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Our Camino Del Norte Journey

Discussion in 'Camino del Norte' started by RandomCurrents, Aug 1, 2017.

  1. RandomCurrents

    RandomCurrents New Member

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    We did the Camino del Norte starting on October 1, 2015. Before we started our hike, we were not aware of this forum, although I sure wish we would have known about it. Like many Americans, we were introduced to the Camino through the 2010 movie The Way. As soon as we saw it, we knew we had to do the walk. And five years later, we did just that!


    We of course made some mistakes. For whatever reason, we believed the Northern route started in San Sebastian instead of Irun! So that is where we started. We didn’t take nearly enough rest days. We should have at least taken one day a week off, maybe even a day every five or six days. We were worried that if we didn’t hurry, we would be facing albergues that were closed as we reached the end. We should have just started a few days earlier. Our intention was to continue on to Finisterre, but by the time we reached Santiago, we were broken!


    We chose the Camino del Norte because we wanted to walk along the coastline; and it was amazing. But, we knew that one of the big downsides of walking Norte was the amount of time walking on pavement. It was even more than we were prepared for, and it definitely contributed to breaking us.


    Despite all of this, we had a wonderful journey, and it is one of the best experiences in our lives!


    Anyway, we blogged about our journey, so hopefully this well help answer some questions that others may have, or simply provide some inspiration. We just did a post highlighting the why we chose Camino del Norte. I am hanging out in these forums because we are trying to figure out our next long walk. After reading Wily’s post, I am thinking that we may have to walk Camino Portugues next!


    Buen Camino!



    http://randomcurrents.com/camino-del-norte/
     
    UnkleHammy, Greg Canning and Wily like this.
  2. Greg Canning

    Greg Canning Well-Known Member

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    Hi and many thanks for the link to your blog. The Norte looks spectacular and is now on my list for possible future Caminos!

    I see you walked in Oct/Nov. I started the Frances at the end of September and have walked parts of it in October and March/April. I have to say that we haven't yet found crowds to be a problem when walking at that time of year so if you do get to return don't write it off.

    Thanks again and Buen Camino

    Greg
     
  3. RandomCurrents

    RandomCurrents New Member

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    Greg,
    We really do want to walk the Frances, and it is great that the crowds have been manageable during the shoulder seasons. We would definitely do it then.

    Which have you enjoyed more, before or after summer? Thanks!
     
  4. Greg Canning

    Greg Canning Well-Known Member

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    Now that is a really good question. Walking in late September early October we found that a lot of the countryside had been burnt brown during the height of the summer and the sunflowers looked somewhat forelorn. On the other hand the days were still quite warm (after chilly starts) and then as you get into Rioja the vines are heavily laden with all those wonderful grapes which go to making some of the truly great wines of the world.

    Walking in March/April we had similar weather, possibly a little more rain but that really is a lottery in northern Spain. The only thing I would say is that, as I think you found on the Norte, some of the villages and albergues had not quite geared themselves up for the season in March and there were times when getting a morning coffee break and even lunch/dinner became a bit of a struggle. In one small village we ended up eating some very poor frozen pizza for dinner. But it's all part of the Camino experience.

    So I'm really sorry but I can't really say which would be better. I would probably say late Sept into early October but others would probably have very different views.

    Whichever you decide we generally tried to finish walking by early afternoon if we could as at both times the late afternoon sun (from about 2 to 5) could be pretty hot even at that time of year.

    But do please consider the Frances, I know it's very popular but there is a reason for that and that first few days over and through the Pyrenees is not to be missed and the towns of Pamplona and Burgos, Leon etc are fantastic and some of the little villages are magical.

    Buen Camino

    Greg
     
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  5. RandomCurrents

    RandomCurrents New Member

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    Greg,

    Thanks for the great info! Oh yes, the wonderful vines, fantastic food, and the quaint villages! We cannot wait to get back!

    Buen camino!

    Dale
     
  6. calowie

    calowie Member

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    Dale. We also walked the Camino del norte in 2015, but in the Spring. However we detoured towards Oviedo and the Primitivo so missed the second section of el norte. We only really had lots of roads on the day into and out of Bilbao, although some days we would walk for an hour or so on smaller roads. This forum certainly helped us prepare mentally for our 4 week trip. We averaged 25-30 Km each day and usually were in the albergue by 2 PM, giving us time to see the towns. You are right the norte is beautiful, and to our delight, there were so few peregrinos that we came to know all 15 we sort of walked with very well. We loved sharing dinners inthe very small towns where people had to congregate at the only available or open bar. We also have a blog at https://carlosandmick.wordpress.com/. We will have a look at yours soon to compare! I must admit getting to Santiago was a bit of anticlimax, but we continued on to other hikes after 2 days in the metropolis! I suspect the conditions in the Fall were very different than the Spring. but we will have to repeat our trip to prove that! Buen Camino.
     
  7. katie

    katie New Member

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  8. katie

    katie New Member

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    Thanks for the post and link. I am going to do the Camino Norte to Primitivo to Santiago. Was the pavement walking more North or South or all along? I think moving over to Primitivo should cut out some pavement. I am also planning to go mid August to September. Hoping it won't be too crowded by September.
     
  9. El Condor 2014

    El Condor 2014 Active Member Donating Member

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    I have just finished Los Caminos Del Norte .
    As a flower lover I have always preferred to do my Caminos during Spring ( Starting mid to end of May )
    If you are a first timer, I suggest you do El Camino Frances first, as it will teach you ,what works and what doesn't work for YOU ! and how the Camino operates .
    You may have noticed that I wrote LOS Caminos del Norte and not EL Camino del Norte
    ( for non Spanish speaking pilgrims , "Los" is plural and "EL" is singular )
    Los Caminos del Norte have lots of variances/alternative routes.
    If you don't plan well you may miss beautiful places eg Playa de las Catedrales, Natural Pool ( only 300 meters from the Camino), Bufones de Pria, Hermita de San Telmo, Cudillero to name a few
     

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