Why hello, long time no see! It’s been an overwhelming few months since returning back from walking the Camino del Norte. What started as an idea to merely shuffle across Spain in fact turned out to be an epic 922km traipse from San Sebastian to Muxia. (If you have no idea what I’m on about, check out my last camino blog here.)
In fact, let’s be honest overwhelming is a bit of an understatement.
A lot has been happening and it’s been tough to keep abreast of all the updates. For starters; I started a new job, I moved house (over the bridge, gasp!), I reclaimed my four legged furry friend: Chad and I’ve been trying to comprehend the internal shifts a 922km walk can do to a person.
I guess my first thought coming home was “what on earth will I do with my spare time now?” when every resting second was consumed pouring over camino blog posts or podcasts. The need to plan my next adventure was tugging at my sleeve (and quite rightly, still is).
What did I take away from this experience?
Honestly I’m still trying to figure it all out. My experience felt somewhat polarising compared to the books I’d read or the movies I’d watched. I guess my experience was similar in the sense that it was hard work, tiresome at times, delicious in moments and peaceful to no end, in fact if i had to use one word to describe it i would use the word peaceful… not what you’d expect huh?
There are a lot of loose ends I’m still piecing together, but we’ll leave that for another day.
I was thankful to speak with Dan Mullins upon completing the pilgrimage. Dan hosts: My Camino – The Podcast, (you can listen to my chat with Dan here if you’ve got some time). It really helped to expand my thoughts and acclimatise to my new life post camino. I’ve caught up with Dan since and I think meeting fellow pilgrims, especially ones as gracious as him, really allow you to discover that being a pilgrim really is like being a member of a tribe, something I’m grateful to feel apart of.
I also interviewed Dan to ask him what keeps bringing him back to the Camino life which is an awesome read!
So, before I pour my heart out over the high’s and low’s.
Let’s go through the key facts, below I’ve listed a day to day recap of the stages I covered across the Camino del Norte, I’ll come back to complete my notes about the Camino Primitivo and the stunning walk out to Fisterra & Muxia later.
Start: San Sebastian, along the Camino del Norte
End: Muxia, along the Camino Muxia, joining from the Camino Fisterra
How many days: 32 days
How many kilometers: 922km (not counting the thousands of steps consumed when lost and once actually arriving at ones destination for the day)
Pack weight: I can’t be too sure, around 8 or 9kg with water and food
I wrote a journal each day as I was sure I would forget the names of places and people met. Truly it was a good idea, I was only ever in a town for just one night and so names of places left my mind as quickly as they entered. For each day I chose a word to represent that day… I don’t know if it helped for me to decompress after a day or just to remind me of certain sections… either way, they’re listed below with a photo to describe the place, people or setting.
Walking the Camino del Norte:
Also, before we begin! Any questions or comments, please ask! I’m more than happy to help any future pilgrims in their planning – knowing first hand how useful previous pilgrim advice could be.
Day 1, Word of the day: Ecstatic
Distance: 26km ~ From: San Sebastian To: Getaria
Day 2, Word of the day: Mud
Distance: 22.4km ~ From: Getaria To: Izarbide
Day 3, Word of the day: Pine
Distance: 30.6km ~ From: Izarbide To: Muntibar
Day 4, Word of the day: Relentless
Distance: 30.4km ~ From: Muntibar To: Larrabetzu
Day 5, Word of the day: Space
Distance: 14km ~ From: Larrabetzu To: Bilbao
Day 6, Word of the day: Asphalt
Distance:28km ~ From: Bilbao (train to Portugalete) To: Castro Urdiales
Day 7, Word of the day: Compliment-Sandwich (Great, Constructive, Great!)
Distance: 33km ~ From: Castro Urdiales To: Laredo
Day 8, Word of the day: Sandy
Distance: 24km ~ From: Laredo To: San Miguel de Muruelo
Day 9, Word of the day: Heaven
Distance: 28km ~ From: Muruelo To: Santander
Day 10, Word of the day: Rogue
Distance: 34km ~ From: Santander To: Boo de Pielagos
Day 11, Word of the day: Energy
Distance: 36km ~ From: Boo de Pielagos (train to Requejada) To: Comillas
Day 12, Word of the day: Laugh
Distance: 28km ~ From: Comillas To: Columbres
Day 13, Word of the day: Why
Distance: 24km ~ From: Columbres To: Llanes
Day 14, Word of the day: Drizzle
Distance: 30km ~ From: Llanes To: Ribadesella
Day 15, Word of the day: Adios
Distance: 31.5km ~ From: Ribadesella To: Sebrayo
Day 16, Word of the day: Mist
Distance: 24km ~ From: Sebrayo To: La Vega de Sariego
Day 17, Word of the day: Itch
Distance: 27km ~ From: La Vega de Sariego To: Oviedo
Well, if you’ve made it this far, I’m impressed! The Camino del Norte was a lonely experience, mostly meeting with other pilgrims at meals times. It gave me plenty of space to get into my own rhythm and sneak in a few museum/Gaudi exhibitions. The weather was tumultuous. One day it would be divine & another it would be a disaster. I learned to let go and just put my head down and get on with it. The Spanish culture, language and pace of life continues to inspire, intrigue and delight.
Walking the Camino Primitivo was right next… here.
Until next time, xoxo