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Camino Del Norte (all Tips Appreciated)

Discussion in 'General Chat' started by Chuck, Feb 5, 2018.

  1. Chuck

    Chuck Member

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    Hi everyone,
    Haven't been on the site for awhile so hope everyone is well.

    My step-son Richard and I did our first Camino (Camino Frances) this last September/October. With turning 64 next week I wasn't positive I would do another. However this weekend I saw Richard and he suggested doing another Camino in 2019 to celebrate my 65th and the force is strong in the Camino so I agreed.

    My only caveat was that I wanted to go a different route and we agreed on the Norte. However due to time restrictions, possibly going to Finisterre and that I already knew that the Norte can be tough (hey I'm going to be 65 so give me a break!) we will start in Bilbao not Irun.

    So I am hoping that all my fellow pilgrims can give me advice on the Norte. Anything from albergue and hotel recommendations (or ones to stay away from), great places to eat, sites not to miss, clothing, festivals, etc. will be greatly appreciated. If it matters we will be starting mid to late May 2019. Also I see that John Brierley does not have a guidebook for the Norte so any other good ones out there? Thanks in advance.
     
  2. MichaelSG

    MichaelSG Active Member

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    Hi Chuck, My wife and I walked three weeks on the Norte in April & May of this year before joining the Primitivo in Oviedo to Melide then the Frances to Santiago. We are 60ish so I understand potential advantages and disadvantages. The Norte portion definitely had some beautiful but challenging sections but nothing that was too difficult, IMHO. I have not done the Norte from Oviedo/Villaviciosa to A Brea to compare my walk to but I loved the Primitivo portion. On the Norte, seek out the alternative trails overlooking the ocean instead of walking along the marked trail on the roads. There are a few days where this makes a HUGE difference in your experience, such as the route from Guemes to Santander, also before and after Santona, and some other places.

    If it helps, I wrote a summary of our stages / distances / times / lodgings as well as a summaries of the walk and more detailed descriptions too here: https://memismsblogs.wordpress.com/back-to-santiago-from-the-primitive-north-april-may-2017/.
     
  3. Chuck

    Chuck Member

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    Hi Michael,
    Thanks so much for the reply. I printed out the list of your stages to review. I also plan on reading each of your daily reviews. We are starting in Bilbao so some of the stops will be different but this at least gives me a starting point on my planning.

    I read both of your final comments. Very interesting. Had to laugh at your wife's comment about the cyclists. If you can find my post that I did back in October after my camino you will see why.

    One question however after looking at where you stayed. It appears you mostly stayed in hotels. Was that by choice or necessity due to lack of albergues? Hotels are fine with me and on the Frances we stayed in hotels (or a private room at an albergue) about 2/3 of the time but I enjoy albergues also.
     
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  4. MichaelSG

    MichaelSG Active Member

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    We stayed mostly in hotels / B&Bs / pensions / private rooms by choice, rather than by any need. Our friends stayed exclusively in albergues. Private rooms, when possible, is one of the deals I have with my wife to keep her walking with me. For about double the cost of two of us staying in an albergue, we get a private bathroom, a bed without a ladder, a place indoors to dry our clothes overnight, clean cloth sheets and blessed silence throughout the night.

    Of the albergues that our friends (or we) stayed in, the one at Guemes (before Santander) was fantastic and the one at Bodenaya (on the Primitivo) was highly recommended. I would not miss either of them if you go those ways.
     
  5. samantha davies

    samantha davies Member

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    The Camino del Norte is the best route for foodies - from the Basque Countries, Asturias and Galicia, you'll taste the best homemade food, wine and cider.
    I used a lot of info from this website about the Camino del Norte when I did mine, cause it has detailed every stage about what to see, to eat and some albergues to stay. My personal recommendation, always bring a raincoat (tends to rain quite a lot in the North of Spain) and try the pintxos in the Basque countries and cider in Asturias.
     
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  6. Chuck

    Chuck Member

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    Thanks Samantha for the info. We loved the food on the Camino Frances so if you think the Norte is even better, I can't wait.
     
  7. Martin (Ozzy) Osborne

    Martin (Ozzy) Osborne Member

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    I like the reference to Star Wars. I am sure the Force is strong in this one!
     
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  8. Martin (Ozzy) Osborne

    Martin (Ozzy) Osborne Member

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    The rain in Spain falls mostly on the plain!
     
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  9. UnkleHammy

    UnkleHammy Well-Known Member

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    It is amazing what the kids can talk their parents into without force. Or is the Camino that addictive?
     
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