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Winter Camino 2020

Malachiuri

CaminoTranquilo
Year of past OR future Camino
St Jean to Burgos '17
St Jean to Fisterra '18
St Jean to Astorga '20
COVID CAMINO!
Norte '21
It has been a few weeks since I returned from my winter Camino and I have really been trying to wrap my head around the experience. I still don’t completely know how I feel about my 3rd Camino, it was without a doubt a mixed bag.

Due to a knee injury(torn meniscus) that I suffered early on descending into Zubiri that just got worse and worse, I had to cut my walk short in Astorga. Bummer… On the brighter side, I was able to fly back to the US from Madrid just a week before the border shutdowns and things got really complicated so at least that worked out.

My Camino started just after first of the year. While I was prepared for a lot of the Camino to be closed for the winter season, I was not fully conscious of just how hard things would be for me.

Lodging wasn’t that big a deal, I had budgeted for a lot of private rooms along the way mainly due to laziness and the ease of pre booking a day or two ahead with my phone. 90% of the places I stayed were amazing and they really seemed to appreciate the winter hikers. The others seemed to be annoyed I was there at all. Kinda odd but whatever.

Food was a real challenge. I have extremely fond memories of prior Camino meals and coffee stops that were amazing. Unfortunately, 95% of these were closed for the season. While I knew many would I was not prepared for the emotional impact of having to walk by so many places that mean a lot to me. Found a lot of new treasures, but it was hard going. Many nights I ended up eating food from the store instead of eating out due to lack of open places. Saved a lot of money that way but it got kinda lonely.

The other pilgrims I met were usually 1 of 2 distinct groups: Korean students and Europeans on their 4th or 5th Camino. Very few first timers not of Korean origin. I had some great times with them all, but the isolation was, at times, a real difference from past Caminos. There were at least 4 days I saw no other pilgrims and most nights I was the only pilgrim in an entire albergue or hostel. Spooky quiet at times!

The weather was a mixed bag. Some rain, some snow, lots of sun and tons of fog. Not very different from my spring Camino in 2018. I wildly overpacked winter gear, I only used my puffer coat once at night. Other than that the rest(extra gloves, gaiter, merino underlayers, etc) were dead weight. I really enjoyed the snow covered vineyards and hillsides while walking. Saw some tings that just took my breath away. Glad I got to see them!

The biggest issue I ran into was the dark. Odd but there ya go. I am used to spending a nice evening out on a terrace having dinner and drinks with fellow pilgrims to unwind after a long day walking. When the sun was going down so early, I ended up spending some time in a bar if it was open but mostly I was going to be out of boredom by 7pm. Not quite the fun of the Camino I enjoyed in pas times.

All in all, I am glad I went in winter this time. It was rough physically and mentally, more mentally to my chagrin. I don’t think I will try another winter trek, but would encourage all to give it a try!
 
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Year of past OR future Camino
Camino Frances (2015, 2017, 2019) and plans for 2021 (Sept, Oct)
Malachiuri, thanks for the summary of your recent camino. My wife and I have completed CF three times, always in Sept-Oct. God willing with the cessation of the corona virus, we hope to walk it our fourth time this fall. I've been curious to know what it would be like to walk CF during the winter and your summary helps me understand what it would be like much better. That said, my wife really does not like cold weather, so I doubt we'll ever experience CF during the winter. By the way, sorry to learn of your torn meniscus. The last stage of walking down treacherous, rocky and slippery slopes into Zubiri is terrifying, particularly if there are speed demon pilgrims right behind you. We've hiked into Zubiri three times and each time is seems worse than prior hikes. Bob
 

Malachiuri

CaminoTranquilo
Year of past OR future Camino
St Jean to Burgos '17
St Jean to Fisterra '18
St Jean to Astorga '20
COVID CAMINO!
Norte '21
Bob,

The weather was really quite mild. I kept careful track of the starting and ending temps, wind, precip, etc and the lowest temp was 29F one morning and the highest was 68F one afternoon. 4 days of scattered rain, 3 days of very light snow. I had much worse rain storms during my spring Camino in 2018.

The hike from Roncesvalles to Zubiri was a damn odd experience. During my summer Camino we literally had to wait in line in the heat to make it up the beginning parts and then long lines back down again. This time I met not one other pilgrim from Espinal to Zubiri. Dead quiet, lots of birds and critters as it was a gloriously sunny, but cool day. I eventually took out my earbuds and just spent hours listening to nature.

Embarrassingly, I slipped just as the trail transitions from loose rock to the concrete before the bridge at Zubiri on some glare ice hiding in a patch of shade. The rest of the trail had been quite passable and enjoyable.

I would love to do a fall Camino. The thought of walking through the vineyards as the colours change would be amazing. Im really sad I had to end before Galacia as the forested hills are some of my favorite places to be and fall there should be interesting as well.

M
 

Iriebabel

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
2022
Bob,

The weather was really quite mild. I kept careful track of the starting and ending temps, wind, precip, etc and the lowest temp was 29F one morning and the highest was 68F one afternoon. 4 days of scattered rain, 3 days of very light snow. I had much worse rain storms during my spring Camino in 2018.

