Camino del Norte 2015

Camino del Norte: Thoughts About the First Several Stages

June 21, 2015

First off, please remind me to save, save, save when blogging. Ugh. Just lost 30 minutes of writing.

Last year on the Camino Francés, which I started in St. John Pied de Port, France, I averaged 15 miles per day in 31 days (plus 1 layover day). It was fine; some days were shorter and some longer but I felt that it was difficult to stop and really enjoy what I was seeing because I either felt a time constraint or was too tired from the walking to look around the places I was walking through or staying in. I promised myself that on my next Camino I would average no more than 12 miles per day and really stop to smell the roses.

Starting the Camino del Norte a few days ago, I hadn’t obtained quite enough info to figure out stages that would “ease” me into this Camino. So in hindsight, here is what I would have done (oh and by the way, yesterday I ditched the Cicerone guide to the Northern Caminos first thing in the morning because a) it was way too heavy, b) I found it difficult to follow and c) the Spanish and German guidebooks of the other pilgrims are much more comprehensive, in my opinion, so I have simply been conferring with the other pilgrims about the stages, albergues, etc.)

Okay thoughts about first five days on the Norte:

  • Research staying in Hendaye or Hondarribia. Although grateful for a place to stay, I didn’t live Irun or the albergue there.

Suggestions for those of us who aren’t particularly fit (I stopped training a couple months ago so am not in peak fitness) or for those who want to ease into the Camino:

  • Day 1 – Irun area to Pasajes de San Juan. Sleep in, take time on the challenging walk. Stay at albergue de Peregrinos in Pasajes, which doesn’t open until 1600. Enjoy cute town of Pasajes.
  • Day 2 – Pasajes to San Sebastián. Again, sleep later, take time on challenging route. Walk to youth hostel on other side of San Seb. Shower, etc. take number 16 bus back into the beautiful city of San Sebastián and enjoy all it has to offer. Swim, shop, see sites, eat.
  • Day 3 – San Seb to Orio. Take time, enjoy rocky but beautiful route. Stop early at wonderful Albergue do St Martin in cute town or Orio. Walk to beach, walk around town, enjoy amazing view from Albergue.
  • Day 4 – Orio to Zamaia. Take time. At top of hill outside Orio turn right to walk along ocean instead of following arrows. Walk on promenade through resort town of Zarautz. Stop for breakfast in beachside cafe, which is what I am currently doing, taking advantage of wifi.
  • Day 5 – Zumaia to Deba. Will add more once I’ve done it.

Featured photo taken this morning leaving Orio.

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  • Lynn grogan June 21, 2015 at 09:18

    Thanks for the advice! I was debating ditching my guidebook for the same reasons and also not staying in Irun the first night. I also REALLY appreciate the breakdown on the first couple days. I umm… Haven’t done nearly enough training.

    • Sometimes She Travels June 22, 2015 at 00:19

      You’re welcome! If shorter stages weren’t an option, I would really be struggling because of my lack of training. As it is, I am definitely being challenged. Have fun with that training! 😉

  • Ingrid June 21, 2015 at 09:54

    LOL at my myself, guess what, my original comment “timed out”. Frustrating, but not as frustrating as you must have been for loosing your 30 minute posting.

    I am enjoying your blog and pictures and I think I will follow your lead in posting a few pics a day with commentary.

    Ultreia! Ingrid

  • Holly June 21, 2015 at 17:17

    Your photo doesn’t show when I read on my phone. Not sure if you loaded it or not? Nice tips about remembering to ENJOY the journey.

    • Sometimes She Travels June 21, 2015 at 23:30

      Thanks for telling me Holly. I’m noticing the same thing with the featured photo one phone.

  • Cathy Diaz June 22, 2015 at 00:38

    How many MILES each day?

  • Susan June 24, 2015 at 09:59

    As someone who is contemplating walking the Camino, I am finding your posts really interesting and exciting. I was heartened to read your advice to slow down and take shorter day walks … I’m 60 and not in the best physical shape, but my heart tells me to do this pilgrimage. I’ll ‘follow along’ with you and build my plan as you go … although, I am wanting to do the St Jean de Pied route … safe travels until you post again, dearie!

    • Sometimes She Travels June 24, 2015 at 14:32

      I’m so glad Susan. I have some thoughts about the two routes that I’m not quite ready to share here but that I have mentioned on my Facebook page and would be happy to email about if you are interested. Thanks for writing!!

  • marian June 30, 2015 at 19:05

    Finally catching up on your trip. So enjoy reading about it! We’ve driven 2000 plus miles so far. Heading into luxury in Memphis tomorrow for 3 days. Whew. I’ll keep watching your walk! Sing some good tunes along the way. Hugs!

    • Sometimes She Travels July 1, 2015 at 13:19

      Wow! That’s a lot of miles! I can’t wait to hear all about it. Hope the heat’s not as bad as it is here. xo

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