The Camino Trail in Ten Days (or Less)–The Plan

I’ve been trying to plan our upcoming Camino Trail walking trip—without over-planning. If you’ve met me before, or even just read a few of my posts, you probably know that I LOVE to plan and to GEEK OUT on details! I really can’t stop myself. It’s like that Geico commercial …”It’s what I do.”

My husband and I have done a Camino walk once before (8 days from Tui, Portugal to Santiago de Compostela, Spain). No surprises – I planned, and I planned. I booked our accommodations (at bed and breakfasts) in advance and even had our larger backpack transported to where we would be staying each evening. We loved that walk, and we vowed for our next Camino “we” (read here: “I”) would not over plan. We would have no set agenda for how far we would walk each day. We would carry our full packs and, in the evenings, we would stay in auberges (multi-bed dorms) without the constraints of booking in advance. Idealistic visions ran through our heads. Then the actual trip date drew nearer, and I began to plan…and to freak out…just a bit (okay, a lot)!

We have nine walking days for this trip, and will be coming from Manchester (leaving the day after our youngest son’s doctoral graduation). St. Jean Pied de Port, in the French Pyrenees, is the traditional starting point. BUT there is that initial steep climb from 200 meters above sea level to just above 1,400 meters AND the sharp descent back down. My mind suffocated with images of me on hands, knees, and shins–clinging to the trail for dear life! I kept researching. We could fly directly into Bilbao and do the northern route to Unquera instead. That particular section of the Camino is rated as an easier walk than the Pyrenees route, and it would be much easier for us to fly there from Manchester.  Knowing what I am like at times like this, my husband said he was happy with either itinerary and left the room (wise man)! I kept trying to book the northern trip – I honestly did —  but something kept calling me back to the Basque province in France.

There is a common saying,  “the Camino will provide.”  So with that as my mantra, the Camino Frances it is! We now have our flights booked from London to Biarritz, and from Bilbao to London ten days later.  Not that we have any naïve intention of walking all of the way to Bilbao–we do figure that we could likely make it as far as Logonoro or Najera. That would mean walking 18 – 21K each day, which we think is quite doable (she says with confidence). Since we are not walking for a certificate, we are also open to skipping sections, by bus or train, if there is another section we really would like to see.

Any “Camino Angels” out there who have thoughts or recommendations to share, I’d LOVE to hear from you.

Below are a few pics from our first Camino (2010)

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10 Replies to “The Camino Trail in Ten Days (or Less)–The Plan”

  1. 2010….how time flies…I thought it was only 3 years back you walked it. Next walking trip has to be on the Azores but not in June…we have rain and more rain and storms now, very unusual. Have a good trip

    1. Thanks John – I will contact Steve and Madeleine and get their suggestions. Good luck with your new knee! Donna

  2. I am so looking forward to reading about your adventure! I love traveling without reservations, but it depends on the destination and the season. There are definitely pros and cons to going either way. It will be interesting to hear what you liked best when you’ve experienced both.

    1. Thanks, Janis – I will definitely do a follow-up post on the Camino — with pics.The Camino Frances is said to be a very experience than the Camino Portugues, which we did last time. We are really looking forward to it!
      Donna

    1. Hi, Louise – Thanks for following this Camino series. I believe that you would LOVE this trip. My husband and I first did eight days of the Camino while we were still working (Tui, Portugal to Santiago de Compestela). At that time, we booked in advance at Bed & Breakfasts. Last year, was our second eight-day adventure on the Camino (St. Jean Pied de Port, France to Najera, Spain). That time we only booked our first night accommodations in St. Jean’s and did no pre-bookings after that. We much preferred the non-booking way as it gave us more flexibility (and we preferred the hostels to the B&Bs). We leave for our next Camino in the middle of July. We will walk from Najera (where we left off last year) to Compestela and then on to Finisterre). If we walk for 22ms a day without a break, then that trip will take us 30 days. We have given ourselves extra days just in case (and so that we have time to see other things when we are out that way). I will definitely post on that adventure. Don’t hesitate to let me know if you have any questions.

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