The hike from Roncesvalles to Zubiri was a damn odd experience. During my summer Camino we literally had to wait in line in the heat to make it up the beginning parts and then long lines back down again. This time I met not one other pilgrim from Espinal to Zubiri. Dead quiet, lots of birds and critters as it was a gloriously sunny, but cool day. I eventually took out my earbuds and just spent hours listening to nature.

Embarrassingly, I slipped just as the trail transitions from loose rock to the concrete before the bridge at Zubiri on some glare ice hiding in a patch of shade. The rest of the trail had been quite passable and enjoyable.

I would love to do a fall Camino. The thought of walking through the vineyards as the colours change would be amazing. Im really sad I had to end before Galacia as the forested hills are some of my favorite places to be and fall there should be interesting as well.

M
I remember you we met in Zubiri 2018 ....for me was holy hell Zubiri that hill almost did me in 😂 It was very was tough on my knee. I am the one with the metal knee brace Remember? Good to hear you did part of it at least and nice of you to share your experience. I was due to go back to spain this week and am a little sad but was not planning on a camino this year because i had foot surgery in January still recovering so thought maybe I would just do some day hikes maybe meet up with some routes and provide lite medical care. Cancelled I will wait until next spring year but maybe leave earlier than april 2021.

I did the Norte last spring and had to take some alternates to get off the ashalt And lot harder climb for someone with knee issues but I would not change the experience...loved it. The coastal walks were amazing and although I hardly say anyone on most days it felt good. I too had a feeling that the camino felt different that our first year 2018. I stayed mostly private lodging and yes lonley at times but it gave me a new perspective. Weather was mild , definitely not as bad as the 2 weeks of rain we had on the Frances . Good luck with the knee. Buen camino
 
Last edited:
Year of past OR future Camino
Camino Frances (2015, 2017, 2019) and plans for 2021 (Sept, Oct)
Iriebabel, thanks for the kind words, but I assure you it was not me you recall. I retired at the end of 2014, then my wife and I walked the Camino Frances in the fall of 2015. We really enjoyed it so invited my brother and his wife to walk with us in 2017 - starting in St Jean and arriving in Santiago. We had another great experience, although I caught a nasty respiratory cold so we vowed to stay in private albergues for all future caminos. Cindi and I walked our third CF in 2019 from mid-Sept to late October. We had plans to hike again this fall - to avoid the heavy traffic of the Jubilee year in 2021. We have reservations for the flights and private rooms every night. We are crossing our fingers that by a miracle we can still walk this fall. If not, we'll manage and make plans for a future CF when conditions improve. All the best ! Bob
 
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Iriebabel

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
2022
Iriebabel, thanks for the kind words, but I assure you it was not me you recall. I retired at the end of 2014, then my wife and I walked the Camino Frances in the fall of 2015. We really enjoyed it so invited my brother and his wife to walk with us in 2017 - starting in St Jean and arriving in Santiago. We had another great experience, although I caught a nasty respiratory cold so we vowed to stay in private albergues for all future caminos. Cindi and I walked our third CF in 2019 from mid-Sept to late October. We had plans to hike again this fall - to avoid the heavy traffic of the Jubilee year in 2021. We have reservations for the flights and private rooms every night. We are crossing our fingers that by a miracle we can still walk this fall. If not, we'll manage and make plans for a future CF when conditions improve. All the best ! Bob
My mistake my message was meant for @Malachiuri , I replyed to the wrong post must be corona on the brain today hahaha.
Buen camino to you...I am all for a miracle
 

trevorcc

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
SJPD to Santiago 2013,2014, Camino de Levante Sept. 2016, Frances March 2018, planning 2020
Thanks for the memories was going back for this years Holy week, but it is now on hold. I have walked 3 Caminos in Sept. to Nov. but in 2018 I went in March and had snow, I must say though all my walks have been memorable I think 2018 was a special walk with the snow and the numbers being way less and the locals seem to be smiling a bit more. Now I wait maybe Sept. but if its all clear March 2021 for the Holy Year.
 

Malachiuri

CaminoTranquilo
Year of past OR future Camino
St Jean to Burgos '17
St Jean to Fisterra '18
St Jean to Astorga '20
COVID CAMINO!
Norte '21
I remember you we met in Zubiri 2018 ....for me was holy hell Zubiri that hill almost did me in 😂 It was very was tough on my knee. I am the one with the metal knee brace Remember? Good to hear you did part of it at least and nice of you to share your experience. I was due to go back to spain this week and am a little sad but was not planning on a camino this year because i had foot surgery in January still recovering so thought maybe I would just do some day hikes maybe meet up with some routes and provide lite medical care. Cancelled I will wait until next spring year but maybe leave earlier than april 2021.

I did the Norte last spring and had to take some alternates to get off the ashalt And lot harder climb for someone with knee issues but I would not change the experience...loved it. The coastal walks were amazing and although I hardly say anyone on most days it felt good. I too had a feeling that the camino felt different that our first year 2018. I stayed mostly private lodging and yes lonley at times but it gave me a new perspective. Weather was mild , definitely not as bad as the 2 weeks of rain we had on the Frances . Good luck with the knee. Buen camino

Hey you!!!

I am so glad to hear you are doing well. Clyde and I are planning on the Norte summer of 2021. I will definitely be bugging you for details!

M
 

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