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Winter walking (cross-posted in the Camino de la Lana forum)

Camino(s) past & future
Caminos Catalan, Aragones, part of Frances, Ruta del Salavador, Primitivo, and Finisterre (2012);
Cammino San Pellegrino, Italy (2013);
Lebaniego, Vadiniense, and Invierno (July 2014)
#1
Hi all,

We find ourselves with almost a month off in late January and early February, and are considering a walk on one of the southern or eastern Caminos. We've previously walked in spring and summer the Catalan, Aragones, part of the Frances, the Ruta del Salvador, Primitivo, and on to Finisterre, and on a return visit the Lebaniego, Vadiniense, and Invierno.

For this winter excursion we are looking closely at the Camino de la Lana, but are also considering the Levante, Ebro, and Mozarabe or Via de la Plata (for most of those we'd not have time to complete the whole thing, but that's ok).

A few questions for those with winter Camino experience on any of those routes:
-- It looks like some accommodations are closed in winter. We don't mind staying in a pension or B&B if albergues are closed, but would want to ensure that there is at least something. Thoughts or advice on eating and sleeping?
-- Any insights on likely route conditions?
-- For those who've walked the Lana, Levante, Ebro, Mozarabe or VdLP: how much pavement vs dirt?
-- Would we need to bring a sleeping bag and pad for albergues, or are they likely to be equipped with adequate blankets?
-- Other advice or recommendations based on your experience?

Thanks in advance for any insights.

Dan
 

KinkyOne

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
I'am not perfect, but I'm always myself!!!
#5
Levante has a lot of light gravel service/AG roads (apart from first 3-4 days mainly on tarmac) but maybe Camino de Madrid would be best for you. Almost all the way on dirt/gravel paths. January/February might be a lot of snow on the Fuenfria Pass (2-3 days after Madrid) but later it's more or less flat with usual winter conditions (windy at least).
Can't speak for other Caminos you asked though.

Buen Camino!
 
Camino(s) past & future
Caminos Catalan, Aragones, part of Frances, Ruta del Salavador, Primitivo, and Finisterre (2012);
Cammino San Pellegrino, Italy (2013);
Lebaniego, Vadiniense, and Invierno (July 2014)
#6
Thanks, Kinky. I'll take a look at the Camino de Madrid.

I think we crossed paths (on the Forum but not in person) when we were both walking the Invierno in 2014. Can't remember whether you were just ahead of or behind us.

Buen Camino
 

KinkyOne

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
I'am not perfect, but I'm always myself!!!
#7
...
I think we crossed paths (on the Forum but not in person) when we were both walking the Invierno in 2014. Can't remember whether you were just ahead of or behind us.
...
We might :)
I started from Ponferrada on July 17th 2014 (after Camino de Madrid).

Now there are a lot of info on CdM on-line but four years ago there was more or less just CSJ guide so I posted my day-by-day journal after return. I think it is still pinned in CdM section. There are GPS tracks included and lots of photos (it was summer though...). But no problem with markings in 2014 and also this year when I walked a few stages it was even better.

Happy planning whichever Camino you'll choose :)
 
#8
Thanks, Kinky. I'll take a look at the Camino de Madrid.

I think we crossed paths (on the Forum but not in person) when we were both walking the Invierno in 2014. Can't remember whether you were just ahead of or behind us.

Buen Camino
DAN!!! The last time I saw you we were with thousands of our closest friends in Obradoiro watching the Santiago fireworks. So good to see you here again.

I agree with Kinky that the Levante is a lot of pavement at the beginning (all of the first four days by my tally), and after that there is a fair amount of unpaved but gravelly agricultural tracks. But I loved it and it hooks up with the Vdlp/Sanabrés in Zamora. And the Sanabrés is excellent. But I was never there in winter.

I haven’t walked the Lana (Maggie’s blog is an obvious reference but she walked in spring), but it is high on my list. Alan Sykes has some recent posts from his late fall walk, so that might give you some idea.

And yes to the Mozárabe from Almería. There is a guide put out by the Amigos, updated monthly, and from Alemería to Granada, they will take care of you. (Link to November’s guide:
https://drive.google.com/file/d/1dMVIXVunE82lC-ON8x5o3ycAwL10g-TI/view

I have written to Verónica to ask her about winter walking, because I was there in spring. The Mozárabe skirts the Sierra nevada, so there is no high mountain walking. There is some stony riverbed walking, mainly at the beginning, but all in all it is a very lovely walk. Lots of albergues, which I assume will be open (members of the ASsociation will come open, or a local has the key, etc). And visits to Granada and Córdoba are icing on the cake.

I walked from Almería to Salamanca in 32 days, but I did some long days. Almería to Mérida would be very do-able, I would think.

