 Le Puy Route, 2015 Le Puy Route part2, Camino Norte 2016
Greg, I think if you liked the Le Puy you will love the Norte. It has more in common with the Le Puy than with the Francės. I can't comment on the Portuguese because I have not walked it.
Kanga, I have walked the Le Puy over 2 summers staying mostly in campgrounds. I have not read much about camping the Norte. Are there many campsites along the way? We are walking June 2016. Thanks, James
 

Kanga

Moderator
Staff member
Camino(s) past & future
Francés x 5, Le Puy x 2, Arles, Tours, Norte, Madrid, Via de la Plata, Portuguese, Primitivo
James there are lots on the north coast, but many are off the route, some a fair way. We were sometimes disappointed to arrive and find them closed; many are only seasonal and do not open until mid July.
 

volleyjanice

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
08/2013 St. Jean Pied de Port-Belorado, 08/2015 Burgos- Santiago/Finisterre/Muxia, 08/18 Portugese
Depends also on whether you are a journey or destination walker. Different focus. I've always espoused the former as there is no 'failure' and every completed day is a destination in itself.
It also depends on if Churches hold any interest for you. I wouldn't have minded seeing a couple more than we did whereas my husband had more than his fill with the few we visited. (Burgos was one of them ;)). Some folks have little interest in the social interactions, others (ahem - me) thrive on them. My husband is a great observer of little details along the way. I guess we are all on a journey of some kind.
 

Dutch

Straightforward
Camino(s) past & future
SJPP-SdC sept '13
Porto-SdC May '14
SdC-Finis/Muxia May '14
SJPP-Finisterre sept '14
Pamplona-Burgos march '15
Porto - Sdc may '15
Camino salkantay june '15
SJPP - SdC aug/sept '15

Pacific Crest Trail april thru sept 2016
Hmmm why cant i open the OP's pdf file?
 

Dutch

Straightforward
Camino(s) past & future
SJPP-SdC sept '13
Porto-SdC May '14
SdC-Finis/Muxia May '14
SJPP-Finisterre sept '14
Pamplona-Burgos march '15
Porto - Sdc may '15
Camino salkantay june '15
SJPP - SdC aug/sept '15

Pacific Crest Trail april thru sept 2016
Im on a ipad. Doesnt seem to work. Even an online pdf reader wont open the file.

Apples.....pffff
 

Dutch

Straightforward
Camino(s) past & future
SJPP-SdC sept '13
Porto-SdC May '14
SdC-Finis/Muxia May '14
SJPP-Finisterre sept '14
Pamplona-Burgos march '15
Porto - Sdc may '15
Camino salkantay june '15
SJPP - SdC aug/sept '15

Pacific Crest Trail april thru sept 2016
Got it :)
 

Dutch

Straightforward
Camino(s) past & future
SJPP-SdC sept '13
Porto-SdC May '14
SdC-Finis/Muxia May '14
SJPP-Finisterre sept '14
Pamplona-Burgos march '15
Porto - Sdc may '15
Camino salkantay june '15
SJPP - SdC aug/sept '15

Pacific Crest Trail april thru sept 2016
Nooo Microsofts crash-alot isnt the way either hahhaha
 

poogeyejr

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Norte, May 2011
Norte, Sept 2013
Started the Frances, 2017
Thanks for the information. I have a Camino friend who just finished the Norte and he said it was hard but wonderful. I'm looking forward to seeing his photos. I will stay open-minded. Thank you!
I am an out of shape 46 year old from Vancouver, and I have done the Norte twice. We did it in smaller stages, with a few taxi-bag transports for the biggest hills, but the scenery, the solitude the camaraderie, I am having trouble getting to the Frances! Give it some serious thought Marylynn, for a Camino fan, the Coastal Route should not be missed.
 

poogeyejr

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Norte, May 2011
Norte, Sept 2013
Started the Frances, 2017
Kanga, I have walked the Le Puy over 2 summers staying mostly in campgrounds. I have not read much about camping the Norte. Are there many campsites along the way? We are walking June 2016. Thanks, James
There is not much camping on the Norte. We met friends in 2013 who camped all through France but sent their gear back as the entered Spain due to the dearth of camping facilities on the Norte.
 

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