I’m confused! I have booked my time off; I am free from Sunday 18th September until the beginning of November and I want to walk as far as I can.
The plan was to walk from St Jean to Fisterra but Pope Francis has proclaimed 2016 as the Year of Mercy. This means to visitors that the main Holy Door will be open in many cathedrals. Whilst not a Holy year, the last time the doors were opened at the cathedral in Santiago was the Jubilee year 2010 and the numbers of pilgrims were much higher than usual. A few folks are suggesting that accommodation on the Camino Frances is already booking up and this is backing up the suggestion that numbers will be up this year.
I had already started to wonder if I should walk a different route and now the idea of numbers increasing and a busy camino is pushing me further down this road.
I have yearned to walk the Via de la Plata for a couple of years but there are very few pilgrims on this route and it’s quite isolated; and there is much talk of the horned cattle and big dogs lose on the camino… terrifying for me! Also, if I ever get to walk this path I think I would prefer to walk in spring and see the fields and fields of wild spring flowers.
I’ve also recently discovered the Levante and this also calls me but again I feel it’s too isolated for me to walk alone.
There are the French routes but I live in France and I’m drawn further afield. There are plenty of other international walks but given that I’m walking in October, Spain or Portugal seems like the place to look. So after lots of research I’m down to a couple of options… for now!
The Portuguese Way: This isn’t so straightforward though as I would like to walk from the south to the north and on to Santiago. There is a path called The Historic Way which almost reaches Lisbon. From Lisbon there are a few options to Porto, although some of the routes involve a lot of walking alongside busy roads. From Porto is seems as though there are a lot more pilgrims and the way becomes easier.
There is also El Camino Del Norte. This hugs the northern coast and drops down to Santiago. It has been named a camino of special interest this year and everything I’ve read suggests it’s a beautiful camino… and I think my later start will mean it’s not too busy. My only concern is that the weather in October may not be as good… and some albergues will be closed… and it’s hilly.
Time will tell of course which route I choose… I’m pretty confident that whatever I choose it’s going to be amazing!