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Camino Vasco

Discussion in 'Camino Frances' started by BROWNCOUNTYBOB, Jan 29, 2019.

  1. BROWNCOUNTYBOB

    BROWNCOUNTYBOB Well-Known Member

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    My wife and I watched a few You Tube videos and were pretty sure that Camino Madrid would be the route we'd walk for our 4th camino (we're hiking Camino Frances our third time in Sept-Oct 2019).

    Our days of staying in municipal albergues are behind us, so we want to stay in private albergues or casa rurales each night. The overnights are pretty good up through Segovia (including a few possible paradores), but then the stages get long and the options are few regarding overnights.

    So after checking Gronze.com I "discovered" Camino Vasco. It starts in Irun, where we've not been before, and there are nine stages until it joins camino frances in Santo Domingo de la Calzada. Then another 23 stages until arriving in Santiago. Santo Domingo was one of our favorites - staying in the parador and loving the restaurants!

    The good news is that the stages suggested in Gronze show excellent options for places to stay for Camino Vasco. In fact, every overnight includes one or more options in Booking.com. A few of the stages look pretty steep, but hopefully Jako Trans covers this camino so our loads will be light during the camino vasco.

    So just wondering if any of you have walked Camino Vasco and what has been your experience?

    Thanks - BCB
     
  2. RJS

    RJS Well-Known Member

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    This is a wonderful Camino Bob and you are sure to Love it – However, it must have more than one name as when I walked it, it was known as The Tunnel Route, and sometimes also The Ruta da la Interior.

    It’s the only Camino that I have walked where the route takes you through a cave !!!

    This is where the route passes through Saint Adrian’s Tunnel – a Truly Interesting Experience.

    The remnants of my own trek notes can be found at https://web.archive.org/web/20151031041735/http://members.virtualtourist.com/m/50192/be/

    One night we stayed in a working monastery, we had a private room and although it was a shared bathroom, it might suit you and your wife just for the experience !!

    As usual, I used the little guidebook written by The Confraternity of Saint James and found this to be very useful and having walked the route myself, can confirm it's accuracy :)
    I just checked on the CSJ's website https://www.csj.org.uk/planning-you...-routevia-de-bayonacamino-vasco-del-interior/ and although the above guide is out of stock, it is still available as a free PDF from the CSJ Guides and Updates page.

    Good Luck and Buen Camino

    Rob
     
    Last edited: Jan 29, 2019
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  3. Wily

    Wily Francés 2016; Portugués 2017; Inglés/Fisterra 2018

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    Hey Bob - If you’re interested in the Camino Vasco, let me recommend Antxon Gonzalez Gabarain’s book The Great Westward Walk. You may or may not remember that Jose on this Forum recommended this read perhaps a year ago. Part 1 of the books covers walking the Vasco. From there, as you know, the author picks up the CF into Santiago. It’s a good read!

    Couldn’t agree with you more about Santo Domingo de la Calzada as being on of my favorite stops along The Way. I enjoyed my overnight at the Confradía del Santo combined with a concert at the cathedral including the hen and rooster singing along. As you said, too, the food was great there. Fond memories of sitting on the main pedestrian walkway enjoying several restsurants/bars offering tapas. Good luck with your planning. Buen 4th Camino!

    E6727BE1-2F17-4231-A1A1-AFB5B7492CD2.jpeg 3E809BE4-9870-4193-9203-113004C4C984.jpeg 0E2A9803-B2A7-4785-9DD3-04091DA2E839.jpeg
     
    Last edited: Jan 30, 2019
  4. BROWNCOUNTYBOB

    BROWNCOUNTYBOB Well-Known Member

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    This is why I love the Camino Forum and check it several times each day ! So I raise an issue and immediately receive helpful feedback. This is wonderful !

    Rob, why am I not surprised that you have walked this route ? ! Thanks for the helpful comments and website links. I read your camino notes and as always, they are helpful and interesting. I also checked out the links you provided. Based on your experience, I have a few questions you can help me with:
    • I know portions of the Camino Vasque / The Tunnel Route can be "strenuous" particularly as you approach the Tunnel. How strenuous are the climbs along the route compared to Ruta Napoleon, Alto de Perdon or O'Cebreiro?
    • Secondly, since some of the walk includes mountain trails, how secure are the trails in terms of being close to steep cliffs or drop offs? By that I mean I have a fear of heights and would rather crawl on my belly than get close to a cliff or steep dropoff!
    • Do you or anyone that has been on this route know if Jaco-Trans or other backpack transfer companies provide transport services along this route?
    • During our last two caminos, we ate the pilgrims's menu almost every night. Are these available along this camino?
    Wily, thanks for the recommendation on the book. I just looked it up on Amazon, then downloaded it on my Kindle. Should be a great read !

