I’m confused! I have booked my time off; I am free from Sunday 18th September until the beginning of November and I want to walk as far as I can.
The plan was to walk from St Jean to Fisterra but Pope Francis has proclaimed 2016 as the Year of Mercy. This means to visitors that the main Holy Door will be open in many cathedrals. Whilst not a Holy year, the last time the doors were opened at the cathedral in Santiago was the Jubilee year 2010 and the numbers of pilgrims were much higher than usual. A few folks are suggesting that accommodation on the Camino Frances is already booking up and this is backing up the suggestion that numbers will be up this year.
I had already started to wonder if I should walk a different route and now the idea of numbers increasing and a busy camino is pushing me further down this road.
I have yearned to walk the Via de la Plata for a couple of years but there are very few pilgrims on this route and it’s quite isolated; and there is much talk of the horned cattle and big dogs lose on the camino… terrifying for me! Also, if I ever get to walk this path I think I would prefer to walk in spring and see the fields and fields of wild spring flowers.
I’ve also recently discovered the Levante and this also calls me but again I feel it’s too isolated for me to walk alone.
There are the French routes but I live in France and I’m drawn further afield. There are plenty of other international walks but given that I’m walking in October, Spain or Portugal seems like the place to look. So after lots of research I’m down to a couple of options… for now!
The Portuguese Way: This isn’t so straightforward though as I would like to walk from the south to the north and on to Santiago. There is a path called The Historic Way which almost reaches Lisbon. From Lisbon there are a few options to Porto, although some of the routes involve a lot of walking alongside busy roads. From Porto is seems as though there are a lot more pilgrims and the way becomes easier.
There is also El Camino Del Norte. This hugs the northern coast and drops down to Santiago. It has been named a camino of special interest this year and everything I’ve read suggests it’s a beautiful camino… and I think my later start will mean it’s not too busy. My only concern is that the weather in October may not be as good… and some albergues will be closed… and it’s hilly.
Time will tell of course which route I choose… I’m pretty confident that whatever I choose it’s going to be amazing!
3 thoughts on “Which Direction?”
You are right to be concerned about increased numbers of peregrinos, but I find it hard to believe that bookings are being at this early stage. I hope to walk from Ponferrada also in September, but the Camino will provide (I have heard this phrase soo many times now 🙂 )
I think a good solution for this year is to walk another route. A good suggestion is the Camino de Madrid which starts in Madrid and ends in Sahagun (I think?)..you can continue on the French way until Ponferrada and take the Camino Invierno to Santiago. The Invierno is much quieter. I have been reading up on this option and plan to take it if the numbers are high when I return to Spain in September.
Ooh Thank you! That’s certainly another option in the mix! I’ve been looking at the Norte today but I’ll take a look at these routes now too. I really do think it’s a year for me to walk a different camino. I would love to walk the CF again one day but I’m tempted to walk the route in spring… I loved all the flowers during my mini camino. One thing for sure… there are plenty of paths to choose from 🙂
Absolutely! And that’s one thing that makes me want to go back for more. It’s ok to park the Camino Frances to one side for a year or two and choose one of the other trails. I am walking the Ingles in May 2017 with friends from Denmark and Germany. I can’t wait. But the CF will always have a place in my heart.
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