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.