We’ll be leaving half the family behind, and they are keen to follow our progress. It is hard to know exactly how far we will walk on any given day – we want to take each day as it comes and see how we’re feeling, what the weather’s like, whether we have blisters or aching muscles…..but we jotted down a worst case scenario of not-too-many-daily-miles that we need to cover in order to be in Santiago in time to fly home again. I plotted those stages onto googlemaps and we’ll check in with our devoted fan club each day and they can see for themselves if we are keeping up with our proposed schedule. Hopefully we’ll get ahead of ourselves and have some time left over at the end for some visiting of places off the camino trail.
You can scroll in and out on the maps if you like, and get street view and all that jazz. Actually, WordPress updated some bits and bobs and in the process disenabled this sharing facility, so there will be no fancy maps, sorry, just links that you can go to (by the way, I don’t expect anyone other than Grandpa will want to, but we do know he will click along every step of the way with us)
Link for first three stages….https://mapsengine.google.com/map/edit?mid=zolBt8rIFn5s.kpOdChnvVUiQ (Grandpa, the places are in the reverse order on this map – remember we were going to go in the other direction at first?)
Stage One: Pamplona to Saint Jean Pied-de-Port.
SJPdP is a semi-officialish starting point for many people’s pilgrimages to Santiago. For us, it will be the end point of our first stage and the beginining of the second. Options will be dependent on weather – no passing over the mountain if the conditions are not clear. We’ll stick to the low road route if there is snow or rain or fog.
Stage Two: Voie de la Nive to Bayonne. You know, at first we were just going to take the train along this portion, not realising that there was a walkable track. But when I saw it on the map I couldn’t stop myself from thinking, “We could just walk that” – and it didn’t take long to discover this properly marked official French walking path.
Stage Three: Camino Baztan
This route runs from Bayonne to Pamplona (ie towards Santiago), on towards meeting the family. A joyful reunion it will be in Pamplona. We have never been away from each other for such a long time – two weeks! The hard stuff (that I’m secretly a little nervous about) will be behind us.
Stage Four: Pamplona to Burgos
Then we’ll have a couple of weeks walking together; four kids, two adults. We are aiming to stay at the red markers on the map – you can see that if we don’t make it on any given day, there are plenty of in-between options (the blue markers). https://mapsengine.google.com/map/edit?mid=zolBt8rIFn5s.kJca7ee_YK1c
Stage Five: Burgos to Leon
After Dadda leaves we hit the meseta, a large flat plain of open spaces and days of mindless walking. People seem to either love it or hate it….hoping it doesn’t make our hearts ache too much. https://mapsengine.google.com/map/edit?mid=zolBt8rIFn5s.k11qNSItltRU
Stage Six: Leon to Oviedo
Leon is the city to which we travelled on an 18 hour overnight bus from Paris last time…..that time we made an on-the-spot executive decision to not try to find an albergue, to not find the pilgrim path, to not see the famous cathedral, and just to hop on the next bus to Astorga and have a fresh start the next day from there. This time we will see the cathedral and instead of heading off in the same direction as last time, will walk northwards through the mountains on the Camino del Salvador. https://mapsengine.google.com/map/edit?mid=zolBt8rIFn5s.kdW2Xt_sZDL4
Stage Seven: Oviedo to Santiago
With another Camino under our belts, we will take on the Camino Primitivo, but we won’t be too “purist” about it and after completing our 1,000km at the monastery at Sobrado, we will forge our own way down to Melide and on to Santiago along paths we have already trodden before. https://mapsengine.google.com/map/edit?mid=zolBt8rIFn5s.k0lfGbf4X-Ho