Well, I’ll be off then…another Spanish Camino adventure

A bronze camino shellI promise you I resisted the urge for as long as I could and it beat me in the end!!

I have just booked my flights to Madrid, Spain and I am in hyper-excited mode and itching to pull my backpack on right NOW!

My patience levels are going to get a serious workout as I still have 211 sleeps before setting out on yet another +820km walk through Spain.

Here are the initial plans…

Stepping out on the Camino Frances in 2013
Stepping out on the Camino Frances in 2013

Timing:

  • Start Day: Sunday 10 May 2020, from Madrid, central Spain.
  • Finish Day: Thursday 11 June 2020, at the Cathedral in Santiago de Compostela, north-west Spain.
  • Walking Days: 31
  • Rest Days: Two (Segovia and Oviedo)

Route:

  • Camino Madrid: north-west from Madrid for 12 days to join,
  • Camino Frances: in a westerly direction for two days until Leon to join,
  • Camino San Salvador: due north for five days until Oviedo, then
  • Camino Primitivo: for eight days heading south-west towards Santiago de Compostela, and finally,
  • A little cross country for two days on the Camino Verde, crossing the end of the Camino del Norte and then a ‘freelance’ day to reconnect with the Camino Frances and into Santiago de Compostela.
  • Why this route?: It has been three years since I walked my last camino and it appears that in that time, the popularity of walking a camino has gone through the roof. Last year over 320 000 people walked into Santiago de Compostela on one of the many camino paths. The large majority of those pilgrims stepped out on the Camino Frances, so I have tried to plan a route that avoids the Frances and is a little less-travelled. We will see how successful I am with this theory come June next year!
Maps of caminos in Spain
With thanks to Maggie at Trepidatous Traveller for this route map.

Distances:

  • Total: around 827km, give a take a kilometre or two as I accidently take the scenic route.
  • Daily Average: approximately 26km, quite civilised.
  • Longest Day: Yes, that will be a long day.
  • Shortest Day: 21km, easy peasy.

Terrain:

  • Camino Madrid: I am expecting mixed terrain with a couple of stiff climbing days leading into the Sierra de Guadarrama to a maximum of 1 796m. Thankfully it will be downhill all the way to Segovia and then relatively flat as I get closer to the Frances.
  • Camino San Salvador: Climbing, climbing, climbing. Hopefully by this stage I am super-fit and can take it all in my stride! Ever the Optimist.
  • Camino Primitivo: Mixed with plenty of climbs thrown in just so I don’t rest of my laurels. I have seen a few YouTube clips and the scenery looks stunning with lush forested paths and misty mountains.
Long straight road on the Via de la Plata
The not so long and winding road on the Via de la Plata

Weather:

  • It will be late Spring in Spain so I will be expecting lots of lushness, green and Spring blossoms. I imagine this will vary considerably as I move from the hotter/drier Madrid region to Asturias and Galicia where “the rain in Spain falls mainly on Galicia”.
  • Camino Madrid: based on historical weather data, I am expecting an average daily temperature of 10°C to 23°C with only a 20% chance of rain. That weather forecast is very appealing. I can put up with a lot of things when I walk, but wet weather really takes the shine off walking 30km.
  • Camino San Salvador: based on historical weather data, I am expecting an average daily temperature of 10°C to 23°C with only a 17% chance of rain.
  • Camino Primitivo: based on historical weather data, I am expecting an average daily temperature of 10°C to 20°C with only a 20% chance of rain.
  • For the first time on a camino I will be taking a sleeping bag as I understand some of the more mountainous regions and albergues can get quite chilly at night.
Early morning walk on the Camino Frances
An early start on the Camino Frances

Maps, Guides & Resources:

  • As always I have been having great fun reading and researching the path on a large variety of forums and websites.
  • Trepidatious Traveller: Maggie walked this same path combination in 2017. She is a font of knowledge and inspiration.
  • Camino de Santiago Forum: This forum is excellent for connecting to people who have walked or are walking LIVE on the path. Everyone is very supportive and happy to share their knowledge and experience.
  • Gronze: Although in Spanish, this site has excellent information and maps.
  • Rutas A Santiago: same comment about this site as previous point.
  • Apps: I would like to use apps again after my successful experience with this technology through Italy last year. At this stage I have yet to decide which one will serve me best. Do you have any recommendations?
Meseta views on the Camino Frances
Meseta views on the Camino Frances

Getting There/Away:

  • Qatar Airways: I have booked return flights from Sydney with Qatar Airways for AUD$1270. I have never flown Qatar Airways and TripAdvisor says very good things about them. Other than the price, one reason I chose them was because of their convenient departure and arrival times. I have been able to avoid additional accommodation nights due to their late-in-the-day departure times and early-in-the-day arrival times, allowing me to travel to/from airports on the same day. I particularly like the fact that I arrive in Madrid early in the morning, allowing me a full day to acclimatise and, jet lag permitting, start to explore this vibrant city.
  • Internal Transport: Other than on foot, I plan to connect from Santiago de Compostela to Madrid on an Iberia flight, but at this stage it is not allowing me to book through their website.

That’s about it for now. You can be guaranteed you will be hearing a lot more camino chatter from me over the next six months. And I would welcome your advice and information if you have walked any or all of these paths.

Buen Camino Everyone.

