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Recommendations For A Two-week Camino Route

Discussion in 'General Chat' started by Trish, Oct 27, 2017.

  1. Trish

    Trish New Member

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    My husband and I would like to do a Camino walk but can only squeeze in two weeks in March (work at a school and get a school break). It's either that or go in the hottest and busiest times in July or August. Does anyone have a recommendation/ perhaps personal experience for doing a chunk of the Camino in two weeks? I've heard starting from Porto in Portugal would be a nice two-week route in mid March.
     
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  2. Wily

    Wily Camino Francés 2016; Camino Portugués 2017

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    Hey Trish - Although there are many good choices along the CF for a two week Camino, since you mentioned Portugal, let me address that. My wife and I walked from Porto to Santiago last spring. We started our Camino in late-March and finished in early April. We had a thoroughly wonderful time with this being her first Camino experience. If you already have the Brierley, you'll see that he recommends doing this trek in 10 days. We broke up a couple of his longer stages and did the walk instead in twelve days which for us was an excellent decision. It's a great walk with generally easy terrain to navigate. Perhaps the most difficult thing are the cobblestones that one walks most of the way through Portugal. However, once you cross the river into Spain, the trail gets easier (at least no cobbles). We averaged about 12 miles a day which was a most leisurely pace allowing us time to enjoy what we passed by. There's an excellent albergue system on the CP between municiple and private albergues. Last year the weather was great with only light rain our first couple days. At that time of year, the crowd was light so reservations, although we had them in the private albergues, wouldn't have been necessary. However, Holy Week next year is the last week of March so I would expect a larger number of pilgrims heading to Santiago. We are walking the Camino Inglés that week and I'm anticipating seeing more people on the Camino. The CP is a great choice! Both Porto and Santiago are cities that I believe you'll enjoy. And by the way, the seafood was excellent! Others here on the Forum may address section if the Francés which are equally delightful. If you have any other questions, don't hesitate to ask. Bom Caminho!
     
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  3. Trish

    Trish New Member

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    That's very helpful - thanks, Wily. I came across a company online offering to transport the packs and arrange lodging - for a good fee, of course! How easy would it be to take care of arranging pack transport should we decide to do this (it would be our first walk of any significance) and also getting lodging for the night. Is it worth paying someone to make these arrangements in advance or with a good guide book can we figure it all out easily? Also, we don't speak any Portuguese and very little Spanish (bilingual English and French). Is this a problem?
     
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  4. Wily

    Wily Camino Francés 2016; Camino Portugués 2017

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    Hey Trish -IMHO don't pay a company to make arrangements for you. It's not difficult at all. First, there are reliable luggage handlers that you can easily contact from the albergues. As I mentioned above, the cobblestones in Portugal can be a bit problematic. My wife developed knee problems by the time we got to the border. In Spain then for the next few days, we had Tuitrans pick up her backpack where we were staying and deliver it to our next stop. The hospitaleros were very helpful with instructions and in contacting the transfer company. We also contacted then via email for bag pick-up. It was as simple as putting €5-7 in an envelope marked with our destination. By the time we arrived, her backpack was already there. We didn't use a transport company for our days in Portugal, but I'm sure the service is available.

    http://tuitrans.com/

    Making reservations at the albergues is also quite easy and straightforward. If you go to my blog, you'll see how we divided up the trip. We wanted to keep our daily kilometers under 25 and preferably closer to 20. Once I knew where I wanted to stay, I simply contacted albergues online through their websites or by email. The only exception, and I would highly recommend a stay there was at Casa de Fernanda about halfway between Barcelos and Ponte de Lima, where I actually called Fernanda from the States as she takes reservations but doesn't use the internet. What a wonderfully welcoming woman whom I'd describe as one of the Camino Saints. Again, the Brierley book can give you a good idea as to the stages, the distances, the terrain, and the facilities along the CP. However, I also like the Gronze.com website for similar reliable information.

    https://www.gronze.com/camino-portugues

    If you were to also stay in some hostels, some of them listed on Gronze have a direct link to Booking.com. If you are walking Holy Week, reservations might be a good thing to have.

