God, COVID, and Putin-head willing, we set off on a new adventure in April. Six years ago we were inspired by the movie The Way to hike the Camino de Santiago across Spain. Laurie wanted an experience that separated our work lives from our new, retired ones. We sold our house, put our remaining belongings in storage, and set off to hike 500 miles from the French Pyrenees to Santiago de Compostela near the Atlantic coast of Spain.
The experience was life changing. We made many friends, persevered through minor injuries and weather, and came to love the simple life with what we needed in our backpacks. Since then we’ve hiked “The Way of Saint Francis” across Italy, Hadrian’s Wall across England, and spent weeks backpacking the mountains of the Western US.
Like our first camino, this one was also inspired by a story, in this case a book: Walking to the End of the World, A Thousand Miles on the Camino de Santiago
. In that book, Beth Jusino recounts the adventure she and her husband started in the town of Le Puy, France, all the way to Santiago. At first, it seemed too far, but in time we came to believe, it is possible, and worthwhile. Plus, we understand the cuisine of rural France is better than that of northern Spain.
Our route will be slightly different. After a few days in Paris we will take a train down to Le Puy, our starting point. We arrive on Good Friday and spend Easter Weekend there. On Monday we start walking west toward the French Pyrenees and the border with Spain. It will take us roughly 35 days. You can see the route in the map below. The route is known as the Via Podienses.
Map by Hk Kng, courtesy Wikimedia
Unlike the Jusinos, we’re going to take a different route across Spain. The Camino Frances is the route depicted in the movie The Way and is by far the most popular route to Compostela. But since we’ve already done that, we decided to opt for the Camino Norte which is closer to the northern coast. It is less traveled and more rugged, but we’ll have a chance to wade in the surf and experience more solitude.
In the map below the Camino Frances is the southernmost route shown in bright blue. We plan to take the Camion del Norte along the coast. It’s the route shown in purple.
Map by By Paulusburg, Wikimedia.
If you’ve followed our blog at worldrovers.com/stories before you know we like to post stories about our experiences, the people we meet, and what we learn. We’ll continue to do that, but we’re also going to provide short updates every day or two. We learned about a new software that will allow us to share our progress on a 3D map along with a selection of photos. You can see an example from a training hike here. Don’t forget to hit the PLAY button in the middle of the screen.
If you’d like to get updates you can access the signup form here to enter your name and email address. And, we will never share your information with anyone else.
After two years of lockdowns and masks, we’re ready to travel abroad again. We hope you join us virtually on this journey across France and Spain, or even in person. Drop us a note if you want to walk a segment.
St Jean Pied-de-Port, France. April 2016
Related information at www.worldrovers.com/the-camino/
Thank you, Dennis, for your reply.
The Camino Del Norte is very beautiful! We walked it in September 2019. If you would like we can steer you to some fabulous albergues…hopefully, they are still around. It’s interesting that you lived in Chile for 1 year. I am from Santiago de Chile. Were you there to learn Spanish?
Some of the 28 + kilometer days concern us on Via Podiensis. We do not do well after 25 kilometers. If needed, are there local buses that travel near the GR 65?
Please send us your recommended list of Camino Del Norte albergues. We’re still several weeks from starting that but starting to gather info. As far as long distances, there is a German in his 80s on the Le Puy camino right now who only does 10K a day. There are usually options to break up some of the longer segments. Lots of towns also connected by bus, train, or taxi.
We did live in Chile for three months. Took a four week language intensive in Santiago for four weeks. Wish we retained more of it! Bet some comes back when we’re in Spain.
Thank you for your beautiful photos and very useful information!
My husband and I are starting our walk on the Via Podiensis on August 31. I am paying close attention to your progress and suggestions. Did you take the Cele Valley detour? I love the 3-D maps!
You said it so well…once you have walked a full Camino, the experience is life-changing. We have walked the C Frances, C Del Norte, C Portugues, C to Finisterre, and a section in Tuscany of the Via Francigena.
Thank you so much for including us in your Camino!
San Juan Capistrano, California
We did not do the Cele Valley detour. We’d love to explore more but also have to finish within 90 days. I think we’ll be good, but…
We transition to the camino Norte. See you did that. Hear it’s amazing