Camino shell as a birth stone

#caminodesantiago #buencamino #pilgrimpath #caminomadrid #caminofrances #santiagodecompostela #pilgrimage  #longdistancewalking

32 thoughts on “Well, I’ll be off then…another Spanish Camino adventure

  1. This sounds like a terrific route bypassing and occasionally swerving into the maddening crowd. I look forward to reading your trek.
    Enjoy the planning for a Buen Camino.
    Michelle

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  2. Disagree! Work is fabulous as it pays for adventures! 😉 And most of the time it is really interesting….and the adventures give me the energy to get back to work to fund more adventures!! A wonderfully vicious cycle!! Have a great day and happy adventuring! Mel

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  3. Looks good Mel. I have found most albergues have a hidden supply of blankets in a cupboard if you ask. I carry a very light weight sleeping bag I picked up at REI a few years ago. I also carry a smaller lighter pack now. My gear weight was 15 Lbs. this year. So you are doing Everest and Camino in 2020? What about the planned reunion Ester is suggesting?? This time next week we will be home. David

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    >

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  4. Thanks for the intel. I would like to avoid carrying a sleeping bag if I could, but I was just thinking that the higher altitudes may be colder, especially on the San Salvador and the Primitivo. I remember Lue, yourself and I had some cold nights on the via de la Plata when I wore every piece of clothing I owned!! 🙂 I guess I will make my mind up closer to the time. You are amazing to be able to carry such a light pack. I doubt I will ever get down to that level. Yes, Everest Base Camp in March and Camino in May/June. I am a very lucky duck. Nope won’t make the reunion tour, but I will be thinking of you all! Melx

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  5. That is a well planned out Camino! I really don’t recall the Camino Madrid’s climbs being too tough (and I have mild emphysema). I do remember coming down into Segovia being a rough day with all of the boulders. Your average daily distance is pretty impressive. I know you will have a wonderful adventure. Melanie, the intrepid pilgrim!

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    1. Thanks for the tip about the descent into Segovia. That will be the first of a few long days and I am hoping the Spring weather will make for long and easy walking days. Not sure about being intrepid, but then I do have some pretty inspiring Canadian role models! Melx

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  6. Oh my God. Sixteen miles a day for a month, with only two rest days?! You’re a beast!! I’m fit but that would destroy me. I remember the day we watched the Tour de France in person. Between a very short morning run and the walking up and down the mountain to get to our Tour observation point, I think we put in 14 miles that day and I was absolutely shattered by the end of it. I’m super impressed.
    Out of curiosity, is this a religious thing for most people nowadays like it was in times past, or do people mostly do it now for the challenge? I’ve only started hearing about caminos being done in modern times through the blogs, and I’ve always wondered.

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    1. It is quite amazing how the body adapts. I am a VERY casual exerciser at home, but ramp up the training before I go complete with backpack and boots. The first week on the Way is always a combination of excitement and shock as my body gets used to the daily routine, but after that, life is good. Yes, I am tired at the end of each day, but a big sleep and good food kick starts me into a new day.

      The motivation for walking a camino is as varied as the +250 000 people who walk one of the various caminos each year. You do meet people who are genuinely doing it for religious reasons and call in to all the churches along the way. Often they have an open end plane ticket which allows them to walk at a very gentle pace and truly savour every step. Other people love the history and culture, for others it is another adventure to knock off their To Do list.

      When we did the Camino Frances in 2013 we met a wonderful German man (74yrs old). He had a very strong faith and was deeply religious, but did not force it on anyone else. Over dinner he explained that he was walking to commemorate the death of his wife. They had walked the camino together 10 years previously and she had passed away 1 year ago. Every day he walked he would read his journal that he wrote 10 years ago and visit a church to light a candle for her. Such a wonderful, gentle man and his story and devotion still gives me goose bumps.

      I am not a religious person and yet I love these pilgrim routes. It is something to do with the sense of walking in the steps of thousands of other people over thousands of years. I love the history, the architecture, learning a new language and meeting a vast array of new and interesting people. Add to that that I find the daily walking quite meditative and liberating. My whole world is on my back (yes, tough at the end of a long day), but just so simple. Find food, a bed, shower, beer, more food and then get up and do it all again the next day.

      I also get eat everything and anything I want and still manage to lose about 5kgs each time! What is not to love!

      Apologies for the long-winded reply! You get that with camino-bores like me!! Have a good day, Maggie, Melx

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      1. I really appreciate the detail. In fact, you could just copy and past this reply and you’ve pretty much got yourself an awesome blog post! That’s a wonderful story about that man commemorating his wife with his walking. I can tell by what you wrote that you truly love doing these, so I’m happy that you’ve got another one in the offing. Looking forward to reading about it. By the way, we spent all day yesterday watching the Ironman World Championship on TV (this is an annual event for us). Congrats on the 3rd place finish by Aussie Sarah Crowley. Watching this event gives me a chance to hear your wonderful dialect, as one of the main announcers/commentators is Australian.

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        1. Yes, I truly do love long-distance walking. Isn’t it funny how we discover our passions later in life? Before 2013 I hadn’t done anything remotely like this and then we walked the Frances and went from zero to addiction in about 31 days! 😉 Have a great day, mate! Melx

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  7. Yes, lots of training including walking in my boots and loading up my backpack. It still comes as a shock though to do it day after day, and my body goes “WHAT???? You want me to do this EVERYDAY???!!” After about a week though it becomes the new normal. Buen camino! Mel

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