    I do not speak Portuguese, but my Spanish got me by quite nicely. But, on the two Caminos that I've walked, one does encounter a lot of English. Don't worry about communicating, you'll do just fine.

    Bom Caminho!
     
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  5. Trish

    Trish New Member

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    The more I hear, the more excited I am at the prospect of doing this. You've been very helpful!
     
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  6. RJS

    RJS Well-Known Member

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    With around two weeks available, my own recommendation would be The Camino Primitivo – This route is from Villaviciosa to Santiago de Compostela and although it would be just about possible to walk the 370Km route within a two week timeframe, another couple of days would make it easier.

    Or, the other alternative would be to start your walk in Oviedo, thus Saving 47Km



    The reason I recommend this route over The Camino Portuguese, is having walked both, I much preferred the mountains of Asturias to the relatively flat Camino Portuguese.

    Also, the first 2 or three days of The Camino Portuguese you have to contend with walking on a lot of cobbled roads and these can be Very Hard on your feet.



    I walked The Camino Primitivo in September, but as your time is tied to school holidays, I believe that August would also be a good time to do the walk as mountain weather is usually a little cooler than it is on the coast or plane :) So – As, from your post, it looks like you could generate a little more time then, then, especially if you also love the mountains, then The Camino Primitivo might be the route for you !!



    I also walked my own Camino Portuguese in August and also didn’t find the weather too hot, so it is still an alternative :)



    If you wish, my walking notes from both Caminos can be read at



    The Camino Primitivo

    https://web.archive.org/web/20151120125413/http://members.virtualtourist.com/m/50192/c2/



    The Camino Portuguese

    https://web.archive.org/web/20151031050709/http://members.virtualtourist.com/m/50192/c4/



    Best Regards

    Rob
     
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  7. Bill McLachlan

    Bill McLachlan New Member

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    Hi Trish,
    I did a two week Camino this year from end of May to mid June, staring from Leon to Santiago and following the Brierley guide, I found the days and routes well planned and mapped out. I booked ahead for my next days accommodation each afternoon through Bookings.com, using the suggested stops, or 5 km,s each way to get a guaranteed room, most with ensuite and food available. I carried my pack, but a lot of people chose to send it on by carrier. Most hostels have adverts for the carriers and are simple to book. Absolutely no need to use an agent, you can do it all yourself, I found the two weeks just right, and with the bed booked for the night, I was able to set my own pace and enjoy exploring the North of Spain, if I can help in any other way please let me know, Buon camino!
     
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  8. Trish

    Trish New Member

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    Hi Bill:
    I keep reading about this Brierley guide. I will definitely get hold of one of these. I'm glad to hear we can skip the agent. Apart from the language barrier I'm happy to work out all the details. I gather English won't be a problem?
     
  9. Trish

    Trish New Member

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    Hi Rob:

    How strenuous are the mountains? We're good for mountain hiking but not rock climbing! It seems our best time will be mid March this time. Hoping we can go back another time and do more but two weeks sounds like a good start. I'm assuming the mountains might be snowy/ cold at this time of year? We may need to do the Portuguese route due to weather, although I appreciate that the cobbled roads are rougher to walk on.
     
  10. RJS

    RJS Well-Known Member

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    Hi again Trish

    The Mountains you cross on The Camino Primitivo are Beautiful (Please see the pics on the link on my earlier reply) - But please don’t worry as when I say “Cross”, The Camino Primitivo, like most Camino’s threads it way through them using a series of passes as opposed to going right over the top of them, so all on good paths / minor roads with No Mountaineering needed :)

    And Yes, the mountain weather could well be poor in March, if not snow then the possibility of heavy cold rain !!