    Thanks again, amigos ! Bob
     
  5. RJS

    RJS Well-Known Member

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    No Problem Bob – Always pleased to pass on my experiences in the hope that they help others + As I am currently unable to walk Camino’s myself, helping other pilgrims plan their own routes is definitely the second best thing :)



    OK – To your questions

    1) Climbing up to Saint Adrian’s Tunnel is the hardest day, but a much easier one than crossing The Col de Leopold – The route from Irun is slowly and steadily up (Sometimes following an old railway line)as you leave the coast, then towards the head of the valley you are following, you climb up to the right and eventually go through Saint Adrian’s Tunnel and out onto the high plain that Vitoria sits in. Then there is a little more climbing as you cross into Rioja and the final day into Santo Domingo de la Calzada is almost flat.

    But I certainly wouldn’t class the route as strenuous :)

    2) No worries here, the paths through the mountains are either cart-tracks (Camino de Tera) or wide paths with nothing that I recall even remotely vertigo inducing

    3) Not that I know of but it is a long time since I walked this route – However, even if there is nothing official, I am sure something could be arranged at least most days through local taxis

    4) In many places Yes – Usually on the lesser Caminos enterprising restaurateurs serve the traditional Plate del Dias in the evenings and sometimes call this a Pilgrims Dinner – But whatever it is called, it’s a nutritious filling meal at very reasonable cost served with local wine :)

    Good Luck and Buen Camino

    Rob
     
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  6. RJS

    RJS Well-Known Member

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    One other thought Bob – I don’t know whether you have come across Santiago-Compostela.net – But this site used to belong to an old friend of mine and his ambition was to photograph every Camino – But to have a photograph showing the path every 1 kilometre and he enlisted me to help with this quest and one of the routes that I photographed for him was The Tunnel Route – Here is the link http://santiago-compostela.net/tunnel-route/ which should help answer your questions about both how strenuous the route is was well as about the drops when it passes through the mountains.

    Just select the stage you want to look at, then after reading the route description, select gallery to view the photos :)

    Best Regards

    Rob
     
  7. BROWNCOUNTYBOB

    BROWNCOUNTYBOB Well-Known Member

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    Rob, I now consider you to be my personal camino travel consultant! Really good information again, and I loved the photos. So good to know that the hike is not too strenuous, I don't have to fear cliffs / dropoffs, and the meals are delicious. So I just need to check further regarding backpack transport, as this is very important for Cindi. For our third camino frances, I've decided to send my backpack ahead on the tough hikes uphill and carry it the other days. The Tunnel route is fairly short (nine days or so), and I'm sure we'll find a way to send her backpack ahead.
     
  8. RJS

    RJS Well-Known Member

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    Thank You So Much for your kind words Bob :)

    I hope that you find a solution to have your rucksacks transported for you; I am sure that, at least most days, local taxis will be happy to do this at reasonable cost.

    I know that you prefer to stay in hotels with all facilities, but, IF you want to do something a little different one night then I would Highly Recommend staying a night at the monastery at Santuario de Ntra de Estibaliz The accommodation is in a private room in the guest wing of the monastery, You are also provided with an evening meal and a simple breakfast. There is no charge for either the accommodation or the food and as there didn’t appear to be a system of leaving a donation, we left ours in the church attached to the monastery.

    Another thought was, that when we walked this Camino, the route both into and out of Vitoria was obscured due to building work – We just B-Lined through it, but it might be an idea for you to call into a Tourist Information, either in Irun, or, if you come across another nearer en-route then there also – Spanish Tourist Information has a wealth of information on local Camino’s and is another much underutilised source of reliable and good information – And getting Good, Reliable, First Hand information on the lesser walked Camino’s can be quite challenging :)

    Yet another thought is that it would be well worthwhile programming in an extra night in Vitoria as it is a wonderful city with a lot to offer including, very unusually, it has Three Cathedrals, all different and all worth a visit !!!!

    Please keep us in the loop with how your trip planning progresses

    Best Regards

    Rob
     
  9. BROWNCOUNTYBOB

    BROWNCOUNTYBOB Well-Known Member

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    Rob, thanks for the suggestions. An overnight in the monastery and extra day in Vitoria sound great. As time goes by, we are more inclined to slow down and enjoy the towns we walk through.

    My wife and I are now agreed that Camino Vasco / Tunnel Route will be camino we walk for our 4th camino. I will try to not get too caught up in stage planning, as our third camino awaits us in Sept - Oct this year. Our pattern thus far is to walk a camino in alternate years (2015, 2017, 2019), but we'll avoid the Jubilee year in 2021, so we might walk the Tunnel Route in 2020. I downloaded the guidebook by Tony Roberts that you suggested and also downloaded onto my Kindle the book that Wily suggested. I will immerse myself in both. Thanks again for the helpful information. Bob
     
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