I have also walked the Ebro, you can see my blog below this post in my signature. And more day by day stuff here: https://www.caminodesantiago.me/community/threads/my-ruta-del-ebro-2016.42559/. No idea about winter accommodations, but generally on the caminos where you stay in pensiones, you don’t really have to worry since they will not likely be seasonal. The casa rural is another story, because I think many of them are not open year round.

But I am not a very reliable source, because frankly I have never met a Camino that I didn’t like!
 
#10
I got a WhatsApp from Verónica. She is one of the stalwart members of the Almería Association. She thinks it is a good time to walk from Almería temperature wise. I would think about this option, and get in contact with the group there. They will give you a nice send-off from Almería.

Those stony river beds are not fun, but it is a great camino nevertheless.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Caminos Catalan, Aragones, part of Frances, Ruta del Salavador, Primitivo, and Finisterre (2012);
Cammino San Pellegrino, Italy (2013);
Lebaniego, Vadiniense, and Invierno (July 2014)
#11
We might :)
I started from Ponferrada on July 17th 2014 (after Camino de Madrid).

Now there are a lot of info on CdM on-line but four years ago there was more or less just CSJ guide so I posted my day-by-day journal after return. I think it is still pinned in CdM section. There are GPS tracks included and lots of photos (it was summer though...). But no problem with markings in 2014 and also this year when I walked a few stages it was even better.

Happy planning whichever Camino you'll choose :)

Hi Kinky,

Just checked my notes, and we left from Ponferrade on the 10th, so just a little ahead of you.

We're taking a look at the CdM, but think it might be pretty cold in Jan-Feb for us. That's why we're looking at the more Eastern and Southern routes.

Thanks for your insights.

Dan
 
Camino(s) past & future
Caminos Catalan, Aragones, part of Frances, Ruta del Salavador, Primitivo, and Finisterre (2012);
Cammino San Pellegrino, Italy (2013);
Lebaniego, Vadiniense, and Invierno (July 2014)
#12
DAN!!! The last time I saw you we were with thousands of our closest friends in Obradoiro watching the Santiago fireworks. So good to see you here again.

I agree with Kinky that the Levante is a lot of pavement at the beginning (all of the first four days by my tally), and after that there is a fair amount of unpaved but gravelly agricultural tracks. But I loved it and it hooks up with the Vdlp/Sanabrés in Zamora. And the Sanabrés is excellent. But I was never there in winter.

I haven’t walked the Lana (Maggie’s blog is an obvious reference but she walked in spring), but it is high on my list. Alan Sykes has some recent posts from his late fall walk, so that might give you some idea.

And yes to the Mozárabe from Almería. There is a guide put out by the Amigos, updated monthly, and from Alemería to Granada, they will take care of you. (Link to November’s guide:
https://drive.google.com/file/d/1dMVIXVunE82lC-ON8x5o3ycAwL10g-TI/view

I have written to Verónica to ask her about winter walking, because I was there in spring. The Mozárabe skirts the Sierra nevada, so there is no high mountain walking. There is some stony riverbed walking, mainly at the beginning, but all in all it is a very lovely walk. Lots of albergues, which I assume will be open (members of the ASsociation will come open, or a local has the key, etc). And visits to Granada and Córdoba are icing on the cake.

I walked from Almería to Salamanca in 32 days, but I did some long days. Almería to Mérida would be very do-able, I would think.

I have also walked the Ebro, you can see my blog below this post in my signature. And more day by day stuff here: https://www.caminodesantiago.me/community/threads/my-ruta-del-ebro-2016.42559/. No idea about winter accommodations, but generally on the caminos where you stay in pensiones, you don’t really have to worry since they will not likely be seasonal. The casa rural is another story, because I think many of them are not open year round.

But I am not a very reliable source, because frankly I have never met a Camino that I didn’t like!
Hi again Laurie,

Yes, we both well remember (and fondly) our brief time together in Santiago a few years back. We're both itching to get back on a Camino route.

I really appreciate your thoughts on the Mozarabe, and have started reading your blog and more info about it. Given our time constraints (as of now a little less than 30 days walking time) we probably wouldn't be able to make it all the way to Merida, but that's not a deal-breaker.

We are also still reading about the Camino de la Lana. I've browsed Alan Sykes' notes, and also a recent guide posted by Kevin O'Brien.

Will let you know what we decide. Hoping our paths cross again one of these days.
Buen Camino!

Dan
 
#13
Just a couple more thoughts.

If you are not wed to a camino, just to walking, Elaine (@islandwalker) has detailed notes and tracks from her three months’ (Yes, that’s THREE months, lucky woman) walking in Southern Spain. They did a big circle, if I remember right, and took day hikes from various points on the circle. Here is a post that will lead you to her blog: https://www.caminodesantiago.me/com...-caminos-in-southern-spain.56118/#post-630196

And @Magwood has great info on her various blogs. Not winter walking,but she has walked the Mozárabe starting both in Málaga and Almería.

Happy planning, and abrazos to Ellen as well. Laurie
 

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