    So – It looks like you will be doing The Camino Portuguese, and this isn’t a bad Camino, it’s actually the second most popular one after The Camino Frances – Apart from the cobbled stones, I really enjoyed my walk on this route and as you are intending walking more Camino’s in the future, which one you choose first is of less importance :)



    I also see that someone has recommended part of The Camino Frances and, although this is also another good choice, I always feel that if you walk part of a Camino, you always wonder what the bit you missed was like, and now that I know that this trip might well be the first of several, I would recommend that you save the longer Camino’s for when you have more time



    Best Regards

    Rob
     
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  11. Wily

    Wily Camino Francés 2016; Camino Portugués 2017

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    Hey Trish - One of the advantages to walking either the Portugués or the Primitivo is that you conclude your travels in Santiago. It may or may not be important to you, but both routes qualify you for your Compostela which is a very nice remembrance of your time on the Way.

    As Bill mentioned above, he walked a segment of the Francés. This, too, would be a reasonable choice as a two-week walk. As the Francés is over 800 km long, my suggestion for a segment to condider would be walking from Pamplona to Burgos. It was one of my favorite parts of the CF. The province of Navarra is beautiful. You also have two great cites as your anchoring points. Along the way are wonderful towns such as Puente la Reina, Los Arcos, and Santo Domingo. Based on Brierley, and it's the same as I walked it, it's a 9 day journey of about 220 km.

    I don't believe there is a bad choice to make. Whichever Camino you choose, you'll be pleased with your time there as a pilgrim. Buen Camino!
     
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  12. Trish

    Trish New Member

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    My husband and I went through your blog last night and enjoyed reading your day by day experiences and seeing the beautiful photos. I was delighted to hear also about the excellent coffee and food and wine! The scenery and the accounts of the people you met along the way were all so appealing. I am looking forward to this!
     
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  13. Wily

    Wily Camino Francés 2016; Camino Portugués 2017

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    Hey Trish - Thank you for the kind words. At that time of year, it was a delight to be in Portugal. We really did enjoy everything! As you mentioned, from the scenery to the people (both pilgrims and locals) to the food and the albergues to the cultural treasures, it was a great Camino experience. Having already walked the CF alone, it was also a special Camino because I walked this one with my wife. It's very different sharing such an experience with your significant other than walking by yourself. Both were excellent Caminos, but one learns different things about oneself and partner on a journey where it really was just the two of us no matter how many other people were on the trail with us. I can't tell you how pleased I was to hear my wife ask, once reaching Santiago, "Which one are we walking next year? Do you think we could be in Santiago on my birthday?" The physical challenges and the cultural challenges are very rewarding. But, the inner journey that a Camino facilitates is really what makes it worth doing. Without that, it would be just another long walk. I look forward to having more conversations with you as you prepare for your Camino. Bom Caminho!
     
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  14. Trish

    Trish New Member

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    We, too, are looking forward to a good time of personal and spiritual reflection. A couple of practical questions: I saw in your photos that you had hiking/walking poles. Did you find these helpful on your walk? Also, did you use special measures to protect against bed bugs? I've read about sheets infused with some repellant. Did you use something like that? Are ticks a big concern in that area and/or do the paths go much through tall grasses? Are their outlets like NA outlets for charging electronics?
     
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  15. UnkleHammy

    UnkleHammy Well-Known Member

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    You will need an adapter to allow your charger to plug in. In Europe electricity outlets use circular pins. Every charger I have seen says something like "110 - 240 volts 50 - 60 hz". Thus allows them to be used with the electricity anywhere in the world. Also free WI-FI is just about available everywhare.
     
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  16. Trish

    Trish New Member

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    Free wifi - that's good to hear!
     
  17. edfed

    edfed New Member

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  18. UnkleHammy

    UnkleHammy Well-Known Member

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    There are many discussions/opinions about hiking poles. I never used them until about 2 years ago. I now use them almost all the time I am going down hill. It here sedm tongs them all the time. If you decide to use them, practice with them before leaving for your Camino. There are utube videos that show the correct way yo use them. Used correctly, they are great.

    One problem with them is that you can not have them in the airplane cabin with you. When I got to France they had gotten lost/delayed, so I bought replacements in Saint Jean.
     
  19. edfed

    edfed New Member

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    Hello all, this is my first post. I don't want to hijack this thread but I am going to be going on a 2 week Camino next August. So I'll just lurk and listen.
     
  20. UnkleHammy

    UnkleHammy Well-Known Member

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    Happy lurking and feel free to ask questions.
     
  21. BenL

    BenL The Burghers of Calais

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    Trish, we will be doing the CP from Porto to Santiago next May. As we land in Lisbon, we plan on taking a bus/coach to Fatima, and subsequently, to Porto. Spending a couple of nights in Fatima as part of our spiritual pilgrimage.
     
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  22. Trish

    Trish New Member

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    Thanks for that advice. We have poles which reduce in size and I would expect to put them in the checked backpack anyway. Maybe somewhere in the middle where they can't break! Since our plan is to do the Porto Camino I'm wondering if there are any hills on this route. I am waiting for the new Brierley guide to come out and I expect it will have that kind of detail.
     
  23. Trish

    Trish New Member

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    That sounds like a wonderful spiritual pilgrimage and May sounds like a nice time to go. Wishing you a fulfilling Camino!
     
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  24. RJS

    RJS Well-Known Member

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    Although, compared with most other Camino’s, The Camino Portuguese is quite flat; there are still a few hills to contend with :)


    One thought on your trekking poles – Make sure that you bring spare rubber ends for them, I lost mine (I only use a single pole) and then when I hit one of the many stretches of cobbled roads that you walk on in the first 2 or 3 days, the end of my pole kept getting jammed between the cobbles, at first this was quite funny, but it soon became rather annoying !!


    Good Luck and Buen Camino

    Rob
     
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  25. UnkleHammy

    UnkleHammy Well-Known Member

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    I don't like the rubber tips on my poles, however if you are planning to put your poles inside your pack the rubber tips stop the poles from poking into other things in the pack and damaging something important.
     
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  26. RJS

    RJS Well-Known Member

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    Or you could use one of my
    doiuyblepole.gif

    More details at http://www.pro-tector.co.uk/travel-accessories - Please scroll down the page to find them :)


    Best Regards

    Rob
     
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  27. edfed

    edfed New Member

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    I am looking to do this camino in August. I have not booked anything yet. Are you flying g from the US? If so what airline (s) are you using? Thanks
     
  28. BenL

    BenL The Burghers of Calais

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    Edfed, I booked my Delta tickets 4 days ago for the transatlantic sector. My departing airport is SEA (Seattle). I looked at many options, SEA-LIS-SEA, SEA-OPO-SEA, various permutations of one way tickets (as we wanted flexibility to explore other parts of Spain/Europe after the pilgrimage). Finally, I decided on booking as two sectors, SEA-AMS-SEA (Amsterdam) and AMS-LIS-AMS (Lisbon). Both sectors that I booked are non-stop direct flights. Planning to spend some days/nights in Amsterdam after the pilgrimage. We transit in AMS airport with about 4 hours to spare, before catching the flight to LIS. I could find cheaper flights to Europe that stopover at Reykjavik, but after a horrible experience last year at this airport, I vowed not to use that route if I can help it. Paid to select my seats on Delta's SEA-AMS-SEA since it's a 10 hrs flight, but opted not to, on the AMS-LIS (TAP Portugal) and LIS-AMS (Vueling Airlines) sector.

    My LEARNING/TIP is that it's easier to get a reasonable return from USA to a major European hub (London, Amsterdam, Paris, Munich, etc), and from one of those hubs, there's many more flights/options to LIS or OPO. We chose LIS because we wanted to visit Fatima by catching a bus/coach. There are flights from AMS to OPO, though interestingly, most go via LIS. There was one flight from AMS-OPO that I noted.

    Good luck finding your optimal flight/airline.

    p/s. I used google.com/flights and had activated the tracking for SEA-AMS-SEA. Prices remain the same since I booked. It's anyone guess whether any conflict in Saudi/Middle East/Asia will occur and the impact on crude prices.
     
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  29. edfed

    edfed New Member

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    Thanks for
    Thanks for the info, I'll be flying out of ORD.
     
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